Blogging is all about finding your own voice and sharing your knowledge and insights.

But a blog is also a place to build relationships, establish trust and show your readers that you’re a really great person to hang out with.

The last thing you want to do is alienate your blog readers.

They’ll leave before they even know what an awesome person you are!

alienate your blog readers

5 Surefire Ways to Alienate Your Blog Readers

Below are 5 common mistakes I see bloggers making that can cause your readers to go elsewhere…


1.  Making Your Blog All About YOU

Your blog is not about you.  Shocked?

You shouldn’t be.

You may tell stories about your experiences in life, or share knowledge that you’ve gained along the way but your blog is really about YOUR READERS.

You need to give your readers what they want and help them solve their problems.

They don’t necessarily want to hear about your success — they want to learn how they can have the same kind of results.

So give them what they want!


2.  Make It Hard To Find Things – Poor Navigation

When your reader comes to your blog for the first time, it’s best to not make them work too hard to find what they're looking for.

I can tell you from experience that nothing’s more frustrating than being on a blog and not being able to find posts or pages that interest me.

You can fix this problem in any number of ways:

  • Have a search bar prominently displayed on your blog.
  • Linking to other posts of interest within a blog post for a seamless transition (called internal linking).
  • Use plugins like  Yet Another Related Posts that will give your reader a list of related posts at the end of each article.


3.  Give Your Readers a Headache

Have you ever been on one of those blogs where the post are just one big paragraph?

Or maybe 2 or 3 super long ones?

It can be hard to read and, honestly, I usually hit the back button and take off before I get a headache.

To avoid this, be sure to break up your content into short paragraphs of only 1-3 sentences.  Use headings and sub-headings to organize your text and make it easier to read.

Use the bold and italics feature to accentuate your important points.

Finally, use images to break things up and make your posts more interesting.

People's eyes naturally scroll DOWN the page, not side-to-side (as much).

Make it easier for them to read your posts!


4.  Interrupt Their Reading Experience

Pop-ups are really popular on many blogs today.  If you read a lot of blogs, you’ve surely seen them.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em?

Well, chances are if you are a marketer you love pop-ups because they’ve been shown to increase opt-in conversions and generate sales.

But if you’re the reader, chances are you're not a fan, especially when used the wrong way.

There is a compromise that can work for everyone.

The worst thing to do (in my opinion) is to have something pop up right away, as soon as the reader hits your page.  It interrupts their reading experience and often results in frustration and readers exiting your blog.

Most pop-up software allows you to set a time when the pop-up appears, say 30 seconds.  This is not as bad for the reader as they are already into the article and will likely continue.

In my view, the best way to use pop-ups is when your reader is set to exit your blog.  It's not intrusive but reminds them they should grab your valuable information before they leave.


5.  Take Before You Give

If your blog is part of your business, there will come a time when you aspire to make some money for your efforts.  This is generally not a problem and is perfectly fine if your readers feel taken care of.

The problems arise when your blog readers feel like they’re being cheated.

It’s the old 80/20 rule.

Better to make it 90/10.

If you’re not consistently providing pure content that shows your readers that you’re listening to them, you run the risk of alienating your blog readers.

If they feel like you’re only in it for the sale, you’ve probably lost them.

On the other hand, if you’ve established yourself as someone who gives before you take, then you’ve earned the right to suggest affiliate products or promote services on your blog.

It comes full circle back to our first tip…

Make it all about your reader’s experience!


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    36 replies to "5 Surefire Ways to Alienate Your Blog Readers"

    • Sally Thompson

      I really hate long article.. This should be read by the blogger so that they can be aware of their mistake..

      • Bob

        Uh oh, Sally, I better watch the length of my posts! 🙂

        This is actually something I have been working on. Sometimes I get too wordy!

    • Natasha

      Bob – found this on your Best Of post, and I can see why it made the list! These are some really great pointers – especially the one about formatting. I love short paragraphs, and when anything is too long I just feel daunted and already tired of reading before I even really get into it. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    • Audrey Ross

      For people who want their blogsite to last, these are the significant things that you will need to to take into consideration. You will definitely never go wrong if you follow all these.

      • Bob

        Thanks, Audrey! Glad you found this information useful.

    • Mavis Nong

      Hey Dr Clarke,

      I couldn’t agree you with you more. You goal should be to your readers’ stay memorable and comfortable.

      The other thing to pay attention to is the blog’s loading speed – the last thing you want to do is to make your visitors lose interest while waiting for your blog to load.

      I hate pop-ups with a passion. Hitting your visitors the second the land on your blog is a surefire way to repel them. I like your suggestion about using it as they leave the blog.

      Thanks for sharing your insights. Have a great weekend!

      All the best,

      • Bob

        Hi Mavis, great to see you again.

        I know you’ve written extensively on loading speed and I agree that is a crucial element. If someone gets impatient waiting for your page to load, they’re more likely to click away before they even get to see your content! It’s a great point.

        Thanks for your insights, Mavis. Always a pleasure seeing you here!

    • Samantha Bangayan

      Thanks for having me think about these points, Bob! I’m especially affected by your first and second points — it’s tough because my blog is a personal one, but I do still want to provide value. I made the decision to have my blog’s purpose be to help remind others to value and reflect on the little things in their lives, but I wonder if the blog still remains too personal because the stories are about Peru and many can’t relate. =S I’ll have to think more about my purpose.

      Great idea about moving the search bar to a more prominent place, by the way! =) I had it all the way at the bottom and I’ve even frustrated myself that I’ve had to go down there. =P

      Another way to aliente blog readers and something that we’ve chatted about already is not having a way to subscribe to comments. Grr! =P

      Great post, Bob! =)

      • Bob

        HI Sam,

        When you have a journaling-type blog like yours, its perfectly fine to talk about yourself and tell stories about your experiences. How it becomes about your reader is the approach you use to relate your experiences to your readers. I’ve been to your blog and I know that you are masterful at asking powerful questions that can’t help but cause your readers to truly think about their lives… and that’s always a very empowering thing.

        Thanks for your comment, Sam. Always great to have you here!

    • Erika Harris

      Great points. I especially agree with #4. I’m not a fan of the “pop-up”. It is a major distraction for me.

      • Bob

        Hi Erika, welcome to our blog!

        Popups definitely seem to be a polarizing issue… it’s either love’em or hate’em. I fall more towards the latter category, and it seems you do, also.

        Glad you found value!

        See you again soon!

    • Lou Barba

      Hi Bob,

      I sure hope I don’t dony any of these things you mention. I am of the persuasion that it’s okay to sell things on your blog, but your content needs to help build a trust with your readers. I usually don’t use a popup form, but I think you have to do something to build your list. Let’s face it, we’re not going to sell anything to the old grouch who hates salespeople. So, I’m not fashioning an approach that maybe, just maybe will get that old cormugeon to open his coffers. But I don’t want to make my blog into something like, either. Too much like work! 🙂

      Thanks for posting this list, Bob.


      • Bob

        Hi Lou, great to see you here again!

        It’s definitely okay to sell from your blog, but not before you’ve proven yourself as a source of integrity willing to put your customers (readers) first. In your blog, for example you write beautiful and entertaining stories that have always had me wanting more (by the way, I’m waiting for the next one to begin!). 🙂

        The fact that you offer products for sale as well is perfectly fine. You’re upfront about it, not sales pitchy and besides they’re really cool. But the bottom line — you’ve shown time and again that your readers come first for you.

        Thanks again for stopping by. It’s always great to get your take on things, Lou!

    • Tosin

      Hey Bob,

      It’s just recently I noticed that the ‘search’ box could be very helpful, though I’m having so difficulty installing a beautiful one on my blog.

      Heard a lot about popups and I absolutely dont like them. They just come on my face and that is so irritating. Though some have told me how great it is as regards optins.

      I also find it difficult to read long paragraphs, no matter how interesting it tends to be. They have a way of affecting my eyes.

      Great post, Bob!


      • Bob

        Hi again Tosin!

        The consensus in our comments here is that Popups may be useful but they are oh so annoying! Maybe we’ve just seen too many of them.

        I am testing a footer instead of a popup. Hopefully I can boost my optins without annoying my readers!

        Thanks for stopping by, Tosin!

    • Devesh

      Hi Bob,

      Awesome post. One could learn from this post on how to improve their blog.

      I keep hearing bad and good things about popups but finally I’ve stopped using them. I think top or footer opt-ins are much better then popups.

      I like your “right way” for popups, i may try this method on Technshare Blog.

      • Bob

        Hey Dev,

        I like your idea of headers and footers… I’m looking into that as well. There are good ways to unobtrusively put your offer in front of people, without being “in their face.”

        Thanks for your comment! Glad to see you again.

    • Nanette Saylor

      Thank you Bob, for sharing these insights. I’m particularly interested in your take on the exit “pop” as I’ve been entertaining the idea of adding one to my site for while. It’s not secret, I’m a slow adopter of anything that might appear as “salesy”, so I was happy to read your opinion on the matter.
      Wishing you well-

      • Bob

        Hey Nanette,

        If by “exit pop” you’re referring to the popup that comes when you’re about to leave the page, I feel that this is the least invasive popup and I can tolerate them. They might even prove useful if I forgot to subscribe or opt in before I left. If I were to put any popup on my blog, it would be this type.

        Thanks for the comment!

    • Justin

      When the page has a dark background and the text is a “funky” neon color. Pop-ups come in second but I can tolerate them if I personally like the blogger.

      • Bob

        That’s an interesting comment, Justin. I like when you say “I can tolerate (popups) if I personally know the blogger.”

        But what about a blog that you’re coming to for the first time? For me, when I hop onto a blog for the first time and am hit in the face by a popup, I may or may not hit the back button, depending on if it’s a post I really want to read. But it certainly doesn’t get me off on the right foot with this blogger.

        Thanks for the feedback, Justin. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Janet

      Bob, aloha. Great Post! Long paragraphs that are hard to read are a pet peeve of mine and will cause me to leave. Even if I like the content, if it is difficult to read, I have a tough time forcing myself to continue.

      One thing that we all have to remember as bloggers is that the “normal” rules of writing are suspended. In the Blog World I break paragraphs where I normally would not. Prior to blogging, I never had so many stand alone sentences.

      Pop-ups are one of those things like “to date or not to date” a post. Like you, Bob, I have read the research, know they work, increase opt-ins, etc. yet I am annoyed each time I see one. Some plug ins of that nature are not too bad in that they only show it for your first visit. After that it does not appear.

      Though I did use a pop up once on a single post, I did not feel good about it at all. So, at least for now, I remain pop-up free.

      Certain types of commenting systems bother me and though I may comment anyway, I definitely groan when I see one of them.

      Thx so much, Bob, for the great Sunday read. Hope you and your family are enjoying a wonderful day. Aloha. Janet

      • Bob

        Aloha Janet! I hope you also had a wonderful weekend.

        What you say is very true about writing style on a blog. What we learn in English 101 and Writing and Composition is thrown out the window with blogging.

        Where once we were taught to have an introductory and a concluding sentence sandwiching in a few sentences to support your point, in blogging it seems better to have paragraphs of only 1-2 sentences. I can just see my old High School English teacher rolling over in her grave!

        We all have to adapt and move forward. This one was a tough one for me to swallow, but I see why it’s needed.

        Thanks for visiting and proving your insights, Janet.
        It’s great to see you here again!

    • Jeanine Byers Hoag

      Hi Bob! Great post. The only thing you said that I don’t completely agree with is that your blog can’t be about you. I think it can’t ALL be about you, but I think a great deal of it can be.

      It probably depends on what kind of blog you have and what other blogs in that niche are doing. If most personal style bloggers only show pictures of themselves wearing their daily outfits, then one that offersstories, tips and a consistent call to action about how to do what the blogger did, then that will give the style blogger an edge.

      I think the same is true the other way around. If most blogs about how to succeed in business are mostly-focused on telling readers what to do, the one that also adds story and offers a way for the reader to feel personally connected will stand out and beckon the reader back.

      That’s what draws me in as a reader, anyway.


      • Bob

        Good point, Jeanine. I suppose it would depend on the main goal of the blogger. If someone just wants to tell their story and provide an online log of their activities and experiences, it certainly can be all about them.

        But I still believe that if you want your readers to ultimately take an action like hiring you or buying your products, you need to first prove you can help them solve some major problem(s) they’re having. And that requires you to write about them.

        Thanks, Jeanine… you’ve given me some things to think about!

        As always, I love having your perspective on my blog posts!

    • Jane

      Hey Bob,

      Ads – I hate them the most. I come to a blog not to buy but to get some valuable information. I am happy to buy a product from the blogger, if I find value in the blog/blogger. But I don’t like to be punched on the face. On the other hand, I am OK with optin popups.

      The second most thing that I hate about a blog is poor presentation of content. Bad fonts, clogged paragraphs, colors that strain my eyes, too small fonts etc. I simply click the back button without even thinking.


      • Bob

        HI Jane,

        It’s true — one of the worst things you can do for your readers is give them eye strain or a headache trying to read your post. Chances are you’ve seen that reader for the very last time.

        As always, I appreciate your insights, Jane. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Yen

      Dr. Bob,
      Too many pop-ups make me feel I am kidnaped. Too many Ads make me feel the salesman is in front of me with 3 mouths smily at me. lol
      That’s why I am hesitated if display Adsense or not. ;(

      Thanks for the sharing and tips. I enjoy reading your blog.
      I notice that Bob’s articles are easy to read.
      Good tips for my improvement.

      Have a shining sunday!!!


      • Bob

        Hi Yen,

        I think that everyone I have spoken to about popups feel the same way. They may be useful for increasing optins, but we all seem to hate them.

        Hmmm… makes me wonder who is actually responding to them.

        Thanks for the kind words about our blog, Yen. We try very hard to ensure a pleasant reader experience on every post.

    • Cindy Schulson

      Great post Bob! I especially love the part about making your blog about your readers and not about you. We want to share who we are, why we do what we do and why people should work with us. That is important in establishing your personal brand. But the focus should be on our target market, not on us.

      I like to imagine that I’m writing my blog posts to my ideal client. When you have a good understanding of what that is, you can write everything directly to them. And use a conversational tone as if you are truly having a conversation with them.

      Thanks and warm wishes,

      • Bob

        Hi Cindy!

        Well, I’m not surprised that you liked my first Tip – your blog is not about you, but your readers.

        Why am I not surprised? Because YOU taught me that! It’s something that I’ve taken to heart and really made the shift from ME to my readers.

        It seems to be helping. My blog’s popularity is increasing weekly.

        Thanks, Cindy. I always appreciate your insights!

    • Jayne Kopp

      Hi Bob, just getting caught up on my reading. I have been MIA for a few days getting a couple of things sorted and hanging with the kids for the long weekend.

      I am with you on everything actually. I have to say that I DO indeed despise Pop Ups with a passion.

      I have been trying to determine whether it would be hypocritical for me to try them as I really do not appreciate them.

      The only one I didn’t mind was one that slowllllyyyy crept onto the page… and after about 10 -20 seconds it started to go back into hiding.

      I hate not being able to leave a page either with the “WAIT!! Are you sure you want to leave??”

      I feel like saying “no shit Einstein”… drives me nuts.

      Great suggestions Bob, look forward to seeing you soon.


      • Bob

        Hi Jayne!

        Popups are definitely a polarizing issue in the blogging community. I know many bloggers who swear by them — for the main reason that they seem to boost opt in rates. But I think what’s happening is that now, everyone is using them and they all pretty much look the same.

        I believe any benefits will start to decline, because visitors just won’t pay attention (at best) or get really annoyed and leave (at worst).

        BTW… the ones the drive me the MOST crazy are the blogs where the popups hit you in the face within 2 seconds of being on the site. I mean… REALLY?

        Thanks for the comment Jayne. Great to see you here again!

    • Robert Seth

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for the informative blog post. What makes me hit the back button is when the blog is full of sales pitches immediately. Also, when the print is too small and, as you said, when there are huge paragraphs of text with no breaks.

      • Bob

        Hey Robert,

        Yes, entering a blog for the first time and seeing a ton of sales pitches is definitely a turn off. However, sometimes you need to be careful. Some of these bloggers have already established their giving nature and proven themselves to their readers, so perhaps they’ve earned the right to throw some banners up there. My good friend Mavis Nong is an example. She gives so much value to her readers, so much so that, in my mind she has earned the right to put some banners on her blog and market her ebook on the sidebar.

        So I guess we have to be careful of first impressions and give the blogger a chance.

        Thanks, Robert. Appreciate the comment!


      5 Surefire Ways to Alienate Your Blog Readers…

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