Friday, June 8

Armchair BEA ~ Blog Tips???


Today’s Topic:

The Future of Book Blogging

It's the final day of Armchair BEA and we want you to keep your passion for books and blogging about them going long after we've closed the event. Today we'll be sharing tips on keeping book blogging exciting and unique to your vision for your blog. Our suggested post for today is "Ask the Experts". If you have any burning questions for your fellow participants about book blogging now is the time to ask and if you don't we'd love for you to share your own personal tips about book blogging!


It feels strange for me to be giving advice. Really, 18 months does not seem that long. I have learned some things along the way though and I think they may not be the tips you are used to seeing. My first piece of advice though is to take everyones advice with a grain of salt (EVEN MINE). Keep what works for you and throw out the rest!

  • I hate white text on a black background. I can't read it, it makes my eyes hurt!
  • I hate sounds of any kind when I open up a blog page. I usually am listening to Pandora already and I don't want your music tastes to compete.
  • Capthca makes me feel stabby. I hate doing it. If you are a new blog, you don't even need it. I have been blogging for 18 months and have gotten less than 20, maybe even less than 10 spam comments in that entire time!
  • If I love your blog, I will want to connect on twitter so get an account and use it!!

Now WAIT, I know what you are thinking... this is the same advice every one else has. Actually though, none of that was advice. That was just my personal preference.

My real advice is this: Decide WHY you are blogging, WHAT your blog goals are and go from there. What I mean is, if you are blogging to grow an audience, please the most people possible and be the most professional seeming blog around, you probably need to heed those preferences I talked about because believe me when I say, I am not the only one that feels that way. However, if you are blogging just because you love it, IGNORE all of my opinions. Make your blog black with white text and play music from the Wiggles if you want. Your blog is your baby! It should be the way that YOU want it to be.

Also, if you are blogging to be serious and professional about it, that is great. If you are blogging for fun and more for yourself, that is great too! If you are doing a combination of both, also great! I want us all to take back our right to do what we want without worrying what others will think!

To be honest, I am a little tired of seeing all those blogging tips and blah blah blah. The fact is, it should be your personality on a web page and no one should make you feel badly about it. Am I guilty of complaining about the above things? Yes. *Hangs head in SHAME* I shouldn't. I should just not come back if I hate it so much. And you shouldn't care if I come back or not. There is no way that everyone on the web will agree on everything, if we did there would be no reason for so many of us to be there right? Again, I KNOW I am guilty of pushing the "blog standard." I think just in the last month I have tweeted few times about how much I hate captcha, white text and music!

I am going to pledge to try and stop making others feel badly about their choices and I hope you will too.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am tired of everyone telling everyone else the "right" way to do things. Even the things that make me crazy are up to you! We are supposed to be sharing our opinions and I think that extends to the basics of our blog as much as it does our reviews. This goes for pretty much everything, not just the stuff I mentioned. Things like Blog ads, negative reviews, memes all should be a personal choice that we make because it is what we think is the best for our personal space not because we think it is what other bloggers want or expect us to do.

Will these choices have consequences? Maybe. If I see a blog I like with white text, I can follow them in Google reader. If I go to a site with music, I can temporarily mute my speakers. Perhaps others won't want to do those things and that is the risk you take. I this the risk is worth it! Why have a blog that doesn't represent who you really are?

Actually, it feels good to get this off my chest. I have been wanting to say all this for a while. I know that there may be some who will disagree with me and that is OK. I hope that others will feel a burden lifted. It is OK to do what you want and not what others expect. I think new bloggers especially feel bullied into changing to fit the norm and that is a shame! The great blogs and ideas are the ones that challenge the status quo and set themselves apart.  How can we ever do that if we are constantly changing to be like everyone else?

What do you think? Anyone feel empowered to change something about their blog that they were unsure of before? Anyone think I am crazy and should sit in the corner and be quiet??


  1. LOVE THIS. I remember when I was blogging for like 5-6 months I was always bitching about blah blah blah you shouldnt't do this..nobody likes it. I have SO in the past year or so been thinking about this very same subject and feel like..dude...DO YOU. I actually think that's some of my Letter to My Young Blogging self advice. lol. People who don't like it can easily leave. I used to think there were things you needed to do but those things haven't always made me I stopped doing them and did the things that did. Lots of pressure for my first year to live up to all these things..but I feel so much happier doing ME. And I feel like my blog has actually grown even more. I still struggle with this for sure..when I see blogs doing things that I personally don't like -- only doing giveaways and memes or requiring to follow...but, it's taken a while, but I'm slowly learning to just back the hell off of their blog if it's going to bother me. Who cares what they are doing!

    Great post!

    1. YES!!! You get it! I was worried I was going to come off as bitchy or crazy or both! I went through the same thing my first year especially. It feels like there are RULES you are supposed to follow but you don't even know them all! I struggle with blogs that do things like giveaways only and memes only or whatever too. I feel like they make us all look bad. Then again, why am I so worried about something like that? It is a waste of my time and energy!

  2. Can I please stand up and applaud?! THIS.

    I struggle with all the dos and don'ts floating around, mixed with admonitions to just be yourself. Um, isn't telling someone to do or not do something kind of stripping them of the ability to just be themselves on their own blog?

    The way I see it, we'd never go into someone else's house and start preaching to them about their design choices. Sure, we'd have our opinion and we'd probably vent about something we didn't like, but would we tell them that they were violating the dos and don'ts of home decor? NO. So why do we do it to them on their blog?


    I love your attitude about it and I hope lots of people follow suit. Very well said, my friend.

    1. Yay! Thanks Ems!!! Love the home decor analogy! That is PERFECT! Our blogs are like our homes in a way! Of course I have things I personally hate but I also don't think it is my place to start telling everyone that they should do it MY way!

    2. Exactly!! I quit reading the posts out there that tried to lay down rules for blogging. Sure, some things should be there, like etiquette and stuff, but when it comes down to how things are laid out? Dude. My space, my rules.

      And totally agree. There ARE things that drive me crazy, but that's on ME, not the blogger. If I don't like it, I don't have to visit, and they don't have to visit me either if they don't like my setup.

      Man, look at me! This really resonated today!

    3. You know, even the etiquette ones can have gray areas. I hate it most for new bloggers. I think it makes it harder on them than anyone.

      So glad this one resonated with you!!

  3. Heehee. I'm absolutely guilty of having a black background with white text. But I love the template. It's me. I've thought about changing t, but I love it too much and I blog for fun. If I ever get super serious about blogging I might try I find an easier template to read, but it doesn't bother me right now.

    While I find some tips helpful, fr the most part I just ignore them. I would die if I tried to post every single day or have a schedule or if I pressured myself about blogging. It's not how I operate. So I ignore all that. It's nice to just do what you want to do! :)

    1. It's OK!! You know what? I planned to have black with white text too because I liked the way it looked. Then I realized I literally would not be able to read my own page! It is just my eyes. If the blog is one that I want to read, I can follow them and then it shows up normal in my reader.

      Good for you for being able to not cave in to pressure to change!

  4. Great tips. and your site is easily readable!

  5. Love your post!

    I'm pretty easygoing. Black background, fine. Music? I just hit mute.

    The one thing that I wish someone had told me when I started out is that captcha is the default. For a few months, I didn't know I had it on. I can't stand it. I grind my teeth every time it pops up when I'm trying to comment.

    1. Thank you! I hate Captcha SO much!!! The thing that gets me is I don't see the reason for it. I see what you are saying that some people might not actually know they have it though. The ones who do it on purpose confuse me though.

  6. Thank you for being so open. I think we have to blog for ourselves and be ourselves. It just won't work out otherwise. Don't be afraid to be yourself. It won't necessarily be easy but it will be worth it. I think also in part the publishing industry pushes a blogging standard. That is how they measure where to best put their efforts. Just like standardized testing isn't the best way to tell if someone is smart neither is the blogging standard a good way to judge a blog.

  7. Well, I really agree with your list and particularly the black and really dark backgrounds as well as capcha. I just can't read the text against those backgrounds so I tend to just close and move on. I know I'm missing some good material but it's not visible to me. And capcha, half the time I can't make out what the letters so it does drive me crazy.

    I figure anyone who visits me knows I'm just offering ideas and opinions and nothing is ground in stone. Sometimes it's good to read things more than once. It can take awhile for me to get around to doing things.

    In the end I do what works for me at that time. Sometimes I'm just not ready and that's okay.

  8. I never really paid attention to the dos and don'ts of blogging (and it shows, LOL). I did however pay close attention when it came to blog promotions.
    Whenever I tried to follow some sage advice about what to do to get more views/followers etc. I got burned but when I did my own things they seem to work.

  9. Totally! Actually, I was writing the same thing as I saw you post on twitter. LOL! I linked back to you. :)

  10. I am SO with you on the sound thing!!! When I clink on a blog and music starts - I close it!


  11. You go girl. I've stop following blogs because they play music. I've never had anyone ask, hey, why did you quit following me ;). I'll put up with captcha,mbut not music. Just a personal thing, but you are's your choice! It's your blog. Love this...

  12. Shannon, yes! THIS!

    I think CAPTCHA is really the only thing I complain about (publicly, anyway), and even then I try to respect the blogger's choice. When Bout of Books was going on, we gave CAPTCHA announcements because when we're trying to encourage a lot of commenting, CAPTCHA stops a lot of people from doing so. I tried my best to phrase it more in terms of "if you want more comments, turn it off. You can turn it back on again if you really want it." Though I'm sure much of my dislike of it came through. On a personal level, though, I generally just click away. Most of the blogs I follow already have CAPTCHA turned off.

    I think a lot of bloggers get burnt out because they try to be like everyone else. It's not a competition. Do what is good for you, and if you don't like something about a blog, don't do it on yours. Simple as that.

  13. Really excellent post. I have the very same preferences about blogs & offer the very same advice to anyone who wants to be taken as a professional-sounding/looking blogger.

    But I think you're right about the fact there are things one can do about the issues you mentioned rather than leaving or complaining. Very good thought. Now if only there was something to do for pages with so many graphics that the it never seems to finish loading & stops me from being able to read it...

  14. Great points! I have preferences too - including NO CAPTCHA! Yet, I had captcha for my own blog not realizing how annoying it was. It's a learning experience!

  15. This was a brilliant post and I totally agree. It's YOUR blog, do what you want with it. I recently did a form for my blog (for a giveaway) where I asked my followers what they liked/ didn't like about my blog and what they'd liked to see changed and a few suggestions I will be incorporating and others, well, it doesn't suit me or my blog so I won't be doing them and that's the beauty of it, right?

    Everyone is different and everyone is going to like different things and that is just the way the world works and the cookie crumbles!

    Thanks for sharing! :-)

  16. Love this post. I totally agree with everything you wrote! I agree especially that new bloggers can feel bullied and pushed into doing whatever everyone else is doing. I think even established bloggers can get the bullying and stuff too, but with a new blogger it tends to be more damaging. They haven't had the time put into their blog that an established blogger has. Plus an established blogger tends to have more..."back up" which isn't really the term I'm searching for, because it makes it sounds like a battle, but hopefully you know what I mean.

  17. I think I love you!
    Seriously though... It's true that there might be other ways to tell people a certain thing you don't like about a certain site and stuff.

    I'm still a rookie blogger! I've been doing it a year now...but I believe there is just so much to learn...and to continue learning.

    I'm a true believer that your blog is yourself online.
    Do it however you want, with whatever color you feel like...and if people hate it...thank them, if people love it...thank them for doing so too... there is NO way that EVERYONE will LOVE you and your blog...

    Oh it's true, the pressure is awful when starting...I still feel like that a LOT of times...but later on I remind myself that I'm doing this for ME and because I love BOOKS and I want to share with others that...if people come or not... should be a close third or second...but staying true to yourself is, for me, the best advice and a MUST when book blogging :D

    hahah this is actually just the 3rd post where I've read about the white font and black background.
    I think I know now why you won't be visiting me huh?
    lol, the blog template was a gift and I LOVE it just as it is :) it doesn't completely represent myself-as I am not such a huge fan of skulls- but the theme I had before that one was another dark one as well.
    I'm the complete opposite of you :) when I find a blog with pure white background and pure black font...I tend to stay the too light background tends to hurt my eyes :'( since I'm mostly bloog stalking at can see the why in it too...
    But when they vary their yours ~winkwink~ they reduce the light a bit and I feel more comfortable visiting and reading...whereas the other ones I sadly stop visiting or only skim rapidly their posts even if their blogs whose content I LOVE :D I don't use google reader though :/ but maybe I'll try and start using it now :D

    Twitter will be the death of me...
    I think I might start to stalk you know :) seriously...I like this post :D

    I won't leave a link to my post though :) because it might hurt your eyes reading it ~winkwink~
    Glad to have found you via ABEA!!
    looking forward to your blog now

  18. This is such a great post. So well thought out and well written. I completely agree. People need to decide why they are blogging and how they want to do it and go from there. I also agree about the text and captcha. really great, I completely agree with you!

  19. Guilty as charged!!

    I have a serious issue with complaining A LOT and need to stop or at least tone it down a lot. I realize that what my pet peeves may be are not the same pet peeves as others and some people might actually like some of those things.

    I do agree that it's a whole lot easier and less time consuming to just not visit those blogs. I should probably just do that instead, like a smart person!

    Anyways, love this whole post :-D Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us :-P

  20. Bravo, Shannon. This was a beautiful post. We all moan and groan about things we don't like, and give tips about what we feel is important in blogging. However, at the end of the day, none of that matters because we should not be doing any of this to please others. It is our hobby and we should run it how we want to. Thanks for bringing that ideal back into focus.

  21. See at Wordpress we have this handy Askimet (spam filter) and its blocked over 1,000 spam comments from my site. When I do a "preference" post, I make sure and let everyone know that (just like reviews) these are MY preferences... I don't care what anyone else thinks is right or wrong or the "BEST thing EVER"... It's about what I feel is best for ME and what I prefer!

    Great post doll! <3

  22. Great discussion post! Love reading the comments almost as much as I loved reading your post. I agree that there are really no rules to blogging and you should do what you like. There are no Blog Police, so if someone doesn't like something you do, they don't have to follow you! Problem solved!

    Do disagree with one thing though - please don't play The Wiggles! :o

  23. I'm in love with you right now.

    Amen!!!! to all of this. I don't know what the heck happened in the past year or so that we've all of a sudden decided there are rules to blogging.

    You are correct. Certain things will annoy followers and stop them from coming back but I think for the most part we do this for fun and it's our little space to express ourselves. It depends what your goals are for blogging as to what you end up doing with your blog. And it's all good.

    Following a blog or on Twitter etc is a choice. If you don't like it - don't follow. Not a big deal.


Please feel free to jump in anytime, all comments are appreciated!

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