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We’re Spending the Week On Your Blog!

It’s Monday—the start of a new week on your blog—and I wonder what challenges you’re facing.

Woman_writing_in_the_agenda

Image courtesy stock.xchng user Jan Willem Geertsma

If you’ve neglected your RSS or social media feeds over the weekend, you’ll likely find plenty of good advice there—advice that you feel you really should try out if you want your blog to be its best.

But before you become overwhelmed by all the things on your weekly To-Do list, let me tell you what we have planned for the week ahead.

This week, we’re focusing not on promotion or social networking or reaching the right readers or affiliate programs or SEO.

We’re focusing on you and your blog. Entirely.

A week on your blog

Imagine if you could put aside all the other, external things you usually do to keep your blog humming along for a whole week.

Imagine if you could instead spend the next five days really honing your approach to blog design, content, and your own productivity.

If you’re anything like me, you rarely spend this much time focused exclusively on your own online presence. I know I normally slot the tasks of content and design around other things, mainly to do with product development, reader engagement, and promotion.

While I don’t think any of these elements exists in a vacuum—they all interplay thought our blogs and our lives as bloggers—I do feel that sometimes it’s good to take a break and really home in on our blogs themselves.

Stepping back

Blogs evolve over time. Each day we learn new ideas to try, and we want to see what the produce.

But ongoing blog tweaks can be a curse as well as an aid. If we never step back, the tweaks we make to our designs, our interfaces, our content, our structure, and our brands overall can slowly erode the sharp focus we began with. That can be more than unfortunate—that can undermine your ability to maintain and grow reader loyalty.

So if you’ve spent the past months in the trenches, head down, backside up, working hard at a tactical level, then this week’s posts will hopefully help you step back and look critically at some key elements of your blog.

We’ll have posts on landing pages and logos, on voice and audience, and on making the most of the time you dedicate to your blog. We’ll mix writing and design tips with productivity advice.

The aim? To help you focus on the thing that matters most—the thing that keeps you attracting readers, converting subscribers, and selling products: your blog itself. And to help you take stock of where you’re at, and where you can improve to make your brand more coherent and powerful.

We’ll kick off later today with a post by the Web Marketing Ninja which is designed to help those with bigger blogs whose growth has stalled. He’ll show you how to look closely at your online presence and face up to the tough questions: why has your blog stalled, and what do you need to do to get it going again?

Before we get to that post, I’d love to hear about the challenges you’re facing in building an online presence on your blog. Share them with us in the comments.

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. Willi Lakin says:

    I’m just getting started, and I’m actually still learning the industries that I want to focus my marketing. So even though I’m in love with writing, I’m digging all over the Web to find topics to blog about in the mean time. I think I’m also still in “fast food” mode. I keep thinking I’m going to get an email immediately with a client referral. It’s also tough to focus right now, because I have a full time day job and a wedding in a month.

  2. I totally agree it is good to step back sometimes and see your blog as your readers are seeing it. Every time I do this I find something that I need to address, or that I have neglected to change in the past, and it really improves the quality of the blog and the image it shows my readers.

    Being a perfectionist I seem to take too much time on certain areas of my blog and end up wasting a lot of time because I want everything to be perfect. Any advice for those perfectionists out there would be helpful, so we can get past being perfect and do what needs to be done to be more efficient.

    • Ryan, totally agree on stepping back. That often clears things up doesn’t it?

      Perfect doesn’t exist m8! Often times after 3 or more rounds of editing you’re right back at base 1. What I do is look as what I’ve done that is clearly working for me, and repeat that. It may not be perfect but it accomplishes a goal!

      My problem? Definitely not being able to choose which idea is best to right on at the given moment.

      • Ehsan Ullah says:

        I too agree with Ryan here. If you look your blog as a reader than It’ll be quite easy to find the mistakes or things that need to be addressed.

  3. yeah, i agree with that, stepping back and having more time to work on new valuable posts, nice post….. i’m sharing this on facebook and twitter right away

  4. One of my biggest challenges has to do with design. I’d love to have a professional designer, but I don’t want to spend the money because my blog isn’t primarily a business. Having a designer also means I have less control and I really want to be able to make changes immediately. The problem is it takes me forever to figure out how to make the changes myself and then I’m still not thrilled with them. Its just too time-consuming to try again. I would love some guidance in this area and look forward to the day that design is as easy to change as using Word.

  5. Tina says:

    Hi, I am also new to the blogging world and am averaging 16 visits a day. Lately its been in the high 30′s but at the beginning and on some day’s it is much lower. I would just like a quick critique on my blog– if it makes sense, if the style is clean and easy to explore, if it has a POV, etc. I just want to make sure I am on the right track. I feel like I need to know that before I can move forward with anything else. Is that even possible?

    Tina

    • Karennina says:

      Hi Tina, I peeked at your site. I love the clean design and the photos (oh, the photos!). I like the handwritten quotes too. Good job there. I’m sure you’ll be able to grow your audience before long. One little nit pick is about the font. It’s too tiny for me. I feel as though I have to squint to read it. Maybe it’s just me and my bad eyes, but a larger easier-to-read font would make it easier for your readers. Good luck!

  6. Alex Denning says:

    I’ve had huge problems this year, with a slight break from my site and then finding half my search traffic disappear, and my attempted kick-start, with a redesign and shook didn’t really do the trick. Will look forward to reading the post later; I’m hoping it’ll give me some ideas :)

  7. Wade says:

    Yeah, taking time to concentrate on how you can evolve your blog for the reader is a good thing to try to do. People change, and they like different things…well, my readers do anyway!

  8. My Blog has to get started before it can stall. I’m not sure what I am doing wrong, maybe I am in the wrong niche. My blog is a personal Blog about Auto Racing (More Specifically NASCAR) and I have only recieved anywhere from 5-20 page views over the past Week. I’m trying to take the next step in order to get new viewers, and I’m not really sure where to start. Please let me know what ya think! THanks!

  9. Sudhir says:

    Good article, thank u.
    The concern that i have with my blog is its design im planning to outsource it and in the meanwhile i would prepare new articles for the blog.

  10. Shelby Roth says:

    Great post. I really assent with your focusing on blogs and bloggers; sounds actually amazing step. I really admired the idea of stepping back and I think it’s a great opinion to learn every day new things so as to keep in touch in our blogs-new things does not create boredom and that is what every one may wish for. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  11. Just amazing step back one could go for! I think this is where most bloggers fail and thanks a lot for helping out. I really was influenced by this and actually it’s a great inspiration. Love it.

  12. I don’t seem to concentrate. Now that the weekend is over and I am ready to work; I feel like I can’t handle the density of today’s work!

  13. Anthony says:

    The main challenge that we face is finding the time to write the content for our own blog. We do have an editorial calendar in place which helps a lot but the publishing dates are often missed due to client work taking priority.

    Looking forward to reading the posts planned and hopefully I will pick up plenty of tips along the way!

  14. Kelly says:

    I’m looking forward to this week. I’ve been blogging for 3.5 years, first as a hobby & now a very small freelance writing career. I just launched a food photography biz & where I’ve heard “great idea!” I have yet to make a sale! I don’t know if I should keep both sites or focus on just one.

  15. Mi Muba says:

    My fingers will remained crossed during the whole week. Hope to get more information to completely overhaul my blog social media wise. Thanks bro

  16. I have been following your site for a few weeks. I am a new blogger. I just started my online business and the traffic is my challenge. I have tried to update and improve my site almost daily. Little by little. I want it to be a site that people will find the information they need and stay to navigate to other pages. Hopefully most will eventually buy some of my ebooks. Your post is helpful and I look forward to the rest of the week.

  17. J. Delancy says:

    Finding my voice and fixing design are some of my biggest challenges. I know I need to step back, breathe deeply and focus on creating a sensible landing page.

  18. Barb says:

    I suppose my biggest challenge right now is perfectionism and just throwing a post out there without worrying about what people will think – although I’m making progress in those areas. I wrote and scheduled two posts today in less than two hours. That’s a major record for me. My next biggest challenge is design. I feel like I should probably switch to a self-hosted site but it’s so intimidating, I haven’t done it yet.

  19. Monica Suma says:

    I have been blogging for a while now (and writing for other websites as well, on specific topics such as travel and design), and I noticed that since I moved my personal blog from the free hosted WordPress platform to a self-hosted web host, I’ve had less engagement, likes and comments. I am mortified, as I am putting quality content more than before (as a writer, social media advocate and blogger, I improved over time) and have customized with widgets, a Facebook page, SEO, etc. I am spending more time and am applying all the digital MK techniques and I am not seeing the results I expected. What can be the problem? What should I change/improve? Is my theme not clear enough?

  20. Felicia says:

    I have a blog – but I don’t know if the platform is well known as others. I only have 6 followers and I don’t think I get many visitors. I’ve chagned the look of my blog a couple of times – and have thought about different writing styles, but I worry I’m too inconsistent, and that I’m not attracting the people that I want to attract. Sigh. I also work full time and my blog (and my new photography business) unfortunately takes a backslide – I need to organise my week better, I just don’t know how I can keep viewers interested.

  21. Karennina says:

    Great timing for this series of posts, Darren! I’ve just launched a brand-new blog, with a very niche topic. It’s about children’s fantasy books and the digital market for such. I have a schedule and a pretty clear focus on what I’ll be blogging about. As with any new blog, the challenge is on growing the audience. I realize growth needs to be organic, but I hope I don’t have to wait years before anyone comes to visit and take part in the discussion on the blog.

  22. Tom Southern says:

    This is just what’s needed! I’m looking forward to discovering how to create landing pages that convert.

    I think conversion rates and advice on how to actually convert visitors into joining in our blog’s community, and becoming a part of what’s going on our blogs, is what bloggers are all concerned about.

    Something like this gets new bloggers started out on the right track so that they can reap benefits early, and boost their confidence, and increase their momentum. For more established bloggers, it’s often a wake-up call, and a timely refresh.

    Thanks for offering this. Looking forward to taking part.

    Tom

  23. Minim says:

    I’m fairly new to blogging (have been blogging for a couple of months) and what I find hard is keeping a regular schedule and finding new things to blog about. I can be inconsistent about quality and so on as well. I ought to look from a readers perspective every time I write a post.

    • Tom Southern says:

      “I ought to look from a readers perspective every time I write a post.” You got it Minim! That’s the key.

      Keeping a regular schedule can be daunting when you start blogging. So can inconsistency – if you think that you need to post more than you actually do need to. Quality often means not posting very often, for example, it’s okay sometimes just to post once a month.

      Yeah, this can seem way too long to go between posts. But think of it this way: If you post less, you can spend time working on your posts. Plus, an added benefit is the longer a post stays on your front page, the more comments it’ll get.

      Of course, posting everyday works too. Bigger, more established blogs can do this because they have more experience of scheduling posts in advance. They can also generate guest posts too, creating a band of regular guests who create great content. Pretty much like Problogger.net does :).

      Looking for new things to blog about? Comment sections help. Not just on your own blog, but on other blogs you visit. You get a good idea of what people are struggling with through their comments.

      Here’s to keeping on looking at what you blog about from your readers’ perspective.

      Tom

  24. Pauline says:

    Let me confess here. Whenever I am at my blog. I spend hours just looking at the design and wonder why its not attractive as the others :-) I also like to pay a lot of attention to the post I am gonna write during the week. I have been complimented many times for my blog but still I keep feeling it lacks the X Factor. May be I am thinking too much and giving less time for my blog. Its time I start thinking and seeing my blog from my readers point of view rather than my own Point of View.

  25. Kay G says:

    I have a blog that I have not yet published. Not only is the competition fierce but I am a perfectionist so I want it to look perfect……Is there a such thing? LOL The other thing I worry about is traffic. As an affiliate marketer, I am ding well, however, I am marketing someone else’s product. I am worried about marketing my own site. I am not technologically saavy, and site design seems too be difficult for me. I am using wordpress.org as my website editor. Any useful tips for a better design, would be awesome!

  26. Lack of focus in my blog. I need to restart and come up with a more precise focus of my blog.

  27. syakir says:

    thanks for this post mr darren, i like it

  28. EDOHAUS says:

    Technicalities such as coding, plugins, and layout. Usually I’ll just experience a blackout, meaning I can’t access the website, nothing appears, just errors. I’d have to go to the backdoor in order to access it.

    I’m inspired to write but somehow there aren’t much people giving any feedback comments. It is frustrating after all the hard work, research just to help out people, they don’t stay that long on your site. Also, being socially active in Facebook and Twitter can only help so much. I am putting getting a stable audience is the toughest of them all.

    • Tom Southern says:

      Hey Edohaus!

      Any “blackouts” can be due to plugins being incompatible, and incorrect coding. I’ve experienced this too in the past and it’s frustrating when it happens.

      Your social media experience proves that you need to build an audience, and a network of fellow bloggers, first before spending time creating content for your blog.

      It’s your audience, and blogging network, who leverage the power of social media for you. You share their links, retweet their tweets, they’ll do the same for you :)

      Reach out!

      Cheers!

      Tom

  29. Any tweaks bloggers make should always be in line with the blogs objectives so that they don’t erode or override the blog’s vision. There will also come a time when bloggers have to re-visit their objectives and see if they have to be changed.

    • Tom Southern says:

      So true!

      Couldn’t agree more. You hit the nail right on. Bloggers often tweak because they’ve seen something they like on someone else’s blog that seems to be working well, and try to replicate it on their own blog. Forgetting, that it’s audience engagement that counts. Changes should match their audience’s needs and wishes.

      Tom

  30. Joannie B says:

    i have been enjoying blogging like I enjoying crafting or journaling. I do it because it is therapeutic . I was stunned when I learned how to look ar stats and saw over 300 hits. Freaked me out a bit. I continue to blog about my life and my hobbies and people keep coming but no one comments…… What is up with that?? Did I set something up wrong? I see other bloggers with the same POV and they have tons of chatting…it looks fun and I want to play too. Oh started my blogg in like April of this year….
    With four kids I never run out of content. Didn’t think anyone but grandma was reading….. Lol

    Blessings

  31. Brandon says:

    What a great idea!

    On my blog (www.TheYummyBits.com) I’m having trouble getting HONEST feedback. A lot of the people I ask to look at my site are friends and family who just say, “it looks great!” or “you’re doing an awesome job!” While I truly appreciate the compliments, a big part of me wants to hear constructive criticism from bloggers who have been blogging for a while, know what they are doing, and aren’t afraid to hurt my feelings with honest advice.

    I’m happy with where my blog is going, I just need to know what I can do to make sure I’m moving in the right direction! Thanks!

  32. Clarkmartin says:

    Hi Darren
    It’s really Great post. Thank for share it. It wasn’t a perfect week by any stretch, but it wasn’t too terrible, and I’ve been thinking more about my spending habits and goals, which is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. This coming week will involve some grocery shopping, though, so we’ll see how that goes.

  33. Nice post. I usually do this on Mondays on my blog, but I can adjust for this! This week has been hard because the dog needed to go the vet and I bought a cheap car for my daughter. The vet bill was $106 and the car was $750. The rest of this month will definitely need to be tightened up and no spending allowed except for necessities and groceries if needed. Thanks for doing this!