Here’s what I learned when I asked my Quips and Tips writers how I could improve my blogs – I asked them to be brutally honest with me.
Their feedback applies to all blogs — not just mine — and can help you attract and keep readers!
Here’s one of the most interesting tips I received:
“Right now, your Quips and Tips site looks very dated and is extremely distracting,” says Kendra Hagerman. “It’s very hard to follow and find your way around the site. I find myself getting distracted easily and not reading all the articles entirely.”
Bloggers, if your site needs an overhaul, you’ll find Tips for Choosing Blog Themes helpful.
And — I just finished reading Seth Godin’s The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better, which taught me the importance of creating lean, clean, simple blogs that don’t distract readers.
Alrighty then, here come the tips for attracting and keeping readers…
Why Doesn’t Your Blog Attract New (or Keep Old) Readers?
Of all the feedback I received, I think the “your blog is too crowded” bubbled to the top most often.
“The Quips and Tips homepage is crowded with links and information,” adds Deanna Proach, of DeannaProach.com. “I think the sub-categories at the top are great. If people want to find a particular title, say an article about writing non-fiction, all they have to do is click on the ‘Non-Fiction’ sub-category at the top of the page and then that should take them to a list of articles in that category.”
So, I got rid of the extra column on the side, changing Quips and Tips from three to two columns.
And I’m still chewing on this feedback…
“You might want to feature vastly different ideas on some intriguing topic,” says Pinar Tarhan, of PinarTarhan.com. “I was reading your article on forgiving a cheating husband, and I am very opposed to the idea of forgiving a cheater. So this is just an example, but I would love to write an article on Reasons Why You Should Never Forgive a Cheating Man. It would be fun to see all sides of the argument from different writers on topics like this.”
Your ads are overwhelming
“When I visit Quips and Tips, the Google ads box is right there on the top left corner,” says Chris Loud. “It’s one of the first places you look, which is good for ads I suppose, but makes it look cluttered and amateurish….You want to see current content before you see ads and links to other articles.”
Your blog is too general
“You should niche your Quips and Tips sites even more narrowly,” says Stephan Jukic. “You’re coming close to competing with ehow, Associated Content, About.com and some of the other big content farms. That’s some real tough competition. I recommend dropping your least popular topics, and making each general site more targeted. Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility is a step in the right direction – it’s a highly specific niche without much competition.”
Your blog is distracting and your theme looks tired and old
“I know you’re not selling the website – you’re selling the content,” says Kendra Hagerman, of Follow Your Bliss. “But at the end of the day, those two are very closely linked. If I was a potential reader, I wouldn’t stick around long enough to see the incredible content your Quips and Tips websites have to offer. I would also use more professional looking pictures (such as Stock Exchange database pictures) and redesign the entire website to make it user friendly.”
Not enough white space
“Make the spacing between the article and the advertisements wider,” says Sheena Koo, of HeSaidSheenaSaid. “Create more empty space to accentuate the article as the main focus of the page. It might look a bit cleaner and easier to read.” She adds that she took a website making class, and the teacher told her to never use a type writer font (ie: Times New Roman) for websites. It doesn’t have a clean look and is harder on the eye. “I’m not sure if I agree with this,” she says, “but just thought I should mention it!”
A barrel of monkeys on your page?
“I feel the content is good, but there’s so much on the page,” says Heiddi Zalamar, of HeiddiZalamar.com. “You have a lot of great info for readers plus the ads. I feel you should put Feature and recent articles up first and the ads moved to the left of the page. I think you need to create a bit of white space so that the readers aren’t overwhelmed by all of the info. But, I do like how you have the sections at the top of the page where readers can click through.”
Too “in your face”
“There are too many articles that appear at once,” says Pinar Tarhan. “And because there’s also Google Adsense (which I have nothing against, by the way), it can be very easy for the eyes to get tired and for the mind to get distracted. Maybe a different, more differentiating color for at least some of the articles would make it for a better reader experience.”
Examples of simple, lean, clean blogs
Kendra Hagerman offers some brilliant website designs of different types and sizes of companies. “I think are really beneficial, easy to use, professional and just great to look at!” she says.
You’re writing boring blog posts
“Allow your content and writers’ writing styles to be a bit more (genuinely) edgy, rude, and controversial,” says Stephan Jukic. “I’ve seen some very successful sites that do just this (cracked.com is an exaggerated example). If you can piss enough people off, you also get their attention. I mean, look at what The Satanic Verses did for Salman Rushdie.”
What do you think of the Quips and Tips sites? How can I improve on them? I welcome your feedback below – the more brutal, the better!
Even more importantly – why do you think YOUR blog isn’t attracting and keeping readers?
If you want to make a few bucks from your online efforts, read 6 Reasons Your Blog Doesn’t Make Money.