Why I Stopped Reading Your Blog

I am a very loyal person. I have been married to the same woman for 32 years. Most of my close, personal friends have been friends for a decade or more. I have gone to the same church for 27 years. Once I let you into my life, I almost never ask you to leave.

Someone Flushing a Toilet - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Devonyu, Image #12681094

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Devonyu

But I just unsubscribed to your blog.

This wasn’t an easy decision. Your RSS feed has been in my Google Reader for a long time. Months. Perhaps years. But I finally clicked on the Unsubscribe button. I’ve had enough.

Why? It’s likely for one of these six reasons:

  1. Your titles make me yawn. Look, I am scanning a couple hundred blog posts and news items a day. If your title doesn’t pull me into the content, what will? You need to spend as much time on the headline as you do the article. Don’t be cute; tempt me.
  2. Your posts are boring. I have tried to be interested. Really, I have. But you don’t use any stories, illustrations, or metaphors. Your prose is preachy and didactic. And dry as dust. You’re making my eyes glaze over.
  3. Your posts are too infrequent. You haven’t posted in weeks. Or months. Like so many would-be bloggers, you started well, but you quit too early. I’m sure you have legitimate reasons, but I am tired of waiting. Nobody cares. Post or perish.
  4. Your posts are too long. I know you want to do the topic justice. Prove your point. Consider every aspect. Answer the critics. And leave no stone unturned. But, honestly, you are wearing me out. If I want to read a book, I’ll buy one. You’re supposed to be writing a blog. A good rule of thumb? No more than 500 words.
  5. Your posts are too unfocused. One day you’re blogging on this. The next day you’re blogging on that. What is your blog about? Please remind me, because I am lost in the forest of your eclectic interests. You’re not a renaissance man (or woman). You are undisciplined.
  6. You don’t participate in the conversation. You either don’t allow comments or don’t participate in them. Your posts are hit-and-run. You come into the room, make your little speech, and leave the building. I’m sorry, but that is so last-century. You’re not that important.
Questions: Have you unsubscribed from someone’s blog recently? Why? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • marc zazeela

    Seems that the various comments leave one in a quandary. Posting too often makes some folks unsubscribe. Posting too infrequently, makes others leave.

    No matter how hard you try, someone’s not going to like it.

    • Ella Rucker

      True, but you have to mix up the content. They can’t all be the same post with the same format. Use videos, podcasts, guest bloggers.

      I wrote a book about 365 days of GOOD content… http://www.facebook.com/bestblogcontent and coach people on the process.

      • marc zazeela

        Indeed, it is important to mix it up. Posting the same things, or the same sorts of things, is boring and your audience will quickly find other things that interests them more.

  • http://www.joshhunt.com/ Josh Hunt

    What? surely you don’t mean my blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ellen Gee

    Yay!! I edit blogs for an online company and get so much push back when I cut, cut, cut. I aim for 350 words but don’t shed a tear if I finish up at 400 – 450. Thanks for giving me the affirmation I need to share with my writers.

  • Holly

    This was extremely helpful! Thank you for posting this. I appreciate it.

  • Michael

    You write many helpful posts but this one is almost as arrogant and condescending as your post from a couple of years ago “Why I won’t retweet you.” You are not the standard by which others measure themselves but it sure sounds like you think you should be. I hope that’s not really how you see yourself.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It was tongue and cheek, Michael.

  • Honoree Corder

    I didn’t even know you were reading my blog! :) Great info — will definitely make sure I’m taking your suggestions into account.

  • Tony Lynch

    Very helpful comments Michael. I have just in the last week unsubscribed to a number of blogs and emails. My inbox was getting too full everyday which was causing me to get distracted from my ‘main focus’ They are good posts, but good can be the enemy of the best. I think to be focused on a hand full to receive and post to is a good number. I would like to post 3 times a week, but at the moment I am up to once a week.
    How often would you do a mini series with a blog?

  • Debi Pasricha

    Yes, I recently cleaned out my RSS subscriptions by ditching the ones that started to become too much like someone’s personal diary–I don’t really care to read what someone ate for breakfast.

  • http://www.coffeehousepilgrim.com/ Cody Alley

    Man, as I’m starting to take blogging more seriously, I’m going to take these things to heart. Thank you!

  • http://yuselajiminmuhip.com/ Ristlin

    I’ve noticed that you repeat yourself. As a reader this is actually quite helpful and something I need to remember: I don’t have to write “groundbreaking” posts each time I sit down to write. I’ve failed quite a few times sticking to my blog posting regimen, but I am putting together an outline of topics to cover and hopefully with this list plastered next to my desk I can develop the discipline. Awesome post as always, Michael.

  • Hugh O’Donnell

    Michael, your post above is useful because it a prescription for all of the things we must do to be read regularly, but — and I could be full of beans here — the format of your post might lead some folks to zero in on one or two remedies for a failing blog and ignore the others. Rather than the novel negative approach, how about a good old, “Hey, here’s what will really help..”

    With all the emphasis on titles, I’m seeing (also in my scans of hundreds of….) titles that follow the same “rules,” draw me in, then let me down because the content didn’t deliver what the title promised. So it seems that a good title had best be paired with engaging content, wouldn’t you agree?

    In fact, I would venture that developing a good reputation for consistently interesting content is more important than any verbal cosmetic. I don’t worry much about titles of blog posts if the author is reliably engaging and informative.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Like most important things in life, I don’t think it is either/or. It’s both and. If you don’t have engaging titles, people won’t ever get to your content. If your content is quality, people won’t stay or come back. I think you really have to do both.

      • Hugh O’Donnell

        Thanks for the reply, Michael. I agree. What I’m most concerned about is bloggers becoming formulaic about titles, e.g., putting numbers into headlines because another blog guru said it’s the way to go.

        What do you think about the guidelines for headlines in traditional journalism? Here’s an example from a University of North Carolina web page:

        http://www.uncp.edu/home/acurtis/Courses/ResourcesForCourses/WritingHeadlines.html

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Thanks. I think that list is helpful.

          Personally, I have learned the most from advertising headlines.

          Thanks for your input.

  • Haelie

    Ouch! But so true…

  • Angela Nesbit Holland

    I love all your comments. I have spent my life communicating and serving large groups of people all my life, and your points ate very strong. Thanks!!!

  • http://myharpblog.com/ Elliott Scott

    There are two things that I personally love about this post (aside from the content because the content wasn’t really “new” for me). One, your title. I couldn’t have scrolled away from it on Facebook even if I wanted to. And two, the fact that you started it out by declaring how credible you are in regards to long-term relationships. I love it! Thanks for writing this!

  • http://wisdomseekingmommy.com/ Crystal @ WisdomSeekingMommy.c

    I have a weekly series that I do called Sunday Rewind – I always highlight one Word that I pulled out from I heard on Sunday mornings – but I’m never sure how to make this catchy – and I feel kind of “stuck” in my headlines with it. However, my desire is to encourage others to do their own Sunday Rewind – and be intentional in meditating on what they are hearing, so I want it to stay at the forefront – any ideas or suggestions here for accomplishing this?

  • Corinne Riave Loskot

    Who can blame you for wanting clever headlines followed by top notch content. Show us a makeovers.

  • http://anitadavissullivan.com/ Anita Davis Sullivan

    I’m fine on all but the consistency- posting just once a week leaves them wanting more but not forgetting… maybe? Eh, I know I need to up it.

    I unsubscribe from those that are more like a diary of their life. I don’t need to know what you ate and what your kids played and oh my gosh please don’t tell me what you or they wore. I need substance.

  • http://www.aterriblehusband.com/about/ ATerribleHusband

    Awesome! My site title generally “concerns” people… I suspect I need to work on post titles a bit. I also post only twice per week while writing the book, but the days of the week aren’t always the same. Need to at least be consistent, which for me will require me to be a few posts ahead so I can schedule them properly.

  • Dale Lavely

    Most people don’t have the time to follow too many blogs and read it faithfully. You would have to add to my day in a significant way to justify my time. Even dear friends with good content still take time to read.

  • Webly

    Great stuff and you practice what you preach. The title got me curious and it was not boring at all. I also discovered a few things I need to change blogging myself.
    Yes I unsubscribed from blogs for
    1) not being able to comment on the blogs but having my inbox bombarded with pimp marketing. What I had to say didn’t matter but my wallet was valuable. lol
    2) blog too long and I couldn’t relate at all to subject. Plus it was too long to read while I am waiting in line to buy something at the grocery store or at least get the gist of it to read later.
    3) No interaction when I comment.

  • Steve Walker

    Ouch! Ouch!! Ouch!!! While wincing, I’m grinning. I get it. And I’ll intentionally work on each one of these points to be a better blogger. But as one who is new to the blogosphere, I realize your criticisms also explain why I DON’T subscribe to certain blogs after scanning a few. Thanks Michael. Your blog embodies what you want us to emulate.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Steve. I appreciate that.

  • DOUG PARRAN

    Not everyone is perfect; no one can always deliver the best commentaries, videos, photos, etc. I often pass over less interesting posts on Facebook and You tube. that don’t interest me. I am glad to have the choice to choose from. I can look at something and tell right away whether or not I’m interested in viewing it. As a You Tube contributor, I’m always amazed when someone gives one of my videos a thumbs down, leaves a negative comment, or a profanity filled comment. Granted, most of my videos are not the best on You Tube, but the admission price to view them is free and no one is forcing anyone to view anything. I’m always amazed that when I check out someone that leaves a nasty remark on one of my videos that they always have no videos of their own posted. They may post some made by others, but hardly ever one of their own. They are anonymous and non-productive, while they spend time criticizing others who are actually doing something. I have asked a few of them if they could do better then why haven’t they posted anything? I get silence.

  • http://www.DannyLSmith.com/ Danny L. Smith

    Love this!

  • http://www.byronseyeview.com/ @akaTGIF on Twitter

    From now on your Coach Michael Hyatt. I value this type of fluff free insight.

  • apreachaskid

    I think all of the ones you’ve listed are among the reasons I’ve unsubscribed from some. One thing that is not listed is when the person uses their blog to advertise more than contribute genuine content.

  • DeborahPenner

    I am pulling inward and limiting my distractions. So periodically I clean out my inbox.

  • Dan Erickson

    I don’t suspect you ever started reading my blog, but I could be wrong. I have been before.

  • Dorci

    Michael, I sure wish you’d stop beating around the bush and get to the point. ;O)

  • Nick

    Yep, I’ve unsubscribed to a blog once when the content wasn’t very good and the thoughts were disjunct and did not flow from one to the next.

  • Justin Hayslett

    Michael, You just kicked my butt! Thank you. I needed that. I definitely don’t post frequently enough.

  • http://leadbychoice.wordpress.com/ Kimunya Mugo

    What a timely post this is. I have unsubscribed from a number of blogs. Some are too “frequent” and I don’t feel I have the opportunity to keep up. Others are just too sales driven. The last category are those that are just all over the place. I can’t seem connect with the writer.

    But in saying all these, I am looking into myself and my blog and auditing those moments where I have fallen victim to the six points you raise here. Thank you Michael for the gems you send our way, helpful, enriching and thought-provoking.

  • Mary Lou Caskey

    I would love to hear from people who have tips, articles, etc on how to write the title. Thank you.

  • Bob LaForce

    Why I choose not to Blog
    I’m one of those people who loves to write. What bothers me is the dailyness of it. To write a successful blog is not to write one or two, or maybe even three (!) entries, but to write everyday. To wake up each morning with this dinosaur looming over me.

    I guess if I had trained and disciplined myself to write 500 words a day, things would be different. But even then, writing 500 words a day does not imply that they are interesting to anyone – maybe not even you!

    My personal preference is to write a book. Okay, call me old fashioned and out of the loop, but I’m still more inclined to read a book than a blog

  • http://MelissaCaulk.com/ Missy Caulk

    I have one reason why I unsubscribe too many emails, a post a day is too much IMHO. Regardless, of how much I like the posts, I’m not interested in hearing everyday.

  • Berta

    Great points! I give folks a chance too. But poor writing and formatting turn me off. Jumbled or too “busy” sites drive me crazy. Post too often and I can’t keep up. And constant re-blogs of their own poor posts–Big Unsubscribe! I’ve experienced all these in 2013.

    I try to learn from their mistakes. I proof, edit and run my posts past writing friends before I publish them.

  • Karin

    So, a frustration of mine is when blog posts are not completely visible in Feedly. I will rarely bump thru to the website
    Reasons I want to read your blog post on Feedly
    1. Font size. I can set it to what is comfortable for me to read
    2. Easier way to read your blog. Feedly keeps the words within the screen. Because 99.9% of my blog reading is on my iPhone, this is huge. I don’t have to swipe side to side to read your post
    3. I like reading in reverse (dark background/white print). Most of my reading is done while lying in bed and I don’t have to be blasted with bright light.

  • Darlene Pawlik

    So true! Usually, it is just too long.

  • Deborah H. Bateman

    Thanks for sharing, Michael. You always get us to think about things in a unique way. One of the things I need to watch is the length of my posts.
    Blessings,
    Deborah H. Bateman

  • goldenkparsons

    We have been working the past couple of months on a new website and blog using many of the tips and guidelines from your webinar. I’m hoping the blog you unsubscribed from was my old one, not the new revised edition! I’m a fiction author, my first four novels published by Thomas Nelson. Thanks for your valuable input.

  • http://launchingcreative.com/ Nik Parks

    This is fantastic, Michael. I love number 6—whenever I see a post in which the author hasn’t responded to any of the posts, I’m shocked. I just can’t wrap my around that!