By: Melanie | June 18, 2015 | (84) Comments

midnight blogging 101

Midnight Blogging 101 is a sporadic feature where we share advice, tips and tricks for your blog.


Hey guys! So last time when I wrote a blog post about the pros and cons to co-blogging as well as some tips on searching for one, I placed a Google form at the end of the post and out of the responses, three of them were all along the lines of: how do you get more viewers? Alas, I do not have a simple answer, so I made a whole blog post about it.

Hi! How do you get more followers without doing memes? – Anonymous

How do you put your blog out there? (i.e. Get people to read it) – Katie @ Book Arrows

How do you establish a blog? Seems so hard! – Anonymous


A clean design and layout.

Having a clean and appealing design and layout is pretty important because that’s what viewers see first. Not your content, not how you are as a blogger, but your blog design. White text on a black background is probably not the best way to go as it hurts the eyes and will put readers off.

Also, it would be a good idea to cut back on how many things you have on your sidebar! When I just started my blog, I thought that the more information and images I put on my sidebars, the better – but that is NOT the case. Honestly speaking, the only essential things you really require on a sidebar is a search bar, social medias, a little passage about yourself and ways to follow your blog. Maybe a blog button if you have one. Things like putting all your favourite series banners in your sidebar (put on your ‘about me’ page instead!) will only make your blog load slower, which is certainly something you don’t want. Less clutter, the better! 

You do not need to go out of your way and pay a lot of money to get a neat looking blog design. Sure, it is an option if (like me) you cannot deal with code but if you can play around with coding and are willing to take the lunge, whip up your own look!

Here’s some fabulous designers I recommend:

And of course, you do not need to code up a custom design or get someone to create one for you. There are so many template layouts on the internet for free or for less than $15 dollars on! Many of the layouts that are provided on WordPress and Blogger are also great choices. In all – it doesn’t matter where or how you got your design/layout but just remember: try to keep it clean by removing all the irrelevant information that you could place on other pages and simplistic is the key! Having too much going on in your design can be off putting at times.

An easy to navigate site.

It’s really important to have a blog that is easy to navigate around. Sometimes I’m looking for a certain review by a certain blog and I cannot even find it because there’s no search bar. Why? WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME? It’s seriously inconvenient. Also, while infinite scrolling is pretty great for online shopping, but for reading blogs? Not necessarily. Often, I feel like I’m losing control of the laptop when suddenly things are just loading without me doing anything, and it can be awfully distracting! Of course, this is just my personal preference and based on what I’ve heard from friends.

Unique content is key.

While a clean design and layout and an easy to cruise around blog is great and all, what is going to make your visitors come back again is your content. Content is what makes your blog worthwhile, and if you want to stand out, show off your personality in your posts, make them yours, make them unique. Having a variety of posts does help as well. Personally, I tend to follow blogs that have more than just book reviews because I want to know more about the person behind the blog and I love reading random and fun bookish related posts, discussions, tags and posts about the blogger’s life in general!

In simple words: be yourself and throw your personality out there and don’t be afraid to post things other than book related things! Us Midnightians do random posts too like recently when I posted my recap of my American trip or those several times Larissa wrote feminist posts. Of course, if you don’t want to and just like posting book reviews, that’s completely fine as well.

Know what your readers are liking and keep doing it.

Back when YA Midnight Reads got it’s revamp, I also sent out a survey asking what you guys liked, wanted to see more of, see less of and what you dislike. I will be posting the survey results soon, but in general, many of you wanted to see this feature and more random bookish posts. The fact that I know this has definitely helped because I can keep that in mind when stuck on what to post. While book blogging is a personal journey, it’s always funner to have readers as well, and if you do want more of them, identifying what your readers like about your blog already is a good way to go. Of course, you don’t need to make a survey to find out which posts are most popular – just checking out how many pageviews a certain post has gotten is already a good indicator.

Social media and networking goes a long way.

Twitter: Personally, I find twitter the most useful form of social media out there for blogging. It’s a great platform to publicise your new (and old) posts to the internet, and you can make a bunch of blogging friends who may even check out your posts as well!

Goodreads: I actually discovered quite a few bloggers through Goodreads. And, it is not only beneficial if you want more viewers on your blog, but it’s an excellent way to keep track of your reading progress. If you don’t use Goodreads already, you’re insane!

Blog commenting: This is probably one of the best ways you can meet fellow bloggers. If you visit and comment meaningfully on other blogger’s posts, some of them do return the favour. This is also a good way to gain comments on your posts.

Giveaways do actually help.

While it can be agreed that giveaways can give you a bunch of followers on Bloglovin’ or email or GFC etc that don’t actually ‘follow’ your blog frequently, I find that giveaways do make me find new blogs that I’ve never heard about before. So don’t be too quick to think that giveaways aren’t an option. And since everyone loves giveaways, it’s always nice to throw one in for your current readers.

In the end, it’s about the effort you put in.

Book blogging is a hobby, and one that does require a lot of passion. If you don’t have that passion for what you’re doing, it is always going to show. If you have passion, it’s going to show in your posts, and readers will be coming back to read more.

You get what you give!

There is no right or wrong when it comes to blogging. If you only want to post reviews for content, go for it! If you don’t feel comfortable using social media, that is okay! But, these are simply my words of advice if you want to gain readers. And don’t forget – don’t blog for just the sole reason of getting a big following. I hope you guys will find this post of use to you!

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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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84 Responses to Midnight Blogging 101: How Do You Get People To Read Your Blog?

  1. Denise says:

    More on the white font on black page thing you mentioned. I have chronic migraines and for me ANY light on dark bg can trigger them. I don’t stick around blogs that use dark themes. Also cursive fonts, while they look nice, are good for the text of your post. Use them sparingly as headers and footers but user serif or sans serif fonts for the bulk of text.

    This is a really good post thank you for sharing!
    Denise recently posted…Social Post → Waiting on WednesdayMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yes I used to go crazy with all the curly fonts but then I realised they’re a pain to read sometimes because they’re too curly!! Thank you so much, Denise 🙂

  2. Denise says:

    That should have said cursive fonts are NOT good for the text of your post not are good. Silly autocorrect.
    Denise recently posted…Book Review → Protector for HireMy Profile

  3. I’m working on the ‘unique content’ aspect. I find most of my reviews too dull. I must do something to spice them up! Great tips, Melanie! 😀
    Priscilla and her Books recently posted…The Daughter: Review + Tour StopMy Profile

  4. Great post! I’m going to transfer my design over to the Tweak Me 2 theme this summer so I’m hoping it’ll look even better! 😀
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…{ARC Review} Emmy & Oliver by Robin BenwayMy Profile

  5. Alyssa says:

    Mmm, absolutely fabulous tips here. I struggled so long to finally achieve a blog design I was happy with! I personally prefer to learn a touch of HTML/CSS instead of having a designer redo a template you can’t tweak easily. But if you have a clear vision and cash to spare, then designers are totally fabulous. Thanks for all the rec’s, also — I’ll be sure to check them out!

    I absolutely agree that giveaways aren’t as useless as many people claim. After I held a giveaway, the general number of comments I got on each post did seem to rise a little, and I didn’t get a spike of followers that quickly vanished — most of them chose to stay on! Besides, I prefer to think of giveaways as a way to thank my current followers more than to attract new people 🙂
    Alyssa recently posted…Writing Kitchens [1]: Four Favourite WordsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks, Alyssa! They’re all truly brilliant designers. Right? I’ve heard so many people say that giveaways aren’t helpful but I have found a lot of blogs through entering giveaways and it’s a way to thank your current readers too.

  6. This is a fantastic post Mel with all the basics! I think an appealing and easy to navigate design is 50% of it, with content being the next 50%.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir Review: Like a Spark to a FlameMy Profile

  7. I think I have to agree with these. Clean sight, functional, good, regular content and sometimes, giving something away for free does help, so yes. Great post Mel, I’m liking this feature!<3
    Amanda @ Beautiful Bookish Butterflies recently posted…Google Search Tools | How Find Time Restricted TutorialsMy Profile

  8. Great great post! I totally agree that the look of the blog is important. If it is too busy or the colors are too jarring I can’t deal. And of course content is important. But man is it hard sometimes to be original and funny and what not.
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted…Unpopular Opinions Tag (but they are probably popular somewhere right??)My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks, Grace! Yes, I agree! It’s definitely hard to always be funny and sassy and all that jazz. We can only try ahah xD But honestly, as long as the blogger shows of their personality whether it be sass etc… I love it xD

  9. JennRenee says:

    It took me a long time to get personality in my posts. I am awkward naturally and so in person or online I still awkward it up and don’t know what to talk about. So I am working on that….. Trying..

    Clean site yes yes yes. I am guilty of not following blogs that have a very cluttered or busy blog. I feel lost and confused and don’t like it.

    commenting helps a lot too. I don’t always know how to comment on reviews besides hey I liked your review. Makes me want to read it or sorry you didn’t like it;. same with memes. I found its easier to comment on things like this or discussions posts or personal posts so yay for those. That is what I am working on.
    JennRenee recently posted…Tracked by Jenny MartinMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Haha, girl I’m hella awkward too! But awkward posts are fun to read too! They’re pretty funny and entertaining, actually 😛 Yeah I find it hard to comment on reviews as well, tbh! I need to work on that too xD

  10. Cassie says:

    Oh my gosh I love this post!
    This is a fantastic idea.
    I’ve often found one of the best ways to get views is by commenting on other blogs. Participating in things like Top Ten Tuesday always helps, too.
    Cassie recently posted…How Do You Blog?My Profile

  11. Lovely post, dear! I agree with everything!! The first thing I always look at (I think we all do, LITERALLY) is the design. If it’s hard to see things or difficult to navigate, chances are I won’t come back to read more. Consistency is key too. If you post so sporadically, readers will lose interest. Commenting and networking via Twitter helps you gain so many new friends and is a great way to share your posts with a larger web of people. I think giveaways are a nice way to say thank you to your readers. I have gained some avid readers who originally found my blog through a giveaway, so I agree that it does work! Lovely post <3
    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books recently posted…On Opinions and Freedom of SpeechMy Profile

  12. Yes! I totally agree with everything you said. I’m a VERY new blogger. Since I started, I have been getting a feel of different designs and deciding what attracts me to a blog. Eventually I will pay someone to design something for me. The vision I have in my head and my html skills are not friends. As of now, I have created something that is simple enough for the time being :). If a blog is really cluttered I almost always click out. Urgh, I feel so bad for doing that! These blogs could have amazing content and I didn’t take the chance to look.

    I like that you mentioned meaningful comments. It’s so true! I know, personally, when someone leaves a really sweet, thoughtful comment, I feel more inclined to check out their blog. I love leaving meaningful comments as well. It makes the experience 10x more enjoyable.

    Fabulous post as always!

    • Melanie says:

      Ooh welcome to the blogosphere, Sarah xD I’m so glad that you agree with my points. I can suck at writing good comments at times, so I need to work on that.

      Thank you so much <33

  13. Lovely post! Gahh, unique content is HARD. These days, I do try my best to make my content unique–but I’m constantly worrying that my content isn’t unique enough, or I’m accidentally copying someone >.> Social media is GREAT. And I so could NOT live with Goodreads, haha. I love the way how you can track what you’ve read/want to read. (Although my “want to read” shelf is WILDLY out of hand. ;))
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Confession: I Don’t Really Have a Drafting ProcessMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks, Kara! Yes, I’m always worrying that one of my post ideas is similar/same as someone else’s. So annoying! Oh yes, my TBR is just insane and I’ve given up on trying to get on top of it because that’s just clearly never gonna happen.

  14. Thanks for answering my question! And great post! Since school just got out for me, I know I’m going to be putting a lot more time into my blog to make it the best it can possibly be.

    I totally agree with the comments thing. I love to comment on peoples posts and reply to comments. I’ve found really awesome people because of comments. Great post!
    Katie @ Book Arrows recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My TBR For Summer 2015My Profile

  15. Hilary says:

    This is incredibly helpful! Thank you so much, Mel!
    I comment on (I hope) a daily basis because I just have a lot of fun reading what other bloggers write and I usually laugh way too loudly over how witty other comments are.
    Now please excuse me, while I reconfigure my blog while following your instructions.
    Lovely post ! 🙂
    Hilary recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBRMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Hehe glad to help. I’m a bit terrible with blog commenting seeing as I only get around to blogs like once a week or once a fortnight whoops ._.

      Thanks, Hilary <33

  16. Such a helpful post, especially since I just started blogging myself! Will definitely keep these tips in mind!
    Mae @ Such Magical Stories recently posted…Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

  17. Ksenia says:

    Very helpful post, Melanie! I totally agree about design and layout, even if I like content, I probably wouldn’t follow blog where reading is difficult due to design.
    Ksenia recently posted…Audiobook mini-review: Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie StiefvaterMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks girl!! Yeah, design is seriously so important because like you, I easily get put off if the blog isn’t easy to read and navigate.

  18. This is great advice, Mel! Very helpful to new bloggers. I was lost when I started my blog five years ago, so it’s so nice that you and others are helping the newbies now. Great post!! <3
    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted…Lost in Our Thoughts: Is the 3-Star Rating Losing Its Positivity?My Profile

  19. This is such fabulously epic advice. I COMPLETELY CONCUR WITH IT ALL. And honestly? The biggest thing I think of when I visit a new blog is the design. A really incredible design makes me want to follow because I feel like the blogger has good tastes already! (I mean, I check out their content first, too, and stuff, lol…I’m not 100% shallow. just..90%? KIDDING. KIDDING.)
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…The Catalyst // not actually about Sauron’s eyeballMy Profile

  20. Design is VERY important to me. i feel like my stages of design represented who I was when I had i. For example, my first design was a trainwreck and anyone who saw it was like, “oh she’s a newbie.” Now, I can say that I know what I want to do with my blog and I’m confident in my design. It isn’t the most professional and there are a LOT of graphics and colors in the header but it represents me and I love that <3
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…RE: Booktubing vs. Blogging – The Blogger’s PerspectiveMy Profile

  21. Great post. Sometimes I just think it’s luck too – you need to get your blog seen, so visiting and commenting on other blogs is great, and having unique and fun content is important too – but at the same time, sometimes smaller blogs BLOW UP and older blogs stay at a steady pace. It’s hard to tell what works for every single blogger. 🙂
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…If You Feel Too Much by Jamie TworkowskiMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks, Lauren 🙂 Yes that’s so true! There’s so many ways you can help boost your blog, and different ways work for different people. xD

  22. This is seriously some great advice! Thanks for a great post. I am trying to simplify my blog design and working on that right now so I am excited for that. A lighter background is definitely needed for me and new theme haha. It’s hard bc I have so many ideas! Okay I just blabbed about myself (sorry I do that sometimes).

    Also I love the idea of doing a survey to ask followers what content they like best! Great idea 😀

  23. These are some great tips, Mel. I agree that content really is king because no matter how neat the design of a blog is, if I don’t enjoy reading the content, I’m not likely to come back often. I strive to create unique content on my blog, but I’m still working on both that and being consistent with my posting.
    Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination recently posted…Book Lovers: We’re Different, But We’re All Fabulous  (ALSO, I’M LAUNCHING A NEW FEATURE)My Profile

  24. Angel says:

    This is great advice! I wish I knew this when I just started blogging.
    Angel recently posted…Reader Problems TagMy Profile

  25. Valerie says:


    Haha. hahaha…ha ok I’m done.

    On a more serious note, I AGREE WITH THIS ALL. Also make sure your blog is readable. And COMMENTING BACK IS WHAT LED ME TO MAKE FRIENDSSSSSSSSS.
    Valerie recently posted…A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart MakesMy Profile

    • Melanie says:


      You make me crack up, Val. What would we do without you? xD

  26. Cynthia says:

    Great post and I completely agree. I have revamped my sidebar and template a couple of times just to make it a bit cleaner. I have visited blogs before that actually had a very loud background color AND crazy colors for their fonts. I couldn’t even read them because they hurt my eyes.
    Cynthia recently posted…BOOK REVIEW: Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1) by Scott SiglerMy Profile

  27. I agree with everything you said here Mel, and I want to thank you for posting such meaningful advice! I’m always in it for a good blog design and layout. Sometimes, even if that blog has good content and writing, I avoid such blogs with tiny text or texts that are like fading that you need to highlight them just to see it better. It’s such a turn-off 🙁

    I love everything you put here! Thanks so much for all the help once again!
    Jillian @ Jillian’s Books recently posted…An Introduction: Brand New FeaturesMy Profile

  28. Clear, easy to read blogs are definitely the go-to, at least I think so too. I’m not a fan of blogs with dark backgrounds and coloured font – too much effort to read.

    I’m trying to update my blog at the moment – I just got it back up and running, hallelujah! – but want to tweak my design. I want something more unique and clearer, I’m fond of the white background look. Any tips for designs that don’t require money? I’m a dirt poor student with no coding history. A post purely dedicated to that would be a lifesaver.

    Thanks for this, Melanie! I agree with you 100%.
    Rachel Lightwood recently posted…I’ve Got My Blog Back!My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yes, certainly! I’m all far clear and easy to read blogs with great content. YAY! I shall visit your blog soon. Hmm I’m honestly not too sure about free designs, especially for 😐 I do know some designers who host giveaways on their websites for a free revamp so maybe you want to keep an eye out for that but I do know that Butterfly O Meter does designs for about $20-$30 so maybe it might be worth looking into? Sorry I cannot be of much more help, Rachel.

  29. Shannelle says:

    Fabulous post, Melanie! And I love that the end is so positive.

    I want to disagree with giveaways, although mostly, this stems because I don’t have much to giveaway, but it feels like buying followers to me. I followed blogs for giveaways before, I didn’t love it, and while it wouldn’t hurt to actually do it, I can’t, and from experience, I don’t think it’s worth it. But that’s just me. *shrug*

    • Melanie says:

      Thanks, Shanelle! Hehe I tried xD

      I do see your point! I think giveaways are just a nice way to say thank you to your current readers and I found out about some of my fav blogs by first entering their giveaways. I guess everyone is different!

  30. This is a great post, Melanie! I love how it combines everything I’ve learned over the years and heard from other bloggers, all into a nice, convenient place. Meeting new bloggers is definitely my favorite part of being a book blogger – it’s so much fun raving about books with other book-lovers.
    Preethi @ Time Turning Reads recently posted…Early Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay KristoffMy Profile

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  33. Once I started getting into a routine with my posting, I found it easier to come up with quality content because my mind wasn’t obsessing about something else. Once the routine was set, I had extra time to read other blogs and think about ideas to share on mine.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…Scenic Sundays 39: Importance of Travel and Mark TwainMy Profile

  34. Benish says:

    I agree with everything you have said, THANK YOU so much for this. Where were you when I first created my blog?? I agree about having a simple design where people can navigate easily, I hate when themes are soo crowded, it takes the content forever to load :/ Loooovee loovee this post!
    Benish recently posted…Book Edition & Mega Haul(Part Two!) #12 | & Father’s Day♥My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Hahah xD I’ve been wondering the same thing! i needed someone to tell me these things when I just started out lol. Thanks, Benish <33

  35. Charlotte says:

    This is a great post, as it is something that I am always questioning, even though I know that there is no right or wrong answer.
    And it is always nice to have a few hints and tips to put into practice 😉
    Charlotte recently posted…Review: The Last Honeytrap by Louise LeeMy Profile

  36. Very good advice all around! I agree with you on all of it- and honestly, I am SO glad someone finally was real about the benefits of a giveaway! I mean, no, you don’t do it just to have a bunch of followers who don’t care about content, BUT I know that I have not only had people find ME from giveaways, but I have found some of MY favorite blogs from giveaways too! It’s just another way of meeting new bloggers, really!

    And definitely agree with putting yourself out there on Twitter, Goodreads, and especially commenting. You can meet so, so many people that way- and ultimately, isn’t that the point? FABULOUS tips!!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin BenwayMy Profile

  37. So, okay. I’m terrible at long comments but know that this article, Mel, is highly informative and helpful. Like, if I read this a year back? I would’ve done a better job than I did. Bravo! Brava!
    Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome recently posted…EVENT: Leigh Bardugo’s Book Signing in ManilaMy Profile

  38. I don’t like infinite scroll on blogs either! I’d rather go through pages and have control that way.

    I think you have some awesome advice here Mel! There are so many different aspects to blogging with design, content, social media, comments, and all the effort that goes into that. Very true that you get out what you put in for blogging 🙂
    Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts recently posted…Review: A Court of Thorns and RosesMy Profile

  39. Aentee says:

    This is a fantastic post, I’m just starting out with blogging and there are loads of useful info here. Thanks for sharing!
    Aentee recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: SerpentineMy Profile

  40. That’s so true, Melanie! While content is important, your blog design is the first impression viewers are going to get. I think having a readable text, nice color scheme, and easily navigated sidebars are the most important so that it can attract readers and will make them check out your blog frequently. I also think that social media and giveaways makes a difference in the number of your followers. They also help us gain new friends and discover blogs ^_^

  41. Tristan says:

    I agree with you. I also agree about having a simple design where people can navigate easily will keep your readers to stay longer on your blog. You really did a great job on this post! Keep it up! You got a tweet from me.

  42. Devin says:

    “Back when YA Midnight Reads got it’s revamp”

    Just a heads up you made a little typo, its shouldn’t have the apostrophe in it.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips!
    Devin recently posted…Review: Hostile Takeover by Shane Kuhn (John Lago Thriller #2)My Profile

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