Five simple steps to kill your blog

Until recently I'd kept pace with several blogs that I'd come across for various reasons in the past. Many were former colleagues or people who I'd bumped into at one time or another. Some are interesting and good, some are more hair-shirts but enough curiosity about how people react to failure or success kept them interesting. In these traversals of the web I've come upon several sure-fire ways of making your blog fall off my RSS Reader's reading list.

Without further ado here are five surefire ways to make your blog worth less.

5. Profess knowledge of things you know little about. Just because you liked to cook mac & cheese in college and you have taken a class or two at the local chef's school doesn't mean you should start blogging a series of articles about cooking. If you must remember these are your experiences not anything related to well-researched or reasoned methods.

4. Fill the page with ads. For most blogs the advertising age is still a thing of the future. Beyond annoying readers, and in many cases violating the agreement with the advertisers these tend to do more to make your blog seem the home of spam rather than useful information. Also take a look and understand just how good you'd have to become and how many ad placements are necessary to really make much difference. If you must do blogs do them appropriately.

3. Fill your blog with your former greatness. It is pretty funny to know just how great we all think we once were. Here's a clue, when you wrote for a no-name paper or your college composition class they weren't considering you for the Pulitzer. There may be plenty of reasons and ways to post this information that make sense but webifying or worse yet copy and pasting your old writings into a current blog will sap your readership.

2. Change the URL for your RSS feed every few months. If you're interested about learning about blogging learn at least enough that you don't end up changing the URL's for your feeds every time you change your software. There are a couple of solutions for this. One would be Feedburner or my preferred solution is to learn enough about the system you're using to find out how to make the feeds appear in the same place as they used to be.

And the number one way to make sure nobody cares what you have to say...

1. Don't include full text in your RSS feed. I'm amazed at the number of people out there who think we all care enough to click on an article and read more after reading the first few words or sentences. Certainly many hope to drive visits to their site in order to get more advertising revenue but the secret is that we, the consumers, are smarter than you think. For all but a few very close friends of mine it's much easier to replace your partial feed with a full one from someone else who will provide the information in a way I can use it.

There are even more horrendous variations on this like providing only teasers and not making it clear to readers that there is more to the story on your site. But in general even with these problems avoided readers will quickly come to pass by your pit-stop on the information superhighway.

This list is certainly not comprehensive. There are other annoying habits like not having titles on many posts. The RSS spec does not require them but most stupid RSS reader software doesn't do a good job without them. Someday hopefully we'll have a better solution in this arena as titling short posts is often silly since the title is nearly as long as the post but for today they make it much better for readers.