When building your online brand and business, creating positive experiences for your target audience will develop trust and keep them coming back for more.
I've put together a list below of 7 ways you can turn off your online audience. These are common practices that I've experienced online that have caused me to unsubscribe from an email list or abandon a site. What about you?
The last thing you want to do is distract your target audience, waste their time, or lose their trust. These are big risks to take in the digital age because you only get one chance to make a great first impression when a visitor lands on your site.
7 Ways to Hurt Your Blog's Credibility (and lose subscribers)
1. Poor Design
Whether you have a small or big following in social media, your blog or website is your brand. It's the first and lasting impression. Even if you do have great content, an unprofessional web presence will totally ruin it. This includes your site design, layout, and even the formatting of your blog posts. I'm amazed at the number of individuals and companies who throw together a blog just to say they are blogging without giving attention to professional design. This is just an area where you cannot skimp.
2. Lengthy Web Forms
There are times to ask for more information from your visitors, but not every time you have something valuable to share. Give some content away that is not behind a form on occasion. Also, maybe just ask for a first name and email address rather than the kitchen sink. Relationship building is a process. Start the relationship first, and gather more information as you build more trust.
3. Heavy (non-native) Site Ads
The major media and industry trade sites are the biggest offenders here, and I understand they have to be given the dependence on ad revenue. Some of these sites, however, make it an obstacle course just to get to the article you're trying to reach! Your audience will be conditioned after a few times of going through your obstacle course not to click through again because it's just too much trouble. Many bloggers make use of heavy ads as well. At some point, too many ads can reduce your credibility and can be off-putting to your visitors to the point of no return. Unfortunately, lots of bloggers are too dependent on them.
4. Off-target Landing Pages (from social ads)
So you're running social engagement ads on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, but following the link in your ad takes your audience somewhere without telling them what to do next, or even worse, they land on your website homepage? (LinkedIn ads are especially notorious for this) It seems that if you're going to spend budget on social ads that you would have also considered what you want the person to do once they've clicked. It kills me to see all of those wasted ad dollars.
5. Too Many Email Pitches
Most of us agree that the value is in the list. Getting into the email inboxes of your target audience is critical for cultivating and strengthening relationships. Therefore, your email communications should be delivered with that in mind. It's okay to pitch something (tastefully) from time to time, but make sure it's truly a value-added offer for your audience. There is a right time to ask for the order and certainly there are ways to do so creatively. If you're constantly pitching offers and claiming that each of them is urgent, unique, and important, eventually your audience will catch on and realize it's less about them and more about you.
6. Deceiving Headlines
I know, I know, everyone says you have to master the art of writing great headlines. However, should we be doing this at the expense of quality, value, and substance? If you write and share a great headline on social networks, back it up with equally great content. Some of the most popular news sites and blogs are the guilty of this one. It's become a game of who can craft the best headlines to grab attention versus what content is really worthy of clicks and shares.
7. Required Log-In for Basic Content Access or Commenting
It is highly annoying to have to create an account or “log-in” to access basic content, or to leave a comment on a blog or website. If you have premium or paid content that is truly premium in nature, identify it as such and feel free to require an opt-in for access. Otherwise, you are going to send your potential fans, followers, and subscribers elsewhere by denying them basic content or commenting with account registrations and forms they can't get past.
For a time, I was also anti pop-ups. Pop-ups greet you on a blog or website just as you arrive or maybe after you've consumed a bit of content. As long as you give the reader an opportunity to SKIP or close the pop-up, you're golden. The conversion rates on pop-ups are just too powerful to deny, at least for the time being.
What have I missed?
If I've missed anything, please share in the comments. Which of the above 7 items turn you off when visiting a website or blog?