Chatty Cathys

Talk Amongst Yourselves: What do YOU like?

The other weekend was the Blogger Love-A-Thon and during my interview I was asked “In your experience, what makes a good blog?”

I think I gave a pretty good answer to it, but feel like my experience is kind of subjective (or objective… whichever means opinion not fact). For me, what makes a good blog is personality. I love getting to know fellow bloggers through their blogs and feel like I’ve found a pot of gold when I find a blog that has so much personality I feel like the blogger behind it has become my best friend.

But that got me thinking: what does makes a good blog?

We’ve all got common elements in our blogs: reviews, book talk, Top Ten Tuesdays. So what I’ve decided to do is talk about 3 things that are generally found on most book blogs and give you my “opinion” on them, both as a blogger and a blog reader. I’d like to know what you think too and hope you’ll weigh in on the discussion!

Reviews
These are generally a book blogger’s bread and butter. Whenever I’m looking for a new book generally the first place I go is to the blogs. I love reading them and seeing how other people’s opinions may be similar or different than mine on a book. Over the past several months though I’ve felt that my reviews don’t get enough feedback or hits. Now, I’m not really concerned about this because a) whatever and b) high hits does not a successful blog make. But I think about how much work I put into my reviews and know that others put just as much if not (most likely) more into theirs, so I try to make it a point to read and comment (if I can) on book reviews. We all work hard on these and as bloggers we should support each others’ hard work on writing reviews.

tumblr_lsgv5msO101qabn2bo1_500That being said, I sometimes feel like if my reviews don’t get any comments, that’s okay because maybe it inspired someone to pick up that book and read it. That’s become reward enough for me.

What do you think about feedback on reviews? Disappointed when you don’t get much or do you take it all in stride?

Memes (Top Ten Tuesday, Feature Friday, Waiting on Wednesday, etc.)
I used to try to participate in several different memes in hope that it would bring traffic to my blog. But then I didn’t write reviews or talk about books because I was so concerned about getting the memes written. And, for me, blogs that are JUST memes can be kind of boring. I like TTT because generally our answers differ, and Waiting on Wednesday sometimes gives me some books I didn’t know about… but when your blog has no meat to it (reviews, discussions, book talk) I kind of feel like (and please don’t hate me for this) you’re half-assing it (if you’re trying to really get into serious book blogging).

tumblr_mk0qmjMhXt1rx08n0o1_500

Now, if you just got into book blogging to have a blog and like participating in all of these memes and that’s what makes up your blog, kudos. We all have different reasons for blogging and if that’s your reason then more power to you.

Geez I sound like an arrogant ass here. I’m sorry. Your blog is truly great no matter what you do on it, as are you.

How much do you like participating in memes? Can there be “too many?” What’s a good balance for you?

Discussion Posts
I love me a good discussion post, whether it’s my own or someone else’s. It’s awesome seeing points that maybe I’ve never thought of, others’ opinions and maybe broadening my own. But, as you can probably tell about me, I’m a semi-serious person. I like a good serious topic, but I don’t like to be so serious that it makes me seem like an arrogant ass (see above). I also don’t like super strong opinions, so in my own discussions I try to look at every side possible and have this debate within the post to make sure my own opinion is correct and not wildly crazed – I also don’t want a lot of heated discussion because my blog is a happy place, so I try to be pretty mellow. Doesn’t mean I don’t love me a good old fashioned blog throw down! I just prefer that it happens on someone else’s blog. 🙂

largeWhat are your discussion posts like? Do they push the envelope or remain pretty tame? What makes a good discussion for you?

And to those of you who I probably completely pissed off by my whole meme bashing I promise I still love you and you’re awesome and I do love memes*!

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*I really don’t love them.

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23 thoughts on “Talk Amongst Yourselves: What do YOU like?”

  1. this is fantastic. I do love discussion posts but I don’t really do them on our blog because I don’t feel I can harness my thoughts in a constructive way to get across what I’m saying. However, I do love memes because they’re almost a thoughtless exercise that can garner a good discussion. i like to do mostly reviews, but I find that sometimes I am saying the same thing over and over and I then go into a funk and my reviews become sporadic and no one reads. *goes to sit in a corner & weep*

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    1. I think discussion posts are something you kind of have to practice. But I don’t think all discussion posts have to be serious in nature… I like the ones that are just fun chats. I want to do more of those! I get into review funks all. the. time. and it really sucks because I generally LOVE writing them. This is one of the reasons I make it a point to visit other bloggers’ reviews; maybe they’re in a funk and it was hard to write the review and maybe a comment or like will give them the little bump they need for reviewing to not be difficult. Anyway… I understand your funk and feeling repetitive! We must figure out a way to move past that!

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  2. Reviews are my favorite thing to post, but I do post two memes every week (TTT and WWW Wednesdays). I think as long as the memes don’t start to overtake your blog, you’re fine.

    I think the idea of having discussion posts is awesome! I’ve enjoyed writing some opinionated posts in the past, but ones geared towards a discussion would make them even more fun to write.

    Great points! 🙂

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    1. I think most people have said 2 memes per week is a happy medium – which I agree 100% with! I do TTT when I remember to (I used to be good at doing them all the time) and then I try to do a True Story Thursday (my own creation) just to talk a little about what’s going on with me.

      Discussion posts ARE awesome! You should definitely try it sometime. I feel like I talk to some blog friends all the time, but discussion posts are great for when you want to talk to ALL your blog friends and get opinions from others you may not know. There are so many topics out there that you can write about, but what I’ve found works best for me and is most fun is just keeping my eyes open and letting something spark a discussion.

      Hope you try a discussion post sometime! 🙂

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  3. I think ideally, we would like to do as follows: 2 regular memes, 2 reviews, 1 discussion/author profile/commentary/feature. It doesn’t always shake out that way, but that’s what we’re striving for this year. I love discussion posts, especially if they’re tied to something I just read. Those are actually more fun for me to write than reviews, because I write reviews for a living, so sometimes they’re not as “fun” for me to do in my spare time as well, if that makes any sense. I don’t take the non-commenting too seriously, because I know how often I lurk and figure others do the same! I know I read your reviews but don’t always comment. But now that I know it’s important to you, I’ll comment more often!

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    1. Oh pish… you don’t have to comment more often! 😉

      I’ve started doing more “book talk” posts in lieu of reviews. Granted it’s only been with a couple of books so far… but I want to make it a point to move away from reviews of some books and just talk about the book. I imagine for you reviews aren’t as fun since you do them professionally! I love all of the different things Teen Lit Rocks has because sometimes they’re so different than what I see on other blogs! Definitely a good balance there.

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  4. Great topic! In my mind a good blog is interactive and entertaining. That means, good discusison topics that I am interested in commenting on, reviews that catch my attention, etc. Yes a blog that only does memes is dull. I want to see the blogger behind the blog. A personal touch goes a long way.

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    1. Very true! I think lots of people really let they’re personality shine, which is great! And interaction is key; I love when I feel like the blogger is inviting me to join in on their excitement or opinions or whatever.

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  5. You have always been great at discussion posts, Candice! That is something I’m not great about doing on my own blog but l admire bloggers like yourself that carry it off so well.

    I’ve kind of made peace with the fact that reviews don’t get a lot of love. Though I’ll receive tweets or emails later about some books I’ve reviewed and like you said it’s awesome if a reader is inspired to pick up the book.

    I try to keep my meme posts to two a week, and I try to be consistent with it because that is a great way to keep up with other blogs. I’ll generally try to comment on the meme post and a review and just schedule time for that.

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    1. Aw thanks! I feel like my discussions get kind of rambly sometimes… haha! I’ve also had to make peace with my reviews not getting comment love; it was hard but then I realized who cares? I knew people were reading them and isn’t that the whole point in a review?

      I need to be better at commenting on others’ stuff and responding to comments. I’m hoping now that I think my work is going to be more laid back I can make time for it!

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  6. What a great post, Candice! Here are my thoughts:

    Reviews generally make up majority of my blog content, though I’m working my way out of that and into making the blog about more than just about books. It’s actually one of the primary reasons I read other blogs, since I like finding out what people think of books! A well-written review always merits a response from me, especially since I really like seeing how people respond to mine. I generally try to just be casual about the way I talk about books, which is what works for me!

    As for memes, I don’t do a lot of them. I occasionally participate in TTT and have recently started doing STS, but other than that, I just stick to reviews and my own features and events. I love seeing other people’s lists and stuff, but it’s not necessarily something I feel a pressing need to be a part of these days.

    Also, discussion posts! I would LOVE to make more discussion posts happen on my blog, but I generally feel like I’m not particularly good at getting my thoughts written out well and promptly. I do follow a lot of amazing bloggers who are experts at this, and they constant inspire and challenge me to think out of the box.

    But, in the end, what works for you works for you. This is why there is so much diversity in our blogging community, and one of the things I love about it. I don’t always appreciate certain types of blogs (based on content, etc), but that doesn’t mean I’m not all for everyone blogging as they see fit (as long as it remains respectful, courteous and fair).

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    1. You should do some discussion posts! They take practice – I still feel like my ramble on and on – and I love reading others’ discussion posts (esp if they’re good) to see how a “good” discussion should go. Otherwise my discussions look like word vomit. haha

      I love the diverse nature of the blogging world, which is kind of why I talked about this. Generally I like when bloggers do a review of some nature, whether formal or informal or just fangirling over a book, but I do like to see they’re own creative memes/features; I know you have some good features that you’ve come up with! I sometimes enjoy these more than the ones everyone else does. I feel like it lets us know the blogger a little bit more!

      But yes… if it works for you, that’s what your blog should be. That’s what’s most important because hey… no one’s getting paid around here so might as well do what we like, right?! 🙂

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  7. Absolutely love this post!

    I’m new to the blog world (my blog is a little over a week old now) and one of my biggest struggles is getting people to interact on my blog. I definitely want to keep my memes to a minimum. I have 2 days designated for memes (Word Porn Wednesday and Three:Thirty Thursdays). The rest I leave pretty much open to whatever I feel like doing that day.

    I really like blogs that allow me to be a participant in the experience, just like you’re doing here. I think it’s nice when you give your readers a chance to interact with you through the comments section, but I like it even better when the author takes the time to comment back. Idk, maybe it’s just me, but I comment back on every single comment I get because for the 29 people that follow my blog right now, I want them to know that I actually give a care about them visiting my blog and reading my words that they aren’t obligated to care about. Lol.

    I try to throw in some type of discussion so that people can do more than just read my blog. Hopefully as I continue on this journey, I’ll gain more followers so that I can actually have some type of dialogue going on eventually.

    Thanks for the great post, and I’ll definitely stay tuned for more of your work!

    ~Your Fellow Bookworm~

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    1. Welcome to the blogging world! So happy you’re here! 🙂

      I will say getting people to interact when you’re first starting out can be a challenge and, while they aren’t my favorite, participating in memes is probably the best way to go. You just need to make sure you’ve got stuff that will bring folks back!

      Just keep at it and followers will come. The more you reach out to others the more they’ll reach out to you! Good luck! 🙂

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  8. I appreciate your honesty today. When M & I started the blog we wanted to make sure we had a lot of unique content. Both of us like to write though and reviews (I think the amount of them makes us tired) are fun to do and there are so many opportunities to be creative about it. As there are with features and such.

    I do tend to read blogs more often when personality shines or I enjoy their writing and their book choices are on par with mine. But on the other hand, sometimes they aren’t and I learn about something entirely new. So it can work in two ways. I don’t believe in taking time to work on “filler” posts because you feel an obligation or because you don’t have content going up every single day. Sometimes you need a break. You don’t want to burn out on your hobby, ya know?

    I’d rather see you take the time to put together a thoughtful post and be totally different than someone else… instead of shuffling around the same ten titles you featured last week for TTT. I do like to participate when I can put a spin on the topic or it’s just fun (like the romance one from a few weeks ago) but most of the time, I even skip reading them in my reader. (I follow SO many blogs in the book, Disney, and more community… I just can’t all the time.)

    As for reviews… I’ve read about the small amount of hits per review earlier this week and this surprised me. I guess I never looked at it that way. It makes me a good hour – two to write a good review and for me, writing them is practice for something greater. It keeps me limber. I work really hard to put my personality in there and make sure every word I’m writing MEANS something. I don’t like filler in my reviews either. I acknowledge there are a ton of other blogs out there writing amazing reviews, and you can’t spend all your time on one. (Hence me always looking at word count, and editing and reediting.)

    Whew. I think the main idea of your whole piece is you have to do what’s right for you. And that doesn’t always ensure everyone being satisfied, ya know? Not every tea is everyone’s cup of tea. I’m glad I read this today. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. So… your comment just made me realize that I probably SHOULD be using my reviews as an opportunity to improve my writing. Now that I think about it they actually have over the years. I’ve definitely had to step back and realize that it’s okay if I don’t post every single day of the week and need to stop worrying over “filler” posts. I really want to start moving away from things that I do to “draw people in” and do more things that make me happy. But yes.. overall I think you should do what’s good for you. I’m glad you dropped by and pointed out some things that made me open my eyes! 🙂 That’s what I love about discussion posts!

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  9. I do want/need to see reviews on a blog to like it but it’s hard to say how many I’d prefer. Reviews are really tricky for me. I love seeing them if they’re books I’ve read because I’m able to read, comment, and discuss the books. If I haven’t read the book, I tend to completely skip over the review. I don’t want to spoil anything for myself if I plan to read the book.

    I’m with on memes. They bore me a bit unless there’s a really good topic.

    I love discussion posts/other posts because they’re a lot more open. You’re more easily able to contribute to the discussion. I really need to bring those back to my blog.

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    1. I try not to read reviews of books that I haven’t read in case there are spoilers but I hate not reading them because I want to know what others think – it’s a double edged sword! Typically it will depend on the blogger though; there are several I know who stay away from anything spoilerish so I appreciate that. I love posts that give me the chance to discuss things with others. I really need to participate more in them! You should totally bring them back to your blog! 🙂

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  10. This is a well written post that I couldn’t agree more with. All the elements you included are all posts I try to post at least once a week on my blog. I post four times a week, 1 meme (It’s Monday!), 1 review although I try to keep it more my thoughts kind of thing, 1 discussion post and then a more personal post on the weekend in which I share bits of life. My favourite posts to read and write are reviews, sharing my thoughts on books is why I began blogging in the first place. I always try to comment on the posts of others, particularly reviews and discussions as a lot of work goes in to them, so long as I have something relevant and worthwhile to say.

    Bringing personality to a blog is very important, in my opinion, it makes a blogger more approachable I think.

    🙂

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  11. I love, love, love the I Love Lucy Gif! Well, and the HP ones, too, because Hello, Harry Potter!

    Okay, onto the meat of your post. I agree completely, that the blogs I love to read the most are the ones where the blogger’s personality really shines through. I say this, but I’m often concerned that my blog isn’t full of personality. I can be a reserved person at times, so I do have to work at putting myself into my posts, and I’m not sure I’m always really successful.

    When deciding if I want to follow a blog, I definitely want ones that have a decent amount of books reviews. And I also try to comment on review posts, but sometimes I struggle when I haven’t read the book they’re reviewing. As for how I feel when I don’t get a lot of comment love on my review posts – that actually varies. Some reviews I know aren’t going to get a lot of comments, because I know there isn’t a lot of interest for the book. And then I’m not super disappointed if I don’t get a lot of comments. But other times, when I feel like there has been a lot of interest in a book, or when I feel like I wrote up a good review, and I don’t get a lot of comment love, that makes me sad. But not too sad, really. Usually I track it back to myself, and think that I didn’t comment on lots of blogs that week.

    I like memes, and I definitely participate in some. I love TTT, and I also like the book haul memes. But the others, I’ve really lost interest in. That’s not to say they’re bad, they’re just not for me. But there are other memes out there that I don’t participate in that I like to read what other bloggers had to say.

    And I definitely love a good discussion post. I wish I had more discussion posts on my blog. But I don’t want things to get too I’m-right-you’re-wrong. I mean, ysy for opinions, but also YAY for accepting other’s opinions.

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  12. I love this post!

    Reviews are a huge part of my blog. I do have other features and stuff, but I like to keep the majority of my posts on the review side. I tend to write from a much more subjective point of view because the reason I created my blog was to share my opinion on books. The whole feedback (or lackthereof) thing used to really bother me, but I’m at the point in my blogging experience where I really don’t pay attention to the numbers. It’s awesome when I get a lot of feedback, but I don’t mind if a post gets less attention than usual.

    Oooh and memes. I don’t really follow blogs that are heavy on the memes (and I’m not talking about features, etc. when I say this, I’m talking about TTT, WoW, etc). I used to force myself to do TTT and WoW every week, but not as much anymore. I’ll do the TTT topics that I like, but otherwise I’ll skip it because I don’t like filler content. I don’t read many meme posts tbh because it feels like everyone always has the same books listed all the time and it gets boring. I mean, if that’s what you want to do go ahead because everyone’s blog is their own, but I probably won’t read it.

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  13. I just discovered your blog and this is such a great first post to read!

    I feel similarly to you, I don’t go in for all the memes, I just do a weekly book haul. I do enjoy reading some memes on other blogs but depending which one it is and what the theme is, they can get repetitive.

    I think each to their own and if we all blog the way we want to, we’ll find readers who like our content and unfortunately there will always be other who don’t like our content and that’s fine too 🙂

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  14. I’m not a big fan of memes. I may participate in Follow Friday or Waiting on Wednesday but only if the question or book has really caught my fancy.

    Discussions are a lot of fun, but I don’t usually post them on my own blog though. Usually someone else beats me to the question, and I don’t want to seem like a copy cat.

    As for reviews, I read them, but I only leave comments on reviews of books I read. I only want to leave worthwhile comments– none of that “wow! This book sounds awesome! I’ll check it out for sure!” That’s usually what I’m thinking after reading reviews for new books, but I don’t actually have any opinion.

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