I’ve recently had a lot of new followers on Twitter, and to a lesser extent, Google+. If you’re landing on this page for the first time because you’ve just started following me and this title piqued your curiosity, you should know I’ve done the same for your site.
I too have checked your blog to get a feel for what you write about, as well as what you’re passionate about.
I started working on this blog post after joining various groups on Google+ and Facebook with other bloggers and Kindle book sites where we’re all trying to encourage one another in the craft of writing. Some have offered to review my book if I’d review theirs, and I notice theirs may be a subject I’m not interested in reading, so I politely decline and let them know they don’t have to read my book in return if they don’t want to.
I’m not writing about Kindle books today, but I say that to say I also visit the blogs of Kindle authors to see what their web presence is like.
I’ve visited umpteen hundred blog sites over the years, and there are reasons I’ve never visited them again after stopping by once.
The Worst Offences:
- Terrible grammar and sentence structure. Now, in this day and age, there’s really no reason words can’t be corrected before publishing them on the internet. With the aid of spell check this should be easy. However, grammar and sentence structure is a more subtle mistake to make when writing, since we’re not prone to see our own errors. However, others will. And if you keep up at this offence, they might stop coming.
- Flash based sites!! Nothing more need be said here. If you’re using Flash on your site, please stop now.
- Terrible Web 1.0 Design. If your blog looks like it hasn’t been redesigned or updated since 1998, you might not convince anybody that you’re really an SEO or marketing expert. If you’re a blogger, you have more wiggle room on this mistake but not much. Unfortunately, a lot of church websites I visit fall into this category.
- Music automatically playing. Another mistake from decades gone by — if you’re playing music, video, or preaching of some kind automatically and us visitors don’t know how to turn it off, I guarantee you we won’t be coming back unless our speakers are on mute. For those of us like me who listen to music while surfing the net, that basically means we won’t come back at all.
Not-So-Bad But Tolerable Offences:
In this category I have more grace than I do in the one above, because maybe your writing shows you have talent and with a little help or tips from other experienced writers (or web designers) you could really step up your game.
- Your Site is Ugly. I can tolerate a little bit of bad site design or layout since it’s your site’s content that obviously is more important, but you don’t need a lot of money to launch a site from scratch. Blogger.com and WordPress.com both have FREE platforms that have very nice looking themes you can use.
- Poor or ridiculous use of font scheme. I realize that this one is quite subjective, but if your font size is too small to read, or it’s a color that doesn’t match your background and again, is difficult to read, you might lose a lot of us who need to squint or scroll over with our mouse’s highlight function to see just what on earth you’re writing about.
Stuff That Shows Me You’re New To Blogging, But Won’t Stop Me From Coming Back Again
- You Use the Default Twenty Thirteen/Twelve/Eleven etc.. Theme. Like a million others, you’re still using the default WordPress theme that your site was set to when you first launched on either WordPress.com or WordPress.org. Not a life or death offence, but it does show laziness and that you’re not willing to put some thought into how to make your blog site stand out from all the others who also are using Twenty Thirteen.
- You have wordpress.com or blogspot.com after your site’s address. If you want to convince others you’re an authority on blogging or writing, you need to have your own domain name. Like the above non-crucial offence, if you’re trying to sell me something like that you’re an expert at blogging, or you want me to believe I should follow you for something, nothing screams “no, you’re not!” like these two beginner mistakes. Again, it won’t hinder me from reading your content necessarily, especially if you’re just blogging for a hobby and not marketing something. But if you are marketing, or you are trying to convince the world you’re an expert on something, you need to step up your game and fix these two things ASAP.
These are just a few things to keep in mind. I may not leave your blog if the address is not your name dot com, but for the mere $12-$14 per year it would cost you to get your own domain name, why not go for it?
You don’t need to know how to code from scratch, or install a website all by yourself, but with the available resources, there’s no reason whatsoever for having an ugly blog website.
What other things would you add to this list that prevent you from visiting a website a second time?