Discuss Darlings

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So I posted five book reviewing tips for struggling reviewers a few weeks ago, and I received a response from a newbie blogger who asked a few blog-related questions, and I needed an entire post to answer. Thank you so much for your question!

1. How long does it take to get comments and readers?

This varies widely per blog. It depends on how early on you start interacting and getting yourself out there. During my first months of blogging, I only made a handful of bookish friends, almost no comments on my posts and only a couple of followers. It took months for me, personally, to get an active following. For some, this could only be weeks, and for others, even years.

2. Do people come back to your blog?

The sad truth is, not all readers will return to your blog. But there will always be a handful of active followers and friends who come back to see what new content[1] you have!

[1] Quick tip: if you always have fresh, unique content, the more likely your followers will return for more. Make sure that your personality shines in every post. Another little tip is to make sure that your blog is readable–chose colors and fonts that won’t hurt the eyes.

3. How do I know if my reviews are good?

I don’t think there’s a scale defining whether or not your reviews are “good” or “bad,” but here’s a tip: read through your review again. Put yourself in the perspective of a review reader. Do you think you described all of the important aspects well? Did you get all your facts straight? If you did, you’re good to go!

Other tips:

  1. You don’t always need to have a long, detailed review. You can play with various reviewing styles.
  2. Break apart your paragraphs as not to intimidate readers.
  3. No need to use huge SAT words–keep it simple and easy to understand.

4. How can I get people to see and know about my blog?

Every blogger has different styles of bringing in readers, but here are some that I think are the most effective:

– Look for bloggers with similar tastes as you. Leave thoughtful comments on posts that catch your interest, and if you want to, leave a link back to your blog. Maybe they’ll comment back, but don’t be disappointed if they don’t! At least now they’re aware that you exist and that you have a fabulous blog. Be bold, but don’t be preachy[2]!

[2] Please don’t go around saying, “Follow me/comment back!” or anything like that. You’ll come off as demanding and unfriendly.

– Create a Twitter account. Believe me, I was hesitant to do so, but I’ve made a lot of bookish friends and gained followers through Twitter. I’ve even talked to a bunch of authors. Just remember: Be active, be respectful, and be natural. Follow some of your favorite bloggers and respond to tweets that interest you.

Create unique content. You’ll find that some blogs like Paper Fury of Nose Graze have an active following, and that’s because they always come up with fresh, exciting new posts.

Participate[3] in readalongs, blog events and other shenanigans! Did you see that your favorite blog is hosting a readalong for a book you want to read? Join the fun! Discussions will lead to more exposure for you (and you’ll make new friends!).

[3] You can host some yourself, but I encourage you to wait until you have a strong following before you do.

So that’s it for today! Have any questions yourself? Feel free to ask–I don’t bite!

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Did you find these tips helpful or not? Any tips of your own?

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About Aimee

Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.

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94 thoughts on “Blogging Tips: On Good Content and Active Readerships

  1. It took me *glances back at archives* if you don’t count my first few random posts followed by a hiatus, then it took me three months to get my first non-IRL-friend commenter, and a year to get consistent comments. I think it’s really important to determine your focus — it doesn’t need to be super specific, but decide if it’s a review blog, a bookish stuff blog, a writing blog, a personal blog, whatever. But once you find that topic you can go look for other bloggers.

    Commenting on other people’s blog is awesome, and so is Twitter. Oh goodness, Twitter. Oh, and I would absolutely say this post is a great example of interacting with the community — if someone asks for advice/discussion/something in the comments, go ahead and write a post! It is super awesome for driving up engagement.

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    1. I received comments a bit earlier, but that was probably because I liked to participate in memes. And finding your blog’s focus is definitely a must!
      Thank you, Alyssa! It’s definitely great to acknowledge any questions and comments from anyone who gives them. :)

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  2. This is gold mine, Aimee. Many people will benefit with these tips especially those who want to broaden their readership. As a review reader, I agree with keeping it simple. It doesn’t need to be detailed, key points will suffice. You don’t need to give everything in there as well, save it for the actual reading of book. :D

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    1. Thanks so much, Mitchii! I’m fine with detailed reviews, but those don’t necessarily mean your review is better than simpler ones. :) And yes–sometimes they give out spoilers!

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  3. You’re so helpful! It took me about three months to get my first commenter. My problem is that I’m not consistent but I usually try to get out there. I’m like you I didn’t want to get Twitter but I did and it has been really useful!
    Over time I will begin to personalize I just have to find what I’m good at!

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    1. Aw, glad I could help, Taylor! :)
      I used to be an inconsistent blogger too. There was a time when I took this completely random 3/4-month hiatus! I’m trying more now. :)
      That’s definitely true, Taylor. Good luck!

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  4. Aw cute post Aimee! :) I actually love reading posts that contain the blogger’s personality because it’s just too boring if the post is WAY WAY formal without a sense of humor or anything. (Posts that sound like a formal letter to the president are cringe-worthy to me, hahahha. I just really love CAPS LOCK a lot!) Great post, and I love all the tips you shared! Even if I’ve been around the blogosphere for a long while, I still find these very helpful :)

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    1. If the writer of the post is really formal in real life, then I’m totally fine with that. As long as they’re being real! :)
      Thanks, Jillian! <3

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  5. Fantastic post Aimee! I completely agree with everything you said – if a blogger puts out posts that allow their personality to shine through a bit and give people a chance to “know” them, then I think they’ll undoubtedly develop a loyal readership:) Also, breaking apart reviews into shorter paragraphs is great advice, reviews that are in shorter chunks are always easier for me to read!

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! :) I’m also more inclined to actively follow a blogger who’s incredibly natural. :) And seeing huge chunks of paragraphs make me cringe away from some reviews!

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  6. I completely agree with keeping things fresh by coming up with new, original post ideas to engage readers. In the years that I’ve spent stalking book blogs, it is unique content, even more than reviews, that seem to bring people flocking, and I think that’s great! Thumbs up for diversity :D

    When I first started out, and even now occasionally, I used to be super anxious about making sure everything relevant to the book was in the review and that it was detailed. Its only recently that I’ve come to realise that its not necessary for reviews to be super detailed. I’ve discovered that short, sweet posts with just main points presented in a nice format are a lot of fun to read!

    Great work on this series, Aimee! Its shaping up to be super helpful and interesting! :)

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    1. I totally agree! It’s great when bloggers change things up a bit every now and then. :)
      I also occasionally still write detailed reviews (it depends on the book, really), but I’m okay with reading either, as long as you’re comfortable with it! :)
      Thanks so much, Fahima! <3

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  7. Great advice! And super helpful for the newbies. I think it’s so important for you to become a part of the community. You can’t just expect people to comment on your posts and visit you every day if they don’t know who you are and never see you commenting back or in the community at all. Great post! :)

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    1. That was exactly what I was going to say! You have to put into it what you want to get out of it. During my first year of blogging, I didn’t really explore and comment on other blogs and I feel like that really stifled my blog and its readership. I’m definitely improving now but you have to know it’s going to take some work!

      I’m holding out on Twitter but I’m starting to warm up to the idea.

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      1. That’s exactly it! You have to give an effort to get an effort back. :)
        I was that way during my first few months of blogging and this was a lonely blog then!
        *Whispers* Twitter is the best.

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      2. I’m definitely warming up to Twitter–I’ve just been holding out on it for so long that I stubbornly don’t want to give in. But I think once work dies down, I’m going to set everything up ;)

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  8. Love all of this, especially since I am new! Before I started to post I started to look at all the blogs I liked and start to comment. I like to participate in a couple of the memes around and that has helped. I am still finding my way with my reviews and what I like to do with them. Great post!

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  9. I find memes and activities like Bloggiesta or Readathons are good ways to meet people also. I have a twitter account and tweet my posts and other posts I find interesting, but I know I’m not using it to it’s full potential. I think leaving a comment that has a question is a good idea, as is leaving a detailed comment. One detailed comment on the right blog is worth 10 “nice post” comments that say nothing. I only leave a link back when I am participating in a meme or referencing a post.

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    1. I love Twitter! It’s a great place to share posts AND to chat with other bloggers and readers about everything. :) Leaving comments and actually interacting is fantastic. I usually prefer it when commenters leave links so I can check out their blog as well. :)

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  10. I remember at the end of my first year of blogging, I had 100 followers and was absolutely stoked. Now 2 and almost a half years later between Twitter, Goodreads and my Blog, I have around 4000 followers which is absolutely insane. But I know it was being part of the community beyond my blog that did it. Mixing with other book lovers and taking an interest in what they have to say. A year ago, I vowed to be a better blogger, to leave insightful comments and blog for the love of books AND the community, and it’s made a huge difference. I never leave a link to my blog, and read every post or discussion post, never skimming. If bloggers have taken the time to write it, then I’m sure as hell taking the time to read it. Completely agree about Cait, she’s an incredible blogger, but don’t forget yourself Aimee. I LIVE for your snarky reviews, they’re honestly the best I’ve seen <3

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    1. I definitely remember my first hundred followers as well–such an awesome feeling. And now I’m around 700 which is amazing.
      Yes! I do my best not to skim and to read all posts as fully as possible, even down to the author’s bio. :) I love the effort bloggers put into all of their posts!
      Aw thank you, Kelly! I love your insightful reviews as well. <3

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  11. Great tips, Aimee! I started off as a writing tips blog, which was how I made my first bloggy friends. Then when I switched over to book blogging I already had a decent following :) My favourite part of blogging is interacting with everyone – it’s just so much fun!

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  12. Great tips, Aimee! Twitter has changed my reading life. There are sooooo many bloggers etc on twitter and I love meeting new people there. It’s even more wonderful If they love and obsess over the same books I do *cough* Addicted series *cough* praise the Lord. Memes are a really fun way for finding readers with similar tastes too :) I’ve never done a read-a-long before, that sounds fun!!

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    1. Yes Jae! I’m so happy the Addicted series brought us together as well. ;) Oh yes, I love meeting people with similar taste through memes as well! :)

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  13. NO SAT WORDS??? WHY DID I LEARN THEM ALL IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Hahahahhaha. Also, I was very close to NOT making a twitter account! My blogging life basically turned around after I did though. I made so many new friends, and participated in read alongs, hashtags, etc. :D :D GOOD ADVICE AIMEEEE

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  14. 1st Question: I also think that it depends on the hard work you’ll put into your blog. Blogging is not just about writing posts regularly. It’s all about how much time you’ll spend commenting and seeking out blogs. I learned this lesson three years into my blogging life. I was under the impression that my job is done after I hit that PUBLISH button. It is not. Nowadays, I spend at least an hour a day commenting, and another hour writing/drafting upcoming posts.

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    1. That’s true, Joy! I used to not go around and just publish posts without giving much of a second though. I like to spend a couple of hours checking out other blogs now as well. :)

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  15. This is lovely, Aimee! It took me several months to get any sort of readership on my blog – I definitely agree about getting a Twitter acct and to start interacting with people, and also blog commenting is important too (I feel like too many bloggers leave this part out, sadly).

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  16. This is a great post! Keeping the blog fresh and active is still something I struggle with, given that I juggle blogging and grad school. I’ve made an effort to comment and engage more with other bloggers, though my twitter is looking a little sad. You’ve given me the motivation to take care of it more. :P

    C.J.
    Sarcasm & Lemons

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    1. I’m also still in school and can only really churn out posts regularly during vacations. When school starts up, I’m afraid my posting could become sporadic again. :( That’s awesome, CJ! Twitter is fantastic–just interact with whoever. Everyone’s extremely friendly on there. ^_^

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  17. Great tips! At first nobody ever comments to my posts but when I started to not be shy and comment on other blogs if their posts interest me, some people go to my blog and comment back too.

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  18. This is fabulous advice! It took me about 6 months to get comments, but that is because I literally NEVER put myself out there. Once I started joining in, the comments and followers and such came along. I was scared, but there was no reason to be, because this community is pretty great. Very, very helpful tips, especially for newcomers!

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! It definitely took me a while too, and I’m so glad I started to interact and meet new fabulous bloggers. <3 This community is definitely very friendly. ^_^

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  19. It took me months to build a following too! And about a month after that, I had to go on a seven-month hiatus because of exams. Ugh, the timing. D: But I’m glad that most of them stuck with me even after that, haha! But just as long as you make your presence known in the blogosphere, it shouldn’t take too long. But please not by leaving bullshit comments, obvs.

    Definitely agree with #2! Original content will get more commenters than any other post, to be honest. Even though I have an active following now, I still receive really little views/comments for my reviews. Had to learn that the hard way, lol — during my early blogging days all I did was publish reviews and spam my blog with all kinds of memes. I cringe just remembering it now…

    SAT WORDS, HAHA. Seriously though… SAT vocabulary is a freaking nightmare. I’m just so, so happy that I’m done with that exam forever. xD

    Twitter for the win! I don’t think the blogsophere would be half as fun if I didn’t have a Twitter account. It’s the one place where authors and bloggers and readers alike can interact freely, and I love it. Though admittedly the word count gets annoying… Then again, it’s probably to stop rambly people like me from word vomitting all over the place lmao. Facebook is good, too, but it’s nothing compared to Twitter.

    On another note: I’m seriously amazed at how Cait is able to keep up with all the comments she gets. She literally gets like 100+ for each of her posts. *awe* Great tips, Aimee!

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    1. Same here, Meg! At least my busy-schedule hiatus only lasted for three-four months. ;) And yes–no bullshit comments, please.
      I still love writing reviews, but they’re definitely the least-commented on posts for me as well.
      I COMPLETELY agree! I spend half of my day on Twitter now. xD I love how everyone’s so open and friendly on there. <3
      Oh yes. Cait's a crazy amazing blogger. ;)

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  20. Some great tips! I can’t really remember how long it took for me to get an active blog following (and kind of can’t be bothered checking lol) but I do feel like it took at least a couple of months. This was mostly because I never bothered commenting on other blogs and trying to connect with other bloggers. Ah, early blogger Nara was so naive :P But yes, once I started connecting with others, I definitely gained a heck of a lot more followers. I feel like most of the blogs that get lots of comments are because they’re the ones who actually bother commenting on others e.g. Cait (my god, how does she have the time to comment on so many blogs! I just don’t know haha)

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    1. Thanks, Nara! I can’t bother checking too, but it’s probably a few months for me as well. I’m so glad I decided to finally step out of my shell and talk to y’all. <3
      Right!? Cait's a superhero! :)

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  21. I met lots of new friends in readathons I’ve joined!! I never would have thought I would. And commenting is a big help as well as joining blog tours and weekly memes. That’s what I did in my early days and that’s why I have comments from early on. I don’t do weekly memes as much as I used to when I first started but I think new bloggers should try it to expose their blog more.

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    1. I don’t join too many because I have trouble committing, but those who could should definitely go! :) Tours I feel… not so good with them, but memes are a great way to meet new bloggers!

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  22. Amazing tips, Aimee! I absolutely agree with all of them. Every time someone asks me, “How do I blog?” I emphasize this: be yourself. Blog however you want to blog. If you’re going to make, as much as possible, include as much as your personality and let your voice be heard. Every voice is unique. Everyone has something new to offer, because it’s YOU and there’s only one YOU in the world. Time to take the world by storm, bloggers!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. Thanks so much, Faye! :) Being yourself is definitely important–if you don’t do that, blogging will end up turning into a chore for you. But if you do what you want and just be yourself, you’ll find that blogging is still fun and exciting. :)

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  23. Thanks for sharing those useful tips and tricks! I think one of the best tips is indeed putting yourself out there and comment on other blogs when something catches your eyes. Also replying via Twitter is really useful I’ve noticed! And most importantly, there are people out there (bloggers) who would like to help you getting noticed by others, I’ve experienced this first-hand and it really gives you a boost in your self-esteem.

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    1. Thank you, Merel! :) I definitely agree that making connections and friends is important. :) And replying to twitter is both a way of promotion AND making friends. <3 And this community has so many helpful bloggers. :)

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      1. And very important to add to that is that the book community is so welcoming and supportive to newbies! Both on youtube (booktube) as here in the blog-world!

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  24. This is such a useful post Aimee! I think it applies to everybody not just newbie bloggers. Personally, it’s taken me AGES to get readers and comments (and I still have nowhere near as bloggers who are ‘newer’ than me) because I’m not as active as others!
    I’m in awe of those bloggers who can keep coming up with fresh content.

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    1. Thanks, Jaz! <3
      I am in awe of some of the newer bloggers who are insanely active! Kudos to them. :)
      I totally agree. When I try to think of something new, my mind draws a complete blank!

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  25. SO THIS IS MY FAVOURITE POST OF, LIKE, EVER. FOR NO REASON. OF COURSE. *flails because feels copiously special* Zomg, and I love your tips and I’m blushing. XD SO YEAH.

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  26. Great tips Aimee! It took me a while to find my please and feel comfortable with blogging, comments, commenting, and all the social media. Blogging is not instantaneous gratification for sure :)

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  27. It also took me a long time before I staretd receiving comments, I wasn’t promoting my blog a lot and just thought the comments and visitors would came naturally. Only once I realized it didn’t work that way and I actively started visiting other blogs as well that my following grew too. Nowadays I get a nice amount of comments and I love interacting with other bloggers and replying to them.
    I also agree that there isn’t realy a good or wrong way to review and I enjoy seeing different review styles. And participating in blog events and commenting on other blogs is a nice way to get seen. Great tips!

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  28. Getting comments takes time, for sure. For me, I have 1.7k comments on my blog currently. over 1k are from this year alone. The rest are from a LONG while. I only started mixing with other bloggers and I’m so glad I did.

    Also, I’m really glad I met ya <3

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  29. As always, fantastic tips Aimee! Maintaining positive relationships with other bloggers and putting out fresh content which reflects your own unique blogging style are two really important elements of creating a successful blog.

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  30. Lots of these tips were really useful! I know when I started blogging, for the first year or so I did it all wrong. I basically threw everything out into the internet-void, didn’t read any other blogs and also was very inconsistent with posting. But now I have a schedule, hopefully some good reviews (I am more formal on the detailed side of things :3) and also try and read about two blogs a day, with a few favourties I follow closely! Commenting on others and joining in events really help to make you feel like part of the a community.

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    1. It was the same for me during the first few months! I stalked my favorite bloggers then, but I didn’t really interact with anyone.
      That’s so true, Oliva! So glad you’re able to balance everything out. :)

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  31. Why, yes, this is a great post! You know, last year (when I started blogging), I had NO IDEA about ANYTHING, and the things you said here were things I had to figure on my own – and it took me some time. I believe this is going to help newbies get into the blogger world.

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