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Pro Bloggers Blog Improvement Project

31 days to Build a Better Blog Challenge


The other day Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness who hosts the 2009 Blog Improvement Project mentioned Pro Bloggers 31 day challenge. I've been following along with Kim's project, lurking mainly and making changes here and there. She gets some of her ideas from them. I checked out Pro Bloggers and decided to sign up... along with 9000 + other bloggers. I figured the challenge would provide additional information on how to improve my blog, plus help me in the future should I decide to create a blog to promote my books. Food for thought, you know.

The tasks covered so far this week:

Day 1: Create an Elevator Pitch For Your Blog
"An "Elevator Pitch" is a concise, carefully planned, and well-practiced description about your company that your mother should be able to understand in the time it would take to ride up an elevator. " Thank you to Robert Pagliarini of SeekingCapital.com for the definition.

Since my blog is personal covering a variety of topics from homeschooling to my eduction to books to writing to life in general, I thought about it and hence the reason for the

Live - Love - Laugh - Learn - Listen

under the linkbar. Darren provided a number of ideas where you can use your Pitch including your tag lines, about page, real life conversation, email signatures, and social media profiles. I did update my about page some time ago, but hadn't thought about putting the pitch in emails.

We already have a great elevator pitch for our business which is pretty concise: "we repair professional and consumer audio and video equipment for all brands up to any age." It is on our business cards and on the website.

A good example of an elevator pitch can be found at Heather's of Age 30+ A Lifetime of Books or Ree of The Pioneer Woman.



Day 2: Write a List Post
Darren discusses 8 reasons why lists posts are powerful including they are scannable, keep posts succinct, looks 'neat' versus messy, they are comprehensive and persuasive to name just a few.

Good example can be found at Becky's book reviews - she likes lists.



Day 3: Promote a Blog Post
There are several ways to promote your blog posts including leaving a link to your post in the comments of another bloggers post... with one caveat. Only if the post is relevant to the one you are reading. Darren suggested writing follow up posts which is a new post that picks up where your last one left one. Lady Glam of The Innocent Flower is an example example of how to this with her series of posts about writing, so check out her website.



Day 4: Analyze a Top Blog in your Niche
Take 15 minutes and analyze a blog for content, reader engagement and design. Darren advises that ultimately you'll see a pattern emerge, but warns not to become obsessed with what other bloggers are doing and lose your uniqueness. When I first started homeschooling, I only read for content. I found several veterans moms who not only homeschooled but incorporated homeschooling as part of their every day lives.

When I decided to start blogging myself, then started to look at design and figure out what would work best. I think the first book blogger I discovered was Callapidder Day's when became involved in Spring Reading Challenge. When I joined National Novel Write Month in 2007, I discovered a whole plethor of writing blogs. Most bloggers I've discovered who are considered Top blogs are unique in their own way and reflect the spirit of the author. So excellent idea to get out there and analyze what works for them and find some way to incorporate those ideas, while remaining true to you.


Day 5: Email a Blog Reader
Darren gives some great advice when it comes to your readers: "What I found is that when you pay personal attention to a reader it significantly increases the chances of them not only returning to your blog but also spreading the news of your blog through their network."

One thing I already try to do is to respond to comments on each one of my posts, but haven't been consistent, so have to work on that. However something I never thought of doing was actually emailing to thank someone for reading my blog. I've received a few emails from bloggers when I posted on their blog for the first time and thought 'how neat'. But did it cross my mind to do the same. No. So will work on that it.

Many book bloggers out there show appreciation to readers by interviewing them on their blogs and an excellent example is Natasha of Maw Books Blog.

One thing I did do last month during my Blogoversary to show appreciation to my readers was hand out a Beautiful Heart award.

The book blogging community includes a wonderful group of people who love books and sharing that love of books with the blogosphere. They also like to give out awards, which I have had the fortune to be on the receiving end. This not only acknowledges other bloggers, but highlights their blogs and sends people to their blogs. I received a couple of awards within the past two days and will post about those next.

If you haven't signed up for Probloggers 31 days to a better blog, there is still time to sign up. Kim's Blog improvement project incorporates many of Darren's ideas along with many of her own, which are excellent. Project week # 7 this week is all about making your blog more comment-able which meshes quite well with day 5 of the pro blogger challenge.


What methods have you used to encourage readers to comment on your blog?


Comments

  1. I did sign up for the project, but I am so busy right now I can barely keep up with work and regular blogging. I may jump in late in a few days.

    I may just follow along watch your progress. You picked excellent blogs as examples for the various assignments.

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  2. Thank you for the link! This is an awesome post! I think that is wonderful for people to desire improvement in their blogs. It is such a fantastic network of people that it makes me dizzy!

    The methods I have used to encourage readers to comment on my blog are:

    1 - always respond to every comment
    2 - ask poignant questions that relate to a wide audience
    3 - comment on their blogs on every post that I am able to. And that's a tough job. I follow a lot of blogs!

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  3. Hi Beth,

    Pro blogger is coming up with some interesting things and making me think about what to do for the future. I'm finding it rather helpful.

    Lady Glamis - I'm trying to follow the methods you mentioned. I'm getting better and try to visit the blogs of those who comment.

    I kind of overextended myself and found myself 'following' 126 blogs. It was just too much so I went through and ruthlessly cut it down to 50. Sigh of relief!

    Reader is more manageable now. Have the time now to concentrate of individual blogs and make meaningful comments versus being overwhelmed and lurking everywhere.

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