May 14, 2011

10 Things I hate about your blog.

Here is a cute cupcake before we begin.
Hopefully it is enough to keep you
from getting annoyed at me.
Brace yourself. Just kidding, I promise this won't be too painful.

So I'm browsing through a new to me blog, Hope Studios, and I am reading a great post she wrote called "10 Things I Hate About Your Blog." Genius, I say.

Just to clarify, this is not a bashing bloggers sort of post. This is just a list of peeves and constructive criticism that apply to all of us, myself included. For the record, I have made most of these mistakes myself. My list is a bit more themed towards food blogs, since that is primarily the type of blog that I follow.

Let's get to it.

10 Things I hate about your blog

1. Music that auto plays - If you simply must auto play music, put the widget for it at the top of your page so I can turn it off quickly. 99.9% of auto play abusers hide the widget at the bottom of their blog and if I can't find it within 3 seconds I will just close down the page. That isn't exactly a good thing if you are trying to get new readers, right?

2. Hocking too much junk - This is a rough one because the thrill of getting something for free is very enticing. Be prepared as a blogger to be tempted by all sorts of pitches for free junk, and a lot of times it is just that, junk. Really think about if it is worth writing a post about, if it is something your readers are interested in, and if you can write the review of the product without coming off like you are hocking junk.

3. Cluttered design - Take a critical eye to your sidebars and consider ways to combine elements so that they don't take up too much space. I've always thought that less is more when it comes to blog design, but I still struggle with this.

4. Dark background / neon text - It is hard to read. If I can't easily read your posts, then I'll just leave. Simple enough, right?

5. No easily accessible contact/ about info - The first time I visit a blog I typically check out the 'about' page. If you don't have an email address associated with your blog, and may I ask why not, just let the reader know to leave a comment with their questions.

6. Too many step by step photos - This one is a toughie. I would say that if your photo somehow helps someone in the cooking process, for instance a shot of creaming butter and sugar for cookies, that is good. After all, not everyone knows what that should look like once it is creamed. On the other hand, blurry, dark or otherwise not so great pictures of every step in the process is really not needed. I can't tell you how many out of focus, dark and barely decipherable pictures of a hand holding a teaspoon of spices I've seen. *Updated* I felt I should clarify this a bit. What I meant was photography overkill for a recipe. Photos of the process are good. 25+ pictures where it is literally someone holding their ingredient in their hand, then a shot of them adding it to the bowl, then a shot of them mixing it, again and again, that is what I consider too much.

7. Exclamation points - I use to be a big offender of this, and I still have to reign myself in. Let me give an example. The other day I visited a brand new to me food blog. In one very short cooking post there were 10 exclamation points. Two sentences even ended with three (!!!) exclamation points. I've seen other blogs that pretty much use exclamation points to end every sentence. Ask yourself, am I really that excited? Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying never use them, I'm just saying, take a critical look at your posts and see if it is being abused.

8. Using DH DD DS abbreviations - A lot of you will disagree with me on this one but using the "Dear Husband" abbreviation is just more than I can handle. Over the top cheese ball, if I had to put it into words. My solution? Every time you write DH I read it as "Dumb ass" or "Damn" Husband. Hey, it works.

9. Being a judgmental food snob/elitist - There is a difference between sharing your beliefs or being passionate about a subject compared to putting down those who disagree with you.

10. Being too critical of other bloggers - Heh.

What do you think? Do any of these bother you or not bother you?

To not be a total jerk face, here is:

A  few blog things that bug others but don't bother me:

1. Typos. They happen to everybody. I couldn't care less. Of course, if it is a typo on an amount for an ingredient this can be troublesome and ruin a recipe, so double checking is always a good idea.
2. Less than great photos. We all start somewhere and I know that I was terrible at taking food pics when I started. Not that I am all that great now, either.


  1. Blogger just ate my comment. I hardly have the desire to even try and duplicate it b/c it was looooooooong. Suffice it to say I agree with #2, I need to see if I abuse #7 (I love my exclamation points!!!!!!!!) and typos do bug me a little bit, though I'm certainly not immune. I let bloggers know in an email when I find major ones, and hope that someone would tell me too when they find them. My only grievance not listed here is posts that are too long and posted too often. I can handle daily posts if they are concise and end with a recipe, but sometimes it takes forever to get to the recipe (oops, I know I've done this!), and in the case of some of the weight loss blogs I follow, the long post has no happy ending except for the joy I feel when I make it to the end. :)

  2. @ reciperhapsoday - doh, sorry it ate your comment. I hate when that happens. It is interesting that your peeve is posts that take too long to get to the recipe or to wrap up.

    I know personally my flaw with my food posts are that I often do not add enough back story. Sometimes I just totally forget to add anything at all besides a recipe. Hah.

    I think sometimes people forget that they can break up a post into two separate topics so that the length is controlled a bit better.

    Great thoughts Veronica.

    Oh, and I think contacting a blog author by email is 100% the way to go if you want to let them know of a typo or a general correction to some misinformation.

    That way it is private and more intimate. If they are shy or sensitive, they are probably embarrassed a bit as it is, so keeping it private is really a nice thing to do.

  3. There are only two things that bother me. One is shen you have to type in a code to write a comment -- that's a big pain and from what I understand, it's not necessary. Also Wordpress blogs make it a bit more difficult to make comments. I am also turned off b y blogs that continually do giveaways with hardly any content. Other than those two things, most of us are doing this because we love it, not for pay, so it is hard to be critical.

  4. Red Couch - You have a good point there. Most of us to it because we love it.

    I hope that in this post I came across in the way I intended, and that was to give a fresh eye to a blog author that they may be doing one or two things unintentionally that turn off new readers.

    For example, the loud auto-playing music. That makes readers close out of the page right away.

    Or a reader that wants to reach out to them, but has no easily accessible way to find their contact info, so they just leave.

    Designs that are extremely hard to read, like black backgrounds and neon green text. Way over crowded sidebars that make it hard to focus on the posts. Those are things that make it very hard for a reader to focus.

    The other few items I mentioned are simply pet peeves, and not really that big of a deal, like using the "DH" deal. It isn't a deal breaker, it just sort of a silly thing that bugs me. :)

  5. From this list I agree about the music thing and the dark backgrounds with light text. The music thing bugs me to no end. I absolutely hate it. It's rarely music I want to listen to anyway and it often comes out of nowhere, really loudly.

    My biggest blogging pet peeve? When people don't have their email addresses listed in their profiles. I hate getting comments where a person asks a question and then their email says, "no reply". If you don't want your personal email out there, create one just for blogging. I have a couple of email addresses and one that is specific for blogging, not personal. It's so frustrating to want to answer a question or reply to a comment and not be able to.

    I know that many bloggers reply in the comments, like you do and that's great. I just can't subscribe to every post I comment on to know if the blogger responded to me and I have no way of knowing who does that to my posts. It's so much nicer to know that my email is part of the comment that they read or that theirs is visible to me and I've met some great people because we've replied to comments and started discussions or dialogues.

    I like that you have a note asking people to have their email addresses enabled.

  6. Another really great post and I agree with most things you've mentioned - but I do have a terrible habbit of using those exclamation points and still can't resist smileys. I know, I know, just stop it already.

    Another thing on my "hate list" would be food bloggers that show those way to many photos that also have a dirty kitchen. That's just disgusting in my book, ugh.

  7. Hate, hate, hate auto play music, ugh! 2nd is word verification. and no-reply bloggers (esp if they ask a question in my comments!! I feel bad not answering, but sometimes I can't!!) this is too funny.

  8. The music kills me as well. Lol.

    If you have a moment today, please share this with my readers @Creative Juice Thursday Hope to see yours among all the amazing projects!

    {I have a lot of new bloggers who read me that may benefit from this list}

  9. Thanks for all the tips on this and linky parties. I am new to this! I just joined your blog because I am excited to make all these yummy treats! Hope you can stop by sometime too

  10. Captcha for comments is very annoying. I often want to email the blogger and let them know that having captcha installed is likely the reason they have few or little comments. But I can not save the world.

    Dark backgrounds for sure and any text that is hard to read. Text styles and colors really should be as simple as possible if you want your readers to be able to read easily. There is one craft site where the title of each post is written in such fancy font, half the time I have no idea what it says. In turn, I visit less often.

    I am an !!! abuser. But I am ok with it.

    No HOME button makes me crazy. I do not want to have to alter the URL to get back to your home page.

    A layout that does not allow me to search for older posts easily is frustrating. I want categories, baby. If I like your current post, I likely want to read more posts. And I can only search for so long.

    Which leads me to no search bar. Please, have a search bar on your site so I can enter topics I might be searching for. And place it above the fold if at all possible.

  11. Ali - I love your blog - you have such good information. Great article!

  12. Great info! I agree about stuff on your side bar. I followed one popular blogger for quite a time. But her blog got so busy it gives me a headache and she is always giving away great things like Yoplait water bottles and frisbys. I don't visit her blog anymore--but she is making money one her blog. I guess some people like annoying blogs.

  13. I love this post. So glad someone has the guts to say these things! I totally agree with all of your 10 (esp. 1, 4, and 6) and would like to add one more. This one is specific to food bloggers: sharing recipes with missing/incomplete measurements and how many servings it makes. I hate reading a recipe and not knowing if it feeds 2 or 12! And I hate it when food bloggers say things like "1 package shredded cheddar". Shredded cheese comes in either 8 oz. or 12 oz. bags. So which is it? The whole point is sharing a recipe so that others can make it, but that's not possible without all the information.

    The black background blogs bother my eyes so much! I only read those blogs through my blog reader, so that means I'm not actually visiting that person's blog and therefore not commenting.

    Right now there is a food blogger who is driving me up the wall by posting the same link to her blog post from her Facebook page SEVERAL times throughout the day. She'll say things like "in case you missed it this morning" or "for those of you just getting off work." Ugh! Once is enough!

  14. Good information. Hope I am not guilty of any of these mistakes. Since my Son is a computer engineer, I am hoping that he will help me with a complete makeover of my dated three year old blog. Would love some imput. What works? What doesn't? I hate the wasted space on the sides of my blog. Thanks.

  15. Ali, did you intend to have typos in the line about typos? Very clever, if you did, but somehow I think you meant "couldN'T care less" and "if it'S a typo". Great chuckle though and great post!!! Oh wait...great post(-!!!).