With spring coming to an end, it’s time to look at what I plan to watch during the summer. As expected, this list is subject to change. Also, I address my continued blogging frustrations as well.
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Air Date: July 2, 2022
From the surface, it looks like a bunch of cute girls working at a traditional Japanese café. But, of course, there is something more beneath the surface. You know, fighting monsters and zombies and such. It should be interesting how the story develops since it’s an original story.
Love Live Superstar 2
Air Date: July 17, 2022
As expected, we are in for more as the awaited second season. Last month, four more members, who are probably the new first-year students, joined the existing cast. We will certainly know more about them In the second season. Also, can they win Love Live this time around? We’ll see very soon.
Air Date: July 3, 2022
While I haven’t watched Strike Witches, although I probably will get to it eventually, this is apparently a spinoff. The premise makes it evident that this is an idol anime with this squadron singing and performing music. The question is, will this spinoff be more lighthearted than the main series? We’ll find out soon.
As for the fourth show, I will decide what to cover once the season begins. It’s most likely Prima Dolls, but we must wait and see. I will also be watching Saikin Yatotta Maid ga Ayashii but won’t be covering it.
State of the Blog and Blog Updates
As mentioned earlier, I still feel frustrated by the lack of comments and how it’s going in the year’s first half. So far, the number of comments received is not meeting what I expected, and I am very frustrated.
Not having that many comments make me feel that I am being left out of the community as others have no problem receiving them. However, they play a good part in the social aspect of anime blogging and gauge that people enjoy my content. Also, I do not participate in social media since it has become so toxic. This is especially with Twitter, as if the deal goes through, Elon Musk will make it worse. I don’t blog about anime to make money or become famous. My day job, donations from the apps I develop, and investment income takes care of that. I do it mainly for social and enjoyment, which is why my blog lasted this long.
I must admit that I want to improve the engagement on my blog in terms of comments to the likes of “I drink and watch anime,” “Crow’s World of Anime” and others, which receive more comments on their posts than me. Back when I started my blog, I hadn’t had these issues as some people regularly leave comments. Note that I reply to most, if not all comments that I receive.
This has been a challenging few years of blogging as, since 2015, getting people to leave comments has been challenging. While last year was an exception, with 556 comments left, it’s just an abnormality. As a result, this problem makes me feel less motivated to write certain content, such as editorials and reviews. I fear I won’t receive any after I spend hours writing it. This paralysis is hard to overcome as it becomes a vicious cycle.
I must admit that some factors come into play, like the popularity of social media. While this is a generalization, Generation Z also apparently has lower attention spans. That is why things like short-form content like Tik-Tok are popular. While Anime and Manga are also popular with Generation Z, there is a good possibility that the content might deter people from engaging with my blog. Therefore, I will provide a text-to-speech audio version of the post for editorials and reviews so people can listen to the content instead of having to read it.
To attempt to hopefully get more people to leave comments on my blog, I decided to focus on content quality. I have noticed that my content became too long in the word count. So, I plan to limit the amount I write for episodic posts to 500-700 words (excluding captions). I also subscribed to Grammarly Premium to help edit my content quicker and improve my writing quality. Of course, not all suggestions Grammarly give is perfect, but hopefully, they will make my content more engaging.
Lastly, there are other changes I plan to make. While I am putting the new theme on hold since I discovered a few issues with posts not rendering correctly. I have yet to hear back from the developers because of a cybersecurity incident in their third-party data centers. As a result, I am putting this on hold until I can receive a fix.
Lastly, the blog will go ad-free starting July as I am hardly earning anything from WordAds since the pandemic. In the last six months, I only received .44 in revenue or less. So, it’s not worth having the ads, especially since I earn more from dividends from stocks I make per month (around $5 and growing).
With that, feel free to share what you plan to watch this summer. Also, if you have any suggestions on improving the engagement on this blog, feel free to share them.
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11 Comments… read them or add your own.
As always we have similar picks of shows to cover and discuss. Let’s continue enjoying them, yes.
Hopefully the summer picks will be enjoyable and as always, I look forward to more Love Live.
While I’m super flattered, I don’t see my site as getting a lot of comments. I appreciate each and every one I get; and the comments I get impress the daylights out of me. But there aren’t tons. To be perfectly honest, I’m happy with the smaller number of high-quality comments I’ve been getting.
I’m going to share a bit of advice, and you are perfectly welcome to ignore it! Well, you’re perfectly welcome to do anything you like, but I don’t want you to feel obligated to consider anything I say.
Irina (of I Drink and Watch Anime fame, of course) gets more comments than any other site I can think of. In fact, of the 330 or so sites I check every week, her site consistently gets the most comments.
Side note: Only 5 or 10 sites seem to attract comments as a matter of course; we’re still down from the heyday of anime blogs.
I’ve had the extreme good fortune of having collaborated with Irina a few times. During one of those collaborations, I asked her what techniques she used to generate so many comments. Her answer was as simple as it is hard to implement:
She suggested asking questions. Inviting the reader to share their thoughts. Presenting opinions in a way that aren’t didactic, but that inspire the reader to want to discuss.
If I have any success in encouraging comments, it’s to the extend I’ve followed her advice.
One more suggestion I’d make. I completely understand why you don’t want the like button on your posts. I understand why you ask readers not to like your posts via Reader. Have you considered how that looks from a reader perspective?
Maybe it’s just me. But I honestly frowned when you asked us to not use the tools we’re used to using to interact with your posts. Is that the reaction you intended?
We’re playing the long game here. You know that as well as or better than I do! The probability of a reader feeling comfortable enough to comment depends in part on how the reading experiences leaves them feeling. The way I see it (and again, please feel free to ignore anything I say!), if I ask anything of the reader, especially if I ask them to change their reading habits, I feel like I risk alienating them — or at least increasing the odds of them feeling that way.
Of course, you don’t want that to happen. And I could be utterly wrong. But since it’s something I experienced, I figured it might be helpful to mention.
I hope some of this helps!
“Be welcoming” – I think we all try to be as welcoming as possible; it works in Rinny’s favour as she has a softer, palatable, approach, plus people think she’s cute, so there’s that. Whilst if it was, me for example, it would come off as; blunt, rough, straight to the point or somehow too passive. Or just flat boring and impartial… except the comment section, I’m really lively there.
I do agree in what you are saying though, people and their reading experience. The real factor and this’s a hard one to swallow for anyone; it boils down just how much value they got out of it.
On the plus note, I learnt what didatic meant!
I think this is important, and of course my writing style is not something that stays static forever, there is always refinements one can make. I think one of the problems is relying on Microsoft Word’s grammar check too much. It kind of makes my content sound like a college essay of some sort. English is a complicated language, although I am a native speaker.
That said, I don’t expect the changes and improvements to give results overnight, but I implemented a few changes as removing that notice, although they still won’t appear on this blog, especially since the functionality is redundant with reactions being there. Regardless, WordPress Likes are not considered part of the metrics if a post is successful or not, only comments and reactions are.
Of course, during the early days of blogging about anime, sure the blogosphere was vibrant. I had no issue receiving comments back then as I received over 600+, which is a lot, probably more writing editorial posts and reviews Sure, there were trolls back then, but of course I do not approve those comments. When I was working on my bachelors degree, I also participated on AnimeSuki Forums. Of course, everything shifted to social media and anime reviews on Youtube.
Of course, there is a decline as a result and I failed to adapt, especially when I was let go from my first job in 2016 as the job didn’t fit. I was in a tough place during my gap years, which it took a little over three years to find another job. Still, my mindset still hasn’t quite recovered back then as I would write non-episodic posts and not receive the desired results and it’s frustrating.
Then again, it’s probably because I am cranking out posts on autopilot during the rough three years of my life. Even after finding a job and now under stable footing, I am still figuring out ways to improve. I must admit that I am not the best writer as my expertise is with computers obviously.
I will take note of this. In fact, I did a guest review of Blue Reflection for The Yuri Empire last year. I don’t mind doing more guest reviews or editorials in the future if someone asked. Of course, this gave my blog more exposure and I saw my followers account increase on Twitter.
Also, I rely on Microsoft Word’s grammar check for a long time and probably it made my writing too academic. I have recently subscribed to Grammarly Pro, since I am not good with writing. Grammarly allows me to set goals. I set the audience to General, setting the Formality to informal, and domain to casual.
While Grammarly is not 100% perfect as it gives a few suggestions that don’t make sense that I have to override, but we’ll see if it changes anything. Also, I also add more images to the post so the reader won’t look at a wall of text.
While come of this come from my existing frustrations, I decided to disable WordPress Likes completely mostly because I was dealing with a Like spam issue. People who are not following the blog and have blog that is non-anime related in order to have their name show up to promote their blog. This is a known issue and WordPress outright refused to give the blog owner the tool to remove spam likers, block them, or report them. If the SPAM issue wasn’t a big deal, I probably wouldn’t disable them, but WordPress refuses to give the tool that allows creators to deal with this issue. I had to discontinue the Jetpack plan since they refuse to fix this issue as I don’t want my SEO ruined by people who abuse the system, although there are legitimate ones.
In it’s place, I have implemented an alternate, which is provided by the WP Reactions Pro plugin, which allows users to react to the post without leaving a comment and the user needs to scroll to the end of the post to give one. It doesn’t suffer from the problem with WordPress Likes as the user cannot promote their blog as their name doesn’t show up. I will remove the notice, but WordPress Likes are not considered part of the metrics. Only the number of reactions a post receives and comments. So far, there is 389 reactions made by users, meaning that users are using the system.
I think most of why I am feeling frustrated is by the years of stagnation and the lowering confidence that readers are enjoying the content I write. As expected, part of why I am here is the failure to adapt, which has been hard since 2016-2019 dealing with endless job rejections and feeling frustrated with a job search that isn’t going so well.
With that, it spills into my hobby. Sure, I will ignore 2020 as that year was a bad year of its own with anime getting delayed. 2021 was the turn around year where there is the hope that I can finally break the trend of stagnation. I want to continue the trend, which of course means big changes and perhaps investing some money into the hobby. I never view blogging as something to make money off as the ad-rates these days are lousy.
But the main goals of blogging is of course socialization and sharing my passion for things I like, such as anime, video games, and etc. I have to admit that I am an introvert and I do not really socialize with people in real life, not even that much during college. I have no problem socializing online, but social networking has been a cesspool, especially Twitter.
Blogging doesn’t seem to have this issue and sadly, the days of Anime forums as being the go to place is gone. Maybe they should bring them back so people have a place to socialize and not a platform owned by a millionaire who supports “unfettered free speech,” but actually doesn’t. This is what makes blogging still worth it now as the community is not controlled by big corporations or rich people.
Of course, with blogging, it’s important to adapt to changing trends. I am doing this right now with Grammarly to make my content more engaging, adding more images, and not making posts too long. Also, I recently replaced my theme, which replaces the outdated WPTouch Pro and to improve SEO with improved loading times. I noticed that compared with the old theme, the new one loads a lot faster. There is more I plan to do in regards to the design, which I can’t go into detail, but I will announce at a later date. While these changes and improvements takes time to implement, I am hopeful that it will give the results I am looking for.
Also, thanks for the suggestions. Hopefully I can share some good news instead of doom and gloom blogging wise.
It’s worth a shot at with Crow’s advice. Not much or if anything to lose.
While this week was frustrating due to lack of comments on all the posts, I am starting to implementing the changes. I know it takes time, but I hope this trend doesn’t continue or it will destroy my motivation to blog. Hopefully the start of the summer won’t be like this.
Have you thought about this. Rather than focusing on, what crow, irina and other bloggers are doing. Why not go to blogs or posts that are covering the same shows you are doing, say something along those line like “hey there, I’m doing epi review on this as well”, strike up a small convo, it might generate interest on their part to check out what you’re saying about the show. I can’t guarantee you that they will go to your blog, however it’s start. It won’t work as strongly for me though since I cover shows out of season, or just plain slow to put out posts.
Blogging these days is also about networking.
The problem is well besides being an introvert nowadays and it’s difficult to connect with new people, unless they talk to me first. I tend to not focus too much on social media given how toxic, especially in recent years. With forums being mostly dead, blogging is pretty much my only way to socialize besides on Twitter sometimes.
Also, looking at Anime Blog Tracker, with the titles I cover, it’s usually myself and OG-Man covering the same titles as what I cover, which are primarily what I usually cover. There is also The Anime Rambler, but that blog seems to focus too much on summary that it’s probably not worth leaving comments. If there are more bloggers that cover the shows I usually watch, then maybe it would be a different situation.
I am adjusting my writing style since I know that the episodic review posts tend to get too long as mentioned. Besides limiting the amount of words for each post. I have started to pick only some interesting points and share my thoughts about them. As expected, I’m still tweaking this new format while adjusting the settings in Grammarly so the posts are aimed at a general casual audience.
That said, I do have non-episodic posts like editorials on the horizon, but it depends on how I feel about the blogging situation. I also having difficulty receiving comments for those too, which is disheartening.
Believe me when I say this. I found it hard to go to other peoples blogs, when I first started around 09, however when I made those first comment on other peoples blog, it slowly built my confidence up. To the point, where it is just second nature to me leave comments. And yeah, I get where you’re coming from. Putting the effort in, to see no leaving not so much comments.
The difference between you and me James. You have OG man at least being consistent with you. Me, I’ve had tons of people just bounce or move off me. The newer ones, I spent a lot more of my time investing in them. Only to see them, bounce for “greener pastures” at times to have them being awkward, because it didn’t work out for them – due to guilt. Only to see a void because I refuse to make that jump across the void for them. That they expect me to. This has been going on since 2015-16. Or worse, leaving the blogging sphere behind. You have someone that will stick with you, don’t over-look that or take it for granted. If others come, cool. If they don’t, nothing to fret about. This is why I don’t leave comments as much these days. I rather take one person that will be consistent with me, than having lots and none coming or sticking.