While I enjoy and appreciate the effort that goes into the 100+ blogs that I chew through daily, there are a number of things that grind my gears. Here’s my top 10:
10. Put in huge blocks of text and never break them up
I don’t care what that big, fat, snotty ass of an English teacher told you about writing. Writing for the web is different than writing for the approval of a washed up author. Most of the time, people don’t read your site, they skim it. Newspapers traditionally break up their paragraphs into smaller chunks to provide multiple places for your eye to rest on your way down the page. The web is exactly the same. When you give me big blocks of text, I lose my place a lot and end up getting aggravated. When I get aggravated, I read something else.
9. Make me hunt for your RSS feed
This one kills me. I think you’re awesome, so why won’t you let me subscribe to all of your updates? RSS has been around for over a decade now, so if you have a site, there’s no excuse not to have an RSS feed. All Blogger and WordPress users have feeds created for them by default, and just need to advertise them. I might spend a couple of minutes making educated guesses as to where your feed might be, but the average person won’t. Do everyone a favor and put a big orange chicklet at the top of your blog so us lazy folk with bad eyes can find it, subscribe, and enjoy your posts.
8. Don’t allow comments at all
If you shut off commenting because you were drowning in a sea of comment spam, using Akismet and Bad Behavior for WordPress will allow you to turn it back on by eliminating 99% of your spam for free. If you’re simply afraid that people will say something that might detract from your totally awesome post, then maybe your post isn’t that awesome after all. Come out from under your bed in that giant ivory tower and let people love or hate your posts. Eliminate barriers. Get some feedback. Make a couple of friends. Communicate. (Unless, of course, you are the Grand master of the Illuminati, in which case I apologize for even suggesting this. I wouldn’t dream that my comments would matter to you, Sir. Or Madam. Or Whatever. I, for one, would like to welcome our new insect overlords.)
7. Limit comments to Blogger users only
Look, I know Blogger is a big community and can provide you a ton of readers, but I don’t want to log on with a Google account just to leave a comment. I want to leave a comment under one of my more awesome pseudonyms, such as Seniorhotdog666. Why won’t you let me? Know what happens when people put up barriers? I stare at the screen for two seconds, maybe use a little foul language, and click the X in the corner of the screen. I have a ton of stuff to read and won’t waste time scaling walls just to tell you how great I thought your post was. Seniorhotdog666 might love your post, but you’ll never know because you shut him out. And no one shuts out Seniorhotdog666.
6. Simply vanish
Write really well, get me interested, and then drop your blog cold. Maybe even delete your domain in a fit of rage. Why do you treat me like you don’t even know me? Didn’t our time together mean anything to you? Oh, wait. You don’t know me. Well, that’s no excuse. You still suck. And I miss you. No, no, wait, I hate you. Are you coming back? Hello? Fine, be that way.
5. Suddenly make reading your blog invitation only
What, now I’m the pimply fat kid who’s not good enough for your crappy club for jerks? I was good enough two months ago when you were itching for readers. If someone found out that you were crapping all over your boss, I certainly didn’t tell them, so why am I suddenly on the wrong side of that new velvet rope in front of your blog? Bah. I’m taking my twelve sided die and going home. Don’t think I’ll check back either. I’m serious. If I only had magic missile in my bag of holding, I would cast it upon that velvet rope for +d12 damage. Not that I know what any of that means because I’m so friggin’ cool.
4. Try to make me register
The best way to piss me off with this is to tell me I need to register as a site member after I type out a long comment. Your site is so phenomenal that I have to become a member to leave a comment? Do you have any idea how many friggin’ accounts I have out there? Do you think I’m willing to create another one just to respond to you and let you know that I appreciate the work you’re putting in? Unless you’re some huge site that generates a bunch of awesome posts and offers free lower body massages for members, it’s not likely. Do you know why people get annoyed with the New York Times and get their information from other sources? Registration. Maybe The ‘Times can afford it because they’re huge. Unless you’re that big, take off the members only jacket, get rid of the club card, and let me in.
3. Switch gears hard
You had an awesome blog, and then you went and had an awesome baby. I know the little rug rats can take over every part of a new parent’s life, but if I read another post on how you’ve gotten no sleep and have sore nipples, I’m deleting your feed. This goes triple if you are a dude. I can certainly sympathize with you being tired, but throw me a bone once and a while and write a post about something other than the baby’s every move. I’m not requesting “The many sweaters of Mrs. Fussbudget the cat” either. Anything else. Please. I’m begging you.
2. Twitter around and leave me hanging
I know, I know. Point a finger at someone and three fingers point back at you. I will admit to being completely guilty of weekly posts full of mundane details so that when I’m 70 I’ll be able to look back and see what a tool I was, but those posts are for me. In the meantime, I write a lot of other posts in an attempt to inform or entertain you. There’s nothing wrong with a vanity post every so often, but when each post is a pointless catalog of every mundane minute, put it in a diary and chuck it under your pillow there, princess. I love catching up with you, but tie all the details together into a story and provide me with a point once and a while.
1. Jam Adwords into every crevice
I know you want to make money on the web. I do too. And I can understand placing ads down the side or at the top of your page to maximize your revenue, but when you start jamming ads every two paragraphs, or have links that pop up little ads whenever my mouse touches them, I get insanely annoyed. Sometimes I even growl at the screen. The more ads you jam in, the more I wonder about your intentions. When you enter that grey area, chances are I’m not going to waste any time validating your opinions before discounting them and moving on. If you’re one of those dinks that sticks me with pop under ads, I will immediately discount you, and avoid both returning or linking to you at all costs short of that free lower body massage mentioned earlier.
Super Angry Bonus Round! Newscasters with blogs
I’m going to break something if I see another TV newscaster encourage people to check out their blog during a newscast. YOU’RE A PROFESSIONAL NEWSCASTER. You already have a media outlet to give your opinions on. It’s called television and it reaches a zillion people an hour. Blogs are an alternate stream of getting information. Pro blogs from newscasters are a contrived stream. Stop invading the blogshphere with useless crap because some exec decided that this new “blogging thing” might encourage your career by humanizing your big, talking head. Leave the useless crap to us. We know useless crap. I do, anyway. I’m like the king of it. Look at this post for crying out loud. I’m the king of crap, there is none higher…
Got more things that burn your muffin about blogs? Feel free to post them in the comments…