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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