Previously, I wrote about five things that encourage me to follow a book blog. Below, here are five things that really do not matter much to me at all–despite a lot of the blogging advice currently out there.
I read book blogs for the content, so it does not matter to me if a person has a spectacular header or a mediocre one. Likewise, I do not mind if someone only uses graphics of book covers, but does not take award-winning Instagram photos of books. Plus, if I am reading a post in the WordPress Reader, I cannot see the full web design, anyway. It is important to me that a site be clear and easy to navigate–but paying for a professional template or for a designer to make custom buttons and graphics is not going to be the deciding factor in my decision to follow. The content is.
On a personal level, I really enjoy grammar. However, despite what the comments section on the internet may lead one to believe, grammar and adherence to standard grammar are not a markers of one’s intelligence. People say perfectly insightful things all the time while using awkward grammar or making typos. And that is what matters to me–the content of what someone is saying, not how they say it. Of course, I want to be able to understand what a person is saying in the first place, but an incorrect preposition or some unusual phrasing is no big deal. And making it one is not really kind to people. Some may never have learned rigorous grammar or some may be learning English as a second or third language. Getting stuck on grammar does not make sense when people are reaching out to communicate. I think we should reach back–not point out any perceived mistakes.
GIFs and Small Amounts of Text
A lot of bloggers will suggest that having large chunks of text is bad, and they should be broken up with GIFs or other images, lest readers become fatigued. For my part, I don’t mind reading long posts and often even enjoy it–so long as the content has a clear structure and is not rambling or repetitive. I actually really don’t like seeing GIFs at all, and I don’t read GIF-heavy content as much as I read text-heavy content. So go with whatever your writing style is! You will find readers who appreciate it; you do not need to guess what “everyone” wants, because everyone never wants the same thing.
A Custom Domain Name
Many bloggers will suggest that bloggers should pay for a domain name to look more professional and be taken more seriously. This may matter more for other types of blogs, but book blogs are not customarily monetized right now. Removing the “WordPress” from the address bar does not matter to most readers and surely does not impact publishers’ decisions to send ARCs or authors’ decisions to do blog tours or interviews. Getting a custom domain name is a completely optional expense at this point for people blogging as a hobby, and bloggers should not feel pressured to spend money on it if does not make sense for them.
Lots of ARC Reviews
There was a time when many book bloggers felt pressured to be on top of the market and to be able to put up reviews for books no one else had access to yet. I tend to prefer reading reviews of books I have already read, so I can have a discussion about the books. Consequently, ARC reviews are not that compelling for me; I don’t care if a blogger never reviews an ARC at all.
For me, the content is the most important reason I read a blog. Are the posts original and the voice engaging? Are the discussions in-depth? Do the reviews have structure? And does the content appear regularly? Graphics, grammar, and domain names–these are all secondary features that matter less to me. At its heart, blogging is about writing, not so much graphic design or photography or many of the other features that book bloggers have come to prioritize to look professional. And blogging is meant to be somewhat accessible. Have a computer and internet access? You can blog–no fancy equipment required. So the writing still matters most to me. Interesting ideas are what inspire me to click follow.
What are some features about blogs that you do not particularly look for?