20 Things I May Hate About Your Blog

As you may know, we kicked off an all-new 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge this week! Week 1′s content and tasks are all about assessing your blog and really taking stock of what works and what doesn’t. So our SITStah Eternal Voyageur is here to share with us the 20 things she may hate about your blog. Make sure you scan YOUR site for some of these blog errors!

Blog Errors

I’m a blog addict, and I’m always on the search for my next favourite. Though fresh, original content is what I look for, there are some things that can get on my nerves and may put me off adding an otherwise nice blog to my reader.

Frustration (was: threesixtyfive | day 244)

Photo Credit: Sybren A. Stüvel

Here are the most annoying thing that blogs do, in no particular order.

1. No RSS feed button. Seriously? You don’t want me to be a regular reader?
2. Button is there, but well hidden. Searching for it is not my idea of fun. Top of the page
(especially top right) is where I expect to see it!
3. No “older” “newer” post buttons on the bottom of the pages. I have seen several blogs that
didn’t have those, and I couldn’t figure out how to see the older posts!
4. “Previous” and “Next” instead of “Older” and “Newer” links. On some blogs “next” mean older and on some it means newer posts. When I’m simultaneously browsing through archives of several blogs, I often don’t remember which is which anymore.
5. Also, “<>” are often barely visible and hard to click on.
6. No categories / labels. This is very important for me, because often only one type of posts on a blog appeals to me. For example I might find a fashion blog might have lots of runway photos that I don’t care about, but also fantastic DIY tutorials that I want to read. If I can’t get to all the tutorial posts in one click, I’m not going to bother going through 4 years worth of posts to look for them.
7. More than 30 categories are just annoying. Especially if there are 3 posts in each.
8. Too many photos. Seriously, after the 6th consecutive image of the same outfit / dish / table
décor / baby, I start to yawn and scroll faster. I don’t close the browser after the 12th picture, it’s because I’m already asleep. An overdose is a tested and true way of developing a dislike for a good thing. In fact some my favourite bloggers tantalize me by posting too few images – and I
love it, it keeps me coming back for more. (Garance Dore I’m talking of you).
9. Blogs that update more than twice a day, especially if the posts are high on content. These make me feel stressed, like I can’t every catch up.
10. Pop-ups of any kind. Self-explanatory.
11. Music or videos that play automatically. If you had any idea how many people look at blogs at work…
12. A pet name for readers. These are patronising and annoying to anyone over the age of 12. If your blog is called A Snowqueen’s Life, please don’t refer to me as your little snowflake, or worse — polar bear cub.
13. Only summaries of the posts on the main page. This means that I won’t be going through your older posts, as opening each and every post separately is annoying. Reading 50+ pages of blog archives is best done by smoothly scrolling page after page.
14. Too much “ooh, you gotta buy this!”. That is actually the reason I don’t read fashion magazines — most of the articles are ads in disguise. A blog that does that doesn’t make it to my reader (an exception is solid, unbiased reviews).
15. Annoying commenting systems. Ones that won’t allow me to comment unless I sign up. Or ones that plain don’t work.
16. No search box. *pulls hair*
17. Too small font / not enough contrast. Its amazing how often I have to ctrl+ to increase the font size. But if the text is just to pale I don’t enjoy reading and sooner or later I move on to something with better contrast.
18. Tiny images. Especially if you are trying to show me something on them.
19. The background is screaming at me. If you love bright colours and bold patterns, the background is the one place where you should restrain yourself from going wild.
20. I will leave this one for you ladies. Complete this sentence: “It annoys me when _____

Things that are surprisingly missing from the list? Good grammar and spelling. That’s because I believe that dyslexics and people who don’t speak English as a first language shouldn’t be banned from blogging. As long as you use punctuation marks and break up text into paragraphs, you are good with me.

Is your blog guilty of one of the above 20 mistakes? No biggie, it’s really surprising how many great blogs are. And now that you know, you can fix it!

More on How To Blog Better

Venusian Glow Eternal*Voyageur writes at Venusian*Glow, where she shares DIY skin care experiments, how she got her dream hair and everything about breaking out of the bra matrix. When she’s not blogging she hoop-dances, thrifts and backpacks with two little people. You can find Eternal*Voyageur on Twitter @eternalvoyageur and Facebook.

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Comments

  1. Poorly written blogs. I have to admit I am a bit of a spelling and grammar snob and if you’re still writing like an 8th grader, I won’t return. In my opinion if you’re over the age of 20 and still cannot construct a sentence or paragraph as close to perfect as possible then you need to re-educate yourself.

    We all have bad days and bad posts but too many of them and I’m turned off. Oh, and I will admit my blog has “previous” and “next” for posts but I have no clue how to change them. Maybe I’ll look into that today.

  2. After a few irritated e-mails from readers I realized I had music playing on the blog. It was the unintentional oops from leaving a post with music in it in the newer posts category, but it was totally obnoxious nevertheless. I can officially say I’ve trashed the accidental playlist. My readers can read silently at work now :)

  3. I agree with a lot of those, especially the music on blogs. I work as a medical transcriptionist, so I have earplugs in & if I decide to check out a blog on my break (at work) & music is automatic, it usually blasts my ears, so I automatically hit the x at the top of the page to get out of there fast.

  4. All of it. All of it. Just every single part.

  5. At first, I was afraid your list would make me feel bad, since I want to be an A student – but surprisingly it did not. I will admit, I do post too many pics sometimes. Especially if I JUST went on a trip. I am sooo happy to share my adventure, 50+ pics later (joking) I assume EVERYONE wants to see them. LOL

    The most annoying to me on a blog – are the posts that are mostly HOPS. Ewww.. sometimes I wonder WHY – why these people have so many followers and no content. Then I realize it must be a numbers game. Also, I don’t like blogs that have soooooo much STUFF on their page. I get confused on where to look, OR I can’t find where to leave a comment. I should not have to search, it should be obvious.

    I want to add more things on my page – but I want it streamed lined – so I put everything on the left. You recommend the right. I am curious, why is that? :-)

  6. Amen!

    I know there are plenty of people who disagree with me, but one thing that bugs me that didn’t make your list is this: Bloggers who spend so much time on presentation and almost none on content. If your blog is about design or fashion, then pretty is part of your content. But so many women dress up (overdress usually) their blogs to the point that it seems like they are trying to hide the fact that they have nothing to say. These blogs seem to say, “Who cares if I have a brain as long as I’m pretty?” Nice touches and pretty pictures are great, but I like a good meal with my dessert.

  7. Yay, it seems like I passed most of these. I do have a lot of categories and I guess my background is kinda bright. Otherwise I think I’m good.

    I hate music on blogs, animated backgrounds, flashing graphics, and too many ads. I also hate when blogs DON’T have email subscription on their blog considering this is the only way I follow a blog on a regular basis.

  8. Excellent post! I was eager to see if I was guilty of any of these and am relieved to see I’m doing pretty good! I will definitely keep these pointers in mind as I continue my blog. Thanks for the advice!

  9. So much to think about- thanks for motivating us all to blog better! :) I am with Blogger and the only reason I would consider making the WordPress change is the commenting platform. Why can Google not have a system that works? It just doesn’t. I’ve installed Intense Debate…it’s okay. But not perfect. The only thing I can think of is having a blog that I can’t read easily on my cell phone. I’m not necessarily even saying a mobile theme- but please left justify your text so that I can read without scrolling.

  10. I think I’m mostly ok. And really, I do dislike spelling and grammar mistakes. Of course, I worked as a writing tutor/instructor and worked often with ESL students. I can usually tell the difference between lazy native English writer and ESL writer. Don’t be lazy, people. I don’t like it.

  11. Summary’s on a blog page!! OMG! It’s like your to busy on your next post to be proud of the one that you did. I need to look into that RSS feed, I’m just looking for the lurkers to start commenting…

    JCat

  12. Oh I love this list!!! I don’t have older and newer buttons, but it clearly lists recent posts on my sidebar. Hope that counts! I tend to be long winded so naturally, I hate it when other bloggers are as well. :) It’s something I work on.

  13. Oops – I need to go change my excerpts to a different style and make sure older and newer. . .

  14. It annoys me when the blog poster talks up this great tutorial, and you go to click the link and the “page no longer exist” pops up. I have had this happen so many times :( I also don’t like when I go on a blog and there are too many sponsor ads on blog that it looks “busy”

  15. Oooh! I hate music on blogs! I think my second pet peeve with them is the comment moderation. It makes me not want to comment — or worse, I’ve commented and started to close the window when it loads and there is a word verification and, oops, the window is already closed. I also am with you on the older/newer vs previous/next for posts. I also really don’t like busy sidebars. I used to like 3 column layouts with a column on each side, but I am seriously thinking of changing my layout to either both columns on the side or just one side bar column. Its just so much on the eyes!

  16. Whew! I think I only need to fix one thing {my feed button} and it’s fixed now.

    My biggest pet peeves are…
    1. the Noreply email. I love to response to my comments and when I can’t reply back I worry that my commentors think I don’t care.

    2. Bloggers who say they are open to answering questions and assisting you and then you email them and you never get a response. Really makes me question their credablity.

    That’s just my two cents.

  17. I have the same gripes.
    Especially #12. *shudders*
    It annoys me when a blog isn’t well-written, or when the posts are too long, and the narratives just continue for forever.

  18. I think you got most of the ones that annoy me.
    Though, hitting tab is a big one for me, when it comes to commenting. I want to tab to the next little fill-in thing, then tab to “Post Comment” and some blogs just don’t work like that (causing me to scroll a billion times, which sadly, this blog does :()

  19. Excellent (and funny) points!

    The only one I beg to differ on is is #8 – to me there is no such thing as too many pictures! Especially on wedding blogs – when I was a bride all I wanted to see were inspirations – Pictures can communicate and enhance stories in ways that a million words might never achieve.

    I would add: 20. It annoys me when there is no “About” section to learn about the blog or blogger

  20. Love that excerpt about grammar and punctuation. I edit a blog and asked her if she wanted it to be technical or if she wanted it to have her voice. Unless it makes it difficult to understand the point, I leave in the ‘you know’s, ‘well’s, and ‘ummm’s. ;)

  21. WOW. What a list! Some of of what you list are legitimate issues but some of it’s just nit picky (4, 9, 12 & 13) & not very relevant to what discerns a good blog from a GREAT blog!

    You have a problem with summaries on the main home page…and yet you read SITS! It makes sense to blogs with diverse & frequently updated content to post summaries so readers can quickly find the content they want to read!

    You tolerate blogs riddled with poor grammar & spelling? I prefer to read blogs where the blogger respects me enough to at least spell check before publishing their post (which takes less than 30 seconds). An occassional error is one thing but post after post filled with basic grammar & spelling errors just become too difficult to read after a while!

    Personally, I don’t read blogs with poor writing, long paragraphs of unbroken text & illegible fancy fonts. I don’t comment if the captcha is hard to read or I have to “log in” first. But that’s about it. If the content is great then I’ll find a way to read more!

  22. Craftwhack says:

    Wow. This is a great list. It’s got some of the obvious no-no’s on it that are always covered, but you added a bunch more that might not be glaringly apparent. Gotta go see if my blog says next or previous or hither or yon…..

  23. Great advice! Have a happy day ladies!

  24. I have a subscribe button, but not an actual RSS feed button. How do I get one? Am I the only one who. Uses Feedblitz instead of Feedburner? That who side of blogging is a big mystery to me.

    My pet peeve – don’t blog about poop, yours, your babys or anyone elses. Ditto for other gross or overly personal topics!

  25. Excellent! As a graphic designer and editor, I echo your list. Ironically, I probably have a few tasks to attend to on my own after reading this list!

  26. Yeah, I passed the test. In total agreement with these frustrating items. The comment box is my biggest pet peeve — hate it when it doesn’t accept my blog link, hate to have to fill in numbers, letters, etc, and I hate having to confirm through an email to leave a comment. Really not worth it at that point –
    Thanks for this great info!

  27. Word Verification!! *smacks head on table*

    Great list!

  28. Most annoying thing EVER on blogs? Word Verification. I usually don’t leave a comment when that little box pops up. GET RID OF IT.

  29. I agree with nearly every point here except that I think no. 13 can be fixed by fixing no 3. I don’t mind WordPress blogs that only have summaries on the first page, if I can click on the newest blog and browse backwards.

    I think I’m guilty with number 8 (too many photos) but when am definitely trying to have smaller posts and less photos this year. If nothing else, it makes it easier for me to compose posts.

  30. CAPTCHA drives me crazy! Turn on your comment moderation. Sure it’s more work for you to manually get rid of spam but it’s less work for your readers, and that’s what counts. CAPTCHA actually deters me from leaving comments.
    You NAILED everything else!
    Auto play music equals auto click off/out for me no matter how good the blog looks.

    • Perfectly said! I agree with everything on the list.

      I’m surprised that so many people still use Word Verification and CAPTCHA.

      I’ve eliminated 100% of my spam comments by simply eliminating the option for people to comment anonymously. If someone wants to comment that badly on a blog, they need to be willing to identify themselves. It’s extremely rare that someone who is legitimate has a problem with this. The only ones really excluded are spammers and trolls.

      Jenn

  31. Well, I don’t know how to do an RSS Feed box or a search box or I’d have them. :D

    I really hate that music that starts up. I don’t want to listen to your music; I want to read your blog.

  32. It annoys me when people do partial feeds or only allow you to subscribe via e-mail. Or are constantly promoting where they are on social media. Once in a while is ok, but daily messages of I’m also here, here, here and here, is just annoying.

  33. Word verification for comments drives me up the wall and makes me stabby. You WANT people to interact, why make it hard? To me, it’s like inviting people to your home and charging admission. I should Wade through spam and clean up the spills…not my guests.

  34. I hear ya! And echo all of it!

  35. You totally nailed my pet peeves. The only one I wonder about though, is #13, the summaries. I just added that in my most recent revamp, because I loved it on other blogs.

    And yes, Alison, I HATE those darn captchas too!

  36. I was about to be annoyed by another know-it-all post but am so happy I agree with your whole list. I really detest the whole post not being on the front page. 9 times out of 10 I’m not clicking read more. I have too many blogs to read and don’t want to waste my time. I am partially color blind and there are blogs I simply can’t read. I have to highlight the post in order to get the contrast to read it. It gives me a headache and I don’t go back.

  37. You pretty much nailed it. The only thing I would add is that I hate partial feeds. If I add you to my reader and I see a partial feed, without full posts, I will automatically unsubscribe.

  38. I really detest word verification and captcha! If you make me jump through hoops to comment, I will give up.

    I also find it hard to read very long posts (over 400 words) that are not broken up into paragraphs or sub-topics. Time is short, concentration is limited.

  39. It annoys me when people put their weekly playlist on the blog and scare the crap out of me when it turns on. It also annoys me when the one ad company I started using made an ad that “talked” on my blog. They got deleted immediately. I won’t stand for that. ;)

  40. I’m guilty of having too many categories. I’m in the process of cleaning them up and reorganizing things.

    I really don’t like it when people embed music. My other blog pet peeve is when people put things like java script animated snowflakes on their page. It’s really distracting when you’re trying to read.

  41. Music and commenting systems are the things that frustrate me most.

  42. Yes, I agree pop-ups are so annoying and posts without any images are boring. Type must be readable too, some are too small like you said or on black background and are hard to read! Another is backgrounds with lines that make you dizzy, one cannot stay on the page for long to read it.

  43. I’m glad you mentioned the RSS Feed one. I don’t have that on my blog, but I will before the end of the day!

    I HATE, HATE, HATE blogs that play music automatically. They startle me when I open them up. I already follow several that do and I’m too invested to give up on them. However. when I find a new blog, auto-play music will make me close the blog and not go back, regardless of how good the rest of the blog is.

  44. Great tips/suggestions. I’m on my second year of blogging now, and I”m guilty of no search box. I’m not very technical. Can you guide to me a tutorial on how to put a search box on your blog?

    Thanks

  45. So many ads that the content feels like an afterthought…

    • I totally agree with that. I also hate it when I’ve been reading a blog for a couple weeks and then I realize that the content has been nothing but ads–giveaways, product reviews and sponsored posts–and little else. I don’t like feeling like I’m just making money for the blogger, rather than being part of the community.

  46. I’m annoyed if there are no paragraphs – just one long post – hard to read.
    Wondering if I have too many ads.

  47. I feel so ashamed.

  48. It annoys me when…. a blogger tries to emulate one of the popular bloggers, talks down to me, or the biggest pet peeve, makes their lives look so perfect that unicorns could be grazing in the backyard.

    • haha I love this! oo wait.. you don’t have unicorns grazing in your backyard too? jk :)

    • I can’t stand the “Oh my life is so perfect! Look at how AWESOME and AMAZING my life is” type of blogs either. I file those under “Get over yourself”. I blog about my struggles and challenges and feel those serve two purposes:

      1. Helping me grow and become stronger
      2. Showing my readers I am human and thus I am flawed at times.

  49. Great thoughts! Some of these things really annoy me as well. Number one annoyance for me is when there isn’t an older & newer button at the button so I can only read the most recent posts. Also, I’m with you on being confused when it’s next and previous instead of older and newer. Also, I’m with you on not loving 20 images of the same thing, which I notice most often on cooking/baking blogs. It takes too long to scroll through them. I think I’m most guilty of not having good categories or not even having a category on all my posts, so I definitely need to work on that one.

  50. Phew! I was all set to pull out my hair and go, “But I don’t have time to fix my mistakes!”

    I’m relieved to know that I’m mostly okay. I don’t think my blog has any of those issues… of course, you are welcome to tell me differently! *grins*

Trackbacks

  1. [...] O’ THE DAY: From the SITS Girls, “20 Things I May Hate About Your Blog.” Cancel [...]

  2. [...] recently came across an article titled “20 Things I Hate About Your Blog.” While I am always very excited to receive advice from the SITS girls, I must respectfully [...]

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    [...] blogger named Gigi wrote about “20 Things I May Hate About Your Blog“. From that post I was reminded to limit my categories when I get more [...]

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