Book Blogging Pet Peeves and Quick Fixes

The book blogging community is absolutely fantastic. We all know this.  However, after a year and half book blogging, and more than three years blogging in general, I’ve noticed a few things here and there that I’d definitely classify as my blogging pet peeves. I’m by no means a blogging expert, but I do think I’ve picked up some tricks over the years and sometimes a girl’s got to vent.  But no fear, I’d never just leave you with a list of my blogging pet peeves without including easy ways to fix them!

Remember, these are just MY opinions- blogging is subjective and there is no right or wrong way to blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Giveaway etiquette. Giveaways are awesome and I see more giveaways in the book blogging community than anywhere else online, which is great. However, I really dislike it when bloggers host a giveaway, then post the name of the winner on their blog, but doesn’t email the winners.  Sometimes, I don’t always check my Google Reader during the week and save time on the weekends to catch up, leaving me completely missing whatever deadline the blogger set to email them to let them know I’m the winner. It just seems completely backwards to me.

The fix: Email the winners AND announce it on your blog; that way, you have all your bases covered. The blogger will see that they won a giveaway and be able to respond to you in a more timely manner since most everyone checks their email daily, and your readers will be able to see who won, as well.

Requiring a follow for a giveaway. Jamie had an excellent discussion on her blog about this very topic, but I wanted to throw in my two cents. I absolutely hate when blogs require that you be/become a follower to enter a giveaway. It just looks like a way to up your follower numbers, when a bloggers  concern should be writing quality reviews and putting out great content that will garner true followers. Wouldn’t you rather grow those followers organically and have a group of book blogging friends who actually follow your blog for the great content and interaction, not ONLY so they can enter a contest? Also, if a blog is giving away a book I want or am interested in, I often become a follower anyway, because I assume we have similar tastes. Trust that the process will often work in your favor in that the person likely will be turned on to your blog then anyway!

The fix: Very simple! Make becoming a follower an extra entry, rather than a requirement. This way, you can reward people who are already followers with an extra chance to win!

Partial feeds. Ew, just ew. Many bloggers like to read in an RSS Reader and if they feel compelled to comment, believe me, they WILL come out of the Reader to leave a comment. I absolutely can’t stand when bloggers shorten their feeds and I immediately unsubscribe because there’s no way I’m clicking open every single post just to read it.

The fix: Just make sure your blog is checked off as a full feed, and not partial. In WordPress, you can find this option under Reading Settings, and on Blogger you can find this option under Settings and then Site Feed.

Word verification. I KNOW spam sucks. It’s really annoying. But, it’s even more annoying to have to figure out those silly CAPTCHA word verification forms, when all you want to do is leave a comment and move on. I read more than 100 book blogs and I like to comment as much as possible, but it takes up so much more time to fill in word verification forms. I even know bloggers who flat out refuse to leave comments for people who use word verification. I don’t go that far because I know some awesome bloggers who do use word verification, but it is pretty annoying, I’ll admit.

The fix: Just don’t use word verification! Simple as that. Delete the spam as it comes in. Just something to think about…deleting spam is annoying, but it’s  really easy, and if it makes more people want to comment and share, then it’s a good thing for your blog.

Cluttered layouts and slow loading time: Book bloggers are notorious for cluttered layouts. We join so many challenges, want to share when our favorite books are going to be released, want to promote blog tours and share awards, but keeping all of those cute buttons and photos on the sides of your blog makes for some serious loading time.

The fix: Consider adding a page or a post specifically dedicated to awards, challenges or buttons if you find your page getting too cluttered, but you know you’d still like people to view this fun information. This way, you can add this page or post to the side of your blog as a button to direct people specifically to this page.

What are some of your book blogging pet peeves? How would you suggest fixing them?

  • You hit the nail on the head for all my peeves! Especially the first one! I’ve often wondered if I have won a contest and didn’t know it because my reader got too full and I couldn’t get around to reading all of the blogs I subscribed to. I know, it might seem simple to just not subscribe to so many, but I don’t want to do that either. I read and comment as much as I can, but sometimes life just gets too hectic.
    Great post Jessica! I agree with all of your peeves!

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Amber, You are so right…you should never feel like you shouldn’t subscribe to so many blogs. That’s the whole point of RSS. To manage and show you what you haven’t read, so you can get to it when you have the time. It’s just obnoxious when people don’t notify the winners!

      Thanks for putting in your two cents doll!

  • You pretty much got all my peeves, too! I especially agree with the one about word verification. I like to comment on other bloggers’ posts but doing word verification can take some time.
    Great post!

    -leslie

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @chelleyreads, Hi Leslie, it definitely does take up time. I should time it one day to see how much time during an average blog reading session I spend trying to figure out those silly forms! Would probably be pretty eye opening!

  • I too agree about doing giveaways just to gain followers. Sometimes when there’s so much to do (post about giveaway, tweet about it, grab a button, be a follower, answer a question, advertise more and more and more) I just don’t freaking bother. It takes ages and doing some of it is pointless, only to create exposure and satisfaction for the blogger holding the giveaway. Also I hate cluttered blogs where there is just too much happening. And sometimes people have their followers gadget all the way at the bottom, just to make sure you scroll and look at every single item on the blog. Pointless once again.

    Great post. Looking forward to the rest of them.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Braiden Asciak, I HATE when the follower gadget is super far down where you can’t even find it. If I have to search for the follower gadget, it’s probably not a good thing.

      Thanks so much for visiting 🙂

  • I agree with you. I have gotten use to word verif, but to require a follow is a definite turn off as well as 1000 entry requirements. I have passed up tons of giveaways simply because I don’t have the time. When hosting a giveaway, I usually on require an entry (name and email), occasionally I will offer 1 extra entry for spreading the word.

    I don’t see it much anymore, but music is a peeve of mine. It slows the load time and occasionally if I don’t like the music, it can be very annoying.

    I am also bothered by tons of swearing. Once in a while is one thing, but constant swearing (especially w/out a content warning) is very bothersome. I often have someone reading over my shoulder.

    Whew, thanks for the vent.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Elie, Thank goodness I don’t see much music anymore because that is SO 90’s. Gross.

      And no problem. Feel free to vent to me any day you’d like because I’m sure we share similar frustrations 🙂

  • yes to every single one of these. i think my biggest is definitely the partial feed. whenever a blog goes partial, i have to delete it. sure, it gives a hit number to do that but it’s so frustrating to me as a loyal rss user that i just delete, delete, delete.

    and contests! nail on head.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @kelly, Oy to partial feeds. It’s so glaringly obvious what the blogger is up to and it makes me question their blogging intentions! I blog because I love to read, and want to share my thoughts on books and writing. You can read my blog however makes you happy!

  • I think you & I share a lot of the same blogging pet peeves! I think it’s silly when the host of a contest doesn’t email their winners. Why??!! If they blog, then they understand just HOW MANY blogs are out there & how ridiculous it is to keep track of where you entered a giveaway & to check back on a certain day.

    Hate word verifications.
    And I hate them even more when you finally click ‘send’ and it says.. “waiting for blog approval” – seriously?! what is there to approve?? lol

    Clean up your blog!! That irks me too.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Ginger @ GReads!, You are so right! As book bloggers, we should definitely know that the most effective way to notify a winner is to…notify them. Simple as that 🙂

      Haha SO funny about the approval thing. Haven’t come across that one, thank goodness.

  • We have many of the same peeves. Hate the partial feeds – thanks for providing the directions for fixing that – maybe more people will do it now. Also, I took word verification off a few months ago and haven’t been bothered by spam (yet.) I should probably knock on wood. You can always put it back, if you have problems with spam, right?

    Also, the slow loading pages. Oh my gosh! I click on some pages to leave a comment, and then close it out because I am too impatient (with 100’s of other entries in my reader to check out!) I have a NEW, FAST computer. So imagine those people that have slower ones (like mine at work.) There’s also little bars across the top and bottom of some sites that I think are mostly for linking to facebook, twitter, etc? Those REALLY seem to slow down a page load for me.

    Thanks for the great post. Listen up, everyone!

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Annette, You can always put it back, or you can just delete the spam! It isn’t going to hurt your blog- it’s just going to be a bit of an annoyance.

      Slow loading pages are THE. WORST. I wish people knew that it seriously makes for difficult reading and commenting when the page loads and moves so slowly.

  • I share all of your pet peeves. In fact, just yesterday I remembered I entered a contest for an ARC but then I couldn’t remember which blog it was on. Since I had over 600 unread items, I just gave up trying to locate it.

    The CAPTCHA thing drives me crazy too. I browse and comment during my lunch hour at work and sometimes the word won’t show up, or I have to click several times to get it to go through. Very frustrating!

    As far as spam comments go, when I took off the CAPTCHA I got a few, but blogger recognized them as spam and filtered them, so the comments never made it onto my blog.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Melissa, Yay for getting rid of your word verification! I’m glad you were ahead of the curve.

      So true about how it slows down reading time, especially when you only have an hour lunch break to browse!

  • One of mine is super short reviews. And I’m not talking about mini-reviews but a blogger that consistently posts a couple of sentences for a book and calls it a review. Really? That’s it? You read the entire thing and that’s all you had to say? I don’t think it’d hurt to come up with something a little meatier.

    Spelling and/or grammar errors in title lines bugs the hell out of me. As book bloggers, we’re supposed to be literate so when I see glaringly obvious spelling mistakes or grammar issues (using the wrong word entirely, etc.), I want to scream. In a search engine, a reader or someone’s blog roll, that’s the first thing someone will see about your blog. You don’t want it to me a mistake. I’ve had my share but I quickly realize it and go back and fix them, and I’m not immune to typos in my posts. But try and keep them out of the title line of the post. I won’t want to enter your conest, I won’t read the bok you’re promoting and I don’t want to read an expect from that book. The impotence of proofreading, people!

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Donna at Bites, I ALMOST added short reviews to my list. I think some bloggers write short/not quality reviews just to keep getting them up quickly, which in my opinion, is not the best approach. I’d rather post two great reviews a week, with a full summary, why I liked the book, my favorite aspects, and what didn’t work. Great comment! Thanks for joining the convo.

  • I am nodding my head at all of these. Every single one of these is irritating.

  • Yes, yes, yes! These are some of my top pet blogging peeves as well. Requiring a follow for a giveaway is just so obvious (and when you do that, then you could very well end up losing a bunch of followers after your giveaway’s done, anyway!) Another one of mine is light text on a dark background – I really have to strain to read it!

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Danya, Ohhh, yes. I hate sites that have really bad colors and are difficult to read. Again, something I see a lot in this community. I wonder why!

  • I am not much of a follow of the book blogging world, but point #1 is a no brainer. I understand why bloggers might not send the e-mail, they want visitors to keep checking back to see if they won (which increases hits and viewership). BUT reader loyalty is much more important. Those few extra page views aren’t worth it. The blogger is better off sending the email in order to connect with the contest winners on a more personal level and increase reader loyalty.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Brendan Lowry, Completely agree, and like you, I definitely know that that’s why they do it. However, it often backfires because I enter SO many giveaways that I would have no idea when/where to look to go back and check them all. It would just be insane. But like you said, if I won and was notified, I’d probably pay more attention to that blog in the future!

  • I’m glad that you shared some of your thoughts! I agree with word verification being a pain. I’ll still comment occasionally, but not as often as I would if it wasn’t there.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Lindsi, I definitely do comment as well, but it’s just so much more annoying. I hope my post brings awareness to how annoying it really is! Lol.

  • I always email people who win my giveaways. I WANT them to receive their prize. If they took the time to stop by and enter, the least I can do is make sure they know about their win! I post about the winner too, so everyone knows who won.

    You have me going through my blog to check on some of the things you mentioned. I took off word verification to see what happens. Thanks. This was a thoughtful and helpful post.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @June, So glad to hear you’ve decided to give getting rid of word verification a try. Please do let me know if it increases comments! I hope it does. I know I’m always much more likely to comment if word verification isn’t there.

  • Great post! The followers thing really bugs me also. I am in total agreement, I’d much rather have my followers “follow” cause they like what I have to say, not because of a one off contest.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Sarah, Absolutely, me too!

  • I definitely agree with out, although my most hated pet peeve you didn’t mention, but someone else in your comments did. Background music! Unfortunately it does still happen! Or at least I seem to always come across those types of blogs. It’s just so “myspace.” If I wanted to be listening to music I would be listening to it. I think some people use it as a way to create some sort of overall feel, but if that’s the case, at least make it optional!

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Shoshanah, Haha, luckily I haven’t heard background music in awhile, which is why I didn’t add it to this list!

  • Jessica, what an excellent post! The word verification kills me, too. I take the time to comment on a lot of blogs because I really appreciate everyone doing so for me, but when I have to re-enter a word 23942398429038 times, I get frustrated and will sometimes leave without commenting. Moderating comments is such a simple fix.

    Again, love this post! It’s so nice to hear what other bloggers like and dislike around the blogosphere 🙂

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Melissa, Thanks doll! I’ve heard that you’re like a marathon commentor so I can see why this one especially annoys you!

  • Great suggestions! I feel you on the RSS feeds – I don’t even know why I continue to follow blogs with partial feeds because I never even bother reading the summary to find out if its something I’m interested. Rarely a site will get me to actually visit it so I can read the whole thing.

    Also like the email idea for giveaways. I hadn’t even thought of it! Also love the organic growth idea for extra bonuses if you begin following the person on twitter. For my latest giveaway though, people never put their twitter name! So for some I was never sure if they were followers or not…. and I ended up counting everyone as followers anyways.

    I only really disagree with the CAPTCHA.

  • PS worse than the CAPTCHAs are when the page reloads with a verification step. So many times I had commented and left many websites before I realized they had this whole extra step just to share a few thoughts. And the site never remembers you so each time you wish to comment, you have to enter all that again! hate it. won’t comment.

  • I hope you don’t mind if I add another thing that bothers me – maybe it doesn’t anyone else – but why do bloggers include a summary from somewhere else, like Goodreads, and then proceed to use the first 3/4 of their review to summarize the book. I think they should do one or the other. Just my opinion, but I have to read fairly quickly, and I don’t need to read two summaries of the book in one post. Personally, I’d much rather read the blogger’s original summary – not one copied from somewhere else. You can always link to the other summers, if you want.

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Annette, Of course I don’t mind Annette!

      I agree about the summary. I like writing my own summary; I think it makes everything more original and interesting.

  • I just want to repost this – the only thing I’d add (and it kind of falls under cluttered layouts and slow loading times) is auto-play sound. A lot of the recent book count-downs have had music/noise (the one for Crescendo made me want to rip my ears off) and it drives me batty trying to figure out what’s making noise and go turn it off, mostly, I just leave your site and never return. Awesome post!

    P.S. I got caught in the “winner” one and it really pissed me off. Why the hell should I have to come back to your site every five minutes to see if I’ve won then email you? If I caught the contest odds are high that I read your blog every few days anyhow, but I might not have push notifications set up for every time you breath. I mean, hello, you have my email (you made me give it to you when I signed up). This is part of the reason I rarely enter contests (or host them). *end rant*

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Megan Hoover Swicegood, Hahaha, Megan you crack me up!

      I was going to add music, but luckily I really haven’t seen it in awhile! It feels so 90’s to me!

      As for the winner thing, I absolutely agree.

  • I agree with everything you mentioned. Especially about a site’s loading time–if I can’t properly see someone’s page within ten seconds, I just ex out because it’s irritating to wait! Most of the time it’s because there are so many buttons and graphics bogging the page down. Simplicity is definetely key. xD

    And about requiring people to follow for giveaways. I used to require people to follow me in the beginning when I was starting out but once I hit around 500 followers (or maybe less, I can’t remember), I realized that I didn’t want to force anyone to follow me. I wanted people to click the FOLLOW button because they genuinely like my site, not freebies! (besides, a lot of times those people that enter your giveaways and don’t win always end up unfollowing you in the end so…it’s a lose-lose situation.) I do offer extra points though but just for promoting through tweets or sidebar links. Otherwise, it’s just a blogger’s email address and their name and that’s it. It’s less of a hassle for me and my followers 🙂

    Word verification…I know it sucks but I felt more comfortable having it because spammers wouldn’t clog my comments. But then I changed to my new commenting system which I LOVE 😀

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Sandy, Yeah, I think before I switched I may have required a follow at one time, but looking back, it’s just not a smart decision.

  • Good list! If a blog is a partial feed it automatically gets deleted from my reader. I hate it because I followed them for a reason but I just don’t like partial feeds.

    The word verification is my #1 pet peeve. I can handle the ones that have it right there as you comment but I hate the ones where you comment, submit and then the word verification pops up. I am impatient and have several time closed the window before I realized the word verification popped up and lost my comment. Usually I won’t bother to retype my comment.

  • Perfect! You hit the nail on the head for every single one of them! ALL of them are my pet peeves as well!
    I hate it when it’s required to follow to enter a contest. If it’s a book that I want to read then I would follow them anyway. The simple fact they say you HAVE to makes me not want to.
    And verification drives me NUTS! I can’t cruise through their blog reading posts if I have to be verified over and over. I don’t have it and get pretty much NO SPAM. But when I do it’s caught by blogger 100% of the time so far anyway.
    If a blog is slow loading I don’t stick around. There are just too many blogs to read. I don’t have the time.
    Thanks for the excellent post!

    • Jessica Lawlor

      @Candace, Thanks so much for your comment Candace! You’ve hit spot on all of my peeves!