by AR Huelsenbeck
I read a lot of blogs. I follow nearly 300, and I check out new blogs all the time. If you follow me or you’ve left a comment on ARHtistic License or you’ve tweeted something that interested me, I’ve probably taken a look at your blog.
There are thousands of great blogs out there. And, sadly, there are thousands of terrible blogs out there.
How do you know if your blog is one of the bad ones? Here are some signs.
1. Pop-ups. I hate it if I’ve just started reading a post on your blog and a pop-up blocks my view. If it asks me to sign up for your blog, I dismiss it. How do I know I want to sign up for your blog if I haven’t even read a post yet? Please have a sign-up option prominently (and permanently) located on your blog. If I can only sign up without reading your blog, I never will.
2. Old school look. Honestly, there’s no excuse for the 1990s-retro-look websites. So many platforms will allow you to set up a good-looking blog for free that there is no reason to keep a dorky-looking one. Start new.
3. Tiny text, or text that doesn’t show up against the background. Some of us have old eyes. If I can’t read your blog, I won’t come back to it.
4. Poor grammar and spelling. Please learn the basics. You can get a free version of Grammarly to help you.
5. No illustrations. Beautify your blog and drum up the interest factor with pictures. There are lots of sources for free images you can use on your blog.
6. Long, unbroken paragraphs. Nothing looks so formidable as a huge expanse of words. Throw in a little white space. Try to limit paragraphs to no more than five sentences.
7. Posts that have no point. If you’re just writing your daily to-do list, you really don’t need to release it into the blogosphere. Write something an audience would love to read. Content is king.
8. Your articles are sales pitches for your affiliates. I get it—blogging is time-consuming. It’s nice to earn some money at it. But if you’re not giving me meaningful content (see #7), I’m not going to read your blog.
9. No sharing buttons. Sometimes I like an article so much I wish all my friends could read it. If I can’t just hit a button, but I actually have to open my social media and cut and paste a link, I’m way too lazy. You lose.
10. No “like” buttons. I’d love to let you know I enjoyed your article, or at least show you I visited, but sometimes I’m too lazy to write a comment. I wish I could just click my approval.
11. Your newsletter is a never-ending sales pitch. If I like your blog and sign up for your newsletter, I expect to see content like what you post on your blog, except better, more personal, and with incentives, like an occasional giveaway or contest. If issue after issue just urges me to buy your book or sign up for your online class, I will cancel my subscription.
12. No way to contact you. If I love your blog, I might want to ask permission to use one of your pieces as a guest post or offer my help with something. If you don’t have a contact form or a blog email account, you might miss a chance to network. I’ll have to connect with a different blogger instead.
So, there you have it—my blogger pet peeves. If you recognize your blog above, it’s not too hard to improve it. Your readers will thank you—and you may attract some more!
Are there any other big blogging mistakes that I’ve missed? Share in the comments below.
Guest post contributed by ARHuelsenbeck. Former elementary general music teacher ARHuelsenbeck blogs about the arts and the creative process at ARHtistic License. She is currently writing a YA mystical fantasy and a Bible study guide, and submitting a poetry chapbook, with mystery and MG drafts waiting in the wings. You can see some of her artwork, photography, and quilts on Instagram.