Blog Tips

Are You Guilty of a Blog Fail? Learn What They Are & How To Fix Them

By May 29, 201249 Comments

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Starting a blog is a very exciting time. There are tons of different things to explore and learn, BUT, there are also mis-steps that you’ll make along the way. The good news is that you’ll learn from these mistakes and have every opportunity to turn your blog fail around and into something better.

Are you guilty of any of the below blog pitfalls? If you are, we’re giving you the solutions you need to correct the problems in a hurry.

Blogging Fails To Avoid:

1) Music/Video

Nothing makes me click away from a website faster than the automatic playing of music or video. I don’t care if you want to share your favorite songs with the world, I don’t want it blaring through my computer speakers unexpectedly.

An alternate way to show people your favorite movies, shows, and music would be to use Get Glue and put the widget on your sidebar.

2) Large Header

If I have to scroll down to see your first post, your header is too big. You could have the most gorgeous header, with the most perfect navigation along the top, but not being able to see your actual content when I first hit your site makes me “change the channel”.

Make sure your header is no taller than 400 pixels (at the very most). Feature your content, not your header. {Read more on Why Header Design Matters.}

3) Stats/Visitor Location

Stats counters, alexa ranking, widgets that show me where your website visitors are browsing from on your homepage or sidebar, are pretty tacky. Have you ever asked someone how much money they make at their job? No, because it’s just not something polite people ask. Putting your stats on your homepage is just like wearing a button telling the world how much money you make. If a brand or advertiser wants to know your stats, they will contact you, and ask you for them. Also, seeing my city pop up on your “where people are browsing from widget” kinda creeps me out just a bit.

Create a media kit with all of your stat information to give to brands when they request it.

4) Pixelated Graphics

When you increase or decrease the size of a graphic using the code instead of uploading a correctly sized image, it can become pixelated. This means that the images on your site appear blurry and not clear. It looks better when you decrease the size of an image, but increasing the size is where you get into trouble.

Upload the large image, and use your blog software (blogger or WordPress) to decrease the image size. You can also make sure to resize your images to the correct size before you upload them.

5) Too Many Moving Parts

I once had a client who wanted every single thing they added to the site to move and change. It just reminds me of the Simpsons episode when Homer creates a website and puts every single animated image on the site. It’s fine to have a featured slider that showcases your latest posts, but when you have a featured slider, and your header image is animated, and you have some animated ads in your sidebar, and etc etc, it’s a bit too much. When your site gives me a headache just by looking at it, you are doing it wrong.

Watch your homepage for a few minutes, and make sure there isn’t too much moving around.

6) Too Many Colors

When someone puts too many colors into their site it can look busy and distracting. Having your post titles one color, the text another color, your links yet another color, and your blockquotes yet one more color can make it confusing to look at.

Pick 2-3 colors and base the entire site around those. Your logo and header can have more colors, but keep the rest of the blog text simple.

7) Ads

I’m not here to say ads are bad. Ads help us feed our family, and give us income for doing something that we love to do (a.k.a Blogging). First is not to accept ads that have nothing to do with your content, or that go against your beliefs. If you don’t believe in gambling, don’t accept a text ad for a poker site. If you write about technology, an ad about fashion is probably not the best fit. Accepting ads that don’t match up with your content can lower your ranking in search engines, and may make you lose credibility with your readers. Ads also shouldn’t distract from the general flow of your blog, if your readers can’t get to your content without browsing through several ads, there are too many.

Be picky about who you partner with for advertising space, make sure it fits with the blog, and is visible, but not distracting.

8) Badges, Awards and Buttons

It’s nice to be loved by other bloggers and brands. It’s fun to show off the brands you’ve worked with, and to show off when someone else thinks you are great. Cluttering up your sidebar with an endless stream of “brand x mom” and “happiest blogger on the block award” just makes the other stuff get lost in the shuffle. Save that space for things that you really care about, or some really targeted ads. The real links you want to display (such as advertisers that are paying to be on your sidebar) should take center stage.

Remove items from your sidebar that are distracting from the goals of your sidebar. I like to just delete everything from the sidebar, and re-create it. The stuff that makes it back is usually ads that people have paid me to place there, and then I just end up forgetting about the other things that were there. If you forgot about it (and you aren’t getting paid for it) then it really doesn’t belong.

9) Busy Background

A background should be just that. In the background. If it’s especially busy, it will draw the reader’s eye to the background, instead of where you want it to be…. on your content.

If you have just fallen in love with a design, but it’s pretty busy, try to fade the image a bit, to make it stand out less. Try to pick either a solid color, or a background that from a distance looks like a solid color, but upon closer inspection, you can see some texture to it. {Read more about How Not To Design Your Blog.}

Make sure the site looks clean and not cluttered, and generally you’ll be able avoid MOST of these mistakes. Friends don’t let friends have bad design.

More Blogging Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re looking for more posts on mistakes you want to be sure to avoid when blogging, then you definitely do not want to miss these posts:

About the Author
Blogger's Help DeskSarah Kimmel comes from an IT background. Fixing technology, and helping women to understand technology is truly her passion, she started her blog Tech For Moms to help friends fix their own technology issues. As more and more of her fellow bloggers and friends came to Sarah for help with the technical aspects of their blogs she decided to branch off and start a business to help others fix, maintain, tweak, and setup their own blog called Bloggerโ€™s Help Desk. She is a mother to 2 crazy kids, and wife to one crazy husband. Follow her @Tech4Moms

About Francesca

Francesca has an extensive background in content marketing, public relations, and social outreach. She oversees all Operations at Sway Group, including our robust metrics capabilities. Prior to joining the online world, Francesca oversaw viticulture and oenology at various wineries in both California and Italy, and managed regulatory affairs and facility approvals at the biotech company, Genentech. Francesca has been featured on CBS Sacramento and Food Blogger Proโ€™s podcast. She has also hosted an AMA webinar and spoken at Social Media World.


  • Thanks for the great tips. It’s nice to have a heads-up before investing in poor design choices. Your article is right on time for this newbie!

  • Kim says:

    There are a lot of good points in this post. I think I have some things I need to fix in my blog now!!!!

  • Beatrice says:

    Great thoughts! Thank you it’s great to know i’m on the right track and getting ahead after a couple of years of learning curves ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Ms.B. says:

    #1! It’s even worse when I’m opening links to peruse from twitter, and all of a sudden, my computer starts cranking out a song I hate (I’ve never heard one I liked in this way), and I have to scramble through all the tabs and scroll to the BOTTOM to find the offender! aauugh!

    #6 – so you mean, DON’T do it like facebook? Gah! Hate that header thingy!

    Great list! Thanks!

  • Jayda says:

    This is so awesome! I’m guilty of at least one of these…thanks for letting me know what to fix!

  • JazieStyle says:

    Great tips! Glad I read this and fixed the mistakes on my new blog before it started getting a lot of traffic. Feels good to start with a clean slate. Lol. Thanks again!

  • Classic NYer says:

    Ooh! Totally not guilty! Whew!

  • Susan Cooper says:

    As I was reading through your list I was visualizing all the blogs that have great things to offer but are so busy or distracting that it makes it hard to visit. In some cases I really want to support the blogger but wonder what kind of success they could have with a few changes. I am still working on my blog and hope that when someone comes to visit they stay because it is and feels inviting.

  • I’ll bet I am not the only reader who kept toggling back and forth to her blog while reading this, lol!

    One of these days, I will get a pro to look at my site (again) and make suggestions, but I think I avoid most of these blogpaux. A further beef of mine with “awards” and “badges” is they always come with conditions – Name your nine most embarrassing attributes, pass along to your eight best blog buddies. Those kinds of posts take up a lot of content real estate, IMO, that I don’t want to squander.

    When I see that a blog post is titled “I won the Warm & Squishy Award” I always skip and read something else. Anyone else do the same thing?

  • Wonderful post. Those are some of my biggest pet peaves when visiting other posts. One of the ones I hate the most are those floating ads where all you have to do is hover over the small ad and a large video ad pops up and you can’t seem to disable it! Makes me close down the entire site right away!

  • Thanks for the tips! I do need to reevaluate some of the items on my sidebar!

  • These are probably some of my favorite kinds of posts because they are always so helpful! Thank you for taking the time to share these tips! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Halle says:

    love this article! so easy to read through but helpful! thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Audra Marie says:

    I’m pretty sure I didn’t fail with these tips. At least I don’t think I did lol. Thanks for a great article. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Awesome post. Love it.

  • I just started a new blog and these tips are so helpful. I had another blog I still work on and I’m fairly certain I have made these mistakes! Here’s to the new blog not repeating them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tanya says:

    Great article! Very informative. Luckily I’m only guilty of one.

  • I think I faired pretty well with this list. I wonder, though, if my blog background is too much. It’s bright yellow with white polka dots. I think it’s fun, but I wonder if it distracts readers. If anyone would like to swing by and let me know, that would be great! The same about my sidebars. Are they too cluttered, and if so, what should I delete?

  • Huge headers and obnoxious backgrounds top my two pet peeves. Music comes in a close third followed by a cluttered sidebar (though depending on my mood this could rank pretty high).

    I’m not an expert by any means but all of these elements strike me as being common sense no nos and yet people still do them. Bloggers, I beg you. Please just stop! Hopefully those who are committing these bloggy faux pas do read this and make a change. If not; well…oh. Nevermind. I’m not going to say something that might be perceived as rude. Being a good girl this morning.

  • Laura says:

    Well I only had 1 fail, but I swear I thought it was important to have your stats visible. I wasn’t bragging or anything (I don’t know that they are all that great). I’ll take care of them.

  • Lisa says:

    Love the tips here! I might add making your visitor play hide and seek to locate your social media buttons is a biggie.

    I gotta say this is truly annoying. You could lose a new follower for your list and they may never return.

    For crying out loud put your SM buttons somewhere in your header or near the top of your sidebarโ€ฆat minimum.

  • mommy rodeo says:

    The first point regarding music can also have legal implications. It is against the law to use licensed music without permission on a blog or website. If you have music that you want to use you CAN buy a license or get permission.

  • Amy says:

    This is a great list. I would add a partial RSS feed as a major annoyance as well.

  • Erin says:

    Thank you for the tips they are very helpful!

  • These are great tips!
    I’ve been pretty happy with my (homemade) blog design, but just clicked back and forth to check on how i’m doing against your list. Not bad. Phew.

    Here’s a list I wrote one time, with advice I would give my new blogger self…
    I love being able to pass on what I’ve learnt about blogging/design to new bloggers.
    Oh and anybody who’s looking for cute social media buttons for your blog?
    I’ve just updated post containing a whole bunch of designs you can grab…
    Come by and grab yourself some button cuteness.

  • DavetteB says:

    So Glad my coach covered these in class. People need to make their font larger than 8pt. too. If I have to adjust my glasses or hit the toolbar to 175% to read, I just leave.

    Another thing I can’t stand (and it seems to be a Blogspot problem) is when the design and content areas overlap and it makes the content to difficult to read.

    PS: I’d be okay with the music if you at least put the widget at the top of the screen so you could hit it off quickly; I shouldn’t have to scroll down all of your posts – not one of which have a Read More tag; full blown posts – to disable the thing. Very embarrassing at the library!

  • Mindi says:

    Fantastic post. As always thanks for the great information!

  • These are all great key points that I personally agree to! Sometimes we get the tendency to display everything because we are proud of our achievements but I do agree, less is more!

  • I was relieved to see I have managed to at least avoid THESE blogging mistakes … I have committed others I’ve fixed and am sure I am currently committing others that I don’t even know about yet! But everyday, we learn a little more and your site certainly helps us work toward our best!

  • Hahaha!! Luckily I read this blog BEFORE I started on my own, and while I KNOW mine could be much much better, I haven’t made these mistakes!!! Your site is full of such great info- thank you for building this awesome community!!!

  • Great post!! The music and the word verification are really my biggest blogging peeves.

  • I am so glad you wrote this. I have so work to do now though.

  • Jen says:

    Very cool article!!!

  • Chasing Joy says:

    I love this. Great info. Thanks.

  • Kristen says:

    Whew! When I read the title I cringed inside because I was afraid I might be guilty of a few blog fails. Thankfully, I can say that I’m pretty good. I do have Google ads that don’t always fit, even though they say they base their ads on key words in your blog. Hopefully, as my blog grows I can pick up a few other advertisers and drop Google.

    Thanks for the list!

  • Great post! I am always looking for ways to improve!

  • Michelle says:

    Great post! I did quite a bit of work after the SITS Spring Fling. While I think I tackled a lot of these issues, I’m sure there is some work that needs to be done.

  • Amarie says:

    I have a really small stat counter at the bottom of my page, but definitely agree on ALL of the above. And that new Blogger word verification? I really wish people would stop that madness lol!

  • Dee says:

    Great ideas! I’m in the middle of a redesign and these are all things I need to keep in mind

  • Amanda says:

    Would that we could broadcast this before people log on to their blogs, almost like the seatbelt sign in a car.

    Baby steps ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Ilene says:

    Valuable info. thank you!

  • Thanks for sharing! I”m guilty of #3 but at least it’s Allllllllllllllllllllllll the way at the bottom of the page ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the badges and buttons, I put those on my Media Kit page for folks to see if they like.

    OK going to remove that stats button now ๐Ÿ™‚

  • zeemaid says:

    Always such a good reminder to take another look at our blogs. I know my sidebar is getting crowded again. And you know… since those google ad bars take forever to get to the $100 payout.. is it really worth keeping? probably not.

  • Thanks for the checklist. It’s good to know I’m on the right track.

  • Love this! Thanks.