Friday, July 4, 2008

Another change to labels - nothing for read-alikes

I'm considering a drastic change to my labels that would probably shrink my list of labels down to about a fourth of its current amount. Since I haven't been getting any feedback in the form of comments to blog entries, I have to base my decisions about things like labels on my own thoughts and the information StatCounter gives me.

Here's what I know based on the statistics I've been getting: This blog doesn't get many visitors, and most of the people who do visit tend to visit only for a single post and only for a few seconds at most. Some people spend a lot longer here and actually take the time to explore (I think you guys are awesome). Of those few who do spend more than 5 or 10 seconds looking at my blog, several seem to find my labels a little confusing. For instance, someone wanted to find Bleach read-alikes and kept using my Bleach label (several times within a minute or so), despite the fact that there is only one post with that label. Many people never use the labels at all - they gain access to this blog through some sort of keyword search in a search engine (and I'm actually a little surprised at some of the searches that have brought people to my blog) and then only spend time on the blog entry their search brought them to.

My post labels aren't really all that complicated. Most of my posts have a label for the author/work that I read or watched, labels for the titles or authors of each read-alike and watch-alikes, and labels for the formats of everything. Just based off of what my statistics have been telling me, my labels could probably be even less complicated and it wouldn't make much of a difference. Also, using fewer labels would be good, so that my list of labels wouldn't soon become longer than the list of my 7 most recent posts.

My plan is to only use labels that apply to the main focus of the post. For instance, if I write a post about Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs, my labels would only apply to that book, and not to any of the read-alikes I list. My labels would include "Briggs (Patricia)" because she's the author of that particular book, but not "Armstrong (Kelley)", a potential read-alike. I'd also only use format labels that apply to the specific book I read as well.

Doing this would clean up my label list a lot, and maybe encourage people to use it more (yeah, sure). The main drawback would be that there would no longer be any way to automatically know all the authors and works that have been mentioned in the blog, even if only as read-alikes or watch-alikes. For instance, I've mentioned Anne McCaffrey as a read-alike in at least one post, but I have yet to write a post about one of her books - her books come up in the blog, but they wouldn't show up in my labels list. Until the list of books I've read and written about becomes more comprehensive, anybody who wants to find authors/works that have been listed only as read-alikes/watch-alikes will have to try the search field. Not only are those searches potentially going to retrieve stuff like these blog update posts (or nothing at all, if the author/work hasn't even been mentioned), I kind of doubt many people be persistent enough to try a search.

My idea has another potential problem. For instance, I'm not sure how I'd handle subject-based read-alike posts - you know, "If you like mysteries with dogs, you might like..." I don't think I'll be writing many of those kinds of posts, but I have been working on a few. I'll have to play around with some ideas for how I might handle those kinds of posts.

In addition to having author, work, and format labels, I'm considering starting genre labels. I know I said in an earlier post that doing genre labels might be too much work, but it might be easier if I'm just trying to figure out the genre of one book/movie/etc., rather than the genre of that one work and everything else in the read-alikes/watch-alikes section. I'll have to think about this. Sometimes figuring out the genre of something is really easy. Most romance novels are easy - I'm also pretty good at figuring out which subgenre just about any romance novel belongs in. Fantasy can be much harder, however, because there's a lot of crossover.

I may start the whole label clean-up thing today or Saturday, depending on how my application-writing goes. I'll think about the rest of it.

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