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5 things bloggers need to stop doing right now

5 things bloggers need to stop doing right now

It all started with a little check box.

I spotted it while doing a bit of blog commenting. The first one irked me. The second one had me swearing. By the time I got to the third one, I was ready for a little blog rant.

Because it wasn’t just the box, not really. I’d noticed a few other things about the blog world recently that were really getting under my skin. Let’s all agree to stop doing these things, yeah? Together, we can make the internet a little less terrible.

1. Having the ‘Sign up for my newsletter’ field in your comments section checked by default

Don’t try to trick people into registering for your newsletter. Give them option to opt-in if they want to hear from you.

“But then I won’t get any subscribers!” you say. And yeah, you may not get as many subscribers once you untick that field, but the ones you do get will be ones who actually want you to send them stuff. One actively engaged subscriber is better than ten who go, “Wait, who the fuck is this?” when your newsletter arrives in their inbox.

Tricks that websites or apps use to get people to buy or subscribe to things that they didn’t mean to are called dark patterns. Don’t make the internet a worse place by using them. It’s not cool.

2. Acting like robots

Are you one of those people who tweets links to random old posts every 10 minutes? Or uses an auto-like app that goes around liking people’s Instagram photos from two years ago?

Stop it. Stop it now.

Social media is about…well, being social. Look, I know you need to promote yourself. We all do. It’s the worst thing about being a blogger. But it can’t be ALL about that. Chat with people. Express your opinions. Share other people’s work. Don’t just throw your shit at people all day, because you’re going to get muted, and soon enough you’ll be going “LOOK AT MY POST LOOK LOOK LOOK” at pretty much no one.

3. Publishing without editing

Everyone lets the odd typo slip in now and again. That’s forgivable. But if you can’t tell the difference between there, their and they’re, I’m going to have a hard time taking you seriously.

Read your posts before you publish them. It sounds obvious, but some posts I’ve read make me question whether everyone does this. And don’t just read them once. Read them a few times. Then cut 10%.

I learned about the 10% rule in Stephen King’s book On Writing. As soon as he finishes writing a book and starts editing, he cuts 10% straight away. I’m actually not a huge Stephen King fan, but it’s a pretty solid rule. Even in a 500 word blog post, there will be fluff. Get cutting.

4. Turning their blogs into advertorials

I know that for some of you, your blog is your job. You need to make money. I get why you occasionally need to post about how company XYZ does great double glazing or whatever. I don’t really want to read it, but I respect why you’re doing it.

That being said, I’ve seen some blogs basically become nothing but sponsored posts and reviews of random crap. We’ve all seen it happen. They build their followers. They get more offers. Eventually, their blog becomes less about them and more about the free stuff they’ve been sent.

By all means, accept paid work if you want to. But don’t lose sight of why you started your blog in the first place. Good, honest writing will keep people coming back. Boilerplate reviews won’t.

5. Calling themselves ‘influencers’

I’m not saying that bloggers can’t influence people. They can – and do. Just don’t go around calling yourself an influencer. It makes you sound like an a-hole and it devalues your work.

I don’t think the term bothers me because I’m old – I’m technically a millennial (though just barely). I think it bothers me because it reduces what bloggers do to trying to sell people stuff, whether that’s a product or a lifestyle. And that’s not what most bloggers want to do. They want to create content that people like. If it happens to influence people, great. But that’s not why they make it.

I know the term ‘blogger’ makes some people cringe too, but trust me – you can have a drink and a laugh with a blogger. An influencer will take a selfie while you’re talking to them and then try to sell you some designer trainers. No one likes that guy (or gal).

Lucy At Home
Rhyming with Wine

30 thoughts on “5 things bloggers need to stop doing right now”

  • Goddamnit Katie I was hoping this would be all tongue in cheek but this is real actual advice. What on earth has happened? 😉 And yes, totally agree. How do you get that sign up box?! I need that.

  • Love this popple! Must admit I have auto tweets going but like 2 a day and it’s set up rubbish so I should just delete it. Today. X

  • Argh I read this last night and had all the guilt because I have that auto sign up box thing. I started my subscriber thing like last week and am still playing with it to get my head round it. It is the default setting at the minute. When I’m back with wifi and laptop I will investigate getting it ff because I agree it is evil and irritating!

  • Eep I am guilty of the auto tweets to promote my posts but I do share lots of other bloggers content and chat/tweet random stuff so I kind of think it makes it ok. The auto tick boxes really annoy me too and blogs that are all reviews don’t keep me interested for very long xx #blogcrush

  • Argh I am guilty of the tweet one! In my defence, it’s the only one of these I do, but I like to read other people’s old posts via Twitter, so I hope some people will like to read mine too. I’d rather read old posts than have an inane conversation with someone I don’t know (not that all conversations on Twitter are inane, but I don’t want to waste time discussing my favourite cheese on there!) Hopefully my tweets aren’t annoying too many people.

    • I think it’s fine to share old posts via Twitter – I do it too! But I think it’s also important to not JUST do that – it’s good to share other people’s posts and have a chat sometimes too. Though I get your point – most Twitter conversations aren’t exactly in-depth.

  • Love this post! Shared it.
    I also find the auto box/pop up thing annoying; especially when I’m trying to read the post on my phone.
    The reviews of endless products is also annoying but I agree, the odd one is fine. #familyfun

  • I agree to all of the above – especially point 4. It’s natural to want to make money off your blog – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but as you rightly said, don’t lose your focus (or integrity) in the bargain. At least review or write about products that are relevant to your audience!!! Sharing this post, fab!

  • lol. I actaully do use the term “influencer” sometimes, even if it makes me cringe. It took me three years before I was comfortable calling myself a blogger. I’m actually in the middle of my second straight paid campaign that was purely social, no blog post required. I think if people are paying me to post to FB and IG, I’m an influencer. Hopefully people will still read my blog and want that drink and a laugh!

  • We need to add linking up without following the linky rules and common blogging etiquette! What’s happening on the #DreamTeam linky is ridiculous! Thanks for this awesome list, I also shy away from too much scripted posting on social media. I share 6 old posts each week, each one is scheduled for once a day. Other than that I like to stay engaged in my social media.

  • Good points! That pop-up subscription thing really drives me nuts. Especially when it pops up immediately and it’s my first time to the blog — I’m often heard yelling out, “How do I know if I want to subscribe, I just got here!”

  • Eeek this was close to the bone! I totally agree with you on all these points… but it can also be so hard to strike the right balance. I am starting to get income from some of my posts now and, if it means I can stay at home with my kids for longer, it’s something that I want to pursue. But I don’t want to be that annoying blogger that is always trying to sell something. I fight to make sure I always post at least 50% me and 50% promotional, but I wonder if even that is too high. It’s really difficult. #dreamteam

  • Oh, I hate when the newsletter subscription is automatically checked, or really anything. Let me do the clicking please, thanks!

    I don’t really mind the term influencer, but yeah, I can see how it would be kind of annoying. Don’t worry, I don’t call myself that. haha


  • The publishing without editing thing is my pet peeve. Is it rude to send someone an edited and now grammatically correct transcript of their blog post?! I’m tempted sometimes. (And also terrified of making a typo myself which will no doubt happen somewhere down the line if it hasn’t already!) #BlogCrush

  • Ha ha ha – I’m so not pro I don’t do any of these things so I hope I’m in the Popple’s good books!!!! I did used to schedule a few tweet every now and then but I forgot my login and now can’t be arsed! The comment ‘influencers’ made me laugh! #blogcrush xx

  • I agree that those boxes can be very frustrating and will deselect being linked into subscriptions. I also don’t auto schedule tweets but keep it real. If I like what I see I may share it. #BlogCrush

  • Yes, yes. Those tick boxes on blog post comment boxes drive me mad. I don’t have them do I? I think I do, but they should have to be clicked if someone wants in. It’s when they are pre-clicked for you, that they can be really annoying. *Looks over at also annoying (self confessed) pop-up email subscribe box that I haven’t worked out a way of stopping. Fab post. Thanks for joining us for the #dreamteam x

  • Arrgghhh! Totally get you on the sign-up box! I have auto tweets set up but I make sure I share lots of other peoples content too and interact where I can. As for they’re, their and there? It drives me up the wall, along with to, too and two! Great rant post.
    Thank you for joining #FamilyFunLinky x

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