I am constantly amazed at all the great blogs there are on the internet. Almost every day I discover a new one and add it to my iGoogle page. What does this mean? I spend way too much time online! Not only that, I’m not using my time online to boost my blog’s profile efficiently. So, how does one go about boosting a blog? Darren Rowse of Problogger gives some tips in his 31DBBB workbook:
Describe Your Desired Reader
What kind of people are you hoping to attract to your blog? Who would benefit most from your content? When I first started Growing Kids Ministry, I aimed most of my posts towards other Children’s Ministry workers. Now, I try to include more post for parents — both in terms of spiritual development and ideas for family time.
Ask Yourself “Where are my potential readers gathering online?”
For Children’s Ministry workers, there are some great forums such as CMConnect, Kidology, and Ministry to Children where you can meet some great kidmin minds. Ministry to Children also has a list of the top 100 Children’s Ministry blogs. If you have some spare time, you can check out some of those and gain some readers through comments and adding to the discussion.
As for parents, I’m not sure where a central gathering place for Christian parents might be. That’s something I’ll need to explore. I have found some great blogs by Christian parents through sites like Faithful bloggers, SITSgirls, and Twitter, but it’s kind of a hit and miss thing.
Build Your Presence with These Ideas
After you’ve located a few potential-reader saturated places, you can promote your blog in these ways:
- Guest Posting
- Leaving super useful comments
- Setting up a profile page
For further reading and more ideas, be sure to check out the workbook!
What About You?
What great gathering places have you found? Be sure to leave a comment and let me know!
This week’s task in the Blogger Challenge (task #28) is to write a review. Yeah! One of the things I love about blogging is reading and reviewing — books, curriculum, experiences, you name it! I have a huge stack on the bookshelf in need of reading and reviewing right now in fact!
Ideas for Reviews
In his workbook, Darren lists a few ideas for reviews:
Personally, I do a lot of books and curriculum resources. Recently, we’ve been doing a unit on How to Use My Bible, so I’ve been trying to get reviews out on all the Cool Bible Tools we’ve discovered. I also plan on doing a few reviews on classroom decorations we’ve found (easy on the budget and fun!).
Always Room for Improvement
Darren lists many tips in his workbook to improve your reviews. Here’s two that I could improve on:
- Visuals —anything that can help your readers visualize the product you’re reviewing will help. Use pictures, videos, screen captures, or diagrams wherever you can to add depth to your review post.
- Details on How to Obtain the Item—if your review is about a product that can be purchased, give as much information on how they can buy it and how much it’ll cost.
What about you?
What kind of things do you review? What would you like to be reviewing? What are some tips for writing a great review? Leave me a comment!
I’ll admit it. I love links. I’m a connector by nature (some personality test told me that in college), so the idea of links fits great into this pattern of thinking. I once read a book about the beginning of blogging. The book highlighted some guy’s site that was one big tangled web of links (this was before you could post by days). If I could find that blog, I might end up wasting half a week checking out all the links. I often wish I could somehow build links into the pages of my journal, but since I’m still using old-fashioned paper, I guess that’s not a possibility.
One thing I don’t like, however, is dead links. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing those blue letters of promise, highlighting some interesting tidbit, clicking on it and ended up on a 404 screen or something like that.
Let me let you in on a little secret. Your readers hate that too. Dead links (or link rot) is bad for several reasons. Darren Rowse shares these in his workbook:
- Readability—clicking on a dead link can mean your readers can end up on error pages or being redirected to other irrelevant content. This can lead to reader frustration and give the impression that your blog is old and out of touch.
- SEO—I’m unsure of the technicalities or what the latest research shows, but from what I can tell, a dead link is unfavorably looked upon by search engines which means you run the risk of penalties.
So, how can you get up to speed? Darren lists several free programs that track down dead links (in the workbook). Check a few out and start eliminating those dead ends!
For this week’s task (#26) in the Blogger Challenge, you are to improve someone ELSE’s blog. Not only will you leave a good impression with a fellow blogger, it’s just an all around nice thing to do. I remember when I first started blogging and had signed up with Beacon Ads. Tony from Ministry to Children was the first one to buy an ad space. He did it to show support for another ministry blogger. I have to say, that left me with very positive feelings toward’s Tony and his blog, and I send readers there whenever I can. (Speaking of which, check out the great Mother’s Day ideas over there!)
What Are Some Ways You Can Improve Another Blog?
- Write a high quality guest post that will be useful to another blog’s readers
- Leave helpful and insightful comments
- Link to the blog and share your readers with them
- Recommend to your readers to subscribe to their blog
- Email the blogger with some suggested topics you’d love to see them cover
- Check out the workbook for more ideas and tips on guest posting
My Favorite Way: Link Love
It’s hard to make your way around the web, checking out all the great content every day. Whenever possible, I try to link to other blogs, highlighting their great content. Check out some of these link-loving posts:
Blogs I Hope to Improve
Out of all the super quality blogs out there, two I’ve really clicked with are Ministry to Children and A Different Way. They always seem to have something helpful on the radar, and the guys who run them are always willing to give back. Over the next month, I hope to leave some helpful comments and direct readers their way whenever possible.
What About You?
What blog do you hope to improve this week (or month)?
For this week’s task (#22), you are to choose one (or more) of your current readers and do anything out of the blue that acknowledges them, shows them that you value them, and highlights them to your other readers. Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, shares a few ways to do this:
- Promote a Comment to a Post—sometimes readers make insightful and wise observations and tips in the comments of your blog. While they’ll be read by a handful of people in the comment thread, why not pull it out and use it as the basis for one of your posts—highlighting the wisdom conveyed and the person who made the comment.
- Write a Post about Their Blog—visit the blogs of those leaving comments on your blog and pick one that resonates with you to post about.
- Send Your Readers to Comment on Another’s Blog—write a post that links to another’s great blog post and suggest to your readers to head over and comment on it on that person’s blog. Shutting down the comments in your own post and saying that you’ve left a comment already on their blog can help make this more effective.
- Give Readers an Opportunity to Promote Themselves – invite them to link up or share something about their own blog in your comments.
I think I’ll dive head-long into this one and take a few angles.
Top Notch Blogs
First, here are some of my favorite bloggers. Check ‘em out and let them know I sent you! You could also check out the March Madness on Ministry to Children for some great kidmin blogs.
Top Notch Posts from Readers
Kidmin Blog Madness: Making it Work for You (by Wayne Stocks)
Nine Do’s and Don’ts of Post Tantrum Follow Up (by Adriel at the Mommyhood Memos)
Presenting the Gospel, Part #1 (by Wanda at Kidtrek)
Five Ways to Connect to Other Children’s Pastors (by Jeff at Kids Ministry Blog)
Talking to Your Kids about the Sermon (by Joey at a Different Way)
Now, Your Turn!
If you’ve got a great blog or know of a great blog, leave a link and a short description in the comments. Maybe you’ll be the featured reader soon!
Welcome back to the Build a Better Blog Challenge! This week’s task is to interact with someone who has never seen your blog before. I have an unexpected advantage since my blog is newly redesigned and so even my regular readers are more like “first time readers”. So friends, what do you think? Darren provides a list of questions, and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- What were your first impressions?
- Did you find it easy to read/navigate/understand?
- What did you feel when you first arrived at Growing Kids Ministry?
- What suggestions do you have on how I could improve the blog?
- What questions do you have after surfing your blog?
- What words would you use to describe the design?
- What are the main elements you remember about your blog 10 minutes later?
- What suggestions do you have from a user perspective?
I think I’ll also have some family members take a look at it and maybe some friends from church to see what they think. This way I’ll be able to observe them directly. Let me know how the exercise goes for you!