You may have noticed I’ve been making a few changes around here. And it you haven’t, that’s probably a good thing. (Sincere apologies to my email subscribers who were spammed with old blog posts the other day. Thank you so much for sticking with me while I figured out that glitch.) Obviously, there have been quite a few glitches. This is not the first time I tried to update my blog, and had things not go according to plan. Because I feel like this change might be more noticeable, I thought I’d take the time to explain what’s going on and why I’m doing this.
Why Make Changes to a Perfectly Good Blog?
First of all, “perfectly good” might be an exaggeration. This blog is fine. But it can also be better. Here’s why:
Cleaning Out the Junk
I started Adventures of a Bibliophile in 2014. (Don’t try to find that post, because it has been archived. For reasons I will explain in a bit.) It’s been nearly six years. And like anything that’s been sitting around for six years, it has accumulated a lot of junk. When I started this process, I had over thirteen HUNDRED active blog posts and thirty pages. And while I’ve known for a while they weren’t all good or valuable, I kept them around because they represented years of hard work.
But I recently realized that getting rid of those posts doesn’t negate all of my work. Because I have learned enough to see that those posts aren’t great. No one’s reading them, and they’re getting in the way of the posts you guys do want to read. So I have archived, deleted, or made private over half of them. Bet you didn’t even notice because literally no one ever reads them. Ever. The fluff is gone! And I feel so free.
One change I will actively be making going forward is archiving things like weekly wrap ups and book hauls after a certain period. No one is going to care what I did in the second week of November last year. While I do enjoy writing them and interacting with you that way, I think there needs to be an expiration date on certain posts. They just aren’t relevant or interesting after a while. (Let me know your feedback on this, because I’m genuinely curious. What other kind of posts should I archive? Anything you think I should keep around forever?)
I’ve Learned Enough to Make it Better
Some of the post that are now gone were actually a little bit embarrassing. Because, as much as I hate to admit it, there was a time when put quantity over quality when it came to posting on this blog. Which is never a good idea. There were so many crappy book reviews I wrote about books I didn’t feel passionate about. Simply because I felt obligated to write reviews of books I had gotten to review. Or I needed to just write one so I could keep publishing two reviews a week. Which was a little more doable when I was in grad school. Not so much with a full-time job.
Changes that I’ve already made this year include not forcing myself to write book reviews simply to write reviews. One misconception I had was that writing book reviews was expected of a book blogger. I still thought this five years in. But when I really looked at what my readers were responding to, it wasn’t reviews. They are honestly my least favorite kind of post to write, and I think that shows. So, while I’ll still be publishing reviews, I want to get better at sharing reviews of books I feel strongly about (good or bad, because you know I’m always honest) and not ones I don’t really care that much about.
I Want to Make the Time I Spend Writing and Managing this Blog Worth It
I know, it is such a taboo thing for book bloggers to talk about money. But blogging is hard. And I’ve struggled for a while trying to balance the fact that I cared deeply about this blog with not really being compensated for the time I spend on it. I stress about planning posts and reading the right books and making sure people want to read my posts. I have a full-time job. This blog takes just as much time, and probably more energy and thought. And it also affects what and how I read, which can make it less fun sometimes.
This is not an easy hobby. It’s also not cheap. Yes, you can blog for free. But the more I try to make this a better experience for both me and my readers, the more money it costs me. That’s not even mentioning all the books. Because very few of the books I talk about on this blog are ones I get for free. It has gotten to the point where the stress isn’t worth being compensated in free books a few times a year.
If this is so stressful, why not quit? Because I love it. I really love this blog. It’s my baby. And I love the community that it lets me be a part of. But I’m sure other bloggers can understand the desire to want to make this something more. Right now, I’d just really like this to pay for itself. But the dream is that this turns into something that is sustainable and profitable. I realize that the chances of me ever making much money blogging about books are miniscule. But I have to try, right?
What Changes Can You Expect
Old Posts to Disappear
Don’t worry, I’m keeping the ones that still get a decent amount of traffic. (I will probably never delete my post about reading all of Shakespeare because that has now surpassed my homepage traffic. Which is absolutely insane.) But no one cares about my reading lists from 2015 or a random weekly wrap up from last year. As much as it pains me – because those all took time and effort – they need to go. My goal is to have this blog be a nice space where the posts you see are the posts you might want to read. So a lot of the old stuff had to go. (This is still a work in progress, so bear with me.)
Something that will also be disappearing (at least temporarily) is all of my challenge posts. They were fun, but six years worth of them is a lot. Let me know if that’s something you’re interested I me keeping around, or maybe if you’d rather see them as posts.
This also means a lot of links to previous posts may not work. Again, I am also working on fixing any broken links (internal and external) so you don’t get trapped in a cycle of “post not found”.
New Versions of Old Posts
One thing I have been doing is editing a lot of the older posts to improve their readability. I have a helpful little scanner that tells me when my sentences are too long or I need more headers. Basically, if I keep that little smiley face green, it means my posts will be more reader-friendly. Which is always a good thing. I would very much like my posts to not be a pain in the ass to get through. It will also make my posts easier to find when you’re searching Google (or any other search engine). I am using it to clean up or partially rewrite older posts, and on my newer posts going forward. I’m hoping this helps make what is on my blog a much better reading experience for you.
I will also be completely redoing some older posts. There are posts I think are still valuable, but can stand to be updated. A big project I didn’t even realize I wanted to tackle is revamping my “Book Blogging for Beginners” series. Those are still some of my most popular posts, but I have learned a lot since 2017. Also, no one’s really reading them anymore. I think it will be valuable to just completely start over and share the knowledge I’ve learned since then. I’ve probably made more mistakes in the last year than I ever have in my ten years of blogging (this isn’t my first blog). And hopefully someone can learn from those mistakes and missteps.
You may be familiar with my Book Review page, where all of my reviews were organized in alphabetical order. But have you seen how long that list was? After six years of reviewing, it was very, very long. Plus, I deleted like half of those reviews, so most of those links no longer worked. Basically, that page kind of sucked. (Don’t bother trying to look at it now, because you’ll just find a page that says I’m working on changes.) I am currently trying to come up with a way to turn that into a database. Hopefully searchable (somehow). I’m working on it, and it should be a lot better and more user-friendly. Basically anything would be more user-friendly than the giant list that it was.
I am going to try adding new pages to make my blog more transparent and searchable. This might take some trial and error, but hopefully your experience on this blog ends up being a lot better.
Ads and Affiliate Links
I know, I know, no one wants to see these. But, honestly, the huge upgrade I just did was not (really) cheap. And it won’t be cheap going forward. As of right now, I have completely removed all ads and affiliate links from my blog. Why? Because I want to integrate them into my blog better before I bring them back. I know a lot of the ads showing up on my site before were for things like WordPress or Claritin. Which is fine, but it wasn’t making me enough income to be worth the annoyance for you (because there were a lot). So I want to make sure that there are fewer ads, and that the ones that do make it onto my blog fit better with the rest of my content.
I want to incorporate ads and affiliate links that feel like they belong, and genuinely correspond to what I enjoy. If I talk about Audible, why not share a link where you get a free 30-day trial and I get a commission? It’s a win for both of us. I’m currently an affiliate with Amazon/Audible and Book Depository. So, when you encounter those links in a post, know that if you click on them and make a purchase, I make a few dollars (or cents) to go towards supporting this blog.
I’m still figuring out how this is going to work, but I do want to make it a better more seamless experience for you. While still covering the fees that come along with running this blog. So, when those links and ads do come back, just know that you are supporting me directly (not WordPress) by clicking on them. And I do really appreciate it!
Thanks for Your Support!
Your support means the world to me. And I do want to keep this blog going, because I love it. I just want to make some improvements in regards to content AND make sure that this is sustainable for me and worth the time I spend on it. (Because, as of right now, it’s kind of just a very expensive hobby that stresses me out.)
I know some of these changes might be a little bit inconvenient for a while, but I always want to be transparent and make changes that work for all of us.
Leave Your Thoughts Below!
Since I am making changes with you in mind, leave your suggestions in the comments! What posts do you like or dislike? Is there anything you’d like to see more of in the future? Any questions you might have? Let me know in the comments!