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Don’t Make Your Visitors Jump Through Hoops

copyrightsI often visit the blogs of folks who comment here.

It’s fun to see what you’re up to and I often learn of a resource or find something I didn’t know about.

Sometimes, however, the experience is extremely frustrating. Here’s what just happened.

  • I went to a blog listed in comments by CommentLUV.
  • I liked the post and added a comment.
  • The site required me to login before I could post. I picked an option I though would work and it didn’t.
  • My post was lost.
  • I looked for contact information so I could tell the site owner about the problem.
  • Clicking contact had the site asking me if it was okay to load an application.

Geeze! Is it any wonder I gave up?

What if I’d been a potential client?

Or a long-lost friend?

Or someone really important?

No, I’m not going to name the blog. Instead I’m going to make a suggestion.

Go to your own blog as a user.

Now, try to post a comment. Is it easy? The simpler it is the more comments you’ll get, and comments lead to more traffic. If it isn’t easy, fix it. If you don’t know how, find out how. (By the way, if you’re afraid of spam, Askismet is a free plugin that will get rid of most of it.)

Now, pretend your a client. Is it really easy to find out how to send an email? Try it and make sure it works. This is doubly true if you’re using a comment form.

What about a phone number? Over time, posting my phone number has caused way more work than it’s caused problems, really!

Give yourself and your readers and potential clients  a break. Visitors and readers won’t jump through hoops. Make it easy.

Have you tested your own site recently? What did you find out?


Image from http://www.sxc.hu

By the way, when you share this post with your networks, it really helps me – so thanks!

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • good for you!

  • I keep putting off testing my site. But your article finally made me realize how important it is.
    Sania Lali recently posted..A Simple Guide to Writing Irresistible Query LettersMy Profile

  • after read this i going to check my blog it’s still fine. thank for information
    jenny recently posted..Top 5 Kitchen LooksMy Profile

  • Works for jewelry and accessories, too. Love your kitty avatar! 🙂
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Upcoming- April A to Z Blogging Challenge and PoopedMy Profile

  • I use that too. WordPress really is great. I seem to remember Anne recommending it some time ago. *wink*

    It really bugs me when I can’t make a comment because the site wants me to log in, especially if I have to create an account to do so.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Upcoming- April A to Z Blogging Challenge and PoopedMy Profile

  • Thank you for stating the obvious; I could not agree more!

    I also like to go to websites of people who leave comments on my site, but when I try to leave them a comment, often, it requires far too much personal information and time that I cannot spare. I use a spam-catching widget called Akismet that works excellently and catches almost all spam. There is no need for the readers to have to sign-in, email confirm, captchyas, and all that.

    “Akismet has protected your site from 35,832 spam comments already. ” Just pulled that from my site. Use Akismet! It’s great. Stop torturing your readers, people.

    Great post!

  • Thank you for this! I hadn’t realized what a challenge it was to post a comment on my blog! I went in and messed with the settings and now it’s much easier 🙂

    I love your information so much!

  • My head shot comes from an informal session with some friends… which is simpler than hiring a pro, altho a pro can be well worth it.

  • There are so many details aren’t there! Glad you checked.

  • Anne, you are on to something!!!!

  • Great motto: remove 3 more things!
    Gina-Marie Cheeseman recently posted..Are Healthcare Cooperatives the Holy Grail of Insurance CoverageMy Profile

  • I didn’t even finish reading this before going back to double check my site for visitor use. The comments work fine, thank God, but I realized I have no contact info listed! So, that’s on the list for tomorrow morning. I also have to come up with a head shot for the site. But at least people can write and tell me how stupid they think I am today. 🙂
    Bill Swan recently posted..Steve Rosenbaum- Has Google Search Jumped the SharkMy Profile

  • Good points Anne. I went and checked my site. Most of my posts link to the URL for the site I write for, they make it easy for people to comment though.

    Now I just need a head shot for my blog so I can sell the resume/writer aspect.
    David Gomez recently posted..Analysis- DHS plans on scanning DNA at checkpoints TG DailyMy Profile

  • This post is getting a trackback someday, if I can ever edit my rant on comment systems down to something reasonable. If you really want comments or engagement, it needs to be as simple and painless for visitors. No hoops, no complicated logins and skip the required site-specific registration requirements. Agree with you and Carol, “remove 3 more things.” Edit, edit, make it simple… and make sure it works. Test it, make sure the “comment posted” messages, everything works the way it should. FWIW.
    Davina K. Brewer recently posted..Bad Advice Night at the MixerMy Profile

  • I stand on the shoulders of giants, Cathy.

  • I don’t like contact forms either, but many people seem to. I think the ideal is both… I don’t have that here. Maybe in the redesign.

  • Glad to be of help, Gina-Marie.

  • Exactly! Glad your IP was willing to let it go.

  • Excellent advice, Anne. I recently threw a fit when my host started up word verification without warning. I personally don’t comment on blogs that use it and surely didn’t want it on mine. Luckily they got enough complaints and an option for opting out was created. I also try to avoid commenting on blogs that don’t have the name/url option for commenting. I don’t want to sign up for special IDs, I just want to comment. Or not. Depending.

    Happy Tuesday!
    Lisa @ Grandma’s Briefs recently posted..Grandma performance reviewMy Profile

  • I just checked how easy (or difficult) it is to leave a comment on my news magazine website, and I didn’t have a problem. Whew! Thanks, Anne, for the suggestion!!!! Considering the types of posts I have on the site, it’s important that it’s easy to leave comments. Sometimes people leave very insightful comments, which give me an idea for another post.
    Gina-Marie Cheeseman recently posted..Are Healthcare Cooperatives the Holy Grail of Insurance CoverageMy Profile

  • On the site for my small business, it has a contact form and you can make comments without having to log in or register or anything like that. I’ve always hated having to do that, so I wanted my sites to be more available. Wordpress really makes it easy if you’re HTML or site-building challenged. Great suggestions.

    Elisa Michelle

  • I love CommentLuv, Jenn. You can choose any post you want to show if you are signed up with them. There’s a drop down next to the link to my current post. So, if I just posted on a similar topic, I can link to that post instead. But, I guess it doesn’t work if you aren’t signed up with them.

    I admit it, I sing their praises, but I am not an affiliate. I have received quite a few visitors from Anne’s site because of CommentLuv. Hey, I’ll ride on Anne’s coattails. 🙂

    Since I am going to re-release my personal blog soon, I’d better re-check the comments. I couldn’t agree more, Anne. Drives me nuts to go through all those hoops-almost as much as those d*%&n floating boxes. 🙂
    Cathy Miller recently posted..LinkedIn Restores Your Faith in Social MediaMy Profile

  • Hmmmm, maybe some of us should ban together with our own server… it’s a thought.

  • Hmmm… I guess I missed the spam, and cl seems to work well for me most of the time. I like it.

  • remove 3 more things may just be a great motto for every blog, especially this one.

  • Kristin, I assume you’ve paid your designer… he owes it to you to do it your way. I have a wordpress tech… he doesn’t always agree with me but once I tell him I want it done, he does it. I do, of course, listen to his suggestions. But it’s my site darn it.

  • My web address will immediately reroute you to mail.kristinfrancis.com. I’ve tried multiple times to get my designer to fix it to no avail. Not a big deal, you can comment until your little heart’s desire, but still.

    Your blog just made me realize I want to fight “the man” again! I love your site! Thanks for all the great advice.

  • Every design and usability expert I have encountered says each of these issues creates friction and discourages participation. The more problems you can remove, the more interested visitors get in your site!

    Every time I talk to an expert, they make me remove 3 more things — sidebar widgets, signup steps, you name it. It’s all about making it easy.
    Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing recently posted..Top 10 Articles for Writers for February 2011My Profile

  • As for CommentLuv, I’m not a fan of how associated folks have promoted them in an overly aggressive (read: spammy) fashion in the social media in the past, so I won’t use them. And over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that blogs using CommentLuv never actually pull my latest post anyway.

  • Every time I do a blog update or a plugin update that could affect comments, I make it a point to test on the front end. Usually I comment from my admin area, but at those times I visit the post pages and comment from there. It lets me make sure they’re going through, that legitimate comments aren’t being auto-filtered as spam (an increasingly big problem if you host your own email address from a shared Web hosting account where one bad neighbor can blacklist a whole IP address), that the previews are functioning properly, and that people can subscribe to the comments if they want to. There have been so many updates lately with Wordpress that I’ve found this is more essential than ever. It’s been years since I’ve come across this many compatibility issues that affect the user experience. As for poor judgement re: making people login or not providing contact info, well, to each his own I guess… as long as they don’t want me interacting with them.

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