Whenever I visit a blog that I haven’t come across before, I try to find out how different it is from others or what makes it interesting. Not just that. I also notice things that I don’t like in it.
Your blog might be very popular. But it wouldn’t stop me from finding things I don’t like. I can’t stop myself from doing it.
Over the past few months I started curating such a list in my Evernote and I’m sharing it here.
And I believe most of them can be fixed (if you think it must be fixed) as none of them is technical in nature (if it’s a technical problem then it’s you who created it).
But hey, it’s just my personal view and hence there’s a good chance that you would disagree with me — with some or all of them. :D
1. Hiding Dates From Blog Posts
It is one of the most annoying thing that I see on blogs nowadays and it’s a common thing among the ‘so-called’ professional bloggers. Well, I know why you’re doing it but seriously it’s one of the worst thing that you are doing to spoil the user experience.
You’re hiding the published dates to fool readers to make them feel that they’re reading relevant and up-to-date content, right?
Okay, let me remind you the definition of a “blog”:
A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).
See, it’s got something to do with “date and time”. When I read a blog post I want to know its actual published date as otherwise I can’t know whether it’s “fresh” or not. And you can’t expect me to read your entire blog post to see if it’s got the information that I was looking for.
2. Hiding Dates From Comments
It’s just a follow-up of the previous ‘thing’. Again, I know that it’s done to reassure readers that everything is up-to-date and timeless. Your blog suck, bro!
3. Not Showing Full RSS Feeds
If you do not show full RSS feeds then it’s like you are forcing your readers to visit your blog. And you think it’s a good idea? Hell no.
Once again, let me remind you the whole purpose of RSS feeds and readers.
Subscribing to a website RSS removes the need for the user to manually check the website for new content. Instead, their browser constantly monitors the site and informs the user of any updates. The browser can also be commanded to automatically download the new data for the user.
Imagine I want to subscribe to over a hundred blogs and none of them is showing full RSS feeds. Now do you expect me to visit 100 blogs a day to check/scan/read their latest blog posts (if any)?
4. Pop-ups (Anything & Everything)
I don’t care if it’s an ad or a notification or a free offer or favor or whatever. If there’s a pop-up on your blog, then I just hate it.
5. Infinite Scrolling
Your blog is not a social network to offer infinite scrolling. When a social network like Pinterest or Twitter or Facebook enables infinite scrolling it’s useful to users in most cases but when you do it on your blog it’s confusing or annoying or both.
6. Ads (Here, There, & Everywhere)
You know it’s totally fine to monetize your blog with ads and affiliate programs and sponsorships. After all, the web is funded largely by advertising. But when it’s overdone, it’s highly unpleasant. And I’m pretty sure that you have also enabled an ad blocker on your web browser.
7. Adblock Warning
You might have already noticed some websites (like Forbes) are showing an adblock warning to users who have enabled an ad blocking extension like AdBlock or Adblock Plus. You may also have a reason to do so.
But I believe users who have installed an adblocker are the ones who otherwise don’t click ads. So, why warn them anyway? Only to make few extra cents from those CPM ads and get more unsubscribers?
Auto-play is evil. Ads, audio, video — everything. And I hate it even when it happens on YouTube.
9. GIF Images
You don’t own a BuzzFeed. Or, do you? Well, even if you do, I hate it because most of the time it’s rubbish.
10. Number Of Guest Posts > Your Own Blog Posts
Guest posts are absolutely fine as long as they provide incredible value. And by “value”, I don’t mean unique or in-depth blog posts. If you want to get a better sense of what I have actually meant here, then go check out the first ever guest post published by ViperChill.
11. Multi-authored Blogs Without (Additional) Value
Again, multi-authored blogs are fine too as long as they provide additional value. I said, “additional value” in a sense that a solo-blogger may not be able to cover almost all the topics that are required in a blog.
For instance, if I start a personal finance blog today just because I love finance then it makes perfect sense to hire a writer who is an expert in credit cards and again hire another writer who is an expert in insurance.
The idea is to offer the best resource possible when each author brings out the best in him/her. Moreover, it’s impossible for one person to fill all the content gap present in a blog.
On the flip side, what’s happening nowadays is somebody starting a blog and then hiring a bunch of ‘affordable’ writers to scale-up content creation and ‘consistently’ publishing boring stuff or writing the same topics over and over and over.
I like ebooks when it’s ‘real’ and ‘useful’ but hate it when it’s got nothing new or was better as a blog post. In fact, I started Minterest because of John Chow. His ebook inspired me to start this blog way back in 2007.
It was ‘real’ as I was not enjoying blogging or WordPress until then. I had a couple of BlogSpot blogs and Minterest, a finance blog, was my first WordPress blog as well. So apparently it was also one of the first ebooks (I hate books, btw) that I’ve ever read.
It’s almost 10 years old now but if you read that ebook even today then you will learn a thing or two about blogging.
For instance, the reason why I’m showing full RSS feeds is because he advised so. And it’s him who reassured that English skills doesn’t matter (oh, yeah that was insanely true).
There could be a lot more timeless tips but this is all I can recollect now.
All in all, if you create an ebook with a genuine purpose then it makes perfect sense. On the other side, if your ebooks are the PDF versions of your existing blog posts then I already hate it.
13. Auto Adding To Newsletters
Again, as a blogger I do understand that you need to create an email list. But I hate it when what you are offering as a “download” is only to capture my email address and later spam me (after promising that you don’t send spam).
Even if I submit my email address to download what you are offering, it only means that I was interested in your product/service and not your future email newsletters and promotions. You’re getting it? Good.
14. Alexa Traffic Widget
It doesn’t matter if your Alexa traffic rank is 1,000 or even 100 when the quality of your blog sucks. I mean, you know that Alexa traffic rank is just a number and it doesn’t reflect the ‘real’ traffic stats.
For instance, a technology/marketing blog can get an Alexa traffic rank of, say around 20,000 with around 100,000 visits a month. But it takes a million visits for a food blog to hit an Alexa rank of 20,000 (or less).
Showing an Alexa Traffic Rank Widget is a perfect sign that you care more about your blog traffic than user experience. As a reader, I don’t care about your Alexa traffic rank as long as you can write something useful.
That said, I still have an Alexa extension on Google Chrome as it’s the easiest way to get an idea about the popularity of a website.
However, this doesn’t really mean that you should showcase your Alexa rank to your audience. Let them check if they want.
Even the best of the best bloggers do not show any traffic widgets. If you feel compelled to showcase your traffic numbers then write case studies, publish traffic reports, etc.
15. “As Seen On”
It’s a good thing to show off the label “As Seen On Forbes”, “As Seen On BBC”, when they’ve actually interviewed you or published a write-up about you or your blog.
But it actually makes you cocky when you show off the label “As Seen On” when all you have is a backlink from the aforesaid websites.
By the way, I was compelled to publish a micro-post about it: “As Seen On” And The Blogosphere.
16. “I’m A Professional Blogger”
Sorry, you’re not. Just because you’re making money blogging (even if it’s your primary source of income) doesn’t really mean that you’re a professional blogger.
That said, as John has rightly pointed out:
Anyone has the full right to call themselves a ‘Full Time Blogger‘ or ‘Professional Blogger’ regardless of any outside opinion.
Anyways, I will just say who’s a professional blogger (according to me).
I believe it is someone:
- who owns a super-blog (useful, beautiful, quality, original).
- who makes a living blogging (directly or indirectly).
- who writes original content (or stuff we can’t find elsewhere).
- who is not running a multi-author blog.
- who is more obsessed with his work than traffic or income.
- who has a huge fan base/readership.
- who is considered as an expert in his/her niche.
- who writes consistently.
- …still thinking.
So, do I have some sample blogs that matches all the above criteria? Oh yes, here are few:
All in all, almost all the so-called “professional bloggers” are actually just full-time affiliate marketers and their blog is just a medium to attract more clicks, leads, and sales.
And I believe professional bloggers are the ones who don’t call themselves “professional bloggers”. Just like “celebrities” or “influencers”.
17. You’re A Liar
No, it’s not like you lied to me or to someone else or anything like that. It’s what happens when your own actions contradicts your own blog posts.
For instance, a few months back a friend of mine forwarded me a pro blogger’s video interview. So, his advice to new bloggers was not to start a blog with the intention to make money and he was suggesting users to add value.
Well, it’s a good tip. But the problem is his own blog is all about making money. No, not for you but for himself.
18. You’re Spamming
You may not be sending bulk emails or spammy promotional emails. But when what you are sending me is just an email template I would call it a spam (though technically it may not be one).
And hey, I have already written a blog post about it here: Link Building Gurus.
19. “BlueHost Is The Best”
I don’t trust bloggers who are endorsing BlueHost as the best web hosting company. I mean, it’s an EIG Hosting and is definitely NOT the best. And I also know that it’s a big brand that is offering aggressive affiliate commissions.
But I refuse to believe that it’s the best simply because they are not. So, if you are promoting and recommending BlueHost as the best web hosting company then chances are I’ve already judged you.
I mean, you don’t have to promote the web hosting company that is offering the highest affiliate bounty. Your readers will still trust you if you are recommending something else.
For instance, if a beginner asks me which web hosting company is the best then I might recommend HawkHost or Eleven2 or A Small Orange or anything that costs less than $50-60 a year.
But what happens now is almost all the bloggers are recommending BlueHost for everyone. Come on, you know that they don’t even have a transparent pricing policy.
They welcome you with a ‘special’ offer of around $107.40 for the first year (and even offers a free domain name) and then charges $155.88/year for renewals and an additional $15.99/year for the domain name. You still think it’s the best web hosting company ever?
20. “Start A Blog In 10 Minutes”
Today, you can see a guide that says “How To Start A Blog In 10 Minutes” on almost all ‘popular’ blogs. Come on, you perfectly know that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to start a blog in 10 minutes.
You can only buy a domain name, web hosting, and install WordPress and maybe publish a dummy blog post in all these 10 minutes. That’s all you could do.
Otherwise, you are just faking to increase your BlueHost (or whatever host) affiliate sales. If you really want to help others to kick-start a blog then create a massive WordPress guide that shows the A-Z of WordPress.
I have already realized in the past that beginners can’t even figure out the basic things about WordPress when they are totally new to it. So forget 10 minutes, even 10 hours is not even close.
For instance, it’s been 3 years since I helped my sister migrate her food blog from BlogSpot to WordPress and she still don’t have a clue about how plugins, themes, updates, etc. works. So, don’t ever say that you can start a blog in 10 minutes.
However, I do believe that once they learned WordPress stuff, it will be much more easier to manage WordPress than Facebook (thanks to Facebook’s hundred plus options).
21. Essentials Are Missing
I think you got it. Yes, I was talking about the essential things like ABOUT page and CONTACT page and SOCIAL icons. However, I don’t care much about it as it’s got nothing to do with a blog’s editorial.
For instance, if I landed on your blog via a search engine and you solved my query then I don’t have a problem with what you are doing or what you have done with your blog.
22. No Original Content
I didn’t mean in any way that you should also write New York Times or Wall Street Journal like blog posts. Instead, all I’m saying is that I want to see some occasional blog posts on your blog that can’t be find anywhere else on the web.
And it’s totally fine to publish topics that are already covered by your competitor or another website as long as your version is different or unique in one way or the other.
For instance, you can choose an existing topic and make it more comprehensive or add some extra tip from your own experience or even add some ‘magic’ to it. It’s really possible, don’t you think?
23. Lacks Clarity
You don’t have to publish 4,000 word-ish blog posts like a Neil Patel as in-depth blog posts are not the only type of content. You can also convey your point in a micro-post. The idea is to be precise and write blog posts with a lot of value and clarity.
A good percentage of the bloggers are simply republishing what’s already written on other blogs or is just reporting the same news content that’s already covered by hundreds of other blogs.
It basically means that it’s written with the sole purpose of increasing the blog post count (thereby traffic plus income) and not because they wanted to write something.
For instance, check out a micro-post How to write a good blog post by Om Malik and compare it with a similar topic published on a WordStream, or Buffer, or even Minterest and you will feel the difference.
24. Reviews & Reviews Only
It’s OKAY not to update your blog every single day/week/month. It’s OKAY if you can’t come up with unique topics. But it’s NOT OKAY to publish only affiliate reviews that are either fake or biased or written only to make money.
I (and probably others) know that you’re writing it only because you’re getting paid for it or you want to make your blog look active and not because you loved to write about it.
25. Paid Links/Posts Without A Disclosure
It’s an amazing thing to do when you recommend a product that you really love to your audience. Because you are promoting something out of love or passion and it can make you money as well (thanks to affiliate programs). So, it’s a win-win, right?
However, that’s not the case when you are endorsing products (by writing a tutorial or case study or a review or even a tweet) after accepting money from them (also known as Sponsored Posts/Reviews) and refuse to disclose it.
Forget Google Webmaster Guidelines (that’s changing every now and then) but it’s matter of a trust. I mean, why should your readers trust you when you don’t care about your editorial and your only goal is to make money and even more money?
I’m sorry it makes you a ‘fake blogger’.
If you want to endorse a product then go buy/try/research it and write useful content about it and use its affiliate programs to make money out of it. In other words, it’s indeed possible to make money doing what you love to do.
How do I know? Well, a couple of weeks back a I got a Sponsored Post enquiry from a popular URL Shortening website.
When I showed my advertising policies they were still interested but they wanted me to write an in-depth blog post about their service and then they showed me couple of ‘samples’.
But when I checked their samples I realized that it’s published by ‘award-winning’ bloggers and all of them were ‘biased’ and there was no disclosure at the end that it’s a paid post. In other words, what they were doing was simply “selling links”.
26. Insane Publishing Frequency
I repeat, it’s OKAY not to update your blog every single day/week/month. But when you want to update your blog more often, you better don’t bombard your users with a new blog post every hour or day unless they’re expecting it.
For instance, I expect tech blogs like The Verge, TechCrunch, Mashable, etc. to publish several blog posts a day as they are the ones who breaks news in the tech space.
And there’s a good chance that they are all reporting the same news at the same time. But since their authors are different I can still expect something unique in all of them.
27. Useless Interviews
When you publish useless interviews (asking the obvious questions) I know that your goal is NOT to help readers but rather to attract more traffic and links.
Because it takes just minutes to compose few questions and send it over to a dozen of other bloggers and get ‘free content’ in return.
And the bonus? Chances are they will share it on their social network and will probably end up linking to it from their own blog. Brilliant!
28. No External Links
I don’t think that I must describe this. But I can summarize everything that I want to say here by showing you a simple tweet that I’ve recently come across.
29. Not Responding To Comments
No, no, no, I’m not saying that you should respond to every single comment that you’re getting. In fact, I respond only when I feel that it’s ‘real’ or someone is asking something (and I started doing it in 2011-’12 only).
However, I do read and moderate every single comment that I’m getting on this blog. So you better don’t just auto-approve comments, respond to it when you think it’s genuine.
Otherwise, ask yourself why should someone read your blog posts when you are not listening to them.
30. Viral Titles
If I explain why I hate viral titles then I think it will blow your mind. So, I’d rather avoid explaining it. :D
Related Reading (From Across The Web)
- 10 Things I Hate About You (As a Blogger)
- 10 Things I Hate About My Blog
- The 5 things I hate about your blog that I’m too afraid to tell you
- 20 Things I May Hate About Your Blog
- 15 fake bloggers you shouldn’t follow
As I have already mentioned, I didn’t cite problems that are technical in nature simply because I think it’s perfectly fine to have a dull design or typos or even a non-responsive slow loading page as long as I like what you are doing.
Because I believe we start a blog to write (what we like) and not to showcase our English or coding or design skills. Moreover, I also owned several crappy BlogSpot blogs way back in early 2000s.
And afterall, nobody is a born blogger.
On a side note, I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of things that you hate about my blog (and obviously about me) as well. Criticism is always appreciated (as long as it’s constructive), so do share it as a comment below.
Happy Blogging! :)