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.
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.
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
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.
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?