One of my favorite things to do when I have some free time is blog hop and try to find some new blogs to follow and keep up with. There are always new blogs popping up and each blogger brings something new to the table, so it’s only natural that I want to find some great voices to follow and listen to in the community. However, it’s not uncommon for me to want to read, comment on, or follow a blog, but not be able to for one reason or another. And even though it happens pretty frequently, it breaks my heart every time. So today I wanted to talk about some of these barriers and give some advice to bloggers. A lot of bloggers are probably only getting a fraction of the views they could and may not even be aware of some of the barriers that are standing in the way of them and their blogs getting more views. So I’m here to help!
A quick disclaimer: all of this advice is based on my own experience. These are things that have stopped me from reading, commenting on, or following blogs. This is not meant to be a complete list nor are these barriers going to discourage everyone from commenting/following/etc. 🙂
Make Your Recent Posts Easy To Find
Without a doubt, this is my number one pet peeve. If you have a static front page (i.e. a page that doesn’t change, such as an about page) or your front page shows specific featured posts, make it easy for readers to find your blog roll (like my blog’s front page, where all of your posts are there, with the most recent at the top). Sure, there are plenty of readers who won’t mind only being able to find some posts, but many of us want to be able to easily find the most recent things that you’ve written and shared. If people can’t find your recent posts, they won’t know what types of things you share and therefore, are less likely to follow you. Some bloggers will have navigation at the top that brings readers to specific types of posts (for example, reviews or memes) which is fine, but please, please, please also have a page where people can click and have all of your posts appear with the most recent post at the top. Trust me, it will be easier for a lot of people and you’ll be much more likely to gain new followers. After all, people aren’t going to follow you if they can’t even figure out what you post about or how frequently you post.
Make It Easy To Follow Your Blog
I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve wanted to follow a blog and haven’t been able to because I physically can’t find a way to do it. I recommend having something in your sidebar that will allow people to sign up to follow you. And make sure your follow options are not all restricted to certain platforms. For example, if you’re hosted by WordPress, make sure you have an option for people to follow you even if they don’t have a WordPress account. I personally recommend having an email available option because this allows anyone to follow you, even if they don’t want to sign-up for another website like Bloglovin’.
Make Your Theme Easy To Read
This is not really related to my former points, but it’s just as important. If your blog’s design makes it difficult for people to read your posts, I guarantee many people won’t even bother trying. Having all light colors or all dark colors can make it very difficult to read the text because it’s hard to tell the text apart from the background. This can be a huge problem for people who, like me, have eyes that get strained easily. My recommendation is to have a very light background with very dark text (like white and black). Having light text on a dark background can be difficult for some people (again, like me) to read, so having a light background and dark text will make your blog readable for most people. I’d also recommend avoiding tiny font sizes or having the majority of your text in some fancy script. I’d say minimum text size should be 12pt font and if you want to use a script font, use that only for headers. It can be difficult for some people to read blocks of text that are all in fancy script writing, so a regular serif or sans serif font will be best.
Have a Name/URL Comment Option Available
This tip is specifically included for blogs hosted by Blogger, but this is a good tip for self-hosted blogs, too. This isn’t an issue on WordPress blogs since readers who don’t have a WP account (or aren’t logged into WP) are automatically faced with a name/URL option. I’m pretty sure you’ll have to physically change your settings, but trust me, it’s worth it. There have been so many times that I’ve wanted to comment on someone’s Blogger blog, but haven’t been able to because there was no option available that would work for me. Blogger’s WordPress commenting option is notorious for not working (I’ve literally never been able to comment that way), so that really shouldn’t be relied upon. The other default options are not ones that I use either. PLEASE just make it much easier for everyone involved and enable name/URL commenting. I believe the picture below shows you how to do this (here’s the link if you can’t see the picture).