The cleaner your blog the better. Most readers have a short attention span and they do not want to get distracted by unnecessary or non-relevant information. Despite that fact many bloggers forget to remove such extra data from their sidebars or from the blog posts. Below you will find some examples of unnecessary information:
Author information: Unless your blog has more than one author it makes no sense to display “Written by John Doe” after every single post. Readers that want more information about the author can visit the “About” page.
Meta data: Most WordPress themes come with a meta section on the sidebar where you can find admin links like “Login” or “XHTML Valid”. While this information might be useful for the blog owner it offers no value for the reader.
Recent Comments: The blogs that have a “Recent Comments” section usually display only the name of the person that posted it and the first two words of the comment. Readers interested in following the comments of a particular post will probably click on that post directly and not on the “Recent Comments”.
Calendar: Unless you write about time-bound content there is no reason to have a calendar on the sidebar of your blog. People blogging about a journey or a conference, for instance, should use the calendar because it enables readers to track the evolution of the event. If your blog is not in that situation, however, ditch the calendar.
Badges: Some blog directories or networks require the members to place a badge on their sites. Most of the times, however, those directories send very little traffic while creating a lot of visual pollution. Be careful to evaluate the real benefits before cluttering your blog with dozens of badges.
Overall make sure that all the elements on your blog are creating value and not just detracting from the user experience. If you are not sure about what adds value and what might disturb the readers you can ask them or use services that track where they are clicking around your blog. Do you have any other examples of unnecessary information on blogs?
i removed my calendar ! thx
Bang Kritikuson says
Many badges much times
@craig: What do you mean? Everyone uses different blogging engines (e.g. I use WordPress) so a method for one blog may not work on another. As an example, for WordPress, often it’s about editing the sidebar or widgets. Why not be a bit more specific about what you need help with?
How about explaining HOW to do it and not just that we should remove this junk.
SEO Geniuson says
Some great simple tips there definitely worth pointing out. Keep that bounce rate down
Whats most important is a clear idea of why youre blogging – whats your purpose. The necessity of different blog elements should then answer to your purpose. If it supports it, great. If not then dump the feature.
Wow, I wish people would feedback as much for my site too. Alas I run a fansite (niche) so it’s doesn’t draw crowds of people. They only seem to focus on certain areas of the site when I really want to see more (although I’m also guilty of things like that when I browse ‘fansites’) I really like the suggestion about removing ‘author’ since I am the only person but I guess people don’t normally read the ‘about’ page so it’s good to let people know who wrote/compiled the info. I also don’t feature ‘recent comments’ unti The calendar is frankly useless for my site as well. Maybe because I don’t use it when surfing other’s blogs?
Dawud Miracleon says
I think all things evolve. Blogging is still quite young and is changing weekly. So while the calendar, for instance, had its place a while back, I think date has given way to content – like using tags.
Yup.. great discussion indeed!
Maki, I guess that both views could be correct, we could say that it depends on whether your readers are mostly repeat visitors or new ones from search engines, for instance.
Thanks Daniel for your comments.
Maki, valid points.
I think removing the Author information is a very bad idea. Why?
I’m glad you wrote this, I actually just optimized my blog about a week ago using a lot of these techniques and already found it to be quite useful. I took out my calendar that was at the top of the page for the exact reason you specify; it’s not very important and is taking up a lot of space that could be used for more important things.
Kevin Henneyon says
I think the recent comments can provide value to the reader, as they give some indication of what posts other visitors considered interesting.
Josh, if your readers find the “Recent Comments” and calendar valuable go for it. Most of the stuff I write is relative since blogging is no exact science.
when designing a blog layout you should think what the readers prefer, and not your own self
I`ll recomend you sth I`m using and I think it`s really good for blogs… I mean archivist – it works fine on mine blog :]
Everton, thanks for that feedback! I will consider to remove the “Recent Posts” and About from the footer.
I have to really disagree about recent comments Daniel, as this is a useful way for new readers to learn what’s interesting on your blog just like ‘top posts’.
I`m not sure if the bigger amount of subscribers makes (some) people subscribe (If so many people done it this blog should be valuable).
verbalAffair, you might be right. Some people could argue that the feed count gives you an idea about how many RSS subscribers the blog has and consequently what kind of audience is reading it. But I agree that other than that it does not add any value.
One example of unnecessary information on blogs is the counter, like “1141 readers by Feedburner”. It used to be cool 10 years ago, but doesnt, in my opinion add any value for the reader. (Sorry…)
KG, you have some interesting points. The concern that comes into my mind is that when designing a blog layout you should think what the readers prefer, and not your own self.
I mean blogs :]
Calendar is unnecessary – you may use RSS to know about new posts.
I agree that calendar is not useful for typical blobs.
I have to disagree with you on recent comments and calendar. I think these are both tools that help me to not waste time while reading blogs.
Very practical and functional tips.