I think there are plenty of guides to good writing out there, I won’t tell
you about that. You know that if you want people to read your blog you need to
have either great writing skills or unique content (note that I don’t claim to
have either). Attracting readers is simple… driving them away is even
easier. So, if you’re starting to cringe at the cost of your bandwidth or if
your artist friends think you’ve sold out… don’t fret, I have the answer for
you. Read on to learn how to drive users away from your blog.
1. Play hide and seek with the RSS feed
Hide the RSS link
(or don’t show one at all). Take, for example, the subscription link on this
page (I’m not sending any traffic their way… they annoyed me):
The link is hard to find because it’s just a text link and it’s overshaddowed
by the visual clutter of throwing up every feed icon under the sun. Honestly,
if you have to, read the Feed Icon Guidelines on
Mozilla.org (but if you have to, you probably just don’t get it).
It’s quite simple, for your feed, put up a
standard web feed icon similar to this
or this .
Heck, the icon recognizable enough that you can even change the color to suit
your sense of style:
2. Make RSS completely useless
If you put no useful info
in your RSS feed, what’s the point of offering a feed? Fine, if you want to
pull peopel to your web page so you get ad revenue, great. Even better, put ads
in your feed (e.g. use feedburner). But one certain way to loose readers for
good is to do what CNN does on many posts, put this as the only content of the
Read full story for latest details?!?!? What kind of crap is that? No, I
don’t think I’ll read the full story. In fact, I think I’ll unsubscribe from
all the CNN feeds and subscribe to the Reuters and BBC feeds instead.
3. Provide links with zero context
You’ve put a link up
on your blog. Great. Um… why?
If you make a post that is simply a link and don’t tell the readers if you
think the target content is cool, useful… or at least tell what it is people
are just playing a guessing game.
Three years ago there weren’t many blogs, and those that existed may not be
updated frequently. These days even dogs have their own blogs. If you are just
posting links, go to del.ico.us. Vapid content, go to twitter. The world is pumping out a ton of
information and we don’t have time to sort through empty posts or, as Omar
learned on parental leave, process feeds which post a thousand times a
Time is short, make your content count.
4. Load your page up with every single profile icon you can
We’re all guilty of it… we sign up for some nifty service…
they offer a special link to add to our web page and, like sheep, we do it.
Yes, I’ve done it. But honestly, do you really want to see a page crowded with
links to Technorati, LinkedIN, Xbox Live, Twitter…?
Human beings are pack animals, that’s a given. We identify our affiliations
by the flags we fly, the clothes we wear and, now, by the extra crap we put on
our blog. The extra details are great, but they don’t need to be on your front
page… put them in an “about me” section (they are, after all, just that). The
front page should be about content. I know it’s in our nature, but resist
flashing your geek gang signs on the front page.