Monday, January 05, 2009

Blog Improvement Project-- Setting Goals

I really didn't have any goals for Kittling: Books in 2008. I started this blog in June 2008 basically to have a place for all my bookish thoughts. Although I really didn't want to sit here and talk to myself, my mode of transportation the first couple of months was flying by the seat of my pants. Then I began reading other book blogs and discovered what a wonderful community exists, and I wanted to become a part of it. When the first few people actually began to visit Kittling: Books, my thoughts about it all began to change.

The primary goal of my blog is to share my love of reading with as many people as I can. There are three secondary goals that I'm setting myself in 2009 that I feel will accomplish this:


I've already started working on this. Although I like three-column templates, it's way too easy to put up too much "stuff" and have the entire blog look cluttered and confusing. I switched back to a two-column basic template and have been learning a bit of HTML in order to modify it.
  • The background is mine, from one of my photos manipulated in Paint Shop Pro.
  • I learned how to compartmentalize the header, although I'm still not satisfied with it.
  • I learned how to make a three-column footer.
  • I learned how to make Wordpress-like "pages" on a Blogger template, and I'm still working on those.
My goal is to have a blog design that's "me". One that's simple, uncluttered, and full of content that people want to keep coming back to read.


This is something else I'd like to work on. The bare bones are there, but I've found that the posts that get the most comments tend to be the ones where my own "voice" comes through, whether it's tidbits about my life or just me spouting off an opinion. Yup. Gotta work on my voice. Do-re-mi-mi-mi-mi!


I've made it easy to subscribe and easy to comment, but there's more work to be done. Joining Twitter and Here Be Reviews have increased traffic to my blog. (Ringsurf didn't do much at all.) I've made sure that the URL for my blog is listed at sites that I frequent like LibraryThing and Paperback Swap. The URL is also in my email sig file. Here are other things I want to check into to increase traffic:
  • Learn more about StumbleUpon.
  • Learn how to make my post titles easier for search engines to pick up.
  • Learn of other places like Here Be Reviews.
  • Leave more comments on other blogs. I'm doing a lot of reading, but I don't always remember to comment!
Now that I've read all this over, I realize that my primary goal for blogging is wrong. Yes, I do want to share my love of reading with others, but I also want to meet other people of like mind--and enjoy myself while I'm doing it!

If you're interested in participating in the Blog Improvement Project, or if you'd like to see what other participants are saying, just click on the graphic at the top of this post!


  1. Great goals! I found you from Sophisticated Dorkiness. I agree on your para for Content: reviews are more fun to read when I can see a bit of personality. Blog on!

  2. Great goals, Cathy. I think your blog is great, and I think this project is going to help all of us be better bloggers. I really like your traffic goals.

  3. Great goals and good for you for being brave enough to learn html. :)

  4. I would also like to know more about things like Here Be Reviews, Stumble Upon and so on. That could also be a goal for me. I am not much of a personal blogger, but then again I guess personal stuff does show through most of my posts, if not all anyway. I look so much forward to follow your blog, it looks very interesting :-)

  5. You have some great goals! I might have to steal some of them for myself. :)

  6. May I say that I really like your background image? It's dreamy yet comfortable and there's a book about Oscar Wilde in prominent view. ;D Love it!

    - Anastasia

  7. Those are awesome goals. Finding your voice is such an important part of blogging because so much of it is based on personality (at least the personality we project through our blog writing).

    I have a two-column template right now, and I keep getting tempted to switch to three, but like you I think it would look too cluttered.

    Thanks for joining the project!

    Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

  8. "...flying by the seat of my pants."

    I am still doing that! :)

  9. I was quite envious of your three-column template, but I have to admit I like this new, cleaner look. And I didn't know one could have a two column template with a three-column footer. The things I don't know about the structure of a blog would fill a blog.

  10. Great goals! Mine are quite similar (posting later in the week). I too like a clean look, and I'll be playing with my template.

  11. I have my post up now. Now that I've read your post again in light of my own organized goals, I'm amazed at how similar our posts are.

    I had no idea you've been blogging only a few months longer than I have. I thought you were an old hand! I feel like such a newbie.

  12. Those are some good goals! When I look back at my early reviews, it's funny how much my 'voice' has changed. I've never heard of Here Be Reviews, but I'm off to find out what it is! :)

  13. I was interested to read your goals and have instantly adopted some for my own! Will you teach me how to make the three column footer? I have feedjit now, thanks to you.

    Did you see the post at Book Blogs about website grader( ). It purports to tell you how to increase traffic after they do an analysis of your blog. It brought up my nemesis, metadata, again, but I bet you have that licked into shape!

    And I totally agree with your conclusion - the fun is all in the lovely people I meet. Take a bow, Cathy!

  14. Thanks to Kim and her BIP, I've found even more great folks in the book blogosphere. Thanks for all your comments!

    I told my husband that the photo I used as background was a sneaky way of bringing him into my blog. Of all the shelves I have in the house to take photos of, I chose one that houses *British* history. Subtle, ain't I? It's always interesting to me how doing a seamless tile effect will change a photo's appearance. Oscar Wilde certainly does stand out. I think he'd like that.

    For anyone who wants the directions to Here Be Reviews, here's the URL: .

    Susan--I stopped by the Website Grader, and believe it or not, I have yet to fix my meta description or my meta keywords. I haven't joined Technorati yet either. Too many things distracting me at the moment, including ideas for book blog posts! I'd be more than happy to help you with the 3-column footer. In fact, I'll post about it. How's that? :-)

  15. new to the BIP and slowly working my way through the blog roll. I like your observations on your blog and your goals. Good luck. I am torn between turning my blog to books alone, but can't make it happen. I love the social aspect of your blog.

  16. Hi, Lisa, and welcome to Kim's BIP! I've met so many great bloggers through this project, and it's really helping me focus on important concepts to make my blog better. I'm glad you've joined us!


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