Ten Things That Make Your Blog a Hot Mess

4 years ago
Is Your Blog a Hot Mess?

I love the blogsphere. I have met some amazing bloggers in my 9 years and I have read a lot of postswhy your blog is a hot mess on a lot of sites. I have changed my own site a hundred times and my goal for 2014 is to have a new site designed that I promise that I won’t touch. I’ve looked at so many sites over the years and have really been paying attention to designs lately so that I can find the elements that I really like for when that new design happens. I’ve seen some amazing sites that I love and I have seen some that are really, really bad and a whole lot that fall in the middle. But there are a few things that drive me crazy and I don’t understand why people put them on their sites. Or maybe it just bothers me?

Here is my top ten list of things that will make me leave your site:

You have too much crap there – You my friend, have a site that looks like Tammy Faye Bakker herself designed it. You have buttons and banners and widgets and ads EVERYWHERE. My eye has no clue where to go first but I can tell you where it’s NOT going… to your posts. If you have to have all those things on your site, consider spreading them around and reserving the most important things for above the fold (the part of your site that you see when you first get to your site). Use your footers for your badges and button swaps.

I can’t find your social media buttons or worse – you have none – These are one of the things that SHOULD be at the top. I would say 90% of us instinctively look for these in the upper right hand corner. Make them attractive and make them blend with your site. There are a crap-ton of sites out there where you can get social media icons.

I can’t figure out how to subscribe to your blog – Another “above the fold” item. I’ve been using BlogLovin’ for the past few months, but I also have an email signup form and an RSS feed. You don’t know how people want to get their posts from you, so give them at least a couple of options. I will say this – don’t have more than one “email” option.. I did and it made me crazy trying to get accurate numbers. Now I only have one and it’s thru MailChimp.

You make commenting hard – Have you ever read a great post and you were ready to leave a comment only to find you either couldn’t or you had to jump thru hoops of fire to do it? Make commenting easy for your visitors. I mean.. it IS what we are all clamoring for, right?? More visitors and comments? I use CommentLuv but other good ones are Disquus and LiveFyre. I’m seeing a lot of bloggers with Facebook and G+ comment platforms which is great but I wouldn’t use a combination of them. Pick one and use it.

Obviously commenting is hard for you, too - Hands down, my biggest pet peeve are bloggers who don’t respond to comments left on their blog. I don’t mean a response to “nice post” but if I take the time to read and post a thoughtful comment, you should at least respond with something. I have stopped following bloggers because of that. I’ll give my comment love to someone else.. believe me – there are plenty of worthy ones out there.

Your writing sucks – You know when you see someone in a really bad outfit and you wonder “do they OWN a mirror??”. This is the equivalent. Please read what you write. I know it’s more effective to just write and not edit, but when you’re taught that – they don’t mean NEVER edit. They just mean while you’re writing. If you read your post and it doesn’t even make sense to you, how in the world am I supposed to understand what you’re trying to say?

Your spellcheck is broken – Oh. My. God. Y’all.. when you’re writing and you see your words underlined in red, that means it’s SPELLED WRONG. Granted some words are spelled incorrectly on purpose, but that’s not what I’m referring to. If you’re blogging, most likely you’re hoping that someone will come along and offer you some money or products which means it’s a business. Treat it like one and put your best foot forward.

All you do are review and giveaway posts – Speaking of earning money… make the decision early on what your game plan is. Are you going to be an editorial, lifestyle blogger who does SOME reviews and giveaways or are you going to be solely a review/giveaway site? Because I don’t think you can effectively do both because someone is going to be disappointed. I’m not slamming review/giveaway posts because I know you get awesome site stats from it, it’s just not what I’m looking for. I have a loose rule that I’ll only do 10% PR work.

Your posts are too long and you don’t use pictures – Maybe because I’m ADD, but with rare exception, you lose me after about 800 words. Really it’s 500 but I know that’s not many who write that few. There are too many sites out there to visit that most of us just don’t have time to read Moby Dick when we’d rather be reading Dick and Jane. And if I hit a site and there are NO pictures, I almost always bounce. By now you know how important images are but if you don’t – they’re really important. Plus they give a personal feel to your stories. If you don’t want to use photos of your family, that’s fine. Go buy someone else’s family and use those – that’s what stock images are for.

You use too many colors and fonts – Okay you creatives out there.. I know you like the pretty pastel colors and swirly fonts but give my eyes a break. It kinda falls into the first point I made… my eyes are pinging all over the place like a pinball. It’s pretty but it’s so, so distracting. I’m not saying go white & black all over but choose a few key colors that flow and stick with them. Same for fonts. If I have to strain to read what you wrote, I’m out of there. On the flip side – don’t have a site completely void of color, either. 

I’m not harshing on you, I promise.. these are just things that I don’t like. If you like them, hey.. it’s your site :)




Kristen Daukas

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