Almost . . to . . . the . . . finish . . . line. . . of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project
Day 28--Write Your Blog's Mission Statement
I knew this one was coming. The Day 28 assignment was to write a mission statement for my blog. As in most things, mission is good. It gives you your sense of purpose, so having a blog mission only makes sense. This is something I've been thinking about since the first week of the challenge, so I already had a bunch of ideas. Of course they quickly deserted me when it came time to actually write something down.
Darren's advice was to think about why you blog. So I wrote the stem "I blog to. . . " and started writing down ideas. And then erasing them. And moving them around. Then I thought, "I wonder if someone else has a blog mission I can look at?" So I Googled but didn't find a lot. Then I went back to my "I blog to. . . " and thought/wrote/re-arranged some more.
When I thought I finally had something that I at least wasn't ashamed to share, I posted it. You can see the first draft of my blog mission statement here. I'm already getting some great feedback on how to revise it, so I plan to revisit the exercise in a few days.
One thing that occurred to me in this whole process is that in some ways it makes much more sense to create a collaborative mission statement for a blog, rather than it just being something that I wrestle with alone. Blogging in its best sense is a collaborative activity and the value of a blog comes not only from the person or people who maintain it, but also from the community that forms around it. So naturally my mission should be at least partially formed by what the community wants and believes--otherwise I think I'd really be missing the mark.
Day 29--Email a Blogger Who Linked to You to Say Thank You
For many people, links are the currency of the web. Lots of incoming links, especially from the "right" blogs, can boost your search engine rankings. And on a purely selfish level, it feels good to find someone linking to you as it usually means they like what you had to say.
The Day 29 task was to email a blogger who's linked to you and thank them for the link. From Darren's perspective, incoming links give you "Google Juice" (search engine ranking), "Reader Juice" (new potential readers) and "Branding Juice" (spreads the word).
For my email to thank someone for a link, I wanted to do this with someone I wasn't in contact with all the time, so I was glad to see a link today from the Acronym Blog. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an email address, so I left a comment. I suppose this is cheating, but it's not my fault that there's no email.
This is actually something I do try to do most of the time, although I can't say that I've done that 100%. A lot of times I'll just post a comment to try to add something to their post, although I realize that I don't always actually THANK people for the link, so I should probably start doing more of that. (Is it my imagination or have a lot of the challenge tasks been about common courtesy and reminding us to do things online the way we should be doing them in the real world?)
Day 30--Join a New Social Network
Strangely, before I even saw today's assignment to explore a new social network, I joined Twitter. Or more accurately, I had joined a few days ago, but today added some people to follow and took more of a look around.
According to Darren, social networks are great places to build your blog brand identity and relationships and to learn. I won't argue with any of these points and I get a lot of value out of sites like del.icio.us (I agree with Kate Foy that it rules) and StumbleUpon. But so far, I'm really not getting Twitter. I know that many people whose opinions I respect are addicts, so I'm giving things a chance. The jury's still out, though.
Only one more day left. . . I'm going to miss this challenge.