I used to think this is an OCD I suffer with but with time I have come to know that this is a common problem – not all blogs prove to be a great reading experience. Now, one might argue that that content is what should be focused on (content too is one of the reasons why the reading experience suffers, we will get to that in a while) but that would be valid if you are not writing for an audience per se. When a lot of us had started blogging 10 years ago, it was just to put our thoughts together at a place nobody from real life would read. Other bloggers would read, if and when they landed on the url. But now, let us not pretend, we blog to be read. So when readers are who we crave, I believe it is our responsibility to ensure a good reading experience.
I am an editor by profession and perfection is what I aim for even when writing for my blog. And my blog is a visual way of expressing my knowledge (I don’t do opinion pieces) or talent. So it is very important to me how my blog looks, and I kind of expect the same when I visit other blogs. I aim for perfection. It doesn’t mean I have achieved it or am anywhere close to it. I am the creator of my blog and not the reader; I am certain there are many things which might be wrong with my own blog and I am unable to spot them.
This month I have been reading many blogs as part of an exercise, and observed few things which my fellow bloggers might be ignoring or not realising, so here is a post telling you of ways by which bloggers might be overlooking the fact that their blogs are difficult to read or prove to be a bad reading experience for their readers. I would love to know what is wrong in mine, so here is hoping this doesn’t offend any blogger, because that is not an intention behind putting this together. So, here we go!
Too many advertisements – Stating this point first, because it bothers me the most. I personally don’t have ads on my blog. At rare occasions I have had a flyer or a picture as an ad, and I strongly believe it is a personal decision. So if you have ads in your blog, there is nothing wrong with it. My concern here is with homepages which have too many ads – on the header, on the side column(s), between two posts – literally everywhere. These homepages look like traps for the readers to click on one or more of the links, rather than read the posts. I have fallen to the trap because there are so many ads. Earn from ads by all means, its your blog. But is what you are earning from the ads, enough to make your readers have an annoying experience? I hope it is.
Too many/few topics on the blog – Many blogs focus on just one topic. Parenting, health, technical topics, for example. But if you are participating in a blogging exercise for example, will your posts be of interest to all readers? I acknowledge that not many readers might agree with this, but (e.g.) a mommy blog has literally no reason of being interesting to non-parents. Or a blog with in-depth medical posts – what do I with those? Pet blogs – I don’t have pets, so what do I read the posts for? Similarly, there are blogs which cover 5-6 topics and seem to be the hub for all possible trending topics currently. Again, not disputing the need of this and it is the blogger who decides what goes on their blog, but a proper menu and navigation through the many topics is a must. It is important that people find the reason to stick around in your blog, and return to it repeatedly.
Only paid posts – If your blog has only or more than 50% paid posts, pray tell us, what will readers stop on your site for? Agreed, clicks from us will help you but why would we be interested in the posts? I am speaking for myself, but am sure many people will agree that a blog filled with only paid posts is most uninteresting and I would hate if I have to compulsorily read a post in it.
The look of your blog – Lack of a good theme, fonts, and design of your blog can be a major turn off. The blog is your property, a home to your words. If you are not decorating it rightly, would it not send visitors away? I have landed on blogs with literally no menu. As a reader, I was faced with the tedious task of scrolling through pages and pages of posts, to find a headline that I liked and wouldn’t mind to read. Believe me when I say this, if your blog requires readers to work things out, find what they might like and then read, comment and share – hardly anybody would be interested in it. Don’t go by the feedback of your echo chamber – people who are reading, commenting and sharing – just because you are doing so to their blogs, they are bound by commitment. Think about it as being a reader yourself and landing on a blog with no menu or a horrible theme.
Some blogs have themes, menu etc but have distractive background images. As a rule, stick to a white background for your blog. Let the words, and nothing else, attract focus.
Complicated comments section – Avoid too many complicated mandatory signins. Not only are you giving your reader’s details to more third party platforms, you are complicating the procedure. For example if someone is already signed in to WordPress or blogger, don’t make them sign out and sign in to something else.
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