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What Makes People Read Your Blog Post? 26 Bloggers Share What They Look For!

Technology has made it easy for just about anyone to put up a blog about almost anything under the sun.

But there is no technology that will ensure anyone will be interested enough to read your content.

Your blog’s success or failure depends on how you make your audience feel.

If you’re really serious about blogging, you’ll take the time to know your readers to the point where you can think like them.

You’ll need to know what they would like to read about, what makes them tick, and what type of content they want.

You need to be creative and experiment with different type of content to find a way to be truly responsive to your readers’ wants and needs.

And that is not as easy as it sounds.

This is why I’ve decided to ask 26 active people in the blogosphere.

I’m curious about what makes them click, what keeps them reading, and what turns them off.

And here are the surprising responses they gave . . . .




Question #1: What makes YOU click?

1. Great Headlines

David Leonhard David L.

"Headlines That Arouses Curiosity"

A headline that arouses curiosity. I’m a sucker for that. Of course, it has to be a topic that would interest me, but if you can get my curiosity with the headline or the intro paragraph, you just might have me hooked. I guess that is still the idea, but perhaps more whether the writer can draw me into the idea. - David Leonhard from THGMWriters.com

"Interesting Headlines"

 Robert Ryan Robert R.

"I don' t know about you but I'm a sucker for numbers, how to guides and list style posts about topics that directly appeal to what I do - WordPress, SEO & Online marketing in general.

If a post title has a bit of humour in it or intrigue then the fate of my click is pretty much sealed. To entice readers to read your blog posts the title should try lure them in (often with the inclusion of some version of the word "you", we're primitive beasts who respond to it) and give a good idea of what the post is going to be about.

Hence, how to guides and list style posts are great for titles as they give a clear indication of what the post is going to be about." Robert Ryan from RobertRyan.ie

Jason Mathes Jason M.

What grabs my attention? First it's the title and usually the opening Excerpt. Most of the time I get my content through Social Media.

The title and excerpt has to be something I'm interested in reading (usually design, blogging, or SEO related).

If they attempt to use "Link Bait/Buzzworthy" in their title (example: 10 Ways to Improve Underwater Basketweaving - #7 Floored Me!) I won't even bother with clicking. It has to tell me immediately why I would want to click through to it.

Plus it has to be answering a question I was looking for. - Jason Mathes from AvgJoeGeek.net

Jeff Sieh Jeff S.

The biggest reason that I will click through and read a blog post is first of all a interesting or a thought provoking title. A title that also encompasses humor, I'll most always click on as well. Jeff Sieh from HisDesignOnline.com

“Intriguing Headlines”

RB Biddulph RB B.

I'm a sucker for a great headline. I like intriguing headlines, or headlines with big numbers, because I know that I'm receiving value through these types of posts. Also, the post must deliver. If the intro pulls me in, and the blogger is telling a story, all the better. - RB Biddulph from BloggingFromParadise.com

Kathi Kruse Kathi K.

First thing that captures my attention is a good headline. Not some silly, link-bait headline but one that's really clever. There is an art to good headlines and I strive myself to become an artist everyday. - Kathi Kruse from KruseControlInc.com

Ashley Faulkes Ashley F.

As many of you will know, the headline is super, super important. It is the first thing you see on social media or wherever you see the blog post. And it not only tells you what you will learn, but also, hopefully, it excites you enough to read it.

But be careful. Don't lie in your headline, just to get someone to click. They will soon leave your site once they learn the truth.

Also, don't make your headline too long. Google does not like it, and neither do people on Twitter. So short and sweet is great, but not so short I have no idea what the content is. - Ashley Faulkes from MadLemmings.com

“Benefit-Driven Headlines”

Ana Hoffman Ana H.

Blog post title - it has to have a clear benefit for me; how will this post benefit my business? I don't care for catchy hyped-up titles with no clear reason of why I should actually click on them. - Ana Hoffman from TrafficGenerationCafe.com

Adam Connell Adam C.

The headline – when a headline is benefit driven, I’m much more inclined to read the post. I don’t have much time to read so unless the headline clearly describes how the post will help me, I’ll avoid it. It’s usually the more detailed resource type posts that I pick out and case study focused content (e.g. how I did X in X). -Adam Connell from BloggingWizard.com

“Headlines with less brag and more value”

Mike Wallagher Mike W.

A well-explained headline that proves the post is useful/valuable. I personally hate all those "2 artists met on the street. SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT" or "2 artists met on the street. You wouldn't believe what happened next". So, in short, less brag and more value is important. - Mike Wallagher from StartBloggingOnline.com

Julie DeNeen Julie D.

First of all, I look for a title that is interesting, but not click bait. For example, if I see a post that says "36 Epic Ways to Never Have a Dirty House Again" I'm not as attracted to it as a title like "36 Cleaning Tips That will Save You 5 Hours a Week". The first one seems like it's trying to lure me in. The second one seems genuinely helpful and informative. It doesn't have to be click bait because it speaks for itself. - Julie Deneen from fabulousblogging.com

Lesson #1: Write interesting headlines. Excite people with your post titles. Use numbers. Describe immediately how your post will help people. Keep it short and sweet! Looking for blog title templates? Get attention-grabbing headline templates here.


2. Unique, Fresh & Relevant Topics

David Leonhard David L.

It’s the idea! It sounds like there is something new and unique. A list of the top 12 plugins will not get my attention, because I know that if I need plugins for something, I can search and there will be dozens of posts like that at my fingertips.” - David Leonhard

Erika M Erika M

There have been thousands of posts written on how to get more followers on Twitter or design an attractive blog. If I can see simply by glancing at the headline that the article has something unique, fresh, or highly valuable to say, it makes me want to jump in immediately. - Erika Madden from Olyvia.co

Marc A. Marc A.

I'd say the combination of relevance and timing is probably the biggest factor that encourages me to read a blog post. I have lots of blog feeds in my feed reader that I scan every day, but when I come across something that is relevant to me at that particular time I am very likely to read.

For example, if I am currently focused on something specific like building my email list and I come across a post with tips or techniques for getting more subscribers, I am going to check it out. So from a blogger's perspective it's important to know what audience you are targeting and what topics are important to them. - Marc Andre from ProfitBlitz.com

Lesson #2: Be creative. Brainstorm new ideas. Try out new things! Don't just write the same thing over and over again. And be relevant, know who your target audience is and focus on making them happy a.k.a write topics that your audience will love.


3. Posts with clear purpose

Melyssa Griffin Melyssa G.

I love blog posts that make their purpose clear right away -- whether it be in the post's title or first paragraph, if I can't quickly glean what I'm going to take away from the rest of the article, I usually don't read it. People like to know what they're going to get when they invest their time in your blog -- make it known sooner rather than later. - Melyssa Griffin from TheNectarCollective.com

Amy Lynn Andrews Amy Lynn A.

The benefit. I read a blog post when I know immediately what I'll gain from it. I follow most blogs in Feedly, so the benefit has to be clearly communicated in the title or the thumbnail image. I also have a soft spot for list posts with numbers in the title. - Amy Lynn Andrews from AmyLynnAndrews.com

Scott Chow Scott C.

The title of a blog post is really the attention-grabber. The title needs to tell me what the post is about, but it should do it a way that piques my interest. The best way to grab a reader's attention is to emphasize the benefit to them of reading the blog post.

For example, if I am looking for a post on how to train my dog, I will likely pass over a blog post titled "Dog Training Tips" and go read something like "3 Simple Tricks to Train Your Dog in Just 10 Minutes". The second title lets me know exactly what I am going to get and makes me excited to find out just what exactly is in that blog post. - Scott Chow from TheBlogStarter.com

Ana Hoffman Ana H.

I first pay attention to titles (that's what makes me click through the most), then formatting.

Once a post passes the first two tests, I'll give it a closer read and here's what I am looking for: a short concise takeaway point that I can take back to my business and actually apply it today.

I am all about practical takeaways. The last thing I want to read is 'The Top 10 Reasons of What You Should Do...' without showing me how I actually need to do it.

That's what I aim to do in every post I write at Traffic Generation Café. And that's what I am looking for on other blogs as well.

It also helps when the blog post author actually points me to the main takeaway - puts it into a concise sentence or two and makes it visually stand out. If I see that, I am also a lot more likely to share it on social media.” - Ana Hoffman from TrafficGenerationCafe.com

Lesson #3: Tell people exactly what they are going to get from your post immediately - state your purpose clearly on title, thumbnail image and/or in the first paragraph. Avoid the fluff. Get rid of the unnecessary. (I'm working on this myself!)


4. Posts Written or Recommended By Someone Trusted

Robert Ryan Robert R.

If I already know the author of the blog post and like their work then there is a much higher probability of me clicking though.

Not only that though but, even if I don't know the blog author but see their post shared say on Google Plus by someone I'm familiar with then I'm also likely to check the post out with the logic being "well, if X shared it then it could be a post worth checking out". With that in mind, to try get people to read your posts try:

  • Become familiar in peoples minds by having consistent branding across the board (logos, colours, fonts, tone etc) and/or
  • Get some influential people to read and share your post. Often times that is easier said than done but if you have a good title to suck people in, and content that matches it, then eventually, one of the influential demigods might see and share your content.

If you have your post nicely branded then any influx of readers the influencers share may garner you will be maximised as you'll then start to become familiar to them. And the cycle continues ;) - Robert Ryan from RobertRyan.ie

Scott Chow Scott C.

In addition to the title, I look for some indication of the author's authority. For example, is the blog post on a well-known blog? Is it by an author that I know or have heard of? Was it recommended by another person or blog I trust?

For example, if I see that one of my favorite bloggers has recommended a blog or blog post, I will likely check it out, even if it's something I normally wouldn't read. - Scott Chow

Wade Harman Wade H.

Most of the time I'm always reading up to get more knowledge on a particular subject. Usually once a week I will browse social and search to find the best content for research for my next article to get ideas and to learn a little more about it. For the most part, I'm reading content and sharing content because one of my friends have written it and I want to be supportive.

Usually when I'm researching I'm not very engaging. I'm engaging on my end, writing down notes and things, but not on the blog end. When I'm reading something a friend wrote I like to try and comment and share because of the relationship I have with the person and I want to help get the content out there. - Wade Harman from WadeHarman.com

Jeff Sieh Jeff S.

I read blog articles if they are shared by people I trust. If I see articles by Mike Allton, Peg Fitzpatrick, Rebekah Radice, or you Pauline, I usually read them. It's because I've built a relationship with them over time and trust the stuff they share.

They have also shared content that I've published. That's why I think its really important for new bloggers to reach out to other bloggers to build relationships with. It won't happen overnight, and it takes work.- Jeff Sieh from HisDesignOnline.com

“I rely on my Tribes.”

Ileane Ileane S.

One of the most important things bloggers should do is align themselves with like-minded bloggers and the best way to do that is through blogging communities. My favorites are Triberr, Social Buzz Club, Viral Content Buzz and Blog Engage. I use these communities to curate content on a daily basis and 90% of the blogs I read each day are from members of these communities. This is a good starting point for me, because I don't use a feed reader to monitor popular blogs, I rely on my tribes. - Ileane Smith from BasicBlogTips.com

Lesson #4: Be everywhere. Brand yourself well. Make meaningful connections in your industry. Be friendly. Earn people's trust by the content you share or create. In short, be memorable.


5. Titles & Featured Image That Stands Out

"Good Title & Original Image"

Katherine Kotaw Katherine K.

The top two reasons I read a blog are its title and image. If I love the author, I'll forgive a bad title and image. But, if I'm reading someone for the first time, I must see a compelling, never-seen-before headline and an original image.

Titles and images are tough. It takes time, talent and creativity to come up with something that sets a post apart from the 27 million pieces of content published EVERY day (Source: The Sunday Share, ("50 Stats You Need to Know About Content Marketing")

So a good title and image let me know that the author made the effort to be original. A million posts and a half dozen Google algorithms ago, it was fine to write headlines that began "10 Easy Steps..." or "How to Guarantee..." Now, it's critical to be distinctive, to demonstrate you care more about your readers than your rankings. - Katherine Kotaw from KOTAWContentMarketing.com

“Posts without boring obvious royalty free photos.”

Rick Ramos Rick R.

“The two most important things within a blog post is the title and associated image. These are the ONLY two things people will see about your post when its shared though social media, RSS or other distribution methods. When writing a headline, keep it short and to the point, you only have a few seconds to capture someone attention. You should also try to pique the reader’s curiosity with your headline. Regarding images, you should use something unique and eye catching, stay away from boring obvious royalty free photos. - Rick Ramos from RickRamos.com

“Titles with calls to action + awesome graphics (but not too much)”

Brandon Couch Brandon C.

What makes me read a blog post is really what the "tag" title says. For instance, "Checkout This Amazing Tool or tip etc". or some that "tell" me I need to read this. Being a creative person I love to see how people grab attention by the use of wording but also a big attention getter for me, is content images. I'm so busy throughout my day that when I skim through posts, if I see an awesome graphic about what the blog post is, I stop and read it. The ones that don't look that good I just bypass. Is that wrong? Haha.

For me, I like to just create something that is ascetically pleasing to the eye. Nothing too complicated, but also something that just looks cool or relevant to my topic. I sometimes do see some who have WAY too much graphics in an image and it hurts my brain haha.” - Brandon Couch from BcCreativeMedia.com

“Attention grabbing headline + featured image that stands out”

Marko Saric Marko S.

Definitely the headline and the featured image. I am highly likely to see your post only in a stream such as the one in Feedly or a Twitter feed. Without the headline capturing my attention it will be difficult to get me to click on the link, especially if I have no history and connection built in with the author or the site. A nice featured image that displays prominently in the social media feed and adds more context to the headline will also help get my attention. - Marko Saric from HowToMakeMyblog.com

Mitt Ray Mitt R.

“A good headline and cover image can get me to read a blog post. I come across most blog posts on social media. The posts that stand out on social media like Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Linkedin are updates with good cover images and headlines. So I would say these two are the most important parts of a blog post.

Therefore you should make the extra effort to write powerful headlines. Sites like Upworthy and Viral Nova have mastered this part of the blog post. If you would like to write headlines like that you will need to spend some time and brainstorm a few headlines and then pick the best.

You can easily create cover images using tools like PicMonkey and Canva. For best results add the headline to the cover image too. - Mitt Ray from SocialMarketingWriting.com

The second most important criteria is the title. But, I have to admit, when I click through to a blog, if I find a great image or embedded video it will really get my attention and I tend to spend more time reading and I'm much more likely to interact with the content by commenting and sharing with my social networks. - Illeane Smith from BasicBlogTips.com

If its something random from social it's always the image...after that I look at title. - Wade Harman from WadeHarman.com

Lesson #5: Don't be boring. Seduce more readers by using interesting but to the point headlines, and of course, include fun cover images on your blog post. Don't just use stock photos. If you do, make an effort to make them look "unique" at least. I recommend Canva or Photoshop.


Question #2: What KEEPS you reading?

6. Posts With Clear Formatting

Jason Mathes Jason M.

The article itself has to be well written and formatted correctly. It helps if its 'blocked out' into easily digestible chunks of information. Do they use Headers properly? Lists?

While reading the article I pay attention to proper grammar/spelling. Does it have a lot of misspelling? - Jason Mathes from AvgJoeGeek.net

Ana Hoffman Ana H.

“Once I click on the post title, I want to see clear formatting.

I first scan the post to see if it deserves a closer read - I need to see it's worth my time. If it's not easily skimmable (long paragraphs, complicated sentences, no ways to break up content into smaller chunks, as in lack of headings or bullet points), I have to move on. I simply don't have the time to struggle through a blog post just to see if I can learn something new from it.” - Ana Hoffman from TrafficGenerationCafe.com

Ashley Faulkes Ashley F.

Don't underestimate your website's impact. It should be professional, well laid out, with a readable font (my eyes are failing, so assume your grandpa is reading it). And last but not least - visual. It should have at least one image, at the top (preferably on the right) and if the post is long, add another one, or a video. It keeps us readers interested. Next comes the content....but I will leave that for another expert to teach you about. - Ashley Faulkes from ZurichWebdesign.ch

Lesson #6: Make your content easy to read. Use subheadings, short paragraphs, lists, visual aids, and make sure your fonts are readable.


7. Posts With Great Intro

 Robert Ryan Robert R.

With a great title comes a great responsibility to have a stellar first paragraph. I particularly like when a tone is set that is a mix of educational and entertaining, call it an "edu-tainment" tone if you will, as then you know you're going to get a bit of value for your time spent reading.

A good first paragraph, to my mind, should start the story, or layout the bones of what the post is going to be about whilst leaving the reader fill unfilled but ready to read on.

Often times once I've read the first paragraph I'm then committed to reading the rest of the post so make sure your first paragraph is a good'un.. Robert Ryan from RobertRyan.ie

Marc A. Marc A.

The other factor for me is the introduction or the start of the post. If I start reading and lose interest or I am not getting much out of it I am likely to move on, or maybe scan further down the post to see if it is worth continuing. The posts that I read from start to finish get my attention either with an interesting intro of by getting to the substance of the post very quickly. - Marc Andre from ProfitBlitz.com

The first paragraph is super important and the overall impression. If the paragraph is good, is continue, if no, I scroll and browse the text. Also, I prefer clear structuring and formatting + images. - Mike Wallagher from startbloggingonline.com

Lesson #7: Write a strong introduction. Be personal. Be exciting. Share a story, ask questions, state surprising facts or use humor, quotes, or other examples that will keep your readers entertained.


8. Posts With Stories

“Share an example, or illustrate how you solve a problem.”

Kathi Kruse Kathi K.

The thing that captures my attention is a story. Whatever the topic you're writing about, if a story is told it compels me to read further. If it's a business blog, share an example of the point you're trying to make. Site a situation with a customer that's interesting and illustrates how you solved their problem or made their day. - Kathi Kruse from KruseControlINC.com

“Stories facilitate my relationship with the author - something which keeps me coming back.”

James Scherer James S.

I try to ignore titles, as I know how influential SEO (and other factors) are on a content marketer's life. I'd be lying if I didn't say a creative blog title didn't intrigue me every once in a while, but I try not to let a beautiful image and tantalizing title seduce me into reading a trite piece I've read 100 times before.

Stories keep me reading - anecdotes that help me come to grip with a concrete, actionable strategy or concept. Admittedly stories in the content marketing sector can be forced (I almost never read "how social media marketing is like golf/dating/star wars" articles) but when done well they will keep me engaged and scrolling. Stories also facilitate my relationship with the author - something which keeps me coming back.

My tip for creating content that I (at least) would read is simple: get creative. Tell me a story. Lie to me. Create metaphors and analogies that entertain as well as educate me. Drop an anecdote that illuminates a murky corner of your online marketing strategy. And make it your own, otherwise how will I recognize you against the other thousand writers that look just like you? - James Scherer from WishPond.com

Lesson #8: Create that "emotional" connection by injecting a story or an example on your post. Don't just give an advice. If you don't have a story to share, give examples. E.g. Before & After / Case Studies / Real-Life Examples


9. Posts That Are Written in Simple English

 Julie DeNeen Julie D.

I love simple plain English. No need to be flowery or sophisticated just to sound more intelligent. Respect my time and make it easy to read and follow. - Julie Deneen from FabulousBlogging.com

Lesson #9: Use plain english. Use words that your readers will understand.


10. Posts That Are Original & Unique

Mitt Ray Mitt R.

People need to have their own unique perspective on a topic, I don't want to read the same type of coverage over and over again. People need to inject their own personalities and experiences within their writing. - Mitt Ray from SocialMarketingWriting.com

Boontarika Sripom Boontarika S.

Not every blogger is an expert in their field. I do expect original content that hasn’t been copied and pasted from other sites. If the content comes from another site, I’d like to read opinions or additional material related to the original content. Citations and giving the proper credit can also create credibility and respect for the blogger.

Guest bloggers can help fill in the gaps with knowledge of a topic. I write about art, but I’m not familiar with all art forms. It helps build my community and possibly bring in more readers with expanding on the topics I address.

Provide resources. I have a resource page listing all the sites I’ve vetted as interesting and credible for my readers. The content I created is inspired by many of these sites and I want to share the good stuff! - Boontarika Sripom from OrganizedMesses.com

Katherine Kotaw Katherine K.

There's a different strategy for getting things shared than read. If you just want to get shared, get involved with some good sharing circles and connect with key influencers. If you want people to read your work and not just hit the "retweet" button, make sure your work is consistently strong (and this has to do more with stamping a blog post with your personality than it does with writing skills) and not something anyone else could have written. If I know the writer cares about a topic, I get engulfed in the passion and read through to the last word. - Katherine Kotaw from KotawContentMarketing.com

Lesson #10: Be unique! Mix it up with your own personality, experiences + opinions.

11. Posts That Cares About The Audience

“Posts with personal touch”

David Leonhard David L.

How engaging it is to read. I like very personable writing, perhaps with humor or irony, or making points that might be counterintuitive or make me thing. Interestingly, I was reading a post I found on ViralContentBuzz this morning, and it was of writing errors; the writer was not English and had a poor command of the language.

But he was telling a compelling story about an experiment he had just done over the past six months, and that left me wanting to know what comes next. I was hooked on the idea, and he was writing very personably, even if his English was not the best. I read the whole post. - David Leonhard from THGMWriters.com

“Posts that talks to me, and not about themselves”

Jason Mathes Jason M.

The article also has to be talking to "me" and not about themselves. I want the writer to carry on a conversation and help me not only answer the question I was looking for but tell me in a way that I can easily relate to.

If it reads like a white paper? I'm usually moving on. Images are important as they have to help tell the story. Video is a bonus if its relevant.

Social Shares? These can be 'gamed' so I don't pay close attention to them. It is very important that the site has a way for me to be able to easily share it though! - Jason Mathes from AvgJoeGeek.net

“Authentic Posts”

Boontarika Sripom Boontarika S.

What makes me read? Authenticity – The topic usually doesn’t matter to me. I can read about moms parenting for the first time, DIY, foodies, education, artists, science, and philosophy. If the blogger is truly passionate about his or her work, it is apparent in the writing. I can see the time spent to carefully select images and words to share this message.

The blogger puts a part of oneself into the post, and I can feel connected to him as a person. This can be accomplished through personal stories, images, and language that I can relate with. If the stories or images get me excited or feeling a strong emotion, I’m more likely to remember the post and come back.

Taking the time to develop an authentic blog can also manifest itself as different media. This blogger wants to make sure readers aren’t bored, so photos, posts of varied lengths, lists, how-tos, and videos are provided.

Engagement with readers also shows authenticity. I can really connect with the blogger when he or she responds to my comments to offer me another reason to come back. - Boontarika Sripom from OrganizedMesses.com

Regina A. Regina A.

The two things that capture my attention are a good title (as in: do I feel I will learn something from the post) and the blogger's tone toward the audience (is it sweet? confident? caring?). If I feel I'm learning and that you respect me or would be fun to know in real life, I will read any length article. I think the quickest way to capture people with your voice is to pretend like you're talking to just one person . . . someone you're extremely comfortable with. How would you make them laugh? inform them how to do something? delight them with your stories? -Regina Anaejionu from ByRegina.com

Lesson #11: Make your article look authentic. Be genuine. Make it about about your readers! Include credits if applicable.


12. Posts With Creative Visuals

Adam Connell Adam C.

Visuals are incredibly important, and because we’re hard wired for visuals it makes sense to focus on them. When bloggers use creative visuals, chances are that their quality is incredibly creative too. You don’t have to be creative to make visuals that stand out, I’m not but thanks to tools like Canva, I can easily create images that stand out. - Adam Connell from BloggingWizard.com

Jeff Sieh Jeff S.

Images are important as well. If I see a a poor image I'm less likely to read the article. If you have a great article and a poor image, you are really doing a disservice to yourself. It tells people that you really don't care enough about your article to take the time to go craft a good image. - Jeff Sieh from HisDesignOnline.com

Lesson #12: Inject attractive and relevant visuals into your posts. Don't just use stock photos.


13. Blogs That Are User Friendly

Jason Mathes Jason M.

Although I enjoy a great looking site. I usually browse on mobile. So a site owner has to do the following before I can consider even reading the article: It has to be mobile friendly. Has to load quickly. Not have a ton of ads and popups. - Jason Mathes from AvgJoeGeek.net


Lesson #13: Make sure you have a mobile-friendly layout.


14. Blogs That Looks Professional And Unique

Melyssa Griffin Melyssa G.

Having a professional, unique, and organized design will draw me in right away. Seeing generic templates or disorganization makes me think the blogger doesn't take their virtual space seriously. If they don't, why should I? - Melyssa Griffin from TheNectarCollective.com

Erika Madden Erika Madden

Once I get on the blog, hands down it’s the look and feel that keeps me there. Does it look professionally designed? Does it have an actual personality? My favorite blogs to read have a strong style and voice that practically launches itself off the page! - Erika Madden from Olyvia.co

Lesson #14: Stop using generic themes. Hire a web designer to create a unique theme that matches the personality of your site.


Question #3: What turns you OFF?

1. Posts that are Written for SEO

Kathi Kruse Kathi K.

The other thing that turns me off is content that's clearly written for SEO with no thought that humans will see it. I saw this just the other day with a group of Ford dealers I was working with. The "preferred" vendor for Ford is churning out the most insidious blog posts I've seen a while. Did they think that no one would notice? Including Google? - Kathi Kruse from KruseControlINC.com

2. Vague Headlines Or Content

Melyssa Griffin Melyssa G.

If a blog post title isn't descriptive enough, I usually won't read the rest of the article. Although overly creative or cute titles are a noble idea, they don't translate well to the online world, where readers like to know what they're getting before they start. For example, instead of calling your post, "Clearing Away the Cobwebs of Your Blog," try something like, "5 Useful Ways to Organize Your Blog's Archives." - Melyssa Griffin from TheNectarCollective.com

Unless the title and/or thumbnail is over-the-top compelling, things that make me not read are vague headlines, sponsored posts, guest posts (unless it's a known multi-writer site), outdated content or regurgitated content. - Amy Lynn Andrews from AmyLynnAndrews.com

Hype and boring headlines suck. - Mike Wallagher from StartBloggingOnline.com

3. Posts That Are Irrelevant

Mitt Ray Mitt R.

You might write a great headline and include an attractive cover image, but if your topic isn’t interesting I won’t be reading your post. Blog owners should look into creating and publishing blog posts that their audience would like to read. Then all the effort put into writing it will be worthwhile. First, if the topic is of no interest to me, you'll have a tough time to get me to read about it. This is the reason that if your running a blog you should stick with a specific niche and don't deviate from it too much. You would have a much harder time developing a blog that covers cooking and football. - Mitt Ray from SocialMarketingWriting.com

4. Posts With Negative Tone

Regina A. Regina A.

The biggest, hugest, most serious thing that makes me not read a post is a negative tone. When a blogger talks down to their readers or acts snooty, I can't handle it. Your readers are giving up their valuable time (which has many demands on it) to read your writing. That's an honor. I feel the honor should be met with an engaging, courteous, friendly tone. The most common way bloggers are unintentionally negative is with "what not to do" type pieces. These posts are fine in general, it's just so easy to make others feel stupid for having done something on a "don't do this" list when a rude, assumptive, or "duh" tone is used. People are there to learn when they read a post like that. I feel we should try to reward curiosity with kindness. -Regina Anaejionu from ByRegina.com

5. Posts That Hurts The Eyes a.k.a Hard to scan articles

“I will stop reading immediately if I'm hit with a wall of text.”

Marko Saric Marko S.

If I am on the blog post itself, the formatting can be what makes me not read the post. I prefer scanning content before deciding if or not to commit some more time to it. Large blocks of text without any paragraph breaks, bulletpoints, subheadings and images would make it difficult to scan and would stop me from reading. -Marko Saric from HowToMakeMyblog.com

Marc A. Marc A.

I often leave blogs very quickly because of formatting or design. If I see a long post of text with no bold text, sub headers, bullet points, or anything else that can help me to scan it, I am more likely to leave. Long strings of unformatted text mean that it will take me longer to read, and I'm often not willing to do that. - Marc Andre from ProfitBlitz.com

Once in the post, I will stop reading immediately if I'm hit with a wall of text. I love to see headings and photos and short paragraphs. I also want to see in the first paragraph that the post will in fact deliver on the title. - Julie Deneen from FabulousBlogging.com

Kathi Kruse Kathi K.

When I see content on a post that has no breaks, all uniform, my eye naturally wanders. If it's something I really want to know about, I will try to read further but at some point, I just stop. It's seems monotone to me - somebody talking at me like Charlie Brown's teacher: Wah-wa-wah-wa-wah. - Kathi Kruse from KruseControlINC.com

Anything that makes it tough to read, such as huge blocks of text or poor sentence structure, might lose me. - David Leonhard

“Presentation matters. If there isn’t any investment in the post, why should I invest my time to read it?”

Boontarika Sripom Boontarika S.

The format and poor grammar – If it is a wall of text with poor editing, I will find another site to gather information. Walls of text make me think of a lack of time and effort into making the post. Presentation matters, and I want to be treated like a respected reader. The grammar doesn’t have to be perfect (I make a few mistakes every now and then). I do expect some effort involved in this production. Again, the entire work reflects how I see the blogger and his or her investment in the craft. If there isn’t any investment in the post, why should I invest my time to read it? - Boontarika Sripom from organizedmesses.com

Bad titles, bad images and anything that looks as if the writer just read a "How to Write a Blog" post. - Katherine Kotaw from KotawContentMarketing.com

6. Blogs With Bad Designs

“Blogs that are so 1999”

Erika Madden Erika Madden

A blog that is so 1999: I adamantly refuse to read any blog post that looks like it came straight out of 1999: little to no graphics, huge blocks of text, and a sidebar filled with 50 links. (If it has a popup, that’s even worse!) Some people think content ultimately trumps design, but it’s just not true. Having bad or outdated aesthetics is no different than having a dilapidated storefront: it makes everything you offer look less desirable. - Erika Madden from Olyvia.co

“Blogs with poor or cluttered layout”

 Robert Ryan Robert R.

Ooh boy, now we're opening up a can of worms. So, I've been enticed by the title, and the promise of the post that it brings, and so I click through to view it. Once there there are a few things that will have me pressing the back button such as: Perception is a fickle thing.

If the layout of the site is poor or cluttered I can quickly leave the post and go back to my news feed.

A bad/busy site layout can detract from great posts and, oftentimes result in them not being read. I'm not a 2 second skimmer but if the site layout is so egregious then I find it hard to stay on the site as the perception of the quality of the content has been tainted.

Some blog post are going to get long and wordy, we all know that, but try break up the text a bit. Use sub headers, lists, graphics, icons, charts, maps, stats, block quotes - anything - to parse and break up clumpy looking text. If your post visually looks like a challenge for someone to read (like me for example) then odds are I won't read it. When posts are parsed and laid out nicely it won't seem like such a time commitment and hence more readers til the end. - Robert Ryan from RobertRyan.ie

“Blogs that aren’t mobile friendly”

Finally, I do most of my reading on my iPhone. It's got to be easy on my phone to read and share or I won't follow along!! - Julie Deneen from FabulousBlogging.com

“Blogs that are interested in making money than sharing value”

RB Biddulph RB B.

The blog's design can make me tune out a post. If I see 3 or more glaring ads running up and down sidebars, the blogger is more interested in making money than sharing value. I'll start reading, and if the post is not genuine, I'll close it out.” - RB Biddulph from BloggingFromParadise.com

Jason Mathes Jason M.

You have only a matter of seconds to not only grab my attention, but has even less time to keep it. If your site loads slow, presents a popup, is poorly formatted and filled with mistakes? I'll click away never to come back again. I usually spend about 10 seconds scanning an article. If it looks like a bunch of fluff or a big sales page? I'm gone. - Jason Mathes from AvgJoeGeek.net

“Blogs that are not user friendly”

Marc A. Marc A.

The design of the blog will sometimes impact whether I read or not, but it also impacts whether or not I will share the post through social media. Even if a post has decent content, if the design is really bad or not user friendly I am less likely to recommend it to other people. - Marc Andre from ProfitBlitz.com

Adam Connell Adam C.

The blog’s design – if I land on the blog and the design is all over the place, full of distractions, ads etc – I usually leave instantly. This is because I only have a finite amount of time to read other posts and if I’m going to read a post, I want to be able to focus and enjoy the experience. Some blog’s make this particularly difficult. Remove unnecessary distractions from your blog and make things easy for your readers – you will be well on your way to creating an experience that your readers will love. - Adam Connell from BloggingWizard.com

7. No Personal Element

RB Biddulph RB B.

Bland titles, or boring titles, make me tune out.

More than anything though, I'll stop reading any post that doesn't recount some personal experience. I've read probably 50,000 posts over my 5 years as an entrepreneur and so many are simply the same post, with no personal element. I need to see practical tips, applied from personal experience, and a strong personal/story/ "this is what I did" element, to keep me on the blog. - RB Biddulph from BloggingFromParadise.com

8. Posts With Poorly Written headlines

Adam Connell Adam C.

A headline that is poorly written – if a headline is poorly written, I usually steer clear because if someone can’t get the headline right, chances are the content will have the same amount of effort put in. - Adam Connell from BloggingWizard.com

Conclusion

The result of my mini survey seems to validate the advice of blogging Pros.

Headlines should be interesting; it could also use a bit of humor and perhaps even a little intrigue. Content should match the title. One of my friends summed this up by saying “I'm a sucker for a great headline” and then followed it up with “Also, the post must deliver.” Their responses also made it clear that they expect the content to be fresh, interesting, relevant, and truly helpful. Clear presentation and good graphics are also a must. People love stories and a personal touch – that’s why very few people like reading instruction manuals.

It’s clear that in order to have a successful blog, you need to be passionate about your craft. You should also write about something you’re as passionate about as your target audience.

It may take some time, but success is sure to follow.

pauline c
By Pauline Cabrera

A twenty-something savvy web designer / social media manager / SEO strategist based in Toronto, Ontario. Passionate about web design, HTML/CSS, beautifying things and internet marketing. Follow me on social media and say hello! Follow me on Facebook Follow me on Instagram Follow me on Pinterest Follow me on Twitter

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