Welcome to the first installment of Blog Idol Interviews the SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog edition!
On Friday, I announced my team of fabulous bloggers who are helping my efforts as one of the #SITS31DBBB Community Leads. Even if you’re not a part of this particular event, if you are a blogger, this advice pertains to you, so it’s worth the read.
Each Monday (for five weeks), I will have a Blog Idol Interview featuring the above team’s advice on the topics at hand for that week of the SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. My hope is that the seasoned bloggers sharing their advice will offer you additional insight as you work to take your blog to the next level with me in the SITS Forums. So here goes….
SITS Girls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog – Content Block #1 – Assessing Your Blog
What practices (outside of analytics) do you use to assess your audience and improve your blog?
“One of the best things I ever did for my blog was to create a reader survey. I update it and repost it periodically because it not only gives me information about who is reading my blog, but it also tells me what they like and don’t like. Yes. I am writing my blog first and foremost for myself, but part of writing for myself is finding satisfaction in meeting my readers’ needs. I have found that reader surveys not only lead me to redirection at times, but also provide reassurance and feedback about what I’m doing right or what I should do more often. They really are a critical window into what happens on your blog after you hit publish.” ~ Amy, Resourceful Mommy
” I use Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter to communicate with my audience, get a feel for their thoughts on my posts and also to see what topics they may or may not be interested in for upcoming posts. I often find great writing inspiration from Twitter conversations, hot topics on Facebook or a Pinterest pin that everyone seems to be talking about. I also look to some of my favorite bloggers for ideas on how I can improve. Looking at the best practices in blogging has helped me to set goals for my own site and decide what direction I do (and don’t) want to lead my own blog.” ~Jessica, Four Plus an Angel
“I look at comments. (Though my blog has never been one to receive a ton of comments in general.) I really use comments as a guide. I look at the posts that have the most, and listen to suggestions from readers made in the comments. Their comments have helped give me direction to creating my online space. While our blogs our OUR space, OUR voice…we must consider those who take the time to support this space of our “own”. I have even thrown out a survey or two. I have received a great deal of valuable input from both of these sources which gives a deeper insight into my own analytics.” ~Jenny, Jenny on the Spot
How do you use analytics to assess and make decisions about your blog?
“I use several parts of my blog analytics. I view incoming links t0 see where traffic is coming from…other blogs, facebook, twitter, stumble upon, google searches, etc. to see where I need to improve traffic or where my traffic is already good and I need to focus on magnifying a high-traffic area to be even stronger. I also use my google keyword searches to see what keywords in my blog bring the most people and try to use those words most in my posts.” ~ Tracy, Sellabit Mum
“I check my analytics to see which posts are getting the most traffic and to see where they are coming from. Are they coming from another blog or website? What keywords are they using? I like to keep an eye on the keywords people are using to get to my blog so that I can capitalize on this and use them throughout my blog. Keep tabs on what days you get the most traffic. When you figure this out, make sure to publish content or special announcements on those days.” ~ Tina, Life without Pink & Girls Lunch Out
Why is it important to find a blog buddy/buddies?
“This is the number one thing I think you can do to improve and grow as a blogger. You need to find your tribe. You cannot do it alone. You need to seek the advice and help of others. Collaboration has been key to my success and I would much rather share and be a part of a group than just go at it alone.” ~Andrea, Savvy Sassy Moms
“It’s important to find blog buddies because they can help broaden your blogging horizons in so many ways. They can provide feedback on your blog. They can be a sounding board when you need to vent. They can help promote the stuff you really want to have a wider audience. They can become collaborative partners on new blog or business ideas. It’s no different than having a trusted colleague or BF!” Gigi, Kludgy Mom and SITS Girl
“It’s important to have a few blog buddies (also called a “tribe”) because you need people that you trust, that you can bounce ideas off of, ask for advice/tips/tricks, and also to ask questions about regarding things you haven’t experienced yet (example: the first time you get asked for your advertising rates). These buddies will also help promote you or your projects, just as you will help them.” ~ Natalie, Mommy of a Monster and Twins
“I wish I would’ve known about this many years ago. I basically blogged as an island for my first two years, but once I found a community, everything changed about my blog and I love it. Having my blogging friends is not only important for growth, but for bouncing off ideas and support and just having someone who understands you. ~Tracy, Sellabit Mum
How has having one or more blog buddies helped you grow as a blogger?
“I have a group of girls that I skype with daily and we help one another when we have questions, need advice, want to brainstorm an idea or pass along opportunities. It’s kind of like a group think tank. You need to have other people to bounce ideas off of, blogging at home gets lonely. When you work along side other bloggers, you tend to raise each other up. Having blogging buddies can also give you the support and encouragement you need on those tough days. ~ Andrea, Savvy Sassy Moms
What advice can you offer for starting and maintaining a successful Meme or regular feature connected with your blog?
“I think topic and timing are two keys to getting a meme of feature off and running. I get a lot of questions about struggling to generate an idea that hasn’t already been done before. Brand new ideas for a meme or feature are hard to come by, but what about your unique spin on an existing meme out there? Or choosing something that makes sense for your niche? As for timing, choosing the best day of the week (or time of year) is crucial, as is the time allowed for writing and link-up. For example, if you want to run a meme that involves reviving an old post, run that meme on a Friday or over the weekend for optimal participation. Early in the week sees the highest traffic, so others will want to post fresh content on those days instead of re-running something from the past. Next, be sure to make it as easy as possible for others to take part. So, if your meme involves prompts, be sure your prompts are available days before your linky goes live. Also, consider keeping your linky open for more than one day.” ~Liz, Eli Rose Social Media & Belle, Bean, and a Chicago Dog.
How have you made sure you stand out in the blog world? What makes you unique in your niche?
“Hands down, you need to be yourself. I am passionate, sassy, and opinionated. I say it like it is and never sugar coat a thing. I write about topics that I am passionate about and know about. I believe knowledge and passion help someone stand out and create a unique blogger and writer” ~Rachel, Mommy Needs a Vacation
That’s it for this week’s Blog Idol Interview! I hope that you found this installment for the first week of the SITS Girls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog inspiring and motivating as you tackle this weeks tasks. Jump in to the tasks as it works for your schedule. The most important part of this experience is that you enjoy it and feel fulfilled throughout the process of taking your blog to the next level.
Don’t forget to pop by here next Monday for the second week’s Q&A which will line up with your SITS 31 Days to Build a Better Blog content for the week! Otherwise, I will “see” you in the forums as one of your challenge leads!
What piece of advice and/or answer provided you with new insight or direction as you embark on improving your blog? What questions do you want answered about blogging right now? (You may see it answered in a future edition!)
**Tuesday is #ListableLife!!! Don’t forget to take a look at the prompts and come back to link up! It’s my attempt at a successful Meme…join me? **