Thursday, July 11, 2013

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

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'ĂȘtre 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)?
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You know you love me!
Xoxo, Book Girl!