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Friday, 31 January 2020

2020 Challenges: January Update

2020 Challenges: January Update #BlogAuditChallenge2020 #ArmedWithABingo #AudiobookChallenge2020 #TheAtoZReadingChallenge

2020 Challenges: January Update

The first month of 2020 is already coming to a close, and so it's time for an update on my progress for the various challenges I'm taking part in.

The Blog Audit Challenge 2020

This is a challenge I created aimed at improving our blogs. You can find full details here in case you missed the introduction post. The goals for January were all related to planning and organising. 

The mission statement:

The hardest part of this months tasks was writing my mission statement for my blog. Whilst I was working on mine I came across this article on the CoSchedule blog that gave a great break down of how to write a mission statement. 

I basically narrowed it down to books and blogging. My mission for my blog is to encourage a love of books, whilst helping others make the most of their blogs.

SWOT:

I'm incredibly bad at doing SWOT analysis for myself, so this part of the challenge was a must for me. I was at least happy to see that my list of strengths and my list of weaknesses were fairly even.  

It was also comforting to see that the items on my weaknesses list shouldn't be too difficult to improve on. 

Other blogs I like and why:

This was the most fun part of the challenge as it meant I got to scroll through social media and blogs, and could put it down to research for once instead of feeling guilty for wasting time. 

I visited a wide variety of sites in terms of the topics they cover, but I noticed that the ones I felt drawn to all had similar elements. 

A clean, clutter free format is a must. They need to be easy to navigate, quick to load, and easy to read. Dark text, light background. Less is usually more. Images matter. White space matters. I do not like long blocks of text. I much prefer short paragraphs and bullet points for faster reading. When a site doesn't have social share buttons I find it incredibly annoying. 

Content schedule:

I've decided on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and some Saturdays. More than that just wouldn't be practical for me. I just don't have the time to do more. I also think it's better to publish a few quality posts as opposed to lots of meh posts. 

So far, I'm really happy with my progress for this challenge and think my blog will improve a lot over the coming months. 

The Audiobook Challenge

I'm actually pretty sure that this challenge is meant to be done just in January 2020. Well, I'm not realistically going to manage to complete it in just a month so I'm going to be continuing to do it over the year. I hope that's OK Eline. 


I didn't actually get off to that bad a start. I confess, I didn't have very high hopes for this challenge but decided to take part in the hope that it would motivate me to listen to more audiobooks.... which it did. Win!

I also discovered some excellent narrators this month. This is a huge bonus as far as I'm concerned as a narrator can make or break an audiobook. It's good to start building a list of narrators I enjoy. 


The Audiobook Challenge 2020: January Update


Audiobooks listened to:



The A to Z Reading Challenge

I've taken part in the A to Z Reading Challenge in the past and failed, but this year I'm going to complete it! I'm off to quite a good start, despite already having doubled up on letters. 

The A to Z Reading Challenge: January 2020 Progress

The one without a tick by it (Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear) is because I'm still currently reading it (although I am close to the end now). 



Armed with a bingo

I'm not off to too bad a start with the Armed with a Bingo challenge either. 



Armed With A Bingo Reading Challenge: January 2020 Progress


Books read:

2020 Challenges: January Update #BlogAuditChallenge2020 #ArmedWithABingo #AudiobookChallenge2020 #TheAtoZReadingChallenge



Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Book Review: What Would It Take by EL DuBois


#BookReview: What Would It Take by EL DuBois #Audiobook

My thoughts about the audiobook What Would It Take by EL DuBois

Narrator: Sarah Sampino



#BookReview: What Would It Take by EL DuBois #Audiobook
The first time I saw Saxton Crawford we were in high school. He was the football star and I was just another invisible teenage girl. Now, he is a famous quarterback and the bane of my existence. And by bane, I mean his presence has brought back 10 years of secrets. Ones I'd thought I'd dealt with.
The minute he walks back into my life I become that bumbling teenage girl all over again. I'm not having it! Even if the quarterback only has eyes for me. He's irresistible, too handsome for his own good, cocky, and carrying baggage no one wants.
Saxton Crawford has spent years trying to find his mystery girl. Turns out, I'm that girl. I guess I wasn't invisible after all. Bam! Happily ever after right? Nope, not for me. Not with his demons and mine. It's going to take every ounce of my will power to resist him.
So, what would it take to get him to leave me alone? Do I want that? Maybe I should be asking myself..."What would it take to win his heart?"








Are you a book blogger? Join the Bookish Blog Hops group on Facebook to connect with other book bloggers. A great community offering support and events to help you grow traffic to your book blog and generate more brand awareness.


Friday, 24 January 2020

Book Review: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri


#BookReview: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

My thoughts about The Shape of Water (Commissario Montalbano #1) by Andrea Camilleri




#BookReview: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
The Shape of Water is the first in Andrea Camilleri's wry, brilliantly compelling Sicilian crime series, featuring Inspector Montalbano.
The goats of Vigàta once grazed on the trash-strewn site still known as the Pasture. Now local enterprise of a different sort flourishes: drug dealers and prostitutes of every flavour. But their discreet trade is upset when two employees of the Splendour Refuse Collection Company discover the body of engineer Silvio Luparello, one of the local movers and shakers, apparently deceased in flagrante at the Pasture. The coroner's verdict is death from natural causes - refreshingly unusual for Sicily.
But Inspector Salvo Montalbano, as honest as he is streetwise and as scathing to fools and villains as he is compassionate to their victims, is not ready to close the case - even though he's being pressured by Vigàta's police chief, judge, and bishop.
Picking his way through a labyrinth of high-comedy corruption, delicious meals, vendetta firepower, and carefully planted false clues, Montalbano can be relied on, whatever the cost, to get to the heart of the matter.
The Shape of Water is followed by the second in this phenomenal series, The Terracotta Dog.






Are you a book blogger? Join the Bookish Blog Hops group on Facebook to connect with other book bloggers. A great community offering support and events to help you grow traffic to your book blog and generate more brand awareness.


Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Book Review: We Don't Talk About Her by Andersen Prunty

Book Review: We Don't Talk About Her by Andersen Prunty

My thoughts about the audiobook We Don't Talk About Her by Andersen Prunty 

Narrator: Brett Schumacher 

Disclosure: I got a free copy of this audiobook from Audiobooks Unleashed



Book Review: We Don't Talk About Her by Andersen Prunty
Clint is a laughable stalker who lives in a hoard with his decaying mother. Stella is his current fascination, but Clint has no idea what kind of woman Stella is. She’s playing a lifelong game and only she knows the rules. Now she’s made a wrong move and finds herself at Clint’s house, victim to his perverse attentions and bizarre behavior. Is it the perfect place to hide from her past or an insane prison from which she may never escape?








Are you a book blogger? Join the Bookish Blog Hops group on Facebook to connect with other book bloggers. A great community offering support and events to help you grow traffic to your book blog and generate more brand awareness.


Friday, 17 January 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: January Challenges

Blog Audit Challenge 2020: January Challenges #BlogAuditChallenge2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020


Welcome to the first month of challenges for the Blog Audit Challenge 2020!

Each month we'll concentrate on a different area of our blogs.

The Challenges:


January- Plan of action
February- Information pages
March- The trimmings
April- Design
May- SEO
June- Links
July- Quality content
August- Content gaps
September- Developing readership
October- Get social
November- Press and collaborations
December- Know your stats

Monthly link ups

In order to keep us all on track, and give us a way to see each others progress, I'll be hosting link ups on the first Saturday of every month where participants can share their links and discuss their progress. 



#BlogAuditChallenge2020

January Challenges


Our focus for January is on strategy. Before we jump into updates, tactics, and the more technical SEO aspects of our challenge, we need to lay the ground work and create a plan of action. 

The January challenges will help give us direction and serve as inspiration for the following months.

The January challenges:


1. Create a mission statement for your blog

Sometimes we lose focus of what our blog is about. We drift from topic to topic and can lose sight of our main theme, and in some cases even the reason why we blog. 

Creating a mission statement for your blog will help you remember why you decided to start blogging and what you want your blog to offer it's readers. 

2. Do a SWOT analysis of your blog

If you want to improve your blog you need to look at it like a reader would. What are your blog's strengths and weaknesses? Now look at opportunities and threats. What tools could help you improve your blog? External things that could help you achieve your blogging goals? What external things could be stopping you from reaching your blogging goals?

3. Research

Research others in your niche and see where you can improve. What blogs do you like to read on a regular basis? What is it about them that keeps your interest/do you like/makes you visit? Build an inspiration list of things you could try out on your own blog.

4. Create a content schedule

When it comes to planning your content schedule you need to be realistic. Whilst you might love the idea of posting fresh content every day, or even multiple times a day, that might not be practical for the life style you lead. It's a LOT of work! Two or three posts a week might be more doable. Take into account your other obligations (job, kids, etc...) and work out how much time, and when, you'll have to work on your blog. Once you know that it's much easier to work out a content schedule.

From the above three points you should have a pretty good idea of the sort of content you want to be publishing on your blog. Now you know how many posts you're aiming for each week put the two together and try to work out a rough calendar for your blog (at least a month worth of posts). 

Task number 4 is particularly important as it will help give you an idea of what sort of things you need to work on within your older posts during the rest of the Blog Audit Challenge.

Free download

To make the tasks easier I've created a pdf that breaks it down. You can grab copies of all the extra materials for the Blog Audit Challenge 2020 for free here

You can grab copies of all the extra materials for the Blog Audit Challenge 2020 for free! #BlogAuditChallenge2020


There's even a button you can use to promote your participation in the challenge:

I'm taking part in the Blog Audit Challenge 2020 #BlogAuditChallenge2020

Save the Date:

The monthly link up post for sharing your January progress will be on 1st February. The February challenges will be posted on 3rd February. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 #BlogAuditChallenge2020 #Blogging #Bloggers


Blog Audit Challenge 2020


With the start of a new year it's the perfect time to work on making your blog even better, and setting your goals for the coming months. 

As we move forward in our blogging journey (I hope) we all improve. We get better at writing content, learn to leverage our SEO, and grow our skills with graphics, using keywords, reader engagement etc...

But what about our older content? The stuff we created before we grew and improved? 

Too often we get so caught up with creating new content that we neglect (and full out forget) about our older content. 

Enter the Blog Audit Challenge!

I did a Blog Audit Challenge back in 2018 and it proved to be a good idea. It was also fun to connect with other bloggers as we all worked on improving our blogs. This year I want to turn it into a challenge to make it even more of a community event. 


So why do a blog audit?

1. Make sure you're legal
2. Make sure your brand is clear and consistent
3. Improve your ROI
4. Increase reader retention
5. Identify areas of improvement 
6. Evaluate the quality of your blogs content
7. To check readability

There are of course, lots of other reasons for doing a blog audit but you get the idea. The general purpose is to improve your blog. Take a good blog and turn it into an awesome blog.

As you can image, this is a huge, on-going job. Unless you're a newish blogger you probably have a lot of content already published on your site. Updating years of blog posts is not going to be possible in a short frame of time. 

With the Blog Audit Challenge I'm going to break it down into smaller monthly challenges you can do, and give you some tips and advice along the way. 

Each month we'll concentrate on a different area of our blogs.

The Challenges:


January- Plan of action
March- The trimmings
April- Design
May- SEO
June- Links
July- Quality content
August- Content gaps
September- Developing readership
October- Get social
November- Press and collaborations
December- Know your stats

Monthly link ups

In order to keep us all on track, and give us a way to see each others progress, I'll be hosting link ups on the first Saturday of every month where participants can share their links and discuss their progress. 

#BlogAuditChallenge2020

Want to join me? 

Sign-up is easy! Simply write a blog post, tweet, Facebook or Instagram post announcing your participation and leave a link to it in the comments below!

Blog Audit Challenge 2020 #BlogAuditChallenge2020 #Blogging #Bloggers


The January challenges will be posted this Friday! 

Monday, 6 January 2020

2020 Reading Challenge: A To Z Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge: A To Z Reading Challenge #AtoZReadingChallenge #AtoZChallenge2020

2020 Reading Challenges


I've decided to take part in a few reading challenges this year, and will be posting about each of them individually to give you all the details.

I've already covered Armed With A Bingo, and Audiobook Challenge 2020.

The A to Z Reading Challenge


I've attempted this challenge in the past (and failed) but this year there's AtoZopoly! This only was enough to convince me to give it a try. I LOVE Monopoly!

There's also monthly mini challenges throughout the year.

JANUARY – A book you didn’t read from your 2019 TBRFEBRUARY – A book under 200 pagesMARCH – A book set in a different seasonAPRIL – A book set in the future / pastMAY – A debutJUNE – A book with a one-word titleJULY – A retellingAUGUST – A book written by a femaleSEPTEMBER – A book about a book clubOCTOBER – A book about mental illnessNOVEMBER – An “own voices” bookDECEMBER – A book by a new-to-you author

2020 Reading Challenge: A To Z Reading Challenge #AtoZReadingChallenge #AtoZChallenge2020

The A to Z Reading Challenge is organised by my book blogging buddies Megan and Crystal from Ginger Mom and Company.



2020 Reading Challenge: A To Z Reading Challenge #AtoZReadingChallenge #AtoZChallenge2020


Are you taking part in the A To Z Reading Challenge, or another reading challenge in 2020?

Friday, 3 January 2020

2020 Reading Challenge: Audiobook Challenge 2020

2020 Reading Challenge: Audiobook Challenge 2020

2020 Reading Challenges


As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm planning on taking part in several reading challenges this year in an attempt to read more books (2019 was not a good reading year). 

I'm creating a separate blog post for each of the challenges I'm doing to give you more details about each of them.

Audiobook Challenge 2020

I discovered audiobooks more last year, and even found a few that I really enjoyed. The narrator really can make or break a book. 

Anyway, I've decided that I want to experiment more with this medium for reading books. I found it was a nice way to pass the time whilst doing the ironing or washing up. I also hope it will allow me to fit more reading into my busy schedule, as it allows for multitasking. 

My book blogging friend Eline from Lovely Audiobooks has organised a reading challenge specifically for audiobooks and so I thought I'd give it a go. 

This is the challenge sheet:

2020 Reading Challenge: Audiobook Challenge 2020

I'm still not sure which I'm going for at the moment but I have several audiobooks waiting on my audible account that I'd like to get round to and hopefully at least a few will fit with the prompts. 

You can find more information about the Audiobook Challenge 2020 at: 

2020 Reading Challenge: Audiobook Challenge 2020


Are you taking part in the Audiobook Challenge 2020, or another reading challenge in 2020?

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