Comments: 'What's Wrong With My Blog?' 29 April, 2007 — Stuart Brown

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62 comments:

sarbarth wrote:

Blogger should know what are they blogging..."What's Wrong With My Blog?" is a nice approach

ZeMMs wrote:

Great points to look at for a starting blogger like me :D

Raj wrote:

Thanks for the nice article. One common problem that most of us have is not to mention the niche areas or set of topics clearly to our visitors. They visit, read couple of articles here and there and then leave. You have got me thinking again ;)

Dick Carlson wrote:

Make sure that both your title and the first paragraph have enough information that someone is likely to want to read it. When you're flying through multiple blogs on Google Reader (or some other tool) you have just seconds to get me to click on that article and read more.

Arpit Jacob wrote:

Great Points. Since I just launched my blog this April I am looking to find ways to keep the readers engaged and gain more readership. I found that having a custom design helped a lot.

Karlo Licudine wrote:

I just recently created a blog about mobile phone applications and games, and like you said,
it really looks like I need to have a little patience on my blog's growth. Although there are some
blogs who become famous overnight, i dont think my site would do the same especially on my blog's
particular niche.

Still good luck to me ^^

Your "Don't over-monetise" tip was really helpful, i never thought that over-monetising could have
a negative effect. Thanks.

Oh yeah, there's a problem on your "post a comment".

Michael wrote:

I think one of the two most important points here are missing:

First, have fun with what you are doing and show your readers that you are actually interested in what you publish. If you compare some paid reviews to usual articles on the blogs who use them, you can exactly see what I mean!

Second, use the language you are used to. Having your own language already means having found a niche. If you are US or GB-citizen, however, this can be a problem, but if you are German, French, Italian, from Brasil or China - just use your own language. Most of the people will not care and of course you give away a potential readership of millions, but you will find some hundreds or thousands who will read your blog, just because they are not sufficiently able to read English.

Tony wrote:

I think I may have made the mistake of putting Adsense on mine already. My blog is two and a half weeks old, I'm focused on a topic, I'm averaging one or two posts everyday. Yet, I've only had one comment so far. The lack of comments can be tough.......

123-Network wrote:

Some great tips here especially as I just started my blog.

A Marques wrote:

My blog is also fairly new... One thing that I'm doing is using a hub page to link to either my blog or my photoblog. And everywhere I'm asked for the URL I just drop that hub page.
Anyone thinks this is a mistake?
And as Tony wrote, the lack of feedback can surely be tough...

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Karlo - Anything in particular? Commenting is still very much in 'beta' :)

@A Marques - Not necessarily, as long as the blog / photoblog are getting links independently of the hub page.

jean wrote:

to start off, reduce your font size,
if you need your blog to be successful then you will have to be close the particular industry (if the blog is not personal and has a niche to a particular industry) else it will be another blog

StockTube wrote:

besides the well-written "what's wrong with my blog"'s reasons, i think the points such as:

- make sure your website is readable and not cluttered ...
- a well-designed webpage will definately score some points - use good combination of color ...
- check and re-check the spelling of your postings ...

are equally important

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Jean - I like the large fonts! I'm starting a large-print revolution :-)

Rob Ottens wrote:

The content and design thing is the problem with my new blog. (only have one real post now....), but it's hard to find theme between coding a good amount of wordpress themes for others :P

Paul J wrote:

Solid advice! What Blog 'does' for the reader is more significant than what it 'is' As a 'newbie' the prospect of desgining a blog layout from scratch is a bit daunting.

Pete wrote:

I would say it's important to ask yourself whether you really want/need a blog or is it a case of "keeping up with the Jones's".
If you are simply rehashing opinions and information that are already published in a hundred other blogs then don't bother.
On the other hand, if you can add something to the global discussion, then go for it.

Pete wrote:

Oh and one more that I nearly forgot.
Don't ever, ever, ever, ever think spamming other people's blogs to get links to yours is a good idea! I'm sensing irony in what I said there though.

Stuart Brown wrote:

There's a fine line between commenting and comment spamming!

Vic wrote:

Thanks for the tips, as a new blogger there is a lot to learn and a lot of confusion still.
The post on British bloggers was good too, the US dominates the Internet in general
so it is not surprising they also dominate blogs, plus we Brits are so shy and retiring
we don't do self-publicizing very well. A useful list of blogs I will check out.

Devicepedia.com wrote:

We are in the tech news zone and we are 4 months old.
Hit the Digg front page about 4 times until now .. and on a normal day (without digg) we get like 300 visitors. We do hope to get to make it a big blog but patience is one of the most important things now.

One last thing. Until now we had a pretty long title on the front page "all devices in one place. devicepedia.com" now we changed to "devicepedia.com" so I am expecting the search engines to like it more since the titles on the articles are less big.

Alex

How To Spot-er wrote:

Noice post - have you thought about moving your blog into web 2.0 space? Feel free to visit my blog for some pointers you might find useful ... or might not :) Nice post either way!

Carrie wrote:

Maybe *you* like the large fonts, but your blog is here for OTHER people to read. If they're uncomfortable reading it, or the gigantic letters give them a headache, they'll leave.
I just scanned the first couple of lines and couldn't read the rest - came right down to where I could comment.
You've taken the "search engines like big fonts to emphasize points" equation too far. There *is* such a thing as overdoing it.

Raj wrote:

@Carrie - I concur your thoughts. Stuart may want to consider reducing the font size of at least the content portion of your posts.

Matt Jones wrote:

Great post, I think the point that relates most to me is paitence!

Danielle wrote:

I would like to add two points, one regarding commenting and the other weekly themed memes.
If I read a blog post that I find interesting, visit a meme participant, or if someone has taken the time to comment on a post of mine I always comment with blogger it is easy for someone to connect the dots back to my blog. I would highly discourage a homepage link added to a comment though appreciate a specific post link that will bring more depth to a comment.
Secondly weekly themed memes such as Wordless Wednesday, Manic Monday, and Thursday Thirteen can be used as a creative springboard tailored to your niche. You are almost guaranteed exposure, a chance to read other blogs and sometimes earn yourself a regular reader.

This has been a very informative article for both newbies and established bloggers.

Be well and enjoy the day

Sharen Sia wrote:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr brown for this piece of useful and informative blog, i appreciate it, not to
mention the comment section, also full of content. thanks

Niklas wrote:

The point must be not to worry about readership, but to be wary of constructing an attractive, coherent, quality blog... Isn't it really that simple? Along those lines I find some of the entries here at Modern Life a bit too superficial. What's with the tiny paragraphs? Is that how it's recommended to steer clear of becoming a niche blog and thus make big cash? And is readership and big cash the essence of blogging? Is it for the Modern Lifers? Lots of questions raised there...

Matt Mikulla wrote:

My experience is that blogging is learning process. It is nice to have articles like this so bloggers like us don't make simple mistakes.

Gaining a following is a tough task. I am trying to gain a following and have people collect my http://www.artrogue.com/

Blog on everybody.

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Carrie / Raj - I may investigate the issue of font sizing. Will probe my readers soft brains in a future poll, perhaps.

@Sharen - Many thanks!

@Niklas - Many questions indeed! One might say a readership will follow coherence and quality. Superficial content is an arguably lighter read than in-depth analysis - although there's a place for both. Paragraphs are probably short to enhance readability/skimmability - reading on the internet is different to reading a book, say. Niche blogging is all well and good - but it's harder to get right, as you've got a vastly diminished readership pool.

What the devil is a Modern Lifer, anyway? :-)

dupola wrote:

Very Good.
Blogging....

Karlo Licudine wrote:

@Stuart Brown, the problem that I was talking about is that when I start to put on my comments, the box that I write onto (this box) is extended to the right-end of the screen. It's not much but does get annoying that I cant read what I wrote when it reaches the right side. I hope I am not confusing you.

Am I the only one experiencing this? I'm using Exlorer 6.0. Just to let you know.

BTW, thanks for dropping by on my blog ^^

niuhuifei wrote:

Very creating points, I have translated them into Chinese (http://www.niuhuifei.com/?p=191) and shared it with Chinese bloggers, thank you.

Navdeep wrote:

Very good points to learn from. thank you

vijay wrote:

Patience! Ya its very important point over all.
If you dont have patience then quit the blogging ;-)

Matt wrote:

Personally I quite like the font size - your site stands out because of it. I think your posts are simple and easy to read too - good in the modern information age. Agree with the niche thing, but I think your blogs suffer a little because they make good comment like this (on blogging) but also go off on tangents sometimes talking about stats and how popular your blog is. It will only remain popular with good articles like this.

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Matt - But I *like* stats, damnit :-)

Matt wrote:

Stats about your blog though are a little dull. Stats tools, tips etc are very useful. Appreciate your blog by the way. The comments look like they have 'devil horns' though.

Stuart Brown wrote:

Will try to keep an even balance of things in the future. I suspect I may have to run some polls to determine what the most popular topics are.

The devil horns are unintentional, I think :-)

Paul wrote:

One mistake, I think, in the above - there's nothing wrong with blogging on contentious topics. Just ask Riverbend. Her 'Baghdad Burning' blog is one of the most successful (even been published as hardcopy).

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

Other examples are:
www.dack.com
http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Paul - True, it can work - and work well - but it's more tricky than writing for mass appeal, particularly if you're in the minority.

Bella wrote:

I have just started my blog and enjoyed your article. I am still unsure if my topic is too narrow and am beginning to wonder if my writing just poor! Thank for the tips!

Angelo wrote:

I just noticed how author comments graphically originate from the opposite side as user comments.

While that's great, as it helps to differentiate comment authors, it would also be neat if returning authors were given a unique graphic identifier to set their posts apart. I get that the gravatars are supposed to do this to some extent, but it would be much cooler if it happened in a way that didn't require any extra action by the user.

christopher wrote:

I think the points about "focus" are the biggest ones to keep in mind, at least for me, thus far. you have to be mindful of your audience and what specific need you are filling. If people can't say your blog is about _______ in a short, simple sentence, chances are you are not communicating that focus to them and probably meander too much. you should consider your current focus.

-=- christopher

<a href="http://www.whilelasvegassleeps.com";>my Las Vegas blog</a>

Alan wrote:

Nice list. AS a blogger trying to get going, I appreciate the advice.

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Angelo - Good idea. I may add another class for 'regulars', possibly in another colour.

Siddharth Thakkar wrote:

I'd say, not offering subscription by e-mail is also a mistake many bloggers make.

I frequently read a lot of blogs via email directly on my BlackBerry and like email subscription option a lot. Makes perfect sense to me.

Susan wrote:

Stuart first off this is my first visit to Modern Life Is Rubbish and I must say I am hooked. Yes I know that sounds like fanboy/girl talk simply for a link but the reality is I like your blog and plan to come back. One thing I didn't see in your list of "What's wrong" was theme, and I was a bit surprised. Having an eye pleasing theme is very important. Personally if I click on a blog and the type is so small or the colors so insanely garish I simply click off rather than try and read it. Perhaps that is just me but there it is.

Now you theme / layout is very nice. The color scheme is very pleasing and the type is actually large enough that I can read it without squinting, yet it isn't so immense that it makes reading difficult. I use a 30" HD Cinema monitor at home and blogs with 10pt font simply kill me. I have been looking for a nice 1 column design and simply haven't found anything in the WordPress arena that I care to adopt. Anyway, that was a long lead up to asking who designed your theme?

Fred wrote:

Stuart - Thanks for the great article. I am kind of crossed myself - as I write light humor - kind of the old newspaper sidebar type of column - that is more for me as a release rather than anyone group. Yet I still find myself panicked as I don't see any real traffic but my friends and family (which should be just fine). So I think I am lying to myself :)

Thanks for the great tips. PS - fonts big or small - the words are what matter - just my opinion.

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Susan - I mentioned themes in point #5 :-) The theme I use here is a custom build, along with the whole blogging engine - perhaps I'll make a version for WordPress at some point!

@Fred - Bang on re: font size. With RSS, you can pull the content off however you please, regardless of theme, style etc.

T4td wrote:

I'm going to go now and learn how to customise my template. Thanks for spurring me on.

Ahsan R. Shami wrote:

I vote that you keep the large fonts. I think they're great and make your site distinctive. And for the revolution you mentioned, give it time. Everyone will have 1680x1050 screens soon enough!

Blog de OldMan wrote:

Very good article. Can i translate it into Chinese, And Post in my blog.

Matt wrote:

Pink day today then?

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Matt - It's a whole month of pink!

Stuart Brown wrote:

@Blog de OldMan - Sure, go ahead. Link back to the original post on the translation if you can, please :-)

Suzel wrote:

My blogs are quite new. I agree it is very difficult to see them growing the way I wish, but I believe in their potencial. Thanks a lot for all the good information and motivation you bring to help us. I would like to have more time to learn and read some other beautiful and good blogs available.

Blog de OldMan wrote:

Thanks a lots. I have done it.

Stuart Brown wrote:

Thanks!

WiseassOffice wrote:

I remember reading something similar when I first started http://www.noheat.com Tech News and I can vouch for everything in this article. The biggest thing to remember beyond quality content is to be patient, waiting for a Page Rank and to get found by search engines can be a lonely world for a while. But eventually and usually through social means your blog or webpage will be found. It takes about 6 months for anything to really happen, and then one day you are making meaningful revenue from affiliates and adsense. Stay tough new bloggers!

Sam Chan wrote:

Thanks for this great post!

I really learned a lot from it.
Patience is really necessary. All blogs are undergoing a sieving process - only the really good remains.

"A firm foundation is built on growth, not rushing. We need to be patient."

I wish everybody have perseverance including myself.

Mark Muldoon wrote:

My advice is, if you're also into social networking, make use of it! As your friends and family are always the first readers of your blog, get the content in front of them. Myspace? It's easier for your friends to read and subscribe if they're on there? Facebook? The blog import function on there gives my blog far more readers than the actual main blog itself!

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