Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blogging Pet Peeves and Sound Advice! Eh, What's YOURS?


So, recently I was asked to write an article for the Prairie Wind, which is the online newsletter of the SCBWI IL Chapter. My article was all about blogging and what I've learned along the way, entitled: Ma’am, Put Down the Laptop and Step Away from the Blog! Okay, well...I thought it catchy! Anyway, it was great to share with others what I've learned about blogging as well as share the knowledge of such great writer/bloggers as Cynthia Leitich Smith, Elana Johnson, Shelli Johannes-Wells and sisters, Lisa and Laura Roecker.

My question: What are your blogging tips? Don't be shy either! You don't have to have been blogging every day for the last four years or have six gazillion followers to have great insight. Now if you’re still too bashful to give your two cents, than tell us what bugs you about blogs you've been on recently, obviously don't name the blogs that bug you--but tell us what bugs you about them! It can be very helpful to other bloggers, just hearing what you don't like! Please though, don't say anything bad about my blog, you will hurt mine its feelings! Ha, ha! ;) 

Here's what I'm talking about: About two months back I had a reader comment that my blog (black background at the time) was super hard on her eyes. It never hurt mine, but I starting asking my friends and they ALL agreed the black background and light font did a number on their retinas! Gah! I had no idea! It never bothered me a bit, but apparently it's killer on everyone else's eyeballs! So there's my tip--ditch the dark colors! Trust me, I know it's hard, it's like shaving your head or something, but think of all the visits to the eye doc you'll be saving your readers!

So, what's your blogging tip, trick or big fat no-no?

xoxo -- Hilary

50 comments:

  1. The colors don't bother me that much. It's harder for me to read when there are a lot of different fonts or the words aren't the same size. But, I can deal with it.

    A big, fat no-no for me is to talk about religion or politics. Those subjects tend to get way too out of control and I don't want to tick anyone off, so it's better to avoid them.

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  2. Don't have sound on your blog - it always startles me and turns me off.

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  3. Lol, I know what you mean about the black backgrouns. It's taken me a while to realize that just because it's pretty, it doesn't mean it's readable.
    Um. I don't really have advice, but I know a pet peeve--when people really, really bash somebody else. It's one thing to go after a practice or even an idea, but there are a couple blogs I've read that shred people or specific books apart. It can be a tad sickening. :/

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  4. My biggest peeve is when I follow a new blogger, they have, say less than 30 followers, they have angst, I give them helpful (or what I think is helpful) advice and they don't acknowledge my, or anyone else's comments.

    If I've taken the time to read them, then follow them, then try to help them, the least they could do is say Thank You.

    How do they expect to get any more followers if they don't respond?

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  5. For me, it's comment verification--especially when you comment, hit publish, and go to move on before realizing that the page wasn't refreshing with your comment on it, but so that you could type in a string of letters. >.< I used to lose comments I'd made this way.

    I agree about the black backgrounds. They are beautiful and elegant, but I can't read on them no matter how much I love the person.

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  6. I'm not fond of super busy blogs that are loaded with every gadget known in the bloggerverse. I'm not big on angst and whiny (there is plenty of that in the YA books). Give me some insight, open up a new door for me and be entertaining if you can.

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  7. Bermudaonion wrote what I was going to -- don't have sound on your blog. Or if you must, have a mute button or on/off switch handy!

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  8. I don't like blogs (or websites for that matter) that are too busy. I've spent a few days cleaning up my sidebar and posting pages for some of my links.

    White backgrounds don't bore me! They're easy to read, and I like easy to read fonts.

    I don't think the blogger should reply to every single post, but they should make an attempt to acknowledge comments. It takes a minute to write something, so it's always nice to know someone is paying attention. I just think it's polite to pop in and say, "hi, I hear what you're saying!"

    I have to agree with everyone above: if I want drama and angst, I'll talk to a teenager. ;-D

    I will say that being a blogger has helped me become a better writer and I love going around and reading everyone's blogs. If I can't make a specific comment, I lurk, but I do try and post something every now then!

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  9. LONG POSTS.

    There should be a cut off or something. I hate when posts just go on and on. Especially when there's no white space to break it up. I end up skimming it and then I feel bad. :o(

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  10. Short and sweet, I am in agreement there. I always enjoy humor, anything involving a bathroom..... need I say more? :O)

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  11. I'm not a blogger so advice would be helpful. I agree that too long posts are hard to read. I tend to skim them because I work in the day and have to work at night.

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  12. Congratulations for getting to write an article for SCBWI IL.

    I don't like when people leave comments that are only to promote their blogs. Big paragraphs make my eyes glaze over. I can read it on a page, but not as easily on the computer. I hate when the comment has to be approved. I don't know why, I just want to see it. Small paragraphs with spaces in between, changes in font, and posts that don't go much over 1000 words are the best.

    Apparently, I have a lot of opinions!

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  13. I'll repeat a couple of don't's - dark backgrounds are soooo hard on my eyes - loooong posts (we're all busy) - total self promotion

    I do like fun, friendly people who are genuinely interested in other people

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  14. Dark backgrounds are difficult, I like this new one of yours much better! I don't know of anything that engenders as much commenting as a post about blogging itself, probably because it's relatively new and we're all learning the rules. Music, busy backgrounds, too many contests and contest links-- I guess I'm a minimalist!

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  15. Don't bash anything; a book, an author, a movie. I'm not saying you can't say you didn't like something. State why you don't like it and move on. When a blog initiates a bashing, then the commenters jump on the band wagon and the next thing you know, you've offended people.

    There is a tasteful polite way of saying you don't like something. There is a very popular blog that bashed something I love and I deleted myself as a follower.

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  16. Posts that are political and too long are hard for me to pay attention to. I enjoy reading snippets of wips even if they are longer than normal blog posts. I don't like it when music happens when I go to a blog. I read blogs at night when my hubby is watching TV...noise, not so good. If a blog is consistently about posts/contests on other blogs as the main post each day...not so interesting...I love links, but as an add on not as the whole post. (But maybe I'm wierd.)

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  17. Your article at Praire Wind is informative and helpful! I've blogged for four months and now need some time management. So I started a structure this week but still wasn't sure how to handle comments. Thanks for the tips.
    I have one blog I follow regularly that does have music, and it fits the blogs creative content nicely. But I do agree that on most blogs the music can be a distraction. And slow loading blogs are frustrating.

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  18. Sound drives me banana bonkers on blogs. Bad news!

    BTW- The blurb from Rick Riordan for Nightshade City is totally awesome! I can't wait for your book to come out!

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  19. I have a couple:
    If you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all (old tip from Mom).

    I love short fun posts (I should probably take my own advice). =)

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  20. ...I feel it's a common courtesy to at the very least, acknowledge fresh comments with a thank you, or a quick hop over to their blog to show a little appreciation.
    There is no better feeling than realizing that a peer has been to your blog and actually cared enough to read your handiwork. Re-paying the honor is the least anyone could do:)

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  21. Short and sweet for me too! Also, I personally like pictures along with posts.

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  22. It's all been said. Dark background, music. It'd be nice too if everyone had their email available. That way I can respond to a commment more personally through an email.

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  23. Yes! I totally agree with everyone! Long posts drive me nuts! I don't have that kind of time, not to mention I have the attention span of a gnat!

    When I wrote this post I didn't even think of bashing on blogs! Uck! I read blogs like that and suddenly I'm in a bad mood, so I stay far away from that type of thing.

    Elliot, totally agreed on the commenting. As writers, I feel like we live in a community and need to be supportive of one another as much as we can!

    Oh, and music! I can't tell you how it scares the heck out me some times! I never expect it! Of note: music downloading does slow down your blog page load time, so just another technical thing to be aware of (like you didn't have enough already)!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  24. super long posts (unless they're funny), music or too many WIP excerpts.

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  25. I will second both the black-background thing and the sound thing. Especially when I can't figure out how to turn the blog-song off!

    I like when a blog-author has a picture of themselves in their profile. Then again, I don't have a pic of me in my blog yet - I should really get on that :)

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  26. I love the title of your article by the way! Totally cute!

    What I like least is when a blogger acts like the know all of everything writing and publishing. And I dislike newsletters and posts that are trying to con me into signing up or following by making it seem like I'm missing out.

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  27. Hilary, you have a great blog!

    I like short posts (though mine tend to ramble some days) and I appreciate when comments are acknowledged, especially when they are complimentary.

    Regardless of how well you know someone, that person took time to read what was written and comment. Even a thanks is considered professional courtesy. (Though, when you get as many comments as you receive, I understand it isn't easy to personalize all of the responses...)

    Looking forward to the release of your book, Hilary.

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  28. Wow, I think everyone has mentioned every possible blog topic as far as, blog no-nos. Nice! I definitely agree with politics, religion, and to much clutter. Keep it simple. I try to keep the food chain, In-n-Out in the back of my mind. Simple = Yum :)

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  29. I try to keep my posts short. There are too many blogs I want to visit and if a post goes on beyond one screen, you almost always lose me.
    ;-)

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  30. Figure out why your blogging before deciding upon a routine. Are you just wanting a vehicle to express your thoughts...or is your intent to draw as much traffic as possible? Who is your target audience and what kind of content will they be interested in? That type of stuff...less aesthetics and more about the message.

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  31. That's hilarious, because when you changed your blog I found myself saying, oh YAY! I can read it now! lol. The previous version did leave me feeling a bit crosseyed. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with our monitor display.

    I'd say the biggest thing I've learned so far (mostly from reading other blogs) is to keep them short and readable. Otherwise, I'll skim or skip it completely.

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  32. I don't like it when someone never acknowledges my comments (either underneath my comment or by visiting my blog).

    I also dislike it when blog posts are bereft of pictures. I like to see at least one related picture. It pulls me in.

    I prefer it when blogs have comment notification turned on so that I get an email when others leave a comment. Sometimes I find out later that someone responded to my comment, but I had to revisit and/or bookmark the blog.

    I don't like extremely long posts. There are other blogs I'd like to read.

    Too many typos are a no-no. I know they don't have personal editors for their blogs, but writers should take time to polish their posts since they're showcasing their writing skills on them.

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  33. I'm so glad everyone is mentioning the length of posts! I didn't realize how many of you felt the same as me!

    DL, I totally agree you have to have a purpose. I decided long ago that this blog would be about writing and the world of publishing and little else, barring rats of course!

    Oh, and contests, while I like contests, I don't want to have to do a million things to enter! I think following a blog and leaving a comment is good enough to enter. I don't want people to have to do a lot of leg work, because most people don't have the time and for me, it gets confusing! "I have to go where and link to what? Huh?" ;)

    I'm not the sharpest knife in the block, clearly!

    Medeia, I so glad you brought that up. Errr...I think my comment notification is on! I really need to do that with other blogs. I have no idea when a blogger responds to a comment I've left! Everyone has a typo now and then, but there was this YA Writer who actually had a typo in the title of her blog post (and it was a word she should NOT have spelled wrong), and then proceeded to spell the word wrong throughout the post and it was the main crux of the post! I wanted to tell her, but there was no email and I didn't want to leave it in the comments for everyone to see! That is something you don't want an agent or editor to see for sure! Gah! ;)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  34. Hi Hilary,
    Great post.
    What drives me crazy, or more specifically, drives my eyeballs crazy, is when there's way too much on the page: a million links and ads, each with its own little picture, that kind of thing. It distracts from the actual posts. I feel like I'm trying to read a book while walking through a Best Buy with every single stereo and TV and you name it turned on full volume. What attracts me to a blog is the writing and what the person has to say.

    And like someone above said, I too like to see a picture along with a post. In my mind it kind of frames whatever comes next.

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  35. Big THANKS to Hillary and all those that commented! This is such a succinct, spoonful amount of blogging tips. Gracias!

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  36. I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said. I just wanted to say that I loved your Prairie Wind article, Hilary. Thanks for all the helpful advice and info.
    Carmela
    TeachingAuthors

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  37. Putting pictures of rats on my blog.

    (HA HA HA!!)

    The Possum Bandito

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  38. I have a dark backdrop and recently, before reading this post, I've heard feedback about how many find them difficult to read--my apologies. I plan on making that change soon...just haven't decided on which alternative I prefer. Glad for all the input.

    I enjoy your blog a lot. I also enjoy different perspectives, and a variety of topics as well ( funny, human interest, writing, politics, religion...whatever). Avoiding some important issues altogether or too much similarity sometimes seems a bit disingenuous to me.

    And some of my posts are way too long for many to read. But, I like to do the topic justice. I reciprocate a visit and comment to everyone, but I don't like to reply directly to comments on my blog...I like to let people speak for themselves.

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  39. Don, yes! All those cute little buttons and widgets and gadgets get in the way of the post. It's like being in Times Square, with all the noise and light up billboards! You don't know where to look first, plus it kills your blog's load time. I don't like looking at cluttered blogs like that...I'm confused easily! ;)

    Sam, I think everyone contributed some great input! A spoonful is all you need!

    Carmela, it was so much fun to write! :)

    JKB, you are a stinker, plain and simple! ;)

    Christopher, I had a black blog with red font, for almost a whole year! It never hurt my eyes, so I didn't think about it. I'm so glad someone said something! I was on a writer's blog a while back that was lime green with lavender font, I stayed on it for about 7 seconds! Our dark blogs may be hard on the eyes, but hers was murder!!! ;)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  40. Congrats on being asked to write that article! That's when you know you've made an impact in the blogging world.

    I'm not sure if I have any tips...since I'm still learning myself... but I definitely agree with what's been mentioned so far.

    Your Halloween joke on my blog cracked me up! Thanks for stopping by today. :)

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  41. Late to the party, as usual!

    I don't like blogs with busy backgrounds and color schemes that fry my retinas.

    I have real problems trying to think of what to post on my blog, apart from Teasers, because there's so many writers' blogs 'out there'.

    My main peeve, and it might just be me being a speshul snowflake, is when people flog their blogs all over the place, I take the time to read and make a comment, and the blogger doesn't take the time to visit my blog in return.
    As I said, that's just me being a sensitive little flower, but reciprocating is worth thinking about.

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  42. I should qualify what I said about reciprocal posting. I don't mean those bloggers who have hundreds of followers and lots of people commenting. I mean the smaller bloggers who are just starting out and could use the goodwill.

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  43. I don't like when music automatically loads with a blog. I have music on when I'm blogging (Pandora.com -- the best thing on the internet!!) so when I have to scroll around and mute someone else's music...arg!!

    That's my little blog pet peeve :))

    I left you an award today on my blog!!!!

    Have an awesome Mother's Day weekend!

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  44. I have been blogging for only three months. And I'm astounded. I think I may have broken every rule for good blogging just mentioned. I feel like the Wilie E. Coyote of blogville.

    You have a lovely blog, and it shows the tremendous amount of effort and creativity you've must have put into it. Roland

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  45. Missus Sue, I totally agree, it's hard sometimes to keep up, but writers who are trying to gain readership do themselves (in my opinion) a huge disservice by never responding to comments.

    Nicole, I'm honored! Thanks so much! I love blog awards! And yes, music on blogs = bad! ;)

    Roland, for the record, I love your dark blog! If people hadn't told me it bothered their eyes, I'd still have mine! Mine was as black as yours and I adore your virtual cat! OMG, I was dying! I think there are no "rules" in blogging. Only the ones YOU make! ;)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  46. I have to admit, I din't like super-long posts that involve a lot of scrolling!

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  47. Oops, DON'T like! I can't spell! :)

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  48. Too much self-promotion. If you're going to talk about yourself, make sure it's just a paragraph or two, and work in a way to help other people relate - by raising a question (yet I break this rule all the time myself! shame on me!)

    I don't mind a long post if it's clear right up front what you are discussing, if it is well-structured and well thought out, and tackles an relevant topic/issue. Kind of like an essay.

    One humble suggestion for your blog, it's easy to read, but is there anyway you could make your side bar more divided from the body of the posts? An outline or dividing line, perhaps? It's not a biggie. I'll certainly be coming back to read more!

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  49. I want to start out totally off topic: OMG, you have a Rick Riordan quote for your book! Aaaah! That is soooo cool!

    Okay, now that I've settled down, I can think blog. I prefer blogs that don't have sound that automatically starts playing when you visit. Having options for sound is one thing, but it startles me when I'm not expecting it. Of course, that might just be me. Maybe I just need to cut back on the caffeine. ;)

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  50. THANKS for this post! Wow... as a newish blogger I can relate. I was a casual, sometimes blogger for fun and then recently when I got a submission request from an agent I thought I should try to really get serious.
    This was very helpful. (=
    http://jostorm.blogspot.com/

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