2019 Blogger Resolutions – the results!

It’s now becoming traditional for me to set goals at the beginning of the year, then reflect how I’ve done by the end. Following my failure to achieve these the last few years, I’ve significantly dropped my numbers, in the chance of actually meeting a couple!

Book pages text
Patrick Tomasso via Upsplash
    • Increase subscribers to this blog to 980, excluding twitter followers

    I managed to get to 950, so am considering this a win!

    • Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 6500)

    Not quite there, though my numbers have increased on the last few years to over 6100 views.

    • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 950)

    Not there, hovering around the 760 mark

    • increase twitter followers to @bxbrum (to 250)

    Nearly there, hovering at the 230+ mark

    • Read and review 60 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks. I’m going to take part in 2 challenges this year, keeping m6 numbers low, but I see the two tying in together quite nicely.

    Not even close. LOL. See other posts

    • Get my Netgalley ratio into the 70% range (from 65%).

    Upped to 66%

    • To aid in reading the books that I already have there will be a moratorium on requesting books from Netgalley or LibraryThing, and reviewing books I already have

    I Haven’t requested stuff of netgalley or librarything for a while (except the stuff I’m auto approved for).

    • Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.

    Something I must do better at. I’ve been capturing analytics data for a year now, I just need to take time to digest what the numbers are telling me.

    • Take part in twitter chats such as #ContentHour, #BrumHour

    My participation dropped off in the second half of the year, but I feel I did get a level of support when i did take part

    • Ensure about and contact details are maintained and up to date

    The new Unconvention twitter feed is as up to date as I can make it. .I’m still not accepting submissions, so I’ve not reintroduced my email address on my blog

    • Make use of scheduling and planning software

    Because of taking part in the 2019 and 2020 Bookcrossing Uncon, I’ve paid to upgrade my scheduling software, and have been making use of the service more. I’ve also set up google alerts to help me find different content to share, which I hope people are finding interesting. I’ve also started to make more use of my Pinterest boards

    • Do more posts about sewing, my cross stitch and quilting in particular. I’m not putting numbers on this.

    I’ve done few personal posts about sewing, but I have tried to be a bit more vocal in sewing groups and sharing other people’s content.

    • Comment more on other people’s blogs – I’m not going to put a number on this as it’ll be a nightmare to track. Just “do more”.

    I’ve commented on a couple of posts, “Pinned” a few more, but that’s about it

    • Release more books via Bookcrossing, either in OBCZs or via RABCKs.

    Certainly doing this! My flat currently looks like a second hand book store with all the books that need to be taken to various shelves around the place.  Telford Train Station and Moor Street Station seem to be the most voracious.

     

 

 

 

 

 

2020 Blogger Resolutions

It’s now traditional for me to set goals at the beginning of the year, then reflect how I’ve done by the end. Following my failure to achieve these the last few years, I’ve significantly dropped my numbers, in the chance of actually meeting a couple!  The post for 2019 results will be out soon so here are the 2020 resolutions

Book pages text
Patrick Tomasso via Upsplash
  • Increase subscribers to this blog to 1000, excluding twitter followers
  • Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 7000)
  • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 950)
  • increase twitter followers to @bxbrum (to 280)
  • Read and review 50 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks.
  • Get my Netgalley ratio into the 72% range (from 66%).
  • To aid in reading the books that I already have there will be a moratorium on requesting books from Netgalley or LibraryThing, and reviewing books I already have,
  • Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.
  • Take part in twitter chats such as #ContentHour, #BrumHour
  • Make use of scheduling and planning software
  • Release more books via Bookcrossing, either in OBCZs or via RABCKs.

 

 

Sometimes the simplest tools are the best

A variation of the below first appeared as a comment on the following blog post, Where Abby Glassenberg responds to a follower’s email.

 

Why I Run My Business on a Yellow Legal Pad

 

Work TO Do lists

Once in a while I go looking for electronic tools to help me out on things like “to do lists”. I have tried things like Evernote etc., but have never managed to settle on any one piece of software in particular.

I’ve got out of the habit for various reason, but one of the things I did (back before we used Portable Computers with wifi at work, haha), was have a notebook to take notes of meetings, and I would also have multiple post it notes somewhere….During meetings, generally when I was bored, or my mind was skittish with too much to do, I’d write my to-do list on the post-its. Easily movable, ditch-able, etc. Great for working!

At work I now use the “check flag” option on emails, which creates an annoying pop up, or create a specific task, again for the annoyance factor. Surprisingly effective, at least for me, in order to get work stuff done one way or another.

suzy hazelwood to do list

Personal To Do Lists

I have yet to find an equivalent for home, though I am currently looking at the hardback diary sitting on my table, barely used. My handbag is already heavy – for some unknown reason, and I don’t want to add more stuff in to make it even heavier.  My iPad already comes with me.

I use the “notes” app on my ipad to start writing anything up to a blog post.  I never get a full blog post on the notes app – there are things like spelling and formatting that get to be done on a computer with a writing app before the post ever gets published.

What do other people use to do things like to do lists? The thing that put me off with Evernote is that it seemed to need a permanent connection to the internet in order to work properly.  There didn’t seem to be a “off line” version, where you could store your info locally and have it sync the next time you were on the wifi.  Am I wrong in this?

Blog Posts and Media Content Packs

When I had more blog posts to schedule, I made use of an excel spreadsheet, with a sheet per month, and I added in posts (either complete or ideas).  It allowed me to get into some kind of predictability – a book review post on alternate days, a book related essay alternate Sundays, a craft related post alternate Fridays.  Having used up my stock of posts, I have no more post to schedule that far in advance. Posts now come out within a few days of me writing them.  There is currently no formal schedule (sorry).

However………I do have a version of a media content pack, to help me with content.   It provides me with several things:

  • a list of post titles and links.
  • Each post should be marked against at least one category. e.g. Romance. Historical. Textiles.  Therefore if I want to tweet about a specific subject (e.g. May holding Free Comic Book Day, so lets talk about comics), I can find my posts about Comics and focus on them……
  • A sheet per month (similar to the above) which reminds me of anything specific, such as a specific day or month. e.g. June 2019 will be dedicated to a friend talking about Persephone Books; 13th May is Daphne Du Maurier’s birthday, so should I be reading or writing about her books during that week or month?; etc.

 

Bullet Journals

In looking for images for this post, I was reminded of one thing I’ve never really gotten into – Bullet Journals.  What do you know? Love em? Hate em? Cant do without?

bich tran Bullet Journal

So you, Constant Reader

What tools to YOU use to keep things on track?

 

Challenge 2019: working in my Twitter

Last year I changed the way I tweeted about stuff, including my own content. Despite reading only 30 something books, and therefore posting less review posts, I actually saw an increase in traffic to my blog.

A change in how how my twitter scheduling software handled future tweets also meant that i had to actually put more thought into what I tweeted.

I have also tried to create some kind of content calendar for 2019, that might go some way to helping.

So, my general themes for 2019 are as follows (this Will change!). This does not take into account any reading challenges, Readathons or general background chatter I pick up on.

Jan – #Blogging. Last year retrospective; this year predictions; 2019 plans;

Feb – #Romance (For Valentine’s day, right? #Romance);

March/April (#SpringReads); #Blogging

May – Comics and Graphic Novels (Free Comic Book Day is 1st Saturday in May, Star Wars Day is May 4th. #Comic #GraphicNovel) ;

June/July – Summer Reads (Cos it’s #Summer!); Italy; France

August – Quilting (The FestivalOfQuilts is held in Birmingham each August. #Quilt #Sewing); #Sewing; #Needlework;

September – Golden Age Crime (Not only Agatha Christie, but Ngaio Marsh, Tey, Wilkie Collins etc. #GoldenAge, then #Poirot #Marple, #Alleyn etc); Crime related articles

October – Spooky (in time for Halloween etc) #halloween #horror #Spooky;

November/December – Christmas themed stories and articles (You know why!) #Christmas; next year predictions; last year retrospectives; summarise reading challenges etc

Anyone else want to join me? Any suggestions for topics, especially around January?

Challenge: A Change in my Twitter

For the last few years I have been setting myself yearly challenges for my blog, which I nearly achieve, but not always. One big area I want to improve on is to increase my blog and Twitter followers, increased blog page views, and better use of scheduling, hashtags etc.

Over the Christmas period I decided to mainly tweet about my Christmas themed book reviews from the last few years. I’ve not been blogging much over the last few months, but the stats have been chugging along nicely..no zero view Days!

Anyway I sat down on a Thursday in early January to auto schedule the next batch of 30 tweets and….blanked. I had several pages of draft tweets to choose from, but really couldn’t decide what to choose. I’ve been tweeting my Christmas stuff for the last two months, it’s no longer Christmas, so what should I do?

I chose to schedule nothing that day, though technically my engagement numbers would drop. Thursday afternoon I started looking at my overall stats, especially the pages that had low numbers over the last year or so. I noticed there were some themes, some of which tie into themes in the wider world. Therefore I’ve decided that I’m going to breakdown the year, and tweet reviews that seem to tie in. It’s not going to be prescriptive or anything – if I read a romance novel in September I’m not going to wait to next Feb to review it for instance, but this will help me have a soft guide as to what I should be tweeting about. I’m still struggling for January though.

Jan ; #Blogging

Feb – Romance (For Valentine’s day, right? #Romance);

March/April (#SpringReads); #Blogging

May – Comics and Graphic Novels (Free Comic Book Day is 1st Saturday in May, Star Wars Day is May 4th. #Comic #GraphicNovel) ;

June/July – Summer Reads (Cos it’s #Summer!); #Historical

August – Quilting (The FestivalOfQuilts is held in Birmingham each August. #Quilt #Sewing); #Sewing; #Needlework;

September – Gold Age Crime (Not only Agatha Christie, but Ngaio Marsh, Birmingham Library etc. #GoldenAge, then #Poirot #Marple, #Alleyn etc); Crime related articles

October – Spooky (in time for Halloween etc #Spooky);

November/December – Christmas (You know why! #Christmas)

 

Anyone else want to join me? Any suggestions for topics, especially around January?

2019 Blogger Resolutions

It’s now becoming traditional for me to set goals at the beginning of the year, then reflect how I’ve done by the end. Following my failure to achieve these the last few years, I’ve significantly dropped my numbers, in the chance of actually meeting a couple!

Book pages text
Patrick Tomasso via Upsplash
  • Increase subscribers to this blog to 980, excluding twitter followers
  • Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 6500)
  • Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 950)
  • increase twitter followers to @bxbrum (to 250)
  • Read and review 60 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks. I’m going to take part in 2 challenges this year, keeping m6 numbers low, but I see the two tying in together quite nicely.
  • Get my Netgalley ratio into the 70% range (from 65%).
  • To aid in reading the books that I already have there will be a moratorium on requesting books from Netgalley or LibraryThing, and reviewing books I already have,
  • Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.
  • Take part in twitter chats such as #ContentHour, #BrumHour
  • Ensure about and contact details are maintained and up to date.
  • Make use of scheduling and planning software
  • Do more posts about sewing, my cross stitch and quilting in particular. I’m not putting numbers on this.
  • Comment more on other people’s blogs – I’m not going to put a number on this as it’ll be a nightmare to track. Just “do more”.
  • Release more books via Bookcrossing, either in OBCZs or via RABCKs.

2018 resolutions – How did I do?

At the beginning of each year, it’s traditional for me to set some resolutions around the blog, and then see how I did at the end of the year.

2018 is no different and the results are below, following each original resolution repeated in black bold.

 

Increase subscribers to this blog to 950, excluding twitter followers

Subscribers are over 900, but not to 950, so I’m getting there

Increase annual page hits to this blog (to 6500)

I’ve not done too badly in this area, considering I’ve not been posting as frequently as before. The change in tweeting does seem to have helped as my numbers are close to last year.  By the end of the year I got 5279 page views, certainly up from what  I got for 2017 (4661), but not quite to the 6500 mark.

Increase twitter followers to @brumnordie (to 950)

Not quite there, but I have increased followers to over 770 (it’s still wobbling a little). Also, in October, I decided to revive the @BXBrum twitter account.  After the Bookcrossing unconvention in Ipswich and the general unspoken belief by many that we’re losing members at both meetings and uncons, I decided to try and do my piece, and at least let people know about things and maybe have some new members come along. Between October and December I increased followers to BXBrum from 120 to over 180.

Read and review 60 books. 50% to be paperbooks or audiobooks. I wont do a specific challenge this year – I did pretty badly last time I did one, so I wont set myself up to fail this time!

Not there again this year at 32, but I have certainly had a better ratio of paper books

Get my Netgalley ratio into the 70% range (from 63%).

Not quite there, but up to 65% – few books requested, more books reviewed!

To aid in reading the books that I already have there will be a moratorium on requesting books from Netgalley or LibraryThing, and reviewing books I already have!

I’ve certainly cut down on my requests from Netgalley, and stopped requesting all together from Librarything. I did continue to request a couple of books from Netgalley, usually from authors I had read before. The majority of books were read within 3 months of requesting and my review rate has moved up slightly to 65%.

A change in iPad allowed me to go down my list of books and send down only Netgalley books. Therefore every time I read an ebook, it should be a Netgalley book.

Post at least once a week

Nope, didn’t happen.  Sometimes it would be several weeks without a post.

Make use of sharing with Facebook groups as appropriate.

I found several groups, such as “Undervalued English Women” and “First edition” and took part – even shared!

Make better use of twitter, including the analytics, scheduling content.

Ok, partway through the year, I decided to change tack slightly and be more targeted in my content. So: December was Christmas, Feb was Romance, May was comics etc.  It did show that I am lacking in content for some of the subjects, which was interesting.  I might try this again next year.

Also, Hootsuite has changed the way it does its drafts several times this year, and the second time made me bite the bullet and create tweets in a spreadsheet, with options for subjects. So I can narrow down content based on whether it’s a Romance, Crime or Comic Book etc.

Take part in twitter chats such as #Blogtacular #bookbloggers etc

Blogtacular seemed to have died in terms of regular twitter chats, and the move to Facebook hasn’t been the success Kat wanted.

I’ve also started building up a content and twitter schedule, with details of various conversations through the week or the month.

Ensure about and contact details are maintained and up to date.

After an unsolicited generic review request, I tidied up my About and review policy pages. I even wrote a post about it!

Make use of scheduling and planning software as appropriate.

See above regards to the scheduling software.

Take part in blogging challenges, such as Bloggiesta, as and when I remember!

ArmchairBEA didn’t happen this year, and Bloggiesta have had issues as well, so this didn’t really happen.

Look to do more non book related posts – get out into Birmingham more and write about stuff! This includes stuff at the museums etc.

I did go out more, but didn’t blog about it – when I started writing about it, I found it difficult to write a blog post about it. Reviews went on TripAdvisor instead!

Do more posts about sewing, my cross stitch and quilting in particular. I’m not putting numbers on this.

I didn’t do the quilt show this year, but did take photos of Wips, shared them, and did tweet a lot about sewing

Comment more on other people’s blogs – I’m not going to put a number on this as it’ll be a nightmare to track. Just “do more”.

No numbers, but I have tried to do at least as much as I did last year

Release more books via Bookcrossing, either in OBCZs or via RABCKs

This is something I definitely did. I went to the Uncon, took possession of the bookshelf in the office, moved books around at meets, and took charge of the BXBrum twitter account. The Bookcrossing site has also had a facelift, making things easier to use on mobile devices, and it has given me the excuse to check out and promote some forums.

Start making my own media (photos etc) and make use of them in posts

Not only did I take more photos, but I also used more in my posts!