Why are Mummy Blogs so Ugly?

 |  Interwebs

I know, it’s true, I probably announced at one stage that I’d never read ‘proper’ mummy blogs (or blogs written by mums, whichever way you look at it). I also said I’d never talk about poo, and look how that turned out. Here is my confession: I, queen of the hypocrites, am a champion “mom blog” reader. If it’s well written or contains suitably awesome pictures, I will dip in and out for as long as my attention is held.

Except, so many of these blogs are just… ugly. Sure, not everyone can afford to hire an awesome designer like Lilian to sex their blogs up but even if you’re stuck using a free theme, there’s no excuse for these:

I tried to anonymise these – it’s not my intention to ‘out’ anyone in particular

Different size ad’ banners, blocks overlapping columns, seemingly random mixtures of fonts / sizes / colours etc. :(

I considered maybe it was just my long standing bias against ad-supported blogs making me grumpy, but Jamie has advertising spots and hers don’t look like they were vomited onto the page. PhD in Parenting has tons of adverts, well over my comfort zone even, but they’re all evenly sized and organised neatly.

I get that these bloggers are not (generally) web designers and that most have better things to do with their time (like mopping up sick and all the other fun crap that comes with having kids) than moving buttons and banners and content blocks 3 pixels to the left / right / up a touch, just one more tweak … I think I just turned into an awkward client. Ahem.

Perhaps surprisingly, given my previous rants on PPP etc, I get that many of these blogs generate that little bit of extra income per month that enables some parents to be at home with their kids (and for that reason alone I’m tempted to spew viagra links all up my sidebar). I just think that you can achieve a nice looking blog without distracting my eyes with spamerific banners and buttons, and without breaking the bank. At the end of the day, the content is more important than the adverts, and if you think otherwise then you’re seriously missing the point.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

10 comments so far

  1. Sprogmama said:

    Good to know I’m not alone. I hate seeing a boatload of crap stuffed in the sidebar that no one really cares about apart from the owner. I think we seem to be in the minority though….

    Some blogs do look particularly hideous, one has to wonder if the owner has ever looked at anything other than the posting screen lol.

    Oh, and funnily enough, I blogged about poo today.

  2. Mumblies said:

    I have to admit that I only normally read your blog, but then you know why I’m biased about it. However I think I may well be reading Jamie’s too for the forseeable future. Her ramblings are so like yours and I have to admit to clucking over Jude, what an adorable little munchkin he is, just as cute as Izz. As for adverts… Didn’t even notice them.

  3. Emma said:

    What worries me is how many mums blog JUST to make money. There are whole conferences and workshops and books and so on dedicated to telling parents who blog how to make money of it. and the end result? Generally, very unreadable pages of drivel. There are many great reasons to blog, but doing it just to try and make money is usually a pretty bad idea from what i can see.

  4. the grumbles said:

    Every time I go to someone’s blog and it’s this horrific ad-filled mashup and yet they have THOUSANDS of followers or whatever… I just hate humanity. What is wrong with people?! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? Do they not have eyeballs?

    I’m even sensitive to the ads on my own site, depending on what’s in the rotation it can kind of bug me. I don’t ever want people to come over to my place and be put off by them because they have nothing to do with the real purpose of my blog.

    At least if there are going to be ads the content should be worth the sacrifice. How can people who only post spammy giveaways have thousands of readers and oh god now I’m dead my brain exploded.

  5. Vera said:

    It’s not just mommybloggers: a lot of blogs from outside our usual “clique” on snark look ugly.

    For example, I totally ADORE (well did before it was sold) the content on fabulouslybroke.com. The design however…. GAH! It’s terrible, and there was this one week when it was completely misaligned as well.

    Maybe it’s a professional defect, when you’re working with people who all but blow up at you for one measly misaligned pixel, you understandably get twitchy when EVERY single design law is being broken :)

  6. Stephanie said:

    Vera’s right. It’s not just the mummy blogs. If a blog has too many ads on it, then I just leave. I read fabulouslybroke.com for a while, and recently, it’s gotten way too messy (not really because of ads, but because of a lack of well-written and well-formatted content) for my liking.

    Also, my friends and I (we’re about 5-6 years younger than you I think) have all developed the ability to filter out ads from a webpage. I’m not surprised that the blogs are getting subscribers; I’d just be surprised if those blogs were generating a significant source of income! If they were, then I’d just conclude that the world is full of idiots, and refuse to be one of them.

  7. Echo S. said:

    Because blogs, and the world, are ugly.

    But yes, it definitely occurs to me when I’m at a hideous site and see that it rather popular and clearly making money that… some of this could go toward making the site more appealing and more navigable. Like couponing site? Uhg. I can’t even begin to use them. They are pure chaos.

  8. Jenni said:

    I think there’s a wave of new, consumery type people building websites. So what we went through ten or fifteen years ago is the stage they’re at, but with fewer Under Construction images and marquees. I hope.

  9. Kate said:

    I know it will sound incredibly “anal” of me, but I completely agree. If I stumble upon a website with ads and it’s basically a hot mess of jumbled content and advertisements combined, it does put me off and I do leave. :(

    Plenty of websites I’ve seen have, for example, Google AdSense or the like on their websites; but it’s not over-powering and “fits in” with the general design and can actually look rather, dare I say it, nice!

    I understand people want to make some extra pocket money, but visitors are important too. What’s the point of violating your website with advertisements if nobody is going to visit?

    Though sadly, as someone said above, some people out there just have a blog for the sake of “making money” as opposed to sharing their thoughts, ideas and views, aka making a little ‘home’ for themselves on the web! Blah. I feel old.