Welcome to our series on common blogging mistakes, and how to avoid them. Every other week, we'll debut a new post designed to help you avoid mistakes that are common to both new and veteran bloggers, full of tips and tricks guaranteed to help you become an even more passionate, engaged blogger with a growing audience.
Let's imagine a scenario.
It's late in the evening, you've had a long day. You're finally home, sitting on your computer. You're relaxed and settling down, browsing some of your favorite sites. Suddenly, out of no where, a loud song starts playing through your computer's speakers. You're startled and immediately close the browser so as to not wake anyone else up. "What in the world just happened?" you wonder.
What happened is that you came across a site that has music enabled to automatically begin playing when you visit. This is usually - at best - an inconvenience or an embarrassment. Maybe you're at home and the song wakes up your sleeping dog or family. Maybe you're at work and now everyone knows you're visiting a site that probably isn't approved by your HR or IT team.
If you're a blog owner, it's possible that you just alienated the reader in the above scenario enough to get them to decide that visiting your site again isn't worth it.
While you might like having a song or greeting play for your readers, it's worth it to consider how it can impact how they view your site. What can you do to make sure that this doesn't happen?
Disable Autostart on Videos
When you add a video to your blog from a site like YouTube, many times there will be an option to have the video start playing automatically. We recommend that you do not choose this option and let the reader decide when to the play the video themselves. This goes for any videos embedded in your posts or if you happen to have any in your sidebars.
Consider Removing Background Music
While you may enjoy the music playing on your own site, visitors may prefer to listen to their own music while they are browsing the web or they might be in a situation like the one above. We recommend that you do not have any background music on your blog, but if you do, make sure there's a way for a reader to quickly pause or stop it.
Keep an Eye on Third-Party Widgets
Some third-party widgets may unexpectedly play sound. Make sure you know and agree to what you're putting on your blog before teaming with a third-party service. Some may place advertisements as well, so it's always a good idea to double check exactly what it does and what you're agreeing to in its Terms of Service.
Allowing your readers control over music or video ensures that you never surprise them or get them in trouble for viewing your blog. A happy visitor is often a return visitor.