How to be Hated: A Blogger’s Guide to Zero Readers
This is a guest post by Kevin Duncan of Be A Better Blogger.
Want to know a sad reality? Everything you do as a blogger causes someone, somewhere, to dislike you.
Because it’s impossible to please everyone.
If you write long posts, someone will wish they were shorter. If you mention someone’s website in a post you write, someone else will be mad you didn’t mention them. If you make a casual joke about Justin Bieber’s hair, someone (okay, lots of someones) will hate you with a fiery passion.
Heck, someone out there is mad at me right now simply for using Bieber as an example in this post.
We’re all alienating someone. Some bloggers just happen to be better at alienating people than others.
Here are 7 sure-fire ways to drive away blog readers. Don’t want to be hated? Don’t do any of the following.
1. Cover your blog in ads
We’re not talking one or two ads here. We’re not talking three or four. No, we’re talking about covering your blog in ads.
You’ve seen the blogs which do this. Did you like them? Of course not. No one likes them. When we land on one, we exit the blog with ninja-like reflexes.
Unless you want readers to do the same to you, don’t cover your blog in ads. Keep them to a minimum.
2. Make your links look the same as regular text
You click a few words of text, but nothing happens. “Isn’t this a link?,” you ask yourself. “It’s underlined.”
Or how about this scenario: You click colored text thinking it’s a link, but it’s not. You click another line of text, but it’s not a link either. That’s when you notice this particular blog uses the same color for links and non-links!
You then bang your head against the keyboard.
Readers don’t like to be confused. Make it crystal clear what is a link on your blog and what isn’t, because if readers aren’t sure they’re going to click the one thing they know with complete certainty will work: the “Back” button.
3. Have a design which is unusable on mobile devices
Despite the fact more and more people are reading blogs on mobile devices, many blogs have designs which just aren’t unfriendly to mobile devices — they’re downright hostile.
With free mobile-theme plugins readily available, there’s no excuse for having a blog which is unusable on mobile devices. Unless, of course, you’re trying to make your readers hate you.
4. Never respond to comments
Some blogs receive dozens and dozens of comments to every post. Responding to each of them is a full-time job, I get that.
Still, too many bloggers make it a habit of never responding to comments. Yes, we know you’re busy. And yes, some of the comments left to you were unimaginative.
But if someone takes the time to leave you a nice, complimentary, detailed comment, be a pal and take two minutes to respond. And if someone leaves you a comment asking a genuine question, take three minutes to respond.
Your readers are the lifeforce of your blog. Treat them as such.
5. Be rude when you do respond to comments
Worse than never responding to comments is responding to comments in a rude or condescending manner.
Yes, some commenters are trying to provoke you. Yes, some are being argumentative just for the sake of being argumentative. And, yes, some are asking or saying things no one who actually read your entire post would ask or say.
But that doesn’t mean you should be rude. It doesn’t mean you should be condescending.
Be the bigger person. It’ll serve you better in the long run, especially since many readers will form their impression of you based on how you respond to such commenters.
6. Have a site which takes forever to load
Readers have little patience. If they have to wait more than a few seconds for your blog to load, they’re likely to leave and never return.
I once asked my mom what she thought of a blog I used to run. Her response?
“It took 3 whole seconds to load. I don’t have that kind of time, Kevin!”
If you want zero readers, by all means have a slow blog. But if you want readers, your mom included, you better make sure your blog is optimized.
7. Use a post title which has nothing to do with the post itself
Blog post titles aren’t like song titles. It’s no time to be cute, and it’s no time to use metaphors.
The Stone Temple Pilots may be able to name their songs “Plush” and “Atlanta” even though those words appear nowhere within the songs, but you’re not the Stone Temple Pilots. Your titles have to make sense.
If you title a post “SEO Tips and Tricks,” the post better offer tips and tricks for search engine optimization.
This isn’t to suggest your titles have to be boring. Titles should grab the attention of readers.
But they have to be relevant. They have to make sense. If they don’t, readers will eventually stop reading your posts — no matter how exciting the titles may sound.
Over to you
What are some other ways bloggers drive away readers? Let me know in a comment below!
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18 Responses to “How to be Hated: A Blogger’s Guide to Zero Readers”
Took a while but I made it over here. Great post. I lived the point you raised regarding, “Make your links look the same as regular text”. I see alot of people do that when they’re trying to hide their affiliate link and play it off as though it’s a regular link. I’m one of those people that hovers over those and see what the link links to first before clicking so I’m rarely caught, but it sure is annoying when people do that.
Also, you’re right about the comment thing. Lately I’ve been slow to respond to comments mainly because I’ve been busy but if you don’t take the time to respond to ANY comments at all, then you’re just asking to be hated.
Great post here, Kevin. Have a great weekend.
I’m so glad I took a look at the IBA roundup, I never would have found this post! No wonder you’re so busy! Way to rule the internet, man!
Of course, you’re right on about all of these. The one that made me cringe was the load time, because I know mine’s not great. I need to upgrade my hosting… but I’m not ready to pay more! I have caching and lazy image load and all that, but it’s still not great. Any tips?
Loved this title Kevin….you always intrigue me 🙂
You have some awesome tips here. #4 really resonated with me. You know what….the last couple of weeks have been incredibly hectic for me (so much so that I wrote a blog post about it!). I had to cut back on SO much for my blogging just to keep my head above water.
However the one thing that I kept up as a priority was to reply to the comments on my blog. I didn’t get around to then returning the favor and commenting on their sites, but I tried my hardest to respond to all the comments in a reasonable time frame. If someone has taken the time to leave a comment, the least I can do is take the time to reply. Besides…how do I know that they are also not having an incredibly hectic week and the only blog they had the time to comment on was mine. It would be pretty disappointing if that comment was ignored don’t you think?!
As for #2, I had to laugh at that one…and yes…out loud!! lol.
Thank you Kevin!
Number 2 had me howling with laughter… “Isnt this a link?” “it’s underlined”! Haha… the ‘link that never was’ drives me bananas!
Even more so if there is a reference to a link, and no link included… “please click here for more information” and it’s all plain text…
These were all great tips and I will be checking myself against all of these points…especially the mobile device (I’ve been meaning to move to a more robust theme for a while now…).
You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and that #2 made you laugh. Humor is one of the big elements in my writing (though it was pretty tame in this guest post), so it’s always nice when readers get a chuckle of out a particular line or reference. 🙂
Good luck with the mobile theme! It’s definitely needed in this day and age. For my blog Be A Better Blogger, more than half my readers read my posts on mobile devices now. It’s crazy how fast the number has grown these past 4 months.
Thanks again, Ali. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
- Kevin Duncan
I agree with all of your points. Two things that irritate me are background colors or textures that make text hard to read, and text-heavy posts with very little formatting. I like to see bold text, sub-headers, and whitespace to make it easier to scan and read quickly. Just a long string of plain paragraphs is harder for me to scan.
Agree and agree! I’ve never been a fan of dark-colored or textured backgrounds for text. And I’m probably even less of a fan of posts with no formatting. Unless the post is VERY short, it’s just too difficult to read.
Appreciate you stopping by and commenting, buddy. Hope you have a great weekend!
- Kevin Duncan
Hey Kevin!!! You never disappoint…GREAT post. Funny you mentioned the link colors. I was trying to figure how to change the font color on a post just because I wanted a heading to POP and I almost added a link to it just to change the color. After reading this, I’m glad I didn’t. Additionally, when I started blogging, a fellow blogger encouraged me to do the ads…I decided it against it just because I hate clutter and I didn’t want ads cluttering up my page….looks like I made the right decision.
I also want to piggy back on what Internet Local Listings said. I hate reading a blog with spelling and grammatical errors. So I spend A LOT of time reading and re-reading which is why it takes me so long to finish one post…but it’s worth it! Always look forward to your posts. Keep them coming!! Take care of you!
“You can get further in life with a kind word and a bat than by a kind word alone.” – Dax
I complETELY disagree. Everyone likes me. Not liking me is like not liking a puppy.
Ok,…a puppy that bites and pees on everything.
Oh alright, so people might not like me…but I don’t like them RIGHT BACK! (so there)
The best we can do is run with our passions and to stay positive and polite. That way, if people DON’T like us, for whatever reason, when (or if) they get vocal, they display their uncouth personality. When I was blogging in the financial sector, my consistent personality online prompted my followers to rally and defend me. Many times I would sit back and watch the war rage on and my phone would ring with new clients. Go figure.
Here’s one to add to the list Kevin:
Have you done a great job on your site and your posts, but made it darn near impossible for people TO follow you? Try getting an email saying, “I thought your blog was great, but you pissed me off for not having a sign up!”
Go with the flow and document as you go, that’s my “Don’t be permanently stupid” mantra at present.
Just my buck fifty.
I’m glad you shared this, I really do hate to see a blog crowded with ads which results in a longer load time. Having a mobile friendly blog is sure way to increase traffic. Great post
You came in right on time, Kevin.
On Sunday I had a column printed in The Oregonian, Oregon’s biggest paper, and now I’m getting emails from businesses about running ads.
You confirmed my feeling that ads are money, but also clutter. Don’t want to turn them away, so I’m thinking of offering sponsorships or sponsored posts. Maybe a combination of sponsorship and a place on the blog roll?
Thanks for the heads up.
Glad my post helped you!
I think sponsored posts can work well. I know many bloggers are able to use them to earn income, and without impacting the experience for their readers. Hopefully those businesses go for the idea!
Don’t be afraid of ads, though. Too many is bad, sure. But depending on how you go about it, it’s possible to include an ad (or two or three) on your site without cluttering your site and annoying your readers. It’s a balancing act, but it can be done.
Good luck! Appreciate the comment, David.
- Kevin Duncan
[ Smiles ] Wow, I am pleasantly surprised! I didn’t expect to see a post here from the legendary Kevin Duncan; who by the way is the web administrator for, “Be A Better Blogger”.
Kevin’s work is amazing and I visit his site regularly!
Wow, you’re just too kind! Appreciate that, Renard. I’m glad to have you as a regular reader on Be A Better Blogger. Thank you for reading and commenting!
- Kevin Duncan
Internet Local Listings
Your mom sounds hilarious. At least she was honest, right? 🙂
Another thing to add (kinda goes without saying, but still, it’s enough of a problem that I feel compelled to mention it) would be to write a post full of grammatical and spelling errors. Nothing screams “unprofessional” like misspelled words and grammar issues.
Hey Internet LL,
Yeah, my mom is pretty funny, I have to admit. 🙂
Good addition, and very true. Will some readers overlook poor grammar and misspellings? Sure. But many will run for the hills!
Thanks for the comment!
- Kevin Duncan
Appreciate your allowing me to write another guest post for your readers. Hope everyone enjoys it!
You really have made me laugh ! Sorry i’m french.
Do you have any advice to slow down Website in general? I mean of course we can put a lot of Ads and popup etc !
IN the past i saw many “bad blog” had great PR ! You say nobody lke them, but usualy, child do! 😀
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