Quantum Tea » Thoughts

Cardinal Sins of Blogging

I figure that having been blogging for nearly two years entitles me to get a bit opinionated about the practice of keeping a weblog. I've seen a lot of blogs both good and bad. This page is the blog equivalent of Webpages That Suck.com, learning to do it right by looking at doing it wrong, but without the nasty finger pointing.

This list is related to the Cardinal Sins of Web Design, and Web Design Virtues, in that blogs require a web site of some kind. Go check out those lists if you're in mid template-churn.

Addition (January 13th 2004):
I didn't write this because I think I'm the Blog Gestapo, I wrote it because it was fun to write, and I figure everyone is entitled to an opinion no matter how long they've been doing something. The presentation is tongue-in-cheek for those who hadn't figured that out yet, and no, I'm not trying to deliberately stifle creativity, put down people who like pink, oppress new bloggers, or (insert miscellaneous nastiness here). OK?

Content sins

  1. Debating the difference between "weblog" and "journal"
    (no-one cares. Really, no-one in their right mind cares.)

  2. Passive-aggressive blogging or insulting someone by making veiled references in your blog. Childish, stupid and boring, please GROW UP!

  3. Excruciating detail about your sex life, recent surgery, gruesome illness, messy divorce, vomiting pets, etc.
    (please, make it stop!)

  4. Obsessing about your hitcount/Ecosystem rank/Google position
    (talking about web site stats is so yawnworthy I think I need a nap to recover.)

  5. Not attributing your sources
    (sources like to be linked to, it's the polite thing to do.)

  6. Linking to your own blog multiple times
    (Come on, unless you're doing a series, FIVE links to yourself is excessive. Two is excessive. Get over it!)

  7. Excessive use of the word "like"
    (like, there are other, like words you could like, you know, use. Buy a thesaurus and a grammar book immediately.)

  8. Blogrolls with over 120 links in
    (we know you don't read them all. Stick to ones you do read.)

  9. Posts without titles
    (You can fake it even if it's not supported, use
    <h2> Title goes here </h2>) (changed this to Rachel's suggestion of h2 tags for the title, a better idea than my bold paragraph title)

  10. Overuse of exclamation marks, or missing punctuation
    (if it's easy to read, people come back. Proper capitalisation makes it easier to read, and one exclamation mark is enough.)

  11. No TeXt ShOuTOutS
    (learn to spell, and learn to communicate properly)
    (Contributed by Jase)

  12. Obsessive use of quizzes
    (we don't really care what *species* you are, let alone which character you are from a Manga series we've never heard of.
    (Contributed by Jase)

Design sins

  1. Content squished into one narrow column in the centre.

  2. Micro-fonts no-one can read.

  3. Unlabelled links
    (e.g. a bunch of stars on a background, some of which link to other pages, but you don't know WHICH are links until you mouse over all of them. Thoughtless design and a time waster to boot.)

  4. Templates with eye-popping colour combinations.

  5. Massive, detailed, background images
    (don't waste my bandwidth and don't obscure the text.)

  6. Crappy navigation
    (show me clearly where the archives and the about me page are, and don't make me think.)

  7. No search box
    (if you've been blogging a couple of months you need this, preferably on the main blog page. You cannot depend on Google catching everything.)

  8. Uncontactable authors
    (include an email address or feedback form, and comments.)

  9. Obnoxiously pink pages with these kind of background colours:
    HTML colour #FF1493, or Deep Pink 1
    HTML colour #EE1289, or Deep Pink 2
    HTML colour #FF00FF, or Magenta 1
    HTML colour #EE00EE, or Magenta 2
    (please don't attempt this unless you're under 18.)

  10. Indecipherable text
    (light text on light background, or dark text on dark, either way you need to make the text readable, which requires contrast. Unless you don't want it read, in which case black on black is just fine.)

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