Plan. Edit. Develop. Review. Organize.
This is my first mini-challenge of Bloggiesta, and I'm taking a good, hard look at my blog practices, in terms of being a good hostess. Hannah at Word Lily has given participants the chance to evaluate themselves honestly, and come up with some good ways to improve for the future.
10 Things Bloggers Should NOT Do:
1. YOU MUST NOT EXPECT RESULTS OVERNIGHT: 3.5/5 I admit to checking out my Google Friend Connect and Feedburner stats daily, but the one thing that I don't do is to compare my blog to others. Sure, someone could have started a blog in a fraction of the time that I have been live, but their follower count does not indicate reader loyalty. Nor does it indicate the quality and actual discussion that their posts generate. I like the readers that I have, and when someone new joins the circle, I cheer. However, I do realize that growth can come quickly or slowly, what matters is that I blog for who is there, not who isn't.
2. YOU MUST NOT IGNORE YOUR READERS: 3/5 I could do better with responding to comments. I do usually respond to those that visit the blog regularly, and actual questions, but I could have more discussion posts that generate a conversation, and I know that I need to be more timely in my responses.
3. YOU MUST NOT SCRAPE ANOTHER BLOGGERS CONTENT: 5/5 I always include links when I refer to another blogger. I've never knowingly taken another blogger's feature and used it without citation. I've never even considered using content from another blogger without their permission.
4. YOU MUST NOT EXPECT SUCCESS WITHOUT PROMOTING: 3.75/5 I am fairly active on Twitter, I have business cards, and I do mention my blog in conversation. I try to balance the line of letting people know that I have new content, without being spammy. I could be more active on Facebook, I suppose. However, their privacy practices are worrying to me, and up until recently, I didn't connect with bloggers, publishers, authors, or publicity reps there.
5. YOU MUST NOT BE ANOTHER BLOGGER: 4/5 Just recently, I started adding author website/ social media links along with publisher information to my reviews. This was something that I noticed on many other blogs, but it seems more like good sense, than trying to homogenize my content with that of other bloggers. Other than that, I write my reviews my way, and I'm happy with the way that I operate my blog.
6. YOU MUST NOT FAIL TO UPDATE YOUR BLOG REGULARLY: 3/5 This is another point that I could do better with, if I'm being completely honest. There are times that I post 2-3 reviews a week, and times that I post no content for a week. I'm working on being more consistent, with many of the goals that I've put forward for Bloggiesta working toward that goal.
7. YOU MUST NOT IGNORE SEO: 2.5/5 I've been slowly learning more about SEO, and trying harder to make sure that it works for me. Some of the things that I could work on are making sure that my blog is listed in important places like the Book Blogs Search Engine.
8. YOU MUST NOT IGNORE NETWORKING: 3.5/5 Last year, I attended the Book Blogger Convention in NYC, which happened right after BEA. There were all kinds of publishing people, bloggers, and authors there, that were great contacts to make. But, everyone was there about books, so conversation was easy. I've been trying to do better cultivating contacts that don't necessarily mean contacts in the publishing community, but also readers who will visit the blog and enjoy interacting with my other visitors.
9. YOU MUST NOT HAVE AN UNREADABLE/UNNAVIGABLE SITE: 3/5 One of the reasons why I have all of my blog subscriptions sent to my Google reader, is that for a while, I had issues with loading blogs that have complicated html in their templates, and too much in their sidebars. Having my blog email subscription, RSS feed, and other social media links, as well as a way to contact me through email, easily accessible is important to me, and one of the first things I look for when I visit other blogs. Broken links are one thing that I need to investigate, and make sure that I don't have any.
10. YOU MUST NOT THROW MUD AROUND: 5/5 I absolutely agree with this. I've never engaged in mud throwing with another blogger, author, or anyone who has visited my site. Sure, I am open to a debate, as long as everything stays civilized. I don't want my reputation or my blog's reputation to hinge on feuds, nor do I want to alienate the very people that I am trying to connect with. It's just bad business.
This really was a challenge for me, and I'm glad that I put some thought into whether I do, or don't do, any of the above things. Improving is the only way to move forward, and now I know how to better focus my attentions.
Well, I'm off to see about more mini-challenges, and try to connect with some of the other Bloggiesta participants. Ole!