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How Not to Tick People Off and Keep Them Coming Back For More

In Real Lawyers Have Blogs’ article, “Best Blogs Send Audience Away”, the issue of what makes a good blog good is covered from an interesting angle:

Some of the best blogs are what Buzz Bruggeman describes as intelligence agents. They post what they believe would be of interest to their target audience…

LexBlog still gets clients saying they want all links on their blogs to open a new window. Why? Because they fear people will leave their blog. Is that nuts or what?

Want to tick people off? Have your links open new windows. Have users click to a number of links on your blog so they now have 8 or 9 windows open. Make it difficult to browse because the back button can’t be used to browse because every link is a new window. You’ll have people unsubscribing from your blog in a New York minute.

Your blog is not going to become all things to all people on a niche topic. If that’s your goal, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Be a success by sending your audience to what’s of value to them. That’ll guaranty they’ll keep coming back to you for more.

Well said. Very well said. Applause!

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network


  1. Posted August 30, 2006 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Not everyday someone is seeking applause on my behalf Lorelle. Thanks for sharing the post with your readers.

  2. Posted August 30, 2006 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    You deserve it. It’s a great post. Thanks for speaking your mind so well.

  3. Posted August 30, 2006 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    The funny part of my quote is that it is just a bit off. What I think I said/wrote was not…

    “Buzz Bruggeman describes as intelligence agents”, but rather I used the phrase “intelligent agents”, taking an idea from my wonderful friend Jim McGee,

    who is one of the smartest and best people I have met on what I call the ActiveWords Odyssey. Jim’s idea was that while we had always hoped there would be “bots” that would discover ideas for us, those bots have been pre-empted by bloggers who truly are our “intelligent agents”..and I never, ever cease to marvel over the quality of the thinking and ideas of my “friends” in my aggregator….

  4. Catana
    Posted August 30, 2006 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    When all browsers use tabs, and when I can use that feature on my blog, I’ll stop creating links that open in new windows. Personally, I prefer sites that open the links in new windows, but unless I know beforehand that the links will open that way, I automatically hit my contextual menu for tabs. Not everyone is in love with the back button.

  5. Posted August 30, 2006 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    That’s true, but you are the minority, and more importantly, I believe that links that open in new windows are required to be clearly identified as doing so as otherwise it wouldn’t meet accessibility standards. Do yours?

    For serious power Internet users, many of us now have mice with a thumb button. A click of the thumb button takes you back or forward from a web page with absolutely no effort. I can’t live without mine.

  6. Posted August 30, 2006 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I strongly disagree with this post. Any link I make always opens in a new window. I also think it’s disingenuous to say this will lead to people unsubscribing to a blog. What evidence is there to support that? I love how blog experts come up with an idea and than present like a hard and fast rule that if not followed will doom your blog.

    The reason I have links open in a new window is because that’s the way I like to explore the web. I appreciate it when a website does that for me. Many times a link will lead to another link and that to another. I would much rather have to close a few windows and be able to immediately go back to the original site if I want to look at something. I think most normal blog readers would agree with me.

  7. Posted August 30, 2006 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I once heard Jason Fried say something very wise about software development: Users hate software that automatically does things they don’t want it to do. (e.g. MS Word). Fried said you should let users make their own decisions. I think this applies to web users also.

    I hate multiple browser windows. If I want to open something separately, I will press the command key and open a new tab. I am the user. Let ME make that decision.

    Another BIG turn off that unfortunately I find everywhere: Links that open PDFs without any warning.
    It really angers me to click on a link to have to wait for the PDF plugin to start, download a document, etc. Every link to a PDF or other downloadable file should have a label that clearly indicates so.

  8. anon
    Posted August 30, 2006 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I have my browser set up to capture all new links whether to new windows or not and dump them in a new tab. I appreciate links that open up to new windows because I really dislike having the original page buried under newer ones. The whole concept of “stacked” views should never have been used in the first place, IMO. Anyway, I provide a named new window for all my external links as a courtesy to users, not because I’m afraid folks will navigate away from my page, but because that is my own preference.

  9. anon
    Posted August 30, 2006 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    “Users hate software that automatically does things they don’t want it to do.”

    Ha. (Speaking as a programmer) all software has to do *something* automatically. What else is it going to do, sit there and do nothing? (Plenty of vaporware does that too, I suppose.)

    There are always features of any software program that someone somewhere hates. You can then argue, well make the features customizable, and sure, that’s very nice. But here’s the trick. Let’s say I make the links “dead” (that is, mindlessly open where they are). Some people with certain browsers are trapped with this behavior because they do not have the option to change it. OK, so let’s say I make the links open somewhere else to resolve that. Now I’ll have the group of people who can’t control their tabs or new windows who don’t want this behavior coming after me.


  10. Posted August 31, 2006 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Using new windows to open off site links can be frustrating or not.

    If I want to make sure, my readers finds their way back from a visit somewhere else, I may open them a new window, but a named one. This means that clicking many window opening links on my site, will paint all the off site stuff in the same window.

    I’m not using this technique often though, just when I invite my visitors to take a short excursion in the middle of my text.

    Lorelle, don’t you contradict yourself a bit here?

    In your excellent tutorial “A Tagging Bookmarklet for WordPress and Users”, under “Changing the Tagging Bookmarklet Tag Links” you say about bookmarklet links:

    “They can be off-site or on-site (intrasite) links. I personally prefer to keep my visitors on my blog, so I use intrasite links.”

    Yes, you do for some strange reason.
    Your writing is good enough, that I’m coming back time and again, despite the fact, that I’m visiting others as well 😉

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