Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 3 & 4: My Progress

Today is day 4 of the SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge.
I didn't want to leave out day 3 & 4 even though the tasks are not post topics.  I thought I would include a summary of my progress by posting the questions and answers from my SITS 31DBBB forum post and then elaborate a little here.
Day #3: Promote a Blog Post

1. Where do you promote blog posts other than on Twitter or Facebook? Twitter is pretty much it so far. I was planning on setting up a Facebook page today but my internet was down all day!

2. What sites/forums have worked best in driving traffic to your site? So far just Twitter and this challenge.

3. Does anyone use Digg or StumbleUpon, how has it worked? I am working on getting these set up tonight.

4. How do you make time to go to all of these sites? Easy! I don't do housework!!! I usually find time throughout the day to pop on and off. My daughter naps for two hours during the day and I allow my son to play video games during that time so I can have a bit of blog time.

What I learned:

I learned I prefer Social Networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to Social Bookmarking sites like Stumble Upon and Digg.  I know I am just getting started with the latter 2 but they just seem less . . . well . . . social.

I learned it is really hard for me to promote myself.  When I started writing this blog it was mostly with the intention of never having any readers.  I didn't have to worry so much about my content if no one was ever going to read it!  Actually promoting my site and even worse a specific post meant that someone might actually *gulp* read it.  That meant that someone out there might actually not like it . . . and THAT meant that someone out there might actually not like ME!  I know their loss right. ;)  Still it is a major leap for me and I am proud of myself for at least making a few baby steps towards this leap. 

I also learned that if you like a post and want to share it with your friends you can look to the left of the page where it says Share This.  If you click the + you can choose various sites to share my posts.  Hint hint . . .  See I am already improving!

Day #4: Analyze a Top Blog in Your Niche

1. Which of the areas discussed in today's task are you most interested in studying about your niche and why? (These areas are Content, Reader Engagement, Design, Monetization, Traffic and SEO) What did you learn from this study?   Right now since I am really just starting I want to focus on content. Once I have that better established I can move on to other areas.

2. What's one thing you could do to improve your blog after studying the top blogs in your niche?   Post more frequently. Give readers content they can relate to and also something that meets their needs. Like admitting I am really bad at doing housework but also offering tips that have worked for me. Add pictures/images. I really like blogs with pictures even if it's just a little clip art image. It just helps to give a little visual focus to the topic.

3. What was the blog that you explored the most today?   I explored several but since so many people kept bringing up Pioneer Woman I made that my main focus. Wow! I really liked the advice she gave on blogging.
I loved what she said about writing like you were talking to your sister. I think that's great advice.

What I learned:

I actually learned a lot today.  I really had some preconceptions that surprised me.  The first thing I did was pull up several blogs I have subscriptions to that cover subjects similar to what I intend to cover.  I immediately pulled up a few I knew to be the most "successful."  In my mind I was assuming from past viewings that these blogs were well established and had a large number of subscribers.  To my surprise I found many of them actually had far fewer subscribers than I had assumed  Several were more recently established than had I thought too.  One of the things I realized had created this false assumption was the design.  I automatically subconsciously associated good design with a successful blog.  

This taught me two things.  

1. Good design alone doesn't automatically equal success.  

2. One of the reasons good design is so important is that it can give this subconscious idea that the content itself is good.  So don't judge a book by it's cover but a book with an interesting cover is more likely to get picked up and examined.

So far I am really enjoying and learning a lot from this challenge.