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31 Days to Building a Better Blog – 2007

Do You want to Improve Your Blog with Some Daily blogging Tips? Read on to Find Out How

Two years ago today I launched a month long project here at ProBlogger that I still get feedback about today. For the month of August in 2005 I ran something called – 31 Days to Building a Better Blog.

When I started out on this project I wasn’t quite sure how it would end up – but it ended up being largely two things:

1. A month long series of my own blog tips covering a wide array of topics
2. A month long Group Writing Project – where readers were encouraged to write and submit their own blog tips (written on their own blog but linked to from ProBlogger)

You can see the results of the project at the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Summary Page where I list both my posts and those written by readers.

Building-A-Better-Blog

August is here again and after many requests to run something similar I’ve been planning another 31 day project and have decided to declare August 2007 another Build a Better Blog Month.

This time there will be a few changes – but the basics will remain the same (ie that I’ll be writing a tip per day for the whole month and that I’ll be linking to tips written by readers over the month).

The details:

My Posts

This year my posts will have a slightly different focus than last time we ran this project. Over this time I want to post 31 simple and practical tips – each with a task associated with them (homework). The tips will not be massive posts that will take you hours to reader and apply – rather they’ll be short, sharp tips that hopefully you’ll be able to spend a few minutes reading and then 10 or so minutes doing something about.

The Tips will not be about writing content (If you want a similar thing but with a writing content focus check out my very recent 7 Days to Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove project).

While writing content is absolutely central in creating a successful blog – I want to focus this next month more upon some tips around:

  • finding readers
  • building community/keeping readers
  • monetizing a blog

My hope is that each day you’ll have something to read but then have an achievable task to do that over time will help improve your blog. Some of these tasks will be one off things and others will hopefully be skills and practices that you can revisit over the weeks and months that follow.

The tips that will come over the coming month will be basic enough for beginners to follow but also solid tips that should help any blog to grow.

To keep up to date with these posts you’ll need to either subscribe to ProBlogger using our RSS feed or subscribe via Email for daily updates.

Your Posts

I want to put a call out for readers to write their own blog tips and to post them on their own blogs. Once you’ve written your post (note – I’m only accepting new posts, not previously written ones) please let me know via this submission form where you’ll be asked for your blog tip’s title/post name, the URL of the tip on your own blog as well as your own name (all of this will be published). You’ll also be asked for your email (not to be published) so that we can contact you if there’s a problem with the submission.

At least twice per week over the next month I’ll post a list of the blog tips that you have submitted so that everyone can learn from your experience and expertise. Do you have to link back to ProBlogger with your post? No – but you’re more than welcome to if you would like your readers to find out what you’re participating in.

I will endeavor to find a prize for one lucky participant between now and the end of August – although the point of this isn’t really about competition or prizes – but is about us learning about blogging together.

Your posts can be on any topic that is relevant to helping other bloggers improve any aspect of their blogging (but please keep them to the theme of improving a blog). It could be on writing content, finding readers, SEO, blog design, monetizing a blog, blog marketing etc – as long as it’s a genuine tip I’ll include it. My hope is that you’ll particularly feel inspired to write practical tips that readers can apply to their blogging – to help them actually improve their blogs.

Please feel free to submit multiple tips – however please don’t go overboard (one per day as an absolute maximum). Please also keep them to being NEW POSTS.

Other Ways to Participate

If you don’t want to submit a post (or it’s not appropriate to write one on your blog) you can still participate in a few ways:

  1. ask a question that you’d like someone to write about in comments below this post
  2. submit a quick blog tip in the comments of this post (I’ll put together a compilation post of them later in the month)
  3. follow along with my tips and do the homework – let us know how you apply it in the comments of the posts that I write
  4. comment on the posts written (both here at ProBlogger and those who submit posts) – leave your own suggestions and tips on the topics covered and share with us what you’re learning
  5. link up to the posts that you enjoy that are submitted by others

My hope with this project is that readers will not only come away from it having read some good blogging tips – but that they’ll come away with it with better blogs. If you’re anything like me you probably read a lot of great tips and theory about how to blog better – but only apply a small amount of it. This project is actually about building better blogs. The more you commit to apply what you read the better.

Remember that to keep up to date with these posts you’ll need to either subscribe to ProBlogger using our RSS feed or subscribe via Email for daily updates.

The Project So Far

If you are looking for all of the posts so far then check out this page which has a good summary of it all.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. UltraRob says:

    I have a tip for getting more traffic but my blog is mainly about cycling with some other outdoor activities thrown in so it would be off topic. I noticed that a blog that is more in the outdoor niche but also does some cycling posts had left their web stats public. I saw they were gettng about 3x the traffic I get.

    I started my blog about my personal ultra cycling and expanded it to some general cycling news so I don’t expect huge traffic. This other blog has a lot fewer inbound links than I do and is clearly done by a couple people that don’t totally understand blogging. Even if they put in a URL reference it’s in plain text instead of a hyperlink, etc.

    The interesting thing I noticed from their stats was that they were getting about 80% of their traffic from Google Images. I was getting only a few percent. Most of the images they were using were grabbed off the web and had file names that described what they were of. They weren’t using the image alt tag though. I realized my picture files were just the auto generated names from the camera and I wasn’t using the image alt tag. I started renaming all my files and using the image alt a few weeks ago. Since then I’ve gotten lazy and just using the image alt tag. It seems the results have been that same with renaming the file and using the image alt tag or just using the alt tag. I definately have seen an increase in traffic from Google Images and I plan on going back to my old posts and putting something descriptive in the image alt tag.

    The other benefits of using the image alt tag is it increases the accessiblity for low vision people since screen reader use it. I also rarely caption my pictures so my readers can now get more info about the picture in most browsers if they hover over it with the mouse.

  2. Mark says:

    Hello everyone. My name is Mark. I have a small request.
    I would really appreciate it very much if someone could please submit tips about how to go about evaluating websites such as blogs, forums, Web 2.0 sites and the like, with regards to buying those websites, and then explain how to go about the process of optimizing those sites for traffic, monetization, and to increase participation in those sites.

    If you can, that would be terrific! If not, I understand.

    Thanks, Mark

  3. Alex Miller says:

    I look forward to sharing this challenge with fellow educational bloggers. My role is a big one and I am very busy, so I hope I can keep up and share my experiences.

  4. Nice idea for a topic/series of posts. I like it. Anyways, here is my (hopeful) submission to 31 Days.

    Starting a Blog

    Thankyou, Nathan

  5. Mike Goad says:

    Darren,

    Your days are posted in blog order, rather than what I would think of as a project order. Day 1 should be the first day of the project instead of the most current day of the project.

    Another alternative might be to label them by the date instead of Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.

    It was just a little confusing when I first looked at it.

    Though I’m sure this project benefits you to some degree, I really appreciate your efforts with all that you do to be inclusive and help others. You set a really great example for the rest of us. Thanks!

  6. Darren Rowse says:

    Hi Mike – I’ve thought of a few ways of doing it but decided this way instead of dates because some people will do this project later on over the coming year or so and this way it won’t date as fast.

  7. Thor says:

    The first impulse I get when discovering a new blog worth reading is to start reading it from the beginning. Surprisingly very few blogs make that easy for the reader, and some very difficult indeed, such as this one.

    Why is that? Why is there not a standard button; “First post” or “Read from beginning” or similar, and a simple system of going to the next post in chronologica order, such as ?

    For me that would make a good blog better.

  8. You submission form is not working on IE 6 and Firefox (Latest)

    Please look in to the same.

  9. blogmunch says:

    Yes Darren, I can also confirm that your form is not available after you change your template.
    This new template is nice and simple, easy on the eyes. But not sure why, I prefer your Orange Problogger template.

  10. Thanks for this project and opportunity Darren.
    I’ve been reading some real gems amongst the submissions from all your readers. One of the areas I’ve really benefited from is optimising and configuring your Feedburner feed.

    My tip for building a better blog is to improve your readers experience when they click on your RSS page by putting a personalised message on it. on mine, I thank them for subscribing and assist the ones who are confused about RSS by directing them to my RSS Made Easy article. It’s a great opportunity to make a connection with your readers. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

  11. The Old Vic says:

    Excellent idea Darren, especially for people like me who need more Traffic !

  12. Charity says:

    Hey Darren – what an excellent resource you’ve provided for bloggers! A thought comes to mind and I scanned the comments here to see if anyone else had suggested it – but I didn’t find anything so here goes – have you considered packaging your 31 day project into an ebook download?

    It could be very beneficial for people who want to make printouts for highlighting specific tips, or making notes in the margin, etc., and save them time from constantly referring back to this or that post to re-read a concept they need solidified.

    Anyway, just a suggestion! I’m sure either way this will be a resource people refer to time and again. :)

  13. R says:

    Nice. Great project. I’m looking forward to it :)

  14. Hi,
    i wanted to ask you if you preffer wordpress or blogger platforms.
    i have hosting for free and i still doesn’t know what platform to take.
    thanks

  15. Congrats Zimbra and Yahoo!
    Hopefully this works out well :)
    Thanks