As creative bloggers, we sometimes forget to think about how our blogs are perceived by our readers. So, I think it’s time to consider 5 things that your blog readers wish you knew.
1. They have no idea what RSS means.
Okay, some of your readers know what it means, but a lot of them don’t. They don’t have a blog, and they don’t know anything about Google reader.
A couple months ago, I was listening to an interview that Dave Navarro did with Darren Rowse from ProBlogger for his 2010 More Buyers Mastermind Program. Darren reported that the majority of his readers subscribe via email—not RSS, and that many of them don’t know what RSS means.
I’ve had a few readers contact me asking me how to subscribe to my blog. I thought it was obvious by the orange link and button on my navigation bar that says, “Subscribe to RSS.” But, it’s not obvious to people who aren’t bloggers or tech savvy.
You can get around this problem by having a newsletter that your readers can subscribe to, and you can add links to your posts in your newsletter. Or, you can have a way that your readers can subscribe via email like Darren Rowse—which also takes place through an email newsletter service.
2. They don’t care about you.
Your readers aren’t really interested in you. They’re interested in what your blog can do for them. People are self-interested, and once you really get this, you’ll be much better off.
This means they don’t want to read about what you fed your cat this morning or the holiday party you were forced to attend—unless it relates to something bigger. I use stories a lot in my blog posts. Stories help illustrate your point and they sprinkle your post with personality, but I never include stories just for the heck of it. They always have a purpose.
If the purpose of your story is to tell the reader about the inspiration behind a piece of art, to help them solve a problem, or even to provide entertainment, then you should definitely include it. But, you need to have a purpose behind your stories.
3. They wish your blog wasn’t so freaking confusing.
When you clutter up your sidebar with blog rolls, blog badges, and links, that’s what it looks like—clutter. When you only have a few options for your readers to click on your sidebar, your blog looks nicer and it’s easier to navigate.
When you have a navigation bar that clearly points readers in the direction they want to go, they’re happy. When they have to hunt to find things, they’re not.
4. They wish your posts were easier to read.
I can’t stand going to a blog, excited to read a post, and find one huge block of text that keeps going and going and going.
Break up your posts. Use headings. Use bolding. Use lists and bullet points. It makes your blog much more reader -riendly and it’s visually appealing–two things that lead to repeat readers.
5. They wish there was more of you.
Huh? I just said in number two that they don’t care about you. Now, I’m telling you that they want more you.
Here’s the thing. Your readers don’t care about your day-to-day crap—but, they want to see your personality all over your blog.
Take a minute and think about your top 3 favorite bloggers. What things do they all have in common? My top 3 favorite bloggers all have big personalities. They aren’t afraid of sharing their opinion. They aren’t afraid of people disagreeing with them. Why? Because, they know that is the price you have to pay to build a loyal fan base.
Now, these people don’t just say things to rile people up. They just speak their truth. They’re themselves, and you can take it or leave it. And my top 3 favorite bloggers make a lot of money, because their loyal tribes love them so much that they love to buy from them.
It’s hard to look at your own blog objectively—but try it. Without getting defensive, are there things on this list that you do? Are there simple changes you could make today to start building a more loyal readership?