Monday, November 05, 2007

What drives visitors AWAY from any blog?

Over on BlogCatalog there is an interesting discussion going on right now, about the factors which put people off from staying with a blog and reading it.

I guess it is something we all wonder about from time to time, regardless of whether our original intention was to get readers in the first place, or just to express ourselves regardless. And each of us will have a different view of that, in the same way that there are those who are really concerned about the personal impression they make, and will not leave the house without being well dressed and groomed, while others really care very little and will wear whatever they are comfortable in no matter what impression it makes.

(Coming from the lady who has been known to run down the street in her disreputable dressing gown to catch a good shot of the sunrise, I'm sure it isn't hard to guess which extreme I am at on that continuum!)

But I think all of us wonder at times what works or doesn't work about a blog, and since we put a lot of time and effort into our personal spaces, it is illuminating to read and learn what turns people off.

Anyway, here is a summary of the answers given in the discussion so far, which I have broken down into a few categories..

LOAD TIME: (By far the most commonly mentioned issue)

  • Slow opening time... most people just get bored and leave if it takes too long to open.
  • Interesting that we are turned off by slower loading sites, but many blogging platforms, like WordPress are going to widgets to do things. Many people complain that the widgets slow down their sites when compared to hard coding things you want to happen.
  • my ... blog had suddenly started facing this trouble. It won't load in less than 25 seconds ... since almost two weeks. ... In the course of these two weeks, my daily readers of the blog reduced by almost 80%.

CONTENT:

  • sites that try to hide intent, or trick you into doing things that you might not realise that you're doing.
  • if it's boring, it goes.
  • If there's some link to something else more interesting.... too much information perhaps?
  • If I am not interested in content, I won't be staying for long.
  • Usually its content, sometimes I'll look at a blog and not be interested in the topic, but the writing style draws me in.
  • too much text with few images.
  • don't like blogs with nothing but play videos all the time
  • Lack of purpose. I should have good idea what a blog is about either in the URL or in the first 3 or 4 seconds of a site loading.
  • any sort of NSFW picture, including the ads. It bothers me when I'm reading an article about search engines and theres a large banner with a half-naked girl sitting next to it.
  • too much cursing bothers me. Its hard to find someone credible when they curse every second.
  • Grammar and spelling errors are huge turn-offs for me.
  • Too-personal posts will make me leave, also. I read blogs for information, not to learn what the writer ate for lunch.
  • a lot has to do with design BUT if a title grabs me I will read it
  • blogs on topics I am really not open to...
  • when I see plagiarized content. (Note from Sue.. I wonder if this summary falls into that category? hehe)
  • Overuse of first person pronouns.
  • Writing style and content. Some topics interest me and some don't. But a blogger can really botch up an interesting topic by: 1) their expertise is poor, so they're not telling me anything I don't already know 2) the entries are too long 3) they're lecturing the reader as if he or she is a moron. the tone should be one of sharing insights, not talking down to someone as if they were born yesterday 4) sounding like an advertisement or salesman. do that and you break the cardinal rule of blogging.
  • Duplication of content is a real turnoff for me. Subject matter that is only a re-distillation of that appearing everywhere else in different words.
  • I will avoid blogs with offensive contents like promoting hates and racism.
  • Too many different topics covered in one blog
  • Blogs that are not updated regularly
  • A blog whose niche is not something I'm particularly interested in
  • Each entry is novel-long (I'm sorry my attention span just isn't good enough for those)
  • Too much profanity or hostility. I enjoy being snarky at times myself, but some people are just excessive.
  • people asking me to vote for them :-)
  • blogs in other languages without translation flags
  • Content which I consider mean, ugly or discriminating.
  • bland content
  • posts that overuse jargon
  • pompous writing
  • hostile profane rants
  • patting your own back enough to break your arm

APPEARANCE:

  • text font is too small or too big
  • Color scheme would be an immediate one.
  • white or light text on an image background; too hard to read.
  • colours that make me reach for the sunglasses, or feel like puking.
  • unreadable font,
  • Too busy, too messy
  • A busy background.
  • ads and posts all blend together

DISTRACTIONS:

  • Sites where you can't find the content for the adverts.
  • pop-ups and flashy ads are a big distraction, small ads that can be navigated past are okay though
  • Using JavaScript to Resize / Move my browser window.
  • // // to Display Pop-ups / Pop-unders
  • Useless Right Click & image-text copy protection tricks.
  • Excessive - wrongly placed Flash / Advertisements
  • Too many widgets & buttons
  • Loud autoplay mode music drives me off the site in a second or two without reading any of the contents. (this one also got a lot of votes, including mine... I sometimes sit in bed with my laptop, visiting blogs while Max is asleep beside me, and we both just about jump out of our skin when I hop onto a site and music suddenly blares out of my speakers which I forgot to mute!)
  • millions of subscribe and social bookmarking tags...

So there you have it.....use it, don't use it :).

Many of these are just about individual taste, and what irritates one person may attract another. For me personally, while I agree with some of the above, it is more about my circumstances at the time .... if I am really busy and don't have much time for visiting, quick pithy posts and good photos will keep me there, long wordy posts will lose me.

If I have time but am stressed and needing some light entertainment, "downer posts" containing moans, groans and self-pity parties , or deep philosophical soul searching will lose me, but on other days when I am more relaxed, I can read through long rants and enjoy the discussions.

Even then, my reaction is different depending on whether I am visiting a blog for the first time, or an established blog friend. Blog friends can moan and groan if they need to, and I will generally take the time to be encouraging in the comments, just as they in return have been encouraging in my 'moan and groan' phases! So maybe a lot of the above applies to random blog browsing, rather than established relationships.

Bottom line, you can't please all of the people all of the time, just be real to who you are and where you are at in your life!

And if you have any pet peeves not already mentioned, hop across to blogcatalog and join the discussion!

As you can see, I have clearly broken a number of cardinal rules, long post, no photos, .... still with me? hello ....helloooooo.....anyone here?

11 comments:

RUTH said...

I'm here!!!! I think a lot depends on how much time you have to visit. I generally go for personal chatty blogs with pictures rather than anything on a specialised subject. I like to feel I'm chatting over the internet "garden wall" with pals from all over the world.
Rx

Suzi-k said...

Hi, hope you are feeling ok, and ready to face the week! I also enjoy the 'around the world' aspect of it!

Sheila said...

I'm still here too Sue..!
I agree with most of the above, but also your comment on tolerance of posts by people we already know, if they do some of the above.
I never really know what to blog about and don't have a formula.
I am a visual operson however, and tend to be drawn to shorter less wordy posts with pictures.
Since I 'know' you, I took the time to read this...LOL
hugs
xx

CrazyCow said...

Hi Suzi, Thanks for visiting my blog and especially for leaving a comment.

Your photos are really good.

Lovely to see bits of PE again. Been years since I've visited this area.

mrsnesbitt said...

very interesting! I do what I can in the time available. I don't blog if I haven't got anything to say, but I usually do! LOL!

Dx

Dick said...

Oh, what to do now? My english? Who cares? You?

Suzi-k said...

Hi CC, it's been a while since I was in Durbs too.... I enjoy your pix.

Dick.... hey your English is cool, and anyway your photos are so good, don't they say a picture is worth a thousand words!

Jenty said...

Hi there, I've been lurking for a few days now.
I did actually read that whole post! LOL! It was really interesting actually.

Oswegan said...

Thanks, that's a useful post.

I often wonder about load time and photos that are too large and get cut off on some screens.

I also noticed that when I get political, readership drops a bit - I think that could be the case with any topic if its one your normal readers are not prepared to face or they simply didn't come there to find that type of content.

Sometimes readers will embrace an issue they are not familiar with as long as the issue is easily understandable and approachable.

Thanks again,

~Oswegan

Oswegan said...

This provoked an interesting thought process for me today.

I linked to you again today in a post. Hope that's ok.

~Oswegan

Suzi-k said...

hey there Jenty, welcome.

Oswegan, link away! Glad to provoke a discussion, that's what it's all about. I agree with your point about getting political, I also notice a drop-off. But I go for it anyway, because if I had to keep it light and frothy and shallow all the time, I would find it as agonising as making small talk at an endless cocktail party!
Every now and then, a big issue is on my mind, and so it needs to be dealt with.