9 Reasons Your Blog Isn’t Attracting or Keeping Readers

how to get blog readers

Here’s my Quips and Tips “home office”! Notice no chair? I stand while I blog…I need to invest in a desk treadmill…

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’re one-sided

“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.

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12 thoughts on “9 Reasons Your Blog Isn’t Attracting or Keeping Readers”

  1. Hi Julian,

    Thanks for bringing this post to my attention! I wrote it 2 years ago, and forgot all about it…

    The truth is, it didn’t do much in terms of revenue for this Quips and Tips blog. I never made much from Successful Writers. My Love and Relationships and Infertility blogs are the big money makers, which is why I’ve had to more or less abandon this blog. It’s just not worth the time and effort! Isn’t that sad? But true.


  2. Laurie, you obviously took the recommended advice for your blog. What kind of impact did it have on your revenue from this particular blog?

  3. When I first started blogging, I was leery of showing too much personality. But then I realized my blog is all about me and my literary journey so it should be personal to a point. So I think I found a balance, now I just need to learn the technical aspects. I like your blog, my only quip would be why is your personality (photos) at the bottom? Your content is great to me, I have found some invaluable information. Thanks so much.

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comments!

    Deanna ~ I like the idea of publishing more controversial articles, which portray both sides. I hope you pitch me ideas – I’m definitely open to them. And not just to attract and keep readers, but to make life interesting 🙂

    George ~ thanks; I like rockin’ the writing world.

    Toby ~ it’s great to get your feedback, I appreciate it.

    Vlad ~ yes, content is the best way a blog can attract and keep readers…but if the reader can’t appreciate the content because of all the bells and whistles, then the blog won’t do well.

    Shortly after posting this article, I did add more stuff to the columns…but it’s helpful stuff!!

  5. Wow, this is all great, comprehensive feedback, Laurie. I think this is something every blogger can learn from. As a writer, myself–You’ve published some of my articles–I would like to write more controversial articles that portray both sides of the argument.

  6. Laurie,

    I used to lay awake at night, struggling over my latest Google numbers. I gave up worrying after a while. With that said, the advice for bloggers here is invaluable. I’ve seen many of these mistakes with the result being that unless they are a friend with stellar content, they never get visited again.

    As always, you are rockin’ the writing world.


  7. I’ve been one of your subscribers for awhile and this is the first time I’ve commented, simply to thank you for re-doing your blog. I email subscribed as a way not to have to look at all the busy crap on it, and be able to read the articles! 🙂 because to be honest, I thought your content was good but the site looked tacky.
    Anyway good on ya for retooling! I keep my blog very simple and content focused and its working for me.

  8. the success of every blog is CONTENT, unless it has a quality content – all those “make up” things won’t help much

  9. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I have to add that I recently stumbled across a blog with a gorgeous gray blue background. Nice for a bedroom wall – but the blog’s text was dark gray, making it incredibly hard to read. I didn’t Tweet the site because it would be to much for readers!

    I gave the blogger this unsolicited advice: make your website simple, lean, and clean – and easy to read.

  10. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Vidya, that’s really interesting! And you’ve touched on one of the potential hazards of asking for feedback: getting advice that you don’t agree with or that goes against your style or preferences. After all, a blog’s theme and appearance is so subjective…and each blogger must choose what suits him or her best.

    But, when certain “problems” or feedback keeps cropping up — such as the fact that my sites seemed too busy — then I think the blogger needs to listen to her readers. Or writers!

  11. It was fun reading this and Getting More links to your blog – Things that make people link

    I have a rather funny situation – I write three blogs (my own) regularly – simply because I enjoy writing them. All my friends read them regularly, thanks to the updates in various social media alerts. Since we’re all in touch over “chat” or meet in person, I get feedback. I realized that most of them (who don’t blog) are simply fascinated that I write regularly and look only at the content. But when I asked on a couple of blog networks for feedback, everyone insisted my blog needs to be more colorful.

    And just because I asked for feedback, I changed my blog’s theme – and had people mailing me to tell me “no – change that to blue/white/green/red….” you know. Besides the fact that I am colorblind, I tried all this for a week. The weird thing was – my blog looked like a stranger to me. So I simply went back to the old stark black and white look – and felt happy again. Then, my regular readers wrote me and thanked me for it. :-D.

    I love this interaction.