The Reader’s Point of View: The Irritating Side of Blogs

I’m not writing this post as a blogger but as a reader. And as a reader, I’d like to share some thoughts about the most irritating aspects of many blogs.

1. It’s full of clutter.

Ahoy, an about-page ahead! Dodge the “get my free e-book”-link and return fire on the recent comments-list. We’re almost there after we flank all those ads.

It sometimes amazes me how so many bloggers still haven’t understood the importance of uncluttering your blog. The message is everywhere! Minimalistic designs are pop.

And it’s easy to see why; blogs that are full of clutter will cause information bloat. Readers want a clear direction to follow when reading a blog. I, for one know that I do.

Do your readers a great favor by making your blog(s) look more like NxE or Skelliewag than JohnChow.com. Only John Chow can pull off John Chow [dot] com.

2. The blogger doesn’t answer comments.

Sometimes, I would come across a good thought-provoking post that begs for a comment/discussion. So I write a comment, a long one which I poured my dedication into. I would then subscribe to the comments’ RSS feed so I won’t miss the blogger’s answer. But more often then not, the response never comes.

When a blogger doesn’t answer your comments, it makes the effort you put into commenting feel like a waste of time. Every time this happens on your blog, you can probably expect that commenter to never comment again.

Do you do that to your own readers? It’s understandable if your blog is really popular, but it is also essential to make sure that you spend adequate time in responding to comments so that your readers don’t feel like they’re being ignored.

3. “What is this blog about?”

I am a fanatic StumbleUpon user and as a result, I come across many new blogs on a daily basis. One of the most frequent question I ask myself when landing on one of these blogs is “What is this blog about?”.

While your content and about page are great at describing what your site is about, the typical Internet surfer will probably not bother to read them. What most blogs need is a quick way for internet surfer to identify what the blog is about.

Here’s some tricks that can help your visitors recognise your blog’s topic:

• Put a visual cue in your header. If your blog is about books, why not put a picture of a book in your header? This will not work very well for metablogs and other blogs with more abstract topics. This leads us to our next tip…

• Describe the topic of of your blog using your blog’s title and tagline. Make sure that your blog title and tagline are descriptive and attractive. Something simple is always best, but make sure that it will provide the visitor with enough information so that he/she can decide whether this blog is for him or her.

• Put your content above the fold. This way the visitor can see the headlines of your posts right after coming to your site. If the headlines are persuasive enough, you might have just gained a reader.

4. It’s hard to read.

Yellow text on black background might appear attractive to some bloggers, but I assure you, you will not keep many readers with it. Bloggers who happens to have super eyesight and like their text and font size in the 1 digits pts can also share in the same fate.

Black text on a light background is the best option if you want your visitors to read your content. It is what people are accustomed to, in off-line publications as well as the majority of good online publications.

Also, when choosing what font to use, make sure to choose one that flows from one word to the next. You can find out more about the ‘Anatomy of Web Fonts‘ by heading over to SitePoint.

It is commonly accepted that big chunks of text are not very easy to read. Blog readers often like to skim through the content, so make sure you make your content ’scannable’.

Also, keep in mind that the proper size of a paragraph depends a lot on the width of the text area/your blog’s design. Wide areas look better with bigger paragraphs and narrow areas are better with small paragraphs.

5. It’s ugly or too common.

Default themes, ugly themes and over-popular themes; they’re everywhere and by using them, you run the risk of making your blog look unoriginal, unattractive and neglected.

This is for all those of you who haven’t bought a unique layout from a professional web designer or haven’t spent the time to look for a more unique, lesser used theme.

You can’t even guess how cheap some layouts can be. If you choose your designer wisely, you can get a really elegant layout without incurring a huge cost. If you’re blogging for money, I guarantee you that it will be worth the investment.

The impact of a beautiful, unique design can be huge. If you are not in the position to buy a custom designed theme, go out and find yourself a lesser used theme. The amount of free WordPress themes is huge,

However, do not think that by making your blog beautiful will instantly translate it into a successful blog. It is not a magic potion, but it will certainly increase the chance of your blog becoming successful. Vandelay Design made a post about this topic just a couple of days ago.

6. The blogger is too self-centered.

Most blogger fails to understand that blogs are a two-way communication tool, not a one-way broadcasting tool. It’s good to add some personal touches in your content and blog, and sure… this might please the more regular readers of your blog. However, too much “I, I, I” and “me, me, me” can and most often will frustrate new readers.

Remember, when you’re in a conversation, the best way to keep the other participants happy is to talk about him or her, and not about yourself. Of course, that is unless the topic of the discussion is about you.

The best conversation is one where everyone can participate and share their thoughts.

7. The design is too ‘heavy’

Shiny headers and funky RSS buttons are cool. Shadows and funny images are cooler. But make it too cool and your visitors’ browser might start coughing.

Make your design light and don’t overuse images in your posts. You might lose the reader if the page takes too long to load.

8. The posts are full of typos.

“You’re blog” here and “Ima blogger” there. Posts that are full of typos are hard to read and will give the impression that the blogger is unprofessional, lacks passion, and undedicated.

The best way to prevent them is to use a proof reading program and to proof read it yourself before publishing. Read your posts at least two or three times before posting them.

Add your own comment here. What irritates you about blogs?

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