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How Does Your Blog Grow? A Tool for Analysis

In this post Mara Rogers of http://www.SecretsForMoney.info shares a reflective exercise to help you grow your blog.

To be objective about his or her blog tends to be a challenge for most bloggers.

Often bloggers are in love with the ‘idea’ of their blog, so taking an impartial look at the overall ‘health’ of their blog is difficult.

Yet for continued blog growth and success a blogger must have consistent clarity!

You must take an account of where your blog has advanced and where it has declined—its strengths and weaknesses—and review it often.

At http://www.SecretsForMoney.info I am relentless when it comes to taking a cold, hard look at my blog so I encourage its successful growth. Sometimes my strategy has to change and I have to re-prioritize my action steps several times during each day, depending on what has been working and what has not during a specific timeline.

And no, that doesn’t come easy, it is tough-love.

So, I have a game to share with you that will make your time of it easier and more fun! It is a tool that life-coaches give to their clients when the client needs to gain perspective in a specific area of his/her life.

I have used this game very successfully with bloggers. You too will be surprised by the variety of answers you will come up with, and after all, bloggers are typically extremely creative.

Many of the bloggers felt it was as if they had looked into a crystal ball and were given a glimpse of their past and present, and a prediction for the future of their blog.

Try this game that will give you a neutral and accurate analysis of your blog, so you know what your next strategic action steps should be to grow your blog more efficiently and faster.

Take a leap of faith—this game is an analytical tool that works!

Here we go: Picture your blog as a rose garden and you are the gardener of this garden.

  1. What does your rose garden look like?
  2. What are you doing or experiencing as the Gardener?

Depending on what you answered to these important questions, I will then give you some strategies to grow your blog during nature’s seasons.

Do not read further until you type or jot down what specific images you got in your minds-eye when you answered these two questions above.

Let yourself have a stream of consciousness, do not edit your responses. Be detailed, draw a picture if you want, no one sees your answers or picture but you.

Remember, all the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of yesterday.

Now, you can read on—

(1) What does your rose garden look like?

If you answered this question with any of these following answers:

  • There are not many rose plants in my garden.
  • There are rose plants, but they are not very tall or full with roses.
  • The rose plants are withering and/or drooping.
  • There are rose plants but not many rose blossoms on them.
  • There are rose plants with blossoms, but the blossoms are tightly-closed none of them are open.
  • Some of the rose plants look diseased.
  • My rose garden seems to be too much in the shade/too much in the sun so it isn’t growing well.

Then my advice to grow your blog is:

It is time to break new ground!

In general, your blog is not growing now.

Cultivate your blog so that it flourishes.

Here are some ways to grow your blog that when done consistently over time yield successful results.

Stats: First you must know what you have planted and monitor its growth. In other words, on a daily basis review your blog/site stats.

The stats reveal to you what steps you must take—what is working to gain interest for your blog from visitors and what traffic and stickiness does your blog have—and what is not working — what you need to work on.

The stats should show you:

  • What are the top posts and pages.
  • What are the most active posts.
  • Who are your referrers (what links were clicked to get to your blog).
  • What search engine terms did people use to get to your blog.
  • What are your incoming links.
  • What links people are clicking on within your blog.
  • What are the total views of your blog.
  • What are the number of views today of your blog.
  • What is the busiest day to-date for your blog.

Content: You need to increase the amount of content you have. From your stats and comments from your visitors you can glean what people visiting your blog resonated with. Whatever that is, do more of it!

And if they are asking for topics in their comments and emails to you that are topics that are appropriate for your blog niche then write those posts too.

You can also check-out the subject of your blog and your blog posts against the “2008 Google Zeitgeist” http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/zeitgeist2008/ to read about the highlights of Google searches from around the world, which sheds light on emerging trends and much more.

In addition, “Google Trends” http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends tells you what keywords people are searching for on a daily basis.

Promotion: To increase traffic to your blog I am going to share some steps that for the front-end amount of time you have to put in, the back-end results are very good and effective. Please know that these are just a few, always be on the lookout for way to promote your blog and keep a running list so that you stay accountable for improving your blog’s visibility.

(a) Distribute online videos to multiple sites. Be certain that your Blog name and URL is in the accompanying text description and in the video too of course. I have heard very good feedback on the free service “TubeMogul” http://www.tubemogul.com though at the time of this article pub date I have not personally used it yet.

(b) Submit some of your articles to “Article Directories”, also called “Article Banks.” If you Google the term you will find lists of such sites. There is even software available nowadays that you can use that help in the submission process. Do some due diligence before buying any software first though, you may decide to do it manually.

(c) Look for automatic ways for promotion that work while you sleep. One example is creating a page for your and your blog on “Facebook” http://www.Facebook.com and import your blog posts as notes. You will see the “how-to” behind this once you are a Facebook member.

(2) What are you doing or experiencing as the Gardener?

If you answered this question with any of these following answers:

  • When I walk through my rose garden, it seems that there are thorns everywhere.
  • When I walk through my rose garden, all I see are weeds, they appear to be strangling my roses.
  • Too many leaves are falling of the rose plants, I don’t know what is wrong.
  • The roses are growing so quickly I can’t keep up with their care.
  • The weather forecast looks bad for my rose garden.
  • I work the soil of my rose garden all the time and take great care of my roses constantly.
  • I don’t know what variety of roses to grow, or what colors.
  • I am not sure how much to water my rose garden.
  • I am not sure how much sunshine my rose garden needs.
  • I am unhappy with how my garden looks. Maybe it needs more variety of rose plants, or more colorful rose plants.

Then my advice to grow your blog is:

Be land-rich not poor as dirt!

Overall, you are probably a little overwhelmed with the demands and upkeep of running a blog. If your blog is monetized, then you have a business. And grooming a business for success is no easy task.

As the saying goes, you are digging yourself into a hole. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the turn-of-phrase).

You need to take a pause, a breather—not only to re-energize your self, but also to have a chance to re-evaluate the direction your blog is going.

If you are moving at warp speed there is no way you are making clear decisions, and you may be wasting a lot of time on tasks that are not top priority, that is the slow way to grow a blog, and the slow way to wealth of any type.

To that, you will probably say “I can’t even take ½ hour off today Mara—there is too much to do!”

Yes, I know, there is always so much to do with a blog, but you are now on a path to what I call a “blog-oholic” and if you continue at this pace you will have ‘burnout’ from overworking.

You must avoid this! Achieving work-balance is tough especially in this creative, and ever-changing field.

Here are some pointers to keep your sanity, avoid stress and have fun and success while you grow your blog successfully:

  • Systemize: Create systems for as much as possible to reduce your workload. At http://www.SecretsForMoney.info I try to implement as many automated systems as possible. Not just the obvious such as an Autoresponder, but also for smaller tasks. One of many examples is that I wanted all my blog titles to be in green colored ink. Now that facet is automated. This saves countless hours for the infinite lifespan of my blog, I don’t have to type in color code for each blog post title. Maybe doing this manually only takes 1 minute, but if you multiply that by the number of posts…I just saved a tremendous amount of my precious time. And my time cannot be replaced.
  • Partner: You may feel married to your blog, but you can also partner with other bloggers so that you are not the only Author on your site/blog. This will create more time for you, not to mention open-up more opportunities.
  • Prioritize: Label your tasks, but only a few realistic tasks per day, so that you always feel that you accomplished something. Then bask in the victory of that.
  • Gain Perspective: Listen to your own “pace”—schedule what days and which hours you will work, do so in smaller chunks of time. Such as Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 2 hours each day to just write posts. Then schedule time for blog maintenance, administration etc.

But make sure to also schedule relaxing time to do what else you love to do, such as a power walk outside or a jog to clear your mind, rejuvenate and gain perspective.

It is a fact that the more relaxed a person is the more creative and productive they can be, and of course happier.

Cultivate the garden within my friends.

So there you have it blog-gardeners, you have already put down the roots, now it is time for you to bloom too!

Happy planting!

Copyright © 2009 by Mara Rogers of http://www.SecretsForMoney.info

Mara Rogers is the Founder of http://www.SecretsForMoney.info where your capacity for all the wealth currencies: money, time, health, and love is increased through Secret For Money’s personal development and financial articles. Subscribe to the free Secrets For Money blog at http://www.SecretsForMoney.info

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. Robby G says:

    Informative stuff. ANd am really the first reply?! Good shite!

  2. Nice analogy, and great tips. I find that consistency is the number one thing that makes a blog grow, followed closely by persistence. Many people quit right before their tipping point, when all they needed to do was stick with it a little longer to see all their hard work pay off.

    Matt

  3. Nice post, but there are a few broken links.
    This link is broken

    At http://www.SecretsForMoney.info I am relentless…

    (Note from Lara: Thanks, the secretsformoney.info link has been fixed.)

    Also the Google Zeitgeist link is broken. The correct link is Google Zeitgeist

    (Note from Lara: Also added the trailing slash to the Zeitgeist link – that’s all it needed. Thank you for letting us know!)

    I’m not sure I see the advantage or article banks and submission services. When I come across the same blog post on different sites it’s an immediate red flag. I visit a site, and more importantly RETURN or subscribe to a site, for the author’s opinion and their original content. If I want a generic story I’ll just read the news or any search result in Google.

    I believe the worst thing you can do is to dilute your original content by just throwing it out to anyone who wants to post it. You are your brand and your integrity is very important. So where your content gets posted is important. It seems risky to me if you’re just throwing it out there.

  4. Donny Gamble says:

    It is very important that you focus on whether or not your blog is growing and not just treading water. You must identify the crucial questions that your blog readers and viewers need answers to you.

  5. Syed Akram says:

    You can read this article again and again…but what you need to do is take an action as article said. Than it will make different for your blog. Good Luck!

  6. Great analogy to a rose garden. I like the creativity!

  7. Wayne John says:

    I’ve been seeing a steady increase towards the positive on all my stats since I started my blog last January, and I’m quite happy with my progress so far. Becoming complacent isn’t an option and will kill a blog.

    I like the gardener concept of looking at your blog, good analogy.

  8. Derek says:

    What an in-depth article. Where do I start?

    Article Directories – While I know article directories are a great way to get links, they have outlived their usefulness. Most of them are low quality and don’t really do much for building your reputation as a writer or a blogger. It is simply one way to build links to your blog using targeted keywords of your choice.

    Content – Just remember that writing is a verb. You need to actually sit down and “write” the content. Don’t think about writing it, don’t read about writing it, just sit down and write it. When you finish your article, write some more.

  9. Lemon says:

    As I am new to blogging I have read so much stuff on how to ‘do it’.. I have come to the conclussion it is similar to the nursing process..APIE

    Assess
    Plan
    Implement
    Evaluate

    And hopefully the patient will survive!

    Saying that I have to do some ‘proper’ work myself.. instead of reading everybody else’s blogs!

    x

  10. Kayla says:

    Great tips. I especially related to ‘being the gardener that can’t keep up.’ Thanks for the great tips for organizing my blogging schedule! I do sometimes feel overwhelmed.

  11. Josten says:

    very help just what i needed

  12. No. 1 says:

    The content of my blog is the stem of each rose, rich in nutritious Cellulose,
    Although I’m not comparing my readers to girdlers, sawflys, or carpenter bees.
    No, my readers are the soil, the energy from which my posts grow,
    Blooming into beautiful search engine optimized flowers that scream, ‘Look at me, I’m gorgeous!’

  13. Mara

    You have a unique way to describe the work needed to keep up with our blogs. I appreciate the pointers you offer.
    I will take note and do some pruning.

    Gary McElwain

  14. Smart Boy says:

    What a fun way to “heal” a blog! It’s an excellent ideal to constantly improve your blog, and work as the Dr. – healing all wounds.

  15. This post was a very tall post or should I say very long; however it kept my attention, had good information and was well written. Thanks!

    I am trying to make sure that I am just plating different colors of roses and not roses, daisies, tulips… Stay Focussed!

  16. J.D. Meier says:

    In the Wiki world, Ward (father of the Wiki) taught me the value of garden tenders.

    I like the garden and garden tender analogy for blogs too.

  17. Love the allegory. It’s hard work to get a readership, but it’s worth the time because their feedback is essential to a strong blog. They offer content ideas and constructive criticism. And support.

    Building a loyal readership is the key along with watering them with interesting and good content.

  18. Yak! says:

    Well..its easy for me..my blog just doesn’t grow :p

    Happy 2009 people!

  19. I am bookmarking this as a favorite on Delicious as “blog-to-do” to do when I have more time. I’m a gardener, so it should be easy enough to put to work! Thanks for this post!

  20. AJ Kumar says:

    The Google trends…great idea. I write a blog on learning effective and powerful communication called persuasive.net. I’m always looking for new and improved ways to have strong site. Any suggestions?

  21. Bill says:

    It is a lot of work and trying to figure out what works is time consuming but I hope in the end with help like problooger I can make a go of it.

  22. raidz says:

    Great Info! I will be reviewing my blog at the end of January when I hit my 3 month mark. Thanks again!

    — Andrew

  23. uwak says:

    very useful sharing…..know more deep our web to evaluate and get more better….thanks

  24. Jon says:

    Great analogy and very well thought-out but I don’t agree with the use of Facebook unless you have a heck of a lot of followers, otherwise, you are diluting your brand.

    Jon
    http://buzvia.com – Where’s Your Traffic Going?

  25. decapper says:

    My garden could be greener. I see there can also be some good money made with a good blog. But like you say it can become a business so why not make money

  26. JOE GELB says:

    great ideas, i especially love the stat watching advice and i will do more of that

  27. Allan Ward says:

    Great article. You’ve provided a lot of great ideas to help any blogger become more successful.

    There’s a couple of things here that I can do straight away. Thanks.

  28. ADuu says:

    Very help just what i needed.We can read this article again and again…

  29. I enjoyed your information…good work!

  30. Daytona Mike says:

    Fascinating article with a great deal of insight for a novice blogger such as myself. I just assumed that “if you build it, they will come” but after a little bit of learning, I’m finding out there’s a lot more to this blogging business than meets the eye.

  31. Brandy says:

    This was a wonderfully informative post, thank you and I am looking forward to implementing all of your advice into my two blogs.

  32. çiçekçi says:

    My garden could be greener. I see there can also be some good money made with a good blog. But like you say it can become a business so why not make money

  33. mara….you got a lot of information for me to sift through. I really took to heart,

    “If you are moving at warp speed there is no way you are making clear decisions, and you may be wasting a lot of time on tasks that are not top priority, that is the slow way to grow a blog, and the slow way to wealth of any type.”

    I have put things off and not am moving a little out of control. clients are calling and i haven’t taking time to get the necessary things accomplished and as a result there has been a lot of wasting time.

    thanks for the reminder

  34. Hi Darren,

    Your creativity in writing, really admired me. I have the same points in my mind but I learned the narration part.

    Thanks.

  35. Neil says:

    Great article, thanks for sharing your insight. I’ve been tracking my top articles and my incoming searches. What I find is that they are on 2 different subject matters, which is great for me. More items to draw my audience in with!

  36. Web Hosting says:

    I like your strategy of think of your blog as a rose garden. In my opinion it is too much of an effort to put. I would do that if were earning my bread and butter from my blog.

  37. Edward Brown says:

    You don’t know how much I want to be the first commenter. That guy up there commented only 20 MINUTES after the post was made. I am going to subscribe by email and comment AS SOON as the post comes out.

    Anyway, great post. I didn’t really get it though. This is more of a motivational article, not a blogging tips article, lol.

    Have a great day!

    Edward Brown
    http://www.edwardsmoneyblog.tk

  38. Someone once commented that Darren is the best of them all. To be top 10 in google for the term “Making Money Online Blog” is no child’s play – so that comment might indeed be true. Bravo, Darren and keep churning out high quality articles. Love it!

  39. Mara, Thanks for the useful post. This Information will help to boost my blog.

  40. Martin@TF says:

    Thats a useful post. Time to do some gardening I think.