Here are a few things I want gone from the web in 2007 – and forever – along with a few things I want you to do to make the web a better place in 2007.
Kill All Popup Windows
In every shape and form.
Web pages, specifically blogs, are now looking more like classified ad sections in the newspaper, stuffed with glorious want ads, than published works. They are ugly, cluttered, and some some bloggers are giving up on some advertising techniques because of the “cheap look” and interference with content quality. Not every blogger needs to pay their rent with their blogs. Blog for the fun of it and let those who are serious about blogging as income make more money with lovely, interesting, and intelligently placed ads.
Constantly Auto-Reloading Web Pages
In order to get more coverage for their ads, some web owners force their web pages to reload every X seconds or minutes so the ad banners will cycle and change. This sucks. It wastes bandwidth and time. Stop it. The average visitor rarely spends more than a few seconds on a page, so why bother torturing those who do? I’ve been in the middle of a Wired News story and the page went blank. I had to wait for the entire page to reload in order to continue reading. I’ve now stopped reading Wired. If you have to use ever-changing ad banners, then use Ajax or something that loads with the page and then does not consume any more bandwidth.
Okay, okay, folks. There are enough gadgets, gimmicks, and gizmos on your blogs, not to mention widgets. We got it. We know you know how to accessorize your blog with every graphic bell, whistle, and sound. Stop it. Focus on content not clutter.
Music on Websites
For more than 10 years I’ve been whining about music that plays on websites when you visit. Web page reading has never needed tunes to read by. They do not “enhance” or compliment the website. It is annoying and 10 years out of date. Let me choose what I want to listen to when I’m surfing the web. Stop it.
The majority of readers on the web are getting old. A new generation of readers are coming online, so don’t strain their eyes too early. Help save our eyes with decent font sizes.
Link Spawning – Open Links in New Windows
Do not use
target="_blank" in your links to force open new windows or tabs from your links on your blog. They are not user-friendly and violate web and accessibility standards. Let the individual control their browsing experience. Everyone has learned to use the Back button, so stop forcing new windows to open from your links.
Kill Off Anything that Moves
Ban all use of rain, snowflakes or leaves falling on websites. Stop using anything that dances, whirls, or clicks on web page designs. It’s annoying, distracting, and exceptionally frustrating as they cannot be turned off easily. These cutesy things are old and get in the way of readers reading and using your site. Stop it.
Flash is Not Content
Websites and blogs designed with a lot of Flash do not make for good content. Flash, videos, podcasts, and heavy graphics do not represent content. It is the words you use that gets you found in search engines and builds an audience. Tell people what you are going to show them, then show them, but don’t expect everyone to live by the video or podcast clip alone.
Don’t Violate Your Own Privacy
I would also classify this one as “don’t air your dirty laundry”. Limit what information you hand out over the web, in any form. Don’t give out personal information about yourself or others. Do not give out your middle name, parent’s name or maiden names. Do not hand out your social security number, address, phone numbers, or even your email address unless you are totally confident and trusting in the request. On chats, forums, emails, or on your blogs, do not give out enough information that will violate your privacy and invite up close and personal confrontations. Be careful what you say about others, too. Gossip is fun, but it can also hurt.
Do Not Splog or Plagiarize Others
If it’s on the Internet, it is not free. Some things are, a lot aren’t. Know the difference. Do not copy other’s work and do not violate their copyrights. You have an imagination – use it to create your own unique work. Respect the work of others. And when you spot a copyright violation or spamming blog (splog) using the work of others illegally and for making money, report them. If it happens to you, defend and protect your rights.
Make the death big or quiet, but kill all comment spam. Make the business of comment spam illegal or make them pay for the bandwidth they waste. Do not let comment spam get through and clutter your blog. It doesn’t speak well for you. And never do business with comment spammers.
Do Not Get in the Way of Commenters
Do nothing to get in the way of those who want to comment on your blogs. Do not challenge them to take a test or type in letters of weirdly spelled words in a captcha. If you want comments, don’t force people to register or log in to comment. It does not stop comment spammers. Do not force me to load a new page in order to leave a comment on that separate page. Do not force me to jump through hoops. Just let me comment, and use the best comment spam fighting tools around to stop the evil comment spammers from cluttering your blogs.
Time Wasting Comments
If all you have to say in a comment is “I agree” or “This is interesting”, don’t comment. Don’t waste our time over vague and innocuous comments. Make your comment matter. Make it contribute to the conversation. Vague comments make us think comment spam. Don’t risk being caught by comment spam fighting tools. Say something intelligent and helpful.
Forcing Email Comment Subscriptions/Notify Me of Followup Comments Via Email
If I feel compelled to comment, don’t make my comment experience miserable by forcing me to sign up for notification via email on comments made on your post or blog. The process of getting off these lists is tedious and time wasting. Make it my choice. Do not automatically enable the notification option, and put the option before the Submit button, near the email box in the form or above the comment where I will see it first before I hit the Submit button.
Folks, this is old stuff. Stop downloading crap you don’t recognize and keep software updated and secure. Don’t forward email messages with files included unless you know what it is. Don’t offer downloadable files on your sites without virus scanning them first. Use serious anti-spyware and anti-virus defensive programs because I expect to see a boon in viruses in the next year with the release of new operating system versions and expansion into web page viruses through various web scripting programs. It’s an invitation to the evil doers to get their evil in first. You need to practice prevention first.
Multiple Page Views/Print View
Many sites, like magazine and news sites, are still thinking in print. They design web pages with multiple pages to tell the whole story, and getting more ad coverage across the pages.
Right along with popups and constant reloading, multiple page posts suck.
If I find a newsy article in such a format, I will look for the print view link to read the whole article, often without ads, a much more enjoyable experience. The next and previous page links are often small and lost within the ad clutter, so are often overlooked. It takes a long time to load four pages to get through a short article, lengthened only because it is stuffed with advertising. It’s a waste of bandwidth and annoying, so why bother?
Do I have to keep going? I think you are getting the time-wasting picture of my opinion of paged post views. Let me add that the print version links are also clutter and huge time and bandwidth wasters. With today’s CSS technology, make a default print stylesheet that automatically removes all that crap for printing and it will be used automatically when the reader hits print. Why waste space and clutter things up with a “print version” link?
Design for Print
There is nothing more frustrating than printing out an article, grabbing it off the printer and heading out the door to read it during lunch or while waiting in traffic jams, and finding that only half of the width of the article printed. Or a series of blank pages printed out between the title and the text or at the end of the page, wasting paper.
CSS stylesheets allow you to add print styles easily. Strip away the forced widths and wasted space of your web page designs. Eliminate unnecessary items for printing, and let the text and graphics flow out of the printer so people can read the whole story, not just the first halves of the sentences.
Stop Email Crap
Please, make this the year everyone stops all the email nonsense. Email travels across the same bandwidth web pages do. The more crap online, the slower the whole online world is. Stop the junk email and useless email forwarding.
Stop emailing crap to each other. Stop sending ridiculous online greeting cards. Buy a postcard and stamp instead. Stop sending jokes to everyone on your email list. We’ve all seen the same jokes four times before. Stop forwarding Powerpoint slide shows and videos of sunsets, animals playing, or people farting. Stop forwarding “warnings” and “alerts” about crank programs, policies, drugs, health, and viruses. Check first, as these are usually a hoax, and learn to get your information from real sources, not email forwards.
Make it a New Year’s Resolution to limit email forwarding to only family and friends’ communications, business-related, and serious emails. Cut the junk.
Stop Obsessing Over Page Rank and Traffic
Come on, Page Rank and traffic counting is old school. Get over it. Work to earn readers and encourage others to link to your blog because of the quality of content. Earn your popularity.
Validate With Various Browsers
I’m really tired of web pages designed “only for Internet Explorer” or “best viewed by Firefox”. I hate being confined to using only IE on sites with interactive online services or forms. Why should you be limited by your browser choice? Make your site design work with everything.
Forced Width Web Page Layouts
Let’s please eliminate the empty spaces on forced width web page layouts. I especially hate web designs which won’t shrink down, forcing vertical scrolling, or sit in a huge screen with vast space on the sides. Use the whole screen. Use space, but use it wisely.
In “A Blogger Worth Modeling” by Steve Rubel, he admits that he’s unsubscribed from dozens of “mean-spirited blogs” this year, ashamed and disgusted by the lack of blogs adding “value to our lives”. I’ve done the same, as have others. Evil bloggers use sharp tongues and nasty wit to harangue and abuse their readers with their biased opinions and wicked editorializing. I get enough crap standing in line at the grocery store from magazine racks before my eyes. I don’t want to encourage the nasty online gossip mongers, so I’d love to see bloggers support good bloggers more, the ones who lift us up and raise the bar with the highest standards.
More Petty Annoyances Wished Gone in 2007
While not at the top of my list today, the following might be at the top of my list tomorrow. These are some of my biggest gripes I’d like to see gone in 2007, on the web and elsewhere.
Spell Check, Folks
Firefox now comes with a built-in spell checker. I’m sure Internet Explorer must have that feature, too. Use it. In whatever program you may write your blog posts, use spell check. There is no reason today, with all of the advanced technology to prevent us from sounding and writing stupid, to not spell check. Whether you are typing up a blog post or in a comment, spell it right.
A Hack is Not a Tip
If you have a series of tips to offer, tell people you have some tips to share, not hacks. A hack is a “a solution or method which functions correctly but which is ‘ugly’ in its concept, which works outside the accepted structures and norms of the environment, or which is not easily extendable or maintainable”.
In other words, a hack is digging into code and “fixing” (or altering) the original programming code.
A hack is not a tip. A tip is helpful advice and information you share to help people solve a problem or figure out how to do something. Among those tips can be hacks, but not all tips are hacks.
I’ve found a lot of bloggers touting “5 Top Hacks for WordPress” and such to get Digg or linking attention when all they are offering are 5 tips for using WordPress, and not one of them involves a hack. Stop abusing this word for attention getting linkage.
Use the right word at the right time in the right place and you will get the respect you deserve.
Make Your Post Titles Make Sense
I’ve written about how to write good post titles, and I’ll be writing more soon, but why not make this year the year you give some serious thought to your post titles. After all, they are the draw that lures people in from various feed and link sources, including your own, and they are often the sole influence on whether or not people click and visit your site.
Make your post titles make sense and give us a clue as to what your content is about.
Write Your About Page
I’m really, really tired of visiting a blog with interesting content I’d like to share with the world and not finding any information about the author or the blog. Take time RIGHT NOW to write up your About page. It doesn’t have to tell us everything about your life, but we want to know why we should trust what you write and say, and help us decide if you are indeed worth linking to.
Like Like and Like More
Since returning to the United States, I’m puking over the ridiculous overuse of the word “like”. It’s like I like have like totally returned to the, like, Valley Girl days, like, in the, like, eighties. I’m hearing it in very small children, teenagers, and forty year olds who have one or two college degrees on their walls and teenagers running around emulating their “likes”.
And now I’m seeing it in blog posts.
It’s like totally not cool to use like, like, wrong. “Like” has become the modern “um”, a sound made when people can’t think of the next word they are going to say. Well, folks, think before you speak and think before you blog and like kills the likes, like okay?
So what are your like unfavorite like things you would like to like see gone from the like web in like 2007?
- Would You Do Business With a Comment Spammer?
- I’m Winning the Battle Against Comment Spam
- You Must Be Logged In To Comment
- How NOT to Comment on Comments
- Editing Your Blog Comments
- The Bitacle Battle of Blogs
- Who The Hell Are You?
- Writing Effective, Attention-Getting Headlines and Titles on Your Blog
- Judging Blogs by their Post Content Styles
- Web Pages That Suck
- Worst Web Mistakes Annual Report
- Blogging Threatened by Impending Legislation – Be Warned and Be Armed
- What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content
- Finding Stolen Content and Copyright Infringements
- The Growing Trends in Content Theft
- Imprisonment for Annoying People Online
- Big Brother, Government, Corporations, and Perverts May Be Reading Your Blog
- How to Write Like a Wanker
- Blog Writing: I lk yr blg
- WordPress.com, Please Stop Using Snap Preview
- Copyrights and the Blogger: Protect What is Yours
- How To Spot a Splog
- One Year Anniversary Review: Splogs – The Dark Side of Blogging
- How Do You Know If a Blog Has Integrity?
- Do You Need Permission to Use Feeds
- Reporting Spam Blogs – Splogs
- What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network