Five Things that Make Me Want to Read Your Book Blog

Discussion Post

Original Content

I read blogs primarily to find interesting content, whether it’s discussion posts, original reviews, book recommendations, or something else. I’m less interested in content that’s not directly from the owner or the blog, and I don’t read blogs with lots of copy and paste content like book blitzes. I want to read blogs that have content I can read nowhere else.

Thoughtful Book Reviews

I wrote a discussion post a while ago about whether it’s possible to run a book blog without reviews, and I do think it is; however, if a blog has no reviews, I want to see unique content like discussions, helpful advice, long lists, etc. instead of memes and tags taking up the blog. If a blog does have reviews (which I love reading), I want those to be decently long and thoughtful, as well. I want pros and cons, explanations and evidence, a well-expressed opinion that will help me decide whether I should pick up the book.

Solid Structure

I love blogs where the posts have a clear argument and solid structure supporting it. I like to see a main point at the beginning rather than having to guess where the post is going. Subheadings can be useful for longer posts as well, though I don’t really choose which blogs to follow based on their subheading skills.

Strong Prose

Grammar is not a huge deal for me, as I explain below, but I do enjoy nice prose—clear sentences with a strong voice.

A Welcoming Personality

I don’t think bloggers necessarily have to be bubbly or gregarious, but I do want to read blogs where the owners are welcoming to readers and invested in the community. I love when the blogger responds to comments on their own blog and takes time to engage with their readers. Commenting back on blogs, sharing others’ posts on social media, etc. are nice but not obligatory for me.

Things I Don’t Really Care about

Design

I see a lot of other people say that a gorgeous design will inspire them to follow a blog, but while I like pretty things as much as anyone else, design won’t make me follow. Blogging is about writing and content; design is pointless if the post themselves are not interesting and well-written. Of course I want the blog to be designed in such a way that’s easy to read, and legibility is a factor for me. However, it’s 2017, and it is extremely, extremely rare that I run across a blog that has something wild going on like neon green font on a black background or all the posts written in a hard-to-read script.

Grammar

Krysta wrote a while ago about why she doesn’t care about your grammar, and for the most part I agree. Of course, if your grammar is so bad that it’s actually difficult to figure out what you’re saying, that’s going to drive me away from your blog. I also might not read a blog that has many mistakes. However, I get that book blogging is a fun hobby for most people, and typos here and there are going to happen. There are also lots of bloggers who are writing in English as their second (or third, or whatever) language, so their grammar might not always be perfect either, and that’s fine.

What do you think? What factors determine whether you follow a book blog?

Briana

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44 thoughts on “Five Things that Make Me Want to Read Your Book Blog

  1. Diana says:

    Great post Briana and I totally agree with you on all of these. I like original content, engaging bloggers and good, thoughtful reviews. I also don’t really mind grammar as much. I know there are many bloggers like me who don’t speak English as a first language so I wouldn’t judge anyone on that.As long as I can understand a post then that is great. I enjoyed reading this post!

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    • Krysta says:

      I agree! I think that the key is that the language has to be understandable for me to read it. Although some of the word choices might be unexpected or the prepositions might be incorrect at times, these types of things typically don’t obscure meaning. And I am always impressed by people who know more than one language!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ravenclaw Book Club says:

    I’ve never seen someone mention “solid structure” in one of these posts. It’s an interesting thing to look for! I personally don’t like to stress too much about the structure of my posts – I already do that with essays, and I want blogging to be a bit more fun 😂 As long as the post reads well and does what I want it to do, I’m good x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I look for structure, as well, though of course I’m not expecting to read an academic essay on a blog! I do, however, want to know what the main argument of a discussion post is and I want to see that a review has a logical structure. I get very confused when there’s a discussion post with three unrelated topics and no clear main idea, and none of the topics seem related to the title of the post either. Readers are used to some sort of structure. The genre will determine what the structure looks like, of course–a blog post is not an academic essay, nor should it read like one in most cases–but I think that generally readers need clarity and guidance. I think your posts are clear, anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Briana says:

          Yeah, I think Krysta explained what I meant by structure pretty well. I am always baffled when I come across a post that is about two or more unrelated things and only three paragraphs long. I’d love to see those two or three topics in three, more in-depth posts. I also don’t like when I’m halfway through reading the post and haven’t figured out yet what the writer’s main point is.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. anhdara13 says:

    This is a solid post! I love tags and memes as much as the next person (that is to say, in reasonable amounts), but if there’s nothing original on your blog, chances are I won’t follow. Reviews are a hit-and-miss with me – I will admit to not reading some if it’s not a book I have heard of/not a title that pulls me in. But discussion posts! I love posts that make me think, posts that spark off ideas for me as well. And I love to talk to bloggers, so bloggers that respond to comments? Love them!

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    • Krysta says:

      I suspect that’s the reason reviews get much lower views than our other posts seem to–readers seem to like reading reviews of books they’ve read or at least heard of. I’m the same way. I might be pulled in by an intriguing cover or title, or if the book is a genre I enjoy, but if I just see a title in my feed and I’ve never heard of the book and there’s nothing about the title that seems interesting, I’m not as likely to read that review, unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

      • anhdara13 says:

        It’s good to know it’s not just me tbh. I was feeling a little guilty about bypassing people’s reviews, but honestly? I like to compare views of books I’ve read with other people, not colour my perception (or worse! get spoiled!) for books I want to read.

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        • Krysta says:

          Well, there isn’t time to read everything! I also prefer to read reviews after I’ve written my own so I sometimes pass over reviews for that reason.

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  4. R.K. Lander says:

    It’s great to get a feel of why people like from a blog. I have an author blog I had no idea how to structure. Thanks to posts like this one, I’m slowly getting the hang of it. Design, though, is definitely something that can break it for me. Too much going on is a definite distraction and takes away the simplicity I always look for on a page. Clean lines, not too much color and a well-thought out layout can make all the difference.
    Thanks for the post.

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    • Krysta says:

      That’s true. I have seen a blog or two with very busy graphics and it did make the blog a little difficult to read. Small fonts are also a problem for me. However, it is a great thing that we no longer (for the most part) have neon websites or the dreaded automatic music!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ashley W says:

    I completely agree with all of those but more so even with the Great Personality. I’ve found a few blogs that were wonderful, but when I read their comments or discussions or even seeing them interact on social media I sometimes find their personality to be on the… sour side. I don’t like it when book reviewers look or talk down upon their audience. It instantly turns me off to anything they have to say. Great post!

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes, that’s true. If I see a blogger being aggressive or rude, or if they’re aggressive or rude to me, I typically unfollow and make a mental note not to visit or comment again. No one needs extra stress and negativity in their lives!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      I’ve rarely encountered aggressive people in six years of blogging, until the past three months, where two people gave such grumpy reviews to comments I left on their blog that I immediately unfollowed! I was incredibly surprised, and I don’t know that they have very large audiences, especially not followers who dare to comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ashley W says:

        Yes exactly! They tend to be few and far between but when I see them I’m always taken back by how aggressive they are. Especially on twitter. I hate seeing readers/bloggers personally attack authors. IDC what they wrote about, you take it out on the book not them. Everyone makes mistakes and they act like the authors need to be burned at the stake for small petty issues.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    I actually agree with all of this! Except I admit that the “design” part is becoming a key factor for me. I have eyesight that currently fluctuates. Sometimes it is bad. So certain graphics, font and designs can be difficult. In fact, so difficult that it forces me to skip over. It is sad, but true 😦 So I guess it isn’t an issue of aesthetics, but more of what is “easy” on my eyes. And to be fair, that is not the bloggers fault. It is my personal problem. Fabulous post as always.

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    • Krysta says:

      I’ve seen one or two blogs that were difficult to read, so I simply left without trying. I really, however, am not a fan of the new trend to have homepages for blogs. Half the time I have difficulty figuring out where the actual blog posts are! If I can’t find them, how am I supposed to read them? Even when there is a clearly marked tab for the blog, however, I still can’t figure out why I’ve been made to do extra clicking to get to the posts. I don’t need to see a page with nothing more than a name or perhaps a sentence or two every time I visit the same site.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Briana says:

      Yeah, I think ease of reading and navigation are important. I’ve definitely left blogs that have some weird fonts or where I couldn’t figure out where anything was. But a lot of people do seem to focus on “This blog has nice graphics” or “I like the color scheme,” which are nice bonuses for me, but–if I’m being completely real–I’m not going to read someone’s blog just because I like their header! Their content has to be good, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

        I enjoy a lot of well designed blogs and the overall look, but when it gets carried away I start to struggle. Like this week I have had a decrease in vision due to fluid. So if I am already working to just read it and it is too flashy.. well not for lack of appreciation but I am forced to move on 😦

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  7. Nandini Bharadwaj says:

    Excellent points, Briana! I had a book blog on Tumblr, so the reviews I did just gave an overview and not a breakdown. I’d usually leave a link to my detailed Goodreads review forwarding​ those interested in reading further because content on Tumblr tends to be short. I moved it to WordPress just last week and I think I’m going to try a longer review style because I know the audience here is looking for more detailed information. However, I don’t know if the change in style is going to work because it’s brand new and has zero visibility. Since you and Krysta are such experienced bloggers, I’d definitely value your opinion and I really need some feedback. Here is the link: http://unputdownablebooksblog.wordpress.com/
    That said, I grammar is not a deal-breaker for me, but I do like well-edited and clear posts. As long as it’s not all over the place and conveys the message, I’m a satisfied reader. I like all sorts of content but too much of tags can get annoying and I prefer orginal content as well.
    Coming to aesthetics, I’d rather have a blog with a readable font and size rather than a pretty blog that strains my eyes. I spend a lot of time hooked to the screen and I mostly read ebooks rather than physical books, so my eyes get tired very easily. I prefer clear and professional design as opposed to something flowery (not that I have anything against pretty blogs).
    My favourite kind of posts, especially on your blog, are the discussion posts. They are very well-formatted, explained with examples and evidence, and I take away so much from them every time. Good discussion posts will definitely make me hit the follow button. I’m planning on making a discussion post series on my new blog on Saturdays, but it might be a while till I get there.
    I found myself nodding along to everything you said. Great post! 🙂

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    • Briana says:

      The weird thing is that recently I’ve seen a lot of polls people have set up to ask whether people like reading longer reviews, and everyone keeps saying no! I think I saw one about a week ago where people voted for reviews that are like 200 words long as being the perfect length. Personally, I think this is ridiculous, and part of me is wondering whether people even know how long 200 words is–that is to say, not long at all. That’s like one paragraph! My reviews tend to range, and I know people aren’t invested when they start getting around 700 words, but I really think you need around 400 to have time to say something more in-depth than “I liked the book. The characters were great.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • R.K. Lander says:

        Agreed. I recently launched my first book and had four programmed reviews. They were all really short, in fact I wouldn’t even call them reviews but impressions. I mean I am grateful of course, but it was not quite what I was expecting. Add to that that nobody commented or liked. A sterile experience really.

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      • Nandini Bharadwaj says:

        The attention span of readers these days for text is quickly dwindling. When you say the same through an image or a video, suddenly there are a lot more takers for that form. My reviews on Goodreads tend to be ~500 words because then I feel I’ve touched upon all the points. For the reviews on my blog, I used to pick a few sentences from the full review to give an overview of what I liked it disliked. Maybe one can experiment with the length and see the audience engagement.

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  8. Paula Vince says:

    That’s an excellent question. I enjoy a bit of wit and humor, so tend to follow blogs which make us chuckle with their great reviews and content. I also like meatier, weightier blog posts, which we can take our time reading and mulling over. And I like it when fellow bloggers aim to add variety, including interesting lists, discussion posts or opinion posts rather than just reviews. The addition of other content makes it more likely that I’ll read the reviews and add them as recommendations anyway. Finally, I like it when there’s a neat toolbar, probably at the top, where we can easily find all these things. And if they add links to other, related posts in their content, that’s the cream on top 🙂

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    • Briana says:

      Yes, I like blogs that are easy to navigate, too! It’s hard to read someone’s content if I can’t even find it! I also like a sense of humor, though I do not think I am personally that funny in writing, maybe a bit more in person. :p

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  9. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Agree with this so much- especially what you said about grammar. I love grammar, but I can totally forgive people for having the occasional mistake or typo- it’s really not a big deal on a blog, especially since most people just do it for fun and use slang anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Milliebot says:

    I couldn’t care less about design either. I often read on my mobile app so no one’s graphics come through unless they’re pictures within the specific post

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