Need A Blog Boost for 2010? Join Me!

As we close out 2009 and look ahead at the New Year, now is a good time to set 2010 blogging goals and do any necessary blog updates...

I have decided to do quite a few updates here at ClickNewz while planning my editorial and promotional calendar for the year, and wanted to share a quick checklist of things you can do at your own blog as well.

The first step is to set definitive goals for the year. Know exactly what you want to achieve, with a very clear long-term objective. My blog here at ClickNewz is the core of my online business, and the space from which I share details of everything else that I offer. So my blogging goals are very specific...

Blog Traffic Growth

One of my primary goals is to increase my reach and grow my readership. This includes number of unique visitors per month, as well as the number of email & RSS subscribers. More readers ultimately equals more income and more opportunity.

I came very close to doubling blog traffic in 2009. I did very little blog marketing, so this is simply the result of blogging consistently and getting more engaged with social media - specifically Twitter and Facebook. I am currently seeing close to 30k unique visitors and more than 230k page views per month.

:arrow: If your blog is newer with much lower traffic volume, a good starting goal for the year is to reach 10,000 unique visitors per month consistently.

In 2010, I plan to do more strategic blog marketing, and increase those numbers dramatically. My goal is to increase unique visitors to 100k/month, with a million pageviews per month by the end of the year. Ambitious, but attainable.

I plan to achieve this by: growing my subscriber base, blogging more frequently, creating more keyword-based content for new targeted search traffic, increasing my social media reach, and networking.

Blog Subscription Growth

Traffic is good, but my ultimate goal is to grow a strong readership. That was my primary focus throughout 2009, and I am very pleased with the results, and the sense of community we have created here at ClickNewz.

That said, RSS & email subscriptions are not growing at the same rate as my traffic. According to FeedBurner I have around 6,500 total subscribers combined, with less than half of those being subscribed to the email list. While subscriptions are rising, they are rising at a slow steady rate that could obviously be improved...

I use Aweber to offer email updates to my readers. Aweber has a feature called Blog Broadcast that allows your readers to receive new blog posts by email.

I choose Aweber as that is what I use to manage all of my mailing lists across my niche sites, and they offer a number of features you can't get with other blog email notification options. Specifically: you own the list, you can email your subscribers directly, and you can customize the confirmation pages and confirmation emails.

I use FeedBurner to manage my RSS subscriptions as they offer full stats, advanced feed features, and because they integrate with Aweber to give me combined stats.

One of the things I'll do to increase email subscriptions is offer an incentive to subscribers. You'll notice that I have two opt-in boxes on post pages, one in the sidebar and one at the end of each post, and neither offer any incentive at all.

In January I'm going to add an exclusive free download for new subscribers, with short compelling copy to encourage readers to subscribe by email.

While new traffic is good, repeat traffic and a loyal readership are ideal for any blog. If you don't yet offer a mailing list and an opt-in incentive, make it a priority!

Blog Community Growth

A sense of community is a strong sticky point for any blog. As I mentioned earlier, this has always been a goal of mine.

Now that I have a system in place for handling the volume of comments and necessary moderation, I'm prepared to take ClickNewz to the next level.

Having been through a number of growing pains in my 13 years of business, I can tell you firsthand that this is not something you want to jump into blindly. Steady and strategic growth is a good thing.

Outsourcing was a huge goal of mine in 2009, so I now outsource: comment moderation, wordpress upgrades, and blog updates (plugin installations, new feature additions, etc). This frees me up to plan, write, respond to reader comments and get engaged with my target market via social media.

The first thing you want to do is ask for comments. As you wrap up each post, ask your readers what they think or what their experiences have been - or encourage them to ask questions on the topic.

See: 7 Questions to Ask On Your Blog to Get More Reader Engagement

I personally respond to almost every comment. This encourages commenting, both by regular readers and new visitors. Often a comment or question on one blog post will inspire a topic for a new blog post.

Get involved with your readers and show them that their thoughts and questions matter by addressing the topics they bring up in response to your content.

Your blog should be an ongoing conversation with your readers.

I use a Subscribe To Comments plugin so that readers will get an email notification of new comments to a particular blog post. This keeps your readers engaged on the topic, and lets them know when they've received a response to their comment.

In addition to reader engagement, I like to offer other perks to build on that sense of community. Here at ClickNewz I use the DoFollow Plugin and have recently installed the KeywordLuv Plugin, both of which "give back" for every comment left. These are not plugins that are relevant for every niche or blog, so you want to choose comment plugins that will be of the most interest to your readers.

A new plugin I am having installed is TwitterLinks, which will make it easier for readers to network & connect with each other. This plugin adds the Twitter ID with comments, so that you can easily find & follow people of interest.

It's important to create that sense of community on your own blog, starting at the beginning with your first few comments or subscribers, but you also have to work 'the blog network' in order to grow that community...

Blog Networking

A lot of people blog in a vacuum, trying to be "the lone blogger" - viewing every other blogger in their niche as the enemy and competitor. The truth is, the more blogs there are in your niche the more opportunities you have. And the more you network within that niche blogging community, the more your own blog will grow.

My goals for 2010 include more guest blogging, blog interviews, cross blog conversations and blog commenting. There are numerous benefits:

  • Quality Inbound Links
  • Targeted Click-Through Traffic
  • Exposure to Established Readership
  • Indirect Search Engine Rankings

... all of which result in more traffic and more readers.

I'm using the guest blogging guide by Nicole Dean to map out these goals which includes: content idea generator, blog research spreadsheet, sample email to bloggers, and guest blogging editorial spreadsheet. A great resource for only $17!

Blog Content Goals

In addition to planning my content for guests posts and blog networking, I am also creating a 2010 Editorial and Promotional Calendar for my own blog. I used a simple 3-ring binder for this, but you could also use a spreadsheet.

Creating a 2010 Editorial Calendar (for blogs and/or email lists) has been the December Challenge for my Elite Members.

We have come up with a lot of good resources along the way, and I finally settled on using Blog Energizer by Lynette Chandler as my base and starting point.

Lynette offers a free 2010 Blogging Calendar within Blog Energizer that was ideal in helping me map out and plan topics, series and year-long content ideas.

Having content goals, and an editorial calendar, is really going to be helpful for me personally. I have been blogging consistently for more than 5 years now, but still find that I tend to have more of a "fly by the seat of my pants" blogging style - which often results in missed opportunities for topics or promotions.

The 2010 Calendar will give you observances, awareness days/weeks, holidays, etc. This is a great starting point for topic ideas, and for capitalizing on themes people will be searching on at those times.

You can also use these to start blog memes, blog contests, to schedule timely promotions, or to initiate topical interviews or cross blog conversations with established bloggers.

I printed off the calendar (download it here) and put it in my 3-ring binder, along with monthly and weekly planning sheets. Since I already have a lot of things in my Outlook Calendar, I simply printed weekly & monthly pages from there. You might use your Google Calendar or create your own planning sheets.

I started by analyzing my current categories, and popular keyword searches in my niche. Comparing these to the topical calendar, I have been mapping out content ideas for all 12 months of 2010.

I also made a list of regular features to implement at my blog such as: monthly book review, monthly product review, weekly mail video, monthly interview, etc.

Your features will depend on your niche of course, but as an example you might do: Monday Motivator, Tuesday Tutorial, Saturday Slacker, etc. These can be fun, and if consistent your readers will come back every week for their favorite features.

By outlining your content with an editorial and promotional calendar, including posts for your own blog plus potential guest blog posts, you can take advantage of seasonal and timely promotional opportunities and become a more consistent and interesting blogger.

A big part of your content plan should include keyword-optimized content, targeting every possible keyword phrase relevant to your topic or niche. As a start, see these three tutorials that outline exactly how I do that:

Blog Updates

While you're doing all of this content planning, you should also consider some basic updates that you can do to improve your visitors' experience at your blog.

Over time your blog can get junked up with plugins, additions, advertisements and sidebar clutter. Now is a good time to sit back and view your blog from a visitors perspective and do a little clean-up work.

Look at things you can remove to make your blog easier to read and quicker to load. Also look at things you can add for better usability.

First, analyze your sidebar. Remove anything that might distract your reader from your main objective: getting them to read or subscribe to your content.

You'll notice I have very few ads in my sidebar, and no tag cloud. I chose to put the tag cloud on my archives page, as that is where you would typically go to search for specific topics. I also include tags on each post, so that you can find related posts.

Make sure you have a search box in your sidebar. This is one of the most used features here at ClickNewz. Make sure all of your blog content is easy to locate.

It's probably time to update your About Me page - I know it is for mine!

This is also a good time to go back through your posts and look for opportunities to interlink related content. You should also look at your stats to see which posts are most popular or most read, and make sure you have a good strong call-to-action on those posts.

Do a complete walk-through of your entire blog and make notes of things you can add/remove to improve readability and to strategically lead your visitors to and through your blog...

Blog Boost 2010 Checklist

If you're smart, you've been jotting down notes as you read along with ideas you can use on your own blog.

The most important thing that you can do is know your objective. This gives you an easy filter for blogging decisions. You can simply ask yourself: is this in line with my goal, or does this distract from it?

Just as one example, affiliate bloggers should never use Adsense on their blog. If you sell your own product/service, or you promote other merchants products as an affiliate, Google Adsense distracts from and competes with your sales.

I'll make it easy for you and give you a quick checklist of things you should consider for your blog as you are mapping out your 2010 blogging goals:

  • Set Goals. Know Your Objective!
  • Remove anything that is not in line with your objective.
  • Make sure your blog is properly optimized.
  • Add/Update your Email Opt-in.
  • Add/Remove Plugins.
  • Clean up Sidebar Clutter.
  • Update your About page.
  • Increase post frequency.
  • Interlink related posts.
  • Update popular posts.
  • Get fresh Inbound Links to your Pillar Content.
  • Research niche keywords for new content.
  • Make a list of products to review.
  • Create an Editorial Calendar.
  • Make a list of blogs for commenting & guest posting.
  • Make a list of experts to interview.
  • Set up/Update social media profiles and go social!

Happy Blogging! :D

Best,

p.s. Ready to take your blog to the next level? Subscribe below for more tips & tutorials, and grab a copy of the Problogger Workbook by Darren Rowse!

Disclosure: I earn commissions on recommendations and resources mentioned.

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 15 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...moreĀ»

Discussion

  1. Nice post... I think if the support dofollow links then it is very encouraging for commentators ..

    one more thing.. whats is the initial promotion tips for a totally new blog..

  2. Frank Dickinson says:

    Perfect timing!

    I was just sitting here writing goals for a new blog and BOOM - an email about this post comes through. Get out of my head Lynn Terry! NO - stay there please!

    Thanks,
    Frank

  3. You can also download this blog post as a 10-page PDF for easy printing, or to share with your groups:

    http://www.clicknewz.com/free/BlogBoost2010.pdf

    Right-Click and Save As - Enjoy!

    • Whoa! Interesting. This blog post is 10 pages? I bet I have several 10 page reports of my own, that I don't even know about.

      I'm curios now, how did YOU convert the blog post into a PDF?

      • Hi Missy,

        I really should have broken it down into a series of posts. Had I already been using an editorial calendar and more organized method of blogging... I would have -lol. Looking forward to having that in place for 2010!

        I use OpenOffice.org to easily paste content into a document, then convert it to a PDF file. You can also make these PDF's or "reports" rebrandable - and very easily. See:

        http://www.clicknewz.com/2030/create-rebrandable-reports/

        • On some of my blogs I tend to do "newsy" type posts, so they aren't very long at all. But on some of my other blogs, I have some that could possibly qualify as "report worthy".

          Awesome tip!

          I absolutely totally and completely, need to get into reports. A must in 2010.

          Cheers,
          Missy

  4. THANK YOU!!! I have been using Lynette's 2010 blog calendar over the weekend to brainstorm ideas along with problogger's workbook. I was only focused on content, but I'm so glad you talked about setting specific traffic, subscription goals, and networking goals. Love it! Now I have additional goals to aspire to, so motivating!!!

    • Perfect! It all goes hand in hand as you'll use the content to reach your target market, and also to lead them into your call-to-action. So the strategy should definitely include every step of the process for the best possible results.

  5. This may be the blog post of my dreams.

    My holidays just got happier...

    Dan

  6. Dave Doolin says:

    Downloadable PDF --- Smart!

    I've extended a few of my blog posts for sale at $0.99. I want people to actually READ them!

    In any case, have't heard from you, Lynn, in email lately.

    Off to do some reading...

  7. Hey Lynn. Thanks for the info. Nice .pdf! You are a great resource for all things IM!

    Thanks again!!

  8. very comprehensive post, thanks for sharing and for all of your help, you are a star!

  9. LaTara Ham-Ying says:

    All I an say is that Lynn I could kiss you :)Thank you for you generous spirit and your desire to see other succeed :)

  10. Lynn you are always so thorough in your posts! I've been slacking off with my December challenge, but you've inspired me to go for it: it's on my to do list for first things in the morning. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

    • This one was a doozy - turned into a 10 page PDF file LOL. Now if I already had my editorial calendar complete and more planning done, I would have turned this into a 5-post series to drip out all week while I'm away for the holidays ;)

      I look forward to a more organized & efficient 2010!

  11. Charles Tillett says:

    Shes defintly a crowd pleaser and a show stopper! We love you Lynn.

  12. Lynn, You have provided very nice informative about how to increase traffic in our blog. I like your suggestion. Thanks for sharing this great post.

  13. Gee Lynn, just when I think I've got my 2010 goals, strategy, and editoral calendar nearly done, you raise the bar :) THANK YOU! Read the downloadable pdf version today over lunch and am already back revisiting my goals to see if I can implement some of what you've laid out here.

    As always thanks for your generosity in sharing info and strategy!

  14. There are so many different ways to SEO my blog and increase my readership, it seems difficult to even start learning about all these different techniques. 30K new visitors to your site each month sounds like an incredible rate to me.

  15. Thanks for the great information...you write in a very inspirational way, and it makes me exited for the New Year! 2010

  16. Lynn, Thanks ever so much for an excellent post on planning in 2010, and especially for making it available as a distributable pdf. It fits so well with my own way of thinking (though you're far ahead of me in the game)that I've put it up as a free gift for my own small band of readers.

  17. Hi Lynn

    Thanks for the great resource!

    I really enjoyed it and believe this information will be very helpful as I put the finishing touches on my 2010 game plan.

    I must admit - I smiled as I read it because I had just published a post on Saturday which talked about the value of using content themes to make content creation easier. Reading your .pdf confirmed I was right on track! :) (Here is the link to that post if anyone is interested: http://www.webcopyresults.com/2009/12/are-content-themes-part-of-your-2010-editorial-calendar/

    Thanks, as always, for everything you do to "un-complicate" this topic! Finding ClickNewz and your Elite MaserMind Group has made a HUGE difference in my business this year! :)

  18. I've started with my blog this just before the start of the year and I plan to go strong through 2010 and evaluate. These things take time and certainly they take a lot of work, I'm not expecting any over night successes, so I plan to persevere through the year.

    • That's definitely the key, Kevin. In August I celebrated 5 years of blogging full time. You're right that it doesn't happen overnight. And like you, I am constantly evaluating, improving and growing. Definitely worth every day I've invested though!

  19. Seems like a great deal of work, but I'm sure you can do it as an organized blogger. I appreciate your responsiveness on your blog. I've always received a reply from you whenever I've posted a comment.

    • Thank you Rahman - the sense of community here at ClickNewz is super important to me, as I mentioned in the original post. I have really enjoyed writing this blog, and getting to know the readers. It keeps it fun and engaging!

      I wouldn't consider myself an "organized blogger" but that is definitely the goal for 2010 ;) :D

  20. Thanks Lynn for generously sharing with us how you performed in 2009 and your specific plans for 2010. For us beginners, information like that are very helpful.

    You said "Having been through a number of growing pains in my 13 years of business, I can tell you firsthand that this is not something you want to jump into blindly. Steady and strategic growth is a good thing."

    Quite inspiring!

    Jose

    • Thank you Jose - happy to hear it was helpful & useful to you. I am big on strategy and on strategic growth. Hitting a big overnight success is actually hard to handle, and can bring on a lot of negatives. Not ideal at all. Steady is good!

  21. As always, an excellent post Lynn! :D
    You certainly do give a lot when you write a post!

    Have a very Merry Christmas and a Most Excellent
    New Year!

  22. Happy to see your blog traffic and all other stats. You are really working good, best wishes to you Lynn.

  23. Lynn,

    I just recently started reading Click Newz and can say that I have become addicted it to it. I often catch myself reading the same post two or three times and taking notes like I am in class.

    You are a true inspiration to many people me included and I just wanted to thank you for this post and for totally inspiring me to stop making excuses and get in gear for next year.

  24. Collette Schultz says:

    I'm finding blogging has been one of the best methods for getting traffic. Writing down my goals for 2010 sounds like a good idea.

    • A blog is a great addition to any website or online promotion - and a great way to funnel traffic to other properties. I've always been big on goal setting. There's something awesome about having something to work towards, and then reaching that milestone. ;)

  25. Lynn, I was just reading about comment luv from another marketer's pdf file when I came across one of your "I got something your readers are going to love" tweets. What a coincidence. And, what a great idea to reward your readers for added value comment behavior. I do notice a immediate benefit if you register on the comment luv website. This is my experience with two of my blogs with comment luv with and without registration. Just my quick observation.

    By the way. What ever happened to your odiogo podcast plug in on your blog? I'm using it on one of my blogs with good results. Too much clutter for your readers? See you at NAMS.

  26. DeAnna Troupe says:

    Lynn you always keep me on my toes. I'm already working on the editorial calendar challenge and now you've got me pondering goals for 2010. 10,000 visitors a month! I'm shooting for 1,000. I think I'd fall out of my chair if I jumped to 10,000 a month!

  27. Great goals. I just made a switch to wordpress and now starting anew, optimizing a new blog and a lot of goals to meet. Thanks for sharing :)

  28. Welcome Kelly. It's a great movement for 2010. WordPress is extremely friendly to search engines. I wish you all the success.

  29. Elizabeth Ashe says:

    Excellent Stuff Lynn, I will have to go over this later on today and jump right in. I have been at a standstill with my main internet marketing site while focusing on my niche one.

    Will have to get down and dirty and jump and get movin!

  30. Laurie Neumann says:

    This is great, Lynn. I'm right there with you. I want (and need) to improve my blog. I have bookmarked this post so I can read it when I have more time and take action.

    Thank you!

  31. Lynn,
    Owe you more than you will ever know!

    Thanks

  32. Lynn,

    This is a fantastic post. I am so organized in some areas and totally fly by the seat of my pants in others. One of my goals for next year is to be more organized. I have set monetary goals for my business, but hadn't thought of setting goals for traffic/subscribers etc. That is so much easier to quantify and those things will definitely lead to earning more I'm sure! So thanks for that insight.

    I had looked at the blog energizer calendar earlier today. I pretty much dismissed it because I couldn't see how it would be very relevant to an IM blog ~ I'd love to hear how you are implementing from it.

    Thanks!

    Jackie

    • I am also bad to "fly by the seat of my pants" - especially with my blogging ;)

      I am using Lynette's calendar to create topics and themes throughout the year. It's nice to tie into holidays and observances that people are searching for, and it gives a unique angle to topics too. Great for overcoming writers block because you can tie marketing into just about anything.

      January is Clean Up Your Computer Month and Get Organized Month, for example. January 17th is Customer Service Day. January 11th is National Clean Your Desk Day. January 3rd is Trivia Day. Fun stuff to work with in our niche!

  33. Outstanding post, Lynn!

    I have one big content site and then my blog and have been planning topics for the last couple of weeks, although this post creates a clearer strategy of action.

    Thank you!

  34. Thanks for the links to the twitter link and the keywordluv. I've been wanting a good twitter plugin. I have installed it however, instead of getting a box to fill in at the top of the comment like you have I have a blue box below the comment box they have to fill in. Is this difference in the settings area of the plugin or did you redo something?

    thanks again!

    Jackie

    • Hi Jackie,

      I'm honestly not sure - I outsource all of my updates and installations as well as feature designs here at ClickNewz. I heard there are two different TwitterLink plugins too, so perhaps yours is different than mine?

  35. Nell Taliercio says:

    You're the most inspiring person! Every time I read a post, I leave amped up for what I can do with my business.

    Thanks for being so rad ;)

    Nell

  36. Very informative for newbie bloggers. The keywordluv and dofollow plugins also help increase traffic. There are other SEO techniques to increase traffic but these ones are the basics. Thanks :)

  37. Thanks for the advice! As a new site/blog owner, these will come in handy. One question though - you say to never use adsense on a site that either sells it's own products or is an affiliate for products (which is what my site does, or I hope that it does in the future). I see your point, but are their any cases where you would say that is not true? For example, I have a few informative/education posts on my site, and it doesn't make much sense to put the products there, so I was thinking of putting up adsense so I could still make some money from those just wanting to read and educate themselves.

    Do you think that's a good idea?

    Thanks!

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