Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Vexatious Blog Habits

There are a number of things about blogs that annoy me. It’s really not that hard to make a presentable blog, at least I don’t think so. I’ve done it twice using the Blogger platform, with no HTML knowledge and only basic computer skills. 

Even if you’re not all that creative, I don’t think any of these points require any degree of creativity. Just some common sense. Which, OK, probably isn’t all that common... 

So here’s a list of the things that vex me most on blogs.

  • CAPTCHA. This is my number one vexatious blog habit. Don’t use it. You don’t need it. There are alternatives. I hate being required to enter incomprehensible letters into my computer before being allowed to comment. I know I’ve sometimes typed these wrong but it still accepts them occasionally. Maybe there is a margin of error, I don’t know. I sure know I squint at them and wonder what the hell that letter is. Remember you want people to comment. If it’s all too hard, they just won’t;
  • Widgets overhanging sidebars. If you’ve put a widget in your sidebar, make sure it fits. I have two sidebars, one wide and one narrow so when I add widgets I can stick it in whichever sidebar is the closest fit. If I need to make the sidebar wider, I can and I do. It just looks tacky when you put a widget in a sidebar that is too small. It’s kind of like parking an SUV in a small car garage. Only cheaper;
  • Lack of sharing buttons. For the love of God, don’t ask me to share your blog (unless you give me something I can RT) if your blog has no sharing buttons. Because I will go there, look for the tweet button, not find one and go ‘stuff this';
  • Dark ages comment systems. I recently encountered a comment system where everyone who commented appeared as “guest” with no name. B-A-D. Quite apart from that, it was very difficult to work out how to comment;
  • Bad formatting. The use of super-large, badly formatted type (all bold, all italics, or random and unexplainable use of either) appears amateurish, not to mention sloppy. If I see this, I’m unlikely to want to come back to your blog;
  • Blog posts split over multiple pages. I know some people like to do this to break up big posts, but can I just say NO. If your post is really that long it concerns you, post it in multiple parts. I do this when I post short stories (usually 2000 – 4000 words) or sometimes posts in my mythical creatures series if I have too many creatures to deal with. Splitting it over multiple pages just means I have to wait for the next page to load. This is just an opportunity for me to give up and go elsewhere;
You want to attract readers and more, once they arrive, you want to keep them, and then if you keep them, you want them to comment and/or tell their friends. All of the above bad habits are disincentives on one or more of these fronts. 

What the hell does this say??
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The Masquerade Crew said...

Definitely agree with the overhanging widget. ANNOYING!

Ciara Ballintyne said...

It's pretty basic to fix as well. Make your sidebar wider! Or, and this doesn't take much savvy either because I figured it out all myself with zero HTML knowledge, change the pixel width of the widget. It's not usually too hard to find the numbers that represent the width and height of a widget in its code.

Susan said...

Excellent points. There are some blogs I've refused to return to because of the problems you listed.

Tom Stronach said...

Some blog sites are just so busy. I think my own is pretty basic and like you absolutely no skill built in to me but I played around for a while, as you say with diff shapes and sizes, it seems to work.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I tend to foregt them but if I ever land there again I remember them REAL fast.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

Yes there are some where your eyes want to water because you just can't work out what to focus on

Guilie Castillo said...

Love it! Yep, the captcha word verification thing is *really* annoying, and I've given up more than once. It especially annoys me when it's not visible at first, and only comes up once you've clicked "post"--and, presumably, spent a good minute or two typing your comment. Sheesh!

The widgets that don't fit in the sidebar are just plain amateurish and should be banned. Honestly.

My other pet peeve is spelling and grammar. No, "they're" and "their" are *not* interchangeable, nor are "who's" and "whose". And no apostrophes? *Really*? As in "yesterdays post"--please!

I'm a snob. I know. But it really bothers me :)

Thanks for letting me vent :)

Tonya Cannariato said...

One of my biggest pet peeves: Animated this, that, and the other thing. If the page is all jumping, or music is auto-playing, I get the impression you're trying to distract me from ACTUALLY READING what you've just written. DON'T DO IT!

Ciara Ballintyne said...

My pleasure! The captchathat only shows up after you post is a Blogger thing I think - at least I see it on a lot of Blogger blogs.

grammar is a pet peeve of mine but I didn't put it in blog habits because it's not exclusive to blogs! It need a post of it's own - Pet English Peeves? Not everyone can be good with grammar, but either try to learn or get someone else to check! I hate the lack of apostrophes most in professioanl business signs.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

Yes auto-music drives me nuts and I'm not too fond of animations either, although I think I've come across those more often on websites than on blogs. A definite peeve though.

Sheenah Freitas said...

Thank you! It really annoys me when blogs decide to use every color in the rainbow and makes it really hard to read or just blinds people the moment they click onto their site. It also annoys me when a blog is really cluttered with a ton of widgets on the sides that it takes forever to load even on a fast connection.

LynneinPborough said...

A great post. I am a robot. It must be true, I've been caught out by so many captcha's so often that I refuse to comment now if it needs that. It must be the way our brains work.. Or my eyes.. Must go to the optician.
yes it's nice to be given permission to vent occasionally.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

Both those habits can make it really tough to focus on the actual blog content! And of course, if something doesn't load fast enough, a reader is apt to just go elsewhere.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

Maybe it's the brain and not the eyes then, because I see my optometrist regularly and I already wear contact lenses. CAPTCHA just drives me nuts, I swear

Tonya Cannariato said...

One of my biggest pet peeves: Animated this, that, and the other thing. If the page is all jumping, or music is auto-playing, I get the impression you're trying to distract me from ACTUALLY READING what you've just written. DON'T DO IT!

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