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?
Come back next Thursday for a new Book Blogging Tips Post!
(#19): How to Leave a Bad First Impression With Your Blog