Saturday, June 27, 2015

Discussions Only We Know: 13 Blog Related Frustrations

Discussions Only We Know

13 Blog Related Frustrations

I try really hard to remain positive here at Somewhere Only We Know. Negativity brings me down. But every now and then I run across things that annoy me when I’m visiting other blogs or participating in memes. And I just have to wonder to myself if maybe the things I’m seeing are bothersome to others and maybe the blogger has never thought about these things before. So…let’s take (most of) what’s said here and try to see the positives (i.e. ways we can avoid these things or ways we can “fix” them). Or let’s exercise some good ol’ common-grace and try to overlook what we can’t change.

That being said…let me put up a disclaimer. I do not want to be one of those bloggers that tells you “this is the way you must blog and if you don’t then you’re wrong.” Everyone has a right to blog their way…and my opinions or frustrations don’t make that way “wrong.” It just makes them wrong for me. We all have different things we’re looking for when we follow a blog too. So even though I don’t blog for my readers, I do want to make things convenient for them (and other visitors too).

  1. When the comment section spans the entire height (or more) of my screen. So I’m a bit lazy. And when I happen to be visiting blogs I tend to do a bulk of blogs at a time. It’s the repetitiveness and inefficiencies that annoy me the most. So the deal is…I don’t want to have to scroll down to finish leaving you a comment. A lot of blogs (Wordpress blogs mostly, I believe), require you to input your name, email, website (if you have one), and then you can leave your comment. That’s fine. I get that. But then you’ve got to scroll down and see that oh wait you can also input your Twitter id as well. Or various other things under the actual comment section. I know most comment sections come with a blog design, and everyone’s screen size is different. But there are ways of adjusting your blog design to shrink (or expand) based on screen size. Here’s an article that elaborates a bit.
  2. Speaking of screen size. With this day and age where there are a myriad of devices available for browsing the internet and not being restricted to PCs, enable your mobile site. I would think this would be a given. But it’s not. It’s a simple step. Check out this tutorial for Blogger or this one for Wordpress.
  3. It is totally possible to link up to a meme that you normally participate in using your mobile device/tablet. However, when adding your url to the link section of the linky, please remove the last 4 bytes of the url. While some people do browse blogs from their mobile device, the majority of people are probably still using laptops or computers. When you don’t remove the last 4 bytes of the url (typically "?m=1"), anyone browsing will automatically be directed to the mobile version of your site. It’s an easy fix to click “view web version” at the bottom, but it’s an annoyance that doesn’t have to take place if you’d simply remove those 4 bytes when doing your link up. I personally link up Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday from my phone every week, but doing this small step directs people to my normal webpage instead of the mobile site. If you link up from your phone or tablet, please do the rest of us a favor and take this small step.
  4. Linking up to a meme with your home page rather than the direct post. It’s really only an extra click for visitors, but I tell you that this is annoying. It’s no more difficult for you to copy and paste your direct post link into the linky than it is to use your home page address. And let’s just say for argument’s sake that you posted several times that day, if your meme post isn’t the top one on your page, I’m gone. I’m not going to spend the time looking for what you should have linked to in the first place. I’ll visit the next blog in the linky instead.
  5. An even worse offender than not linking up to your direct post is linking up to a meme that you’re actually not participating in. I mean I realize that people who do this are only looking for a method to drive traffic to their blogs/sites. These people don’t really care much about how you feel so they don’t care that they’re an annoyance, but come on people. Get real. There’s no need to link up to a meme when your site isn’t even related to the content of the meme at all.
  6. Captcha/check boxes. I’ve noticed a significant decline in the amount of blogs that use captcha, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. There is nothing more annoying than typing out a thoughtful reply to your thoughtful post then clicking publish and being surprised with a word verification test. I am horrible at these. I know others are too. Do anyone who wants to comment on your blog (and yourself) a favor and turn this option off. So granted, the check boxes are a lot more easy to handle and I would take them over captcha ANY day, but again…it’s one more click. One more step. One more annoyance. You know the ones “check the box or you shall not pass,” “check to verify you’re human,” etc. If there’s any way to get around having this…please try.
  7. Comments sections that time out. I’ve seen this only on a few sites ever, but boy is that frustrating. I’ll pull up several sites at one time and have all of the windows/tabs open at once. Then I systematically work my way through each tab viewing posts and commenting. But some comment sections time-out and require you to reload the entire page if it has been idle too long before they will allow you to leave your comment. WEIRD. And annoying. Find a new commenting system. Or turn that mess of a feature off. What purpose does it serve anyway?
  8. No HTML allowed in the comments section. I’m sure there’s a purpose for this one that I’m not aware of. Someone please enlighten me. I’ve only run across this in a few blogs, but most of them do offer a place for you to list your website address with your name and email address. But I always like to link back to myself in any comment I leave. I can’t visit other blogs who visit me if they don’t leave a link and so I like to leave one when I visit others as well. Let me leave my link!!! Please!
  9. When I can’t tell if the book you’re featuring is a standalone or part of a series. How difficult is that? To list the series information in your post? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been browsing a post and I think “oooh a standalone” and then I see a comment like this “I really loved the previous book and can’t wait to read the sequel.” And then I sigh because no I’ve not read the previous book. How hard is it to indicate with the book information (title, author, publication date, etc) that this is book 9 out of a 20 book series?
  10. No book covers. If you’re doing a book review, book haul, or some other post related to any specific book, but there’s no picture of the book cover…I’m out. I like pictures. Pictures convey a lot of information in a very short amount of time. I’m not likely to spend my time reading your book review or even noting the books you received in your haul if there are no book covers. It doesn’t take that much more time to include book covers in your posts.
  11. Linking up to a haul post with no haul. This is totally a personal preference of mine. If you want to link up to a weekly recap post and say “YAY I got no new books this week”…that’s cool. But what’s the point of linking up to a post that’s entirely about featuring the new books you received each week just to say that you have nothing to share?
  12. Totally another personal preference of mine, blogs with multiple contributors each with lengthy updates. Ok…I totally get having a blog with multiple contributors. I think that’s a great idea and in part wouldn’t be opposed to it myself. I’m a bit of a control freak to really think that would work for me, but it’s a great concept. And I also get each contributor wanting to do a weekly update or chime in. But these days, people like short and sweet (or maybe that’s just me). I don’t want to read a ginormous post detailing how you spent each day of the past week. And to have to read two of those in the same post….it’s just a bit much. If you’re both going to contribute to one post, then I say “keep it short and sweet”.

And this last one…maybe it deserves its own post entirely. Again this is a personal preference of mine so take it with however much weight you want to put on it. I personally follow via email my favorite blogs. These are the blogs that I don’t want to miss a post. I’ve likely connected with the blogger just as much as I’ve connected with their content. It’s not just about not wanting to miss the topic of a particular post, but it’s about not wanting to miss the content itself. Systematically, some of my favorite bloggers that I follow via email have switched from email posts that show their entire post content, to posts that include about the first paragraph and then have a link that says “read more” which will take you directly to the post on their site.

This started out as a devastating thing for me. And every single blog that I’ve followed via email that has resorted to this post I’ve contacted the blogger to plead my case on them returning to their old method of including the entire post in their emails. Some have and some haven’t. To be honest, I only retain my email following from two of the bloggers who haven’t returned to their old method. The others I’ve unsubscribed from. This isn’t me trying to punish them or anything like that. It is simply that this method of following no longer meets my needs.

I get it. I do. The purpose behind an email post method like this is to drive traffic to your blog. People who read your posts in their email can't do this anymore when you choose this method. They now have to be driven to your website which ups your blog views and potentially will help direct visitors to multiple articles, posts, etc of your site. Plus maybe there’s a level of hope that the visitor will leave a comment now that they’re actually at your site. From a blogging standpoint, I get this. I really do. You want your readers and followers to be actively involved. And you want your numbers and statistics to reflect that. But from a reader/follower’s standpoint, I’m getting screwed.

Here’s what I mean. I didn’t choose to subscribe via GFC or Bloglovin’. I don’t follow you through what you post to Facebook or Twitter. I chose to follow via email. What I want is to be able to read your posts when I check my email without having to go to your site. Often times I flag posts I’ve read to go back and comment on when I get home or when I get access to a computer (because some things I don’t enjoy doing from my phone). This is the method by which I chose to follow you. And now all of a sudden you’re trying to change the terms of our agreement (an unspoken agreement, sure). It’s not a threat that I’m trying to hang over anyone’s head…by all means you blog the way you want to blog. But I’m going to follow the way I want to follow too. And if this method is the means by which you choose to deliver to your email subscribers then I’m out. You don’t just lose out on the clicks you were hoping to get to your site, but you’ve lost a reader entirely. I may not comment on every post, but I usually do read them. What this says to me is that you care more about your blog statistics than you do your readers. Maybe I’m wrong. (That’s totally within the realm of possibilities.)

If you haven’t picked up on a theme behind most of my frustrations, it’s this: ease, efficiency, time savers, eliminating unnecessary clicks and navigation, etc. Maybe I’m lazy. But I feel like if I feel this way then surely there are others who agree. I can’t be alone in this? While my thoughts are mine and I’m not trying to force any one way to blog upon anyone else, maybe others feel the same way? Maybe others whole heartedly disagree. Personally, blogging takes up a long of time (time away from reading). I love doing it, but if there are any ways to make it easier, more efficient, and cut down on time away from the books I’m all about it.

What do you guys think? Are any of these things that you’ve noticed when visiting other blogs? Do you agree? Disagree? Do you have your own set of blogging frustrations? Let me know!

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