I hope I don’t come off as a bitch with this list. I’m not trying to target certain bloggers or spotlight anyone, I’m just expressing some frustrations I have as a reader of blogs (rather than as a writer for one)! You don’t have to listen to me or abide by this list. I’m not really trying to give people advice or say “this is how you have to run your blog”; I’m just getting a few pet peeves off my chest!
1. DO use Rafflecopter for giveaways
I know everyone has their own preference for giveaways, but sometimes I really just wish everyone would use Rafflecopter. I’ll tell you why by discussing the cons of the two other methods I’ve seen:
Post a comment
When people ask you to enter by posting a comment, they usually tell you to add in an e-mail address for them to contact you. I hate doing this because this is how spammers get your e-mail! I never, ever got spam mail until I started leaving my e-mail address in blog comments. Now I get several a day! Luckily they all get caught by my spam filter, but the point still remains. Help protect the privacy of your readers by not asking them to leave an e-mail in the comments!
Google docs is a popular one, so it’s one that I’ll heavily compare to Rafflecopter. Filling out the Google doc form is easy, but completing the required actions for “extra entries” is ten times harder! If one of the entries is “follow me on Twitter”, I have to scroll up out of the giveaway, find your Twitter name on your sidebar, click on it, double-check to make sure I’m following you, then go back to the previous page and continue filling out the form. But if I use Rafflecopter, the Twitter follow button is right there in the giveaway. With one glance I can check to see if I’m already following you. With one click (and zero scrolling) I can start following you!
It’s the same case for liking on Facebook and posting tweets. In Rafflecopter all the resources you need are right there in the giveaway form. Tweeting a message requires about two clicks, and the tweet is already written out! I don’t have to worry about opening a new Twitter window, writing my own message, linking back to your blog, etc. Because in Rafflecopter, it’s all done automatically!
And my biggest annoyance… If you use Google Docs, I have no way of knowing if I’ve already entered your giveaway. There, I’ve said it. With Rafflecopter, I can enter your giveaway and then come back two days later and still see my entries there. I immediately know that I’ve already entered! But if I enter your Google Docs giveaway, then refresh the page, the form reappears! How the heck do I know that I’ve already entered your giveaway? Sure I could just remember, but if you’re like me and visit a million blogs, a thousand giveaway hops, and do more web browsing than is good for you, you probably won’t remember!
So if you’re not using Rafflecopter, I would urge you to start using it! Make things easier and safer for people entering your giveaways!
2. DO disclose what books are being given away in a giveaway
Am I the only one who hates “Mystery box of books!” giveaways? I don’t even enter those at all! I don’t want to gamble on whether or not I’ll get a book that I will enjoy, or a book that I haven’t even read! The last thing I want to do is end up with a mystery box of books full of books I’ve already read or have no interest in reading. There could be someone else out there who’s DYING to read those specific books, and I’ll feel like I’ve stolen the opportunity away from them. I’d rather know exactly what you’re giving away so I can make a judgement on whether or not I want to enter the giveaway.
3. DO reply to comments that include questions
I don’t expect bloggers to reply to every single comment. I don’t. Sometimes there’s just nothing to say. If someone comments on a review saying:
Great review, love it.
There’s just not much you can really reply to. Yes, I appreciate the comment, but there’s not much for me to say in response. That’s fine! But one of my biggest pet peeves is when questions on blogs go unanswered! If someone asks you a question, odds are they will come back to see if you replied because they want an answer! If you don’t reply to questions on your blog, you’re not encouraging interaction and engagement. 🙁 It also makes you look a little closed off. So engage with your readers and answer their questions!
4. DO link to Goodreads…always
Whether it’s on a review or a Waiting on Wednesday post, I hate it when bloggers don’t link to the book on Goodreads! If I’m introduced to a new book, I want to be able to quickly and easily add it to my Goodreads shelf. I know it’s not *that* much effort to open up a new tab and search for it myself, but it would be nice if we could all make it a little easier for each other by providing plenty of links!
5. DO NOT set their blog’s RSS view to ‘excerpt’
I’ll be honest. If I subscribe to your RSS feed or to e-mail updates, I will not click on your new post unless the excerpt completely grabs me. I’m sorry, I am, but I follow so many blogs and have so little time that it’s just not worth my effort to have to click on the “read more” and wait to load your blog. I kind of feel like a bitch, but that’s just how I am. I want to be able to read the entire post in my RSS feed or e-mail. Then if I like it, I will click on it, go to your blog, and write a comment. But forcing us to only see the excerpt in our feed/e-mail is just an inconvenience and usually results in me skipping over that post or unsubscribing completely (since I’m always skipping it).
6. DO use some sort of rating system
Not everyone uses stars or rating systems on their blogs. As someone who hates deciding on ratings for things, I totally get that. But I do wish everyone would use some kind of system that quickly expresses how they felt about a book. I’m the kind of person who hates reading a review without first knowing what I can expect from it. I always like to check the rating first so that I know if the review is going to be positive, negative, or possibly a little ranty.
I’m not saying everyone should use stars. A few people use systems like just saying “LOVED”, “LIKED”, “DISLIKED” — and that’s great! It’s simple, it’s uncomplicated, but it still has the same effect as star ratings. I can quickly glance at it and determine the tone of your review before I read it.
7. DO NOT go crazy with your sidebars
If you’re like me, I’m sure your bookshelf is overflowing with books. We just want to OWN every single one of our favourite books, but we have so many favourites, so we end up with millions upon millions of books. Your sidebar is not your bookshelf. You don’t have to occupy every single square foot of space with SOMETHING. And, honestly, I bet 99% of your readers don’t care about half the things that are on your sidebar. Sidebars that have too much ‘stuff’ are annoying, can make your site laggy, can make your blog feel cluttered, and a cluttered blog can turn a reader away (especially if it’s so cluttered to the point where I don’t even know where to begin searching for your follow links).