2009 BIP: Week 1

bip Today is the first day of the 2009 Blog Improvement Project, and the topic under discussion is what goals I have for my blog in 2009. I thought I had this figured out already, but Kim and the authors of some of the articles she links to have brought up a good point: it’s better to have quantitative goals than abstract, unmeasurable ones. Some of my goals fit into the former but then again, some of them were basically useless and fit into the latter. I ended up re-thinking my blog goals and I think I’ve gotten to a point where I can both accomplish them and measure them.

First, I want to get better at writing reviews. Don’t worry– I have a clear idea of how I’m defining “better,” and it even ties into one of my later goals! By “better” I mean I want my reviews to be something I’d be happy to send into a magazine for publication, and less like I jotted ideas down on a napkin and chucked it at the screen. I don’t want to lose any personal touches, but I do want to see my reviews grow into something more structured. The entails figuring out what I already like about my reviews (humor? detailed analysis of things besides plot), what I like about other people’s reviews, and how I can incorporate that into what I want my reviews to be. I’ve kinda already started doing it, but for 2009 I need to bump it up a notch or two.

Actually, maybe that one’s not so quantitative except in an abstract way (feelings! woh-woh-woh feeelings~), but, er. I’m keeping it.

My second goal is to get more involved in the book blogging community. I can (and will) do this by commenting more on others’ blogs, by hosting a book giveaway and by starting a reading challenge.

Branching off of this is my goal to start actively encouraging reader participation. I can do this by coming up with some– oh, horrors!– discussion questions regarding the book, maybe, or just something more general yet related to the book. For my review of The Secret Adversary, for instance, I could ask people to comment with their favorite inter-war detective novels, or with their favorite Agatha Christie character.

My last goal is to turn my blog into something I would want to read if I wasn’t already writing it. This includes everything: the posts, the design, the community, the activities, etc. I’ve already looked at other blogs and have started to figure out what it is I like about those blogs; now I just have to figure out how those things relate to me and my blog, if I can duplicate them or even improve upon them, and put them into action. This is tougher than it sounds, but if I combine this goal with my other goals, I should be on my way to accomplishing it.

I would also like to stop getting spam comments, but that seems an impossible dream.

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0 thoughts on “2009 BIP: Week 1”

  1. Hosting a book giveaway and joining groups are both really good ideas. I totally forgot about how much traffic the giveaway I hosted earlier this year brought. I’m not sure how many people stayed, but it was fun to have more comments for a few weeks anyway 🙂

    I also try to put questions at the end of my posts to encourage comments; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, I think depending on whether I came up with good questions or not.

    Thanks for joining the Blog Improvement Project!

    Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

  2. Those are great goals! I’ve decided to add a question at the end of my posts too (and Miss Marple’s my favourite Christie character) to create more discussion! I’d like to customise my blog design, but WordPress won’t let me edit the html since I have a free account. Frustrating!

  3. Kim: The trick is to lure them with with free stuff and then hook them with your content. It certainly worked on me a few times. ;D

    Eva: Yeah, that is frustrating. I think about the only thing use freebie WordPress users can do is edit the header image and the widgets used in the sidebar. Bummer!

    Cathy: I think that’s probably the best way to go about improving your blog/site. The tricky part is successfully recreating it yourself.

  4. I am looking forward to see you in the book blogging community which I have enjoyed immensely the past months. I began book blogging in 2006 and made two blogs, more or less similar. One in English and one in Danish. As time went, I had to leave to English one to itself, and actually didn’t post anything all through 2007 and only began blogging in English again in October last year. But then I made a point of visiting all the other book blogs I could manage, and wow! Within days traffic was more than doubled and now I rarely post without there being at least one comment on any post. Sadly, I cannot say the same with my Danish blog. The book blogging community in Danish is small and many of them are owned by people who doesn’t seem to want to comment on ANYTHING, which has frustrated me to no end for the past months. Anyway, for now I keep both blogs updated and get my ego polished on the English blog 😉 Looking forward to follow your progresses.

  5. We have some similar goals! I too would like to be more integrated into the book-blogging community. Moving from participant to host would be a great way of doing that.

  6. Louise: Thank you so much for the lovely comment! It’s true that networking does wonders. I’ve gotten better at it in the last few days but I know I can keep improving. 😀

    Beth F: I think part of the problem is that we each have our own blogs and so we’re rather spread out. Things like giveaways, contests, and challenges definitely help to bring us all together. I think that without all the book contests I entered the first week I became a book blogger I wouldn’t have met nearly so many people nor found so many awesome blogs. 😀

  7. Great goals!
    I am less ambitious with regard to ´professional´ book reviews. I rather like personal, idiosyncratic reviews and comments on private blogs, but they need not be sloppy. I caught a glimpse of Peter Wimsey on your page. Does that mean you read & comment on crime fiction? I read much else, especially for my job, but my blog is specifically for criminal intent 🙂

  8. Dorte: Not being sloppy is exactly what I want! I suppose I view “professional” reviews as being more structured and engaging, and that’s what I want my reviews to be. I’m not entirely sure how to do that yet, but I’m working on it. I suppose it’s just a matter of writing a lot of reviews and paying attention to how I write them. 😀

    And yes, I’m a big fan of mystery/crime fiction! I tend to go on streaks of reading the genre, and right now I’m on a pre-1950’s detective streak. I should have reviewed quite a few of them by the time the month is up, heh.

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