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One Question Interview Summer Series

Improve-BlogOver the next week I’m taking a little extra time to enjoy the Summer weather here in Aus with my family.

To help provide those of you not taking a break with some inspiration I’ve asked a handful of bloggers that I respect to take part in a one question interview.

I’ve asked each one the same question and their responses will be posted over the next week. That question is:

What one thing did you do on your blog in 2007 that improved it the most?

Some of the responses are very short (Seth Godin takes the cake as you’d expect – succinct as always) where as some are much longer and full posts. Hopefully in this week leading up to 2008 these posts will inspire the rest of us to plan some ways to improve our blogs in the new year.

The bloggers range from A-listers in the eyes of the wider blogging community to A-listers in my eyes. Each post will be tagged with the One Question Interview icon that you see in this post.

PS: if you’d like to answer the question for yourself either as a post or comment I’d love to hear your own response. If you post your answer – please do leave a link to it in comments below.

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. Mark says:

    Well, I would have to say that starting my ‘Ten Questions With’ interview series and guest posting on sites like ProBlogger and Zen Habits helped my blog the most.

  2. kid blogger says:

    I did a great design and I offered a lots of quality content :)

  3. I stopped worrying about subscriber count and unique visits and all the other stuff that people worry about with their blogs. I figured it was more important to have fun writing.

  4. Erik says:

    What did I do to improve my blog? Simple answer, really:

    I started it :-)

  5. Mike Goad says:

    The one thing that I did on my blog that has improved it the most was I stopped “trying to gimmick” the popularity of my blog by messing with “link farms” and other nonsense and, instead, have been reading other blogs and commenting on them. I’ve learned a lot from the blogs I visit and from the people who are starting to visit and comment on my blog.

  6. I started using Twitter, which is by and large my #1 traffic source. The key is to be subtle about it, though — my blog is the URL in my profile, and I’ll mention posts if they’re relevant, but otherwise I focus on bringing something to the conversation. 530 followers later, it’s working (and Twitter has given me so much more, too!)

    Feel free to follow me: @MarinaMartin

  7. Eitan says:

    I used to only blog when I had news to share about my career. But this year I started writing my opinions and thoughts about the entertainment business and it’s driven me loads of new traffic and helped me get a very part-time writing job. Not too shabby.

  8. The best thing I did for my blog in 2007 was to start it! I had been thinking of doing this for a few years and finally decided to jump in with both feet. The send best thing I did for my blog in 2007 was to find ProBlogger. I’ve got a lot of great ideas so far plus the free copy of WordPress For Dummies I won will help me as well.

    I am excited about 2008 and am looking forward to answering this question same time next year!

  9. Deb says:

    I just kept reading and then writing.

  10. Improved my blog the most?
    Started writing quality content.

    For a while I was just expecting my blog to grow without putting much effort into it.
    Needless to say, it wasn’t.
    Then I wrote a quality post and my traffic doubled.
    So, I kept trying to write quality posts, and my traffic more than tripled than from when I was writing poor posts.
    Furthermore, my RSS subscribers more than tripled as well!

    Now my blog has a steady growth and I’m really excited to see where it’s going!

  11. Sean Hodge says:

    I launched my blog and have been publishing about a post a week for a month now. So, I got started in 2007 was my biggest blogging achievment for 07. Makes 08 pretty easy to top 07 for me. Thanks.

  12. Nate Moller says:

    I read more. By reading other good information on my favorite blogs, it’s helped me realize what I can share that may help my readers.

  13. Moviecat says:

    I started this year but I have already improved my SEO and tags and my search results have improved.

  14. eve says:

    Turning my blog from a more of a personal diary to a resource site with quality pillar articles and information for housewife’s and relationships helped my blog ten-fold.

  15. We did a very successful contest which brought as more than 500 user comments.

    Have a look at http://www.free-mac-software.com/blog/tags/xmas-2007/

    Our sponsors provided all prices.

  16. tanya says:

    Started linking back to relevant older content. It brought it to the forefront and I also used the opportunity to go back and update/ edit the older reviews.

  17. Rodney Olsen says:

    What one thing did I do on my blog in 2007 that improved it the most?

    Actually two things come to mind. One – I bought my own domain and two – I transferred over four years of blogging from Blogger to WordPress.

  18. Frank says:

    Removed the clutter and focused on providing a “clean” look. Skellie has been an inspiration in this area.

  19. Juha Ylitalo says:

    Started the blog? Nah, thats too easy answer.
    My original goal for the blog was to use it as news channel for telling, when I’ve made new photographs available for viewers.
    My biggest improvement on year 2007 has been that I’ve started to publish some of those photographs in blog and write some other content in there (mainly into finnish version of a blog, but …) as well.
    On year 2008, goal is to get readers write more comments to posts and personally post more comments to other peoples blogs.

  20. Lipton says:

    Launched our new design (beta) for Starfeeder(StarCraft II fansite – so you know what niche) worked a lot on social media marketing. Stumbleupon send me enormous amounts of traffic, but it wasn’t targeted traffic at all.

    Then this month focused more on targeted traffic marketing. How I did that was by starting to organize a Starcraft fansite tournament targeted to only admins, mods and others that work for fansites.

    News got around and my small 16 team/fansite tournament blew up. An employee at Blizzard(company that makes StarCraft and StarCraft II) posted about the tournament on the official game forums and then emailed me asking that I open the tournament up to allow for more teams. As of this post 34 teams/fansites have signed up and pretty much everyone has linked to the tournament post on my blog.

    I’m at PR 2, hopefully the next update I’ll be PR 4 or higher :)

    Oh and reading on Problogger.net and Yaro’s site has helped me invaluably…

    thx Darren!

  21. Warren says:

    Summer eh? Lucky southern hemisphere! In Chicago it rained one day and then froze over night and it snowed. The ground was blanketed and car doors would not open. If you were of the lucky who got into your car, most likely your wiper blades snapped off!

    Anyway, In 2007 I began using social networks, namely StumbleUpon and Digg to promote my blog and build a community. It really gave it a good kick start.

  22. Brad V. says:

    I dumped the templates and got a professional design! And I wrote a lot of content.

    I’m not sure if there’s just “one thing” that really helped my blog out in 2007, but I know for sure those 2 items above really helped.

  23. OldSailor says:

    In my posts I make sure to include images and video clips as far as possible to improve my blog.

  24. CompuWorld says:

    Good question Darren. You gave me an idea for a unique article. Soon as my modem starts working I will be publishing an answer to this and comment back.

    Cheers..

  25. Ruchir says:

    Thanks for the idea to hold a similar series on my blog, Darren…

  26. Andrew says:

    I split off my WordPress activities so they were no longer odd posts now and then, but a whole blog on their own.

  27. Ian McKenzie says:

    I’ve posted about moving my blog to a more focused niche in 2007. http://www.ismckenzie.com/12/27/how-niche-blogging-increased-my-earnings/

  28. Patricia says:

    After reading your advise, I cleaned up my sidebars. I removed the comments – they can be read with each post if one (visitors) wants to read them. I put the catorgies in a drop down style box – it is right there, just check it off. I replaced the Christmas header – I made one with a winter theme and removed Christmas themed photos, also. Now I have decided to post longer, more detailed posts once or twice a week. This helps in splitting my time between blogging and accomplishing more work art. I also love the idea that each post should follow some thought or idea from the previous entry. A new direction for a New Year.
    Thanks, Patricia

  29. Mert Erkal says:

    I’ve posted an article titled ” How I Quadrupled My Blog’s Traffic In 3 Months” I summarized my 2007 activities there. Enjoy reading!

    http://www.searchforblogging.com/index.php/2007/12/27/how-i-quadrupled-my-blogs-traffic-in-3-months/

  30. Kannan says:

    I registered myself in 2006, but had not put any content in there. In second half of 2007, I ran into lot excellent posts which motivated me to start writing and put more content.

    Then I got myself registered with blogging directories, which fetched slight visibility in search engines. I am not that good enough yet and I have a long way to go.

  31. Aaron says:

    I started writing articles instead of posts.

    I started writing titles that were advertisements instead of descriptions.

    I started writing about something instead of anything.

  32. My answer to this question would have to be:

    I launched it.

    (grins)

  33. Amanda says:

    This year I became a mom and started a mom blog to help other moms. I also got two of my friends to help me write quality content. Between the three of us we have a lot of experience to write about.

  34. Natalie says:

    At this time last year, I had a blog called “food for your mind” – I wrote some good posts and gained some readers but the topics were too diversified, confusing my readers. It covered topics as diverse as AutoCAD, songwriting and riot grrrl.

    So the best thing I’ve done this year was to decide to relaunch my blog as several blogs, each focusing on a specific topic, eg niche blogging.

    So far, the only one up and running is Quaxle, which is about songwriting and music recording. It’s been online for 3 months and already gaining great momentum.

    In a few months, I will launch the second blog, and in the summer, I will launch the 3rd one.

    Focusing on a niche has really helped me and Quaxle is fast becoming a resource amongst songwriters and musicians.

  35. Roni says:

    Although my blog is basically a private journal made public I sunk more time into building a community. Offering blogs for others, starting threads on my message boards, things like that.

    I know it’s been discussed before but a community of like minded participants is invaluable in the success of a blog. We support each other and it really strengthens the blog.

    PS I also did a little separating like Natalie above. Making 2 blogs from one so I can really focus on specific niches.

  36. Although somewhat of a hot topic, I ditched the idea of building a huge subscriber base and started getting paid to post. By far had the biggest impact on my blog, as I actually have an income from what I am doing now.

    I have now included my blog income in my overall business income and have set amounts I look to make each month. No more hoping to make money, I do make money.

    Mike

  37. Scottm says:

    I actually got the idea to start blogging in 2007 from problogger.net. I started with the idea that if my posts were useful to me whenever I needed to remember how to do something, then they would be useful to other sysadmins.

    The one thing that put my blog on the map was to publish a 17-page study guide for a Red Hat Linux certification — the RHCE (Red Hat Certified Engineer). Within a week of publishing, the traffic went from a few visits a day to over 500, and then tapered off to around a hundred a day.

    People say content is king for a blog. That may not always be true, but in this case some comprehensive, quality, original content that people want made a huge difference.

    I used google analytics to watch what people were searching for, and saw that people were interested in RHCE topics. That’s when I decided to publish my guide.

    http://systemnotesorg.blogspot.com

  38. A.Rafiq says:

    I decided to get a professional design by uniqueblogdesigns and hire a blogger that would do blogging articles while i cover seo and other areas and have more time to work on the blog’s backlink status and page strength.

    The subscriber status grew from 10 to 66 within 1 week and is still going up on a steady rate.

    Not only that but I also started to make it my aim to have 2 posts a day atleast, doesn’t matter if both are mine or not.

    Design + Content = A really happy blog.

  39. shooter says:

    We made kept content fresh by posting everyday and saw our traffic increase an average of 14% a month over the year (of course, month to month it varied widely). Over the course of the year our monthly page views quadrupled. Fresh content keeps people interested and coming back. It also makes you a resource.

    In 2008 we are using a graphic designer to redesign the front end, and a web developer to develop the back end to support advertising and multiple blogs.

  40. Old School says:

    I used the Google Analytics site overlay to analyze click throughs which showed me that my RSS feeds were located to low on the page and people weren’t finding them.

    I move them to the top, but also I removed the “categories” from the site because I just didn’t feel it was that useful (and GA also showed low click throughs on the category links).

    My plan for this year includes actually planning my content so I don’t always feel rushed to write and adding the RSS email subscription link (which I have done).

    Anthony a.k.a. Old School

  41. Well I just started blogging on September 2007 so I guess I’ll answer this next year :)

  42. snwop says:

    I was posting three times a week and started posting twice. Although it was for other reasons, it drove me more traffic.