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The Blog Improvement Project


The Blog Improvement Project is timely as I have been conceiving a makeover of the blog. It is a year-long challenge that will consist of twice-monthly activities to improve the blog. Every first and third Monday of the month Sophisticated Dorkiness will post an activity that will related in some way to making the blog better. Then I should spend the next two weeks focusing on that aspect of their blog. So this will be like a Weekly Geek on blog improvement. I’m excited to be part of this challenge as my main goal for this blog is to write better content, build community with readers and blog layout and design. Here we go…

The first topic of the challenge is on setting goals. What do I want to accomplish with the blog this year?

Content. Other than improving the writing of the blog content, I wish to focus more on in-depth reviews of literature and non-fiction. In literature I want to write about the writing style, the language, and the structure of a novel. Although I have blogged about gay life and travel, which will be preserved, I want this blog to be known as one of the prominent book and literary blogs.

Design. Design and navigability go hand in hand. I am not keen on heavy graphics and multi-media features like flesh and java scripts, but I would like to organize the ever-growing information on the blog in a manner that would be more accessible to readers. For example, I would like to overhaul the design of Moleskine Book Reviews so that readers can search reviews by titles and author’s last name.

Community. I used to worry about low traffic if I cannot keep up with reading other blogs and attending to comments left by readers promptly. The ultimate secret is to write thoughtful pieces on specific topics (in this case book-related) that will bring the visitors back. Musing Mondays and Booking Through Thursday ask very thought-provoking and fun questions that I can reflect on and share with my readers, who have, as in the past several months, in turn left their very thoughtful comments on my blog. The result is a discussion forum that has been born. Another overhaul item is to group some of these posts into an editorial section under a new tab. I wish to take this higher and build the community out of readers and book bloggers. One question I ask: Is my book blogging community at my blog?

Search Engines. I never submit my blog to any search engines. In fact, Yahoo! and Google do not accept submission of a personal website to their directory. I do find a chunk of my blog traffic streaming in from search engines. Most of the search engine key words are book titles, author, or literary terms. One social media site that does monitor blogs is Technorati, which doesn’t even require a submission. It tells you how many blogs are linked to your blog.

What are the goals for your blog this year?

12 Responses

  1. What a great post! 🙂

  2. Just remember to back up your blog prior to redesigning. I learned that the hard way!!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’ve recently redesigned my own blog which did produce a bump up in readership. I want to see more hits this year. I would like to set up one author interview a month as well. These have not produced more hits at this point, but I find them lots of fun to do. I’m trying for one post a day and I want to keep these as book related as possible. It can be difficult to keep reading enough to come up with daily content.

    One major plus from all of this blogging is that I’m spending much more time reading. I’m just about ready to cancel my Netflix subscription, maybe get rid of the television altogether.

  4. Those sound like some great (and very aspirational) goals!

    When I made my title and author alphabetical review directory, I used excel. Everything (including the bits of html code) got its own column, and it made life MUCH easier.

  5. Sounds like there will be exciting changes in A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook. I have always enjoyed your reviews so I’m all for making them more accessible to your readers. The editorial idea sounds great, too!

  6. Your goals are great, Matt!
    I wanted to revamp my blog but I just don’t know where to start, LOL. I guess I’m still in my comfort zone, haha.

  7. Great goals. I really like the one about making it easy to find the reviews. And you’re right, about the memes. They have definitely been instrumental in making me feel connected to people in the community. I’m not much of a writer (and no hidden desires to be one), so the memes are a way I can add a personal touch to my blog. Without them, I’d likely have only photos and reviews.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s progress with the BIP

    Anyway: Come on by and pick up an award here.

  8. These all sound like worthy goals. They will enhance what already is important: the quality of your writing; the quality and inherent interest of your chosen subjects; your quirky personality; your willingness to respond to your readers. There are other things, too. There’s something of Matt the person that comes through, and one can’t help but respond to that. I hope we can look forward to your blog for a log time to come.

  9. replying to your post on my blog:

    – Bondy Chiu’s album is a jazz cover album of some 80s, 90s Cantonese/Mandarin Pop songs… i really like the collaboration between her and her musicians… though some song choices are awkward, overall, she’s able to bring new life into these songs…

    – Not a big fan of Hemingway, but i really liked “The Sun Also Rises”!

    – Catch 22 was boring at times for me, but quite funny too, all those crazy soldiers.

  10. I am really enjoying reading everyone’s goals. I have seen some good ones. I really like the questions on Musing Mondays and BTT as well. I tried out a bunch of different memes mast year and though I like them all I am trying to decide which ones I want to commit to regularly in the new year. Good luck with your goals!

  11. Wow, this is a very inspirational post! I don’t know if I’ll be offically participating in this project, but I know for sure that in 2009, I’ll be focusing more on the written content of my blog.

    When I first started blogging, it was more a personal place to keep track of my reading etc etc. Now I’m definitely more involved in the community of book lovers out there, and like you, I want to produce meaningful [and well-written] posts 🙂

  12. Matt, Please check how I do my list, especially the book reviews.

    Every year, I change the post date of the book review post to 12/25, so I can remember where to find it.

    I have it organized by alpha order by author’s last name.

    I sometimes forget to update, but I am trying to remember

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