June 9, 2013

More on blogging sins: what screws up a good blog

This is second part of the list of blogging flaws You can see here the first part, 'Blogging sins: things a blogger should avoid'.
These posts have been updated in December 2015, with new research and survey inputs. We have also added links to help visitors with additional information.

C. Can a blogger afford to be this rude?

  • Too much of self. I, I, I and just I.
On social media, we need to respect 'you' and 'he/she' more than 'I'.
  • Disabling right click. Worse, responding with a rude pop-up when someone right-clicks on the blog.
Right-clicking has a hundred purposes, and stealing of content is just one of them. You do not gain much by disabling right click. 

D. Unethical blogger behaviour

  • Plagiarized photos. Not even giving credit to the source. Copy-pasting content without permission.
It is not only a sin, it is crime too. People are known to have faced legal suits and arrest for web crimes.

Attribution is a must when you copy somebody's web property. This relates not only to photos and videos but text content too. Only attribution may not suffice in many cases; you must ask for permission.
  • Links to advertising or commercial sites by deceit. 
If you indulge in this [mostly done to make a few dollars], you'll lose potential clients faster than by abusing them on face. Google says, this badly damages website rating.
  • Product reviews that are paid for, but without any disclosure about that.
Visitors will hate you from the beginning or - if they discover it later - hate you more for being made a fool. You must disclose when you promote a product.

E. Sub-standard content makes a sub-standard blog

  • Fake expertise; copy-pasted advice.
A mask does not stick for too long. Even in very ‘practical’ terms, honesty is the best policy as it pays in the long run.
  • Too didactic on personal and social matters.
'I'm holier than thou' attitude is good for Dalai Lama. Are you that?
  • Kid blogs written by parents posing as kids.
Let the kids do their own blogging. You  must do what they can't do but no more. Create a beautiful blog, tell on the blog how she is growing, click her photos, respond to good wishes from others... but stop short of writing on her behalf. 

Yes, there could be times when you do the hand-holding for the kid. Be clean about your role; say you are her mom when writing on her behalf, don't pose as the kid. 

Like to read our detailed posts on child blogging?
  • Bilingual blogs.
They generally end up doing injustice with both the languages and also the visitor. Divide the blog into different sections or have separate blogs for different languages.

This post shows what we noticed about blogging in two languages on Indian blogs and how it hurts such blogs. The post also shows why local and vernacular expressions need to be explained to those not familiar with these.
  • Poor readability: small text, poor contrast, text on image, wrong font.
Remember, everybody doesn't have 6/6 vision and perfect color recognition score. 

If I find it difficult to read your post, it has no meaning for me even if it is a masterpiece.
  • Smart or witty but confusing titles on menus and widgets. 
On two blogs, we found 'What's she holding?' and 'My heaven, my hearth' used to refer to blogger's other social media accounts. For a moment we had inferiority feeling about out intelligence.

Some quirk is OK but if you take it too far, the chances are that only you will be able to understand the pun.

F. Improper blog navigation 

  • Unending scrolling design.
The unending scroll might be OK, but how do I open the links etc at the bottom of the blog? 

Don’t go for unending scrolling only because it is in fashion; it has many disadvantages relating to navigation, SEO, and clarity about placement of widgets.
  • Blogroll with links to dead blogs, or links not opening.
Personal blogs seem to be more prone to it: having blogrolls on which the bloggers keep on piling entries but forget to ever check their linking behavior. Broken links hurt the blog in many ways.
  • Design that does not allow navigation from one post to the other, so one needs to come to the homepage for going to another post.
We saw this happening on blogs even by techies. A bit too smart?
  • No archives.
Again, we saw this happening on tech blogs. Fear of entire blog being hijacked in one go? If so, please go to a publisher rather than writing on a blog.

You may choose not to display the total archives per se, but at least give an exhaustive list of categories and labels so that visitors can browse your hidden but valuable resources.
  • Archives by pages only. You see at the bottom of homepage, something like this: 'Go to page 2..3..4.....123' 
No problem with such compartmentalized archiving but how do I know what you wrote on Samsung Galaxy-I and when you wrote that?
  • Lengthy and senseless URL.
On a newspaper site, we found URLs of blogs like this: 'http://freemypresspage/p/author/reg/x325Ju6tB'.

The operative part of the URL should be intelligible, memorable and related to the theme of the blog.

Though some free Content Management Systems (including Blogger's) automatically add year and month to URLs of individual posts, the operative part is still in the hands of the blogger. Make it as relevant and search-friendly as you can.

Just in case, you want to visit the first part of this series, the link is here: 'Blogging sins: things a blogger should avoid'.