Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Aren't Readers Flocking To Your Blog? Are You Guilty of These Blogging Sins?

Top 10 Reasons I Don't Read Your Beauty Blog

I get asked a lot to look at other people's blogs and tell them what is wrong, why don't they have thousands of hits a day after they've been on the internet for all of a week. (Yes, really.) Surprisingly enough, most of those blogs are committing the same deadly blogging sins over and over. I thought I'd write them all up into one place, maybe some people will take a hint (especially about the random use of capital letters) and fix some of these issues!


1. Your photography sucks
I run from blogs with bad pictures. Is everything skewed to a strange tint? Learn how to set your color balance. Or fix it in iPhoto or photoshop so it looks true to life. I don't care what that lipstick looks like if everything looks green. I've had some other bloggers (ok, really just one) play high and mighty in a blogging group and say that she considers it against her integrity to alter any pictures. Implying that the rest of us are as bad as the magazines that make celebs look flawless and 20 pounds skinnier because we corrected a lighting issue. Get off your high horse. Readers want to see what something looks like, it's why they come to a blog (because you know that the companies don't have accurate pics on their sites).


2. Your photos are too small
That tiny picture of your little swatch on your arm? I don't need to see your whole arm. And the entire picture needs to be bigger than 100px wide. Please and thank you. Please learn to crop and zoom.


3. You only post about products you LOVE or HATE
No one wants to read about you gushing over a product all the time or complaining that you didn't like the floral scent of a lotion and therefore the product is horrible... Be honest, explain what a product is like, how it worked for you and how it could have been better for you or who it would have worked better for. Those posts come across as more genuine and honest (because they are) rather than sounding like you were paid for your endorsement.


4. You aren't disclosing properly
I admit that I'm a bit of a fanatic about FTC disclosures (I was high profile about them when they were first introduced to the blogosphere thanks to a Social Media for Dummies book I was interviewed in as well as a Forbes.com article), but now it comes across as either you're too stupid to do it correctly or think you're above it. Either way, it's definitely noticeable when you only have a "c/o" label in your small print explanation of that look of the day.


5. I can't search your site
Where's your search box? Readers want to know what you thought of X, Y or Z. Let them find it more easily.


6. I can't follow you on social media
At the very least, you should have your RSS automatically going to a Twitter Feed and/or Facebook page. Even if you don't touch them, you'll be glad you set it up later when you do want to interact more. Set it up.


7. Social Media corollary.... I can't pin your images.
What is up with that? Is that picture of your eyeball or arm swatch so precious that you won't let me pin it? Slap your website on it as a watermark and let me pin it. I get about 6x more traffic from Pinterest than Google in any given month. Really, it's worth it to let someone pin.


8. You don't have a unique voice
You might love Pink Sith's blog, but she has a very unique style. Writing in the same voice as her comes across as forced and fake. Find your own voice, make it your own and develop it. Copying someone else's style, posting about the same stuff as them 1 day later... Readers catch on to those things and you'll find your blog boring to keep up with. Find what makes you unique, your own voice and perspective and work on that point of view. If I want to know what Pink Sith says, I'm going to head to her site instead of your site, she's funnier than you.


9. Your site makes my eyes bleed
All of your different tags everywhere linking to other blogs, 10 different affiliate banners and adsense blocks, that purple background with pink writing... I just can't take it! Simplify as much as you can, make your site easy to read with a nice big area for posts and put your search bar and social media buttons up top. Done. Now I can navigate and read your site and won't just close it as soon as that page loads (eventually). Oh yeah, I'm going to close the window if your site takes more than 30 seconds to load. Fix that. No one needs a musical soundtrack while they read your blog.


10. Your writing is just...bad.
I'm not being elitist here (I haven't taken an english or writing class since high school), but when you start purposefully misspelling words, mixing up their and there and throWiNg in RandOm Capital LeTtErs it makes me insane. Try to adhere to some basic grammar rules, spell check is your friend, and the capital letters should be used and used in the correct manner. If you're guilty of any of the above and are wondering why PR isn't coming to you with information on their clients, that is the answer. They would be embarrassed to send the placement to their client.


Did I miss anything? Have you been guilty of any of these issues? I'm sure we all have been guilty at one point or another, but fixing them will make your site more user friendly and I guarantee that will result in more traffic.

33 comments:

Lemming List said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. The reasons you list are the same reasons that have me starting my own blog. I simply can't take it anymore, so I'm doing my own thing.

Another thing that I might add is that I'm doing this not because I want to get thousands of visitors a day and PR companies clamoring to send me things, but because I want to start conversations with like-minded people.

Beauty products are my hobby and none of my friends share it, so this is my way to find people to talk to about it rather than boring my friends with how amazing this new Chanel Azuré nail lacquer is. Because it is completely amazing.

fashion doctor said...

great post, darling! xoxoo

Linda | twin-mom.com said...

I like #3. It's true, for me I'm turning to beauty blogs for detailed "test drive" information and not just a very personal yes/no. I enjoy 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic because of the great pics and layout, too. Thanks for all of this info, it's helpful for any blogger.

Drama&Makeup said...

I'm absolutely guilty of the first two points! When I look back at my first posts I feel awful. Luckily I fixed it.
Great post, I totally agree with everything.

ilariamps said...

I love this post! I'm going to edit my blog layout tomorrow!
if you want to have a look you're welcome!
kiss!

Lindsay said...

Haha this was a great read. You touched on important things like photography...very pivotal to beauty or fashion blogging! At the same time, you can't ignore writing quality...I unfollow those with major spelling mistakes. It's a turn off in real life and online!!

wolfandribbon said...

Guilty of some right here!

Miri said...

Everything you wrote here is true and these are the main reasons I do not follow some blogs.

Just wanted to note that the correct spelling is "grammar" - it's a common mistake and I don't think your post is any worse because of that. It's mainly just a pet peeve of mine. :)

Dustyn said...

This is great! Thank you for sharing.

Now to go find out who this Pink Sith is...

Faith Coker said...

Great post

Christine Mikesell said...

@miri- that's how i spell it too, but spell check told me I was wrong! I'm changing it back. Awesome! LOL

Anonymous said...

I want to know how much the product costs without clicking through to the company page.

Christine Mikesell said...

That's something I stopped putting on my posts simply because it depends on where in the country you are (let alone world), the time of year, etc. No one has the time to keep up with all of the price fluctuations, and if I was off by even a cent compared to what someone paid at their corner CVS yesterday, where they had a sale and 3 coupons, then I got a nasty comment on my post. No thanks.

soonermom said...

Something you didn't list, but drive me absolutely insane is the persona you present on twitter. I know of a few bloggers on there that CONSTANTLY have a negative attitude on twitter and it's a total turn off for me. I'm not talking the occasional venting because of the occasional bad day. I'm talking about every time I log in to twitter you're bitching and moaning about a brand or other people on twitter or your own life or whatever. Please. Stop it.

Christine Mikesell said...

YES. You are absolutely right! I try to just be myself on Twitter, though in person I'm not a negative person at all, so I'm hoping that comes across. There are definitely people that are on there just to complain, and I wonder if they realize how they come across? It's a small world, people figure these things out!

behappyandbuypolish said...

I know my "photography" isn't up to where I want it to be (saving up for a camera to use instead of my cellphone camera). I hope people don't stay away because of that. My number one reason I don't return to a blog: spelling/grammar mistakes - it drives me up a wall.

Essie Rae iHeartPrettyPolish said...

Great post!

Jessica said...

*slow clap*
That was beautifully said and absolutely true! I hate when you're made to feel bad for not following a blog because the pictures/swatches are too small and discolored. I can read, and read all I want but I want to see the pictures and photos of what I'm reading about. This was great to read and more people should see it. It's blunt and completely honest.


- Jess
The Mod Mermaid

Stefanie (Fairly Charming) said...

Lol this is a fantastic post! :)

Jamie said...

These are all true -- especially spelling/grammar. I will stop reading a blog if someone can't write correctly, and at the top of my list is it's/its. LEARN THE DIFFERENCE.

Baby Blossom said...

Thank you so much for this post, now I know how to make my blog absolutely professional! I'll talk to my mom about FB and Twitter for my blog, lovely post ^-^

magstermash said...

All very good points! Thank you for posting this!

I agree with you--Pink Sith is awesome!

Deb said...

Great post Christine! I am an avid reader of many blogs and boy, did you hit the nail on the head. Here's another tip for you bloggers from an ordinary reader: it's a real turnoff when you won't post pictures of the product you are reviewing on your own face. I read one particular blog where the writer reviews a product she is using, describes her coloring in generic terms, and then shows the product on someone else who just happens to have different coloring. You have the right to privacy and to not show your face if you are not comfortable with it for whatever reason. But please, don't just describe how it looks on you and then show it on a different person after you just annotated the differences in your coloring and skin tones. It skews the reader's perspective.

Jen from xoxoJen said...

Very well written and thought out! Totally agree with everything you've listed and I thought of another item. :)
Easy to find contact information - email address, a contact form, or some way to privately contact the blogger.
There are times I wish to share something with the blogger, but I don't necessarily want to post it publicly and if I cannot find the contact info in about two clicks, I give up and don't send anything.

Justina Gemignani said...

I am definitely guilty of some of the things in this post! I take pictures with my phone right now, even though I have a nice camera. Kind of silly, but I don't have the time to dedicate to blogging that I wish I did and it just works for me right now. In my future fantasy life, I will actually take decent pictures like you and so many other bloggers! Unfortunately, photography doesn't come naturally to me...one of these days I'll buckle down and force myself to learn.

I've had a hard time finding my voice while blogging since there are so many different great bloggers out there, and they're all completely different. I come to your blog because I know I will get the no-nonsense run down on a product, and I know that you specialize in beauty that takes a short time. I go to Blushing Basics for her magazine-like posts. I go to Temptalia when I am looking for something super specific, because I know she has practically every product ever made on her site. You've been blogging for such a long time, and you are such a great blogging role model! I hope in a few years I will have done a better job finding my voice and learning new tricks!

ilariamps said...

I have a question:
I usually embed little pics, e.g. 8 in 2 columns. If you click on a pic you enlarge it.
do you think is the correct policy or should I put them larger from the beginning?
OR: should I have to write at the beginning of the post that you need to click on them to see them larger?

thanks

Heidi Koffler said...

I am a blogging newbie. My site has only been live for about four months. I try to avoid all of the "sins" you mentioned, especially making any grammatical errors. What other advice would you give for helping a newcomer increase website traffic and subscribers? I am open to any constructive criticism. Please feel free to visit my site - prettyproof.com.

Christine Mikesell said...

@ilarimps Most readers find it annoying to have to enlarge so many pics. I'd just post them large and be done with it.

@Heidi I have a big post with blogging tips here: http://www.15minutebeauty.com/p/new-blogger-tips.html
I also have a ton of blogging things pinned here:
http://pinterest.com/15minbeauty/blogging-social-media/

BeautyJudy said...

All I can say is, THIS IS AMAZING!

Amanda said...

You are SO right about everything. But one thing that really irks me--no swatches AT ALL! People talk about how great a product is and then don't show swatches. :(

coco said...

good points !

Adrienne said...

The points about pictures are so true but the hardest to implement. Do you have a particular camera or app that makes these things easy? I'm not a full time blogger but I am one that totally gets that pictures and videos really make the blog!

Christine Mikesell said...

I wish it was easy! I have an entire series of posts about how I do it, though my pics aren't as good as I would like.

http://www.15minutebeauty.com/search/label/Blogging%20Photo%20Tips

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