Sometimes blogging can be a bit of a balancing act, and it’s unfortunate that many of the things bloggers do in a bid to grow or improve their blogs (or do simply because they’ve seen other bloggers do them…) are the very things which annoy their readers, and end up having the opposite effect. I asked my Twitter friends what kind of things they find annoying as blog readers – here are some of their answers, plus a few of my own!
I say this in the nicest possible way, but trust me: most people didn’t even notice until you mentioned it… and then kept on mentioning it, at the start of every single post, until you have an entire blog dedicated to the fact that you don’t think you post often enough.
Not responding to comments[From @beckiehsaunders]
I’ve said before that I don’t think every single comments needs a response (or that every commenter wants/expects one), and I’d also add here that for bloggers who get a lot of comments, it just won’t be possible to respond to ALL of them. I do, however, think that if people are taking the time to comment, you should at least TRY to respond to them- and you should always respond to direct questions, or comments which the person has obviously put a lot of thought into. Don’t ignore your readers, or they’ll eventually start ignoring you, too!
Too many sponsored posts, on topics that aren’t related to the blog [From @ReasnableBlonde]
For obvious reasons, I have absolutely no problem with sponsored posts, and I think a decent blogger should be able to write them in a way that blends in with the rest of their content. To be honest, I don’t even object to the occasional off-topic post: people have to eat, after all. When every second post is sponsored, though, and particularly when those posts are totally different to the type of content you usually write, it’s a bit like sitting down to watch your favourite TV show, then forward-winding the actual show, and only watching the commercials. Who does that?
Not disclosing sponsorship or freebies
Yeah, we’re sure it was a totally random decision to suddenly start heaping praise upon that brand you’ve never mentioned before: of course we believe you!
(As with the point above, I have no issue with the sponsorship or freebies themselves: I just think bloggers should be upfront about them, and not try to pretend they’re not being compensated for featuring them. Most of the time it’s REALLY obvious, and even if it’s not obvious to readers, other bloggers? They know. Because they got that offer in their inbox, too…)
Centering their text [From @SarahRooftops]
You’re not writing a poem here, people: standard paragraphs will work just fine! Also, there’s a good reason why prose isn’t normally centred: it’s difficult to read that way, and why on earth would you want to make it difficult for people to understand you? I’d also include some other “crimes” here, such as using tiny fonts, italicising everything, or using “fancy” fonts that are difficult to read. Yes, it might look pretty, but if no one can read it, what’s the point? (Purely a personal thing, but I also instantly hit the “back” button on any site written entirely in lower case: I just can’t stand it.)
Posting dozens of near-identical outfit photos
No one needs to see 50 photos of the same outfit, and no, that slightly different positioning of your elbow doesn’t make it a totally different shot. Save yourself some time, and just pick a few of the very best!
Vagueblogging is the blog version of Vaugebooking – when you make reference to something you can’t/don’t want to talk about, in a bid to create drama. “Something absolutely amazing happened today! But I can’t tell you!” If you don’t want to talk about it, just don’t mention it: job done!
Reviewing products, but only showing swatches[from @CourtneeeyJ]
This one is specific to beauty bloggers, and I have to confess to having done it in the past (What can I say, I hate taking close-ups of my face!), but Courtney’s right: if you’re reviewing makeup, it’s really helpful to see you actually wearing it, rather than just swatching it on your hand. The skin on your face is different from the skin on your hands (and is totally different from the skin on your lips, for instance), so a product can look totally different, dependent on where you’re wearing it.
Refusing to proofread or spellcheck their posts
Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and sometimes those mistakes will creep through, no matter how carefully you try to avoid them. While most readers will be willing to overlook the occasional typo, however, if your posts are littered with errors, it can be incredibly distracting, and will make you look unprofessional (or just plain uneducated). Take the time to run the spellcheck, and proofread your posts before hitting ‘publish’ – it’s only polite.
Using automated DMs on Twitter
You know when you follow someone on Twitter and instantly get a canned response by direct message, which you open up, only to find it says something like, “Thanks for following! Now visit my blog, where you can find <insert self-promotion here>!” I can’t be the only one who doesn’t love that – can I?n closing, I just want to add that although I’ve attempted to narrow this list down to things that lots of people find annoying (as opposed to just my own pet peeves), they are all ultimately just opinions, not “rules”. If you’re doing any of these, I’d hate for you to walk away from this post feeling like you’re a “bad blogger”, or that you need to immediately change: it’s a good idea to pay attention to what your readers are telling you, but as I said at the start of this post, blogging is a bit of a balancing act, and sometimes there are legitimate reasons for a blogger to do something that can come across as a little bit annoying: it’s up to you to decide whether the benefits of whatever it is you’re doing will outweigh any negatives.