Showing posts with label tricks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tricks. 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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Friday, September 11, 2015

How to Scare Potential Readers Away With Your Theme | Book Blogging Tips (#16)

If you're a little like me, your theme is probably the bane of your existence as well.

I'm constantly editing it, never quite getting it right and spend days trying to edit a single thing, but then end up not liking the end result.

You can have the best content in the world, when your theme is terrible, you'll never get the recognition you deserve.


Here are fourteen DON'Ts in regards to your theme.


! CAUTION: Sarcasm ahead ! 


1. Pop-Ups and Ads Wherever You Can.
Yeah, ads are always a great idea if you're looking to earn money with your blog. You should totally start advertising early on, even if you get only a hundred views per month.
The more ads the better. Make sure to remind your readers to subscribe to your email newsletter every five minutes with a pop-up, they'll be very grateful for the reminder.

2. Low Contrast Script and Background
Pastel colors, am I right? How about a beige background with a light pink script? Looks fashionable. Who cares whether you can read the posts, as long as it looks pretty.
Aesthetics over content all the way.

3. Show ALL THE BADGES
Yes you're a proud member of Team Damon, Team Edward, Team Maxon, Team Ash, Team Stark, Team Patch, The Shadowhunters and so many more! Make sure to add all your fandoms so your readers will know what you love to read about.
Don't forget to add a badge for every tag award you've ever gotten.

4. Avantgarde Themes
There's a reason standard blogging templates are so frowned upon. Show us your graphic designer skills and give us a theme filled with animations and giant pictures. It has to be a challenge for the reader to find your posts, else they aren't worthy of reading them anyways.

5. A LOT of Friendship Buttons
Show off all the friends you made in the blogging world. Don't only put three or four on your site. It's like facebook, the more friends you have, the cooler you are.

6. Sidebar Taller Than You Are
The more widgets the better. It's not cluttered, there are a lot of options for the reader to explore!!

7. List All Authors and Publishers That Support You
It's very important to make sure that you thank all 89 authors and publishers that sent you a review copy. It's even more important when you've been blogging for ten years. You can't miss a single name. Don't put it on an extra page either, it has to be on the front page.

8. Typos + No Proofreading
Were all humans. Typos make you evn more symptaehtic. Prof reading just takes up mroe time. Let's get it all online quiasly. its not liek you can´t undesrtand what I#M typing is it

9. Release Day Widgets. All of Them.
The more, the better. I mean, your readers have to know what you're currently waiting on. Don't let them know in a post. It's all about visualization.

10. Super-slim Themes
The slimmer the better. That's the 2015
look. If your sentences all have to be
shortened and look like haikus now
then you're absolutely doing it right.
Scrolling is a form of exercise as well,
you're doing your readers a favor
They should pay you for that service if
you think about it.

11. Stop Formatting
It's only a waste of time. Don't even use paragraphs. You'll save a lot of time and will be able to dedicate that time to reading more.

12. Did Somebody Say Comic Sans?
You don't know what people are talking about, it's not like you're running a business blog. Comic Sans in bright yellow is a perfectly acceptable font to run a blog in your spare time. Everybody calm down.

13. Animations and Customized Cursors
Come on, who doesn't want those back? Remember how awesome our myspace pages looked? You're aiming for the nostalgic look and it's working. Maybe add some glitter or falling snow while you're at it.

14. Unreadable Colors
Seriously, if they'd take the time and effort to read your posts, they'd be able to. It's not like your writing for the uneducated masses. Your blog posts are important and making a difference so it can't be that hard to highlight them with a right-click if they have problems reading them, jeez.




Always remember: Blogging isn't an exact science.

Even if you have some or most of these things on your blog, who cares? It's still your blog and it has to look pretty to YOU! I'm sure there are a lot of people who think my theme is absolutely terrible. To each their own, my friends.


I hopüe this could help you out a litlle and nyou know now aht not do when you're wiring a blog post Obviously everyone's approaches are different. Team EdwwarD!!



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Thursday, August 6, 2015

10 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me As A Newbie Blogger | Book Blogging Tips (#11)



For some people these ten tips might seem basic, but I admit freely that for me, they weren't. Everyone starts out small, some rise quickly, some don't at all. (Is that a Dr. Suess poem?) 



10. Do You Know What Copyright Is?

Yeah, I'm guilty of using other people's images without crediting the source in the past. I fixed that though. Don't do that.

9. You Need to Interact

I'm not talking about responding to comments (some bloggers don't even do that though), but being social in general. You want other people to read your content? Try reading theirs and learning from them.

8. You Won't Make A Living From Blogging Anytime Soon

Blogging takes time. If you're here to build a business and not because of your passion, you won't last very long.

7. Review Copies Are Not Free Books

Don't overestimate yourself. You will have to read them all, they are not free. There are deadlines that you have to keep in mind. You're going to have to have read all those books by a certain date, else you're going to have a problem.

6. You Have to Constantly Rework

Whether it's:
  •  your old posts
  • your theme
  • your blogging concept
  • your social media habits
  • your social media accounts
Take a look at what others are doing and improve all the time.

5. Your First Theme Won't Be Your Last

Seriously, who isn't cringing at their first theme? (See #6)

4. Try for Original Content

You'll only get readers if people are interested in what you have to say. Show them that you have a voice. Say relevant things that contribute to the community.

3. Listen to Other People

Yeah, I know you've got it all figured out and you think you're good to go, yadayadayada. Just listen to what more experienced people tell you, even if you strongly disagree. On the long run you'll thank me and see.

2. You Want Success? Be Different.

More content doesn't equal more readers. Think about things you haven't seen on other people's pages before. Do exactly this. Check your own habits, what do you want to read? Think of a niche.

1. There's a Difference Between Promoting and Spamming

This should go without saying.


What Do You Wish Somebody Had Told You As A Newbie?


More Tips:
...
Book Blogging Tips (#7): How to Not Advertise For Your Blog
Book Blogging Tips (#8): 6 Things Your Blog Design HAS TO Have
Book Blogging Tips (#9): 6 Commenting Systems and What Sucks About Them
Book Blogging Tips (#10): How to Simply Your Blogging Experience in 6 Steps

See All
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to Simplify Your Blogging Experience in 5 Steps | Book Blogging Tips (#10)


Over the past couple of months I noticed that I changed my blogging habits a lot. I decided to share some things with you that helped me become a better and more relaxed blogger. 

Blogging is about you and enjoying yourself, so you're responsible for making the best out of it! Here are five tips that will hopefully help you out:

  • USE THE QUEUE

It's there fore a reason, I'm serious. It took me ages to figure out that I don't have to write posts the day I want to publish them. I don't even know how I managed to live like that. It's super stressful to have to come up with a post at the top of your head and it's even more stressful to think for the rest of the week about what you're going to write. You'll run out of content every fast if you do that.

  • GIVE YOURSELF SOME REST

You should give yourself a vacation from blogging sometimes. Trust me, even when you don't think you'll need it, it won't do any harm to plan one. If you've got a well stocked queue, nobody will even notice you were gone.

  • MIX IT UP, GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

You'd be surprised at how many new and helpful things you're going to discover. Never considered doing a certain type of posts, or a new social media platform or a starting your own feature?
Just do it. What can go wrong?

  • BECOME AN OBSERVER

You can learn from other bloggers.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery. I'm not saying you should flat out copy content - I'm saying that you should take a close look at how they're blogging and how it's working out for them.

Examine your fellow blogs closely and maybe change things about yours that aren't working out well for you.

  • ASK FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED

You can't excel at everything. Even the top bloggers whose names everybody knows started out little. If you need help, go ask for it. Get somebody to help you instead of getting frustrated and trying to fix the problem on your own for hours (especially when it's theme-related stuff - the amount of hours I've wasted on that...)


What are Your Tips To Simplify Your Blogging Experience?

More Tips:
Book Blogging Tips (#6): Should I Be Commenting Back?
Book Blogging Tips (#7): How to Not Advertise For Your Blog
Book Blogging Tips (#8): 6 Things Your Blog Design HAS TO Have
Book Blogging Tips (#9): 6 Commenting Systems and What Sucks About Them

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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