I get asked a lot to look at other people's blogs and tell them what is wrong, why don't they have thousands of hits a day after they've been on the internet for all of a week. (Yes, really.) Surprisingly enough, most of those blogs are committing the same deadly blogging sins over and over. I thought I'd write them all up into one place, maybe some people will take a hint (especially about the random use of capital letters) and fix some of these issues!
I run from blogs with bad pictures. Is everything skewed to a strange tint? Learn how to set your color balance. Or fix it in iPhoto or photoshop so it looks true to life. I don't care what that lipstick looks like if everything looks green. I've had some other bloggers (ok, really just one) play high and mighty in a blogging group and say that she considers it against her integrity to alter any pictures. Implying that the rest of us are as bad as the magazines that make celebs look flawless and 20 pounds skinnier because we corrected a lighting issue. Get off your high horse. Readers want to see what something looks like, it's why they come to a blog (because you know that the companies don't have accurate pics on their sites).
That tiny picture of your little swatch on your arm? I don't need to see your whole arm. And the entire picture needs to be bigger than 100px wide. Please and thank you. Please learn to crop and zoom.
3. You only post about products you LOVE or HATE
No one wants to read about you gushing over a product all the time or complaining that you didn't like the floral scent of a lotion and therefore the product is horrible... Be honest, explain what a product is like, how it worked for you and how it could have been better for you or who it would have worked better for. Those posts come across as more genuine and honest (because they are) rather than sounding like you were paid for your endorsement.
4. You aren't disclosing properly
I admit that I'm a bit of a fanatic about FTC disclosures (I was high profile about them when they were first introduced to the blogosphere thanks to a Social Media for Dummies book I was interviewed in as well as a Forbes.com article), but now it comes across as either you're too stupid to do it correctly or think you're above it. Either way, it's definitely noticeable when you only have a "c/o" label in your small print explanation of that look of the day.
5. I can't search your site
Where's your search box? Readers want to know what you thought of X, Y or Z. Let them find it more easily.
6. I can't follow you on social media
At the very least, you should have your RSS automatically going to a Twitter Feed and/or Facebook page. Even if you don't touch them, you'll be glad you set it up later when you do want to interact more. Set it up.
7. Social Media corollary.... I can't pin your images.
What is up with that? Is that picture of your eyeball or arm swatch so precious that you won't let me pin it? Slap your website on it as a watermark and let me pin it. I get about 6x more traffic from Pinterest than Google in any given month. Really, it's worth it to let someone pin.
8. You don't have a unique voice
You might love Pink Sith's blog, but she has a very unique style. Writing in the same voice as her comes across as forced and fake. Find your own voice, make it your own and develop it. Copying someone else's style, posting about the same stuff as them 1 day later... Readers catch on to those things and you'll find your blog boring to keep up with. Find what makes you unique, your own voice and perspective and work on that point of view. If I want to know what Pink Sith says, I'm going to head to her site instead of your site, she's funnier than you.
9. Your site makes my eyes bleed
All of your different tags everywhere linking to other blogs, 10 different affiliate banners and adsense blocks, that purple background with pink writing... I just can't take it! Simplify as much as you can, make your site easy to read with a nice big area for posts and put your search bar and social media buttons up top. Done. Now I can navigate and read your site and won't just close it as soon as that page loads (eventually). Oh yeah, I'm going to close the window if your site takes more than 30 seconds to load. Fix that. No one needs a musical soundtrack while they read your blog.
10. Your writing is just...bad.
I'm not being elitist here (I haven't taken an english or writing class since high school), but when you start purposefully misspelling words, mixing up their and there and throWiNg in RandOm Capital LeTtErs it makes me insane. Try to adhere to some basic grammar rules, spell check is your friend, and the capital letters should be used and used in the correct manner. If you're guilty of any of the above and are wondering why PR isn't coming to you with information on their clients, that is the answer. They would be embarrassed to send the placement to their client.
Did I miss anything? Have you been guilty of any of these issues? I'm sure we all have been guilty at one point or another, but fixing them will make your site more user friendly and I guarantee that will result in more traffic.