7 Things I Wish All Book Bloggers Would (or would not) Do

10 Things I Wish All Book Bloggers Would Do

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

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. πŸ™ 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).

Now.. what are some things YOU wish all book bloggers would do?

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  1. RAFFLECOPTER! The genius behind that little gadget deserves ALL the awards. It’s so simple, I don’t understand why people use any other giveaway method… though I do enter “comment for entry” giveaways if they use CommentLuv or Disqus since the e-mail address isn’t projected but still available.

    I love responding to questions/comments on my blog but I worry that my comments go completely unnoticed. We all follow thousands of blogs, visit 80 bajilliion pages a day and move on. I’m not likely to go back and reread a post, and I know my readers are likely to be the same way. On blogger, when somebody responds to your comment, you don’t get a handy little e-mail saying that… somebody responded to your comment, unless you’ve subscribed to them. CommentLuv is one of the reasons for my move.

    Crazy sidebars are painful, and I’m not likely to stay long/revisit. I wish rating systems of some format were mandatory for book blogs, for the same reasons you mentioned. And the same rings true for GoodReads links – don’t make ME do extra work, visiting your blog.

    Yeah, I pretty much agree with everything you said here. I would add DON’T use light fonts (i.e. white) on dark background (i.e. black). I suppose, in general, DO consider visual aesthetics.

    Jessie Marie recently posted: Review | The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
  2. I would love if I could do all those things. I agree with them a lot, it makes everything easier for readers. The only one I don’t do is the rafflecopter. You have to pay to change the starting/ending dates, which is annoying, especially for a poor uni student whose 1st giveaway just ended. If I had the money or figured out a free way to do it, I would jump on it right away. But alas, it isn’t an option right now. That may change if I can get some source of income, though my courses don’t leave much time for reading, let alone working.

    Bec @ Ransom Reads recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday: Clockwork Princess
    1. Hmm I’ve never had to pay for changing the start and end dates! Are you sure that’s right? I know you have to pay for other features, but I don’t think that’s one of them!

        1. I just changed the end date of one of my giveaways as a test (and I don’t pay) and it worked fine! Definitely give it a try. πŸ™‚

  3. Ugh Google Docs for giveaways. Some are simple enough where you just put in your name and e-mail but when they have the extra entries and everything, it’s just too tedious and not worth the effort for me unless I really want the book. Rafflecopter is just so much more convenient.

    Yes definitely to Goodreads!! I’ve been on blogs where I read their reviews and wanted to check out more about the books on Goodreads but there’s no link to the page and I have to open a new tab and such, I know it just takes a few seconds but it kinda ruins the flow and if I know that blogger doesn’t link to Goodreads, I’ll be less inclined to follow them.

    Oh goodness, sidebars. Some sidebars are just cluttered with widgets and such, if I want to find the GFC widget I have to scroll and scroll, it shouldn’t be so hard to find it πŸ™ Sometimes the widgets on the sidebar makes loading up the blog a nightmare and it can suddenly freeze your whole screen and create issues. Just not a good situation to be in.

    Also, design is something I wish bloggers paid more attention to. Readable fonts at a reasonable colour, sometimes I have to read through neon pink writing where I’m squinting at the screen trying to decipher what the blogger wrote in the cute but unreadable font.

    Great post Ashley!

    Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted: Review: Tempest by Julie Cross (#22)
  4. 1. I agree, although I’m okay with Google Docs, at least so long as it’s super easy entry, like with Stacked or Unabridged Chick.

    2. Uhhh, I actually love those, because it’s a surprise, but I see your point. You don’t want them to go to someone who doesn’t want them. I’d been planning to do one of those at some point, but I’ll ask on the Twitters and see what people prefer.

    3-5. YES.

    6. Eh, I don’t mind if people don’t use one, but I’m less likely to linger or read it if I’m not sure. Also, unless the person is REALLY vocal about their opinions so that I can really get a sense easily of what they thought, I’ll probably write that blog off.

    7. For sure. I especially hate the sidebars that have every book the person’s ever squeed over and all of their Teams. Ugh.

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions) recently posted: Cover Snark (48): "My Tits Are on Fire"
  5. Oh man, I HATE “mystery box” giveaways and likely won’t enter because how do I even know if I WANT to win or not?

    And Rafflecopter, YES! I usually only enter GoogleDocs giveaways if they’re super easy (like a 3 entry type thing max). If it involves liking on FB, Tweeting, etc, I probably won’t enter because it’s SO much more difficult that way than on Rafflecopter.

    And sidebars, ahhhh YES. It kills me when there’s tons of widgets (especially ones that have expired), outdated tour banners, etc. I just want to log in and clean up their sidebars. lol

  6. Great post!!! And PHEW I think I’m okay haha. I agree with Rafflecopter! It’s just so much easier to use and I think it’s easier for the giver who sets it up to use Rafflecopter AND figure out the winner/entries.
    I recently cleaned up my sidebar! I wanted sooo many things in there but really, it just got way too cluttered and I felt like it looked bad. I guess I COULD take more stuff out, but I’m too attached haha.
    I definitely know a few people who skip over except style posts because they don’t know what it’s about! I’m usually okay with it as long as I can tell what the post is about.
    Which brings me to another point that wasn’t mentioned… I get frustrated when bloggers don’t use the title of the book in their review posts. Sometimes it’s okay, but a lot of times they get skipped over because I just don’t know what book they’re reviewing and I have so many blogs that I want to comment on that I’m not going to click on it and then find out it something I didn’t want to read anyway! Titles should be clear so people are like YES I read that book and I want to comment!
    Great post!!! Really great points.

    Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide recently posted: The Selective Collective features GOING VINTAGE: Casting Call
  7. I’m pretty easy-going when it comes to blogs, so none of these are automatically not-follows for me, but you hit all of my preferences! The excerpt in RSS feeders are one of my pet peeves though. I’m much more likely to click through and comment if I can read the entire post in my reader.
    Also, one thing I really look for in blogs is black text on a white background. It’s a small detail, but if I had to try and read white text on a black background, I’m clicking out of the window right away. Too hard to read.

    Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake. recently posted: The Book Chat: Favorite Setting(s)
  8. Well I agree that some of these are great suggestions or good tools but I’m also ok with people doing different things bc certain things work for different people. But I also understand this is your opinion of what you like to see and not like to see. Just so we are clear! πŸ™‚

    1. Love Rafflecoptor. I’ve found it’s so easy as a host and as someone entering though I know some would argue it isn’t easy to enter but I’ve had good experience. I’ve done all of them. Google Docs before Rafflecoptor…would personally never go back as a host but don’t mind entering them. I’ve done the comments but that is if it is a super simple contest and also, honestly, when I feel lazy and not feeling like putting together a Rafflecoptor because that’s not what I feel like doing with my time in that moment. Also with the “leave your email” bit…it’s really not that hard to avoid that if you write out your email address (like I do on Twitter) as brokeandbookish at gmail dot com. Something I’ve learned anyways!

    2. Totally on the other side of this one. I mean, some people LOVE the mystery boxes..and if you don’t then there are plenty of giveaways where you know what the books are. I think it is also trusting the blogger and their taste and knowing they wouldn’t give away absolute shit lol. I’ve done a mystery box of Harper ARCS (all current) and a beach bag mystery bags (with a cute beach tote too!) and what I do is take a picture of 1-3 of the books that WILL be in it. I decided to do it that way so they at least are guaranteed of a content or two but still is fun to see what else. So yeah, I actually like some variety in giveaways..something out of the norm! And at the end of the day..if you don’t like the contents of the box (which has happened to me) then I just chalk it up to they were free and now I can freely donate them to my library or elsewhere!

    3. Def agree. Though I will admit it is honestly hard to always do if I got a lot of comments on a post. I try really hard but I only have so many hours in the day I can devote to blogging or else I could really spend a whole day answering comments. haha But I really do try to answer the questions I see.Doesn’t always happen but I know I try really hard but fail.
    4. I do think it is convenient to do this and probs 99% of the time I do but sometimes I overlook some.
    5. Doesn’t really bother me but I prefer full.
    6. I don’t do ratings. I started out with them and stopped real quick in my first year. 3ish years later it was the best thing FOR ME still. I felt liberated immediately because I was spending so much time debating about if a book that was absolute mindless fun but very high caliber deserved a 5 star in the same way a book that changed my life and made me think did. Personal crisis maybe but I had to stop. I started doing my post-it on a review as a quick glance and then I also have a My Final Thought that gives a bigger overview of my thoughts if you wanted more of a taste than my Post-it. I’ve found that even some reviews with stars are unhelpful as they just are like OOH GREAT BOOK 5 stars but I don’t get why it is. So I guess with this one I care more about if you explain yourself and I can get a sense for your feelings. I know I just personally had a hard time with ratings but it is a nice to see an “at a glance” sort of thing so I compromised with the post-its and final thought to help my readers but also make me not have such a crisis every time with a star.
    7. Yeah I like simple too. Also I do that much so have no need for a lot in my sidebar haha. I think it makes sites slow sometimes but hey..your sidebar go crazy! But if I can’t load it..I will probably leave!

    My two cents of what I personally do and don’t do. I know things work for different people that won’t work for me so I’m ok with seeing those things…and if it really bugs me I don’t read it. Or if I felt really close to them I might make a suggestion as a reader. Def some of these things make life easier! THANK THE LORD FOR RAFFLECOPTOR..I don’t cringe at hosting giveaways anymore. I still don’t really host them because EW I hate the post office but now I’m like OOH THIS IS EASY. I CLICK AND YOU PICK THE WINNER. IT IS ALL HERE. Sorry. I really get giddy about things that make my life easy.

  9. YES! To everything you said!
    Why doesn’t everyone use Rafflecopter? It’s SOOOOO easy! And now you do have to pay to change the start end date. I think it’s dumb since it always use to be free but whatever. I just make sure I put the right dates the first time.
    #3 is an iffy one for me. I love that you can reply back to comments but as a blogger blog, I can’t do that. Sometimes if they leave a link to their blog, I can go to their blog or twitter and answer there. But now a lot of people are using Google Plus which doesn’t include a link to your blog. Sometimes there is just no way to get in touch with them. It makes me feel like a stuck up bitch sometimes, especially since I have a weird block on my blog that won’t even let me reply back to comments ?
    And call me lazy but I hate having to look up book on Goodreads, link it up people!

    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted: Review: Astarte’s Wrath by Trisha Wolfe!
  10. OMG Ashley, I totally agree with everything you said.

    1. I really wish Google Docs would tell you if you already entered the giveaway because some people might think you’re trying to cheat because you entered the giveaway twice.
    2. That is exactly my thought. Why not just reveal all the books you’re going to giveaway? Instead of gaining more entries, people are probably going to be like but what am I getting?

    And you basically said everything else I want to say. Great post Ashley, everyone should definitely see this.

  11. Great advice! I only recently started blogging, and it’s nice to know I’m doing some things right, haha! πŸ˜‰ I’ll need to try rafflecopter, and perhaps shift my rating system up higher? Hmm…but thanks for this valuable insight! πŸ™‚

  12. These are all such great wishes. I could not agree less.

    1. Rafflecopter is amazing, but it does have its bug issues and down time. There are alternatives that have similar functionality such as Giveaway Tools though. I do not like using Google forms for the very reasons you mentioned, but my biggest reason is that there is no transparency. I want to be able to see on the form who won, especially if you do not make individual winner announcements.

    2. That whole surprise thing is very annoying, especially during hops. Maybe bloggers can get a little creative, and at least offer clues about what they will give out. I never thought about what you mentioned there concerning people who are actually dying to read a book. Imagine that.

    3. Yup. A lot of bloggers are so stingy with commenting back. I hate going on a blog, and seeing no replies – no evidence that the blogger is interested in their audience’s opinions. It makes you look like a bitch.

    4. I must say I am enforcing Goodreads into my blog more and more. I try to link all book covers to it. It is so easy to just be directed to it rather than Googling “Book Title Goodreads” like I normally do lol.

    5. You actually like that? Amazing. My blog RSS emails shows the entire post. I was trying to remove it, but now I won’t. It really is more convenient, and will encourage comments. I loathe the emails that only show a sentence or two of the post. Ugh.

    6.I do have a rating system, but the graphics need to be updated. It is kind of lame not having one if you run a book blog. I hate having to read a review without knowing what to expect. Ratings are helpful because not only are they organizational, but they give you a reason to justify more. If you know what I mean.

    7. Ah. I think I am probably committing this big one here. However, I am trying my best to make it attractive and different by having witty sidebar titles. Hehe.

    Other things I wish I saw;

    1. Humble book bloggers
    Stop pretending to be a celeb. If you have a fellow book blogger who ardently supports your blog – like really – by leaving meaningful comments, sharing your posts, etc, then return the favor. Don’t act like you have no idea they exist.

    2. Wholesome reviews (this can be another post entirely, thinking of writing one on it soon lol)
    I am sick of seeing superficial reviews that only gush about how hot a guy is. Reviews need more substance. They book needs to be examined more. I want to see more literary criticism, emotional responses, and the like. Not just a short little paragraph about how cool the plot was. Justify your opinions.

    3. Readable blogs
    Okay, I noticed some blogs that are so hard to read. Like with the whole yellow-colored text or the handwriting font that is too scribble-ish. I have bad eyes, so I am upset when I cannot see your thoughts on a book because your blog is uneasy to read.

    4. Less self-promotion
    I think some people think that blogging is a one-way street. You just don’t leave your blog URL to your review on my REVIEW, nor do you email me to follow you because you followed me. Promotion should be subtle, and content-driven. Let people see your support and quality work, and see how you grow from there.

    Thanks for the awesome discussion post, Ashley!

    Christine @ Oh, Chrys! recently posted: Book Review: City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
  13. Hi sweetie!
    I agree with some of the points you made, but not all πŸ˜‰

    I do think that Rafflecopter is a cool tool that makes our busy lives way easier, but I also respect when someone chooses not to use it. I mean, sure it makes entering the giveaway easier and I do use it 100% of the time when I host my giveaways, but I also get that some people might prefer doc files, or simply leaving comments πŸ˜‰ I guess you could say that it really doesn’t matter for me πŸ˜‰ I don’t usually enter giveaways anyway, as I have a “hoarding problem that I need to get under control” according to my husband πŸ™‚

    I agree with the sidebars and replying to comments. I try to reply to all the comments I get, but it’s not always possible.. Sadly, life is just too hectic most of the time, and if I am to spend hours replying to comments OR sit down with a book, I choose the latter πŸ™‚

    I don’t agree about the rating. I used to have one and I got rid of it, and MAN, that was like the best decision EVER.I can finally focus on what I want to say about the book instead of trying to figure out where on the scale it belongs. Also, I tend to skip reviews all together after seeing the rating (I know, it’s bad), cause I feel like I know everything I need to know πŸ˜›

    I don’t really care much about the RSS and its settings. I generally only use subscription to prompt me when my fav blogger posts something new, then I simply open up my browser and click over to their website. I think it’s totally a personal preference and some people will prefer the “read more” version over having to scroll down for years πŸ™‚

    I totally agree about the Goodreads links!

    Mystery Boxes? Well, yeah.. I guess I prefer to know what I could win, but I’m also open to surprises πŸ˜€ They can be exciting, even if you end up disappointed. But hey, what are friends for?! You can always pass the books along πŸ˜€

    Great post!

  14. great post, I know I have done and do a few of those things, but have plans to change…
    I hate the too many widgets on the sidebar thing, there is one blog I love, but I can never go to it to comment because it takes soooooo long to load and I just can’t handle it. I try every once in a while but mainly I am reading it all on email.
    really dislike the white font on black because the emails will be sent with light font as well. big bummer!

  15. I TOTALLY agree with you on RSS feeds that are set to excerpt. I do all my reading in my feed reader, so to have to click through is SO aggravating. It’s awful.

    And I agree on the use of a rating system. I understand that some reviewers think they’re too limiting or whatever, but I honestly prefer something, even if, like you said, they’re just a one word summary of some sort.

  16. Ah!!! how much I love this post! And.. I was nodding along with reading your points!
    I love Rafflecopter, It made it so easy for extra entries. Before, I didn’t even bother anymore with the extras – too much hassle.

    Oh and I HATE it when people are not providing links in their reviews. What is the point in talking about a book, when not linking to it so that people can find it? I know it’s work, but .. I think this should be part of every Review.

    I love ratings but I understand why people don’t like to use them. Personally, I prefer having them and seeing them πŸ™‚

    Great Post !!

  17. Love this post. I think I agree on pretty much anything you said.

    My personal problem is the sidebar, I think. oO I love countdown widgets, so there’s no way I’d take those out, but I put them at the bottom because not everyone wants to see them. And animated stuff (like marquee), which I think is a good thing to put in the right place, but I know too much would slow the blog/page down, so I decided on one to put a bit life in the right place, and that’s it. I want to encourage people to look around, but not discourage because of blink-animation-rotate, etc overload. I structered my sidebar a certain way — I thought very hard about it, too — so that it makes sense and things are easy to find.

    I really liked ppl linking to Goodreads and was soon bothered when ppl didn’t, so I went fast and fixed that for my system. I didn’t know it was so appreaciated, but nice to know. =)

    My biggest problem with giveaways: swags are not international. I’d so love to get a swag of bookmarks or something, but I don’t even get a chance because the giveaway is US or UK only. How stupid is that? Like only your native/national readers deserve those presents. If you’re an author and are doing a giveaway of that sort, that you might as well plan in the fee to send it whereever in the world.
    Mystery Box giveaways… well, I guess I’d need to be in the mood. But I prefer knowing what to get, too.

    I agree with all of you who think the guy inventing rafflecopter deserves to get a sir or saint title. ^^

    Rating system… Well, I have to say I struggled with that, but I think it’s important to have. I fixed my problem with determining a certain rating for me by 1) splitting the rating in different categories, that usually help me pinpoint an overall rating, but sometimes the overall picture is worse or better than the parts. Doesn’t happen too often, though. and 2) I determined a phrase of each rating I might give. The verbalized version is a lot easier than just putting a number, at least for me. Maybe some of you having problems with your rating system might give that a shot.

    Thanks for this post, Ashley. You always have such intersting stuff on. I need to come around here more. =)

    Caro @ The Book Rogue recently posted: BTT #18 – Mood Reading
  18. There’s one more thing that came to my mind just now, something I totally hate, although I can’t even tell you why: When bloggers “sign” their posts with a picture of their name. Even if it fits the blog style and all, it bothers me, probably because I think it’s plain stupid. If you want to sign your post, just type it.

  19. I love this list. My main pet peeves are 5 and 7. I hate when I have to click read more for any post, but if I love the blog enough I will. If it’s a new blog I’m following, I’ll probably unsubscribe. And cluttered sidebars give me a headache. As for everything else, I definitely see your point and agree but I’d probably still follow the blog if I’m a big fan of their reviews. I have to admit that I don’t use a rating system because I didn’t want people just reading oh it’s 5 stars and leaving. Plus, I think it’s hard to rate books on a scale, but I can see where you’re coming from with wanting to know a rating.

    Courtney @ Courtney Reads A Lot recently posted: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder Book Review and Read Along
  20. OMG yes to all of these! There are a few blogs that produce good content but I don’t read them because their page looks straight out of the late 90’s with glitter and scrolling and blinking effects and oh-my-god-the-seizures. And their RSS feed ALSO uses funky font, so I can’t even get the content that way!

    I would also add, DON’T have 90-points-worth of entries for giveaways. That is ridiculous and as soon as I see that, I close the tab and don’t even bother.

  21. I’m not good at using my reader to catch up on the blogosphere. Happens maybe 1-2 times a month. If I am interested in your blog, I usually follow via email – but not every blog I like has an option for email follow. This drives me batty. Please beloved bloggers and authors, have an email follow option!

    nrlymrtl recently posted: The Elvenbane Read Along Part I
  22. 1) YES! PLEASE! I don’t mind the “leave your email” if the email is embedded in the comment and not out in the open, but all the jumping through hoops when a rafflecopter is so conveniently put together… why go any other way?

    2) I actually like mystery boxes, but there needs to be some sort of hint as to what is in it. For instance, if it’s a box of Contemporary Romance or Murder Mysteries, I’ll pass. But if it’s Fantasy, I’m all in!

    3) Mhmm, mhmm. Definitely. I always get discouraged from commenting when my comments asking questions are disregarded. I don’t expect every comment to get an answer, no way! But if I’ve commented on 20 posts in the last week, and not one gets a reply? I’m not likely to continue.

    4) It drives me nuts when there’s not goodreads link. Amazon and B&N, sure. But what if I don’t want to buy it yet? What if I want to check out other reviews, draw a consensus? I read so many reviews I’m sure I’ve not added half the books I want to, simply because there was no link and I didn’t have the motivation to do it myself.

    5) Mmmm, yeah. This bugs me. I use email primarily to read the blogs I follow, and I’m not likely to click if there are only a few sentences and a title. Worse yet are the blogs that ONLY give you the title and no excerpt. I’m not going to waste my time clicking every post just to see what you have to say and find out whether I’m interested!

    6) I disagreed at first (after only reading the lead in), but yeah, you’re right. There should be some sort of indication straight away. As someone who HATES the number scale, I’d rather it be more along the lines of a small intro or something, but yeah, definitely some sort of rating.

    7) I honestly don’t see the need for half the stuff people put in sidebars. Archive, labels, subcription/follower things, blogs and ads, and that’s about it. maybe upcoming events, and a few other things, but why feed the fishies (always get distracted by that, lol)?

    Dorothy Reading recently posted: Review: Bluegrass State of Mind
  23. I totally, totally, totally GET what you’ve said about ‘cluttered blogs’.
    That, I have to admit, is one of my ABSOLUTE pet-peeves and will quickly leave a site full of blek… all the different book tours, favourite books, what’s on my shelf, other blogs’ buttons etc etc etc

    I also hate CAPTCHA with a vengeance.

    Orisi B @ Orisi's Blah Blah Blah recently posted: Game of Thrones 1995 Style
    1. Totally agree! CAPTCHA is awful!! Whenever I come across a blog with CAPTCHA, I always tell them to turn it off. You’d actually be surprised how many people replied back saying they didn’t even know it was on!

  24. Totally agree with you on the RSS excerpt feeds. Nothing annoys me more. If I subscribe to a blog and find it isn’t a full feed I always immediately unsubscribe. Plus I likely won’t even visit the site again since it’s not in my list of feeds. Which I imagine is not what the site wants. πŸ™‚

  25. I’m finding one of my biggest pet peeves that I’m seeing, is comment forms that will only let you comment if you log in with wordpress, blogger, openID, or livejournal. No name & url. If you’re not a member at any of those places, you can’t leave a comment. Drives me nuts. Why can’t a comment form simply have room to put your name and url??? Why do we have to sign up at those places just to talk about someone’s post??

    1. Ohh good one! I agree with that! I don’t mind if the Google option is available because I’m happy using that, but I don’t like it when I have to sign up for a new service if Google or Name/URL aren’t available!!

      1. my google log in doesn’t display my site, my livejournal log in has nothing to do with my site and i haven’t updated that in AGES, my wordpress log in actually goes to a really really old site I used to have there before I bought my own hosting, and I signed up for openID..and then promptly forgot my log in and details. LOL. Name & URL is the easiest and best for me. πŸ˜€

        1. There is a way you can add a link to “Your Website” on your Google profile so that people can see it if you comment with Google and if they click on your profile. But yeah, it’s not quite as good/direct as putting in the URL directly!

    1. I can’t fault you for using Google Docs then if you’re on free WordPress! In that case, it’s kind of your only option! I’m glad it works for you. πŸ™‚

  26. Excellent post! Agreed on all points, but as for replies…most of the time I do reply on comments on my blog, but more often I visit the blogger and leave a comment there. So I hope no one will label me bitchy for not seeing replies to some comments πŸ˜€

    I’d also add weird pop-up widgets that cover half of your page and it’s impossible to see half of the post.

    And I’ve seen more people complain about the default sign-in options on Blogger blogs. What do you think would be the best commenting system to use? Disqus? Comment Luv? LiveFyre? Help πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks Ivana!

      I think te best commenting system to use is one that allows “Anonymous” sign-ins where you can just put in your name and URL. That way you’re not forcing your readers to have an account somewhere.

      I know that LiveFyre has this option, but I can’t remember if Disqus does or not!

  27. You know, I never thought about the annoyance of no links to goodreads. I always have it open when I’m on my computer, so I just click the tab and search for a book if it interests me. But I now definitely can see that providing a link could be very beneficial for those who don’t have it up or are reading on their phone or something. I will have to start doing that!

  28. Fantastic post! I totally agree with quite a few of these. The sidebar especially. If it’s too cluttered, it really lsows down your blog too. I’m trying to declutter mine a lot!

    Also, I really really hate when bloggers say something along the lines of “well I tried to get this post up sooner but I was just over flowing with arc’s that the publisher sent me”. It’s like they’re trying to brag big time, and in the end, it makes me resent them as a blogger and I won’t read their post. Even if you do receive boxfulls of arc’s, which is great and good for you!, there is no need to rub it in other people’s faces. It’s fine to say that you received the book from the published when you post your review, but no need to go overboard with it!

    I love that you are branching into some more controversial topics on here. Great work πŸ™‚

    Alyssa @ Swept Away By Books recently posted: Waiting On Wednesday
  29. I wish bloggers would turn of their CAPTCHA. So annoying….

    I like to check the rating before I read a review too! What bugs me more is when I read a review and they didn’t give it a star rating or something of the kind. I like to be able to reference it on a scale that is widely understood. So I wish all bloggers would use the star rating (or something equivalent).

    Stephanie B recently posted: {Blog Tour} Review: Sanctuary
  30. Great post, and lots for people to think about. To be honest, you got me with the ‘use rafflecopter’. I definitely struggle with other methods, whereas RC is so straightforward, anyone can use it.

    I don’t do tonnes of book reviews, and although I’m on Goodreads I’d never have thought of putting links through to there. Maybe I’ll try switching given Amazon affiliates never seems to include books.

    My biggest bugbears are captcha – I don’t understand the point when you could just have something like Askimet which is brilliant. And then poor grammar and spelling. Especially if you’re reviewing books – surely you should be able to appreciate that your readers want to read well written copy.

    Emma T recently posted: Gender neutral parenting
  31. This is such a useful post Ashley! I was wondering about the RSS thing myself, I have wondered whether switching to excerpts would lead to more click throughs. But even I prefer to read full posts in my email cos it’s so handy.

    1. I think a good question to ask yourself is what you gain by forcing the click through. If you have ads on your site, then I can understand the desire for more page views (because then more views = more money), but if you don’t have ads, then what’s the motivation? Sure, you will get an extra page view, but what’s the big deal there?

      That’s something I asked myself and I just couldn’t think of anything. Maybe more page views will make me feel good about myself or my blog, but that isn’t really a good enough reason for me. I’d rather make things easier for my subscribers. What’s the point in subscribing if you can’t even get all the content?

  32. This is good advice. I didn’t think wordpress/other blogging platforms revealed email addresses of on comments to the general public – it always says something like ’email address not published’. Oh well, like you said, the spam filter will catch most of it. WordPress security is full of holes anyway. On the sidebar topic – keeping things clean is the best way to go. Nobody likes a site that’s cluttered with so much stuff that no one actually reads any of it. Less clutter means users will actually interact with the content more.

    Ben Warren recently posted: Sell Textbooks Online - Buyback Comparison

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