5 Things I DON’T Look for When Following a Book Blog

5 Things I Don't Look for in Book Blogs

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.

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1

Design

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.

2

Grammar

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.

four

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.

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Conclusion

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?

14 thoughts on “5 Things I DON’T Look for When Following a Book Blog

  1. Carol says:

    I completely agree with you about content! (Hence my frustration with review posts that are 90% summary with a one sentence review…. or posts that are book covers only!)

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  2. Roberta R. says:

    I do agree with all your points, especially this one:
    “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.”
    I’m on Blogger, and I’m seeing lots of people migrate to WP because they think it’s perceived as a more “professional” platform…the truth is, there’s nothing of the sorts. Your blog – Blogger, WP or Tumblr, free domain or not – is what you make it. And I don’t think that publishers are interested in such things, really.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, I feel like “get a professional-looking domain” is very generic blogging advice, and it simply doesn’t work in book blogging where practically no one is monetized, and the bloggers who are trying to monetize, unfortunately, don’t seem to be getting that much money. You can easily spend more on the domain than you get back from ads or any sponsored posts. I really think the only think recommending WP is that a lot of bloggers are on it, so it makes getting comments and followers a bit easier when they’re on the same platform you are, but I completely agree it doesn’t really make you look more “professional” or serious than any other platform.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Honestly, I’m not sure why so much advice is about “looking professional” with a custom domain name because…well, whom are we trying to impress exactly? Most book blogs aren’t monetized and they aren’t getting huge deals from publishers or companies that want to use them as influencers. It’s advice that I think probably works for other types of blogs, but not book blogs.

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  3. Nish says:

    I agree with you about content being king and nothing else being important.

    That said, I do have my own domain name. A long time ago, I bought into that advice, and while I don’t regret it exactly, I haven’t seen any great advantages to it when it comes to book blogging. But I am not a pure book blogger, I like to cover travel and food too, and having my own domain has helped me when interacting with tourism boards/restaurants/food companies.

    I dislike blogs that feature too many ARCs or book tours, or review only books they receive from publishers. I feel the reviews get diluted and it’s hard to see the blogger’s true style.

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    • Krysta says:

      I can definitely see having a custom domain name working well for other types of blogs! Food, travel, etc. seem to get more views and thus are presumably more likely to be offered partnerships with companies. Even if book bloggers get offers, though, they just get ARCs (which seems increasingly rare) and I really don’t think any blogger has been denied an ARC because of their web address. 😀

      And, yes, that’s true! I don’t enjoy blogs that seem mainly promotional. Part of what is appealing about bloggers is that it’s regular people giving their opinions. Doing a lot of blog tours and cover reveals kind of makes the blog just another extension of the publishing company.

      And that’s what bothers me about publishers trying to get into BookTok and such. People are watching BookTokkers because they come across as genuine. Once a person becomes an influencer who’s being paid regularly to promote stuff…well, doesn’t part of the appeal go away?

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  4. BookerTalk says:

    I hadn’t given this a lot of thought until you posed the question but I’ve now been thinking about this all day :).

    Gifs are annoying and pointless so I rarely follow sites that use them.
    I don’t care for sites that are just full of memes – it’s the book reviews and book related topic discussions I prefer. I’m not against memes as such, I do some myself, But its those sites which seem to post list and cover reveals and little else that I don’t care for

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    • Krysta says:

      I wish I understood the attraction of GIFs because it seems like a very interesting internet “language,” but, alas, I just don’t get it. I’d rather read someone’s words than see a picture of a crying face or something.

      I agree with the memes, too. A few are okay. They can be great conversation starters and a nice way to connect with other bloggers participating in the meme. But I like to see more than only memes.

      Like

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