What makes me follow a blog?
1. The design. I’m ashamed to admit that this is my number one thing. If I’m attracted to the design, I’m probably going to follow no matter what the content is. I’m a shallow creature, what can I say? I like simple, clean designs with very minimal sidebars.
2. Same tastes in books. If a blogger reads almost all of the same books I do, I’m more likely to follow. If they read a bunch of stuff I’ve never heard of, I’m probably not going to be interested in following. Also, if I see that they rate things very similarly, I’m guaranteed to stalk them on all social media!
3. I talk to the person on Twitter. Sometimes I have random conversations on Twitter with people I don’t know, and it sparks a friendship. Sometimes I don’t even know about the person’s blog until the conversation, but if I enjoy talking to them, I’ll follow for sure! There’s a select few blogs that I follow despite the differences in genres we read because I love the blogger.
4. Good discussions. I love discussion posts, and if the blog posts good ones then I’ll follow no matter what the rest of their content is.
5. Rant reviews. I love love looove reading rants! If the blogger is sarcastic, I’ll totally stalk the hell outta them ;)
What makes me NOT follow a blog?
1. The design. If I think the design is ugly, I’m not going to want to look at it. Therefore, I’m probably not going to follow. It’s horrible, it really is, but I can’t help it. Especially if the blog hurts my eyes. If I can’t read the posts without feeling like my eyes are going to bleed, I’m not going to bother following. I don’t like white text on a dark background. I don’t have the best eyesight, so it actually hurts. It gives me a headache in a matter of minutes. Other reasons: If the colors are obnoxious, or don’t match, or if the fonts are too hard to read or too small.
2. Captcha. I do not want to try 3 times before leaving a comment. If you have Captcha, I’m probably never going to attempt to comment again. It’s just too difficult.
3. Cluttered sidebars. I hate having to scroll for ages to find something. Not to mention it slows down the load time. If the blog doesn’t load quickly, I leave. I’m impatient >.<
4. Bad behavior. If I see that the blogger is constantly getting involved in needless drama, or overreacts, or is rude for no reason, I’m going to blacklist them. Stay away, stay faaar away!
5. Too many memes. I hate memes. If I see more than 2 different memes that the blogger participates in, I probably won’t follow. I like Top Ten Tuesday, but I’m not a fan of Waiting on Wednesday and I no longer care about Follow Friday so I’ll probably never read those posts.
6. Strictly positive reviews. If a blog ONLY posts 4 and 5 star reviews, I question their credibility. Who likes EVERYTHING they read? That just doesn’t make sense to me. I followed one blog in particular that literally never rated anything below 3 stars, and even a 3 star rating was rare. So every time I went to open up a post labeled as a review, I already knew what it would say: “I liked it.” In more words, but still. I didn’t even bother reading them anymore. I like reviews that point out the good AND the bad!
What about you? What makes you follow a blog? What makes you NOT follow a blog?
YES, JESSI. Design is the first thing that attracts me to any blog. If I don’t like it, I sideeye the blog and close the tab. If I like the design, I am more inclined to stay and check out the content. If it’s simple and uses a couple of key colors throughout the blog, I will like it. You can never go wrong with a white background.
I get a headache when I stumble across blogs that have black backgrounds and different assortment of colors for the text. Like WTH. And I agree with cluttered sidebars. It shouldn’t be sooo frickin’ long. I don’t like it when people do a lot of promo blitzs. It’s great to promote authors, but it makes me wonder if the blogger has actually read the author’s books (which they probably have not).
I need to engage you in random conversations soon. I THRIVE ON THOSE. With twitter, you can get a sense of the person’s personality and that usually convinces me to take a chance on them and their blog.
I feel exactly the same!! You really can’t go wrong with white background. Most people may find it plain, but you have all the space around the edges to do whatever you want with, leave the text area alone!
And YES, I feel the same about blitzes. I have to confess that when they first went big I participated in a lot that interested me but I hadn’t read, and now I regret that. It’s nice to support authors, but a few times I read the book and didn’t even like it so I quit doing that. My readers trust my opinion, so I only want to promote books I like!
Yeah!! I love talking to bloggers even more than visiting blogs! I adore bookish people :)
Great post! So weird, I was just thinking about doing a post along these lines. Design is such a big one for me, too. If you have crazy fonts and colors and pictures going on, I immediately click away. My brain shouldn’t have to hurt in order to read your blog. I like clean, simple designs that are easy to navigate.
I feel like I’m the only person who doesn’t hate Captcha. Yeah, it’s annoying, but I won’t not follow a blog because of it. But I pretty much hate commenting on Blogger blogs in general. It’s such a hassle, especially if you’re reading in Bloglovin’, because it won’t let you comment without forcing you out of the feed and it drives me nuts. But unfortunately there are so many book blogs that are still on Blogger for some reason.
I haven’t had that problem, because I mostly use my inbox rather than Bloglovin, but I can see how it would be a problem for non-Google users. Yeah, there are! It’s definitely more popular because it’s free yet customizable. I’m happy to see so many switching to self-hosted WordPress lately, though!
I basically agree with all your points!
Design is a huge one for me. If I like your design, I’ll then proceed to read your posts to see if the content clicks with me. But if I hate the design or it’s hard to read, then I usually immediately X out because I can’t stand it D:
Exactly! I don’t want to get a headache from reading blog posts >.<
Design is probably one of the biggest factors. If I like the design, I’m more likely to stay longer which means I’ll probably find something I like.
I don’t necessarily distrust blogs with only positive reviews (some people choose to only review the books they like) but I prefer blogs with both. Reading a negative review doesn’t mean I won’t read the book. If the review does its job (which is to help me decide whether or not the book is something I would enjoy), then it doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive. Example: I picked up The Selection because of a negative review.
As for discussion posts, oh yes. If I read a rockin’ discussion post, I’ve been known to return to the blog just for more of those, even if the reviews don’t captivate me. But I do agree, if a blogger is reviewing a bunch of obscure books, I’m less likely to read the reviews for them. Which is a bit funny if you think about it….
It’s cool if that’s ALL they want to post (positive reviews), but it’s definitely not my cup of tea. Like you, I prefer both good and bad! Sometimes negative reviews make me want to read the book more, just to see if it really is as bad as the person says, or if I would be the black sheep (because I usually am). Sometimes negative reviews happen because people like a HEA (*coughs* Allegiant), and I like a book with sacrifice, so I’m more likely to like it!
It’s kind of sad, actually. I know some wouldn’t consider me a ‘real’ reader because I only go for popular, known books and never indie authors – which really, it just has to do with the cover…most self pubbed books have ugly covers! If I only see reviews of books with hideous covers, I don’t want to follow the blog because I’m probably not going to give those books a chance…I should probably be ashamed of myself haha.
No, I totally get that! I don’t mind a little sacrifice in my books either. It’s something I’ve come to appreciate. And it doesn’t matter how good a book is if I can’t get past the cover. I’m so with you there.
As much as I hate to say it, Design is major for me. I can’t go to a blog that looks cluttered and try to like it. If it’s “ugly” it’s probably okay, but when it becomes messy or just “no”, I’m going to have to leave.
BTW: You just gave me the idea to do rants :) HAHA
Yeah, messy is a problem for me! It’s too distracting and I have mild ADD >.< Do it! I looove rants :)
I totally agree with every single one of your points. I definitely am attracted a blog first of all from how its visually organized and then from its content. And then I focus on things like the content and also what books they like. I always love people when they similarly rate books because I love bonding over how much we disliked/loved a book lol :)
I totally agree with the meme thing you pointed out! I really like seeing book hauls and stuff like that, but if there’s also three other memes on the blog I get a little turned off. I don’t mind someone having a few memes and features, but I’d still like to see book reviews or interviews or something at least pretty often. Another thing that I really don’t like about a blog is way too many promo posts. I also get a little annoyed when all a blog posts are interviews and guest posts, although I think that’s just me. Because if a blog always does interviews or guest posts from authors, it kind of feels like more of a book promotion blog than a book review blog. I really like guest posts and interviews, though, just not having it dominating a blog.
Positive reviews and CAPTCHA are totally my enemy. Even if that person just likes all the books they read, it still seems kind of forced or like I can’t totally trust that person’s opinions. The thing with CAPTCHA is that it’s automatically set on a blogger blog when you first set it up, so a lot of people think “I never turned it on so I don’t have it” when it’s a pre-set thing unless you manually turn it off :(
Fantastic post, Jessi! <33
Same here! Although I look for that more on Goodreads when I add friends. I only add people who have similar tastes. On blogs I don’t mind seeing negative reviews for books I liked, or vice versa, because I like to see the difference of opinion and find out WHY the reader felt differently!
YES. I have almost completely gotten away from doing any at all. I’ll still do one occasionally if I really like the book, but that’s it!
I agree about design, though I try to be forgiving because I know what it’s like to be graphically challenged. But I do find it really annoying when a page takes a long time to Load.
I enjoy discussion posts too – I think I click and comment on those more than anything, though I’m also a glutton for read-a-thons and giveaways. I don’t necessarily dislike memes, but I don’t like them to overwhelm. A couple – like your Life of a Blogger – can be a fun way to engage with the blogger community.
And I tend to follow blogs that have the same kinds of interests that I do. It’s killer for my TBR, but I love discovering more books in my favorite genres.
I comment more on discussions, too! Reviews are the posts I tend to read and move on without commenting, sadly. Or I gloss over them because I’ve not read the book yet. I love readathons! There’s not nearly enough of them. Not that I really have the time to do it anyway….
I’m so with you on captcha! It annoys me so much to have to deal with a weird barely readable image to have to post a comment, especially on mobile. As for design, I’m not that picky ask long as the images don’t take long to load and the colors look good.
RIGHT? I usually have to guess, which is why it takes several tries! So annoying.
I judge blogs by their design so much it’s horrid. Haha. I agree SO MUCH. Love your two cents!
[…] – Annie @ The Runaway Reader has created her blogging manifesto. – Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat explains what makes her follow a blog. – Emily @ Fluttereal Flight talks about originality and heart. – Emz @ Icy Cold Reads shares her […]
I completely agree on so many of these! I know our blog needs some tender loving care though.. But we JUST switched to wordpress and are still getting the feel of it! Thinking up ideas for a new 2014 snazzy design ;) I will admit.. many of my posted reviews are 3-5 stars. But I think I just get lucky alot! I do share when I read one I disliked though.. but man.. it’s tough! I’m afraid the authors are gonna get angry- which I know I shouldn’t focus on.. most are awesome! anywho. LOVE your new design and love your honest reviews! keep at it!
Hey, switching to WordPress is hard! My blog was a mess for a while after I made the switch, so it’s completely acceptable :)
I can understand that. I’m a brutally honest person though, and I tend to speak my mind with no apologies. Not necessarily a good thing, because it could end up potentially hurting author feelings…but I am a strong believer that authors shouldn’t be reading the negative reviews anyway! Reviews are for consumers, not authors, in my opinion. But it is awkward if you’re friends with the author and hate their book O_O
I am so like this too! When a design strikes me and makes me salviate, I actually stay on the blog longer. Hehe. In fact, that happened to me less than a minute ago with http://chronicles.flutterealflight.com!
I also look to see if they review books that intrigue me – especially if they review outside YA. That is simply because I like more than YA.
If a blogger is constantly stirring drama or just plain bitchy, I stay away. I wil not support those kind of people.
I am not a fan of memes either as they stall originality. I do not mind a couple a week, but one everyday disturbs me. People can do what they want, but I do not have to like it. I prefer juicy discussions and critical reviews. Great post, Jessi!
Yes! I love Emily’s design :)
Yeah, I’m the same way about the drama queens. If I see things I don’t like on Twitter, or that they’re picking on other bloggers, getting defensive too easily, I stay away! (There’s been a great example recently that was super touchy…I think you know who I mean. The blog is beautiful, but I don’t want ANY part in that…why would I want to constantly worry if I’ll offend someone and have them focus that drama on me?)
“People can do what they want, but I do not have to like it.”
YES. This is kind of my mindset for everything though, baha. I like critical reviews, too! It sounds horrible, but if the reviewer can pick apart the book, then I’m more likely to get a feel for whether I will like it or not.
Same! :D Design is super important to me, because I think the first look counts too :) I can also see if the blogger puts in a lot of effort, because her design will reflect that as well! And I always like neat sidebars too! The design is the thing for me at first sight, and it determines whether I stay or go… :D But of course, content is really important as well! I like fresh content, fair reviews, interesting discussions, recommendations! I also like it when the blogger has distinct personality :) Of course, if I chat to the blogger on Twitter, I’ll visit them often as well! :D
Excellent post, Jessi!! <33
That’s something I love about your site, is the neat sidebars :) I hate scrolling for ages and AGES just to find the bottom. Especially if I love the design, because I like to see who designed it, which is always at the very bottom.
I love when they have a distinct personality, too! Sometimes commenters or bloggers can get lost in the sea of other commenters and bloggers, and I don’t remember them. (I have a terrible memory anyway.) But then there’s a few – like you – where something just clicks!
Thanks for stopping by darlin! <33
Are you following me? Because we seem to have similar tastes in our preferences in who we follow. Although, I’m the kind of person who has a tendency to read books that I don’t generally see in the review boards. I love mainstream publications as much as the next person, but sometimes we need to weave a bit out of comfort zones. I think that’s what makes me a little different from other bloggers. (I totally just made that sound like I was producing an argument to convince you to follow me lol – muh bad)
Captcha is a definite deal-breaker. Bloggers who never respond to comments are also unlikely to get a follow. And gifs drive me absolutely crazy!
The content is important, of course. I like a good mix of reviews, features, discussions, and memes (as long as they’re interesting). But I think it really all comes down to personality. There are blogs I love that I really shouldn’t given all my own guidelines. There are blogs that look perfect on paper but just don’t make me want to keep reading. Just like with books, I can’t always tell which blogs are going to be hits or misses.
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