I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to participate in the “31 days to build a better blog at yeah write weekly writing challenge.”
I can’t spend money on some workbook about blogging. We’ve got the car payment, the insurance is due, there’s Philip occupational therapy plus all the regular expenses. I can’t waste money on this.
Then I read this:
We’ll be posting the daily workbook exercises for you here on yeah write. If you want, you can look over our shoulder as we go along.
I added my link to the blog roll and immediately panicked.
I’m not one of those real bloggers with tons of followers. My posts don’t viral or get published on other websites. I’m not going to make money off of this. What’s the point?
Hoping that no one would notice if I didn’t actually participate, I anxiously awaited the instructions in the first post. Since I didn’t have the workbook, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew every day was going to be a surprise, but I didn’t realize how right I was.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed completing the tasks. I was surprised by the support and feedback from other participants. I was surprised by the comments of readers on how they really liked a particular change or noticed that my writing was improving. But the biggest surprise is that now that the thirty-one days are over, I’m more committed to the concept of building a better blog than on Day 1.
On that first day, I had to really think about why I blog. The why affects everything: what I write about, how I write it, when I publish and for whom. Even though I began blogging for myself, as soon as I invited others to read, I could no longer be selfish. The benefit, however, of acknowledging that others do visit this blog is that I have motivation to improve the experience for both myself and for my readers.
Day 1: write an elevator pitch
Day 2: create a list post
Day 3: promote a blog post
Day 4: analyze a successful blog in your niche
Day 5: email a blog reader
Day 6: make the blog mobile-friendly
Day 7: come up with 10 post ideas
Day 8: develop an editorial calendar for our blog
Day 9: write a link post
Day 10: set up alerts to monitor what’s happening in your community
Day 11: create a sneeze page
Day 12: join a forum and start participating
Day 13: take a trip to the mall
Day 14: update a key page
Day 15: leave good comments on other blogs
Day 16: write an opinion post
Day 17: watch a first-time reader use your blog
Day 18: join a blogging community
Day 19: solve a problem (not solved, but I attracted more readers than fruit flies with this post)
Day 20: choose a social media space to focus on
Day 21: conduct a policy review
Day 22: pay special attention to a reader
Day 23: use a literary magazine to improve the blog
Day 24: call to action
Day 25: ask a question
Day 26: improve someone else’s blog (@shyvish gave me credit for inspiring her to change the layout of her blog, Diary of a Doting Mom)
Day 27: hunt for dead links
Day 28: develop a plan to boost your blog’s profile and readership online
Day 29: monitor your blog stats
Day 30: write a review post
Day 31: plan the next steps
I hope my readers will indulge me over the next few months as I occasionally blog about blogging. I’ve always learned best by writing it out. My goal is that the completion of the exercises will lead to better written posts published on a site that is pleasing to the eye. I hope to make each visit to that cynking feeling one that makes you glad you stopped by, makes you want to visit again and makes you want to share with your friends.
Since we’re in this together, I’d like to hear from you. Which of my posts for #31dbbb did you enjoy the most? Why? What do you think of the new theme? What problems do you encounter trying to navigate the site? I look forward to your feedback in the comments. If you’re feeling shy, feel free to use the contact form that I added as part of #31dbbb.