Thursday, July 16, 2015

6 Things Your Blog Design HAS TO Have | Book Blogging Tips (#8)

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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?


  1. I would say a "real navigation" because it's hard to look for stuff. And amen to the search bar -- no nav AND no search bar = FAIL. I'm at an utter loss.

  2. I just tweaked my sidebar due to this entry haha I completely forgot to add somewhere my contact information. :D Nice tips! I can also add easy to navigate layout. It makes sense if you have all 'blog' related things in one part of the sidebar and all 'book related' things in another instead of: about / goodreads / comments / review list / subscribers / currently reading. Then it should be about / goodreads / currently reading / reviews / comments / latest posts / subscribers

  3. Yeah, at least some posts have to be linked on some kind of page, I honestly don't understand how people don't have a navigation bar.

  4. Glad to be of help! Yeah I do that too, left is personal + followers, right is blogging stuff.

  5. I totally agree with this post! I don't have a related posts widget, but I guess I should go ahead and look into getting one... How many different ways do you prefer review indexes to be split up? I have reviews by title and by author, but I've seen blogs with several others. For example, reviews by rating, by publisher, by genre... How much is too much?!

    The only thing I sort of disagree with is the suggestion to use Intense Debate as a commenting system. Every time I go to a blog with Intense Debate it has me logged in from some random account and it takes forever to get logged out! For some reason I have to open it in a new tab, refresh everything, I always get errors... ugh! To be honest, I've started steering clear of ID altogether. I absolutely love Disqus though!

  6. +1 to real navigation! I hate having to go to a blog and search for 5 minutes to find out how to follow or how to contact or whatever else I happen to be looking for!

  7. I've got alphabetically, genre and by author. To be honest it's mostly for me if I'm looking for a certain review. I don't think you actually need a specific page for the ratings, I mean you can search that stuff through tagging as well. By publisher is definitely unnecessary I think. I mean who goes on a website searching specifically for that? Just observe your own habits and add the things you usually click on when you're searching reviews on someone's blog.

    Soooo many people absolutely hate ID, but I'm really fine with it. I had it briefly installed before I found Disqus and I don't have that many issues with it. Commenting systems are probably the most subjective thing about book blog designing.

  8. Awesome tips!! I really like all of these. I'm proud to say my blog design has all of this ;)

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

  9. You would be surprised how many people skip the search bar for their site. I have 3 on my blog...just in case. I need this to find content on other blogs. I totally agree with all your points. I think an about me is also important. Who is writing the content? I need to know if it is just one person or a few different people. Great post!

  10. I only see one on your site and it's perfectly visible, more than mine I guess.
    I don't know about the about me, I mean there are some people who are just not confident sharing personal stuff online and that's perfectly okay :) Thank you!

  11. I don't think you have to get really personal in the About Me, just talk about the reason I should care about your book reviews. Talk about the kind of books you read and maybe what I should expect from your site. If you want to keep it non -personal talk about your bookish experience, How long you have been blogging? Why do you blog?
    There is also a search bar hidden in the header and one in the footer on my site.

  12. Hmmm... Maybe I'll add by genre to my list. Any idea how much people actually use that page over the others? I agree with just using the ratings tags though! I definitely think blogging platforms are entirely subjective, I just can't stand ID!

  13. Most people use the by genre page, followed closely by the alphabetical one. The stats are quite similar though, only off by 100/150 views.

  14. This is a really great post. All these tips are helpful. I will definitely utilize them.

    Chioma @ Blue Books and Butterflies

  15. Oh god, CAPTCHA. Yea, I have a whole new post on commenting systems + that coming up as well. For me there's only the DISQUS way right now. I don't see myself switching to Wordpress anytime soon. YES the food quizzes oh my god... honestly why couldn't they just stick with the numbers...
    I think you're fine, what I generally meant was having a way to contact you on your page. Social media icons are alright and as long as you state your email somewhere (preferably in the review policy) it's alright, too.
    You have to know for yourself what you want to add, but I think it's tremendously helpful whenever I am on somebody else's blog. I'm more likely to stay and stick around browsing a little longer if I get a selection of similar posts proposed to me. Obviously this one is for the readers, not for my own aesthetics. =)
    Thank you!!


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