Please accept this letter as formal notification that I am leaving my position as Reader of Your Blog, effective immediately.
Thank you for the opportunities and support you have provided during my time with Your Blog.
Unfortunately, it has become clear to me over recent months that your goals and mine are drifting apart. I thought I would take this opportunity to offer some constructive criticism, to help you avoid a repetition of this situation in future.
I, like many Readers in the field, use feeds to keep up to date with websites, including yours. I personally am subscribed to over 200 of these feeds, and I have only a limited amount of time to look through them for interesting updates. You have recently chosen to include your new photos, links and several other items to your feeds, and this has meant that the signal to noise ratio of your feed has swung strongly, in my opinion, towards noise.
I appreciate that many readers may be interested in your personal photos, and others may be interested in more specific areas of your content than I. May I suggest you change your feed structure to allow for several feeds, each with different sections of your content, to allow your Readers to select whichever feeds are most interesting to them?
There are literally millions of blogs out there and although I only read a small cross-section of those, there are still so many clamouring for attention that it is difficult to remember a specific blog from one week to the next. Adding a personal touch, for example a profile or biography, may give your blog a more personal identity.
You may not be aware of this, but with so much content out there, many Readers will use your post titles to decide whether or not your post deserves their attention. Post titles like "Dear Blogger", while fine on rare occasions, are not descriptive and offer little clue to the content of a post. Better titles will increase the usability of Your Blog, and that in turn will attract more Readers.
I have noticed an increase in the advertising on your site over recent months. While I understand that you wish to cover the costs of your site, and even make an income, adding interstitial adverts and those horrific double-underlined inline green popup link things is, in my opinion, a step too far. Text adverts and sponsor links are less intrusive. I have yet to form an opinion on paid posts, however I would expect some Readers to take issue with them.
Some of your posts have simply been links to other sites with a line of commentary. While I enjoy following recommended links, I am of the opinion that this quantity of content does not quite constitute a "post" in the traditional sense. Is there a way that links could be incorporated into your site in a different way? If not, please take a moment to add to what you are linking to - I read your blog because your opinion on the subjects on which you write is of interest to me.
I have, on occasion, commented on Your Blog. I appreciate that you are probably a busy person, and that you have a lot of comments to respond to, so I would not expect a reply to each of my comments. However, I have yet to see any replies to comments I and others have left. You are under no obligation to reply, of course, however many of your Readers comment because they want to discuss your content or to add to it. More replies will in turn encourage more comments and that in turn will attract more Readers.
I am certain you will find a replacement Reader quickly. If I can be of any assistance during this upcoming transition period, please let me know.
P.S. These are not the only issues I have found irksome with your blog. Rather than expand on them here, I would suggest you read Aaron Bassett's thoughts on the subject in his excellent article: Common Blog Problems (link now goes to the Wayback Machine as Aaron's blog is no longer active).
One thing you'll notice reading almost any blog (or site running blog-like software) is that articles and posts vanish quickly. For some sites, it is a matter of days - for others months. The end result is the same - after a period of time, good posts vanish into the ubiquitous "site archive" - where posts go to die, often never to be read again.
Some sites have started to use a footer linking to popular posts, or author's choice posts. This is a reasonable solution, however is not ideal. An ideal solution would be to create a system that allowed for easy site navigation - to make it extremely simple for a user to find things they might be interested. I'm not interested in re-inventing site navigation, but I am interested in your opinion as a website user.
What works for you? Date-based archives? Topic-based archives? Tag-based navigation? If so, have you found any sites where these types of navigation made it easy for you to find interesting articles or posts? Are there any other options? Do you use site search engines where available? How do you use them? Are there sites that don't work? Do you ever move beyond the latest post in your feed reader?
There are a million questions I could ask, but I guess if I had to sum them up in one go, I would ask - how do you like to find interesting things to read on a site?