31 Days Project Rockets Bloggers Forward

rocketSix weeks ago a bunch of us began a quest to become better bloggers and help other bloggers become better by going through Darren Rowse’s e-book 31 Days to Build a Better Blog together.

Day 1 launched the project like a rocket.  248 comments were posted introducing ourselves and discussing our blogs’ elevator pitches.  Many participants experienced record numbers of visits and comments as we read and commented on each others’ blogs.

While participation tailed off from there as some people dropped out and others juggled blogging with work, family, and life, those who stuck with it formed a tight group who made great strides in their blogging.

What was the impact?

When bloggers signed up to participate in the 31DBBB project, each was asked to provide some key stats about their blog – how many times they post per week, pageviews, visitors, comments, RSS subscribers, and how they rated themselves as a blogger.  Monday, at the completion of the project, participants were asked to complete a survey, which among other things asked for updates on those same stats.

For those who read at least half the lessons and did at least half the assignments the results were stunning:

  • Pageviews increased 97%
  • Visits increased 48%
  • Unique visitors increased 67%
  • Comments increased 152%
  • RSS subscribers increased 13%

Becoming Better Bloggers

jump for joyWhile some of this growth is probably a temporary bump due to the project itself, the most remarkable improvement came in an area that is certain to have a long lasting impact – how participants rated themselves as bloggers.

Those who read at least half the lessons and did at least half the assignments prior to the 31DBBB project rated themselves on average at 3.0 out of a possible 10.  After completing the project, they gave themselves a 6.9 rating, almost a 4 point jump. Wow!

Clearly these folks feel they learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence through their participation in this project.

Those who participated less consistently also reported significant though smaller levels of growth in traffic, comments, subscribers, and their blogging abilities.

Benefits Beyond Numbers

While participants in the 31DBBB experienced the benefits of numerical growth in their blogs’ stats, the survey revealed the biggest benefits went way beyond the numbers.  Participants were asked about the most important benefit they gained from the project, and the responses included:

  • The relationships developed with other bloggers
  • Feedback on my blog
  • Reading other bloggers perspectives on the lessons & ideas about the assignments
  • Gaining a clearer understanding of what is involved in blogging
  • Encouragement of other bloggers
  • Developing a better idea of the focus and future direction of my blog

Gratitude

free hugsI’d like to close out this project by expressing my gratitude to everyone who made the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog project such a success

  • Thanks to Darren Rowse for writing the 31DBBB e-book.  You gave us a tremendous amount of insight, which has helped us all.
  • Thanks to everyone who took a chance and participated in this project.  Thanks especially to those who shared their thoughts in the blog comments on a regular basis and created genuine conversation by replying to other comments.
  • Thanks to everyone who wrote guest blog posts.  This project turned out to be a lot more work than I expected. Guest bloggers helped to share a big part of the workload. But even more than that, your guest blog posts provided a variety of perspectives, insights, and voices that enriched the experience.
  • Thanks to Dan King, L.L. Barkat, and Marcus Goodyear who made the project partnership with The High Calling and High Calling Blogs possible.  The project was exponentially better because of doing with you. Bloggers, if you haven’t already done so, check out their network and consider joining it.
  • And of course, we reserve the biggest thanks to our big God, who makes all things possible.  We hope that through the things we’ve learned and the relationships we’ve developed that we’ll have an even greater impact for You through our blogging.

Future Blogging Posts & Series

I think we stumbled onto something really great here, so we’re going to do a post about some facet of blogging every Wednesday here on Christian Web Trends.  And it’s very likely we’ll do another 31 Days project or something similar in the future, possibly on an annual or semi-annual basis.

Discussion

I would be remiss if I didn’t close out this post and this series without asking a few discussion questions.  I know some of you already answer some of these questions in the survey, but I think we would all benefit by discussing them publicly.

  1. What was the most important benefit you gained by participating in the 31DBBB project?
  2. If we were to do another 31DBBB project again in the future, what would you recommend be done differently?
  3. What are you most excited about when it comes to your future blogging?

[image by 28634332@N05, nico_, eelssej_]

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

37 Responses to “31 Days Project Rockets Bloggers Forward”

  1. 1. The most important benefits I gained from participating were the feedback here and on the blog, encouragement and fun everywhere, learning that I'm good at writing when I want to be, and just the community atmosphere.

    2. Not sure what I'd recommend we do differently.

    3. I'm most excited about seeing my blog grow and hopefully become a successful ministry or help somewhere. I'm excited to see where God leads it.

  2. Good morning to everyone on the West Coast! I hope you have all enjoyed those virtual brownies I baked last night and the cups of latte we shared. It has been an awesome experience growing in the knowledge of blogging with all of you here. There were so many benefits gained from this project that I can't sum them up in just ONE! So I'll throw a few in the basket. The community and relationships we built with each other as we read each others' blogs and commented on them was a key factor in improving my blogging experience. The knowledge gained from the guest posts that summarized the lessons of 31DBBB, the comments posted from each person's perspective and knowledge regarding those assignments, and all the knowledge, technical information, and help from other participants made this experience great.

    The only thing that I would do differently with the project is to condense down some of the assignments and eliminate the ones that did not prove beneficial—perhaps having a first-time reader review your blog, although that worked out well for me. Just need advance notice.

    I am most excited about continuing to blog on a daily basis and incorporating the principles I have learned here. Increasing the number of people who view my blog is also important.

    Thank you, Paul. And thank you everyone for making this experience more than worthwhile. I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you.

    And thank you to everyone who helped me find my way around this technical world!

    New post: http://openmyearslord.blogspot.com/2010/06/memori

    From My Heart to Yours,
    Janis

    • Janis, glad to hear you found the project to be beneficial in so many ways. Thanks for being such a big contributor. And thanks for the suggestions concerning future projects.

  3. This was a great project Paul! Thanks for running it! And thanks for the shout-out to @thehighcalling blog network! I'm happy to have had a part in sharing much of this with our network, and I think that many of us had some great 'ah-ha' moments as we pondered the tasks. Great stuff dude!

  4. I don't actually know if my RSS subscribers increased (I put the numbers into your survey before and after, but I don't know them myself :) ).

    However, as I predicted, the side blog I did this project on is now on its way down. After showing a 105% increase in visitors during the project, it is already down almost 14%. I do expect it to go all the way back down to its original level. Mostly because it's a side blog.

    Interestingly, now that the project is over, my two main blogs are on the rise again. It's like people took time to go to the side show for 31 days and now they're going back to the main attraction. Interesting, to me.

    Thanks again for hosting a very rigorous project. It took a lot of commitment on your part! :)

  5. Thank you, everybody! Your comments on each day, offering your thoughts and perspectives, the people I've "met," and the feedback on my blog has been great. The number of comments on my blog took a big leap.

    I was not able to keep up with the daily exercises. (The only thing I would do differently would be to s-p-r-e-a-d it out for busy folk like me.) But I plan to continue working through them slowly, re-reading the posts and everyone's thoughts.

    A big, big thank you Paul for pulling this together!

    • You're welcome, Jon. And I'm in the same boat as you. I couldn't keep up with the assignments either, and the idea of spreading them out is appealing to me. I just don't know about going longer than 6 weeks, so maybe not doing some of the lessons/assignments would be part of it as well.

      • I like the once per week idea. Gives you a chance to either post about blogging, or have a guest blogger on that day. We'll all know the assignment and etc and see it coming!

  6. Thanks for giving me opportunity to be part of this team. It has changed my blog and my visitors has increased. We look forward to more of this in future.

  7. I may have had the most to learn from this project since I had just recently begun blogging. I was able to complete most of the assignments, although I need to revisit some later. I appreciate you giving us weekends off, that was a good idea.

    Paul really set a positive, encouraging tone for the whole project and all the guest bloggers followed that example so well. I got to visit and comment on a variety of blogs that I probably would never have visited on my own. I learned just as much from viewing and reading your blogs as I did from the lessons. Getting to know many of you has been the highlight of the project.

    My blogging has improved a lot in this short span. I have a clearer idea of why I am doing it and what I am writing. I understand the importance of design and format, seeing what works and what doesn't. I have some good ideas on how to promote my blog. Thanks to all of you who made suggestions and helped me with feedback.

    Today's post: http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/06/let-

  8. 1. Connecting with new people
    2. take a day off
    3. looking forward to taking the lessons learned and experience and applying it to a new and more personal blog. (got a name, an idea and a direction – still putting it together, no it has nothing to do with golf)

    love you guys

  9. I enjoyed this experiment, although after the 1 year anniversary of my mom's death I just couldn't blog again for about 2 weeks.. Was a major mental block I guess.. But this experiment stretched me and made me think alot..

    Gained some good cyber friend and look forward to following their blogs and Tweets!

    Love God. Embrace Beauty. Live Life To The Fullest…

  10. Again, this has been a great experience. I have learned much, and have gained some good friends in cyberspace. I'm miffed that I became so busy in the middle of this, so I have a few assignments to catch up on, but that's something I can look forward to.

    I don't know that I'd do anything differently at all. It was well run, well organized, and well communicated.

    Paul, thank you again for putting this all together. It's been great to be a part of this, and I look forward to other things in the future!

  11. glad to see that 31DBBB was helpful for people – congrats on a great group approach to it!

    • Darren, thanks for taking a moment to stop by and for providing such a great resource in the 31DBBB e-book.

    • Hi Darren, I was part of the original 31DBBB but certainly benefited by going through it again with another group. (And I go way back, to the old Living Room blog!)

      In case folks missed it, check out Darren's video message, not about blogging, but about churches and social media: http://www.transformnetwork.org/video/special-vid

      Darren, aside from the great message of your video, I've been wondering: How do you make a video blog post like that? The sound is good, the video is good, and you're speaking both naturally and smoothly right at the camera. How about a video blogging series on ProBlogger?

  12. Yes we have made it. It enriched us. We enjoyed it and it has improved our blogging skill. However we are expecting one year free hosting from ourchurch.com

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