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31 Days Project Rockets Bloggers Forward

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rocketSix weeks ago a bunch of us began a quest to become better bloggers and help other bloggers become better by going through Darren Rowse’s e-book 31 Days to Build a Better Blog together.

Day 1 launched the project like a rocket.  248 comments were posted introducing ourselves and discussing our blogs’ elevator pitches.  Many participants experienced record numbers of visits and comments as we read and commented on each others’ blogs.

While participation tailed off from there as some people dropped out and others juggled blogging with work, family, and life, those who stuck with it formed a tight group who made great strides in their blogging.

What was the impact?

When bloggers signed up to participate in the 31DBBB project, each was asked to provide some key stats about their blog – how many times they post per week, pageviews, visitors, comments, RSS subscribers, and how they rated themselves as a blogger.  Monday, at the completion of the project, participants were asked to complete a survey, which among other things asked for updates on those same stats.

For those who read at least half the lessons and did at least half the assignments the results were stunning:

  • Pageviews increased 97%
  • Visits increased 48%
  • Unique visitors increased 67%
  • Comments increased 152%
  • RSS subscribers increased 13%

Becoming Better Bloggers

jump for joyWhile some of this growth is probably a temporary bump due to the project itself, the most remarkable improvement came in an area that is certain to have a long lasting impact – how participants rated themselves as bloggers.

Those who read at least half the lessons and did at least half the assignments prior to the 31DBBB project rated themselves on average at 3.0 out of a possible 10.  After completing the project, they gave themselves a 6.9 rating, almost a 4 point jump. Wow!

Clearly these folks feel they learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence through their participation in this project.

Those who participated less consistently also reported significant though smaller levels of growth in traffic, comments, subscribers, and their blogging abilities.

Benefits Beyond Numbers

While participants in the 31DBBB experienced the benefits of numerical growth in their blogs’ stats, the survey revealed the biggest benefits went way beyond the numbers.  Participants were asked about the most important benefit they gained from the project, and the responses included:

  • The relationships developed with other bloggers
  • Feedback on my blog
  • Reading other bloggers perspectives on the lessons & ideas about the assignments
  • Gaining a clearer understanding of what is involved in blogging
  • Encouragement of other bloggers
  • Developing a better idea of the focus and future direction of my blog

Gratitude

free hugsI’d like to close out this project by expressing my gratitude to everyone who made the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog project such a success

  • Thanks to Darren Rowse for writing the 31DBBB e-book.  You gave us a tremendous amount of insight, which has helped us all.
  • Thanks to everyone who took a chance and participated in this project.  Thanks especially to those who shared their thoughts in the blog comments on a regular basis and created genuine conversation by replying to other comments.
  • Thanks to everyone who wrote guest blog posts.  This project turned out to be a lot more work than I expected. Guest bloggers helped to share a big part of the workload. But even more than that, your guest blog posts provided a variety of perspectives, insights, and voices that enriched the experience.
  • Thanks to Dan King, L.L. Barkat, and Marcus Goodyear who made the project partnership with The High Calling and High Calling Blogs possible.  The project was exponentially better because of doing with you. Bloggers, if you haven’t already done so, check out their network and consider joining it.
  • And of course, we reserve the biggest thanks to our big God, who makes all things possible.  We hope that through the things we’ve learned and the relationships we’ve developed that we’ll have an even greater impact for You through our blogging.

Future Blogging Posts & Series

I think we stumbled onto something really great here, so we’re going to do a post about some facet of blogging every Wednesday here on Christian Web Trends.  And it’s very likely we’ll do another 31 Days project or something similar in the future, possibly on an annual or semi-annual basis.

Discussion

I would be remiss if I didn’t close out this post and this series without asking a few discussion questions.  I know some of you already answer some of these questions in the survey, but I think we would all benefit by discussing them publicly.

  1. What was the most important benefit you gained by participating in the 31DBBB project?
  2. If we were to do another 31DBBB project again in the future, what would you recommend be done differently?
  3. What are you most excited about when it comes to your future blogging?
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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.

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