6.5 Ways to Irritate Your Readers


One of the things I routinely write about here at the project is how reader appreciation is basically customer service on the Internet. For example, when you lose a reader, you lose a customer.

I’ve also compared a blog to a store and mentioned some items every blog out there has to sell.

Adding onto my analogy of readers as customers, I thought I’d expand on a post written by Daniel Sitter over at Idea Sellers (a blog I highly recommend subscribing to) entitled 6.5 Ways to Irritate Your Customers. In the spirit of the original post (with readers as customers), here are 6.5 ways to irritate your readers.

1. Lie

Bes Zain is often the one on the project who writes about bloggers who blog without revealing monetary interests. Bes’s argument is simple: if one blogs about something without revealing a financial conflict of interest, is it lying?

In a rather disturbing poll, Darren published that only 35% of bloggers disclose affiliate links. Another 32% are on the fence.

I’d personally be irritated if someone was writing about a product without disclosing a financial interest. It’s deceitful, and I might even go as far as to call it fraud if the reader purchases something.

2. Cheat

The best way to cheat your readers is to set up a fake contest, assign a fake prize, and then pick a fake winner.

As Simonne so elegantly wrote, Ashwin Khanna will forever be known as a cheat in the blogosphere.

When readers are cheated, not only do they become irritated, some behave rather badly.

3. Over-Promise

One of the big problems with making promises is over-extending on these promises. I’ve written about a situation where one might get into blog debt with readers and other bloggers.

It does irritate readers when one promises and doesn’t deliver. But if one is open about it and doesn’t just try to sweep it under the rug, I feel the readers will understand.

Bes also writes some ways to fulfill promises to the readers.

4. Ignore Them

One of the first posts I wrote about on the project was about being lost in the conversation. Nobody likes teaching to an empty classroom, so why would a reader like interacting with a blogger who gives no attention?

5. Know Nothing About Them

One of the great things about MyBlogLog and Gravatars is that a blogger is given a glimpse of who that reader really is. Often times I like exploring my readers and figuring out where they’re from and what language they might speak. It’s very interesting how many people visit the project with English as their second language.

One of the ways to get to know more about your readers is to interact with the readers as a community. Bes’s interview with Jeff (Jeffr0) has a lot of interesting ways to form a community around a blog. A lot of community-building is on the blogger’s shoulders, but if the community takes off, it’s worth it and you get to know a lot more about your readers in the process.

One other way we try to learn about our readers here is to interview them and investigate them for Readers First awards.

6. Take Them For Granted

When a reader walks out that virtual door, do you care? Is it okay as long as you are still getting that monthly check and the feed count is still rising?

Treating readers as expendable items may be good for the short term, but I highly doubt it’s good for the long term.

In the case of the readers sticking around, is it survival of the most loyal, or the most stupid? Remember, it’s easier to escape from a sinking ship before it’s sinking.

6.5. Set Prices Too High

And how do I compare setting prices too high to reader appreciation? Simple. Make the barrier to entry too tough for the readers to enjoy your site.

Here are ways you can set prices way too high for reader:

  • Place too many ads on the site.
  • Require registrations before a reader can comment.
  • Offer a partial feed.
  • Charge to have no-follow removed.
  • Make the reader jump through hoops for a contest.


I want to thank Daniel Sitter for taking the time to write his post on 6.5 things to irritate your customers. It really got me thinking about what really irritates me as a reader.

Please feel free to add your own things that “irritate” you as a reader in the comments.

About William

William lives in Oakley, California and is an avid tech enthusiast. When he's not writing about online social networking and businesses, he is busy reviewing how social media affects us all.