31 Days to a Better Blog – Day 14: Analyse your blogs competition
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007
Todays task in the 31 Days to a Better Blog challenge is to analyse your blogs competition. Darren of Prologger did use the term ‘competition’ hesitantly, as your competitors or those blogging in a similar theme are also your biggest allies, connect and share with them.
Since this challenge began, I’ve connected lots with other participants, some who have similar goals to some of mine, and we’ve began to build relationships, connect and discuss more too, which is great and I’m really beginning to discover the part of blogging which builds relationships and community. We all see things through fresh eyes, and have our own experiences to share, plus it’s great to be able to connect to others.
If you are a non-profit organisation with a website or blog, I’d highly recommend following some of the tips below, and connect with others doing similar work, I think it’s a great example of a task that can be transferred to traditional websites as well as blogs.
Darren asks you to look at these questions:
“What do they do well?
What are the boundaries of the topics that they focus upon?
What don’t they write about?
How often do they post?
How long are their posts?
What level are they pitching their blog at? (beginners, intermediate, advanced)
What questions are their readers asking in comments?
What style or voice do they write in?
What type of posts seem to get the most attention (comments, trackbacks, incoming links)?
What is their design like? What do they do well and what do they do poorly?
What are other blogs writing about them (use technorati to check this)?”
Looking at the task above, I personally have two thematic areas to look at others sites. One is non-profit technology blogs, and the other is design blogs (covering web and print design, accessiblity and usability). Both areas that I follow seem to have people that either post daily, or others that post sporadically. Everyone has their own personal voice when they write and their own style too. Some (abit like me!) write long articles and others create short and punchy posts.
The good part of keeping up with what others are writing about is that you can share information, and discuss too. We can all learn from each other. I know that some small new non-profit sites gain alot of their understanding of how to communicate with their audience from taking tips and seeing good practice in action from larger established organisations. Success breeds success, information gains value when shared.
When taking on a new website assignment for a voluntary organisation, I use a simple worksheet asking them questions to get their ideas flowing to help me to understand what they like and what they don’t like when they view websites. It also asks them about their goals for their site amongst many other questions.
I also ask them what websites they do like and why, which helps me (as the designer) to be able to build up a picture of what they may like from their new site. If I can produce a site that engages them, they will be empowered to keep it updated and deliver their message to their readers.
It’s really interesting to read and analyse why people like certain sites (or not!) not just because of the layout and colour, but sometimes the language and voice. It’s also just as interesting to discuss with them about what they found and discovered and to see if what they like could relate into the message they are trying to deliver or not.
Hmm…Maybe that could be a future blog post!