Frequently Asked Questions – This is Me Making the Most of Blogging 201 Branding and Growth

Laziness is the best motivation…

I have noticed that quite a few people over at the Commons for Blogging 201 ask similar questions.  The thing is, I tend to give REALLY long answers.

P.S.  No, I am not a teacher there, just a Considerate Spammer 🙂

So, partially to reduce my commenting time and partially just to get my thoughts in order so I don’t forget any ideas that I stumbled upon while reading other people’s comments and questions, I have decided to add a Frequently Asked Questions section to this site.  This will be shown on the Reader, but there will also be a static page which I might update once in a while.

If you are following this blog, a fair warning:  This site was initially conceptualized as a challenge site.  It will still remain so, but it may eventually become a writing resources site at some point.

So, go on, click on that lovely “Read More” button, if you are also a literature / blog junkie.

1.  How many blogs are too many?

I’m finding my site is becoming more and more diverse. Is this a good thing? Would it be better to set up separate sites for say, photos, short stories, poetry, and rambling? When I first read about blogs the message seemed to be that they are better if they are focussed, but some of my favourites have really broad and interesting content about life the universe and everything. What do you think?

:  Asked by Luckykaye who blogs at http://rebootingkaye.com/ at the Commons for Blogging 201

I would say that this really depends on your goals for your blogs.

If your goal is to gain the highest amount of traffic and most amount of followers (like people who plan to use a personal blog to generate advertising revenue) – then I suggest that you use one site and not split your focus or your audience.
If your goal is to just enjoy your hobby and share it with others – then I suggest that you use one blog, set up separate pages and not make your life unnecessarily busy and complicated.

However, there is some method to keeping separate blogs as well.
At the moment, I keep four, plus a challenge blog. I also have a few minor blogs that are place holders and I sometimes use them for split testing.
My main blogs all feature entirely separate and distinct content: Working moms (finance and politics), Parenting, Environmental and Business / Entrepreneurship.
Because these blogs will form the ground work (including reference libraries) for entirely separate businesses / community projects it makes sense to me to put in the extra work. All of them require separate branding if I hope to make a success of any one of them. In fact, branding them together may cost me entire market segments. For example, linking Paddastoel too strongly to my business test site may cost me all of the male entrepreneurs. And since Paddastoel also addresses some political issues, this is even more dangerous for my business test site brand. Not that I don’t love Paddastoel, by the way.
This is also why I did not simply post my responses to challenges on one of my existing blogs. Plus, I don’t want to spam my audience, especially for the business test site.
In order to not drive myself completely insane, I chose themes that are very easy to maintain (they don’t need a lot of graphics) and I have opted for a lot of static information. Adding pages have been quite useful in this regard.

However, my honest opinion (and you don’t have to take it) is that poems, photos, short stories, etc. all fall into one niche market segment – which is literature and arts.
I would much rather advise that you keep separate pages on your blog. This will allow you to spend more time on the lay-out and the graphic effects, which your readership will demand to a much greater extent than mine.

Your thoughts on pages make me think now. I recently started a new site for children’s stories http://olaringstories.wordpress.com/ but I am wondering if I should add it as a page in my other craft blog http://youngatfifty.wordpress.com/, since the content is in a broad sense more relevant. Also, I feel the readers of that blog might be interested in the new site.
I am planning to link both my sites with an image widget at the moment, giving the option for my readers of both the blogs to read the other if it interests them.

I am not sure which is better though. Either keeping my sites separate or using my story site as a menu/page option in my craft blog. Will be grateful for your feedback.

:  Asked by rcv814 who blogs at http://olaringstories.wordpress.com/ and http://youngatfifty.wordpress.com/

My thought process:

First thought:  Crafts and children’s stories may be niche markets.  Gut feel, go for two.

Second thought:  They might overlap.  Maybe go for one.

Third thought:  Oops, I really don’t know, I guess I will have to check out the links.

Conclusion:

I love the theme for your stories blog!  (I never thought I would say this of the Monster theme, by the way.)  The yellow is a little overwhelming on the header, but it becomes less so because of the white reader.  (Maybe also change the header font to a different colour on the header text – white on yellow is very difficult to read).

Not so much of a fan of the theme on your crafts blog, sorry.  The black really doesn’t do it for me.  If you have a custom theme, I strongly recommend uploading a background with a good quality picture of knitting (not something that is knit, like a sweater, just of knitting).

Have a look at these:

background knitting pattern

or my personal favourite, if you crop it right and keep in mind any copy right issues:

my choice knitting pattern

I know that you CAN use different themes for different pages using WordPress.  I personally don’t think that this is the best idea, because a consistent brand identity is almost always the smart move.

Your two blogs are aimed at slightly different market segments – the stories are for children while the crafts (still fun) are aimed at a more mature audience.

If you were, for instance, focussing on projects with play dough, I’d say go right ahead and merge the two.  However, crochet / knitting really still reminds me of my granny.  I would say you would lose out on a significant portion of your craft market by switching it over to a more juvenile theme.

So, my advice is to keep the two sites and keep cross-marketing.

2.  How do I interpret statistics?

First off, have a look at the following links:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/blogging-201-stats-analysis/  This is also the initial challenge.

https://theconsideratespammer.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/statistics-smicsticks/

http://mydecadelongtravels.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/when-im-feeling-blue/

I aim to blog every other day (Space to respond and go though other blogs) which means it changes days through two weeks. How do i then interpret the stats to maintain a steady following ?

:  Asked by rubyr8 over at the Commons for Blogging 201.

Actually alternating days every week sounds like a really good plan to me.
There is a principle in statistics about correlation – which basically means adjusting for the effect of co-incidence.
So once you have about four to eight two week periods to compare, you should be able to make more reliable deductions. Then you can merge every two weeks into one (treat the Tuesday of the second week as if it were the Monday of the first week) and see which days are busiest from there.

However, you also need to remember that times when you are more active on other people’s sites, or in a place such as the Commons, you are much more likely to get traffic to your site. So, if you want to get really accurate information you will need to do things consistently. This is called the “all other things being equal” principle. For example, if you publicize your posts on your FB account during the one two week period, but not for the others, you will need to take this into account when analysing your data.
Other things to take into account is whether other people have been mentioning you and how large their readership is and how likely their readership is to convert by clicking on a link to your site. So you should take note of your ping backs.
Other than that, you also need to take into account that growth for any product (yes, your blog is a product) is normally exponential in the beginning. So, until you reach relatively stable levels in your readership, ANY data needs to be considered in terms of a multiplier effect.

I just had a quick look at my stats. There really isn’t much to go on, as I have only been posting weekly and haven’t been posting very long. It appears my rise in visitors coincide with posting and introducing myself on here.

:  Asked by Thea over at the Commons for Blogging 201.  She blogs at http://derelictmuse.wordpress.com/

Hallo Thea,

I have a suggestion for you. Of course, it is entirely up to you and I won’t notice if you did it or not, but I posted some analysis of my stats at https://theconsideratespammer.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/statistics-smicsticks/

Perhaps, in order to prepare you for doing your own analytics not much later on (all of the blogs except for one were only created this month) you can have a look at the different graphs and see if you can draw any conclusions from them.

I have found that my traffic for my flagship blog increased quite substantially when I started commenting on other bloggers’ work over at the Community Pool.
However, I put a substantial amount of time into doing that and I found that when I joined Blogging 201, the results were much more favourable for the same amount of effort. I think that this might be because bloggers using the Commons are here for a more specific purpose and thus are more likely to reciprocate assistance than someone who is just using the Pool as another place to publicize.

I am new at writing about painting and accesories, so my numbers are low. I usually link up with link parties but only one, on Fridays, generates a lot of traffic.

:  Asked by irisabbey over at the Commons.

Hallo!

I am going to make the same suggestion that I made to another blogger in this thread.

You can always have a look at other people’s analysis from their statistics and see if you come to the same conclusions?
My analysis is at https://theconsideratespammer.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/statistics-smicsticks/
However, I am just offering this as an option and there is no expectation from my side. I would suggest that you have a look at a few bloggers’ posts.

Statistics are very valuable and you can see some useful things from the analytics on this site, but it is only as valuable as the conclusions you are able to draw from it!

Just an example, October 12th had the highest view count on my flagship blog of all time, closely followed by the 21st of October. However, if I don’t know what happened on those days (did I add a post, did I leave a ridiculously long comment on someone else’s site, did I advertise my site on Community Pool or here in Blogging 201 on that day) then it is really of no help at all.
There are more factors in play than simply which day of the week people have the most free time (Fridays, probably) or had an annoying day and want to escape online (Mondays, probably).

In keeping with the above, I have now decided that I must amend my action plan to include one more item on an already ridiculously long list:
I must keep a manual calender of when I posted a topic on which site, when I publicized items and on which media I did so and I must note down when I left particularly long comments on someone else’s site.
I should probably add even a bit more admin and jot down when particular people started following me 🙂
Because my sites are still new, this is probably the best time to do so…

3.  How do I get people to comment?

To comment takes time and effort.

People are inherently lazy…

So normally people normally only comment if they are

  1.  Networking
  2. The topic is controversial and they just MUST have their say or
  3. (and this one does not happen often) they have a true and genuine interest in the topic.

So either:

  • a) Network
  • b) Be controversial or
  • c) Tackle topics in a unique way no one else has ever thought off (usually emotional).

4.  How much time to spend on social media?

I personally believe that you should only take on what you have the time to do well…

So if you don’t already have a FB page that you keep up to date, or a friend / family member whose account you can mooch traffic from (ask them to share your post and tag you) I don’t think it is a good idea unless you have a lot of spare time.

But I don’t FB. So my husband disagrees. He thinks that creating discussion groups can considerably widen my reach. So, thinking about it 🙂

I will be adding Frequently Asked Questions pages to all of my active blog sites soon!

Please feel free to check them out and provide feedback when you have some time.

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One thought on “Frequently Asked Questions – This is Me Making the Most of Blogging 201 Branding and Growth

  1. Pingback: Should I Have One Blog Or Multiple Blogs If I am Blogging About Different Topics? « Paddastoel

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