21 Actions I Took For My Blog

21 Quick Actions For My Blog
21 Quick Actions Might Still Not be Enough

Corbett Barr wrote a post about the “21 Quick Actions that You can do Today to Set Your Blog up for Massive Success.”

After I had scanned that post, I realized that these quick actions are not as quick as one would think. And I preach ‘taking action’ all the freakin’ time, so it is only fair that I give these 21 Quick Actions a shot.

You should read Mr Corbett Barr’s post here

The following is pretty much written as I try to do each of the 21 actions. I know that some of the actions mentioned by Mr Barr, I have already taken. Many of them, I have not.

I suggest you do the following actions for your blog as well.

OK. Here goes…

Action #1: Start Building an Email List

I am already doing that. Pretty much everyone who is anyone suggests ‘list building’, and possibly that is why Mr Barr has this as the first action.

I consider email list building part of any blog’s infrastructure i.e. it should be in place before you start creating content! I use Aweber to manage my email subscribers, schedule emails and quite a lot more…

You can also use Feedburner. It is free, and is from Google. That’s the good part. It is unreliable and doesn’t give you much control. That’s the bad part.

You can start with Aweber pretty quickly, click here.

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Action #2: Start a Post Ideas Journal

I already do that too. And that’s one excellent advice for you to follow as well.

I first used OpenOffice to just write whatever came to my mind, and I had been calling that my ‘post ideas journal’. That was in part because I wanted to get in the ‘habit’ of writing on a daily basis.

But over the course of the last few months or so, this habit has evolved: I now use Evernote to organize my posts as notes. I work on them till I feel it is time to bring the post over to the WordPress backend. The final touches, video/image embeds etc take place while the post is saved as a draft in WordPress.

And now I am not trying to inculcate the habit of writing daily, but creating daily. I’ve realized that I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy taking pictures or making movies (multimedia as per definition!).

It’s worth repeating that you should put as much thought as you can put into the creation process. So yeah, start maintaining a post ideas journal. And great advice, Corbett!

Action #3: Add Facebook Like Button

I use the wonderful plugin Sharebar for that (you can probably see it on your left side). But I wonder if a simple “Like” button would get you, the reader, to click more “likes”? Will it? Let’s see:

If you have enjoyed this article so far, why don’t you “like” it and share it will your Facebook buddies? Thanks.

Hey, it works! You actually do ‘Like’ this. YAY! 🙂

As Corbett also explains in his post, you can go here to get your own like/recommend/send button(s).

Action #4: Add Twitter Retweet Button

So will you Retweet this post if I have a ReTweet button like this:

Hmmm. Thought So. 🙂

The point of Action 3 and 4 is to make it easier for your readers to share your content. Like I said, I use Sharebar (a plugin from WordPress) to get the Facebook, Retweet and Stumble buttons.

You can either:

  • install the Sharebar plugin from within your WordPress dashboard. Just go to the “Plugins” menu, and search for “Sharebar”. I still like Sharebar and use it on a few of my other blogs, simply because it is sto easy to do. Or you can,
  • install the Facebook Like button (explained in previous step) and the Tweet button (somewhat) manually.

The point is: make it easier for your readers to share your content with their friends and network

Action #5: Make a List of Every Blogger in Your Niche

Here’s how you do this:

  1. Make a list of all the bloggers in your niche; the famous ones, the up-and-coming ones and the newbies.
  2. Prioritize the list based on how quickly you think you can hit it off with each blogger

I want this to be clear: This action is what separates the amateur blogger from a professional one. Full marks to Corbett for including this one!

In all my years of blogging and being online, at meetups and tweetups and blogger get-togethers of every magnitude, this advice has never been floated.

Partly because most bloggers do this for ‘fun’. And of course, there is nothing wrong with that. That is the charm of blogging; the ease of use and the low barrier of entry.

Possibly, that’s why Corbett uses the words “set your blog up for massive success” when giving out advice like this; most amateur bloggers are not looking to get ‘massive success’ from their blogs. In fact, I’d go ahead and define a pro blogger as someone who wants massive success for their blog!

So, only do this if you want to have massive success.

I have made the list (as a note on Evernote). It currently has 13 people on it from three overlapping niches. The list will grow, but I think I should keep it below 20, so that I can have a shot at actually communicating and interacting with them

Do you think 20 is a good enough number?

Action #6: Add Social Proof to Your Blog

I had not done this one before. Thank you Corbett!

I added a Twitter Counter. You can do that at the Twitter Counter website. If you are not following me on Twitter yet, click here now to follow! 🙂

Get a Twitter counter badge/button easily at this page.

I am thinking that maybe I can add a little ‘testimonials section’ on the sidebar, with some of the wonderful comments I have received with respect to this blog. Thank you for the comments, people! I might as well go ahead and do it…

And another thing, is that Social proof works both ways! So do not show the ‘numbers’ if they look below average. Be smart about it, but do integrate some sort of social proof into your blog.

Action #7: Refine and Explain Your Blog’s Unique Selling Proposition

Ok, so I have this covered. I think. Do you know what my blog is about? *gulp*

I want it to be about living life to the fullest, about creative self-employment, about doing things differently not because it is fashionable to be a nonconformist, but because it is more effective!

I have done, re-done, re-re-done the about page for this blog.

I confess, I have had a hard time ‘defining my blog’ even to myself (e.g. I just knew my blog’s operating somewhere in the “productivity-lifestyle design-entrepreneurship-internet marketing-dairy farming” niche 😀 ). So that confusion possibly shows through to the readers as well. But I was at a point where I thought, “Let me start creating content, and let’s see what happens”… and that was, I can see now, a good decision. Now I see the blog as being about unbridled entrepreneurship and doing things differently.

I never had any trouble creating a USP for any of the other blogs, because they operated in very clear cut niches. If your blog is about cars, then finding a USP for your blog is easy.

Also, an important point that I now realize in refining my blog’s niche is that at the end of the day, the blog is about me. While the narcissist in me rejoices at this, please do read this post (from ThinkTraffic) on creating your blog’s unique selling proposition to see what I mean.

Action #8: Learn Basic SEO

A very important advice for any blogger!

Fortunately, I understand basic SEO. I have written a book* on it. 🙂

As a fair warning, there are just too many people talking about too many ‘techniques’ when it comes to SEO for your blog. But follow Corbett’s advice, and learn the basics first. Try this post on for size.

* I teach some of that basic SEO in my book that explains the steps I took to earn my first 1000 dollars using affiliate marketing. You can download for free (click here).

Action #9: Implement a Call to Action

Again, a very potent advice! I think I already implement it most of the times.

I remember trying that in one of my post, and the conversions have been off the charts! Thank you Corbett for reminding me to keep at it.

So, you’re liking this mix of advice and action so far? Then do subscribe to my blog. Here, let me make it easier for you:

And a “Retweet” for the win… OK, so maybe that’s too much call-to-action?

Moving on.

Action #10: Show People Your Best Stuff

I had not done this before. I knew about it, but never got around to doing it.

So you should be seeing a “Recommended Reading” section on the sidebar. This was not there before. I think it looks quite nice actually. 🙂

I had to fish out the posts, and it took more time than I had hoped. I found it hard to think that the posts listed there are my ‘best’ stuff… but that’s what I’ve got so far. But the idea is to get people introduced to your blog. I hope the list of recommended posts is doing that to some extent at least.

Action #11: Take Down the Ads

This blog here does not serve any ads. I have done this to stop focusing on earning money from LifeETC and focus on growing readership of this blog.

And guess why Corbett Barr wants you to take this action? To get you to stop focusing on money and focus on growing readership. Score! 🙂

Action #12: Develop a Facebook Fan Page

I already have a Facebook Fan Page for my blog. If you have not joined my blog over at Facebook, do so now by clicking the button below:

Another interesting thing to note is that I have around 650 FB friends, and about 60% of them are blogging friends. It would have been much easier for me to operate from a single FB Fan Page (given that me personal profile and my blog page share pretty much the same things)

Your case may be different i.e. you probably want to have a identity for your blog and you would want to keep that separate from your personal profile on Facebook.

Corbett’s own facebook fan page is at http://facebook.com/thinktraffic. You should definitely check that out too.

Action #13: Commit to Updating Your Outposts Regularly

The action in this commitment is to update your blog’s outposts. What are outposts? These are other channels of communication (syndication/content-distribution/whatever) such as Facebook and Twitter.

I did not have a schedule of sorts to update my outposts… and I feel that Corbett’s advice is to make sure that:

  • You actually have outposts for your blog
  • You make sure that those outposts come off as well looked-after.

In that sense, the only outpost that I am not grooming as often as I’d like is my YouTube channel. I love making videos, and I am making them all the time. I just can not find the courage (and the time) to edit and upload them.

Well guess what, now I am committed to doing that too, God willing!

Action #14: Try a New Content Format

This again is great advice. It takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to come up with creative ideas to communicate with your audience, no matter if your audience is small or large.

The idea is to shake things up as far as your blog is concerned. Corbett suggests that you choose from a format on the following list that you’ve never tried before:

  • Video
  • Audio
  • E-Books
  • Workbooks
  • 2000 words or more
  • 400 words or less
  • Interviews

Here is what I plan to do:

Video to go with the dairy farming in Pakistan section (yes, I have a section for that!). There’s a lot you can do with video, but the point is to be in a position to actually get the video uploaded! Discussing too many ideas will only provide the excuse for never uploading a video.

An audio podcast of sorts… I will just record myself reading out my latest post and make it available for live streaming here on my blog

An ebook! I have already done that! Woohoo! Almost 70 pages of actionable content! Check out my ebook on how You can earn 1000 dollars from affiliate marketing. Click here to download for free.

Workbooks? Now that is something I can definitely do… God willing.

2000 words or more? I’d be damned if this post is less than 2000 words! 🙂

400 words or less? I think I have a few of those already. But the idea is to do something that you don’t normally do.

Interviews! I have not done any interviews recently. I have a few guests in mind. Maybe I can interview Corbett Barr himself, about taking action and blogging success?

Again, the idea is to do something different for your blog.

Action #15: Check Your Mindset

Corbett summarizes the mindset that you should have by saying:

You have to want to help or entertain people (or both).

If that is the mindset that is required, then I think I am on track. These two things…

  • helping people
  • entertaining people

… is EXACTLY how I see myself blogging, and that is what I want to work towards.

If you are having trouble building your mindset, then do read what Corbett has to say how you can check it. Neat stuff.

Action #16: Write A Rant

Perhaps my post on Commitments and Dead Batteries qualifies as one? I’d leave it at that…

Action #17: Interview Someone Influential

This is important on many levels. And I will be doing that soon, God willing. How I’ll do it, the set up and other preparations that go with it, be sure that I’ll let you know! 🙂

Action #18: Set Aside Weekly Content Planning Time

I think I have this covered. I write a draft post in WordPress, which gives the weekly review. In that weekly review, I write about the posts that I have yet to write!

For example, I already have the post ready to be published, which has a few lines about this post! Talk about predicting the future, no? 🙂

Again, weekly content planning is great advice.

Action #19: Ask For An Outside Point of View

Chris Guillebeau recommends this, and Corbett Barr builds on it; get an outside opinion on your blog. I have not done this as of yet.

But as both of these highly respected bloggers suggest, I do plan to get a blog critique from none other than Chris Garret (it costs around US$ 250 I think). Although it is going to cost me quite a lot of money (that’s around 40,000 rupees!), it is part of my commitment to take this ‘online thing’ seriously.

And getting a professional critique is a testament to that. Hopefully.

In fact, this whole “21 Actions” thing is a blog critique done backwards! Corbett tells me the 21 things a successful blog should have, and I integrate those 21 things into my blog. Cool, no?

Action #20: Ask Your Readers

Corbett does it with his special ‘ask the readers’ segment. And that’s great. I try to get people to leave comments and get a healthy discussion going. Maybe I can find more creative ways of getting your feedback?

For example, the comments on the dairy farming post is quickly becoming a good example of ‘helpful user-generated content’.

Action #21: Get Some Accountability

Mr Corbett Barr has some great advice here on how to hold yourself accountable. And it is one of those actions that I have not consciously taken before.

The idea of public accountability (in the form of weekly or monthly reports, as suggested) is an inspiring one. It is ‘dangerous’, yes; what if you fail, publicly? But that is what makes it interesting and inspiring; what if you succeed, publicly!?

There you have it. 21 Actions. Done. Took me the larger part of the afternoon, but by God’s Grace, it is done! Feel’s good? No. Feels freakin’ awesome!

Do you want a successful blog? A blog that helps people, entertains people and at the end of the day, puts a decent amount of money in your pocket?

Mr Corbett Barr gave 21 great pieces of advice. After reading my post here, if there is one advice that you can take away, then that is ‘take action’.

That is why I had this marathon run of doing all the 21 things in one sitting. Corbett Barr’s post is a very good one, make no mistake, but much more important is the fact that most people will not act upon it. So, go ahead and take action right now!

I wish you all the best.

And I hope this was helpful.

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