5 Reasons I Unsubscribe From Your Blogs

Grammar

This post almost pains me to write, because the beauty of blogging is that we’re all different and we bring those different backgrounds to our writing. It lets regular Joes and Janes have a major voice and allows people who might not have a background in writing or journalism express their views on the world.

And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

But with nearly 400 subscriptions already jamming up my Google Reader, I have to make some brutal cuts and constant audits of what I devote my time to –  and that means that in many cases, I drop a blog not because the content is bad, but because a few small things make it difficult for me to commit to a daily visit. So I hope you’ll take these as gentle reminders that small changes can make a big difference in your audience numbers!

5 Reasons I Unsubscribe From Your Blog

  • Bad Grammar and Spelling Mistakes

We all have the occasional typo or misplaced apostrophe. So I’m not talking about the once-in-a-while slips. I’m talking about the constant misuse of your/you’re there/their/they’re its/it’s and so on. I understand that not everyone is crazy about grammar like I am — but it makes it difficult for me to read poorly written or sloppy posts without getting all squishy inside. The Hollaback Health girls have a whole thread on grammar — check it out and you should be able to make some easy changes.

  • No Pictures/Bad Pictures

Hey, I already ‘fessed up to being a terrible food blogger, in large part because I can’t take a good picture to save my life. So I’m not in the camp that says you have to have a fancy camera or the most expensive editing software. But I am telling you that it’s difficult to read posts that have small, poorly lit pictures that are smooshed in between words and paragraphs. I think it’s better to have a few good pictures than a mess of so-so shots. It took me 10 minutes to read the manual on my point-and-shoot and learn how to resize the pictures. Totally worth it.

And here’s a quick tip — subscribe to your own blog by email and by RSS reader. Many times, the formatting looks completely different and your hard work might not be paying off by the time it gets to your subscribers.

  • Excessive Whining

HEAR.THIS. I want you to share your experiences. I want you to tell me about the obstacles you’re facing. I want to know that you’re a real person, not a blogging robot. But I won’t stick with you day after day if it’s just “woe is me”-ville. It’s OK for you to pour your heart out, and you don’t need to try and find a silver lining where there isn’t one. But if you are miserable day after day after day after day, it’s too draining on me and I will have to stop reading for my own sanity.

  • Length

Oops. I fear I may have broken my own rule here. But there is a cutoff for my reading patience and it’s about 450 words. There are a few exceptions — posts that are broken up by bullet points or anchored links, or have such great stories or pictures that I am willing to take some time and digest. And we’ve all had amazing vacations that we just can’t sum up in a few paragraphs!

But if you have so much to say that every single post takes me 10 minutes to read (and re-read), I will probably just give up. Be your own editor — cut some stuff out or consider breaking the content up into multiple posts.

  • Me Me Me

Ohhhhhh please don’t kill me (oops, just used the word me!) — but unless I *really* like you…I don’t care about every single thing you do every single day. I want to know not just what you did but what you learned…what surprised you and who else you met along the way. I do subscribe to a lot of so-called lifecasters, but that’s because they follow the “me you me us me them me” model.

So, now you know my pet peeves. What bugs you about some blogs, and when do you decide to cut them out of your life?

P.S. Looks like I’m not the only one who is getting pickier — check out this “Unsubscribe Me, Please” post on Daily Blog Tips today.

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Comments

  1. says

    I don’t like bloggers who are downright rude and don’t appreciate their readers. People who show no humility when they talk about their exploding inboxes and their lack of time for interaction with readers have been getting slashed from my google reader lately. I have no patience for a lack of hospitality towards the people who take time out of their day to read their blog. I like blogs that are about having a conversation.

    Katy, I LOVE your blog. :) You rock.

    • says

      Good points! Although I think it’s fair to assume that some bloggers become so big that they really are a business — and even well-intentioned CEOs lose their way sometimes.

      I find that when I meet bloggers, they’re very rarely motivated by page views or clicks — so sometimes a gentle reminder or honest feedback goes a long way.

      But yes, a lack of humility is pretty off-putting.

  2. says

    Oh man, you read my mind. I’ve been doing a lot of google reader purging lately and the reasons are numerous. I think the number 1 thing that turns me off from a blog is gross displays of weath. That’s awesome if you’ve been lucky enough/hardworking enough to enjoy a high standard of living, but for the love of god don’t go parading it around the internet. It’s one thing to talk about your life in a matter of fact way, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to shout it from the rooftops. Showing off money is just plain tacky.

    • says

      Valid point…or if you ARE lucky enough to be wealthy (and that’s not a crime!), maybe have an honest friend standing by who can tell you when you are over the top?

      Again, my advice isn’t to change anything about the way people post — just a list of reasons why I (and others) might not choose to read.

  3. says

    I want to read great writing. Or see good photos. A blog that doesn’t ever try to give me one of the two and I’m outta there.

    So bundle your reasons above and add lack of a story or compelling point of view and -please goddess, a sense of humor??-and I’m outta there. In the past year I have brutally cut my blog reader down from a high of 800 blogs to about 100. It’s painful and a bit sad, but it’s left me with quality reading with my limited time.

    Remarkably, I read only a few fitness bloggers because I find the content in many way too “navel gazey” and/or self-centered. And completely lacking a sense of humor.

    • says

      Deb,

      Well put. I think if we all go back to why we blog and what we’re trying to get out of it, we’ll have different responses. Some want to build BIG communities…others want small but tight-knit. They’re *all* good motives…but I think it is smart to audit your own blog and make sure it’s where you want it to be.

  4. says

    I hate spelling errors, grammar errors, and complaints. I also hate when a blogger is negative multiple posts in a row. It is ok to share a few bad days, but negativity all the time brings me down, and I prefer to stay up.

    That being said, I hope I have not committed any of the reasons you mention above!

    • says

      So many people tweeted me wondering if I have unsubscribed from them! :)

      Like I said, I have 400 subscriptions, so there are PLENTY in there that don’t follow the rules above, but keep me coming back for other reasons.

      You happen to be one of my faves. And as far as I know, you’re not breaking any of my “rules.” :)

  5. says

    Now you need 5 Reason Why I Subscribe to Your Blog :) I like to think personal connections to people leave me coming back to, but even then i mostly skim if it’s bad.

    • says

      Meghann,

      It’s already half-written :) I only posted the “bad” first because I thought it was more actionable. And, like I said in other comments, I subscribe to 400+ blogs. There are plenty in there that I let slide because I love other things about them or the bloggers!

      Personal connections are the biggest. When I feel invested in a blogger, I want to come back every day and see what they’re up to.

  6. says

    I think everyone reads blog for different reasons. We follow or get to know certain bloggers and relate to them in some sort of way. & continue to read certain ones day in and day out. I admit that I am NOT a great writer- my English skills get corrected by my BF who taught himself the language (his 4th) from the dictionary. I have no fancy writing degree nor have I ever attended a college class. I just write from the heart…and share my weigh loss journey with my fellow blog friends. :)

    When it comes to what I like to read- I’m with you on the shorter posts, but if someone is going through a rough time I read what they gotta say. :)

    It’s hard to do the Google Reader purge- I had to do it recently, not fun! lol Good luck to ya!

    • says

      It drives my husband crazy when I try and edit his writing…and I realized after he really told me how bad it makes him feel that I was in the wrong. Unsolicited feedback is no fun. And I would hate it if he gave me the same critique! And who I am to tell him what “good” even means?

      Writing from the heart is what it’s all about. I forgive a lot of so-called “sins” if I am invested in the blogger him or herself.

      Oh my. I just used TWO sets of quotation marks. See? I’m fallible, too!

  7. says

    How funny! I -just- cleaned out my Google Reader and my blog roll yesterday. Most of the reasons you described were the main culprits. I do have one to add, or rather expand upon. The “Me me me” reason, but when it’s a daily account of food/weigh in/exercise. There is just no interest in that for me. We’re all so much more than those things, I pains me to read a journal/diary entry with nothing more than that.

  8. says

    I COMPLETELY agree with Sarah. That is a big one – people who do not ever respond – replying to a comment you left, twitter or email… AND say how much they love Each And Every Reader. not buying it. ;)

    Bad grammar also makes me cringe – and I’m not talking about the occasional mistake – there’s a difference.

    I just went the OTHER way… a few weeks ago I added several new blogs to my reader (including yours!) and I’m loving them (INCLUDING YOURS!) while I skim these offenders or just mark all as read. I suppose the next logical step is to delete.

    :)

    • says

      I love Each And Every Commenter. Buy that? :)

      Thanks for the love…

      BTW, I’m a big fan of “mark all as read.” It’s GReader bankruptcy.

  9. says

    I agree about the grammar and spelling. I also like to feel like I’ve learned something from posts, like a food or recipe idea/tip, or what went wrong with your recipe. And same with fitness. And I like connecting with readers/other bloggers and dislike when people don’t respond to comments. Dislike too-frequent complaints too. Love a good discussion in a post!

    • says

      Look at the discussion in this post!

      Learning something is a big deal, and I think that’s what I not-so-eloquently was getting at with the Me Me Me part. I really do feel sorry for people who are struggling but if there’s no “aha” moment at some point…it’s just too depressing.

  10. says

    I like when the blogger has pictures and tells personal stories instead of just stating this is what I did today and here’s what I ate. I like to feel a connection. Without that connection I find it hard to keep reading.
    Though, I do read a few just for their photography skills!! :)

  11. says

    It bugs me no END when a blogger consistently uses bad grammar or doesn’t proofread. I don’t mind a typo here and there, but some bloggers (and you may or may not know who you are, but WE do) are just egregious in their misuse of the English language.

    That said, I do follow one particular blogger whose blogs are constantly peppered with typos just because she entertains me otherwise (and she is one of your good friends). But I do so wish that she would spend some time proofreading before she hits PUBLISH.

    • says

      Oh, you and your $5 words. Egregious shmegious. :)

      Like I said…with 400 subscriptions, I’m sure half of them break at least one “rule” I laid out here. It takes time for me to work up the nerve to unsubscribe because I come to love the bloggers as people, not just as posters.

  12. says

    Kudos to you, Katy. This post is great and it is generating a lot of feedback that we can all use. I must admit, I am guilty as charged on the length one. Unfortunately, I can’t post multiple times a day and by the end of the day I have so much to write about.. the posts get LONG.

    I am so with you on the wrong uses of your/you’re and there/their and the one I hate most: then/than. Although, I am a tad of a rule-breaker because I don’t use capitalized letters in my blog. It’s how I used to type my personal blog and it carried over to meals & moves. I thought about changing it when I started gaining readers, but I like typing like that, so it has stuck. I am sure that irks people and I have thought about changing it…

    I need to get better at comment replying. I am notorious for failing at that and it makes me feel so bad! Thanks for this post, it helped remind me my faults and what I should work on. Although I think my rambling, long posts are a lost cause and are here to stay ;)

    XO to you, lady!

    • says

      I cringed when I realized how often I break my own “rules.” I’m a terrible storyteller in person because I just go ad go and go

      I really do try and reply to as many comments as I can because I love the back and forth.

      XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

  13. says

    I agree and yet I can sometimes break my own rules- I TRY to keep to my own likes/dislikes about reading other blogs. I have a very hard time reading lengthy posts as I am a slow reader and hang on every word.. I love to look at nice photos. I do want to read someone with a fun/interesting personality.. I am a sucker for cute/funny animal photos, and I really like to read humorous or clever posts. I’m sure I don’t succeed all the time with my own efforts! Great post though- great reminders. Ironically I just re-worked my Reader last night- deleted some, added others!

    • says

      Maybe we need an 80/20 rule for blogging. 80% of the time, give your readers a though. 20% of the time, do whatever the heck you want! Break the rules!

      Some of the posts that do break my “rules” end up being my favorite, so I guess they aren’t rules so much as guidelines.

  14. says

    I agree with everything you said. I have also been purging some blogs from my Reader because some of them are just becoming boring to me.
    I love blogs that I get tips from or some form of takeaway, although I don’t care for the posts where a blogger with my level of experience racing presents themself as a quasi-expert.
    My blog is relatively new and I’m working to find my voice because I don’t want to be a food blogger, or document every workout, but I do want to share my stories and inspirations and hopefully connect with others in the process.
    Thanks for all of your great input and advice via your blog and twitter – it’s very helpful!

  15. says

    I write posts that are wayyy too long. I’ve tried to be less loquacious. Sigh. I will unsubscribe if the content just doesn’t interest me anymore. One blogger really digressed into post after post (more than one a day) about her marital issues and it was uncomfortable to read. Some bloggers I have unsubscribed from if I have commented a lot and never gotten a response on their blog or at mine. There are just so many great bloggers out there who I have built relationships with that I’d rather share the love and focus my time when I know it is appreciated. I always feel so guilty when I unsubscribe.

  16. says

    This is really interesting! I have been wondering about this because I have chosen to remain anonymous on my blog, and as such, very rarely post pictures (unless they are of inanimate objects). I wonder how this might impact my blog readership negatively. Again, though, I have to remember that I’m not in this to get the most readers… just to express myself creatively and to make a few new friends in the process :).

    • says

      Holli…

      You nailed it — expressing yourself is HUGE and if you tried to fit into a mold that didn’t inspire you, it wouldn’t be much better.

      I think it’s a function of me trying to read as many blogs as I can because I’m fascinated by other people’s lives. So sometimes, I have to draw the line.

  17. says

    As usual, Katy, you’ve educated us so much. As someone who is really just getting started with her blog and still trying to define what it is and what it should be, I LOVE insight from an old pro like yourself.

    For me, it’s a gut feeling. If I haven’t checked my blog reader in a few days and I find myself only skipping ahead to specific ones and always skipping over others, that’s a clue to me that it’s time to trim the fat.

    I also find that it’s about finding your niche. Although I love reading a lot of food and fitness bloggers, that’s just not a big part of my life. Instead, I find myself drawn to other moms who talk about fitting exercise, cooking and healthy living into their entire family’s lives. Given how little time I have to pour over “fun” reading, I just can’t read every blogger out there. Maybe it’s keeping my circle too closed, but I find I make more time for blogs where I share something in common with the author.

    And I agree with the other commenters — whether it’s food, fitness or mom bloggers, anyone who is either too negative or too “isn’t my life great?” gets the axe.

    Looking forward to the best practices blog!

    • says

      Thanks, Jackie!

      The majority of blogs that I subscribe to are written by people who live very different lives than me, so I hate unsubscribing from anything. But at some point, it’s like…whoa.

  18. says

    I really have to clean up my subscription list. I can’t remember the last time it didn’t say “1,000+ unread” (I can’t bring myself to mark all as read!).

    Once upon a time I was a generic “life” blogger and somehow running has taken over, LOL. My reading interests have also changed accordingly — I have added lots of running/health/fitness/food blogs and am reading fewer “life” blog.

    One biggie for me is the partial RSS feed. Since I’m usually a little behind, I love being able to skim all the posts I’ve missed. I will click through when I want to comment.

    I have to really love what you’re writing if you’re using a partial feed!

    • says

      Interesting point on the partial RSS feed — I haven’t considered using that!

      I do use tags and folders in my GReader so I can read on topic and clear the rest out when I’m in a rush.

      • says

        I’ve rarely see a partial feeds executed well. I only follow one blogger who writes a synopsis for the partial feed, so you can easily tell if you want to read more. Most people just leave the default and have it send the first couple of sentences, which usually doesn’t give a good overview.

        Still, I don’t prefer partial feeds, and they’ll get cut from my reader sooner than full-feed bloggers.

        There are exceptions, of course, but the partial-feed bloggers must be really awesome for me to stick around. But in that case I probably follow them on Twitter and click through when they promote their posts, anyway …

  19. says

    I completely appreciate this post. I am a grammar-nazi, so I’m always noticing even the tiniest little errors. I understand everyone is human and makes mistakes, but like you said, when it’s all of the time it starts to get old! The length issue I hear also, I find that the longer the post is, the more I skim through it. Quality > Quantity. Keep it short & sweet!

    I just came across your blog a couple weeks ago after my first fitblog chat. (btw thank you for suggesting the TweetChat to me, it saved my sanity! Without it, I may not have returned the following weeks!) I really appreciate your honesty and how *real* you are. Thanks for being a great new addition to my Google Reader, and I look forward to reading more of your posts :)

    • says

      Melissa,

      I’m glad my little tips helped! And thank you for the comment on my honesty…I’m trying to walk a tightrope of giving useful advice (we have enough yes men and women) and still being friendly.

  20. says

    I like this and agree that for some people you give a pass just because you like them as a person. Even if they aren’t the best writer they have amazing stories or just awesome pictures.

    Some blogs I subscribe to just to look at the great pictures. And I’m okay with that because I skim.

    Taking the time to proof read my posts helped me as a writer recently but also gain readers. I look back at old posts and wish I had a week off just to correct things sometimes.

    • says

      Thank you for your kind words! I hope these posts don’t come off as preachy. They’re just tips I wish I’d known when I got started!

  21. says

    A wake up post for me to revisit the direction I want to take with my blogs. And yes, I am always inclined to click the “Mark all as read” button :D

    I would love to document your life with photography. Name the time and place :)

  22. says

    I did this radical crazy thing awhile ago, I deleted my google reader! I subscribe through email to the folks that I don’t want to miss and that don’t use twitter a lot. If someone’s active on Twitter I usually catch them every couple of days.

    I must agree with some other commenters, I have a hard time commenting continually on blogs when the writer never responds, ever. There have been blogs that I thought we fantastic but the lack of interaction was really off putting. I’m really in this for the community aspect of it and I’ll only talk to a wall for so long.

    • says

      That IS radical — and terrifying!

      The commenting debate is ongoing, and I think it’s really cool that we’ve been talking about it at #Fitblog. It’s a hard balance to strike — how to comment and how often. And how to respond to comments!

  23. says

    I unsubscribe to a) sellouts, b) people that talk excessively about their blog traffic, and c) people that don’t lead a life that I can relate to in any way shape or form.

  24. says

    I decided to start unsubscribing from a few blogs because my Google Reader was just getting totally out of control, and a lot of the reasons you listed are the reasons I end up cutting some blogs from my list.

    Excessive whining is a big one for me, especially if it’s about blog stats or how many subscribers they have (or have lost recently) or anything along those lines. I don’t read blogs because of popularity–I read them because I enjoy the information being presented. Fortunately, this doesn’t come up too often…it just makes me crazy when it does :)

    Grammar and even writing style can be big for me too. If there are a ton of mistakes or if I’m just not really into the way the blog is written, I’ll probably pass.

    I’m also more likely to keep up with bloggers who interact with readers in the comments regularly (it doesn’t have to be every comment or anything…I just like to know that they’re interested in connecting with their readers!).

    That said, even when blogs get cut from my Google Reader, I’m definitely not opposed to popping in if the blogger references a post on Twitter and it catches my attention. I find a lot of great posts that way (and a lot of new bloggers!).

  25. says

    I learned alot for this post, so thank you! I was never a strong writer. Blogging gives me a FREE opportunity to practice my wirting skills, develope my vocab and build relationship along the way. I love to hear new ways to improve my writing and posts like this give me new thing to consider :-)

  26. says

    I would love to write posts that capture everyone. But I like having my personal vent/ sharing space and either you like it or you don’t!

    Your blog has been sooooo awesome as of late :) Not that it was not awesome to begin with :)

  27. says

    I definitely need to work on shortening my posts, lol! I write and write and write and then think, “Oh, this is way too long!”

    Couldn’t agree more about the whining/venting thing. Every once in awhile is fine but I can’t stand blogs that are constantly “woe is me”!

  28. says

    I think I break all of these rules. Although I do have my wife proofread it since I have some kind of typing dyslexia thing going on. ;)

    I’m going to go and put on my Fonz jacket now!

  29. says

    Katy, I just found your blog and it is blogtaculous (sorry, couldn’t resist). I love this post. Thanks for all the tips. I have a lot of reading to do now.

  30. says

    Negative bloggers are deff on my no-no list. I also really dislike it when bloggers put down other people. Drives me bonkers. Above all, if you only post once in a very long while and each time that you do, you begin with “I’ve been a horrible blogger… I am soooo sorry…..I am NOT good at this….” after a few of these, I’ll probably stop following along.

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