The Purpose of the 31 Days Blog Challenge

The purpose of this challenge is simple:  learn 31 different aspects of blogging and how to put them into practice. It’s designed to increase your knowledge about blogging AND give you some concrete, real-world things to do to put that knowledge into action.

And we all know that action is what makes things happen.

You’ll also be exposed to a lot of other folks who’ve decided to take part. This is a great opportunity for you to network and learn from other bloggers who might or might not be in the same niche as you. It’s community learning and sharing at its finest. Getting to know other bloggers will help make this experience even richer.

We realize that some of you will start off with us, but might not reach the finish line. That’s okay. Sometimes life intervenes in ways one can’t predict. Regardless, we’re glad you’re here and hope that you gain exactly what you’d hoped from this challenge.

To that end, we’d like you to consider your intention for this challenge. What do you hope to gain by participating? What is your personal goal? It’s helpful to think of these things beforehand and write them down. On that inevitable day when you won’t want to do the assigned task, reviewing your intention or goal might just be the kick in the you-know-where you need to get that task completed.

The Format

While this is designed to be done over 31 days, we’ve elected to run it for 6 weeks so you can have the weekends off. Or use them to catch up should life intervene and cause you to fall behind.

However…… Being the non-conformists that we are, we’re changing it up. We will not be following the ebook as it’s written, we’ve created a new flow. This isn’t just to make the challenge different (although it does). It’s also to put things into an order based on our experiences and to smooth out the heavy days with somewhat easier days. And, well, we did this because we could. So there.

There’s STILL no test at the end – the main goal is to have you do something consistently to further your blog and learn. And make new friends. And expand your thinking.

Communication

Emails. You will receive an email late the day before or the day of each day of the challenge. This will be our friendly reminder to visit the blog. (And if you don’t confirm your registration after you sign up for the challenge, you won’t receive our emails. That would be bad.)

Facebook Group. In order to fully participate, you are encouraged to join the Facebook Group. It is there where participants can share what’s going on for them, ask questions, get advice and, occasionally, kvetch. (We try to limit that, though!) Here are three great reasons for joining the Facebook Group (there are more, but we thought we’d limit it to 3):

  • It will give us some idea as to who is really participating.
  • It reinforces that we’re all giving and receiving during this challenge. We all contribute insights in addition to receiving others’.
  • It’s a form of accountability.
  • It gives you a place to list your latest blog post link, which encourages others to visit your site, read your posts and comment.

We’ll be monitoring the Facebook Group daily so nothing gets “lost in the cracks.” You can click here to request to join the group. (If you’ve participated in this challenge before, you know we used to have people comment on the blog on this site. We decided to focus only on Facebook to reduce the number of places participants had to check/post in.)

Analytics

To determine if what you’re doing is making a difference in your blog, you’ll need to track your analytics. If your stomach just clenched, relax. Here are some tips:

  • If you use Blogger, Typepad, WordPress.com or other third party hosted platform, you may have to hunt around their site to find what analytics are available. Because these are hosted and managed by others, you aren’t able to install analytics tracking in your blog. But don’t despair – most have some way of tracking.
  • If you have your own hosted website either you or your webmaster can install the code required by Google Analytics. It’s free and shows you things you probably never would have thought you needed to see. There are other analytics programs out there, and you are free to use what you want.
  • If your blog is hosted by a company that uses a C-Panel format, you likely have access to AWStats. This program is pretty thorough, so you might not need Google Analytics. You may need to tell your host that you want to track your blog, so look for a “log” file in the same area as AWStats and click in the box to track your stats! Do this right away!
  • Here are the analytics we’ll be tracking on a weekly basis:
    • Number of RSS subscribers
    • Number of visits
    • Average pageviews
    • Average pages per visit
    • Average time on site
    • Percent of new visits

We’ll track these things twice over the challenge – at the beginning and at the end. You, of course, can look at them as often as daily if you want. Do keep in mind though, that it won’t be the day-to-day statistics that will give you the “wow” factor. That happens over time. So if looking every day makes you discouraged . . . stop looking! :-D

One other analytic that’s fun to track is your Alexa ranking. Alexa.com is a database site that compares your website to all the others available in the database. If you’re starting a new blog, Alexa won’t have much to offer you. But if your blog has been around for a while and you have sufficient traffic, you may get some useful statistics from Alexa. We won’t be focusing on this site’s analytics for this challenge, but it’s something to look into.