Content Issues in Blogs
Regardless of what others might say about RSS, I still prefer to subscribe to my favorite blogs this way. While I’m sometimes follow them on other social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, oftentimes they don’t announce new posts, or they get lost in the clutter. RSS is the only way I can stay on top of my favorite blogs.
I also follow blogs from various genres: not only for design and development, but also interior design, reading lists, crafting sites and more. I have lots of hobbies, and therefor I get blogs of all levels. With the slowing down of blogging (many of us, including me either no longer blog, or release new posts sparingly), it seems things are getting a bit sloppy. Some of my favorite blogs make it so difficult for me to read their content, that I often end up unfollowing or skipping all but the most interesting.
I typically read posts using the Feedly app on my iPad. Which means I’m often on the run, reading in the bathroom (TMI?) or right before bed. Here are a few issues I’ve been noticing that have become more and more common. Funny enough, the majority of these have to do with how content works, and less about any particular design or style.
#1 Cutting off Content in Feeds
The most ANNOYING FREAKING THING IN THE WORLD you can do to your readers (and me) is to cut off your RSS feed content to “preview” mode. This is often done to force readers to click through to the actual website, in order to gain ad views and therefor, more money. But guess what? This is a big UX no-no and you’ll end up losing more readers than the ad revenue you’d gain. Find another way to make money (you know you can put ads directly in RSS feeds, right?). This also prevents Feedly from doing it’s job, which is caching posts for when there’s no internet. I’m often reading my iPad when there’s no wifi around.
#2 Content in Slideshows
One of my favorite interior design blogs is guilty of both #1 and #2. Not only do they force me to click through to the site (which is impossible when I’ve got zero internet), but then they don’t even show the full post after that. Instead, they stick their photos and content in slideshows, which are a pain to operate on the iPad, especially when they’re not touch controlled. Also, please, please, make your sites mobile friendly. Zooming in and trying to hit those tiny slideshow arrows make me want to set your website on fire.
#3 Content Pagination
Even worse than the content slideshows, are the paginated posts. You know, where you have to keep clicking “next” to get to the rest of the article. STOP TRYING TO HIJACK READERS FOR AD VIEWS PEOPLE. It’s not nice, and you’ve angered the internet gods. Plus, you’re probably losing a lot of readership for doing this. It also makes your content seem more spammy, (Buzzfeed, anyone?) regardless of how awesome the actual content is.
Making Things Better
I understand that a lot of bloggers want to make a living out of what they do, but there is more than one way to accomplish that without making your readers angry. Your #1 goal when blogging should be to make your content as accessible and easy to get to as possible. Remove the barriers, reduce the clicks, stop putting those stupid newsletter popup things in front of what I’m trying to read. Content comes first, ad money second. No readers, no ad money!