Thursday, July 11, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 29: Develop A Plan To Boost Your Blog's Profile And Readership

Review | Reflect
This was a significant subject in Darren's book. He had a lot to say about it, but I'm going to put in a few things you can work on to get you started. 

Questions to ask.

1. How much time do you have to spend on blogging?
2. What is it you wish to accomplish?
3. Where are your readers coming from?
4. Describe you ideal reader.
5. What is the strategy you want to use?

I feel the best thing to do is go over the past posts and develop a strategy. You might want to combine a few of the tips and that's all the time you have. You may want to take a few hours every week/month to go over your stats and see how your strategy is working. But no matter what, always take time to review. Review why and how you are blogging. That in itself will give you insight and help you develop your blog.  

Get the book that started it all


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 28: Write A Review Post

Reviews! Oh, let me count the ways!

First you need a product/service. Make sure the product is relevant to your blog. (Yeah, I know it's self-explanatory)

So let's go down the checklist of making a review post though, informative and entertaining.

1. Give an opinion. People want to know--did you like it? I say put it at the top making it easy because while you might have skimmers, most people will be curious as to why you like/don't like the item.

2. Give a rating. And make sure they know the scale. 1 out of 5 stars, cookies, ice-cream cones, puppy barks, whatever. Make you're own scale and measure.

3. Balance the positive & the negative aspects. You're doing a review piece where people want to know more about your experience.

4. Plan your keywords. When people search, they're going to search for how to...or may be the item model number, etc. Choose those keywords so SEO search will pick you out.

5. Make comparisons. If you've done product reviews of different models, link the posts together.

6. Use an affiliate link. If you write something good and you can get paid for it...why not put an affiliate link all convenient like for the reader and the seller to buy their product right there and then while reading your post.

7. Say who it's good for.

8. Be personal. Ad your flavor!

9. Pictures! Have a visual or many...they help. Wearing the product, using the product, standing on the product...whatever. But have a picture!

10. Give details and make it easy to buy the item. Like--affiliate links!

* If it's relevant, say how you cam across the item. That can pull someone in the read the post.

Here's a link to Darren's book!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

Despite any political affiliations I'd like to say Happy Fourth of July! 
AND because it's a Holiday....

I'll be taking the day off and returning to our regularly scheduled posts on Tuesday. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 27: Hunt For Dead Links

The Hunt For The Red October
My first thought was me going through hundreds of posts clicking on links for verification would be like a movie I remembered...hence the picture.

Why do we want to do this?

1. Readability ~ If a reader is searching through your awesome content and your links are dead, that's rather disappointing. They see your blog as unreliable.

2. SEO rankings ~ If google crawls for good content, you know they're ranking for bad content too. Dead links have got to effect rank.

But doing it one by one? Yuk.  There HAS to be a better way...and there is!

Xenu's Link Sluth
Dead-Links.com

Wordpress:

Link Valet
W3C Free link checker
AnyBrowser's link cheker

Also: http://freenuts.com/free-online-broken-link-checkers/ 

So you found dead links on your site...you have options! Depending on relevancy of the post you can:

  1. Update the link.
  2. Delete the link
  3. Delete the post.

 Also check for mistakes in:

  1. Spelling
  2. Grammar
  3. Punctuation

Monday, July 1, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 26: Improve Another Blog

Darren asks...when did you help another person's blog get better?

Ummmm...just now! 

Okay, really, why should you improve another person's blog? Can you see the benefits of reaching out, helping another person, connecting, and gaining a potential reader?

I remember the first time I got to help another blogger and it was a wonderful feeling! We connected and it's been a wonderful experience. Can you imagine the impression it made on both of us? 

But I have to warn you that it's how you help others that creates the impression. It does need to be done with tact. Emailing bloggers advising them might be taken as "your wrong and only I can fix it." Here are some ideas on ways to go about making other's blogs better:

  1. Write a high quality post useful to bloggers.
  2. Link to a useful blog.
  3. Write an email with suggestions. 
If you think like I do, you might look at #3 and say No way! If you do decide to use that method, proceed with caution. If you have a great idea, can present it with style and grace in an email -- go for it! If a blogger says in their post "I love your thoughts" -- then open game! She want's your input. 

I'm hesitant to email a blogger, even one I know, unless my ideas are solicited. I won't even comment about it because of the risk of giving the better than thou impression. 

I'm not like that...It's about quality, caring and commitment to the community. My effort is...


BUY IT HERE
 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 25: Ask Your Readers A Question

Asking readers questions is a fantastic way to grow your blog.

1. It gives readers a sense of community

2. Readers feel engaged.

3. Reader comments give you a means of entering into conversation with them.

4. Question posts are good for helping you gauge where your readers are at with certain topics.

5. Reader answers can fuel future post ideas.

Some bloggers might be scared the question will go unanswered. This can be disheartening, but you can answer your own question giving the post value all its own. But here are some tips to engage readers into commenting:

1. Keep on topic to the blog.

2. Ask questions that are answerable. Yes, I know that's a "duh" response, but you'd be surprised--some questions are just too hard to answer. Choose your question wisely.

3. Ask a question readers want to know the question to.

4. Follow up on frequently asked questions on other blogs or your own.

5. Ask people what they do in their own lives concerning a topic. 

So here's my question...

Does anyone have a book they want me to buy, read and report back on? Let me know!
ProBlogger Book


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 24: Use A Magazine To Improve Your Blog

Intriquing. What do magazines have to do with blogs? 

Well, to me, blogs have rather that magazine feel with their informative articles and beautiful or interesting pictures. So we can learn a lot from old media. Respect your elders!

1. Pick a magazine. Hopefully one in the genre you blog about but others can give you ides too!

2. Thumb through it. Tag what catches your eye.

3. Notice design, colors, pictures, text style everything that you notice right away.

4. Look at ad placement.

Absorb the magazine. It is a media that places things that yells BUY ME! Remember that Respect your elders? comment--well magazines still have some good ideas.

Magazines can give you ideas for posts, design, and can get the creativeness going. They also are a different form of media that allow you to keep up on your niche (Day 10 comes to mind).

Now, go over those things you tagged and pay special attention to detail. Format, pictures, content, design--all that stuff. 

At the very least, you'll absorb some good articles to post on!
Darren Rowe's book on blogging


Friday, June 21, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 23: Call Your Readers To Action

Click Here
READERS! Here are some Calls to Action
1 ~ Make your own blog amazing! GET DARREN'S eBOOK.

2 ~ Make a call to action for your readers!

Most readers are passive. Especially when there is no call to action. You might get 1% to make comments. But there is an art to the CTA request. 

Mix in some of your own personality, make it pretty, make it easy and be clear on what to do. Sounds oh so simple! 

Check out this post on How to Get More Clients and Stop Sucking at Business. And at Baseball. Maybe.   

It's all in the ask.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 22: Pay Special Attention To A Reader

Haven't we gone over this? Well, maybe we have in Day 5 and maybe it's just really important to let your readers know you care. Which is what Darren says in the book. He says...When you create space on your blog to highlight readers in some way, the impact can be quite profound--particularly if you do it regularly.

Now, of course Darren doesn't forget the start-up people. He say if you have no readership yet, then try making another blogger famous by writing a post that links to them and highlights them.

For me, it's a no-brainer to do this. This is what my blog has become in the last months. Every time I post, it's to celebrate someone else. Nose Droppings has become something more of value and not just my thoughts on a variety of topics.  I've since thought of buying blog books and writing books and making this the go to place for wonderful new ideas on blogging/writing to attract readers.

But on to how to make a reader famous:

1 ~ Promote a comment to a post. Did someone have an insightful comment? Explore it more. Highlight the wisdom of the reader who made the comment.

2 ~ Write a post about the reader's blog. Write what you like about a reader's blog. Fix a link to your resources page.

3 ~ Have a Reader of the Week. Choose a different reader every week to highlight in a post.

4 ~ Invite a reader to post on your blog.

5 ~ Conduct an interview with an interesting reader.

6 ~ Create an Introduce yourself post. Write a post inviting readers to introduce themselves.

7 ~ Ask a question on twitter and highlight their answers on your blog.

I whole~heartedly agree with Darren's philosophy...it's about recognizing everyday readers. The people who appreciate your work and value your advice, and are most likely to become loyal, regular readers.
 
But today, I'm highlight Darren Rowe and his book...
Click for the link to grab Darren's advice
 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 21: Conduct A Policy Review


This was my first WTH question to Darren. Policy for a blog? Oh hell YES! 

Darren goes into all the legality that made me a bit confused until he explained it at the very end. He didn't make it sexy, so I am. 

Here's why policies are sexy~


       1. Policies help keep decisions easy when you have situations come up.
       2. Policies protect you from making blunders.
       3. Policies help you stay consistent.
 
Policies are blog condoms. For the safety of you and your readers, put some on. Here are some policies to think about~

  1. Do you respond to all comments good or bad?
  2. Do you allow all comments good or bad?
  3. Do you approve comments?
  4. Do you have a copyright policy?
  5. Do you allow ads?
  6. Do you allow fellow bloggers to post on your behalf?
 Of course Darren has further reading about How does your comment policy affect your readership so check out his book
 
Click HERE for the book!
 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 20: Leave Comments On Other Blogs

I feel the need to warn you...this needs to be done the right way with the right frame of mind.

Do not expect people flocking to your blog--

  • Give value on your comments even on your competitors blog.
  • Do it because you have something to say.
  • Do it because you want to contribute.
  • Do it without expecting others to give back.
You have the added benefit of researching your competitor, keeping up with your niche, getting ideas for topics, and finding people you can help.
 

What TO DO:
  1. Comment regularly. Do it from the heart. Commenting regularly will give you the familiar factor.
  2. Keep on topic. Don't stray and try to make it in the direction of your blog.
  3. Give your opinion. Don't just regurgitate what the post said, actually think about the post.
  4. Add another point the blogger didn't mention.
  5. Ask relevant questions.
What NOT TO DO:

  1. No SPAM. Putting "Great Post" with a link to your blog is spammy.
  2. Don't just say anything, be authentic.
  3. Don't give open and close comments, leave the door open for conversation.
  4. No blasting other comments. The comments are for conversation not a lynching.  Trolling might get you a reaction but do you really want to deal with the blow back?
  5. Unless sarcasm is your persona, and even if it is, please leave it behind. Negative vibes don't bring you readers. 
Definitely get this book:
What to do? Get this book!

 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How To Build A Better Blog Day 19: Write An Opinion Post

Wrong on so many levels
You've got one, don't hide it. 

Opinion's that is. 

Now I've seen obscene opinions and I've seen boring clinical opinions. I've seen opinions that think they are opinions but really are trying to please everyone. Wishy-washy opinions and OMG opinions flow in that too. So here's a novelty--be authentic.

You have an opinion. Even your opinion's have opinion's and sometimes they contradict. It doesn't matter. Show both sides as an opinion. 

But don't excuse, fear, shun or shy away from your opinion and especially on a blog. What you think matters. What you care about will show in your writing when you put your two cents in. What you're really doing is finding your reader. 

Those who feel the same as you do will feel a connection. Those who don't will either respect you for voicing your thoughts or leave. If they leave, they aren't your reader anyway. If they write a scathing opinion of their own you can turn your blog around and DELETE COMMENT if you so choose. 

You've gotta fight, for your right, to paaaarrrrttaaayy. And that's just my opinion!

Go forth and write!

And get Darren's book!
Buy the book HERE

Friday, June 7, 2013

How To Build A Better Blog Day 18: Create A Sneeze Page For Your Blog

Photo Credit: Greg's One! via Compfight cc

As in don't sneeze or you'll miss it? 

As in nothing to sneeze at? Hmmm....No.

Darren made-up that term for "...a page that propels people deep into your blog by highlighting the best posts you've written."

Okay, that sounds like the wordpress plug-in for most popular posts or related posts. But a sneeze page doesn't seem to be exactly like that. It's blogs you know are your best content.

Darren says: "One challenge many bloggers face is that over time the archives of their blogs fill up with hundreds of posts. the problem is a blog generally only highlights the most recent posts that you've written."

And so, that post you love so much--why not make it "sticky"?

A sneeze page can be a page or a post. I see it as a way to review content you may have forgotten. Call it "The Best of..." post or page.

And, of course the plug...
Purchase the book HERE!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 17: Watch A First Time Reader Use Your Blog

Photo Credit: frequencyness via Compfight cc

I'm sure you get the idea!Invite a friend/family member/abductee in your home, in front of your computer and subject them have them read your blog!

Watch ~

  1. Where they click.
  2. What gets their attention.
  3. how they navigate your blog.
 After about 5 - 10 minutes ask them ~

  • What were their first impressions.
  • What did they think your blog is about.
  • Was it easy to read? Navigate? Understand?
  • What did they feel?
  • What suggestions do they have?
  • What questions do they have?
  • How would they describe the design.
  • What are the main elements they remember?
 Now this is great and getting someone who doesn't really know your field to give you feedback is wonderful. But also, I see if you can get someone remotely interested in your blog topic, it would be even more helpful. Readers that have no interest in the subject might not be the best judge. 

ACTION ITEM: Pull someone off the street Get a friend to help you with the above!


Click HERE!

You know I love him! Get Darren's book ---------------------------->

Monday, June 3, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 16: Solve A Problem

Solving Problems is a good way to get readers. Here's my question ~ Am I solving your problem with these posts?

If you can answer yes, then I'm doing my job! 

So--this is going to be a LIST post. (Click HERE to go back and review Day # 2)

1. Solve your own problems. 
My blog is Nose Droppings. Of course I'm going to pull out some really good problems and write about them! Sometimes I don't get resolution. But solving your own problems shows others, it's been done before...and here! Look--it's already solved! People pay money for that kind of stuff. Heck, you could be a problem solver and get readers! 

2. Look for questions to answer. 
Okay, here's where Darrin gives you five different ways and says the same thing. Darrin gives you three points that tell you: 

~ Search referrals in you analytics. 
~ Look for problems on other sites. 
~ Use social media to gather questions. 

If you've been active in other blogs, groups, social media, you might already have answered a few questions to become an authority. Why not take one of those questions you answered and post it. 

3. Ask Readers.
Yeah, if you're starting out this isn't as helpful. Refer back to #2. If you do have a following -- ask them by:

~ Write a post asking for questions. What do readers want type post.
~ Email recent commenters. This is reminiscent of Day #5. 
~ Set up a contact form that acts as a questionnaire. Right on! That serves both parties. 
~ Survey your people.
~ Run a poll. Seriously don't know the real difference between a poll and a survey but I believe in you. I'll let you run with it.

4. Ask friends/family.
Privacy is a concern, but if you change the names of all involved, it could be all right! Friends and family have problems too. Maybe you can help them AND your readers! 

ACTION ITEM: Answer a question! 

Yeah, Darren is much better at answering all this! You should buy his book! 


 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 15: Find A Blog Buddy


There are so many ways that a blogging buddy can improve your blog! Let us count the ways!

1. Feedback
Before publishing get that other opinion! Heck, even spelling mistakes can happen. Get your buddy to help!

2. Link Backs
Share link love! Awwww! Link posts with your buddy.
3. Motivation
Buddies help you stay focused, motivated, and special too! Sometimes, it just takes that one person that reads your blog to really make it worth while. Knowing you write for an audience, even an audience of 1, can help you keep going! Trust me--you're comments/emails make me realize I'm doing good. Thank you for that!

4. Mutual Projects
Take advantage and work in tandem. Get more done. Brain storm with each other for topics. Direct readers to each other's blogs. 
 
5. Sharing
Double team Facebook and twitter or any other social media. Tag me in Travis! I can update PAK's FB! Also, the synnergy can be amazing! You fire each other up which brings you back to #3--motivation.

Of course Darren says this and more in his book: How To Build A Better Blog. I highly recommend it! 

Talk about a blog book!
ACTION ITEM: I'll be your huckleberry! Message me and will talk blog!
 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 14: Update A Key Page On Your Blog

We are so busy writing blogs, that we forget about things like--updating our BIO, the About Page, References, etc. 

Now if you like to keep all your posts relevant, you'll need to go back and update those older posts. Or you can be like me and enjoy laughing at myself way back when. A moment in history when I thought big hair looked good. 

Once a year I'll look back at the past and it will inspire a new post. 

So here are a few key pages to go over and make sure things are fresh and up to date!

  1. Home Page
  2. Sidebar
  3. Headers
  4. Logos
  5. Site objectives
  6. Calls to action
  7. About page
  8. Landing page
  9. Contact page
  10. High traffic page
  11. Other misc. key pages...
If you want to find out more suggestions get Darren's book!
Build A Better Blog with Darren Rowe
ACTION ITEM: Identify key posts & pages and give them an update!


 START AT THE BEGINNING!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hug A Vet Day...Memorial Day Rememberance

It's not my unusual blog day, but it is the blog about my life and to ignore this day, for me, would not be possible. 

This is my one day where I can stop and cry for those faithful, those still living, long past, and yet to come. 

Those who give their lives for a purpose greater than themselves. Greater than us all. 

There will always be conflict. And these men and women will be there for it. 

You are my heroes. 
 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 13: Take A Trip To The Mall And Improve Your Blog

Photo Credit: isayx3 via Compfight cc

First thing Darren said was "You probably think I've lost my mind".

I DON'T! That's BRILLIANT! I get to shop and improve my blog?! Wow, Darren, do you know your target audience or what! I know where your going with this.

People watching gets you understanding...people. Not only that but shops have great ways to get customer attention. Study it! As Darren says...Malls are great because they're places in which marketers employ all kinds of strategies that can be useful to learn. Study from the best! RETAIL! 

ACTION ITEM: 
This weekend, when you're out and about doing chores, stop and sit for a while. Eat a snack and observe the people. What are they buying? How are shops getting customers in the door? Where are lookey-loo's lingering--do you think they are actually interested in the item or is it just Oh shiny! 

After you've been home for a while, think back to what you learned about people from your observations. Write them down. Maybe you'll get more fodder subjects to blog about! 

The most awesome book about blogging! Click and buy!
START AT THE BEGINNING!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 12: Develop An Editorial Calendar For Your Blog

Be like MegaMind! Think!
Today's ACTION ITEM includes follow through from Day #11. 

1. Calculate how many posts you want to schedule for the week/month - whatever.

2. Whip out your calendar/excel spreadsheet/Google calendar - whatever - and plug in titles of the posts you want to write for each of your ideas from Day #11 on the specific days you want them.

3. Write a sentence on what you want to bring up. Describe the subject or points you want to make.

I have an excellent template from HubSpot HERE for you. They've done all the heavy lifting of creating a template. You can start using this one and see if you like it.

This gives you the chance to work on your blog for a block of time most convenient for you. Blogs tend to be best for scheduling. Other social media I try to be authentic and post when I think of it. Now I'm assuming you know what to do with this, but as usual, you can find great examples in Darren's book! Which is here!  

Buy the BOOK! With great advice!

START AT THE BEGINNING


Monday, May 20, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 11: Come Up With 10 Post Ideas

My 10 post ideas I came up with!
Awesome! We finally get to a topic that I really can sink my teeth into!

This is an exercise that I will use every month! You want to plan your blogs or most of them so you can:

* Keep up blog momentum.
* Never run out of blog topics.
*Make efficent use of your time.

I've been told by Hubsopt that businesses with a blog get 55% more traffic than those without. but does that translate to sales? Well, it's 55% more people that will gain exposure to you. I believe in the rule of the one-fourth. One-fourth of your estimated numbers will be the real numbers for your ads. One-fourth of those people will become your customers. So if you expect 100 people to respond to an ad, 25 will respond and 1 will become your customer.

When you blog once a week is okay. Quality is better than quantity. Remember, if you're trying to become an authority what you say is so important. You want to be know for saying things good enough to come from the mouth of Seth Godin.  

But on to the exercise...

Darrin says, "One of the biggest challenges facing bloggers with blogs that have been around for longer than a few months is to come up with fresh content on a regular basis."

And then he gives us a task that obliterated ever running out of things to say.

Come up with 10 future topics you want to write about. I started with what my blog is about. SNMcKibben is about love, sex and relationships revolving around social taboos. I used Picktochart to make my topics beautiful! You can see them above!

Oh, wait...Keep your feelings out of relationships, why all emotion comes from love...

Once I started, ideas came forth! It's a great exercise!

Now, if you still scratching your head here's what you can do...

Take your last 5 post titles and expand on them using the same technique. brainstorm. Explore the subject to the fullest. 

ACTION ITEM: Brain storm until you have a month's worth of ideas!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Build A Better Blog Day 10: Setup Alerts To Monitor What's Happening In Your Niche

Photo Credit: visualpanic via Compfight cc
This is all about the Google Alerts! Here's why you want alerts:

1) Ideas for posts.
2) Be aware of things if you're looked upon as an industry leader.
3) There might be info you to link to for your readers. 

Remember Day 4? Where you analyze a competitors blog. Or Day 9 where you join a forum? 

You want alerts so you can do this.

It's great for networking. Put an alert when someone talks about your blog, product or brand. Thank them -- give them a link to your free story (if your a writer) -- 

I consider it a way to come up to people at a party and introducing yourself.

ACTION ITEM:

Let's set up an alert at Google Alerts or Hootsuite, or any analytic site you have like SumAll.

What type of alert? We can start with Industry words that are relevant to you and vanity alerts like the name of your company, blog, product. 

Darren offers a warning: Don't become obsessed. Just monitor and look for ways to connect with your audience. 

For those with a book 
*keywords from your elevator pitch
*book name

Sometimes it takes a while to find the right keywords. tweak and keep searching!
Buy the book HERE!