Sep 09 2007

7 reasons your blog is like Aversion Therapy

Published by at 7:35 pm under blogging

aversion n

  1. A fixed, intense dislike; repugnance: formed an aversion to crowds.
  2. The cause or object of such a feeling.
  3. The avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus.

Seventeen years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, we decided to build a house. The early weeks of my pregnancy were spent traipsing from one project home to another. We eventually settled on one, built the house and moved in a week before my son was born (and a week after he was actually due).

A year or so later, as I was driving, I passed a house that was under construction. That was enough to bring back the old feelings of nausea that I had come to associate with project homes. As it turned out, I was also pregnant again.

Subsequent pregnancies yielded aversions for a particular brand dairy snack (to the point that I couldn’t even look at them in the supermarket), and a particular brand of tortellini (to this day I still can’t eat either).

What’s all this got to do with blogging? I have actually built up an aversion to a particular high profile blog (which shall remain nameless), and the mere mention of the name makes me feel nauseous (and no I’m NOT pregnant again). It also got me thinking about the things that are likely to turn people away.

Are you Practicing Aversion Therapy on your blog?

1. Your blog takes forever to load

I’m impatient & I don’t want to hang around while all the ads, widgets, gizmos, images and blogrolls load. Especially when stumbling. I might not have the fastest internet connection on the planet, but it’s not that bad.

2. You have too many ads

I respect that you are trying to earn a living from your blog, but the overabundance of ads are driving me bonkers. Above posts, below posts, in the middle of posts and also dominating your sidebar. Reminds me of a joke I heard:

“How did madam find the steak?”
“Well, I moved a lettuce leaf and there it was”!

Trying to find the content on your blog is a little the same. I have to focus really hard to get past the plethora of flashing ads first.

3. Too many paid posts

Balance is good. Paid posts are fine every now and again, but content in between is even better. Also, I understand that paid posts are based on a minimum of words, but come on! You can make a paid post interesting and put a little bit of effort in it. You’d get more respect from me (if that’s worth anything).

4. Too many link posts

  • If I’m that interested in your twits, I’ll follow you on Twitter. I read your blog for something more substantial – not to read your latest twits.
  • If I’m interested in your del.icio.us links, I’ll follow you on del.icio.us.
  • Posting a link to your latest blog post on Pownce and / or Twitter. If you’re my friend there’s a very high probability that I’m subscribed to your blog. I’ll get it by RSS anyway.

Linking out is great. But you need to have some interesting content in between.

5. Partial Feeds

OK, I know you want a better Alexa rank – don’t we all? You want me to come to your blog to click on the advertising. You want more page views to sell more advertising. You’re worried about someone ripping off your content. Deal with it – we all have those concerns.

Forcing me to visit your blog to read what you have to say is being an “RSS tease”. It is indefensible, in my opinion. And it shows that you don’t value my time, or my loyalty as a reader. I’m sorry if that’s brutal. I’m just over it. I’m not the only one.

6. Get over your obsession with “famous bloggers”

OK, it’s great to get inspiration from other blogs. It’s great when somebody else sparks off some fresh ideas. But really, when there’s a high saturation of posts about what John, Darren, Yaro or Seth is writing, and how to make famous bloggers notice you, it all gets a bit tedious.

If I want to know what they are saying, I’ll subscribe to their blog. I subscribe to yours because I want to hear what you have to say. And just quietly, I don’t give a rats if they visit your blog.

7. Who are you?

I’d like to know a little bit about you. Where are you from? What do you do? How can I contact you? I’m sorry, but the absence of an “about” page or a 3 line blogger or Technorati profile just isn’t going to suffice. Zero marks for credibility.

~~~~~~~~~~

(N.B. I have spent the better part of the weekend plowing through 1,000+ unread feed items, visiting blogs, and stumbling. Please forgive me if this is unusually snarky. And don’t get paranoid thinking that I’m talking about you, because chances are I’m not).

So I’ve had my say, what are your pet peeves?

37 responses so far

37 Responses to “7 reasons your blog is like Aversion Therapy”

  1. Thiruon 09 Sep 2007 at 9:27 pm

    Well said. If bloggers think why they visit their fav blogs, then they would know what things to avoid in their own blog.

  2. Cellobellaon 09 Sep 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Totally agree!
    Loading time can mean the difference between me reading a blog or not.
    I hate the ads! Sure put a few in the sidebar if you must but not between posts.
    I can’t stand the link posts – put them on a separate page – if I care I’ll go there.
    The partial feed gives me the irrits.
    And if you don’t have an about page forget it. I read blogs because I connect with the writer in some way. If I don’t know “who” you are – how can I connect?
    Great post Meg!
    CB
    x

  3. Megon 09 Sep 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Hi Thiru & CB

    Thanks :) I thought afterward that maybe this was a bit harsh, but I’m glad that you agree!

  4. Kinon 09 Sep 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Oh I agree 100% Meg! I unsubscribed to a blog today. The reason? the writer started out blogging to be somewhat of a niche blog, not a niche subject, but definitely a unique way of looking at the topic. I unsubscribed today because with the last post I read she had become everything she started out trying not to be. Oh I’m in a narky mood too. A 2 year old with a 40 degree temp will do that to you :)

  5. Megon 09 Sep 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks Kin

    Oooh 40 degrees is not good. Fingers crossed you both have a reasonable night & the temp goes down.

  6. Travelleron 09 Sep 2007 at 10:28 pm

    I agree with most of the points you make here. However, I have never been sure if it’s a good idea to put a detailed bio with contact details.

    I dont enjoy blogs that have paid posts or too many ads (especially the ones after every post). Another thing that sometimes puts me off is when I can’t easily discover older posts/archive from the front page.

    You write well! This is my first time here, but I am surely going to return.

  7. Megon 09 Sep 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Hi Traveller

    I wasn’t suggesting a home phone number… but merely a little about the blogger and a way to get in contact if need be (other than by comments)!

    As blogging is about relationships, as CB mentioned above, how can you connect with someone you don’t know anything about? A bit of a bio goes a long way – it doesn’t have to have identifying details, just a little about the blogger, their interests, perhaps why they blog, or what their blog is all about….

    Many thanks for stopping by :)

  8. Cellobellaon 09 Sep 2007 at 11:45 pm

    I agree Meg, I don’t want to know the street they live on or even their real name – that’s unreasonable given I don’t like to give all my personal details out (that’s right – my real name is not Cellobella) – but I do want to get a sense of what the person is about.

    A blog, like a radio program, is about one-to-one communication. One writer to one reader sitting at their computer (one announcer to the one listener). It’s personal, whether the blog topic is or not.

    :)
    CB

  9. Sephyrothon 10 Sep 2007 at 12:26 am

    With the partial feeds, I’ve noticed that I’ll leave the blogs with partial feeds unread, or just not look at the full post. It’s nothing against the blogger, but I just can’t get into a post from like the first 250 characters.

    There’s one feed that I used to be subscribed to where all the feedflares at the bottom of the post was longer than the excerpt that they would send along; in google reader, the post is 2 lines long (including a note that it’s a partial feed), and the flares are 3 lines long.

  10. Ottavioon 10 Sep 2007 at 1:16 am

    Greetings Meg,

    A little self-promotion is ok but overly busy, slow loading blogs are not cool.

    Recently I added some; let us call it third party functionality, to my blog. I was very pleased with it in terms of appearance and the information it imparted but soon noticed something which greatly annoyed me. My blog, which usually loaded in a blink of an eye, suddenly took between 15 and 20 seconds to appear completely. Needless to add, I removed the offending code immediately.

    I agree too, that Bloggers ought to have something honest to add about there selves.

    There is something you have not mentioned, I tend to have a mild aversion to blogs that have great content and lots of it, and yet have zero comments on them. I have come across a few blogs that provide great reading and information and yet, no comments. So I try to engage the authors by leaving comments, after all how can one expect others to read and leave comments on your blog if you do not read other blogs yourself. So I comment on their posts, not merely one, but many as they post, not because I agree with their stance more so because I have something to add and yet, no engagement! They continue blogging, adding great posts but all the while oblivious to other participants in blogosphere. They do not address your comments nor do they reciprocate by visiting your blog and commenting. Little wonder they have no comments!

    I myself love blogging and put as much effort into visiting and commenting on other blogs as I do generating posts on my own, β€œit provides and avenue to impart knowledge and understanding and to put both an individual spin and my own distinctive sensibility and perception on my chosen subject matter” (excerpt from β€œabout me” column in my blog).

    Whether my readers agree or disagree with my opinion or stance is immaterial especially in terms of my own blog, I respect all, for they have visited and bothered to comment; express their view, something I appreciate. After all, our differences ultimately make the world turn.

    Great post Meg!

    Regards Ottavio
    Melbourne

    http://americasinterests.blogspot.com/

  11. Bob Johnsonon 10 Sep 2007 at 6:07 am

    Good post, I hate too many adds, and MUSIC.

  12. Leighon 10 Sep 2007 at 7:38 am

    Definitely agree Meg with everything you’ve said. These kinds of posts always having me worrying, Do I do that? LOL

    Reading between the lines, I agree with who your talking about too πŸ˜‰

  13. jenon 10 Sep 2007 at 9:52 am

    Phew – I know it’s not me you’re talking about because I’m pretty much innocent of the above aversions. I’m not keen on ads appearing everywhere and I can pretty much tell when a blogger isn’t doing it for themselves, but for the bucks. I am quite curious to know who you’re talking about – but I am nosy!

  14. Megon 10 Sep 2007 at 10:58 am

    @ CB – no, really? πŸ˜‰ It IS a pretty name and very unique.

    @ Sephyroth – I just culled a couple with partial feeds. It’s so disappointing, and as you say, pretty ineffective.

    @ Ottavio – I totally agree about the comments – it’s a great point and one I actually toyed with including. I’ve certainly visited & commented on blogs like that, but soon give up. It’s like they’re not interested in what you have to say, only in airing their lofty views. I would not expect to get a personal response on a blog with many comments, but I certainly wouldn’t feel valued or welcomed at a blog with very few comments that couldn’t be bothered responding. It’s the height of arrogance in my opinion.

    Another peeve is low trafficked blogs that have comments turned off – and yet they ask the readers a question. So to respond you have to post about it?

    @ bob – music *shudder* and auto playing videos / flash.

    @ Leigh – no you don’t do that!

    @ Jen – there’s a few (not just one in particular)!

    Many thanks to you all for your input :)

  15. Andrew Boydon 10 Sep 2007 at 5:57 pm

    OK Meg, ’nuff said.

    Well, maybe not quite enough… to be fair… I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to blog about metabloggers and avoid the famous ones.

    Cheers, Andrew

  16. Andrew Boydon 10 Sep 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Hi Meg,

    it is said by a couple of those-who-must-not-be-named that if you are not hated, then you are doing something wrong. I guess I’ve made it :)

    Best regards, Andrew

  17. Megon 10 Sep 2007 at 8:56 pm

    Hi Andrew

    Firstly there are lots of bloggers blogging about blogging and bloggers. Balance is the key (how’s that for alliteration?).

    “Hate” is such a strong word. I don’t like certain “make money” type blogs, and have formed an aversion to the same. I think talk about “gaming”, “rorting” and “scheming” just bring blogging into disrepute, and it offends me.

    And I am saddened when I see bloggers falling for the illusion. Especially when I know that’s not who they are, or what they stand for. Their natural ability is enough.

  18. Andrew Boydon 10 Sep 2007 at 9:31 pm

    …perhaps the illusion gives them pleasure, and sustains them when all else around them is going to hell. In some traditions it is taught that we should not rob people of their illusions without giving them a replacement – what do you recommend?

  19. Svetlana Gladkovaon 10 Sep 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Awesome post Meg, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted to add one more thing: absence of proper disclosure. I have seen posts that are definitely paid for indirectly (when a blogger is somehow affiliated with the company he reviews) and do not include any disclosure at all BUT they are so very positive when there’s actually nothing positive to be said and no real news to share that the blogger loses credibility pretty fast for me.

    The only problem with your post for me is that I know myself to be guilty of one crime here – twittering all my activities aloud. I have 2 excuses for myself: 1) when promoting a blog is your job you have no other choice but spread the word in every place you can; and 2) since I have gathered all my activities there, there’s no need to subscribe to my separate feeds on digg, del.icio.us and other places. And still I would prefer to think you were not aiming this against myself among other bloggers not to be named :(

  20. Sephy's Platzishon 11 Sep 2007 at 4:03 am

    This was the Week that Was, Vol. 12…

    I bet the mosquitoes are loving the rain we’re getting today. It will make my walk interesting, that’s for sure. It’s also heading into fall, and as I write this, the temperature in my area is 55Β°F (1……

  21. Megon 11 Sep 2007 at 11:36 am

    @ Andrew – perhaps they could enjoy the illusion and ignore what one insignificant blogger doesn’t like.

    @ Svetlana – heavens no!

    Good point about the disclosure policy. I’ve got one half done somewhere – I must get around to finishing it (not that I’ve got much to disclose, but still…).

  22. Svetlana Gladkovaon 11 Sep 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Burden relieved :) It’s just that I’ve found one thing that you mentioned that I myself use rather extensively and thought that I might have brought Profy on your list of averted blogs :) Good to know I did not!

    You know, Profy is currently involved in a rather unpleasant discussion about a disclosure related to a post featuring one of our current sponsors but long before we got any money (or started talking about sponsorship at all). So it proves that some people expect you to disclose all your current, past and even future sponsors :) So make sure your disclosure policy has absolutely no flaws because the more popular you get, the more people want to accuse you of something.

  23. hmmmon 12 Sep 2007 at 11:55 am

    Meg,
    Snarky, yes.
    Whose fault is it that you must wade through 1000’s of feeds?

    I would venture to say you are a little bit of a blog snob actually.

    Why would you cut off a blog from your feeds if they only have partial feeds? I mean it is inconvenient to click over, but still if you really like the content, why blast them?

    I think the reason this post bothers me is your tone. You probably have good points here that would help other bloggers to improve their blogs, but your attitude comes across like you are the almighty righteous bloggeress who does no wrong.

    I wish you well Meg, but I had to speak up.

  24. Megon 12 Sep 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Hmmm

    Yes I think you’re absolutely right.

  25. Snoskredon 12 Sep 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Actually Hmmm, I disagree with you. Meg is one of the least blog snobby people I know.

    But certainly feel free to hold your (incorrect) opinion. πŸ˜‰ Especially as you cannot seem to post using a name or a link to a blog which is real. But thanks, megago.com for sharing that. You should have checked if the URL was in use before putting one in!

    Nobody should be using partial feeds in this day and age. It does not win you readers or subscribers. That’s my opinion and as a blogger and a reader of blogs, I am entitled to have one.

    I didn’t read Meg’s post the same way you did, and I wrote one myself somewhat similar a while back, perhaps you would like to check it out and then say something nasty about me too? πŸ˜‰

    14 Reasons Readers Unsubscribe From Your Blog

    As bloggers we have to continually work to improve our blogs. Mine is not perfect. I’d say Meg would say hers is not either. However both of us have shown, time and again, that we are willing to listen to constructive criticism from our readers and work to improve things for them.

    If you find yourself having a bad reaction to anything written here or in my 14 things article, maybe you need to stop and wonder why you are having a bad reaction to it? Are you doing some of these things? Have you ever stopped to think about how those things might affect your readers? Whether they like them or not? Whether you could be driving people away by doing them? If not, why not? These are important questions we as bloggers should think about.

    I have stopped doing things because people told me they didn’t like it. I have decluttered my sidebar over and over, because my page load was too long. I reply to my comments because my readers enjoy that. It takes time and effort, but I still try to do it daily.

    If I were blogging just for me? I’d say bugger it, ya’all can just suffer a long page load, and let me put every widget imaginable on my sidebar (which I was guilty of in the past) because it is MY blog and if you want to read it you’ll put up with it, and I’m not replying to comments because my time is too valuable. I suspect if I did those things, I’d have very few readers. And fair enough too.

    I’m with Meg on everything she wrote here, especially the del.icio.us links. It may be convenient for a blogger to use del.icio.us however having a bunch of links shoved in my face out of nowhere on the RSS feed is kind of like having a.. well.. you know, certain part of male genitalia shoved in my face. Would you like it if we were having a discussion and then out of nowhere I gave you a close up view of my private parts, like REAL close? Of course not! (and just FYI, neither would I!)

    Do a weekly wrap up if you want to link out, it is a much nicer way though it takes more effort. I skip right over anything del.icio.us. Don’t even look at it. Sorry, all apologies, but if you can’t make the effort to turn it into actual content I can’t make the effort to read it either. I’ll read your other posts for sure but I don’t believe del.icio.us links should be used as a substitute for real content.

    Andrew – Please don’t take offense, because I do enjoy your blog – and I don’t think Meg was talking about you. πŸ˜‰ but I have this to say.

    I think re meta blogging – if you are reading the bumpzee community feeds, you can experience quite the echo chamber. There’s probably 50+ bloggers out there on those feeds who write about what those major bloggers are saying, daily. While that’s an ok thing it can get a bit out of control.

    Imagine for a moment that today, every blog you went to read had a picture of Britney Spears at the MTV awards, and comments on her performance. It might be ok for the first 5-10 blogs, but after that you’re like AGAIN! Seriously! How many people want to write about Britney and her performance today?

    Now imagine that for all 130+ blogs on the Aussie blogs community, and all 330+ blogs on the do follow community. How many of those 460+ versions of Britney and her performance would you actually read?

    That’s the echo chamber effect. My advice to you would be simple – do a weekly wrap up of what the “majors” have said, if you feel the need to blog about it. In between, seek out newer blogs about blogging, the ones not everyone is reading, and talk about their great posts and articles. I for one would be really interested in reading that instead of what the majors are writing about because I read them (well, one of them) myself. I hope that is a useful thought for you.

    I want to find more good blogs about blogging – we all do. :) Yours is certainly one I’ll add to the blogs about blogging sidebar when I have a spare moment, but I have been reading it on the Bumpzee RSS feed anyway. πŸ˜‰

    Snoskred
    http://www.snoskred.org

  26. Megon 12 Sep 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks Snoskred :)

  27. […] do you link to, and how do you link to them? Meg makes a fair point in her snarky post (her words, not mine) about her blog turn-offs – that indiscriminate linking is not a good thing. […]

  28. Living in Canberraon 12 Sep 2007 at 11:38 pm

    My peeves are music and video self-launching …hey if I want to listen to some music I can find it myself thanks – and chances are I won’t like whatever another blogger chooses to play on their site; paid posts – I read blogs to get other people’s take on things, not to read them spruik about products; too many ads … especially when its half a screen full (or more) before I get to any actual content.

  29. manilenyaon 13 Sep 2007 at 10:46 am

    thank GOD you’re not reading my blog … di sasakit ulo mo lol!!! hehehehe just kidding :)

  30. Megon 13 Sep 2007 at 11:32 am

    Living in Canberra – they do seem to be popular peeves.

    Manilenya LOL! Thanks for stopping by :)

  31. manilenyaon 13 Sep 2007 at 11:50 am

    no problem :P, I saw this post from DigitalFilipino in twitter that’s why I thought this is one of her site :)…see my filipino phrase :). And thanks for dropping by on my site too :)

    More power to you :)

  32. […] and education to me since I started blogging seriously in April this year, but I am over it. Meg’s megarant got me thinking and I’ve decided to stop reading John’s blog. It’s been coming […]

  33. Andrew Boydon 17 Sep 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Meg…

    now that I’ve ditched AdSense, you’ve got more ads than I do :)

    :)

    Cheers, Andrew

  34. Megon 17 Sep 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Andrew

    I swear your AdSense must have been so subtle that I hadn’t even noticed. I’ve never begrudged anyone (subtly) making money on their blog, but when I struggle to find the content because of the ads then I think it’s overdone!

    I tried AdSense for about a month. It wasn’t for me. So now I’ve just got a couple of banners for dLook. But, yes, I guess that’s more than you :)

    I am pleased you finally gave up on “the other”, though.

  35. beta mumon 20 Sep 2007 at 5:22 am

    Lots of the things you mention I don’t even understand… but my browser has problems with some American blogs with lots of wizzy things on them. They take ages to load (presumably long distance) and then they make my PC freeze (presumably my crap computer).
    I, too, hate too many ads, and I find that reviews of products that people have obviously been paid for just reduce the credibility of the blog.
    I’ve just been asked to review some Huggies product, but I feel very uncomfortable about it… which may just be a hangover from working for the BBC.

  36. Sueblimelyon 26 Sep 2007 at 9:01 am

    Good one Meg. I could not agree more. I go to a blog to read the content and like to find it straight away. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were something like a Greasemonkey script to remove the ads …..

    That thought sent me off browsing. I did find a Greasemonnkey script that hides AdSense ads. I never click on them anyway.

    The advertising technique I have an aversion to the most are those that are contained within or above or below posts. I find these so distracting.

  37. […] history: why the ads went away I gave up on advertising on my main blogs after Meg’s megarant. At the time I decided that I didn’t want to be anything like John Chow. I still don’t. […]