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Feb 4, 2009

Blogger Bitching #2

In case the "#2" wasn't enough of a clue, I did one of these some months ago. Here be the intro:

Well, here's a winner of a post idea. It will either a) not appeal to you in the slightest or b) offend you in one way or another. Who knows, though, maybe there are some other options as well, like c) you'll agree and change your dastardly ways or d) you'll call me on my b.s.

Anyway, the crux of this hinges on one simple fact: I visit a lot of blogs on a daily basis. Regardless of my LAMB shepherding, there are a number of sites that I enjoy reading frequently. I won't call out any specific names, but if some of these bitches apply to you, don't be too offended - just appease me and fix whatever the problem is.

Bitch #1 - Truncs
* Hey! You with the truncated and/or invisible content showing up for your site when I check it in a feed reader! Stop that. Stop that now. Limiting the number of characters in a post (or worse yet, showing only the title of the post) showing does not make me desire to click to go to your site. There's a reason I'm using a feed reader in the first place - it's because I want to scan all the available content. If I like your post, I will click to go to your site and leave a comment.

The point is, if I see you have truncated posts for feed readers, I will go out of my way not go to your site. Sorry, but them's the breaks.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's probably because you don't use a feed reader.

Bitch #2 - Sloth-like Loading
A while back, I featured a neat little widget on this site and the LAMB from a widget maker I'll kindly not name. It essentially served the same purpose that Blogger's "Blog List" does now, only with a bit more functionality - it was more or less a portable feed reader, all Java-y or Flash-y or whatever it is that made it dynamic rather than static. And it was really cool...until it wasn't. It started slowing down the loading of the site to a snail's pace. I took that thing off the page faster than you can say "Get him a bodybag, yeahh!!!"

This is all a long way of saying: pay attention to how fast/slow your site loads. There are more than a handful of sites (er, LAMBs) that I've been to that have loaded so slow as to essentially freeze my computer for the two minutes that they load for. Bad news if this is you: I ain't comin' back to your site. Sorry. It could be the greatest thing since sliced bologna, but if it brings me to a screeching halt and/or takes more than a minute to load, I just can't do it. Don't you visit your own site and notice its snail's pace?

Bitch #3 - Donate buttons
I get it. Really, I do. Many of us (all?) do this for nothing, in it for the love of movies, music, TV - whatever it is, we spend hours a week writing, reading, and commenting about it because we love it. And 99% of us do it for free, or at least some approximation of free - the $40 I've made over two years with AdSense ain't buying me too many steak dinners.

I also understand that many people who do this are students and/or not making a ton of money. I empathize and sympathize simultaneously, even though that may or may not be possible. But I have bad news: everyone wants to get paid for blogging, and hardly anyone's doing it. Everyone would like random strangers (or acquaintances, even) to give them money, but I don't imagine many people are getting that done, either. Now, maybe I'm just ignorant - if you have a donate button and you're gettin' paid like the handsome homeless, let's hear it. However, I'm guessing that those little "Donate" buttons and pleas for moolah are about as effective as the "On the road - pleaze help - God bless" sign currently being held by your local crackhead.

Bitch #4 - Linky open new window
This one's specific to Blogger and not any blogger, if you catch my drift. Every damn time I insert a hyperlink that I want to open in a new window (i.e. not one on this site), I have to go to "Edit HTML" mode and manually insert "target="blank"" after the link. Would it be that hard for the hyperlink button to have a dropdown option so that I could choose "same window" or "new window" (or god forbid, "new tab," since just about anyone that surfs with an up-to-date browser these days uses tabbed browsing)?

Is this on me? Am I missing something? Just don't tell me to hack my main site's HTML so that every link will open in a new window - that puts me in the same boat. Instead of adding code, I'd just be deleting code for every other link.


Got a bitch of your own, for me or some other (non-specific) site? Put your complaining pants on and let me hear it.

15 people have chosen wisely: on "Blogger Bitching #2"

Moviezzz said...

Great list.

I'm with you on the "Donate" buttons. I once was a regular on a blogging forum where that was a regular discussion point. When I seemed to be the only person who DIDN'T like them, I left the forum.

It is incredibly obnoxious to go to a site, that puts in less time per writing of a post than you do, and see a button "Do you like what I read here? Then buy me a cup of coffee!".

You feel guilty for reading and not giving. Yet, with the dozens of blogs I read regularly, you can't give it to everyone.

Sea_of_Green said...

I agree with this list 100 percent. If I may add my own pet peeve --? I HATE it when blogs require me to click on images to make them large enough to read easily. Granted, most of that is due to technological limitations. However, too many bloggers don't take extra steps to make their blogs more reader-friendly -- such as breaking apart comic strips into separate panel scans that load onto the screen at a larger size. If bloggers aren't gonna take that extra step to make their scans easy to read, then they shouldn't expect readers to take extra steps to click on the scans to make 'em readable.

Whew. There. :-)

Farmacy said...

#1. Totally agree. I just read your entire post on Google Reader (and here I am now)... I also dislike when people put ads on their feeds, but I understand it pays the bills... my generic complaint is that the ads are stupid and don't seem to be tied into the content in a rational way.

#2 This has always been a problem. Old school HTML in notebook programmers worried about it... and any DECENT web portal manager should worry about it. It's just good sense.

#3. You should read the back story on Penny Arcade ( www.penny-arcade.com ). They have tried a variety of different models, and currently use one where they must approve of the product before they allow adds on their site [it's mainly video game related stuff]. I guess the bottom line is: The donate button didn't work, and left people with a negative impression. Stick with adsense, or maybe those links where you get a cut if people buy products (Amazon does it, and Best Buy is building out a program for it).

#4. Either keep doing it manually (yes, it is a pain in the ass) or trust that web surfers will either be smart enough to shift click or right click and select "open in a new tab"... That's what i do when I want a window opened in a new tab.

Farmacy said...

Also, I just looked through your site, and don't see ANY ads.

While I'm not saying you need to put more up... http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/ is another blog I read, and for the most part, the ads are unobtrusive.

I also really like the Amazon model where you can recommend books and movies, and when schmucks like me buy them, you get a (small, small) cut.

I certainly would at least look through a list of movies you put up, and I'm sure most of your consistent readers would as well.

Honestly, the best way to monetize a blog is to give something to your readers that they actually want... Using your specific movie knowledge skillset, and applying it in a way that generates revenue is the smart way to go (not that you seem worried about making money, I just consider this to be a win-win-win situation)

blake said...

I especially agree with Bitch#1.

Fletch said...

Moviezzz - you obviously liked this post. Maybe you should buy me a cup of coffee...

S_o_G - Good point. It's not that hard to resize things.

Farmacy - I'm actually pondering putting ads in my feeds, so I may be guilty of that in the future.

I'd like to trust web surfers when it comes to the links, but I've been to too many other sites where people don't link them that way, so it makes me wonder - is that because they're trusting other surfers to know better, or because they don't know how to link to a new window, or do they just not care? It's a viscious circle. I'd rather force the new window and bitch about it, but I see your point. And I always CTRL+click...

Actually, I do have ads...they're just so unobtrusive that you missed them. There should be one under the top post, then every fifth one after that (or something like that). I match the colors so they're really ineffective - but they don't bother me, either.

And yes, I should do the Movies Recommended By... or something like that. It makes too much sense not to, but I'm really lazy when it comes to advertising on my site. I keep waiting for Pepsi to just email me and offer to sponsor the site for a year for 1 billion dollars. One day...

Blake - I especially agree with your agreement.

Kyle said...

Yo my donate button entitles me to no less than six figures, these Karate Kid and Teen Wolf references ain't writing themselves!

Sorry I thought I was Bill Simmons there for a moment:D

Nick said...

As for the final bitch, I don't really notice, because I've just conditioned myself to automatically right click and select 'open as new tab' for any link I click on. It takes me about a half-second to do, so new opening windows don't bother me (as they don't happen to me).

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

As far as the donate button thing goes:

1. I love it when you see them on blogs that feature illegal downloads.

2. The only reason adsense hasn't paid for at least four steak dinners at this point is because Google only puts out once you've earned $100.

3. There are other ad services that pay you at much more reasonable times (every $10). I used to have it on one of my blogs, but I took all ads down and have been debating with myself ever since.

4. If you were to watch Captain Corelli's Mandolin on a 24 hour loop, like USA Network did with Elf on New Years', I'd buy you a cup of coffee.

God bless.

P.S. I'm as guilty of this as any other blogger, but I hate it when features that I like on a blog are forgotten.

Comment of the week, Fletch?

Anders said...

Does bitch #1 count if you truncate it to an excerpt on your front page? If so, that's one for me...but I do that to save on space.

I also think I'm subject to bitch #2. Actually, I'd be interested in your opinion as I wonder if my browser cache speeds it up for me at times, and I wonder what it's like for peeps in the USA.
In any case, I gotta cut back on my javascript addiction....

Fletch said...

Paul - I will never watch Capt. Corelli. Well, I might, but you'd have to donate a lot more than a cup of coffee...

And I don't forget features, I just start too many and then I never have time for them and/or I push them aside. Sometimes it's a time/reward issue, too. But yeah, I'm wildly guilty of that one.

Anders - as to your truncation question: not in my mind. In fact, I actually like it when people truncate on their front page - it makes for a much cleaner looking site, and I think can be more effective. Rick at Coosa Creek Mambo has done this as well, and his site looks great.

As for your page loading...well, you're kind of guilty. It's not the slowest loading site, but it ain't the fastest, either. Though at least the payoff is there, and your site looks and functions very well. Most times, it's just for a site that looks pedestrian.

Jason Bellamy said...

Good list. I was a truncated-for-syndication offender until recently. But I do have a good reason:

When I first started following other blogs in Google Reader, posts that contained a lot of images would often stall in Reader and require me to close the browser and login again. That got me to hate blogs that posted lots of images, which isn't fair. So I did the beginning-only thing for a quite a while, not wanting folks to unsubscribe to me for the same reason. And somewhere along the way, Reader figured out what's what and now everything is happy in the world.

Keep blogging and bitching.

Princess Fire and Music said...

I'm with you on the donate buttons. They're not just limited to blogs, either -- a lot of my favorite sites have been hittin' me up for spare change lately, and as someone whose idea of fine dining is that one brand of Ramen that costs $1.29 per pack, those things tend to make me a tad uncomfortable.

MC said...

Oh, #4 is a pain in the ass for me too. I hate doing that when there are a lot of links in a post.

Reel Whore said...

Bitch #1 - I always wanted to trunc my posts but never learned how...good thing for me.

Bitch #2 - I try and keep my site quick to load, except for my Best of Review which weighs down the load time from all the damn pics.

Bitch #4 - I'm a conditioned to right-click-for-tabs too so it's never bothered me.

Good points to note as I'm always trying to brainstorm ways to improve my site.