These are just a few things I look for on the home page when I'm visiting a book blog for the first time and I want to gauge whether or not I should bother following.
(NB: this post is similar to the post I did last December entitled Book Blog Pet Peeves. It covers different things though.)
1. CONDENSE THE HOME PAGE: Please don't make me scroll down the page for yonks and yonks in order to look for certain info/widgets. This probably means the size (or quantity) of your posts need to be reduced. Use jump breaks so I don't have to scroll through long posts, or limit the number of posts that show on the home page to about a dozen. Otherwise it's just way too much content for a first-time visitor like myself to look through.
2. ARCHIVES: Have them somewhere I can find them easily! I want to know what kind of posts you put out - some book bloggers do a crapload of reviews, some only post about books they are pining for, some tend to mainly post about books they have bought, and some bloggers post a lot about the publishing world. The easiest way for me to see what sort of stuff you like to write about is to have an archives widget that allows me to see post titles, not just dates.
3. I LIKE PRETTY THINGS: But don't over do it. I respond well to things that entice me visually. However, too much of anything is a bad thing, so if you want a fancy background, don't use lots of bright colours or too many graphics. It's possible to have funky or ornate backgrounds but you can mute the tones so the focus is still on the content. Also, when I see an awesome header I'm more likely to follow the blog. Possibly shallow of me, but nevertheless true.
4. DON'T OVER BUTTON IT: Too many banners and buttons will give me a headache! Promoting friends/challenges/contests is A-okay with me, but don't sacrifice the integrity of your blog for any reason - whether it's for showing everyone how active you are or for getting a couple extra entries in a giveaway. All I'm saying is, as long as it's important to you and aligns with the purpose of your blog, it's alright. But if you really must have a lot of buttons down your sidebars, think about the placement of them.
5. BLOGROLLS: I like to see your blogroll. Especially if you're an Aussie blogger - there are less of us, so it's interesting to see which other Aussie bloggers you like.
Well that's about it for this round of Arielle-whining-on-about-book-blog-stuff-as-if-it-would-actually-help-someone-ha-ha-but-really-it-makes-her-sound-so-critical-who-is-she-anyway?
image source: cherryblossomgirl