Monday, February 4, 2008

5 Stupid Blogging Mistakes That Even The "Experts" Do

This probably belongs under the auspices of my earlier article about Entrecard, but let's face it, there's only so freaking much you can say about widgets before you just have to come out and say it:

Some people just have bad blogs.

If you're reading this, don't think you're immune to it either. Not everyone's a interface genius, and there's a lot you could be doing to make things easier on your reader's eyes that you don't do already because you insist on having ads in this spot and columns wherever they can stick them. Because so many people insist on having the "Above the Fold" space as valuable as possible, they overlook the fact that people's eyes can't POSSIBLY process all that information at once! So even if your content is top-notch, your website's design could be scaring away timid readers.

Stupid Blog Mistakes could be the subject of its own blog in and of itself, but let's just stick to the first five major mistakes that I noticed before they make me want to crawl into bed from the headache they give me:
  • Subverting Standardized Icons, Especially for RSS. Come on, people, it's a standardized icon for a reason. When I see that RSS Feed Icon, I know EXACTLY what is behind it and what I expect to find. If you change the icon, I have to think more than I should be.
  • Having Giant Fonts! Your eyes can only parse a certain amount of 'focused space' at a time; ergo, if you want people to read at a certain distance, you adjust the size, otherwise you force reader's eyes to have to adjust their focus before they can continue reading, especially if you change sizes a lot. Simply put... hm, how should I put this...
  • Cluttering your pages! We get it, ads make money online. You also make more money for having fewer larger ads (ala project wonderful) versus having lots of little ones. That means you should consolidate what you've got so it takes up as little space as possible.
  • Monetizing too much. You know what "Your Ad Here" REALLY says? "I want money and nobody's willing to pay me what I think I'm worth, so you get to look at this ugly thing instead!" It makes you look desperate, in other words.
  • Monetizing too little. Money left on the table doesn't really help you... Okay, so it may cause people to demand what they can't have and so eventually when you cave in you make more, but in the meantime you're selling yourself short.
If you don't spot what you're (probably) doing wrong yet, don't worry... it probably just belongs in the next article. In the meantime, how about leaving a comment and confessing to a few mistakes for me to include in the next article? I'd love to be able to point to some examples...

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At February 5, 2008 at 4:35 AM , Blogger Dizzy Dee said...

Mmm.... I suppose it might take an expert's eye to point out my mistakes. I'm not very good at being objective. You're welcome to shed your opinion about my blog?

At February 5, 2008 at 6:46 AM , Blogger Jigsaw Forte said...

In order to shed an opinion about it, I need a link to it. :/

send me an email / PM if you'd like. I don't see any blogs currently connected to your profile.

At February 5, 2008 at 9:49 AM , Blogger JK said...

My usual blog complaints are as follows:

Too many pictures in a sequence without any text in between.

Too much text without any pictures to add to the material or at least break up the page.

No index of posted articles for quick reference to previous posts.

Poor or non-use of tag labels to connect common themes.

That's my two cents worth. Thanks for another very interesting and thoughtful article.

At February 5, 2008 at 10:27 AM , Blogger Jigsaw Forte said...

JK: Can I get you to clarify what you mean by a "Post Index"?

I'm curious as to whether you're referring to a "Most Popular Articles" sort of index with some degree of explanation to the posts, or a simple "Previous Posts" index like the one currently displayed in the sidebar.

At February 5, 2008 at 4:20 PM , Blogger JK said...

It depends on the type of blog. For blogs that are random opinions etc. an index or indexes aren't of much value. But for blogs where there is continuity of purpose where readers would benefit from being able to quickly find a specific article or even having threaded indexes, I believe that index pages are superior to sidebar lists because they can be sorted in meaningful ways and aren't limited in number of entries.

I have indexes that are alphabetical by title, alphabetical by subject category, and even cross referenced to the foreign language translations on one of my blogs.

Many blogs are like books that are written and presented non-linearly so the index becomes one way to organize the out of order way blogs evolve.

At February 6, 2008 at 2:00 AM , Blogger Laura said...

For me I would say the worst is clutter and a cluttery look with things mismatched looking. Other blogs look so polished and organized. They make me try harder. But I'm more chaos than organized and my blog reflects who I am.


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