Why I’ve Stopped Reading My Favorite Blog

I’m closing on on almost 8 years of blogging which has produced over 1,000 posts and entailed hundreds if not thousands of hours of work.

I have seen staunch readers and commentors come and go, often without having any idea where they went or why.

My guess is some just get bored of my writing style, others pissed off by my typos and no doubt many will have decided self development blogs were no longer for them and bailed completely.

With blogging you never quite make it and you can never take your foot off the gas.

Sure you may be flying high with lots of readers and lots of comments, but I have seen some very popular blogs diminish rapidly in popularity and even shut down.

For example, my last 3 blog posts over at A Daring Adventure have generated strikingly few comments.

Two of which I expected, but the last one, ’20 Motivational Quotes From Science’ I’m still getting my head round.

Just recently I have almost stopped reading what has been my favorite blog for at least a couple of years now because it is implementing two strategies that I really don’t like.

If you’re using WordPress then you have 2 options in how your posts are delivered to your RSS and e-mail subscribers.

Option One: The Full Post

This way the entire post is sent out in one neat bundle to your readers and all they have to do is log into their reader, or click on the e-mail they receive to read it.

The benefits of this approach are:

Your readers don’t need to click through to your site, which can sometimes be a pain in the ass, especially if they are on a mobile device.

The benefit to you is that because of this your post is more likely to get read.

However, there are two downsides to you.

Firstly, you lose the traffic from each click through and we all know that traffic is the life blood of every blog.

Especially if you’re looking to raise your Alexa ranking so you can get some lovely promotional freebies. As well as being more likely to attract high quality guest posts and people to interview etc.

The other downside is that people are less likely to comment if they are reading in a feed reader or their e-mail.

There’s a social proof side to comments. The more you get, the more people are likely to think what you have to say is interesting and therefore comment themselves and share it through Social Media.

Also, you can have some really cool conversations in the comments and it gives you a great opportunity to build relationships with your readers and even learn from them.

Over at A Daring Adventure I pretty much respond to every comment.

There are exceptions and if you see I have ignored a comment it’s often because even though the person has read the post and it’s not entirely spam, their only point in being there is to drive traffic back to their own blog.

When you have blogged for a little while you’ll get a handle on such comments, if you haven’t already.

The simple fact is however, I appreciate people taking the time to comment and as such I want to acknowledge them.

Option 2:  Send Out A Snippet

There is an option for you to send out either a snippet of the blog post that you hand craft to tempt people or have the feed pull in the first paragraph or two of the post.

The advantages and disadvantages are simply reversed from above.

Yes you get more traffic and more comments, but less people will read it (presuming it doesn’t go viral).

At A Daring Adventure I use the first approach although I have experimented with the latter a couple of times.

The fact is that I don’t like getting snippets as I am often reading on my phone and therefore I feel hypocritical if I use that option.

Coach the Life Coach is slightly different because there is no option to sign up for my RSS feed – unless that is you know how to do it manually, and few people do.

As such I send out a newsletter with the blog information in it.

My Self Justification

More often than not I will require people to click through and there are a couple of reasons that I use to justify this approach.

Firstly, I send intermittent newsletters out called ‘An Insiders Guide’.

In these I share information that I don’t share on my blog because it’s often personal and involves me talking about how I run my business.

I know that anybody can sign up for my newsletter and get this information, but when I’m talking about how much I earned last year as I’m about to in my next guide, I really don’t want that indexed on Google.

Because I do this and also sometimes include the entire article too, I think I’m offering great value for other coaches and asking for a click through is a small price to pay.

Secondly, and somewhat more difficult to explain without sounding lame, is that I want commitment.

I have almost 10 years experience of coaching and have screwed up more times than you can possibly imagine.

As such I can help you avoid making the same mistakes, but you have to show me you’re committed. If a click is too much trouble then you’re not committed.

A Daring Adventure isn’t like that. Sure in an ideal world I’d love my 12,000 subscribers be super pumped and eager, but it’s not a requirement.

It’s the same for the Coach the Life Coach training.

I honestly don’t want you on it of you’re not prepared to do the work, because very Life Coach who does the course and then doesn’t succeed reflects upon me.

You may be sick of me saying the coaching industry is hard to succeed in, but suck it up because I’m saying it again and will continue to do so until I see evidence to the contrary.

Why I’ve Stopped Reading My Favorite Blog – Finally

So here we are, 1,000 words in and I still haven’t revealed the blog or the main reason I have almost stopped reading.

The blog is Psy Blog run by Dr. Jeremy Dean and there was a time when I read every single post.

Not anymore.

He obviously spent a lot of time and hard work getting his blog to the level it’s at now in terms of readership by delivering high quality information.

However, it’s now such a horrible experience reading there that I have to be really intrigued by a blog post title for me to check it out.

Not only does he just send a snippet out, but the site is covered in advertising, some of which is so in your face you may want to puke.

It also utilizes a type of approach that makes me want to hug a pop up like a long lost million dollars I just found under the stairs.

It appears that at random intervals when you click through to read you are allowed about 5 seconds to start reading before you’re taken directly to a holding page leading to the advertisers site.

WTF is that all about?

I haven’t even figured out how to close it yet and twice I have had to close the entire site down and click back through again.

I won’t do that again.

Make Reading Your Posts A Pleasant Experience

Your blog wants to be a pleasant experience for your readers otherwise you can offer amazing material and they won’t be back.

Make sure the navigation is easy.

Make sure if they want to comment they don’t have to jump through hoops (I’m thinking of Livefyre here).

Make sure if they want to subscribe they can see how.

Make sure that the type is legible and you’re not blinding them with a mixture of colors and fonts.

If you are struggling to generate readers because you’re still finding your voice and blogging style, that’s fine, most people go through that – I know I certainly did.

But if you can’t keep readers because the experience of being on your site is an unpleasant one, then I’d say that’s a self inflicted wound and maybe you should do something to change it?

Coach The Life Coach Training Is Almost Full

At the time of writing I have two places left on the next training that starts on Sunday August 10th at 12 noon EST.

However, I am doing a consult on Tuesday with a person who is very serious about joining, so that may in reality only be one.

If you want more information please click here.

You can still get the early bird discount, although I’ll end that when I get definitely down to one place.

Image: ‘How’s My Blogging?’ Courtesy of Scott Beale

Comments

  1. Leo

    Actually there’s a third option for RSS: full post + putting a link back to the blog at the end of the post, that encourages an action of some sort. This way you keep the advantages of both approaches.

    It’s relatively easy to implement if you know what you’re doing, a matter of editing one file like functions.php. Just add:

    function rss_post_footer($content) {
    global $post;
    $mflink = get_permalink($post->ID);
    $mftitle = get_the_title($post->ID);
    $content =
    $content.
    “”.
    Continue reading: “.
    “.$mftitle.”“.
    “”;
    return $content;
    }
    add_filter(‘the_excerpt_rss’, ‘rss_post_footer’);
    add_filter(‘the_content_feed’, ‘rss_post_footer’);

      • Tim Brownson

        Leo, thanks for your input. Are you talking about the psot in a reader because I thought by default there was a link back to the post from RSS delivered via e-mail.

        Admittedly there’s no call to action per. To be honest it’s so long since I used a reader I forget now.

  2. Sara

    I have also stopped reading blogs that have adverts breaking up the text – I think I’m going to the next page and I’ve clicked on Japanese car imports instead! Surely if you are serious about getting your info out there you don’t want anything to interfere – it is like virtual ADHD – you hardly know where to look and it breaks your train of thought. Surprised that a psychology blog doesn’t think about these things!!!

    • Tim Brownson

      I think maybe Sara it is more of a revenue generating blog than anything else and I’m sure he has weighed the pros and cons.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. There are quite a few sites I’ve seen in the last few months that have sold out to advertising – surely we’re smarter than that? It’s an insult to the reader – I’m sure they’ve seen a decline in subscribers when they change their policy to advertising spam.

    For my posts that go out on email, I usually add a link at the top of the email to open the post in the browser, and end the post with a question. That doesn’t happen all the time though. Sometimes, I don’t prompt engagement.

    – Razwana

    • Tim Brownson

      Yeh I can see s slight downward trend in traffic, but as I say above, my guess he’s tracking income rather than traffic levels.

      Although that can be short-sighted as eventually a drop off in traffic will lead to a drop off in revenue and a downward spiral will take place.

  4. Linda Secretan

    I wonder how you might factor in another effect of the ads: if many folks are like me they may continue to read PsyBlog(Dean’s concise reporting with clear citations really grabs me) but will stop forwarding posts to others. Do you suppose that will slow down growth overall?

    Meanwhile, I’m not actually troubled by any of the ads because I use “AdBlock.” Is there a reason I’ve overlooked that this is not a good solution??

    • Tim Brownson

      Yeh I have ad block installed in Firefox too, but it doesn’t seem to be very successful for me and on my phone it doesn’t seem to work at all.

      It will definitely slow his growth, but he may not care as he has a big enough following to make money off the advertising.