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Draws me in: It's the same idea as a room. The cleaner it is, the more you want to stay there. Once you're there, obviously, compelling content married with concise writing that flows and has a rhythm to it. Humor is always appreciated (as long as it's clean and doesn't intend to offend). Also...enough white space to allow my tired brain to focus.
Turn offs: overly designed pages, dark and/or busy backgrounds. Overall, too much clutter makes me want to click off. I feel suffocated by ads, contests, give-aways, medals, widgets, banners, etc. I have no idea what half the stuff is but it takes away from the read of the blog.
Also...inside jokes or talking to an audience as if they already know what's going on with you limits your blog. If you treat every post with the intention of widening your circle, then new people might stumble upon it and stay.
I'm a newbie blogger... long time lurker though. I'm still playing around with content , links, and posting pics from photobucket so am not an expert by any means. I'm working on my content , expanding beyond the circle of friends knowledge into wider generalized content.
Blogs that keep my attention tend to have pics and video. My favorite blogs include Old Grandma Hardcore , The Hot Librarian , and Corporate Mommy. I would have to say the simplicity of the page and the damn fine writing keeps me hooked. The above blogs leave me laughing and sometimes crying... the writing strikes me at my core.
It's the hook that lures and keeps me coming back for more.
I agree with you Kristen, I am drawn to photographs. Original photos of concepts, places, and people really help me to feel like I know the blogger behind the blog a bit better (even if they are not shots of themselves and their family etc.). I also like to feel like every time I visit I am reading a new post, some bloggers have a tendency to focus on the same things over and over and over.
I don't mind long posts, as long as they blogger doesn't write a novel for every post and they break up the blocks of words. It is hard to for me focus on long posts that have no spacing at all. I know we were all taught to write in paragraphs in grade school but honestly sometimes paragraphs are not great for a blog post.
What draws me in? I would have to say, humor. Nothing grabs me and brings me back like self-deprecating humor. Aesthetically? light colors, clean lines, reasonably sized banners.
Turn offs? Paid posts that are "sneaky" and music you can't turn off are tied at #1 lol
I've unsubscribed to several blogs that I follow after clicking through to read a story, just to see that someone made up a story so they could link to tissue paper or something. Arg. I am supportive of people that use the pay-per-post systems, but it can really hurt the bond you're trying to make with a reader.
And music on a blog? I don't know about most women, but I always have multiple tabs open, so can you imagine having multiple blogs playing their kids favorite songs?
I can't think of any specific blogs that do these last 2, don't get offended anyone!
Draws me in: A great post with a new twist on something that makes me laugh or touches my heart.
Turns me off: TINY print, cluttered page, SLOWWWW load time, music that plays automatically, too many ads, no contact info, banners, awards, blinking lights......well, ok, no blinking lights have been spotted.......but here's the big thing:
consistency. If I go to a blog and it looks different every time I go, I don't know where I am. Familiarity is big. If the theme or banner changes with the seasons or the holidays, then it's just a scrapbook and there is no branding.
I want to read the posts not be amazed by the circus in the sidebars.
I like a clean look, not a gagillion buttons and flashing things off to the side. Load time is important with my connection speed and all those flashy thing add to it. I don't like music either or videos that load without asking. My computer is muted unless I am listening to my own music & I really get annoyed when someone else's overrides it. Not to mention it adds to the load time
Then it is content that grabs me. I like humor & I like interesting stories. I don't really care if they are paid posts or not, if they are well done, funny & interesting that is what matters. I like photos too
What draws me in: 1. Photos! I am an amateur photographer and I include photos as often as I can, so I enjoy reading blogs where the blogger has taken the time to add some photos. 2. Informative and interesting content with a friendly vibe 3. Bloggers who act like they are genuinely happy that the reader is there.
What turns me off: 1. Dark background with itty, bitty light-colored words 2. Too much clutter! 3. Bloggers who act as if you should feel privileged to read their blog (lol).
I agree with Eryn, music is a huge turn off for me. If I hear it I automatically hit the back button. I am also turned off by the overly obvious paid posts that just scream the writer has no clue about the product they are reviewing. I followed what was once a really great blog for nearly a year, she started doing almost all paid posts and they contradicted things she had said in the time I had been following her.
I love blogs with lots of pictures and am good about that on my daughters blog but lacking on my blog. I also like clean design and dark text on a light background.
What draws me in is humor, wit and sarcasm. Some of my favorite blogs are loaded with all three! I don't mind advertising as long as it stays on the sidebars and there is some organization to it. Otherwise, it just looks crazy. lol
A well-written blog is a turn-on.
The turn-off is the exact opposite. And... design matters. Smartly designed blogs draw in more attention in my opinion. I don't like overly-designed blogs though (I think someone upthread mentioned this and she's totally right!).