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Top Ten Things I Look For In a Blog!

chronicles of an obsessive bookblogger

As I have recently cut down the number of blogs I’ve been following by about 75% [detailed at The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life: Blog Love! post], I thought I’d take a moment to write an opinion piece on what types of things factored into hitting that dreaded “unfollow” button. Only after finishing this post did I realize just how strong my opinions are on this issue. I need to clarify now that the following are all personal preferences and I mean no disrespect to anybody who views blogging differently than I do. Variety is the spice of life, and all. Anyway, without further ado:

Top Ten Things I Look For In a Blog!

Content – This is probably the most important factor. The blogs I continued following consistently post about the types of books I enjoy and don’t go off topic too often. I definitely appreciate a little bit of focus on a blog so I know what to expect going forward. Branching out on occasion is no biggie – I love posts that help me get to know the blogger even better, but if it’s a book blog, I probably followed it primarily for book content.

Friendships – a good portion of the blogs I now follow are by people I feel I have a genuine blog buddy relationship with. In most cases, they reached out and commented on my blog first, which I appreciate to no end because I doubt I would have met them otherwise. I am still following all of my blog buddies in one way or another – the simplification process didn’t change that.

Presentation – I discovered during “the purge” that I’m more of a presentation snob than I realized. If I found the blog difficult to navigate, whether from weird formatting, too much clutter, or a general lack of organization, it most likely got deleted (OCD ALERT!). I also have a really difficult time reading blogs with anything other than black on white print. The latter is not a total dealbreaker, but when I had to make snap decisions and my eyes were already straining, many didn’t make the cut.

Semi-frequent Posting – I’m talking more than twice a year, people. There are quite a few bloggers I genuinely liked and wished to continue friendships with, but they hadn’t posted anything new for over two years. I used to make fun of the “I’m on a hiatus, but I’ll be back xx/xx/xx” posts, but now I actually think they’re a good idea if you plan on returning eventually.

Innovative Ideas – I am all about finding new ways to present content. So when a blog seems to have original (or at least new-to-me) bookish ideas, I tend to latch on. I’ll admit whole-heartedly to the occasional bout of blog-envy. You are all just too creative for me to handle! :)

Spoilers – or rather, a lack of. I can’t stand having things spoiled for me, so I generally steer clear of blogs that give away key plot points. Some titles I’ve been waiting to read for years, and I’ve already had a few really good ones ruined by careless spoilers (because the spoilerish content wasn’t clearly marked).

No Gifs & Memes – I know it’s the new thing and many bloggers use them, but I personally find them annoying. I don’t think they add anything to a post that couldn’t be summed up in a couple of words. And I hate the endless scrolling (a lot of times my phone won’t even load them, so I lose interest and stop trying). I also think they can make a blog look tacky and unorganized. What can I say? It’s just not my style…

Positive Outlooks – Hey, I get it, we all have that book that made us so angry that we had to write a 10,000 word rant. I don’t mind negative reviews. What I do mind is an overtone of negative vibes, personal attacks, and all-around book/author bashing on a regular basis. I’m of the philosophy that you can explain exactly why a book didn’t work for you without calling the author an idiot. I read blog posts for positive vibes and thoughtful opinions on titles. Not hateful/hurtful things. There’s enough of that in this world already – don’t sully my book utopia with it, lol.

Respect – I admit, I stopped following a blog with content I really liked because the blogger didn’t respect my right to read and endorse whatever books I choose. There were several occasions where I felt this blogger was looking down on me because they found my book preferences personally distasteful. To clarify – I definitely don’t mind a difference of opinion. What books work for me might not work for you, and I totally get and respect that. What I’m objecting to is the blatant disapproval of what I believe is a personal choice. I’ve never read the Fifty Shades of Grey series, but I would never look down on anybody who read and loved the shit out of them. Whether it’s Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight, or any other guilty pleasure, read what you want and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Connectability – I like being able to connect with blogs on different platforms (Goodreads being my favorite). Of the blogs I was unsure of keeping a WordPress subscription to, I added either on Goodreads or Bloglovin. The ones who didn’t have either option didn’t give me the freedom to try engaging through other venues. There were a couple that also didn’t have WordPress follow buttons (I’m told it’s a fairly simple widget to add, but can’t preach until I’ve practices lol) , Which means I had to either keep following by email or delete the subscription totally, and with my new simplification motto, I just can’t take wading through 1000 emails every day.


There you have it! These are the elements that played into my evaluation of other blogs. Let me reiterate that I truly believe there is no wrong or right way to run a blog, and I’m still following people who have many of these attributes. They’re just the things I take into consideration. :)

What types of things do you look for?

by Niki Hawkes

25 comments on “Top Ten Things I Look For In a Blog!

  1. Great post!😀

    Glad I’m not the only one who suffers blog envy at times, I see all this original content/innovative ideas and wonder how they come up with it! Though I did recently create a new Friday feature for my blog and am writing a discussion post but I guess that’ll be my creativity with blogging gone for the next six months!😀

    Totally agree about spoilers, hate them, had a couple of books ruined by spoilers in the reviews, don’t mean small spoilers either but massive waving in the face hi I’m a spoiler type spoilers, one even went into detail about the ending! Sigh, big no no with spoilers.

    I like memes, or some anyway but I’m not a fan of some like the what people are reading/read ones. I agree with you about gifs to, they are fun in tags but I’ve only found a couple of bloggers who can pull of using gifs in a review, most of the time they just look weird and wrong.

    Great post.

    • Thanks!! Yes, blog envy is a real thing haha. I love what I’ve shaped mine into, but there are always others out there that put mine to shame haha. At least by how I evaluate things, anyway. I really like your new features. And your discussion posts are always really thoughtful.
      Ugh spoilers. It was worse when I was a bookseller and it was the customers that ruined books because I couldn’t do anything about it (some customers really need an “unfollow” button lol). But I hate it when I see them on posts. I understand that sometimes it’s hard to talk about a book without going into specifics, but some people just lack consideration. I’m having a similar issue on Goodreads right now.
      Maybe my problem with memes and gifs is that I haven’t found a blog i thought was implementing them well (while I was evaluating, anyway. There’s a good chance a lot of the people I’m following use them, but they’re not obnoxious, so I don’t notice them lol).
      Thanks for your thoughts! :)

      • Thank you, definitely wouldn’t call my discussion posts thoughtful and more like babbling with sarcasm thrown in but all bloggers are different and word things differently so it’s cool and I get to my point in the end.😂

        Yeah, Goodreads isn’t great for it either now you mention it with spoilers.

        I think the thing with gifs, especially in reviews, I know for the ones I’ve seen you get a lot of the same bloggers using the exact same gif to emphasise the exact same point and only the book is different, screaming girl gif proclaiming WTF or I love it, nah, not for me but there are a few out there who do implement them well and they find different ones that somehow manage to complement the review.

        Ha, I work in a supermarket, I know all about customers and not being able to say anything, never thought of them needing an ‘unfollow’ button though, I’m usually not that polite but it’s a great term to use!😀

      • Haha well, anything that makes me think and includes sarcasm is what I label “thoughtful” ;P. Also, my thoughts on some customers are definitely a lot more colorful lol.

      • I know, right?? I have actually stopped reading reviews of books I really want to read because of that. Now I read them mostly to compare notes after finishing them.

      • Yes!!! I totally started doing this too. It’s just too risky haha. I may glance at the first paragraph and overall rating, but even that feels like playing with fire lol.

      • I know, right?? It’s like you want to keep reading but like you said, you are playing with fire. Some serious self-control is needed sometimes…

  2. I loved this post. I love reading what others look for when they’re looking for blogs to follow, and I love getting ideas about what may or may not work on my own blog.

    Gifs drive me bananas too. They do on Goodreads too, when I read a review over there. Sometimes one, well placed, will make me smile but I’ve read reviews were the whole thing was 95% gifs and I could feel my brain spasming. I tend to steer clear of blogs with an overload of them. I also don’t like blogs that are too cluttered, even with advertisements. Again, it makes my mind go haywire. I like an easy to find follow button. And I hate posts that feel judgmental.

    Spoilers are a harder thing. Obviously I want to steer clear of any reviews with major spoilers, and anyone who drops a major spoiler in a review is a butthead. On the other hand, I also think there’s a certainly level of ‘read at your own risk’ when reading reviews. Sometimes, if it’s a book I really am excited for I won’t read any reviews, just in case. Both to protect myself from spoilers, and to protect myself from someone else’s opinion marring my own.

    • Thank you! I didn’t realize I had so many thoughts on it until I started percolating the post. Gifs on Goodreads are almost worse because you don’t have to be following someone to see them everywhere. And yay to someone else who appreciates organization haha. Your blog is spiffy organized and I love all the birdie themes (the “friends of a feather” social buttons was my favorite). I had to stop reading random reviews from people I don’t know because of spoilers, but if my new resolution continues to go well for being a good blog buddy, I should know which reviews are safe to read haha. Spoilers just drive me nuts, even when I should’ve known better than to look.

  3. I’m not a big fan of using gifs in a review either, and if I use them I do it sparingly and only because a gif might just be too perfect to pass up. But nothing makes my eyes hurt more than going to Goodreads and having to scroll through a moving wall of gifs – no disrespect to those who write reviews like that, all the more power to reviewers who use gifs to hilarious effect, but it’s just not the format I prefer and I’m a big fan of people using words to express themselves :)

    • I agree – usage is everything. A few well placed ones can totally add needed emphasis for fun. I am totally basing this judgement on those walls of gifs – too many and any impact is lost… and my eyes hurt too haha.

  4. Yay, blog buddies! Friendship (or lack of it) is my main deciding factor because that’s why I got into this whole book-blogging thing: to find friends who like the same stuff I do! But pretty much all of these factors play a part in the decision to follow or unfollow a blog. If I don’t like the content of a blog, then I probably don’t have much to talk about with the blogger, etc. Great post, Niki! :)

    • It was one of my main motivations too – I can’t believe I got so far away from it. My new system is making it into the experience I always wanted. It’s so much fun, I’m kicking myself for not getting my act together earlier haha.
      And thank you! :)

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