Monday, January 24, 2011

My Blog Hopping Adventure

I decided to go "blog hopping." I visited over 100 blogs. I am now suffering from a massive migraine. I was surprised by what I saw. Shocked is more like it. I had no idea that blogs like the ones I just saw even existed. I noticed all sorts of things that made me cringe. Not just as an online writer or online reader, but as a person. I found so many mistakes that all online writers should avoid:
  • Lack of Focus - I read blogs that lacked focus. They were all over the place. One post the blogger was trying to selling shoes. The next post was about the blogger's daughter and the cold she was suffering from. The next one was about blogging tips. Pick a topic and stick with it. That blogger had three potentially successful blogs in one. Sell shoes on one blog. Blog about the daughter in another and give blogging advice in the third. "A Day in the Life" blogs are great and tend to be all over the place without getting away from the focus of the blog which is the blogger's daily life.
  • Too Many Ads - I tried to read a blog about dogs. I love dogs and really wanted to learn about this blogger's legged babies. I couldn't. There was an ad of some sort everywhere. The blogger would write a sentence or two and then there was an ad - an image ad the interrupted the post. The text was almost all hyperlinked to some product or service. (By the way, the products and services had nothing to do with dogs.) My mouse was touching all sorts of things that would pop up and cover the text I was trying to read. I gave up and moved on to the next blog.
  • Slang - I was shocked by the slang I was reading. I believe it is called "text speak," but I call it "tacky." This is one example: "OMG! Just got back 2 blogging. I C 2 comments. Way kewl! I had 2 LOL." Yes, that was the entire post. Save that for Twitter, Facebook and emails between friends! Remember that you are an online writer (a professional); respect yourself and your online work enough not to use these abbreviations.
  • Layout - The layouts I saw were unbelievable. One blog had six columns that could not have been more than 100 pixels wide. Entire posts were in those tiny columns. There were only a few words on each line because the font was so large, making it difficult to read. The next column over had tiny fonts and I couldn't find my magnifying glass to read it. I moved on. It might have been the blog of the century, but I couldn't read it. The ads were cut off and I was unable to see if I might be interested in any of them.
  • Errors - I noticed all sorts of spelling errors. The grammar was also seriously lacking. In one of the "Day In the Life" blogs, nothing was capitalized and there were no periods until the very end of the post. The story was interesting, but I couldn't get past the mistakes to truly enjoy it. Another blog was written in all capitals, in both both and italics. Every few sentences ended with "!!!!"
  • No Content - I also noticed that many blogs lacked content. Individual posts were just a few sentences longs. One post was simply "BRB." It was the latest post and it was dated 2009. I envisioned Elvis dying on the toilet for some reason. When posting to your blog, make your post long enough to "say something." Cover the topic thoroughly. Concise is great as long you make your point. Remember that search engines pick up online articles that are at least 300 words long faster than "BRB" and nothing else.
  • Colors - The reason for my blog hopping headache is probably due to the colors used on the blogs. Many were difficult to read. Some were impossible to read; the words were fuzzy and they moved around on my computer screen. Some colors do not mix well. Be very careful with bright colors, especially if you are mixing them together. Make sure the same colors are in different hues and shades so your readers can see your work.
Please do not do these things! Not only do they make your blogs look bad, they make you look bad. "You are only as good as the worst article/post you publish." Always remember that. Live by it. Write by it. It will make a difference in you success as an online writer.

I will address some of these issues in future posts and give you some ideas on how to avoid these mistakes. Getting your blog to look and read in a way that is reader friendly is important. You do not want to be losing readers because of the way your blog looks.

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