The title of your blog post was catchy enough that I clicked on the link. But as soon as I get to your page, I immediately leave after only a few seconds, never click on another of your links and sometimes even unfollow you on Twitter.

Here’s why:

  1. Your website is talking to me or playing music. When that happens, I am out of there faster than you can imagine. I don’t want to browse something living in fear of hearing another ad. I don’t care if you have a personally recorded message, one of those fancy talking banner ads or if you are just running a midi for background music. Forcing audio on me that I did not select to listen to or wasn’t expecting ticks me off. It is an intrusion into whatever I am doing (especially since I usually browse in the background of whatever I am really doing) and usually startles the holy crud out of me when I am working in the middle of the night. The TGIFriday’s website with the restaurant background noise? It kills me. I cannot hit that mute button fast enough.
  2. Your post is too short or is just a link to somewhere else. Hey, I know, we are all trying to make a buck on the internet. But if you link me to your post which turns out to just be an ad laden page with just a link to someone else’s post or a waste of time paragraph, I am out of there. The world of social networking has spawned hundreds of these sites. I once followed a link train through 5 different ad laden blogs that only listed the headline until I got to the actual news story which was only a paragraph long. If you want me to read what you have to say, you’ll say it, not link to it.
  3. Your post is just a big long block of text. Hey, I know I can be long winded on this blog. But when it comes to reading online, first I skim, then I read if it caught my interest enough to warrant a second look. But in order for me to give your content that first skim, it has to be in some digestible format. Break it up into a list or paragraphs. Give me some headers. Bold the important stuff. If it looks like it’s going to be a lot of work to figure out your point, I take a pass. 
  4. Your advertising blocks what I am trying to read or crashes my browser. When a big Pepsi ad takes my whole screen, I understand that is “The Man” and it doesn’t bother me too much, especially since the big companies are usually really good about a big obvious “x” to close the ad with. I am willing to cut a webmaster slack if it’s their advertising partners that cause an issue. But if you have one of those fade the screen with a pop-up about joining your stupid mailing list or a site so flash and java crazy that it makes my browser have a cow, I am out of there. I haven’t even read one word of your content and you are already inconveniencing me by making me shut a pop-up or by reloading my browser? Your regular readers may be willing to wade through that junk but you’re sure not winning a new reader like me over with it.
  5. I cannot figure out where your content is. There are some blogs that are so advertising heavy that the actual content area is smaller than their adspace. If I cannot even find the thing I came to your site looking to read in a reasonable amount of time, I’m certainly not going to stick around to read it after you wasted my time. 

OK, in truth, if you are someone I already know and like, I may give you three strikes. But share with me, people. What makes you leave a website and not look back?