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How To Lose Blog Readers

I once bought a book in a Mendocino art gallery called How To Be Totally Unhappy in a Peaceful World. It was a VERY funny book, and, of course, the real message was, “Do the opposite of what I tell you here in order to be totally HAPPY in a peaceful world.” Ditto here.

1. Make your site really busy, with tons of stuff going on in the sidebars, like the old Facebook when people had gardens and bumper stickers and celebrities hatching out of eggs all on one page. Make it so busy that visitors have trouble finding your posts.

2. Use really bright, obnoxious colors and a very elaborate design. (Recently I visited two or three sites that had simple white backgrounds, and I thought, “Oh, nice blog” until they fully LOADED and suddenly there were all these bright colors and busy designs in the background, and I thought, “No! No! No! Go back! It was great a second ago!”)

3. Use a black background with a white font. I made the mistake of doing this on an old blog of mine. It’s impossible to read. It gives people headaches and make them go blind. It’s a FABULOUS way to lose blog readers.

4. Have a gazillion contests. Not one or two now and then but every week a contest to attract more comments and more followers. Make sure you do the point system: 1 point if you follow me, another point if you Tweet this contest, another point if you post it on FB, etc. You’ll gain tons of “followers” and lose lots of blog readers in no time.

5. Don’t even bother to write your own posts. Just have contests, interviews, guest blog posts, etc. so people will wonder if you’re a real person or just a Perl script that generates blog material.

6. Say mean things about people. Swear a lot, tell us about your sex life, and make snide remarks about writers, agents, and publishers.

7. Be a downer. Talk about how depressed you are all the time, how the publishing industry sucks, and how writing is the most difficult career ever.

8. Act superior, like you’re the agent/editor/published author/editorial assistant before whom all writers should bow down, especially if they hope to get published.

9. Write REALLY long blog posts. Every day.

10. Write about the same things over and over and over. Queries for example. Tell us how to write them, how not to write them, what to do while waiting for a response to one, how to react to a rejection of one, etc. Repeat. Repeat.

10. Don’t ever visit other people’s blogs. You’re busy. You’ve got a lot of followers. You don’t have time for that stuff.

11. Post LONG excerpts of your work in progress. Frequently.

12. Don’t ever write anything personal on your blog. You don’t want anyone to know you’re human.

13. Write ONLY personal things on your blog—what you had for breakfast, how often you fart, and why your husband slept on the couch last night.

14. Write really snarky posts with titles like, “How to Lose Blog Readers” and post your Memoir Monday entries on Wednesday. Or Thursday.

35 comments to How To Lose Blog Readers

  • Good post. Love the snarkiness too that came through at times. I agree on a lot of points. I like contests – but not ALL THE TIME. I want to learn things, get to know the blogger. I love simplicity. I dislike blogs that you are know are fake. You can tell.

    Good post.

  • LOL to #14. Nah, you're good.

    #1-3 are big problems (particularly for "dark" writers who want their websites to match their writing styles). Fortunately I just read in Google Reader and then go over to comment quickly. Unless it's not worth reading, in which case, bye bye anyway.

    #4 and #5 are good ones for this list too. Oh heck, they're all good.

    Except #14. That one's okay. 😛

  • Ha! I love it! I found a writer's blog last week that made me absolutely cringe. But I could not stop reading it because I am a student of cringeworthy behavior. It was almost everything you've listed above with a huge dose of crazy bitterness (if you email me, Meghan, I will send you the link, you know, for research purposes).

    It does seem like there have been a gajillion contests and blogfests going on, doesn't it? There must be something in the blogosphere water tank this month. I don't mind entering a few but when they require that you pimp them on Twitter or something, it just makes me kind of tired.

  • I am fine with entering contests now and then, too, but the point system grates on my nerves. And you're right, Kristen, I think it was the overdose of recent contests and blogfests that inspired me to write this post. I kind of hate blogfests. Not that I won't ever participate in one, or host one of my own someday 🙂 The writing/publishing blog world is just starting to feel like Facebook lately, where one person posts something and then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon (instead of 25 Things About Me or what color bra I am wearing today, it's contests and blogfests and Wordles and memes, many of which I'm guilty of myself!

  • lol, great post. I'm probably guilty of number two–but the colors are so purty. 🙂 And number ten has been an issue for me lately, but not because I'm feeling superior, just because I follow a gazillion people and it's hard to keep up. But amen on the other things, especially that black background thing–it kills me.

  • Roni, I LOVE the background of your blog! It's gorgeous. And I hear you about keeping up. I am constantly behind on visit other blogs. I think we are all guilty of some of these!

  • Ok I think I totally violate the bright colors thing. Dang.

    I know the blog Kristan is talking about, we're all cringing over THAT one.

    I agree about the points system contest thing.

    Great post and as usual, a great idea. You are always very creative, Meghan.

  • Hahaha! Well said. The bright colors and addition of too many random things certainly makes me turn away instantly. I just feel lost.

  • Funny, informative post. I'm especially with you about those black backgrounds. Sometimes the font isn't even white, but a shade of gray that is totally passive-aggressive.

    Mostly this post made me feel great because I've never had time to change my generic, monocromatic template format and or do more than once-a week posts, and I'm always getting caught up with reading other people's blogs and neglecting my own, and I've never had a contest. But maybe I've been doing things right by mistake?

    Roni, you have the prettiest blog around. It's gorgeous without distracting from your content and has excellent readablity.

  • Too funny! Wait … am I guilty of any of this? Yikes!

  • #3 makes me crazy! For the past few years my monitor has been fading, and for the past few months I was unable to see any shade of grey. Those types of sites were impossible to read, so I didn't.

    Thanks for a great post,

    Christi Corbett

  • I am not a writer and I am not sure how I wound up following a writer but I pay attention to your tips as I have my own site that I try to post to articles a day on most week days.

    Most of these tips seem like common sense for blog sites for adults. I often get frustrated when I go to a site, say a download site, and the operative button is hidden in the junk.

    There is a big learning curve to running a blog site with keeping up with articles and adding stuff to the side bars. People also want to add banners to my site that I am trying to keep simple.

    That said, I am having a ball with my site and I pay attention to your tips. Thank you for posting them so frequently.

  • I'm probably quilty of the background one. But I love the design (I downloaded it). It's reflect me and my wip. I'm just not bright enough to figure out how to lighten it. 🙂

  • Sierra – I like the design of your blog! And I can't wait to read your mothering and workshop posts. Had a deadline tonight, but am heading over tomorrow.

    Cynthia, I love the background on your site.

    Anne, my favorite publishing blogger posts just once a week, so that's fine!

    Ted, thanks for visiting!

    Stina – I know very little about web and blog design, but I like the image at the top of yours. Except that the water looks cold. Maybe I need to turn the heat up 🙂

  • Awesome tips! I'm completely guilty of snarky posts, but I simply can't see changing that anytime soon. 🙂

  • Snark is good, Jackie! I love your blog!

  • m++

    The ultimate example of the bad, cluttter-users-to-confusion design you describe in (1) is Though not a blog, that site is really hard to use, with a labyrinth of nested tabs and millions of super tiny links on each page. #AVOID

  • Thanks for the advice. Off to go add some stuff to my page so it takes longer to load.

  • M++ – I love GoDaddy's Customer service, but it's true their site is confusing.

    Anastasia – ha ha!

  • Genius! I have seen these … characteristics, let's call them, on a blog I checked out a few months ago. I tried to keep reading for a week or two, thinking maybe there would be more (as the idea of the blog was good). But then it became all contests, all the time, and points for following/Twittering/FB'ing, and promoting the blogger's entries in contests of non-blog nature, and … oy. I got tired.

    In short, excellent tips, Meghan.

  • Meghan, I found you on Mary Gray's website. Then found this about blogging, which is marvelous. I commented on it with a link to it on my blog post for today (which should be posted sometime within the next two hours, when I hopefully finish it). It will take me a while to browse your site, but it's one I'll revisit. As a new blogger (about a month) this is especially useful. Thank you.

  • Ann – Welcome and welcome to the blogging world! I will check out both your site and Mary Gray's.

  • […] How to lose blog readers over at Writerland. […]

  • Hey! I resemble these comments 😉

  • This was an awesome list! I like that it was backwards, much more interesting that way lol. I am visiting from Patricia Stoltey's blog and I just gotta add you to my blogroll after this!!


  • Terrific list! I also enjoy blogs where all the posts are apologies for not posting. 🙂

  • Tess, Karen, and Michelle – thanks for visiting! I look forward to checking out your blogs. And Tess, I can't wait to see if you DO resemble these comments. Michelle – yes, that's another good one!

  • I love this list. I'm another Patricia Stoltey fan and stopped by after reading your link on her site. Glad I did.

    Now I must check my blog and see what I need to work on to lose my readers as quick as possible. : )

  • I think the idea of having a ghost blogger is a novel one! Maybe I could host a contest, offer some prize! I snickered at almost every entry until I wondered if I just laughed at myself!

  • Thanks for stopping by Cat and Linda! I'll have to check out Patricia's blog and thank her for the link! Looking forward to all your contests, Linda 🙂

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