Does the design of your book review blog really matter? How do the color and images of your blog represent who you are as a reviewer? How does blog design affect how your "clients" perceive your skills and abilities as a reviewer? How did you design your book review blog, and what impression are you hoping to make by the choices you made?
L. Monagan: What an ind-depth analysis! Love it! And your'e absolutely right about why these blogs are appealing, and to which age group. Well, I'm not a teen, but I am definitely "a teen-hearted woman"! I got into YA fiction when I first read The Twilight Saga, and then the Harry Potter series. I LOVE both!! Besides, I've always been kinda free-spirited (not in any immoral sense, though; I'm talking about intellectually and aesthetically). I actually abhor the real world of routines and responsibilities. Maybe I haven't grown up yet... Plus, I was never popular in high school, so I missed out on a lot of stuff I'm now reading about in YA fiction. I'm living my teen years now, because I didn't when I was a teen! Lol.
But there's more to it than that. I've always loved, and been attracted to, anything unusual, quirky, and non-ordinary. That's why I love fantasy, science fiction, paranormal romance, and the supernatural in general. Anything that takes me out of ordinary reality -- no drugs or alcohol, though, mind you -- I'll go for!
I agree that it does take more than great design to make a blog successful. But, it's not just the content. From what I've seen, it sure looks like the bloggers who have the most giveaways and author interviews are the ones with the most followers. I'm going to have to look into doing giveaways, because I only have 147 followers, and I've been blogging since September of last year. I think I provide great content -- my latest post is about the great fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien. It provides biographical information, as well as links to other sites (perhaps a little overdone, but then there are those who do enjoy that sort of thing). I also recently participated in a mythology meme, and had posts about Greek and Celtic mythology. My most recent review is of the YA book Passion, by Lauren Kate. I also participate in blog hops. However, followers just trickle in....so it has to be more than content and blog design. It's the giveaways, I think, primarily.
I do judge book blogs to some degree by their appearances. While it's not a huge factor, a blog that's too bright and sparkly detracts from the content of reviews. You get a good idea of the blogger's personality from looking at their page.
I use wordpress because I think that it has a more professional appearance than pages on blogger, and I chose my design for its readability. The header that I have is artwork that I drew one day whenever I was bored.
One thing that I always look for in a book blog is an index of previous reviews. I don't care whether it's arranged by author, title, or even by month, but I like being able to look at the types of books that someone reviewed to get an idea of whether they have similar taste to my own.
what an interesting thread. I agree that tons of pic's and loaded widgets turn me off. Also all white sites can't seem to hold my attention either <sigh> I need color.
My site reflects my reading tastes and my snarky personality. I wanted a professional look, but with a bit of badass too it...
So...let me know what you think :lol:
I think first impressions are very important and if I visit a blog (or any website, for that matter) and find my eyes assaulted by a ton of clashing bright colors, animated flashy stuff and an excess of badges, widgets, etc, all competing for my attention, I have to say that the first impression is not good, and it's hard to get past that. I may not stick around long enough to even find out whether the content would have been worth my while, it's more like "ARGH!!! MY EYES!!!"... followed by a hasty back-click to get outta there ASAP.
I prefer to see something (relatively) simple and un-cluttered and am attempting to get there with my blog, tweaking it here and there to adjust the look/feel. I've seen some seriously impressive layouts that I'm incredibly jealous of, but as I'm a total novice at this stuff, I think for now I will avoid trying to do anything too fancy or I will just mess the whole thing up irreparably, I'm sure!
Michelle - Indolent Reader