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Does Your Blog Make People Cringe?

oooOOh im scaredWe’ve all been to them – the blogs that draw us in and then make us run.  You see a cute idea and click through to the blog, only to find a show that rivals Wayne Newton in Vegas.  Blinkies, music, tons of text . . . it’s a circus, and you have no idea what to look at or how to find what you need.  Let me help by telling you what I’ve learned that readers do not like when they visit a craft blog.  This comes from several discussions with bloggers as well as our #crafterminds Twitter chats.  Here’s my list of what to avoid.

    • Music. I know you love James Blunt, but if I hear “You’re Beautiful” one more time on a blog (or a ringtone for that matter), I will scream.  I’m a huge Led Zeppelin fan, but my blog is not an appropriate forum to share my music tastes.  If you have music I’m not saying you’re inappropriate, but I’m saying that a lot of people don’t like it (this one is from our #crafterminds chats), so you should probably reconsider.  PS – You music people are also busting me out when I’m surfing blogs and on the phone at the same time.  I visit your blog and forget that my volume is on, then music blares out of the speakers.  The person on the other end says, “What was that?  Are you paying attention?!”  Whoops.
    • Word verification on comments. This is another one from the #crafterminds chats.  Most blog readers don’t like it, and several people said that they won’t comment if they have to enter a captcha (a puzzle to tell the computer that you are the human).  If you get bad spam comments, I totally understand (because I do too) – use comment moderation.  I use it for posts older than seven days and it works great.
    • An overload of blinkies. These are also known as badges or “blog flair.”  If you have a few, that is fine – but be careful about putting 482 of them down your right column, because you are now drawing my eyes away from your content, and I’ve got about 3 minutes before I leave.  Don’t you want me to spend time reading your blog rather than browsing your sidebar for other stuff?
    • A header that takes up the entire page. Big headers are fine, but don’t take it too far.  Allow at least some of the first entry to show on the home page without scrolling.  It will tempt someone to scroll down and find out what you have to offer.
    • Entries that are text heavy for no reason. If you have a tutorial,  you’ll obviously need more text. Same with a personal entry about something in your life.  Just make sure that you use text sparingly, always.  Go back and read your entry to see if you can eliminate unnecessary verbiage when all is said and done.
    • Spelling and grammatical errors. We are all guilty of letting an error or two slip through the cracks.  The exception is my mother, who has never made a grammatical mistake in her life.  But for the rest of us, it happens.  To minimize these errors, go back and read your entry – also spell-check.
    • Missing or hard to find blog elements. Where is your search box?  E-mail address?  Social media buttons?  Make sure they are easy to find and in a place that makes sense, because you WILL benefit.  The best thing you can do is ask a friend, husband or loved one to check out your blog and try to find the basics as quickly as they can.  If they struggle, you might want to reconsider your blog layout.
    • A font funhouse. Stick with one, maybe two.  I’ve worked with graphic designers for years, and that’s their rule.  I’m a science nerd, so I like stats.  Check out this article about font types that readers like – the consensus is something from the sans serif family (non-flourish-y).

      These are just a few things that the Crafterminds and I have observed as being blog mistakes.  Here’s a great article on 10 Pet Peeves in Blog Design and Usability, which covers some things that I didn’t.  Everyone has their own personal list of blog pet peeves.  What are yours?

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      14 Responses to “Does Your Blog Make People Cringe?”

      1. angela white says:

        amen on the music. HATE IT!!

      2. Michelle L. says:

        Wonderful post, Amy! I am not guilty of most of these, but you definitely made me think about layout…thanks much!

      3. Great post, thanks for the tips. I don’t think I commit any of those ‘blog crimes’. 😀 However, I do use a widget-doohicky for blog comments so I can reply to people’s comments directly, so folks need to sign in to comment. Is that also a no-no? Am I putting people off? *sad face*

        • amy says:

          Honest truth Kitty? More people will comment if they don’t need an extra step. It’s up to you whether to keep it – I wouldn’t criticize you for keeping it at all, but a lot of people who might comment probably won’t log in. Unfortunately those of us who leave open comments have a trade off – we get more comments, but we also have to deal with more spam and have a harder time responding. It’s up to you!

      4. debbie says:

        Awesome tips here. I have been doing a coffee chat series for newbies and I highlight just about all of these, except I think the blinkies, which AMEN, I hate those things, my eyes hurt.
        Amy from Modge podge did a guest post for me today, so this lead me over here to check you out!!~

      5. laxsupermom says:

        Great post! I think I’m guilty of having a header that’s too big. I’ll need to look into changing it soon. Great tip about having someone else read your blog and let you know how easy it is to navigate. I found your blog from Debbie. Thanks for sharing.

      6. Elysa says:

        So true!! Great pointers, design and layout is so important.

      7. Now, how fun is this?!? Less than 3 hours after our SU Twitter chat and looky, looky what I found!

        ‘Course, I’ve already read this, tweeted it, FB’d it. Now I’m stumblin’ it too!

        Thanks, again, for all the great tips today. It was my 1st party, but sooo much fun!

      8. kelly says:

        automatic music players are my #1 pet peeve on blogs. also high on the list, having a screen- length footer with every post. frankly, i don’t need to know what link parties you participate in! put it in the sidebar and call it done, people.

      9. Kelley says:

        I was timid to comment, but thank you for this great advice.

      10. Paula says:

        I hate all the blinkies and badges. Blogs that are all ads and reviews with 500 product logos all over the place. When you can’t find where to comment or how to follow! I also wish word press made it easier to comment. I hate always having to type out my name, email, website and THEN comment. If I wasn’t so committed to commenting on ALL the blogs I follow at least twice a week, I might not bother!

        Thanks for letting me vent my blog peeves!

        Xoxo

      11. Andie says:

        Awesome piece! Should be required reading. My header may be a problem. (I’ll just add that to my list of 400 things I should do other than blog surf LOL) Thankfully I have stayed away from all forms of blinkies. Although I have found a few great obscure bands from other’s blogs more often than not I am highly irritated by musical blogs!

      12. Loretta says:

        I actually did a blog post asking if I was the ‘only one’ annoyed by the music trend on blogs! HATE IT! I click off immediately- which is really a shame b/c there is usually content I have gone to for a specific reason and will not get to view after all 🙁 Thanks for the other pointers as well…..I think it’s always good to get input from friends and relatives that can give objective criticism as well.

      13. Anita says:

        Great post and excellent advice! It’s always good to hear how to do better, and I think you are on target.

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