10 Bad Blogging Habits to Avoid

 

1.  Apologizing for how much more important your life is than your stupid blog.

Readers already know that everyone’s life is more important than their blogs.  Readers are aware that life trumps  blog writing, especially for those blog writers who are writing for fun and social reasons and who aren’t professional writers.  They will forgive you without your constant apologizing.  When every post you write contains some excuse for why you haven’t written in so long it diminishes the quality of whatever else you have to say.  And if every other post is nothing but an apology or explanation about how your life is too important to pause and tell us interested readers what you’re up to, don’t write at all.

2.  Suggesting that blogging is a self indulgent narcissistic activity.

If you feel this way, you should not write a personal blog.  If you put down your own blog writing as a shameful immodest navel-gazing waste of time – you also insult your readers, many of whom are also bloggers.  You make your readers, whoever they are, feel that they are wasting their time reading your blog and worse than that you make them aware that you think you’re better than them.  Would you accuse Steinbeck of being self indulgent for writing “Of Mice and Men”?  Writing is, by it’s very nature, is an introspective art.  Every writer sees through the lens of their own personal experience and all their stories have their germ in the writer’s personal life.  A blog is telling your personal stories, if you don’t respect it, don’t do it.

3.  Being a tease who never puts out.

There are few things worse than a blogger who tells you how much they’re not telling you.  You’re reading their story, you’re interested, they reveal something personal, then they tell you that there are all these details they’re leaving out because it’s too personal to share.  Fuck you.  If you don’t want to share something, don’t share it, but also don’t tell us how much you’re not sharing.  What that does is basically inform your readers that they aren’t good enough to be in your inner circle where all your REAL secrets live.  Congratulations for truly wasting our time and making us feel like a bunch of oily sardines.

4.  Accosting your readers with your music.

The trend for setting up music to turn on automatically when your blog loads is easing up but there are still way too many bloggers who don’t understand how rude automatic music is.  When a reader opens up a blog they are essentially bringing you into their home.  They may have chosen to read your blog but they did not choose to listen to your music.  You forced it on them and while you may think listening to Michael Bolton is the best part of every day, I assure you that many will not agree.  Go ahead and set up your music jukebox but make it mute so that when people come to your blog they can choose to turn it on if they like your play list but will not be blasted with it.

 

5.  Telling us how boring you are.

Nothing kills a reader’s interest faster than a blogger who constantly apologizes for being boring.  If you actually do think you’re boring, don’t write.  If you don’t think you’re boring but you worry that others do, keep it to yourself.  If you think you’re being charmingly honest – you’re not.  Nothing is less charming or disingenuous than a writer constantly apologizing for their writing.  Believe me, if you write a blog for long enough you’ll have something real to apologize for and you want people to actually believe you when you mean it.

6.  Ignoring comments.

Don’t ignore your readers.  It’s insulting.  Especially when they are reaching out to you after you’ve revealed something really personal and painful and they want to give you their warmest thoughts and hopes to help support and uplift you.  Nothing will confirm you as a truly self indulgent and self absorbed writer than ignoring the people who reach out to you because they care about you.  Blogging, at its best, is a communal sort of writing.  You tell your stories and people who read them and are moved (whether in a positive or negative way) have the chance to make a conversation out of it.  If you don’t take part in the conversations you start then you may as well declare yourself the Queen of England.

7.  Whoring yourself out.

I am not of the opinion that it is inauthentic to have ads on your blog.  My personal take is that your ads should never speak more loudly than your content.  A blog whose writing columns are narrower than the ad columns is not a pleasant place to be.  Sponsored content isn’t my personal deal but I’ve seen people do it tastefully.  You are not a whore for trying to make money from your blog.  It’s damn hard for writers to make a living and I cheer on anyone who makes a go of it provided they don’t over do it.  What’s over doing it?  If you have giveaways every week, especially more than one a week, and if you have sponsored content every week – you lose my trust in your authenticity.  Choose your advertising tactics with care.  If anyone is curious – my own ads don’t make me more than $2 a month so far (and that’s up from $0).  I’d love to make more.  Money is good.  Making money from writing is awesome.  It’s my main goal in life – to be paid to write, because I’M A WRITER.  Just don’t ever lose sight of the quality of your content.

8.  Telling poop stories.

The blogging platform allows all women (not just professional writers) to share the stories that matter to them with other women all over the world.  This has created a greater sense of community and shared knowledge and support amongst us all.   Unfortunately the new-found freedom to talk about anything real in our lives – like the fact that parenting involves a lot of diaper changing – has created some distressing trends in women writers.  I don’t know why it is, but telling stories about your baby’s poop is a great favorite on mom blogs and it has become an exhausted topic.  There are no revelations left to share on this topic.  The humor really isn’t there either.  Just stop it.  Same goes for snot and spit-up and projectile ANYTHING.  Stop it.  There are other ways to “keep it real” in your writing.  Find them.

9.  Telling readers what a burden your blog is.

This is similar to telling your readers that your life is more important than your blogging is, except it’s worse because now you’re suggesting that you don’t even like it.  If you have any readers (and most blogs, even tiny ones, have at least a few readers) they come to hear your stories because they’re interested and they probably really like you.  Otherwise they wouldn’t waste their time on you.  When you talk about what a burden your blog is and how you don’t even enjoy it, it’s like having sex with someone and then telling them that having sex just isn’t worth the effort.  No one wants to feel like they aren’t worth the effort.  If you find blogging a burden, don’t do it.  Quit your blog.  But don’t tell your readers they weren’t worth it, just tell them you’ve discovered that blogging isn’t your true calling.

10.  Being an asshole tightwad with your blogroll.

Do you have a blogroll?  If you blog you should have a blog roll.  Sharing the link love may not be required but other bloggers notice.  Other bloggers make up a large proportion of most blog readers.  Not having a blog roll is like saying you’re too important to share your readers with anyone else.  Some of the biggest  bloggers with insanely high traffic have blog rolls because they know that sharing the love is part of what makes the blogging world a largely generous and diverse place to spend time.  So don’t be a tightwad with your connections.

Bottom Line:

Don’t make your readers feel stupid, creepy, unwanted, inferior, or that they wasted their time reading your blog.

6 comments

  1. angelina says:

    I’ve been formulating this list in my head for quite some time and it was finally ready to put down today. It’s such a relief and I’m glad you agree! I have committed several of these bad blogging habits at one point or another in my 5 years of blogging but it wasn’t until I started reading blogs for a living that these bad habits really started hitting me in the face. That’s what happens when you read 150 to 20o blog posts a day!

  2. Yup, you’ve got my vote.

    I have done the “tease” thing a couple of times in the last 6 months but not because I didn’t want to share.. just because I needed to process the emotions, which is what those posts were, before I could decide what details I felt comfortable sharing. Even so I sort of hated writing those posts and nearly left both of them unpublished for pretty much the reason you have stated but I needed support at that point more than I needed to be a good bloggy citizen.

    You also have my absolute undying gratitude if your post convinces anyone to turn of their “auto play list” as that one has to be my biggest bug bear, with “I’m to busy to ever acknowledge your comment” a very close second.

    Kind Regards
    Belinda

  3. angelina says:

    It’s in the quality of the presentation. You alluded to life changing around you but didn’t say “SOMETHING HUGE HAS HAPPENED THAT I AM NOT GOING TO TELL YOU.” Sometimes a mild tease is okay too like alluding to news coming up that you will be sharing but can’t at the moment – that implies that your readers will be in on the news/secret as soon as you’re able to share it. People understand that. It’s when bloggers say things like “I broke up with my boyfriend and then a bunch of stuff happened that’s really awful and will change my life forever but it’s too personal to share on a public blog” because that says that lots of important parts of the story you’re telling are never going to be known to your readers. It’s obviously okay to have things you don’t want to share publicly and obviously it’s okay to withhold details – the trick is to not tell your readers there’s juicy stuff they’ll never know.

    I’m pretty sure every blogger has been guilty of some of these things. I have!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *