There are a whole damn lot of blogs and book blogs out there and only so many hours in the day to see them all.
You know me: I really love spending time blog hopping, reading blog posts, seeing some people’s incredible talent for writing reviews, unique blog posts, spending time on blogs that are so pretty my eyes are watering and so on.
Yet, with years of book blogging behind me and only so many hours each day, I can’t be spending as much time as I’d like visiting, cheering on and supporting other book bloggers. Therefore…. I become selective with what I read. I become selective with the kind of blogs I stop on and the kind of blogs I just, well… skip.
Today, I thought I’d share my selection process. What makes me stay and what makes me go, what makes me want to keep on reading to discover a blog and their blogger and what makes me close my browser’s window right away.
Small heads-up: this blog post isn’t meant to be mean, at all and it’s based on my unique, personal preferences, just as well, so please take it with a grain of salt!
🔍 My first impressions on a blog
🎨 The blog’s design: do and don’t
Honestly, the first thing we see from a blog is its design and, despite trying our best not to be shallow and, well, judge a book by its covers, there are just some things that I personally can’t deal with.
I am far from being a graphics expert and even farther away from being a branding expert, but there are two things that will make me flee from a blog without even trying.
- Colors, and
If I’m stepping onto a new place online and have to squint to be able to read something, because the font is too bright or the colors are too flashy, I’m sorry but I will go away. My eyesight isn’t the best and I’m not here to make it worse.
Choose your blog’s colors and fonts wisely. If you like pink, that’s fine, but maybe think of making it more of a pastel color than a very bright one. If you like patterns, fine too, but is your text still readable under all the lovely colors and motifs?
Same goes for fonts. I personally love script fonts and, when I rebranded my entire blog, I hesitated for a long, long time with multiple fonts, some that I personally loved, but my sister told me they weren’t that readable. So I skipped them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for others’ opinions when choosing fonts and colors and design overall.
As for the blog’s layout, I also happen to have some pet peeves.
If I can’t find your most recent blog posts in a minute, I’m sorry but I might give up. If I’m visiting a blog, it’s to read blog posts, or at least see what the blog posts are about, before deciding whether or not I’ll read on. If I can’t find the blog posts easily, I might not even get to read your blog, at all.
Some bloggers choose to display their most recent posts on their homepage, which is, honestly, what I love the most. That being said, if you’d like to pick another homepage, that’s good too – but you should make sure that your blog posts are accessible. Either through your menu, with “Blog Posts” clearly stated, through categories in your menu and so on.
Some other tiny things tend to bother me:
- Pop-ups that open right away when you’re just arriving on a new blog. Give me some time to see your blog before jumping on me to make me subscribe to your newsletter.
- Not being able to comment on a blog post. I know, I might be old school since everything’s happening on social media, but.. if I read and love a blog post, I still like to comment on it to show my appreciation. If I can’t, or if I have to jump through loops, connect three times and type my comment six times until it goes through, I will give up.
Some interesting articles about designing and branding I’d recommend:
May @ Forever and Everly wrote a great blog post about : How to get started on making your blog pretty: a design guide.
Kat @ Novels & Waffles asks 4 questions we should ask ourselves while rebranding.
💻 What makes me read a blog post – and why I won’t read yours
I would LOVE to read more blog posts and leave more comments. I know how hard book bloggers work and I know that free labour is, more often than not, rewarded and made worth it by comments and others’ appreciation. I know that’s how I feel.
That being said…. sometimes, I’m really sorry, but I just won’t even want to read a blog post. Here’s why.
- If your text is just one massive block, with no paragraphs, no images, no GIFs, nothing. Just WORDS.
I know, I know. I’m a bookworm and I read 400 pages novels with no images at all, so what? I don’t want to read a blog post when all I see is text, okay. I want paragraphs so I can take a breath, I want GIFs, or images, photographs, yours or stock, whatever you prefer. It makes it so much easier to read a blog post, it makes it so much easier to make me want to pay attention. I’m like a kid okay, I see just text and I’m reminded of my university assignments and want to run.
- If your blog post is just book covers and images and no words.
I know, I’m kind of saying black and white in these two paragraphs, but hear me out. If I don’t want to read just text, I don’t want to be thrown just images at my face. I’m mainly talking about book blogs here, since it’s the main kind of blog I read…. and I don’t want just to watch some book covers. I want to hear why you’re putting them here, why you’re talking about this book, why you think it’s a great winter read or it made you want to throw it out the window. Give me something to think about, give me something to talk about with you.
- If your blog post isn’t engaging overall…. I won’t read it.
Okay, Marie, you ask, but what the heck do you mean by “engaging“? It means, I want to read it. For me, it’s a compilation of everything, really. The blog post’s title, the blog post’s appearance overall (with images and text, breathable and beautiful, with bold and bigger text and titles in between and so on), the writing (with no mistakes and grammarly correct, though I know we’re not all perfect, I know I am not!).
When I click to read a blog post, I want to keep on reading it. It starts with the first image, the first words, up until the very end of the blog post. It’s about raising points, asking questions, expressing opinions, making me think, wonder, want to add a book to my TBR. I want to see your passion, your blogging voice and your interest in what you write.
One easy tip to remember to achieve that is this: what makes YOU read a blog post on others’ blogs? What makes you want to keep on reading and what do you like about them? WITHOUT COPYING their entire layout and way of writing, think about how you can achieve that, too.
Related blog post: How to find your blogging voice.
Some other tiny things that tend to bother me on book blogs…
- I personally love seeing diversity on a blog.
It’s a very personal opinion here once again, but…. I’m sorry. If I only see almost exclusively book reviews, I might not read on your blog a whole lot, or want to come back. If I only see memes and Top Ten Tuesdays, same. There are some exception to these, I’m sure, but most of the time, I like to see different kind of blog posts on book blogs. I like reading reviews, discussions, memes, unique blog posts, wrap-ups and so on. This is NOT what will prevent me from reading a blog, but this will maybe prevent me from subscribing and coming back, when I don’t see too much diversity.
- If I read a book review…. I want to read your opinion about the book.
Another personal pet peeve: book reviews stating the synopsis in 3 out of 4 paragraphs and only giving out two sentences with your opinion. If you don’t want to say more or don’t have a thousand words to say about a book, it’s FINE. I just feel cheated when I see a long review, think I’ll get a whole lot of thoughts about a book and just end up knowing very well the synopsis, but just that you liked it.
That’s it? I need to know why, how and why another million times, because I want to talk with you about this book and…. well, right now I just can’t.
Related blog post: How to write a great blog post
Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea also wrote an amazing blog post about what makes her keep on reading a post.
👀 I might not be reading your blog because I just don’t know about it.
Every single day, I discover new book bloggers and I am amazed by just how much and how passionate they are. Bloggers that are just starting out, bloggers that have been there for so many years now they’re dinosaurs just like I am.
📢 Remember to put yourself out there
If you want people to read what you have to say, you have to put yourself out there. I know how scary it is, believe me. I know how anxiety inducing it can be, but it’s the best way to grow your blog and to meet others, to be part of the community and to really feel what it’s like, to be blogging.
There are many ways to network when you’re a blogger.
- You can join the social media overwhelming frenziness, twitter and instagram (bookstagram, for bookish people) being the two main platforms for book bloggers. You can share your thoughts and your blog posts and both make people read what you have to say and meet incredible people.
- You can blog hop, meaning visiting blogs, reading blog posts and leaving genuine and sweet comments to the blogs and posts you enjoyed, create a link, a conversation that can continue on both your and their blogs and down the road, create a wonderful friendship, too.
Related blog post: how to blog hop and why I do it.
💛 It’s okay if you’re not reading too many blog posts, too.
Honestly, I’m just one human with 24 hours per day to live and…. despite everything said above, I might not be reading your blog posts at all because I’m not aware that they exist.
I also want to do more, read more, support more bloggers, but I just don’t have the time, either.
I feel like I want to apologize for not reading blog posts more, especially lately, but I also feel like I should read blog posts I genuinely enjoy and when I can dedicate the time for it, too, without burning myself out.
In the end, we’re all doing our very best and I want to hope that every blog post out there finds their readers, sometimes with time, perseverance, sometimes randomly and sometimes extraordinarily.
What makes you want to read a blog post? What makes you want to just run away from a blog post or a blog altogether? Do you sometimes feel like you don’t read enough blog posts, or is it just me?
What are some of your blogging pet peeves? Anything we share? Feel free to ask in comments!