Saturday, July 31, 2010

#31DBBB Challenge: 31 Days to a better blog - Days 11-13 New ideas, Calendaring, and Mall Tripping

Problogger 31 Day Challenge to a better blog

This is my fifth post in the series for the Problogger 31 Day Challenge with the SITS Girls Community.  This challenge gives bloggers 31 activities to do that will improve their blogs based on the e-book by Darren Rowse.

Day one's challenge was to write an Elevator Pitch for my blog.

The challenges for day two through day four were to Write a List Post, Promote a blog post, and Analyze a top blog in my field.

The challenges for day five through day seven were to Email a blog reader, read the Problogger 27 must read tips and tutorials for bloggers, and Write a Link Post.

The challenges for day eight through day ten were to Link to old blog posts, Join a Forum and Start Participating, Set up Monitor Alerts for your Blog's Niche.

Day eleven's challenge was to come up with 10 post ideas. Since I mainly blog about freebies and deals, I am usually not in need of things to post - FREE seems to be everywhere. When I write original content, it is usually a review or about a current event in the news. So again, I am not at lost for ideas.  But if you are a lifestyle blogger who has to come up with mostly orginal content on a daily basis, you will probably get writers block from time to time.  Problogger has some great ideas on how to come up with topics from extending a previous post to taking the opposite side of an issue.  I like to look back on old posts and gather information into a new post.  For example, I have a lot of bargain travel related posts on FREEISMYLIFE. So I gathered all the good links together and made a new post called "The Best Travel Posts on FREEISMYLIFE".  This idea can be used for any subject and gets new readers for those old but still valuable posts.

Day twelve's challenge is to Create an editorial calendar. This is the challenge that I need to do the most, but have the most trouble completing.  One of the reasons that I like blogging is because it is different and I can write about lots of things.  So getting me to put writing into a schedule and pre-fill in days with subject ideas just seems too canned.  But, I have been caught at times with nothing to post, so having something in my back pocket would be a good idea.

Following Darren's advice, I can do the simple math to figure out how many posts I will need for the week and then pull in ideas from day eleven's challenge with some recurring posts on themes and I am done.  For me easier said than done.  But at least I understand what I have to do.

Today is day thirteen and the challenge is to Take a Trip to the Mall.  As much as I like shopping, anytime someone tells me to go to the mall, I am so there.  But this challenge is not about shopping.  The reason that I like the mall is because the atmosphere is completely setup to put people in a great mood and to make shopping fun.  Those small tactics used at the mall can be employed in a blog to make people want to read it. Is your design colorful and pleasing to the eye?  Is it simple to get around and find things?  Do the titles of the blog posts make folks want to read the meat of the post?  Just like in a mall, your marketing messages need to make people want to linger.

Although my blog design is not custom, I like it because the colors are pleasing and the design is very simple.  I like only having one side column because it forces me to keep things sparse. I try to use color to draw the eye to in and make people want to linger and stay awhile. So on your next mall trip, notice all the small marketing messages, write them down, and figure out how to employ them in your blog.

So that's it for this blog post. Come back on Tuesday to check out the following challenges:

Day 14: Update key pages on your blog
Day 15: Find a blog buddy
Day 16: Solve a problem for a reader

Follow the Twitter hashtag #31DBBB if you want to see how the 500+ woman bloggers are doing that are part of this challenge.


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