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When I Land on Your Blog, Please Don’t Make Me…


I love finding new blogs to read. I won’t even tell you how many I subscribe to (hint: it’s in the hundreds). There are so many hidden gems out there, and once I find one, a big smile spreads across my face.

At least sometimes.

Because even though your blog might have the most fantastic content in the world, unfortunately, I may not become a reader. And while the content is the main reason I’m there, it’s the middle stuff. What happens before I read it and after I read it is just as important.

Now some of you might be saying,  this is my blog and I’ll do what I want. Hmmm, so you don’t care about your readers? You are writing for yourself then?  You are writing what you want to, and damn those pesky readers?

The problem is this: Unless you just want to vent or share life experiences no one but your mom cares about, then you need to care about your readers. If you don’t, then why not just keep a journal?

So here’s the deal. Whether I find your blog through a link, a comment you left on another blog, a Google search, or just by accidentally ending up on your site…

When I land on your blog, don’t make me…

Wonder what your blog is about

It drives me crazy  when I first land on a blog and the title, tagline, and header picture don’t tell me, “This blog is  about XYZ.” I am not going to assume anything from the link or even your description in the search engine listings. When I arrive at your site, within a second or two, my eyes are drawn to the header. If you talk about social media, say so. Because the photo in your header? The one of a quiet stream in the woods? That does nothing for me.

Get distracted by too many shiny objects

We all love fun stuff, shiny objects, cool things. But don’t put too many of them ‘above the fold.’ Sure, if there is a huge ad before your post, if it’s something I really need at the time, maybe I’ll click on it. But will I come back to read your post after you have taken me away from your blog? Probably not. Yes, you want people to take action when they land on your homepage, but engage them with your wonderful content first.

Hack my way through long, unformatted paragraphs

It’s a fact, people, the majority of our readers are skimmers and scanners. They are attention disordered and are looking for just the specific information they need.  They may not even read the whole post.  But your post length is not the issue. It’s the formatting.

Are you using numbers, bullets and a large enough font size? Are you breaking up text with decent sized sub-heads. Do you include great photos? All of these things will make your reader’s experience more enjoyable.

Have to close a pop-up window

Okay,  this is my personal rant. Yes, I have a marketing background and understand how effective they can be. And yes, you can grow a decent list that way. But personally, I think they suck. I have landed on your blog for the very first time and you expect me to say, “Well, duh, I don’t know you from Adam, but sure, I’ll sign up for your newsletter, though it may be nothing but crap.” You might also say, everyone does it, so it must work. Well, my mom had a saying about that.

And when I’m finished reading your blog, don’t make me…

Wonder how to share your post

Share buttons are simple to install, yet I still find many good blogs out there without them. Please let me share. I was told as a kid that it’s a good thing. Because you have lost me if you are making me copy the title of your post, open Twitter or Facebook, create a nice little message, paste in your title, go back and copy the URL, return to my update, paste that in and send. I wouldn’t even do that for my best friend.

Not find a way to subscribe to your blog

I realize that you are more interested in growing your newsletter list, so that opt-in box is prominent. I also get it that you would rather have people subscribe to your blog via email, so you can build that list. But please give me that little RSS subscribe button so I can add your wonderful blog to my reader. We may be in the minority, but don’t ignore us.

Wonder about who you are

Most of us readers want to know about the blogger. That is why blogs have about pages. Add one to your blog. Give me some insights into who you are. Because if I am looking for more info on you, that’s a good thing, right?  I’m not a stalker. I simply want to learn more about the fascinating person behind the words.

Struggle to connect with you

So I have read your post. I like what you say. I’m thinking that maybe you would be worth following on Twitter. Hopefully I’ll be able to find those shiny social connect buttons. Or maybe I want to do more than connect with you. I want to hire you. Yes, you impressed me that much. I should have no problem finding the contact button in your navigation bar, right? I won’t need to drop down to the footer and find the words “email me” in 6-point font.

So there you have it. I know there are other things that are just as critical, but just wanted to share my thoughts. And the next time I land on your blog, welcome me with open arms, I’m really not such a bad guy.

What about you?

Is the before and after experience just as important to you as reading the post?


  • blogworld

    just checking to make sure comments are working. nothing to see here =p

  • WordsDoneWrite

    Great advice, Bob! It’ so important that people don’t just know what to do, but what not to do. There’s some details in here I think most people don’t even consider. Really helpful stuff. Thanks, Bob!

    • bobWP

       @WordsDoneWrite Thanks! And you are so right. I have landed on many blogs that were by established and known bloggers and still found these issues, it’s not just the beginner : ) Especially the RSS button, you cannot imagine how many nice, friendly reminders I have sent to bloggers suggesting they might want to add one.. 

  • Iliana Pacheco

    My thought has always been that a blog needs to answer a question, give thoughtful insight, have a tone and be helpful. Also, something that I am figuring out is that esthetics mean more, a lot more, than people think. It is difficult for sites that are creating multiple blog posts every day to find fresh pictures without having to pay a bucket of money. There are some awesome free resources, you just have to find them. My main point is, that I agree with all of the above statements, and would like to add (stress even) that the way your blog looks, really makes the difference. You can have all the best content in the world, but if your website design sucks, no one will bother reading it.

    • WordsDoneWrite

       @Iliana Pacheco That’s so true, Iliana. A bad design can make your eyes bleed! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just not noisy chaos. Too many people try to do too much on the sites.

    • bobWP

       @Iliana Pacheco  Yes, I totally agree. A good design is critical, not only for the eyes but for usability as well. And as @WordsDoneWrite said, most people try to do too much. Clean and simple — I’m all for!
      And your ending comment about good and bad makes a great point. Exactly what I say in my workshops. There are three areas, Design, SEO and Content, that people tend to focus on. Good SEO helps get them there, but if your design and content sucks, you have just wasted your time and money on that. And even is you do have good design, but your content sucks, or visa versa as you said, again all your efforts are wasted. A nice even keel to all three keeps you in the game.

  • Rachel Gilliam: Punch Presence

    All seriously great points. This one hit me: “But please give me that little RSS subscribe button so I can add your wonderful blog to my reader. We may be in the minority, but don’t ignore us.”I personally do NOT subscribe to blogs. But that doesn’t mean my readers don’t. And using that button in your blog means you care about what your readers might need or prefer.
    Thanks so much! 

    • WordsDoneWrite

       @Rachel Gilliam: Punch Presence That one really resonates with me, too, Rachel. I use a reader as well and it kills me when people don’t have an RSS button.

    • bobWP

       @Rachel Gilliam: Punch Presence From my post you can see that is one that really drives me nuts. It’s kind of the same thing with share buttons. I get people telling me, “But I’m not on any of those platforms, why should I put them there?” : )
      And you are so right on. Think about the needs of your readers…

  • Aaron

    This is a very timely topic for me – I’m in the midst of a re-theme/re-design of my main website to better answer some questions.  Everything on my site serves a purpose, but it’s not necessarily obvious where a new visitor should focus.
    Specifically I’m working on a new design which will better answer the “Who am I, and what is this about” as mentioned in this article.
    One point I’m considering is the homepage vs. single article view.  Folks who come in and land on a single article probably go there because they’re interested in the topic of that article – either they saw a link from somewhere on the web, or someone specifically pointed them to that page via a personal referral (email, social media, etc).  Those who come in via my homepage probably landed there because they either Googled my name, clicked a link I left w/ my name in a blog comment, or are otherwise coming in because of a general interest rather than a specific topic.
    As I think about the difference, I’m trying to figure out the best way to funnel visitors to the right areas… those landing on a specific article probably want to know more about that topic, so I might focus on related content.  I’m guessing those landing on my homepage are looking for more general information, biographical information, or a method of contact.  I want to make it either for either visitor to subscribe (RSS, email, etc).

    • WordsDoneWrite

      Good distinction about points of entry, Aaron. I look forward to hearing what @bobWP  has to say. (And thanks for alerting us about the comment as guest issue and for sticking around to comment!)

    • bobWP

      Hey Aaron, great points and something we are always working to get right. In fact, that’s probably the reason I have changed my theme several times over the last couple of years. As I change, my site has…
      The homepage is always the challenge. And as you said, you want to figure out what is in the mind of your readers, but also what you want them to do. My last design, I have 3 areas I wanted to address without confusing anyone. What I do, sign up for my newsletter, and enjoy my content. The direction I was going, those three were vital, and to be honest, probably for others as well. It’s just a matter of finding a way of doing this without the clutter : )
      As far as what page they land on and what to share with them, I get around that by using a theme where I can have custom sidebars. This allows me to choose what I want them to see and do. For example, on my about page, in the sidebars you will find more “connecting” info, things related to me more as a individual. On certain blog posts I will have the standard widgets, but also, may choose to share a product or service more related to that posts. And if I am doing a page of my services or products, again I can choose what will go in that sidebar as not to distract them too much from making a purchase. I couldn’t live without my custom sidebars….: )

  • CouponDivaOne

    Wow – TWO points on this one!

  • dhartzler10

    I’m all about removing the pop-up overlay that show up after 1.23 seconds of reading your content. They can be programmed to appear after a minute or so once you know the individual is actually consuming your content.
    Side note: if you are creating awesome stuff, i.e. videos, blog posts, podcasts, etc. people will WANT to sign up for more and you won’t have to shove a sign up form down their throats 🙂

    • bobWP

       @dhartzler10 I love your last statement… so true, you don’t need to ram it down my throat. And even after a few minutes into a site, they can drive me crazy.
      I can tolerate them much better when I actually click a link that prompts me to, and then pops up. 
      Thanks, glad to hear I’m not the only non-advocate of irritating popups!

      • CouponDivaOne

         @bobWP i’m not crazy about irritating pop-ups either….. 😀

      • dhartzler10

         @bobWP Remember when pop-up blockers were the big thing? That’s because people hated them. And now what are people doing, adding untrappable popups.
        Instead of closing the pop-up I simply remove myself from the situation by hitting the back button.

  • dhartzler10

    I’m all about removing the pop-up overlay that show up after 1.23 seconds of reading your content. They can be programmed to appear after a minute or so once you know the individual is actually consuming your content.
    Side note: if you are creating awesome stuff, i.e. videos, blog posts, podcasts, etc. people will WANT to sign up for more and you won’t have to shove a sign up form down their throats 🙂

  • HansH

    Hi bob, excellent post. I’ve got your post via “become a blogger” with Leslie Samuel. I’m doing his course at the moment. Most of the points you mentioned I’ve already done. May be the only thing I need to do is change my main picture (it’s on all pages) for something which shows readers that my blog is about music arranging. Funny enough I’ve just got rid of a pop-up window, in an attempt to increase my traffic, for the very same reasons you mentioned. When you have some time have a look at my blog.
    With friendly greetings,

    • bobWP

       @HansH Cool, will pop in and check out your blog. And glad to hear your popup is currently RIP. : ) 
      And with your focus on the blog, I’m sure you could come up with a great photo! 

  • joostharmsen

    By far the most annoying must be “Have to close a pop-up window” or sometimes even several pup-up windows! 🙂

    • bobWP

       @joostharmsen Oh man, don’t get me started on that… I could write a whole post ranting about that ; )

  • Discobud for Ouanapley!

    Very good advises and very true. I’ll have my crew foolow this for sure!!

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