Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

10 Blog Things that Drive Me Mad


I’ve been blogging for over six years now, and I have written nearly 600 posts of my own and read thousands more. I no longer have the patience, or the time (writing novels, full-time job, not to mention tending the ever-growing humans), that I used to have to scroll through new blogs and try find like-minded people to befriend. I tend to stick with my old friends, those who have lasted the blogging journey alongside me, or occasionally follow a new stand-out blog, or that of someone who loyally visits and comments here.

So in my years of reading, writing and trawling, I have developed a blogging radar that helps me discern within seconds if this is a blog I want to follow – or run from.

Here are ten signals that send me screaming into the hills:

1. Any blog called ‘Rants’ or ‘Musings’ or ‘Thoughts’. Especially bad if combined with ‘Random’. This is now done to death and unoriginal. I am not interested in your randomness, nor your musings. I want you to be specific and interesting. Specifically interesting, if possible.

2. Blogs that play music. Don’t do this! I don’t want to know what your taste in music is, unless you have written a brilliant post about it. If you assault my eardrums, I will skip away at high speed and not hit the follow button.

3. No updates in the last six months. This is a dead blog and its corpse must be removed from sight. In the public interest, please do so.

4. Blatant self-promotion. There is nothing wrong, if you are a published author, of having links on your blog to somewhere where readers can buy your book. The end-goal of any writer’s blog is to ship product. However, I also want to know what kind of a person you are, and I will find that in your words not in big shiny product placement.

5. Messy design. Too many flashy, jumpy things. Header photos that are so large I have to scroll down to read the words. Too many boxes and intersecting lines. Once again, writers and readers are out in the blogosphere for the words. These are the things that we like and we like them when they are joined together in clever ways. Don’t let your design fight your words, and win.

6. Cutesy. It’s starting to pall. I’ve done the chocolate and the shoes and the cupcakes references myself and it’s okay in small doses, but twee is over, done to death by a million bloggers, skewered by its own pink polka-dottedness. Be yourself, don’t be Cath Kidston.

7. Being boring. Just not allowed. If you have to write about the laundry or your head cold or that strange rash on your ankle, then at least do it with flair.

8. Making excuses. If you need a blog break, declare it and own it. However, blog posts that begin ‘I’m sorry I’ve been away for a long time, but …’ are dull and unacceptable.

9. Bad grammar. Sorry, but if you are a writer and your blog is peppered with grammar errors, I will sigh and turn away. As writers we must stand up for the apostrophe and defend it to it’s bitter end.*

10. Posts that start “10 Tips for [Fill the Gap]”. We all know these are pimping for search engines. Don’t do it.**

What makes you follow a blog? What makes you run screaming?

* See what I did there? If you did, then I will follow your blog. If you are scratching your head, then sorry, our blogs will never find conjugal harmony in the link-love paradise that is my Google Reader.

**I’m lying. Do it do it. If you are an author with a book to sell, or a blogger trying to build a platform, you need to work that SEO.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

23 thoughts on “10 Blog Things that Drive Me Mad

  1. it’s bitter end? LOL, Charlotte… I read this with fear just in case I’m guilty of any of them. (I’m not telling you my conclusion!) I’m getting a little tired of hundreds of author interviews with the same questions (where do you get your inspiration) that litter the blogosphere and I’m tending to skip over them. Having said that, I’m on a blog tour just now with eight of us doing just that! We’re trying to attract readers though.

  2. One thing make me crazy is some blog has only one post, just one, and they haven’t update for many months, or year. Why have blog if you don’t update for months or year???

  3. I’ve been guilty at one time or another of 7 of these. Too much effort to put in music or flashy things. Still, you linked to me. Am glad that you overlooked my faults and continue to stop by my blog. I really dislike those blog “awards”. This is far better –to have somebody follow you whose blog you think is superb!

    And there are the grammar mistakes. Its always what I look forward. And the asterisks. :-).

  4. I keep following blog posts for the people that show through the words, for the stories.
    I write enough ’10 Tips’ posts for work clients… pushing that SEO again, but don’t want to see them on personal blogs, unless it’s about something totally fascinating!
    Grammar errors do irritate me but I can get past them if there is enough of interest in the rest. Totally agree about music and flashy things – I’m looking for words not special effects.
    That is of course why I keep coming back here to read!!

  5. I’m probably guilty of a couple of these point’s, I even have dead bodies still lying around that I have intended removing for quite some time now.
    Just in case you were wondering: Mumblings From the Alps has morphed into Day to day life at Amy’s …

  6. Ha great minds think alike – I was pondering doing something similar to this today and lookee here, what do I find? Still, you say it’s okay to follow suit so I’m not really just copying. 🙂

  7. Product placement, brand reviews, posts based on PR pitches, pages headed “Press”…

  8. Guilty! And as it happens, I was thinking about either a new blog title or a new blog entirely. Not sure. But glad you put up with my flaws and keep reading!

  9. Well, that’s me out of the running D: I’m a musician as well as a writer, so I occasionally post the sort of music I perform. There are writers’ blogs, artist’s blogs, and musician’s blogs, and some that are a combination of the three. My main aim is to uplift people, with whatever art form comes to mind on a particular day.

    But I do enjoy your blog, in all its forthrightness 😉

  10. Got the “it’s.” Does that mean you’ll still read my blog (which has probably, from time to time over the past 6 years, been known to incorporate all the things that drive you mad. I don’t have the patience to go back and check to see how many infractions I’ve incurred. It was hard enough doing that 7 x 7 awards meme)?

  11. Oh, I got the it’s…. It’s something that drives me completely crazy! That and to/too/two or there/their/they’re errors. I never post music because I wasn’t able to figure out how…. I barely figured out how to do photos and that is the limit of my posting fancifulness.

    I’m afraid I am occasionally guilty of beginning “I’m sorry I haven’t been posting lately…” I’ll try to do better and avoid this error, I promise.

  12. Very funny, Charlotte – and so true! I am the worst over-explaining apologiser when I have been absent from the blog for an unacceptably long time (exhibit A: right now!), so herewith I pledge never again to commence a post with a grovelling “Sorry, sorry, sorry…’ – you’re right. It’s boring.

  13. It’s very hard to do something well, and blogging is no exception — but because it’s so EASY to blog, it’s not surprising that you see the same mistakes made so often. If I had to add anything, I’d add not having a search function and not making a series of posts you’ve written easily accessible. I myself do not know exactly how to do the last thing, but I know it should be done. xo

  14. As usual you made me laugh, even as I was counting up how many infractions I am guilty of! and really, the most serious one – that banner of mine – if I could figure out how to get my photo smaller, I would! I try to keep it all about books, and for the most part it is, though chocolate has crept in and a couple of photos I adore, because I love my blog and I’m a visual person.

    I will though promise to not apologize for being away for so long…..which I am most guilty of, too. Hmm, some excellent points here, Charlotte.

  15. Very well done Charlotte! Entertaining, to the point and hopefully gets those bloggers that don’t take this seriously a kick in the ass! 🙂

  16. It would be fun to run a contest to find samples of blogs that combine most – or all – of your 10 points.

  17. I agree with all of your points although I know at times I’ve been guilty of some of them. What drives me the MOST mad of all, though, is (mostly women) bloggers who’ve been co-opted by blogher and if you want to read their post, you have to link, and then it’s a series of slide shows…drives me nuts and I instantly delete from my blogroll when that happens!

  18. I complete agree with all your points Charlotte – it’s made me think a lot about some of these that I might have been guilty of at some point in my seven years of blogging 🙂 [pink cutesy backgrounds mostly!]

    I must admit I try to just please myself with my blog as far as design and content is concerned, but luckily I agree with all your points and try to be as uncluttered and non-boring as possible! I just try to provide a space where people can feel inspired, uplifted or look at something I’ve posted because I’ve found it interesting and find it interesting too.

    I’d have to say the most annoying thing I find is intrusive advertising. I have no problem with popular blogs wanting to capitalise on their popularity but when it interferes with the experience of the site (ie you have to wade your way through banner ads and click to get rid of them and usually end up accidentally clicking on the ad itself and being taken somewhere else!) it really turns me off. I get around this by reading posts of such blogs that still interest me in Google reader but I don’t leave comments on them because going to the actual site to comment is a pain in the neck!

  19. Can you write a post sometime on food blogs vs writing blogs? Soooo much more fun reading pretty much anything about food and recipes than pretty much anything about writing craft. 😉

  20. Pingback: Going on a Word Hunt « Charlotte's Web

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