After an exhausting month of continual blogging challenges from Darren Rowse from Pro Blogger and his 31 Days to a Better Blog project we have finally come to the end. The winners have been announced and it was a unanimous decision to award the miniLegends a class of year 3 students (8 & 9 year olds) from Glenelg in South Australia as not only the blogger’s who have gained the most from the project but also the best commenter’s.
It has been an exhausting month and I still have days 23- 31 to post about. I have met a wonderful group of people through the Chocolate Challenge part of the project and wish to thank Marion from The Chocolate Box for their support and offer of a $25 voucher for Chocolate and also James Farmer from Edublogs who also came to the party with a similar offer of a voucher. Please pay them both a visit.
Now I am just trying to organise the delivery of the chocolate to the kids, as you can imagine they would be looking forward to its arrival.
Even though this challenge has finished we have decided to keep challenging ourselves and Michele set up a community at Ning, Betterblog.ning.com. This will mean that we can continue to help one another and learn from each other. Members welcome come and have a look whether you are an old hand at blogging or new to all of this.
Visit my Chocolate Challenge page to find out all about the project
Running really late now!
One thing is for sure I will not be getting all the tasks done by the end of August. I will still keep plugging away at the tasks that are relevant to my blog but have really got behind mainly due to work and coming down with the flu.
Back on board now and back into it so away we go. Looking at the list of tasks for Days 15 to 22 seems kind of ironic that they have titles like Make Your Most Popular Posts Sticky , Create a Heatmap, Run a StumbleUpon Campaign, and last but not least Create a Sneeze Page and Propel Readers Deep Within Your Blog. Here I am feeling about 90% after a bout of the flu and all the tasks seems to point to stumbling around making things sticky and spreading germs. 🙂
Not really but I thought it was funny to have that collection of tasks all together. The Heatmap task would be cool to try but not an option with edublogs. So can’t do that one. StumbleUpon I have a plugin for Firefox for StumbleUpon but don’t intend to run a StumbleUpon Campaign in relation to my blog. That wasn’t too hard two down six to go.
Make Your Most Popular Posts Sticky and Create a Sneeze Page and Propel Readers Deep Within Your Blog will both have to be works in progress I think. I want to find a theme for my Sneeze page and need to investigate which post as popular. I could even add another page and have a changing list of popular posts there, what do you think?
Respond to Comments on Your Blog I have been doing this with almost all the comments that have been added to my blog – (maybe a little behind over past week) especially since starting the 31 Day Challenge. I have found that it has created a continuing conversation with the comments rather than static comments. It makes the reader feel more “real” to me and I have found that most commenter’s are then coming back to read and comment again. Its always a thrill when a comment is added, the fact that someone has taken the time to visit and then leave a comment is really appreciated. Thanks to you all .
Catch New Readers Up on the Basics of your Blog I added a new page What is that? a while ago that hopefully will help new visitors to the blog and visitors who are new to the blog concept. I also changed some of the terms used on the side links after Day 2 task of Run a First Time Reader Audit. I found that just because I knew what a Blogroll was this did not mean that one of my readers did.
This then leads into the next task to Run a Reader Survey. I am going to take the simple option here and not so much as run a survey but ask for feedback or comments. I have changed the theme and layout of the blog since starting the 31 Days to a Better Blog Chocolate Challenge and have added pages to help visitors. I have tried to name links with out using “geek speak” . I have added information to my A little about me page, and removed many of the links “widgets” from the blog. So my survey question is do you find it easy to move around the current design of the blog. Is it easy to read and leave comments? Please leave comments to answer these questions then I will have completed another task.
Last one for today Make a Reader Famous I would like to make all littlest readers famous and encourage everyone to go and visit their blogs. So Minilegends you are my readers that I wish to make famous. the Minilegends are a class of year 3 – 8 and 9 year olds from Glenelg School in South Australia who have a class blog as well as individual blogs.
So that’s a load of tasks done but not necessarily finished and all out of order. I hope to go and visit all the members of the Chocolate Challenge blogs and leave a comment over the next few days and see how they have all gone with the tasks. We have all struggled to keep on top of the 31 tasks but have learnt so much about the who why and how we blog, it has been an exhausting but very rewarding exercise that has also created a new online community of friends. And its not finished yet…..
Go and visit the Chocolate Challenge members:
Cammy Bean Tim Davies Eklavya
Kate Foy Sue Hickton Christine Martell
Michelle Martin Alex Miller Kate Quinn
Sue Waters Laura Whitehead
Running out of Time – 1 weeks tasks – Done
Unexpected work commitments has propelled my into a state of feeling like I am chasing my tail and defiantly running out of time to get my blog tasks completed.
A run down of the tasks for days 8 – 14 include a few things that I have already done.
Day 8 – Comment on a Blog You’ve Never Commented On Before just being part of this challenge has seen me visit lots of different blogs and leave comments. – Done
Day 9 – Run an Advertising Audit On Your Blog Not relevant to this blog – Done
Day 10 – Declutter Your Sidebar As I have worked through the different tasks in this challenge I have been constantly changing the look and functionality of my blog. I made a lot of changes after the First Time Reader Audit and have removed several widgets from my sidebar since then. I like the clean lines of this template, what do you think? should I add more sidebar functions? – Done and continuing.
Day 11 – Dig into Your Blog’s Statistics This has been a fun thing to look at – my statistics. If it wasn’t for you coming to read my blog there wouldn’t be any statistics to look at. As the saying goes a picture paints a thousand words. Unlike Sue I added Google Analytics a few weeks ago and use this along with Sitemeter and Statcounter. They all seem to give a different view of visits and when I get more time will probably cut these down to just two. AS you can see from the image of my stats below, from being involved in the 31 Days to a better blog project I have gone from 0, 1 visits a day to a whopping 95 visits and 200+ page views. This was very exciting, especially with a blog that has only been going for 5 months. So thanks for visiting 🙂 – Done
Day 12 – Introduce Yourself to another Blogger Over the past 12 days I have introduced myself to many other bloggers. Both through people involved in the 31 day challenge and also twitter and my del.icio.us links. – Done
Day 13 – Search for an Affiliate Program that Fits Your Blog – Doesn’t fit with my blog type – Done
Day 14 – Analyze Your Blog’s Competition – I looked at this task as a way of finding other blogs that cover a similar field to me. This is an on going process and one of my biggest “Competitors” would have to be Sue – friendly competitors. The wealth of information on Sue’s blog is testament to her dedication in seeking information and passing it onto others. I like using Digg Google Blog Search but most of the time I wander from one article to another on different blogs. I would be interested to hear how you find articles and blog that you are interested in? – Done
Even though some of these task are not relevant to the way that I am using my blog I have added them to this article and provided a link to Darren’s original post in the hope that it may help some visitors and you never know maybe one day I will need this information also.
miniLegends Join the challenge
Today we welcome the newest members to the 31Days to a Better Blog Chocolate Challenge. I met Al Upton through Sue on twitter and we have been trying to encourage him to join the challenge and last night he and his class the miniLegends did. The miniLegends are Year 3 students – 9 year olds from South Australia. It is the first class to join the challenge and Al did note on the blog that chocolate was definitely a motivation. I wish them good luck and hope they have as much fun as I am. We hade better watch out for this lot they have 30+ years start on us. Wow that sounds a lot doesn’t it!!
I have visited their blog and already learnt something that I didn’t know before. I read the post about googlepages and went and investigated. What a fabulous service free web pages that allow you to upload 100mb!!! You need a Google account and then it is simply a matter of going to Google Page Creator and it took me about five minutes to create a simple page. This would be great for on the fly work, notes for students or even meeting minutes. I think I could even use it as a message board for my kids if I needed. A Great simple tool with 100’s of uses I am sure. I would love to here if you are using it.
Plan Your Next Week’s Posting Schedule
The task for day 7 is to plan my posts for the next week, this would assume that I actually knew what I would be writing about before creating a new post. Some people think that I am really well organised and have things planned out so I can fit everything in and get my family organised and where they should all be when they should be there. Then there are the people who really know me like family and close friends who know that I am not really very organised at all. I get everything done, usually at the last minute but it is finished in time.
My boys shed – 2005
My boys shed- 2007
Not a good example to my kids especially when getting them to try and organise their study time better. But over the last 6 months or so I have come to the conclusion that this is what I am like and how I work best. I am going to live my life how I want and not worry about how other people see me. This can be very liberating when we come to this sort of conclusion.
So I may have written a post about planning next weeks posting schedule but it is not something I will be undertaking. I would just change the schedule anyway and as I said in my About Me page it is all a matter of when it suits I will post, if family or work commitments get in the way then so be it.
Email an Old Timer Reader
I am now about a week behind posting about my 31 Days to a Better Blog tasks but have been quietly getting them done in the background. This blog is reasonably new and has not hade many visitors (until recently) so the task of emailing an old time reader was not to difficult to under take. Sue is my longest and most supportive reader so this is who I have sent an email to thanking her for her continued support and encouragement. Sue was the one who encouraged (nagged) me to become more involved in the online communities and create a blog and it has been a wonderful learning experience. Thanks to all who have come and visited and left comments, it is great to know that others are reading what I have written.