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.)
Day 2, 3, 4 – Audit Your Brand, You’ve Got the Look, and Get Read All Over
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!
April 20, 2014 at 1:32 am
I just joined yesterday, so I am trying to figure it all out still. Great goals list! (can’t comment on theme at moment, using the wp app)
April 20, 2014 at 4:18 pm
Thanks. Writing goals is always tough. Glad to know that I’m not the only one playing catch up.
April 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm
It’s nice to know that we’re all on a similar page when it comes to goals. To be a part of a community that “gets me” is very comforting. Your first goal of visiting other bloggers and commenting is right in line to where I’m at. I’m new to the blogging world and I’ve learned primarily through The Daily Post that becoming “neighborly” is of utmost importance. I wish you all the best in these goals and all others that come along in 2014. As for your new theme, I love that it’s clean, simple and your pop colors direct my eye to exactly your topics. I look forward to your continued posts.
April 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm
Thank you! And yes, the community aspect of blogging has become the best part for me. Looking forward to reading more from you.
April 20, 2014 at 10:20 pm
From a fellow Blogging 201 student (although you seem eons ahead of me!) I saw your blog title and had to check it out. It was close to what I thought it would be and I mean that as a compliment! Your blog was fun to read.
April 20, 2014 at 11:13 pm
Thanks, Debbie. I appreciate the feedback. And I can assure you that I think most of us feel like everyone else is eons ahead of them. It’s all relative. 🙂
April 20, 2014 at 11:53 pm
Love the goals. Your new layout is clean and to the point. Thank goodness you kept the super-cute photo of the kiddo laughing!
April 21, 2014 at 11:31 pm
Ha! The kiddo image is still in play, but at this point I’m leaving it intact. I’m in love with it 🙂
April 21, 2014 at 11:45 pm
You and me both. I can hear the giggle…:)
April 21, 2014 at 2:33 am
This was great to read. I joined the challenge but haven’t quite got focussed yet. Still milling over thoughts about my goals in my head.
You have spurred me on.
April 21, 2014 at 10:52 pm
Thanks, Susi. I appreciate the feedback. I definitely worked to catch up on the assignments for 201. Hopefully, you will too. Regardless, you know I’m a big fan of your blog going back to our Zero to Hero days. 🙂
April 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm
Thank you kindly!
April 21, 2014 at 2:34 am
And yes like the new layout….
April 28, 2014 at 12:41 am
Thanks for the 201 rundown…I’ve been doing the A to Z Challenge in April and wanted to do 201, but couldn’t do them both at the same time (it would be MADNESS, I tell you!). It sounds like I’ll be doing it after the challenge though – I did the 101 course a couple of months back and really enjoyed it. Thanks again! 😀
April 28, 2014 at 9:52 pm
Yes, Marci, I think you’ll find the 201 challenges worthwhile. I have. And that’s coming from someone who also completed the 101 course in January. Although I didn’t try to achieve the A to Z challenge at the same time. That would have likely sent me over the edge. 🙂