Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Creating Blog Features

Montmartre
Where I wish I was right now...

Features are one of the best ways to make your blog unique, "meet" new bloggers, are useful for having something ready to post when you're searching for a topic, and keep bringing people back to your blog. Sounds like a win-win-win, right?

So what are feature posts? Basically they're themed or linked posts that regularly appear on your blog.

Examples of Features


I know that definition was a little broad, so let me give some concrete examples of feature posts. Both of my fellow BBI managers have great features on their blogs. My favorites are Take Me Away... at I'm Lost in Books, Becca's blog, and Fairy Tale Fridays at Tif Talks Books, Tif's blog. Some other successful blog features are Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads, In My Mailbox at The Story Siren, and Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and Bookish.

Notice I didn't include things like The Sunday Salon, Wordless Wednesday, or Booking Through Thursday (is that still going?). That's because these are considered memes, not features. Keep reading to find out why.

Sounds great! But how do I create my own feature?


I'm glad you asked. Starting your own feature is as simple as writing a blog post, but there are some things you should keep in mind when coming up with your own features:

  • What makes you/your blog unique? Feature posts should reflect special features related to you and your personality. Are you really interested in art, music, design? Do you know a lot about food or history? Features don't have to have anything to do with books even if you're running a book blog! In fact, it's sometimes more fun if they don't.
  • How often/long can you keep this up? You might have noticed most of the features I mentioned are weekly—Fairy Tale Fridays, Weekend Cooking, etc. That doesn't mean your feature has to be weekly! It doesn't even need to have a set schedule. But you SHOULD be sure when you start that you can keep posting on the topic on a regular basis for a long time. Horrible at keeping up with things? That doesn't mean you can't have features, just run them for a short time. For example, when I first started my blog I did a weekly feature called Museum Mondays for one month. One month is about all I can manage when it comes to features. I know this about myself.
  • Do you want to turn your feature into a meme? When you post something regularly on your blog, it's a feature. When other people take your topic and post about it on their own blog, it's a meme. That's why The Sunday Salon is considered a meme and not a feature: no particular blogger "owns" or features it. Whereas, even though Weekend Cooking is a meme, it's still a feature on Beth Fish Reads that she created. Make sense? All of that is kind of a prelude to saying you don't HAVE to turn your feature into a meme. In fact, most features are never turned into memes and remain native to one person's blog. THIS IS TOTALLY OKAY. Features will still help make your blog unique and help to bring new/different types of readers to your blog. Keep in mind, too, that hosting memes can be a lot of work. You'll have to promote the meme and comment on all the posts about it. On the other hand, it's fun to grow a community around what you're interested in, and if you build it they will come—don't NOT ask people to join in simply because you're afraid no one will. They will!



Do have any features on your blog? Tell us about them in the comments!

11 comments :

  1. Such a great post! I've had an idea floating around in my head for a while and this has given me some things to think about before launching it.

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    1. Awesome, Monika! I can't wait to see your feature. :)

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  2. I love this post! It clarifies, and it's also makes me think about features as opposed to memes, and how features and memes overlap! Short, sweet, and to the point! Oh, and knowledgeable!

    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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  3. Fantastic post, it has definitely clarified some bits I was confused on, but didn't know who to ask!

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  4. Great post Tasha!! I love this one!! And, it gives me another reason to bring back my feature that I've been dying to do for so long!! :)

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  5. Great info -- especially on the difference between a feature and a meme.

    My blog focuses (most of the time) on Juv/YA books, and I tend to love fantasy, so one of my occasional features (I call them Recurring Segments) is "Classic Juv/YA Fantasy." In those posts, I offer my thoughts on well-known titles like The Water Babies or The Last Unicorn.

    Since I'm also a very nostalgic type, I also occasionally do "Nostalgic Reviews," in which I discuss books I first read in grade- or high-school, and how my perspective on them has changed after 10+ years.

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    1. Oh, and I totally wish I was wherever that photo was taken, too. Sipping that perfect espresso and writing the next great novel :)

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