I recently stumbled across Scott Skinner’s new website Egobaiting.com and really enjoyed his honest style of writing. So I invited him to share his tips on UX for bloggers. Enjoy!
Do You Know How Many Bloggers There Are
Trying To Get My Attention Right Now?
Do you know that right at THIS, very moment … I, am, THE most popular man, on all the entire internets combined?…Waddaya think man, pretty impressive, right? … Bet yer wonderin’ who I am, ‘aye?
I’m Your Target Friggin’ Audience Bubba! … tweet this
- I’m the guy that’s gonna buy your ebook.
- I’m the guy that’s gonna join your precious little optin list.
- I’m the guy that’s gonna share your stuff with my friends.
- I’m the guy that’s gonna link out to your next blog post.
- I’m the guy that’s gonna follow along after you on twitter.
- I’m the guy that’s gonna circle your big ugly mug on google+.
- I’m the guy that’s gonna retweet your oh-so-subtle self-promotion.
- I’m the guy that’s gonna submit your egobait … on inbound.org.
I’m the guy you should be busting your ass, not to annoy.
I’m the reason you get to work for yourself, to work from home, to quit your shitty little job and say ef-u to your punk-ass’ ‘boss’.
I’m The Guy Feedin’ Your Wife’s Kids, Brother! … tweet this
So I think we can agree then … I MATTER.
But let me ask you this:
Knowing how powerful I am, knowing how much influence I wield, knowing how coveted my attention is, knowing how many choices I have at my fingertips, knowing how easy it is for me to click the back button on my browser, and knowing how much work you’ve already done to get me to your blog in the first place
(and on the other hand, knowing how incredibly generous & useful I can be) …
Why the hell would you make it so effin’ difficult for me to like you? . … tweet this
ATTENTION BLOG MARKETER
Howdy … I’m Scott Skinner @egobaiting … I’M YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.
And I have a message for you from all the people that read your blog with an IQ over 70 … tweet this
I don’t know you. I don’t like you. I don’t care about you. And I’m probably gonna hate your crappy little blog too … tweet this
Is That a Message You Like Hearing?
THAT, is the way you need to approach this thing …
- Assume that everyone hates you …
- Assume they all think your blog sucks …
- THEN GO PROVE THEM WRONG!
- tweet this
It doesn’t take a whole lot to make me like you … and once I do, I’m usually pretty loyal (and generous). I’m a pack-animal at heart (and quite habitual in fact) … simple familiarity is usually all I need.
Trouble is … if my ‘user experience’ (you’ve heard of UX before, right? … typically you might want to have a user experience strategy for your blog … i.e. generally bloggers try to improve user experience for their blog readers, etc).
So again, … If the experience I have on your blog annoys the hell outta me … before I even have a chance to get to know you, before I have a chance to get ‘familiar’ with you … not only will I banish you from my ‘favorites’ folder, but I’ll also probably bitch about it to my friends.
Not so funny is it?
Okay, so here we go … 5 Quick User Experience Tips From The Guy Feedin’ Your Wife’s Kids …
1. Idiot-Proof Your Popular Posts
I’m officially begging you right now for this one. PLEASE, give me a highly visible, idiot-proof way of finding your best stuff.
You may think your latest post is your best, but I’m probably not going to (plus, I already know where to find that one).
If I can’t very, very, easily, find your popular posts heading, I’m out the door … tweet this
I’m sure as hell NOT gonna go searchin’ around for it.
If you don’t care about your popular posts, then why the hell should I?
You don’t need a lot of amazing posts in order for me to like you, care about you, start paying attention to you.
Having two or three good posts right up top (that get my attention … that allow me to get to know you) is all it usually takes … but if I can’t find them, there’s no chance I’m stickin’ around.
In fact, actually, I don’t even care if you choose them yourself. I don’t really care how it’s measured, just show me something … please.
Here’s a little side-tip for ya … everyone knows you have an optin form somewhere (10 or 12 maybe?) … [never had any trouble findin' one of those].
But guess what bubba, I’m not an idiot. Whose purpose is that optin form really serving, yours, or mine? … Yeah, you know it, and I know it too.
So when you put your little optin form right up there in the top slot of your sidebar all flashed up and pretty, and then push the popular posts section way the hell down below the fold (or not even have one at all) it doesn’t take much thinkin’ on my part to figure out who you care about most, and it sure as hell ain’t me!
2. Use target=”_blank” for External Links … Seriously!
10 years ago people used to get spooked by this, but these days, all web browsers have tabs, and I wanna be able to get back to where I started from.
target=”_blank” does that for me. Do you know how annoying it is having to right-click and select ‘open link in a new tab’ every time I want to take a quick peek at one of the links in your post?
How I Read Blogs
When I read a blog post and see links I might want to visit, I open them in a new tab and then keep reading the original post. When I’m done with the original post, I start going through the open tabs, dumping the ones that end up being crap, reading the ones that really are good, and/or dropping some of them in a ‘read later’ folder.
Here’s the important part; It’s VERY easy to get distracted and forget how the hell I got wherever the hell it is that I end up. Luckily though, (most of the time) I’m smart enough to open all those ancillary posts in new tabs, so the post I started with (YOURS) is sitting there waiting for me to (share, comment on … join your list, BUY SOMETHING, click an affiliate link, put in a ‘link to’ folder, et cetera).
Now the thing is, most people probably don’t put that much thought into it. I’m paying more attention than most people probably do because I’m there specifically looking for blog posts to share & promote. Most people reading your blog probably aren’t doing that (and I even get lost myself a lot, when I forget to open the link in a new tab). So when they start clicking links that don’t open in new tabs, it’s super easy for them to get lost and forget all about YOUR POST.
This happens to ME a lot (and I’m actively trying to avoid it): I click on a link (forgetting to open it in a new tab) read the linked post, get caught up in it, forget that I didn’t open it in a new tab, and then close the tab (forgetting all about YOUR post … the one that had led me to the one I just closed out) … You just lost me, and it all could have been avoided w/ target=”_blank”
Bottom Line: It’s YOUR job to make sure I don’t get distracted and forget where I came from (your blog post). You worked so hard to get me there; don’t lose me because you didn’t take the time to setup target=”_blank” for external links.
Simple Fix: Go install this plugin WP External Links from Victor Villaverde Laan. There may be better ones out there; I really have no idea. This is the first one I tried, and it worked, so I kept using it … Quick. Easy. Done.
Note: This plugin can also mark the end of external links w/ a little icon, if you want it to (so that people know that it’s going to open a new tab when they click it).
3. Let Me Login to Comment w/ My Twitter Account
I really don’t care one way or the other if you have commenting enabled on your blog or not. I really don’t care all that much whether the links are nofollowed or not. What I do care about though is NOT having to create a friggin’ login account for 85 different blogs each month.
If you’re gonna have comments on your blog posts, allow your readers to login with twitter. Period. Nothing else will do.
If you don’t have your comments set up to allow me to login with my twitter account, then not only am I not going to comment, but I’m also gonna be pissed off and annoyed. Not because what I have to say is so important, but because it shows me once again, that YOU don’t care about ME.
Go enable WordPress’s Jetpack plugin, it has login with Twitter & Facebook already built-in.
If you don’t like Jetpack for some reason, that’s fine, or if you have some other commenting plugin, I really don’t care HOW you do it, just figure out some way to get it done.
Go figure out whatever it is you have to do in order to get this squared away, right now, today. It goes a long way toward showing your readers that you’re making these tiny little gestures to make THEIR lives easier. To make THEIR EXPERIENCE on your blog better …
And you’ll probably get a lot more comments that way too.
That’s still a good thing, right?
4. I Attach to Actual People Way More So Than I Do to Cold Faceless Entities
If you can’t be bothered to be human with me, then please tell me why the hell I should care about you? … Tip: I won’t … tweet this
I’m human. I’m habitual. I like to get familiar with people. I like to care.
That’s what humans do. We’re pack animals and we tend to prefer attaching to other people, much more so than to cold faceless entities like rocks, trees … and websites.
Show me who you are …
Give Me a Reason to Care About You
Give me a reason to care about you … make me ‘feel’ something … and then give me something to ‘attach’ those feelings to … tweet this
Kids these days are calling that ‘Branding’ I think … some people seem to think it’s pretty important … your readers possibly (even if ‘they’ don’t actually know it, themselves).
The easiest thing for me to attach to is a face. So please … show me one.
In fact, I really don’t even care all that much if it’s your real face or not, so long as it’s consistent (I can even attach to cartoons).
James Agate uses a cartoon face and that works just fine for me. When I see that cartoon face coming, I know James Agate is in the room, and all the feelings I’ve attached to it come flooding right back in (it’s very efficient).
Chris Dyson has a photo of him drinking from a glass of beer. Every time I see that face coming, first I grin & nod my head a bit, THEN I FEEL … I instantly know who’s talking to me. I don’t necessarily remember everything I know about him, nor every interaction I’ve ever had with him, but one thing I definitely DO remember is how I FEEL about him.
Familiarity … likeablilty … trust … branding.
I’ve put him into a category of a generous person that I like & trust …
YOU WANT YOUR READERS TO BE DOING THAT TO YOU …
Be Generous & Likeable … Then Give Them Something to Attach Those Feelings to … (your big ugly mug perhaps).
Here are some other people I’ve put into that same category … Not BECAUSE OF, their photos; because they were generous & likeable to me … BUT THEN ALSO … gave me something to attach those feelings about them onto …
Chris Dyson, Gaz Copeland, Tad Chef, Jason Acidre, Patrick Hathaway, Anthony Pensabene, Neal Dougan, Nick Eubanks, Derek Halpern, Mars Dorian, Peep Laja, Wayne Barker, Michael Lykke Aagaard, James Altucher, Ramsey Taplin, James Blute, Steve Webb, Sonia Simone, Chris Gilchrist
Go visit these people, bookmark their sites, get to know them, they’re generous as hell and they go out of their way to care about their readers.
… * My site’s called ‘egobaiting.com’ for a reason!
Tell me who you are w/ your writing … Open Up, Let Me Care About You … Then give me something to attach that to …
5. Stop Hiding the Fact That You Want Me to Buy Something
Be Proud of it … Or don’t do it! … Period. … tweet this
If you’re embarrassed about selling stuff … then you shouldn’t be selling stuff! … WTF!? … tweet this
If you’re embarrassed to be selling it, then I should probably be twice as embarrassed if I’m dumb enough to buy it from you!
I’m an affiliate for a few different products & services (and I also sell a few weird services of my own) … but I choose the things I promote very wisely. I’m exceedingly proud of them … and I sure as hell don’t hide that fact.
I’m proud as hell.
Before the penguin attack I was making almost as much money as my mom was (and I’m on my way back). I contribute; I help take care of my family. That’s something to be proud of … why would anyone (YOU?) be embarrassed by that … DON’T BE … trust me … if you are … we can smell it on you.
I’m proud of what I do. I’m proud that I took the initiative to try something new (most kids my age aren’t doing this stuff). If you’re squeamish about selling, guess what man, I’m not an idiot, I’m runnin’ for the hills.
I’m proud that I make money online … if I wasn’t … I wouldn’t … and neither should you … cash it in … you’re in the wrong sport bubba, go get a day job, and leave this blog marketing stuff to the people that actually take pride in what they’re selling.
My website feeds me. That’s not something I (nor my family) take lightly … If it’s the same for you, then be proud of it, and tell us what you’re selling.
You don’t have to do it in a big flashy, in my face sorta way (and please don’t) but if I have to search around trying to figure out how I can contribute, then I’m probably not going to.
6. Prove That You’re a Team Player!
If you want me to share & promote YOUR stuff, show me evidence that you’re a team player. Show me how generous and likeable you are. Show me evidence that there are at least a few other people that think you’re likeable and generous.
Link out liberally to relevant posts on other blogs (even if they’re your buddies, that’s fine). I don’t care if you have 10,000 followers & 80,000 ‘friends’ but I would like to see that you’ve at least established semi-friendly relationship with a few other bloggers in your niche, and show me evidence of you promoting them.
Basically, just show me something that suggests you can ‘play well w/ others’, at least a few others. I don’t care if 99% of people hate your ass (in fact, I’d probably think that was a good thing in some cases) but if you have ZERO online relationships, it suggests to me that you’re likely a selfish tool, or worse, a scammer scumbag.
Be generous, promote your buddies … promote your ‘tribe’ … promote strangers that have good stuff … promote newbies just getting started … show me evidence that you’re a team player (simple enough).
Summary To-Do List:
- Idiot-Proof Your Popular Posts
- Target = _Blank for External Links
- Login w/ Twitter for Comments
- Give Me a Reason to Care About You
- Be Proud of What You’re Selling
- Prove That You’re a Team Player
- Hire Me, Join My List, Donate, Buy Something?
7. Hire a Freakishly Affordable User Experience Consultant
… I just happen to know a great one! … and he’s not too busy to care yet!
Get a Fresh Perspective! … Scott Skinner (egobaiting.com) does Freakishly Affordable, user experience consulting for small to medium sized home based bloggers. I’ll spend a few hours on your blog & tell you how it’s annoying your readers. … tweet this
Ps … Your kid needs to go on a diet! — Scott Skinner