Blog Trash: 10 Things You Don’t Need
Surfing around the blogosphere you’re likely to see just about anything on a blog – flashing neon banners, hip-hop or rap music, prizes, awards, badges, Twitter widgets and a zoo full of animated critters.
When you see that cute little baby bouncing across the bottom of the page or that fire breathing dragon in the sidebar you might be tempted to say, “Hey! I wanna put that on MY blog!”
Well, no. No, you don’t.
Your blog doesn’t need it. Avert your eyes and keep moving.
- Anything that moves or flashes: No matter how cute they are, they’re distracting and annoying. What’s that you say? You’re using that dancing baby to draw attention to your sidebar? Well, it’s not working. People are looking at the dancing baby. And your content isn’t in your sidebar anyway, is it?
- Music or videos that automatically open: Always set music and videos so they’re off when the visitor hits the page and let them turn them on if they want to. Many of your visitors are coming to your blog while they’re at work and they don’t want everyone to know they’re surfing the Web. Not to mention the fact that it’s just plain annoying, and sometimes quite startling.
- Spelling and grammar errors: This should go without saying, but it doesn’t. Before you start trying to draw attention to your content, make sure it’s presentable.
- Copied or spun content: I know, that’s a really great article and you want to share it with your readers, right? Give them a link and let them go read it for themselves, don’t just copy it and claim it as your own. When they see it somewhere else your credibility is shot. And spun content? Please. If that’s the best you can do you shouldn’t even be blogging.
- Awards you’ve won: Sometimes advertising your awards will help your business. If you’re a freelance writer it helps your credibility if you display a writing award on your blog. But you’ll make an even better impression if you write a blog post explaining how you won your award and link to it from your sidebar.
- Badges from other bloggers: The first rule of blog design is: Eliminate all distractions. “I ‘Heart’ Suzie’s Cupcake Blog” is rarely something your visitors are going to be concerned about. Unless, of course, your blog is about cupcakes. And if it is, do you really want your visitors to leave your blog and go check out Suzie’s?
- Eye-popping colors: There are times when black backgrounds or neon psychedelic patterns are acceptable, but they’re few and far between. If landing on your blog is a shocking experience that might induce a heart attack or seizure then you need to tone it down.
- Optical illusion backgrounds: Sit back and take in the big picture. When we talk about optical illusions we usually mean those little swirly patterns or patterns that zigzag off into the distance, but any pattern that makes your eyes wobble out of your head is annoying.
- Teeny tiny fonts: It seems to be the “thing to do” these days, add a line of teeny tiny text in the middle of your content somewhere or tuck it in at the bottom. Stop it. It’s annoying. If you have something to say, say it. If you don’t have enough guts to say it out loud, then don’t say it at all.
- All your Tweets, Shares, Pins and Bookmarks: If you have a huge, active following on Twitter and that Widget actually helps keep them engaged then by all means, add it to your sidebar. But you don’t need to have a widget from every single social network you belong to. And if there’s no new activity showing on those widgets – all the time – then you’re not really that active, are you? In fact, those stagnant widgets kinda make you look like a loser.
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