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Your Blog is Annoying! (And How to Fix It…)

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Seriously, if you need stock photography to illustrate "annoyed," a cat picture is always the best option.

I’ll admit it: I don’t have a lot of tolerance for websites that I find annoying (or people I find annoying, but that’s a completely other topic, haha). I’m not talking about blog content. Sure, if a writing style isn’t for me, I’m probably not going to be back, but that’s completely subjective. The type of annoying that I’m talking about is pretty much universally recognized as annoying. It’s like when your little sister hold her finger an inch from your face and then sings, “I’m not touching you, I’m not touch you, I’m not touching you…” I don’t care if you’re a 53-year old father of three writing a tech blog or a 20-year old fashionista blogging about food; it’s hard to resist the urge to smack someone who’s being that annoying.

Unfortunately, many bloggers don’t realize they’re being annoying, simply because you have a different perspective on your own blog. I’ve been guilty of some of these annoying habits/design flaws/what-have-you in the past, and you might be guilty of them right now. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad blogger. Just be aware that you are driving readers away – so if you want that to change, take some time this weekend to de-annoyify* your blog.

  • Check your blog on other computers.

Most of us have only seen our blogs on our own computers and maybe one or two public/friends’ computers. Check it out on as many as you can. You might be surprised to see what the homepage looks like on your mom’s ten-year-old desktop or your sister’s brand new iPad. True story: recently, I was browsing and came across an article I really wanted to read. Half-way through the first paragraph, an ad about the person’s free report popped up, but it was sized so that I literally couldn’t click the “close window” button (it was one of those pop-ups that scrolls with you). Fail. Check your blog on different browsers too – IE tends to break things that look beautiful in Firefox or Chrome or even Safari.

  • Check your blog on mobile phones.

Along these same lines, check your blog with mobile phones – as many as you can. A lot of times, I run across a site that has a pop-up ad and like with my above issue, I can’t close it because I’m on a tiny three-inch screen and the ad size is larger. You gotta turn it off for mobile versions, friends. Otherwise, I can’t read your site, even if I’m not annoyed enough by the pop-up itself.

  • Bring up your site for a friend who’s never been there and time how long it takes for them to find your contact information.

Why aren’t you getting any emails from readers? Why isn’t anyone following you on Twitter? Why aren’t advertisers contacting you? Because you’ve made it too hard. “Contact” should be on your top navigation bar, in the footer, or VERY CLEARLY on the sidebar. If I have to hunt for the information buried in you About Me page or Profile page, I might not bother. The same goes for your social media accounts – please don’t make me hunt for a link to your Twitter or Facebook page if you want me to connect with you.

  • Make it possible for anyone to comment.

Hey Blogger users – I’m looking at you. Occasionally, I come across a Blogger site, where to leave a comment you have to sign in with your Google account or another account – there is no name-only option. This also applies to WordPress users who check the comment option that requires users to register before commenting. No everyone has a profile or wants to use it to comment, so you’re missing out on what your readers have to say, and that’s usually enough to make me stop reading because I know that I won’t be able to leave a comment. In short, your readers shouldn’t have sign up for any kind of profile to voice their opinion.

  • Visit your site using dial-up.

Yes, some people still have dial-up Internet. In fact, a lot of people in the world have dial-up Internet. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, as of May 2010, 5% of people in the United States were using dial-up. Compared to broadband users at 66%, that number might seem small, but that means there are over 15 million dial-up users out there. World-wide, that number only rises. I have no clue whether or not that data is accurate, but I think we can all admit that the number of dial-up users world-wide is still in the millions. Are you really willing to make your blog inaccessible to millions of people? If you want to use a design that takes a long time to load (i.e. uses lots of pictures, videos, flash, etc.), have a simpler version linked near the top of the site for those with slower connections.

Okay – your turn. What are some of the things you find most annoying about blogs (outside of subjective things like “the content is too long” or “I don’t like the background color”)?

*Yes, de-annoyify is a word. I say so. That’s totally how words are invented. LOL wasn’t a word until someone said so and now it’s in the dictionary. Along with the little heart symbol which is totally not a word no matter what anyone says. Seriously.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

12
  • Amy

    I personally get irked when I get excited about a post because of a bangin’ headline and then don’t get the answers I was expecting from the blogger, only a rant about the problem. I know the problem. That’s why I came to see your thoughts about it. So now all I know if that we agree about the problem but I’m no smarter or wiser to grow from it after spending my time reading your post, when I thought that’s what you were going to do for me as your reader. Why bother to write it?

  • Amy

    Oh and BTW, I was in no way talking about this blog. You did a fab job all around. Great headline, state the problem, and giving a fix. Nice job as usual, Alli!

  • Mike Stenger

    The making sure there’s a mobile version of your site is what kills me the most. People really underestimate just how many view your blog on their mobile phones! In fact, nearly 20% of my visitors are through a mobile phone. I recommend other blog owners take a look at their stats. Even if it’s just a few people, having a mobile version will set you up for those who do view it that way.

    Every time someone leaves your site because it loads too slow on their phone, is more of a chance you could be losing out on a valuable reader or customer.

  • Miriam Gomberg

    Alli, I am curious as to why exactly some bloggers make you register before commenting? I know that whenever I find one, I move on quickly.

    Right now I am enrolled in an MBA class called personal branding and my professor has been great about stopping us from engaging in annoying habits. In class he checks random sites from the students and if he doesn’t like something, he will tell you to change it. I find his methods have been helpful so far, but I still have much to learn.

    Thanks for your great advice!!
    Miriam

    • Alli

      I guess they want tons of control over comment moderation? I’m not really sure. I personally don’t see the point – it feels like a barrier to me.

      That’s great that you have a professor randomly giving out feedback. I will say this – remember that he is only one person and blogging is SUPER subjective. Like I often say here, there is no one rule for anything when it comes to blogging. The advice you read here, the advice you read on other sites, and the advice that your professor likely gives is based on what works *most* of the time, but at the end of the day YOU are the one who knows your blog and your readers best. No one is ever truly great by following all the rules. So, always take advice from anyone with a grain of salt!

  • Deb Ng

    My problem with posts like this is that I always think they’re talking about me, and really you are. I am technically challenged. I don’t know a thing about design, let alone how to fix my blog so that it looks good in every browser and application. Plus, I have a truly bad eye, and very bad eyesight, so what might look good to me looks bad to everyone else. I do have someone I hire to help me with things from time to time, but as I no longer have the income from my blog network, that’s an expense I can’t pay too often. So I’m annoying.

    I do agree with making it easy to comment and find contact info, and I’ll add that we need to make it easy to share blog posts, but I don’t know if that indicates anything more than naivete. Maybe the bloggers don’t know any better.

    There are things I don’t like and things that bother me, but I think “annoying” is in the eye of the beholder.

    • Allison

      I don’t think it’s about making your blog look perfect in every browser – it’s about making sure it works. If you’re not a technical person (I’m not either), it’s really as simple as just checking in all the browsers to make sure that your text is readable and all your links work. If, for example, a pop-up ad is unclosable like the problem I ran across, then resize it – or if you don’t know how, disable it until someone who does know how can fix it for you. Subjective stuff, like colors, sizing, etc. isn’t what I’m talking about in this case. I’m talking about making it possible for everyone to read your blog in the first place. It doesn’t matter how bad your eyesight is or how questionable your taste may be – I think we can all see when something is completely covered by an ad you can’t close or otherwise totally unreadable.

      Like I said, I am NOT a technical person. I find that if something is broken, all I need to do is ask on Twitter and about ten people offer to help me – and if no one replies, type the problem into Google and there’s usually a page explaining how to fix it. I have a small budget, a small network, and little technical knowledge. If I can do it, ANYONE can do it.

  • Judy Helfand

    Alli,
    Regarding my personal blogger blog, here is what I did today:
    1. Re-checked how it looks on different computer. Also checked it out on an iPhone. XXX
    2. Contact Judy has always been on the top level navigation XXX
    3. A few weeks ago I added Feedburner Subscribe by e-mail XXX
    4. Moved my Twitter feed and link to follow me up to the right sidebar, as opposed to being in the footer. It is much more noticeable. XXX
    5. I always allowed anyone to comment, but today I updated the code so that you don’t have to use a CAPTCHA, which many people find annoying and difficult. Also, made the comments display differently. XXX

    Thanks for the honest observations. Now I hope you will stop by and read my latest post. LOL

    Judy

  • ninersgal

    Good point about mobile browsers. Smartphone usage increased by 60% last year – so we’ve got to get on the bandwagon and make things more smartphone-friendly.

    The main thing that annoys me about blogs is when folks don’t proofread their articles. I’m guilty of this myself from time to time – especially when I’m rushing to get a post up on the site. But the extra five minutes it takes to proofread goes a long way toward building your credibility.

  • Dave Lucas

    I keep telling people to stop using those annoying popups and “Set their comments free” –

    I’m using dial-up right now!

    http://dave-lucas.blogspot.com/2010/02/2010-and-still-on-dial-up.html

    🙂

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    One of the most important reasons to get your eyes checked each year would be for driving purposes. What type of vision is required for driving in Texas? The worst your eyesight can be in Texas for driving purposes is 20/60. This is so you can see pedestrians from afar as well as stop signs and lights. You can also make sure that your depth perception is correct when you get eye exams in The Woodlands, TX. Statistics show that the average American spends about 2 to 3 hours in their car each day. This number could be higher for those in the Houston area. This makes eye exams for driving more important than they used to be. You need to know when to put on the breaks. If you think items are further than they really are or aren’t able to see them clearly, it could result in a horrible accident. Think of it this way: if good vision wasn’t needed to drive, there wouldn’t be a minimum requirement to obtain or renew a license.

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