- Content! I like content that is a mix of interesting bookish things, though as I prefer reading reviews I'm attracted to blogs who post at least 2-3 reviews every week - to me reviews are the raison d'être of book blogging. I also enjoy discussion posts and some memes (I like Top Ten Tuesday, WoW, and STS). I think the key for memes is moderation; if a blog only has meme after meme after meme, it gets boring and lacks personality. Content should also show effort and that you care about what you're sharing.
- An attractive design! This doesn't mean you have to pay an arm and a leg for a designer, in fact a lot of simple designs that take minimal effort can be very nice. I guess I should say more "a design that doesn't give people headaches". Firstly, white on black is hard on the eyes and while I won't not read a white on back text, I won't read a lot of it. I can't. It physically hurts my eyeballs! I also find it hard to read when the fonts are way too fancy (usually hard to read) or bright colors. No one likes to read bright lime green text!
- Clean sidebar! This is a huge pet peeve of mine but I can't stand when things are all over the place on a sidebar. Similar go together!! For instance, a Facebook icon that is at a totally different place from the Twitter icon irks me (and this is something I deal with daily when visiting for tours), it makes it so hard to find you online which is how you make blog friends and connections! And if you're going to put buttons of blogs you like, why not put em together? One here, one over there, another one randomly on top of everything makes no sense, and if you don't make sense I'm not interested in figuring you out. Moving on, sidebar widgets like moving cats or fish-tanks have a sole purpose of making a site slow to load. Those book countdown widgets, too, can slow your site down tremendously if you have more than a couple. This reminds me, I went to a blog once that had a Hunger Games countdown with sound effects and I almost shat my pants - yeah I didn't go back there. My point: Keep your sidebar clean, logical, and to the point!
- Socialize! Who wants to talk to a wall? Well aside from Facebook? No matter how nice your design looks or how good your content is, if you don't show you care or even notice people are visiting, they're likely to stop coming. If you get a comment, you should reciprocate, especially if the person is a regular commenter. If someone asks a question, reply direct or via Twitter - that's just common courtesy. I know some recommend replying to every comment but in my opinion 1) if you've got the native Blogger commenting people don't get notified of your reply so I never saw the point (unless they asked a question and thus are likely to come back to check) and 2) a lot of people will appreciate comment backs more than a generic reply if you don't really have anything to add, so I prefer commenting back on their blog instead. I also like people who show an online presence on Twitter; that is how I made almost all of my blogging friends. It's how you really get to know and connect with them, and you get a bigger grasp at their personality. I'm not saying you have to be constantly on Twitter chatting about, but it's good to show your face every day or 2 - and if someone @'s you, reply!
Those are the main things that will be deciding factors on who will appear in my favorite list in Bloglovin and Feedly ;)
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