5 Blog Design Mistakes that will Drive Your Readers Away
I’ve been visiting a lot of blogs and websites lately in search for inspiration on how to display content for this blog in such a way that is pleasing to the eyes and easy to navigate around. And it is during these blog-hopping that I’ve finally decided to write a post on some of the blog features that I find annoying.
1. Auto-Play Music
On a quiet afternoon a few days ago, I nearly spilled my coffee on the keyboard when the music completely caught me off guard the moment I landed on a blog. Having background music was probably fashionable back in mid-nineties when the web was still coming together; today, it’s considered out-dated and amateur, unless, perhaps, your blog is about music and bands, etc. But hey, even iTunes do not play music on their website!
Embedding music on your blog and then putting it on auto-play will most likely have your readers frantically search for the stop button or, what I do most of the time, click the ‘X’ button on the top and leave the blog. If you absolutely must have music on your blog, give the readers an option to play it themselves should they want to listen to the music.
2. Excessive Flash
People are impatient. Most often than not, they are more likely to quickly scan your post than stick around to read the entire thing. They want information or entertainment. What they don’t want is a bunch of unnecessary animation swooshing around pointlessly. Besides, it takes up precious bandwidth. I often find myself clicking on a blog or website with a very ‘flashy’ intro, but immediately end up clicking the ‘skip intro’ button. And chances are I’ll never visit the same site again.
Oatmeal highlights this in his blog:
“…it turns out that at least 25% of site visitors will immediately leave a site as soon as they see a message for a Flash splash screen (even if there’s a ‘skip intro’ link).”
The same principle applies to all those annoying pop-up ads.
3. White Text on a Black Background
This is a bit controversial. But unless it’s a photo blog (because pictures stand out against a dark background), most readers do find it more pleasing to read text on a lighter background. I found this poll on Darren’s blog:
4. Obnoxious Fonts
Unless the blog author is a ten year old writing about how he or she spent a summer vacation, please refrain from using Comic Sans. Each font has its own personality and, depending on the theme of your blog, it can make or break the message you are trying to deliver. Find out what the 23 really bad font choices are, or read this very funny post about bad, bad fonts.
And then find out whether yours is among the top ten web safe blogging fonts or not.
5. Confusing Layout
I am referring to blogs that have this huge logo or banner that takes up almost half of the blog space and make me scroll all the way down to finally see some post content. Some blogs have more than three sidebars and so much content in them that it gets confusing for a reader to find his or her way around amidst all the clutter. Some blogs do not have an ‘About’ page, which almost every first-time reader looks for. Others have hidden their RSS button or other subscription/sharing options somewhere so deep it becomes impossible for a reader to find them.
What specific design or feature discourages you from visiting a blog again? Please share your thoughts so that I can work on improving this blog too.