Your Annoying Blog Habits (Are Now Mine)

Those of us who spend the majority of our workday (or even our entire day) on the web have strong opinions on how certain things should or shouldn’t be.

That is, we have ideas on how things should or shouldn’t work:

  • Modals are annoying and are of no use.
  • Mailing lists are generally meant for spam and product upsells.
  • Retweeting content you’ve already tweeted is redundant and annoying.
  • …and so on.

And maybe I’m off base in generalizing here. I mean, this is exactly how I viewed certain things for a long time.

But the more I interacted with others who live in a variety of timezones, and the more research I did on topics as it relates to blogging, the more began to second guess my initial opinions.

Annoying Blog Habits

I know, I know – it’s not all that big of an idea is it? We should be open minded to all sorts of things. It’s not always as easy as it sounds especially when we’re at least perceived to be proficient in a field.

Annoying Blog Habits
Houseflies. So annoying.

As I’ve made changes to some of the things on this blog, I started thinking about a more general question:

What if everything you think about blogging is wrong?

First, maybe it’s worth talking about some of the changes I’ve made to this blog over the past few months:

  1. Comment Policy. I used to have a relaxed take on comments, what I would permit, and how to handle them. But experience changes things. Now, I moderate much more than I ever have before. I feel better about posts and I’m happier with how commenting has done since.
  2. Updated About Page. About pages are easy to setup and easy to let age (or even rot). I scrapped my previous page, started over, and have been working to keep it updated. This has generated more emails and communication with others. People actually do read this stuff.
  3. Schedule Management. I used to keep post ideas jotted down in a notebook and would work on them whenever possible. I still maintain that notebook for when I’m about and about. Now, I use tools like CoSchedule to help me handle posts and associated tweets.
  4. Tweeting Posts. At one point, I was no fan of “ICYMI” tweets. As my Twitter habits changed, so did my appreciation for these types of tweets. I think these types of posts are the most annoying for people who have Twitter open most of the time and/or who follow a small set of people.
  5. Mailing Lists. It’s not so much mailing lists themselves that bothered me – after all, most of them are opt-in – but it’s how we invite people to join. Usually, we ask people to sign up via some annoying them like a modal. At the recommendation of a friend, I began to try it. And it’s working.

Though I’ve not done a deep-dive on any of the above (and maybe I should), you see how they’ve all had a positive impact on this blog. Sure, there has been some pushback (and I’m all for that), but that happens with almost everything we do.

But First…

The point is that here are five things that I used to be against but I use almost daily. So the question remains:

What if everything you think about blogging is wrong?

I’m going to talk about this more in a follow-up post. I’m interested, though, in hearing what you find annoying about the web and things you’d never do.

Even more so, what are some things you thought you’d never do but have changed your mind.

14 Replies to “Your Annoying Blog Habits (Are Now Mine)”

  1. Oh these pop ups ;) I don’t like them at all and never used one on any website I builded.

    I discovered that many website/business owners don’t know or don’t focus on their goals. If somebody use pop up subscription during my checkout … something is wrong, at least for me. (just today I saw google ads on corporate website)

    I understand that bloggers welcome subscribers, it is ok, if they push them little bit for action. I still think, that quality subscriber will do action without pop up too. If site owner push too much, then its quantity over quality. Yes stats will show, that is works, more subscribers … anyway this is not the same as more leads – clients/customers … (more low quality subscribers can cost even some money – higher newsletter plan)

    What I found really annoying if some service provider do the same. Their goal is sell some service/product, not sending emails about their fancy new office.

    Some stats on this topic can be tricky, the same can apply on amount of visitors. If website push marketing for visitors … they can come, but sometimes 10 quality visitors from one source can do more “action” than 1000 low visitors from other source.

    If I read blog I enjoy the most blogs like yours, clean without junk focused on content. You use pop up, it is ok, nobody is perfect ;)

    1. Oh these pop ups ;) I don’t like them at all and never used one on any website I builded.

      I’ve yet to need to incorporate them on anything I’ve built, and I used to take a hard stance as a “No,” but I’ve seen the positive that they bring so I’m continuing to remain open minded for now.

      Data-driven decision making :).

      I discovered that many website/business owners don’t know or don’t focus on their goals. If somebody use pop up subscription during my checkout …

      something is wrong, at least for me. (just today I saw google ads on corporate website)

      Yeah – there’s a difference there, IMHO. If you don’t know your goals, you’re just throwing things against the wall in hopes that it sticks.

      I understand that bloggers welcome subscribers, it is ok, if they push them little bit for action. I still think, that quality subscriber will do action without pop up too. If site owner push too much, then its quantity over quality. Yes stats will show, that is works, more subscribers …

      anyway this is not the same as more leads – clients/customers … (more low quality subscribers can cost even some money – higher newsletter plan)

      You can push a little, just not too hard. At least that’s my take. I’m using the statistics of several of the services to help guide the decisions I’m making so I’m not against pulling something if it ends up being too frustrating.

      What I found really annoying if some service provider do the same. Their goal is sell some service/product, not sending emails about their fancy new office.

      Yeah, that’s kinda weird. Not sure I’d care unless their fancy new office provided something useful to me :).

      If I read blog I enjoy the most blogs like yours, clean without junk focused on content. You use pop up, it is ok, nobody is perfect ;)

      HEY.

      But thank you for you forgiveness ;P.

      — Tom

  2. Hey Tom, first of all, I like that kind of thinking/questioning, thanks for putting this post out here. :)

    Secondly, I believe I hardly know anything about “blogging”. Quotation marks in order to honor the distinction between identifying as a daily reader and occasional writer of blog posts, or as a professional blogger (as in making a revenue from writing and marketing blog posts).

    As someone how reads tons and writes occasional blog posts, but so far hasn’t made any effort to market their own output, I wouldn’t consider any of the techniques or measurements you mention above as intrinsically right or wrong. I’m just annoyed by ICYMI tweets and modals, because they tend to ruin my experience as a reader. (Which in turn I usually aim to relativize by trying to put myself in the authors shoes and feel their ambition to market their creation. It helps sometimes, like that other day I mentioned you on Twitter. ;))

    Regarding a comment policy, I live in a part of the world where a blog publisher would be held legally accountable for the comments appearing on their blog. So moderation is key over here. As a reader, I totally applaud restrictive comment policies for the positive effects you’ve already mentioned.

    Finally, what tends to annoy me the most are poorly performing sites. I’m on a late 2011 MacBook Pro, and I’m so used to the noise of my fan when I open any site with ads and/or a lot of pictures that I hardly notice it anymore. However, I do notice slowly loading pages and scrolling lags.

    On my personal blog I avoid heavy image content whenever possible. Who needs to look at a stupid stock image anyways in 2015?! My next redesign is going to focus all things performance and a11y in order to be able to provide an excellent experience for the 3-5 people who actually read my blog. Because I sure do care about them. ;)

    1. Hey Tom, first of all, I like that kind of thinking/questioning, thanks for putting this post out here. :)

      Definitely! I was working on this post actually when your tweet showed up in my feed so I was thinking about our conversation as I was scheduling this to go out so I’m glad you read it.

      And I’m glad you shot me a note about it on Twitter :).

      Secondly, I believe I hardly know anything about “blogging”. Quotation marks in order to honor the distinction between identifying as a daily reader and occasional writer of blog posts, or as a professional blogger (as in making a revenue from writing and marketing blog posts).

      I’ll be honest: I don’t really consider to know much about blogging, but I feel like I’m getting a better idea as to how to manage this site :).

      To that end, I’m willing to experiment with things for a little while and if they work, then I’ll continue pursuing it. If it doesn’t work out, no big deal. I can always just turn it off.

      As someone how reads tons and writes occasional blog posts, but so far hasn’t made any effort to market their own output, I wouldn’t consider any of the techniques or measurements you mention above as intrinsically right or wrong. I’m just annoyed by ICYMI tweets and modals, because they tend to ruin my experience as a reader. (Which in turn I usually aim to relativize by trying to put myself in the authors shoes and feel their ambition to market their creation. It helps sometimes, like that other day I mentioned you https://twitter.com/glueckpress/status/651744372216754180 on Twitter.

      ;))

      Exactly! And I think it’s fine to talk to authors – or even just me ;P – if you’re annoyed by something.

      I can definitively say that sharing old content (not super old content, because it does rot a bit) but stuff from up to four weeks back does work.

      I’m planning to write about this sometime in the future.

      Probably early next year. But still, there are usually reasons behind the things I do — I rarely rush into anything without trying to evaluate all aspects of it.

      Sometimes this works out well. Sometimes, not so much – I end up with analysis paralysis.

      Regarding a comment policy, I live in a part of the world where a blog publisher would be held legally accountable for the comments appearing on their blog. So moderation is key over here. As a reader, I totally applaud restrictive comment policies for the positive effects you’ve already mentioned.

      Yeah. I haven’t always been that way, but I learned, though experience, why it’s necessary. If I could have handled situations differently without having to experience them, then I would’ve implemented something sooner.

      Unfortunately, experience is sometimes the best teacher. All I can do is make amends, implement changes, and move forward.

      The policy has served me well, too. I definitely sleep better at night with that.

      Finally, what tends to annoy me the most are poorly performing sites. I’m on a late 2011 MacBook Pro, and I’m so used to the noise of my fan when I open any site with ads and/or a lot of pictures that I hardly notice it anymore. However, I do notice slowly loading pages and scrolling lags.

      Yeah. I try to keep whatever theme I opt to use light. There are still optimizations I’d like to make to this site (and Mike and John have done a fantastic job with their work at Array), but there are still little things here and there I’d love to improve (since I’ve done a little child theming).

      On my personal blog I avoid heavy image content whenever possible. Who needs to look at a stupid stock image anyways in 2015?! My next redesign is going to focus all things performance and a11y in order to be able to provide an excellent experience for the 3-5 people who actually read my blog. Because I sure do care about them. ;)

      Hey – who cares if it’s 3 to 5 or 3,000 to 5,000. Care about ’em all.

      — Tom

  3. You know, I pushed back hard against pop-up opt-in boxes for a long time. But like you Tom, I decided to put my own opinions to the test. Sure enough, I’ve changed my mind and now utilize a popup to capture first-time visitors and it’s working like a charm.

    I was mostly afraid that I would lose quality in exchange for quantity signups, but so far the drop in open rates has not superceded the higher influx of subscribers.

    It was einstein that said “never stop questioning.” And he was a pretty smart dude. :D

    1. Yep – that’s exactly where I was. Basically, I think it comes down to how we all experience the web.

      Certain people have certain things that annoy them and that they think no one should do. But those very same things end up positively impacting other types of visitors.

      So, like you said (and like I hope the article conveyed), I put my own pre-conceived notions aside and began experimenting with something that seems to have social proof, though I was skeptical it would work on my own site.

      Thus far, it’s been successful. Now it’s up to figuring out how else I can annoy people. ;P.

  4. I also used to be very ICYMI tweets and I think you’re exactly right–it’s an irritation for people who are on twitter and see a lot of what is going on in real time. Realistically, though, those of us who are not on the internet perpetually (or at least, not perusing social media) find a lot of value in the repost. It’s also good to remember that, in the case of Twitter, it’s basically a constantly scrolling newsfeed–people will inevitably miss things, and by resharing, you’re doing both yourself and your audience a service.

    I think, also, in general: As much as I hate (hate) (HATE) self promotional bullshit, it’s something I’ve learned to have a little bit of compassion for when it is done well and within reason. If someone is perpetually and solely self-promoting, then ew, but if someone is just sharing something they created for a new audience who may have missed that share the first time–that’s legit.

    1. I also used to be very ICYMI tweets and I think you’re exactly right–it’s an irritation for people who are on twitter and see a lot of what is going on in real time

      Yep – I was no fan of it for the reasons mentioned. But then I started meeting people all over the world and some who were emailing me about things that I could easily link to that I’d already written.

      So I figure why not just try it and see what happens?

      in the case of Twitter, it’s basically a constantly scrolling newsfeed–people will inevitably miss things, and by resharing, you’re doing both yourself and your audience a service.

      Bingo.

      I think, also, in general: As much as I hate (hate) (HATE) self promotional bullshit, it’s something I’ve learned to have a little bit of compassion for when it is done well and within reason.

      I’m with you 100%. I was honestly more skeptical of doing it because of how it may be viewed as narcissistic than helpful, but I try to make sure the content I write is geared towards helping people.

      I figured that if someone wants to call me out on being self-promotional, then I’ll just assume they aren’t reading the pots.

      I’ll even go further and say that if they are calling me out on that, then I’ll happily review the post in question. Maybe I am being too self-promotional and I should curtail that. Totally open-minded on that stuff, you know?

      if someone is just sharing something they created for a new audience who may have missed that share the first time–that’s legit.

      That’s how I see it, that’s how I hope to be, and I have seen it positively impact this particular site. I don’t know if I’d say this is something other people should do, but that’s okay. I’m concerned with my site.

  5. I went through the same situation. I always found it annoying that I’d see a popup, just so a store owner could catch my email address. It bothered me that people were tweeting things multiple times and Facebook ads were stupid. Until I started my own store.

    Now I do all of the above myself BECAUSE IT WORKS. I hated myself for a while for doing it, but that faded when I saw the actual results.

    I was wrong all this time..

    1. You pretty much nailed my exact feelings.

      I felt a little like I was selling out when I first began to implement this, but I get a daily email of people who are signing up for what I’m planning to begin offering in the first quarter of next year.

      The proof is in the data and you can’t really argue with that :).

  6. This is a great post for a few reasons. It shows that we tend to believe and subsequently create assumptions based on what we hear people complain about the most, even if it’s not reflective of the population as a whole, or the silent majority.

    It also is valuable for people that want to implement some of these ideas, but aren’t sure of their effectiveness. Although no one prescription is going to suit everyone, to see how they’ve worked for you is very valuable, with you as a guinea pig. A/B testing is a great tool to optimize these ideas on websites. There are right ways to do things, and wrong ways, and usually always better ways.

    And it also reminds me I need to keep my “about” pages fresh, which is something easy to put at the bottom of the priority list, but is one of the most-viewed pages on most websites and is the one big chance to impress whatever it is you want upon the reader.

  7. I thought I would keep my blog up forever. But I recently switched it to private and plan to remove it entirely one day. It isn’t me anymore.

    So there’s always people like me – who just eventually quit – because we really just don’t care about it anymore.

    I think it’s important when something has shifted and you’ve moved past something to let it go. People that continue blogging, about nothing and everything, just for the sake of blogging, would probably feel a lot better about their blogs if they just shut them down and returned to writing on the web during a later season in life.

    Ebb and flow…

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