Showing posts with label design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label design. Show all posts

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?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Things No One Tells You About Book Blogging | Book Blogging Tips (#25)


I had no idea what to expect when I just dove into blogging head-first. I didn't even read other blogs when I first started and just decided to do it my own way.

A lot has changed since then and I'd like to say that my blog has improved since then. Here are some things that really surprised me when I first started blogging.



  • Success won't come overnight: Good content ≠ Readers

No matter what you post, you won't become a successful blogger within six months. There are exceptions to the rule, but don't assume that you're one of those. Readers are earned and that takes time.


  • Queuing WILL save your blog

Honestly, if it wasn't for my well-stacked queue I'd probably have quit already. It's hardly possible to keep posting as much as I do (almost every day/ every other day) without actually planning posts in advance. I use my creative highs to schedule posts in advance. I suggest you make a habit of queuing, too, because it really does help a lot.


  • Themes matter, period.

So many people say it's all about the content, but honestly: there are certain themes that I just can't stand to see anymore. At this point I actually click away when I see an awful blog design, no matter how interesting the posts sound.


  • You will lose motivation

..and that's perfectly normal. Blogging is a full-time job and after months and months of writing posts, you may get tired of it. Don't give up. The big names in the blogging community are the people who never gave up. You can do it.


  • It's a competition - you will get jealous of others

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you shouldn't try to be like other bloggers or try to be as successful as them. I've heard it all, but the truth is I do look left and right and try to improve my blog constantly. The internet changes and so do the habits of the people who visit my blog. 

  • Of course you'll get discouraged to see a blogger that has barely started surpass you with their statistics.
  • Of course you'll get jealous when someone gets an awesome ARC that you didn't get 
  • Of course you'll constantly ask yourself why someone else has more followers, has more commenters, has better statistics
  • Of course you'll try to be more like the people you admire. And eventually plan to be a better blogger than them.
That may sound a little conceited, but it's the truth. Why are you blogging? Because you think your voice matters. When it ends up being unheard it's frustrating and annoying and it will make you question everything you do. 

BUT:
Don't listen to that little voice that says you're not good enough and you're never going to make it. 

Persistence is the key to success. 

One day people will look up to you and ask themselves why they're not as great as you are. 


What are things that you didn't expect about blogging?
Do you sometimes get jealous of other bloggers?

Continue Reading...

Friday, October 23, 2015

The First Impression - What Does a Good Blog Have? | Book Blogging Tips (#22)



Themes are something that really matters when discovering new blogs. But they aren't everything that can mess up the first impression of a blog.

Before I've even scrolled through your blog, a lot can go wrong. I typically determine within five seconds when I'm on a new site whether I want to follow them or not.

Here are my criteria.

1. I can easily find your follower button

This should really go without saying. Your blog can be brilliant and have a beautiful theme, but if I can't find your GFC widget (for Non-Blogger accounts social media icons), then I'm out.

I don't have time to add your blog manually, I'd rather go over to the next blog that makes it easier to keep updated and follow them.

2. No generic design

There are some themes that you just see on every other page. Especially the super white super clean ones. For some people that's their aesthetic, but I think it's boring to have the same theme as 32793729 other bloggers.
If you're not unique and original in terms of design, should I trust you to make good, original posts? Eh.

3. Organized review page

Who knows, maybe I came to your blog solely for a review that I saw in my feed. Maybe I want to check out more reviews and am looking for a specific one? Don't give me that /tagged stuff, make the effort to create an alphabetically sorted list.

4. Loads quickly

If your blog doesn't load within five seconds, I'll think it's a broken link and move on. Avoid many widgets or trailers and declutter your blog to make sure this doesn't happen.

5. Decent Commenting System

Essential. I'm a frequent commenter. I'm here to interact. If I can't comment easily, I won't even bother following. 

6. Comment Replies

Talk about comments - I like to talk to the bloggers I follow. Unless you're one of the biggest book bloggers out there and don't have the time to reply to all the hundreds of comments you get, I want to see some interaction.

If you can't manage to reply if your comments aren't even in the two-digits - nevermind. I don't think I want to follow you. It automatically contributes to making a person less sympathetic to me if they ignore their readers. Why waste your time on them if they can't spare a minute to you?

What are your criteria for a blog that you would follow?


Continue Reading...

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?


Continue Reading...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...