To rate or not to rate, that is the question…

Okay guys, so here is the situation. I can’t decide whether or not to have a rating system go into place on my blog.

what am i gonna do new girl

So far, I have not used a rating system, and I feel like this has been successful for me thus far. BUT, sometimes I wish I did have a rating system for the benefit of my readers. When one of you amazing people that reads my blog goes in to read a review, you’re going in blind! You have no idea what I’ve thought of this book and if it’s going to be a negative, positive, or raving review! And I feel bad for you.

Personally, I love going to a blog where I can plainly see at the beginning of a review whether or not they liked the book based on a star or word rating system. That being said, I have nothing against blogs that don’t do that. Heck, I don’t even do that!

The thing that I think is holding me back the most is that sometimes I find a book that is extremely hard to rate. Or even a book that isn’t completely terrible, so I won’t want to give it the lowest rating, but if I give it one up I’ll feel bad because there are other books that I have given that rating that I like a lot more than the book I am trying to rate.

I just feel like:

I'm terrible at expressing my feelings

So basically, I need help deciding on whether to have a rating system on my blog. What do you find useful? If you are a blogger, do you use a rating system? Do you like it? If you are not a blogger, do you appreciate when bloggers use a rating system? Let me know in the comments below!

help a brotha out new girl


33 thoughts on “To rate or not to rate, that is the question…

  1. Why not sort of reinvent the rating system? I personally like seeing ratings, but they hardly ever effect if I read a book or not. As someone who used to review books (and still does occasionally) and used a rating system I completely understand where you’re coming from though. Maybe have some sort of archive that lists books you Loved, books you Liked, and books you have no strong feelings for (or something similar)? That way you can give your readers some idea of how you felt about the book before they dive in, but you don’t have to confine yourself to worrying about putting a book in a category that has another one that you don’t feel the same about. :D

  2. I have mixed feelings on the whole rating system debate. I like it for me, just because it helps me organize the books I’ve read, but really – I don’t have a set system to how I rate the books. I think that sometimes – it’s nice to be able to see exactly what a blogger thought of the book by just looking at the rating, but it’s not something I generally pay attention to.

  3. I personally love rating systems, and I think you should definitely try it to see if it works for you. I always like to see just an overall rating when I read a review. It’s simple and it’s nicely organized. I DO think that rating books can be really, really hard. I struggle with this a lot, but in the end, I just like how it looks on my blog, and how it makes it possible for me to really highlight 5 star books. I mostly struggle with 3/4 stars, but yeah. You could use whatever system you feel comfortable with, whether it’s a simple star (with or without half) system, or one where you just sum up the book in one word. Or something else entirely. All in all, I don’t think rating books is for everyone, but I do think you should try it out, just to see if it works for you. :)

  4. Since you made it clear that your implementation of a rating system would be for the reader’s benefit, I suggest you to test it out first. Your lack of one has not hurt your blog, but it would help your readers to know what to expect in the review. As a blog reader, I certainly appreciate that. I never look at a rating and readily decide that it is a bad or good book. I read the actual review.

    Though you do have gracious intentions, I have seen many people who find that applying ratings is a daunting task. I, personally, have no problem with them. I use a Goodreads-esque system that is perfect for me. So I think it is best that you try it out and see if 1)it has any impact on readers (maybe ask for feedback or observe your comment stats) and 2)you can comfortably rate a book without it feeling as though a burden. Hope that helped. Good luck!

  5. I think it’s entirely up to you! Do you feel comfortable having a rating system? I used to have star ratings but I had to change that because I’m one of those people who messes everything up for everyone else by not using the star system correctly. I’M THAT PERSON who’s saying, “Awww, three stars. You didn’t like it?” When most people use three stars for good but not great. I think that’s because in my head, I almost equate stars to letter grades (which may have been a better idea although those are interpreted differently as well) because A is fantastic, B is good… And for me when I was a student, if I got a C, that was not a good grade and not just “average”.
    SO. I realized I should probably change my rating system which is why I switched to something that sort of went with my blog’s theme and I used words instead of numbers or letters. I felt like I constantly had to explain my ratings so why not just start with words and be clear right off the bat!?
    I think you just have to find out which system works best for you and how you feel your ratings will best be heard! you don’t even have to use ratings! I actually follow quite a few blogs who just review and share their opinions and don’t have any rating at all. Sometimes that’s refreshing because then I’m not relying on stars to tell me what you thought and it leaves room for me to interpret their review and gauge how I might feel about that book — whether for better or worse.
    SORRY. Long winded. But hopefully that helps! :)

    • IT’S OKAY. haha. And yes! That totally did help me out. I think I’m going to end up using a non-number or letter based rating system. I’ll probably come up with 5 or so categories that the book can fall under, and have them all listed on the side of my blog for reference!

  6. I’ve been thinking about trying to put some form of “rating” on my blog, though I’d prefer to use words or phrases, as opposed to numbers. I just have a very difficult time quantifying a book with stars, for instance, so it’ll be a difficult thing to have that type of rating system. If that’s what you’re comfortable with though, go for it! I’d say that you should have a rating system that works for YOU.

  7. I had this very debate with myself! In the end, I decided I couldn’t keep a rating system because when I rate on Goodreads, everything seems so arbitrary and ridiculous. A lot of stuff that I didn’t like to the same degree ends up with the same number of stars. I figure, if someone is reading my blog for book recommendations, they probably like to read, so they shouldn’t be too annoyed if I ramble through my thoughts instead of giving them a number of stars (or penguins) from the get-go. :)

  8. I think a rating system is almost essential – not that I won’t read blogs that don’t have one (case in point). But I know from my own experience of reading blogs, AND of being editor for a magazine: people don’t have patience for huge swaths of text. A rating is just a good summary of a review, like you said: people know what they’re getting into. I mean, no rating system? Then people scroll through your blog and will likely only click on titles they recognize. You have a rating system? “That book got 1 or 5 stars? I’ve never heard of it! Why?” And in that sense, and I don’t know if it’s been proven or not, I think you can greatly up your blog traffic.

    Finding the right rating system for you is as harder issue, like Judith who struggles with it constantly. I decided to stick to a 5 point system so that I could easily translate my ratings to Goodreads, but added the half points for the books that are kind of in between. When I first really started my blog and had to decide on ratings, I just looked at the books I had reviewed already and started picking ratings for them based on where I felt they fit. Based on that, I wrote short descriptions for what each rating (also the .5s) meant to me, and now, when I write reviews, I look at those descriptions before I rate (or look at books with that rating and seeing where the current book fits).

    Hope that helps a little.

    • It definitely helps! Thanks for taking the time to comment :) Now I can’t decide if I want to use stars or words again! DAMN YOU DEBBY!!! Just kidding!! Love you aahhahah

  9. I think this is a question that every blogger has to come to terms with at some point. Basically, it comes down to what YOU want to do. Which I know is not particularly helpful, LOL. But it’s really true.

    Personally, I still use star ratings (complete with half stars) for my own OCD purposes. I am all about lists and ratings and straightforward things like that. BUT I found that I apparently rate a little different than the majority of the blogging community. I didn’t go out handing out 5-star ratings left and right. Not counting re-reads, I have literally read ONE 5-star book since I started blogging over a year and a half ago. And I’ve read some pretty mind-blowing books. I just don’t want to hand out the 5 star rating unless a book really is flawless.

    Therefore, while I do still use ratings for myself, I don’t put them on my reviews anymore. I made up a system where I basically rate how addicting the book is. From “Stash in the Glove Box” to “Stay Up ’til 2 AM” and other things like that. I thought it was a fun way to share a big element of the book without fixing a number to it.

    I do prefer to see some sort of rating on other blogs. Whether you use a simple system like Rather Be Reading, the straight-up 1-5 rating, or something else. Even something like the post-it reviews on The Perpetual Page-Turner . I just want a way to see your overall thoughts in less than 5 seconds. If you are going to use stars, I would advise having a little key on your sidebar (or otherwise easily accessible) with a short summary of what your ratings mean. That way I can determine if you’re one of those people that use 5 stars to mean “loved it” or “HOLY CRAP I WOULD READ THIS BOOK 50 TIMES AND WALLPAPER MY ROOM WITH ITS PAGES.”

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  11. I personally thank rating systems are a must-have. At least for me as a reader of blogs, I don’t like not seeing them. When I read a review, I like to immediately know what I’m getting into and what I can expect: is it a positive review or a negative one?

    And that being siad, I don’t mind what rating system you use as long as there is one. You can use stars or word ratings (like “Loved It”, or “It Was Okay”). I just like to see *something* in big text/images somewhere that conveys how you felt about the book so I can look at that before reading the review!

    • I’m in complete agreement with you there! And for that reason I think I am going to implement a rating system on my blog. I mean, it would be a little hypocritical for me not to :P

  12. I love my rating system, I use Ashley from Nose Graze’s Rating Report WordPress Plugin that breaks down a book into categories that you can rate separately and then averages them all out to a rating. I feel like it really helps readers get an accurate representation of what I liked and disliked. The reason I don’t like rating systems is pretty much for one reason and that is there are only five stars, I feel like there really needs to be ten or even more. When I look back at I book I rated 4 stars and once I just read in my mind, they are not equal at all-so how come they have the same rating? I tend to really focus on a review more if someone doesn’t have a rating system, though. Great post!

  13. I’ve a simple Goodreads style rating system in place and I love it! Personally, I love to see what a person thought of a book looking at the rating and it becomes clearer for me whether the book being reviewed is for me or not. That being said, rating books is a hard job and I sometimes struggle with it and leave my mind to its own devices to sort out just how much I did or did not like a book. I think you should try it out and see if it works for you though.

  14. I didn’t read anyone else’s comments…. but my opinion on ratings systems is that they can be helpful, but misleading. Yeah, vague… I know! I personally don’t like them nor do I pay them any attention. Sometimes a book can be really AWESOME but maybe just didn’t do it for me. So it can get a 3 rating. Which I think people think looks bad. For me and how I review books a rating system doesn’t work. For others… it does.

    I did see that someone up there said to invent your own rating system. Maybe don’t do a “star” rating but compare it to something. There’s a blogger out there (can’t think of her name, sorry!) who uses Harry Potter references to rate her books. It’s fun and really cute… and puts the rating in a way I can relate to. Brittany at The Book Addict’s Guide (who I see already commented :) ) uses phrases to rate a book (Buy it! Missing Something! etc.) which tells me how it’s rated, but also why it’s rated that way.

    Finding what works best for you and your needs is the way to go. I say use whatever you feel comfortable with. Not especially helpful, but in the end you don’t want to use something you don’t feel comfortable using!

    • The Harry Potter one sounds fun! I’m probably going to sit down later today and give this a lot of thought, and hopefully get it up and running on the blog! Thanks for your comment :)

  15. You should for sure have a rating system. It helps people get a really quick glance about what you thought of the book. I don’t use stars or anything.. I actually use crystal balls to match my personality. Some have fog in them, some have sun… it’s just fun!
    Angela’s Anxious Life

  16. I find even my own rating system needs so tweaking, or more stars, or less… I just have trouble because I don’t want to do “halves”, but I write them out in the tags section and just round up with my picture.
    I’m still working on how to design my blog and it’s accessories, but all in due time we’ll all get our stuff figured out :)

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