Blog Improvement Project, Week 1: Setting Goals

I think that this blog made a lot of progress during 2008, but things can always be tweaked, and as I’m coming up on my second blogiversary, participating in the Blog Improvement Project (hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness) sounds appealing. The first task in the project, “Setting Goals,” is less appealing, I’m sad to say. It’s not that I don’t have goals, but as an attempting-to-recover control freak, I try not to get too caught up in them. And when I do have them, I tend to keep them to myself – telling someone about them, or writing them down, means I’m accountable for them now and have to take them seriously.

The specifics of the assignment are:

  • Read some of the articles on goal setting (Kim provides links to several in her post).
  • Set some goals for your blog.  Think about where you would like to be a year from now, and try to set clear and specific objectives that you’ll be able to measure in some way once we get to the end of 2009.
  • Write a post about your goals.  If you can think of any, also include ideas about projects or activities that you think could help you achieve those goals.
  • Check back to answer questions (if you can), read and comment on other participants blogs, and to see a wrap up post next week of some of the most common goals other participants have set.

One of the articles Kim linked to is a list of “69 questions to ask to improve your blog,” and I’ve bookmarked it for future reference; it looks like a very handy resource.

Some of my 2009 blog goals are building on things I began doing here in 2008. I have a framework of daily content themes, with the freedom to deviate, and I want to continue that; I’m also committed to responding to comments on every post, and I intend to keep doing that too. Those things bring a few goals to mind:

  • Refine my content to encourage more reader response and commenting
  • Introduce a recurring meme (this will probably make its first appearance soon, so stay tuned!)
  • Continue a nearly-daily posting schedule, with most posts composed in advance and scheduled to publish at the same time each day
  • Promote my blog content through links on Twitter, Facebook, blog networks, weekly meme groups, and  participation in blog carnivals
  • Host at least 2 giveaways

In addition to the content and community goals, I think I will make some changes to my blog design and layout this year. I have already asked my husband about creating a logo and new header (he’s a graphic designer, and designed his own header for Blogenstein), and I am considering what features I would like in a new template. One thing I’m considering is multiple “pages” to move some things from the sidebar. One thing I’m not considering is moving away from Blogger. I am open to suggestions on this, so please feel free to make them in comments!

These are all vague enough to be considered “ideas” more than “goals,” I think, which is fine with me. “Ideas” don’t feel as set as “goals” do, but they’re still something I can work with, and I think a few improvements around here wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Do you have any blog-improvement-related ideas or goals for your own blog in 2009? And since this is my blog, do you have any ideas about things you’d like to see here?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,318 other subscribers


  1. One interesting thing I’ve been noticing is that the BIP all in and of itself is creating more interaction among the participants!

  2. I also think your blog looks great. I have just switched from the Minima Lefty Stretch to the regular Minima, but looking at your page I almost feel like going back again to the Lefty-stretch one 😉

    I moved my Danish book blog to wordpress last year, but I never felt at home there and couldn’t get used to maneuvering around on their dashboard. So I am also sticking to Blogger. I look so much forward to see how you are going to work on your ideas/goals :o)

  3. I think your blog is appealing and inviting as it is. And I can understand that you hesitate to tell people about your goals. For me, it is ever so simple to set higher goals for my crime fiction blog as I started blogging one month ago, but I also have a more private goal of having my own work of fiction published before my 50th birthday. Years ago I never told anyone, but today I am more open about it, probably because telling someone makes it easier for me to keep working on my manuscript when I am tired (chronic fatigue).
    Good luck to you and your goals, secret or public 😉

  4. Your blog is already awesome. Ideas sounds a lot less scary than goals!
    I may not have the most readers, but I love that I feel like I have a relationship with all of them, adding a few new ones regularly enough that I’m quite happy with where my blog is right now. I feel like if I think about it too much, then I’ll start second-guessing what I say there. I like how my blog still feels like my space.

  5. Kathy (Bermudaonion) – Thanks! I’ve been doing a little bit of cleanup and reorganizing the widgets already. I’m thinking about a new header partly because I’d like a logo that I can also put on business cards, since I hope to meet more bloggers in person this year!

    Beth F – I like how that seems to happen around memes, especially those that involve book bloggers :-). It’s funny how people who love a solitary activity like reading can be so social about it!

    Bogsider – Nice to meet you :-). I really do prefer having the sidebar on the left; I think it reminds me of the ruled paper with the left-hand margin I used in school :-D. And thanks for sharing your experience with WordPress. I’ve seen some features about it that I really like, but nothing big enough to spur me to change.

    Dorte – It’s that whole accountability thing, once you put your goals on the record. Good luck with yours!

    April – “Ideas” does sound less intimidating, doesn’t it? And thanks for the compliment :-).

    You make a good point about relationships with readers. I’m pretty sure I have a lot more readers than I have regular commenters here. I respond to all the comments to help build those connections, but I’d like to do more to encourage de-lurking. It’s funny; when I first started blogging I figured no one would read it and it was just for me, but once I got a taste of readership, I wanted more – still do :-D!

  6. I am participating in the BIP, also, and I already am feeling a sense of community among the participants. I like your blog, it is easy to read and find things. I like how your blogroll is broken into categores (since I do the same thing!) because I use other people’s blogrolls frequently and like to know what I’m jumping into.
    Something I like to see on blogs is a list of tags or labels so I can find things on particular topics, especially as I am getting to know a blog. Without that, I have to keep clicking Older Posts, which takes forever. An archive just lists months, not topics.

  7. That’s neat your husband is a graphic designer! I really like have multiple pages, precisely because it cuts down on clutter. 🙂

  8. Elizabeth – I actually took my labels off the sidebar because the list was too long. I’ll probably add it back at some point, though; it’s good to know they’d be helpful. I agree with you about the categorized blogrolls – yours look really good.

    Eva – I like a user-friendly design. It is nice that my husband can help me out with that :-).

  9. Amy – It’s a variation on an existing meme, and could be book-related, but doesn’t have to be :-). I have a list of ideas for it, and if I can get inspired on one of them, it may premiere here as early as next week.

  10. I wasn’t going to move away from Blogger, either, Florinda — until they declared me a spammer and threatened to delete my blog. Funny how the world works sometimes.

    (And Trevor says since you’ve gotten The Demo Tapes, you need to blog about him. A lot. All the time, in fact. Scoundrel.)

  11. Susan – I can see why that would be a bummer. As it is, I can only go to your blog directly – no matter where it’s hosted – on my home computer, which is one reason you don’t see me over there more often. My office system blocks is as “pornography.” HUH?

    And you can tell Trevor that there’s quite a crowd in TBR Purgatory, and he’ll get his turn. I have a feeling he’ll work his way up front pretty quickly, really :-).

  12. It looks like you have some great plans in place, Florinda. I gave my blog a face lift recently. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I worry that the lack of color will get to me after awhile. We’ll see.

  13. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I really like your new template; I checked it out this morning.

    One of my blog goals may go by the wayside – I’m not so sure about that new meme. But I do have all year to meet them, so there’s plenty of time to work out the details.

  14. Your post made me smile because I’m glad that you took the first project and did it in your own way that makes sense for you. That’s what I’m hoping everyone will do.

    I love all your ideas!
    Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

  15. Kim – I didn’t want to blow off the first assignment, so I’m glad you’re OK with how I handled it :-). Looking forward to your next one!