Reviews on Your Blog: Worth It?

Posted April 19, 2019 by Amber in Memes / 22 Comments

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On and off in the last several years, I’ve bounced around about my stance on including book reviews on my blog.  Even though it’s a book blog.  There’s a lot of variety in the way book bloggers handle their content, and I think it’s important to include whatever content you personally want, and stick to it.

A lot of my content is book reviews.  I make sure to include two non-reviews a week (sometimes more), but ultimately, you’re looking at about 65% of my content being reviews.  For a while, I felt like this was just filler content.  But I’ve changed my mind.

There are three main types of book blogs I’ve seen:

  1. All book reviews, all day.
  2. Bookish content, but actual reviews are rare.
  3. A little bit of both.

I like to be in the third category.  As bloggers, we have the right to choose which group we’re in.  Some bloggers use memes, some only discuss, and some only use book reviews.  And there’s a whole spattering of other blog styles around that.

As a rule, I don’t follow any blogs that are review exclusive.  I’m sorry if this includes you!  For blogging content, I want to read articles.  If I’m looking for exclusive reviews, I’m going to jump on Goodreads every time.  When I go through my WordPress reader, the only reviews I read are those on books I’ve already read (because curiosity) and those I’m considering reading.  If you can show me a blog where every review is perfect hilarity, I’m in.  I think BookTube has a pretty good potential for review-exclusive channels and still be entertaining.  It’s not something I’ve experienced in written blogs.

Despite the fact that I don’t read them often, a lot of other people do.  To give you some insight on the statistics here at The Literary Phoenix, 80% of my hits on any given day are book reviews.  Book reviews bring in outside readers.  And when it comes to upcoming reads, people want to know what to add to their TBR.  My reviews this year for The Gilded Wolves and Enchantée both received decent traffic around the time of their posting.

I also get regular hits on The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Fourth Dimension, and Banished.  The books I’ve read that are older or smaller press get consistent hits from search engines, because there’s not as many blogs out there featuring these books.  If you read books outside the hype, featuring them on your blog is important for both your recognition and theirs – these books don’t have as much of a modern audience, and if you loved the book, you should scream about it.  Hyped reviews will excite your current readers, but it’s the obscure that build new connections.

But beyond your readers, there’s you to think about.

I refer to my backend log and front end archive all the time.  In my blog, I’ve built a library of my own reading independent of Goodreads platform.  Should something happen to Goodreads, or should I decide to leave the site for some reason (although what reason, I have no clue), then I have a visually beautiful archive here.

Over the years, my review quality has evolved.  My review of A Dance with Dragons is hilariously bad… being only a couple of sentences.  Back when I reignited this blog, I broke up the reviews into specifics as I wrote. For a while, I tried a list format, but that didn’t really work for me either.  Ultimately, I ended up where I am now – my reviews are a mixture of reactions and technical analysis.  I try to format them in such a way that if anyone else has read the book, we can have a discussion.  And, if nobody has read them, they’re still conversational and I enjoy writing them.

I think, though, at the end of the day, it’s up to the blogger.  While I may not always read reviews, I do believe that they’re a plot of the book blogging platform.  It’s a bit odd to see book blogs without any reviews on them.  It makes me pause.  Discussion posts spark better overall engagement, but if you love books so much, why aren’t you screaming about them in reviews?

So, in short, yes.  I think book reviews are worth adding to your blog.  I think they’re rewarding.  How you choose to include them is your choice.  I love it when bloggers do collections of mini-reviews, and that keeps individual reviews from clogging up your blog feed.  But whatever you choose, remember that it’s your platform, and you should do what you think is best.

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This week’s Book Blogger Hop asks:

Do you check how many views your posts have received?

 

Short answer: Absolutely.  I find statistics interesting, though I don’t obsess the way I used to. I always find it fascinating when old posts get attention months or even years after publications.  I get hits on my Alice in Wonderland posts (one & two) every month, as well as my Book Recs. for Slytherins post.

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Do you post book reviews on your blog?

Do you read reviews before picking up a book?

What types of posts are your favorite?
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22 responses to “Reviews on Your Blog: Worth It?

    • Amber

      Your blog is always so busy, and since you’re not strictly a book blog, I’d say you definitely get a pass in reviews. 🙂 But it’s super cool to see a history/travel/lifestyle/everything blogger even saying “I post reviews too!” because books are so universal, and it’s just super cool that you do that. 🙂

  1. This is so interesting because I feel like most of the hits on my blog are for posts that AREN’T reviews. Which is a big reason why I try to be in that third category too. Non-review posts are fun to write and I keep them up because they’re really engaging for blog readers, but the reviews are my favorite! I started my blog so I could talk about the books I read, so I’ll keep writing them even if no one pays attention 😆 I love that your reviews are a mix of reaction AND technical. Mine are so reactionary! I’ve gotten a little better about it over time, but I have to force myself to reign it in. Lol.

    And I totally agree about reviewing older books!! My most viewed post is my review of Sabriel, from two years ago when I first started blogging. Older books deserve to get reviewed too!

    • Amber

      The fact that you love writing reviews really comes out in your reviews! Some reviewers come across as following a To Do list, and others feel like conversations. Yours are the latter. I think more people would read reviews if they were conversations. 🙂

      Sabriel is one of those well-liked-but-never-talked-about books and I think so many people get excited when reviews like that pop up. Like… “OMG I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE” and it’s one of the coolest things about the book community. 😀 😀 😀

  2. This is such an insightful post. I must confess that I always wonder if it’s worth writing reviews because my reviews don’t get many hits (especially reviews of non-hyped books). I try to be part of the third category – a little bit of bookish content and a little bit of reviews – but in the end, my blog lacks reviews (my last batch of mini-reviews was posted in March… but I also haven’t been reading much). After reading your words, I must agree that reviews are worth adding to a blog and I’ll try to include a few more in mine. Maybe I’ll review some books I read years ago and never gave them the love they deserve.

    Happy readings! 😉

    • Amber

      I really do think it depends what you read? Hyped books, for example, are hit or miss depending on when you post the review, because even though the books are highly anticipated, sometimes the feeds are oversaturated. Older books depend on the book as well… the ones that do well for me are childhood favorites like old Roald Dahl books. I get all sorts of nostalgia clicks. 🙂

  3. I don’t look at post stats as I know I’d get obsessed but I don’t deliberately avoid them…

    I feature a mix of both. My reviews aren’t that pretty or analytical, I just write whatever my thoughts were on the book…. I don’t think I could follow a blog that is JUST reviews or just book blitzes or whatever. I like the blogs that mix it up. 🙂

    Nicci @ Sunny Buzzy Books recently posted: Weekly Update #57
    • Amber

      I think train-of-thought reviews are super interesting! For myself,, they may not inspire me to add the book to my TBR, but they’re better to read! I agree – mixing it up is ideal for me. I like variety!

  4. I love this post SO much! I have to say that I agree with you, when I see a book blog with no reviews at all, it makes me pause for a second because, even if book reviews aren’t the blog posts bringing in the most traffic or comments, they’re still… well, a big part of book blogs for me, too. I also love reading book reviews, personally 🙂 But yes, to each their own 🙂

    • Amber

      Right?! If you aren’t reviewing books, why are you here? You have to pause and look around and wonder if they are *reading* books…. I love that you love reading book reviews – I think you’re the only one that said that and it’s lovely to be reminded sometimes that there *are* people out there who read the reviews and they aren’t just filler.

  5. Love this Amber! I too like to be in the 3rd category. I’d say mine is 50/50 about. I really love blogger love posts too so tend to feature them. I used to do posts I thought readers would enjoy and would be so disappointed if they weren’t clicked. So now I just write what I want. ❤️

    • Amber

      Blogger love posts are so amazing, I always find new blogs that way! Your blog is such a variety of interesting things. I do think it’s better to write your heart instead of strictly to the trends.

  6. I’ve been blogging for a long long time…I guess mine is an oldie. I have reviews at least 2-3 times a week. I love reading reviews of books everyone is talking about because it gives me a wide range of opinions and if all of them are raves, I know to put the book on the back burner. I tend to be disappointed with a book if I read it after a bunch of rave reviews….i’m contrary like that.

    I really like reading these kinds of discussion posts about the community. They are more engaging to read, especially when you have an opinion to share. Thanks for this post.

    My problem is I love poetry, and there are no other bloggers (except for the few I follow) who are talking poetry or reviewing poetry. I need more poetry bloggers. I can’t possibly have a handle on the entire poetry market…I need new poets to check out.

    • Amber

      When I see all sorts of rave reviews, it’s a HUGe red flag for me. How many people REALLY loved a book THAT much, after all? It’s bound to have disappointed SOMEONE. Seems fishy. That’s a back burner sign for me as well.

      Poetry is really difficult to review, I’ve found. It’s one of those things that are really personal and sort of speaks to the individual’s soul. I’d be interested in reading more myself, but the last few I’ve picked up on community reviews, I just didn’t connect with. Any suggestions?

  7. I like a mixture of content too and I think book reviews are great for giving me an idea of what someone’s taste is like. I also love reading reviews from someone whose writing style is good and whose opinion I value. Yes, I could exclusively read the first ten reviews on Goodreads or Amazon but honestly how will I know that this reader has similar taste to me? That’s why I really like book bloggers. It’s like finding personal shoppers for your book tastes haha. Great post Amber!

    • Amber

      That’s such a good point – learning the people who enjoy/dislike similar things to you is SO important. When I started digging into blogs, I started taking recommendations of bloggers whose *posts* I liked… and ended up disappointed because we enjoy VERY different things in books. Lesson learned!

  8. This was really interesting. Reviews (I found out when I started writing them) actually take a while or at least they do for me and they aren’t always my post popular posts. And when I started out I thought I would never write reviews but then I did– mostly because I had something to say and I wanted to share my thoughts with other. But I agree that I do them in moderation as I wouldn’t want to do all reviews personally!!

    • Amber

      Man, I think it depends on the book for me? Some reviews feel like they take an eternity to write because I’m tired or I just don’t have a lot to say about the book outside of its fundamentals? But then the ones I feel passionately about are a BREEZE. I wouldn’t say reviews tend to be people’s most POPULAR posts… but they do bring in surprising traffic for me. I think an all reviews blog – for the reader or the writer – would get a little boring, but each to their own! 🙂 Some people really like doing just that, and good on them. 🙂

  9. I find that unless a book is really popular, reviews don’t get much interaction on my blog! But I understand why that is, since I myself am hesitant to read reviews. Like you, I don’t follow any review only blogs since I tend not be gravitate towards reading reviews. This month I have a lot of review books, and I kind of dislike how many reviews I’m posting this month! It’s sounds weird, but I prefer to have a discussion based blog, with a review thrown in every once and a while!

    Malka @ Paper Procrastinators recently posted: I Fear Big Books and I Cannot Lie
    • Amber

      I always feel a bit odd when I have a lot of reviews scheduled… it all just kind of feels like filler, doesn’t it? But it’s definitely to taste. I don’t think having a discussion based blog sounds weird at all!