Is your blog friendly to first-timers?

Feb 2, 2012 | Better Blogging

I’ve spent a lot of my life on the road and so I’ve had lots of experience as a first-time visitor. That experience tells me that most first-time visits are needlessly stressful. I’ve visited a lot of web sites over the years, and it’s the same story. But, no one’s making it stressful on purpose.

The Causes of Our Inconvenience

When people get familiar with a place or a way of thinking, they forget what it’s like to be a newbie. They assume that visitors know what they know. In some towns that results in major streets not having name signs because “everybody knows what street it is.” On some web sites that results in the use of jargon without definitions.

Core Truths about First Time Visitors to Your Blog

Core Truth Nr 1: Every repeat visitor was a first-timer once.

Core Truth Nr 2: First-timers are not likely to become repeaters unless you deliver value.

Core Truth Nr 3: They are not likely to experience value if they don’t understand what they’re saying.

Signs that you may be Making Things Hard for First-Timers.

If you have pet names or even brand names for some kinds of behavior, remember that first-timers won’t know what you mean unless you tell them. It’s not hard, a link from the term to a definitions page will do the trick and not slow down your regular readers.

If you find yourself using the word “type” followed by a letter or a Roman numeral in most of your posts, see the paragraph just above. If you insist on using terms that your first-time visitor won’t understand, you might as well craft your posts in Ancient Urdu.

How to Make Things Easier for First-Timers.

Define everything that’s not part of everyday usage for your readers. When in doubt, find one and ask him or her.