Got a blog? This critique summary is for you.


I think the entire town of blogsphere showed up for the post on the big critique!

Did you miss it? If you have a blog, it’s critical you don’t miss it.

The comments are what I wish to direct your attention to. I had requested that anyone that wanted to critique blogsphere, to please feel free.

The insight that was gathered was incredible! Anyone that has a blog, this critique is for you.

Now, the argument could be, not all of us like the same things. Shouldn’t our blogs be a reflection of our individual tastes?

Yes and no.

 Yes, it’s your blog. However, from my standpoint, most of the comments made were made in the reference of functionality. Or should I say, due to disfunctionality. Which is very different than simply chosing a background colour or logo.

I think we all agree, that we wish for our blogs to:

welcome our guests

be pleasant on the eyes

load quickly

ensure a guest’s visit was enjoyable

hold interesting content to warrant a return visit

Easy right? Hmm… maybe not.

Read on for some tips that you may be unaware of, to help your blog welcome those that visit!

What you DO like in blogs

light and simple backgrounds



visits with comments

frequent photos

quality photos

realism in writing

link party participants that make other visits

quality vs. quantity comments

fast downloads

helpful tips if you’re a newbie

consistent ‘pertinent’ content

individual style to shine through

the focus is with your reader in mind (are they getting what they came for?)
not afraid to show flaws

comments returned

*email read feeder option for the .com, non blogspot folks
*(where do you find this? help!)

What you do NOT like in blogs

dark backgrounds

too many bells and whistles

flashy, scrolly and blinky stuff

too commercial

coaxing to become a follower

gimmicks to become a follower

dissing of other bloggers

busy backgrounds

too many ads in too many locations

overloaded and over busy sidebar info

copy cat decorating content

word verification

manageable pics you don’t have to scroll to see

comments asking you to come back to their place for votes, giveaways, etc.

dormant blogs

too many off topic posts
too many hoops to jump to enter a giveaway
no email contact in profile
poor grammar

Things you dislike that SLOW DOWN your computer

snow falling


flashy, blinky or scrolly things

large sized or large file sized pictures
too many posts set to load on main page

Blog features you yourself love and use

email notification for comments

viewing blogs in readers for quick access and easy legibility

What you like about my blog

my stripes (kidding!)

my ‘outside of the box’ DIY style




writing style – down to earth

good photos

frequent photos

blog tutes – easy to understand and implement





risks taken

my visits and comments

you feel like you know me

top posts listing on right sidebar

that I ask for opinions

getting to know the ‘real’ me

generous nature (highlighting others)

What you want to see on my blog

my Donald Trump hair 🙂

more blog building tips

more tutorials and videos

graphic design how-tos

faster loading pictures

to offer decorating advice

What I love about blogging most

the unique friendships I have made with you

~ Thank-you! ~

I’ll be working down the list to see what I can do with my own blog.

I hope you enjoyed the info in the spirit in which it was given. It’s a wealth of free information that can help kick that welcome door open just a little more for our special guests.

The original critique post is located …


P.S. Grab a beverage. You’ll be here awhile. 🙂

Amazing animal photos from

More comments to share? Feel free. I’ll update the master lists as needed. 🙂

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Categories: Inspiration

44 thoughts on “Got a blog? This critique summary is for you.

  1. Great overview.

    I do have one other pet peeve to add………and it’s on your blog too. 🙂

    Ok, here goes. When you try to post a comment, and that little box pops up, I just wanna pull my hair out! On my computer, and it may not be this way for everyone else, but a box pops up and asks me if it’s ok to display the information. I click ok, then I type out my comment and press post, then that box comes up again and asks if it’s ok to display the content again.

    It’s the picture icons that it blocks until you say ok. Almost every blog I go on has this.

    That little pop up box is really small too, and it won’t let you expand it.

    Would you consider just embedding the comments below the post? (And then asking everyone else in blogland to do the same? [big cheesy grin]).

  2. Donna it was so interesting reading everyones comments on blogging. Personally I thought your snow was cute! But I understand people not wanting their computer to run slow. I know I am very guilty of writing this !!!!!! to much on my blog. My writing skills are poor and it is something I am working on. You and your blog are so wonderful and I look forward to seeing what changes you decide to make in 2010!

  3. Okay…I’ll try again with my comment! I appreciate all your blog “tips”. It’s been off to a slow start for me and my blog, but I’ve kept up with everyone I follow and Love to visit each one and see all the creativity and love going into each blog. Things have been a little stressful and sad this holiday season with a family member going through a crisis…so I plan to start the New Year off with Hope, Joy and Peace as I wish these things for everyone too. Thanks for all the tips on great blogging!

  4. . The one think that is my biggest pet peeve is when a blog becomes too commercial and too sterile, I quit going back. I feel like someone else has taken over their blog and it’s not them anymore but some kind of commercial entity. When bloggers start writing to appeal only to the masses they usually lose me because their personal touch becomes lost! I like uniqueness and personal touches, not just one of the same over and over. Cindy

  5. Thanks so much for the summary. It really helps. I think I’m going to ask for critiques on my blog soon and link back to these posts. As many people as possible need to read this stuff. Plus, as I start this new year you’ve got me all fired up to put a little work into my blog/s.

  6. Thanks so much for posting this. I don’t know how I missed that whole survey thing – obviously I am not as on top of things as I had hoped!

    I subscribe to your blog for all the reasons mentioned. I started my own with no MO other than simply to reach out and connect with others, like yourself, to share and mostly to learn. I am so grateful you are doing what you do as well as for the many other talented and generous bloggers out there. Wishes for the Happiest of New Years to you and yours!

  7. Man oh man! This is what happens when I stay off of the computer to get something done to *wow* you! hehehe I missed an opportunity to let my voice be heard. I’ll have to go back and give my two cents! 🙂 Just quickly, I’ll let you know that when I went to Blissdom last year, the one thing I took away and did immediately was to clean up my blog. I took off the music and blinkies and color. I recently–should have done sooner–reduced the amount of posts per page so it would load more quickly. This came back to me quickly when I got my Blackberry and tried to load my blog in the car.

    What you list about sums up what we learned there. I might add that grammar/spelling issues stress me–but I’m usually in the minority there. 🙂 I am the *official* proofer of all documents that leave the school where I work. It’s not that I don’t make a mistake–but I correct them when I find them.

    Oh, and I’d have to say that the one thing that really annoys me–maybe annoy is a strong word–is the overuse of !!!!! Don’t ask me why, it just does. 🙂

    Oh, and one more . . . I am *disappointed* when a blogger sells out to a sponsor. I am not against them making money, but when the posts that serve the sponsor do not support the author in a way that I have become accustomed to, that is a real turn off. I am having a hard time putting this into words, but you probably know what I mean. Recently, I visited a popular blog, and the owner was literally selling a sponsor’s product that I thought was terribly tacky. The product did not *fit* with her past style or philosophy.

    Just saying.

    I’m off to read and post and renovate. I’ll be back!

  8. What a great service you have done -especially for those of us who are new to blogging. I will take the comments and look over them to see where I can make improvements to my own blog. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for everyone.


  9. Good Morning –
    I’ve just started reading your blog and I think this may be my first comment – but I love this article/post/whatever you may call it. I, too really don’t like ALL the ads ALL over the place. I understand the making money part from blogging, nothing wrong with that, but ALL over the place? And the blinking and floaties – I’m not esp. fond of them at all. I do tend to read most all of the text in a blog and like for most of the grammar to be correct – not in a school kind of way – but still. I do like comments and followers, but hate to feel like I’m being forced to comment and follow – esp. during a giveaway.
    I’ll have to go back and read the entire post.

    I do enjoy the “linky” parties and such and have really just started participating in those. It is a way to meet new “blogger buddies”. Oh, and I know my “quotes” and !!! are way overused and the (-) way over the top. Sorry –

    Happy New Year to you and your’s!

  10. I’m off to check out the original post. I think that I missed this one somehow. Thank you for the overview, though. Definitely a lot to think about. Keep doing what you’re doing. I think it’s fantastic!

  11. Wow Donna. I read all the comments from the original post and would have spent hours and hours trying to condense it all. You did. You spent all your time making the lists in this post, making them easy for us to read, okay partly for your blog needs, but more importantly and more kindly, for us. For us to learn from. That is one of the reasons I and I’m sure others keep coming back. You care. Thank you thank you thank you,
    Love Elizabeth

  12. What I like: good quality photos (which means the flash is off!), frequent updating of content (if someone doesn’t post often, I’m not going to follow them because I feel like I find them and then lose them), a mixture of content. I don’t just want to read about one thing. I want to get to know the person a bit. Individuality is important. What I don’t like: music, snow, those little icons on the cursor that are hard to maneuver, blogs I frequently comment on that don’t return the favor. I figure after a week or two they just don’t care for my blog, so I stop reading them. I keep my volume turned down because I don’t want music, hate word verification terribly! I don’t like to see blogs begging for followers, etc., by asking me to do something. Don’t like all the ads. Hate it when they don’t leave a way to contact them. (Sometimes there is something not working on their blog, and I’d love to tell them, but no way to email them.) Can’t decipher words on dark backgrounds. I refuse to even try anymore. Don’t want to see a lot of posts trying to sell things. Yeah, I’m kinda picky! But once I’m a blog friend, I’m very loyal!

  13. I’m always amazed and awed at your ability to “put yourself out there” Donna. By that I mean just being yourself and admitting when something didn’t go as planned, or just sharing a personality “quirk” (as some call them 🙂

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now and it’s been really fun to see how it’s changed and morphed into the even more fabulous blog that it is today!

    Congrats on all your hard work and best wishes for the New Year!

  14. I have been following along for the past few days and appreciate the tips! Love how you took ALL those comments and condensed them down – thanks. I really appreciate the open discussion about what makes a good blog, etc! Thanks for being the brave one by tackling this issue head on.

    What I want to know is how you get the fancy post label widget. I like the graphics of it much better that the standard blogger one.

  15. All of YOU have made this post such a valuable one. So thank-you!

    Ohhh.. some good ones to add to the list for certain are:

    – leave an email in your proflie or on the face of your blog somewhere at the very least. I’ve done up to 7 clicks trying to find a way to contact someone before. If you put up your email like I have by my header (meaning, not a direct link), you will not get spam this way as far as I know. It’s the direct links that get you spam.

    One other quirk I don’t generally take part in is, if a blog contest gives you 80 options to enter their draw. I generally only do 1 or 2 of them and move on. Too many hoops to jump.


    I only use photobucket to store images that I wish to morph into html mode. Mainly for scroll buttons I create. All other photos, I simply do as you just stated, I download from my computer to blogger.

    #16 Lynette,

    I too agree, I don’t want to feel like I’m forced to do anything in order to be a part of a giveaway. However, something I have learned about giveaways entailed me to tap into that area ever so slightly…

    – the sponsor is giving something away in exchange for advertising as a general rule. It’s with this spirit in mind that I guide contest goers back to a designated link to where the content is (ONE direct click, not 10), view your choice, then come back to enter with your choice info.

    – this move in itself does several things:

    1. Keeps some contest goers away, which is ok. Simply because…

    2. I want only those that are interested in what the sponsor is giving away to have a chance to win. And I want the sponsor to benefit from the giveaway somehow and not feel used.

    3. The full info (prize choice and contact info if not on the blog) must be in the entry for a chance to win. If not, I draw again. I have spent an hour attempting to reach a winner before and a week to hear back about their choice of something and that’s too long. I need to do it within moments. And yes, I have redrawn due to lack of requested info.

    Once you host a few giveaways, you learn pretty quick what works and what doesn’t for you. 🙂

    #15 Kate –

    I tried to visit you just now by clicking on your pic or your name, however because your profile isn’t active, I can’t go to you. Or worse yet, even email you. I can’t find you. I totally suggest to enable your profile with your email which will lead commentors back to your place. Or at the very least, after your comments under your name, copy and paste the url back to your blog. So you can recieve comments. 🙂

    You may get more traffic than you’re aware of. I also suggest to install a sitemeter or bloglines widget and install it on your sidebar somewhere. They help keep a count of the amount of traffic you recieve.

    Why don’t visitors comment? Several reasons…

    Is your subject matter something they feel they can take a part in? Are you asking them something in which they can reply to? Is your kind of info the info they’re searching for? (it’s important to continue to reach your targeted audience by staying on topic for the most part)

    Email me your blog link and I’ll offer my opinion if you wish! [email protected]

    #12 Denise –

    Bingo! You may have solved why my pics load slowly for some! I’ll only display about 2 posts on my main page and try that. Thanks!! 😀

    I’ll add more to the master list. And I’m sure I’ll be back. 🙂

    FJ Donna

  16. I missed your original post because I was overhauling my blog. 🙂

    I was happy to see that the changes I made might appeal to others. But I have to say that I am suprised that one of the things that was listed in the “what people like” category left me somewhat scratching my head.

    “the focus is built on your reader, not on you”

    Donna, if you wrote about just what appealed to me, you would not be you which would be a very sad thing indeed. A person can always just chose not to take anything from a posting. I would never want you to write anything that was not “you”.
    I began my blog as a way to keep track of what was going on in my life as I don’t have time to scrapbook. That I have any followers at all is always amazing to me. But as one commentor said, Blog is my golf. It is my time to just write whatever captures my fancy or what I have time for. While I do get daily requests for ads, etc. I choose to keep it as my own sanctuary. But I don’t turn up my nose if someone elses blog features ads. I can always chose not to read.

    As for a pet peeve, I have just one. The abuse of Mr. Linky. When thinking about linking up I always take into consideration if I have the time to visit at least 25% of the blogs that have linked up. If not, then I don’t sign up. EVEN if I may well have something to share. When I do SNS I often visit all the blogs linked. It amazes me that even when commenting on a linky party I receive very few in return.
    I am self employed, a wife, mother, the official cook, maid, and taxi driver for my home. On average I take 3 college classes, and soon will be taking 4. Busy does not even begin to describe my life. But I still take the time to comment.

    Ok, I am off the soapbox now. 🙂

  17. #25. Laura,

    I admit, I wrote the one where your focus should be built for your reader. And I’ll explain why. (I think I’ll reword that one slightly..)

    Blogs gain an audience based on what you post consistently about. If you constantly go off topic for example, you MAY lose DIY followers that you worked so hard to achieve.

    So, it really depends on what you are trying to achieve and why you blog. Some wonder why they don’t get comments or their blogs aren’t consistently growing. And for those, my first question would be, are you reaching your targeted audience you have built?

    I personally have stopped following some DIY based blogs where I was confused as to what they were about. I go off topic on occasion, but I also have an off topic blog I frequent if I wish to ramble away on.

    No matter what, it is still your blog to do with what you chose. Thanks for being you just as you are. 🙂

    FJ Donna

  18. Brenda hit on something I forgot about. Those little icons that take over your cursor. Eek. I stumbled upon a blog with one the other day and I literally could not get it in the right place to be able to scroll down the page. I had to leave the blog even thought I wanted to read the content.

    One thing I want to say is that I think that many new bloggers try things they’ve seen on the other blogs they’ve visited, not knowing what is bothersome or not to their visitors. I know I started mine 3 months ago, and I started by doing things so many others did, and then I decided a lot of those things bothered me and I removed them and stop doing contests like so many others.

    I realized, ‘This is MY blog’, and if I’m not doing what’s comfortable to ME, then how can anyone really get to know who I am and what I’m about? I made a vow to only do what I am ok with, and not coprying what the masses do.

    I went on a blog last night that had – and I counted them – 37…I said 37 gadgets down the right sidebar. They were all related to clubs she was in, places she contributes, etc. On the left sidebar there were so many links you had no idea where they all took you. Again I had to leave that blog. TOO BUSY and MESSY. And again, it was a blog whose content I would’ve read had there not been so much on the sidebar to distract me.

    I have a rule of thumb on my blog, and feel free to go critique me if you wish, but I make sure my sidebar content never goes longer than my post page.

    I also changed my pages to only show 3 post at a time and it really does make a diiference in how long it takes to load. That was a good tip. (But Donna, as long winded as you and I are, maybe we should have it show one post per page!:))

  19. Okay…I will go and analyze my blog. I do agree with this list. My biggest pet peeves are the word id. I had this at first until I read another blog that said to ditch this. I also can not stand when it looks too commercial. I lose interest right away. I have Multiple Sclerosis so I already have a problem with my eyes. The dark backgrounds definitely do not help! Now you need to find a way to forward this to EVERYBODY in blog land!

  20. How about when you enter a contest and win! woohoo! And then the person never sends the prize. That is pretty annoying! My daughter has won contests three different times and never received the promised gifts. One time it was something that she really, really was excited about. She emailed the blogger months later and basically said that she did not want to be rude, but if the gift was sent, she did not receive it. Apologies were made, but she still has never received it months later. It’s as if she wasn’t an important enough winner. KWIM?

  21. #30 Polly,

    Hosting giveaways is a game all it’s own. You learn pretty fast what works and what doesn’t.

    A win on SNS giveaways is only deemed to those that follow the criteria that entitles the win (which I spell out really well). This includes access to an email. No email, I move on to another name that does have one.

    Some blogs announce and wait for the winner to approach them. Whatever works!

    FJ Donna

  22. Boy! That was a great post! One problem, though – if your site annoys someone, everyone in blogland is too polite to tell you to change it! I do not know if I have an annoying site. Donna – could you let me know if my site annoys you! (and I am serious)

  23. What a wonderful, well put-together treasure trove of information. Thank you for your hard work on this, and to all the bloggers who participated. I agree with nearly all of the likes and dislikes. One thing I’d like to comment on is word verification: I’ve heard complaints often about this feature, and even had someone leave a comment on my blog once, insisting that I should take it off. I followed the urging of several bloggers whose advice I admire and took word verification off. Within 24 hours — no joke — my posts were inundated with SPAM comments that I then had to spend time deleting. I regretfully put word verification back up. I know it takes a few extra seconds to do, and we’re used to living in a world where we want everything fast and easy. I admit, I sigh a little every time I have to take an extra 5 seconds to type word verification on someone else’s blog, but now that I know that this feature can truly protect and save bloggers a potential headache, I realize that it’s value far outweighs its minor inconvenience.

  24. #38, Jenn,

    On Word Verification

    you make a most valuable point! As much as the majority despises word verification, most have probably yet to be hit with spam we can’t shake off. There is indeed a place for it and it’s reason to be there.

    If I’m right, word verification is simply a default setting. Many aren’t even aware they even have it on.

    FJ Donna

  25. Donna–

    From a New Comers perspective:

    *This has helped me so much reading this post and all the comments.

    * I have some more learning to do.

    * If you visit a ‘linky party’ leave comments. You’ll GET COMMENTS!
    (Ok I know that is silly; but it is something I’ve truly taken for granted until today)

    * Let people know that your open to constructive criticism –(if you truly are)

    * Don’t take constructive criticism offensively… (remember I’m a New Comer)

    * Lay off the !!! and the …

    * Keep the flashing, blinking, drifting, noisy stuff low key.

    * Post often to keep others coming back

    * Keep the topics relative.

    So… I’m off to REVIEW MY OWN BLOG to see what needs fixin’… (oops! I forgot. Lay off the …)

    Thanks for the tips.

  26. Wow! So much great stuff here! I actually have my blog up and am going through it as I read through the comments here. I’ve changed a few things already. Honestly, I thought that if you replied to the comment that comes to your inbox, that reply would go back to that blogger. Until I looked in my outbox and saw sooo many “no reply commenters”. I’d been responding to comments left and right but was really sending them into thin air. I hope my readers didn’t think I was trying to be rude! I feel disapointed that all of those commenters never received a response from me – though I thought I was. Please people, put your email on your blog. Truthfully, I don’t mind music so much – I actaully like listening to it. I don’t have it on my blog though. I know that I’m going to be working on editing my photos better – I’m using Picnik right now – but am new to it. I’m looking forward to your post about photo editing. You did mention that you were going to post about that, right? I love your blog. Love the white background. And the fresh, inovative ideas here. Unique and unlike other things I’ve seen. And reading your blog…I feel like we’re having a conversation. I feel like you’re really authentic and like we’re having some coffee just chatting about DIYing or whatnot. Love the blog! Thanks for this. Off to go delete some blinkies….though I really love them.

  27. oops…I actually commented on our previous post with my current pet peeve, but I just wanted to say that you did a GREAT job here condensing all of those comments. Wow!!! So helpful. You should become a blog consultant…I’d totally hire you. 😉 😉

  28. Thank you! I have overhauled my blog…I was due anyway as it was driving me nuts! It is now all nice and white and nothing is blinking that I know of LOL.
    I will keep the other comments in mind as I post…and double check the spelling…and they not to have too many !!!!’s (I love !!!!’s ) and try to be light and fun…

  29. Thank you for all your VERY helpful tips! I’m a total NEWBIE blogger and I sure would appreciate it if youd check out my NEW blog and give me some of your good ‘ol advice? I’m still learning how to work this computer UGH!Everything is slowly moving along and theres so much that I need to learn so would you please leave me a comment or two? Thank you,Deidre~

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