10 Things Your Blog Doesn’t Need

By Guest Author

This is a guest post by Jill Smokler. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Adding things to your newly created blog is pretty cool, right? But be careful, there are things that you’d better leave out. Below you’ll find 10 of them.

1. Auto-Music: Nobody, and I mean, nobody wants to hear it. I vow never to subject you to my love of Barry Gibbs and Barbara Streisand duets and implore you to extend the same courtesy to me. Please.

2. Animated Gifs: Sure, they were cool in the late 90s. Now? Not so impressive. Let’s leave them over at My Space where they belong.

3. Tiny Type: If I have to strain my eyes to read your post, I’m just not going to. No matter how good your blog is.

4. Comment Verification: Install a spam preventing plug-in. It will take care of the spam and save people the effort of typing out nonsense words, or even worse, solve math problems just to leave a comment. Even if you’re on Blogger and have to delete a spam comment or two every now and then, it’s a small sacrifice and courteous to your readers. And it will keep them coming back and commenting again.

5. Spelling & Grammar Errors: Proofread. And then proofread again. Preview your post before you publish it. Even have someone else glance at it. Of course, we all make mistakes, but do your best to publish a post free of obvious errors.

6. Badges of prizes and awards you won: Sure, they’re flattering when you start blogging, but if you’ve been around a while your sidebars will start looking like Boy Scout vests. Dedicate a separate page for them and clean up those sidebars. You’ll look no less popular, and the sidebar police will thank you.

7. Regurgitated Content: If you said something that bears repeating, link back to that original post. Your readers will know if you keep spitting out the same old content and Google frowns upon duplicate posts. It’s bad idea all around.

8. Flashy Backgrounds: Your blog is not the Vegas strip. Black backgrounds with flashing lights and neon colors are not only hideous and hard to read, but they also take away what people are really at your blog to see: Great content.

9. Lies: It may be tempting to make things up to gain more traffic, but don’t. You will be found out, and you will look like an idiot.

10. Plagiarism: The only worse thing than blatantly making stuff up? Stealing other people’s stuff. It’s pretty much the biggest no-no there is in blog-land. If you want to quote someone, go for it and link back to them. Otherwise, you’re history.

Jill Smokler blogs about parenting; the good, the bad and the scary at Scary Mommy. She can be found at on Twitter as @scarymommy.


44 Responses to “10 Things Your Blog Doesn’t Need”

  • Keith

    What about the annoying popup insisting I sign up for your list, and then when I try to close it another one pops up saying “WAIT, we have something special for you!”

  • –Deb

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Especially for the no-music, and no-animations rules. I detest sites that force me to listen to music … even worse are the ads that automatically start playing. Either are terrible if I’m sneaking in some web-browsing at work.

    Of course, the spelling and grammar rule shouldn’t need to be said at all, but, sadly….

  • Marian Schembari

    Oh my goodness, agreed agreed AGREED. I also can’t stand when you have to register to leave a comment. How does that benefit anyone? All it does is prevent people from commenting and NO blogger wants that!

    P.S. Just saw that Deb thanked you/agreed three times as well. Apparently this post is so magical we all need to repeat ourselves over and over and… wait for it… over.

  • Richard Scott | Jewelry Secrets

    Amen! I agree to all of these as well as the popups. Something else that should have died years ago but you still find it now: Scrolling Marquees! That’s enough to send me over the top.

  • David Hutchison


    Check it and let the content speak for itself.

  • shendy wilandria

    very nice info . i need that as a starter blogger .
    dailyblogtips.com very help me so much ! thank you !

  • V.C

    I think bloggers nowadays are smart to avoid these silly mistakes.

  • neel

    It is true about no music and no pop up law… but as V.C speaks most of the bloggers are smart enough to know all this and act accordingly.

  • Omer Greenwald

    I would add: 11. ads that take the focus from your content.

  • Chris Peterson

    What you are saying good. If a blogger need to his blog more popular then he should avoid this type of silly mistake otherwise he will lose his visitor attention

  • Funkidivagirl

    Auto music and comment verification kill me!

  • Suzanne Franco

    Ditto with everyone else here … especially the auto-play! Geez! Give us a break already huh? 😉 Thanks for the great post. *SmiLes* Suzanne

  • bee

    very suitable for beginners…

  • samuel

    i think bloggers must be creative!!!! nice post!

  • Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter

    I don’t care how good the content is – I absolutely can not stand auto-music or any other auto-audio! You can’t assume all of your readers are in a place where they are ready to hear your blaring music or talking. Some people may be in a library or at work, or simply don’t want to be bombarded.
    Thank you for including that as #1 – it’s definitely my number 1 pet-peeve.

  • Harrison

    Having to enter a code to leave a comment is not a big deal. If entering in a few letters prevents you from leaving a comment then maybe your comment wasn’t worth it anyway. As for the rest, I agree.

  • Arie Rich

    OMG, I cam across this post by accident and I am so glad I found it. These are some really really basic rules that every blogger new or old must read and follow. I’ve been noticing that many of these rules are broken continuously left and right and it is extremely annoying. The music playing, the flashy background with tons of graphics and pictures of yourself and slideshow banners of yourself. The Badges! Yes! ugh! Badges that we don’t even really cared for.
    I had to share this on Twitter, it must be stopped! LOL.

    Thank you!

    Arie Rich

  • Jo Anna

    Straightforward. To the point. Nicely done. Cleaning up my sidebars now. 🙂

  • Krystal

    I loved this!! I hate visiting blogs where I’m having to locate the volume button because I don’t want to listen to the music while trying to focus on their actual posts. Also agree with the Animated Gifs. Takes away from the reason we visit blogs which is to read the posts.

  • Jerseygirl89

    Great advice. Especially about the music – I think auto-music should be banned on all sites, as well as elevators and grocery stores.

  • Tigersue

    I will keep my music and I will also keep comment verification. It isn’t just spam but some pretty horrible spam that I keep out. If your comment isn’t worth that short time to put it in that I guess it isn’t worth it.

  • christy

    I agree with every single one of hers and would add avoid having advertisements that move around the screen – they are so annoying!!

  • Cougel

    Great post and helpful reminder. I’m going to make sure I make my font bigger! Blogger keeps messin with me 😉

  • robert

    WHAT YOU SHOULD NEVER DO–remove comment authors link.

    Read my blog and leave a comment, but don’s expect me to give you a backlink because all I want is Google rankings and 43,000 subscribers sends a bad message in my book.

    If comments and links are that much of a problem, you shouldn’t be trying to build a community with a blog!

  • Lolli

    Amen! I wholeheartedly agree with all of these tips! Scary Mommy knows what she’s talking about!

  • Ed

    sweet advice d00d. i especially like your point about autoplaying music. it is very annoying especially when little kids start putting loud rock songs on autoplay. i admit it sometimes i actually get scared by this especially when it catches me off guard

  • Harrison

    robert… I was surprised to see there are no comment authors links here anymore…

  • CJ

    I agree with all these items. I really think there needs to be 12 items tho: (11) – the popup as you leave the site as Richard mentioned and (12) the video only option. I usually can read faster than your video, but nothing worse than a text intro with all the meat in the video.

  • Kim

    Great post – and yes I have had the auto-music come blaring out while I was surepticiously trying to surf the web at work – BUSTED!
    As a blogger user I have only turned on comment verification for posts older than 30 days. It works very well (and doesn’t annoy readers!)
    My other “peeve” is unjustified text – it just looks wrong most of the time (except on a white background – and this is not the only site I’ve tested it on)

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Robert, it is a temporary issue. The links are coming back soon, with some novelties in the comment section as well.

  • KK

    Barbara Barbra.

    2. Animated Gifs: Sure, they were cool in the late 90s.

    No, they weren’t.

  • Debilz

    10. Plagiarism

    Totally agreed! It means you can’t be creative, even if you’re using someone else’s post for source.

    And again, thanks for the great tips!

  • Robert Scott Lawrence

    The just-say-no-to-music recommendation is on the money for sure — I bought my vizsla from a really nice couple in the midwest that had the most hideous, irritating tune on their website — and you couldn’t turn it off!! Had to hit mute to shut it up.

  • Julius

    Auto-music not only annoys most of us, but it also makes it difficult for people who use assistive software (e.g. screen readers) to access blogs.

  • Didi Lorillard

    Ads, especially the animated ones, that go to body image are annoying. There is one of a woman lying across the top of the page on her side looking at you and every time she breaths her belly gets bigger. Then her belly recedes. Animated ads that make me feel fat and bad about my body are irritating. This one says, “1 trick of a tiny belly: Cut down on your belly every day by using this 1 weird old trip.” It links to a questionable diet scam.

  • Harsh Athalye

    Absolutely correct regarding flashy backgrounds and tiny type. I mean, what’s the point? If you are going to make reader wear magnifying glasses just to read your article, why should anybody just look at it, let alone read.

    Great tips!

  • Kirsten Lesko

    I love the tip about the badges. Sidebars do start to take on that boyscout vest look!

  • Scott R. Sheaffer

    Right on the money. I think most seasoned bloggers know these 10 points but it’s good to have them reaffirmed. Excellent post. New bloggers please take note!

  • Bucksome Boomer

    Thank you for these tips. Would it be rude to email this article to violators….

    I second Marian’s addition which would be blogs that require registration to leave a comment. It really discourages interaction.

  • Joshua Dorkin

    I’m with the first commenter, Keith. It seems that a lot of bloggers these days are using a list building pop-up, which is a quick way to get me to leave. The only thing more annoying is that damn music.

  • Julie – Fine Tooth Comb

    An interesting post! It’s amazing how many of the 10 items you listed were “in” even as recent as a few years ago (#1, 2, and 6 particularly). Even if a blog has great content, any of these items can scare away readers.

  • Law

    11. Dont stress readers with pop-up or big letters in pages/sidebar/articles with subscribes to this.

    One place in sidebar is enogh.

  • Dave

    Oh so very true, I hate blogs that force music on people more than anything. And animated gifs just distract!

  • Mary McDonald

    Great tips. There is one person I follow who plays music. If I’m at home, I don’t mind it, but often I’m at work and don’t always remember to mute my sound. When that music comes over, it’s like, Yikes! I then click out asap. I might come back to leave a comment, or I might not.

    Thank you for mentioning the dark backgrounds and white type. I am, ahem, not a 25yo any more. I just got bifocal contact lenses, which helps, but it still is an effort to read tiny white print on a black background.

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