Posts Tagged ‘blog review’

28 Day Blog Challenge Learnings

March 3, 2011

YES! I’ve achieved my 28 Day Blog Challenge and it’s time to celebrate!

But before I do this, I always like to look back at what I’ve learned.

My learnings …

I have a Blog chair!

When you compose a blog, do you sit at your computer, do you vary where you write, or do you have a favourite place in your house or office?

During my blog challenge the place where I was most productive …. where ideas flew more readily …. was my blog chair. It’s comfortable and cosy, a bit old and tattered, and offers few distractions. When I’ve tried composing directly on to my WordPress blog, I can be distracted by checking emails / tweets, etc. So for future blog writing sessions, I will resort to my blog chair!

I must admit, though, there were times when the ideas weren’t flowing and I’ve have to resort to blog ironing!

Was it a challenge?

Definitely! I started out quite well prepared, but as the month rolled on my posts were coming out later in the day. A lot of this was to do with working around other commitments (e.g. clients), and it did mean some other things didn’t happen (e.g. not tweeting as much!) It definitely made me more focused, and my time to write blogs did get shorter.

Accountability

Publishing something on a daily basis which other people can / will read ranks up the accountability factor! I was not only accountable to myself, but potentially to anyone expecting to see a post each day. At times, this definitely helped to keep the momentum going.

What about the benefits?

In one of my first blogs during the challenge I identified some potential benefits to achieving the goal. Having completed the challenge I can now say:

  • I definitely feel more confident writing blogs
  • I don’t think my writing style has really changed over the course of the challenge, but at the moment I am happy with what I’m producing
  • Research into some of the blog topics has further developed my subject knowledge
  • From reading more blogs by other people, and getting into dialogue in the comments section, I have learned more about what people like to read and discuss
  • In terms of adding value, I can only say that I’ve had some positive comments, been invited to guest blog, and some of the posts have been featured in online newsletters

Next steps

It’s an ongoing process! My original blogging goal was to developing my blog writing skills and frequency of posts, delivering weekly posts as a minimum by the end of March. I now plan to write 2 posts a week to see how much of what I’ve learned I can retain and maintain!

If you have managed to follow me through this challenge, I hope you found it interesting / relevant 🙂 Thanks also to those who passed on positive comments and encouragement via Twitter, etc. It was much appreciated!

(Photo courtesy of Keattikorn)

Learning blogging from others

February 20, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 20

Improving blog writing skills, for me, is not only about the “just do it” philosophy. It’s about research.

Since I started blogging I’ve been interested in other people’s blogs … how often they blog, their writing style, their general content, use of graphics, how many comments they get, etc. One of my actions during my 28 Day Blog Challenge has been to spend more time on research.

So far, my wanderings have usually taken me down the path of blogs within my own field of work; personal development, leadership, education, and business development. I’m getting more of an idea what I like to read about, the styles of presentation I prefer, and length of blog post I’m willing to spend time on. (NB The latter can also be dependent on how interesting the subject matter is!)

I keep reading how important it is to have a plan with your blog. This makes total sense for me, being in the field I’m in. So the shorter-term goal for the research is to come up with a blogging policy to help me formulate blogs in the future.

In  the meantime, here are some of the conclusions I’ve come to ….

1. Paragraph size If the paragraphs look too long it would put me off starting to read it, unless it’s a topic I’m really interested in and I have the time. I usually know when I visit Dan Rockwell‘s blog or Louise B-J‘s that I won’t have to struggle through lots of long paragraphs.

2. Clean look and feel When I arrive at a blog site/page I like to see space around the posts, rather than having to spend time searching to find where things start and finish. White space is best for readability (see Steve Riege) but I’ve also seen some that manage the clean look without being white.

3. Clearly identified Once I arrive at a blog, I want to see the post I’ve been directed towards (or the latest post), and not be distracted by adverts. There’s nothing wrong with using adverts, but I’d rather they don’t overpower the page.

4. Taking a peek! I also like the blog sites where you can see snippets of blogs, such as Tyrell Mara‘s, Craig Jarrow‘s or Vicki Berry‘s.

5. Visually pleasing Relevant content is #1 for me, but I’m very ‘visual’ and am drawn to blogs that are aesthetically pleasing! Monster Thinking‘s blog comes quite close. Blogs don’t always need to contain pictures, but if there’s one that can add to the content, I prefer it.

I’m still no expert and am continuing to learn from others, so I’d love to hear your experience / expertise on this area.

What do you look for in a good blog?

Does your own blog reflect your preferences?

Do you have a blogging plan? How useful have you found it?


(Photo courtesy of Renjith Krishnan)

28 Day Blog Challenge Review – Part 3

February 19, 2011

Welcome to Day 19 of my 28 Day Blog Challenge, and my third ‘Saturday goal review’

The pattern for posting this week has generally been to write the blog on the day of posting. Although still happy with posts I’m sending out, it has meant they have gone out later in the day than previous weeks. I started to develop a feeling of ‘getting behind’, but not panicking! This has made me determined to get next week’s blogs planned in advance – in outline, as least.

I’ve had some lovely feedback on some of this week’s postings, so I going to continue with my current plans for now. However, one of the things I wanted to do during this challenge was continue to read other people’s blogs, review what I liked about them, and help this to hone my own style. So tomorrow’s blog focus will be to share some thoughts on other blogs I like and why.

Until then ….!

(Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono)

28 Day Blog Challenge Review – Part 2

February 12, 2011

Welcome to Day 12 of my 28 Day Blog Challenge, and my second ‘Saturday goal review’

Interesting things have happened during the second week …

My pattern for preparing posts this week has become to write them the previous day, then do a final edit the following morning before posting. The morning of Day 6 should have been a simple ‘read and edit for spellings’ time (especially being a Sunday!) However, when I looked at it again, I didn’t like it. This resulted in half an hour re-drafting before sending out.

After posting, I had some feedback on the title, the picture and the opening paragraph – they were slightly misleading. This resulted in another quick re-draft and title change (approx 5 minutes). Finally I was happy!  A bonus here was that my original blog had been split into 2, the second of which also went out that day, although took about 45 minutes to finalize and send out.

Day 10 was a really busy day, and gave rise to a blog about bad habits on Day 11. Despite my plans for what to write about and when, sometimes things happen to change those plans to give a more worthwhile result (at least I thought so!)

My main lesson for this week comes from a reminder about my tendency to sometimes have unrealistically high expectations of myself. It’s fine to have high expectations, to strive for what you want, but be wary of taking it too far!

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing”

(Harriet Braiker)

“No one is perfect … that’s why pencils have erasers”

(Unknown author)

General progress towards my Blog Challenge goal is going well and I’m continuing to send out daily posts. I’m still getting positive feedback on my posts, and look forward more and more to writing them each day. The task is moving into my Comfort Zone!


(Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono)

28 Day Blog Challenge Review – Part 1

February 5, 2011

Welcome to Day 5 of my 28 Day Blog Challenge, and my first ‘Saturday goal review’

As part of my 28 Day Blog Challenge, I’ve planned weekly Saturday updates to share how I think I’m progressing towards my goal. (See Why The Challenge?)

It’s early days, but “so far, so good”! I’ve had positive feedback via Twitter and some comments on the blog posts themselves. Now I just need to keep the momentum going.

So how do I do that? The answer has a direct link with motivation. I also get a sense that I’m quite relaxed about the challenge at the moment and, for me, this is about preparation. There’s some security in that I know I have a plan, I’ve done my preparation, and the success to-date (in terms of sending posts out) is telling me that I’m on the right path.

So far, there have been no obstacles and no procrastination. I enjoyed writing the posts and felt they have stretched me, but perhaps not enough. I accept that the Challenge is posting for the whole of the 28 days, so it isn’t feeling like I’m being stretched much at the moment. This is probably because I planned in detail the first 7 days before I started (other than today’s of course!) So from Day 8 – I expect the challenge will really start. I think I can conclude here that the planning has given me the momentum necessary to see success and be motivated to carry on.

Hope I’ve got positive things to feedback in next Saturday’s goal review!

I’d be interested to hear how you’re getting on with your goals for 2011 and what successes you’ve had.

(Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono)