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7 Things That Will Make Me Leave Your Blog Fast

There are certain design elements about blogs that just make it difficult for the readers to enjoy... here's the 7 things that will make me leave your blog.

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Lately I’ve been noticing a lot of different ‘design’ traits in blogs. You know when you’ve been focusing on something, then you start to see it everywhere? It’s like that. I’ve been reading and researching a lot more about website design as well as delving into research people have done about what does and doesn’t work. It’s been incredibly fascinating. But there are a few elements that people still put on their sites that will make me leave your blog fast.

Newsletter Pop-Ups You Can’t Click Off

There’s no denying it – like them or not, pop-ups work. But… and this is a big but… not all pop-ups are the same.

If I have just landed on your site – haven’t even read the first sentence, and a pop up comes up asking me to subscribe to your newsletter, and I can’t click off the pop-up, then I’m going to be leaving your site. You haven’t offered me anything of value, I don’t even know you yet, I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t know what your message is – and you want me to sign up to a newsletter? I don’t mind if you’re offering me something awesome… but just a newsletter?

Your pop-up isn’t meant to be a squeeze page that makes me sign up or leave. It needs to offer VALUE!!

This is the equivalent to walking up to a total stranger and asking them to go on a date with you. Woah up there!! What’s your name? Let’s start with that hey. Offer me something awesome and it’s like giving me a bunch of flowers, that I’d be pretty happy with!!

There’s a new hybrid of ‘pop ups’ that are quickly gaining in popularity and I use too called ‘The Welcome Mat’. It’s almost like it adds a landing page to your site, which readers can easily scroll past if they don’t like. However – the KEY to using something like this is to OFFER VALUE. Don’t just ask for a sign up to an email – this doesn’t give your readers anything in return.

Ads Blocking Me From Clicking Where I Want To Click

Not only is this against the rules for ad networks like Google Adsense, it is incredibly frustrating. If you have an ad that shows directly below your drop down menu, and I can’t click on the topic I want to read about because I keep clicking on the ad below instead, then I won’t be coming back to your site.

A Dark Background With Light Writing

Or even worse… coloured writing on a dark background. Yikes!! Talk about mega eye strain and a headache! The thing is I, like most other people, am relatively lazy when it comes to websites. I want the information to be presented to me in the easiest way for me to read – if I have to strain to read your website then I’m not going to put in the effort and I’ll head off somewhere else.

Click Next To See More Pages

Bah this one frustrates me the most. If I have clicked through to your post it is because I want to read it. I don’t want to have to keep proving how much I want to read it by clicking again and waiting again for load times. I want to read it all in one go, right in front of me. This honestly will make me leave your site straight away. I refuse to be baited into clicking more on a site just to improve their stats. There’s nothing I want to read bad enough that will make me click through on one of these.

There are certain design elements about blogs that just make it difficult for the readers to enjoy... here's the 7 things that will make me leave your blog.

Music Automatically Playing

I know I’m not the only one out there that this frustrates. Actually, I’ve never spoken to some one who has said ‘you know what, I love it when music automatically plays on a website – especially when I have forgotten to turn the speakers down.’ Okay that may be a little dramatic but you get the point.

I used the time when my son was sleeping on my chest as a baby to read a lot online and this would literally make me angry. I learned to turn my speakers down but still – a baby being woken by dodgy music is not a happy baby.

Busy, Busy, Busy

If I’m struggling to find your blog post through the ten advertisements, eight blogging award buttons, six background images, four link parties and two pop ups then I’m going to get a little frustrated.

It is common knowledge that clean, clear and crisp website designs are the way to go. Increase your whitespace and make your blog visually pleasing and I’ll stick around to read anything you have to say.

Constantly Trying To Sell Me Something

Again, I don’t even know you yet and you’re already asking for my money? Before I buy anything from anyone I want to know more about it than just the title and price. You should be using your blog to show me how amazingly knowledgeable you are and prove that I’d be better off if I had your product, then there’s a higher chance of me handing over my money. Not so much if you berate me into buying it.

I completely agree that you need to advertise your products but have a think about what your website looks like from the eyes of someone stopping by for the first time. Perhaps ask someone to review your site and give you honest feedback.

Maybe it’s a personal thing… but I assure you that with all of these traits I’m not the only one that doesn’t like them. But the wonderful thing about blogging is that at the end of the day it’s your website. Depending on your motivation for creating your site, the only person you may need to please is you – which is fantastic. But if you’re in it for the growth and to reach a large number of people – then I would urge you to consider what changes you could make. Perhaps even test out what does and doesn’t work for you.

38 Comments

  1. This, all of this! I know many bloggers are really trying hard to gain stats, followers, clicks etc but when they come off like car salesman in the process. It’s more off putting than anything else.

    Some sites I really respect love the “page 2” click (looking at you Hello Giggles). Wish they’d understand that there’s a regular eye-roll when they’re lucky enough for me to click on it.

    Totally appreciate you putting this out there.

    xoxo
    Katie
    http://beyondtheclothing.com

    1. In my opinion, click through posts gain false stats. It’s not really how many pages your audience reads because they need to click through 5 pages to read one article. I’d rather keep my stats clean and true, even if they don’t look as pretty as some others. I’m glad you agree. xo

  2. Yes to all of your points!!! Especially the pop ups sigh…what’s with that?

    Sadly another problem I have is trying to read faded grey text. I love the look of your blog, and your text, but it’s so hard for me to read it, that I think I missed most of the post because I was puzzling through trying to focus and even after enlarging my screen I still can’t read what I am writing here.

    Jen

    1. I am so sorry for that… thank you for persevering and commenting. I’d love to know if you were viewing the site on a desktop or mobile. I’ve made sure my site is as optimised for mobile as possible and I appreciate any and all feedback. Thank you.

  3. YES! to all of it… but especially the pop ups! i run and hide, because it’s impossible to get into the blog with all the pop ups in my face! i don’t care if they work, having an easily accessible blog is much more important i think.
    XO

  4. Wonderful suggestions and pet peeves of mine! I did get tickled though reading through your post and the first image is for a DIFFERENT post, lol. That always seems weird to me too, advertising another in the middle of the new. Personal preference for sure I actually like the suggested posts at the bottom. Thank you for the help. First timer visiting from Pinterest.

  5. I love that at the end you say that it’s your blog, but… – that made me smile. I really like the tips and found myself agreeing with all of them. Great minds, yeah? 🙂

    Thanks for putting this post together and sharing it. It was very nice to have my thoughts on site design validated.

    1. Definitely great minds 😛 I’m so glad you agree with my points – it’s nice to know that these elements annoy others as well and not just me. 🙂 I’m so glad you liked the post. xo

  6. great post but have a question. when you say “click to see more pages,” do you mean the “read more?” I have the read more on my home page but never really thought it annoyed people.

  7. I agree especially the music one, some blog owners know how to scare you away pretty fast. The worst case scenario – have multiple tabs open and look for the one that is blasting the sound. My pet peeve is the social icons that doesn’t open in a new tab and instead they take me away from the blog.

    1. That’s a really good point about the social media icons – plus it’s not good practice to be trying to move people away from your website to social media, for a whole heap of reasons. It seems like the music one is a common peeve – I wonder why people still choose to do it?

  8. Hi Krysal,
    I feel the same way especially about music…I’m a girl with a lot a tabs open all the time and I have to run around trying to figure out where the sound is coming from.

    I do have a question…random…I’ve had my blog for a very long time now and I’ve not had any real growth for a long time now. I get really good interaction (comments) but barely any followership unlike on my other platforms.

    I know there are probably a lot a factors that go into why but what do you do when a blog is not growing? Do you give blog reviews?

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Music is one of the worst of these issues… drives me bonkers every single time!!!

      I’d love to chat with you more about the challenges you’re facing with your blog. I actually offer coaching services now (just launched) and you can find more about it here – http://www./coaching – or feel free to email me and we can chat a bit more about what we can do – krystal@

      Looking forward to hearing from you <3

  9. Can I add one more…Ads that start when I get to your page and slooooooow down the whole site and make it IMPOSSIBLE to comment. Especially those who are part of blogging reciprocation groups and I HAVE to comment on in a reciprocation thread. ANNOYING!!!!!

    So glad you said these things that I have been thinking since I began blogging last year. 🙂

    http://unveiledandrevealed.com

    1. You know, I totally understand because sometimes they make me cringe too BUT… they work. Even I’ve started testing the results of a pop-up and it’s already converting 3 x better than any other method I’ve used. My biggest gripe with them is when you can’t exit from them – I don’t mind seeing them as long as I can get back to what I was reading easily. I don’t like the ones that shake in your face though… 🙂

  10. Yup yup yup to all of your points. I wrote a post on these exact same things and nothing makes me click off faster than a pop-up advert playing music or even worse a video that I can’t click off until I sell my soul to the blog. Girl bye!

  11. Super helpful – but did I miss something? I got a pop up asking me to sign up for something the second I landed here? I don’t recall what it was because I reflexively said “no thanks!” Is there a subtlety of pop ups for subscription vs “other stuff?”

    1. The pop up’s that really get to me are the ones you can’t click off… they are my big gripe. When I literally have to sign up, or leave the website because they’re either not designed for mobile or just poorly designed. It continues to surprise us in the online world how effective pop-ups are at converting, despite so many people saying they don’t like them. I’ve been using something a little different to a pop up and a little more friendly called a Welcome Mat by SumoMe – it slides down the page and can either be clicked off or scrolled away.

      I do believe there is a big difference between a pop up that asks someone to just subscribe vs. offering something to the reader. In the first case, you’re asking something of your reader before they even know if they like you enough to subscribe, with offering perhaps a newsletter or something generic in return. In the second case, you’re offering to give your readers something they can have straight away and gives them something of value.

      Always, always offer value to your readers. And if you offer something via pop up (or Welcome Mat) be sure to offer it in other places too that a reader can see so if they do choose to click off your pop up (which a lot do) there’s another place they can see your offer 🙂

  12. Hi Krystal! This is an awesome post. These things definitely push people away, instead of making them feel comfortable and keep coming back. All of them are true but some are subjective and debatable. In my opinion pop-ups that show up right away regardless of being able to click off or not will drive me away. As you said I don’t know you, and I don’t care if you are offering me value, if I’m landing on your page for the very first time and the first thing I see is a pop-up I’ll get a little frustrated. It happened to me landing here. I found your post on Pinterest and I got really interested and clicked. The first thing I saw was a huge white page with a subscription box. I wanted to read the article so I click on the X and started reading. So, we could say Pop-ups are a subjective matter as not everyone reacts the same way to them. But hey! don’t get me wrong, I use pop-up on my blog. I’m also guilty since it works. What I prefer doing it is to set it up to show up when people intend to leave. That way I give people time to read and decide wether they want to subscribe or not!

    On the other hand, the pagination thing, when is well used, it’s a help. When a post is crazy long, or it’s a huge round up with images, the best way to keep readers there is by splitting the post. It’s true that it helps with traffic but it’s not the same loading 10 images at a time than 50, or a post 2000 words long splitting it into 3 pages. It’s easier to read and also easier to load for the site. Judging by my stats people are ok with that. But also if you make one paragraph and split, another paragraph and split, people will definitely get annoyed and leave. It’s all about how you apply the tools not the tools itself.

    The one thing I’m 100% with ya is the dark backgounds with colored text. Geezzz that’s something that there’s no way someone can stand it for more than a few seconds. It’s not only annoying, it even hurts the sight. I’m a designer and a developer and that’s the first thing I tell them and I refuse to use those colors on those features. What I always recommend my friends to do is placing ourselves as visitors, ask ourselves, do we feel comfortable here? do we like that pop-up, do we like that background? It’s the best way to measure if our sites are in a good path.

    Thank you for putting this post together. There is much truth in here that we should always remember!

    Hugs
    Cami

    1. Hi Cami,

      I love your comment so much! Thank you! This is one of the most awesome things about the online world – so many different things appeal to so many different people! You’re right – I do use a page takeover that shows up a few seconds after someone lands on my page and for me this was a big step. I decided to give it a go and see how it converts but I promised myself two things – it had to offer incredible stand alone value (as in whatever the opt-in was could be taken and used immediately with awesome value) and it had to be able to be clicked off easily. I trialled it for a month and was astounded at the results. It converted more than 5 times better than any other pop-up I had ever tried!!!

      For me personally, the only pop-ups that really irritate me are the ones that I cannot click off. And I’m a sucker for a pop-up… I rarely ever sign up to someone’s website because of something in their sidebar but put it right in front of me in a pop-up and if it’s something I want I’ll sign up for sure 🙂

      As for the pagenation thing I do see your point, particularly when it comes to page load time. My biggest issue is when they have 20 points to the post and you have to click through 20 times. I guess it’s the same with a lot of things – when used well they can be effective, when used poorly they can be irritating.

      I am still to find someone who likes autoplay music though… 🙂

      Hope you have an awesome day lovely x
      Krystal x

  13. Any article, post or interview that starts with “And you won’t believe what happens next…” will turn me off instantly! Great post, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

  14. Hi Krystal,

    I just found your blog today and it’s so helpful. I just wanted to stop by t say that I looked on both my desktop and my phone. Turns out the grey text on white is in both places. You should be able to customize your template to use black text. It would help many of us without the best eyes!

  15. Just starting out my blog – these are AWESOME tips. It seems like everyone is always saying what to do.. which is nice and positive, but sometimes you need to hear the critical advice to really give you a good idea of where to go!

    Thanks for the advice – SUPER HELPFUL!! 🙂

  16. Omg! I completely am the same mindset as you! Everything in this is 100% me. I’ve had a longing interest in blogging, and trying to find all the knowledge in all these different other blogs to even begin, gets very frustrating because I run into if not 1 almost all these you have written about. I love your content! Hoping to start a blog future very soon. Once I get the understanding and knowledge to begin. Thank You for this.

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