If you own a blog, you are likely aware of the importance of the abbreviations SEO and SERP. If you own a successful blog, you are also likely to be aware of the importance of repeat readers that care about what you have to say. After all, all that SEO and SERP can do is bring visitors to your blog, it’s up to you to make them like what they see and therefore return in the future.
It therefore always surprises me to notice the same mistakes made again and again on the blogs of reasonably internet savvy people. Despite having managed to educate themselves about the intricacies of SEO, they have failed to figure out how to blog in a user friendly manner. They insist on making choices that alienate rather than reward their readers.
I can’t help but think that such blogs have earned their Alexa rankings not with loyal followers but with primarily first time readers thanks to their hard earned SERP. Is it just me or shouldn’t pleasing your readers be far less complex than pleasing Google? I will now outline five ways to make anyone following your blog, rethink their commitment to you.
Trick Your Readers With False Post Titles
Most bloggers are well aware of how important it is to write catchy, attention grabbing titles for their posts. After all, the more imaginative the title, the more views an individual post will get. But there is a line that must not be crossed and that line is the point at which your title stops accurately reflecting the content of your post. While a title should indeed make your visitors curious, that curiosity must be satisfied by the posts content or they are unlikely to bother returning to your blog. If the title says steak recipe, don’t give me directions to McDonalds.
Confuse Your Readers With Regular Design Changes
Although there is nothing wrong with making minor changes to your blogs design, it’s important to be aware that people in general, do not enjoy change. Therefore, when your readers visit your blog, they should find it in much the same condition as they left it in, albeit with a few new posts. Because if they find themselves confronted with a different coloured theme every time they drop by, they are likely to find themselves both confused and mildly irritated.
Make Promises You Don’t Intend to Keep
If you intend on posting to your blog once a week, you should not promise your readers daily updates. As you are likely aware, there is nothing more irritating then demonstrating loyalty to a blog by visiting it daily, only to notice that promised updates have yet to materialise. It’s important to realise that your readers will happily forgive you for being too busy to post now and then, but they won’t forgive you if you have made promises to the contrary.
Contradict Yourself (Preferably in the Same Post)
If there is one way to completely lose your credibility in the eyes of your readers, it is to contradict yourself. And surprisingly enough, it is something that many bloggers do very often, albeit accidentally.
The most common cause of contradiction in personal blogs is that most bloggers are well aware of the power of controversy. They are aware that nobody wins readers by being neutral and they therefore attempt to take a side in every argument that they blog about. The problem with this strategy (apart from your own integrity) is that when you write about the same topic the next week, it’s very easy to forget which side you claimed to be on.
Respond to Comments? Don’t Even Moderate
If you make a list of the most popular blogs that you visit on a regular basis, you are likely to notice that they all have well moderated comment sections, in which, the blogger frequently discusses his posts with his readers. It’s important to understand that the purpose of the comment section of a blog is not just for readers to have their say, it is to facilitate communication between both the readers and the actual owner of the blog.
Said communication is at the heart of becoming a successful blogger. And if you are not communicating with your readers or even bothering to provide a clean comment section for them to communicate with each other, you are illustrating just how little you care about their input or their ideas. And in doing so, you are giving them just one more reason to take their ideas elsewhere.