Sunday, December 24, 2006

Problogger Project: You All Blew It

The latest Problogger project was Reviews and Previews, and you were supposed to write either about the previous year or the next. Here are all the submissions.

Even though I didn't win any prizes, I still enjoyed creating a nice post and gained some readers as a result.

Project Lessons Learned:

You all blew it

Nearly every submission broke the cardinal rule of blogging: your blog is for your readers, not for you (unless you are the only reader that you care about, in which case, write what you want; this is not the case for most Problogger followers, however).

Taking the opportunity to write about how you feel about your own blogging, Problogger, your niche, or anything else highly personal and impractical is no way to earn readers. Neither is a recap of well-known events ("Vista came out"), or a prediction of something unexciting ("video will continue to grow").

Posts with lackluster headers don't get read

I only clicked on them because I forced myself to read them. In some cases, I still didn't get past the first line.

I often didn't even get to the first line if the header was followed by an Ad-sense block big enough to push the first line off the end of the screen.

Show your best work

Use the opportunity to show people your best work when you know lots of people are going to be reading it. Make the post easy to read, scan-able (not big blocks of dense text), and with links to your best posts prominent - that's what I want to see as a new reader, and that's what you want me to see as a blogger.

The post also has to stand alone, and not assume that readers are familiar with you or your work.

And please, unless you have a blog with mostly photos, drop the light text on dark background. It's hard to read.

Don't comment spam

Like I said after the last project, if you comment on other people's posts, don't cut and paste the same comment onto every post you read in the project; many people are going to read many of the posts, and they will be less than thrilled to see "Great post! Here's my submission ..." repeated all over the place by the same person. We call that spam.

And frankly, I don't really need you to say "check out my submission" with a link. I either was or wasn't going to, anyway, depending on whether your blog is in my niche.

Best posts

Here are the best of the project submissions as they appealed to me - pretty much anything that didn't make me fall asleep. Some good submissions were just not at all in my interest radar (or language):

Surviving the Holidays: Why I won "Times Person of the Year". Funny.

Fireflies in the Cloud: 2007 Psychic Predictions. Also funny.

German Impressions: The Top Headlines Of 2007. Good use of sub-headings. A Year in Pictures. To the point and cute. Lessons from the Most Talked About Topics of 2006. Text is too small, but nice to see the links. Preaching, Unicycle, Broken Ankle, and Swearing. Great story.

the Bivings report: The Best Websites You’ve Never Visited (and some you have). Good info and layout.

Writing Nerd: The Top 7 Writing Contests to Enter in 2007. Good info. Totally useful.

45n5: How I made $4000 in 2006 with Hypertext. Direct.

Japan Probe: The First Annual Japan Probe Awards For Excellence In The Field of Japanese Commercials. Great content. Top 10 “Crzy” Tech Gifts. Interesting content.

Daily Blog Tips: 101 Blog Tips I learned in 2006. Clean, professional, useful, controversial.

MacStansbury: Blogs are dead - thanks, Digg. Title, sub-titles. Intelligent.

the simple dollar: Six Trends For 2007. Topical and different.

CouplesQuestions premarital blog: 2007 Not Everyone’s Year of the Dolphin. Good list. Why is this on a secure server?

Tips for Public Speaking: Public Speaking Disasters of 2006. Very good content.

The Men's Gift Guide: Early Notice Of What He May Be Getting Under The Tree. Interesting content.

The Reviewer: The Reviewer’s Best and Worst of 2006!. Good content.

Kineda: Top 10 Ugliest Sneakers of 2006. Fabulous content and pictures.

Eggo: The Best Posts of 2006. Useful link into other posts.

paddling with a camera: 12 Pictures and Reflections from Paddling with a Camera in 2006. Great pictures and summaries.

Quartz Mountain: 2006 Search Wrap-Up. Interesting information.

Get back to work.



Anonymous said...

I have to admit your comments are fair enough. Certainly some things to bear in mind for future posts.

As to the question about our blog being on a secure server... I can only say "It seemed like a good idea at the time." (We've since moved it.) Truth is, there is a lot to learn about the blogging world. We are getting better at it, bit by bit. Next step: to get rid of that awful lime green colour on our blog!

Yehuda Berlinger said...

dan: Thanks. I thought my comments were pretty fair, too, but yours is the first acknowledgment.


Anonymous said...

And it only took me seven weeks to get around to it!