This evening I noticed a post by Collete at Edtech VISION about Steve Dembo’s 30 Days to Being a Better Blogger challenge. I have to admit I am intrigued. Steve’s using tips and tricks from Problogger’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog reworked for edtech blogs. Over the past few months Problogger has become a big name around my house as Kelly has been using their resources to rework a few different sites. He talks about it all the time, but sadly many of his messages kind of travel from one ear out through the other as I am distracted by the mundane requirements of teacher life like grading papers. Since I have Kelly regularly bugging me to “freshen things up” and “make post titles more catchy” I figured Steve’s challenge was a perfect way for putting Kelly’s advice in practice. On top of that, normally I stumble across these events on day 15 and at that point I know I will never catch up. I managed to find this one on the second day! I already feel like I am ahead. So, here are my responses to the first two challenges.
Day 1: All About the “About” Page
By far, this has to be the toughest page to create on anyone’s blog. I do have an About page and I know that my readers visit this page quite often. I wrote it for the first time about a year ago just before presenting at the CLMS/CLHS Technology Conference in Monterey. I figured I should have one since the resources and digital handouts from my presentations could be found there. While writing it, I couldn’t help but feel a bit narcissistic. In order to complete it I had to focus on my mission (introducing readers to me) and pretend I was really writing it for someone else. That actually things a bit easier. When I moved to Sacramento earlier this year I had to modify my About page, but currently it explains who I am and my reasons for blogging.
Day 2: Site Traffic
At the moment I have three different ways to check site traffic on my blog. I use StatCounter, Google Analytics, and the WordPress Stats plugin. All three traffic meters show me who is coming to my blog, how they are getting there, and where they are going. However, out of these three resources I tend to like Statcounter the best. By clicking on Recent Pageload Activity I can easily browse individual hits, which includes information on geographic location, operating system, and browser. Using this information I have found that most people come to my blog through and RSS aggregator (Google Reader, Bloglines, etc.). If someone comes to my blog through a Google search they are usually looking for science or Google Earth lesson plan ideas. The majority of my visitors are from Northern California, but I do have regular hits from the East Coast, Ireland, and Canada. Most readers are using Firefox or Safari and they tend to be weekday morning viewers. As a result, I tend to make sure my posts hit at the crack of dawn Monday through Friday.
Keep coming back and later this week you’ll see my responses to more of Steve’s challenges. I’m already finding that these reflections are pretty useful. Perhaps you’d like to shave a few pounds and tone up by joining his 30 Days to Being a Better Blogger challenge. If so, here are the details!