Blog : 31dbbb

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 31—planning the next steps for your blog

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 31—planning the next steps for your blog

Here we are on day 31! Did you make it all the way through?

If you hit each topic on each of the 31 days as we were following the ProBlogger series, congratulations! If you didn’t, that’s okay. It was a lot of good stuff to digest in one month, especially during the summer when warm weather travel has our attention. 

Here’s a link to the yeah write 31dbbb archive. Sift through, select what’s useful to you and continue to encourage others as they are improving their spaces.

As far as what’s next, we’ll let you tell us in comments and we’ll see what we can do to help.

Do your plans include migrating to a self-hosted blog? Leave your excitement and fears in comments, and we’ll discuss.

Looking for a forum to join? Comments.

Have you always wanted a new blog design? We’re still giving away themes from Elegant Themes. Leave us a comment and we’ll announce the winners some time in August.

Need tips on writing for an online audience? You know we can help with that. Leave us a comment and we’ll direct you to the right places, including our own weekly challenges.

Want to learn how to create an email newsletter? We should do a Google Hangout! Leave us a note in comments if you’re interested.

Any other burning issues we can help you solve? Leave us a comment.

Thanks for a great 2013 yeah write summer series. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Don’t forget to visit the bloggers competing in this week’s writing challenge over on the #120 challenge grid.

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 30—write a review post

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 30—write a review post

Deja vu? No.

On Day 16 of our yeah write 31 dbbb summer series the exercise was to write an opinion post. Today’s activity is seemingly interchangeable with Day 16, but there’s more to writing a review than having an opinion. 

Whether it’s a book, product, recipe, or another blog, research makes the review. It doesn’t have to be a lot of effort, but knowing what you’re writing about gives your post credibility and balance. Check your facts. Know the intended purpose of the item you’re reviewing so you can decide if it has met its goal.

It’s not enough to enjoy or dislike something when you write about it. It’s important to give examples that show how you came to your opinion. You can do this in your own voice, in keeping with your blog style, so don’t feel like you have to be all newsanchor-y about it. Be you. I like you best.

The benefits of a review

  • encourages conversation, debate and advice among your readers
  • it’s helpful to your niche to let them know about the advantages or disadvantages of an item
  • keeps your blog current with trends and increases your traffic via searches

Flood pro-tip: As part of your editorial calendar, consider adding one review per season.

What to review

What are you passionate about? ProBlogger author Darren Prowse writes:

You might be thinking to yourself right now that your blog isn’t suited to ‘review’ posts. You don’t write about products and can’t think of any books that might relate to your topic? Fear not – all you need to do is think a little creatively to still be able to do today’s challenge. Here are a few ideas:

  • Review a book
  • Review a movie or TV show relevant to your audience
  • Review another website in your niche
  • Review a restaurant if you’re a food blogger
  • Review an article from a magazine or website
  • Review a hotel, tourist destination or airline if you’re a travel blogger
  • Review an outfit that a celebrity is wearing if you’re a fashion blogger
  • Review a speech given by a politician if you’re a political blogger
  • Review a gadget if you’re a tech blogger
  • Review a tool or piece of equipment relevant to your niche
  • Review an exhibition or gallery if you’re an Art Blogger
  • Review a toy if you’re a Mom or Dad Blogger
  • Review an instrument if you’re a music blogger
  • Really the list could go on an on – there’s so much scope with this type of post.

You get the idea and can probably think of even lots more stuff, based on Day 19’s Solve a Problem. The 31dbbb workbook for Day 30 has many suggestions about writing reviews, including ten tips to get the most out of your efforts. If they inspire you enough to write a review post, feel free to post it to the grid below. It’s coded for the yeah write #120 weekly writing challenge, so you’ll have to grab the challenge grid badge from the sidebar and add it to your review post to avoid any error message from the Inlinkz app.

Personal note from Flood:

SuperFloI’m away from the Internet this week, so I’m sorry I won’t be able to respond to your comments about today’s post. I also wanted to tell you that this is my last post for yeah write, having handed in my resignation to my managing editor and friend, Erica M, last month. (I’m resigning from yeah write, not the friendship.) I want to thank you for the amazing community here. You are an inspiring group of people and I will cherish this experience as I face new adventures. Thanks for everything, you guys. Keep writing!


31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 29 (and day 4)—monitor your blog stats and analyze a blog in your niche

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 29 (and day 4)—monitor your blog stats and analyze a blog in your niche

Monitoring your blog stats for 31dbbb

Back on July 4, we were to analyze a top blog in our individual blog niche, but we had to postpone. Here we are, combining two complementary topics: analyzing a top blog in our niche and monitoring the stats on our blog.

Remember you were supposed to install a stats tracker on your blog? Open it up and pull the stats from July 1 until July 28. That’s a nice, solid period of about a month beginning the first day of 31dbbb here at yeah write.

A screenshot of July 1-July 28 for yeah write itself:

since July 1

All of our numbers are up, which is usually one of the goals when taking on a project such as 31dbbb. Your stats tracker helps determine if all the work you put into the project is worthwhile. It also helps if you set a goal beforehand. Looking for a 30 percent increase in total visitors? If that was the goal for yeah write, we exceeded it (we didn’t set a goal beforehand; next time, though). 

Bounce rate is another number significant to our writing project. We want our visitors to stick around a while. In the 28-day period displayed in the above graphic, our bounce rate—the amount of time/number of actions a visitor completes on your blog before bouncing away) improved from 35 percent to 20 percent. During 31dbbb, a full 80 percent of our visitors completed at least one action before bouncing off to another web site or blog. We held the attention of 80 percent of our visitors long enough for them to check us out, no matter their original reason for stopping by. That’s good stuff.

Where did our visitors come from?


Most of our visitors (64%) came from a direct link, meaning  the visitor headed directly to yeah write without any social media prompting or being sent here by email and whatnot. Our second-largest referral was links. That’s our yeah write badges at work during the weekly writing challenges or any 31dbbb participating blogs. Third was “advertising” which is how Clicky, our stats tracker, interprets referrals from our MailChimp weekly email blast or any Facebook promoted posts. Social media shares (2.7%) were additional pieces of happiness, but most of the referrals came from hard work: building relationships with our readers, hosting weekly events and sending yeah write directly into readers’ email boxes or promotional feeds. Growing your blog doesn’t just happen; you really do have to work for it.

Analyze a top blog in your niche

How do you know which blogs to choose for comparison with your blog? Don’t pick the biggest ones out there unless you have about 50,000 unique visitors a month. You’ll just get your feelings hurt and become unnecessarily discouraged. Top blog shouldn’t mean stratospheric. Choose one you love. One that seems to be doing all the things right you dream of getting right. 

Here’s a good scale to give everyone some perspective. Where does your blog fall? Yeah write falls between “a small blog with passing interest” and “a mid-traffic blog with sustained readership”. Some days, it feels like we have the sustained readership numbers, then our stats tell the true story. Yeah, we’re passing interest, but we are working hard every day to get to the next level.

However, we shouldn’t get caught up in pure numbers while forgetting that 20 percent bounce rate. A significant percentage of our readership is engaged with what we are saying, and that’s very important to us. Set your goals based on what’s important to you.


We recommend this: figure out where your blog is on this scale, then analyze a blog one step ahead of yours. What is that blogger doing right? What is that blogger doing successfully that you would still do another way, your own way?

How do you find out the data for another blog?

Dig around. Most bloggers trying to make money off their sites are obsessed with their stats, and they’ll have an entire page devoted to Alexa or Klout scores or Google PageRank or, if you’re lucky, straight-up monthly unique visitor data. You can also make a pretty good guess based on comment count. If they have 238 comments on a post about ketchup, that’s a good bet that blogger has a sustained readership. But don’t base it all on numbers, especially if you’re tracking a writer’s blog. One, data is easily manipulated. Two, on micro-niche blogs, the numbers will be smaller and you’ll analyze it mainly because the subject is important to you.

The important thing is to find a blog in your niche (not sure of your niche? Check your elevator pitch) that will serve as a model for improving your own space. 

Questions, concerns, encouragement, suggestions in comments…

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 28—develop a plan to boost your blog’s profile and readership online

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 28—develop a plan to boost your blog’s profile and readership online

28 days into the 31dbbb yeah write challenge and your blog’s well on its way to looking fabulous … but is it getting you noticed … and how can you tell? Visitor rate soaring? Comments coming in thick and fast in response to those exciting new posts in those fabulous formats, including asking lots of questions? Or is your blog all dressed up and going nowhere?

If you want to create your own spot at the center of the world wide web rather than hanging by a fragile thread at the periphery, then check out #28’s ignore-at-your-peril magnificent seven actions for getting your blog noticed …

Develop an SEO strategy

Even if your blog’s just for fun, take a leaf out of the professionals’ online marketing handbook and optimize your blog so that the search engines can find you and highlight your content to people who are searching (a tactic known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO). There are three easy steps for getting this started:

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  • Check your blog’s current Google ranking. Just put a “free ranking tool” search into Google and there will be plenty of choices. Choose one, add your blog’s details and the tool should show you where you currently rank for online visibility, 0/10 being zero visibility, 10/10 being the highest, like the Google homepage
  •  Brain-storm all of the words which seem relevant to your blog’s niche, including terms others might use when searching. So if your blog’s all about pet dogs, include terms such as “my dog” and “your dog” to take account of the likelihood of these appearing as search terms “my dog’s got no nose …” 
  • Research those keywords using Google’s nifty Adwords Keyword Tool and Google Trends tools. Putting keywords from your list into these tools will, even at the most basic level, show you (a) whether they are popularly appearing in searches (b) other popular search alternatives. Add these other popular terms to your list
  • Revise some of your pages to include some of these relevant key words, but use them sensibly and contextually, don’t just ram them in there
  • Make a plan to use some of your keywords in rotation in subsequent blog posts, including putting them in the titles and adding them to meta-tags and image tags, so that the search engines will easily find your blog


Note: SEO is a whole science, so if you want to know more, reference the ProBlogger 31dbbb workbook we’ve been following.

Add your content regularly

Create an editorial calendar and stick to it so that you are posting regularly. Combining this approach with your SEO strategy is the minimum to do to alert search engines to your presence. However, don’t force your content, grudgingly posting any old content because you feel you ought to won’t engage your readers!

Create cross-links within your blog

Insert links into your posts to link up to your other content—you’ll see lots of fine examples of this across yeah write. Additionally, set up links between your blog posts and your social media platforms.

Strut your stuff

Share post information on your chosen social media platforms or community pages.

Guest post on other blogs

Guest posting on others’ blogs is one of ProBlogger’s most highly recommended strategies, so see if you can branch out this way and create extra back-links to your blog to help you reach a wider readership.

Use multi-media techniques

Varying your post formats to include videos and podcasts is another way of getting yourself noticed online – and give you the potential to “go viral”.

Grow your community

Use social media to a greater potential to help grow your community. As well as posting an update about your latest post, use social media buttons on your blog and even within posts to encourage your visitors to share the fabulous content they’re finding on your blog.

If you employ these seven blog-brandishing heroes as a regular strategy you should see some growth in your readership within a couple of months, so add a visitor counter widget to your blog and check out your stats as you go – and keep an eye on your Google ranking too!

Use today’s comment section for any questions or discussions.

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 27—hunting for dead links

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 27—hunting for dead links

One of the major themes of ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog exercise is community. The world wide web is an infinite maze of link upon link upon link.

We link to back to our own blogs when we comment on another. We link to pertinent articles in our posts. We link to another blogger’s post if they inspired us.

But what happens when one of the links we’ve used is retired, deleted, moves or changes its link structure? Our readers click on it and end up at a dead end — adrift in the online universe far removed from our blog.

Day 27 of 31dbbb at yeah write is to clean up or clean out those dead ends.


According to ProBlogger, link rot can affect our blog’s credibility in two ways:

Readability: Ever click on a link of interest and see ERROR ~ Page doesn’t exist?  Frustrating, right? Most likely we won’t surf back to the blog with the dead link once we’ve navigated away. Dead links can also give readers the impression that our posts are old and out-of-date.

SEO: Problogger suggests the Search Engine Gods frown upon a post containing obsolete links.  Who among us want to anger that powerful bunch?


How to clean out the dead wood?

Do a manual search of each page of our blog. But if we’ve been posting awhile this isn’t practical unless we stick with searching the ABOUT ME page or our MOST POPULAR posts.

— Use link-checking tools. Some come with a fee and others are free.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth

Link Valet

WC3 Free Link Checker

AnyBrower’s Link Checker

HTMLHelp Valet Link Checker

NetMechanic’s Link Checker was also recommended. I could never get it to load. But I’m having major internet issues.


After identifying all the link rot, what are we to do?

Fix or update the link.

Delete the link. If there isn’t a correct link or updated one remove it. ProBlogger suggests adding a note to the post that this has been done and trying to find another link that works in place of the deleted link.

Delete the post. If the main purpose of the post was to point to the obsolete link, sometimes the best resolution is to remove the post.

Another helpful suggestion was while looking through old posts for dead links, also search for and fix:

— Spelling errors

— Grammar miscues

—  Formatting problems with old posts if you’ve redesigned your site.

So allot some time and start rehabilitating or deleting those dead end links.

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 26—improve another blog

31dbbb at yeah write weekly writing challenge: day 26—improve another blog

Everyone loves a critic

I learned the hard way. Sometimes bloggers get a teensy-weensy bit defensive when offered advice. Just a teensy bit.  And no wonder! Confessional blogs are truly personal. Even blogs that are more focused on writing get really personal really fast. And it’s a bitter pill to swallow if someone gives criticism, no matter how well intentioned. Most people don’t want some know-it-all, copy-writer wannabe to point out that their dialogue is hard to follow or the rambling introduction is distracting. Even if a rhetorical question taps off a post (“What do you think? Share in comments!”), those who want to avoid conflict know it’s best to compliment, not criticize.

A kinder, gentler critic                              

So how can we help other people improve their blogs – and also help us improve our own.  Today’s topic in the yeah write version of Problogger’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog, is just that. We’re going to set off to improve someone else’s blog – and we’re going to do it with positive reinforcement! Carrots! No sticks!

The list of suggestions from the Problogger 31dbbb is positive, helpful, and realistic. And many are as simple as being a positive community member. These are my favorites:

  • Leave helpful and insightful comments: Not just “I love this!” Choose a section you find especially sharp or smart or stunning and explain WHY you like it best.
  • Link to the blog in a post, and share the blog through social media. Few readers click on random links, so give your readers a reason to click. “Feeling blue? Check out this wickedly funny post by [insert name here] to shake it off.”
  • Write to the blogger to share topics you think would be fantastic on the blog AND let her/him know when you find a post particularly helpful. You never know. It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
  • Think you can offer something truly special? Offer to guest post with a topic that fits into the blogger’s niche. Don’t be turned off if you are turned down. Blogs are like babies for many. Often, bloggers need to work up to allowing other voices onto their home turf.
  • If you know a blogger is interested in monetizing, go ahead and share postive or negative experiences with affiliate programs or advertisers. Sometimes that is the motivation an amateur blogger needs to keep up improvements.

Get out there and make the blogosphere shine!

Look around and choose a blog to spit-shine. Since this can be tough, interested parties can feel free to choose a random post or two to practice on at That Unique* Weblog. I’ve been neglecting it horribly, so there’s plenty to polish up.  Are you willing to be a thick-skinned guinea pig as well? Add your blog to the 31dbbb grid below! Create a special post or page so your visitors can leave their comments in one central place. Check out Problogger for additional suggestions and encouragements. Once you’ve finished your tasks, let us know how it went in comments.