WordPress kicked off its Blogging 201: Branding and Growth challenge five days ago, and I’ve been relatively silent.
I’ve commented on a few items in Blogging 201: The Commons (the private community for participants) but otherwise, I’ve simply been covertly completing the assigned tasks.
Tonight, I rip the proverbial band-aid off and hope for positive comments from my fellow 201 guinea pigs and patience from my other readers.
Day 1 – Set Three Goals
When I launched my blog in December 2013, I proclaimed two simple goals: 1) Post at least one story a week to improve my writing skills; 2) Work to overcome my aversion to others reading whatever I wrote (see Overcoming Writer’s Blah).
Since then: my interest in following and commenting on other blogs grew from my participation in Zero to Hero, Yeah Write and other writing challenges; the number of folks following Awkward Laughter increased suddenly due to Freshly Pressed featuring a story; and my readers’ input on my individual posts became obsessively more important.
As a result, my blogging goals for 2014 expanded. As scary as putting them in writing remains for me, here are four:
- Spend at least two hours a week visiting other bloggers’ sites, reading their posts, and commenting on their work, from now until December 31st.
- Consistently deliver “What’s Your _____?” posts every other Wednesday through the end of the year.
- Continue my “30 30-Something” stories weekly until my 40th birthday in late October.
- Triple my following by year-end. (Currently, I’m just under 1,000. Fulfilling this goal is a stretch, but I’m all about aiming high.)
All three of these tasks honed in on what I delivered as a blogger and how I displayed that content. I’d already conducted an audit on that front, but I felt the theme I’d selected for my blog failed to convey my thoughts.
Today, I revamped my blog with a new theme. My hope is that it presents my primary content upfront while keeping other important features accessible in the sidebars. I’d love to get feedback on those changes.
Day 5 – Give ‘Em What They Want
I took my analysis of my blog stats with a grain of salt. My post popularity, at this point, is often driven by whether it’s tied to a writing challenge after all. So while I did review my site’s stats, I decided it was premature to make adjustments to my content and timing. Consider this homework for a future date.
What say you, fellow 201 participants? Happy to hear any of your feedback!