Stop annoying your readers! A while back I wrote an article on my personal blog titled I Hate Comment Auto Responders, it was a tongue in cheek piece about the new trend in using auto responders to thank your commenters for leaving a comment. While the tone was light, I was serious about hating them, as were my readers.

If you are serious about blogging you want to do whatever you can to encourage your readers to come back time and time again. I don’t think comment auto responders encourage that, even discourage return visits, but it got me thinking about some of the other things we do, unknowingly, to turn off our readers.

Stop Annoying Your Readers

Word Verification

Also known as Captcha. I’ve written about this infernal, spawn of the devil, practice before but it is worth repeating. Having to jump through hoops to leave a comment is the fastest way to not get comments. I’m easy going and I really want to leave comments so I will begrudgingly type in the word verification code but I know a lot of people who won’t. They simply move on. I’ll try it two times before I give up and leave, never to return. I have to try it several times because all word verification codes are different. Some are case sensitive, some are not. Some have several words that aren’t really words but look close enough to a real word that I spell it wrong (even though I am spelling the word the right way). Sometimes they are math problems. I don’t even attempt the math problem Captchas, not even once. Sometimes, if you get the word verification wrong you lose your comment and you have to start all over again. I might leave a comment but it’s not likely that I will be back to go through that hell again.

Bloggers who don’t use their real names

I’m all for having an alias and keeping your private information private but if you are hanging around the same bloggers and repeatedly leave comments or email the blogger or are even involved in some networks it is helpful to let some people know your real name. Using your real name is welcoming to your readers. I like to link to other bloggers because I love introducing my readers to some people they might not have met before. I want to introduce them to people not characters. Can you imagine meeting someone in real life and learning their name was Savvy Shopper?

(that is a completely made up name, I don’t know a Savvy Shopper and if I do I was not picking on you).

Using monikers like that is okay except they are hard to keep straight. I might link to Savvy Shopper when I was thinking of linking to Shopping Saver. If you prefer you can always use a fake name though if you ever do reveal your real name you might find people have a hard time calling you by any name but your alias.

You could also do a combination of your name and your blog name.

Don’t Use Comment Auto Responders

It’s nice to thank your commenters, though I think it is unnecessary, but unless you are going to personalize it in some way it is just spam. More email that no one wants. If you are going to take the time to set up an auto responder why not take the time to respond to the commenters comment personally? For me I go back to the blog because I want to see how the host responded to my comment.

The challenge this week is to check your blog to see if you are doing things inadvertently to turn off readers. If you are put an end to those practices and you will see your readership grow exponentially.