Avoiding Bad Blog Behavior

Posted by Heather on Feb 27, 2013 in WRITING TIPS |

blogEveryone wants an audience, whether you’re posting cutsey cat pictures or spewing vitriol about some pop culture wave that ticks you off. Yet few site owners are aware of what makes a GOOD site. Some of the worse offenses include: ugly design (this may be subjective, but come on, there’s some BAD taste out there), cluttered pages with too many flashing doodads, the information isn’t organized in a logical way, or the posts are JUST PLAIN UNRELATABLE because they’re too obscure or, ugg, trite. Are you engaging in bad blog behavior? Let’s find out.

APPEARANCE

Font, size, and background color are extremely important. If a reader has to squint at the neon green type or dig for a clear menu, they’ll be outta there in three seconds. Choose a large and clear font in a readable color (not a pretty one). Select menu tabs that are located CLEARLY near the top of the page with headings that indicate EXACTLY what the page is about. Finally, choose a background color wisely. Whether you realize it or not, it communicates a subconscious message to readers. Is it hot pink? Then it must be a chick lit or romance blog. Is it black or another dark shade? It must be a site that offers supernatural or heavy content. Be aware and CHOOSY about the message you’d like to send.

LENGTH

Keep it shortish. 250-350 words is the goal, not a rambling post the reader has to scroll through for fifteen minutes. People want to spend five minutes on your blog, or less in many cases! Keep it short or lose readers. There’s plenty of other enticing websites out there that get it right.

SECTION BREAKS

See how I’ve done that? It helps categorize the material so readers can skim the parts that don’t interest them and jump right to what counts. So now I’ve kept readers who may not have stuck around to begin with. They’ll notice the layout of the post is appealing and may even want to see what other juicy tidbits the site offers.

PICTURES

There’s been a lot research lately that shows people are more likey to follow a link, comment, or participate in a discussion if they see a photo with an article or post. We’re talking more than 70% more likely! We’re visual creatures. Display an appealing image that relates to the content.

CONTENT

There’s a lot to this little category, so I’ll bullet a few of the bigger ideas below.

  • Consider your audience. Who would you like to reach? Write posts targeted toward their interest. If a topic doesn’t relate to your platform once in awhile that’s okay, but generally keep them relevant.
  • Give back. Readers want to take something away from your posts since they’re spending their precious time on your site, whether it be information, inspiration, or motivation.
  • Be careful with your opinions. If you’re likely to offend a larger number of people than the number you’ll attract, refrain from posting. If it’s an issue you simply must address, fine. But be prepared for potential fall out.

 

COMMENTS

For the love of all that’s holy, do NOT harrass, insult, mimick, or ¬†abuse your commentors/reviewers/fellow bloggers. You just wind up looking like an asshole with a thin skin—EVEN IF YOU’RE RIGHT! Take the high road. ALWAYS. Remember, you want to drive traffic to your page, not away.

 

If you like this post, try:

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Applying the Spit & Polish

9 Comments

Sevigne
Feb 27, 2013 at 8:47 am

Content is beyond the price of rubies, regardless of subject.

The biggest issue for me with many blog posts is length. If it’s a blogger whose posts I like I’m happy to spend ten minutes reading a thousand-word essay that gives me food for thought. Otherwise, even five minutes is a long time to devote to most blog posts. (Read a five-minute post aloud…after the first minute, four more to go is a lot of time, unless the content is riveting.) 250-300 is the perfect length for most posts.


 
Heather
Feb 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

I couldn’t agree more, Sevigne! Content is king!


 
Susan S
Feb 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I wish EVERY blogger would read and follow this advice. Well stated, Heather!


 
LJ Cohen
Feb 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm

So much of what you said is what I’ve been teaching in my blogging class. :) GMTA. One additional issue to realize–no matter what design and formatting you use, many of your readers will be accessing your content through their RSS readers anyway and get plain text.


 
Heather
Feb 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Good call, Lisa! So I guess much of my advice is really for readers who don’t subscribe. I’m glad we’re on the same track! :)


 
Linda Adams
Feb 28, 2013 at 6:13 am

I don’t think I’d count length as “bad behavior.” There’s been some recent discussion about blogs for writers and length, and some of the old rules that everyone was given may not be true any more. If the post is well written and keeps people interested, they’ll read it.


 
Heather
Feb 28, 2013 at 7:12 am

Hi Linda,
Thank you for your comment! Yes, at the end of the day, if the reader is captivated, they’ll keep going–just like with longer books or longer movies. To build an audience, however, I don’t recommend it at first. Of course, this is my opinion. :)


 
Jess Schira
Mar 2, 2013 at 6:32 am

The length of the blog posts doesn’t bother me nearly as much as rambling content, if the writings strong and the topic interesting I can read for quite awhile. I also fail to understand why so many bloggers keep old buttons for blog hops and event on their. My attitude is that after the event, the badges should go. Old ones simply create clutter.

I’ve noticed including cute photos in my posts makes my blog more memorable to people. They’re more likely to seek it out and remember previous posts. They’ve been an especially useful tool in the posts where I feature writing snippets. Pininterest makes it easy to find relevant images and automatically adds a crediting link so I don’t have to worry about copyright issues.


 
Ifeoma Dennis
Mar 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Thanks for the post! It’s enlightening :)


 

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