February 3, 2020
Blog Audit Challenge 2020
This year I’m participating in a Blog Audit Challenge 2020 hosted by Jo Linsdell. The plan is to work on making our blogs even better and setting our goals for the coming months. Each month will have its own challenge to work through. Join us!
January’s challenge is to focus on organization, strategy and the creation of an action plan:
1. Create a Mission Statement For Your Blog
From the earliest days of my blog, I’ve thought seriously and carefully about my mission statement, my niche, and my followers. I’m thankful that my reviews have resonated and connected with so many followers and readers! Thank you!
The mission of my blog is to share a love of great literature across a variety of genres with an intentional focus on new releases, thoughtful themes, diverse cultures, and “own voices” authors. I desire to be a trusted reviewer for your next great read! Conversations are always welcome.
2. Do a SWOT Analysis of Your Blog
What are your blog’s strengths and weaknesses? Opportunities and threats?
I work continually on improving my blog, and when I go back to look at my earliest posts, I see evidence of that! I won’t bore you with the list of strengths and weaknesses I identified, but I do want to highlight one weakness and one strength. I wonder if you’ll agree!
I’m a credentialed teacher, and because I’m also a college graduate with a masters, I’m prone to formal writing. I realized early in my blogging venture that, for me, this is a weakness. Discovering my casual, informal, conversational voice for blogging has been extremely challenging! I often edit my posts to bring out more of the desired tone. It doesn’t come naturally. Some of you may say, “You do you!” And this is true, but the informal tone is what draws me in as a reader and that’s why I desire to adopt that tone as a writer.
Blogging has come fairly naturally to me because my prior training, experience, and natural love for reading has prepared me well! It seems like a natural progression for my interests, work experience, training, and abilities. Why is discussing strengths so difficult?! Self-consciousness aside, I think I’m strong in my ability to present a carefully crafted, honest review that is focused on my love of themes and characters.
In considering opportunities and threats, I quickly realized that there is room for me in the world-wide blogging community and that I need to put myself out there and create my own opportunities through increased interaction and participation. I think the threat is mental and comes from my own fears that “blogging might be too 80s,” “people prefer booktube reviews to written reviews,” or “there are too many bloggers for anyone to notice me.” In spite of the fears, I am comfortable with my mindset that I blog because I’ve always loved sharing a great read with anyone who will listen and reading and writing bring me joy. Each new view, comment, or follower is celebrated and makes my day!
3. Research Others in Your Niche
My niche is narrow (mostly adult new release historical fiction reviews). I’ve been working toward including more “thought pieces” (discussion, how-to, book lists, etc.) to help broaden my reach and encourage engagement.
I’m continually researching others in my niche from the perspective of a consumer to learn what works well. In addition to the usual formatting observations, I discovered that many blogs I love all have an informal, chatty, conversational tone! On a good day, mine seems formal compared to theirs. Maybe I’m too hard on myself? My greatest aspiration is to become more informal and chatty! Maybe it’s similar to the struggle introverts experience trying to become extroverts?
As a blogging nerd, I love reading blog stats and reflection posts by other bloggers. I love, too, that we encourage each other and help each other out. I would tweak this subheading a bit to read: “Research and Connect With Others in Your Niche!” It’s the connections I’ve made with other bloggers in my niche that brings me the greatest joy in blogging.
4. Create a Content Schedule
Year one of blogging was focused on technology, format, and consistency (publication of at least one post per week). Year two was focused on expanding my posting schedule….it took most of the year to build up and maintain my stamina for more than one post per week. I tried a variety of schedules to see which worked well for me. In year three, I’ve found that three posts per week are perfect. Occasionally I publish four. For me, it works well to establish a minimum and then add to that rather than pushing myself to meet a schedule that is too demanding and experiencing burnout.
This is my current schedule:
- Monday: a “thought piece” (discussion, hot topic, book list, how-to, reflection) or an updated post (from older content)
- Tuesday: a meme such as TTT (Top Ten Tuesday) or 1st Line/1st Paragraph (Intro Tuesday)
- Wednesday or Thursday: possible an additional review or meme
- Friday: a main review of the week (sometimes I like to do the Positivity Wave on Fridays and move my main book review to Thursday)…one review per week is my minimum and is non-negotiable!
I like to leave one day a week for planning, working ahead, or updating old content. This is usually Wednesday or Thursday.
I spend about three hours every morning interacting on social media, blog hopping, and returning comments (I’m recently retired so I have this luxury!). I read and write reviews in the afternoons and evenings (working around the needs of my family). Late evenings when the house is quieter, I edit and schedule posts for publishing.
This completes January’s tasks for the Blog Audit Challenge 2020. Are you participating?
If you are a blogger, do you like to reflect on your mission, content, format, or schedule?
If you are a follower and have always wanted to make a suggestion for improvement, now’s your chance! I’d love to hear feedback about why you continue to follow or read my reviews and other blog content. The one thing I probably won’t change is the genres I review.
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
Let’s Get Social!
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***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.
Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.