It is Sunday Night, and I've reached the finish line for Bloggiesta! I did not get all of my goals accomplished unfortunately, but I completed eight out of eleven tasks that I set for myself, and all in only about 14 hours spread out over the weekend. I also completed five mini-challenges in conjunction with Bloggiesta at Maw Books Blog that helped me to improve aspects of my blog that I had not already thought of. Here are the play-by-play notes that I kept for this event:
-Mini-Challenge #1: Write Your Blogging To-Do List
My short term goal: I've made a list of short-term goals that I hope to complete for Bloggiesta on my site. One is to compile a list of my contacts that I receive books for reviewing from.
My long term goal: To still be maintaining a regularly-posting book blog in a year's time. I've read that 80% of most personal blogs don't last more than a year or two and I don't want to be one of those blogs!
-Mini-Challenge #2: Your Review Policy
For my review policy, I added to the genres that I review and the book formats that I accept, I add links to my Facebook and Twitter profiles as well as a link to my contact form, and I added a note explaining that my reviews are based on my honest opinion. For my disclosure policy, I added to my list of groups I review for.
The suggestion I found the most helpful was what you said about how to be contacted, as it hadn't occured to me to post my FB and Twitter profile information on my review policy.
-I made a list of contacts that I receive books from, as well as organized my contacts in gmail.
-I optimized my Feed Burner by implimenting a copyright notice, activating Feed Flare, and using my own button for the Feed Image Burner.
-I linked book reviews with the hosting sites for my New Authors Challenge, 101 Fantasy Challenge, Twenty-Ten Challenge, and Biblical Fiction Challenge.
-Mini-Challenge #3: Puss Reboots
I made my RSS feed auto-detectable by browsers in my header. I also used a free RSS icon to allow my readers to subscribe to my Feed Burner.
-Mini-Challenge #4: Be Brave
Does it count if I did a very scary thing on/with my blog two days ago? I stood up to a publicist about how they badly handled my review of their book, which I've never done before. I posted a blog post about the incident, when I was not sure (and still not certain) of the ramifications with my readers and my chances of securing future ARCs with other publicists should they read about it, or hear about it from said publicist. Gawd it still makes me nervous, and it's pretty much over and done with!
-Mini-Challenge #5: It's All About the Numbers
I explored Google Analytics as you directed, which I had previously set up but never actually studied, and I became familiar with some of the more useful aspects for interpreting information about visitors to my blog. Now if someone wants to know some statistics, I can provide them!
-I looked into using CommentLuv, then abandoned it after realizing that (a) some features require paying, and (b) on Blogger, CommentLuv only works in conjunction with Intense Debate (which I also tried out and scrapped when I discovered it deletes your comments after awhile.).
-I learned the differences between quotes, blockquotes, and pull quotes, and decided I wanted to implement block quotes on my blog. I found a free image to use for my quotation marks and added the CSS code to my html template.
-I made a Contact Me page and a Thankyou page, then used EmailMeForm to create the form. I found the feedback button images and uploaded them, then used html code to add on a floating feedback button to my blog.
-I brainstormed for my book rating system for book reviews, then found an image to use for it. After playing around in Photoshop making it look right, I made a blog post describing my new rating system, which will go up on Tuesday. Hopefully, I will muster up the stamina to insert it into all my old book reviews in the near future, in addition to my new block quote feature.
-I found the Windows Calendar feature on my computer and started using it.
Phew, that was a ton of work! But I'm glad I hunkered down and did it, as many of these things I have been wanting to get to for months and could never find the motivation. Thankyou, Bloggiesta!