Why You Are Letting Your Blog Readers Down

July 26, 2010

Did you ever stop to ask yourself if you’re giving your readers what they want? If you take your blog seriously, I’m guessing you focus on writing useful and enjoyable posts. Trouble is, in your attempt to please them, you may be letting your blog readers down.

Many bloggers provide the kind of products, or services that their readers want. Trouble is, they are so focused on writing awesome content that they don’t let people know what else they have to offer.

What Do Your Blog Readers Want From You?

Most of your readers don’t interact with you in the comments section . But you can discover what they’re looking for, by monitoring how they arrive at your blog.

Say you have a blog on dog training and someone finds you by typing into Google, “how to train my dog to shit outdoors”, there’s a good chance they are desperate to find a solution to their problem. And if you sell an ebook on how to toilet train a dog, you need to provide a link to the sales page in the post they arrive at.

Others may find you through a more general keyphrase, such as “dog training blog”. They might not have a desperate need for your toilet training book but they could be interested in other products you have to offer. So make sure you make it easy for them to sign up to your newsletter and subscribe to your blog in an RSS reader.

You Don’t Have To Spoil Your Blog Posts To Sell Your Products

Some bloggers worry that they will ruin their content, if they mention their products. But making your readers aware of what you have to offer, doesn’t mean turning your posts into sales pitches.

You can write interesting posts that mention your product and provide a link to the sales page. If your reader is interested, they will click through to read more about it.

An opt in newsletter is another way to give your readers tips, updates and info on products they may be interested in. Or you can use the “What Would Seth Godin Do” plugin to mention your product at the beginning, or end of each post.

And don’t forget to display an ad for your product in a place where readers can see it. The best way to do this is by using an ADvatar. ADvatar’s are great because you can use them on your own blog, to advertise on other blogs and as your social networking Gravatar.

The idea behind these ads is often misunderstood. And some bloggers get frustrated when they place one of their ads somewhere and they don’t get hundreds of click throughs. But that isn’t how ADvatars work.

People need to see your ad several times, before they notice it and images are far more memorable than a name alone. Eventually, they will begin to recognise your ADvatar and they’ll remember you when they need what you have to offer.

If you don’t have an ADvatar yet, you should check out the awesome ADvatar’s that Barbara Swafford creates at the Blog Boutique.

* Disclosure – I don’t profit financially by recommending Barbara’s ADvatars. But we have been friends for over three years, since she began helping and advising bloggers at Blogging Without A Blog. And I know you can trust her to provide you with an attractive ADvatar for your blog.

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24 Responses to “Why You Are Letting Your Blog Readers Down”

  1. vered | blogger for hire on July 26th, 2010 8:17 pm

    The more I blog, the more I focus on what I want to say rather than fret and worry about what others want me to say. :)
    vered | blogger for hire\’s latest awesome post..Why Do You Like MeMy ComLuv Profile

  2. Jannie Funster on July 26th, 2010 11:16 pm

    I think my readers would like to see me performing more of my original songs. Just a feeling I get. So I’m gonna start doing more video postings. What’s the worst that could happen? THey come back more often? If my Google Stats comfirms my hunch…. bingo!

    As to ADvatars, is there any end to Barbara’s creativity and talent?? It seems not!

    Jannie Funster\’s latest awesome post..10 Amazing Things I’ve Done LatelyMy ComLuv Profile

  3. Karen Swim on July 27th, 2010 1:21 am

    Cath, you are absolutely right! I made this mistake for years and this year decided to correct it – still not quite there so thanks for the nudge! We do owe it to our readers and ourselves to let them know what we offer, even if they don’t personally buy they can certainly champion our services to others. Thanks Cath for the wake up call!
    Karen Swim\’s latest awesome post..Think Small to Go BigMy ComLuv Profile

  4. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 5:07 am

    Hi Vered – That’s a good idea ‘cos you can never please everyone anyway. And you manage to right review posts in a way that they don’t seem like a sales pitch.

  5. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 5:10 am

    Hi Jannie – You should do that. Lily Allen got discovered on one of the social networking sites I think, but I don’t remember which one. So maybe it’s worth putting them on Facebook too.

    Barbara’s ADvatars are awesome aren’t they. I also love how she changed the name avatar to make a completely new word.

  6. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 5:12 am

    Hi Karen – Letting folk know exactly what we do definitely helps. It makes it a lot easier to recommend people, so the easier the message is to pass on, the better.

  7. Rose on July 27th, 2010 5:48 am

    Another reminder that not all my readers are bloggers. The ADvatars are a really good idea.
    Rose\’s latest awesome post..Dog left in Hot VehicleMy ComLuv Profile

  8. Barbara Swafford on July 27th, 2010 7:06 am

    Thank you Catherine,

    I am humbled and honored by your kind words and the referral.

    I do agree. Some bloggers do have a problem with self promotion, and that was one of the things that inspired my ADvatars. My thought was, we don’t hesitate to include an ad for a product on our blogs, but we hesitate to advertise our own work. By the use of an ADvatar, we can accomplish both without looking too spammy.

    @Jannie and Rose. Thank you!
    Barbara Swafford\’s latest awesome post..Women vs Men – Who Wins The Word Count AwardMy ComLuv Profile

  9. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 7:11 am

    Hi Rose – It’s easy to forget sometimes. I’m glad you like the ADvatars.

  10. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 7:16 am

    Hi Barbara – You’re welcome. I love your ADvatars and I particularly like the way you combined Vered’s pic with her branding. I’m glad you’re making them, because until recently, when I looked at Blog Boutique, I was thinking you were giving far too much away. And you’ve already done a lot of giving on BWAB.

    What you say about ads is so true. Some people have so many ads on their blogs but they hesitate to promote their own stuff.

  11. John Crickett on July 27th, 2010 12:52 pm

    Good point, I’ve now implemented WWSGD! Thanks for the reminder.
    John Crickett\’s latest awesome post..Avoiding Sales PreventionMy ComLuv Profile

  12. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 2:46 pm

    Hi John – WWDGD do is really useful – you’ll like it. I need to add it back on here. I uninstalled all my plugins when I was hacked.

  13. Patricia on July 27th, 2010 7:10 pm

    I do not think I have a product to sell…yes! I know I can assist folks in making change in their lives, but I have not packaged that talent into a product…

    After so many years of being told what to write and do, I am liking my blog to be just what I want to do….

    I used to make some money by folks purchasing books I reviewed but now there is no pay for used books or ereader books…so I have to start again.

    I do too think that you are very talented and you share a lot of how to market blogs with folks and that is good knowledge
    And that Barbara is just an amazingly creative person….on so many levels….
    Patricia\’s latest awesome post..Stopping to Smell the FlowersMy ComLuv Profile

  14. cathlawson on July 27th, 2010 11:11 pm

    Hi Patricia – Thank you. I wouldn’t worry about not having a product to sell yet. I have had this blog for over three years and it has taken that long to decide what I want to do with it. I began it as a hobby, to improve my writing skills, and to help new businesses. And waiting also gave me the chance to get feedback and see what my readers want.

    I didn’t realise that Amazon aren’t paying commission on second-hand or e-books. That sucks. But if you want to sell other people’s stuff on your blog, there are plenty more options for you. I will email you in the morning, when I’m wide awake as I got less than 4 hours sleep last night.

  15. Davina on July 29th, 2010 5:09 am

    I need to do this, Cath.
    You’re right, people recognize an image more easily than they do words. I recently added drop down menus to my blog to promote both avenues of my business. However, I do need to get some avatars to put in the side bars. As soon as I’m finished rebranding I’ll have a clearer idea of the look that will be appropriate.

    It’s nice to see Barbara’s Advatars being promoted. She does good work and generously extends her time to other bloggers.
    Davina\’s latest awesome post..Where I’m from is ElementaryMy ComLuv Profile

  16. cathlawson on July 29th, 2010 6:04 pm

    Hi Davina – An image which incorporates the name of your business is best – they definitely get noticed more, as most people are highly visual. Even when you think of brands like Coca Cola, it is their logo that tends to pop into mind, rather than just the name.

    Like you say though – you need to get your new branding sorted before you can get some ADvatars. It’s great that Barbara is creating them – it’s nice to use the services of folk you know and trust.

  17. Sara on July 29th, 2010 6:13 pm


    At this time, I don’t sell anything on my blog, but there is this little idea in the back on my head…it’s like a bud that waiting to bloom.

    I want to eventually sell my photographs. I don’t want it be stock photos, but I like them to be different or unique. I make a calendar every year and pick twelve of my photos. I add my own quotes to each photo. I’ve toyed with the idea of selling these.

    Well, you given me a lot to think about:~)

    p.s. how come you can’t add a word or delete something in this comment box? I talk as I write and therefore, make mistakes…it weird not to be able to correct them when I read back over what I’ve written:~)
    Sara\’s latest awesome post..My Challenge- Poetry WritingMy ComLuv Profile

  18. Keith Davis on July 29th, 2010 8:50 pm

    Hi Cath
    Guess most of us don’t want to appear pushy or involved with that dirty word… money!
    At some point I’ll probably put an eBook together but I’m already thinking “what a betrayal of my loyal readers to offer to sell them something.”

    Thanks for a great common sense post and useful comments from your readers.
    Keith Davis\’s latest awesome post..A splash of colourMy ComLuv Profile

  19. cathlawson on July 30th, 2010 2:10 am

    Hi Keith, I think that feeling is common on bloggers. Next time you’re thinking about your ebook, remember that it’s probably something many of your readers really want. Also, don’t forget – it doesn’t need to be a huge undertaking. Folk are paying you for what you know, not how many words you can write and they usually want to learn it themselves quickly.

  20. cathlawson on July 30th, 2010 2:13 am

    Hi Sara – Get some miracle gro sprinkled on that bud and get it blooming quicker. Your photos are great and it would be awesome if you could sell them.

    I didn’t realise that was happening with comments – thanks for letting me know. I installed a plugin to stop my content being scraped, so maybe that’s the problem. I’ll check it out and fix it.

  21. Hilary on August 2nd, 2010 8:40 pm

    Hi Cath .. you’re right .. it’s finding the right mix and taking the necessary action to get things done ..

    Thanks – useful info above & Barbara is great with her information & now you’re back blogging we get a double input with some wonderful ideas or thoughts ..

    Have a good week ..Hilary
    Hilary\’s latest awesome post..Could this be a sitcom – or a break out sitcom Ever had a one word – at a time – conversation Fish and Chips – how do you spell itMy ComLuv Profile

  22. cathlawson on August 3rd, 2010 10:35 am

    Hi Hilary – Thank you. It looks like I’m definitely back here permanently.

  23. Alien Ghost on August 8th, 2010 7:50 pm

    Hi Cath,

    I don’t have anything to sell in my blog right now so it is mostly about the content and there comes the problem of being nice so not to hurt anybody to keep them coming back or being honest so, even if some readers get mad and never come back, at least it is a honest blog from a honest blogger. I chose the second.

    Alien Ghost\’s latest awesome post..The Problem With LifeMy ComLuv Profile

  24. cathlawson on August 11th, 2010 11:43 am

    Hi Raul – Honesty is one of the best qualities a blogger can have.

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