We’ve all been on obnoxious websites that make us want to scream. Pop-ups, auto-playing songs or videos, illegible font colors, and constant flashing advertisements make us wonder how websites like that even attract visitors. We may never know a specific answer to that question, but we do know they aren’t attracting as much traffic as they could be with a few minor changes. Blogs are often the same way: a well-meaning blogger might not be aware that the aesthetics of his or her homepage is turning visitors off to their blog. If you have a large exit rate on your homepage, you might be making some of these mistakes:
- Your “About Me” page/section is lacking. Bloggers are always hesitant to complete their “about me” page. This isn’t a new phenomenon: as human beings, we have a hard time bragging about ourselves. However, just as you need to learn to toss humility out the window for a job interview, you need to work on thoroughly filling out your “about me” section. The “about me” page is one of the most visited sections of your blog. Why do your readers want to know more about you? Visitors read blogs because they love to relate to other people, to hear familiar stories from someone living across the country from them. Showing just how human you are, while sharing your qualifications, will draw in more readers.
- Your website isn’t mobile-friendly. Online marketing experts are stressing harder than ever the importance of having a website that is accessible to mobile devices. With ereaders, tablets, and smart phones on the rise, you can’t afford to not have a mobile-friendly website.
- It’s difficult to navigate on your blog. Troubling navigation can turn visitors off of any website. They key to having an easy navigation is to overdo it, to some extent: use tags to categorize blog posts; use archives to organize posts by date; use “best of” lists to show off your best blog posts; have pages at the top of the page; and have a search function within your website. However, even though multiple types of redundant navigation is helpful to the reader, too much will distract and overwhelm them. Have a friend search through your blog to find the right balance.
- Your blog is too busy and distracting. There is such a thing as over-designing. Bloggers can get so swept up in the creative process that they end up cluttering their blog with too much cute. Many are aware of the growing trend towards clean minimalism in design, but can’t help themselves. Your personal blog is, of course, a way to express yourself, and your blog design should reflect that. But if your design is too complicated and too overwhelming, readers will be turned off. Again, have a friend double-check your projects before you post them all over your homepage.
- Your blog does not look polished and professional. For many beginning bloggers, this is a difficult problem to solve without paying a professional web designer. However, there are little tweaks here and there that can make your blog look more polished: make the images on your sidebar all the same size; make sure all images and pictures within the blog are appealing and professional; and organize the advertisements on your page so they aren’t cut off anywhere. You may not think that readers will notice the little details, and the truth is, they probably won’t: they will, however, notice differences between two images and other glaring inconsistencies.
- Your formatting is unreadable. Small font sizes, large blocks of texts that aren’t broken up into paragraphs, using bold, italics, and caps lock in the same paragraph can make your text extremely difficult to read. And who wants to work to read a blog post? Not your readers.
- Your colors are unappealing. Perfect color combinations take a fine eye to create. Amateur designers absolutely can use the resources available to them to create the perfect palette on their own, but they can also choose colors that turn off the reader. Instead of picking your favorite colors, find colors that complement each other. And don’t make multiple colors compete with each other for attention: pick primary and complementary colors.
- Your comments section is a mess. This mistake may come down to whatever plugin or programming you’re using on your blog. Comments section where the comments are difficult to read, are cut off, or overlap with each other do actually turn away readers. Visitors come to your blog to engage, to join in the conversation. Even if they never leave a comment, many of them like to read what others have said. If they can’t do that, they may not come back to your blog. Whatever programs you use to organize your comments, it better look appealing and readable.
What are some of the most obnoxious mistakes that turn you away from a new blog? Share your thoughts in the comments!