What Makes A Blog Suck

I pick up a little side work as a social marketing consultant here and there.  Today I was working on a project looking for relevant bloggers to network with in a niche space. I went to alltop to find the blogs they have listed for this topic and opened all of them in tabs so I could see if I liked them.

I was specifically looking for people who had street cred as a blogger in that space.  I found a bunch that I liked. I was also reminded of things I hate.  Here’s my hate list:

  1. Very dark background, very light font. Think black background, white font.  IT SUCKS.  I hate this. I have bad eyes, and I’m in front of a computer about 10 hours a day.  When I get to a site that has black background with white font I find my eyes hurting pretty quickly and I just have to go away.  (surprisingly, many people have this sucky color scheme on their Twitter bio area.  Do they not realize it SUCKS?)
  2. Funky font.  Bright colors. Really big text.  Different font types throughout a post.  Look, I get it… you want to somehow accentuate something, right?  Bring out a big idea, or whisper or something… my heavens, don’t do it by making the font 8 times bigger than what it should be.
  3. Too many linked distractions. I like to read blogs without a lot of noise.  Don’t have dozens of links all over the place. Here’s an example – don’t put a link to a community or forum unless you have enough people (that is: more than you) in that community and forum.  Work up to it, but don’t lead me all over your site to places that have tiny bits of information, but none of them have any real substance.
  4. Too little information. I want to know about YOU or the topic.  Don’t doodle in blah blah blah.  I’m amazed at the contrast between a very strong, on-topic blogger compared to a blogger that wanders all over Boringville and never makes a relevant point.
  5. Lots of off-topic posts. I know you like your kitty cat.  I know you like your spuds, flowers, car, favorite pair of jeans, etc.  But if you have a topical blog (that is, not a personal here’s-what-i-ate-for-lunch-this-last-month blog, then severely  restrict your off-topic posts.  If you want to have a following for your topic and you talk too much about junk you’ll lose people.
  6. Cussing. You are a big boy or a big girl, I get that.  But the more strong language you use on your blog the more you are going to turn people off.  Or maybe you don’t care… that’s fine.  Your blog is more about venting your feelings than about developing an audience and a community – that’s fine.  But I can’t follow you much if you are constantly offending me.  Prude, I know.
  7. Link bait, or dropping a lot of keyword searchable words. I don’t want to read your blog because I’m a search engine, I want to read it because I’m a human being.  It’s okay to put the link stuff in there, and put keywords in there, but can you at least work it into proper grammar and have it relevant to what you are writing?
  8. Widgets. Kill most of them.  If you are widget crazy I won’t even wait the three minutes it takes for your blog to come up… I’ll just close the tab and not come back.  Seriously, don’t YOU have something more value-add on your blog than 18 widgets?  You are better than that (I hope).  Don’t distract me with useless crap.
  9. Google Ads, if you are a legitimate business/blogger. I’m amazed at the sites that have Google ads on their site.  I’m quite biased against google ads because the goofballs at Google shut down my ad program (lame story).  But here’s why I don’t recommend it: (a) it is a distraction that you can’t really control, (b) if I click on the ad, I GO AWAY from your site, and (c) I wonder why a business or legit blogger would ever sell valuable real estate on their blog for $18/month (what I’m guessing most bloggers are getting).  Seriously, figure out something more value-ad to give to your audience.  Google ads to me says “I don’t care to build a community, I’m just hoping the brainless drone who happens to come to my site will be dumb enough to realize I don’t have any value for him/her and they’ll click on the Google ad so I can make five cents.”
  10. ______________________________________. What’s the thing you hate to see on a blog?

15 thoughts on “What Makes A Blog Suck

  1. Sarah

    I could not agree more. Especially the black background, white font point AND the crazy font color/size/etc.

  2. Julie | Resume Services

    Interesting, Jason, reminds me of a conversation we had last week and one I had with TJ this morning! I didn’t see the tweet that brought me here until I had posted my own post, for the second time today. I wrote one this morning and this afternoon didn’t like it for #5 reason mostly so I did something I have never done before. I hit delete and then wrote a blog post about changing my focus – basically about hitting delete. You know that I am very consciously thinking about marketing this year and mainly in the context of social media.

    I am revisiting some of what you say above, some of it I would never have done anyway, it just isn’t me. So this post is interesting… quite interesting…

  3. Sheila Averbuch

    Endless pictures bore me. I love words — I could eat them. I expect the blog’s insights to make me laugh or set my brain on fire. Enough with the pictures, already.

  4. Davina K. Brewer

    ITA with regards to style, formatting, too much reverse type; a little can go a long way. That also applies to links, widgets, cursing…less is more.

    #10 as answer to #4: Too much information. I’ve read blog posts that were seminars and symposiums; if you have that much to write, make it a series of shorter, easier to read posts.

  5. Scot Herrick

    Every time — every time — I wrote something off topic on my site, I get 2000 people coming to the site from my cool previous article linked to by bigger traffic blogs than mine.

    So I don’t do it anymore. Always on topic. Always. Do something different with your mailing list. Not on the blog.

    I’d be curious about video…I don’t watch much of it because I can read faster. But I think I’m in a minority…

  6. Kakie

    Pop ups where site owners are advertising for you to join something and then won’t let you continue until you click a button. Especially times when you can’t find the button to escape or close the pop up

  7. Kathy

    Hi, Jason,

    Love your post. Your topic reminds me of all I learned about publishing when I worked as a Desktop Publishing specialist. All your points are spot on, relate to making the blog easy to read in all aspects (not just the font), and serves up the best advice on topic content.

    One of my pet peeves is very long paragraphs…difficult to wade through and quickly loose my attention. I want to start hitting the Enter key the second I spot one. Writers should break up large chunks of information into smaller paragraphs, at logical breaks (that flow), so I can easily follow along.



  8. Abigail

    Keeping the post short enough to remain interesting!
    If I start reading and look to the right of my screen to see how far down the scroll still has to go – I immediately switch off, if it’s a tiny scroll button and has ages to go to reach thee bottom!

  9. Winnie Anderson

    Amen Jason! I DETEST reverse type (black background and light type)! I also hate teeny weeny fonts. C’mon I read ALL day! Gimme a font size I can read without having my face up against the monitor!

  10. Kate

    I read this blog post and immediately brought up my personal blog to be sure I wasn’t a culprit. Luckily, I’m not. Still, I know that as a new blogger I make a lot of mistakes myself. Could a lot of these “sucky” blogs just be new?

    I’ll add to your pet peeve list: really, really long posts. I’ve been guilty of this, but have since learned my lesson. I love bloggers with a lot to say, I just wish they would say it over time and not all in one post since I read blogs in the morning with a time crunch.

  11. Darlene

    Where do I start? As a child-free woman, I subscribe to the premise that just because I can bear children doesn’t mean I should. Same goes for writing. Just because you can write doesn’t mean you should. The Internet has promulgated a proliferation of bad writing!! Wrong words, misspelled words, horrid grammar. All enough to keep my English teacher grandmother spinning in her grave! Granny had a saying, “Fool’s names and fool’s faces should not appear in public places.” There’s a lot of worldwide web foolishness going on that could have been prevented by actually consulting a dictionary, a book of style, or your mother.
    Okay, done on the soapbox.

  12. Rosie

    Thanks for the post! Beyond the above mentioned flashing things, especially combined with inverse print, in crazy bright colors, make my skin crawl.

  13. Kris Hoots

    Great list Jason! I’ve seen some Twitter backgrounds that have literally hurt my eyes. And I think your same principles apply on Facebook fan pages, too. Good design and branding doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective and classy.

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