Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Years 2008

First off - Happy New Year! May the coming new year be prosperous for you.

Okay, now to talk about those infamous new year resolutions. Or should be say goals, as Chris Brogan does here,…OA/utt.php. Tha'ts right, resolutions are really things we are hoping to achieve in the new year or things we are going to do to help us get to something else. For example, exercising three times per week might be the resolution but the goal is to be healthier. Or if I know some of you, it's to get a date.

Jokes aside, the new years is a great place to set some goals. Often as Chris Brogan points out, we focus on negatives in our lives and habits and so drive our goals from a point of indebtedness to those negatives. But Chris is right, there is a better way.

You can base your goals off of your strengths, successes, and positive achievements desired. In my case, I'd like to have a more successful blog. Instead of focusing on how few hits or links my blog has received, what would be a better use of my time is focusing on what I did right to get those hits. That gives me some immediate clues to goals and habits for the new year.

Some things that brought me incoming links from other blogs was postinng comments there. Another was hits from being listed on blog rolls. What could I do to increase that success? Two straightforward things are obvious - make more comments on other blogs, especially those similar to mine, and link to those blogs in my blog roll.

Turning that into resolutions is simple -

1. Comment on 10 blogs every day

2. Add blogs to my blog roll that are related to mine, trying to improve that list over time

The next thing for my blog is to see which articles were successful and try to create more like them. Don't know which were for you? Then immediately a goal could be to sign up for a hit tracking service. In my case, MyBlogLog and HitTail provide some good details. Checking HitTail, I see that the most searched for articles on my blog relate to Scrabulous and Facebook, while next down the list are articles relating to photography and AS/400 programming. If you took the negative approach here, you'd focus on the fact that no one found my blog searching for movie or restaurant information, two other things I blog about. This leads me to some obvious goals.

3. Increase the number of articles about topics for which I frequently receive search hits - plan at least three to five articles per week on those topics

4. Move the article with few or no hits off to another blog or blogs or consider joining review sites for those topics.

Another thing that the right blog tracking tool can tell you is what links visitors click on to leave your blog. In my case, they frequently click out to blogs I've linked to but rarely restaurant or movie home pages. Also, my visitors click on Amazon links on occassion but not frequently, however they often click on Amazon word searches for those links. A couple of goals or resolutions present themselves:

5. Make sure every article provides relevant links - especially to other related sites and blogs

6. Better highlight links

7. Use more phrases that Amazon will automatically link

Now those goals and resolutions I listed are high level, but with the information in hand they will be refined and ultimately useful.

The idea was to walk you through positive examples. Really key to making resolutions and goals is to toss things out that didn't work. Yes, maybe your pet thing has been ranting on your blog about your airplane flighs, but no one reads those, maybe those need to go somewhere else where they fit better or they don't neeed to be up on that blog.

Of course if your whole site is about rants on airline service, then perhaps you can refocus on the articles that get the most attention, and mimic your success there.

Anyway, I hope this wasn't too dry in making the point of look to your strenghts and successes to determine your plan for next year.

Happy New Year and much success to you!

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