Common Blogging Mistakes – To Fix or Not to Fix

I am the poster child for bloggers who have long since passed their best before date, if in fact I ever had one. I have a boatload of fake followers with names like ‘fbrxy3579’ but very few of them are actual readers. Most of the people I call ‘near and dear’ give me a glassy stare, and mutter something like “I haven’t checked the internet in the past 8 months” when I ask them if they read my last post.

I don’t blame them – I’ve been blogging longer than most guinea pigs live, and my content is a ‘how to of what not’ to write about. I also have made many ‘blogging mistakes‘. Sure, I’ve fixed most of those, but I perversely hold onto others.

You probably have made some of these ‘mistakes’ too, and maybe, like me, you just can’t be bothered to take the whole ‘What Not To Do‘ thing any more seriously than the ‘What Not to Wear’ thing.  If you are, however, curious – here is my list of what you might or might not want to do:

  • Small font sizes can make the typeface hard to read, as does paragraphs of white words on a dark background. (WordPress.com gives all bloggers some choice of font type and size, regardless of the theme, I believe.) Many browsers do let you zoom in and out, or change the font and colors in the options panel – should the reader need to make these kinds of adjustments.
  • Comic Sans typeface,  Script and other harder to read display fonts –  good for headings, maybe not so good for paragraphs.
  • If you throw Color theory out the window with Dizzy color combinations – green and yellow, red on black, anything neon – think about the impact on readability.
  • Really, really wide blocks of type. A very wide column of text might cause your readers to get lost when they move from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. Do you want that?
  • One long paragraph. If you are paragraph challenged, write a post of 500 words or more. No breaks, no headings, no graphics. Then try to read it.
  • Large blocks of centered text – alters legibility, making text harder to read – but might work in some situations.
Comic Sans 10 pt
An example of Comic Sans Font, small size, white on black and red on black, long paragraphs, centered!
  • One line paragraphs. If you can’t get the hang of how to make a paragraph, just make each line a new paragraph! That’s what most news outlets do, right?!
  • Dead ends make your blog harder to navigate. When readers land on a post, you could give them an easy to click ‘Home’ button that takes them to your home page. Try not to leave them stranded!
  • Distractions – dancing critters, blinking text, auto play music. Do your readers love it when your post takes control of their computer and sings out a tune or an animated something starts?
  • Ditch the search box if you don’t want your reader to find something else on your blog!
  • Turn off readability on mobile devices if you don’t think people want to read your blog on a tiny phone screen!
  • Big photos – when you upload your photos, do you  compress them? Do readers really like to watch your photo load one line at a time?
  • Categories and tags – why bother! Just throw it all in one drawer and call it a day! Of course, Categories and Tags do have a purpose that might be useful to you and your readers.
  • If you never, ever proof read – will readers know that you meant ‘book’ not ‘boob’?
  • If you use lots of badges and widgets and graphics that march down the side of your blog it could affect your blog’s load time. Are your readers more patient than you are!?
  • Do you beef up your text with lots of visual clutter if you don’t have much to say?
  • Research – there is a wealth of inaccurate, insignificant or out-of-date content that is far easier to find – why would you choose to dig a bit deeper?
  • Broken links – they take time to find and fix. If you don’t want to find them, then is it a good option to just never link to any other site?
  • Do you respond to all comments – or do you pick and choose who you respond to and who you ignore. Do you say “Thanks” to that person who only said “Great”?
  • Do you write posts, even when you have nothing to say? Do you reblog a post you wrote before so your readers can reread something you wrote when you still had nothing to say?
  • Do you use too few social media buttons? Or too many social media buttons? Who knows how many are too few or too many?
  • Do you use multiple pages for what could easily be a single post so you get more clicks?


What blogging ‘mistakes’ have you read about? Have you corrected them, or chosen to keep them?

Post 528

Advertisements

23 comments

  1. Although I’,m generally at the “who cares” stage of blogging, I’d agree with most of your points. After I write something and read it over, I often find that (as you described) I’ve beefed up my text with lots of clutter – words and phrases that really add nothing to the reader’s experience. It is cutting that down to a tight piece of text that takes time. I also increasingly ask “why would anyone want to read this” and when I can’t think of a good reason, I delete the draft! Having said that, please keep your posts coming!

    Maybe another rule would be “Post umpteen million photos of every day your are travelling somewhere, but don’t bother to add the personal touch and say why you found that sight interesting.”

    Like

    • I guess I’m at the “As long as I care” stage of blogging – which gives me great freedom and allows me to ignore the question of why anyone would want to read this!

      You are right about the upteen million photos – sometimes the picture does need an explanation! I spend a lot more time editing my photos than I do editing what I write – and that pretty much limits how many photos appear in any one post!

      Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment, by the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d say you just about covered it. As a BTW, bloggers can check the loading speed of their blogs at http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ The rule of thumb I learned was that your page should load in 4 secs or less, or impatient readers will start moving on. The pingdom tool tells you what items on your page are taking the longest to load, which helps you find and eliminate problem areas.

    Like

  3. Good list. I haven’t done any of these things… or maybe I’ve done all of them?!? Its been so long I can’t really remember. I do know a few weeks ago I noticed there were a lot more social media sharing buttons available. I didn’t know what most were so I just chose to show them all on my posts… because you know I don’t want to limit where my dozen readers share my posts! 🙂

    Like

    • Welcome back to the blogging world, Steve. Hop over to pingdom (see link in comment by PiedType) and you’ll see what those social media sharing buttons do to load time. I find it absolutely fascinating to see what all is involved when a site loads!

      Like

  4. Hmm. My load time was 2.8 seconds, but I don’t understand everything it’s telling me to do, in order to improve it. Must investigate more fully…
    Love your list, by the way. Guilty on more than a few — so much to learn!

    Like

    • Like so many things in life, it is all about compromise. You can make your blog faster, but what do you have to give up to do that? That is the great thing about a personal blog – we get to chose (within limits) how we want it to look – an online reflection of who we are or who we want to be!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read all your blogs that are sent to me via e-mail, but I do not comment all the time. I am however, in awe with your writing style and observation skills. I’m thinking a book should be in the works.

    Like

    • You are very kind, Joy, and I appreciate your years of being a reader. Friends and family are a valuable gift of themselves, and I accept that many of them have no more interest in what I write than I do in the things they like to do!
      The best thing about writing a blog is the almost instant feedback you get. Often, the comments section of my posts are far more interesting than the post itself! I think this blog is my ‘book’!

      Like

    • I think the best definition I’ve seen about categories and tags is this: Think of your blog as an ever evolving book. The Categories are the Table of Contents; the tags are the Index.
      My Categories/Tags have changed over time, and will probably continue to change as I explore new topics.
      I think my only constant will be that I won’t have too many Categories, but lots of tags! I put every post into only one category, but I generally wouldn’t use more than 10 tags.
      It is fun to discover readers from all over the world and trade comments, sometimes even in real time, with someone on a different continent. It’s magic!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking of the ‘What Not to Wear’ TV show that ran for 10 years. I didn’t watch it (obviously) but I read this comment by one of the hosts: “Walk through any airport in America and you’ll quickly notice that 99 percent of people should have been paying more attention to us.” I don’t think airports are in quite the same league as the ‘people of Walmart’, though…

      Like

  6. I used to work as a technical writer so I don’t think I’ve made too many of those errors. We learnt design principles early.

    I put my website address into that speed test thingy and it told me 9.31s. Yikes! But then, a lot of my posts are on that page with quite a number of photos. So then I tested just my last post and that took 3.15s. Still, some renovations may be in order.

    I have some of those same followers. After I got FP’d my followers went up about 2,200 (and growing) but actual readers/commenters has only increased by a handful. Stats is a mug’s game.

    Like

    • Kind of funny, isn’t it, what our expectations are for loading speed. It wasn’t all that long ago that most of us were using a dial up connection. There were times when I thought I could walk the bits over to where I wanted them to go and it would be faster than my internet connection!

      My followers boomed when I was featured for a few months as a Humor blog before the new ‘Discover’ and ‘Reader’ features were rolled out. As you observed, few of those followers are actually readers – but the Follow widget lets you show off the stat if you want!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for these . . . paraphrasing someone else, I love rules . . . specifically, the sound they make when I break them.

    Seriously, some are common sense and considerate to users. Some are my preference and readers would have to adapt (why so few read my stuff). Some are outside of my control. Whenever WordPress does updates to its system, some old posts lose the links I carefully built and embedded. I used to go back and fix them, but I now have 1,474 posts. Not gonna bother. I just add a note on the sideboard.

    Like

    • You’ve summed this up well – how to achieve a balance between what we want ourselves, what our readers might want, and what WordPress imposes on us!

      I’m slowly updating old posts. I like to reread them and add fresh material to make them better…

      Like

    • I have too many to go back. Plus, most make heavy usage of photos. All in all, unless I have some compelling reason to go back, or unless I chance on a post, I don’t bother.

      Then again, I’m happy with what I posted in the past. A lot of work went into many of those posts. Links is the only problem, and that’s WP’s fault. I used to go back and refresh links only to have them disappear again, sometimes when I saved. I no longer link the photos to the SmugMug gallery, and if links are lost, unless someone lets me know, I’ll never know.

      Liked by 1 person

There, I'm finished. Now it is your turn:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s