Mark Schaefer wrote a great piece about how headlines make or break reads in this attention economy. In that vein, I leave many posts within the first minute creating a website bounce.
A high bounce rate indicates your site experience — which also means your business and content — doesn’t successfully cultivate prospects.
Headlines drive people into your site, but the writing job continues after someone clicks through.
Here are the top reasons I bounce off blog posts:
The headline promised a topic, but the author seems to think a long set up is justified, recounting some relatively insignificant reason why they decided to write the post. By the third paragraph, I’m wondering where this is going. I’m gone by the fifth. Ramble on!
Tip: You don’t have to write in a journalistic news style, but you should get to the point quickly.
2) Bait and Switch
Worse than long winded posts, some writers use a headline to grab you, then write on a completely different topic. They may even admit it with some cheeky remark about wanting to grab your attention. Ummm… That’s just wrong.
Tip: Write authentic headlines that accurately describe your post.
3) Cult of Personality
Some blogs are really about the person and their journey. That’s cool, but if I’m reading business stuff, give me value and intelligence as opposed to hero worship.
A blend is fine, but all blogger and no insights equals water cooler gossip or reality TV as far as I am concerned. Frankly, I’d rather read a novel.
Tip: Balance infusing personality with real world value and intelligence.
4) Rubbernecking Adventures
We’ve all seen the posts; dramatic mass unfollowing, calling out a brand or person, a ridiculous “X is Dead” post, or some vain attempt at newsjacking. These colorful pieces drive attention and momentary readership.
More than most I understand why these posts are a complete waste of time, not only for me as the reader, but also for the writer. At least from a qualitative standpoint.
I’m the guy that quit smoking who hates the stench of cigarettes. Meaning, been there, done that (as a writer), and I hate myself for it. So when I see someone else doing it, I have twice the negative reaction and split. Progress and journeys. Maybe it’s just my personal path.
Tip: Don’t abuse readers for massive click through moments. Focus on consistent value over time.
5) Too Many Affiliate Ads
The more credible the brand, the more ads we tolerate. In the case of independent bloggers or small businesses, I’m trying to trust you. Loading a site full of affiliate links and ads makes me think you’re in the nickel and dime game.
That means you want me to click through ads as part of an aggregate to make a few bucks a week. Overdone, that causes distrust. I see your content as click bait, and don’t want to come back.
Tip: Limit the amount of calls-to-action on your site so they don’t diminish your trust.
Clearly some of these are nitpicks, but they are the reasons why I bounce. Why do you leave blog posts?