One of the challenges most bloggers are faced it throughout their blogging career is the presentation of their blog. Your blog layout is your face to your readers, and your content bares your soul. For any of my followers who joined this merry band of renegades last spring, you’ll know I’ve gone through three or four layout changes in that time. It was so bad that I actually made it one of my 2018 goals not to change my layout again. And I’ve been good, for the most part.
Making sure your blog is everything you want it to be is trickier than it looks. Being true to yourself and maintaining followers is difficult. Writing great content and balancing your life properly is especially difficult, and I will be one of the first to confess I often fail at that aspect. Fortunately, being alive is all about learning and growing, even in the blogging world, so I try not to be too hard on myself, and you shouldn’t either.
Point and fact, all we can do is our best. I do feel like I’ve had some small successes, and I want to share those with you.
One of the greatest compliments I’ve had about my writing here on the blog came from a longtime friend, who said, “You write exactly the way you talk, so it’s like talking to you.”
I try so so hard to do this. I know that I can sound more polished and professional, but working in Finance, I get to be poised and proper all week. I love coming on here and writing and just having faith that someone out there likes the same things I do, and wants to talk about books and movies and writing and beautiful things. I have tried to make the way I write on this blog very genuine, and be true to myself, and it feels so good to hear that is coming across.
Every once and a while, I write a post where I really nail it with GIFs. I’m not a bookstagrammer – I don’t have the time and the patience for those lovely, elaborate setups. I think they’re beautiful, but between my own impatience and a duo of curious, meddling cats… bookstagram is not something I’m interested in. I rely on GIFs primarily for the image features in my blog (other than featured images, which have been a constant struggle to find something crisp and nice). Whenever I hear I’ve killed it that day re: GIFs, it’s awesome.
Not every day will be like that. I actually don’t think this post will be! But one of my secrets is that I will not use GIFs just because they fit. It has to fit to me. So far in this post, I’ve got Supernatural, Chris Pratt, and Emma Watson. All things/people I adore. Even if I could have chosen a different one that fit the content a little better, I spend the extra time trying to find ones that fit both the content and myself. Every once and a while, it works!
Color and layout, as I said above, have been challenges as well. I look at some of these other gorgeous blogs and wonder how they manage to make it so wonderful. I love NovelKnight Book Reviews – even when she changes it up, it’s so sleek and clean. I followed Bookmark Lit for the longest time even though we didn’t read the same books (she’s romance heavy), just because I loved her layout. And Laughing Listener is gorgeous too. Have you seen the pure gorgeous that is The Bandar Blog? I want to emulate some many of these beautiful blogs, and completely lack the time and skill.
I am so, so glad when I decided to go self-hosted, I went with Book Host. At some point, I really must do a whole post on Ashley and Book Host, but this package comes with so much help and support, and with it I got a bunch of free templates, including Tweak Me 2 which is what I’m using now. It’s so customizable and lets me look a lot more professional and organized than I feel. Plus, all this is run by Ashley @ Nose Graze, who is part of our community. <3
Supporting within the community – whether it’s a book blogging community or the small town I live in – is super important to me.
As far as content goes – in the book blogging community, there is a huge expectation to follow and read and talk about hyped books. All the time. Doing this is more likely to get you visitors. Visitors means stats! Stats mean you are more successful! And you have to be active on all the social media! And take amazing pictures. And LOVE THAT ONE BOOK EVERYONE LOVES.
I’ve tried to go with the flow and read the books others are reading and be excited about them but honestly? If I’m not into them… I’m just not into them. I felt this way about Caraval and everything I’ve read by Cassandra Clare and I still haven’t read much Leigh Bardugo. The YA book bloggers all seem to love the same things, but in the last year I’ve learned that I can read what I want to read and talk about it and still have followers. Sometimes, these are books by hugely popular authors and appearing in a timely manner (LIFEL1K3) and other times, I’m just re-reading The Gunslinger again. And that’s okay too.
Same goes for memes and readathons.
Overall, I like to think that my blog is true to myself, even with its ups and downs, and that it’s a safe place for people to learn about the things I am passionate about and share their opinions, too.
This week’s Book Blogger Hop asks:
What do you think your blog says about you?
Short answer: Realistically, I think that my blog says I like pretty things, but am not as organized as I want to be, and that my life is a never-ending project. Erm, also that I like to read? I hope that’s quite obvious.