So we talked about the good, let’s discuss the BAD. Are you ready?
1. LIGHT TEXT ON A DARK BACKGROUND
Okay, I’ll admit, this is #1 on my personal list. Why? Because I cannot read white text on a dark background without immediately triggering a migraine. For serious, yo. I’m going to say this loud and clear: IT IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA. No, NEVER. I don’t care if you are going for a dark and mysterious look. NO. Just NO. Always and forever, amen.
2. MUSIC ON AUTO PLAY
Is it 2004 and we’re on MySpace? No? NO MUSIC. NO. Aw, you are trying to create a lovely, contemplative mood on your blog about acupuncture? HONEYBADGER DON’T CARE. All it does is make your site take absurdly long to load, cause office workers to get busted for reading it, and generally annoying the crap out of everyone. NO.
3. SOMEONE ELSE’S CONTENT
Did you write it? No? GET IT OFF YOUR BLOG. (Unless it’s a guest post.) Don’t steal content. The blogger you stole it from will find you. The blogger you stole it from will tweet the crap out of the fact that you stole their content. The blogger you stole it from will round up all of their internet friends to come kick your ass, virtually. It’s not worth it to steal content. For serious.
4. 500 FLASHING BUTTONS IN YOUR SIDEBAR
I’m SO HAPPY you won that blog award in 2009. GET IT OFF YOUR SIDEBAR. It’s not so much that sidebars should be quiet and clean; it’s more the fact that when you pollute it with a whole lot of info and badges they begin to lose their power, and become just more noise rather than things that you want people to notice. Keep your sidebars clear of any outdated info! And, please, for the LOVE OF GOD don’t have your sidebars stretch three scrolls down past your content. Yikes.
Okay, I’ll admit it: my personal spelling SUCKS. But good news! There’s this awesome new invention! Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s called spellcheck? USE IT. The very last thing I do before posting is run a spell check on the post to make sure I didn’t screw up – which I do, invariably. No one is going to mind if you have an occasional grammar error or misspelled word (although readers will be sure to point it out!), but consistent poor spelling is a fast way to losing readers.
Ha! Just kidding. What? Okay, fine, chances are you’ll hurt your readership to some extent if you swear all the time. Like I do. On my blog. There is, no doubt, more of a market for blogs that are gentle in their language. I am personally aware of this. I just happen to not really give a shit. You, though? You should keep the swearing to a minimum.
7. TOO LITTLE CONTENT
Is your last post from last year? Well, one begins to wonder at that point if you really ARE a blogger. Ahem. I try to post three to five times a week; some folks post more, some less. But having a regular posting schedule is really critical to blogging success. The heart of blog success is return visitors, so you need something new for them to see and read when they visit. Otherwise, why would they bother?
There you go! Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments. *pulls up a chair*