Are You Running Your Readers Away From Your Blog?

Popup boxes and other moving, animated images on your blog could be running your readers away and you don’t even know it. Allow me to explain.
Social Media Feeds in the Sidebar 
When you install a Twitter widget that displays your most recent tweets in the sidebar of your blog, this may cause a reader to stop reading a post to hover over to that widget and click on that tweet you just sent. 
Then, once on Twitter, they may start looking at other tweets and retweets and checking their timelines, and before you know it, they’ve forgotten that they were reading a post on your blog. 
The same goes for your Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook feed. Having these things in your sidebar may pull your readers away from the post they’re reading and give them reason to leave your blog altogether. 
If you want to encourage readers to follow you on social media, simply install social media icons in your sidebar and link them to your accounts. If they like you enough as a blogger, they may decide to follow you around on social media. 
Email Subscription Popups
Have you ever visited a blog, spent less than 30 seconds on the blog and then got hit with a popup message telling you to subscribe to a newsletter or ‘like’ a Facebook page? I have, and it’s annoying. 
You haven’t been on the blog long enough to finish reading a post and already the blogger is asking for you to join/sign up for something. 
This technique could potentially run readers away because they either have to try to find the small ‘x’ to close out of the box (and that’s too much work), or they’ll have to stop reading a post to type in their name, email, and click ‘submit’ (and that’s too much work). 
In theory, it sounds like a good idea to install a popup box on the homepage and on every single post so you can increase your subscriber count/Facebook fan page likes/etc. at a quicker pace.
But the problem is, this is a distraction and possibly an annoyance to most readers because you’re trying to sell them a product (i.e. your blog/content/brand) without giving them a sample first. 
And, realistically, who wants to buy or invest in something that they’ve never tried before? No one.

Be Subtle, Not Spammy 

Ultimately, it’s important to be mindful of how you’re approaching your readers and visitors when asking them to join your mailing list, or to follow you on Twitter, or to like you on Facebook.

None of us want to feel that we’re just another “follower” or “subscriber” or “Facebook fan.” To encourage organic engagement, the key is to be super subtle, not spammy.

Without the popups and ‘like me’ boxes, readers will have an opportunity to spend more time on your blog, reading your content and leaving comments.

And in the end, if your social media icons and subscription/like boxes are appealing and visible, some readers may even subscribe to your blog and/or follow you on social media. 

What are some other ways bloggers are potentially running readers away? 

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for the Brown Girl Blogger’s newsletter for personal notes from our founder, Candice!

Author: Drea Hall

Drea is a Chicago-based freelance writer and lifestyle blogger at The Drea Daily. She’s obsessed with coffee, books and blogs, handbags, and lipstick. When she’s not blogging, you can likely catch her tweeting about something on Twitter @DreaEHall.

  • We’re lurkers! LOL!

  • Hmm… That last paragraph is so true. I love to lurk.

  • Shalanda, so have I. As soon as music starts playing or popups keep popping up on every page, I just politely close the tab and make a mental note not to return to that blog.

    In the past, I had my Twitter feed in my sidebar, but I found that I wasn’t gaining followers, thus it had no value there. Like Tricia noted, it depends on your layout, the type of blog you have, as well as the type of content you’re sharing on social media. Some bloggers may notice an uptick in followers by having a select few of their social media feeds in their sidebar, but that was not my experience.

    And speaking personally, when I see a blogger’s Instagram feed or Twitter feed, I will leave their blog to further lurk around on their social media, but I probably won’t follow. Worse is that is that I probably won’t return to their blog because I’ve been distracted by tweets and pictures.

  • Certainly it depends on the layout of your site and the type of content you’re publishing. For instance, blogs that are larger and lean toward the magazine style (i.e. Fashion Bomb Daily, Clutch Mag, Very Smart Brothas, etc.) are ones that I think are okay to have social feeds in their sidebars and to use popups, though I still find them annoying and distracting. Thanks for reading and commenting, Tricia.

  • Great points! I guess it also depends on what type of site you are running as well as the layout of your content. My social feeds are usually last on my sidebar for that very reason lol but, I have found that when your social feeds are site related with a bit of personal lifestyle, I end up with new followers. Ultimately, if I’m talking about or sharing other posts from my site(s) or candid photos from events, etc, visitors tend to subscribe as well.

  • I have left blogs myself because of pop ups and such. I do like the social media feeds in the sidebar but I can see how they can be a distraction. I may consider removing mine as I already have my social icons available. I may not need the double work.