Mid-Year Blog Retreat Recap – 2018

Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash

I was finally able to sit down and do some strategic planning for the last half of 2018 for my blog! I feel that I put it off because I knew some of the realities I would face as I dug into the challenges and successes from the first half – reflecting on my excitement for my initial goals and planning. However, I think this is a part of the process, knowing what is and what is not feasible but learning along the way and continuing that excitement regardless of the outcomes – intended or unintended. I do know that I want this process to be a regular thing for me the more I invest in the blog. Here I go ripping off the band-aid!

SWOT Analysis

  • In order to know where I am going, I have to see where I have been! The SWOT covers the following (in this case, in reference to everything on my blog: content, posting, social media, engagement, design, etc.)
    • Strengths
      • Relatable content that provided more of my personal perspectives
      • The consistency of design elements such as imagery
      • Knocking off a lot from my TBR list
      • Implementing series posts
      • Participating in reading challenges and live posting throughout
      • Actively using Facebook and Twitter pages more!
      • Posting book quotes as a means of progress and an online record
    • Weaknesses
      • Blogging calendar fell short in late Spring
      • Slower reading pace = not a lot of books reviewed
      • The slump of new ideas – self-pressure to produce new and exciting content
      • Falling behind on others’ blog posts (reading and commenting)
    • Opportunities
      • Posting life events/updates – can relate back to the bigger picture of what we get from reading
      • Utilizing library and bookshop events and services
      • Creating more book lists for the time of year/seasons/holidays/etc.
      • Interacting with other blogs I follow
        • Inspiration and sparking discussions
      • Guest blogging/Co-writing posts
      • Re-blogging content
      • More audience engagement
    • Threats
      • Time dedicated an/or set aside
      • Lack of new ideas
      • Posting just to post and keep engagement up

Social Media

  • I had set out to do a regular posting, engagement, and reposting schedule. Time to look at the analytics in comparison to other years and refresh the social media plan
    • Facebook
      • 34 Follows
      • Most popular posts involve book quotes and Introvert Dear articles
    • Twitter
      • Most popular tweets involve tagging the author
    • Instagram
      • Most popular posts were from when I was in London 🙂
      • Top Locations of Followers
        • New York
        • Cincinnati
        • London
      • Most Popular Age Range of Audience
        • 25-34
      • Gender
        • 70% Women
        • 30% Men
      • Most Popular Days of the Week Followers are Active
        • Saturday
        • Wednesday
    • WordPress
      • 2322 visitors
      • Top Countries
        • United States
        • United Kingdom
        • Canada
        • Greece

Blogging Content

  • This year, I wanted to have more personal content as well as some regular features (WWW, monthly and Goodreads Recaps, series, etc.) I want to look at which were more engaging and brainstorm new ideas. Additionally, as I lean into more design elements, like redesigning book covers, where does that fit into the content and how should it be displayed?  Portfolio style?
    • Unfortunately, I was unable to produce more book covers during this first half of the year but my Publishing E-Books course should provide some great content!
    • My regular posts for WWW and recaps have been stable so that I do not see changing.
    • I do want to look more into Series posts since they were the most fun to write and the most feedback.
    • In terms of new content/ideas, I feel I put so much pressure on myself to make direct connections to books that if something doesn’t fit into that, it doesn’t get a blog mention. However, I believe that it does provide a more personal context for how I approach reading and the blog.

Reading Schedule

  • To reach my 85 books goal for the reading challenge, I aimed to read about 2 books a week. Looking at my social and professional calendar for the rest of the year, will this still work out and what are my realistic goals to finish out in 2018? This also means looking at the medium of which I read: physical, audio, and electronic.
    • Goodreads Reading Challenge Current Count: 53
    • I am still of the mind that physical books will dominate my reading schedule with audio next as I drive to the East Coast at the end of the year

New Design

  • The blog has gone through several design updates, the most recent being in line with my minimalist lifestyle. However, is the platform conducive to the goals and purpose of the blog?
    • I have gotten feedback that this design is a lot cleaner and is emblematic of my communication style and effectiveness of sharing bookish knowledge!
    • As I continue to look into other advanced WordPress options, removing ads will definitely add to the sleekness of the design

Domain Ownership

  • Probably the biggest topic I have been toying with for the last 3 years of blogging – whether or not to bite the bullet and purchase a more advanced, professional, and flexible plan for my website. A pro/con list will be instituted for sure!
    • Because of wanting to get back on track in general with posting, I’m going to hold off on the URL change until the end of the year’s blog retreat.

What would you like to see on the blog the last half of the year?

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