Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Working on the Blog - Statistics, Subjects and Tags

Although you may have to look closely to see, I did a lot of work on my blog last week, adding three important new indices on the left hand side:
  • I added a tag cloud for ratings, so you can see how many ratings I've assigned, and click to see what's got what,
  • I added a "publisher index" so you can see how many books I've reviewed for different publishers,
  • and I changed my regular "Tags" list to a "subject index," so you can see reviews or articles by topic.
I'm hoping that these features prove useful to visitors interested in learning more about what I really do here- who and what I read, and how I feel about it. I added the publisher tags and FTC and affiliate disclosures, and standardized the top line of each review where I list the publisher and date of publication to just about every review I've written since 2008. I also added notes on hardcover and/or paperback availability, but those aren't consistent. My arm was aching when all was said and done, and I didn't even get to 2007!

All of this work got me thinking about some things. Wondering what publisher I've reviewed the most, I found out- surprise!- it's Random House, publisher of most crème de la crème literary fiction. I was surprised to learn how many Penguin imprints I read, and not surprised to learn I read lots of Macmillan, publisher of high-quality genre fiction like The Tricking of Freya and literary gems like Wolf Hall and Doghead. It was also interesting to see the number of smaller publishers I've read, if only one or two or three books each.

I tried to keep all imprints of a single publisher together but I broke up graphic novel imprints. DC Comics and Minx, for example, are owned by Random House but I listed them separately, and First Second is a Macmillan-owned imprint I listed on its own. I made this decision because it's more meaningful to me when it comes to graphic novels to see imprints separated from the parent company.

I was chatting with a fellow blogger about this project during the week and she asked me if I was going to index every mention of a book or just reviews. I'm going to stick with indexing just reviews, because if I'm trying to see (and show) what I'm actually reading, indexing mentions would water down the numbers and render them less useful. What do you think? There's always the whole indexing-authors thing, which is a little overwhelming to me to think about right now.

Another thing that occurred me was the possibility of re-running and/or revising older reviews, things posted in 2007 and early 2008, when I had basically no readers, to spotlight some older books and some more idiosyncratic reading choices. These were the books I read before I had the luxury of many review copies (although lots of my early reviews were galleys I picked up at ALA in 2007). I'd also like to get some mileage out of that stuff, have a reason to revise them and help me out on slow weeks. What do you think?

How do you organize tags and subjects on your blog? Is it something you think about much or not at all? When I started, I was happy just to post; all this other stuff would have overwhelmed me but it's fascinating to me to see how my own blog has evolved over time. What's happened with yours?

16 comments:

Meghan said...

I really like the idea of tagging by publisher. I've wondered about my own distribution but the idea of tagging 500+ posts is insane!

caite said...

organize? gosh, that's an idea...

Laura said...

I think organizing your blog is a bit like spring cleaning, or weeding/pruning a garden -- you need to do it once in a while or things get out of hand. Sometimes you find your original organizational scheme just isn't working well anymore.

I did a rethink when I moved my blog to WordPress in January. I use categories for all posts, and have a relatively short list of those. And I use tags only for reviews, and the tags generally describe the type of book.

This topic was also discussed in the Blog Improvement Project -- you here's my post on categories and tags.

bermudaonion said...

I would index by reviews only (and not mentions) like you did.

I don't worry about tagging too much since I don't provide an index for my tags.

jennysbooks said...

I keep meaning to organize a proper index for my reviews, and I'll definitely do it just with reviews (not mentions). My tags aren't really meant to be used for organizational purposes; I just do them because I think they're fun. :P

rhapsodyinbooks said...

That sounds like a fun stat, to keep track by publisher. This year I'm just keeping track of male or female author for the first time, so I'm way behind in organization! :--)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

This was a huge labor, Marie; you must be satisfied that it's DONE!

I think tagging by publisher is brilliant ... I usually return to my LibraryThing library if I want to count books I own (or have read/reviewed) by a specific publisher. Smart to have the info right there on your blog for your readers to see.

jewwishes said...

Random House is my number one as far as books. I seem to gravitate to them without even realizing it.

Nice additions, Marie. I was considering adding a topic index.

Fibro Witch said...

I like the idea of posting reviews of older books. Not just books from 2005 or 2006, but books from the 1950's and 60's or older. Books that people might not look for or even know exist.

Zibilee said...

I'd be interested in seeing some of your older reviews as well! I also think that you did a lot of great reorganizing around here!

Kathleen said...

Everything looks great. My blog is so simple that I am the wrong person to really weigh in on the choices you have made but they seem to make everything simple, easy to find, and straight forward. One of these days I am going to sit down and work on bringing my blog to the next level!

Lenore said...

I tag by publisher too, because I find it really interesting!

Jeanne said...

I'm interested in seeing older reviews!

Thinking about organizing is sometimes a good way to choose a new focus for a blog. I'll have to consider this.

bookmagic said...

I have no idea what publishers I read more. I have never tagged that info. I'm still tweaking my organizational system. And by tweaking I mean I bury my head at the thought of it.
You should definitely re-run older posts that may have been missed.

April (BooksandWine) said...

I definitely want to start tagging my reviews by publisher at some point, for now I'm focusing on dwindling the ARC pile so I can get back to my owned TBR!

Serena said...

I just recently did this to reduce my categories on the new wordpress platform, but I haven't got a breakdown like you do by publisher and title, etc. great job.