Pin It There are times I find myself judging blogs by their header and general layout—the cardinal sin in some of my teacher’s eyes while taking part in my own adolescence.
“Never judge books by their covers, you just might be surprised by what you get.” I can recall several teachers saying—most of them sounding like Mrs. Flickenger, from 7th grade homeroom on the third floor of that worn-out brick, middle school building.
I remember making our weekly excursions to the school library; I’d find myself perusing titles, pulling out a few which sounded interesting, but then putting them back if the cover didn’t look quite interesting enough. Rarely would I give a story a chance if it couldn’t catch my eye long enough for more than a quick once-over.
I find that blogs seem to do the same thing for me. There are those that I give the author a chance with one or two posts, but if the layout doesn’t catch my eye, then I find myself clicking over someplace else.
Can I just mention a few things that seem to spruce up a blog and make it a bit more friendly?
Now, these are not – by any means – a comprehensive list. However, these are a few things I’ve learned over the years of reading – and writing – blogs which turn me off to blogs in general which might be of help to you.
Of course, this might just be a list of pet peeves so take it all with a grain of salt.
1. If you choose to have music on your blog, don’t have your player automatically start music when someone arrives at your page. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to another person’s blog and I’m accosted with music. Often when I’m reading, I’m already playing music and find it distracting and annoying when the player on the person’s site automatically starts to belt out tunes—clashing and colliding with that with which I am already listening to. I find myself even more annoyed when I click to another page only to have the same first song in the player start all over again.
Do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor…if you choose to have a music player, change the settings so that it doesn’t start automatically. You may think that you’re helping us all out by letting us all listen to your favorite song (or the one you think we should all hear) and while this is all well and good, let your readers decide to push the play button and don’t do it for them; in the end you will end up losing many readers.
2. In your settings, make sure you have the whole text available in your feed. There are days I find myself struggling to keep up with the blogs I am subscribed to. It is so much easier for me to read them in Google Reader instead of clicking on each site. If I have several posts on one blog to read and am only given the first 250 words, I will often not go to the site and will just instead click ‘mark all as read.’ My time is valuable and I don’t want to click on every post. I know that people do this because they want people to come to their blog and perhaps leave a message. Trust me, if I want to say something about what you’ve written, I will. I’ll take the time to come to your blog if I feel so inclined.
3. I love blogs that have an interesting layout. Photos and other media can really spruce up a blog and from there I will usually poke around a bit and decide if it’s someplace I want to frequently visit. However, if your site is buried in ads or cluttered to oblivion, I most usually won’t return unless the content is mesmerizing.
Often, less really is more.
4. If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything. If you are away from your blog for a week, that’s okay. If I enjoy your writing, I don’t need explanations or a quick blog of, “I haven’t been here and I don’t have anything to say.” Good friends don’t need explanations like that – others don’t necessarily want to read over messages like that either. We all have lives away from blogging and if you need to be away for awhile, that’s okay. (I might be guilty of this one a time or two).
5. Spell check.
Whn u dont check you’re speling, it makes ur blog look more like a IM mesage frum a forth gradr
Yeah, enough said on that one.
While these are just a few basic ideas in the realms of blogging, hopefully they will be things that will help you in your own blogging journey. Just remember, your blog is your blog…ultimately, it needs to be a place where you enjoy coming to write, but if you want to have returning visitors, remember try not to do those things which might drive off potential readers.
What did I miss? If there’s a do or don’t you can think of which should have been added, please feel free to mention these in the comment section.
BTW, I am also posting today over at Four Perspectives. Don't worry, it's short and can be read in about 12 seconds.