Last week, I asked readers a very simple question. What are you biggest blog pet peeves?
I learned a very quickly that if you ask readers their opinion, they’re going to answer. And we bloggers have lots to learn from the feedback that readers give us. There were about 95 responses on the blog post and on Facebook. Let’s just jump right in to the top answers, and then I’ll list the others at the bottom. These are listed in order from the most mentioned, to the least mentioned. I’ll admit, the #1 pet peeve really shocked me! Here we go…
1. Bloggers sharing too much personal information (21 responses)
Are you as shocked by the #1 answer as I was? Here’s what I gathered from reading the comments: Readers enjoy getting glimpses into the personal lives of the bloggers behind their favorite blogs. Key word: glimpses. Little tidbits of info here and there are great. What they DO NOT like is when, for example, they get hooked on a DIY blog, and then for one reason or another, the DIY gets replaced with posts about constant up dates on the new baby, every detail of your upcoming wedding, little David’s baptism, little Sarah’s first day of kindergarten, your summer vacation, your grandmother’s 80th birthday, your best friend’s wedding, your college reunion, etc.
In other words, readers want what has been advertised. If you claim that your blog is a DIY blog, readers want DIY. They want you to stay on topic, while at the same time, offering glimpses into your personal life, your personality, etc.
2. Pop Up Ads (20 responses)
I don’t really think I need to explain this one. Pop ups are annoying. I think this would pertain to pop ups that aren’t ads as well. Do you have a pop up that asks people to subscribe to your RSS feed? You might want to get rid of it.
Bottom line: Readers want quick access to the meat of your site, without having to close down things to get to it.
3. Music On Blogs (20 responses)
Again, this should be self-explanatory. People read blogs in many different locations — home, library, work. Music can be very disruptive and even startling. And let’s face it…your taste is music is your taste in music. Your readers may like something completely different. Chances are that if they want to listen to music while browsing the internet, they’re already doing so.
4. Giveaways (18 responses)
Are you shocked? Giveaways came in at #4. And to be clear, I separated out these responses from those who mentioned “giveaways that are only open to US citizens” and “giveaways that require too many steps to enter”, etc.
In other words, giveaways in general came in at the #4 spot of blog reader pet peeves. Interesting. And I thought I was the only one who hated giveaways! I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve entered a giveaway.
5. Automatically-Playing Video Ads (18 responses)
This is my current top personal blog pet peeve, but it seems that these have frustrated many blog readers. We’re talking here about they “DIY Tip Of The Week” videos and similar videos. Keep in mind that if you have one of these on your blog, it will start playing from the beginning each and every time a reader clicks to a new page. How many pages do you think they’ll view before they get irritated enough to click away? Is it enough to keep them away for good? Some readers said “yes”.
6. Sponsored Posts (16 responses)
As bloggers, we want to make money. That’s clear. But I think we really do need to realize that we’re not fooling anyone with our sponsored posts. Yes, we all say that we give our honest thoughts, but readers see right through that. Let’s face it. If a company is paying us money, we don’t want to say we hate the product. In fact, I can’t recall ever seeing that on a blog. Have you?
If you must do sponsored posts, consider keeping them to a minimum. Once a week or more is probably too much, especially if you’re letting sponsored posts take the place of original non-sponsored content. One commenter even said that too many sponsored posts makes a blogger look like “an unscrupulous product pimp”. I actually agree with that, and I’ve stopped reading a couple of blogs this summer because of it.
7. Disorganized Blogs (12 responses)
I lumped several different answers into this one big category of “disorganized blogs”. Some issues specifically mentioned were: general disorganization, poor navigation, no project gallery, no social media buttons, RSS sign-up hard to find, etc.
I touched on making a blog user-friendly last week, and lots of these issues seemed to be pet peeves for many readers. It’s very important to visit your blog often to see what readers see when they visit. Try to forget your own familiarity with your blog, and see if the important stuff is easy to find.
8. Excessive Religion (12 responses)
I think this is similar to the #1 answer. Your readers don’t mind knowing that you’re a Christian, Mormon, Buddhist…whatever. Mentions here and there are fine. What they don’t want is post after post about your personal spiritual journey, why your chosen faith is so amazing, why you recommend your chosen faith to your readers, etc.
I understand that personal faith is important to many of us. As a non-denominational, Bible-believing Christian who spent 1.5 years overseas as a missionary, I can tell you that my faith is the most important thing in my life. However, my blog is about decorating and DIY, not religion. Because I’ve “advertised” my blog as such, that’s what people expect, and understandably so.
Now is it okay if I make a piece of DIY artwork that has my absolute favorite Bible verse on it and share it as a project on my blog? Of course! That’s something that I would definitely hang in my house as a decoration! The key here is not to HIDE your religion, or be scared to even mention it for fear of losing readers. Remember…glimpses are good. But just realize that Bible lessons, preaching, proselytizing, excessive posts about your own personal spiritual journey, etc., when you’ve “advertised” your blog to be something completely different, will turn off folks who don’t share your faith.
9. Slow Loading Pages (11 responses)
This doesn’t need explanation. Just remember that when we get on the internet, we suddenly have the attention span of a gnat. We want information at our fingertips in a matter of seconds. A page that takes a minute to load because of slow-loading ads, too many large-format pictures, etc., seems like an eternity to a person when they’re online.
10. Negative Attitudes, Complaining and Whining (10 responses)
Readers know that we’ll have a bad day here and there. They understand that every once-in-a-while, we will use our blogs to voice our opinions about something that has upset us. I don’t think that’s what most people were talking about. I got the sense that readers are okay with these occasional posts. However, the lingering negative attitudes that show in post after post, the complaining over and over, definitely seems to be a big turn off for readers. Also, bloggers talking negatively about other bloggers is a big no-no. If we have issues with another blogger, it’s best for us to take our issues to that blogger in private rather than airing grievances publicly.
Those are the top 10. Do any of them shock you?
Now for the rest of the blog pet peeves that were mentioned. If you don’t want to read all of them, here’s the nutshell version of all of the pet peeves as I interpret them…
Readers want what has been advertised. Do you claim to have a DIY blog? If so, that’s what they want. They want to get to know you, and get glimpses into your personal life, but they want that WHILE getting what was promised.
Readers don’t like when things like giveaways, link parties, sponsored posts, guest posts, features from other blogs, etc., are used as a “stand in” for original content. They read your blog because they want to see your projects. Obviously, there are only so many hours in a day, and we can only get so much done, so there will be fluff. Just make sure the fluff doesn’t overshadow the original content.
Readers want posts that are easy to read (good grammar), easy on the eyes (left alignment, no excess use of various fonts and colors, quality pictures), filled with just enough quality pictures to get your point across without going overboard on the photos.
Now for those of you who want to read the specifics, here they are in order from most-mentioned to least-mentioned. I’ve only listed the ones that were mentioned two or more times in the 95 comments…
- (10 responses) Bad grammar and spelling to the point it becomes distracting. Overuse of exclamation points was mentioned specifically at least three times.
- (9 responses) Link parties
- (8 responses) Word verification requirements on comments
- (6 responses) Bloggers portraying a “perfect” life, coming across as fake
- (6 responses) Tons of pictures of one project all taken from slightly different angles
- (6 responses) Too many non-original posts
- (6 responses) Boastful bloggers, a “look how talented I am” attitude, a blogger continually stating how much she loves her project
- (5 responses) Having to sign in to comment
- (5 responses) Giveaways that require multiple steps to enter, i.e., comment, “like” on Facebook, tweet, etc.
- (5 responses) Center alignment on posts
- (4 responses) Blogs that claim to be about low cost DIY, but seemingly have an endless cash flow for high dollar projects, handymen, etc.
- (4 responses) “Click to read more” on a blog post
- (3 responses) Constant references to other bloggers, name-dropping, “cliquish” feel
- (3 responses) Giveaways only open to U.S. residents
- (3 responses) Too many contributors and/or guest posts
- (3 responses) Poor photography
- (3 responses) Self-proclaimed blogging experts who establish lists of “do’s” and “don’ts” for other bloggers
- (2 responses) Bloggers who don’t link back to original content or link to their Pinterest page
- (2 responses) Roundup posts
- (2 responses) Overly detailed DIY tutorials
- (2 responses) Project posts with no tutorial
- (2 responses) Self-proclaimed design professionals
- (2 responses) Too much time between posts, or long periods of time off of blogging
- (2 responses) Random fonts and colors through post text
- (2 responses) Monthly sponsor shout-out posts, or post to introduce new sponsors
- (2 responses) Profanity, including acronyms for profanity
- (2 responses) Mobile site that isn’t user-friendly
So, bloggers! What are your thoughts about this rather lengthy list? Can you relate to readers’ pet peeves? Will you be making any changes to your blog after reading this? Share your thoughts!