After browsing and reading so many blogs on end, countless times I come across so many common mistakes that can make your blog become quite unattractive and these mistakes are very easily avoided.
This post is scheduled to be published on my own blog at http://kevin.kevandisa.com very soon. But thought I'd post the entire article here as a sneak peak for everyone else. And hopefully some of it may help you.
What Makes An Attractive Blog
On the contrary to what most bloggers think, what makes an attractive blog isn't necessarily on just the presentation of your blog or the theme you sat and trolled through and finally picked for your blog. The number one key attractiveness of your blog is always going to come down to the content, the more content you have the more successful your chances are of owning an attractive blog.
Of course building the content takes time and a tremendous amount of patience, even if you have been writing posts almost on a daily occurrence, the time it takes for anyone to notice these posts doesn't happen overnight. In the meantime there are other things you should avoid doing while you wait for the readership to grow and take notice of your content.
Avoiding these common mistakes that most bloggers (myself included) will no doubt also help along the way to increasing your readership.
5. Downright Plagiarism/Similar Content
At times, when you have had a writers block, it can be tempting to browse and read through other blogs and follow a certain writing style from someone else's blog. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking, well this formula of writing seems to work very well here, perhaps I should try this on my own blog. Not to mention copying content without legal permission can lead to all sorts of obvious problems.
4. Using Irrelevant Post Titles
Titles are one the most important aspects of a blog post. Having a proper title tells the readers what the content is about. More often than not, I've seen so many titles which are just too vague and even too creative. In my opinion having such a vague and creative title can lead to a certain expectation of the post that never becomes fulfilled.
3. Too Much Advertisements
This of course is subjective, for example for blogger A, his/her blog and writing is their full time job and as such taking advantage of monetizing their blog wherever they can. However blogger B, who is enjoying writing or blogging and isn't their day job and placing advertisements in almost every nook and cranny of their blog can make it become unattractive very quickly.
Of course though, you need to find the right balance of advertisements with the right amount of useful content to make this combination successful.
2. Busy Layout/Design
Having a very busy layout or design for your blog can more often than not deter readers away, after all, the visitors coming to your blog is purely there to read what you have to say in your blog posts. If they are having difficult time in trying to make sense of your layout or if things look a little busy they will click away.
This really follows the old saying "less is more". Same applies your blog's sidebar, it can be really tempting to load up as many attractive widgets and the like to your sidebar.
1. Making the Post too Long
I tend to fall into this trap myself and should really be avoided, ironically the reality is people do not want to read, they want to glance or extract the key messages from your posts. You should try to find the right balance of being able to get your points across or better yet, keep your posts to roughly around 800-900 words mark, anything more than that and you should consider perhaps breaking the post up to a series of posts.
There is nothing worse than someone scrolling through a 1000 worded post as this can look very unattractive.
With these in mind, you should be able to make your blog a little more attractive and over time increase the readership and returning visitors. I personally have been trying to stick by the above and has not been easy especially with some of my posts exceeding the 1000 word mark, at some point down the track I will change those posts into mini series of posts.
Do you find yourself unwittingly making some of the mistakes above? Do you have any general rule of thumb tips to stick by in your blogging experiences?
I don't follow any specific rules, and I kind of despise the idea that there even are blogging rules. Especially since most of these only apply to larger blogs that are used as a business. My blog is my personal journal, and I do whatever I want with it. Sure, I try to make it easy to access and understand for others. And I love connecting with other bloggers. But at the end of the day, I don't want it to be another structured chore. I think if these were presented as tips or suggestions I would be more open, but the semantics issues of having "rules" for something so personal really just gets me. I realize it's not entirely rational, but it's how I feel.
Hey Brittany, thanks for the reply. I do see what you mean regarding the 'rules' as such I think that's quite an empowering word and very imposing, hence I didn't like to use the word rules :)
You are right in that majority of these applies to less personal blogs, however my opinion some of these would help in some way or another to increase readership while you try to find your voice and increase your content and find your personal approach to your readers, being able to do some of the above will help (again in my opinion).
Of course like with most things, it isn't always just black and white, so the above can be adjusted to suite whatever niche your blog may be. By the way I've been to your blog, great stuff there! *thumbs up*
Oh I definitely agree that some of them are applicable- I mean not plagiarizing is just a given :) I was speaking more about the general idea of blogging rules, not specifically this list. It's a personal pet peeve so I can get a bit rant-ish, sorry about that!
And thank you :)
I strongly disagree with the post length statement, however I will admit that it does depend on your audience as well as your blog topic. For example, popular sports blog Grantland typically has posts well in excess of 1000 words that are engaging, topical, and well-written. It's rare that I turn away from a post on their site before the end of a lengthy post, and I've followed suit on my own end (though my posts are long-form story posts as opposed to their more journalistic endeavors). Frankly, I'd rather take 30 minutes to read a long, well-written post, than to click on a photo blog or to see a blog filled with 100-200 word posts with no substance.
Agreed. It depends on topic. On my personal blog I try and keep things short and sweet, but for Snark Squad an average post is 4000 words long and that is with much effort and editing. Yet, SS has like a billionty times the reads than my little blog. It just depends on your audience. People who read that blog understand when they are logging on that our posts will be long. It's just the way it is.
Quality, not quantity.
I agree with Lor that it's quality not quantity. And I think there's a healthy balance in longer vs. shorter posts. I tend to be a long-winded person. I always have been. I always will be. For the most part, I try to keep my posts close to 1000 words, but there is the rare occasion that I write something that sometimes exceeds 2000-3000 words. Often those are my better posts because it's something I'm really passionate about (hence why I write a billionty words about it).
I sound like a broken record, I know, but I blog for me. I've said it a million times, I blog for me and if I entertain or inspire people along the way, that's a bonus. I'm like Brittany, my Blog is my journal, I hope to publish it as a book one day to have to look back on and show my children. Everything I post goes through the is this something I'll want to remember someday? filter, and the Blog itself is exactly what I WANT, not what it SHOULD be. If you don't like it, tough! (Not towards you Kevin, just people in general... :)
I would copy and take credit for another writer's work, but as for the other "rules"... I'm sure I broke em' once or twice!
"There is nothing worse than someone scrolling through a 1000 worded post"
You're right. This is literally THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD.
Particularly if it's 1000 worded. 1000 words, sure..but 1000 worded? Not for me.
Typos are also unattractive :)
A crazy font is pretty hard to recover from...I will subscribe through Google reader, just because then it converts it to a normal font and I can at least attempt to actually pay attention to content. But it's definitely frustrating. I can handle it for headers/etc but the post itself needs to be fairly conventional.