I have been speaking with Elizabeth from Table for Five about her blog the last few days. Elizabeth is hoping to increase her pagerank to 5 in the next few months. One of the first things I noticed about her blog was the amount of clutter in the blog design, infact I’ve noticed this on a number of blogs recently.
What is clutter?
I define blog clutter as something that :
- Does not offer any value to your reader (eg. pagerank button)
- Distracts your readers from your content.
Some examples of blog clutter
Blog clutter is usually found in the header, footer and sidebar(s) of a blog but it’s possible to add clutter to the post area too!
Here are some examples of blog clutter :
- Too many advertisements – Just like too many cooks can spoil the broth, too many advertisements can put off people from reading your blog. Oversaturating your blog with banners can reduce click thru rates considerably.
- Unrelated advertisements – Don’t think that affiliate sites which offer higher commissions will neccessarily make you the most money. As I have mentioned in previous posts, unlreated advertisements are not the best way to make money from your blog.
- Displaying a subscription banner for every known rss reader – There is no need to display several ‘subscribe to THISREADER’ type links on your sidebar. Why do you need a ‘Add to MyYahoo’, ‘Add to bloglines’ or ‘Add to Netvibes’ link on your sidebar if you can just use something like Feedburner and have everything on the one page.
- ‘Vote for me’ graphics – I don’t believe that blog directories bring a lot of traffic but if you want people to vote for your blog on a site like FuelMyBlog or SpicyPage I recommend using text links. I’ve come across a few blogs which have 4 or 5 banners plastered over the sidebar asking readers to vote for them!
- Too many links in theblogroll – Don’t just link to every blog you come across! Keep the links related to your blog content.
Why is clutter so bad?
I like blogs with pictures and relevant links in the sidebar but too much clutter can be overkill and can have a detrimental effect on your blog overall. An unorganised cluttered design can take readers attention away from your content and it’s the content which will keep people coming back to your blog week in week out.
I am not suggesting you remove everything from your sidebar however I want you all to look at your blog from the readers point of view. Will the banner you are adding interest them? Do they want to see so many voting banners on your blog?
If you are finding it difficult to have an unbiased view of your own blog, why don’t you ask your readers what they like and dislike about your design. I did this myself a few months ago and I made several changes to the design here because of it.
Good luck with the Spring cleaning!!