Lots of newcomers are entering the blogosphere, and ya'll are welcomed with open arms. However, there are some things that newbie (or noob) bloggers do or don't do that a) make their blogs less usable or b) scream "we don't know what we're doing!"
So to spare newish bloggers some embarrassment, I've compiled this list of signs that they may lack appropriate participation in the blog community:
• Comments are disabled (in my opinion, this disqualifies it from being a true blog)
• No outbound links in the posts
• No blogroll in the sidebar
• No indication of who the author is or about the author link/page
• Too many or duplicative category names, or no categories set up (10-15 is good number)
• Underlining of text that isn’t a link
• Walls of text with no subheadings and paragraph breaks
• Corporate speak, or text that seems "sanitized" by the PR department
• Approved comments that are obvious spam
• Calling their blog post a “blog” instead of a "post" (e.g. “in the blog that I wrote yesterday”)
• White text on a black background – this is not readable! It hurts the eye.
• Using Blogger.com but not removing the Blogger logo at the top of the professional firm’s blog
• Ending posts with “For more information call or email me” or similar pitch. They won’t. That’s not how blogs work.
When I asked Twitter and Facebook friends what they believe signals that a blog is amateur, these friends answered with their thoughts:
• "Infrequent updates" suggested by three people: Ginger Lewis (@Ginger_Lewis), Andrew Rose (@NadenLean), and Jason Blumer (@JasonMBlumer)
• "Internal focus versus external focus" from Ed Kless (@edkless)
• "Relying on memes instead of creating original content" wrote Robin Wheeler (@poppymom)
• "Minutia—quantity over quality can help develop the blogging habit but writing about minute details of life without going deeper screams amateur" also from Robin Wheeler (@poppymom)
• "No clear relationship/brand beyond the blog, itself" submitted by Langston Richardson (@matsnl)
• "There is no RSS feed" from Ginger Lewis (@Ginger_Lewis)
• "Typos" and when "links are broken" sent by Susan Gorham (@susangorham)
• "Consistently poor grammar and spelling" contributed by Debra Helwig (@dhelwig) who elaborates: “If you can't take the time to proofread, or have someone check you, how can I believe you'll be careful when you do work for ME?”
and an especially important one:
• "Asking to swap links—gotta earn that" submitted by Robin Wheeler (@poppymom)
This list is from my upcoming book, Social Media Strategies for Professionals and their Firms.
APPENDED: July 28
Just to be crystal clear, while the first list is my list of traits of amateur blogs, the second list are traits submitted by the persons credited with contributing the trait. These were suggested publicly (Facebook and Twitter) with notice of my intent to publish them. I am not suggesting they are guilty of the trait shown. Thanks!