5 Ways You Might Be Driving Your Readers Crazy (Without Realizing It!)

DriveYourReadersCrazy

You may be guilty of driving your readers crazy without even realizing it.

And unless you’ve got thousands of “spare readers” just waiting to fill in the spots by the ones you’re driving away, (I sure don’t!  I want every reader who lands here to stick around.) you might want to run down this quick checklist to be sure you’re not accidentally making them so crazy they go elsewhere.

1.  Design Like a Visual Assault

Taste is an individual thing.  But some design rules exist for very good reasons.

Just because you love a black background and neon green text does not make that the right color choice.  It’s your website… but please, design it with your reader in mind.  Simple is good.  Less is more.

Be careful with things that blink, move, or otherwise distract.

Include lots of white space in your layout.

Don’t use 1,000 different fonts and colors.

Shoot for a peaceful, easy to read page unless you are very, very sure of what you’re doing and how your target readers will react to it.

2. ContentContentContentContentContent

Wasn’t that lovely to read?  Yeah… eyes don’t like it when content is all squished together!

Watch how popular blogs, news sites, magazines, and other content-heavy websites format their content.  They use:

  • short paragraphs
  • bulleted lists
  • numbered lists
  • images
  • bold and italics
  • subheads

Please model their style.  It will make your content easier to read, understand, and take action on.

3. Crop Circles = Interesting; Browsing in Circles = Not Interesting

Imagine landing in a brand new city you’ve never been to, and walking around town in circles trying to find simple things like water, coffee, or a bathroom because there are no signs anywhere and no one’s offered you a map.

For many of your readers, it may be a first visit to the land of your blog.  Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.  Use categories to logically organize your posts.  Include clear links to get in touch, return to your home page, etc.

4. Let’s Play Comment Roulette

When people want to engage with you and share their thoughts, this is not the time to make them play comment roulette where, if they try enough times, eventually they might successfully get a comment onto your blog.

Don’t force them to create an account, login, figure out a captcha, etc.  You’ll lose a lot of commenters if you insist on keeping those features.  Just deal with the spam, okay?  Try something like GASP (it’s built into CommentLuv Premium).

If you absolutely must require login then consider a system such as Disqus or IntenseDebate that allows one login for thousands of sites, or a plugin like Social that allows users to login with their accounts at Facebook or Twitter.

Also, be sure that your comment box is easy to find!

5. No, You May Not Share

This is one of my biggest pet peeves with websites and blogs, personally.  I love to share content I find that’s helpful or interesting.  But I want easy to click buttons that let me do it.

Here I’m using currently using SexyBookmarks (the icons at the bottom of this post) and GetSocial (it’s the floating bar on the left, like Digg Digg or Sharebar).

Please, choose one and install it.  If you don’t have many shares happening yet you can turn off the number counters in most plugins.  Don’t let that stop you from making it easy for your readers to share.

What drives YOU (as a reader) crazy on blogs or websites?

5 Ways to Add Visitor Interactivity to Your Website

Is your website helping you to connect with customers? Or is it just talking for you?

The internet is awesome.  It allows us a super cheap way to get the word out to the world about what we do, what we care about, and whatever we want to share.

But it can help us do so much more!  By adding options to allow our visitors to interact with us, we can build connections (and tribes), get feedback, and so much more.

Here are 5 simple ways to add interactivity to your website. [Read more…]

Why Isn’t Anyone Commenting On My Blog?

Have you asked that question lately?  It’s discouraging to blog and not get responses, I know.  So let’s look at what causes it and how to fix it.

Let’s start with the easy to fix technical issues…

Here are some reasons you may not be getting comments:

1.  No Traffic

Problem: Before you assume people are reading your posts and not commenting, check your stats and make sure you’re driving traffic to your site. [Read more…]

Blog Post Brainstorming Made Easier

Putting out a steady stream of blog posts can be challenge.

Some of us run into the challenge of not having time to write, or getting nervous about publishing, or getting in fights with technology (why does technology usually win the fight?). But another common obstacles is that sometimes just run out of good ideas of what to post about. Or that there are so many idea swirling around in our heads that we aren’t sure what to start with.

Here are some techniques to help you identify what you can write about and what your readers will connect with. [Read more…]

Smile With Your Blog Comments

Is your pretty, simling face showing up when you comment on blogs?  No?  Let’s fix that!

Showing your avatar (your online photo image) along with your comments makes it easier for blog owners and other blog commenters to recognize you when you comment — especially if you’ve got that same photo showing up on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere.

Thankfully, you don’t have to upload your image on every single blog you want to comment on.

Instead, you can make it happen by signing up with just a few services: Gravatar, Disqus, and OpenID.

All three are free, and you only have to go through these steps once.

Setting Up Your Own Gravatar

Gravatar.com stands for “globally recognized avatar.”

1.  Go to Gravatar.com and click the “Get your Gravatar today >>” button.

 

2.  Enter the email address that you use to leave comments on blogs in the box and click the “Signup” button.  It’s important to use the email address that you use when you comment on blogs because that’s how gravatar recognizes you and knows which comments to show your avatar image with.

 

3.  You’ll see a message that a confirmation message has been sent to your email address.  Wait for it to arrive, then click the link to confirm that it’s your email address, you can access mail sent there, and that you want to create a Gravatar.

 

4.  Enter the Username and Password you’d like to use with Gravatar.

 

5.  Now you can setup your avatar image.  Click the “Add one by clicking here!” link.

 

6.  Choose how you’d like to add your image.  You can upload from your computer, use one that’s already online (such as on your blog), or snap one with a webcam.  Just follow the steps to upload/add your image based on your choice.


7.  Next crop your photo as desired.  Remember it’ll show up small most places so use a photo that can be seen in small size.

8.  Now you get to rate your Gravatar.  If it’s family friendly you can choose G.  The reason Gravatar asks this is that each blog owner gets to decide what rating level of Gravatar is okay to display on their blog.  For example, I choose not to allow R or X rated Gravatars to display here.

That’s it!  You’re all done.  Now, leave a comment below and you can test your new Gravatar to make sure it’s working. *smile*

Setting Up Your Disqus Account

Disqus is one of the most popular commenting systems on the internet and works with multiple blog platforms.  It’s got some great features, making it easier to see and respond to your comments around the internet.  Since many blogs use it for their comments you’ll want to make sure you’ve created a profile with Disqus.

Start at http://disqus.com/profile/signup/ to creating a commenting account (if you start at Disqus.com you’ll be creating a blog account, which is different).  You can create an account specifically for Disqus by using the “sign up with an email address” link, or you can link it to your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account.  Just click the one you want to use and follow the steps.


Here’s what a Disqus profile looks like:

Setting Up an Open ID

Some websites that don’t allow anonymous or Name/URL comments (like many Blogger blogs) do allow commenters to use OpenID to login and comment.  You can get your own free OpenID at www.myopenid.com

Start at www.MyOpenID.com and click the “Sign Up For an OpenID” button.

Next you’ll enter in the information for your account: username, password, and email address.  MyOpenID will send you a confirmation email with a link to click and once you’ve clicked it you’ll be able to setup your own profile on the MyOpenID website.  Then when you login and use MyOpenID to comment on blogs that use OpenID your photo and a link to your MyOpenID profile will show up with your comments.

Here’s what a MyOpenID profile looks like:

What’s the Result?

Once you’re done, your image will show up with your blog comments and various other places around the blogs you comment on.  And you can update your photos any time.

Here are some examples: