14 DEADLY Mistakes That Could Kill Your Blog
After you’ve set up your blog, obviously you’d be excited to start blogging right? If you have no experience in blogging before, or have not read anything about the do’s and don’ts of blogging, you tend to make some mistakes. Most of the mistakes could be forgiven. I’ve made a lot of mistakes when I first started blogging too but at that time, they could be forgiven. Nobody could escape making some mistakes as a newbie.
However, some of the mistakes could possibly ruin your blog or worse, kill it. I call these the DEADLY mistakes newbie bloggers should NEVER make. I’ve come across so many blogs, especially the ones hosted at free web hosting services such as blogspot that usually make multiple deadly mistakes, rendering their blog unreadable. I was super annoyed. Some blogs even slowed down my computer or crashed my browser.
You DON’T want to annoy your visitors.
You want your visitors to have a pleasant time reading and browsing your blog, not leave before everything could even finish loading.
So, based on my personal experience, I’ve listed 14 DEADLY mistakes that could kill your blog that you need to avoid making in order to have an awesome blog and smother experience for your visitors.
14 DEADLY Mistakes That Could Kill Your Blog
1. Autoplay Music
This is a very common thing. Bloggers love to put music in their blog for their visitors (or for their own listening pleasure). I used to do this back in late 90’s and early 00’s. First it was the era of midi player, remember that? Almost all websites would put an embed midi player, whether hidden or not, and it would autoplay. Then I used embed realplayer to put music in. Then people created streaming playlist and so on.
But back then, it was okay. It was part of the trend. But now it’s one of the things people really hate, at least I do. Imagine if you’re wearing earphone/headphone, then suddenly you load a website then BOOM! Your eardrums are blasted with sudden loud music. To top it all off, it’s the kind of music you absolutely despise.
Or how about if you have your speakers on with full volume in the middle of a quiet night? Then suddenly some hardcore death metal song starts playing? What’s worse is that your browser/laptop will freeze or hang, the music keeps playing, and you’re panicking as you search for the stop button. Guess what? The music has no controllable player, embed in the code and hidden.
You have to realize that your favorite genre of music may not be suitable for your visitors. This will drive your visitors away before they could finish loading your blog.
Solution: Make the music player visible and DO NOT autoplay the music. Give your visitors a choice whether they want the music or not rather than crashing their browser or hurting their eardrums.
2. Plagiarism – Copy-Pasted Articles Lacking Originality
You are searching for some news articles about something that interests you. So you do a google search. Many websites will appear based on your search term/keyword. Then you click on each one of them and it turns out they’re all the same articles from one website which you have already read.
Plagiarism is a serious issue and it’s a big NO-NO. Not only it’s wrong, but it’s also frustrating for your visitors. I’ve come across so many websites just copy-pasting articles from news sites just to get visitors. If I want to read the same news, I’d go to the news website. It’s also frustrating that these websites will appear in the first few pages of your search result. That means each link will only give you the same articles over and over again.
Solution: Write your own articles. You can quote the original source, and make sure you credit them back, but NEVER copy and paste directly into your posts (only you’re just quoting the article). Your website will look cheap and spammy.
You want a pretty website. So you put so many widgets and codes that would make your website pretty. For example, customized trailing cursor, clock widget, music player, some photo player and many more. So you think your blog is extremely cute and pretty.
4. Too Much Spammy Ads
Imagine you’re loading a website to read a short article. Just as soon as you try to load it, 10 popup ads start to spam your screen. Then on the page itself, about 20 other flashing banners, links and advertisements mostly about how to make your manhood bigger or how to satisfy your lady.
Do you think that’s appropriate?
This is one of the problems that I hate the most. Sometimes there are just way too many ads that I couldn’t even read the article because the banner would just float on top of it.
Solution: Moderation is the key! Try to limit the advertisements so that your website won’t look cheap and spammy. The feel is just like entering a dingy prostitutes’ house in some back alley. You don’t want that. And choose your advertisers properly. Adult-related ads may pay the highest, but they’re not appropriate for non-adult websites. You don’t want your kids seeing that right? I always see them on entertainment websites.
5. Full Page Ads/Clickjacking
I hate this the most. Similar to the problem above, several full screen ads will pop up and they have a hidden script. When you try to click close, it acts as if you’ve clicked the ad so they get money for tricking you. This is very frowned upon, especially if you’re using for example Adsense. This will definitely get your account terminated.
As for mobile, it will also pop up full screen with no option to close it. This kind of websites will always go into my blacklist.
Solution: No full page ads with clickjacking, period. Never. It pisses people off. Why would you even bother posting articles every day when nobody can read them?
6. Auto-Popup Forced LIKE Box Without Close Option
Usually, we want to get likes for our new Facebook page. Maybe you want to connect with your readers. So you put up some popup suggestion box, asking your visitors to like your page. Nothing wrong with that.
It’s absolutely wrong when you are FORCING people to like your Facebook page before they could read the articles. What’s the point in that? People will only press the back button. Some people are desperate enough to read the article so they will click it. Okay, fine. But those who don’t?
There’s no close button!
Worse, you have to wait 10 minutes for it to automatically close. How bloody ridiculous is that?
Solution: Provide an option for your visitors to close the box. Do not set a timer for it to automatically close if the visitor doesn’t want to like your facebook page. Do you really think your visitor would wait 5000 seconds and watch it countdown just to read one article?
7. Too Many Heavy Images
A blog post without a single image would be dull. But sometimes you want to share pictures from your vacation. All 150 of them. You display them in your blog post and your visitor will take about an hour to load them all, but before they could finish loading, they’ve used up all of their limited internet data for the month.
Or how about just uploading raw pictures from your vacation without resizing them? Imagine displaying a picture that’s over 3k in size (dimension) and about 2-5 MB in size each. That would be a nightmare for your visitors.
Solution: Resize your pictures and limit them. If you have so many pictures to share, then use a gallery or display thumbnails linking to the original pictures so your visitors could choose to see them or not. Do not simply display them all on a page. It will slow your website and piss your visitors off. Also, not everyone is fortunate enough to have unlimited internet data. They wouldn’t want to spend it all on your website.
8. Too many animated GIFs, flash or flashing images
This is similar to some points above. Too many animated gifs or flashing images can be a distraction and slow your website’s loading time. Putting excessive GIFs will mostly crash other people’s browser. It’s really annoying and make your website lose its quality.
Solution: Again, moderation. Usually, you don’t even need animated pictures and flashing banners are usually related to adult products so if you want to look professional, avoid animated GIFs and flashing banners. Unless it’s absolutely necessary for your post to prove a point but other than that, don’t. It takes forever to load a website containing many animated images.
9. Uncontrolled Spam Comments
It’s always nice to get some comments from your visitors. Back then, there was guestbook where people would leave comments and feedbacks. Nowadays, we have our own comment section for each blog post where people can respond.
But I bet at least 80% (or more) comments you get are actually spam bots. They may seem real, and they could even bypass the ‘captcha’ image, but trust me, most of them are spambots. Sometimes I get so amused when I see blog owners responding to a comment, completely unrelated to the post, as if talking to a real person.
It’s easy to detect them. Most of the comment have broken English. They usually write generic stuff like, ‘Your website loads so fast! I’m impressed. What platform do you use?‘. You get the idea. But somewhere in their comment, there’d be a link, usually in their name. Instead of using a real name, it would be something like, ‘get cheap watches online beautiful golden watch‘.
Solution: Moderate your comment section or use a comment system like Disqus. Use something where they have to log in to comment. Use security feature like more advanced captcha system. Most spambots can bypass basic captcha system.
If you are using WordPress, use Akismet to monitor spam comments automatically. If I’m not mistaken, it comes automatically with your WordPress installation so you just have to activate it.
10. Design Flaw or Broken Layout
Broken layout will definitely affect your visitor’s experience while browsing your website. Broken links, broken code etc. I’ve come across a website with broken layout as well where the code didn’t work and the layout was just one big mess.
Maybe it doesn’t work for certain browsers so you need to check whether your website works for everyone on every platform. This is important if you design or modify your own layout.
Solution: Check for errors and make sure your layout works fine for all platforms. With WordPress blogs, you don’t have to worry so much because most of us use ready-made themes (free or purchased). If there’s any issue, you just have to contact the theme developer.
As for other platform such as Blogspot for example, sometimes you need to modify the HTML code for something. It’s easy to mess things up and not even realizing it. So make sure everything is working fine before you publish your website.
11. Too Many Sidebar Widgets & Confusing Navigations
You visit a website to read a blog post and you think, hey, it’s a nice post. Maybe you want to check out other articles. Or you might want to find out more about the owner. Or maybe you’re looking for the archive. But the problem is… you can’t find the menu!
Some people like to put too many widgets in their sidebar which is a huge distraction for the visitors. And sometimes they have confusing navigations where the menu is almost hidden. This is not as common as other problems above but when you come across a website like that, it can be extremely frustrating just to try to navigate around.
Solution: Less is better. Think minimalism. Make sure everything is organized and visible for your visitors. Don’t try to be too fancy with the design. Visitors will get lost and lose their interest with your website. Don’t make things so complicated for others.
12. Full Page Notice to Disable Ad Blocking Script/Extension
A lot of people monetize their blog through advertising. And many of us use adblocks to block ads, especially when watching Youtube. Because of this, bloggers will lose their potential earning because the ads will be blocked. For some websites, you might see a small notice where the ads are asking you to turn off adblocker. This is fine.
However, there are some websites that will give you a fullscreen notice asking you to turn the adblocker off. The notice will not go away until you turn it off. This is not that common but very annoying. Usually when I come across this, I’ll just hit the back button instead. There was once when I disabled an adblocker, suddenly 20 popups appeared, and the page contained 10 flashing and animated banners.
Solution: A small notice would suffice. Anything that forces visitors to do something before they could view the website is a major turn off.
13. Too Many Paid URL Shortener
This is not that common but a personal pet peeve of mine. This is more common for websites with downloads or where you watch free stuff. Using paid url shorterner will not only hide the links (usually for something illegal like movies or softwares) but they will also make money with every 1000 clicks or so.
Some websites will use 5 url shorterners at once and it’s not only annoying but a time waster. Normally they require you to wait for at least 5 seconds per link as they display ads.
Solution: This is more of a personal choice. It’s annoying but since it’s more common with that kind of websites, it’s not much of a big deal unless you use that kind of websites often (which you shouldn’t in the first place). Remember, when you download warez, you’ll risk getting hacked. There’s almost always some exploits injected into the codes. I’ve learned my lesson before.
But if you’re thinking of using this method for your personal, absolutely legal blogs where you offer downloads, I suggest avoid it. You won’t earn much anyway unless you’re offering something illegal where thousands would click daily.
14. Misleading Titles
When you browse youtube and search for a specific keyword, an interesting video comes up with an interesting thumbnail. When you click it, it leads to a different video instead! This is a common tactic to get views by misleading the viewers.
Same goes for the website. There are some bloggers using misleading title trick to get visitors. When you view the post, it’s on a different topic! If you do this, visitors will lose trust in your website and will not return. There’s no point in tricking the visitors to get views. Yes, you might get a sudden spike of visitors for a certain hot topic, but it will not last long. They will remember and blacklist your website.
Solution: Be honest. If you readers can’t trust you, then your website will lose its credibility and they won’t return. People do not like to be deceived.
So there you go. I hope that this post would help some newbie bloggers from making the same annoying mistakes. Which 14 DEADLY mistakes do you agree with the most? Have you seen a different type of mistake not listed above that bloggers shouldn’t make?
Why not let me know in the comment section below? I’d love to hear your feedback!
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