How to Turn Off Your Blog Readers in 10 Easy Steps

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Blogging isn’t only a full time job or an income stream for me, it’s an addiction. It’s a way of life. Next to spending time with my family, it’s my favorite thing to do in the world. It’s my passion. I suppose that’s hard to explain to the people who see that I’m online all day and think I have no life, but it is what it is. I’m hooked on blogging, it’s my passion.

I enjoy reading blog posts from other passionate bloggers as well. When people love what they do their passion and happiness shine through, and those blogs are always a joy to read. Sometimes though, I subscribe to a promising blog only to unsubscribe a few days later. The lack of passion and general negativity are a turn off.

After doing a few informal Twitter polls on this very topic, I learned that it’s not only me. Sometimes bloggers go a little too far with their shock, awe, ranting and tough love and serve to drive people away rather than bring them in. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an audience for this. However, I learned the hard way most blog readers don’t come for negativity. I’m of the catching flies with honey variety blogger.

I also read some blogs that are more about earning revenue than about the niche. Many of these are dull and lack personality and passion. I don’t stick around long with these blogs either.

What makes me not want to visit a blog anymore? Read on…

How to Turn Off Your Blog Readers in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Pontificate: We’re all adults, do we really need the lectures? If there’s one thing I’ve learned in ten years of freelancing and five years with this blog, it’s that there are no experts. There are no gurus. There are only people who feel strongly about what they do. There are ways to get our points across without calling out from the pulpit. Let’s share ideas, not force them. We’re big enough and intelligent enough to make our own decisions.
  2. Insult: You’re right. Everyone else is wrong. They’re losers. They’re morons. They’re hypocrites. People who don’t follow your rules don’t know any better. They’re idiots. Yeah. This is the blog I want to visit.
  3. Bore Your Readers: When a blog lacks passion, it shows. I find this with a lot of paid blogging gigs. Many times bloggers take jobs for the money and not the topic. They offer the facts but not much more. It shows when you’re not emotionally attached to your topic. Readers would rather be with someone who is excited to blog each day over someone who has to blog each day.
  4. Unmoderated comments: Community free for alls are a major turnoff. People slow down for a train wreck but very few people stay for the duration. When you allow personal attacks, cursing, spam and other hotbeds, you’re risking readers.  Some bloggers liken moderated comments to censorship, but I disagree. Your blog isn’t the government and you can run it as you see fit. Also, some people feel as if they’re not allowing an opposing point of view if they delete comments. This isn’t true, either. You can welcome respectful disagreement without alienating your community.
  5. Push the Affiliate Links: Very few bloggers can get away with constant sales pitches. If you’re constantly selling and not doing as much sharing, people are going to walk away. Unless you have a “make money online blog,” be careful with the daily pimping. Ads, sponsored posts and affiliate links are all a part of blogging, pushing the ads everyday is when it starts to cross the line.
  6. Curse and Swear: Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to let a few choice words go myself, but not on my blog. I respect my community and that shows in how I talk with them. What you choose to do on your own blog is up to you. However, there are plenty of people who are turned off by profanity. If your community is OK with the F-bombs, keep doing what you’re doing, but if you’re losing community members, it could be the reason why.
  7. Rock the Negativity: If all you do is whine, complain and disagree, people might not want to hang out with you. No one likes to be around a chronic malcontent. You don’t have to like everything that comes along, but balance is good.
  8. Mudslinging and Blog Wars: This is one that I’m so guilty of but I’m trying to get a handle on. Not necessarily mudslinging, but I feel I have to constantly defend myself against negativity. You know what, though? No one in this community wants to read about that.  They come to FWJ to learn about freelance writing and blogging for a living, not to get a whiff of Deb’s Drama of the Week.
  9. Push your religious or political views: Unless your blog is about religion or politics, readers are uncomfortable with someone else’s views being pushed on them every time they visit. Before you rant about a politician you disagree with or go off on a religious tangent consider how your community will react.
  10. Change your format every other month: Readers don’t want to be confused each time they come to visit. If you change your vision, your mission statement, your line of thinking or your blog every other week, you’ll lose trust. How can your community trust you if you’re all things to everyone?

Now share. What are some of the things that turn you off when you visit a blog?

Comments

  1. 1. Music playing. I “greatly dislike” it.
    2. Asking for money for anything.

    Actually those two should be switched around with the #1 spot going to the money requests.
    I guess constant moaning about how rough things are for you turns me off too. We all need to vent a little but if today you have a cold, tomorrow H1N1 and the next day it is something else I will be gone. Yes you are sick but all the time? I don’t want to hear it.
    The exception to this is when someone is struggling with an illness and they are blogging their way through it. That is different than the whining about the hangnails and constipation.

  2. i disagree with the whole moderating thing. moderating is the worst, there’s no reason to moderate, maybe bleep out expletives, but other than that why do you want to run a communist dictator driven blog?

    • I don’t think it’s being a dictator to disallow personal attacks or profanity, Bob. That’s really where I draw the line. I don’t mind spirited discussions, debates or disagreement but when it starts to attacking and obscenities, I hit the moderation button. Otherwise, I pretty much allow all comments.

      What does everyone else think?

      • Deb,

        I’m with you. On my site I don’t allow profanity or personal attacks. If you can’t disagree with someone without resorting to name calling and/or profanity that’s a reflection on your lack of communication skills. Applying moderation to a site makes most people feel more secure in expressing their opinions – that way they don’t have to fear being flamed.

        As to the silly “communist/dictator” comment – it’s MY site and I can run it any way I like. The way I see it, it’s the same as inviting someone into my home… while you’re their you have to abide by my rules. If you don’t like it, just go elsewhere.

        Vic

      • I absolutely moderate all the blogs I own. I would never allow unmoderated comments. I had one person trying to post links to porn off of my faith-related blog that’s linked to various faith blogging networks. I had another guy trying to pitch snake oil. Friends who blog on religious topics find the hate mail needs to be deleted. I don’t police out people who disagree with me, but I won’t allow name calling, personal attacks against people or religions, or anything related to industries I do not support such as porn or tobacco.

    • I’m torn. Because I get hit with spam so I have to moderate, but if someone is commenting on the topic at hand, I don’t really do anything with someones viewpoints. I let it post. If it’s a great debate, I say, though that’s not my viewpoint, I love a great debate! Let’s start…. it usually helps posters understand they can say something that all are not in agreement with! I love it! But keep the spam at bay!

  3. I agree that I get really turned off by unmoderated comments.

    If I’m reading along a good discussion and come across spam then I assume that the blogger just isn’t interested enough to follow their own comments and catch that sort of thing.

    If I see personal attacks that go unmoderated then I feel that the blogger isn’t respecting their other commentators.

    It’s not dictatorship to moderate comments–it’s your responsibility as a blogger to cultivate the type of community you desire. If you’re allowing personal attacks and cultivating a negative community, then I won’t read your blog. But if you’re promoting respect and good debate among your readers I’ll definitely be back.

  4. 1. Lack of aesthetics – The visual presentation of your words says just as much as the words themselves, if not more.
    2. Too long – I find that I tend to lose focus if the blog is too drawn out. At that point, why not just make it into an article. I feel blogs should be quips, lists, and opinions. They are not meant for long researched prose.

  5. I’m an artist with an art blog. I find this article interesting and something to think about! It’s enough for me to add this site to my blogroll for future reading!

  6. I don’t like long paragraphs, and use of all lower case.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  7. I’ve just discovered your blog and I find this advice excellent and very timely. I think I’ve fallen into the trap of being mucho didactic because I feel very passionate about what I mainly write about.

    I’m not that heavy in person, so maybe I need to recover some distance.

    I’d like to say more, but bearing in mind Lindsay’s point, (I have that problem too), I’ll end here.

  8. It’s already been mentioned but really long posts topped only by really long posts with no paragraphs.
    If it isn’t easy and succinct or at least broken up with images etc then I generally won’t read it.

  9. 12. Follow an arbitrary list of rules about blogging.

    The best blogs have their own voice, speak passionately, and don’t do things the same way everyone else does them. Any list of rules is, by definition, in conflict with that notion and in particular a list of rules designed to pander to a group of potential readers. Don’t try to tailor yourself to make your readers happy, try being a good writer instead.

  10. I think I have to turn my blog readers ON before I can turn them off.

  11. Thanks, terrific advice. A couple of points I can learn from…and I generally DON’T like lists since that has become the accepted “gimmick” to draw traffic.

    Maybe it’s my ADD, but I DON’T like a blog that is TOO focused. While variety can become a problem, I also don’t trust someone who is, in effect, “curing cancer” in his or her area with every post. Most of us are just folks out here trying, and no one is going to have “THE” answer every three days. It’s a human conversation, and I look for that.

  12. I’m a little guilty of committing #10, but thankfully I put this to a stop. My blog was going through a serious identity crisis, but I just had to figure myself out a little more. While doing anything publicly, you really have to figure yourself out to a T before you can take off.

  13. Well, when it comes to comments moderation, I’d say it depends on a blogger’s taste. There are bloggers who let their blog stay ‘democratic and transparent” by leaving all comments unmoderated. And there’re some other who prefer having civilized comments on their blogs. Both are OK with me. I myself have no experience of dealing with nasty commentators or thorny responses or commentators attacking each other on my blog. I therefore have no reason to moderate comments. But once I spot a diabolical comment , I might be thinking like you, Deb. I own my blog and it’s entirely my blogger right to censor. So far, I thank God for nice commentators I’ve already had although the number is relatively small since I started only months ago.

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