Blogger Takeover: Blog First Impressions (Ft. Annie @ Blossoms and Bullet Journals!)

What Makes Me Want to Keep Reading Your Blog?

Followers. If you’re a blogger, you probably want them, but sometimes getting people to follow your blog is harder than simply creating a well-written blog post. There are so many other factors that contribute to whether or not someone decides to follow your blog, and it’s so important to make sure that your blog is set up in a way that will make readers want to keep scrolling and actually read your posts. 

Different readers definitely value different things in the blogs that they follow, but in this post, I’ll be sharing my expectations for the blogs that I read. Hopefully this post will give you some insight on ways to improve your blog so that you can gain some more followers!

I’m Annie by the way, and I blog at Blossoms and Bullet Journals about books and planning. Thank you so much to Saege for hosting me! I’m so excited to be here today to be sharing the top five things that I value in a blog’s first impression.

1. Good blog design

I don’t mean this to sound shallow, but the way that a blog looks is probably the #1 factor in whether or not I decide to keep reading. I want the blogs that I follow to be visually pleasing, and I think this is a reality (if a bit harsh) for most readers of blogs.

Think about it—before anyone actually reads anything that you have to say, the very first thing that they see when they open your blog is the design—the logo, colors, and photos all contribute to the first impression that a reader gets immediately after visiting your blog, before they even read any of the words that you’ve written.

This definitely doesn’t mean that you need to spend money on getting a fancy blog design or anything like that—simple blog designs can be totally aesthetically pleasing and effective. Here are some easy ways to make your blog look nice:

  • Be consistent with your color palette, fonts, etc, and pick colors/fonts that work well together.
  • Make a nice blog header. You can use fancier tools if you want, but I do all of my design with Canva, which is completely free!
  • Use good photos (meaning they have good lighting, aren’t blurry, etc.) in your posts. If photography isn’t your thing, consider using free stock images from sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, or Pexels—just make sure you follow a site’s rules about giving credit to the photographer. (Side note: I would not recommend taking images off the internet from sites like Instagram, Pinterest, etc. without explicit permission from the owners of those images. This gets into copyright issues and it’s definitely safer to stick with stock photo websites like the ones I mentioned earlier!)
  • Don’t use a dark-colored background for your text. Personally, I just really don’t think that white text on a black background is pleasing to the eye.

2. Interesting Topics

So you have your blog design ready to go. That’s great! If a blog’s visuals are nice, I’ll probably stay and continue looking around. 

If I’m considering following a blog, the next thing I usually take into consideration is the types of posts that the blogger writes. If I scroll down a homepage and see a nice variety of posts that interest me, that will make me more likely to hit the follow button. On the flip side, if all of the post titles seem similar and boring, I probably won’t want to read the posts.

This is kind of difficult I guess, because topics are so subjective—what’s interesting to one person could completely bore someone else. What I would recommend though is to try to have a bit of variety in your posts so you can attract lots of people who are interested in reading about different things. 

I’m not saying that you need to write within multiple different niches necessarily, but a bit of variety is probably good—for example, if I’m scrolling through a book blog and there aren’t any lists or tags or anything else besides regular book reviews, I might not be as interested in the blog. This isn’t because I don’t like book reviews, it’s just that I probably won’t want to be reading the exact same type of post all the time.

3. Formatting

Good formatting is another element that’s important to me as a blog reader. If the setup of your posts are nice, it makes them easier to read. I think that one of the most important parts of this is making sure that you don’t have huge chunks of text—make sure to break up your posts to make them more digestible.

The most obvious way to do this is breaking your writing up into shorter paragraphs of course, but I also like it when bloggers use visual elements like photos, graphics, or gifs to make their posts easier to read.

4. Easy Navigation

Make sure that your blog is set up in a way that’s easy to navigate. This means easy access to a search bar, a way for readers to filter your posts by category, and most importantly, an easily accessible follow button. If it’s too difficult to find a follow button, readers will probably give up and decide just not to follow.

5. Grammar

Everyone has typos sometimes, but I find it really difficult to read posts that are littered with grammatical errors. Some readers are more likely to be bothered by grammar mistakes than others, but it can never hurt to proofread a post before you publish it.

One tip for this that I’ve learned from school is to read a piece of writing out loud to yourself before submitting it—this will usually make it easier for you to spot any errors that you might have made.

And those are the top five things that I look for when I’m reading blogs! I hope this was helpful, and thanks so much again to Saege for having me. If you’d like to check out any of my other posts, you can find my blog here.

Annie