Taking time off does wonderful things for me. I get a chance to ‘wander’ around the internet and be inspired by the remarkable talents of other bloggers like British blogger Alex Bainbridge who blogs about travel ecommerce.
A Blog Plan
You never know where a good idea will come from so I read everything. (I have about 30 blogs in my RSS reader of which I read about 10 pretty religiously.) What I gleaned from Alex’s fascinating blog, along with some really subtle ways to monetize a blog, is the idea of a blogging plan. You know, a plan for what you want to talk about or achieve via your blog for the next year. Sounds useful, doesn’t it?
Why Bother with a Plan
By now, of course, you’ve grown weary of me harping at you to get a blog and actually have one up. (If not now, WHEN people?) In your blog you’re discussing issues, ideas and resources that you think will be helpful to your target market, but how do you actually know readers find your site useful? Simple. Say it with me, “Research and Tracking”
Using key indicators to track the development/growth of your blog is a little like having ESP. You have a vague impression of what might happen in the future. It’s not rock solid data but it’s better than outright guessing. Last year I tracked key indicators for ADRPracticebuilder.com and was surprised at some of the results (turns out August was the best month for sales, even though I consider it a ‘dead’ summer month because of vacations). This year I’ll consider August a ‘planning’ month and provide resources that help members get ready to go ‘back to work’.
What to Put in Your Blogging Plan
What you track really depends on what you want to achieve and how much time you’re willing to devote to capturing, analyzing and strategizing. When Mensch launched in 2005 I was delighted just to have an outlet to talk to other mediators, forget any strategy or analysis. The blogosphere has taught me so much I’m eager to put some of it to use here.
Here are some relatively simple things I plan to follow this year:
Sure, there are other things I could, and probably should track, like incoming links from other blogs or trackbacks to specific posts one my blog. However, my goal for Mensch this year is to triple my subscribers.
Why? Because broadening my reader base let’s me encourage more mediators to market more and hopefully increases the conversion rate from blog readers to Practicebuilder members.
There are so many tracking/analysis tools on the net the hardest part is picking one that suits you. Google Analytics is a standard among website users including bloggers. I have it but find that it a bit tricky. I’ve heard that Perry Marshall has a terrific tutorial or you can read the free wikipedia information. Feedburner.com does a great job of graphically showing you the growth of your subscribers. Do a google search on blog analytics and see what you turn up.
What else should bloggers be tracking? I’m sure there’s more so feel feel to use the comments. Hey- maybe Tammi Lenski of Tech Mediator will share her thoughts with us?
Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!
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