3 Odd Reasons Why I Don’t Read Your Blog

Filed as Guides on December 2, 2009 7:42 pm

firstBefore you judge me, keep in mind that I never claimed to be normal. My blog reading habits are probably different than yours. And that’s OK. I’m Andrew and you are, well, you are YOU.

Here’s a glimpse at how I size up a blog upon my initial visit. I’d love to hear from you in the comments on what initially turns you on or off to a blog.

- ADS. I find that the types of ads a blog runs is quite telling. The blogger that I truly want to read does it for the passion of the topic – not the 14 cents they can potentially make off of some Lance Armstrong-endorsed muscle-building drink. I look at the quality of ads (what’s being sold) and the quantity. Once I see ads for a shady product, I vanish like a ghost. I realize many folks are into blogging for the money, and that’s fine – just don’t be so blatant about it.

- LOOKS. I’m not talking about the look of the Website, rather, the physical appearance of the author. If you’re way ugly or too good looking, I’m probably not interested in your blog. If your bio shot is air-brushed or captures an absurd pose (i.e. – sideways baseball cap), I find it to be a turn-off. I’m not saying physical attraction is a requirement, but knowing what you look like gives me more reasons to tune you out. It’s sort of like the Human Resources department at a corporation. Many job seekers make the mistake of thinking HR exists to find reasons to hire you. It’s the opposite. They are there to find reasons NOT to hire you. It might sound shallow, but that bio pic might be costing you readers. God knows mine probably is.

- TEMPLATES. I am often amazed at how many good bloggers, ones who deliver compelling content on a regular basis, plop their posts into a common template. With so many simple ways to tweak the appearance of your blog, it is inexcusable to keep with the default settings in place. By not making any changes you are showing that your blog’s appearance is an afterthought. You also set yourself up to look like a domain squatter.

Bloggers get a mere few seconds to engage readers. And if we’re gonna be honest, no matter how clever and pithy your words are, the text on the page is probably not the first thing most people notice. Appearance matters. Make sure your blog looks its best!

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  1. By Jay Philips posted on December 2, 2009 at 9:39 pm
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    Awesome post, I really like how you state up front that you’re not normal. Is anyone? I agree with the Ads & Templates reason but not the Looks. I don’t think it should matter what a person looks like but what they write about. I don’t even have a picture of myself on my blog but I do have it on Twitter and LinkedIn. Not sure if my blog would be one that you would read but I think base my blog reaqding based on the content. If blogs take forever to load due I don’t visit it anymore.

    Reply

  2. By Bryan posted on December 3, 2009 at 12:50 am
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    Andrew,

    I also agree with your points on ads, I much prefer to see ads that blend in and look like they should be on the page and not like they are there because they will earn more. Or anything that flashes, or tells me it is the solution to a problem….I can already tell its not!
    Another thing that I feel is important is images within a blog post, I am very keen on seeing some colorful images to keep me interested. Especially if they are personal images that are associated with the post/article. This grabs my attention. I guess that could fall under the looks category!

    Nice post!

    Reply

  3. By Tamar posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:36 am
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    I would LOVE everyone and anyone to provide me with thoughts about my blog – i am wide open to hearing about what you love or hate.
    THANKS!
    T
    http://ihavecat.wordpress.com
    Single in the city – with cat (s)

    Reply

  4. By Alterity posted on December 3, 2009 at 7:04 am
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    Excellent post – especially about being “decent ” looking. I’m gonna get a really good potrait of myself done…

    Reply

  5. By Franky Branckaute posted on December 3, 2009 at 7:37 am
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    Are you sure you didn’t confuse blogs with dating profiles? ;)

    Reply

  6. By Rob posted on December 3, 2009 at 11:51 am
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    Andrew, I enjoyed visiting your site, but your own bio shot doesn’t seem to jive with what you’ve described as essential in your article here. :-)

    Reply

  7. By Andrew G. R. posted on December 3, 2009 at 2:11 pm
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    @Rob: If it were up to me, there would be no bio shot! ;-) Or, it would be something more interesting than my busted face. But some blogs that I write for require a ‘headshot.’ I’ve tried my best to keep it neutral and small in size.

    @Franky: I don’t make too much out of a blogger’s appearance, but I do think it is a slight factor when people make the decision on whether or not to engage on a regular basis. Hopefully our second date will go better. ;-)

    Reply

  8. By Tamar posted on December 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm
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    @Franky, did you even READ my blog? or just post a smart ass, unhelpful remark? The point of asking for input isn’t for your personal take on the subject matter but rather the things the author of this article is speaking of.

    Reply

  9. By Azterik Media posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm
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    I agree with the ads turn off. If I have to hunt the page to find the actual blog you can be gauranteed I’m not going to read it. Another huge turn off is gawdy site design. You know the blogs I’m talking about, bright orange and pink with sparkles and animation, content may be great but I’m not about to chance a migraine to find out. I also usually scroll down to reader interaction. If the blog poster is responding to comments I’m more likely to become a reader. My opinion may not be shared but to know that it’s acknowledged will keep me coming back. Great post Andrew.

    Reply

  10. By Andrew G. R. posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm
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    Consider yourself acknowledged, Azterik Media! Hope you keep coming back for more.

    Reply

  11. By waqas posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm
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    Agree with Andrew

    Reply

  12. By Kristen Escovedo posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm
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    Andrew,
    Guess I’m odd too, but I really like this post and agree with all three points. Maybe it’s because I spent over a decade working in communications, or maybe it’s because I’m quirky ~ dunno. I will even go so far to admit to not following someone on Twitter because their profile picture looked *too sexy*, they have too many followers (how smart, charming, and all around wonderful can someone possibly be?) or they have sent out ten million tweets (these are the people that tweet in the bathroom. I do not need to follow these people). I think it’s the same kind of filtering system.

    Everyone filters in some way. We all choose to follow or not for some reason (I’m sure I’ve created some fans and enemies with this comment). I would also add to my list of people I don’t follow those who don’t know the difference between it’s and its or those who don’t know when to use a possessive, but that is probably just me.
    @kescovedo

    Reply

  13. By Trey C. posted on December 3, 2009 at 10:35 pm
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    @Andrew,

    I want to LOL at your “LOOKS” paragraph. If this were the case that I followed I would have banned all celebrity and tech bloggers by now.

    Reply

  14. By arnold posted on December 3, 2009 at 11:57 pm
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    How dare you give my profile shot as a bad example? Yeah, I once used that sideways with baseball cap kind of shot, but I was holding a DSLR camera dude, it was cool! :-)

    Reply

  15. By acid heartburn posted on December 4, 2009 at 8:59 am
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    I often read interesting articles, success stories, a variety of success, but few who tells it how to succeed, how to achieve such success. generally recommend a tool or goods at a specified price. just a story, without being able to take advantage for the reader. thank you for you who have shared

    Reply

  16. By Ciprian posted on December 4, 2009 at 4:07 pm
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    I agree with most of things said by Andrew. Regarding the Template reason I think everyone has to start with something. Even with cheap theme or a common one.

    It’s really nice to have a very appealing theme but more important it’s the content.
    In the end we look for useful information that can help us. At the beginning most of the bloggers give more attention to their content.

    So from my point of view I would not be so critical on blogs look.

    But as Andrew said: “I’m Andrew and you are, well, you are YOU.”

    Well my name is Ciprian and I invite you all, to shout your best critics obout my blog: http://www.ciprianginghina.com

    Cheers.

    Reply

  17. By lewis posted on December 6, 2009 at 10:15 am
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    Thanx for sharing the information.
    I will surely going to keep check this when writing my blog

    Reply

  18. By Hal Brown posted on December 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm
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    You have some valid points, and all three make sense. However, obtrusive ads and scripts will make me look elsewhere for the content I enjoy. I’ll put up with a lot if the content is interesting.

    That said, most of us are trying to make a little money form blogging. As long as ads don’t obstruct content I’m OK with it.

    I honestly don’t care that much about templates. I think far too much time is spent tweaking them, time that could be spent on creative content.

    I won’t get into the bio pic. I do agree, never falsify yourself with a pic. Other than that, I don’t ‘judge a book by its cover’ .

    Reply

  19. By Millionaire Acts posted on December 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm
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    Nice post! As for me, what turns me off to visit a blog is mainly the physical appearance and the loading time of the site. If a blog takes at least 1 minute to load because of too many banners and other ads, then for sure I won’t be back on that blog again.

    Reply

  20. By Jamie Allsop posted on December 8, 2009 at 9:38 am
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    These are some really good points. I agree with Millionaire Acts, the appearance of your blog is important, but also the quality of your posts.

    Reply

  21. By Computer Repair posted on December 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm
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    Interesting to see that you care about the ads so much. I understand your reasoning, but personally I’m worried most about quality content and posts that are compelling. Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  22. By Lydia posted on December 14, 2009 at 2:24 am
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    hey, it is true, people look for the most attractive person first, then the next, then the next when surveying a crowd.

    this is maybe why i read wil wheatons blog?? lol i kid.

    i would like to think my looks are okay, that my design is solid, and i run no ads… so…

    work on my content is what i should do i suppose – or optimization. is content taking a backseat?

    Reply

  23. By Trulyfool posted on January 8, 2010 at 5:43 pm
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    Straight advice. What you’re broaching is the issue of design? As in visual design, not ease of linkage, and so on.

    I’m more a ‘word man’ than a ‘sight man’, but I hear you loud and clear.

    There are limits, at least for me. Using Blogspot or WordPress, you’re given templates and make the best choice out of them you can. Designing your own template, even if it were an option, would require an amount of site design knowledge I can only loosely guess at.

    Reply

  24. By Andy posted on December 15, 2010 at 9:41 pm
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    The templates one is the one that bothers me the most! I hate it when professional sites use the default wordpress template or something similar. If it’s a good blog, it should have a good template!

    Reply

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