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Why I Don’t Read Your Blog

June 6th, 2007 by shawn · 5 Comments

How many blogs exist? There are about 70 million blogs. A total guess here: I’ve probably heard of or seen links to maybe 1000 of those in all my browsing of the web. Out of those, I might have clicked on 100. So do I read 100 blogs? Do I subscribe to 100 feeds? Nope, not even close. That’s because there are good blogs, and then there are [way more] bad blogs.

I subscribe to a total of only two feeds, and I regularly (that is, at least once per week) visit less than ten blogs. There are only two blogs I check every day.

As a blog reader, perhaps you can relate to this – you’ve probably sifted the choices out there down to only a few. If you’re a blog author, I can’t stress the importance of paying attention to what I’m about to say – because out of thousands of blogs, I only find a small percentage to be worth the time to read. That means that most blog writers just don’t get it. So I’m gonna break this down for the people whose blogs I have clicked on, checked out, and left – never to return again. Here’s why I don’t read your blog.

Your blog hasn’t been updated in a long time. Simple: update your blog on a regular basis or I will forget about you and never visit your site again. However if you want me to come back every day, give me something new to read every day. I can’t figure out why someone would start a blog, set it up, write some posts (these take time to write people!) and then not post again for over a month. Then, maybe post again two weeks later. About their cat.

Your blog has no new information to offer. I’ve seen many re-posted posts I’ve seen elsewhere on some subject, with no new info. I expect a blog to have some of that type of content, but if you never offer me new content or original thoughts then I’m not coming back. So if you author a blog and you want to re-post something, you should have something to add or something of additional value to say about it.

Your blog has way to many ads. I’ve been at more than one blog where I felt like I was either at a seminar or watching an infomercial. No, I’m not gonna buy you a beer or a latte. No I’m not going to put that damn AGLOCO toolbar on my computer. I expect a few ads, because I understand you need to pay for all this – and yes I do click on people’s ads for that reason – but when I feel like I’m getting spammed, it’s a turn-off.

Your blog has no other visitors. I can tell if you ever get visitors a few ways. One, you have a FeedBurner stat button that shows you have 4 subscribers (probably you, your mom, some guy who subscribed and then never checks his feeds, and maybe your parole officer I don’t know). So here’s a tip: don’t put any indication of stats if your stats totally suck. Wait until you get at least 200 subscribers before telling everyone. Another indication of “no visitors” is that no one ever comments on your site. I know, there’s no way to make people comment – but just know that activity generates more activity for some reason. If you look at my past entries you’ll see that a few of them are actually great posts with original info (like the gas card post) but no one commented. Other posts I would consider not as good but maybe they were more controversial (the anti-TV post, the Customers I Hate post, or the post about how The Secret is lame, or the one about getting rich) so people commented like they were on meth. Sometimes ya gotta write linkbait to get visitors, and I admit I do it.

Your blog is full of crappy posts. Nothing you can do about it if you can’t write, except maybe don’t blog. The big blogging in-joke is about people who blog about their cat. But people post crap about other subjects as well. The other day I actually saw a post on some lame blog entitled, “How I Start My Morning” and it was the guy’s morning routine! (You think I subscribed to his feed? Oh yeah, right of course I did. I hope he tells me what he ate for dinner or what kind of toothpaste he uses in an upcoming post.) On the other hand, there’s a blog I regularly read which is almost always great. The guy is an (i.e. sarcastically funny) writer and while he only posts about once a week, each post actually teaches me something new and unique about his subject (which happens to be SEO-related).

Your blog looks terrible. Just like I would never even think of taking an ugly girl on a date, I’m not going to waste my time looking at an ugly blog. This is a matter of personal taste. (Hey, maybe you think my blog is ugly. Take it up with Chris Pearson even though he’s no longer responsible for the Cutline theme.) But come on, we’ve all seen some blogs that make the typical teenage girl’s MySpace layout look like good design. (For the people who didn’t get that: most teenage girl’s MySpace pages usually make one’s eyes explode.) I think you should pick a clean-looking or appropriate theme, colors which aren’t too loud, and don’t let it get too “busy”.

Your blog is wimpy. What I mean is, it needs to be more bold and actually show your opinion loud and clear. You need to just say what you want to say. Don’t be afraid of criticism. Just tell people what you think, and whether they agree or disagree they will respect the fact that you said it. I get messages via the contact form every so often that say things like “get your act together” or “you suck” but the people that say those things NEVER put a real email address and never put their name. They never have, and never will. So screw ‘em. Keep in mind if someone has a valid criticism, I do listen and will consider their point of view and respect them. But guess what – I don’t stay up at nights crying over the anonymous critics out there. So write what you want, and don’t worry about what those critics-in-hiding say.

So those are the main reasons I (and other potential readers) probably don’t read your blog. (If you write a decent blog, I probably just don’t read it because I don’t have time.) :)

What can you do about it? It’s like I tell other drivers when they’re in the left lane and going way too slow: lead, follow, or get out of the way. Those drivers can’t hear me, but you can, Mr. Blogger. Either get out of the game, think of ways to improve your blog, or just listen and learn from successful/quality/interesting/popular bloggers and do what they do.

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    Tags: Advice & Inspiration · WordPress/Blogging

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    2007-06-07 00:26:16

    Haha. Yes, it’s true, there are thousands upon thousands of crappy blogs out there. I probably started at least a dozen of them and left ones I got bored of to die in the wind. I’ve started up a new blog (the one linked to here) that’s anonymous about my personal finances. It’s really nice to be able to remain anonymous because it makes it easier to be open and say things that might be shocking or that aren’t always PC. Still, I feel like it’s kind of lame to hide behind a blog. Do you prefer blogs that have a strong identity behind them, or are interesting entries enough?

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    2007-06-07 03:35:15

    [...] crappy blog, and who wants to read one? Not me. I was just over at the diydollars blog reading the Why I Don’t Read Your Blog post and started to get a little uncomfortable. Obviously, I don’t blog about my cat, [...]

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    Comment by Rosie
    2007-06-07 13:25:41

    Totally. I guess my #1 pet peeve are the sites that are too “busy” and confusing; there’s no way I am going to spend time there. But just so you know, I spend LOTS of time online and guess I would be the type of person who you’d want to make a loyal reader.
    Onto a different but related thought about ugly girls not getting dates. I am a girl and am not ugly, but as someone who always roots for the underdog, I wonder why guys won’t give a girl who is everything they want- but ugly- a chance? I know how visual men are, but aren’t there more important things??? And lets face it, not all guys are model-material, either.
    anyway, i digress…

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    Comment by Lazy Man and Money
    2007-06-07 20:35:11

    I pretty much don’t read blogs with pop-up link ads. It’s the worst kind of spam there is. Why would I want a big ad popping up while I try to read what you are writing.

    While I’m at it, I hate when people default their “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” to yes. If I want to be spammed, I’ll opt-into it. Sometimes I just want to leave a comment and move on.

    I also don’t particular care that a person with a cat logo named “taylorblue” read your site 3 days ago. I’d rather know what kind of toothpaste the “morning routine” guy used.

    You’re right, being bold and saying what you think is fun.

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    Comment by Goddess Carlie
    2007-06-18 12:06:00

    I can be really picky with the blogs I read. The littlest things can turn me off. you have to post a lot but not too much. I hate pop up comments. I hate blogs that are just full of ads. etc etc etc.

    Thanks for this post, it’s a nice little thing to read, and I’m hoping that I’m getting my blog right! I want to have a blog that stands out because it’s good. I’ll keep working on it ;)

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