Ten Things I Look For When I Visit Other Blogs

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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.

commentluv-logo

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.

share

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

Speak EasyDawnbreakersorcerer_front mech.inddInk & boneAfterparty 2Cash Crash Jubilee

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.

7. Links!

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

likeOK, 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

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Posted June 19, 2015 by Tammy in Let's Talk About... / 32 Comments

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32 responses to “Ten Things I Look For When I Visit Other Blogs

    • Tammy

      That’s a great one too. I don’t see a lot of blogs with tag clouds, I guess. I actually used to have one but when my tags got out of control it just felt too cluttered to me.

  1. Interesting. Some random thoughts:

    1. I prefer email posts too! So convenient. I’m one of those folks who has to check emails every couple hours, so having everything sent right there is infinitely more convenient than any of the RSS readers or services like Bloglovin’ could ever be.

    2. Your commentluv requirement makes it sound like your major interest in commenting on other blogs is leaving linkbait 😛

    3. I’m also very visual! And so are most people, it seems; my blog tends to get a very high ratio of unique visitors to hits whenever I’m running a very visual theme, like Pictorico or my current one, Broadway.

    4. My current theme’s white on a black background >_> Generally I don’t care what someone does with their blog, visually, as I do most of my following via email; I only ever go to actual blogs if I’m looking for something there or I come across something I didn’t see in my email, or I’m using WordPress’ Reader.

    5. Am I the only person that finds it pretty much a necessity for a book blog to have an Index of some sort? It’s so convenient, one quick scroll and I’ll immediately be able to tell if what you read is interesting enough for me to follow. Not to mention having everything right there for quick clicking.

    6. The last post I wrote made me very wary of the Like button. It got 6 Views, but 16 Likes. I’m no sure if to be amused at whatever’s going on with that, or depressed that most of my followers are clearly spam.
    Rabindranauth recently posted…Lords of the Sith by Paul S. KempMy Profile

    • Tammy

      Great points! I have to laugh at #2…you’re right, that did come off as if the only reason I visit other blogs is to get a visit back, which isn’t true. I try to visit back those people who leave comments on my blog, so having that link just makes it easier for me. #5: Yes, you are right about an index. And I think I didn’t bring that one up because mine if woefully out-of-date! I need to spend an entire day updating it, but I just don’t HAVE an entire day…#6: I didn’t realize there was a problem with spammers and the Like button. Damn! I suppose that may have happened to me too, but I don’t usually check my individual post views, so I’m not sure.

      • I only picked up on it because of the new Insights page that WordPress has, there’s a ‘Latest Post Summary’ that gives all the figures on your most recent post. It was hard to miss.

        You should update it bit by bit! I’ve been updating mine with every new review so that I don’t end up with a ton of work and then I just decide to abandon it altogether, lol. I would argue it’s the most useful single page any book blogger keeps. I think mine is my most viewed page, actually . . .
        Rabindranauth recently posted…Lords of the Sith by Paul S. KempMy Profile

  2. *nods her head with each point* There’s not a single thing here that I disagree with, Tammy. I always go to the About Me page whenever I visit a website for the first time – and I get a little frustrated if one isn’t readily accessible or isn’t there at all.

    I also like your #1. Email is the easiest and most direct way for me to follow a blog. If a blog gives users the ability to follow a blog that way, as opposed to a regular “Follow” button on WordPress, you bet I’ll come back. 🙂
    Sara L. recently posted…Attending Writer’s Digest Conference 2015!My Profile

    • Tammy

      I’m glad to find other people that like to follow by email! I know it’s considered a little strange by lots of bloggers.

  3. This is actually so helpful, since Wendy and Tiara and I have been talking about doing some layout changes lately and we’ve been brainstorming what other bloggers do. Your blog has actually been in our conversation as an example of how we all love that everything is so clean and easy to navigate! I agree with everything here – the only thing we’ve yet to implement is something like Commentluv but that’s definitely on the list.
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Book Review: Nemesis Games by James S.A. CoreyMy Profile

    • Tammy

      Thanks Mogsy! I think doing a redesign every now and then is so much fun. And gets you energized and loving your blog even more.

  4. This is a super helpful post! Lots of good suggestions. I never thought to link to GR for books I talk about, though of course now that you mention it I realize a lot of people do it. It would be a lot of work to go back and fix this but I think I will start doing it in the future!

    I’m glad I switched to Comment Luv for the same reason you mentioned – it’s so convenient to visit commenters blogs.
    Jenn recently posted…Tough Traveling: People on BoatsMy Profile

    • Tammy

      I think going forward with linking up to GR is a great idea. Honestly, I don’t think I’d go back and try to link up all my old posts! What a nightmare that would be:-D

    • Tammy

      Wow I’ve never heard that??? Really? I hope I’m not missing comments for that reason.

  5. This is a great list. I’m like you, if I got onto a blog or site and the layout is annoying me or it’s a really dark theme etc then I come straight back out of it. I like things to be set out nice. I always find it stupid when people don’t put sharing links or social media links on their blogs. It’s as much for them to get more followers as it is for the readers who want to follow them. They are missing out on more people hearing about there blog! Silly people! Great list 🙂
    Hannah @ Broc’s Bookcase recently posted…Review: “Nowhere But Here” – Katie McGarryMy Profile

    • Tammy

      Thanks Hannah:-) I am so busy that the easier something is to do, the more likely I am to do it, like follow people:-D

  6. Your list is spot on. I totally agree with you about a search bar option! I use it all the time on our own site. And, there’s nothing worse than a poorly designed site. I realize not everyone has the time or skill to create a masterpiece (every site has a design flaw), but people should keep in mind readers want a clean, easy to read site.
    Ashley recently posted…Blogger guilt: Zero motivationMy Profile

    • Tammy

      Even with a free WordPress blog you can easily create something that’s easy on the eyes and simple to navigate.

  7. Okay, I’m making these points 1 by 1 moving back up and down so I don’t miss anything.
    No.1 – completely agree – I usually email subscribe. I must admit that it means a tedious amount of emails and sometimes you miss something but there it is. And, yes, I subscribe to bloglovin but don’t really use it.
    No.2 – I have no idea whether or not it’s difficult to leave comments on my blog so would love feedback on that. It feels like commenting on some blogs is almost hard work, you have to choose an ‘entity’ to post as, then you have to prove you’re not a robot by ticking a box – then read some text – by which time, I’ve usually got bored! But, then, if you forget something your comment just disappears! Please tell me if that’s what it’s like on my blog so I can change it somehow!
    3. – omg – I’m so shagging useless – I don’t know if that’s on my posts either!
    4. – seriously my blog needs updating! Okay, I do at least have an a-z but it needs updating and also I have my challenges page – omg *hangs head in shame*
    5. – yay – I HAVE A SEARCH BAR
    6. – yay again – I do post visuals. I’m a book cover tart. I love covers.
    7. – Okay – I’m a raging dunce – I don’t even know … what – aahahhhhahah
    8. – Yes! I love the like button!!!!
    9. – phew, finally! My blog is definitely not cluttered or dark.
    10. – Yay!
    Okay – a round up – that makes 6/10.
    Great post.
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…The Tower Lord by Anthony RyanMy Profile

    • Tammy

      OK, now I’m responding to your responses:
      2. So you have a free WordPress site, right? WordPress has a good basic commenting function. You have to either log in or sign in to post a comment, so as another WordPress user when I leave a comment on your blog, you can click on my name and it will take you to MY blog.
      3. Yes! You have share buttons at the bottom of your posts! They look different from mine but they work great:-)
      7. AHA HA HA HA! You are making me laugh so hard right now. Lynn, please tell me you know how to link up in WordPress? OK, I will teach you if you want. It’s super easy. Message me:-)

      I’d say you are doing GREAT:-d

    • Tammy

      Yep, easy easy easy! That’s what we’re all looking for, I think! If something is too hard to do, I probably won’t go back.

  8. You’ve convinced me to turn on the Like functionality! I had never really thought people would use it, but it’s make me happy to see if anyone does haha

  9. Love this post and agree with all of them. The only one I’m not sure I have is a ‘clean site’. Its not as simple as some, but I don’t think it too crazy. And the white font on black background is not just you. There’s actually a scientific reason why that is harder on the eyes. If your bored, you can read why here: http://uxmovement.com/content/when-to-use-white-text-on-a-dark-background/ . Not having clean ways to navigate through a site is PAINFUL
    Lisa @TenaciousReader recently posted…Futility of Fiction? I think not. Why do you read? Escapism or Something More?My Profile