Hey there, welcome to Work At Home Wednesday! I’m in the midst of learning from ProBlogger Darren Rowse on how to build a better blog in 31 days. I’m taking slightly longer than 31 days and working to incorporate what I’m learning into my regular posts.
The wonderful SITS group over at BlogFrog.com are going through the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog together, too! This helps keep me accountable to get this ebook done (that’s been sitting in my computer hard drive for months)!
The benefits of this will be increased skill sets in the area of blogging which is what I’m after! If you’d like the same, I encourage you to follow along with the key concepts and discussion questions. I’m sharing it to you raw; these are my direct answers to the questions. Probably the best way for you to get the most out of following along is to ask these discussion questions of yourself and your blog…Let’s begin!
Day 11 – Come Up with 10 Post Ideas
- Mind mapping taps into what you’ve recently written on your blog and helps you to identify ways to extend those ideas.
- On at least a monthly basis, spend a few minutes brainstorming ways that several previous posts can be extended. These ideas are logical next steps for readers wanting to explore this topic, some of them based upon actual questions from readers.
- Be as creative and outside-the-box as you want. Any idea is allowed at this point.
- In the end, though, be ruthless in culling ideas that add nothing to your blog.
- Keep an “ideas” document to keep track.
- Here is a list of mind mapping applications you can try. Darren recommends and uses MindNode for Mac users.
1. How was this process useful to you? Did you come up with ideas you didn’t think of before?
Excellent! I was able to come up with 20 topics from 3 recent posts from this process! It was neat to see ideas branch out from brainstorming posts I’d already written. Gives me great reassurance to know I’ll never run out of posts as I do this regularly!
2. What was your favorite idea to come out of this process?
It’ll be interesting to write about why people struggle with gratitude at different times.
Day 12 – Develop An Editorial Calendar
Today’s topic is about maintaining a calendar and list of topics for your blog in order to provide a minimum of a week’s worth of posts at your fingertips.
Q1: How do you keep track of ideas for blog topics or do you just brainstorm on the fly?
Prior to this exercise, I brainstormed on the fly within certain topics for specific days. For example, Mondays I write a post about mindset, Wednesdays about working from home, Thursdays about giving thanks, Fridays about fun. This does give me more structure than not having it. I’d have ideas come to me and I’d jot them down on post-it notes or a little notebook I keep in the glove compartment of our car. But sometimes if I don’t get to jot it down, I’d be a little flustered at having inspiration come to me and then losing it.
Q2: Have you considered a schedule like the one Darren describes, for your blog before? Will you try it?
Also…if you are on WordPress, check out this plugin Lynda sent my way. It’s an easy to use editorial calendar that can be viewed and edited right in your dashboard!
I’m definitely trying it! The plugin from Lynda is absolutely awesome! You can edit your posts and when you want to publish them right on the calendar itself. I’ll have to do a tutorial of this and share it with you in a future post.
Day 13 – Take A Trip To The Mall
This exercise is designed to both get you out of your own head and observe how brick and mortar businesses are going about marketing. Taking a break from the computer helps recharge the batteries. Noticing how retailers operate and grab consumers’ attention may inspire you to make some innovative changes to your blog.
1) Other than a mall, are there places where you have found ideas or inspiration for your blog?
Nature, our beach house vacation, PetSmart store clerk.
2) Have you made any changes or come up with any interesting posts from such a trip?
I’m in the midst of making changes ever since our beach house vacation. I’m talking about the need to slow down and set our minds on things that truly matter. I’ll be writing about the PetSmart store clerk in a future post, as I observed some marketing strategies from him.
Day 14 – Update a Key Page on Your Blog
Today’s task is one I love and I can’t wait to get started on it! We all have key pages on our blog; it isn’t all about the entries! So today we are to take some time to identify what pages we have on our blog and how might they be updated. An obvious start is your About page, but we also don’t want to neglect our front page, contact page or any high traffic posts or pages. If people are entering our site on these pages, what can we do to make their experience better and help them stick around longer?
Here are today’s questions!
1) What’s the primary page or post you’re going to concentrate on updating for this task? What do you want to change or update on it?
The ‘About’ page. I want it to build a bridge between me and my readers. I want them to relate to me through some common interests, values or ideas.
2) When you visit someone else’s site, what are some key elements you look for in their primary pages? What are some of the biggest mistakes you see being made?
I look at their header and tag line to see what their blog is about. If I connect with them at some level, I’d check out their ‘About’ page as well. Some of the biggest mistakes? No clear call to action. In fact, I’d like to improve on this too, and I want my ideas to possess more clarity so that when I communicate them, it’ll feel less cluttered and unclear.
What about you? Do any of these tasks look like something you want to do for your blog?
If you answer this question and post it on your site, I’d love to stop by and visit! Be sure to grab my button and link up!