Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From Cluttered to Uncluttered

Yesterday I received the following email: 

Your blog is far too cluttered, it's barely readable. Do your readers a favor and ditch some of the superfluous widgets and badges; it will make for a much better experience.

I'm probably never going to be back, and it's because of the overcrowded layout. It's okay though, not everyone can be MckMama.

When I tried to view the senders profile/blog it was a blogger that had 2 followers and 3 posts and apparently just started blogging.   I am more then happy to take advice from someone but how could I take blogging advice from someone that just stared blogging?
I know I'm not MckMama...and I don't want to be MckMama!
At first I was shocked...and hurt but then it got me thinking....."is my blog too cluttered?"....I started re-looking at things that I could remove or improve from my blog and did some research.

A cluttered blog detracts from your site and readers don't want to stick around a site they feel is cluttered. The main goal of most bloggers is to write content - information that others will be attracted to. With that being said - the eye should be able to find that content easily - a cluttered blog distracts readers from what they came to your site for.....does mine do that??

9 out of 10 times the casual reader will not pay attention to any extra element apart from your content.....really?

Make it clean - but mine?

Make the design speak for your blog - in other words the design should emphasize what your blogging about - help the reader determine what you're all about in seconds - a well designed header is very helpful in doing this - creating a fun graphic image, a good blog title, and tagline are key....I thought I did that!

Organize your sidebars in a way that is appealing to the eye - put the least important sidebar elements at the bottom - this seems elementary - but a lot of people have junk at the top of their sidebars....check! 

Break your Widget Addiction - Widgets are one of the prime offenders when it comes to loading a site with unnecessary clutter.  Get rid of every single widget that does not have a solid and related use for your blog or business. If it benefits readers or customers, keep it. If not, then it’s just making more clutter for them – which makes them not want to stay. 
The main rule is not to overdo it....I didn't think that I did!!

The length of your posts - Also another key to maintaining simplicity in your blog is to keep your posts short- if your posts take longer than 5 minutes to read they are too long. The average person stops reading after that point and will most likely not return if you are always writing long posts.....what??  Says who??

Are there any blog tips or secrets you'd like to share? I would love to hear your input- I think it's always nice to learn from others.


  1. Poo on that person! I love your blog. It is beautiful and full of fun!

  2. I am a big fan of your blog. Don't change a thing!

  3. Java, you definitely have a following and you achieved a successful blog very quickly so there is absolutely an appeal here. That one negative nelly was never meant to be a regular anyway - blow him/her off & keep on keepin' on!! : ) happy wednesday!

  4. If you can't say something nice....then, don't say anything at all. Her Momma surely didn't teach her that!!! I love your changes necessary!!!

  5. Good grief! Who would be rude enough to take the time to post that?

    Your blog is YOUR blog. Do I think it's cluttered? A bit, but as you can see mine is very simplistic. Maybe too much. LOL

  6. Oh. Good. Grief. I love your blog. It's a wonderful meet and greet place. I'll be willing to bet that that Not So Nice person isn't really one of the Over-40 set. Our Mommas taught us more better manners than that.
    Leave things alone, Java. I love coming here.

  7. I really love your blog the way it is, I can't believe some people. If she doesn't want to come back, it's her loss, she's missing out on something wonderful.
    I am a new follower from Welcome Wednesday, glad to have found your blog and I will be coming back. Have a wonderful day!


  8. Java,
    Take it with a grain of salt.
    As the saying goes
    You can't please all of the peoples all of the time.

  9. Oh puleeeeze ....your blog is perfect, no changes are needed!

  10. I think it is fine. Your blog has helped me a lot to get more people to come to mine. I wish I had more time to worry about what is wrong with everyone else. When you point there are 3 fingers pointing back at you.
    Sometimes I might not like something on someones blog but I remind myself that is why we each have our own blogs.

  11. That is just weird! I can't believe someone would just pop into your blog, criticize like that, and then say "I'll probably never be back anyway!" - unbelievable.

    Fortunately, 99.9% of bloggers are much more civilized - polite and supportive! Otherwise, none of would keep coming back to blog land. After all, courtesy should be part of all our communication, regardless of whether or not we are meeting in the "real" world or on the internet.

    I'm so glad I've "met" such lovely people since I started blogging and you are definitely one of them Java! I love popping by your blog to see what you've posted next and have never thought that your blog was cluttered.

    So ignore MckMama ... yes, not everyone can be MckMama, but clearly the rest of us have no desire to be like that!

  12. Java, I love your blog, if yours is too 'cluttered' then so is mine..I like to think that my blog speaks volumes to who I am..I have what I have on there, widgets, buttons, etc..because I love them and they make ME feel good.

    I have no desire to be anyone but myself..that person who has like 3 followers surely must be an 'expert' LOL...NOT! Ignore!!


  13. First time visitor here and I'd say ignore them! First and foremost, it's YOUR blog... Secondly, aftr reading all these comments it doesn't look like any other visitors have a problem with it.

    Take care and keep smiling :)

  14. Java your blog reflects your personality. If I may....... Instead of taking the bloggers comment negatively turn it around and see how you could make it work to your advantage.

    No matter how you arrange it I will always be back here. I just choose to go straight to your content and read it fully.

    Be you and be creative and enjoy your blog as you spend many hours on it.

  15. I like your blog just the way it is :)

  16. Personally I love your blog and how it is arranged. It is your personal blog and it should please you. I consider myself a guest and am glad that you are willing to allow me into your personal space. I would not dwell on what one negative person commented, you cannot please everyone.

  17. I must say, I appreciate what you are saying, but I disagree to some extent. If you are running your blog for a business then sure, you want to direct the focus on what you are promoting. For that it probably would be best to streamline your blog
    For me...Blogging is my hobby and my blog makes me happy. I'm the only one who has to be pleased with my blog. I love it when others come and stay awhile, but if they don't like me, well that's too bad. (I have actually had a commenter who criticized my blog as well and I understand your feelings. I was told by her that I would lose my readers if I didn't change. I really felt there was some jealousy from her.) My blog is my place. I'm not going to stick around other blogs who use foul language but I'm not going to tell them that they need to change. I feel like what this person told you was something on the order that you need to change the decorating in your home. I think your blog is fine and I like visiting you. Keep your blog a place that makes YOU happy. I can promise that if you are happy, your readers are happy here too.

  18. Oh my goodness what? How rude they were to you. You and your blog are just perfect Java. Don't pay any attention to the silly drama they are trying to stir up.

    I have found that music playing is a huge distraction for me. I can't concentrate so I always turn it off anyway. Too many ads are also distracting. I like a warm welcoming blog that shows personality. You have it going on! Enjoy the fun of blogging!

    Have a blessed day sweet friend.
    Warmly, ~Melissa :)

  19. Java, please don't even give MckMama a moment of your time -- personally, I love your blog -- I could care less about the so-called "clutter." In my opinion, it just shows your readers the things that YOU want to highlight and share! Which I believe, is the point of blogging in the first place!

    If all blogs were exactly the same, the blog world would be so BORING. The beauty of creating your own space on the WWW is that you get the chance to show everyone who you really are.

    If you change it because of one cranky (and frankly, rude) person, it would be like changing who you are just to please her.

    Like I tell my kids, BE YOURSELF! You don't owe anybody any explanation.

    Please, keep writing and doing things the way you do! It has already made me and countless others loyal followers. :)

  20. I think your blog is very easy to follow! I am definitely more attracted to simple looking blogs and I agree that posts should not be too long. I try to remember that when posting my own. There are so many wonderful blogs out there that I want to read but it takes up a lot of time.
    Continue doing what you are doing!! You have a beautiful blog....I keep coming back!

  21. To each his or her own. If you like it.. keep it!
    The beauty of this blogging world is this: "If you don't want to look at it, don't. If this particular post it too long to read, skip it"
    There are times when I skip blogs or just choose a few to read. It's ok!
    You blog for you, if you like it, that's all that matters :)

  22. First, let me start off by saying that my company represents professional speakers, many who blog for marketing purposes. Everything you wrote about blog do's and don'ts (in my mind) applies to blogs geared toward marketing a specific professional service or product. It does not apply to blogs that are for enjoyment, socialization or relaxation. I look at your blog as one for enjoyment and personnally love everythng on it. As far as widgets, if I go to a blog that doesn't have a lot to keep my interest, I don't usually go back. One of my favorite things to do after reading a blog, is to see what widgets they have and follow links on those. As far as length, if I don't have time to read a blog all the way through, then I shouldn't be on there right then anyway. I always read everything posted for the day. You keep up the good work and don't let one person influence what you do when your readers love every bit of it. Have a blessed day!D

  23. OK, what was the point in that comment? I would guess that if this blogger is new to blogging she hasn't seen a ton of blogs yet. I love that every blog is different and expresses the personality of the blogger! Some are modern and clean, some are crazy and eclectic. I say your blog should reflect you, not someone's opinions of you!

  24. I can't even imagine leaving a comment like that. I wanted to comment on someones blog the other day that their font was so tiny I couldnt read it and then I thought twice about is after all THEIR blog...

    I love your blog and come to your page often just to roam around :)

  25. I like your blog. I'm a new follower. Whoever said they wouldn't be back, no big loss there. The whole thing about not reading long blogs...only applies to those with ADD. I think your blog is great.

  26. I agree with the rest of the bloggers, that your blog it fine as it is. What I do agree with the "complainer" is that, yes long blog posts scare me off. It´s ok, to write a longer post once in a while, but I like reading stuff where people come to the point and don´t ramble on and on. I remember one blog, that I stopped following because of that reason.

  27. You have 352 followers who all think your blog is worth following so I'd say this lady is in the minority. It's funny though as before reading your post today I was thinking I would like to get my site redesigned again and make it simpler and easier on the eye, less colorful and with more space to write. BUT, given the last point you note, I am still doomed as my posts take way too long to read :-) But do I care? No! My blog is for me, what I want to write and how and if people like that then great and if not I am fine with that too - then can go and visit your new blogging friend with her 3 followers instead :-)

  28. I choose which blogs I follow by content and writing style. The "clutter" gives me more insight to the personality and interests of the blogger, therefore, I love it!

  29. I think your blog is fine, but now you have me rethinking MINE!

  30. That person is a TROLL.. ignore him/her. They just jealous.

  31. Huh?! Java, she might've just been having a bad day. But that was some good information you dug up on the subject, thanks! None of it applicable here - your blog is just fine.


  32. You know, here in the South we have a little saying about people like that - "She think the sun rises every morning just to hear her crow." Don't feed the trolls. If we'll all remember, it used to be called a 'web log' which is sometimes defined as a person's online diary. A person's. Meaning personal and what makes that person happy. Are you happy with your blog? I can't see why you wouldn't be - it's just right. And as for short posts - unless your microblogging then again, I think you should stick with what makes YOU happy. There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there and no one blog is going to appeal to everyone but those you do appeal to, will always come back. Thanks for bringing me back time after time.

  33. Java,
    I'd like to drop in my two cents, because they seem to be different from everyone else's.
    #1--I hate long posts, even from my friends and family. If they're too long, I don't read them. End of story. I haven't been a reader of yours for very long, but I haven't had that problem here.
    #2--I HATE a cluttered blog. But that's my personality. It does distract me, and it does make me think twice about coming back. But content, above everything else, is the reason I return. Your blog has a market, and us over-40 gals need to be heard. I NEVER click on a link or a widget or anything in a sidebar, mostly out of principle. I'm stubborn like that. But that's my choice, and why should you care about that? You shouldn't. I'm a guest here.
    #3--I would love to participate in your links, but I don't ever post buttons on my sidebar. None. Why? Because I hate clutter. Did I mention that? Is there any way I can participate without cluttering up my blog? I meet the other criteria--I'll be 41 in six weeks. :)
    #4--Didn't mean to write a five-minute comment. You probably stopped reading hours ago.

  34. I love your blog just the way it is and I dont wnat you to change a thing! That said, when I first looked at your blog, I was like, WHOA there's alot of stuff here! LOL That's the same thing I think when I hop on the 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven Blog (Rtheyallyours) but I LIKE it. I've found all sorts of new goodies by playing with your sidebars.

    Give 'em the finger.

  35. i can't imagine saying what that person said yet esp. from a new blogger. what is up with them. your blog is warm, sensative, open , sharing, human. don't do anything just hear all of the words of your blogers who make more sense than just one. go forward and continue.

  36. Good heavens, how rude! (Picture me fanning and reaching for the smelling salts.) Your response was so gracious.

    I think your blog is just lovely.

  37. WOW! I just got around to this post today because yesterday I was in fact re-designing my blog for a "Cleaner" feel. Not because anyone said anything to me, like what happened to you, but because I wanted my blog to reflect both me and what I write about.

    The blogger tips you came across are indeed all good focus points; however, being as it is your blog, shouldn't it be the way you want it to be? You have 354 followers and going by this comment thread 39 comments (not including mine) If people didn't care for the look of your blog, I seriously doubt you would have that many followers! I certainly don't come close.

    I think if "YOU" feel you need to change something, then do it for you, but don't do it because someone bounced on your page and saw fit to send you an absurd email.

    Have a beautiful Thursday!

  38. Love your blog - don't change a thing! :>)

  39. eh - joke 'em if they take a ... well anyway I like your blog. The colors and content and the sidebar - all perfect

  40. Hi Java,
    I know how you are feeling. I am very sensitive person myself. I just recenlty has someone tell me something was way to distracting on my page. And the fact is that people are suppose to noitce this particular thing. Arggg.
    I just tried to shruge it off.
    Anything can be a distraction, so what, it is your blog alone. If someone doesn't like something, I feel they should not say anything at all. People have feelings, we don't need to hear every negative thing in in world, it would get us depressed. Think Positive, I always try too. Saying something nice to someone builds them up. Your blog is fine. If you look at my blogs, you could say they are cluttered. But they are not professional websites, they are my blogs. I heard keep your blogs short and some people say to make long posts all of the time. Personally I some are short posts and some can be long. Just ramdomize your posts. You will do fine. And I think you are doing a wonderful job.
    Don't change for someone else, only change if you want to.
    You will be fine. You have a wonderful bog.

  41. Oh and one more thing, I personally like all the side bar action going on. It makes the blog more interesting.

  42. Can you imagine stopping in to someone's open house party and rather then following up with thank you note, writing to say that you didn't like the way the house was decorated??

    It is one thing to disagree-in a civil manner - with someone who is saying something that you take issue with... but it's your business what your blog looks like. It reflects you and that's what its supposed to do. Peace.

  43. I find it interesting that someone feels the need to give advice to someone about their blog. It's like coming into your home and telling you how to decorate.

    It's yours to do with what you want. For myself, I don't have a lot of stuff on my sidebar or lots of widgets simply because I'm not that tech savvy. : )

  44. Love your blog...dont listen to anyone what pleases you....personally a blog must have character...and yours has lots. Too much to read? maybe SHE shouldnt be blogging...isnt that what its all about....writing and reading...enjoy your blog, life is short.

  45. Java: a dear friend commented on my blog looking crowded. She did it so kindly. I took it to heart, and changed things...even though I didn't see it, it must've appeared that way to the outside. So, it looks better now, and people say it feels better, too. It's hard to see what we look like. So, if advice comes from a well meaning friend...then, I'd listen. But, from a one time visitor? WHat???


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