For What It's Worth

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions: Blog Design

 

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that posts the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, where book bloggers "confess" and vent about topics that are unique to us. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions.

Just keep it respectful - no bashing authors or other bloggers! If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Midnyte Reader or For What It's Worth. We will be providing a linky at the end of our posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

Question:What is important in design for the blogs you follow? What features/elements do you appreciate? What are big turn offs?

The biggest turns offs for a blog design for me are music blaring at me as soon as I enter a site, Captcha, too many or flashing ads and dark backgrounds/fonts where I can’t read the post. I just want to read a post and if I have to work too hard to do it then I don’t bother.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of blogs have switched to a more of a news style layout. I’m not even sure if that’s how you describe it…but the ones where you see all the posts for the past few weeks and then have to click to get the full post. I feel overwhelmed with too many posts to choose from and it seems impersonal to me. One blog that I think gets it right with this layout is Geeky Bloggers Book Blog. I can see the advantage though. I visit my favorite blogs daily but if you don’t, you could see the whole week and choose what posts to read. I also imagine it helps with page views. Once a post is up the old one gets pushed down and not many people are going to make the effort to keep clicking around to see your posts from the week. Having them all right there for the week would be a good thing - just not something I prefer. I wouldn’t unfollow a blog because of it.

What I like is pretty simple. Personality. I don’t care if it’s a simple design or a fancy layout – if you post once a week or 10 times a week. If you’re personality shines and I get the sense that you're having fun blogging then I’ll be back.

This isn’t so much design related but I don’t like a constant barrage of promo posts either. It leads back to personality to me. If it’s all just generic publicity then I don’t know what that blogger really feels about anything. I like the interaction and friendships and that feels cold to me.

Having said all of that – it is YOUR blog! If you want blaring music with flashing ads and black on black background and font then DO IT! YOUR BLOG is a refection of what you love and your design should be whatever makes you happy.

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Topic for April 1st - How does blogging effect your *real* life? Are friends and family supportive? Do you find that blogging cuts into family time? How do you strike a balance between the two?

2013 Book Blogger Confessions topics here

31 comments:

  1. I do not like the news concept, it's so hard finding the newest post on some.
    One thing I do not like either is when some have italic fonts..so hard to read

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    1. I mean the entire post is in in some fancy font

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    2. I don't see fancy fonts all that much but that would be difficult to read for an entire post.

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  2. I think personality is really important as well. If you're constantly posting giveaways and promos, it's hard to come away with an authentic, true voice.

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    1. I feel like I get barraged enough everywhere else with promo so when I visit a blog I want to talk books.

      I do blog tours and giveaways too - I don't mean zero promo but I like it mixed with reviews and book talk.

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  3. Oh the news-type ones really confuse me - I can never find what I'm looking for and just end up clicking out. I almost always have my laptop on mute so I don't hear the music, but if by chance I do, I tend to click out too. Wow, I sound harsh!

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    1. I told Pam on her blog (Mindyte Reader) that I my small brain gets overwhelmed by all the posts lol

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  4. I forgot about music! I hate that as well. I like that you said "if I have to work too hard to do it then I don’t bother" because that's pretty much how I feel. Reading your blog should be easy for your readers, not difficult!

    I also agree with you that it is your blog and you should do whatever you want!

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    1. You both said it far better than I could! I've never considered music on my blog, like some things in sidebars (mentioned in my post) it doesn't add to the blog!
      I think there shouldn't be a lot of promos! One per week, and not exclusively, is enough. Some memes add personality, others I am not so keen on. Blogs that seem to do so many it's just publicity do bug me.

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    2. I don't see music on too many blogs anymore. I used to have a cute iPod widget (that was discontinued) that people enjoyed because they had to click on it to hear the music. It was up to them. It's the auto play that gets annoying.

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  5. First off, I apologize for the bad entry (n.3) - I don't know what went wrong, but my first link got shortened...you can erase it of course. (Is it possible?). N.5 is the working one. Thanks!
    I love the point you made about personality and giving the right vibe (= blogger is actually having fun). It makes all the difference, really.

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    1. Fixed it!

      If you're having fun it shows - no matter what your design is...and that makes me want to read the blog.

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  6. Yes I love it when its simple and yes hate music on blogs but lately I haven't seen any music on them.
    I think the newsy ones are more wordpress in design...maybe.
    Blogging should be fun

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    1. I think it is a Wordpress thing. I just need to get used to it. I don't do well with change lol

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  7. I'm with you. I hate music, too much flash, things in the sidebars that don't fit, and I'm not a huge fan of the news feed look either.
    And you're right Geeky has a fab blog.

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    1. Shiny, flashing things distract me lol

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  8. Oh font is another thing for me too. I can't stand pretty fonts that are hard to read.

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  9. I know just what you mean about blaring music - generally creeping up on me I always jump.

    A blog that is hard to read because of the background colour, the size of print, the font style is the biggest turn off for me and its always a dilemma on whether or not to leave a comment when a blog you previously enjoyed changes its design, the new look being difficult to read.

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    1. The background color is a style preference for me but also I just can't read it even if I wanted to. It strains my eyes and I end up squinting to try and read a post.

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  10. I had to experiment because of load times with how much of an excerpt would be good :) I will say that the ONLY way the excerpt style works for me (and trust me sometiimes I want to yank it out) is IF your featured image represents your blog article. :)

    Thanks for liking mine :) I am hoping with my faster framework I can go back to full articles or at least one on the page (seriously speed is the only reason I changed it) :)

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    1. I really like yours because it doesn't look like a generic page of posts I'm supposed to link to. The rest of your blog - header/background - still reflects you. And the excerpts look fun, not newsy.

      It's also a matter of me getting used to a new style. I'm stubborn like that. Once I do something one way that's the only way I want to continue doing it lol

      I need to get over myself :-)

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    2. I am with you LOL The reason mine doesn't look newsy is because I wanted color and fun. It was the hardest part of my move to wordpress was trying to get that "blogger" feel because it looked to plain to me. What can I say, I have to have quirk.

      The only thing I had to give in on was the excerpts because otherwise my page took forever to load...which is why I am guessing a lot of wordpress peeps went newsy (smaller load times)

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    3. That makes sense. I didn't realize it was a loading issue. That style just popped up everywhere all of a sudden.

      Like I said in my post I like the format on your blog and the excerpts seem like more of a tease and less "newsie" so I'm still interested in reading more and staying around to see what you blogged about for the week.

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    4. I think the load thing comes from all the plugins, whereas blogger is just the framework. I love the freedom of wordpress but I am technical (for a living) and still get bogged down in troubleshooting. I don't know how non-technical people don't get frustrated with it LOL :)

      I loved todays topic--I have been wondering around looking at everyone's answers.

      The Music thing and Captcha are my only two turn offs. Wait, I am not fan of truncated reader snippets either.

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  11. That is a good point about seeing what a blogger has been doing all week and picking and choosing. I didn't think of it that way. And the music...yeah...even with websites I immediately click off. And you also have a good point not being able to know the blogger behind a blog with only promo posts/excerpts/interviews, etc.

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  12. I'm just catching on to the "news" type posts... I can't say it's my favorite either. I think I'm a creature of habit though :P I also agree about the promo posts!! When I first started blogging I would sign up for TONS, and half of them they didn't interest me. Now when I join blitzs or cover reveals, I do it for the ones that I'll purchase the book. If I won't read it myself, why am I promoting it?? I've found this is working great. And... your totally right, if the blogger wants loud music.. have at it... i'll just be pressing "mute", lol.

    Lauren @ Lose Time Reading

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  13. I see the appeal of the "news style" layout, but those sometimes feel too busy to me. I'm always trying to strike a balance between getting enough info on the page -- for instance, I think I need to go back to a "recent posts" on the sidebar -- and keeping it simple.

    I agree on the promo posts. It is hard to come up with content every day, so I'm very sympathetic to that, but I feel like if a blogger is doing too many promo posts, they're not really telling us about books they enjoy.

    But I also agree that I'm not out to tell anyone else what to do. If they love white text on a black background, italic font, and falling snow, they should just do what they want!

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  14. Oh jeez, music and captcha are the worst. The WORST! I like simpler designs myself, but I'll overlook a lot of things if I actually like the content. :)

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    1. I agree. I have my preferences of course but it the content is interesting I'll still visit.

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  15. If there is music playing on a page, I will instantly close the window. There are few bigger turn-offs for me. I'm not to keen on those news-style layouts either. I hate clicking "Show More"; I much prefer to scroll.

    I do admit, I am a sucker for a nice, clean layout with homemade graphics. But, just because someone has the graphic and coding skills doesn't mean their content is amazing. They can have a great design but run-of-the-mill content, and who sticks around just for the design?

    - Jackie

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    1. I'm lazy - I want the post right there. If I have to keep clicking to get more then I usually don't bother for very long.

      I agree about the design though. It could be a beautiful design but what good is it if they don't have anything interesting to say?

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