Just over a month ago I took up Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Business Blogging Challenge. Read here about why I decided to take part in this blogging challenge. The goal was to write 30 posts in 30 days. So now this is my 30th post in the series, how did I do and what did I make of the challenge?
What made this challenge so challenging?
Writing 30 consecutive posts is not an easy feat. You need to show the following qualities:
- Willingness to learn
Out of these, I would say persistence is the most important factor. You need a readiness to just keep going, no matter what happens. I missed posting on 3 days, but I had a determination to see it through.
I had to let go of my desire for perfection – many times I though it would be nice to add another picture or more links. But the driving force was to get it done, so I found myself publishing that was “good enough” rather than perfect. This was a positive thing!
What made it easier?
Every day, Sarah sent out an email with suggestions on topics to write about, and other helpful links.
The support of the Facebook group Sarah set up for challenge participants was crucial in my reaching the end. It was a very encouraging thing to include my posts there and receive likes and feedback from the other group members. The achievement badges Kevin Arrow posted for 7, 14, 21 and 28 days’ progress also spurred me on, as I could see I’d reached a milestone and I wanted to get to the next one.
What happened as a result of the challenge?
As I discussed in my review of my Google Analytics, I had more views of my site (pageviews up over 300%) and more returning visitors. Visitors also spent double the amount of time viewing my articles than they had in the previous comparable period.
I knew a bit about keyword research and SEO before I started, which helped. Some of my posts have done reasonably well in search:
- WordPress.com or WordPress.org – what’s the difference? is on page 2 of Google for the search “wordpress.com or wordpress.org”
- CSS Puns – My Collection is on page 2 of Google for the search “css puns”
- Sorting your Gmail with Sortd – Create To-Do Lists With Email is on page 2 of Google for the search “sortd”
The number of comments on my posts shot up. I had over 90 from February 2 to now. OK, some of those were my responses to other people’s, but it was a lovely thing to see.
I’ve met some other amazing bloggers on the journey, and read and commented on other people’s blogs that I would never have heard of otherwise.
What were my main takeaways?
I’ve proved that I can write a lot of content in a short space of time. I now have a decent amount that I can hopefully do more with, e.g. make a free ebook.
It’s surprising how much there is to write about when you just make yourself do it! Writing more makes you a better writer.
Writing daily is hard work! Most of my posts took 2 hours+. Because of my field, I wanted to include screenshots in some of my posts; it’s quite time-consuming to take them and edit them. I can see that it would be easier in some cases to make an instructional video instead.
Now I’ve shown I can publish posts daily, I want to ease into a more relaxed publishing schedule, like publishing once or twice a week. That will let me plan my content better and actually keep to a regular schedule.
It pays to write longer posts – they get more engagement. But writing longer posts takes more time, so there’s a trade-off.
Writing a tutorial or a product review is a great way of educating yourself and learning something new, as well as teaching your readers. Writing about free stock photos helped me find some new sources I wasn’t previously aware of.
Listen to your readers. Write more about the topics that get traffic or comments.
Reply to your comments if you can. I wasn’t always good at this, especially in the early stages, when I had more comments. I just couldn’t keep up with replies and writing new posts. Also, remember to visit other people’s blogs and leave comments there. Your good karma will be repaid. 🙂
Publicising content takes just as much time as creating it! I managed to add my posts daily to the Facebook group and tweet them, but I only added a few to LinkedIn. As I don’t (yet) have an email list, I couldn’t gain more viewers that way. The upside is that I can go back and do the promotion all over again. It’s a great feeling to promote your own content as opposed to everyone else’s.
Try and write ahead of time if you can. I published a lot in the evening. I think it’s better to publish in the morning if possible.
If I did the challenge again, I would pay more attention to the daily emails. I ended up winging it a lot of the time! I want to go back and do some tasks like revise my About page.
My site is not currently very marketing focused, so I didn’t really capitalize on the increased viewership. I need to work on this. Sales and marketing are not my strong point, but I’m constantly learning more by seeing what others are doing.
In short, blogging is awesome!
Thinking of joining the challenge?
Overall, I would say to go for this challenge. You’ll never know what you can achieve until you try. The emails and group support will keep you on track and everyone is very friendly. There is no chance you’ll fail – everyone is encouraged to keep going, even if it takes longer. Sometimes life just gets in the way! Seeing other people complete the challenge is very motivating.
Thanks so much to Sarah and Kevin Arrow and the other group members!!