If you’re anything like me, then one of you’re favorite things to do is to explore new blogs and constantly add more URLs to your Google Reader.
The month of November and NaBloPoMo always encourage me to browse new blogs, although, who am I kidding? I am not just checking out new blogs in November. This is like an ongoing problem for me. I’ve noticed, once again though, how sometimes certain things about a blog design completely turn me off from reading any further. Here are some of my blog pet peeves.
One thing that can really turn me off on a blog are busy backgrounds, screaming colors, anything that blinks, and background music. Those are four big “no-no’s” on my list. Unless the title of your most recent post really catches my attention (and come on, if we’re honest, how many post titles are really that captivating to distract from a crappy layout?), I’ll most like not even bother to read any further. I love blogs that have a scheme of harmonizing colors that are carefully used to embellish the blog content. It makes a visit that much more enjoyable.
I really have a hard time dealing with very tiny or very big font sizes. Usually everything between 8-12px is acceptable. Everything smaller or bigger than that is exhausting, IMHO.
It’s also very annoying if the blog post has poor formatting, e.g. no paragraphs (one big block of text without any line/paragraph breaks), embeds that are bleeding over into the sidebar (re-size!) , or varying fonts and font sizes (that is usually an issue when text is imported from Notepad or Word).
Common sense would tell you that proper grammar and spelling should be a given in a blog post, but it’s not always the case. I am sure everybody’s guilty of the occasional typo, but it should be part of everyone’s blogging routine to run spell check before you hit the “publish” button.
Related to that is my issue with very wide content columns , even worse when it’s not a fixed width, but spans across your browser window. I find it really exhausting to read text that goes across my whole computer screen. Try to keep the width to a manageable width like 500-600px or so. (Everything narrower than 500px looks “squished”.)
I am also not a fan of very large header images. While I agree that a header can really give your blog personality and is a sort of “blog branding”, it is really annoying, if the whole screen is covered up by the header and I can’t even see the title of your most recent post. Make your content more easily accessible by keeping your header image to 1/3 of a regular screen size (15”).
I usually like to know who I am dealing with, so a picture and a short description about you in the sidebar scores major plus points in my book. It gives me an idea of who you are and what your blog is all about.
If I have a hard time finding your about page and contact information, it’s very unlikely that I will spend hours and hours trying to learn more about you. Make sure you have a clearly structured menu bar (yes, yes, I need one…) and easy ways to contact you via email or other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
What makes you come back to a blog
(besides the content, obviously)?
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Disclaimer: Please don’t take any of the above pet peeves personally, even if you have done one or more. This is merely a list of things that I personally find – or don’t find – appealing when I visit a blog. It does not mean that I don’t like you personally or that I hate your blog. Nobody is perfect, and neither am I ;) I am constantly trying to improve my own blog design.