Day 17 & 18: Use a Magazine to Improve Your Site and Set Up Google Alerts

Written by Don P on . Posted in Challenge #1 (2015)

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)
Maxim Cover

This might seem a little weird, but stick with me when I say to take some time out to analyze or review a magazine with the anticipation of learning about how you might improve your own blog.

Which magazine should you choose? Realistically, almost any magazine will do for this exercise — usually I try to stick with "the sluttier, the better" approach. However, if there’s a magazine out there that covers the same topic as your blog then that’s probably worth choosing it (although you should still save the other magazine for later).

Hint: Many public libraries will have back copies of magazines, so once you push through all the homeless people, you can read these for free and with lots of magazines at once.

Because magazines are designed to catch your attention and sell, there are seven concepts you should be looking for when going through the pages in order to apply those concepts to your blog.

  • Marketing Ideas: Just the way the magazine markets and pitches itself to readers can teach a lot. Pay special attention to what they do on the front cover to entice people to buy the magazine.
  • Design Ideas: Some magazines have better layouts than others and the internet is a totally different medium than print, but you can still learn a lot about design from reading a good magazine. Look for what types of design, colors, and layout are popular at the moment.
  • Post Ideas: No matter which magazine you pick, you can almost always come away with a story for a new post. Sometimes the inspiration might come from a completely unrelated topic, but the article’s headline or title could be applied to your niche.
  • Learn About Your Niche: Choosing a magazine on your topic will keep you up to date on the latest news and developments.
  • Writing Tips: Well written articles on almost any topic can teach you a lot about effective communication and proper structure.
  • Monetization Lessons: Magazines have been monetizing content for a very, very long time. Although the Web is a little different when it comes to free versus pay content, some principles like advertising placement and product sales still apply.
  • Reader Engagement Level: Magazines are increasingly trying to become more interactive with readers by running competitions, setting up exclusive online content for subscribers, and publishing reader contributions. I often gain sparks of inspiration from watching how magazines reach out and grab readers.

Set Up Google Alerts

Let me be clear: Don’t become obsessed with monitoring what OTHERS are saying.

While I believe it can be important to be aware of what others are doing online in your niche, it can also become a distraction, if not an obsession with who's saying what. The key with all blogging tasks is to do them in a balanced way. Set up some Google alerts today to keep an eye on them, but don’t forget to actually do some writing yourself instead of just watching what others write!

I'm not going to beat a dead horse and write what this guy wrote. Click this link for a quick, concise article show 3 Steps to Set Up Google Alerts.

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