One thing I love about blogging is the ability to receive instant feedback. If my community doesn’t like something I write, they’re sure to let me know. If they don’t like my sponsor or the ads or affiliates I’m using for monetization, they let me know. If my comments section are becoming a free for all, you guessed it, they let me know.
On the other side of the coin, I also know when I write something readers especially appreciate. After ten years of blogging and writing online, I think I have a good idea of the types of discussions readers enjoy, and how certain topics and attitudes send them in search of a friendlier blog.
Here are a few things bloggers should try to be mindful of when maintaining your blog.
How to Alienate Your Blog’s Readers in 5 Easy Steps
1. Insult them
The people who come to your blog every day don’t necessarily do so because they want to be insulted. They’re most likely reading because they enjoy your writing style or feel your have something important to offer. Why would they stick around if you constantly insult them? Calling them names because they follow a different blog you don’t approve of (“sheep” “minions” “misguided”) might cause them to believe you don’t respect their choices. Making them feel bad about going about things a different way, isn’t encouraging at all. Bestowing disapproval upon those who don’t do things your way, only means there will be more people will be turned off by your close minded approach than those who feel you truly have something to offer.
2. Allow your comments to become a free for all
Everyone says they don’t allow their comments to become free for alls, but more bloggers encourage this than you think. They either don’t realize it, or enjoy the controversy. For example, they have firm “no insulting others” policy, but then practice this – and encourage it – towards people they don’t like or approve of. So it’s more like, “Don’t insult me or the ten people who visit this blog, but go ahead and insult competitors and their communities.” If rules can’t apply to everyone, consider not having rules at all. If fewer folks are commenting, it could be the comments are getting a little hostile and they’re not so much interested in participating. I’ve tried it both ways and I can tell you, only people who thrive on drama and negativity want to be part of a negative community.
3. Treat them as if they don’t know any better
If you have a steady, loyal readership they’re stopping by each day to learn and share. They trust you. Why damage that trust by talking down to them or making them feel bad about their choices? People like to make their own discoveries, not be called out for their decisions. If you’re blogging to give advice, by all means share. However, your blog isn’t a Rolling Stones song and your readers aren’t looking for their fair share of abuse. There are ways to offer tips without getting on a high horse and pontificating.
4. Constant negativity
Here’s something important I learned, people don’t respond well to constant negativity. They appreciate the truth and not receiving half-assed information. They probably even subscribe to your blog because they know you will set them straight and not tiptoe around the issues. However, daily rants, finger pointing, complaining and just whining about everything that’s wrong every single day is a turnoff.
5. Your way of the highway
“Don’t like what I blog about? Tough! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” If you don’t fight for your readers, you won’t have any.
What are some of the ways you see bloggers alienating their readers?