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31DBBB Day 6: Must-Read Tips and Tutorials for Bloggers

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Written by PhillipGibb

This is Day 6 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers. You can read an overview here.

Today is a massive dose of medicine that should really taken over time, well that is what I thought when I looked over the list of posts that Darren mentioned. The internet is full of such articles; so it is great that we have a list filtered by someone trustworthy and influential. I have read many of these and seen a few video; recently that of Chris Brogan‘s Kitchen talks and those of Daren Rowse. The points that have stood out or me:

  1. It Takes Time
  2. It is easy to say that when you have been blogging for a few years and your blog is successful, but it is true. Even Darren says something like two years.

  3. It Takes Effort
  4. Not Luck, Chris Brogan says that. You can see that he advocates hard work. It you want to get a better blog then you gotta make some sacrifices like waking up early and not watching that lame movie.

  5. It Takes Thought
  6. There is a purpose to everything; whether you like it or not. You want lot of page hits, lots of comments, an Alexa rank of under 100k, all you family to keep visiting your blog. Whatever it is there is strategy needed to obtain those goals. I read a great book by Donald Miller called a Million Miles in a Thousand Years; what story do you want to tell about your blog.

  7. It Takes Help
  8. Seth Godin‘s post on first, ten is great. There is so much power in collaboration. He says that you need to try first with ten people then move on.ย  However, I think that it does not matter where you are in your blog, get ten people now and stage a drive – it will put a little bit of extra momentum into you endeavors. This is something I have been trying to get right for a while, it has not worked because I have not had the right people, close by, with the same interests and intentions as me, but now with all of use here on the same project looking for the same outcome, hmm I think that this is an opportunity for us all.

  9. SEO, etc
  10. One set of principles and technical aspects I have always had in the back of my mind is that of SEO. I am sure that a better understanding of the principles involved would be good – not just using plug-ins like the All in one SEO pack. There are so many articles, long articles, on the subject. I am sure that delving into them will help you achieve your blog objectives. Refer to the point about “It Takes Time”, lol.

Discussion

  • What are your thoughts on the 5 points above?
  • What tips have proven to be most effective in developing and improving your own blog?
  • What tips stand out as things you want to implement or get better at?
  • Did you find any other articles not listed that could/should be considered?

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further todayโ€ฆ

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article theyโ€™ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
[image by callumscott2]

Phillip Gibb; I am a Christian, a husband to a beautiful wife and father of two stunning children. It is my dream to make a Film one day and to Glorify God on my journey there. I blog at SynapticLight and twitter at phillipgibb.

About the author

PhillipGibb

Digital Video editing and content enthusiast making connections to be salt and light on the Interwebs.

102 Comments

        • Thanks for the link Philip to our article.

          On your point number 5. I think plugins and tools that make SEO accessible to blog and website owners are great but I think it is extremely important to understand why you would use such a tool / plugin and what the best configuration settings are etc. I've worked on quite a few websites and blogs where the site owners had all these great tools but have had them configured incorrectly, worst case being a site owner who had all of his pages set to no index no follow. Learning SEO does take time but it is time well spent. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Regards,

          Karl

          • pleasure ๐Ÿ™‚
            I downloaded a few pdfs that I still need to go through, it will take time. It is also a balance of how fanatical and how natural you want to be. But I think that some good 'fanatical' short term; well spend, effort will make it easy to be natural – because once you SEO is correct it will work for itself. Ideally. No that I speak from experience.

  • This is very sound – well conceived advice. It is all about persistence – eventually it accumulates, reaches a tipping point and then takes off – but you gotta persist.

  • Wow. Anyone else daunted by the amount of reading material? I'll be working through this all day, and probably into tomorrow or beyond.

    Phillip, I have to agree with you on "First, Ten." It never occurred to me to go hand pick ten people While I think it's a great idea, I'd be hard put to it to find ten people who would actually be honest with me if they didn't like what I was doing. I work for a church, and we often solicit feedback on particular aspects of what we're doing. Just about all of the feedback we receive is positive, but then, inevitably, through the grapevine, we'll eventually hear not-so positive feedback. Like "the meeting after the meeting," "the feedback after the feedback" is often what people really think.

    • It is maybe something that can go together with a call to action. All that is required is 10 people will to help you get going. Lets say over a week, then observe the momentum. Hopefully.

    • I've read and re-read the first, 10 post and still don't get where it fits in with a blog.

      Unless the aim is to find 10 folks who like your blog and get them to be overseers / sounding boards / backside kickers / etc …

      But as you state – this won't work unless folks are brutally honest (with grace). My last post on "I am a criminal" was designed to play on the aspect that I'm a church person yet admitting I'm a criminal. Whilst I'm not concerned that I've signed my prison visit there are times (and this could have been one) where I might have worried if I should post or not.

      I've always seen my blogging as a cathartic thing and there have been times I've written a post but only ever left it in draft but equally there are times perhaps I shouldn't have posted and having 10 (or even 3 or 4) overseers would have helped.

      Otherwise I don't see how this might work with a blog.

  • This task is overwhelming for me today as my grandmother is in the hospital and we are admitting my mother-in-law into the same hospital in just one hour. I will again be burning the midnight oils to catch up on reading, but I did get a blog posted today. I am enjoying the series and will probably review all of the information again after the 31 days is up. Lots of material in a short time. Just wish I had an IPad with 3g so I could access everything at the hospital. No WiFi there. ๐Ÿ™
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/

  • This task is overwhelming for me today as my grandmother is in the hospital and we are admitting my mother-in-law into the same hospital in just one hour. I will again be burning the midnight oils to catch up on reading, but I did get a blog posted today. I am enjoying the series and will probably review all of the information again after the 31 days is up. Lots of material in a short time. Just wish I had an IPad with 3g so I could access everything at the hospital. No WiFi there. ๐Ÿ™
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/

  • that was one intense list. i find it to be a bit of an information overload. each piece is very valuable but like some of you have mentioned, it requires more than one day's reading.

    the article i found to be most useful was why people do not comment. she gave some really insghtful information into blogger behaviour. something i struggle to do when i write is to not point out the obvious. i know that i enjoy writers who leave some questions without actually asking them,some space for my own thoughts to become part of the story. this is a weakness in my own writing that really needs practice. realising it again, from a commenting perspective was refreshing.

  • Thanks, Phillip! That's a great post, and I completely agree with the five points you picked out. I think the one that resonates with me the most is "it takes time." Everyone wants things to happen quickly, but life doesn't work like that!

    I really liked the article about building your personal brand, and all of the ones by Chris Brogan were great. I'm thinking about how I can gradually implement the tips that stood out to me the most.

    I got a post up Friday and yesterday. I'll spend time today working on another one for tomorrow.http://jenniferjanes.wordpress.com

  • Serious bloggers are always on the lookout for tips and 'success stories' to help them improve their blogging. I know that I am always interested in what others are doing. There are a few things that I have observed in my years blogging.

    1. Diligence – In King Solomon's Proverbs 'diligence' is an often repeated theme for success in every area of life. Be a diligent blogger!

    2. Details – Pay close attention to details. Watch spelling and grammar. One of the objectives of blogging is to build a persona of trust and expertise. I have been disappointed many time when i go to a blog and the post (no matter how interesting0 is loaded with misspelled words and poor grammar. It only takes a couple of minutes to proof read your post before posting.

    3. Clarity – when writing for others, make sure that your points are clearly stated and easily understood. Often people write in the same manner that they speak. Often we have a tendency to ramble and interject slightly related topics when, ultimately, make the point that you are trying to make obscure.

    4. Personality – Let your readers see who you are and what you believe.

    Blogging is a great way to get your message out. Plan your blog posts. We do not plan to fail. We fail to plan.

    I hope that this helps those who are serious about blogging.

    Always be a conduit of God's blessings.

  • First, new post on the blog:http://trainingcrucible.blogspot.com/2010/05/musi
    Second, I agree with JustaPen, sometimes it feels like information overload. I do better with short lists with long answers or long lists with short answers, but now really well with long lists with long answers. It is taking awhile to go through everything and try to pick the top 5-10 that matter the most right now to me since my blog is so new. I think the major one is Consistency. It seems to be the thing that appears on eveyone list when talking about great blogs (imagine that).

  • Here is a short article I wrote about today's lesson.

    There are a lot of repetition in the set of links in today's lesson. In my opinion, that list of links could have been shortened to about 5 links.

  • Weird.. Don’t see the IntenseDebate login.. maybe it’s because I’m on my in-laws incredibly slow internet! Feels like dialup.. wow..

    I’ll have to read over the lesson later. We decided to head out of town last night to see my wife’s mom and so I could go see my dad this week. See Saturday is 1 year since my mom died..

    I posted a blog about my thoughts on Mother’s Day (which was also my birthday). I’d be honored if you read it and gave me your thoughts. http://guardraildamageahead.com/mothers-daymy-35th-birthday/

    On this lesson the one thing I can add is SEO is very important. I’m sure Paul can give more pointers on that. You have to be intentional with what you write and with how you do your Page Title, description and keywords. If you can define a smaller niche and use long tail keywords you are more likely to be able to grab that lower hanging fruit.

  • Generally speaking, I’m not big on memorizing a lot of little things. I much prefer to learn some general principles and then apply those principles to specific situations. So, as I was reading through all these tips, certain underlying principles started to emerge.

    What’s more, I noticed that a lot of the general principles for blogging well are actually derived from even broader principles for living well. So, I wrote this post about 7 general principles that apply to blogging as well as life in general.
    http://www.liveintentionally.org/2010/05/10/7-blo

  • Generally speaking, I’m not big on memorizing a lot of little things. I much prefer to learn some general principles and then apply those principles to specific situations. So, as I was reading through all these tips, certain underlying principles started to emerge.

    What’s more, I noticed that a lot of the general principles for blogging well are actually derived from even broader principles for living well. So, I wrote this post about 7 general principles that apply to blogging as well as life in general.
    http://www.liveintentionally.org/2010/05/10/7-blo

  • Wow.
    Point One – Check
    Point Two – Acknowleged
    Point Three – Really?
    Point Four – I didn't know I signed up for a pyramid scheme when I started blogging!
    Point Five – I didn't even know what SEO was until I googled searched it! How do you do it?

    Anyway, another post in the series "The Best Safety Device is a Careful Man" encouraging husbands to Christlikeness in relationship to their wives:

    A safe man is careful with: His eyes! (cont'd)
    "I have been terrified by the idea that what I lay my eyes on comes through them, like a window, and has the potential to sear my soul."
    http://preparation4eternity.blogspot.com/2010/05/

  • Phillip, thanks for writing today’s 31DBBB post. Excellent job! “Massive” is probably an understatement. We could probably talk for a week about the tips in any one of the 27 articles referenced in today’s lesson. Everyone ready to drink from the fire hose?

    Of all the tips in all the articles, I think you’ve picked out 5 gems. Great bloggers write exceptional articles and do it consistently. To do that, you have to make the effort to set aside time to think and write. These guys don’t wake up in the morning and blog if they can find the time. They don’t wake up in the morning and wing it, writing whatever’s on their mind.

    I’m still working through all the articles in this lesson, so I’ll be back with the tips I’ve found to be most important in developing this blog as well as tips I’d like to work on to improve it further.

    • I love the firehose illustration, perfect.
      I think one needs to work thru the articles on a week by week basis, maybe finding a few aspects and working on them otherwise the water with knock you off your feet.
      So much info

    • There is so much information to read just from the links given in Day 6. It is going to take me awhile to go through each them. However, I am finding lots of ideas and seeds for posts in each of my readings.

      Scheduling the time is a battle for me. Still trying working out a schedule that works.

  • I started reading these over the weekend. I was overwhelmed by all the information, but thankful to have it all in one place. I started a list of things that were either red flags for me about what I'm doing right now and a list of things that I can do in the future. I was encouraged by a lot of what I've read- much of this stuff has come from trial and error over the past couple of years of blogging.

    I appreciated William Dicks' Google Bookmark list. Thanks.

    My new blog for today is: What difference will North Point’s Video, “Sunday’s Coming” really make?http://bit.ly/9sp0hT

    • Great post, just read it and commented. We all go through these struggles. I think there are some awesome people here that are willing to lift each other up. Probably one of the best groups I have worked with.

  • Way behind today. Still trying to get caught up from last week, should be all done in about 90 minutes. I haven't given up, just running late. a lot like the white rabbit. Thanks for all the comments everyone has left on my blog so far.
    Peace,
    B

  • I really appreciate the boilerplate blog post for this lesson. I just looked at the list of links and was so overwhelmed I shut down and watched the Tudors this weekend. But I suppose that's also a really good illustration of being persistent and taking the time to do the work. At the same time though, I think it's really hard, even for a dedicated reader to go through a list that's longer than 10-15 points unless it's 25 really short one liners.

    • I agree. I think this is one to bookmark and read over the course of several days. It's a catalog of articles rather than, for instance, a list post.

      • Probably over the course of years in my case.

        I've read a lot of these links before and to be honest I'll likely read them again down the line and still not have it all sink in.

  • All of the points listed is great advice.

    I am finding that the essence of 'community' is probably the strongest of all these.
    With others that have the same goals you are able to encourage others and in the process receive a lot of encouragement yourself.

    This past week I learned so much, I thought I knew a lot about blogging, but I realized like a teenager at his first week at bootcamp, I ain't seen nothing yet.
    http://ragamuffinray.blogspot.com/2010/05/bloggin

    • yeah, and community starts with relationship.
      however, we try to fabricate community without relationship – which is evident when people do not keep contributing or returning.
      I, personally, do not know how to make community happen. One think I do know, is that people can smell desperation; and get 'turned off' from forming any form of relationship. Just like the teenager the keeps getting turned down all the time because he tries too hard or the girl who can't get a date because she is too needy.

  • These are five great points. For me the important thing is remembering that they all work together. No one area is going to get me to where I want to be. I am going to have to put in the work in all of these areas and more in order to be successful. Good Post.

    As I think on this further, I relate to so many above that expressed being overwhelmed. Realizing that I am in this for the long haul helps to ease that tension.

    Here is today's post. http://larrywestfall.com/six-thoughts-from-jim-co

  • Guess my post didn't post.. weird.. Was at my in-laws very slow internet connection..

    The lesson is a good one as to run a successful blog you need to run it as a normal website. With SEO in mind. Proper page titles, descrptions, keywords and etc.

    I'm out of town visiting my dad so didn't do a post on this lesson. But did post about Mother's Day and my birthday yesterday. Was a tough day for me as the 15th will mark a year since she died.. I'd be honored if you gave it a read..
    http://guardraildamageahead.com/mothers-daymy-35t

  • In light of the overwhelming information in today's lesson, I wrote the following post:
    http://campfirecowboyministries.com/2010/05/life-

    I am one of these that tries to do everything all at once. I think Phil's five points are great. The first three especially. I pulled a first this weekend, I invited a guest blogger to do a post for me. I had already read the article and asked her if I could post it. She agreed and viciously promoted all of her friends to go by and see it. Here is the link: http://campfirecowboyministries.com/2010/05/whos-

    I think this falls into the needin' help category. She is a cowgirl and we have really zeroed in on who we are tryin' to reach. I know we are not going to be problogger or anything, but I think that eventually, we will become a top blog in the "Christian Cowboy Blog".

    Why? Because I am going to put my heart and soul and most importantly God into it. I will also continue to improve little by little by goin' above and beyond with things like the 31DBBB.

    Has anyone else had a guest blogger?

    • Kevin, that's an awesome step step you took, one that wasn't even in the assignments. As you can tell, we're huge proponents of guest blogging here at Christian Web Trends. It's almost always a win-win situation for your blog, the guest blogger, your readers, and any of the guest blogger's readers they may send to your blog.

  • I definitely like the idea of collaboration and getting people to help. That is an area in which I need to improve. Though I've made my blog known, I have not actively asked people to visit it. I also fell trap to the build it and they will come mentality. I now realize that just doesn't happen without active help.

    The other area for me is the time and investment. I have let it take a back burner status rather than using it to sharpen my writing skills. God has gifted me with an ability to write well, but I have too long neglected it. I am finally understanding that blogging can be a foray into developing that gift even further and therefore it is worth the time and effort necessary.

    • Tim, I agree that blogging can definitely help you sharpen your writing skills. The more you write, the more you see what seems to resonate with people and what doesn't based on the comments people leave.

  • 1. It Takes Time – Especially when you really don't know what you are doing in the beginning and are concentrating on your product web site's success. Now that my web site is at the top of Google for my keywords, it is time to put more concentration into my blog!
    2. It Takes Effort – Doesn't everything worth while?
    3. It Takes Thought – This is very true. Especially on what to write and how often. Some "experts" say every day and others say 3-4 times a week. What do you think?
    4. It Takes Help – I always want to "do it all on my own." I realize with a blog that just isn't possible. I need to become more blog social, if you know what I mean. I just sent an email to a Yahoo group I am a member of to find similar theme blogs to exchange comments with links in them with.
    5. SEO, etc – It took many years of research and a combination of "experts" tips and theories on the subject to get my web site to the top of Google for my keywords. My theory on SEO is.. trial and error, trial and error, and never give up! Oh, I also took a great free online class fromhttp://www.gnc-web-creations.com/seo-optimization… And once you get to the top, don't think that's it. You need to monitor it and readjust to stay there. Other sites have pushed me down and I pushed myself right back up there!
    * What tips have proven to be most effective in developing and improving your own blog? Not sure yet. * What tips stand out as things you want to implement or get better at? Blog commenting/socializuing * Did you find any other articles not listed that could/should be considered? I have really just started to put real effort into my blog, so no.

  • Today's assignment was a lot to digest! The points that I initially picked up on were:
    1) Posting at high traffic time
    2) Focus on the quality of the posts–depth of content
    3) Organize archives
    4) Emails should be personal and not mass mailing–I tried to cull the names down on the promo assignment last week
    5) Find the "Ten People"

    I intend to come back to this day frequently to get through all of it. And to pick out just the points I need at this time.

    Today's post:
    http:openmyearslord.blogspot.com/2010/05/giving-thanks-forever.html

  • I liked the one about commenting on other people's blogs. There's a balance here, and maybe your primary motivation for searching for blogs is to make comments and help your latest post, but that can't be the ultimate reason you comment. You've got to comment because you're interested, you want to encourage someone, you want to add something to the conversation, etc. Otherwise it will be obvious you're only throwing out a meaningless remark to get your name up there. People will know–all of them.

    When I get comments like that, I check out the blog to make sure it's okay, and then I just leave them up. It doesn't hurt me to help these people; they probably don't know any better; and maybe they'll keep coming and end up becoming genuinely interested. But I don't do that, and neither should anyone else. It's lazy and thoughtless.

    I liked the one about why people do or don't comment as well. When I read an article that says it all, I usually do try to leave at least a word of appreciation. But the author is right–when there's nothing more to say, it's kind of the end of the conversation. Maybe that's why Jesus always just told His stories and didn't explain until someone asked Him to. I've started doing that. A lot of what I write would be cryptic to a believer, let alone a non-believer, but explaining it all out ruins it. So other than the occasional definition, I just put it out there. If anyone has questions, they can ask.

    Like others, I didn't read all the articles–way TMA for a one-day (or weekend) assignment. I may get to some of them later.

    Blessings, Cindy

  • Hey guys. Well, due to me starting a new business this month and actually being on training this week, I simply don't have the time to get today's task done. Hopefully I will be able to get back to it over the weekend sometime, but what I can say though, is that I can definitely see that it takes time.

    For more than a year now, UnsafeChallenge, has had a regular base of readers, but no real growth. I could also see the difference between me being on holiday or actively blogging.

    So, I will just keep plugging away at this, as it is very much a personal outlet, rather than anything else, and with God's Grace, He will send the right people along to get the community that I dream of along.

    And yes, to do anything worthwhile takes hours and hours of investment.

  • What little I've been able to touch on with this list I agree with. This is one I need to file for a time when I'm not out of town visiting in-laws and have time to truly ingest the information. I'm looking forward to putting some of them into practice.

  • Like so many others, I am overwhelmed by today's readings. This will be another ongoing assignment, it seems.

    I did like the five points highlighted. The one that speaks to me the most is #2, it takes effort. Effort is where I'm at with my blog. I am focusing on content, and trying to plan my posts. So, from today's readings I am studying "How To Write Great Blog Content" by Yaro Starak.

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