Are you making one of these five blogging mistakes? They’re actions that can drive viewers from your blog, but they’re all easily corrected.
This isn’t a post containing the tried-and-true wisdom I’ve gained from years spent in the blogging trenches. This isn’t a post written by someone who makes a living helping people grow their blogs. This isn’t the post of an expert blogger.
Because I’m so not.
This is the post of a seasoned blog-reader. I read blogs, a lot of them. A few I read faithfully, but lots I visit randomly, through Pinterest or through the internet rabbit hole of “I clicked a link that led there, where I clicked another link that led there, and that’s where I saw another link…”
I’m stilling feeling my way through the blog-owning side of things, but I’ve been a blog-viewer for many years. This is what I see:
5 blogging mistakes you’re making
your links don’t open in new pages
Picture this: I’m on your blog, let’s say browsing a recipe. During the course of reading the post, I come across a link, like this. Based on context, I’m interested in where the link leads, so I click it. Now I’m no longer viewing the recipe, I’m viewing the page from the link.
And most likely, because I’m me and usually have no fewer than seventeen internet tabs open at any given time, I get distracted by the link and forget I was there for a recipe. So the recipe doesn’t get pinned, or commented on, or shared.
the solution: have every single link you include in your posts open in a new tab or window, but especially a link that takes the reader away from your site.
(2.21.16 update: I recently learned that have all your internal links open in a new tab can seriously hurt your bounce rate. With that being said, I still highly recommend you have all external links open in new tabs.)
you’re not replying to comments
I don’t comment on many blogs. Now that I have my own blog and I know how special comments are, I try to make more of an effort, but I’m still pretty bad about it. So when I do take a few seconds to leave my thoughts on a blog post, the least you can do is respond.
Oftentimes, I go back and visit the blog again when I get an email informing me of the reply. If there’s no reply, I don’t really have a reason to go back.
the solution: respond to every comment left on your posts, even the one-word ones. If a reader is kind enough to leave their thoughts, it’s the polite thing for you to do.
you’re not giving me something to pin
If I think there’s any chance I might want to reference a post later, I’ll pin it, sometimes to more than one board. But I can’t pin a post without an image.
the solution: Never ever ever publish a post that doesn’t contain at least one pinnable image, even if it’s just a basic graphic you made in PicMonkey or Canva. Even if it’s a post that you don’t think anyone will pin. Include some sort of graphic, if for no other reason than so that I have something pretty to look at.
your paragraphs are too long
Rarely do I read an entire blog post from start to finish. More than likely, I scan it and read the parts that seem relevant or interesting (just like I bet you’re scanning this list… right?). If your posts contain fat paragraphs- length will vary based on your blog layout and text size, but I would say anything more than five or six lines long should be broken up into two paragraphs- I’m more likely to lose interest and move on.
the solution: use smaller paragraphs. Numbered or bulleted lists are good, too. Using bold to emphasize key phrases will catch the reader’s eye, too.
your site doesn’t have a menu
Like a lot of readers, if I’m browsing a blog and liking what I see, I’m probably going to look around for more posts that interest me. I almost always check out the “about” page, too, to get an idea of the person behind the blog. If your site lacks a menu or easy navigation, I’m not going to spend much time searching for what I want; I’ll just move on to another site.
the solution: have menu options located in an obvious area- directly under the header or on the right- or left-hand side near the top. Include in your menu options an About Me section that will help the reader get to know you more.
Note: this post is obviously the opinion of one blog reader; I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers out there who break all these “rules” and are successful.
What common missteps are likely to keep you from coming back to a blog?
Found your post on FB! I like your article and agree with what you are saying. For me, I don’t leave a blog if they don’t have these things, but if you don’t have sharing buttons below or above your post, you are less likely to get shares.
But, if it’s good content and written for an online audience, then I’ll stick around and drop a comment!
Thanks, Elna! Yup, share buttons have been on my to-do list for far too long. Thanks for the reminder!
LOVE these! Especially the long paragraphs point. I am definitely a scanner (and yes, I scanned this post) but it was easy to read because of bold face and the broken up paragraphs!
Thanks, Nina! I think most of us are scanners, so we might as well admit it and write blog posts with that in mind 🙂
Jessica H. says
This is a great list! One rule that I absolutely follow is to respond to every single comment I get. I love comments, but I love letting readers know that I appreciate them stopping by to share their thoughts, too. 🙂
Thank you! I agree, so few people, especially non-bloggers, realize how nice comments are. The least we can do is respond!
So much truth. I really hate when people don’t link to a new page! Nothing like trying to get back to where you were down that rabbit hole you mentioned…
Oh, the rabbit hole. Yup, it isn’t uncommon for me to completely forget what site I started at and why.
Rosevine Cottage Girls says
Thank you! Have a great weekend!
Lisa @ Strum Simmer Sip says
I struggle with long paragraphs. So much to say! These are great reminders 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Strum Simmer Sip
I have a hard time with them, too, but I remind myself to write for someone with an attention span as long as mine…which is not very 😉
Tayler Morrell says
Good tips and great pictures!
Thank you so much, Tayler!
I agree with all of these! Especially the link one. If it doesn’t open in a new tab, I am unlikely to go back to the original post.
Yes! I hate that my brain is so full that I do that, but it’s just a fact.
These are great reminders! Thanks for the useful advice! Found you at the Ultimate Pinterest Party and pinned.
Thank you, Sarah, for the kind words and for the repin!
Lara @ MommyKazam says
Yes! Completely agree, especially about the paragraphs and links. I have the attention span of a gnat, if a link takes me away I will completely forget what I was originally looking at… Chances are I’ll be 10 links away before it even crosses my mind, and by then I’ve gone too far to turn back around.
Truth. On the one hand, it’s how I end up stumbling across great content, but it’s also how I end up not getting a chance to pin other great content.
Angela @ Setting My Intention says
I agree with all of these. I like that you shared your perspective from a blog reader turned blogger!
Thanks, Angela! I definitely have more experience as a reader, and I like to thing that helps me to be a better writer sometimes.
Great post, agreed on all! one thing I hate (that seems to be the rage right now) is when I go to a bog and a window pops up to follow through email. I refuse to put one of those windows on my blog because I hate it when that happens. I also hate when the date of the post is not there for me to see.
YES. The email window drives me crazy, because I’m always like, “I’ve been on your blog .4 seconds; how do I know if I want to subscribe yet?” Plus, sometimes I can’t get the window to close when I’m using my phone, so I just leave the site altogether.
T Austin says
You are so right! Great tips. I need to check my links now! 🙂
Thanks, Tiffany! I hope it isn’t too much work for you 🙂
Aliza @ Home Crafts by Ali says
This is a great list! I have to work on my menu and About Me page. One thing I don’t like as a blog reader is when I would like to either pin for later or share on social media and there is no way too. Especially in the blog groups where people ask you to Stumble their post….but they don’t have the option for that.
Having the buttons is a good point. We should definitely be aware enough of our blogs to know what options we’re giving.
#1 is my biggest pet peeve when I am visiting a fellow blogger’s site. You’ll totally lose the reader if you don’t have the link open in a new window!! Also, Pinterest has been a big traffic pusher for me so I totally agree that a pinnable image is a must 🙂
I’ve gotten in the habit of right-clicking a link and opening in a new window, but it’s so nice to visit a blog that takes care of that for you.
Natasha@ Anxious Toddlers says
This is a great article. These tips are spot on. I hate when a link doesn’t open a new tab – as I am lost forever! I put a plugin on my site that automatically does this for every link I make. Also in my own blogging I have learned shorter, easy to digest paragraphs are much better. Thanks for the tips!
I had no idea there was a plugin for that! Thank you for sharing!
Kelly Hess says
My number one turn off for blogs is when the posts have misspellings and grammatical errors! I cannot believe some of the errors, if you are posting something for the world to read, it better be right!
Yes! I 100% agree. I know my posts aren’t error-free, but I try. Some blogs have a distracting number of errors.
Nikki Strong says
These are some GREAT pointers, especially for new bloggers like me. I too have been on the blog rabbit hole. I love to jump from one to another. Hopefully that is how folks will find my blog as well. I love to post coupons, sales, giveaways and reviews.
Nikki from http://www.FrugalMomClub.com
Hi, Nikki! The rabbit hole is a fun place 🙂
Long-time Blogger (since 1999) says
5 Blog a Reading Mistakes You Are Making
Your lack of experience blogging coupled with your need for the world to revolve around you have combined to produce possibly the worst use of the internet I have seen. Ever.
Solutions to your issues: (1) Right click on links to open them in a new window all by yourself. (2) If your comment merits a reply, it will get one. (3) learn about the bookmark feature on your browser. Pretty pictures are for children’s books. (4) Expand your attention span past that of a 12 year old. (5) just because you can’t find the navigation doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Technology has moved past the need for a list pasted on the side of every page. And perhaps there’s no about page because I don’t want you to know anything about me.
I hope these tips improve your blog reading experience. Remember, you aren’t queen of the internet.
Since howoldareyou.com is probably not a legitimate email host, it’s unlikely you’ll receive notification of this reply. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to respond.
1. As mentioned above, this post is simply my opinion; I never professed to be queen of the internet, or queen of anything for that matter.
2. Based on the other (tactful) comments left on this post, it seems there are several bloggers and blog readers who agree with me. As you failed to leave a URL to your own blog, I’m unable to browse your site and see how successful you are despite breaking all the “rules”.
The link one is big for me. Although I by default normally open a page by right clicking ‘open in a new tab’, I’m still surprised when websites don’t open things in a new window automatically. I have recently been steadily increasing my pinning on people’s pages (rather than just repinning on Pinterest), so when I find a great article and there is not even one image on it that I can use, I skip it. Some articles are fine without pictures (they don’t really need to be pinned), but most of them should at least have a small picture that I can use that is not an ad.
I think that your perspective as a blog reader reminds people that we need to keep our readers in mind over what WE see and don’t mind on our blogs.
Thank you for commenting! You make an excellent point; as bloggers, we probably put up with and navigate around a lot of things that readers might not have the patience for, especially with an endless number of other blogs out there. We should be curating our sites based on what’s reader friendly.
Again, great tips!!! I completely agree with all of these too! Especially about the “really long paragraphs.” I typically skim as well, and if the paragraph is really long, I just give up on it. ADD maybe? 😉
I’m sure the skimming is a result of technology-driven ADD, which I realize isn’t good, but it’s foolish not to acknowledge and accommodate that in your posts. I love short paragraphs!
Julie Dutra says
I’ve also been a blog-reader for years and failed to transfer that knowledge to my own blog. You are so right about links opening in a separate page – it really annoys me in other blogs so I should make sure mine doesn’t commit the same mistake! Oh and I found you via #blogstorm
Thank you, Julia! Isn’t it great when we can make such small changes and see such big improvement? Thanks for stopping by!
A Cornish Mum says
Yay pleased to say I don;t do any of the bad bits on your list and do all of the good! 😉
Stevie x #BlogStorm
Yay! Good for you. Thank you for the comment!
Hmm, interesting. I’m getting better about Pinnable pictures, but still not 100% there yet. I’ll try to pull my socks up. And adding a menu is one of the things on my list of things to get around to; I’ll try to do it sooner. And yes to links not opening up on new pages, especially when it’s links to social media, so not just a one-off oversight. #blogstorm
I’m glad you found this list useful, Alison! I don’t think anything here is a must-do, but I certainly think they’ll improve your blog. Good luck!
Great and helpful post! I don’t think Ai do these but I’ll definitely be looking over and checking! Thanks for linking up with #blogstorm
Thank you, Martyn! Have a great week!