Back when I was in high school there was a store in the mall called Buckle.
They seemed to have the trendy stuff high school kids liked. Especially all the blue jeans.
There was something known as the “Buckle Shuffle” back then. You had to try to make it to the back of the store without one of the attendants trying to sell you something.
Now, these folks were just doing their job. I’m sure they had sales quotas. And I love sales, but for this particular situation it seemed that the aggressive sales tactics turned customers off to the detriment of long-term sales.
Many blogs are kind of like the Buckle. They try to interrupt readers before the person can even read the headline, let alone the meat of the post, which is what they came for.
I get it. It’s a challenge to get each and every reader. Getting them to subscribe to something basically ensures they will come back to read more.
But you have to practice patience.
Here are a few things to watch for on your blog…
1. Email Subscription Popups
One of the most common things on a blog is the email subscription form. They’re a good thing to have. But where you put them and how they present themselves matters quite a bit. There is a balance of trying to get the reader to signup while not turning away too many readers.
And that might even change by the niche you’re in. Some industries may need to be more invasive while others need to be really conservative with how they ask for email addresses.
In general, I’m against the popup forms. Especially those that occur before the reader even has a chance to read the first sentence of the post.
2. Login Requests
Some blogs, usually not business blogs, require readers to login before reading. This one isn’t as common, but I’m putting it on here as something to avoid in case it becomes more popular. I see the reasoning, it’s another way to get more information from readers and to get their permission to market to them in the future. But it’s a big deterrent from that person reading the post they came to read. It’s not even logging in and paying. It’s just logging in. Even for free, it’s a big ask since most readers are first timers.
3. Notification Alerts
These became popular after blogging had been around for a few years. They seem to have kind of taken over for the email signup forms in some ways. They’re either browser alerts or those that you can even get on your phone via push notifications.
These can be quick and easy to signup for. Especially for your phone. Just a simple click on the “Yes” and you’re moving on to the article.
But I tend to see people getting annoyed by them. They don’t want to be notified by a site that they’ve never visited before. Let them read the content first and then, if you want, ask them to subscribe in some way.
4. Moving Elements On The Screen
There is a blog of a really popular brand. Usually one that is really good with design and avoiding turning away their visitors. I like to follow their lead on a lot of things user experience. But recently I’ve been going to one of their blogs and after opening a post the entire screen moves down a little bit as a banner appears or kind of slides down from the top.
It’s very annoying. I’ve often clicked on the wrong thing on the site in error because of it.
Again, I get the intention. You want to draw attention to the banner. Having it move or slide or whatever makes people want to look at it.
Be really careful with things that move on the screen. Anything that makes the screen or elements on the screen shift can really be distracting. Especially when people mostly just want to read your post.
Distractions is kind of a catchall term.
People are on your blog to read the post. It’s difficult to get someone new that far along the process. Give them the content they came for. Let them read it.
Everything else, at least until the end of the post, should be secondary. Possibly not even something they would notice.
At the end you can start asking for other actions. But first, let them read the post.
There are a lot of things you can do that will turn a blog reader away. There is a balance of getting someone to signup for something. But I’m a believer that over the long-term you want to give a great experience along with great content. This naturally leads to consistent signups and return visitors. You want to ask people to signup for things, but not to the detriment of your content.