Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blog Preferences - What Do I Look For?

There is a #SummerBlogSocial going on right now at A Belle, A Bean, and A Chicago Dog and Four Plus an Angel.  I'm looking forward to learning as much as possible from this social, as well as participating myself.

So one of the writing topics is the following:  When you visit a blog, what areas (besides the main post) do you check out?  I do think this is one of those areas of personal preference - what I like doesn't necessarily appeal to someone else.  I thought I'd keep it simple by having a list of likes and adding a few bloggy turn offs as well. 

  • Twitter and Facebook social media buttons - yes, I do use them when I have a few extra minutes and have found a blog I really like.
  • A header with 3-4 crisp, interesting pictures.  One of my favorite blogs as far as headers go is Ordinary Life Magic - she changes her pictures all the time, but they always intrigue me.  In addition, she has this really breezy, poetic style of writing that draws me in every time.
  • Sidebar on the right.  This is just a personal preference type thing.  I want to be able to look to the right, and see what you've got going on.
  • I look for the Google Friend Connect (GFC) Box - and put it where I can see it!  I want to know I can follow a blog if I want (for some reason, the top Follow button stopped working for me months ago - sadly it took me a while to figure this out so I guess I didn't actually follow some blogs I meant to - my apologies!), and I'm also curious to see if we are in a similar blogging circle.  A few times, I've asked a blogger to add the box because I liked their blog so much and wanted to follow.
  • A button with code I can grab to put on my Blog Roll.  I don't add the buttons to my blog roll until I get to know the blog a little better, but I like to know it's there.  Plus, the buttons are kinda cute.
  • I also like to give the menu bar at the top (if there is one) a glance.  I don't always go to visit the pages, but I think it gives a good overview as to what makes up a person's blog.
  • Okay, now this is just completely personal, but I always like blogs that have some immediate reference (through pictures or a blurb) to running, fitness, animals, farming, hiking, or twins.  That stuff will draw me in instantly.  It just fits with who I am!
Just a few dislikes, in case you were wondering:
  • Word verification.  Just turn it off already!  Please?
  • When blogs have the followers right underneath the header. 
  • Magazine style blogs.  These are blogs where you get a blurb in a box from the post, but you have to click on the post to read the whole thing.  I really dislike this style, no offense.  Sometimes my internet is so slow and I just don't want to wait for yet another page to load.
So what about you, readers?  What do you look for when you go visit a blog for the first time?  Is there any look or component that you really love when you see it?

Congratulations to Misty from A Rainy Day in May - she won my 400 Followers Appreciation Giveaway!  She's been a long-time follower of Two Bears Farm and a loyal commenter, so I was very excited when picked her number.  Thanks so much to everyone who entered!


Nancy said...

This is a great post, Lisa. I've actually been thinking about this lately. I've been trying to get my blog in a format that is friendly to readers and not all about what I like. And that's hard sometimes.

I'm a frequent header-changer. (I know you know this!) I wrestle with whether a header really shows what my blog is about. I'm still searching...)

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

This post really makes me go ...hhmmmmm. I've never thought about what I like in a blog or what draws me to follow one...or if mine is user friendly. I guess I know what I am doing this weekend! Thanks for the homework assignment ;)

Kim@stuffcould.... said...

I believe I Agree with all your pointer with blogs. This is a great post especially for beginning bloggers....I like the pics on the header but I do not know if I could change mine a lot.

Anonymous said...

The one thing you did not mention is automatic music! With all of my computer troubles this summer those pages that have music seem to mess things up for me. And too many fancy gifs and moving pictures also add to load time.
I love to see them but if a blog takes forever to load, I don't visit as often.

Thanks for telling me about the social. I will check it out in my "spare time."

laughwithusblog said...

Thanks for these tips! I'll have to check out their social! I have been extremely busy. We just got back from vacation and this has been my first free morning. I am so thrilled ya'll like my sopa recipe!! It really is super easy and is my comfort food, probably why my kids request it so often.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Lisa, I could write a book about my likes and dislikes since I have been blogging for a long, long time... Here are just a few:

-Comments; If people don't comment on my blog, I don't usually comment on theirs. Comments are more important to me than followers.
-Blog with substance; pictures with explanations;
-Personal stories --family, friends, etc. including personal pictures of them and the family
-The relationship is what I like; getting to know the blogger on a personal level --and enjoy a new friendship
-people who have the same interests as I do (traveling, hiking, waterfalls, birds, flowers, etc)

-Word Verification
-Those who still use the embedded comment form
-A blog that is MUCH too LONG
with either too many words and/or too many pictures (although my blog can get long at times---BUT there are many who have one twice as long as mine.... ha)

Great post today, Lisa.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on all points. Why do people put their followers under their header?

Samantha said...

Honestly, there isn't too much I actively dislike about other blogs. I figure it's their blog, set to their preferences.
That being said- I don't love music (stop using my bandwith!) or word verification/comment approval. I understand why a parent writing about their kids would want to approve comments, though!

Valerie Boersma said...

I love blogs that post a variety of topics and let me feel like I am getting to know the writer behind the blog.

It's funny, but when I first thought about starting a blog as a promotion for my etsy shop-I looked at a lot of blogs-some with hundreds of followers- where all the blogger did, day after day, was promote stuff from their shop. BORING! I knew that style was not for me. It didn't hold my interest and so I didn't think doing a blog that way would hold anyone else's interest for long either. Actually a great example of a very interesting blog is yours Lisa, and I'm not just saying that.

I agree with you about the sidebar placement-I wish my template would allow mine to be on the right too:)

Sally said...

Since my computer is very slow, I find it difficult to pull up blogs that are weighted down with "too much"; I usually avoid those except in rare cases where I actually like the blog and blogger, then I'll sit for as long as it takes.

Your blog is great in that I can upload it in an instant!

I've been blogging for about 8 years, and don't blog for money or really even for comments although it's nice when they're there.

Also, I avoid many blogs that I would like if they weren't in it for the "money"; that doesn't attract me at all.

Mostly, I enjoy reading about other people, their families and what makes them tick. :)

TexWisGirl said...

the WV and the auto music are pet peeves, as are the embedded comment block. probably my biggest turn off is too wordy and too detailed. i'm more of a photo and blurb or funny story kinda follower. now, the exception is when you post wonderful fiction pieces of your characters. then i want the next chapter... now...

kt moxie said...

I'm with you on the "click to read more"... so tedious. Especially with a slow connection!

Ginny Hartzler said...

I can't stand word verification, either! I used to have it and recently turned it off. And the magazine style blogs, I can't stand them. You cannot look at the whole post at once to asses it, and it requires clicking and waiting! Some people do not have followers boxes! And I don't like that either, I like to see right away how many followers they have. For instance, If I am kind of on the line as to whether to follow a person...if they only have ten or twenty followers, that will decide me to follow, to help them out. If they have over 500, they usually don't have time for any more.

Tanya (a Taste of T) said...

I loved reading this. I agree about word verification.

camp and cottage living said...

This is very informative Lisa.
It helps to know what viewers like. I know when I was creating my blog I copied features that I liked from other blogs. Mainly the lay-out style. I need to do some rearranging now that I've added favorites to my sidebar.
It's natural to follow blogs whos writer shares your same interest.
And I have to admit I quit commenting on someones blog if they "never" bother to leave a comment on mine.
Take care!

jp@A Green Ridge said...

And to think I didn't even have a clue what a blog was, let alone, header, sidebar, etc! I can't wait to change my header photo to what I hope will be "A Quiet Corner"...:)JP

Galit Breen said...

LOVE reading your likes and dislikes!

And yes- word verification - just ugh.

Misty said...

A lot the same as you. Esp. in re: to dislikes... and I don't care about photos in the header... :) i am fairly easy to please, i guess!

Shell said...

I have a lot of the same preferences as you. I like when the sidebar has easy to find follow buttons.

Angela said...

I agree 100% with Betsy from Tennessee! I also can't pull up the very long full of pictures types of blogs because of bandwidth issues. And I also like it when only 3 to 4 posts pull up when you are looking at a blog for the first time and just have the main address if you know what I mean there. When I follow I click directly on the post and it pulls up just that post but when you haven't followed yet and are looking it takes forever for their blog to load I hit the x button and run from there as fast as I can. I've even had to unfollow a few blogs because I couldn't get their pages to load.

Have a Great Day!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Oh man! I was just thinking I'd switch to magazine style. Hopefully, we can still be friends.

I'm still on the fence, but I like that I can see the headers of a few stories at once. Though, I hadn't thought about people not having fast internet. My internet is fairly fast, when it's working!

And, I didn't realize I could follow from the top of a blog until just a couple weeks ago.

Stephanie said...

Thanks so much for the mention!
Guess I should update my header. :)

Marina said...

We have all the same dislikes :)

Chris said...

I agree with most of that but I'm reluctant to remove the word verification bit in case Yuri from Kazakhstan decides to infiltrate my bank account...

Tanya Breese said...

Oh no, my blog is offensive! I put my followers right under my hearder, this is where I prefer it too (or somewhere near the top) when visiting a blog...I hate to have to look for it. Also, I like to find out about the person who writes the blog, like where they live, kids, etc....I hate not knowing where I am visiting. And I very rarely will read a long story on a blog. I want it wrapped up in a paragraph or two because I don't have a lot of time to visit!

Sharla said...

I also dislike the magazine style blogs. They confuse me and seem like a lot of work to find what I want and my internet is often slow so I want to be able to just read the whole post.

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to blogs is when the only options for commenting are Google and Open Id. I am forced to sign in using Google, which then leads people to my Adoption Website which is not my personal blog.

I also like a sidebar on the right and header with photos on the top (can't figure out how to make one myself, but I like it on other blogs).

Anonymous said...

Ah yes! The magazine layout thing drives me nuts too. I really appreciate your posting all this, it is such good advice.

Jen said...

These are great! And, I really hate the word verification thing...just turn it off is right. Great tips :)

Liz said...

The followers under the header just seems so weird!

I wish people didn't have partial feeds nor snippet views on their blogs!

Jeremi said...

i'm all about twins on my blog : ) and i'm glad you visit despite that being mostly our only similarity!! : )

Jeremi said...

oooops, meant to add that i LOVE your running posts and food posts too!!!