Sue Waters Blog

31 Days to Build a Better Blog–- Days 20-26

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Energy has been an issue during our Chocolate Challenge of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, but with just over one week to go, I am thinking the challenge participants definitely deserve a party next Saturday to celebrate their achievements – although different time zones may cause an interesting debate for us to decide which day to hold the party :) Check out Darren’s 31 Day project page for the detailed information on the daily tasks we have to complete.

Day 15 – Make Your Most Popular Posts Sticky

The best part of doing these updates is going back to my previous update and actually making sure I have completed a task. At this point the word BUGGER springs to mind. I had planned to add similar RSS reminder to the bottom of my posts like Michelle has done (see image below), and I forgot! My mind was debating whether it was a good idea to have an RSS icon with no RSS feed attached like she has done – since readers used to RSS would just click on the icon – that I totally forgot to do anything!

Might need to write a to-do-list of reminders when writing posts!

sticky

Progress = OOPs :(

Day 18 – Create a Sneeze Page and Propel Readers Deep Within Your Blog

This task did make me quite emotional. Thought I had finally caught up and THIS. She shall not be overcome sprung to mind!!!

Worked hard and made massive changes to my blog by:

Progress = Completed :) (unless you think there is more I could have done?)

Day 20 – Run a Reader Survey

We have all agreed that we are holding off on this task as we’ve been asking a lot of readers in the past few weeks, and we don’t want to put anyone on overload. So we will schedule it for later in the year (hopefully Alex will send us all a group reminder :) )

Progress = Complete later in year :) :)

Day 21 – Make a Reader Famous

First I think that Michelle words of wisdom on this task are so important that I want to share them (hope that is okay Michelle?):

  • One of the beauties of blogging, as opposed to just running a website, is the sense of community that develops from interacting with your readers. The best blogs have active reader communities and it only makes sense that you’d recognize your readers from time to time.
  • Let me say, though, that I think “making readers famous” is probably a really essential key to blogging, particularly if you’re an organization. People like to read about themselves and feel recognized. When you put them front and center, they’re more likely to come back again.
  • I think this task should definitely go high on the list of “most useful” pieces of work to do on our blog or website.

I agree Michelle, we should be recognizing and acknowledging the value our readers provide to our blog community.

So the question is am I doing this?

  • Promote a comment to a Post tick1.jpg Definitely – comments make me see issues from other people’s view points which then inspires me to investigate and report back. Classic examples this week has been: 1. Christine encouraged me to research how we can inform our readers to best read our blogs on mobile phones; 2. Dianne inspired me to post on policies stifling use of technologies in education which has encouraged others to join the conversation on the topic.
  • Write a Post about their Blog question.jpg Visit the blogs of those leaving comments on your blog. Write an ‘unpaid review’ of the blog – highlighting the best posts and what you like about it. Well – I am not sure that I do – certainly I acknowledge and praise blogs that I like. Definitely putting this on the to-do-list
  • Send Your Readers to Comment on Someone Else’s Blog tick1.jpg Was a bit worried for a few seconds. But yes, thankfully I do this – for example, have been encouraging people to visit the participants in the blogging challenge.
  • Give Readers an Opportunity to Promote Themselves – Will report back on this one :)
  • Reader of the Week cross.jpg Would be interested in my readers thoughts on Reader of the week? Here is an example that Darren highlights. Yes or No? Should I do it or Not?

Thanks to Frances for showcasing the effective use of the tick in posts.
Progress = mmmm :(

Day 22 – Catch New Readers Up on the Basics of your Blog

Darren says he does this type of post every few months (3-6 months) and here is an example of how he has done it on one of his blogs. I am off tomorrow to Melbourne for 2 days, I will schedule this post to appear while I am away.

Progress = Completed :)

Day 23 – Go on a Dead Link Hunt

Well Paul suggested that we use Dead-Links.com and Xenu to locate broken links within posts that I tested. I tried Dead-Links but most the links it indicated were broken weren’t which was a bit frustrating. I had not read his follow up post that also suggested Xenu, instead did road testing of different free online broken link checker.

In my opinion the W3C link checker (see image below) worked the best of the free online link checkers. Note that still had the same issues that so links that it suggested might be broken weren’t. So am going out on a limb to say based on my knowledge, at the moment all links are working.

links.jpg

Progress = Completed :)

Day 24 – Do a Search Engine Optimization Audit

Well Technorati has been known to mock me, so I have already been working hard on this. I am also subscribing to tag feeds for mlearning, elearning and mobile learning from both Technorati and Google Blog Search – WHY because many of my favourite bloggers prefer to read posts by subscribing to technorati tags than to blogs.

My advice is it is definitely worth seeing what your post looks when it comes through to a feed reader as a Tag feed from both Technorati and Google Blog Search - you might be surprised/shocked! Also worth noting that these two search engines will often feed you different articles.

techme.jpg

My advice for Search Engine Optimisation is:

  • Technorati and Google Blog Search looks for the tag terms within the text of your posts – so if you want these search enginges to easy find your post use the keywords within the text of your post e.g. this is why you will see me use the words mlearning (mobile learning) and mobile technology within the body of a post
  • Technorati does not recognise terms like m-learning as a tag, so make sure you use all variations of the tag (e.g. mlearning and mobile learning)
  • People also locate blogs using advanced blog searches at Technorati, your blog will not be displayed if you have not joined and claimed your blog. Read more about this here!

Progress = completed :)

Day 25 – Go Shopping and Improve Your blog

I think I will wait and see what the other blogging participants suggest about this activity. Do it or leave it?

Progress = ? (Waiting for feed back).

Day 26 – Link Up to a Competitor

As Darren has said previously ““he uses the word ‘competition’ hesitantly because the thing about blogging is that those blogging on the same topics as you are potentially your biggest allies. Connect and work with your competition and everyone improves.”

Happy to say that I willingly, and regularly link to posts by others who blog on the same topics. My aim has always been to network and help others, no such word as competitor to me (other than those I am competing against in the chocolate challenge).

Progress = Complete :)

Author: Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

13 Comments

  1. A quick qtn muddy – why have u put this post into iPod?

    Evil

    p.s. after the best part of a week in melb – i feel exhausted looking at all of the work i have left to do at this point :(

  2. Well Evil I pressed the publish button and then realised had not done my categories. Then press Edit only to discover that I had lost Internet again with this new router and had to turn off for several minutes. Meanwhile you were a Good EvilSue and read my post – which can I say was way too long :)

    Sue

  3. RSS button without a link is silly. Some of your audience will be expecting a link. Its like having a help or search button with no link. People have expectations.

    Reader of the Week. Again another thing that I totally disagree with and think Darren has it wrong.

    Search Engine Optiumisation is an entire section of the web industry, you can’t master it overnight or even come close despite Darrens reassurances. Best is you get a few pointers and go from there.

  4. Sue–great point on the RSS icon having a link to the feed. That was a big DUH for me. I think I was focusing on people who are new and might not have that expectation, forgetting all of the people who do have the expectation. So I guess I need to go back through my posts and add the link to the icon.

  5. Sue,
    I expected to see other people’s sites under the other sites link. I guess because others have been talking about moving blogrolls to static pages. Maybe My Sites?

    So you have me convinced mobile learning is something to pay attention to. I have a whole lot of travel coming up and have been thinking some kind of mobile device would be a good idea rather than carrying a laptop. How do I begin to investigate options from a learning perspective? A little more affordably than an iPhone. What factors should I consider?

    Just in case you ran out of ideas for posts…..

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  7. A party sounds good. We could have it in Adobe Connect. A virtual Party! With web cams!!!!

    I have a meeting room! Will have to put together a table of time zones… or something! Bring wine & a plate!

  8. Thanks for sharing your experience with the W3C Link Checker. I’ve been using a couple of other online applications (I agree with your assessment of Dead Links)on the 7,000 links I have on my website for English Language Learners.

    I experimented with the W3C tonight and was quite impressed.

    I’ll share it on my blog and certainly give you credit for its “discovery.”

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  12. I agree Gary, there is so much too know about Search Engine optimization, and we have to realise that and do what we can. Yes I am not sure also about reader of the week. Probably more meaningful when you take a thought provoking comment and turn it into a post while thanking the reader for the comment.

    Sorry Michelle for making more work. As I still have not organised the RSS feed for the bottom of each post I can not talk.

    Alex – I have sent the email about a party but I think everyone is tired from the hard slog. :(

    Thanks Larry I am glad you liked most thoughts on the dead link software, and thanks for linking to my site.

    Sue

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