Sunday, June 28, 2009

Poll Results Are In!

For the past three weeks I asked you to choose up to three things that could make you run screaming from a blog. I'm pleased to say that 125 of you answered the call. Here's what you told me:

82 voted for "Music you can't turn off." That would've been one of my answers a few years back, but as it stands, I'm probably one of the few people who didn't vote for this. Why? When Denis first lived here, I was not aware of the extent of his hearing loss. We worked opposite shifts, and I got used to creep mousing around in order not to wake him up. I'd have a fit whenever I'd land on a website that had nonstop music because I was convinced that I'd just awakened my husband. I finally just turned the sound all the way down. To this day I only have the sound on when I want it to be on. If I didn't have this odd little quirk, I would have voted for this.

63 voted for "Too many things that Scroll, Flash, or Twinkle." Anyone who's been to the front page of Kittling: Books knows that I have nothing against scrolling. That also extends to flashing and twinkling...but they should all be used in moderation. If you've got all sorts of bits and bobs rolling up, rolling down, flashing on, flashing off, or twinkling away, it becomes very distracting. Readers don't know where to look first, and may even get headaches. I've been to blogs like this, and I've actually started getting headaches. Do you think I stuck around very long? I knew you all were smart! Excessive SFT (what I privately call "motion sick blogs") can also lead to the third largest complaint.

51 voted for "A long load time." If your blog takes a minute to load on a broadband connection, you might have fallen victim to excessive SFT and Widget Overload. I think most beginning bloggers are guilty of this. There are so many fantastic widgets and other goodies to put on your blog that it's easy to use too many and really slow down the loading time of your page. Most people aren't going to wait!

50 voted for "Lots of misspellings and grammatical errors." Don't let something this "fixable" chase people away from your blog. You want people to stick around and read what you have to say. Use spell check at least twice. I use Blogger's built-in spell checker, and when I'm done correcting with that, I click on preview and read the entire post slowly. Once in a while an error slips through, and if I see one that has, I edit that post. No...there's no ironclad rule that says you can't edit something you've written once it's been posted! That post is going to hang around on the Internet for a good long time, so it may as well do its hanging properly spelled and parsed.

39 voted for "Too much clutter!" This is something else that's easy to fall victim to. You want all your challenges to be Right There. You want all your cool widgets to be Right There. And you need Subscribe buttons and Archives buttons and Label buttons...and what about your awards??? Sit down and take a good long look at your blog's front page. Is a reader going to know where to look first?

38 voted for "Design colors that are either too dark or blindingly bright." Personally dark backgrounds and light text doesn't bother me, especially if the blog has a lot of photos. The dark background makes the photos pop. But many many people disagree with me completely. Since I don't have a photography blog, I don't have the dark background. My peeve is stopping by a blog and finding the clashing fluorescents color scheme. Makes my eyeballs bleed, that does!

50 votes were cast for the remaining items such as "Text that has too many sizes, too many fonts and too many colors", "Too many graphics, not enough words", "Too many words, not enough graphics", and "Poor placement of widgets." If you're blogging strictly for yourself and you don't give two hoots what anyone else thinks, well that's all fine and dandy. Whatever floats your boat as my grandfather would say. But something tells me that most (book) bloggers want to feel a part of this community of words and ideas. We want to be heard.

If you do want to be heard, like it or not, you have to take into consideration what your readers want, and I'm here to say that the learning is an ongoing process!

Once again, my thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to vote in this poll. My favorite diet is the Food for Thought Diet, and all of you can be relied upon to give me plenty to ponder!


  1. This is information a lot of us need to know. Thanks for writing about it. I'm glad I voted.

  2. Sandra--I'm glad you voted, too! When I first started blogging, I was flying by the seat of my pants. Then I wondered how to get more people to read what I was saying. There are a lot of helpful people in the book blogging community, and I owe them lots!

  3. And many of us owe you lots too.

  4. Where is this auto spell check function on Blogger?

  5. Susan--Thank you. That's very kind of you to say. (I will reply to your email in a day or two.)

    Bumbles--It's not "automatic", so I misspoke. In the compose screen, there's an icon with a tiny check mark and "abc". That's the spell check. You do have to click it for it to begin. (And don't forget to click on "done spellchecking" when you're finished, or it will add lots of funky bits to your post's HTML code. Ask me how I know...oy!

  6. After only eight months I still consider myself a new blogger so this was very helpful to me. There are several things I'm going to fix on my blog now. Thanks for the poll and thanks to the people who took the time to vote.

  7. Margot--I'm very glad that you found this poll helpful. I've been blogging just a few months longer than you, and I still consider myself to be a newbie!

  8. This was a really helpful poll and the results post was great too. I'm always trying to figure out what is "most important" and putting it at the top so it can be easily found ... and I'm trying to resist adding too many widgets! Mostly, I try to think about blogs I enjoy reading and then try to emulate them.

  9. Jenners--I agree: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I've learned a lot just by looking at the blogs I enjoy.


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