Sometimes we think that adding more to our blogs will improve our reader's experience. But, in most cases, the opposite is true. Think about some of the most popular design blogs: decor8, design*sponge, Apartment Therapy (and many more here). They are all clean, easy-to-read and have simple designs.
In the past, I've offered you advice on things to add to your blog to make it better. Now, I'm sharing six quick things to remove from your blog to make it better. And I doubt you will hear any complaints from your readers after you do.
1. Remove the music. Yeah, I know. Not a popular opinion. But I always turn off the music when I visit a blog that starts singing to me. Unless you are a musician or a singer or you sell music on your blog, turn the music off! (Or at least keep it OFF as a default, and let your readers turn it ON if they choose.)
2. Remove any ads or previews that pop-up when you hover over a link. Two of the companies that offer this service are Kontera and Snap. These pop-ups can be very distracting - particularly the Kontera contextual ads. You can recognize them by the double-underline under random words in a blog post. Common words, like "sale" and "furniture" become automatically underlined when you use them in a post. When you hover over them, a small ad pops up and covers part of the screen. No thanks!!
3. Remove the blogs in your blogroll that you don't read anymore. Just take a few minutes to spruce it up. I've had blogs listed on my blogroll that hadn't been updated in over a year.
4. Remove any type of counter that tells people how many visitors you have had to your blog. This wastes valuable space on your sidebar, and it could possibly lead to readers judging your blogging merits based on the number of hits you receive. You can use the stats that come with your blog to see how many visitors you've had. (Blogger/Blogspot, Typepad & Wordpress all have built-in stats).
5. Remove any outdated swaps, contests or events from your sidebar. If you want to let readers know about the fun things that you've participated in, then create a separate page that lists past events.
6. Remove that dreaded Partial Feed. If you don't know what I am talking about, then you are probably safe. There is a setting in your RSS feed to only display the first few sentences of a blog post when people view it in Google Reader or Bloglines (or any feed reader). Please don't do this! I understand the point, believe me. You want your readers to click the "More" link and read the entire post on your blog instead of in a reader, usually to ensure that people are viewing the ads on your blog. But there are other ways to get people to go to your blog, such as including links to previous posts. For example, I sometimes refer to older blog posts in order to give some background information on a subject. This forces the reader to go to my blog if they want more info. If you are using a partial feed because you have ads on your blog, then think about including some of the ads at the bottom of your blog post. That way, they will show up in the feed.
So....do you agree or disagree? Is there anything in that list that you REFUSE to REMOVE from your blog? Or, do you have any more tips to add?