Nope, it’s not Tuesday, but I felt like doing a random top ten list anyway:-D As book lovers, we visit lots of blogs every day, and even outside of the book blogging world, most people surf the internet daily. In my job, I use the internet all the time, and when I go to a new website for the first time, I can immediately tell whether or not that site is well designed or not.
So in my years of visiting other blogs, I’ve come to love certain features and even expect them, in some cases. Obviously, web and blog design is subjective, but some things just make a site better, don’t you think? So here are my top ten things I like to see when I visit blogs:
1. A “Follow via email” or “Newsletter subscription” option.
I may be in the minority here, but I like to get email notifications whenever a blog that I follow posts something new. I do have a Bloglovin’ account, but honestly, I never use it. So when I find a blog that I love, I look for that “follow via email” box. If that option isn’t available, then I will probably never follow you. In my opinion, we should make our blogs easy to follow, and offer readers all options, even if you think they won’t use them.
2. A plug-in like CommentLuv for leaving comments.
Before I switched to a self-hosted blog, I couldn’t use CommentLuv on my own blog, but I envied those bloggers who had it. When I did switch over, this was the first plug-in I added, and I really love it. It makes it easy to “visit back” people who leave comments, since it leaves a link automatically.
This is one reason I find it hard to leave comments on Blogger blogs. If you want to leave a link, you have to actually write the code for it, and often I’m just too lazy to take that extra step.
3. Easy to find Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. “share” buttons at the bottom of each post.
OK, this one drives me crazy. It amazes me when a blog doesn’t have their share options turned on! What if I love your post so much that I want to Tweet it? I could still do it, but I’d have to copy and paste and open a new window and. . . yeah, chances are, I’m not going to go to the trouble. Just put those suckers down there after the post so we can share your awesome posts! There is a very popular author that I follow who doesn’t have share buttons on his posts, and it drives me crazy!
4. An easy to find list of recent posts.
The one thing I always do when I visit a blog? I look to see what else you’ve posted about, besides the top post. If you’ve written an amazing review of a book I love, then I want to read more! A list of either “Top posts” or “Recent posts” that is easily located near the top of your blog, on a sidebar (not at the bottom, no one will ever find it!) is super helpful. Or, if you can, show only a short synopsis of each post so readers can scroll down and easily see your last eight to ten posts.
5. A search bar
Such a small little thing, but a very important one. I read a review of a particular book on your blog last month, but I can’t find it, and I want to check it out again. So I need that search bar! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched for various things on other blogs. I know there are other ways to do searches without a search bar, but I’m not a coder and I’d rather not get into that.
6. Images of the books you’re blogging about
This is a real pet peeve of mine. I’m a very visual person, and I’m more likely to read blog posts with images, especially book covers. It seems like a no-brainer, but there are blogs out there who just don’t use images. If I’m looking at a top ten list, for example, I want to see the book covers, as well as the titles. I’m not sure why some bloggers don’t use images, but I’d love to know.
Just like #6 up there, there are bloggers who don’t link up any of the books they talk about. If you are sharing something spectacular, then at the very least I want to add it to my Goodreads pile. A link is a courtesy to your readers. It may take extra time to set up, but believe me, you’ll make people happier. Affiliate links to Amazon and other retail sites are a whole other ballgame. But for me, a simple link to Goodreads is all I want.
8. “Like” button at the bottom of each post
OK, as far as I know, this is a WordPress thing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen “Like” buttons on Blogger blogs. I love “Like” buttons because sometimes I want to show the blogger I’ve enjoyed their post, but I may not have anything to say in a comment. Or I may just be lazy, LOL. Having that “Like” button is a quick and easy way to appreciate other blogs. And to be honest, I really LOVE it when people “Like” my posts!
9. A clean site design that isn’t too dark or cluttered
I’ve done lots of experimenting with my own blog design over the years, and some designs have been better than others, but over time I’ve come to appreciate simple designs, blogs that are easy to read and don’t have weird fonts or too much going on graphically. One type of blog design that I don’t like is having to read white font against a black background. Boy does that hurt my eyes after a while.
10. A menu, including a “Home page” link and an “About me” page.
Believe it or not, I’ve been to blogs that haven’t had menus. At the very least, I’d love to read more about you and your blog in an “About” page, and I’d like to be able to get back to the Home page without having to re-type your URL. Other pages, like a list of your book reviews, are helpful too, but not as necessary to me as the first two.
I’m sure I’m forgetting something important! Tell me some of the things you like to see on other blogs:-D