Handy tips to scare away blog readers!

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It might not be Halloween, but you can scare away your blog readers at any time you wish. Unfortunately, many blog writers do scare away their readers without intending to. Here are a few stealth tactics you can use to scare away your readers, however unintentionally. See how many of these apply to your blog.

scare readers

Write big, long paragraphs

People get scared to have to read too much. A huge block of text looks scary. I don’t know what Freud would make of this, but people like their information broken into smaller pieces. If you want to scare people away, use huge blocks of text and avoid these tricks:

  • Using bullet points
  • Adding a video
  • Using subheadings
  • Images go a long way
  • Throwing in a very short paragraph of just one line every now and then

Get highly technical

Most people don’t want to have to work hard to read your post. Hard work is scary. People prefer to read something easy.

“See Jane run.  See spot run.  See spot chase Jane.”

So get as technical as possible if you want to scare away readers. There are two exceptions where this does not work. Some highly technical topics for professional audiences requires a technical approach, and many readers might not be scared off. Readers of how-to posts, such as how to use a specific software, might not respond to this tactic; they often welcome a long, technical step-by-step explanation.  In these situation, you must a different scary tactic.

Write long posts

People are lazy. People are rushed. They want you to get to the point. To scare them off, write a long, rambling post.

Load up with pop-ups

This is a great tactic and so easy to implement. The more pop-ups the better. Many people get scared away easily by pop-ups. I suspect Freud would link this to a bad experience with a jack-in-the-box as a child. Whatever the cause, pop-ups scare away unsuspecting readers.

Solicit too much (including pop-ups)

One of the reasons people hat pop-ups is because they are soliciting their money or their email address (so that they can later send money). People don’t like to be sold to. They don’t like the constant barrage of sales pitches. Make sure that your solicitations are hardball pitches, that they interfere with enjoying your content. The most effective sales pitches are not pitches at all; they are good content that gets people nodding their heads and craving more (and you can offer people more, with a price tag attached if you wish). The only problem is that a good sale pitch won’t be very effective at scaring away readers.

Turn sound on automatically

So there you are in your cubicle. You navigate to a blog post. Suddenly there are voices. Or music. Or sound effects. Quickly you hit “back”. Or you close your browser window. Yes, automatic-on sounds can scare away readers very, very fast – and very permanently. Works every time.

Feature NSFW pictures

Almost as bad as automatic-on sounds are NSFW (not safe for work) pictures. If you think you can scare away your blog readership by using pics of topless ladies or upskirt cheerleader shots, you are right. Anybody arriving on your blog at work will quickly hit the “back” button” or close their browser.

Of course, if you are trying to NOT scare away blog readers, you might want to avoid these tactics. After all, if you scare away your readers, you might not be much of a blogger for long.

Guest poster David Leonhardt has a team of quality blog writers guaranteed NOT to scare away your readers.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Hello David,

    I really loved this article. Thank you for publishing it on my blog. I told you that I love this type of article and I have written some, too.

    Pop-ups, almost 90% people hate it, according to the feedback I got after one of my posts.

    Automatic sound play is always a bit annoying for me. And I also loved – get highly technical. I LOLed on it. 😀

    • Hello Pradeep,

      Thank you for adding your comments on my blog. But have you ever thought about having a Gravatar? Most of the times, I don’t publish comments without Gravatar. It’s important, buddy! You associate your image with your email address easily on Gravatar.com

  2. Hello David

    LOOOONG and boring paragraphs make most of the readers scary(I agree & I implement the same strategy i.e writing short para’s).

    About long posts – it depends, if you’re able to create curiosity till the end, then even 3000+ word articles go viral(I’ve lots of examples, specially on my blog), simple tip here is write with a knife(cut unnecessary words).

    I don’t know how Abhi convinced you to write this 😉 but I like the way you’ve crafted this post. Great share!

  3. So the article is basically in a sarcastic tone 😛 I must say, great way of presenting the article David ! Perfect ! NSFW pictures would actually keep some of the visitors in the blog (those who like such stuff) but the blog itself would lost all the respect it could have achieved. And of course, long posts with text surfing down without any picture or video would be boring and force the readers to hit the ‘close’ button.
    Once again, great article !

    • Hello Michele,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. I also feel annoyed because of automatic sound and just look for the close button.

      But I hope to see you around my blog as I am not having any plan to put music on my blog. LOL!

  4. Hey David,
    I like the way how you put the title on your post, espclly on how you write your article… – very catchy! 🙂 btw, thanks for the heads-up! I think I’d just scared away some of my readers… lol!

  5. I love the way you have written this David. And of course all valid points. However, although I thought the part about long posts turning people off was true we have found over on TweakyourBiz.com that that’s not always the case strangely enough. I guess it’s down to content most of the time though. Thanks for sharing on Bizsugar.com

    • Thanks for your support, Sian. I think you might comment on my BizSugar submissions more than anyone else. It does come down to content, but even more I think it comes down to the audience and even more than that to how good a job the writer can do of keeping the audience on the edge of its seat with anticipation.

  6. Haha, these are exactly what I had in mind when I started reading this post. When you are just starting out, you should give the readers nothing but good content and subscription offers. Once you’ve established a strong readership, you can gamble a bit.

    Look at Mashable and Huffingtonpost, I think their designs suck, troublesome at least.

    Nice post, Dave 🙂

  7. Loved your headline. I so agree with those nasty pop-ups. They are annoying. Also too lengthy paragraphs is another way to have me leave a page. If they can break it up with images it does help.

  8. Hello Leonhardt,

    It’s very easy to scare people away from your blog. Figuratively speaking your blog is like your house.

    When people visit your “house” you want to provide comfort and hospitality and most of all be free from the bad spirits you mention in your post.

    No one wants to visit a haunted house. Thanks for sharing this info with us,

    Terry Conti

  9. Some good tips to scare away readers. One thing I really hate is automatic loud music. If I don’t like the music, I never come back. Also pop-ups are one thing that really puts off readers.

  10. I value all of my visitors,

    When you say: “Write big, long paragraphs”

    I always make sure my posts are in small manageable chunks.

    No information overload.

    Just the right amount of content.

  11. Excellent post! I think I’m only ever guilty of #1 and #3, and unapologetically so. Doing my part to support literacy. But I know a few people who THINK I’m guilty of #2, sometimes. I think they’re just not reading carefully enough.

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