Why did I take on the project?
The problems I found with having 3 memes a week boiled down to two broad problems – too many books, and not enough posts I love. My meme posts start to feel same-y, and I don’t feel like they necessarily add anything to the blog except increased visitor numbers.
The most popular posts on the blog are spontaneous, non-book related sorts of things I posted at the beginning of blogging (eg Harry Potter Ring of Fire and my Filofax for Studying). These posts consistently draw in the most views every month, and it’s post ideas like those that convinced me to start a blog in the first place! Although my blog has moved more and more into book blogging territory, I don’t want to forget about the other ideas I had!
The memes I normally post (& how it felt without them)
It’s Monday! What are you reading?
I don’t feel like my Monday plans posts actually add to the blog overly much, and planning out my reading doesn’t always work for me because sometimes I just want to be a moody reader! Now that I’m working, I’m also reading less so I’d have maybe felt disheartened posting week after week that I didn’t read as much as I wanted to. On the other hand, maybe I’d have felt the need to try and find more time for reading: good in terms of my reading, not so good for my sleeping needs.
Top Ten Tuesday
The first two TTT’s of the month (books featuring travel in some way and beach reads) didn’t majorly appeal, and I know if I’d posted those they’d have been disappointing, so I’m not heartbroken about missing those.
HOWEVER, the last two (books on my summer TBR and favourite books so far this year) are two I was absolutely gutted to miss. I know I can post them anyway (and I will!) but that’ll mean missing out on the traffic and conversation I’d have gotten if I’d posted them at the same time as everyone else.
The Sunday post (a few different mailbox types)
Ah, the most difficult one! I talked in my project announcement about book blogging jealousy and how I feel awkward about the idea of posting a completely empty haul. Without posting weekly about my haul, I didn’t feel any pressure to get books just to bulk those out, so I could focus only on ones I really wanted which was nice.
On the other hand, I got a fair few books anyway, because hey, if I didn’t have a reading obsession I’d never have started blogging about books! Sometimes I wanted to be excited about those books with other people who understand the thrill of finding a great book at the library or being approved for something on NetGalley – other book bloggers!
So what did I post?
I posted 13 times in total, which was pretty poor.
8 of those though, were reviews, which was better than usual – in May I only reviewed 5 books. The project basically took me from an average of 1 review a week to 2, which is more like it.
How did it feel? Was it hard?
I expected it to be hard to generate purely new content, but I didn’t expect to feel like I had too much freedom. The memes give me a schedule for three days a week that mean I can start those posts on autopilot, without sitting around first to decide what to post on. Without that routine, I mulled over lots of different ideas but didn’t actually start many.
I’ve also come home most nights this month and basically had dinner, a shower and gone to bed! That meant I didn’t really have the time or energy to post great content all the time, and without the ‘easy’ meme posts, I may have posted more content I liked, but I posted less often, and the blog looked pretty bare as a result.
I really missed the community. Taking part in the memes you obviously get comments that just say “Great post, check out my blog!” but you also get some great comments, and I really missed that this month. I had a lot less comments than usual this month, so although I still had visitors it felt a bit like no one was listening. It’s the loneliest blogging has felt since my first few months, and I most certainly didn’t love that.
With some better organisation it would have been a lot easier but it just wasn’t on the cards this month!
The question, I guess, that everyone really wants to know is, did cutting the memes affect StudentSpyglass’ stats?
Yes and no (but mostly yes).
There’s no denying that both overall views and visitor numbers dropped a lot, to about half of my May numbers.
It’s not all bad news though – my page views per visitor increased slightly, so although I had less people coming in overall, they were sticking around a bit longer. My follower numbers also increased about the same amount as usual despite the overall stats drop.
Do bear in mind though, that I also only posted 13 times this month, so it’s probably down to a combination of lack of memes and lack of posts!
So what now? Do the memes stay, or go?
I hated not having a structure to the blog, but my current schedule doesn’t fit in all the ideas I’d like it to, and feels very same-y. My pre-project schedule looked like this:
M – Monday plans
T – Top Ten Tuesday
W – Review
T – Inspired by… (but these often get missed out because they’re the most time consuming to put together)
F – Student life/Drinking Game
S – Review
S – Stacking the shelves etc.
This gives a total of 3 memes, 2 reviews, and theoretically 2 original posts. Unfortunately, there are only so many drinking games so sometimes I can’t think of anything for Fridays, and Inspired by…. takes some serious time to put together, so unless I write them the weekend before they rarely get posted.
There’s also no room in there for filofax posts or recipes, which are some of my most popular categories.
Time to find a new schedule that works for me! I’ll be thinking it over (and probably posting about it) but at this point the memes look like they’ll mostly be staying, in reduced forms.
I’m hoping to potentially merge My Filofax week into one of the meme posts that I already take part in, rather than adding additional days.
It’s Monday! What are you reading?: I haven’t quite decided whether to keep Monday plans yet – it could go either way. I suspect that if I decide to keep it, I’ll be adding some extra features to it. I thought about merging it with Sundays but I worry that’ll make my Sunday’s too bulky (and then I don’t know where I could squeeze My Filofax week in. Still debating!
Top Ten Tuesday: I’ll be keeping TTT, but probably cutting down to just the ones that really jump out at me.
The Sunday post (a few different mailbox types): This will be staying I think, but I’ll be working on adapting to the idea of posting a few that are empty/a bit bare. This might be helped by merging another meme in, such as My Filofax week or Monday plans (though it’s awkward because I feel like those two go together quite well but merging all THREE might be a bit much!).
Was it worth doing?
Definitely! Although I didn’t post much this month, and my stats dropped without the memes, it was gratifying to see that my blog visitors didn’t disappear completely. It’s also forced me to shake things up, and review what’s important to me in terms of posting. I’ll be working on my new schedule, and hopefully I’ll work out the kinks during July, with a finalised version for August and onwards that meets all my targets (enough memes to feel part of the community, enough schedule to keep momentum, enough freedom for occasional spontaneous posts and enough room for non-book blogging features). That’s not too much to ask is it? ;)