There are many reasons people start a blog; to share information, teach, have a voice in the community, provide a sounding board for feedback, journal, you name it – the reasons are endless.
Regardless of WHY you blog, one very important underlying goal that you may not be aware of, is to continue to improve as a blogger. That need is there every time you check your traffic statistics, ask for feedback to a particular post, or consider changing the elements that are present on your blog. In the back of your mind you are wondering if change is good, will it help bring readers, anger loyal readers, deter people from staying long enough to read, or worse yet – will it prevent comments.
It’s important to stay in touch with the vibe of the blogging community, know what people are looking for in a blog, and, how to deliver it.
To stay in the blogging loop, I subscribe to more sites than I can possibly keep up with, but that works to remind me that my goal is never-ending. So instead of a Weekly Review of on goings around the ‘Net from this past week, here are some of the tools from my blogging toolbox.
- Daily Blog Tips – http://www.dailyblogtips.com/
- Copyblogger – http://www.copyblogger.com/
- Personal Branding Blog – http://personalbrandingblog.wordpress.com/
- ProBlogger – http://www.problogger.net
- Smashing Magazine – http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
- ConverStations – http://www.converstations.com/
- the Blog Herald – http://www.blogherald.com/
- LifeHacker – http://lifehacker.com/
- stock.xchng – http://www.sxc.hu/ (free stock photography – just remember to attribute the photographer)
- Flickr – http://flickr.com/search/advanced/ use the Advanced Search to find pictures with the Creative Commons license so you can use them for free (with attribution to the photographer)
And don’t forget your Blogger Punch List! Just like you need to change your light bulbs, replace batteries, and check your air filters – don’t forget your Blog needs routine maintenance too!
Do you subscribe to your own RSS feed so you see what your feed readers see? Does the “Subscribe Now!” link work? Better yet, pretend to view your site for the very first time – what do you see? Does anything need to change? Can you leave a comment on your latest article? Can a reader contact you?
Create your own punch list and make sure you go through the list on a regular basis.
Image Credits: Pencil Cup by JakeTse and To Do List by Stompy