Is your shirtless man in a cape costing you blog readers?

Were my eyes deceiving me?

“Surely I can’t be seeing what I think I’m seeing,” I told myself.

“You are seeing it,” I responded. “And stop calling yourself Shirley.”

“It’s a beautiful house,” I had told the Realtor ten minutes earlier.

And it was.

It was built in 1868. Eight rooms in the house had access to a fireplace. It had pine floors. It was over 4,000 square feet. It had almost an acre of land.

And it had come down $70,000 in price.

I was strongly debating whether or not to buy it.

How could I not?

It was beautiful.

And God said ha

After viewing the house, I decided I needed a night’s rest before making a decision.

As I’m about to make a right-hand turn to head home, I noticed a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk. I stopped and waited for the man to pass me.

And then I noticed what he was wearing.

The man was shirtless.

However, I didn’t notice this at first because part of his torso was covered by a cape.

This shirtless man, who was walking directly in front of a house I was considering buying and for all I knew would be my neighbor, was wearing a cape made out of what appeared to be an old bed sheet.

As he turned his head to look at me, I made sure the doors to my car were locked.

The face of what I assumed was pure insanity then smiled at me.

“Yeah, I’m not buying this house,” I said to myself.

“Good call,” I responded.

Buy this house! We could carpool.
Buy this house! We could carpool.

Whether it’s home buyers, members of the opposite sex, or blog readers; we all do things to scare away audiences.

Some of the things we do are subtle.

Some are as obvious as a tattoo on the chest of a shirtless man with a cape.

To figure out why you are losing blog readers…

You need to take a fresh look at your blog.

You need to see it from your readers’ viewpoint.

You need to find the proverbial “shirtless men with capes” who could be scaring readers away.

Here are some common places to look.

1. Do you make people use CAPTCHA?

impossible_captchaCAPTCHA is a method for determining if the user attempting to leave a comment is human.

There will be a picture of a distorted word (or words), and you have to type what the picture says in an input box.

It’s one of the most evil and aggravating things on the planet.

The distorted words given to you are often impossible to decipher. So, you hit the refresh button in the hopes of receiving new words you can understand.

When those words turn out to also be unreadable, you’ll hit refresh again.

If you have to click refresh fewer than 73 times, consider yourself lucky.

Rating: 4 Man Capes

cape_meter_4-0

One more thing…

Similarly, don’t force users to register for an account just to leave you a comment.

I’ve come across some WordPress blogs which require registration just to comment. Unless they are related to you or you’re quite popular, readers are unlikely to oblige.

In short, don’t make it harder than it needs to be for readers to leave you comments.

Your blog isn’t a night club with a bouncer out front. Let people in. [tweet this]

2. Do you respond to comments?

Should you respond to one-sentence comments such as “great stuff” or “thanks for this”?

That’s for you to decide.

But if you’re not responding to insightful, genuine questions left to you by blog readers, you’re running the risk of alienating those readers.

Don’t believe it’s possible to respond to every comment?

Bloggers like Adrienne Smith would disagree.

She often receives 100+ comments in a single post, but she responds to each and every one.

Why?

According to Adrienne it’s about common courtesy:

For me to ignore (that you took the time to come to my blog, you stuck around and read my post and you were kind enough to leave me your thoughts) is just down right rude and I don’t care how many comments I get, you are special to me and I appreciate it.”

Yes, there are bloggers out there who do not respond to comments. Maybe you could be one of them and not lose readership.

The percentages say you shouldn’t gamble, though.

Rating: 2.5 Man Capes

cape_meter_2-5

One more thing…

When you do reply to a comment a reader has left you, be sure your response is adequate. By this I mean if someone leaves you a comment similar to the following:

This post is the most wonderful, amazing thing I have ever read. I followed you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr, even though you aren’t on Tumblr. There was another guy on Tumblr with a name similar to yours and I followed him just in case he is related to you!

I have so many questions to ask you! 1. Are you single? 2. Do you have any single brothers? 3. Do they have blogs? 4. Do you like peanut butter? …

[84 questions later]

… and, finally, 89: What web host do you use?

I eagerly await your response!

– Smitten in St. Louis

It is not okay to simply reply with the following:

HostGator [affiliate link].

If someone goes to the effort to write you and ask you questions, give them a little bit of your time.

(Even if they’re a tad crazy.)

3. Is your blog mobile friendly?

I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s important.

As more and more time goes by, the greater number of mobile and tablet readers you’ll have on your blog.

If you want to send them running for the hills, by all means make sure your blog isn’t mobile friendly.

However, if you want keep those readers, you need to make sure your blog works for them.

Aren’t sure if your blog is mobile friendly?

Try QuickSprout’s web analyzer tool.

It will show you how your blog looks on mobile and tablet devices.

Rating: 4 Man Capes

cape_meter_4-0

One more thing…

On the other side of the coin, don’t ignore desktop and laptop users in your quest for mobile friendliness.

Many office workers read blogs at work on their lunch breaks or during down time. They typically use desktops or laptops, and this will not be changing for a while.

4. Typos and grammar

Look, no one likes the grammar police.

(Actually, that isn’t true. I like the grammar police. In a disorderly world, what’s wrong with a little order? Am I right?)

My eccentricities aside, most people don’t like the grammar police. And most people won’t leave your blog if you have typos here or there.

That being said, there is a difference between “typos here or there” and, say, the butchering of the English language taking place every minute on Twitter.

If your writing approaches Twitter-feed levels, you’re very likely to lose readers.

Rating: 1.5 Man Capes

cape_meter_1-5

One more thing…

This one is very much “in the eye of the beholder.” Some readers will tolerate Rosie O’Donnell levels of bad blogging grammar.

However, others will not.

If your target audience is writers, for example, they’re unlikely to keep reading you if you’re not correcting your spelling mistakes before hitting “publish.”

5. Too many guest posts

Guest writing is a wonderful thing.

If you’re writing them, they allow you to reach a new audience. If you’re publishing them, they allow you to share a new voice with your readers.

However, it is entirely possible to overdo it.

If you are writing so many guest posts for other blogs you are neglecting your own blog, this could be a problem. True, you’re bringing in a new audience, but you’re neglecting your original readers.

And if you’re accepting too many guest posts for your own blog, this is potentially an even bigger problem.

Why?

Because your readers come to your blog for you.

They like your writing style, they like your sense of humor, they like the content you share, etc.

If they didn’t like you, they wouldn’t be reading your blog. Correct?

So while sharing quality guest posts with your readers is great, make certain your readers are still getting what they came for: a healthy dose of you. [tweet this]

They’ll thank you for it.

Rating: 1.5 Man Capes

cape_meter_1-5

One more thing…

How many guest posts is “too many” is subjective and will depend on you and your blog.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic only write occasionally on their sites, but they appear to have zero trouble growing and retaining readers.

Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom, while allowing guest submissions, still writes a majority of the posts on her blog.

The key is knowing your audience and why they read your blog.

6. You’re too wordy

Ironic in a way even Alanis Morissette could understand, the intro to this post is 360 words.

Originally, it was 673 words.

Yes, a post discussing the ways you could be scaring away readers was scaring away readers by taking forever to get to its point.

When I was a high school teacher, I used anecdotes to make whatever I was teaching more relatable and entertaining.

And as a blogger, I often write (hopefully) amusing anecdotes for the same purpose.

But you know what? An anecdote of 50 words can be just as amusing as anecdote of 100 words. It also has the benefit of being shorter to read.

In other words, don’t be wordy for the sake of being wordy.

You could lose blog readers long before you get to the point you wanted to make.

Rating: 2.5 Man Capes

cape_meter_2-5

One more thing…

Don’t be afraid to learn from others.

No matter how experienced, knowledgeable or educated you may be, there is always room for improvement.

A big thanks to Henneke Duistermaat for giving me some editing tips, which I used in the editing of this intro and I’ll definitely be using in the future.

Go check out Henneke’s blog. If it doesn’t motivate you to be a better blogger, I’m afraid you cannot be motivated.

Wrapping it up

Losing readers is something we all face from time to time.

Usually, it’s nothing to worry about. Sometime you’re up, sometimes you’re down, and usually there will not be a tangible reason for either.

Still, sometimes there is a reason. Sometimes you’ll lose readers because there is a shirtless man with a cape scaring them away.

If that happens, you will have a choice to make: do something about it, or let him take up permanent residence on your lawn.

Hopefully you will do the former.

Have you ever lost blog readers? What was the reason and what did you do to remedy it? Let me know in a comment below!

Creative Commons Images via Vegas Bleeds Neon (adapted) and Katy Warner (adapted).

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Kevin,
    I use popups at most of my sites for encouraging email subscriptions, so I’m sure I’ve lost some readers over that. But after testing it for a long time I’ve never really seen much difference at all in bound rate, average pageviews per visit, or overall visits to think that it causes more than just a very small loss. The gains that I have received from the increased conversions more than outweigh a very small drop in pageviews.

    On your point about guest posting, I think it really depends on the site. Darren Rowse doesn’t post very often at ProBlogger but for the first few years he wrote almost every post there while the site was growing. I’d agree with you that too many guest posts is not a good thing, but like you said, that is subjective.

    • says

      Hi Marc,

      Welcome to Be A Better Blogger! Thanks for commenting.

      Agreed regarding pop-ups for email subscriptions. I didn’t include them on the list, one, because they’re probably the first thing people think of when you say “scare away readers.” I didn’t want to repeat. But two, I’m just not convinced they anger readers the way, say, too many advertisements annoy them.

      Of course, everyone is different.

      It definitely depends on the site in regards to guest posting. In Darren’s case, ProBlogger got so big he needed other writers to chip in. He’s also done an outstanding job of recruiting great writers with great content. That helped keep readers happy, I’m sure.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

  2. says

    Hi Kevin
    It is so difficult to bring someone to your blog but to make him run away is the easiest job. It is also widely said a visitor comes to your blog with his own consent but go away because of you. So minutely examine you factor to convert him as your regular visitor and then customer and eventually a regular customer.
    A visitor first checks what benefits he can get from the place where he arrived. If he finds something there he looks left and right to get more. Here YOU factor works. Did you place the second best thing at the right of the post where he arrived and third best thing at the left of that post. If yes then he will obviously get maximum benefit else he would just like the place where he arrived and go away. This is called showcasing the quality. If you showcase the things which you like and forget about the choice of readers then obviously you will lose the readers.
    Popups, multiple offers, several invitations themselves are not good or bad. It depends upon the things which you are offering to them through these methods. If you have good reputation as a blogger then even more than one popup won’t irritate the readers. If you are quite new then even a very soft invitation may create unease and make readers leave your blog.
    All the points you mentioned have great value and quite helpful for bloggers to retain their blog readers by following them.
    Greetings on writing such a wonderful post with very interesting opening that surely will send each reader to the end of the post.

    • says

      Hello Mi Mumba,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      You’re right. Getting someone to your blog is difficult. All the work that goes into designing your blog, writing a post, promoting, etc. And yet it’s super easy to drive a reader a way.

      Definitely something of which to be mindful.

      Thanks again for visiting!

    • says

      Hi Henneke,

      You are very welcome!

      And yes, CAPTCHA definitely deserved its 4 man capes. There’s one blog I frequent that uses the most frustratingly-unfriendly CAPTCHA system I’ve ever seen. Two words…one that sort of looks like it’s in English, the looks like it’s Latin. Either way, it’s impossible to decipher.

      It’s a shame, really!

  3. says

    Hey Kevin,

    Well thank you so much for using me as an example and I do believe in blog commenting as you can very well tell. If only people would look at that as a way to build relationships with other bloggers and then readers of your own blog. You can then build quite a great community from there which to me is never a waste of anyone’s time.

    I’m sure there are some things that have chased people away but I’m not doing any of what you listed here so it could be something entirely different that I’m not yet aware of.

    I do so hate the captcha codes. I know that some people are afraid of spam so they have that instead but they’re probably not getting a lot of interaction because of it either. I wonder which one they would consider worse.

    If I visit someone’s blog that I know is always making grammatical errors and they know better then I’ll eventually start not dropping by as often. That really does make me nuts.

    The other thing that makes me nuts is the too many guest posts. I’ve followed a lot of people when I was starting this particular journey but a few of them had other people writing for them until it got to the point that I never heard from them accept on a rare occasion. I finally stopped visiting because although I’m not saying that the information that was being shared wasn’t good but I didn’t really want to hear from them. I wanted to hear from the owner of the blog.

    Great tips and I agree with them all. Thanks again for the mention and you have a great day Kevin.

    ~Adrienne

    • says

      Hi Adrienne,

      You’re welcome! You might laugh, but I consider you the measuring stick for blog commenting.

      I’ve never been a particularly active commenter on others’ blogs (until recently), but I do observe. Most “big” bloggers will respond to the first few comments left on a particular post. So, if you are one of the very first to comment, you get a response. But if you’re the 7th, 8th or, gosh, 50th? Yeah, it’s not happening.

      I’ve never begrudged them for doing this (again, I wasn’t commenting myself). I simply figured they are quite busy, and to respond to any comments was an accomplishment.

      But then I discovered your blog. And I noticed if you get 50 comments, you respond 50 times. And you don’t reply with a simple “thanks” or “appreciate it, buddy.” You write several paragraphs.

      So, now, it’s my goal to not just respond to a few comments, but respond to all comments. It’s clearly possible to do so.

      You just have to make it a priority!

  4. says

    Hey Kevin,

    Man this was a informative but very fun post. I like the way you used Man Capes to make light of issues that may be hindering some. It will help them understand possible changes that may need to be made on their end but without making them feel less than at the same time.

    I have to agree with you on the Captcha! If I built a relationship with you, then I will kinda deal with them even though it drives me crazy sometime. I have 20/ 20 vision and sometimes I still can’t get them sometimes. I would also recommend they not be used as well.

    Not sure about the guest posting? I understand your points for sure. I think as long as your adding value and still providing a way for you to still interact with the fans you have gained, I think it can still work out.

    It’s all about trial and error. The main thing is to not take to long when you see something not working and finding the right solution.

    Take care Kevin!

    • says

      Hey Steven,

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I was probably a bit long-winded in this one, but I thought this humorous story could be an enticing intro to the post I wanted to write.

      Exactly, I’ll deal with Captcha if it’s a blogger I know or a blogger I really, really enjoy. But if it’s a new blog? Or a blog I could take or leave? Captcha isn’t worth it!

      I love guest posting, so please don’t misunderstand. I published a guest post from Irwin last week, and I have guest posts of my own popping up on other blogs in the next month or two.

      I just believe it’s important not to go overboard with it!

  5. says

    Very well put Kevin. I like how you described the problem with a shirtless man. I am new to Blogging and just realized that I have not replied to any of the comments I received on my blog posts. Off to write replies… Thanks

    • says

      Hi Umair,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. And thank you for your kind words!

      Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! How new are you to it?

      Haha. Yes, replying to comments is very important. Cherish those readers. :-)

      Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you’ll return.

        • says

          Hi Umair,

          I must have missed your follow-up comment. Sorry about that!

          Hope you and your blog are doing well. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting on this post. Hope to see you return to the blog very soon.

          Have a great weekend!

  6. says

    Hi Kevin

    I have to say, that one of my absolute pet hates are Captcha’s. The amount of time I write a comment, only to then see that I had entered the captcaha wrong (as half of them are unreadable) is so incredibly frustrating. Some bloggers make it soooo difficult just to leave a comment!

    I can understand Bloggers wanting to protect themselves against spam, but there are very good plugins for this that don’t annoy the readers.

    As for having to log in to comment, I never bother with that one!

    • says

      Hi Catherine,

      Thanks for the comment!

      With other anti-spam options out there, it really surprises me when I come across a new blogging using Captcha. I want to tell them: “Didn’t you get the memo? We hate Captcha.” :-)

      Ditto regarding logging into comment. I’ve never done it either. Thankfully, this is pretty rare these days.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  7. says

    How could I not read a post with “shirtless man in a cape” and “blog” in the title? Great blogging tips!

    I don’t understand why people bother to use Captcha at all. My Akismet plugin catches most spam comments and the very few spam comments that do get past Akismet go into a pending folder for my review because my settings don’t allow comments to get posted if the user has never had an approved comment.

    • says

      Hello Dawn,

      Welcome to the site! Thanks for commenting.

      I agree — how could someone see “shirtless man in a cape” and “blog” in a title and not want to read it? :-)

      I use Akismet as well, in combination with the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. It forces users to click a simple checkbox in order to prove they are human. Much easier than Captcha and just as effective.

      (I just visited your blog to make sure you didn’t already have it…)

      If you’re interested, you download it from the WordPress Plugin Directory.

      I’ve found it plus Akismet does a pretty great job at stopping spam.

      Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. Do come back!

      • says

        Thanks for the plugin recommendation. I will try it out. I agree a simple check box is not very annoying for readers.

        One more thing I would add to your list is that I would add a comment notification plugin to let readers know when you have responded to their comment (and only their comment).

        WordPress has optional settings where the commenter can say she wants notifications, but then she will get an email notification every single time anyone else comments on that post – and that is extremely annoying when she only wants to know if someone replies to her own comment.

        I use a free plugin called Comment Reply Notification by denishua that allows the commenter to receive notification of only replies to her own comment. I have it set to be checked automatically but the commenter can also opt to turn this off.

        I find this very helpful for readers. I wanted to come back and see if you had replied to my previous comment, but honestly I didn’t remember the name of your blog. Luckily I knew whose Facebook page I saw the link on and could return here that way.

        It is great to reply to everyone who comments on your posts, but to really get the benefit of building a relationship the readers need to have a way of knowing you responded because not everyone will come back and check like I did.

        • says

          Hi again, Dawn!

          You know, that’s a very helpful suggestion. Thank you! Originally, I did have a similar plugin, but I disabled it when I was tweaking some other comment plugins. And, I forgot all about it.

          All this time (well, a month and a half) I thought readers had a way to receive comment notifications! Thank you for mentioning it.

          I do use a different plugin than the one you use, though. I use the Send email only on Reply to My Comment plugin by Yasir. The reason is it’s been updated more recently, and because it’s been recommended by sites such as WP-Beginner.

          Hopefully it works! I’ll have to test it. :-)

          Thanks again, Dawn.

  8. says

    Hey Kevin, great points and a great anecdote. If you make it hard for your readers, sure they are going to run away like anything. Everybody is busy and the fact that someone actually made a decision to stop at your blog and leave a comment is itself a blessing. Now, if you test their patience with the scary Captchas and registration forms, that’s like welcoming your visitors with a gun pointed towards them.

    I am NEVER a fan of Captchas/registrations when it comes to leaving comments. I understand that many of my blogging pals use Disqus, Livefyre and things like that. But that’s one time registration and I keep myself auto logged on all these while I’m working – so never found it annoying :)

    The second most important point to me is finding the balance with guest posts. I stopped reading many blogs because they just became a place for guest authors to an extent that I even can’t find out who the owner is! Guest blogging is good and you hear it from a die-hard guest blogging fan.

    In fact, my current blogging status is a lot due to the guest posts I wrote. But if I abandon my own blog, there is no point! Plus allowing too many guest posts actually make it hard when it comes to administration. And, your voice throughout your own website will be too hard to hear (and it will be diluted)!

    Thanks so much for bringing up all these points Kevin :)

    Oh and I am guilty of not responding to ALL comments on my blog posts. I do stop by to respond to a few as soon as the post gets published but I never take the time to come back to comments that come in a bit later :) Confession made :|

    • says

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      I’m glad you liked the anecdotes and points I made. I didn’t mention them specifically (because as you said they are one-time registrations), but personally blogs with Disqus, Livefyre, etc. bug me, too. I just don’t like registering for things! But then again, I’m quirkier than most.

      It’s a shame how some blogs don’t properly guest posts, isn’t it? I have come across a few blogs I stopped reading, too, for the reason you stated. Guests posting is great, of course, but not if it means the original, primary writer on the blog goes MIA! :-)

      That’s neat to hear how you’ve had such success writing guest posts. But, as you said, what’s the point if you’re just going to abandon your own blog?

      How many guests posts did you write to get your blog to the level it is at right now (if you don’t mind my asking)?

      As for your comment confession: Yeah, I used to be the same way. During most of my almost 10 years blogging, I ran a moderately popular humor blog. I was great at responding to comments people would leave after the first day or two a post was published, but later comments not so much!

      Thanks again for stopping by, Jane. Hope you return!

  9. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Great insight on reasons of losing blog readers. I am using captcha though, the reason is that I can not stand of scam anymore. I noticed slight decrease in traffic but improve in bounce rate which stay below 15% since January. I think I am going to stay using it.

    Thanks for the post. Wish you have a great week

    • says

      Hi Okto,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      I must say, the Captcha you’re using on your blog is one of the most user-friendly I have seen. I wouldn’t have any trouble deciphering it!

      I’m with you on being sick of spam. The Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin I’m using (see the checkbox blow that asks you to confirm you’re not a spammer) has been working REALLY well for me. My spam since installing it has been non existent.

      I appreciate you stopping by. How did you find me, if you don’t mind my asking?

      Have a great day!

  10. says

    WOW!!!! Absolutely loved this piece. I’m new to the blogging world and have been questioning every move I make. Very good points…especially the one about replying to comments. Sometimes I feel like replying will annoy the reader/commenter….I just don’t………….but now I know!

    Thanks for the tips!

    • says

      Hi Shirl,

      Welcome to the blog! Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m glad you liked the post.

      Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! I took a quick glance at your blog and I’m quite impressed. It certainly doesn’t look like the blog of a new blogger. :-)

      Trust me, you’re not going to annoy your reader by responding to their comment! Well, never say never. But I have never heard of a reader complaining about such a thing before. :-)

      Thanks again for visiting. And please feel free to come back and give my other posts a browse. Maybe even subscribe to my mailing list. I created this site to help new bloggers such as yourself!

      Have a blessed day.

  11. says

    I’ve seen the CAPTCHA that you wrote about Kevin and yes, there have been times when I have just left the blog because I needed to use a magnifying glass or had to do all sorts of acrobatics to read the words. ;)

    My blog, which I treat as a sacred space gets hit with a lot of spam and Akismet comes to the rescue. I also use conditional CAPTCHA so that a genuine visitor will not be inconvenienced and I make sure that I respond to comments within 24 hours (in case I am asleep when the visitor is kind enough to leave a comment).

    Just as an aside, the comment example that you gave looked more like a spammy comment. I’ve had one of those before which Akismet captured and I thought, wow, do you really expect the blog owner to let it go through? That’s when I started to moderate comments so that they would not offend my regular readers.

    • says

      Hi, Vatsala. Welcome back!

      Haha. You know, you’re right. The comment example I gave is (I hope) a comment Akismet would detect as spam if the person has never commented before! I was exaggerating to make a point (and be a little funny), but it didn’t occur to me it was a spammy comment until I read your comment. Which made me chuckle. :-) Thanks for noticing.

      There are definitely versions of Catpcha which are fairly user friendly! I don’t mind those (and most people don’t, I would imagine). But those difficult ones? Yeah. They’re awful!

      Thanks for stopping by again and commenting, Vatsala. Hope you a great weekend!

  12. says

    Hi Kevin,

    As a new blogger I appreciate your information on how not to scare a reader away. I never commented on blogs I read, until becoming a blogger I realised how important feedback is. I will re-read and read again your points in the hope of not losing any readers.

    • says

      Hi Lyn,

      Welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post and found it helpful. Don’t worry, we all were “new bloggers” at one point. You’ll pick up things and become experienced in no time. :-)

      I would be remiss if I didn’t invite you to sign up for my newsletter, since this blog is all about helping bloggers just like you (and me) get better at what we do! :-)

      Thanks again, Lyn. Hope you come back. Have a great weekend!

  13. says

    Hi Kevin,

    What a great post and then even more gold in the comments section. It’s like having a wonderful meal and discovering some unexpected treats at the end!

    I’m glad you mentioned guest posts. I’ve stopped reading a few blogs when they started accepting too many guest posts. Oh – and logging in to comment – that’s annoying! I’m also not a fan of blogs that only accept Facebook comments. What’s your take on that?

    One thing I’d add. If I lose readers because my message isn’t for them then I’m OK with that. I’m a firm believer in finding your “tribe” and speaking to them and for them. If your message, tone or style doesn’t suit some people then that’s OK.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom again!

    Sally

    • says

      Hi Sally! Welcome back.

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, as well as the comments. This post is now my most popular post (comments wise)!

      Yeah, I’ve stopped reading blogs due to too many guest posts, too. It’s a tricky balancing act. The guest posts have to be really good quality, for starters. Otherwise readers will go, “Why are we reading this joker? Start writing again, owner of this blog!”

      And even if the guest posts are excellent quality, if the blog owner has a very unique voice or writing style (so unique it’s the main reason people started reading the blog in the first place), guest bloggers — no matter how good they are — just aren’t going to measure up in the minds of readers.

      As for “Facebook comments only,” like you, I’m not a fan of those either. I’ve experimented with comments through the years, but I really believe bloggers need to make commenting as easy as possible. And Facebook-only comments, for those users (however rare they may be) who aren’t on Facebook, isn’t convenient.

      Agreed regarding finding your “tribe.” If the reader you lose isn’t your ideal reader (for example, someone who doesn’t own a blog and has no desire to ever have one isn’t exactly an ideal reader for this blog of mine), it’s no loss if you lose them. In fact, it may be a good thing.

      Finding your ideal reader is super important for bloggers. But, unfortunately, many bloggers don’t know who their ideal reader even is! That topic could be a whole post in itself. :-)

      Thanks again for commenting, Sally. And for your kind words.

  14. says

    Awesome, awesome, awesome post! A few months ago I didn’t realize that my images were not optimized for the iPad. Somehow they were ok on an android phone . . . Thankfully, one of the readers let me know! I appreciate the resource so I can check my blog each time I update my WordPress site!

    • says

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! That’s so very kind of you to say. I appreciate it.

      Awesome. I’m glad the QuickSprout tool is something you’ll be able to use for your images! It really is a great tool… and it’s hard to beat “free!”

      Thanks for stopping by again and commenting!

  15. says

    Excellent list – I agree – CAPTCHA is evil. I can’t fathom why anyone thinks this is good for interaction with readers.

    One more thing I’d add to your list: overwhelming ads. I know a lot of bloggers (some quite successful) that plaster ads all over their blogs. Besides being a huge distraction and leading people away from your site, I think it’s just plain tacky to have ad after ad. Not saying a reasonable number of ads is wrong, but it is possible to go to far. KWIM?

    • says

      Hi Sarah,

      Welcome to the blog! Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the list. :-)

      Agree with you regarding overwhelming ads. In fact, I wrote about it last month!

      My personal opinion, as of this writing, is you should have a max of 3 ads. Any more and you’re risking alienating your readers by distracting them for your content. But as always, your mileage may vary!

      Thanks again for stopping by and leaving me a comment. Hope you’ll return!

  16. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Clever post! I dig the analogy and can appreciate this, growing up in a kinda zany area at times. We knew what side of town to stay around from because we saw stuff like this – and crazier – and yep, we bloggers need to realize the same effect at play if we’re not careful.

    I ditched my old blog last week – 3400 posts and all – for a new one. The old one was like a guy wearing a shirt, somewhat normal looking actually, but with the theme, and me changing it, and URL, he may have been wearing a mini-cape, or perhaps, a scarf, in hot weather.

    I needed a change. Great blog, had success with it but I compromised the quality by accepting too many crumby guest posts years ago, and also, not grammar checking on my end. Lesson learned.

    Now, blogging from paradise is all about me, and quality, and pillar style posts but keeping my same punchy style. Not wordy, but in-depth as heck, So far, so good.

    Awesome points dude. What a creative post and experience. Re-read your posts and feel free to accept a guestie or 2 but keep these at a minimum to brand yourself, and to give your readers something to come back to…..namely, you!

    Well written piece here Kevin.

    Thanks for the creative share.

    I’ll tweet it for sure.

    Ryan

    • says

      Hi Ryan,

      Welcome to my blog! Thank you for visiting, commenting, and sharing the post on Twitter. I really appreciate it!

      Wow, you ditched your old blog just last week? And you’d written 3,400 posts?? (Quick math… If your blog was 5 years old, that’s 680 posts per year, which is over 13 a week! Wow.)

      I can relate to your decision. I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years, and for much of this time I ran a humor blog (of all things) of moderate popularity. However, as the years wore on I began to neglect it. I became interested in other things and other styles of blogging. Eventually I shut it down.

      In many ways, I view that blog as “my practice blog.” Through it, I know what it takes to gain readers. More importantly, I also know what it takes to lose readers. And I learned many, many tips and tricks along the way.

      I’m glad you’ve started a new blog, and it’s awesome to hear it’s going good so far! I’ll have to check it out later today.

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks again for visiting and commenting, Ryan. Hope you’ll be back!

  17. says

    Hi Kevin.

    Good post here. Couple of things:

    1. In terms of “too wordy” that’s something I try to work on. Sometimes I do take a little bit longer to get to the point in some of my posts than others, but I guess it’s a learning process. Certainly any blogger doesn’t want to lose readers because of that. Also, let me ask you a question then. What’s your take on 1000+ word blog posts. Do you think they can lose readers as well, or does it depend on your audience?

    2. Although I’ve never done it or applied it before in my posts, I heard that subtle typos and grammar issues actually prompt MORE comments. Again, don’t know if that’s true because I never applied it but it’s pretty weird if it does. At least, I think so.

    3. Responding to comments is absolutely key. Like you mentioned on a blog post that I wrote, the type of comment you leave on someone’s blog is like a formal introduction. And you never really get a second chance to make that first impression if you’re commenting on someone’s blog. But if people comment on your blog, you absolutely SHOULD reply to ALL of them if possible. It’s all about engaging and building relationships online. And if people don’t want to sacrifice their time to do that, then they shouldn’t complain when they’re not achieving what they set out to achieve.

    Once again, great post. Looking forward to more in the future.

    • says

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks! Great comment and thoughts…

      1. Absolutely, every audience is different. While I prefer longer posts, I think some topics do lend themselves better to shorter posts. For example, one of my freelance jobs is writing for a site called Country Outfitter. They ask me for humorous posts on southern-lifestyle-related topics around 500 words in length.

      500 words is pretty short, and way different than the 1,250 to 2,500 posts I tend to write. But for the topic, 500 to 750 words is just right.

      Anyway, if I’m understanding you, you’re asking me: How do you balance not being “too wordy” with writing long posts of 1k words or more?

      My take? If you want your post to be 1,000 words, write a draft of 1,250 to 1,500 words. And then edit, edit, edit! Cut down and refine everything until you get to your 1k number. The end result is you will have 1,000 words that are concise, on point, and easy to read.

      Instead, what most of us do is write 500 to 750 words and then add “filler” to get our posts up to 1,000 words. This results in a post which is bloated and doesn’t read well.

      What do you think?

      2. I have heard some variation of this before, but it’s a puzzler. I suppose if your goal is to have comments where people are always pointing out your typos it makes sense. But who wants that? :-)

      Glad you enjoyed it, Andrew. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  18. says

    Hi Kevin!

    I’ve never visited here before but I’m glad I stumbled across your site via a recent post on Blogging Tips 101. I love your style– I’ll make sure to add you to my list on feedly.

    Ahh… wordiness… I struggle with pontification occasionally, I’ll admit it– trying to be more concise but it’s easy to get carried away when you know you have a captive audience. I look forward to learning more from you!

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