May 16, 2012

Confessions of a Blogger


As a blogger who blogs and reads blogs and tries to be supportive of other bloggers, I have a few confessions to make.

1. I don't understand why anyone would design their blog to be user UN-friendly. For example, making the font tiny or difficult to read in some other way (contrast). I really don't think your main font, that your posts will be published in, should be a script, "handwritten" or in some light color.

I realize I feel this way because I have bad eyes. But the thing is, I'm not the only person in the world who has bad eyes. And when I go to a blog that I can't see, I regretfully have to click away. Why would anyone want that? Wouldn't you rather make it easy for ALL readers to stay and read what you've taken the time and effort to write?

2. Along the lines of #1, I think photos should be published LARGE. I figure if you go to the trouble to include pictures, you want your reader to take notice of them, right? However, don't make them so big that they overflow outside your post area. That just looks unkempt. Which leads me to....

3. I don't enjoy blogs that are really cluttered. It totally distracts me from the post I'm there to read. I have stuff in my sidebar, but I've made sure it's all formatted nicely, flows straight down the page, nothing flashy, scrolling, blinking or makes noise.

4. If I've come, read and enjoyed your blog and decide I want to follow you in some way, I hate having to search for follow buttons. If I can't find them, I can't follow.

You do have follow buttons, right?

5. Speaking of following, I haven't noticed any successful bloggers who aren't on Twitter. If I read a post I really liked, I want to tweet it to tell others about it, but if the blogger isn't on Twitter too, I can't give them credit, thus pointing potential new followers in their direction. This makes me a little sad. By the way, the place I have the most followers? Twitter.

6. I think sidebars should be on the right. This is because we read from left to right. If you decide to have two sidebars, I wish you wouldn't make your middle area, where your posts live, super skinny. Your posts are the meat of your blog, not all the stuff in your sidebars. The sidebar is where you accessorize your blog.

7. It doesn't feel very good when another blogger forgets they agreed to do a guest post for you. It also doesn't feel good when they ignore tweets from the blogger they forgot about. People should try really hard not to do that. If you do forget, admit it and apologize. Basic common courtesy here, people.

Tip: Use a calendar for blogging. Google offers a very nice, handy one for FREE. And, it will email and text you reminders!

8. Word verification/Captcha is really annoying. I'm not one who will refuse to comment on a blog that is still using it because, well, I don't know it's there until after I've typed my comment and once I have already gone to the effort, I'm not just abandoning it. Guess I'm stubborn like that. BUT, the thing is, you don't need to use it. I happen to know that both Blogger and Wordpress have comment spam filtering. They will catch it. I've only ever had ONE comment squeak through that I considered to be spam, and I simply deleted it myself. Not a big deal.



I may be stubborn enough to deal with the captcha and make my comment go through, but that doesn't mean I like it. And I know MANY other people totally HATE it and WILL click away from your blog without leaving a comment because of it.

9. If a blogger wants to write sponsored posts and host giveaways, or even make money with their blog, I'm all for it....as long as this is balanced with what I really love about the blog. I admit, I'm NOT into the blogs that ONLY post reviews and giveaways. Unless of course they're hosting a giveaway I'd like to enter. Speaking of which, you should totally enter blog giveaways! You have a much better chance of winning them than the big sweepstakes on larger, corporate websites. I can attest to this, as I've won more than a few cool things through blog giveaways.

10. The number one thing I look for in a blog is authenticity. When I can tell that the blogger is representing their true self, I have the utmost respect. A sense of humor is a close second. Third is finding something I can relate to. Maybe it will only be one post. But that's something, right?

Would you add anything to my list?



120 comments:

  1. It's absolutely ok you said these things! They are all so very true!!!!

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    1. Oh good! I don't want to offend anyone.

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  2. this is a fantastic list. I still consider myself a newbie with so much to learn..especially tech issues. The whole word verification thing drives me freaking insane!

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    1. I just expect technological stuff to work!

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  3. Yes yes yes! I'd add music. Please for the love of wine, turn off the autoplay music. I cannot stand when I click to a blog and their music starts blaring and scares the heck out of me. I blog surf a lot in the middle of the night when I have insomnia. Music blasting at me does not help my insomnia!

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    1. I'm glad I haven't come across many with music!

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    2. Nope, I totally agree with all of these! I'd also add for people to please turn off the music! I share plenty of music on my page, but I never have it on auto-play. Nice to meet you by the way!

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  4. I feel the same about all of these. I care more about the writing/content of a blog than design. If I like the person and their voice, I don;t care what their blog looks like.

    Being on twitter and the facebook is a must if you want more than 12 people to read you.

    Also, I like your blog a lot. I was honored to guest post.

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    1. I am honored that you like my blog - thank you!

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  5. I agree with most of these, particularly #4. Nothing worse than finding a good blog that you can't figure out how to follow.

    I somewhat disagree with you on #6. My blog has sidebars on both sides (curious if you think the posts are difficult to read). As a lefty, I tend to read things backwards. I also look to the left first. I guess that's why I compromised with the sidebars on each side.

    Overall, though, the blog needs to be clean and easy to read.

    Great post!

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    1. I think your blog is pretty nice looking. For me, having bad eyes, your post font is kinda tiny. I can see it, but I have to try.

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  6. yes it's ok you've said these things out loud and i agree with every bit of it except for MAYBE the twitter. some folk really only blog to get stuff out of their head... but yes, you're spot on. great post. :) and have i mentioned yet that i love the new look around here? cuz i do.

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    1. Yes, yes, you're right. If someone isn't at all interested in readers or community they don't necessarily need to be on Twitter.

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    2. My contention would be that if someone is only "blogging" to get stuff out of their head, then they're not blogging, they're journaling, and they should just keep it to themselves and quit cluttering up the internet. That might seem brutal, but some of the stuff out there really does not need to be out there.

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  7. Well the only one listed I have broken is the side bar on both sides. I tried to make sure it didn't over power the middle though. I love this post, everything is so true. My problem with captcha is I comment and then leave, by the time the captcha pops up it's too late, I am gone and don't wanna have to go back and retype my comment.

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  8. I agree with your list. I also agree with the music comment. I am not sure how many I am guilty of, but I know I am breaking at least one. Well, expect for the Twitter (and Facebook) one.

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    1. Well, these are just my opinions, not rules.

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  9. Awesome advice for beginner (and advanced) bloggers. Sometimes we have a tendency to get focused in on all the little sidebars and widgets and colorful things that we forget the real purpose: our writing. Now to find your follow button so I can return for your next post...

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    1. Hope you found 'em up there right at the top!

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  10. Agree that captcha SUCKS! It is pretty darn annoying. Your other advice is good too, and in fact, I'm going to be working coming up on revamping the design of my blog, so your thoughts were helpful, thanks!

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    1. Well I'm very glad I could be helpful!

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  11. This is such a great post! And if I were making confessions, I'd make many of the same ones. I think the most important thing to remember is that you should be courteous and respectful and MINDFUL of your readers and potential readers.

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  12. Agreed!! Captcha should be outlawed!!

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  13. Agree! Now I have to go check mine to see what I am doing wrong :)

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    1. Not "wrong", maybe just not what I would do ;-)

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  14. Hmmmm..... I've never left a comment for myself on my blog, so, I don't even know if I have Captcha. I have a twitter account, but, I, uh, don't know how to link my blog to it. And I definitely don't know if anyone can follow my blog either. Duh? I started my blog 3 months ago because some of my friends suggested it, but I am still learning.
    I'm guilty about the sidebar being on the left. I'll try it out on the right this weekend.
    Thanks

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    1. I went to your blog and noticed you in fact do not have any ways to follow you. Even your Twitter button is broken :-(. Let me know if I can be of any help1

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  15. Captcha and having to put in your name and email and website too. If I have to jump through hoops to connect with another blogger the relationship is already unbalanced.

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  16. I feel the same, but you have the guts to voice it. Thanks sistah! ;)

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  17. Ah, I agree with these! I HATE captcha. Tis the commenting devil.

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  18. I agree with you on all of this. The small fonts for the blog posts especially. Between work and blogging I spend probably 10 - 12 hours a day looking at a computer screen. Plus at least another hour on my tablet reading ebooks. Some days the eye strain makes me feel ill.

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  19. LOVE this :) ... I agree with so, so, so much of it ... I actually came to your blog through Yeah Write and I went to several other blogs where I was annoyed by many of the things you listed above ...

    I don't Tweet ... but ... I think you may have convinced me to join twitter just from this blog post ... I was already thinking about it ... and I think you pushed me over that line ...

    :)

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  20. Hi Jennifer.
    I agree with every single one of these, except perhaps number 6. Personally, I don't care where people put their sidebars. However, I strongly STRONGLY agree with numbers 8 and 10. Did I say strongly? Cause I meant Strongly. hehe

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  21. Great list and I agree with many of these!!!

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  22. i love #10 - that's really what makes a difference to me. being honest and true to your voice - even if you're exploring what that means - makes me want to read and follow more than anything else. :)

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    1. Yeah, cuz I think blogging should mostly be about sharing stories, perspectives, the journey, ya know? Sure, throw some other stuff in if you want, but keep it real!

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  23. Great list! Couldn't agree more on all counts!

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  24. Absolutely you can say it! honest feedback makes us all strive to be better!
    will definitely have to keep these in mind for my next over-haul.
    Am guilty of scrolling things -- but it's such a space saver that I might have to just let that one go and hope it doesn't annoy too many readers.

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  25. I hate word verification too. Drives me nuts. And I'm like you--I prefer authentic blogs written by people I can relate to and would probably friend if they lived here.

    {And I still feel SO BAD about the time I had my dates mixed up to guest post. Ack! But I know we smoothed it out so I won't feel badly anymore. I know you're not talking about me b/c I totally acknowledged my tweets, lol!}

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  26. This is such a great post, I agree with all your points. The small font, script or light colored font is my personal pet peeve along with too much clutter. Maybe they are worried too much about design or being artsy but we all know, content is king, especially if you have a blog!!! Not being on twitter is really weird as well but probably because I love it so much :)

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  27. Oh my gosh…someone FINALLY said something about the small font. I won't read it either, although I'm trying to be nice here on Yeah Write because I play fair. But really, if I have to squint to see the blog…forget it. I feel so relieved now! Thank you for your post.

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    1. I'm so glad so many people agree with me about the fonts!

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  28. As a new blogger, I totally loved this post. I think I'm doing okay with most of your points, but will think about increasing the font size. I'm really struggling with photos, but more in the taking of them than in posting them. And I really, really need to create a header. Sigh! So much to learn, but your post makes much of it easier!
    Discovered you via SITS Girls ;)

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  29. Okay, you're going to hate me for saying this but backgrounds like yours tend to bother me. My eyes keep gravitating towards the background and not on your fabulous content. It's loud (even in black & white) and just...messy to me. A plain white background all around makes it easy on the eyes and lets readers focus on your content. I believe in simple designs, not frilly ones. Just my two cents. =)

    Oh, and I also can't stand poor grammar on blogs. We all make mistakes at times but if posts are littered with errors I'm inclined to click off as quickly as possible.

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    1. I agree with you about grammar. If someone is going to blog, that implies they know how to write. Or at least it should be a safe assumption. But it's not. I can't tell you how many blogs I have seen that contain tons of grammatical errors. Even some major sites! I have told my daughter many times that I can't believe how many people there are out there that are getting PAID to write, and they can't even write a grammatically correct post! Sometimes they're not even that coherent. One of the negatives of the web...anyone can start a blog or website without having any talent, not to mention skill using the English language.

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  30. Since you praised the spam filter on blogger, I took my captcha off, at least I think I did. I always hate it on other peoples as well but wasn't sure if I'd get spammed a bunch if I took it off. So I'm taking your (and robots) word for it.

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    1. Well gosh, then I hope it works well for you!

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  31. Great post! I agree with most of your points, but the Captcha issue. In the past I have received several hateful comments which I would never want to put on my blog, not even for a second. So to me it seems that the on,y way to manage it is by keeping the word verification turned on.
    P.S.: I am here visiting from Sharefest

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    1. Captcha and comment moderation are two different things. You can turn off captcha (word verification) and still moderate your comments through email. You don't have to publish the hateful comments.

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  32. Such good tips! I agree with these so much. Since I'm still a bit of a newbie, I'm always up for blogging tips!
    Also? I really don't like going to a post where the opening line is, "Today I was going to blog about this, but instead I wrote this." I don't need to know what you were going to write about, I'm here to see what you did write! Maybe that's a silly one, but I'd rather read posts with strong starts and finishes.

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  33. This is a great post. I'm working behind the scenes to revamp my blog for January 1. One question...if we read left tonright wouldn't putting the sidebar on the right give it more emphasis? I have mine on the left because I'm thinking their eyes will move right and stay there (with the content).

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    1. If you want your blog to be search-engine friendly, putting your content versus sidebar, on the left first is better, as search engine spiders crawl content from left to right.

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  34. I found your post mentioned on SITS! What a well written post filled with great advice.

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  35. I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate Captcha. I've had to try multiple times to comment because apparently I'm not human enough to read the increasingly impossible to read words and pictures!

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  36. I think I've passed your test.
    And such a good test it is.
    I've never heard anyone else mention about font/contrast, but that totally bugs me! One of my fav't blogs is white on black, and it totally screws with my vision for what seems like hours after. I always feel like she's played some cruel trick on me, like maybe she hypnotized me or something. I'll find myself in a store advertised by her blog later and I'm all like, wtf?

    Anyway, thanks for a great post! If you ever find yourself with some free time on your hands, mosey on over to my site and tell me if it passes muster (whatever the hell muster is)...

    Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com)

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  37. I've been feeling a bit defeated lately with my blog and what I'm doing. After reading this post I have to admit that I feel much better. I passed everything on your test (with flying colors) except maybe having a dark font. Mine is sort of a gray and it looks lovely with my design so maybe that will excuse it. :o) Thank you for your honesty and humor. My day is off to a good start...I'm going now to follow you on Twitter! BTW...I cannot read the blogs with a dark or black background. I feel terrible when I click on one and have to leave. Why do bloggers do that?

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  38. Thank you for these tips - i'm still learning the blogging game and i appreciate posts like this!

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  39. Love it! Thank for for sharing and being so honest, that seems hard to come across these days. Everything made perfect sense to me and it is actually what I found when doing research! I'll be back!!

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  40. I also hate those pop up ads (win 1000 points to something I don't understand) or anything that hangs out in front of the content and I have to spend extra time to figure out how to move it or shut it off.

    Great article!

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  41. Love this post! It is all so true! The only one I might add would be those annoying pop up ads that come up on some sites. I found you on SITS and am your newest Twitter follower!

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  42. Great checklist. I've been blogging for a while but am still guilty (now I'm confessing) of a couple of these. Time to do some blog penance. : )

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  43. YES YES YES YES YES! AND YES!
    I HATE CAPTCHA TOO!

    :)

    But... I am guilty. I have two sidebars. Haha.

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  44. Absolutely agree!
    I would add to make your blog "mobile friendly." Lots read on a phone or other device...and it's hard if it isn't mobile friendly, though it certainly is NOT a priority over the other stuff.

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  45. Fanfreakingtastic post!! I LOVED IT!! :) You totally nailed it all. Great job!

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  46. Wonderful post!! I absolutely agree with it all! I aim for authenticity and writing more than anything else...content will always be priority as a writer. All the extra bells and whistles take away from the actual blogger and what he/she is gifted in, and that should be ultimately writing. :)

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  47. This was wonderful! Thanks for all the great tips!

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  48. To me Twitter is like walking down a Midway at a carnival with all the barkers - dropped it a long time ago and none the worse off for it

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  49. Fantastic post and I agree with all of your points. I have bad eyes, too, so if text is hard to read I often have to copy/paste into a Word doc. But it's an extra step I don't always feel like taking. And agreed with the posts being the "meat" of the blog. They should stand out; not all the junk in the sidebars.

    Stopping by from SITS!

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  50. Hopped over from SITS! Great list..I've only been blogging for a year and I keep tweeking my site..so I love to hear different opinions about what others would like :)
    Blessings!

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  51. I agree with everything you said! I just had my blog redesigned and I think my cursive titles may have to be changed! Dropping by from Sits

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  52. I didn't even realize my blog had captcha. Apparently when Blogger switched to the new version, captcha became the default. If you use Blogger you can check your blog to see if you have Word Verification by going to SETTINGS and then to POSTS AND COMMENTS and scroll down to "SHOW WORD VERIFICATION." To turnoff just answer "NO."

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  53. AMEN to all of this!! Especially big photos, sidebar on the right side and not having a skinny middle content section. And CAPTCHA goes without saying.

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  54. Agreed.

    I really don't like blogs that are cluttered. My blog is like my house - streamlined and as clutter-free as possible. And I definitely agree that the sidebar should be on the right. And I HATE word verification. Half the time I can't even figure out what the letters are so I have to try several times. Really annoying.

    As far as guest posting, on the flip side, it's really discouraging to work hard on a guest post and then have the blog you wrote for not get around to posting your article because they got busy and didn't get around to it. Not cool.

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  55. I agree with every single thing in this post! hate captcha (anyone else get embarrassed when they get it wrong?) I probably won't even try to read a blog using hand writing style fonts, and if your blog makes my eyes hurt (or has noises in the background) skip! great comments for people to think about for they're own blogs, now I'm going to take another look over my own and make sure I'm following all of these rules too!

    ~Sara

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  56. This was a helpful post! Really enjoyed your to-the-point writingstyle :)
    Just checked my blog and found out I had word verification on.. Annoying it is automatically turned on! Now it's turned off and I added a follow button.
    Think that was all my blog was lacking haha

    Xx

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  57. Ow and one thing what I find annoying:
    noisy or busy backgrounds, just keep it clean and readable!

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  58. Amen, about the captcha's I thought I was just plain stupid because I can't get any of them right. I agree with you, authenticity is so important. And unfortunately in the journey of being authentic you will offend. As i gain and lose followers all the time. It's the nature of the beast. You have to be true to yourself or else what are you really doing. Just being someone else? Lesley

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  59. I love that you said these things - I agree with all of them.

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  60. My two biggest pet peeves are Captcha and music that auto plays when you load the blog. No, no, no!

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  61. I totally agree with sidebars on the right...that's the reader in me.

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  62. Great post and I agree with you about the Captcha. HATE THAT! I also love your comment around authenticity. I think that is what blogging is all about.

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  63. What a great post! I have been looking for new "blog how-tos" and this just came up at exactly the right time. I know what you mean about cluttered. I also hate blogs that are too BRIGHT and clashy. It makes my eyes hurt. Anyway, thanks for the great post!

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  64. I agree with all of these, and would like to music playing automatically, and pop-ups. Nothing worse than reading a post and having a window pop up in the middle or music screaming at me while I am getting in some 'quiet' time with my kids in bed.

    I found you via SITS, and glad I did!

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  65. I can't stand when blogs use hard to read font. It may look pretty, but it's such a turn-off for any reader, regardless of how good or bad your eyes are. I don't want to have to stare at a word while trying to distinguish one letter from another.

    I also hate when videos or video ads start up right away.

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  66. Great list Jennifer and good pointers to be mindful of! Stopping by from SITS :)

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  67. as a new blogger, I really appreciate this list. And like someone waay up this comment list said, I don't know how to tell what exactly other people see. I, too, agree with all you say and try to accomplish these things, but formatting is the hardest part for me. But I've been enjoying the blogging adventure!
    Thanks for this post!

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  68. Thanks for all the great info - as a rookie blogger it is very helpful. Luckily I'm on the right path with most of this ... except twitter. I'm not sure why I'm avoiding the whole twitter thing :) I better get on that!

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  69. Excellent list. I can relate to so many of them. I agree with you that it is so important to make yourself accessible for a follower. Twitter is a great social media tool. It's also my largest group of followers too. = ) I also think people need to have accounts with facebook and google+, they both make such a difference in gaining readers. And a little secret, I am not sure why so many haven't realized but Google+ has got a lot of things being developed and is going to really benefit a blogger in the future. Bloggers should jump on this.

    Irish
    Dedicated2life.com

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  70. This is a great list! I think I'm already following these for the most part--I don't have twitter though. I think I just don't understand it yet. And yeah, I probably won't understand it till I actually try it...but I've been pretty reluctant to get on board. I get the impression that it's more for people with smart phones or otherwise portable internet...I only have internet when I'm at home, so I'd rather just blog or post on facebook...
    but probably someday I'll have to get into Twitter.

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  71. I love this post. Didn't realize how much I hated captcha until I started commenting on other people's blog...then I removed it from mine.

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  72. thank you i hate captcha too its so annoying! I once visited this blog with music and omg i didnt liked it at all. another one i understand they want to make money but if all i see is reviews and giveaways i get out. i like blogging cause i like to see what others do or create but too mucg is too much. i love ur list thanks u

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  73. Awesome list! Very practical, spot on, and positive~

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  74. I'm in agreement. Except I don't Twitter, mainly because I don't have time to get sucked in to it.

    And although Captcha and Word Verification are annoying...here is what is even more annoying:

    When there is no name/url option to "Comment As."

    As someone with a stand-alone Wordpress site, I don't have a Wordpress Account. Nor am I linked up with AIM, LiveJournal, Typepad, OpenID or any of the other options. So I can cannot comment on your blog, if there is no name/url option.

    And like you say, the spam filters are pretty good so why not allow stand-alone Worpdress bloggers the chance to share the comment love???

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  75. Great post - All points I absolutely agree with!
    Great that your post was featured on SITS!
    x

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  76. Wow! This is a nice post. Thanks it is a big help especially for someone like me who is just starting in the world of blogosphere.

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  77. I'm with you girl! Being a graphic artist, I have a tendency to worry a lot about aesthetics. If your blog is ugly (can I use that word? lol) it sort of takes away from the content. I mean no one wants to eat a $30 steak on a paper plate right? ;)
    Great piece!

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  78. Whew! I think I came out of your list basically unscathed, EXCEPT…I'm not on twitter. I know! I know! It's just that I'm REALLY afraid that it will suck whatever time I have left that I don't fritter away checking facebook and email. It's a problem. I'm forgetting how to be human. I keep looking for the refresh button on my toddler. PROBLEM.

    Does anyone have hints on how to balance all your social media outlets? Is there any way I can survive twitter? Help a lady out, y'all.

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  79. Your list pretty much sounds like my list that I sometimes want to yell at people.

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  80. Great tips! I have one more to add - when blogs don't have a Name/URL option in their comment as list, chances are I won't comment no matter how much I liked the post. Most times I end up checking blogs on my phone, and if I have to jump through hoops to comment....

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  81. Love your list. I have bad eyesight, too, and if I can't read it I click away. See also "snow" and other so-called-cute things that fall down the page across the text... :-)

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  82. Yes - I have to agree with your entire list!

    Going with a couple comments above, I'd include that I prefer blogs that allow me to use the Name/URL option when I comment.

    Stopping in from SITS!

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  83. love the list! And agree with OneMommy the name/url option makes a huge difference! hate having to log-in with google or aim. Drives me crazy (it also doesn't always work right the first time).

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  84. That's very true! I agree to everything you've list down in here.

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  85. Love the list. I never realized how much #6 bothered me until you mentioned it. Keep em on the right!!! lol

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  86. Great list. I don't like the captcha thing either cause I can NEVER READ THE DARN THING!!! I am on Twitter (and have the most followers there),however, I don't have a button on my blog. Why? I'm not sure...I couldn't figure it out is my first guess, and I never tried again. My blog auto feeds on Twitter. And just to get this one off my chest...I couln't connect my blog FB page on the blog either...just my personal one. Sorry! You didn't ask for ALL that. :)

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  87. I also hate, hate music on a blog! Especially when it auto plays, how am I going to look at that while I'm supposed to be working on a spreadsheet?

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  88. One of my pet peeves is comment moderation. I'm glad to see you don't use it.

    I just don't understand the need to moderate comments. Anything that would be really offensive is going to get flagged. I get very annoyed when I take the time to leave a comment and then I am told that my comment will be "approved" after being moderated.

    I guess what I would like is a disclaimer that says above the comment section: "Comments will be moderated." Then I simply wouldn't bother to leave a comment. I want to know that if I take the time to leave a comment, that my comment is left!

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  89. Stopping by from SITS. I couldn't add a thing. Number 4 is a huge pet peeve of mine.

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  90. Oh, and that sign in is an old blog. Google and I are duking it out over my sign in.

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  91. I agree with all of those. Especially those damn Captcha things. Ugh! lol Stopping by from SITS

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  92. Visiting through the SITS girls and I totally agree 1005 with all of this. Especially the darn captcha!!! Oh and twitter.....it's the best. Get on it already people! :)

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