As a blogger, I admit I’m guilty of doing some of these things myself. So I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself to stop doing these things, and hope other bloggers can take away something from this list too.
1. Don’t allow comments.
Some blogs, especially those dealing with mental illness or abuse, don’t allow comments because negative comments can be very triggering to people struggling with these things, and you are going to get negative comments. It can’t be avoided. But as a general rule, it’s good to allow comments because it makes your blog more interactive. Real conversations get started that way and build a feeling of community, which can make your followers stick around and your blog more engaging.
2. Be a comment nazi.
Some bloggers don’t want anyone to disagree with them and will not approve or delete comments that question the blogger’s point of view. While it’s certainly fine to block or delete abusive comments, only allowing comments that agree with your point of view doesn’t allow for healthy debate, which always make a conversation more interesting. It also makes you look like an intolerant, narcissistic jerk.
3. Be too lenient with comments.
If you allow abusive comments on your blog, you run the risk that people might be run off by the trollish remarks or fear speaking up themselves because they might be attacked.
4. Don’t tolerate any disagreement.
Related to #2, some bloggers like to attack anyone who disagrees with them. Debate is fine, but engaging in personal attacks and the Internet version of a fistfight on a regular basis will just run off your regular followers. It’s always best to not feed the trolls.
5. Fail to acknowledge comments.
I see this a lot. Sometimes you won’t know what to say to a comment or have nothing new to add to their point, and that’s fine. If you reply to only 50% of your comments, that’s good. Obviously, the higher the percentage the better. Use the “Like” button on comments you don’t reply to, so the commenter knows you at least saw it. Not replying or using the Like button makes your readers feel like you didn’t read their comment or don’t care.
6. Write boring content.
Some blogs document the blogger’s day, and while the activities described may be mundane, if presented in an interesting or humorous way, or if they use pictures or graphics, such otherwise dull posts can actually be engaging. But if all you do is write a long wall of text about your dog throwing up on the rug and what cereal you ate for breakfast and your writing style or presentation isn’t creative or engaging, you will just put your readers to sleep and they’ll go elsewhere.
7. Don’t check your spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.
No one wants to try to pick through a badly written, misspelled post full of run on sentences, horrible grammar, and wonky punctuation. Spellcheck is your friend, and if you can’t put a proper English sentence together, then maybe you shouldn’t be blogging. Publishing a post full of errors and typos is also is disrespectful to your readers.
8. Be dishonest.
Those of us who write creatively can and do embellish a few details to make our posts come alive but outright lying can never be disguised. A post that’s dishonest comes off as insincere and your readers will be able to tell. If you want to write fiction, then write fiction, but call it fiction and don’t disguise it as the truth when it’s not.
9. Don’t break up your text.
I’ve ranted about walls of words many times before so I won’t belabor this again. It’s a pet peeve of mine. People don’t like reading walls of text. It hurts their eyes and gives them a migraine. Use paragraph breaks, subheaders, pictures or graphics to break up a long post into bite size pieces. Or compile your content into a list. Your readers are civilized human beings who like to eat their steak in small pieces, not chomp it down whole like a wolf or a caveman.
10. Use garish colors and graphics.
Fortunately, the themes WordPress makes available are tasteful and very hard to make look bad. In the early days of the web, there seemed to be a lot more websites that were the cyber equivalent of a bad acid trip and used garish, flashing graphics, blingies, and ugly fonts in neon colors that clashed with their neon backgrounds. MySpace was infamous for this and that was part of its downfall. Your blog shouldn’t look like The Strip in Vegas or an explosion at The Fun Factory. It should look more like a pastoral landscape, Park Avenue in New York, or Main Street in a pretty small town. Don’t be tacky. It’s also not nice to cause your readers to have epileptic seizures.
11. Pass yourself off as an expert when you are not.
If you write about a highly specialized topic such as mental health, science, or medical issues, and you are not an expert yourself, please use a disclaimer stating that you are not a degreed professional or at least use phrases such as “in my opinion…” or “I think…”. Otherwise you not only come across as a know it all, but you could also get in legal trouble.
12. Don’t comment on other blogs.
We know, taking care of your own blog is time consuming and it’s just hard to find time to comment on other blogs. You don’t have to do this every day, but if you never comment on your followers’ blogs, they may unfollow yours. No one likes to feel like they’re doing all the work in a friendship. By commenting on other blogs, you not only show goodwill and build community, but you also increase the likelihood they may link to yours or add you to their blogroll, which increases your hits. If you don’t have time to comment, at least “Like” their posts. Let them know you at least acknowledge their existence.
13. Write troll posts.
Writing a controversial post just to be controversial may get you attention for the short term, but it’s likely to be negative attention. Do you really want that? Also, the attention you get won’t last. People will come to gawk, and then move on to more worthwhile things. While it’s fine (and courageous!) to write something controversial if you feel passionate about it, deliberately writing incendiary posts is like walking around in public slapping random people in the face. You’ll get attention alright, but it won’t be the kind you want. Most people will run like hell.
14. SCREAM AT PEOPLE.
NEVER USE ALL CAPS. NO ONE WANTS TO BE SCREAMED AT.
15. Use too much profanity.
While a well placed expletive can give your post more impact, peppering every sentence with four letter words has the opposite effect and distracts attention away from the point you’re trying to make. It just makes you sound immature, stupid, and obnoxious.
16. Publicly whine about other blogs having more hits, likes or followers than yours.
Envy is rife in the blogging world. I’ve seen more posts than I care to from bloggers ranting about how few followers, likes or hits they have, or even worse, kvetching about how much better other blogs are doing than theirs. While one or two such posts are fine, especially for a newbie whose activity is likely to be low (during my second week blogging, I wrote a post called “I’m Frustrated,” which Opinionated Man reblogged and helped me get new followers), if you continue to do this or make a habit of it, you just come off like a crybaby or a spoilsport, and you’ll wind up losing followers who don’t want to deal with your hysterics.
17. Brag about how many hits, likes, and followers you have.
I admit I’ve been guilty of this, but you should avoid it. It will make people hate you, especially other bloggers. If you must crow about how well your blog is doing, disguise it by hiding it within a helpful context (for example, you can write a post about how to gain followers, in which you can use your blog as an example but be careful not to overdo it–people can smell that shit like a drug dog smells cocaine).
Credit: John Worsley: “Toad”
18. Be a pointless blog.
I’m not talking here about blogs that don’t have a certain topic as their focus. There are many great general purpose blogs with posts about anything and everything. I’m talking here about blogs that have no original content. There are blogs that seem to exist solely to post links to other people’s blogs or regurgitate other’s material. I always wonder why these blogs exist at all. Why not just go to the original blogger’s site instead? “Bloggers” who never post original content seem more like secretaries than bloggers, and less useful than a secretary because they won’t even make you coffee. For some reason, blogs like that also seem to contain viruses. It’s like having a secretary with typhoid.
19. Plagiarize and don’t credit others.
Not only will not crediting or plagiarizing others make people angry at you, it will get you in trouble too. Don’t do it. If you can’t find the source for something, don’t use it.
20. Try too hard to be cool.
Some blogs seem to exist just to be cool or edgy. If you don’t believe in what you’re posting about, and are just doing it to impress others or appear cool, people will be able to tell and will press the backspace key faster than you can put on your groovy sunglasses. People who try too hard to be cool are annoying and pathetic, and that’s not cool.