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9 Reasons I Hate Your Blog

Posted By Jerry Low 17th of June 2016 Blog Design, Blog Promotion 40

By Jerry Low.

1

Does your website have a high bounce rate? What is it about your blog that makes them want to press the back button?

The truth is that if your bounce rate is high, then there is something that is causing people to discredit your blog and leave quickly. Bounce rate, at least by Google’s standards, is measured in single page visits and how much time visitors spend on a landing page.

However, there are so many different things that play into whether your bounce rate works for you or not. A lot depends on the goal you’ve set for your website and whether or not you are meeting those goals.

I thought a lot about this and realized that there are many negative factors that could kill your success in blogging. And, like it or not – to succeed, there is a set of rules that bloggers need to follow. Some of those rules will impact bounce rate and some will not. But, the bottom line is that there are some things that will cause a visitor to stay on your site and some that will drive him away.

9 Reasons I Hate Your Blog

You’re probably thinking that “hate” is a big word, but it does reflect part of my feelings. Perhaps “turned off” is the more appropriate term here. And, here are 9 reasons why your blog would turn me off and cause me to bounce away.

1. You do more than one popup

Popups work. I get it.

I use it at times myself, too. In fact, the day I turned on a site-wide popup form on WHSR, our newsletter subscription rate surged more than 400%.

The key here is to not add too many popups. Excessive popups disrupt the reading experience and are seriously annoying.

I have seen bloggers who forgot to turn off their old popups when making new ones. This causes overlapping popups on a single page. It’s horrific and it underlines the importance of always testing your site whenever you do an update.

Based on InsightOne Study, 70% of Americans get most annoyed when popups are irrelevant and would even go ahead and block a site because of such annoying intrusions.

At the same time, however, as proven by my experiment, popups can greatly increase your subscription rates.

There are valid reasons for using popups, so if you choose to do so, you’ll want to keep these three tips in mind:

Tip#1: Use popups in moderation

I lost all my respects to one very popular marketing blog when I saw a Hello Bar, full screen welcome gate, and an exit popup, in one page.

Again, don’t overuse popups. One per page is about all I can take.

Tip #2: Make popups smarter

There are tools that allow you to show popups at a specific time, such as when a visitor is leaving your website or has scrolled down to a certain level on your page. Use these functions to minimize the damage popups can cause to blog user experience.

Caption: Real life sample: Subscription popup at Social Triggers – the signup form only pops when there’s an exit intention (cursor going up).

Real life sample: Subscription popup at Social Triggers – the signup form only pops when there’s an exit intention (cursor going up).

Tip #3: Only use well-designed and –written popups

If you must interrupt my reading in the middle of the article with a popup, at least do it in a way that is entertaining and visually pleasing.

And the best written popup award goes to… WaitButWhy.

And the best written popup award goes to… WaitButWhy.

2. Copycat

You also irritate me, a lot, when I recognize a piece of stolen content on your blog.

Copying people’s content is not only unethical, but illegal. There are copyright laws in place that protect people’s written and creative work and violating them can get your site shut down.

However, let’s say you don’t outright copy, but you use your own words and copy the same article making it very similar.

On top of that, you can hurt Google ranking for both your site and the site from which you copied the content. Not cool at all.

I assume people copy other people’s content because they can’t write well or simply don’t have enough time to write.

Simple Solutions:

Step #1- Read and take notes frequently

I believe you should take notes anywhere, anytime. In my opinion, it’s the #1 success habit in blogging.

When inspiration strikes or when you find something useful during your daily reading, jot down your thoughts or a note on the information.

I use Evernote to collect and manage my ideas. You can do the same with something else or with the same program, but the key is to take notes regularly so you don’t lose a brilliant idea.

Step #2 – Pass your ideas / studies / researches to a ghost writer

The key in this is to not outsource everything to the ghost writers. Instead, you should spend more time studying and researching the topic you want to write about. Offer some detailed notes.

Then, hand off the writing of the words and editing to professionals.

3. You call yourself expert when you are not

It bothers me a lot if you try to act like an expert and you’re not.

This can become clear very quickly to readers because if you don’t know much about the topic it is going to show. Someone might ask a question in the comments and you’ll have no clue how to answer it.

Faking as someone you are not sucks on many different levels. Just be honest. If you need to know more about a topic you love and want to write about, and then study that topic until you know it inside and out.

Calling yourself a guru while giving nothing but common knowledge advice on your blog irritates me. I don’t visit your site to learn something I already know – that everyone already knows.

Instead of trying to present yourself as the authority over something you know little about, write about what you do know or can easily learn and learn well.

4. Advertisements everywhere

Advertisements make for a spammy, ugly blog. Some bloggers put ads everywhere you can imagine. They might place an ad between paragraphs, inside popups, in the header, on sidebars, or even sugarcoat an ad as “other relevant resources” at the bottom of a post.

The truth is that, yes, there is tons of money to be made with these kinds of strategies.

Scott DeLong, founder of ViralNova, sold his site for $100 million. His site was similar to BuzzFeed and was chock full of advertising. His success (though big part of it depends on how he grew his site traffic, not jamming ads to his site) has sparked ambitious bloggers to build a similar site/blog and maximize the number of ads they can squeeze onto one page.

I counted 27 ads in one recent post at Viral Nova

I counted 27 ads in one recent post at Viral Nova

Their goal is simply to repeat his success.

Stuffing advertisements everywhere might bring in some extra cash, but it doesn’t bring any value to the readers and honestly, it sucks.

In the long-term, sites like this won’t be successful.

It’s proven that Google finds content mills, advertising mills, and similar sites and tightens up their algorithms to prevent those who come along behind from succeeding.

In fact, Facebook has already cracked down on the use of viral headlines like those used on sites like ViralNova and BuzzFeed and is showing them less on user pages. This means that traffic has fallen dramatically for sites that relied on social media for the majority of their traffic.

There are better, long term monetization strategies. From choosing a sustainable, profitable niche to creating and selling a product and organizing events, bloggers should utilize smarter strategies instead of baiting for ad clicks all day long. Readers are wising up to this tactic, too, and may resent click bait strategies.

5. I can’t read it on my phone

Nothing annoys me more than a site that isn’t mobile responsive. I connect to the Internet and read a lot on my phone. If your blog is not optimized for mobile, high chances are I will just skip your blog and go read somewhere else.

Worldwide, as of 2015, nearly 53% of people could access the Internet online. Like it or not, optimizing for mobile users is no longer an option in web UX design.

We have close to 140,000 unique visitors at WHSR and more than 45% are visiting us via a mobile device. More and more people are reading on their phones. 55% of all Oyster’s activity is now happening on phone. 54% of the 1.65 billion monthly active users access Facebook only on mobile (see report, page 7).

894 million mobile-only MAUs on Facebook

894 million mobile-only MAUs on Facebook.

And if that’s not enough, Google announced Mobilegedddon in mid-2015. That essentially means that sites that aren’t mobile friendly are likely to lose out in organic search rankings.

6. I can’t scan your posts quickly before I start reading

I will probably hate your blog if I can’t scan your posts before reading. I want to know in a nutshell what your post is about so I know if it will cover the topics I need to know or not.

Descriptive headlines are vitally important. H2 and H3 headers make for easier reading and help readers quickly understand what your post covers.

You also want your article to be easy to scan. Adding bullet points, short paragraphs and tight writing all go a long way toward increasing readability. Where appropriate, infographics and diagrams can also add a lot of value to an article.

7. The things you are blogging about aren’t worth blogging about

Stop blogging incessantly about your gym session, your cat, the cupcake you just ate, and your mundane daily activities at home. I don’t care and chances are that no one else cares about these things.

We all do them.

They aren’t exciting or unique.

The time I spend on your blog is valuable to me. I don’t have a lot of time to waste. Tell me something interesting, or useful. Make me laugh, impress me, most importantly, help me learn and grow better as a person or at something.

Before you spend time writing about something on your blog, make sure you understand what other articles on that topic are available and try to add some extra value or a unique twist to your article on that topic. If you don’t have anything to add, then that might not be the best topic to write about.

8. Autoplay video/audio

I hate it every time when a video loads automatically on the Fantasy Premier League homepage. They are Premier League officials, hosting the world’s most popular fantasy sports game. Since I’ve been playing two mini leagues with my buddies for years, I put up with it. Some site visitors won’t.

I’m also not fine with your blog if it loads a video or audio automatically instead of giving me a choice in the matter. I enjoy silent browsing. I am not going to find the “stop” button when your blog auto plays your theme song, I will simply go for the “close tab” button.

I dislike video plays without me pressing the “play” key.  If you must auto play a video, at least start it with the sound off.

Keep in mind, too, that not everyone has high speed Internet. While most people do, there are some rural users who might even still be on dial up. By automatically starting a video or audio, you essentially freeze the computers of your audience without high speed capacity.

9. Your page made me wait for more than five seconds

Generally speaking, any website that shows a blank page for more than five seconds are bad. Studies have proven repeatedly that page abandonment rate goes up with your site load time increases.

Almost 50% of Internet users expect a website to load in two seconds or less, and if it doesn’t load in three seconds, they will likely abandon that site.

If I am expecting to read a blog post, which typically would consist only of text and images, I expect to be served fast. Any blog page that takes longer than a few seconds to load is unacceptable.

There are a number of ways to improve your site load time:

Ditch the big image slider that takes forever to load

Host your blog on a faster server

Minimize HTTP redirects and pack your CSS and jQuery scripts together to reduce page roundtrip times

To dig in further, I suggest make use of free tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Bitcatcha, and Pingdom to pin point the culprit that’s dragging your site speed.

Bottom line –

Even if you are currently running a blog that I would hate for all 9 reasons listed above, you can easily rectify these issues. Even minor tweaks can improve your bounce rate and offer you reader a more usable experience.

Take the time to visit your own blog as though you are a first time visitor. Pay attention to how fast the page loads (clear your cache first, so you get an authentic reading on this), pay attention to popups and if they interrupt your reading, and think about anything that might annoy your visitor.

With a little intuitiveness about what readers really want, your site will quickly become an authority that readers turn to time and time again for information and entertainment.

About Jerry Low
Jerry Low – geek dad, SEO junkie, founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Connect with him on Twitter or find out more about his work at WHSR
Comments
  1. Hi Stacey,

    I was nodding my head yes all the way through this article. Pop ups make me cringe. Ever see the ones where it is difficult to find the x to escape? I just bounce off. There are many ways a blogger can be a smart marketer without annoying people with popups, useless content, and over stuffing adjectives for SEO purposes..Believe me…I’ve seen ’em all.

    When it comes to advertisements, there is nothing worse than something blinking on the sidebar or popping up in my face.

    All points noted and indeed I agree!

    Thanks for writing about this.

    -Donna

  2. I do agree with you but I would have included one more thing. My number #1 reason for leaving your blog is poor writing/grammar. Seems to me that you shouldn’t be writing, if you can’t write.

    • … which is one of my BIGGEST challenges for years as English is my second language. I still write bad sentences and make silly grammar mistakes these days. Having a good proof-reader helps a lot – I owe Lori Soard (my WHSR editor) a lot for this.

    • I agree with Jayne. Poor grammar/spelling/punctuation creates “speed bumps” that slow the reader down and pull him out of the text – it’s a distraction and screams, “I don’t value you enough to care! You will spend time and effort decoding my brilliant thoughts!” (I have actually had writers tell me this, as if it were my job to unearth their ideas like an archaeologist trying to unearth the Holy Grail from a dig at the top of Mt. Everest. It’s not going to happen in this lifetime.)

      I agree with everything here except for #7. It’s not that I completely DISAGREE with #7, but I have a variety of readers and Darren could tell you it’s been my stated goal for nearly a decade to dominate the No-Niche Niche. My readers won’t all like every post. I’m sitting here reading your #7 as a challenge to write about a cupcake in a way that makes you yell “Uncle!” and admit that even a post about a stupid cupcake can be interesting if it’s well-written. But if it’s not, I trust my readers to be adults about that, not “hate” me for it, and to move on to other things – reading a real book, maybe. My bounce rate’s about 9-14% (it was <3% until I started using StumbleUpon, again, to attract new visitors). I'm okay with that.

  3. I can’t agree more Stacey! If any sort of noise auto-loads.. I’m out of there! While I’m not guilty of that- I do need to make sure that my pop-ups and opt-ins are up to speed! It is so easy to see what you dislike about other’s sites.. but when it comes to your own, it can be hard to see problems! :D

  4. Great article.
    This is what exactly we think for a website when it has pop up ,page load and more.
    Seriously if a website have good qualities then we visit more and more.
    Thanks for sharing

  5. These are really basic 9 reasons, but I still saw many bloggers have these mistakes.
    I really hate blogs have many pop-up. So I never use any pop-up on my blog and website.
    Thank for this awesome post, Jerry !

  6. Jerry, you were right on time with this article. If I read more blog from alleged experts, I’m going SCREAM. I’ve visited a few freelance writers’ sites and they only have one page claiming their credibility. Uh, there isn’t any.

    And like you, if I can’t scan an article, I’m not reading it.

  7. Great post and very true. Some of these things really irritate me too, but I wonder about the landing page and whether welcome mats are considered the landing page, which presumably people click away from quite quickly so they can enter your site properly.

    Enjoy the journey!

  8. Hi Jerry,

    Agree totally with all 9 points even though I think I’m guilty and failing point 9.

    Despite all my efforts, imcluding your suggestion re removing large image sleders, my site will still not load in under 2 seconds.

    It may be our poor internet cnnections but in all honesty I’ve never had any site load as quickly as that.

    Popups drive me crazy especially when reading a blog post on my mobile phone – just today I gave up on 2 posts simply because the popups keep coming and completely ruined my reading of the posts.

    Many thanks for sharing your expertise Jerry – awesome reading my man and I’m not only sharing it widely but also sending this post link to my lists as for sure there are many there who will also really appreciate your article.

    Best wishes rom the remote Thai village blogger

    Peter

    • Fitting pop-ups effectively into readers’ mobile screens is a challenge these days. The best we can do is to minimize the damage I think. Thank you very much for your good words.

  9. Hi Stacey,
    Yes, you are absolutely right . I also agree with you the main reason why readers are bound to press back button and google recognise that our site is bouncing back the customers is mainly due to two things
    first is popups which come when a reader is reading the blogs. It’s time should be fixed that when a reader came to last of the blog then it should come otherwise reader think its fake site or an advertisement site
    second thing is copied content always try to create your own content with interesting words and sentences never copies another’s blog so that it makes your individuality over the internet and google not read you as a spammer
    Thank you for sharing this information with us..!!

  10. OMG, finally a blogger just said it all in one post. I broke a rule, I shared this post on 2 forums but I did quote a tiny portion of the blog post with a linkback.

    Bloggers on the forum I am on helping out break all of these and they need there head examined or sell there blog. To many ads all over the place on some blogs, it slows the blog down and annoy’s me. I am there to read the content I found by searching Google and if I can’t find it through all the ads, I will never visit the blog again and tell people do not visit it. lol

    I just had 3 cups of coffee and a little wacky right now. O look a pink squirrel over there —–>

  11. Great Post Jerry. I actually hate Pop Ups and do not use it on my blog. However I am willing to make some pop ups which can increase my subscribe list. Your suggestion regrading this helps me a lot. I also use less ads on my blog. I will also works on your other suggestions as well to improve my blog further.

  12. Great work Jerry, you basically showed the visitors behavior by taking your name. Talking about Pop ups, yesterday I was on Neil Patel’s webinar and he showed some wonderful ways to use pop ups that actually convert more than others, like giving them an offer that they can’t reject.

    Genuine points mentioned here.

    Thanks,
    Karan

    • Karan – Thanks for your praise on the article. I appreciate it.

      Indeed Neil Patel is one of the smartest minds in digital marketing and the content quality he shared on his blog is just magnificent.

      BUT, I am unimpressed with the amount of popups he uses on his blog (if not mistaken, used to be at least 3 on each visit). I’m sure there’s a good reason why Neil is doing this; but it affects my reading experience negatively and I decided to stop following his blog some time ago.

  13. Hi jerry,
    Thanks for sharing useful article. Your every point is informative for newbies blogger like me. I am sure it will help us.
    Hey Darren sir, It is my first visit at problogger. Really, it is awesome experience. You are inspirational blogger.
    Thanks
    Amar Banshiwal

  14. Yes Jerry, I agree with you. You show us some important points that really matters and depends on these points visitor love or not. I will try to keep in mind to make my blog perfect! Hope then you will love it sure! :p Thanks to share these awesome points.

  15. Great article. These are all valid reasons why I would ditch a site. Now that I’ve been blogging a while I understand popups. I’m working on increasing the loading speed of my own site thanks for including the resources.

  16. Hi Jerry,

    Cannot agree more with you. I immediately leave the website which shows up a pop-up even before I read their content. Some of them make sure to show it on every page that you visit. I am sure these websites have the least number of subscribers. No one would want to sign up for such annoying websites.

    As for advertisements, they do not matter much to be as I have adblocker. And yep after pop-ups, slow loading pages and auto play videos are the main reason I will leave a website without even reading the article.

    • As a blogger myself, I am not against popups and ads on blog. But I do think they need to be used very carefully.

      • Yes. Even I am not against a pop-up. Even I use one on my blog. But it shows up only when someone has scrolled 75% of the content.

        Most of my articles are of 2000+ words. So if someone is reading 75% of it, he is for sure liking the content of my blog. The pop up shows up only to these visitors. Plus it does not show up on every page. Just once per day per visitor.

  17. But… but… I want to blog about my cat, and other people’s cats. Nah, just kidding. (But it’s true that I have a cat blog.)

    The key point here is that when we blog about something, we should promote it to the right audience, so it won’t build “hate.”

    Thank you for sharing this nice post!

  18. Great Post, its annoying checking out a topic and you’re welcomed with lots of Popups, bad user experience Google would call it.

  19. I can’t agree enough with you on taking notes all the time. Anytime I read an article that I think might be useful, I write down the main points along with my own thoughts. The problem for me now is that it’s getting hard to sort through all my many notes when I’m looking for ideas for new articles or projects. Since I use Evernote, I’m exploring a tool called Mohiomap (http://www.moh.io/) that helps visualize all your Evernote notes like a mind map. It’s nice because you don’t have to be quite as disciplined when adding tags and organizing in notebooks. Just get your ideas down, quickly, and search and explore connections between notes later.

  20. I agree with all of your points except for Bounce Rate being a horrible thing. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

    As a food blogger, people will come to my site to get a recipe. They may just want that one recipe but not be ready to make it yet so they Pin or Yum it. High bounce rate, but potential for repeat traffic from them and anyone that sees that social media share.

    I go to plenty of sites to learn how to do one thing (fix an annoying javascript error for example) that I don’t necessarily explore around their site to see what else they blogged about.

    That said, I know I need to do my part to get them to come to my site and stay there and your blogging pet peeves irritate me too.

    • Audrey – Thanks for your comment. I agree with your points about bounce rate.

      Another example when high bounce rate is good – when the sole purpose of your page is to sell an affiliate product. In that case – it’s best that people come read your content and click away to the merchant’s site. More clicks, more money :)

  21. I appreciate the suggestions and agree with most of them, especially the pop-up part. My blog is so NOT pop-up oriented. But to be honest, when I read the “hate” part, I felt like crying. I’ve spent so much time trying to make my site load faster. I downloaded w3 cache, and that didn’t help. So I switched to wordpress super cache, and that hasn’t helped, either. I stayed up almost all night working with these plugins. I realized that I needed to back away and focus on my family for a while, and yet I’m still managing to work on an exciting post for Plastic Free July. Becoming a successful blogger can take time, and I would have appreciated a more nurturing approach. I don’t have the funds to pay someone to help with all of this, so I slug away. I’m making slow progress, but at least it’s moving in the right direction. I only recently learned about SEO and use Yoast now for every post. I’m gradually going back and reworking older posts for quality and SEO. A softer approach would have resonated with more than any title with “hate” in it. I do use Evernote and Feedly, but mostly, I have numerous rough drafts under my posts heading. When I get an idea, I’ve learned to stop what I’m doing and simply go to the computer and begin a new post. I’m not used to speaking my mind as I did above, but I feel we need to support one another in a more positive light – kind of like child rearing. It’s a journey, after all, and not a race.

    • Hey Laura – I am sorry to hear about the struggle you had with page load times. I fully understand it because I had similar experience not too long ago too.

      On top of the methods I mentioned in the article, here are some other things you can do to speed up your page loadtime –

      1. Make good use of Google PageSpeed tools – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/ – I think this is always a good starting point to have an overview of your site speed.

      2. Make sure that you are using a good host – speed matters. Do speed tests and compare your site speed with others using tools like Bitcatcha as I mentioned.

      3. Check your code closely – remove HTML comments, CDATA sections, clear empty elements to decrease page sizes.

      4. Combine CSS and scripts to make fewer HTTP requests – a bit hard if you are using multiple plugins and a custom built WordPress themes. But the least you can do is to move some render-blocking Javascript to the bottom of your page.

      5. Get a CDN service if the majority of your visitors are coming from a different continent from your host.

      • Thank you for sharing. I’m not sure how to accomplish #3 and #4. I’ve been searching the web for answers along with experimenting with different plugins to accomplish this. I signed up with cloudflare last week and upgraded my shared hosting plan but will look closely at your suggestions in #2. I’m thinking about going ahead and paying for a genesis/child theme as I’ll get support. I’ve been using one of the free wordpress themes, twenty fifteen. I have a hunch that the font isn’t optimized. The tech part of blogging is difficult for me, and I appreciate your response.

  22. #5 made me laugh – Ironically, I couldn’t read this post on my phone! *LOL*

  23. Great post and very useful information, really makes me realize how I need to improve with my use of H2 and H3 tags on my content. It does make me happy though to see that I am not (very) guilty of any of the rest of the list, which I completely agree with your points.

  24. Oh, Number 7.

    Whilst I like to support my fellow bloggers, I’m increasingly frustrated by the anodyne posts that some of them constantly recycle. I’m sure they can be described as evergreen, in that they contain no information at all so it can never go out of date.

    But frankly, if I see another Tweet about ‘My morning routine’ or ‘How to use sitting down to improve your productivity’, I might have some sort of episode.

    The truth is that on Twitter, I don’t necessarily solely follower blogs that I actually want to read. My of them are people that I have interacted with and to whom I want to show some support.

    Just occasionally, though, I do dip into their posts and am staggered at the drivel that gets published.

    I guess they may say the same about me and my blog… however I do think the days of the traditional ‘online journal’ blog are gone. People expect more – more high quality content, more engagement, better quality photography and a more integrated experience.

    Don’t lose your precious readers by wasting your precious time writing 500 words about why you love cabbage.

    Unless it’s a cabbage-specific blog. I’d imagine your readers would love that.

  25. Yes, yes, yes!! It’s like that scene from Harry met Sally over here while I read this ;)

    Absolutely agree about adverts being in between paragraphs, I understand it’s a great way to make money from your blog but I think it really interrupts the flow.

  26. Hey Jerry,

    I agree with you on these 9 points, although I’ve been guilty for a couple of them lol. But yes, these are easy tweaks to improve your bounce rates. I think the one thing I would add is including relatable images. There’s a lot of people on twitter two and if you add images, you increase your blog posts’ chances of getting clicked on twitter as well as other social sites. Besides their, more than likely it will be overlooked!

    Thanks for sharing Jerry! Have a good one!

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