Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Girls Don’t Cry: What I Look For In a Blog

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Inspired by Book Buzzers, Book Girls Don’t Cry is a weekly feature where we each discuss/vent/advise on the chosen weekly bookish topic. Don’t miss Jenni on Mondays, and Amy on Saturdays:


Be attractive, baby! *winks*

Most people will start a blog because they want to share their opinion, so it’s important that your blog (design, content etc) attracts readers. What you should really aim for are regular visitors as they’re the ones who are your loyal blog supporters and readers. How do you get people to come back? After visiting tons of blogs in my 2 years of blogging – and even before – I’ve seen it all, and some things will attract me to come back, other things will make sure I never do.

How to attract readers:
  • Content! I like content that is a mix of interesting bookish things, though as I prefer reading reviews I’m attracted to blogs who post at least 2-3 reviews every week – to me reviews are the raison d’être of book blogging. I also enjoy discussion posts and some memes (I like Top Ten Tuesday, WoW, and STS). I think the key for memes is moderation; if a blog only has meme after meme after meme, it gets boring and lacks personality. Content should also show effort and that you care about what you’re sharing.
  • An attractive design! This doesn’t mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for a designer, in fact a lot of simple designs that take minimal effort can be very nice. I guess I should say more “a design that doesn’t give people headaches”. Firstly, white on black is hard on the eyes and while I won’t not read a white on back text, I won’t read a lot of it. I can’t. It physically hurts my eyeballs! I also find it hard to read when the fonts are way too fancy (usually hard to read) or bright colors. No one likes to read bright lime green text!
  • Clean sidebar! This is a huge pet peeve of mine but I can’t stand when things are all over the place on a sidebar. Similar go together!! For instance, a Facebook icon that is at a totally different place from the Twitter icon irks me (and this is something I deal with daily when visiting for tours), it makes it so hard to find you online which is how you make blog friends and connections! And if you’re going to put buttons of blogs you like, why not put em together? One here, one over there, another one randomly on top of everything makes no sense, and if you don’t make sense I’m not interested in figuring you out. Moving on, sidebar widgets like moving cats or fish-tanks have a sole purpose of making a site slow to load. Those book countdown widgets, too, can slow your site down tremendously if you have more than a couple. This reminds me, I went to a blog once that had a Hunger Games countdown with sound effects and I almost shat my pants – yeah I didn’t go back there. My point: Keep your sidebar clean, logical, and to the point!
  • Socialize! Who wants to talk to a wall? Well aside from Facebook? No matter how nice your design looks or how good your content is, if you don’t show you care or even notice people are visiting, they’re likely to stop coming. If you get a comment, you should reciprocate, especially if the person is a regular commenter. If someone asks a question, reply direct or via Twitter – that’s just common courtesy. I know some recommend replying to every comment but in my opinion 1) if you’ve got  the native Blogger commenting people don’t get notified of your reply so I never saw the point (unless they asked a question and thus are likely to come back to check) and 2) a lot of people will appreciate comment backs more than a generic reply if you don’t really have anything to add, so I prefer commenting back on their blog instead. I also like people who show an online presence on Twitter; that is how I made almost all of my blogging friends. It’s how you really get to know and connect with them, and you get a bigger grasp at their personality. I’m not saying you have to be constantly on Twitter chatting about, but it’s good to show your face every day or 2 – and if someone @’s you, reply!

Those are the main things that will be deciding factors on who will appear in my favorite list in Bloglovin and Feedly 😉

What do YOU look for in a blog?
What makes you come back, or run away?
We’re looking for topic suggestions for future BGDC posts! What would YOU like to discuss (can be anything from vents to advice)?
Leave a suggestion via this short form!
You know you love me!
Xoxo, Book Girl!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

20 Responses to “Book Girls Don’t Cry: What I Look For In a Blog”

  1. Melanie

    OMG. Dude you have me cracking up right now. A Hunger Games countdown that has sound effects? HOLY COW WUT.

    I agree with pretty much everything you said there. I have visited a number of blogs that have sidebars that take forever to load as there’s no much junk on them. Drives me nuts.

    I also look for a blog that comes out with posts frequently- there are a few I love that don’t have many posts as I’m close with them on Twitter or just like stalking their reviews. But on whole, the lack of posts can sometimes show lack of dedication in blogging.

    The main thing that readers may find a little annoying on my blog is the white on purple. Not sure if it is an issue or not but when I make the move to WordPress- which I believe is right after you- I’ll see if u can get a more manageable background.

    Fantastic post as always, Giselle! <33

  2. Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews

    Ugh, blogs with widgets that have sound are the worst. Basically, any blog should never have sound or music in the background haha, especially if you can’t turn them off.

    For me what keeps me coming back to a blog first and foremost, I need to like the vibe I’m getting from this blog. It’s not very specific but more like a gut feeling. Then I zoom in on their content and blog design, I don’t expect much for the design but something pleasing to the eyes and easy to read. No fancy fonts or neon colours please.

    The networking is also really important too, if a blogger isn’t particularly responsive towards getting to know new people and can be a bit of a snob unfortunately, that definitely deters me and I would be more likely to not follow this blogger.

    Great post Giselle 😀

  3. Nick

    LOL! The Hunger Games countdown thing! Haha! I totally understand what you mean. A couple of times I’ll visit blogs that have silly background music and obviously I’ll automatically mute that crap, but yes it can be shocking when you first hear them.
    I also hate all those Team banners on sidebars. They are so annoying. Countdowns are another no-no for me.

    Twitter has been a huge catalyst for my page views, so yes I completely agree what you said. I’m there most of the time via my phone and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve gotten to know bloggers on a much more personal level like that.

    Anyways, great post, Giselle!

  4. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Totally agree — the blog needs to have interesting content, look good (I like a nice, clean design) and not have sound! Sound sucks on blogs. Oh, and one of my biggest things is INTERACTION! I’m still with Blogger so my replies to comments might get lost but I still try to do it, even if there isn’t a question. And I try to visit everyone who comments on my blog (a lot harder when you get a ton of comments per day but I don’t so it works for me). After all, what’s the point of a book blog if you don’t talk to other readers?

  5. Megan R

    Great post, as always! I agree with pretty much everything you said. I absolutely hate it when blogs take forever to load! And I usually don’t see people’s replies to comments because I don’t go back to the same post (although I will if it was a particularly burning question). The other thing that annoys me a lot is captcha.

  6. Megan K.

    THIS POST. Everyone should read it, veteran blogger or not! Content is so important. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen blogs who only post memes or blog tours. I have nothing against the two, but seriously, if I come across a blog FULL of blog tours (this is a huge pet peeve), it’s impossible that I’ll stick around and leave comments. Where is the personality? Where is the originality? That’s why I prefer reviews and discussion posts, like you. And YES to design. I don’t mean to sound mean, but there are so many blogs out there who should really get a makeover. Horrible headers, weird fonts, blaring colors, or a loaded design… those make my head throb, and another reason why I won’t be hanging around anymore!

    I also came to realize that the more cluttered up your sidebar(s) is/are, the slower it takes for me to navigate around your blog. It’s got something to do with the browser – everything starts to go slow-mo, and that’s so frustrating and confusing as well. I agree with the social buttons thing, too. This might sound picky, but I can’t stand it when the social buttons are different from each other. I mean, if you want to add something to the sidebar, at least make sure they’re similar, right? I don’t really mind countdown widgets, but like you said, they do slow down the blog quite a bit.

    You don’t know how annoyed I get when I comment on a person’s post and A) They don’t reply to my comment, or B) They don’t return the favor. It’s like, hello? Are you there? Sometimes I’m nice and I continue commenting, but after a while, my patience dries up and I go poof.

    Also, Melanie had a great point! I love blogs that post frequently (though not with blog tours or memes, no please) because I know that they’re constantly around and that’s good.

    Awesome post, chickie!

  7. Amy

    I totally agree with you about the white font on black background. There are only a few blogs that I visit regularly with blogs like that. It hurts my eyes too. Also if they have really bright background. One was this super bright red and I couldn’t stay on the blog very long.

    Oh and the sounds! The Bane Chronicles countdown widget makes a whooshing sound that freaks me out every time! And I haven’t encountered it lately, but blog with music. I get too distracted and can’t read with a song going.

    I always try to reply to comments too. If not on my blog, I visit the blog of the person who visited or interact on twitter. I haven’t been as good about it lately, but I do try.

  8. Kristin A.

    I have a white grey font on dark background. I tried the white but it hurt my eyes and if it hurt mine then it no doubt would bother others. Font is so important because if people can’t read your site they won’t bother coming back. I just wish some blogs realized this. I’ve seen some horrible fonts or even worse a bad font color mixed with teeny tiny font size.

    Great post!

  9. Savannah Bookswithbite

    I think I post way too many reviews. But its because I do my best to read the books and spread the word about them. Next month, I’m going to change my blogging schedule around and do more book/issue talk post.

  10. PatricRo

    In a blog I hate a dark background, and those widgets with music or sound. Sound sucks on blogs.

    I’m new blogging, so I going to follow your tips, except post at least 2-3 reviews every week because the main purpose of my blog is to improve my english writing, I’m spanish and I’m not used to read in english, for that reason I read very slow in english.

    Great post! 🙂

  11. Alexia Boesen

    Great post Giselle. I am still trying to find a balance between memes & review posts. Last week I barely posted at all and when I did it was one review and 2 memes. This week it’s pretty much ALL review except for Friday & Sunday’s planned meme posts.

    As for what I look for in a blog,first of all I cannot do black background and white text. It seriously kills my eyes. Lets not talk about when it’s a black background with COLORED text.Oh.My.Goodness that blog has pretty much lost me as a visitor right there. Also putting things that go together,together is another thing.I have all the ways to follow my blog in a row because sometimes I go to blogs and they say to follow via whatever thing they are using and I CAN’T FIND IT! Unless they tell you exactly where to look of course.

    I could go on and on but I think I’ll stop now.

  12. Bookish Trish

    That Hunger Games countdown and sound affects has me cracking up, it is now my mission to find it!
    I look for blogs with creative content and a mix up, not all reviews, not all memes but a mix up and I like some discussion or quirky posts thrown in.
    I hate blogs with flashing images, it hurts my eyes. And ditto with the sound effects or music, that’s not work friendly!

  13. Micheline @Lunar Rainbows

    Alright so first, I love WordPress and hopefully my funds will make it so I can switch at some point too! Your blog looks fab and I love your custom Bloglovin’ button ♥ hehe

    Second, this is a great topic. My pet peeves include lime-green text, especially on like an aqua or hot pink background. Moving fairy pointers sprinkling fairy dust all over the blog are cute and all but are also distracting. Music or sound effects make me jump of my chair and never ever return. *glares* As far as content goes, I prefer reading reviews, especially of the honest variety and of books I’m interested in or think I might be interested in. Memes can be really fun too as long as they don’t overpower everything else in terms of content.

  14. Moni

    Wonderful advice here. I personally only recently started up my own blog, so this is all the kind of advice I need to keep in mind as I start out in the blogosphere. Its always good to hear from people who visit multiple sites and really understand how to make a good versus a bad blog! Thanks Much!!

  15. Alexa Y.

    I quite like this topic! I think it’s interesting to consider what personally attracts someone to a blog, because different things work for different people. Our tastes, thankfully, are quite similar, as I simply agree with all the qualities you’ve listed! Whenever I look at my own blog, and think about how I want to develop/tweak/improve it, I always try to consider factors like this. Thanks for sharing!