It’s a common scenario. Two people exchange “goo-goo eyes” on a crowded train as a way of casual flirting, before they exit at their respective stops. Or a shy guy hesitates to get the phone number of a cute girl he chats with while in line at a local StarBucks. Then that window of opportunity closes forever.
Chance encounters can be the start of something beautiful; unless we fail to seize the opportunities. It’s why Craigslist and other forums run popular classifieds known as “Missed Connections” listings daily, and find many eager readers.
But, as bloggers, we are left to our own devices. If we don’t make the most of our online hook-ups, we rarely get a second chance to “court” readers. And there is no middle man.
Here are some examples…
A talented writer pens a guest post and fails to leave a link to his site in the Bio, or even an email address for readers’ questions. A blogger neglects to construct a “Contact Me” page on his blog whereby businesses or potential clients can learn more about his services and ultimately hire him.
Don’t let this be you. Missed opportunities could mean you’ll lose potential income, future fans, or a needed platform to garner support for an important cause.
With this in mind, here are 7 practices and principles that can cause a “disconnect” with today’s readers. (In no particular order).
“Here today, gone tomorrow?” It’s very likely that your readers will be, too.
Inconsistent posting often frustrates followers and conveys a lack of consideration for their time, attention, and support. In all fairness though, shift happens.
We change jobs; establish new priorities; get sick; change goals; or simply lose momentum.
Most of us can relate. If this should happen, however, don’t just go into hiding; keep readers in the loop by announcing it in a post or status update. In the event that you should decide to come back and “cozy up” later, you’ll do so to a more receptive audience.
Not taking the time to proof and edit for typos, grammar and or spelling in published work can brand you as an amateur, or someone in need of a good tutor.
We all make mistakes. That’s a given. Nobody’s perfect. Yet, I have routinely read a few folks who time and time again compromise the quality of their content by overlooking this important step.
Labor over your work so readers won’t have to.
In a research study conducted by GetData, of 500 U.S. based Internet users on things that bloggers do that annoy them, 25.8% identified poorly written content as a major turn-off.
They also shared the following listed pet peeves:
#1: Poorly written (25.8%)
#2: Sensationalist headline that doesn’t deliver (22%)
#3: Obvious attempt at selling (19.6%)
#4: Doesn’t teach me anything (15%)
#5: Isn’t unique- seen it before (8.8%)
# 6: Wrong length (5.6%)
#7: Other (3.2%)
Word to the wise: don’t rely on Spell Check solely to catch your mistakes. It won’t. GrammarCheck is a handy tool to help struggling grammarians.
A Lack of Balance
Like a good recipe, successful blogging requires good content balance. In other words, your posts should not ALL be frivolous, humorous, or glitter without substance. It’s okay to take a humorous approach, share jokes, do an occasional rant, poke fun at politicians, etc.
But, that should be offset with solid, quality content that offers real take-away value: book reviews, resources, commentary on arts-related issues, interviews, how-tos. The “secret sauce” here is to show that you know your stuff without being “stuffy.”
Annoying Pop-Ups, Intrusive Ads
Your “virtual home” should in some ways mimic your brick and mortar one. You want visitors to have an enjoyable experience and hopefully come again. True?
Give visitors the time to navigate your site, feel their way around, read your content, check out your style, and determine if your offerings address their needs, before deciding if they want to sign-up for future updates, become a member of your “tribe“ or buy your book. It can be really off-putting when in a matter of seconds, a pop-up appears from out of nowhere, multiple times, urging you to sign up or purchase something. Readers typically don’t appreciate feeling ambushed. Timing is sometimes everything.
Bait & Switch Tactics
Often in an effort to attract high traffic and make them more Tweet-worthy, bloggers will come up with enticing, bold headlines that promise things they know that ultimately they can’t deliver. “Everything you need to know about guest blogging.” Or “How to earn 100,000 a year through your blog” can not be typically addressed in a singular blog post, nor by someone who has not achieved the success results promised himself. Hello?
Tread carefully here. It’s okay to use your creative license to put a “spin” on things; but don’t lie, misrepresent, or be unrealistic about what you can offer. Your credibility impacts your profitability.
Being Overly Emotional
One of the great things about having a blog is being able to showcase our work, share our projects, and trumpet our successes. Within reason.
I’ve witnessed way too many blogs where the owner is selling everything but the kitchen sink, discussing the specifics on their monthly article acceptances, and the likes. Big mistake.
The W.I.I.F.M. acronym–what’s in it for me, as a reader? Though your blog is about you, it’s also about fulfilling the needs of your readership. Sree Sreenivasan, a professor who teaches digital media, at Columbia Journalism School states: “If you want to fail, only talk about yourself, your ideas and your projects.”
Broken Links, 404 Codes and Bad Leads
“Houston we have a problem.” Periodically, it’s important to check the key links at your site to ensure that they are functional. A few times, much to my dismay, some of the links on my site that linked to impressive guest posts led to dead ends equivalent to the Twilight Zone. 404 error codes are sometimes generated as a result of typos, or information being relocated or deleted at a site.
Here’s a brief tutorial to help you to fix 404 Codes you may encounter.
With millions of competing Blogs in the blogosphere, strategy is crucial. As with any “relationship,“ the more you‘re attentive to the little things, the greater the level of loyalty. Keep these 7 tips in mind to keep readers engaged and coming back for more.