Performancing Metrics

20 Easy Ways to Ruin Your Blog

volume knobIf you want your blog to be successful, then you need to start thinking immediately about how your blog is designed and configured.  In other words, the way your blog is set up could ruin your chances of building a successful blog.

With that in mind, following are 10 of the easiest and most common ways that people ruin their blogs.  Avoid them!

  1. Too many ads
  2. Blinding colors or colors that are too light to read
  3. Pop-up ads – make them go away!
  4. Keyword stuffing – you’re not fooling anyone with that list of keywords stuffed into the sidebar or footer.
  5. Clutter – where’s the real content?
  6. Content scraping – be original, don’t just copy content from other blogs and sites.
  7. Text overload – long blocks of text are hard to read.
  8. Poor formatting – floating sidebars, images that don’t load, and so on
  9. Too many links – links are important but don’t go crazy with them or no one will know what to click on!
  10. Publishing offensive content or comments – consider your target audience and make sure your content matches their wants, needs and expectations.
  11. Content overload on the home page – many themes and templates allow bloggers to include a lot of different content, widgets, boxes, etc. on the home page, but doing so can backfire, because it can be hard to find the most interesting content within the flood.
  12. Too much scrolling – No one wants to read a novel on a blog.  Keep your content and pages to a reasonable length.
  13. Dishonesty – don’t get caught in a lie — it’s that easy.
  14. Hard to read fonts – you might like that fancy font, but if it’s hard to read on screen, visitors will click away.
  15. Missing contact information – some anonymous bloggers find success, but in order to establish your authority or at the very least, make it seem like your blog is written by a credible person, you should include a bio and a way for readers to contact you.
  16. Splash pages – they’re pretty, but they’re annoying.
  17. Sound – turn it off, please!
  18. Registration requirement – an easy way to get people to click away from your blog is to require them to provide an email address to read any part of it.
  19. Too much flash or animation – no one wants to wait for your cute flash animation to load, they want to get to the real content quickly.
  20. Too many ads – did I say that already?  Can I say it 10 more times?  Most bloggers want to make a bit of money (at least) from their efforts, but don’t take it to the extreme.

Time to add your own to the list!  Leave a comment and share the easiest way (or ways) you can think of to ruin a blog.

Image: Flickr

Categories: Blog Design, Blogging Tips
Tags: , , , ,

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  1. Andrew @ Blogging Guide ) says: 5/13/2010

    After reading that lot (which I agree with), only thing I could think off is: just writing product review post after product review post after product review post…



    • Susan Gunelius ) says: 5/14/2010

      Andrew, I definitely agree with you if you’re referring to sponsored/paid reviews. The content of a blog that simply contains paid reviews seems disingenuous at best.


  2. Steven R. McEvoy ) says: 5/13/2010

    I have to disagree with Andrew a bit. My blog is an archive of my published an unpublished book reviews. The whole theme and focus of the blog is Product Reviews, 90% of which are books. If you niche is a review blog you can garner traffic and a reputation. I average 1000 unique hits a day, and am contacted frequently by authors or publishers looking for me to review their works. 5 years ago when I started I accepted almost all, now I am far more choosy.



    • Susan Gunelius ) says: 5/14/2010

      Steven, you make a very good point. Review blogs that add value to the online conversation can be great. There is a blog I found one day that is entirely iPhone app reviews, and it’s really useful!


    • Andrew @ Blogging Guide ) says: 5/16/2010


      I can understand a blog like that would be useful – I was referring to blogs that just do sponsored reviews or review all sort of rubbish – just for a quick buck.

      Sorry to confuse.



  3. Kathy Cook ) says: 5/13/2010

    A lot of this adds up to the usability of the blog – if the content provides the right information at the right time to be useful to the audience it is targetting. Steven’s readers will be reading his blog for product reviews, so the content will meet their goals. On other blogs this may not meet the audience’s goals and will reduce how usable and useful the blog is – and hence reduce the numbers of readers. I am currently researching the usability of blogs to see if there is a connection between them and the blogging software they were created by – and if there is any relationship then maybe more effective blogging tools help users to avoid the issues listed in Susan’s article. I am going to be conducting usability reviews over the next month and will post findings on my blog at


  4. Hannah Rose ) says: 5/13/2010

    Wow. You pretty much hit the multiple nails on the head there. I hate all of those things when I’m reading other blogs, and I’d never do them on mine.

    I think there’s always a middle ground – sometimes people go so overboard with advertising and graphics and sounds….it’s ok to have all that stuff…but there’s a lot to be said for subtlety :)

    However, I must confess, I actually need to tone down the length of my posts. I’m working on it!


    • Susan Gunelius ) says: 5/14/2010

      Hannah, You’re absolutely right — it’s all about finding the appropriate balance for your specific target audience and your own blogging goals!


  5. Charity M. Colvin ) says: 5/13/2010

    forgot number one way to ruin it, never update it. Shame on me!


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 5/13/2010

      forgot number one way to ruin it, never update it

      Over-rated. Consistency is key, frequency is a part of a strategy but a great publication can kick out awesome content at a very high pace, in 2 months or less and then benefit of this for 1-2 years all while continuing to grow thanks to retweets and new subscribers. Actually, I have seen badly maintained (formerly) prolific bloggers gain more traffic and subscribers without new updates than once the blogger picked up again.


  6. Costa ) says: 5/14/2010

    Too many ads – guilty as charged!

    Just removed a whole sidebar full of it.


    • Susan Gunelius ) says: 5/14/2010

      Costa, I think that was a good idea! Best of luck with your blog!


  7. Paul Hanna says: 5/14/2010

    Hi Susan
    i have to agree with everything you have listed in this post, and i think i am guilty of most of them.
    I hate pop ups the most, there may be a place for them but not on blogs.



    • Susan Gunelius ) says: 5/14/2010

      Paul, thanks for commenting. I think the biggest problem with pop-up ads is that they fly in the face of what the social Web is all about. Instead of enhancing the experience, pop-up ads interrupt the experience — the exact opposite tactic to follow if you want to achieve success on the social Web!


  8. Rakesh Narang ) says: 5/14/2010

    I have taken care of this, i think keyword stuffing is the only problem, i often don’t check the keyword density.


  9. andee says: 5/15/2010

    Hi Susan darling…
    i have to agree with everything you have listed in this post, and i think i am guilty of most of them.
    I hate pop ups the most, there may be a place for them but not on blogs.



  10. timethief ) says: 5/15/2010

    I’m a blogging purist, who did not take well to the blogosphere being invaded by internet marketers. Advertising of any kind any products or services not created by the blogger in question is a turn-off for me. If you are reselling or retailing anything I click in and out and will not return.

    These things also annoy me:
    I’m visually challenged and if I cannot locate your most recent post above the fold I may never return. Your content ought to be front and center. I shouldn’t have to dig to locate it.

    Black 1990’s era backgrounds with low contrast gray fonts mean I can’t read your content.

    Busy scrapbok fabric backgrounds with a multiplicity of different fonts and font colors overlaid on them mean I can’t read your content.

    Huge un-broken blocks of text that lack any paragraphs lack white space and rest for the eyes. I cannot read whatever you have in that formidable block.

    Autoplay videos peeve me right off. Readers ought to be given the choice as to whether or not to click and play.

    Sidebars loaded with colorful “tat” distract me away from reading your content.

    Sidebars full of widgets and gadgets running script means your page load time is excessively long so I get tired of waiting and click out.

    Broken links – 404’s

    Inappropriate use of anchor text.

    Disorganized content that lacks relevant tags.

    Bloggers who hijack profitable keywords and write post after post about them make me cringe. 3 times and I’m gone forever.

    I detest iframe “share” toolbars, which are not only annoying and useless (we all have our own bookmarking tools thanks) but also slow page loading time.

    An inability to respond in an open-minded way to meaningful comments that do not agree with the content in your posts.

    TMI about a blogger’s personal life in blogs that aren’t in the personal niche.

    So many guest author posts that one wonders WTH happened to the blogger.

    Thanks for this opportunity to share my pet peeves with you. :)


  11. Williams says: 5/15/2010

    thhese are great tips. Keyword stuffing is a MAJOR no no. I can’t people still do that. I run a content writing firm and I still have clients who request articles with one paticular keyword jammed into a 500 word article 13-15 times. To be quite honest, I think Google is relying less and less on keywords and more on length of content and how many different keywords are used within the article. I also think Google is looking at how many people link to your blog,



  12. Jenna ) says: 5/16/2010

    My pet hate is ad overload. Personally I don’t use ads at all, but I think if you’re going to, you should just have one sidebar of it. Nothing looks messier than double sidebars and headers full of ads, especially if they are the colourful, flashing kind. Ditto pop ups.

    I also dislike if someone has an mp3 track that starts playing automatically. I’m normally listening to something else when I’m looking online and it just means I have to mute, then try to find the source so I can turn it off… that’s if I’m feeling generous. It’s a whole lot easier to just click off the page….


  13. neil ) says: 5/16/2010

    I’m guilty o “Too much ads”…hahaha.

    Going back to my dashboard to trim them down.. and It really make sense..

    Thank you for the list!


  14. wpBlast ) says: 5/16/2010

    Pop-up ads are the worst! I also agree that having too many ads can have a negative impact as well. I hate banner ads that expand halfway down the page if your mouse goes anywhere close to them. I’ve only seen these on large sites like I hope it doesn’t catch on.


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 5/16/2010

      They won’t catch on. These generally are only run on sites with high traffic as CPM ads, if you don’t have lots of traffic no agency will place them on your site.


  15. Julius says: 5/16/2010

    I also think that using CAPTCHAs can ruin a blog. We now have many alternatives to CAPTCHA, so let’s avoid using those highly distorted characters.


  16. richgal ) says: 5/17/2010

    Strongly agree with you.


  17. Ari says: 5/19/2010

    I agree with you, I think I’ve learned a lot from this article. Because I’m new in this blogging world.


  18. Khairul Umam ) says: 5/20/2010

    ow.. thank you.. i can take many lesson form this article.. i do some points that you say and i have corrected it now.. thank you..


  19. TechGyo ) says: 5/26/2010

    hey, great post. I’ve to save all these to keep in mind. Do you mean to many links in home page is gona hurt SEO?


  20. Sarah Speech says: 6/10/2010

    I’m pretty sure google doesn’t penalize sites for having too many links. If they did, your competitors could spam you and get you taken out. I do know that Google seems to sandbox new sites so it’s wise to not bombard new sites with links. Also, don’t be scraping content – this is probably the biggest no-no of them all. I had a site drop from #2 to page 50 because I posted an article from somewhere else.


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 6/10/2010

      Sarah, Google actually is thought to check on the number of links in content. In SEO circles it is strongly suggested to have not more than 1 link per 125-150 words.


      • Sarah says: 7/2/2010

        Hey Frank, I agree with you but what I meant was Google penalizing sites for having too many backlinks. But I definitely agree about separating your links in content. I try to not have more than 2 or 3 per article I write for my sites. Backlinking is a different story and I think people put too much time into them. I have found that having a highly optimized site tends to do me much better than tons of links. Maybe I just suck at building links…


  21. Rick Driver says: 11/11/2010

    I seem to have trouble getting my sites to rank well early on. Some people can do it quite fast, but me? It always takes me awhile. I must be doing something wrong. I think my onpage SEO is good, but I don’t know :( Google just hates me.


  22. Karen @ Pledging for Change ) says: 1/24/2011

    the thing that annoys me the most about many blog sites is the use of google ads before during and then after every post. I have often clicked off as soon as I land on a page headed by google ads so I have to scroll down to find the post. :-)


  23. Jonny driver says: 4/5/2011

    Hi Karen you are right, too many adsense could riun the blog reading and beat down things like bouncing rates and time on the pages, and google could penalize the entire blog


  24. Harshit Singhal says: 9/25/2011

    For me the biggest turnoffs when reading a blog is its layout, font size and the stuffing of keywords. Keeping it clean is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learnt.


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