Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello 2015: Rewind, Goals, and Questions

What a year 2014 has been! Some of it great, some of it horrible, and some of it in-between. Most notably, I finished my sophomore year of college and started my very first job (I work in the tech services department at CMU's library). I had a year of ups and downs with friends and family, so I'm looking forward to just putting everything behind me and starting over fresh. One of my resolutions is to be more open with people, and I plan on working that a whole lot this year. It's something that has harmed my relationships and hindered my ability to make new friends. I'm also determined to start exercising regularly, and I want to try to lose weight before BEA. And that is another thing that makes me so excited about 2015! I know I've talked about it a lot, but I just can't help it. I think this is going to be a wonderful and amazing (and a very overwhelming and out-of-my-comfort-zone) experience. But I need and want this so badly. NYC, here I comeeeee!

It was also a great year in reading! I read 203 books! I never thought I'd read that many, but I did. And man, I loved some of those books a lot, enjoyed others, and disliked a few. But most of them were likable and worth my time. If you're curious about my favorites, you should check out the End of Year Survey I did yesterday! :)

A YEAR IN READING:
As you can tell, A LOT of 4 star reads! Actually, quite a few of them are 3.5 and rounded up. I'm glad to see that my 2 and 1 star lists are the shortest. That's always a plus. And of the 5 stars, many are 4.5 and rounded up. So, in actuality, I only gave out 16 five stars! Definitely less than last year, but that's okay. If I gave them out to every single book, they'd lose their value. And yeah, I have that one book I couldn't rate. Fucking Girl Lost. Ruined everything. I just didn't understand it and ended up not being able to decide on a rating because I didn't even know how to feel about it. I'm hoping that doesn't happen again this year.

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GOALS TO ACHIEVE!

Since my TTT was all about resolutions (in both real and blogging life), I also decided to make a list of just blogging goals I want to accomplish this year. These aren't huge goals, just small ones that I hope to achieve and ones that will hopefully help me make my blog better. And here they are!

*Reach 500 followers on Bloglovin'.
*Request another print ARC.
*Start more features and actually keep up with them.
*Review more books on here that AREN'T review copies!
*Keep up a schedule. It'll help relieve the stress.
*Take breaks when I need them.
*Just DNF those books I know I'll never get back to reading again and don't be afraid to review them and send in NG feedback.
*Think about moving to Wordpress.
*Find a balance with ARCs and "me" books.
*Most especially, find a balance with my real life and blogging.

I swear I had more, but anyway, I'm hoping to accomplish these small goals that I've set for myself and just make this year even better at The Fox's Hideaway. And since I'm discussing goals and resolutions, I thought I'd give y'all the floor. 

So, I've been thinking a lot about blog changes lately and how I can make my blog better. I especially started thinking about this when I stumbled upon a post about Captcha and how this blogger wouldn't comment on blogs who used it. And then I started reading the comments, and boy, I was shocked to see how many people hated Captcha. There were people who said they wouldn't even bother commenting on blogs who had it. It was kind of eye-opening, because I didn't even realize how many people found it annoying. And I was thinking: maybe I should disable mine? So, I did. I honestly never thought about changing it, because I forgot it was even on and I'd heard it helped filter spam so I enabled it when I first started blogging. I never thought about it again until that post, which makes me feel incredibly oblivious and stupid. And then I started thinking of all the people who might have loved a post of mine, went to comment, and decided against it BECAUSE of my Captcha. How many followers did I lose because of it? How many people did it annoy so much they decided against reading any of my other posts? It makes me wish someone had said something about it in all the two years I've been blogging.

And then I wondered, for the first time, why I'd never asked my followers what they'd like to change about my blog. Sure, I'm the "owner" of The Fox's Hideaway. But YOU GUYS are the ones who read my posts and comment. You guys are the ones who inspire me to keep writing posts and reviewing books. Without you, I wouldn't still have a blog. And I so appreciate all of you who kept coming back even when I had Captcha. Because, as much as it never really annoyed me to go through it on other blogs, I'm sure it did annoy other people.

And voila, here we are! 


What would YOU like to change about my blog? If you don't want to change anything, what would you like to see more of on here? What are some types of posts that you love to read on other blogs? Would you like to see more than reviews, lists, and the occasional discussion post? Basically, I just want you to help me make The Fox's Hideaway even better. :)

I'm not going to be mad at anything, because this is what I'm asking for: opinions, suggestions, constructive criticism. I want to open up a discussion that will help me make my blog more entertaining and interesting for my followers (both old and new). Because I can't help noticing my stats and how I have way more followers than I get pageviews and comments. I don't like to talk about them, because they're not why I'm here. But I would be lying if I said they weren't always there, lurking in the shadows, whispering that I'm not doing a good job, that I'm not creative enough or fun enough for others to want to read my posts. I know, I know. I shouldn't think like that. But there is something vulnerable about writing down your thoughts and feelings for others to read. And when you feel like no one is listening or that no one cares? That makes you question everything that you're doing and makes you question if there is something wrong with you. Or, in this case, wrong with your blog. 

Aaaaand...... Okay, moment of self-doubt is over. Moving on.

I remember Kaitlin asking almost the same thing a few months ago (I think?), and I remember saying that I didn't want to tell her how to run her blog or what to post. But I now see the wisdom in this. Because as much as it's my blog, I'm not the one who needs to be interested enough to read my posts and comment. I'm already invested in it. I'm not the one who needs to want to come back. And that's why I am truly asking this; not as a ploy to gain more followers and comments, but as a way to make this blog a better and more appealing place for my readers. A fun, safe, creative place that is constantly evolving.

I already added a way to follow my blog via email, since that was suggested a few times. Will someone please let me know if it works? I definitely want to do more author interviews and maybe even blogger interviews (but so many people do that already). I want to try character interviews and I want to have guest posts. And I really need to start the blog features that I've been meaning to do since November. I did start What Does The Fox Say, which is my new feature for all of my discussions! However, that's not the only idea I have. Speaking of features, I added a list of them on the right sidebar (as well as a coolest kids on the block list). But as to everything else? I'm looking for honest opinions. :)

Thank you for continuing to read my blog, commenting, tweeting, and talking with me about books and life. I know everyone says this about blogging, but it really means the world to me. And here's to making 2015 even better! 

9 comments:

  1. HOLLY YOU ARE SUCH A CUTE DON'T DOUBT YOURSELF YOU SQUISH. But yeah if you're asking for changes, I would definitely say that you should TALK ABOUT ME MORE IN ALL OF YOUR POSTS. Just kidding. Oh, and make me cake.

    But yeah DUDE YOU BROKE 200 that is INCREDIBLY IMPRESSIVE. I am so proud of you! Haha. I'm hoping that you get to all of your resolutions, because THEY ARE ALL GREAT. Hahah I like how one of them is just "think" about moving to wordpress. Don't worry I'm with you on that one. I find it incredibly intimidating, plus I do not want to spend money on that quite yet. If people don't like my blogger site, then poop them. (in a nice way)

    Also, I remember the Captcha thing. I thought you didn't have it? I don't remember entering in numbers and letters and stuff. Though I do remember it being EXTREMELY ANNOYING in the past when everyone had it on (like less than a year from now), but now no one has it. I guess that is why then hahaha :)

    OK I AM DONE. HOLLY I HOPE YOU HAVE AN AMAZING STRESS-FREE YEAR. Plus, you will be going to BEA, so there. Bam. I promise you will have a good time :)

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    1. Damn it Valerie, you beat me by like, 10 minutes, because I was typing a novel. Grr.

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    2. That is an excellent suggestion. New post idea: VAL THE INNOCENT SMILEY AND HER PLANS OF WORLD DOMINATION. Wait, what?

      I don't know if you're talking about breaking 200 reads or followers. Haha, but thanks for both. I like my resolutions too, so I hope I actually achieve them. And dude, I would switch to Wordpress in a heartbeat if it didn't cost any money. But alas..

      I did have it! But well, guess it's good that it's gone now. :P

      THANK YOU I HOPE YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL AMAZING YEAR. And gah, all I want is for it to be BEA already. I can't wait to meet you guys. <3

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  2. Okay, first of all, I AM FOLLOWING YOU BY EMAIL!! Now if Valerie would just get her act together, I could follow each of my favorite bloggers by email :)

    Um, holy freaking crap. 203 books!? You are amazing! Also, I am trying (no, AM) to lose weight before BEA too. So we can cheer each other on and then congratulate each other in person. See, perfect!

    Now, as for your blog, it is so funny because all the things I would have suggested, you already did! You did away with Captcha (thank goodness, I hate that thing) AND you allow me to comment with my name and url, AND you have a follow by email! So um, you win at blogging for the new year! Oh, and PLEASE do not feel dumb about the Captcha thing- so, SO many people, even like, super long term bloggers (I am talking people who have been blogging since it started to be a thing) use it. But when I was on Blogger, I noticed that it did a pretty decent job of filtering the spam. Wordpress pretty much filters it completely thank goodness.

    I was thinking of doing a blogroll too, I want to show off all the blogs I love! Maybe I will add one in the new year.

    One thing I have to say (and no worries, this is ALL praise) is that I LOVE how honest you are on your blog. I think a lot of times, you talk about stuff that other people are too nervous to talk about, and maybe they shy away from commenting, but I am telling you, they are nodding and agreeing! So keep up the good work! OH- we should have a BEA countdown! Also, when we get our plans together, you, me, and Val can do some posts about it too!

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    1. WHAT DO YOU MEAN GET MY ACT TOGETHER. I will put up a thing JUST FOR YOU ok? I'm putting it on my blog RIGHT NOW

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    2. SHANNON, YOUR COMMENTS ALWAYS MAKE ME TEARFUL AND EMOTIONAL. <3 <3 <3

      Yes, let's be each other's personal motivators! I'm going to send you a message somewhere about how we can do that soonish. The blogroll is seriously SO HELPFUL. It always motivates me to check out everyone's posts, and at least visit if not comment. And agree - we need some BEA posts together! :)

      Thank you for that last paragraph. Seriously, it was what I needed to hear. <3

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  3. 203 books! That's so much! I read only just about 85 last year, but this year I am going to up my goal again and head towards 100. I hope you manage to hit your bloglovin goal! I am always reading three books at once, 2 review copies and one of my choice, which might be something for you if you are someone who multi-reads books! I am really glad you were able to rid yourself of Captcha. When I just started to blog seriously, I read a post by Charnell over at Reviews from a Bookworm who explained about how annoying it was in Blogger Peeves and disabled mine. It sure does make things easier!

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    1. 85 is still a GREAT number!! I just really had a lot of free time on my hands for books. And thank you; I hope I do too, though it took me over two years to reach almost 300.

      I am always reading more than one book (actually though, lately I haven't). I already gave myself a plan to keep knocking down those NG books. For every 3 I read, I can have a "me" book. Which I've totally already screwed up this year, but I decided to give myself a break and it's freeing. :)

      It does make things easier, so I hope it will entice more people to want to comment.

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Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3