Are You Asking Your Website Visitors Dumb Questions?

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I was commenting on an interesting blog article the other day and I clicked off the little box to be notified by email if someone replies to my comment or if someone adds a new comment. Should be simple right? (I mean I just gave them my name and email address in order to leave the comment in the first place.) So, I should be able to just click and go on my merry-way. Right? If the author replies to my comment (showing how much they care and that they value what I have to say), I’ll be notified. If someone else cares enough to comment, I’ll get to know what they’ve added to the conversation. I’m clicking to be notified because I truly found the article interesting and I want to follow it. So why, did I wish I hadn’t started the whole thing?

Well, for starters, I went back to work and immediately got an email (from the blogger) asking me to confirm that I really did want notifications (Well… DUH? I just signed up for them didn’t I?) And then…. I got another email confirming that I will get the notifications emailed to me. Really? My inbox isn’t clogged up enough without all this stuff? I’m really beginning to wish I never left my first comment. Did I mention that clicking on the confirmation link brought me here?

Does this blogger even realize that he’s sending his readers to the WordPress “subscription management” screen? I use WordPress, so I knew what it was but would your average reader have any clue what to do here? And since you only have 3-seconds to engage your readers, why would you even send them here? I only wanted to participate in the conversation on your blog!

Ok, this is turning into a bit of a rant but the gist of this is: are we engaging our readers, clients and customers or are we agitating them enough that they’re sitting down and ranting? Moral of the story is: Don’t make it difficult for your website visitors to sign up for emails from you….. or buy from you…. or do business with you. It’s just not good customer service.

What other dumb questions have you been asked when you’ve just been trying to make a simple transaction? I’d love to hear them!

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Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

22 thoughts on “Are You Asking Your Website Visitors Dumb Questions?”

  1. Hi Sherryl,

    As always there are many bloggers who ask many awkward questions to their readers. Once I did a comment at a blog post related to social media and I got a really unexpected reply which was not even related to blogging. I mean how can they ask some dumb questions to their readers?

    I hope I will never face it again. There is always a possibility that it is frustrated to visit that particular blog again.
    Thanks for the post. You made me remind that blog.

    Ravi Chahar recently posted..How To Prevent Google From Indexing Sitemap ?My Profile

    1. Hi Ravi,

      Your comment made me smile. I can just imagine your frustration. They must have really made an impression on you for that site to immediately come to your mind. It’s too bad. I wonder if that blogger is still blogging!

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. I hope you’re having a great week.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..5 Basic Tips for WordPress Bloggers and Website OwnersMy Profile

  2. Hi, Sherryl,
    I understand your frustration with the whole process, but I usually take time to deal with it, I really try not to mind it… Although it can be time consuming, I guess it is a thing of being cautious. I don’t mind beeing asked to confirm again that I have subscribed, because without the confirmation, anyone could use my mail and sign me up on different trash I would receive daily. This way I determine if I want something to be seen im my inbox, and thus don’t have a problem of confirming – if it is needed, even three times in a row (a confrimation that my confirmation has been confirmed).lol

  3. I was recently on a blog that I wanted to comment on. I first had to sign up for the site, wait for them to send me a password, sign in and then comment. I was out of the mood by the time I got to the end. I wanted to send her an e-mail to tell her that she is making it difficult for her readers to comment. I couldn’t find how to contact her.

    I think we all probably have glitches on out site. You may not know what they are if someone does not point them out to you. Make sure you have a way for them to notify you.
    Julia M Lindsey recently posted..Are You Looking for a Great Mystery Shutter Island-Book ReviewMy Profile

    1. Wow! I haven’t been asked to sign up and wait for a password yet. And you couldn’t find a way to tell her about your experience? What a shame. I hope she finds out soon (by someone as nice as you who were trying to discretely notify her thru email and not leave a scathing comment). Anytime someone wants to let me know about a glitch in my site, I appreciate it. You’re right. We all probably have glitches at one time another. Sometimes things that used to work break or we change them to improve things and shouldn’t.

  4. Love the rant. I wish there was a button that I could click to stop the comments I signed up for. Some have so many comments or so many that are not helpful that they clog my in box. How about a blog post on that topic?


    1. I hear you on the comments! Every once in a while, I see the option to get replies only to my comment without subscribing to everyone else’s. I wish all subscriptions were that easy to manage. It takes a lot of time just to preview them and click delete. Were you looking for a button to stop all comments from everywhere? 🙂 (I’ll keep your post suggestion in mind for the future.)

  5. I’m reminded of the “easy button” on the staples commercials. That would be great for all online transactions so that we can elimintate the email clogging that you mention. Great post that renders a reminder of how to treat our friends, colleagues, and potential clients. Thanks Sherryl.

  6. Agree with you completely. Am also amazed at that phenomena. Same as in discussions on social media people post completely ignorant comments that will have a negative affect on their site. In the White House group on Linkedin you for instance have Indian marriage sites posting comments in political discussions saying they can find the right Indian husband/wife for you. What’s that got to do with US politics? The only thing they will achive is make sure potential Indian customers will have nothing to do with them.

    1. It is amazing. I’ve always believed that “everything you do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer”. It makes no difference if you’re hidden behind a computer screen or standing in front of the person. Your actions reflect on you and your business.

  7. Hi,
    I agree that it’s not good to ask for too much data up front, as every extra field creates a big drop off in subscribers. The top of the ‘funnel’ needs to be wide. You can always ask for more information later. People who are willing subscribers are far more open to requests for more data than people who haven’t yet subscribed. Like Sherryl, I don’t find confo links an issue.


  8. Hi Sherryl,

    I must admit it irritates me to have to confirm. I only do it for those I really want to see the comments. I have a feeling and I should follow up with the blog owners that perhaps they do not realise this occurs.

    I could be wrong but I have only encountered this with blogs. Is this correct or are there others?

    Just adding to your post, I am still surprised by the amount of detail some sites want before you can download their free report. I think it was Hubspot that wanted quite a bit of information. It was a real turn off.
    Susan Oakes recently posted..Asking for Customer Feedback Does Not Have To Be ScaryMy Profile

    1. I’m ok with confirmation links but landing on the WordPress “subscription management” screen baffled me. This was not a blog about blogging. So, I’m sure his readers were confused. Normally, I would drop the blogger a well written, helpful note but since I was rushed and frustrated (and didn’t want to rant on the poor guy), I subscribed and moved on.

      I’m surprised about the detail some sites request for a free report too. We have to make it easy for our readers. There are so many other blogs out there that are only a click away.

  9. I agree that you need to make it easy for people to comment. When I went in to comment on a fellow blogger’s site, I couldn’t find where to leave the comment. Turns out it was a tiny message at the top of the blog to click on and not the bottom where you would expect it to be. I can’t imagine why anybody would also someone to cruise around their dashboard. That’s inviting trouble!

  10. The challenge now is the laws about SPAM and also the number of spammers who have lots of bots that just post to addresses. Autoresponders by “law” require confirmation.
    It is interesting how often though the email we do get annoyed by the VOLUME of emails and I love linked in comments.
    Good rant and when you come up with a better system — I’ll subscribe

    1. Confirmation links don’t bother me. I just subscribed to my own email to make sure it wasn’t too painful and after I signed up, I got an email with the link. The link took me to a page on my blog thanking me. I honestly don’t think that the blogger behind my rant realizes where they’re sending their readers to.

      Glad to hear this was a “good” rant. I actually wrote this post in record time because I was ranting.

  11. Hi Sherryl,

    Great blog this, and you have a great ‘voice’. I’m interested in how you encourage comments, as I don’t get that many on my most recent or indeed my first blog. I get a few, as well as spam (before I got Akismet) but sometimes when I read my own posts – even I don’t want to comment! Perhaps I’m too keen to finish posts like I’m rounding off the subject rather than opening it up. Your style is one I think I can learn from.


    1. Hi Alun,

      Thank you for the compliment. (I like to write as if I’m talking to you in person.) I think you’re on the right track by commenting on blogs like mine. We seem to be blogging on similar topics. So, my readers may be interested in your blog and vice versa. When you commented here, you were able to leave a link to your most recent post. That’s because I use the CommentLuv plugin. (I blog about CommentLuv here:

      Do you belong to LinkedIn? I participate in several groups there and some of the people who comment on my blogs found me there. Conversely, I’ve found several interesting blogs there that I comment on. I did notice one thing when I went to your blog. I was immediately greeted by a popup. That’s a big turnoff to lots of people. Are you using Google Analytics? If you have a high bounce rate, it could be that some people aren’t commenting on your posts because they see the popup and leave. (I could be totally wrong here but that’s my initial impression.)


  12. Hi Sherryl

    How true you are with this comment? Some people make it so hard for me, the interested person, to get their newsletter or update, that in the end, I figure: “Is it worth it?” Often unless I really really like what I’ve read, I just get out of there fast. But guess what, somehow they get your email, and you still get frustrating emails!! I’ve actually started to seriously unsubscribe to anything that doesn’t have a heading that I’m interested in opening or reading or a range of topics that I want to pursue. Sometimes even the personality of the writer is a real turn off…
    Having said this, one of the blogs that I do follow, I found very hard to get hooked up with, but I persevered and I’m glad that I did as the material in the blog is extremely worthwhile and enjoyable reading!!

    1. Hi Diane,
      I’ve been unsubscribing a lot lately too. I also have a “junk” email address that I use when I want to gain access to a free report and I have any doubts that I’ll find continued value in following the author. Most of the time, my instincts are right but sometimes I’m surprised and I find that the author is someone that I want to follow. Then, I change my email address to my work account. It can be a little time consuming but it works for me. If the junk email inbox gets out of control, I can always delete it and create another one.

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