Building Shepherd - Individual book pages and "books like" feature

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Discovering a new book should be a magical experience where the search is part of the fun. That is what we are creating. We give readers fun ways to find amazing books. 

Summary: July 8th to July 22nd 2022
It has been a fantastic two weeks. We are seeing significant gains in traffic, and it is great to see all the hard work I put in over the last five months start accelerating growth.
Starting the new rec system + bookshelf UX
I got everything in place for the developer to start working on the rollout of the new recommendation system and updated bookshelf UX. I am so excited about both of these updates! They are a huge leap in helping readers to keep following their curiosity.
After these are out, I am looking for improvements in the following places:
  • Increase in the average page views per visitor
  • Higher conversion rate for book sales from the bookshelf page
  • Lower bounce rate on the bookshelf page
  • Faster loading time for the book recommendation page
  • Improved internal linking around click depth and orphaned pages
I’ll share the dates these should be ready in the next email.
Early preview of our individual book pages
This is an early mockup of a page that will launch in the Fall. This page is created for every recommended book in our system. The focus is on why this is a great book to read.
What is left to do?
  • Finish the mobile version.
  • Fine-tune the hypothetical ad spot (just a placeholder for now)
  • The last 1% of tweaks to the design.
Please keep in mind the data is not real.
Early preview of the individual book page
Early preview of the individual book page
Early preview of our "books like" pages
This is an early mockup of our “books like” page that will launch in the Fall. This page will recommend books like x book and help readers find more great reads (plus great book lists).
What is left to do?
  • Fine-tune the hypothetical ad spot (just a placeholder for now)
  • The last 1% of tweaks to the design.
Please keep in mind the data is not real.
Early preview of our "books like" page
Early preview of our "books like" page
Grunt work to clean topics and bookshelves
Now that the improved topic system is live, I am working to clean everything up and build the weekly processes to keep it running smoothly.
  • I have 1,806 topics with at least five books assigned to them that I haven’t reviewed yet. I need to go through each one to decide if it is a good topic for books or if I should remove it.
  • I have 1,413 topics from the library of congress that have at least five books assigned. I need to connect those to our topic system to remove them.
  • I have 575 bookshelves with at least ten books assigned to them that I need to review and decide if they should be published. I want to ensure each bookshelf is a fantastic way to help discover books.
I hope to finish all of the above in the next four weeks. Then every week, I can review just the new ones that emerge.
What is going on outside of Shepherd?
It is nice to be home :)
What have I been reading?
  • Beyond the Trees - A fantastic story about Adam Shoalt’s solo canoe trip upstream across the Canadian artic. I have no words for how insane this is. It also sounds fun (except for the bugs).
Playing games with my son :)
Playing games with my son :)
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Ben Fox

Follow along as I build the Shepherd book discovery platform (updates every 2 weeks).

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