It's amazing that I ever get anything done. Quite early this morning (well early for me), I discover a blog hop Fool for Books and found myself sucked into a world of book review blogs. 233 to be exact.
The interesting things about looking at that many blogs in just a few hours is that you start to really get a feel for what works and what doesn't when it comes to a blog. I'm not talking about content - that's too personal a choice to really critique what I am talking about is design. As I went through those blogs, it didn't take long for me to learn what what really turned me off when it came to blogs. Being that these were mostly blogs that pertained to book reviews it was easy to know that reviews of books in genre's I read would be a plus but here are a list of things that immediately turned me off:
1. Too many contests - I was surprised at the number of blogs that were nothing but contests. I agree that they may bring in readers but what's the point, there's no context to the blog. Granted some people might like that. To me, it seems awfully lazy.
2. RSS feeds only - there are so many ways to follow blogs these days but ones that only allow one to follow via RSS feed is not one I will follow. I don't like RSS feeds because I don't really understand them. They make me nervous. I read blogs while I'm at work because I have a lot of free time on the computer (my job is to answer phones) and I just worry what an RSS feed means.
3. Can't find posts amongst all the stuff - there is one blog I read that I feel like I read the same post every day because the author has a block of information at the top of the page that is quite lengthy before you actually get to the post. I have seen others where it feels like a scavenger hunt to find the blog because it's hidden in a cutsy icon or has a clever title that makes the reader feel really stupid (okay maybe it's just me).
4. Swearing - I'm not a prude but using the f-word in a title just because you can doesn't appeal to me especially when you are expecting something a little more professional. Maybe I have a skewed view of blog hopping because the few I have done have been for somewhat professional blogs but today when I came across one that had a post Spring F****** Break I was a little shocked. I gave it the benefit of the doubt but found it was really just a rude post. It immediately turned me off from the rest of the blog.
5. "Sexy" pictures - along that same note as above. It takes a bit to shock me, I did teach sex education at the college level but I don't want to look at pictures of couples in erotic poses while I am trying to read a blog. The man in the pictures was wearing pants but the pictures left little to the imagination. As I said, I read blogs at work and that was not one I was going to follow. You can be suggestive without being vulgar (goodness I sound like an old lady).
6. Too busy - I really don't like blogs that have too many pictures or too many colors. I don't see very well and my eyes get tired easily and blogs with pink writing on a blue background actually give me a headache. I saw some today that looked like a little kid had done them because there was color every where. It's hard on the eyes.
7. Lists - Short lists are okay but a post that has a list of more than 10 items becomes really boring, even if it's a list of your books you are going to read. I want meat in my posts and I was something that keeps my already short attention span.
8. Long Posts - (see above). I have a short attention span and I follow way too many blogs as it is. I don't have the time or desire to read an entire book in someone's blog (I apologize this post is already getting to be too long and it's a list - yikes).
Along with long posts there are things that I think make posts too long:
excerpts from books that are being reviewed - I don't read excerpts because I don't want a sample of the book, I have a good book memory and reading an excerpt confuses me because I can't remember if I had read that book before. I like reading synopsis' of books and then I add the title to my list of books to read. I really hate starting a story I can't finish.
I hate video trailers for books. I don't get them. I think they are a waste of space. I don't want to see a "movie" about a book.
9. One big pet peeve I have is when the blogger doesn't follow through with their part of the blog hop. They are getting traffic because of the hop, they should make the effort to actually participate. Many blog hops have contests and readers are expecting something when they come to that blog. Not all blogs that I visit on a blog hop have a contest that interest me but I may still subscribe to the blog. I refuse to even give them my time if their last post was over a month ago - they made a commitment and didn't follow through. Now I understand that things happen - one blogger had a heartfelt post about why she wasn't able to follow through with her blog - that's understandable, don't leave your readers hanging. I understand life happens but don't participate in a blog hop.
10. Same information over and over - (this has two meanings) I was surprised at the number of blogs that were practically identical. I got the feeling that I visited the same blog more than once. It was the same books being reviewed and the same formats. I understand themed days but who came up with the templates? So many had similar theme ideas that it felt pointless to visit them all. The books being reviewed were interesting but I am not going to subscribe to 10 blogs that have the same content - be original. On the other hand, I hate blogs where every post seems the same. There's a publisher who's blog comes highly recommended. After reading his blog for a month I realized that the information was really all the same. The posts were interviews with different authors and such but when boiled down - it was always about how selling via e-books was a better money maker than traditional publishing. He almost always had the same formula for the last half of his posts just with different numbers.
11. Finally, my last pet peeve is posting everything all at once. I follow a book review blog that has several posters and it seems they all post on the same day. There are days with nothing and then one day - 10 posts. It's overwhelming and I start to skip over the posts because I am not really sure I care for their overall genre. I might actually be interested if the posts were broken up through the week but not reading a bunch of reviews back to back.
I hope that helps those who are writing blogs. I did see some beautiful blogs on that hop and keep thinking I need to spruce up my own so that they aren't so boring.