In any case, via Steven, I came across Jeff Atwood's post about Thirteen Blog Clichés. Let's see how I'm doing:
- The Useless Calendar Widget: I've never had one, and to be honest, I never got why they existed in the first place. Indeed, the longer I blog, the more I realize that the standard date-based navigation of blogs leaves a lot to be desired (just look at the unwieldy list of monthly archives on my side nav). Maintaining a list of good categories (or using tagging) is a much better way of navigating through a blog. It's pretty rare that I ever even load a monthly archive page, and I never do so when I'm looking for a specific post (categories and search are much better for that). I must admit that my categorization scheme needs a lot of work, but it's still a much better way to navigate than dates.
- Random Images Arbitrarily Inserted In Text: Well, I don't do this, and to be honest, it's not something I've noticed very often, though I perhaps assume such images are simply advertisements and ignore them...
- No Information on the Author: While I do have an about page and an about me page, they're both outdated and could use some updating. Also, my name is on every post, so I think I'm covered.
- Excess Flair: I don't have much flair, though there are perhaps a couple of things. For instance, the image on the right navigation, which links back to some of my better old posts, would probably be considered flair, but I think it's a fair trade, as those posts would otherwise just sit, unread, in the archives. Not that I know whether or not people are clicking on it (and, uh, I haven't updated it in a long time), but still.
- The Giant Blogroll: I've kept my blogroll relatively small pretty much throughout my blogging history. This is perhaps due to the fact that I've never had that huge of an audience and was thus not forced to reciprocate via blogroll links, but even then, it's probably worth keeping the blogroll short (due to Inverse Network Effects, among other things)
- The Nebulous Tag Cloud: As previously mentioned, I think tagging is a much better way of organizing content for usable navigation than date-based archives, but I agree with Jeff that the trendy use of "Tag Clouds" is kinda silly and unusable. The other issue with tagging is that it can get a little ridiculous. For instance, look at the tag cloud for my del.icio.us bookmarks:
That's not just useless because of the tag cloud, but becaues I have so many tags. One of these days, I'll create tag bundles which will make it a lot easier to navigate. Of course, there are other benefits to tagging on del.icio.us, notably the social networking aspects, but such benefits wouldn't be present on a blog. As such, I'm not sure I'll ever move to tagging for my blog (though I will probably start being a little more granular in my categories and sub-categories).
- Excessive Advertisements: I've never had any advertisements on this site, though I do link to Amazon with my Associates ID (which allows me to share a small but fun percentage of any sales made).
- This Ain't Your Diary: And indeed, this blog ain't my diary (though it would probably make posting every day a little easier, it would also probably be incredibly boring.)
- Sorry I Haven't Written in a While: One of the biggest obstacles I've faced in building an audience for this blog has been my low posting frequency. Ever since instituting my weekly schedule, I think this has gotten better, but even twice a week is perhaps too little to get people excited (or maybe it's my tastes). And to be honest, some of my Wednesday entries could probably be a little better.
- Blogging About Blogging: The ironic one, as both Jeff's post and mine are actually embracing this cliché, though Jeff sorta extends this to people who only blog about blogging, which is a little more understandeable. Personally, I kinda like reading about other bloggers' writing habits, but a blog which posted exclusively about blogging would indeed get old.
- Mindless Link Propagation: I'm guilty of this, particularly on some of my Wednesday posts when I'm short on time. I do try to make sure these links aren't posted all over the place before posting them, so perhaps those don't count, but even then I'm probably still guilty of this.
- Top (n) Lists: Aside from participating in the Friday is List Day meme, which isn't really what Jeff's talking about, I'm not sure I've ever written a top (n) list. It is kinda odd that such lists have come to dominate the social networking sites like Digg and del.icio.us popular, but it seems like this is a good way to create attention. I'm sure I'll write one at some point, but it won't be one of my standard blog conventions.
- No Comments Allowed: Jeff says A blog without comments is not a blog, but I disagree with that. In any case, I have comments. Jeff makes an exception for people with massively popular blogs, and Steven attests to that (as does Shamus). Personally, while I certainly wouldn't mind a little more traffic, I've written before about how I don't mind being a small blog. Jeff also notes that "the comments are often better than the original blog entry itself" which is something I've never found particularly true. Not that I don't appreciate comments, and indeed, the best comments tend to come on posts that only get 5-10 comments. Actually, comments on Kaedrin are actually pretty darn good, I think. So maybe he has a point. But on any post that has over 100 comments, it quickly gets absurd. Even if there's great content in there, it gets old fast.