Wow, we had a fast crazy chat this morning! I wasn’t hosting so I should have been able to take awesome notes, and I tried, but still, I think I missed a ton of stuff! Oh, and thanks so much to Rachel Noel for hosting today! She did an awesome job!
Here are some of the things we talked about:
- have a few brand colors and a few accent colors
- color is the unifier of your blog, brings things all together
- trying to keep the colors clean and not to busy
- you can never have to much purple (Ha!)
- use different colors for different things
- too much, it’s too busy
- too little, it’s too boring
Some sites to help: coolors.co and Design Seeds
Pictures and Gifs?
- many said they don’t do gifs themselves, but don’t mind them on other blogs, as long as there aren’t too many
- lots of people like to use their own pictures
- like with color, use them sparingly so it doesn’t look too busy
- everyone seems to love graphics
- but don’t NOT use pictures either, need to break up the text
- make your pictures “pinnable”, meaning big and vertical, with a pin this attached to it.
- social media loves infographics!
Some sites: PicMonkey, and a book that was raved about: Don’t Make Me Think
- use subheadings and lists
- bigger is better! Get away from 12 px and make your text 16 or 18 px
- get rid of three columns… and if you do have a sidebar, keep it uncluttered.
- only put stuff in there that your readers WANT: social media, subscribe, search, and about
- readers like to read across the top and down the left
- sidebars shouldn’t be longer than your post
- FTC disclaimer should not be on your sidebar, it should be in each post, everytime
- think about what your readers really care about and what they want to see
About Me and Avatars?
- yes, have them!
- some have a short snippet on the sidebar and a fuller page
- use a good picture of yourself
- make sure it represents you well
- keep your picture the same everywhere, all your places
Some talk about HTML and code and CSS and stuff happened. Many people seem to be really amazing at this stuff. Way to go guys! Comment I liked: just learn it! It’s not that hard!
Some resources: CodeAcademy, Canva, Gimp
Sorry I missed so much! It really was hard to get it all down, but there’s a taste for you!
Some stuff we talked about:
How important are interactions?
- they are the best… the “heart” of blogging
- it’s my main form of human contact
- depends on your goals
- it’s good to not have just one sided conversations
- keeps me going during the slumps
- it’s why I blog
What problems do you face when it comes to interacting?
- Time! TIME TIME TIME!
- being too shy
- between writing, reading and commenting, something has to give… usually it’s commenting
What are some solutions?
- use small chunks of time
- force yourself to come out of your box
- respond to comments immediately if you can
- use Comment Reply Notification from WP
Feelings on comments?
- some people worry about them, some not so much
- some want more, some don’t care
- comments give you a boost of confidence
- they let you know if something you wrote got a reaction
- shares and likes let you know that people are reading your posts
- more bloggers are engaging on Twitter than in their comments
- being blamed for adding to others TBR piles is better than comments
- find hashtags and follow them, stalk them, respond sometimes even!
- come to chats like this one!
- tweet back even if you don’t know that person
- make twitter lists, it makes things easier to manage
- keep your messages short
How about events?
- join the ones that interest you
- can always lurk! It’s okay!
- choose ones that will enhance the audience you want
Here’s a link to a calendar of events done by Book Bloggers International
Here’s a link to a Twitter chat schedule done by Emily Reads Everything
Some stuff we talked about at Thursday’s chat:
What does this theme “words” make you think of?
- being creative
- it’s the “meat” of the blog
- expressing yourself
What sort of content should we have or being aiming for?
- honest, stuff that reflects our true selves
- content that shows off your personality
- natural, conversational
- content that reflects emotion and entertains
- not too long and to the point
- there’s room for all styles! It’s good we all don’t write or post the same thing!
What is your inspiration for your blog content?
- the books I’m reading!
- Indie authors I want to promote
- thoughts I have in the car/shower/bed/while walking!
- the passion of fellow bloggers
- questions I see on social media
- bouncing ideas off of those with different tastes
- notes that I keep
- BookTube videos
What are some struggles you face regarding blog content and writing?
- reading a boring book and there’s nothing too say (much conversation followed about not having to review every book you read!)
- starting but not finishing posts
- trying to force something
- Blogger’s block
- being too repetitive
- figuring out word choice
- changing things up visually
What do you do if feel your blog is getting too boring?
- do something different!
- review something other than books
- talk about something you love
- do a recipe post
- see what others are doing and twist it up
- come at something from a different angle
- just be yourself
If you want to change up the way you write a review, what are some ideas?
- make a bullet point list
- live blog a book
- use a fun voice or tone
- make connections with other books
- use a lot of pictures/gifs
- vlog it!
- do mini reviews
- take notes while reading
- use quotes
- make an “enjoyment” graph
- do a Q and A post
Similar to our last big Bloggiesta, we’ve decided to have themed Twitter chats focusing on different aspects of blogging. Our theme words this time are: Words, Interactions and Visuals. Hopefully those are self explanatory! If not, come to the chat and see what everyone else thinks it means. 🙂
Below please find the schedule for the week. Mark your calendars and join us when you can! If you are part of the Google+ and/or Facebook groups, these will be official events and you’ll get a lovely reminder.
Join us using Twubs.com or Tweetchat.com or Tweetdeck or Hootsuite… or some other Twitter app of your choice. Use #Bloggiesta and follow @Bloggiesta. We hope to see you all there!
Thank you to Rachel Noel from Purple Owl Reviews for hosting the Twitter chat today! The discussion was all about books and reading in general. I (Suey) missed about half the chat, but have managed to scroll back for a few notes.
What do you read and review on your blog? Pretty much everyone was all over the place on this one. Most people read everything but some said, “anything will romance” or “mostly fantasy” or “a lot of YA!” Some love audiobooks, some not so much. Some love ebooks, some not so much.
How do you find books?
- Author events
- my past life! (revisiting favorites)
How do you decide which books you read actually get reviewed?
- lots of people review everything they read
- some review if they feel they have something to add to the conversation
- many said they review the books from authors and/or publishers always, but only review the books from their own shelves if they feel like it
- some say they only review books that they are very passionate about!
What about if you didn’t finish them? Still review?
- yes, if it’s for a publisher/author
- no, no , no
- they get mentioned on the monthly wrap up post with reasons for the DNF
- yes, if there’s constructive criticism to give, or feel the need to warn readers
What about reading friends books?
- some said if they do read and review a friend’s book, they’ll give a little disclaimer
- it’s hard most people said, because if you didn’t like it… awkward!
- some like to be beta readers for their friends book projects
How do you avoid spoilers in reviews?
- give warnings ahead of time
- say “because reasons” as part of explaining the book
- only tell your feels about the book, and not stuff from the book itself
Do you feel pressure to rate a book high that is very popular and most people have liked?
- resounding answer… NO!
- Some said they felt this in the beginning as a newbie, but not so much anymore
- We concluded: books with lots of hype don’t guarantee a high rating
And what if you don’t like a book you read for a blog tour?
- tell the blog tour people ahead of time, before you review it
- find something positive to say
- talk about the book, and not the author
That’s pretty much what I caught from yet another quick and awesome chat!
The final chat will be tomorrow at 3 pm Eastern. We’ll talk about whatever strikes your fancy and give some feedback about the event in general.
Lots of awesome thoughts and advice were flying around the Twitter chat tonight! Thanks to Amanda from On a Book Bender for guest hosting and keeping things lively. Here are some thoughts that everyone had about blogging and balancing life and keeping organized.
The first question asked was: Where do does the pressure come from? The overwhelming response was… from ourselves. The point being, if we are feeling blogging pressure at all it’s because we are doing to ourselves. Everyone agreed that we worry about writing perfectly, wanting to do more, comparing our blogs to others, feeling some peer pressure, worry about content, and etc. But in reality, we do this pressure thing to ourselves. No one else is making us do this. That being said and agreed on, we discussed the following questions:
What are some signs you are having blogger burnout?
- withdraw from interacting and hide in a hole
- not knowing what to say about the books you’re reading
- feeling like you’re forcing content
- having a lack of motivation
- dreading writing a review, or even reading
- much apathy toward blogging and other things in life
How do you minimize the stress?
- be choosier about which books you read
- take breaks
- schedule posts
- remember it’s a hobby and not a career
- just don’t stress!
- give yourself a pep talk
- have a review reserve to fall back on
- don’t review every single thing you read
- recognize what you can and can’t do
- take time to do other hobbies
- break the self-inflicted rules (like “I must everyday! and etc)
What one thing would you eliminate from your routine if you could?
- reading ARCS
- cross posting
- writing too many reviews
- taking too long to write reviews
- the need to post every day
- getting on too many mailing lists
How do you keep blogging fun?
- talk to other bloggers
- blog what you want
- be friendly and visit other blogs
- participate in the community
- just keep going!
- learn and try new things
- be creative
- be silly
- write non-bookish posts
- have fun on Twitter
- do some memes now and then
- read what you want and not what you have to
- write posts that entertain yourself and make you laugh
What advice would you give… to yourself and new bloggers?
- It’s your blog, your rules.
- find a niche
- there are NO rules!
- be yourself and have fun.
- participate in the community
- be original
- make a list of ideas to fall back on
- don’t have high expectations
- don’t get on mailing lists
- be careful of requesting too many ARCs
- try things
- remember why you started in the first place
- blog for yourself and not your readers
- make lots of friends!
We had lots of fun chit chatting tonight! If you want more advice for dealing with the pressures of blogging, be sure to check out the links on this page.
At this evenings chat, hosted by Jessica from The Bluestocking Society, we concentrated on discussing all the various aspects of reviewing books on our blogs. Here are a few things that were brought up:
What do you think should be included in a review?
- the book cover
- a synopsis (most people use Goodreads, some write their own, most find it hard though, some read the synopsis, some skip it)
- your rating
- links to author’s page and/or twitter, other reviews, where you can buy the book, Goodreads
- if you liked it or not!
- book info
What should NOT be included?
- SPOILERS! (we discussed spoilers at length. Be sure to have a disclaimer if there are spoilers!)
- don’t tell us the ending, or if there’s a cliff hanger, or twists
- don’t link to illegal downloads
- don’t compare to other books, it might be an accidental spoiler!
- A couple of sites were you can talk about a book and not worry about spoilers: The Socratic Salon and The Book Spoiler
What do you like to see in a review:
- if it’s a series and what number is it
- gifs are fun sometimes, used sparingly
- quotes, sometimes. Many people find quotes a fun thing to include.
How do you get your reviews to be unique?
- change up the format
- include the first line
- thoughts on the first line or cover
- why did you decide to read this book?
- quotes and gifs
- be snarky
- interview the characters
- make lists
- create a discussion
- use bullet points
What other content do you like to see in book blogger blogs besides book reviews?
- personal posts
- recipes and food articles
- posts on crafting
- movie and/or TV reviews
- Top Tens
- The Sunday Salon
- lists and features
Some fun links to check out:
How to Write More Creative Book Reviews
A Treasure Trove of Blogging Ideas
Five Ways to Make Your Review Stand Out
Writing Negative Reviews
Brainstorming for Post Ideas
Blog Post Bingo
Today we talked about what makes a blog page LOOK good! Here’s what was decided:
What You Should Have
- an About Me page
- review policy
- rating scale
- contact page
- currently reading
- search bar
- social media follow me icons
- subscribe options
- recent posts
What NOT to Have
- moving images
- countdown widgets
- too many ads
- automatically playing music
- pop ups
- too many images
- links/images for every community you belong to!
What should an About Me page include?
- your personality
- who are you?
- what do you do outside of reading?
- what are your hobbies?
- what’s your bloggy background?
- some pictures would be fun!
- what makes you unique?
- what type of books do you like to read?
What makes a blog look nice and readable?
- lots of white space
- light backgrounds
- no script fonts
- no colored type (or very little)
- breaks in text
Sidebars and Menus
- maybe just have one sidebar with minimal content
- three column layouts are out!
- maybe you can get away with no sidebars? Maybe have stuff in a footer?
- drop down menus are nice, but no more than 5 to 7 links
- only have one row of tabs
Size? Any bigger then 700 px for your blog content area is too hard to read. Headers should be small, not take up the whole front page and should be no bigger than 350px.
We talked about so much more than this! At the end, we sent links to our blogs for instant feedback. If you missed out on that and are genuinely interested in feedback on your blog’s look, layout, colors, fonts, images, sidebars, etc. we decided to try having a link here for additional feedback.
Please, if you leave a link, plan to click around to the other links here and not only GET feedback but GIVE it too. Yes? Nice, helpful, constructive feedback!
Updated to add: Give your feedback by commenting on the person’s most recent blog post… or find their Twitter and send them a tweet. Will that work for everyone?
We took our conversation from Monday… connecting with people… and expanded it to a larger level on Tuesday by talking about all of social media. It was one FAST chat and I’m sure I only caught a bit to share with you all in thisrecap! Here’s what I managed:
We unofficially ranked the most popular social media sites. Twitter is the huge favorite, followed by Facebook and Tumblr which are okay for some things, then Pinterest and Instagram which are only used by some, and then Google+ which most people don’t quite get. And it’s rumored that it’s on it’s way out anyway.
Tips for Using Twitter
- use hashtags
- be an extrovert!
- which means.. interact!
- use tools to post your blog posts automatically
- and schedule other tweets too
- make use of Twitter lists
- be selective of who you follow
- it’s a party!
- there was a debate between Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Tweetdeck seems to be the favorite. Hootsuite seems to be more for professional use.
- used by a younger crowd
- seems to be growing and being used more
- can post there automatically from other places
- can catch a different crowd there than other places
- some people like it for eye candy and to promote their fandoms
Pinterest and Instagram
- people like to use these to get to know bloggers beyond their book blog and bookish hobby
- Pinterest scares lots because of its time suck!
- everyone seems to use it but are sick of some of their strange practices
- some people have blog pages there, but less than expected
- they make you work too hard to get page views and such
General consensus: Facebook for personal interaction, Tumblr for fandoms, and Twitter for professional connections, Google+ for communities and hangouts, and Pinterest and Instagram for getting to know each other’s life outside of blogging!
Need some more challenges on certain aspects of social media!
Hmmm… should we drop everything all migrate back to MySpace? 🙂
We’ve just had a crazy fast Twitter chat, all about people and the connections we make with them through blogging. Much of the conversation centered around comments and followers. Here are a few things we discussed:
How do you get more comments?
- make sure it’s easy to comment on your blog. No CAPTCHA
- get out more! participate!
- end your posts with a question
- visit other blogs and leave comments there
- engage on Twitter
What comment platforms do you like?
- Disqus is a favorite, though some people have issues making it work on their blogs
- CommentLuv is a popular one too
- Everyone seemed to dislike Intense Debate
- WordPress has a good default system
- Blogger’s is not liked, though some people haven’t ever really had an issue with it
- Make to use something that gives readers options, and don’t force them to sign in
Any rules for comment? Do’s and Don’t’s?
- Don’t promote your blog and add a link
- Write in your own voice.
- Be polite if your comment is to disagree with something.
- Did we say, no links? 🙂
What posts get you the most comments?
- NOT book reviews! Least amount of comments usually.
- Discussion posts
- Sunday Salon posts
- monthly updates
- Top Ten Tuesday
- Book haul posts
- any sort of creative post
- posts on life and motherhood
- reviews on back list books get more comments than reviews on front list books
Other random tidbits:
- most people don’t worry about numbers much, but it is nice to see which reviews are more popular than others
- Twitter is better for a conversation than blog comments
- “Twitter is for conversation, blog is for content.” — Belle
- “Numbers matter to brands, people matter to bloggers. ” — Create With Joy
Ah, there was so much more! Sorry I couldn’t catch it all! I’m telling you, it was FAST! But this will give you a feel for the conversation. Tomorrow at 7 pm Eastern we’ll talk more about social media. Come with questions!