June 8, 2012

Armchair BEA: Ask the Experts

Banner by Nina @ Nina Reads
The final day of Armchair BEA is about the future of book blogging.  It is a day to share tips and ask questions.  I'm going to start by asking a few questions and finish with my (limited) wisdom.  I may have four years of blogging behind me, but I have a lot to learn!

  1. Will you visit In Bed With Books after ABEA is over?
  2. What made you want or not want to return?
  3. Are there any features of IBWB that you think are really cool?
  4. What do you think of the layout?
  5. What could I change to improve IBWB?

And now, my top five book blogging tips!
  1. Never, ever turn on reCAPTCHA or whatever your blog's equivalent is.  It makes it hard to post comments, especially when you have to try three times to answer correctly like me.  If you want to build a community, don't make it hard to take part.  (ETA: If you have a spam problem, turn on comment moderation instead.)
  2. Don't clutter your sidebar(s).  A clean layout loads faster and is easier to follow.
  3. Always credit.  Did you take a graphic from somewhere?  Add a caption.  Did someone's review affect your perception of the book?  Link it.  Are you paraphrasing someone?  Link the original.  Are you quoting someone?  State who you're quoting.  It doesn't take more than a couple of seconds to give proper credit.  Thievery is not cool.
  4. Keep sticky notes handy or tear a piece of paper into little bits to serve as markers.  Use these to tag pages with important quotes or events that represent the beginning, middle, and end of the story.  Doesn't have to be many; I usually tag three to five things.  Before writing your review, read those pages.  By the time you're done reading, you might've forgotten how the book began.
  5. Visit blogs that aren't on your blogroll at least once a week.  Seeing something fresh can spark your creativity. 
ETA:  Just for fun, have a behind-the-scenes peek at IBWB. (Click for full size.)



29 comments:

  1. Wonderful advice. And may I just say, regarding your comment on Captcha: amen! ^_^ It seems the images are getting harder and harder to identify. When I have to resubmit more than once, i'm not a happy camper.

    And to answer your questions.... I really dig that you are a multi-faceted person (your "About Me" rocks!) in addition to being a book lover. To me, it says that you will have engaging, interesting things to say.

    Regarding the layout, I like its simplicity...nothing too taxing on the eyes. Regarding the compatibility across browsers, I would suggest doing a test to make sure the blog looks OK across the board. (At the moment, the width of the main body of text is so wide that I initially didn't realize there was a sidebar. I'm using Chrome, so maybe that's what's causing it.)

    (and btw, thanks for the blog visit!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!

      I did not know that about my sidebar. I use Firefox and test in Chrome and IE9 . . . I bet it's my screen! I use a widescreen computer. Maybe if I put the sidebar on the left?

      Delete
  2. A wonderful post & great tips :) I too love the simplicity of your blog, it's neat and tidy with no clutter.

    I have recently turned Captcha back on because of the # of spam comments I was receiving.

    My post - http://obsessionwithbooks.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/armchair-bea-day-five-future-of-book.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try turning on comment moderation instead.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for stopping by to visit my post from yesterday about life beyond the blog. :) I appreciate your compliment on my blog's layout as well. :) To answer your questions:

    1. Will you visit In Bed With Books after ABEA is over?
    Most likely. :)

    2. What made you want or not want to return?
    Well, your blog is actually too wide for my computer screen (I'm on a Macbook Pro), so I have to scroll sideways to read things. It gets kind of tiring.

    3. Are there any features of IBWB that you think are really cool?
    I have not been following you long enough to know of any.

    4. What do you think of the layout?
    I do like the simplicity and lack of clutter. And I love purple! My only suggestion would be to shrink the size of your blog's body so that it works for computer monitors of all sizes. I'm assuming you're on a computer with a large monitor, so the entire blog shows up on your screen without having to scroll sideways. The cardinal rule of web design, which I got my degree in, says to have your site's content be 800 pixels wide. That way, the entire site fits on almost all monitors. So if your sidebar is 200 pixels wide, make your blog's body 600. You get the point. It's easy to edit that in the template editor in the dashboard. Just a thought. :) I think it would really help!

    What could I change to improve IBWB?
    Like I said, I'm brand new to your blog... so I really don't know what to tell you here.

    I'd love it if you stopped by my blog and took my survey!

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can I copy Jana? I have the same comments. :)

      I totally agree with Rule #1, get rid of Captcha!

      Delete
  4. Oh! Never mind! You did take it. :) first one, too! Thank you! Oh, and I love that you don't use a captcha. I hate those!

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the advice about width! I'll adjust my template now.

      Delete
  5. Nice post!! :) I completely agree about the crediting! and I love sticky notes in books!! For my favourite parts <3 <3 <3
    I think I will return to your blog ;) And the layout - yeah, it's simple and may be easier to follow - but I really love side bars :P :P They are my thing :) Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Sticky notes work so well for so much.

      Delete
  6. Those are great tips! So sane!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't like to recommend anything insane.

      Delete
  7. Great tips! Especially the captcha one.

    I'll definitely be returning! I've already added your blog to my feed reader. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm glad you like the blog.

      Delete
  8. I like that you posted questions specific to your blog. I’m sure lots of blogs could benefit from having some feedback forms like that. As for me, I will definitely be subscribing and returning to your blog! Why? Because after reading your About page, I see that we have a lot in common (love of travel, dance, ice skating) and you read a wide variety of books, same as me, instead of sticking to just one genre. I do like your layout and backgrounds. It’s simple and elegant, not overwhelming or cluttered. The only thing is that I have to scroll over to see your sidebar, but I’m not sure if that’s because of my settings or yours. Still, it’s a nice blog and I’m glad to have found it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should be able to see my sidebar now!

      It's nice to meet someone so similar!

      Delete
  9. I have grumbled so many times this week at CAPTCHA, that I can't even count anymore. You should have put that in BOLD :)

    The sticky notes is a great tip. I take the small size ones, cut them in thirds, and stick a few to my bookmark so that I always have them ready to mark important quotes or passages that I want to highlight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope all the grumbling comments about Captcha changes the mind of anyone using it.

      Delete
  10. Agree with number 1 entirely- I can't even count the number of times I've written a comment and it hasn't saved because of word verifications and just grrrr! Commenting should be effortless!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Tips #2 & 3 are golden. Cluttered sidebars slow down blog loading. Some bloggers might think those photobucket slideshows look nice, but if its one I want to keep visiting, those are the first things that get adblocked. Especially on photos and artwork, many people take those without a care. Most artists have terms of use, and will gladly let you post their works with linkage; others do not, and will come after people using their works against their terms.

    You have a nice, simple and clean layout. I've got you in my Google Reader, so I will keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I have limited bandwidth per month so I hate the slideshows. (Although some are pretty.)

      Delete
  12. I'll try to return! I like your layout, it's easy to navigate around and simple. :) ah yes with 1! I'm always dismayed when I finish a comment and then I have to go through captcha!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I will most likely visit, although I discovered so many bloggs during ABEA that I'll probably have to rotate them in order to not make blog-visiting a full-time job!

    You are very concise and simple style and get straight to your point.

    The layout is a bit too wide for me to see your entire sidebar. It cuts off halfway through the sidebar. I'm in Google Chrome on a widescreen monitor.

    Other than the formatting, I think you're good!

    Great post! Thanks for stopping by my Armchair BEA Ask the Experts post.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I can't believe I forgot to mention word verification. I hate word verification!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great tips! And yes Captcha is evil!
    You have so many posts scheduled! *admires* I'm so unorganized...

    ReplyDelete

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