Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Friday, October 23, 2015

The First Impression - What Does a Good Blog Have? | Book Blogging Tips (#22)



Themes are something that really matters when discovering new blogs. But they aren't everything that can mess up the first impression of a blog.

Before I've even scrolled through your blog, a lot can go wrong. I typically determine within five seconds when I'm on a new site whether I want to follow them or not.

Here are my criteria.

1. I can easily find your follower button

This should really go without saying. Your blog can be brilliant and have a beautiful theme, but if I can't find your GFC widget (for Non-Blogger accounts social media icons), then I'm out.

I don't have time to add your blog manually, I'd rather go over to the next blog that makes it easier to keep updated and follow them.

2. No generic design

There are some themes that you just see on every other page. Especially the super white super clean ones. For some people that's their aesthetic, but I think it's boring to have the same theme as 32793729 other bloggers.
If you're not unique and original in terms of design, should I trust you to make good, original posts? Eh.

3. Organized review page

Who knows, maybe I came to your blog solely for a review that I saw in my feed. Maybe I want to check out more reviews and am looking for a specific one? Don't give me that /tagged stuff, make the effort to create an alphabetically sorted list.

4. Loads quickly

If your blog doesn't load within five seconds, I'll think it's a broken link and move on. Avoid many widgets or trailers and declutter your blog to make sure this doesn't happen.

5. Decent Commenting System

Essential. I'm a frequent commenter. I'm here to interact. If I can't comment easily, I won't even bother following. 

6. Comment Replies

Talk about comments - I like to talk to the bloggers I follow. Unless you're one of the biggest book bloggers out there and don't have the time to reply to all the hundreds of comments you get, I want to see some interaction.

If you can't manage to reply if your comments aren't even in the two-digits - nevermind. I don't think I want to follow you. It automatically contributes to making a person less sympathetic to me if they ignore their readers. Why waste your time on them if they can't spare a minute to you?

What are your criteria for a blog that you would follow?


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Friday, September 18, 2015

How to Write a Book Review | Book Blogging Tips (#17)

If you run a book blog it's essential to know how to write a review. There are certainly different approaches to the topic and everyone has their own preferences.

However there are still some things that every blogger should incorporate into their review.





  • Step 1: Read the Book
If you plan on writing a book review for your blog, the first thing you have to do is read the book. For some bloggers it's a NO-GO to review a book that you didn't or couldn't finish. A rule of thumb for me is to give every book 50 pages to impress me, if it doesn't, I will neither review nor finish. 

In general you shouldn't upload a review for a book when you have read LESS than half of it. It's just impossible to form a valid and helpful opinion if you have no idea about the plot. Also make sure to note in your review that you didn't read the entire book.

  • Step 2: Mind the Form
Here are some things that you can put into your review. 
It's up to you whether you choose one or two, or all of them. Book reviewing isn't an exact science. 

- COVER ART: Pictures are very important if you want to catch your readers attention. I typically feature two different covers of the book, one at the top and one at the bottom
- LENGTH: fluctuating between 300 and 900 words. Be careful not too write too much. Obviously a high fantasy novel review will end up longer than a novella review. Don't stress yourself.
- RATING: Whether it's stars, strawberries, books or thumbs up. Make sure to add a visual.
- (Optional) RÉSUMÉ: Quickly sum up what you dis/liked for readers that don't want to read the whole text.
INFO: Publication Date, Publisher, Page Count, Genre, Author, Title, Synopsis (optional) link to buy the book/to the publisher's website

  • Step 3: Add the Content
- WHAT YOU LIKED: Make sure to reduce the fangirling to a minimum though.
- WHAT YOU DISLIKED: Always be respectful and don't use curse words. There's always a lot of work going into a novel. Picture yourself as the author, would you rather have constructive criticism or a bunch of insults?
- (Optional) WHY YOU READ IT: Could be helpful if it's a review copy and for possible future readers
- (Optional) MORE BOOKS TO COME?: I like to inform my readers whether it's a stand-alone or the first in a series.

My Tips
It'll be even easier for you to come up with what to say when you make notes throughout your reading process. I even write a quick review when I'm halfway through the novel just to sort my thoughts and make sure I don't forget points along the way. That review can be full of curse words or fangirling and whatever you want - it will never see the light of day and is only a guideline for you to sort your feelings about the novel out. 

You'd think that a book blog should only consist out of reviews, but we all know that that isn't even remotely true if you look at the more popular blogs.
If you want your reviews to be as entertaining as your original posts or meme posts, you have to make sure to write entertainingly. Show your enthusiasm for the book or your lack of and discover your own style

Some people like to use gifs, some people are gifted with the written word and just write super funny posts regardless of their opinion of the book. Write entertainingly and always be honest. Never write a positive review for a book that you absolutely hated and vice versa.


How do you write your reviews? Do you have any special tips?



Come back next Thursday for a new Book Blogging Tips Post!

More:
(#14): How to Decline an Inquiry By An Author or Publisher Politely 
(#15): How to Install Social Media Icons 
(#16): How to Scare Potential Readers Away With Your Theme 

See All
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

6 Commenting Systems and What Sucks About Them | Book Blogging Tips (#9)


I took on a little project with this edition of Book Blogging Tips. I went to a bunch of blogs, checked out their commenting systems and wrote down what's good and what's bad about them. 

Hopefully you'll be able to gain insight and maybe get inspired to change your commenting system.


At the end of the day, you're the one who has to decide what's the best choice for you. Whether it's Blogger, Wordpress, Disqus, IntenseDebate, Self-Hosted or something else. Everything has their pros and cons. Unless it's Facebook. Please get rid of that.

1. Default Blogger System

Pros
- You're able to comment anonymously
- Very easy for Blogger and Wordpress users
- Notification on your dashboard for each new comment 
- Supports clickable links as HTML
- Email notification for replies available

Cons
- Not really aesthetically pleasing: Looks a bit odd and chunky when there's multiple comments on your page
- Supports clickable links as HTML (have fun typing those brackets out)

___________________________

My two cents: It's alright design if you aren't tech-savvy and not too fond of third-party commenting systems. Consider changing to Wordpress, their default commenting system is much better.

2. Default Wordpress System
Pros
- Nice and clean look
- Option to like
- Easy to reply
- Email notification for replies available

Cons
- poor spam control
___________________________

My two cents: You're good to go. Wordpress is a nice choice and gives enough options to satisfy the majority of your readers.

3. Disqus

Pros
- Option to create own account so you'll be able to keep track of your comments 
- Notification in your Disqus account whenever you get a new comment
- Built-in anti spam and related posts features 
- Comments aren't lost if you transition from Blogger or Wordpress to Disqus
- Options to like and showcase comments
- Blog host can easily delete and edit comments
- You can drag and drop an image into your comment

Cons
- No Wordpress log in option
- No dashboard notification for Blogger users 
- Needs a few extra seconds to load

___________________________

My two cents: Congrats, you've chosen my favorite. I'm biased, obviously. 

4. IntenseDebate

Pros
- Let's you easily control and delete comments
- Users are rated due to their comment history
- Best commenters widget
- Collecting points for every comment you leave is fun!

Cons
- Users are rated due to their comment history (surveillance state much?)
- you lose ALL your previous comments when switching over to IntenseDebate

___________________________

My two cents: I like the look of IntenseDebate personally and it's an okay system, but after this Spring's Bloggiesta I noticed that I'm pretty much alone in that opinion. I love the best commenters widget, but if you're going to go with a third-party commenting system, choose Disqus. They're quite similar in looks and concept, but Disqus gives you way more options.

5. Self-Hosted
Pros
- Option to add CommentLuv: The commenter can feature their latest post on their blog in their comment
- Most themes let you add your website
- You can use elaborate html (strike, bold, italic, blockquote etc)

Cons
- Most self-hosted commenting systems don't let you log in
- Rarely options to comment anonymously without sharing your website's URL
- No option to upload icons

___________________________

My two cents: I'm not too fond of these. Consider either choosing a commenting system that gives more options or installing a third-party system.

6. Facebook
Pros
- Nice and clean design
- Options to like and reply directly

Cons
- Poor spam control
- Your Facebook friends will all see what you're commenting and where (privacy issues)
- NOBODY wants to use their facebook account to comment on a blog
- Don't do it

___________________________

My two cents: No.


What's Your Favorite Commenting System?

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

6 Things Your Blog Design HAS TO Have | Book Blogging Tips (#8)


Bloggers know the eternal struggle: How to find the perfect design. 

If you're a little like me, you're constantly changing and trying to improve things to make your design the best it can be.

While taste differs, there are 6 things your blog absolutely has to have.




1. A Proper Comment System

With proper I mean no pop-ups, no captcha, no google+ only (for the Blogger people)
If you make it nice and easy to comment, you'll definitely see more people making use of that option. The default systems of Blogger and Wordpress are fine, but more and more bloggers make use of other commenting systems.

Popular third-party-commenting systems are:
2. Contact Page

This is important for networking. Whether it's other bloggers or authors and publishers wanting to contact you. If you haven't already, get an email address specifically for your blog. Social media icons are also a nice way to give your readers an overview where they can find and connect with you

3. Related Posts Widget

I didn't have this for a long time and I actually don't know how I could live without this. Related posts are a great way to show your reader similar stuff and also look nice on your home page.
The widget I use is LinkWithin.

4. Multiple Options for Following

I've actually seen blogs with only one option to follow. While I understand that everyone has their preferred way that they'd like to be followed by, note that not everyone might want to use this. Consider adding at least two of the options below:
  • Email
  • Google Friend Connect
  • BlogConnect
  • BlogLovin
  • Facebook
  • G+
  • Linky
  • NetworkedBlogs
The more options you give your readers, the more followers you'll be able to get.

5. Search Bar

This goes without saying. People have to be able to find content that's not on the first page easily.

6. Review Index

This is essential (!!!) for book bloggers. Your readers have to be able to find your reviews and please put it on a separate page. 
Just linking to all posts you tagged as reviews doesn't really help, especially if you combine this with not having a search bar. Make the effort to add a page just for reviews and sort them.


What Do You Think Every Blogger Has to Have on Their Blog?


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