You are currently browsing the tag archive for blog clutter

April 16, 2009

What Changes Your Mind About Leaving a Blog Comment? Some Criteria

In my article, “What Changes Your Mind About Leaving a Blog Comment,” I talked about some of the issues around debating where and when to leave a blog comment on a blog that hosts information or opinions you don’t support, or is filled with blog clutter, a clue that something isn’t right. About how your comment may be seen to support the blog, and impact your reputation by association.

As I wrote that post, I looked back over all the WTF Blog Clutter articles in the series and realized that many of these issues are ones that impact my willingness to comment on a blog. Sure, they impact my ability to even read the blog, let alone return and tell others, but they also impact my willingness to endorse a blog with a comment.

I started thinking about all the blatant, subjective, and even unconscious reasons that prevent me from leaving a comment on a blog. Here are some of my self-discoveries, most of them associated with various aspects of blog clutter. I’m sure you have more you can add, but these are big clues that this is a blog that doesn’t deserve my participation. read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

April 15, 2009

What Changes Your Mind About Leaving a Blog Comment?

A few minutes ago I followed a trackback to a lovely blog post about one of my blog posts. It was quite complementary and made some good points. I was in the middle of composing a reply when I glanced over to the sidebar and saw the listing of the most recent blog posts featuring what were clearly pay-per-post or sponsored post titles. Ick!

That was my first response. Ick. Yuk. Oooey gooey, as one of my nephews would say.

We’ve talked about a lot of different design detail clutter and distractions in the ongoing series, “WTF Blog Design Clutter“, but we haven’t addressed the issue of perception when it comes to inspiring blog comments and conversation.

It’s true that a lot of people comment on blogs for link bait and Google juice. While that may be true, what is unsaid about the importance of a blog comment is probably the most important consideration when it comes to commenting on blogs: Association by commenting.

A blog comment says you want to participate in the conversation. It says you are interested in the topic. It says you are supportive of the blogger. It says you are who you say you are. It says that the link in your comment form takes the reader to your blog, which should speak well of you and match the quality of the blog you are commenting on. It says you want to be a valuable contributor to the blogosphere and the world of communication. Right?

No? Well, maybe it should. read more

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

December 9, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Ugly Blog Themes

In honor of my ongoing series on WTF Blog Design Clutter, I’d like to celebrate with a Twitter quote from NctrnlBst of Baker’s Hours:

@lorelleonwp where would I be without you? Friends don’t let friends use ugly blog themes. ? LOL

@lorelleonwp I believe the exact words were “coyote butt ugly” lol

Twitter comment from Nctrlbst on friends don't let friends use ugly themes

Just as friends don’t let friends drive drunk, do you have the courage to not let your friends host an ugly blog theme?

In this season of thankfulness, forgiveness, and festival honesty, why not tell your friends their blog designs suck? read more

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

September 29, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Out-of-Control Blogrolls

Save us from the out-of-control blogrolls, lists of links that run on and on and on and on and on and on and on…listing everyone who ever started a blog on the whole planet – well, it feels like it.

Your blogroll links are important in the minds of Google, and they can add or subtract points in your PageRank scores. You better take your blogroll links seriously, ensuring you are linking to blogs that will complement yours as well as complement theirs.

As part of this ongoing series on WTF Blog Design Clutter, let’s take a look at how we are abusing and misusing our blog’s blogrolls. read more

Tags: , , , , ,

September 9, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Your Ad Here

Is your blog filled with “Your Ad Here” titles with empty space all around it? Honestly, WTF?

As part of our ongoing WTF Blog Design Clutter article series, let’s look at people’s attempt to inspire advertisers on their blog, and where it falls down as a design element.

The empty ad space that sits there with the note “Your Ad Here” isn’t very inviting. In fact, it’s just wasted space. If there are no ads there, then there is a lot of wasted space in your blog’s sidebar. read more

Tags: , , , , , ,

September 8, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: The Death of the CAPTCHA

Many say, “It’s about time.” Others are saying, “We told you.” Either way, it’s as official as it gets. Bye-bye WTF blog cluttering CAPTCHAs. According to the Guardian in “How Captcha was foiled: Are you a man or a mouse?”, the CAPTCHA has been proven to not work.

While most of this ongoing series on WTF Blog Clutter has been focused on the blog sidebar and design elements, a big clutter element is the continued use of the CAPTCHA with comments with the misguided belief that it would stop comment spammers. NOT.

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, created to ensure that humans can read the letters and numbers in a way that computers can’t, so automated scripts and bots can’t leave a comment on your blog. Pass the test and you’ve earned the right to comment. Except that the CAPTCHA techniques have been broken and bypassed easily by computers for years. read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

August 29, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Are You Ignoring Your Uncategorized Category?

The WTF Blog Design Clutter continues with a look at your uncategorized category. Have you been ignoring it lately?

Most blogs start life with a single category as an example called “Uncategorized”. I don’t know why or who started it, but it’s a dumb category name, especially if users don’t know they can change it from the start. It could be called General, Topics, Articles, Stories, or a lot of other non-specific labels. Unfortunately, it is Uncategorized and we’re stuck with it.

With more and more people covering their categories and tags into heat maps or clouds, they often choose the design look emphasizes your most popular categories or tags in the largest, most bold font. For many, the word most emphasized in these category clouds is Uncategorized. read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

August 15, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: What to Call Your Feeds and Ads

In Unrelated Ads Angst and Feed Clutter, part of the WTF Blog Design Clutter series, I talked about how to name the ad and feed sections on your blog so your readers and visitors aren’t confused with jargon or misleading representation.

Many of you asked me what title or label should be used to lure your visitors into clicking on your ads and subscribing to your feeds without driving them away or confusing them. Let’s brainstorm some possibilities.

Naming Ad Sections on Your Blog

If you use a misleading title for your advertising or “sponsored” section, you can really upset your readers and visitors when they click through to an ad. That’s a sure way to lose visitors. You need to warn them, but you also need to entice them to click, if your blog is serious about making money.

Like most online advertisers, Adsense is very clear about what you can and cannot do with their ads, including the use of deceptive titles that infer the ads are not ads. You need an honest, transparent, yet motivating title for your ads.

“Visit Our Sponsors” is simple and generic, as is “Our Commercial Recommendations.” You can be blatant with “Advertisements” or “Ad sponsors” as long as that still complies with the terms of service for the advertiser.

What about something more appropriate to your blog’s topic?

If your blog is about cars, why not title them, “Drive Some Business to Our Sponsors.” If your blog is about cats, what about “Our Sponsors are the Cat’s Meow” or “Here Kitty Kitty! Shop Here!”

Contextual ad services require keywords near their ads and on the page, so why not add more by being clever, not deceptive. You cannot imply the links in the ads are publisher-created content, but you can say they are ads or sponsors with some imagination.

You can also color the background or the area around the ads to set them apart but also integrated into the blog’s design to draw the eye towards them without distracting from the content. There are many ways of highlighting your ads without words that helps the visitor recognize them. Research the guidelines the advertiser provides, as some do not allow graphics or design emphasis, and check their top revenue earners to see what they are doing.

Naming Feed Subscriptions on Your Blog

As featured in the article on feed clutter, I cited an article by Copyblogger about changing the title of your feed subscriptions from “Subscribe” to anything else could improve your blog’s subscription rate and help clean up the WTF confusion that term represents. If “subscription” implies payment, then what terms do you use to promote your blog feed?

The answer depends upon your reader’s familiarity with feeds. If they are familiar with feeds and feed readers, then all you need is the feed icon.

If they aren’t, what words can you use to get readers to sign up for your blog feed?

You can use phrases that link to your blog’s feed, or to a Page with a listing of your various feed options. Here are some phrases to consider:

  • Keep up with my blog!
  • Add this blog to your feed reader.
  • Want to know how to keep up with my blog?
  • Track this blog.
  • Follow this blog.
  • Follow me.
  • Frequent Reports and Updates
  • Follow me where I lead…
  • Stay up-to-date

Again, be clever with the phrasing and match it to your blog’s purpose:

  • Cat blog: Track this cat
  • Auto blog: Take a trip with us!
  • Nature/Outdoor blog: Take our hike!
  • Travel blog: Track Our Travels
  • Sailing blog: Chart Our Course With Us
  • Medical/Health blog: Want a daily dose of My Blog?

Use the feed icon to add some visual hint and have fun with the all the possibilities. Got more suggestions?

Tags: , , , , , ,

August 12, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Video and Pictures

As part of the ongoing series on WTF Blog Design Clutter, it’s time to tackle all those videos and pictures you want to share with the world through your blog.

There are two ways of sharing video and pictures with your blog readers and friends. Only one influences your blog’s design.

Example of appropriate use of videos in a blog\'s sidebar, reflecting the blog\'s purpose.

Example of appropriate use of videos in a blog's sidebar, reflecting the blog's purpose.

Typically, pictures and videos are shared through your blog posts as part of your blog’s content. Many bloggers want to share videos and pictures through their blog’s design, typically in the blog’s ever crowded sidebar. Some even want to go so far as forcing videos to start the moment someone lands on the page with the video, a serious no-no on the web. Let the reader choose to initiate the video.
read more

Tags: , , , , , , ,

August 11, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: Where Are You?

We talked about whether or not to show the weather on your blog. Now, it’s time to talk maps in our ongong series on WTF Blog Design Clutter.

Maps have come a long with with the advancements of Google Maps and Yahoo! Maps, especially with the integration of satellite maps and introduction of Google Earth where you can actually see where you are going or want to go. Or where you live. Online maps make the world closer and smaller, and they can make your blog more personal.

Is it important to have a map of where you live or work or play on your blog?
read more

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,