Showing posts with label newbie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label newbie. Show all posts

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review-Only Book Blogs and Why They Almost Never Work Out | Book Blogging Tips (#52)




Many bloggers I know started their blogs because they only wanted to share their reviews with other people, myself included. But is that actually a good idea?

My blog first and foremost was born because I wanted to share my reviews. But I had to learn the hard way that review-only blogs are not a thing and very likely never will be.



So why do review-only blogs not work?

  • People don't read reviews!
Seriously. Any and every blogger will tell you that their reviews get the least views out of all their posts. People don't read book blogs for the reviews only and if they do, you have to write extremely good reviews. Once you've established a significant following and people know who you are and care for your opinion, this might change. But to get there with a review only blog is a thing that I'm yet so see in the blogging world. 
  • Reviewing is a skill that you can't build in a year or less!
Everyone's early reviews are a mess. This is just a fact. Writing reviews on a blog is completely different from any other platform. Even if you've been writing reviews on tumblr or Goodreads or booklikes or wherever for YEARS, this doesn't count. 

Trust me, you still won't be up to book blog standard and you will go back and cringe at all these reviews. It will be even harder to attract readers with a review-only blog when your reviews clearly display all the signs of a blogging newbie.

A lot of bloggers who start up review-only blogs probably still make newbie mistakes and probably will for a long time. It took me at least a year of reviewing to write halfway decent reviews. No formatting, way too long reviews, repeating the plot instead of giving your opinion - basic stuff like that. That's something you can't immediately change when you notice you're doing it. You'll learn how to review through writing bad reviews at first, that's how it goes for everyone.

  • You have to make a name for yourself before people care about your opinion!
It's true that you can maybe fake your way to the top with a crappy blog if you advertise a lot and comment on 3280932893 blogs per day, but who has the time? Also you won't get any long-time readers from this, only follow-backs.

The thing is, nobody will listen to your rambles if you're the new kid on the block. You have to earn readers for your reviews. You have to post other super interesting things to get people interested in what you have to say, and you can only do that by posting something else than reviews.

  • Post-consistency is a thing for all blogs!
And if you only post reviews, you'll have to read a lot. I usually unsubscribe from blogs that don't post at LEAST weekly, I do prefer blogs that post 2 or 3 times a week in general. Unless you can't commit to read and write a review for at least one book per week, you're screwed.

...


Sure, at the end of the day, it's your blog and you can do whatever you want, but I can already tell you, either a year from now your blog will be gone. Sometimes listening to experienced bloggers is the best thing you can do, we've all learned from our mistakes, you don't need to repeat them and go through the same thing, do you? Trying to start a review-only blog is the hardest way to start out and it just never works out.

Did you start out as review-only?



More advice for newbie bloggers in my Book Blogging Tips series:

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why I Regret Having Started Out With Blogger | Book Blogging Tips (#30)

Not a day goes by that I'm not super annoyed that I didn't have the foresight to actually inform myself about the different blogging platforms.

For some people, Blogger seems to be the perfect choice, but for me, it absolutely isn't. 

Since my blog is super small I'm actually scared to transition, because I fear losing the little audience that I have.



What's so bad about Blogger?

  • Themes: Finding a decent theme on Blogger is almost impossible. I had to learn to code to modify mine to be close to what I want it to look like, but I'm still not 100% satisfied. The default themes on Blogger are an absolute nightmare and without exception all look terrible. If you take a look at the Wordpress default themes, they aren't only more aesthetically pleasing, but also have more options to modify them than the Blogger themes.
  • Commenting: The Blogger commenting system isn't terrible, but it's by no means a great invention. It's not pretty. Had I not come across DISQUS, I probably would've quit straightaway and transitioned over to Wordpress
  • Widgets: The Blogger widgets are pretty much useless. They cover the basics but stand in no comparison to the things Wordpress offers
  • No Ping-backs: This is one of the features I miss the most on Blogger. Wordpress notifies you whenever someone mentions or links to your blog. In order to find out whenever somebody does that on my Blogger account -... well, good luck.

Why am I not changing to Wordpress?

  1. I'm scared to lose followers. Almost half of my followers follow via GFC. On Wordpress I can't use GFC anymore. Who knows if those people would follow me again.
  2. I'd have to start from scratch. It'll feel like I'm a blogging newbie again, Wordpress has a completely different structure than Blogger and it'll take me months to learn how to work with it the way I can work with Blogger.
  3. What if it doesn't live up to my expectations? What if I don't like Wordpress on the long run? It'll be a bitch to go back to Blogger. I'd also be insanely annoyed. 
  4. I feel like it's too late now, I've made my decision and I should stick with it.
  5. I think I've made the best out of the options I have on Blogger and I'd have to change everything about my blog to make it work on Wordpress the same way.
My advice:

If you're still a newbie and have less than fifty followers, consider the change. I mean, I'm not even a remotely popular blog, but I don't think I can afford to start new. If I decide to transition, I'll have to start from the bottom and I don't think I'm ready for that.

If you're already with Blogger:
  • Create a Wordpress account and make a hypothetical theme. Pretend you're actually transitioning and see if you like it.
  • Don't just delete your Blogger blog, export it first and shove all your content over to Wordpress. Under NO circumstances delete your Blogger blog!! You can still change the URL later if you're actually transitioning. Keep the Blogger blog as an emergency backup.
If you haven't decided on a platform yet:
  • Consider carefully where you're going to start off. Question other more experienced bloggers and make a list of advantages and disadvantages.
  • See what your favorite bloggers work with and think about what you like about their designs (if they're not using self-hosted themes obviously)


Do you use Wordpress or Blogger? Have you ever considered transitioning to either option?

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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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