4 Reasons I Might Not Like Your Blog
I love the internets. It’s a wondrous place full of lovely people and my life is richer and fuller because of the relationships I’ve built here.
During my journeys through the blogosphere, I’ve come across many sites which I have loved and many from which I have wandered never to return. I’m not a scientist or a web marketing ninjabro, but I have noticed a few common things that don’t inspire me to read, share, or return to a blog.
As a Millennial, I think that the world revolves around me and that everyone should change their blog to meet my every whim. As an artist, I believe that stuff should look good. As a blogger, I care about you and want to pass along a few tips that might help you:
1. I’m distracted by the sidebar
When I’m at your blog, I’m there to read words. Words that you wrote about stuff that matters. But sometimes I have a hard time reading the words you wrote because of all the words right there on your sidebar. Archives stretching back five years. A feed of your tweets, mangled by bad formatting and filled with links to the very blog post I’m reading. All this in the same font and color as the important words I’m trying to read.
I never ever ever click on your “archives” to see what you were writing about in October of 2008. If I want to see recent posts, I’ll go to your homepage where hopefully they’ll have thumbnail images (because humans are visual). If I want to see your tweets, I’ll go to Twitter. Actually, if I’m reading your blog I probably already follow you on Twitter.
Easy solution: Keep your sidebar clean. If you have text, make it a different size or font or color or something so that it doesn’t distract me from what I came there to read.
2. I’m overwhelmed by text.
There are lots of things on the internet, and I don’t have time to read them all. Usually when I’m reading your blog, I’m also reading two or three other blog posts at the same time, eating, and chatting on Facebook. Maybe even writing my own blog posts. So when I go to your post and see a wall of words that disappears into the bottom of my screen, I give up and leave. If you make it easy for me, I’ll stay.
Easy solution: Use pictures. Break up your paragraphs. Add section headings. Do something to break the monotony of three-thousand words. Or, just write less than three thousand words. If you can’t, make sure the font is big and the layout has room to breathe.
3. I can’t comment easily
I love comments on my blog, and I love commenting on your blog too. But when you make it hard for me to comment, then I wander away and refresh Twitter instead.
Sometimes commenting itself becomes an epic odyssey. I type my comment, add my website, e-mail address, and name. When I click submit, I’m asked to sign in to a Google or WordPress account that I might not even use anymore. Sometimes I have to try to descramble ancient hieroglyphs. By the time my security clearance has been verified, the cookies on my computer have forgotten my comment and I’m ready for a nap.
Easy Solution: Disqus. I’m always already signed in, and can comment with one click. I can see responses to all my comments in one click. No hieroglyphs, no security clearances, no naps.
4. I don’t trust your social sharing buttons
When I reach the end of a particularly lovely blog post, I’m eager to share it with my colleagues. Please don’t give me this:
I’m terrified to click on any of those buttons. I have no idea what will happen next. Will a pop-up window appear and ask me to create an account? Will a gremlin appear and tell me about hot singles in my area? And what are all those social sites anyways? I don’t recognize half of them, and why would one even share something to Yahoo or Digg?
You know what I will click on? This:
I actually know what all those words mean and I know what will happen when I click on them. Furthermore, I can see how many other people have clicked on them. That matters to me too. It helps me get a sense of scale in the vastness of the internet. Take note, Blogspot users – I don’t trust your rows of little square social buttons either.
Easy Solution: Digg-Digg. You can make the buttons big or small, put them on the side or bottom, and choose whatever social options you want. Just keep it simple, k?
Please, don’t take this personally. I want to read your words, I really do. I want other people to read them too. That’s why I included easy solutions. Let me know if you have any questions or need any help with this stuff. Together, we can make the blogosphere a better place for everyone! (Except cats. They don’t care.)
[ image: Lois Cesarano ]
What about you? Do you have any pet peeves that discourage you from reading/sharing blogs? Let me know in the comments!