Want to be taken seriously as a beginner blogger?
First, you need to understand what a 'bounce rate' is, and why you should want that number to be teeny tiny.
If you have a low bounce rate, that means that your readers are both engaged by the page they are reading and are following through with continued browsing on your site. A high bounce rate would mean that more readers visited your website and promptly high-tailed it out of there. This could mean that your post just wasn't engaging enough, or it means that the reader experienced a 'moment of discomfort', either consciously or subconsciously. Long story short, you NEED to have a low bounce rate for those readers to turn into loyal followers or clients.
Here are my top six MAJOR NO-NO'S that make designers cry real life tears and ruin the user/reader experience. Note: You'll find that most of these are about visual consistency, as the aesthetic experience of a blog is kiiiiiiiiiind of a big deal. I digress....
1. Poor quality graphics.
You don't need to be a Photoshop expert or graphic designer extraordinaire to create quality, unique graphics for your blog. Many successful bloggers use free tools such as Gimp and Canva to create consistently branded graphics or images.
2. Not enough visual elements or inconsistent image styles & formats.
Not using visual elements such as images, video, gifs, etc. does a huge disservice to yourself as a blogger. People typically skim read blog articles and these elements will catch their eye. On the other end of the spectrum, it's equally as bad to post lots of images with different styling. One of my personal pet peeves is when bloggers alternate image widths (ie. some 100% full width, some hovering as a smaller image).
3. Using only smartphone images.
Being a legitimate blogger comes from building a reputation as an expert in some regard. The average reader is far more likely to trust that someone is an expert if their presence screams "professional". Using iPhone shots as your main source of imagery on your blog is like putting a big stamp that says AMATEUR on your blog header. I mean, every single person with a smartphone can take a decent photo on their phone, right?
Smartphone photos = low commitment = beginner = definitely NOT an expert = high bounce rate. It comes full circle.
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4. Using more than 2-3 fonts.
Please... for the love of all things beautiful and holy in this world! For the love of summer vacations and pumpkin spice lattes! Choose a maximum of three fonts that best represent your brand and stick to them! Being too font-happy due to your recent discovery of Creative Market sends a message that you don't really know what kind of direction you're going in yet.
5. A questionable headshot.
No, you don't have to look like Angelina Jolie to book clients and no, you don't have to hire Patrick Demarchelier himself to look legitimate. Having a solid, recent headshot helps to establish your professionalism. Invest in a good photographer to help build your brand recognition. I recommend booking a lifestyle photographer instead of a traditional in-studio headshot photographer. This way, you'll be able to possibly get some brand-specific, behind-the-scenes shots of you doing what you do, which you'll then be able to use later on the blog!
6. Using a free domain.
It's more accessible than ever to purchase a domain name and hosting service. Having a .blogspot.com domain (or anything to the same effect) tells the world that you weren't ready to invest in your business/blog. So why should they invest in sticking around? Services like GoDaddy and BlueHost offer affordable domain & hosting services to get you started.
If you as a blogger avoid "moments of discomfort" in your user experience, then you're far more likely to create a lasting connection with readers. With social media, getting your brand out into the universe is incredibly easy. It's getting your off-the-cuff reader to stick around and subscribe that's the difficult part!
The takeaway here: it ultimately doesn't matter how spectacular your content is if you deliver it in terrible packaging. Be brand appropriate, always. Take time to create great, consistent content and you will keep that bounce rate low!
What are your pet peeves as a blog reader? What turns you away from a blog? Vent it out in the comments!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thanks for dropping by! I'm Caileigh and I create killer brand identities and offer coaching for creative entrepreneurs with gumption. When I'm not helping people build profitable businesses, I document love stories as a fine art film photographer.