Here’s the thing: This is not going to be an “advice” kind of post. Not that I have a beef with those, it’s just… who am I to give anyone advice? I’m pretty much a mess. But. I do, personally speaking, enjoy knowing what readers and fellow bloggers think about stuff. I always take people’s opinions into consideration when I am revamping stuff on my own blog. So maybe it can be useful to you! Or maybe I just like to throw opinions about stuff at you, either way.

None of these are deal breakers, either. It takes a lot for some random element of a blog to be a deal breaker. Nope, they’re just things that when I see them, I get a wee jolt of happiness. 😀

Here’s the theory behind this: If I like you, I am probably going to like your friends! When I first started blogging, this was the main way I’d discover new blogs. I’d go to sites that I’d already built a rapport with, then I’d go visit their faves, assuming that we’d likely have some stuff in common. And yes, this works more often than not! And, it’s fun to see if we already have friends in common. (If you want to see my faves, they’re scrolling along the bottom of the page!)

Ohhh, this is such a favorite of mine, especially when I find someone who is a bookish twinsie, (like Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction). This way, when I need to know if there’s a decent likelihood of me enjoying a book (or series, or author!) I can just scroll through the person’s lists like a real creeper.

Now, I understand the limitations with this. When I was using Blogger, this was the bane of my freaking existence, updating every time I posted a review. Now that I have WordPress and Ashley’s awesome UBB Plugin, this is much, much easier. As in, I get to set it up and then never think about it again. So if you do not have WP, I fully understand why this is the hugest pain in the ass ever, feel free to move along.

See what I did there? I used an affiliate link in the last one just so I could talk about it in this one! This may not even be a popular opinion, I don’t know (let’s talk about it in the comments, eh?) but I love when people have affiliate links. Here’s why: I can support you. By buying a book that maybe you have convinced me to buy, or by talking about some bookish merch that I can now have as my very own. Or maybe I was going to buy a book anyway, so why not let you earn a few dollars? I try, as much as possible, to buy from other bloggers’ links.

Because real talk? Blogging can get pricey! And even if you don’t spend much, you’re still investing a shit ton of your time and energy. So dammit, I want to support you whenever I can. Sure, I may be broke too, but this is a good way for us all to win!

Another possibly unpopular opinion! But my ultimate favorite blogs always earn an email subscription from me- and not just from some spam email address, but from my actual email that I check on the regular. Because I am a mess of a person, and this alerts me to your posts in a timely fashion! I like to think of it as an extra layer of security to make sure I don’t forget that a blog exists in the chaos that is the inside of my mind. Plus, this is a really easy one to do- and free, too! Unless you have a fancy mail subscription option, of course. But that is for you to decide. I personally am down with free email subscription.

Oh, as if there is any better way to stalk my friends’ old posts! In seriousness, it can help in several instances:

  1. If you are unable to maintain a review list (for those aforementioned reasons) then it’s easy peasy to find your past reviews!
  2. Maybe I remembered you posting a cool thing and I forgot to save it, and now I really want to re-find it, but it’s been a few months and who wants to scroll back through 32 pages of posts?
  3. Perhaps you have a post series of some kind, and I would like to find your old ones- this is an easy way to find them!

This is another super easy way to make things more user friendly, which is why I love them so much!

This goes hand in hand a bit with the last one. If you are talking about a series of posts or something, a link is super helpful. Similarly, I love a link to Goodreads when discussing a book! But here is my biggest “tip”: If you really don’t want to be bothered with linking to Goodreads, I feel you. But perhaps throw the title of the book in the post, and here’s why: A lot of times, my elderly eyes cannot fully read the font on the cover, especially if it is small! Or I mean, don’t if you don’t want to? Again, it isn’t a deal breaker.

If I have decided I like you, I probably want to befriend you on all the things! Let us follow each other on Twitter, be Goodreads pals. I will like your pictures the two times a year I pop onto Instagram. Whatever social media you like, if I can locate you there, it makes me happy. Because in an effort to be… not a weirdo, I am not going to look for people on social media. And if you don’t do social media, that is cool too. Because sometimes it is a real pain in the ass. That isn’t what this post is about at all but we might as well say it while we’re here.

Oh, I am sure you are a fabulous human! With all kinds of interests and quirks and such. And look, I don’t want to know your middle name or social security number. Hell, you don’t even have to use your real name (since I know that a lot of people don’t- but I can promise that I am Shannon, here there and everywhere, in the interest of following my own advice). But a few things about you is nice! You can still very easily keep your anonymity while telling me the details of your favorite show, place you love to travel, pictures of your dog, whatever.

I like getting to know people, and it makes blogs way more memorable to me. If I can think “oh, that is Sally with the white fluffy dog!” (this isn’t a real example) or “that’s Val who pretends to be innocent” (that is a real example, don’t let her fool you), then you instantly become more likely to worm your way into my mind for future visits! I guess you could even make up a fluffy dog, but like… don’t, because that might make me sad when I find out the fluff was all a viscous lie.

Don’t lie to me, this is not you and your dog. 

Ah, the most important! And the thing that all the blogs I follow really have in common at the end of the day. Perhaps this one is a moderate deal breaker for me, come to think of it. Because I find myself drawn to people who seem really authentic, really passionate about the things they enjoy. Really, if you are being yourself and having fun, that shines through more than any other nonsense. Sure, the other junk can help make your blog more user friendly or whatever, but at the end of the day, if you’re doing what makes you happy, your blog will absolutely be a place that people want to visit!

What things have you seen on blogs that make you happy? Any to add? 

Posted July 10, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 65 Comments


65 responses to “Things I Like About Your Blog

  1. I also like to have the new posts of my favorite blogs emailed to me. I have been getting better with checking the blogger digest, but there is blogger and networked blogs and wordpress and that is too many things to check. If I get an email sent to me, I can then be sure so see the new post.

  2. I am a jerk and keep meaning to make a blogroll than I don’t. I really need too. Thank god for UBB plug-in and review lists. I would never maintain one myself. I have the email subscription option but I personally hate emails. I rely so much on Bloglovin. Fun post!

    • Hahhah you are NOT a jerk! And seriously, I don’t know what I’d do without UBB, but it wouldn’t be pretty. I had one when I used Blogger, but it was woefully not up to date. And I think a lot of people agree with you about emails, don’t want the clutter, but I do enjoy them- sometimes 😀 Thanks so much!

  3. I wish I could afford a plug in, as that would make me EXTREMELY HAPPY! I try to make do with the Customizer, and everything I have done has been via the iPad. Created the whole blog on my iPad and iPhone.
    (Wish I could get my darn GR challenge widget to work…but it doesn’t like WP)
    I do try to be me…I hope that comes across to others. That voice in posts is the most important to me. Otherwise I could be reading anything from anybody!

    • Oh, the plugin is worth it if you ever are able to afford it! Like, life is just so much easier. HOW did you create it all on your iPad/iPhone!??! I can barely comment on my phone- and generally don’t because it takes so long. It must have taken you AGES. I am impressed! And that sucks that your widget won’t work. For awhile mine didn’t and then it just… did again? And I definitely think you being you comes across 😀

      • Aww, thank you! Yes, it took me forever. Yesterday I finished my archive page, because people were saying I needed an archive page…and that’s not easy when through iPad is dead and charging, so all of it was via the iPhone. I’m going to jazz it up a bit but the links are all there! ?
        I would love a plug in and I think they are SO WORTH IT. The page looks clean and you can customize so much. I remember I started with blogger bc of all the customizable options, but there wasn’t an app and it wasn’t really Apple compatible, so I had to start my blog completely over on WP. But I’m glad I did.
        I’m glad I come through. I don’t do my reviews the same way as others and I don’t usually have lots of time to post, so I try to make them as fun to read as possible. I always live your blog bc it’s so easy on the eyes and so rganized. I love it! (And the personality def shines through!)

  4. I’m still learning things, so I have questions for you (*cue that song by that chick from Fifth Harmony*). 1) What’s a review list? How does that work? The other question relates to GIFs. How does one use them on blogs? I like humor a lot. Some GIFs seem intriguing. Although, I do admit that I have an old laptop and I probs can’t handle this business.
    Hmm. I need to figure out what to share about myself, I suppose, because it’s scary to discuss who I am (especially because I’m like, “Well, what if I change? Am I stuck with this definition? AHHH.” Affiliate links are also a mystery. Don’t know how they work.

    • Okay, I am here to help (as best as I can 😉 )

      1. Review lists are basically just lists of all the books you’ve reviewed with links to the reviews. Now, it’s done fairly easily via a plugin for me. I just have to set it up, and done. But when I had Blogger, here is what I did: I made a page, then put it on my navigation bar. It was alphabetical, and I *tried* to update it when I’d post a new review- but I had to enter everything in manually, so that didn’t always happen haha. But that is the way you’d have to do it without the plugin, no matter the platform.

      2. GIFs are easy! You just add them as you would any other image! Now, I don’t know how all platforms are with size stuff- I know Blogger was pretty good about it, but here on self-hosted, I have a finite amount of space, so I use Imgur to store them. AND I make my own for The 100, but that’s a whole different post haha.

      3. I think things change for us all, and anything you share can easily be changed! People change so much, and the same goes for the book community! And hey, you can always start out really small, too! See how comfortable you feel, then go from there!

      4. Affiliate links… eh, I have only made $10 in almost 4 years, so don’t worry too much 😉

  5. Interesting! I like when blogs have links to social media. I want to follow people, but I don’t want to have to work to follow them. I just want to click some super-obvious buttons. I don’t have a review index on my blog. It’s a Blogger blog, and I have over 300 reviews on it, and indexing them would take the rest of my life.

    • SAMEEE! Exactly- I don’t want to be a creeper. And also, laziness 😉 DUDE, I don’t blame you AT. ALL for not having one on Blogger. By the end of my time with Blogger, I had totally stopped updating mine because I just COULDN’T anymore.

      ALSO- I sent you an email because you won the Discussion Challenge giveaway!! 😀

  6. I love blogrolls as well. It’s the perfect way to find blogs that my favorite bloggers love 😀 And hell yeah – if I can help support a fellow blogger, why the hell not? I’d rather use their links then a major companies like Goodread’s affiliate links. They make plenty as it is. I loved this post!

  7. Kel

    A big yes to the search bar and the email subscription! Hitting my email inbox is the only way to guarantee I’ll regularly see your blog posts. I used to keep a review list but, as you noted, it’s extra work to code in each new title, so I just have a tag instead. I’ve thought about trying affiliate links, but I’ve read here and there that Google can get picky about you using that stuff on Blogger. Maybe I’ll look into it more. Great list, Shannon! 🙂

    • Hahah YEP- an email subscription option is SO important for me- even then I sometimes forget because I am a mess 😉 And seriously, it is SO hard to worry about on Blogger. It can be so tricky- and who has time for all that upkeep!? Thanks so much!!

  8. I do love search bars, and links to social media! Now that I’m on WordPress I finally have those at the top of my blog. I also like when posts have share links, because it makes it easier for me to share your post and spread the word. 🙂


  9. I totally always check outthere “about me” section when looking at new blogs. And I agree about blog rolls (although they seem to be going out of style), I usually find new blogging buddies through their friends!

  10. I love blogrolls. I’m always creeping when a blog has one. Another random thing I like about certain blogs is when the posts are colourful and fun. I have a hard time reading text after text without any kind of header break or gif. Yours is on point 😉 .

    Speaking of … I stopped blogging months and months ago, but I just have to tell you that your blog is the only one that I consistently check every day. I don’t always comment, but I read every single post. It was one of my favourites when I did blog, and now that I don’t, I feel like your blog keeps me up-to-date with the book world 😛 .

    • You seriously made me well up with happy tears when I read this, Sarah. Like, you have no idea how much that means, and how happy I am! (And, frankly, I am happy that you’re still around, even if you aren’t blogging 😉 ) I agree with you too, I LOVE colorful blogs with graphics and such! I actually just scheduled a post that is short, and light on graphics, and it was…. unsettling hahah. I really appreciate your kind words, love ♥♥♥

  11. Lys

    Review list is so important ! The first thing I do when I discover a blog is read reviews of books I really liked or disliked. And you’re right, the most important thing is to be yourself. Your blog is your online home and you should feel comfortable with being yourself.

    • YEP, I do the same exact thing! I mean, it isn’t a dealbreaker or anything, but it IS nice to know if someone has the same general taste as me, because I probably will give their reviews some extra weight when considering reading. And I totally agree with you- it IS your space, and it’s always more fun to be yourself 😀

  12. So much love for this post! And you totally inspired me to go and update my blogroll. 🙂 (And since Photobucket is on my loser of the year list I had to also re-do my blog button but that’s fixed now, too.) I luuurve review lists. I peruse those all the time. And an email subscription option… yes, please. It’s my preferred way to subscribe. And I always check out the About Me section when I’m checking out a new blog. Not ’cause I’m nosy or anything, of course… just ’cause it’s always more fun to know who I’m chatting with. 🙂

    • Aw thank you!! It took me a minute to realize why your blog button worked for me- because I downloaded it and uploaded it to my site. I was convinced I was magical for a few minutes 😉 Photobucket is an asshole- I had to redo a few posts because of their nonsense, but I felt bad for people who had to redo ALL their posts. I love a review list too- BUT I also understand when it is just too much damn work haha.

      I will fully admit that it is because of my nosiness 😉

  13. You just reminded me to update my review list haha thanks! Also you literally asked for my middle name the other day, so… LIES. I totally agree about being yourself and giving some (non-stalkable, if preferred) information! Those are usually the blogs I’m drawn to as well. Ugh, my email list isn’t working and I am SO ANNOYED. I tried three different plugins and none of them send out email alerts, so not only did I lose all my email subscribers, I can’t even tell people to sign up again (I mean I can, but it probably won’t work). I am so frustrated. /rant over I actually don’t follow by email but by bookmarking or remembering blog names and randomly popping up (+twitter), but I do appreciate that it’s much more convenient to use emails! Oh, and I’m with you on the search bar too. I definitely make use of it.

    • BWHAHHA you know, it is funny, because when I published this, I remembered that I HAD asked you for your middle name. And then I was like “great, now they’ll be able to call me a liar AND think I’m stalking them” 😉 Hmmm I see what you mean about your email. It had been working, then not, then it did again (I was getting two for awhile, but that is because I signed up twice hahah), but then I went to check and see if I got your last few posts, and no, no I did not. UGH, I am sorry, that is SO frustrating! There is no way to get your list of followers? That is RUDE. What email thingy do you use? I feel so bad, that just sucks!

      I used to do the bookmarking thing, but then.. well, it stopped working, Idk why. Now my plan is to try to remember that my favorite people exist, but usually fail and then end up feeling like an asshole 😀

  14. I just post a list of something similar but titled as things that can make a blogger happy

    as for what I like to see in a blog:

    any type of lists that a blogger have made to browse their blog easier; affiliated links because I do like to support the blogger plus it’s always nice to find another place to virtual shop; a hello/about page especially when a blog doesn’t say who the blogger is; blogrolls are especially my favorite but bloggers doesn’t seem to have them these days.

    I’m not a book blogger but I have seen reviews list and they’re not helpful at all unless it’s categorized something like ‘books to read at midnight’ or ‘books that makes you cry’ or ‘books you must buy’ or something like that because I don’t go around searching for a particular author or title but I guess ratings might be good as I sometimes find myself reading reviews that are highly rated or badly rated.

    have a lovely day.

  15. Great post. I love the email option when stalking my favorite blogs. I check my email all the time and it makes it so easy to see what they post.

    Also a search engine on the site helps to look up past posts. I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve visited that didn’t have easy search or find a post and so I never return.

    Love the affiliate: I’ll help support my favorite blogs to by using their affiliate links. Being a blogger myself it’s something you do not to earn money, but to have fun and share your love. The added support is appreciated and helpful.

  16. I’m with you on every aspect of this post. And you’re right about Blogger and what a pain it is to add reviews to my review lists. I’m currently behind on this xD That being said, that’s probably the main thing I look at when I discover a new blog because based on their reviews of the books I like or dislike, I’ll know if the person’s tastes are in line with mine ^_^

    Great post, thanks for sharing!
    Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

  17. Ooh, I think the thing I like most in blogs is when they have “Related Content,” like when they give you three more posts related to the one you’re already reading. For me, that’s a huge way that you can get me staying on your blog for a while and determining if I should follow you or not! And I also love when posts are in specific categories, so I can just go a Discussion category instead of looking around someone’s blog for discussion posts. ?

  18. One thing I like to see when I visit blogs — easy ways to share the post. If there’s a twitter or pinterest button that will just do the work for me, all I have to do is click, I will often share out.

  19. Ooh fun. I like blogrolls too. They’re just awesome. 🙂 Affiliate links is a good one, I should do that more, buy stuff AND support a blog rather than just buying. Authenticity is huge and it is nice to get to know the blogger a bit- totally agree. These are all great actually. Someone up in the comments said “related content” too, like Linkwithin or whatever- I had that once but something went haywire and I never did get around to getting another one. Hmmm… and categories. I’ve thought about doing that so many times, but um haven’t lol.

    I like seeing what people are currently reading, too? It’s probably just a simple Goodreads widget or something but I haven’t got around to setting that up either (hmm, pattern here…)

  20. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH!! ALL THE AGREEMENT. My #1 thing when reading a new blog is to stalk (*coughs*I’m sure this is ok*cough*) the “About Me” page. I also really want social media links! I find it really frustrating when a blog doesn’t list them?!? Like excuse me, do I have to work to stalk you.?

    (Also this reminds me I really need to update my blogroll. Occasionally my favourite blogs go inactive which is SADNESS.)

    Also I think it’s important to have like lots of ways to follow?! I don’t like it when blogs are like JUST email-subscription because I prefer to follow via bloglovin. I only follow a few blogs by email so I don’t drown myself. (BTW YOURS IS EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION TO ME BECAUSE YOU’RE SO SPECIAL AND I LOVE YOU.) But, be on bloglovin’, peoples! And social media! Options! I need!?

  21. I suck at blogrolls but I do like stalking blogs other people follow on Bloglovin to find new blogs. Or my lazy ass usually just asks Nick if there are any blogs I should follow that are great. I don’t mind affiliate links as long as things aren’t shady. 🙂

  22. Haha, I’m the same in that when I follow your blog, I want to follow you everywhere. Like, EVERYWHERE. Social media buttons are important to me. I love blog rolls too because I am always down for a blog hop.

  23. YES TO THIS POST. I absolutely love it when I feel like I’m getting to know the blogger behind the blog. I think it’s so important to be yourself and sprinkle facts about yourself here and there – you might just end up finding your internet twin, which is ALWAYS awesome! Search bars ftw too. XD

  24. I like what you said about making sure to include information about you as a human. I’ve been trying to think of post ideas for how to personalize my blog and make people remember it (and me!). I’m going to be working on that… (Any ideas?!)

    And yes to making it easy to subscribe through email! As I’ve been trying to discover new blogs, I’ve been so surprised to find quite a few that I simply CANNOT follow. I explore them for way too long, looking for a “Follow” button or Email subscription bar. And nothing. It’s so strange! How does anyone follow these people if they don’t have options for Following!! Because I inevitably forget their names and don’t visit again. So I totally agree with you on that one!

  25. Love this! I agree with a lot of it. I think the only one I don’t necessarily use is blog rolls and email subscriptions. My email is just a huge mess and 9 times out of 10 I usually miss the post anyways – bloglovin’ is much more dependable for me haha. I think the only REAL deal breaker I have is if I can’t read the blog because of color contrasts, font style, or font size. My eyes are not happy when I have to squint to read something >.< haha

  26. Yay, awesome post, Shannon. I love your discussion posts.
    I’m a reader who relies mostly on memory. So, I tend to memorize blog names. If the blogger is unique or did something unique, it makes easy for me to remember her blog. So, yeah, I memorize blog names (and the bloggers’ names).
    Anyway, I’m with a lot of it. I love supporting bloggers whenever I can. Blogging is super time consuming. Even though I know most of us earn like a dollar (not much) through affiliate links, knowing that I help her/him a little bit makes me happy.

  27. Aww, Shannon this is such a great, kind, informative and funny post! Thanks for sharing. All great tips and I love the search bar addition – that’s ALWAYS helpful no matter what site you’re on. Sadly, I don’t even have a “blog roll” anymore (but agree it’s a fun way to meet new bloggers). I used to go all in for the fellow bloggers and their buttons, but over time (and MANY HTML/Theme changes), I think I lost track of all that. *sigh* Maybe someday I’ll get my act together. But I doubt it. 😉

  28. This is such a wonderful post and I love a lot of the qualities you mention. I am sucker for review lists. The amount of hours I’ve spent just scrolling through them is ridiculous but so worth it. Plus, I love organising my review list so seeing other peoples ones just makes me happy haha. I typically suck at social media but I’m always on it, even if I don’t post regularly. I’m one of those that stalks her twitter/instagram feed instead of utilizing it. I’ve been debating signing up to be an affiliate to amazon/book depository but I’ve always wondered if it’s actually worth it. I have used affiliate links to buy a book in the past but I just don’t know if other people actually use them.

  29. SO MANY YESSES TO THIS POST!!! I hate when there isn’t a search bar, because if I like you and need to know your opinion on say a book I’ve been thinking about reading and need to see every post you’ve done with that book… I need the search bar function. Haha, and I totally just heard how creepy that sounded. haha.

    And I totally agree with UBB. I am so happy that I made the switch to WordPress March of 2016 because UBB makes my life SO MUCH EASIER to deal with! 😀

    I do keep forgetting to make myself a Blog Roll though. I should do that soon!

    Great post, Shannon!

  30. Great post idea Shannon. Search boxes are vital… and I use my own all the time to link back or just remember an author’s name. Review lists are a huge hassle to update so I’ll check out the plugin. I don’t have a real blog roll – just a page on my top menu of fave bloggers – but I would love one. Do you use a plug in for yours?

  31. A search bar is a must! And agreed about the review lists and the awesomeness of UBB. So great!

    I also like if there is an easy way to know if the blogger responded to my comment. Feeling like I’m able to have an actual discussion and not just throw my comments out to the winds is really important to me (and I do try to go back and check, but sometimes this falls by the wayside if I don’t get a notification).

    But your last point is the best and most important to me. I love individual, quirky, creative, or just heartfelt blogs that give me a sense of the personality behind them.

  32. As mentioned in a previous comment, I need to stop being so nice and let my true (read: sarcastic) nature shine through. I have only been at this blogging thing for just over a year but I am still trying to play nice too much. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be mean to people but I am editing my “real” thoughts and I think I need to stop!

  33. I recently moved where my search bar was in my sidebar because I kept typing my search into the email subscription box. :’)
    I don’t have a review list. I have a review tag. Does that count?

    Also I agree with you on all points. Especially the email subscription and search bar. Also review index. Additionally, I like seeing categories so that I can stalk some specific topics.
    Great post!

  35. Amy

    I absolutely love this! I definitely agree with you on most of these, although I hadn’t thought about a blogroll before! I may have to just try that. Love it! 😉

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