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.



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

  • 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.

  • Dave

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Kirsten Lesko

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • KK

    Barbara Barbra.

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

    No, they weren’t.

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