I have been blogging regularly at Bookwi.se (and before that MrShields.com) since Sept 2009. As of this post, Bookwi.se has 3288 blog posts including 875 Book Reviews. In may ways I am surprised that I am still blogging after more than 4 years.
This ended up being an entirely too long post. So here is the summary version: this next year I will be experimenting, I want to keep working on good content. I will be posting a few less book reviews in order to keep the reviews good (and reposting some old book reviews to round out the content.)
And now the longer version: Why I started blogging book reviews was that I love to connect people to books that they love. I also enjoy processing books out loud. That is of less interest to others, but continues to be important to me. In 2013, I read just under 200 books. As a new parent, this is unsustainable and I know that. I am going to intentionally try to read fewer books, but read them more deeply. (Although this is not my traditional reading style.)
In years’ past I have written posts about upcoming reading goals. This year my reading goals are not subject areas (such as the trinity, or a single book of the bible, etc.) Instead my 2014 focus will be on putting into practice (wisdom) rather than just acquiring knowledge. So for the next six months I will buy no more than one new book a month (can’t stop cold turkey) and instead focus on books that I already have, and on re-reading books that I have read and valued previously. I may choose to extend this focus an additional six months, but right now this is an experiment. (As a side benefit my book budget can go to toward diapers.)
With that focus, I am also going to try and be more focused with my free and sale kindle book posts. About 60% of my traffic comes from the free book posts. (I only had one book review in my top 75 most read posts last year. Almost all of the rest were free book posts.) So I do not want to stop posting free books, I think it is a good service, it is good traffic and I personally like looking through the books to find books I want to read. I also don’t want to stop posting Kindle sale posts, because this is where the majority of my Amazon income comes from (although it takes an awful lot of $0.99 books to generate much income.)
So that really does not leave me with a lot of room to make changes. My future plans will be that I will post no more than 3-4 posts a day, one free, one review and one sale. I will probably drop the Kindle and Audible sale posts because they are low traffic (although very low work since I just cut and paste Amazon’s page). I have already significantly curtailed my Offsite review posts. I like directing readers to other good reviewers, but again, traffic on offsite review posts is low and they seem to create a lot of confusions (I am not the one writing the offsite reviews).
What is frustrating to bloggers like me is social media and distribution of content. It used to be that Facebook would share your posts to fans and the more people that click on a post or like it or share it, the more people Facebook would show it to. Now Facebook wants bloggers like me to pay to reach our fans. So it is normal now that only 2 to 4% of facebook fans will see any given post (even if 80% of those that do see the post either click through or like the post.)
Twitter is great, but it is easy to get lost in the noise of twitter. Personally, RSS is my prefered method of tracking blogs as it seems to be for most of you. Roughly 3 times as many people read posts via RSS as come directly to the site or come via social media. Finally there is email. Honestly I set up email subscription because my Mom wanted to read my blog. But now email subscriptions are nearly as big as RSS subscribers.
For you as a reader, all of this does not matter much. But for my as a blog author it matters. I want to both be helpful for people, not waste my time and not let my blog be a distraction from work and family. So expect posting times to change frequently and for me to start sharing through social media more often. But I do not want to become a social media blog spammer. So give me some feed back. Michael Hyatt said a while back that sharing once gave him x traffic. Sharing a second time usually gave him almost as much, and a third time was about 50% of the first post. So with each additional social media post, you get more readers, but you also can alienate the readers that clicked through the first time (or have no intention of clicking through on that post.)
If I have learned anything blogging, it is that I really do not know how others think. So my only method is experimentation. And since by far the largest chunk of my traffic is RSS and Email (which I have much less data about how you read and see the blog) I always need to be careful that my content is more important than any strategy.
If you have bothered to read this far I am surprised. But the summary version is that I will be experimenting, I want to keep working on good content. I will be posting a few less book reviews in order to keep the reviews good (and reposting some old book reviews to round out the content.)
I am not looking for praise, but I am interested in feedback. If you have any suggestions please feel free to comment below or email me at adam at chicago2000.net