Sunday, December 15, 2013

5 Things That Will Make Your Blog Standout




Blogging with Nuz is a feature over here at Say It with Books where I'll be talking with you guys about my experience as a blogger and share the best and the worst of the blogosphere.
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According to feedly I have subscribed to 800+ blogs - I don't even remember subscribing to some of these blogs! After doing a lil spring cleaning for my feed reader I was left with less than 30 blogs. What came to me as a surprise was that 75% of these bloggers were the ones that started out only recently. So what was that element X that made these blogs standout?
Honestly, it's pretty impossible to point out one but I did narrow it down to 7 factors that got me to notice these blogs.
1. More than just reviews
Yes, I do feel that books blogs require reviews. But if I just wanted to just read reviews I'd log into Goodreads. A book blog for me should give much more than that. Creative content is the way to go if you are newbie who wants to get the word about your blog. Discussions, debates, rants and new features are the kind of posts that will get readers to give your blog a chance. Not only do these posts generate traffic they also get your readers to speak out. And isn't that why most of us started blogging? To share our love for literature and to chat about it?
2. There's more to life than just books
Well, not much really. ;) I'm first and foremost a book blogger but sometimes I feel that this term 'book blogger' is a little confining. There are so many other things that I'm passionate about but I don't get the opportunity to share those things on this blog because I feel that it sorta goes against the idea of a 'book blog'. This view is something that I'm trying to overcome because I'd love to bring all the other things I love into this blog. 
“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.” 

A lot of up and coming blogs have incorporated a lot of their other passions with their book blogging and honestly, it's a refreshing change and I absolutely adore these kinds of blogs!
Music, art, cats, anime, travel, food or web design-Whatever your passion maybe, you can always share it regardless of the fact that you are a book blogger.
3. I don't want to talk to wall
Friendly bloggers are awesome. Interact with your readers. When I read your posts I'd like to feel that you are speaking with me instead of speaking to me. Ask your readers for their opinions. Encourage them to leave their thoughts. When they comment, reply. If it's a fellow blogger, do stop by their blog. Be mindful of the blogging P's and Q's - A meaningful comment, a thank you and a some content sharing goes a long way.
4. Social Butterfly
Bloggers who are socially savvy are always one step ahead of the others. Social networks can be both a tool and a curse so use them wisely. Sharing the right content at the right time will definitely get people to notice your blog. Most book bloggers limit sharing to just Twitter and Facebook but submitting your discussion posts to social bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon, Reddit, and Delicious will also help expose your blog to new readers.
5. Aesthatics
If content is the the key to retaining you readers, a good layout is what will keep the reader from closing that tab as soon they open it. 
Light text on a dark background is more often a big no than a yes. But yes, there are some blogs that can work it well. Personally, I feel like black text on white/light grey background is the best. An organized sidebar, accessible sharing buttons, an about page, modes to contact and legible font are mandatory. 
My favorite blogs take the minimalist road. The idea is to get your readers to focus more on your content and to minimize distraction. 
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So those are the factors that get me to notice a blog and I'm working on these elements for my blog too.
So what do you think? 
Readers: Do you think book bloggers should focus only on books? Does a blog's 'look' matter?
What's the element that makes you keep coming back for more? 
Bloggers: Does YOUR blog have this X-Factor? How do you do it?

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25 comments :

  1. I think it's a combination of things. I like blogs that are easy to read (no blinding colors) but what really keeps me coming back is the content and the voice of the blogger.

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    1. Content and personality are definitely the key factors-Thanks for stopping by, Nour! :)

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  2. Love this post! I think a good blog aesthetic can definitely attract readers (and a bad one can keep readers away) but ultimately, it's the content that keeps readers coming back. I like a variety of things to keep me interested, not just book reviews since if I haven't read the book, I can't relate to the post at all. I love discussion posts the best since I can usually relate to.

    Not sure if I have the "X-factor" but I do like to mix my posts up a little.

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    1. I don't read/comment on a lot of reviews either because around 80% of the time I haven't read the book but discussion posts always interest me.

      Crazy Red Pen definitely has the X-Factor-I absolutely adore your non-bookish posts! :)

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  3. So true Nuz, I love blogs that mix it up and that talk about more than just books. It is something I'd like to experiment a bit with next year. And commenting back is huge for me, the bigger blogs never do and it makes me feel less connected. And. I need to check the socialmedia sites you mentioned, they are new to me! Lately I'm getting a steady flow from pininterest which is great.
    Anyway great post for newbies and a handy reminder for others.

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    1. I'm with you, Trish commenting back is a big one for me too. I did use Pinterest for a while but I think I spent more time procrastinating on it than actually linking up my posts! But I'll definitely give it a try now that you mention it. :)

      Thanks for your input, Trish! :)

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  4. I am a newbie to blogging world and your post highlighted some very important facts for me. Thanks. I currently follow 300+ blogs so I am flooded with emails all day. But I just love reading all these new posts and meme's that other bloggers share. The most standout fact about other blogs that makes me subscribe is their content as well as the background.

    - Gayatri @ Notorious Writer

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    1. First, Welcome to the blogosphere! :D

      I'm really glad to hear that you are enjoying your new experience-Although I don't like participating in memes I do like to it when some bloggers do it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Gayatri! :)

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  5. I agree with everything you say,but I need to work on all the things you've mentioned:)
    Great post Nuz.I loved it .I missed your discussion posts a lot by the way.

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    1. Discussions are my favorite kind of posts and I'm working on making them a regular thing on the blog. Glad you liked it, Mishma! :)

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  6. I have to say that I don't like book blogs that solely have reviews either - but there are a few exceptions.

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  7. Ooh and I love a good looking blog - but you can't really tell that from the feeds.

    Tanya Patrice
    Girlxoxo.com

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    1. I agree, there are a few blogs that I follow solely for the reviews-Every rule has it exceptions, I guess. ;)

      P.S.-I love YOUR blog's look! Thanks for stopping by, Tanya. :)

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  8. I love bloggers who have personality and who show it in their blogs; it's hard to describe, since it's more a feeling some blogs give me, but I love reading a blog by someone who obviously loves blogging. Does that make any sense? Haha

    It also definitely helps to see content that isn't just book reviews, but I do love a well-articulated review!

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    1. Ditto-Maybe it's the blogger's tone of writing? You can totally when a blogger's enthusiastic about what they are doing!

      Great to have you back, Kelly-I missed Radiant Shadows! :D

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  9. I do agree with number one! I typically don't even like to read reviews so when I follow a blog, I do like to look at whether or not they have things other than reviews. I also enjoy when bloggers talk a bit about their life or share other things they're passionate about. Like you, I find the label book blogger confining because I'm always wanting to talk about other things too! So I do appreciate it when other bloggers do so too. The biggest one for me though is being yourself. I tend to follow blogs that really represent a person's character well. It's more interesting that way!

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    1. I mostly read reviews of books that I've already read although that's starting to change because I'm reading more and more ARC reviews.

      Maybe 2014 will be the year that we both break out of the 'book blogger' niche?
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Annie! :)

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  10. Very nice post with some great suggestions. I'd like to do more discussion posts and incorporate some other interests into my blog, as well as update my design in the new year. I do think commenting back is important, and really like the blogs that do that. I'm sure I can use those social networking sites to find new readers, too.

    Great ideas, thanks!

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    1. Commenting back and replying to comments is important for me too because it increases the blogger-reader connection.

      I'm looking forward to seeing your new design and your discussion posts, Greg! Thank for dropping by! :)

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  11. Ooh very nice tips here! I definitely agree that being more than just a simple review blog is a great way to extend your reach, as well as carving a hole out of your 'niche' and embracing other passions. As for me, I just happen to live life in passion, so I simply share some life bits apart from books on the blog :D Also, I agree that it's important to be social and reach out to viewers, because I easily get turned off by bloggers who don't respond to every and all attempts to get to know them. I DEFINITELY do not wanna talk to a wall! And the design is important too! I'm glad that you think so. Great tips Nuz :)

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    1. Flip That Page is one of the blogs that I lurk on, mainly because of passion-Reading your posts are definitely a treat because your enthusiasm is very clear to the reader. :)

      I like bloggers who connect with their readers on social media too! Thanks for your input, Jasmine! :)

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  12. Well, I'm pretty sure my blog doesn't have that X factor. But I love all the moving transitioning things in your blog, mostly the social icons. :3

    As for Niche, I really don't think book blogging confines people to just books, but that's just what I see. I'd blog a bit more, but my life is uninteresting.

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  13. Love your tips -- I think you just have to do what works for you and let your blog reflect your personality and interests. I love when bloggers talk about other stuff than books!
    I'm pretty open to anything in a book blog, but I'm not fond of blogs that are all promo posts -- I just feel like I'm being marketed to and often the blogger hasn't even read the book in question.
    Great post!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  14. I think being yourself is very important. You are unique, so sharing personal information is awesome to me :)

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