ProBlogger 31 days
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31 days to build a better blog and then some…

For all of the ladies who have followed along in the Winter ProBlogger 31 day challenge I have the links to each day for you to review. If you are new to this challenge welcome, it is a wonderful program written by the Zen Master ProBlogger Darren Rowse designed to help YOU build a better blog. And who doesn’t want to have a great blog that encourages readers to come back for more and more? You can pick up his workbook and join in the fun!

Day One: Write and Elevator Speech

Day Two: Write a list post

Day Three: Promote a blog post

Day Four: Analyze a top blog in your niche

Day Five: Email a blog reader

Day Six: 27 Must read tips and tutorials

Day Seven: Write a link post

Day Eight: Interlink your old posts

Day Nine: Join a forum and start participating

Day Ten: Set up alerts to monitor what is happening in your niche

Day Eleven: Come up with 10 post ideas

Day Twelve: Develop an editorial calendar for your blog

Day Thirteen: Take a trip to the mall

Day Fourteen: Update a key page on your blog

Day Fifteen: Find a blog buddy

Day Sixteen: Solve a problem: 7 ways to identify readers’ problems

Day Seventeen: Watch a first time reader use your blog

Day Eighteen: Create a sneeze page

Day Nineteen: Write and opinion post for your blog

Day Twenty: Leave comments on other blogs

Day Twenty-one: Breathe life into an old post

Day Twenty-two: Pay special attention to a reader

Day Twenty-three: Call your readers to action

Day Twenty-four: How to use a magazine to improve your blog

Day Twenty-five: Ask a question: 10 reasons why questions work and 12 tips on how to ask them

Day Twenty-six: Improve another blog

Day Twenty-seven: Hunt for dead links

Day Twenty-eight: Write a review post

Day Twenty-nine: Develop a plan to boost your blog’s profile and readership online

Day Thirty: 17 statistics to monitor on your blog

Day Thirty-one: Plan the next steps for your blog

Are YOU up for the challenge? If you are stop back tomorrow to see what I have in store for YOU!

Day 31 – Plan the Next Steps for Your Blog

Well this is it; Day 31! As I said on Friday I can’t believe that the challenge is over I have really enjoyed the program myself as well as leading all of you. I am excited to review and get all of my notes in order and put all of these challenges into place. I will be making the move from blogger to wordpress with a new design very soon and feel that this challenge helped me bloom.

I’d like to thank each of you for taking the time to do the challenge these past 6 weeks with me. It was a bit of a challenge at times for me doing it and leading it but like all of you I kept on moving. I’d like to thank you all for your support. A big shout out to Francesca for getting each day’s challenge to “sticky” on the Forum and a thank you to all of the SITS girls for the $100 Gift Card Giveaway.*

Don’t forget that I will be running a review for the challenge on Thursdays starting 3/31 on my site and hope you will continue to work with me as we improve our sites together.

Wishing you all well and hope to see you in blogosphere!

Shelley @shelleyellen

Some Important Info:

If you want to be an affiliate for the “31 Days to Build a Better Blog” ebook check out the 31DBBB Affiliate Page.

If you’re not finished with 31DBBB, I will be putting up a review of the challenge on my site this week and you are welcome to join in our review group on Thursdays beginning 3/31 for weekly reviews and challenges.

In celebration of those who completed 31DBBB, I will be coming up with a badge and will Tweet everyone when I get that back from the designer this week.

Key Concepts:

Successful bloggers often set aside time to think strategically about their blogs every now and again.

Figure out the things you feel are most important in blogging and develop a plan for next month by specifying tasks you want to achieve each day.

Sample Plan:

Six posts a week (Sundays are a day off from posting)

Each post day having its own type of post

Time on Sundays for determining the specifics of each post (topics, titles etc.)

An administration task each Monday

Promotional activities on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays

A day for readers (Fridays) for emailing, answering questions etc.)

Stats analysis on the last day of the month

Brainstorming on the first day of the month

You still have to keep up with daily tasks like comment moderation

Don’t bite of more than you can chew, or you may get blogger burnout

BIG recommendation: Look back over the last 31 days of tasks and identify which ones you might want to perform regularly on your blog.

Questions:

1. What tasks will you continue to perform regularly on your blog?

2. What is the most important thing you’ve learned throughout 31DBBB?

Update: *I’d like to thank the lovely ladies of SITS whose site hosted our Problogger Winter 31 Day Challenge. At the completion of our challenge we had 20 posts on this day’s task on the SITS site’s forum.

If you are just joining us “welcome” and feel free to answer the questions here and leave a link to your post if you wrote one and we can keep the party going!

Let’s just say “Ta-Ta” for now

luggage
photo credit: Brett Wagner

I’m so glad we had this time together…*tugging on ear! For 30 days now I have been leading the ProBlogger Winter 31day Challenge to build a better blog. It has been a wonderful program and I have met so many new bloggy buddies with so many great stories to share.

I have spent the week reviewing a lot of my own posts which is why I have been mia on posting but just wanted to get this little ditty up and say “thank you” to everyone who has followed along.

We have spoken about it in brief but I am excited to announce that every Thursday I will be continuing the 31 Day Challenge and reviewing key days and working on new challenges by the Zen Master- ProBlogger. He sure has a lot of great information.

I know a lot of our group slowed up or even stopped so it is my hope that with the Thursday 31 Day Review Group it will also give everyone the opportunity to catch up at their own pace and leave questions for our group.

This whole challenge really got my brain moving and I am now ready to make the big leap from Blogger to WordPress and am working on doing that, so look for a new and improved site from me in the near future. Uhhh, I really feel like I’m moving, packing, reviewing, cleaning blah blah blah but it’s time to get up off the keyboard and move literally, so I’m not saying “good bye” *tear tear, just ta ta for now! See you next Thursday for the kick off of Shelley’s 31dbbb Review!!

If you are hear from SITS you have until next Friday March 25th to complete the challenge and if you do you can enter the SITS $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway, all you need to do is leave me your email address and let me know what day you completed the project and what the best thing you are taking away from the challenge is. No email, No entrance…The winner will be picked on Sunday March 27, 2011via random dot com and will be notified via email.

Update: The winner of the $100 Amazon Gift card from The SITS Girls is:

1st MamasMonologues@yahoo.com

Congratulations on the drawing! It was completed on Monday, 28 March 2011 at 13:18:52US/Eastern Time The winner was drawn from a list of 21 entrants using true randomness, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs. You will find the permanent record of the drawing here:

http://www.random.org/draws/details/?draw=5551

Day 30: 17 Statistics To Monitor On Your Blog

Wow, it is hard to believe we are only 1 day away from the end of the 31DBBB Challenge! This has been an amazing month; I hope that everyone has had as much fun as I have. After this month, I’m feeling a clear direction and feel like I have more of a plan for my blog – it’s pretty amazing although lots of work and going back through all of my posts. And I’m getting ready for a whole new redo now! (I feel like I’m moving and starting the packing. Uhhh but it’s a good thing!)

I’ve also loved getting to know some of you and your blogs, don’t forget that we will be continuing our challenge on my site and reviewing some of the key days and moving forward with new challenges every Thursday so please don’t be a stranger and stop on by, I will continue to help everyone build better blogs through our Zen Master Problogger and will try to keep everyone inspired and have a giveaway for the group here and there!

The task for Day 30 is to spend time looking at your blog’s statistics to see what you can learn from it. There is a LOT of information in the e-book, but I’ll try to pull out some key points.

Key Takeaways:

• If you haven’t done so already, install tracking on your blog. WordPress has built in tracking, and blogger now shows stats on the site as well as Google Analytics which is also a popular way to follow your numbers.

• A few of the statistics Darren highlights are Overall Visitors, Most Popular Posts, Referral Stats, Bounce Rates, Daily/Weekly Trends, and Exit Pages.

• Don’t become a stats addict! Darren has a huge blog, and he glances at stats a couple of times a day but puts aside only an hour or two a month to go deeper into the numbers.

• Remember that blogs take time to build, and consider setting exponential goals instead of numerical ones – for example, doubling your subscribers or growing by a percentage each month.

This particular exercise tends to become more and more useful over time. Problogger recommends using this as a part of your regular blogging routine.

Questions:

1) Did you track your statistics this month? What did you see?

2) Which statistics do you feel tell you the most about your blog or readers?

But we still have one more day left… so no tears right now please, I have to go get ready for the gym…

The linky love throughout this month has been very good and I loved how it followed over to Twitter. (ps I’m going to continue with my Twitter Tutorials too). So as usual please leave your linky love and make sure I have your email address in this comment if you want to continue on and review with me.

Update: *I’d like to thank the lovely ladies of SITS whose site hosted our Problogger Winter 31 Day Challenge. At the completion of our challenge we had 35 posts on this day’s task on the SITS site’s forum.

If you are just joining us “welcome” and feel free to answer the questions here and leave a link to your post if you wrote one and we can keep the party going!

Day 29: Develop a Plan to Boost Your Blog’s Profile and Readership Online

Wow, two more days left, I’m a little sad! Actually a lot sad, I really have enjoyed our time together. We’ve been building our blog’s profile all along whether we realize it or not. Commenting on other blogs, discussing issues on forums, Tweeting, responding to emails, you name it! Any way in which you interact publicly or privately with your blog readers is a small step in the larger goal of building your blog’s profile.

Key points:

Set an amount of time per day or week to build your blog’s profile. (Don’t ignore your blog to do this!)

Take 10-15 minutes to describe your desired reader.

Ask yourself, “Where are my potential readers gathering online?” Flickr, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Blogs, Forums?

What opportunities do you have to build your presence on these sites? Guest posts, leaving useful comments, signatures, advertising?

Questions:

1.) How does the way you build your blog’s profile change after reading this task?

2.) Give us an example from your strategy! For one site: how much time will you spend there? What are you going to do? When’s the site most active?

Update: *I’d like to thank the lovely ladies of SITS whose site hosted our Problogger Winter 31 Day Challenge. At the completion of our challenge we had 25 posts on this day’s task on the SITS site’s forum.

If you are just joining us “welcome” and feel free to answer the questions here and leave a link to your post if you wrote one and we can keep the party going!

Day 28: Write a Review Post

The web is used as a resource for gaining advice. As such, ProBlogger recommends writing a review post. A review increases the likelihood that readers will see you as an authority.

Key Concepts:

There are many different ways in which you can write a review post. The most important points are to:

1. Give an opinion

2. Give a rating

3. Be balanced

4. Think about keywords

5. Make comparisons

6. Use an affiliate link

7. Say who it’s good for

8. Be personal

9. Add visuals

10. Give details on how to obtain items

Questions:

1) Have you written a review post in the past and if so how was it received?

2) For this challenge, what kinds of things could you see yourself reviewing?

Update: *I’d like to thank the lovely ladies of SITS whose site hosted our Problogger Winter 31 Day Challenge. At the completion of our challenge we had 34 posts on this day’s task on the SITS site’s forum.

If you are just joining us “welcome” and feel free to answer the questions here and leave a link to your post if you wrote one and we can keep the party going!

Day 27: Hunt For Dead Links

Happy Tuesday everyone. I am hoping you all are finding lots of great info in Darren’s challenge and it is helping you improve all of your sites.

Today’s task is to spend some time hunting for dead links and either deleting them or updating them on your blog.

Keypoints:

When a link becomes dead it can cost your blog:

• Readability=error pages, not good

• SEO= not looked upon greatly by search engines

Daren lists a bunch of link checking tools to help with this chore.
When you find a dead link:

• Fix or update the link

• Delete the link

• Sometimes it might mean deleting the whole post.

While you are checking for dead links it might be a good time to check for spelling and grammar errors too and if you have done any site changes perhaps your formatting could be off to so just take an overall look around.

Questions:

1.) If you’ve used a dead link finder on your blog before, what were the results?

2.) What tool did you use to do this? Did you find it useful?

3.) How will you manage dead links on your blog going forward?

Update: *I’d like to thank the lovely ladies of SITS whose site hosted our Problogger Winter 31 Day Challenge. At the completion of our challenge we had 36 posts on this day’s task on the SITS site’s forum.

If you are just joining us “welcome” and feel free to answer the questions here and leave a link to your post if you wrote one and we can keep the party going!

Day 26: Improve Another Blog

Ahhh sorry ladies day light savings time got me! I can’t believe we are nearing the home stretch. There were so many great things that I have learned from this 31day challenge at the same time I have enjoyed meeting so many new bloggy buddies. I have really loved reading all of your blogs. We have so many great ladies here with so many wonderful stories.

I know this has been a challenge just keeping up, believe me there have been weeks that I struggled to keep up too. I know there are some ladies a little behind but just keep going forward you will make it to the end, I know you will be thankful you did!

Key Concepts:

You can make a MAJOR impression on another blogger by helping them achieve their goals for their blog. The key is to ask yourself what their needs might be and attempt to fulfill those needs in some way.

A few ideas are:

Write a high quality guest post that will be useful to another blog’s readers

Leave helpful and insightful comments

Link to the blog and share your readers with them

Promote the blog in social media and start a social bookmarking campaign for them

Recommend to your readers to subscribe to their blog

Email the blogger with some suggested topics you’d love to see them cover

Introduce them to a potential advertiser

Share with them an affiliate program that has worked for you

Write an email telling the blogger how you found one of their posts helpful.

Perform a significant action for another blog. Don’t just leave a comment on 50 blogs; focus your energy on one other blog in your niche.

Questions:

1. Which blog did you choose to support for this task? Why did you choose this blog?

2. Which actions did you take to support the blog? Were they acknowledged by the blogger?

Update: *I’d like to thank the lovely ladies of SITS whose site hosted our Problogger Winter 31 Day Challenge. At the completion of our challenge we had 19 posts on this day’s task on the SITS site’s forum.

If you are just joining us “welcome” and feel free to answer the questions here and leave a link to your post if you wrote one and we can keep the party going!

Time is flying by

pocket watch swinging
photo credit: Gabriela P93

My goodness it is so hard to believe that February flew by and we are already into the second week of March and on the 25th day of our Winter ProBlogger Challenge. If you are a little late in the game it’s OK the party is still going strong you can stop over here to see what you missed in week two, week three, and week four.

Only one more week to go which is a little sad because I will miss checking in on a daily basis with you, however I hope you will continue on with me weekly to review and work on new challenges from the Zen Mister ProBlogger, but that is for next week’s post.

This week we “breathed life into an old post,” paid special attention to a reader, called our readers to action, used a magazine to improve our blogs and today asked a question…. Let’s take a look at some of the work of week number five!

Here are a few of posts that were written from daily tasks:

Jillian rewrote a weeks’ worth of post titles. Here is one:
changed “sense of touch walk”. . . “explore sense of touch with a SENSORY WALK

Poppy re-vamped this post.

Stacey revamped this post that was from 2008 and she felt it told the story fairly well but thought it was long and needed some editing for grammar & appearance.

Sarita revamped an article she wrote called My 6 Fathers.

Caren shared this redone post that she felt she was originally a bit too emotional Emotional Infidelity in Disguise.

Kristy added links and updated her key words and meta description to get more page views on this redone post Dining at Disney World on a Budget

Mama Muro started a reader involvement “game”… Who Are You?

Brenna: loves a good call to action! She loves bringing information to people, but also like them to do something about that new information. Do my words represent my ideals, my dreams?

SuzRocks: wrote a post calling people to action- at least calling their attention Some Don’t Get to Celebrate International Women’s Day

A few Tweets from the week:

@Modern_Gypsy Thx 2 da ladies who reviewed my blog for Day 17 of #sitsgirls31dbbb, I updated my home page http://peddlerofdreams.wordpress.com thoughts?

@haglerhappening Yay! I’ve gotten *almost* caught up on #SitsGirls31DBBB

@riverand I was just reading the SITS forum – how did I graduate to “Member”? #sitsgirls31dbbb #progress

Comments and thoughts from the daily challenge threads:

Polly: I answer questions as an “Expert” at Education.com, so I took one of my answers from there and turned it into a blog post. Is Four Too Early For Sight Words? It was the same concept, and I’m happy I did it. I’m going to try to do that weekly for one of my blog posts. Thanks for the inspiration!

Mrs. Bibi to becomingbianca: This was a great remix

Charise realized she needs to include interactivity much more often! Even if she just asks a question at the end of her post requiring feedback in the comments, it is something that I haven’t done enough of.

Jen shared that she really started to see an increase in comments now that she tries to end posts with open-ended questions. She thinks it helps get the readers who don’t feel like they have anything worthwhile to contribute into the conversations a little better.

Amy shared: I feel like I have been gone for too long, but I love the fact I can get caught back up, and I think I can! My posts have been as sporadic as my participation, but that is about to be rectified as well.

Rachel: How has this task changed the way you look at making your blog more interactive? It’s really making me think about what I want my readers taking away from reading my blog. When I started it was simply about me. I was just looking for an outlet. This blog challenge is making me consider what I really want to accomplish as a blogger with an actual audience.

CaribbeanPrincess: The way the blog looks is important. I get drawn into magazines based on the front cover. Then I go to the content. It is no different with blogging.

Miranda: Did using a magazine inspire you to try anything new with your own blog? Yes- I am trying to learn how to take better pictures, lighting, angles, etc. I can use some magazine photos as inspiration. Also I came up with some new post ideas.

Nicole: Did using a magazine inspire you to try anything new with your own blog? I learned that I am drawn to simple formats which has led me to keeping my heading the way it is. The second and more important thing I learned was that the advertising was, of course, in line with the topic(s) of the magazine. This led me to minimizing my adsense ads and, instead going on a quest for ads that are more in line with mine and my blog’s philosophy.

And now onto my weekly thank you party gift giveaway for everyone who has been working so hard at keeping up, and I know it is a chore! How about a $25 Visa Gift Card; “it’s everywhere you want to be…”

To enter please make sure you leave your email in your comment, no email, no entrance, sorry! And you must be a US resident.

• Let me know what your favorite post which was inspired by the 31 challenge has been to date and leave the link.

• By now I’m hoping you are following my site here but if not please follow along and let me know if you are following via RSS!

• Have a “weight” issue why not “like” my Wellness Makeover on facebook for tips from my nutritionist, trainer and musings from me, a whole program for free LOL

• Follow me on twitter and send out a following tweet!
I’m really enjoying @shelleyellen and the #sitsgirls31dbbb program. Come join the party!

The Fine Print: Contest ends at midnight on March 13, 2011. Winner will be drawn using a random number generator and notified by email.

Update: And the winner of the $25 VISA Gift Card is…

The winner of your drawing is…

1st ithoughtiknewmama@gmail.com

Congratulations on the drawing! It was completed on Monday, 14 March 2011 at 10:12:49US/Eastern Time The winner was drawn from a list of 17 entrants using true randomness, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs. You will find the permanent record of the drawing here:

http://www.random.org/draws/details/?draw=5370

Day 25: Ask a Question

Wow, can you believe it’s Day 25 already? Less than a week is left of the challenge, and it’s been a whirlwind, but an amazing one. I have loved reading everyone’s blog posts and seeing all the support here on the forum. I think a LOT of people have improved their blogs over the last few weeks, and I feel like I’ve learned so much!

Today’s task is to ask a question of your readers. In the e-book, Darren gives us 10
reasons this is a good idea as well as 12 tips for asking questions of your readers.

Keypoints:

Asking readers questions can increase their sense of community and participation.

Question posts can rank high in search engines and generate incoming traffic.

Ask questions that are relevant to your blog’s type and actually have answers.

Consider following up your question post with summaries of answers.

Questions:

1) Have you written a question post in the past? How was the response? (include links!)

2) Have you seen a question post on another blog that got you involved or drew your interest? What about the post got you interested?

Update: *I’d like to thank the lovely ladies of SITS whose site hosted our Problogger Winter 31 Day Challenge. At the completion of our challenge we had 30 posts on this day’s task on the SITS site’s forum.

If you are just joining us “welcome” and feel free to answer the questions here and leave a link to your post if you wrote one and we can keep the party going!