… and sometimes, without ever reading a post.
We're all guilty of it, though. We're browsing new sites, and within seconds, THAT one loads. You know the one. You don't even need to scroll down the page before you're clicking the “back” or “close” button your browser. Maybe you panic. Maybe you let out a little yelp.
We've advocate on behalf of great design: avoid centered text and harsh backgrounds; try to keep your content black text on a light background; make your images all the same same; and please, for the love of all Chanel, McQueen, and Valentino, avoid auto-playing music!
Sometimes though, it's the most surprising thing that can turn a reader away from a site. And
Pop Ups Block Your Content.
A blogger commented recently, “Wow. You're making me share your post before I can even read it?” The website had designed the pop up to occur when you arrived on the site, and wouldn't be dismissed until you HAD shared it. There was no way to read the content without sharing. So the blogger left the site.
Can I get a WTF? I've encountered many sites where a pop-up happens a minute into the site visit. It asks if I want to share the content or sign up for a mailing list. It's understandable, and if it bothers me, I typically close it and continue reading.
Why would you enable a pop-up that requires your reader share the content before they can read it? Talk about a false way to inflate your numbers AND lose a lot of interested readers in the process. For every person that clicks share or like in order to read the comment, I bet you have at least one that you lose. Stop trying to play the numbers game and beat the system.
Let visitors get to your content first and have enough time to read it before asking for them to share or like the post.
I was chatting on twitter when Arash he mentioned visiting a site and leaving a comment. He was then automatically subscribed to receive ALL new comments from the post. While I'm a big fan of letting your readers know they have a reply (or allowing them to opt-in for email subscriptions), subscribing them to comments can make their email get REALLY overwhelming. If I'm constantly having to hit “Unsubscribe” to things I didn't subscribe to– well, I won't be coming back to your site.
So skip the auto– auto-play music, auto-sign up for newsletters or comments. Don't hunt down bloggers emails and add them to your newsletter without their consent (that's a violation of your newsletter terms of service). If you're trying to force your site and self upon your new visitors, it's bound to turn them off.
You Have to Log In to Comment.
Maybe they've made it past the harsh, neon yellow background, the auto-music, and the slowly loading page (or you not guilty of any of them–congrats!)… and now they want to leave a comment. Great! Super! Exciting!
Except I have to log in to Onsugar. Or WordPress. Or Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever other site. You're making them log in to an account that they may not have. So they leave, because you've made it difficult to comment.
We often forget that our readers aren't always connected like we are, or they may not be connected in the same ways. They're not always bloggers, they may not know what OnSugar is and may not have a Twitter or WordPress account. So why make it difficult to comment?
If you have a option that requires a username, it may be good to have an option that allows them to just leave their name and email.
Too Many Sponsored Posts.
Sponsored posts can be a great way to work with a brand you love and bring in a little additional cash. That being said, when 2/3 of your most recent posts are sponsored…well, your readers will doubt your credibility. It begins to look like you're not interested in creating your own content, but rather how much money you can bring in. I've gone through several phases where I've felt that sponsored content was becoming too high a priority on my site, and it didn't feel good. So I scaled back or would stop taking sponsored posts.
When in doubt, try to keep sponsored content to under 20% of your posts. If you write 5 days a week, that's 1 post a week that's sponsored. If you write 5 times a month, that's 1 post a month. And always try to make sure that what you're creating is matches your voice, opinions, and perspective.
Your Site isn't Mobile Friendly.
This one catches me off guard, but I realize how true it is. Whether you're an e-commerce site, a blog, or restaurant's website, I never know what I'm going to want to pull up a site on my iPhone. And yet… I'm always astonished by the number of sites that aren't mobile friendly. (Coincidentally, my site isn't mobile friendly… whoops.)
Mobile friendly doesn't have to be fancy. Just make sure your site loads clean and simple. Ensure that the search function is easy to find, and that content and images load the width of your phone's browser.
If your site is mobile-friendly, then your content will be easy to access and read. People will be able to find what they're looking for, and they'll return.
What surprising qualities or tricks have turned you off from a site? Are you inclined to return to a blog that utilizes all or any of these features?
[Image Credit: Shutterstock.com]