This challenge was inspired by Darren Rowse from Problogger who posted this challenge years ago and has had over 19,000 bloggers already go through this program — that's pretty damn impressive.
The main idea is to have new and/or existing bloggers go through 31 steps to enhance their blogs in order to gain new readership, deepened reader engagement with current readers, market their blog to specific niches, and even publish a variety of different types and styles of posts. The time needed to complete each task will range from just a few minutes to possibly several hours; plan accordingly and work at your own pace.
Over the past year, I've had a few friends and readers tell me that "DonDoes30" has somehow motivated them to either start their own blogs and revamp ones they haven't used in a while (see the "Friends" section). For the rest of you, hopefully those of you looking to start a website or get back into blogging will follow the steps this month to success. Let's begin:
DonDoes30: First Year Review
I try to keep a level of transparency to give a realistic perspective on blogging so peoples' expectations are grounded. Those are the DonDoes30 stats for this past year (first year blogging) — not great, but not terrible either. It's also just a coincidence that the chart looks like a chick on her back with her arms over her head and her knees up. At least that's what my Rorschach test tells me.
Monetarily, fourteen thousand page views equals roughly $6 in advertising revenue for the year. Yes, you read that correctly; I can afford a fucking Big Mac meal. That number of course doesn't include book sales or other affiliate income. I wouldn't want to depress you to the point of suicide if I revealed those.
Sure there are a shitload of sites that have that kind of traffic (or more) in a day, but given the fact I put no money into marketing, employees, guest writers, etc., I would venture to say I haven't done "absolutely dreadful" this year. My goal is to DOUBLE those numbers by next year, and I think this challenge is the first step of many to accomplish that. $12 in advertising revenue would be delightful, wouldn't you say?
Day 1: Personally Email a New Reader
The first task on this first day is to email a new reader of your blog. Profound, right?
This creates a great impression upon a brand new readers to your blog by choosing a someone who is new and emailing them to thank them for their comment. That's it! How long does that take? Two minutes? Tops?
But this simple tip can create a loyal, long-time reader. Loyal readers do two things for your site:
- They Spread the Word: A single reader of your site quickly becomes numerous readers because they spread the word about your posts either through their own blogs, word of mouth, or even social networking.
- They Build Page Views: A loyal reader can potentially view your blog hundreds (maybe thousands) of times over the course of their readership. A daily visit from ONE SINGLE reader for a year yields an extra 365 page views to your blog. Gain one extra loyal reader every day for a full year who will come back to your site daily and that adds up to over 65,000 page views for the year.
- How did they navigate through the home page?
- Where did they click?
- What did they stop to read?
- What did they scroll through without looking?
- What was the first impression?
- Did they find it easy to read/navigate/understand?
- What suggestions do they have to improve your blog?
- What are the main things that they remember about your blog 10 minutes later?
If you take the time to email someone new at least once a day (or maybe more readers if you're ambitious), you’ll easily build your blog consistently over time.
Day 2: Perform A "Reader Audit"
Another simple one: Have someone who has never read your blog before (friend, family member, homeless guy needing more beer) sit down and go through your blog. Don't talk to them unless the homeless guy starts fondling himself. Pay special close attention to the following:
Once they're done (and you gave the homeless man some whiskey) ask the following questions to gain a clearer understanding of how their minds worked: