Monday, January 24, 2011

5 Common Blogger Mistakes That Make Me Hit "Exit"

I read more blog posts in a week than I care to think about. I do it because I enjoy it, but sometimes there are things that just make me hit that red X when I'm reading a blog. Based on my experience, I compiled a list of five common mistakes bloggers make.

#1 Same information I can get anywhere

Be original! I've stopped reading blogs that give the same information as every other blog out there. You can take a topic and look at it from a different angle or compare it to something completely original or talk about it in your own way. Take beta readers for example. I've read a lot of blogs about what beta readers are, how to get one, and how to become one. But that doesn't mean that you can't take the topic of beta readers and make an original post out of it.

#2 Double sides both packed with widgets
This one is mostly a personal thing. When someone has two sidebars on their blog and both of them are packed to the brim with widgets, it really slows down my computer. And if my computer is hesitating when I ask it to scroll, I'm probably not going to stick around and force the issue with my dying laptop. And chances are, if you feel like you need a second sidebar just to fit in all your widgets, you might be running the risk of #3.

#3 Too much distracting clutter
Don't get me wrong, I love widgets, but in this case it's definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. Try to keep the gadgets and widgets in your blog sidebars to the bare minimum. The more you have, the longer it will take your blog to load and the more likely I am to click exit. These can also be extremely distracting when I'm scrolling down through your blog post. If you just have to have that extra countdown widget for the sequel that you're dying to get your hands on, maybe wait until it's closer to the release date or even after one of your other countdown widgets runs out.

#4 Only blogging about self/WIPs
This one is kind of self-explanatory. It's fine to talk about what's going on with your books and maybe post teasers once in awhile, but constantly talking about yourself gets a little wearing for readers sometimes. Most published authors don't only talk about themselves and their work. They talk about books they've read and offer advice in addition to what's going on with their work.

#5 Distracting/painful backgrounds
Choose your blog background and colors wisely. Avoid bright, fluorescent colors as much as possible. Lime green backgrounds with pink text are not acceptable under any circumstances. Whatever colors you choose, make sure they allow for easy reading. Same goes for backgrounds. If your background is psychedelic or distracting or busy, I'm probably going to stop reading. There was a blog awhile back whose background was abstract and colorful and trying to read the text gave me a headache.

Another thing to keep it mind when choosing a background is staying true to yourself and giving the right impression. For example, if you're a romance writer, you probably don't want a dark, plain background. If you're a contemporary writer, you probably don't want something with a dragon in it.

The main thing to remember about blogging is it's supposed to be fun! Just stay true to yourself and talk about things you want to talk about.


Sarah said...

Great post, Rachael. It's funny--I'm going to do a post on beta-reading this week, and now I'm going back to take a look and make sure it's original enough ...