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Thursday, 8 March 2007

5 Ways to lose blog readers


Write too many sponsored posts in too shorter space of time.
Sponsored posts are great; bloggers earn a little, the company your writing about gets some attention, the sponsor gets some money (from the company) and the reader has something to read, so why is it dangerous?

It’s simple. Sponsored posts often do not reflect the bloggers real views. This is especially common in new bloggers who do not understand this. They just want the cash regardless of whether they loose some readers because they are overly-flattering in their post. It is especially dangerous if you have not properly researched and spent time using what ever you are reviewing. You should all know by now that you must be careful about what you endorse. Just imagine... your reputation would be left in tatters if an affiliate program you recommended suddenly closed it's doors for no reason and you and your referrals lost all their earnings. Some sites do allow you to write negative reviews, but this is only useful if you are actually going to use the site and find out it's bad points; which you are less likely to do if you are writing a sponsored post every day.
Note - I am including posts about affiliate/referral programs here, because in the long run they are sponsored posts.



Not replying to your blog comments.. Not only will this piss of your readers and make them feel little and insignificant but it’s just plain stupid. There are numerous benefits of replying to your comments.
Benefits
• A comment may be suggesting an improvement you could make to your blog. Even if you carry out their advice, replying makes it more obvious you are open to criticism and makes them feel happy because they have said something useful. This means they are more likely to return to your blog to get more of that feeling!
• First time visitors to your blog often judge it by the number of comments they see (which is a sort of very rough traffic/popularity guide). If you reply to your comments that number will be higher, especially if you spark of a debate. If they see a high number of comments they may request a link exchange, or just become regular readers. It may seem like a small point but it all adds up.
• Some comments are questions. You wouldn’t want your reader (who thinks you know the answer!) to lose faith in you, so answer their questions!
• Some comments are compliments, which we all love. Saying a quick 'thank you' is polite and encourages more compliments to come your way.
• Some comments are spam. Don't reply, delete them.
• Your more knowledgeable readers may disagree with what you have said and spark off a debate. If you don't reply it looks like you are hiding from them. It also shows your expertise if you can come up with arguments to counter what they have said.




By hiding things from them. This is a very broad category and has several possible interpretations.
a) If you are a successful blogger throw a rope down the mountain and help your readers to the top with you. After all, that’s probably how you got to the top.
b) Lying about affiliate programs - this is covered in part 1.
c) Your earnings. This is especially relevant to blogs in this niche. Why pretend to have earned more/less than you really have? I know some people out there are apparently 'offended' by revealing their blogging earnings, but if you are then this probably isn't the niche for you.

I try to be as open as possible about this blogs progress, which I why I make a Weekly earnings report and a Google Analytics Weekly overview.



By making your archives difficult to access. In my opinion this is the single biggest limitation of blogger blogs, (the lack of categories). I have tried to get around this by referring to past articles as a write but there are some that hardly ever get linked to. This is most important for the regular readers of your blog. Most of my 'new visitors' don't arrive to the homepage of this blog, but emerge somewhere in the archives so Google has done a good job of indexing them all.




By cluttering up your site with ads. This is an obvious one, multiple big banner ads are a no-no, and too much AdSense will send your readers in the other direction. There are ways of integrating ads so they don't stand out so much (which also gets you more clicks). For an example of this see my post on Kontera. Banner ads have been 'scientifically' proven to get less click through than Text Link Ads and too many banners on a single pages results in one long loading time for people with slower connections. This is true for all images so don't include too many.

Those are the 5 ways to lose blog readers. There are others of course but hopefully the basics are covered there. Many of them are pure common sense but you would be surprised how many people fall fowl of them. Number 1 is the most prevalent in my opinion, because the authors see it as a sort of 'happy medium' between a site full of ads and a site that provides a service so make sure you spread sponsored posts out.

2 comments:

DotMySpot said...

@@" hi matt! :)

I don't want to loose readers.. hahaha.. Good info!

Andrew said...

An interesting read, thanks for taking the time to put this together.