(Photo by minifig, via Flickr Creative Commons) By Diane Gilleland I was excited to see this recent post on Craft Leftovers, in which Kristin examined what kinds of blogs she likes to read best, and then compared their main qualities to her own blog. She learned a lot in the process, and I think this is a great exercise for any blogger. I think we often get so focused on what we want to say, and all the little mechanics of posting, that we forget to consider a very important part of the equation – the people who read our posts! Here’s a nice little analysis you can do on your blog. It will help you see it through that “outside eye.”
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First, print this handy tracking sheet above. Then, use it to track your blog posts for 30 days. (You can track yourself over the next 30 days, or you can just look at your last 30 days’ worth of posts.) Looking at these posts, use the worksheet to log: • How many posts, on average, did you do per week? • Of these posts, how many were tutorials of some kind? • How many contained some kind of personal story? • How many shared resources people might find useful? • How many shared interesting ideas people might find inspiring? • What kinds of posts are your readers commenting on most? (Photo by spoony mushroom, via Flickr Creative Commons) We write posts day after day, but wow! When you step back and look at your blogging habits over time, it’s always enlightening. Sometimes when we do this process in my classes, bloggers even realize that they think their blog is about one thing, but in reality it’s about something else. A while back, for example, I had a student who kept a blog about sewing. But when she did this analysis on 30 days of her posts, she discovered that in fact, she was writing about crochet almost as often as sewing. So she added some crochet elements to her blog header and reached out to a whole new audience – one she didn’t even realize she had. As you’re analyzing, too, pay close attention to the posts your readers are commenting on the most. What’s in these posts that they’re responding to? How can you give your readers more of these elements? (Photo by maistora, via Flickr Creative Commons) Want to take this a step further? Once you have this data for your blog, then choose another blog – one you read all the time and really admire. Print another copy of the worksheet and do the same analysis for 30 days of posts on this blog. How do your numbers compare with their numbers? Can you identify some things your favorite blog is doing well that contribute to its success? Does this analysis reveal anything you could be doing better? If you want your blog to grow more popular in 2011, this analysis can show you exactly which areas you can work on to achieve that goal. And please – don’t feel bad if your analysis shows you lots of opportunity for improvement. Blogs are living things, always growing and changing. Ideally, you’ll never be done improving your blog. I think that’s part of the fun of blogging! About the Author: Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod.com, a blog that geeks out on crafting and also helps crafters use the web more effectively to promote their businesses.