Blog Genie’s Summer Blog Challenge

Are you ready to work on your blog and your tan this summer?

Join us for the Blog Genie Summer Blog Challenge.

Blog Genie's Summer Blog ChallengeWith full time jobs, kids, school and significant others we’re all faced the “where do I find the time to blog” dilemma. Yet, when we look at our blogs, we’re less than impressed and know serious work needs to be done.

But it’s summer…

And hopefully you’re enjoying some vacation time, a little sun and some great times with friends and family and like me, you don’t want to be strapped to your computer for the next two month.

To help you make progress on your blog, while still enjoying the lazy days of summer, let’s get started with the Blog Genie Summer Blog Challenge.

The Details

Every week sticks to one blogging theme so you can focus, get in a groove and make some progress.

Every Tuesday, starting today, you’ll receive 6 small tasks to complete, one for each day and then a day for catch up or an off day.

By the end of the 4 weeks you’ll have created a lot positive momentum and can jump into some bigger items or just sit back and admire all that hard work.

The Prizes

What’s a challenge without prizes! To make the Summer Blog Challenge a bit more fun, I’m giving away 2 grand prize packages that include:

2 Winners Will Receive

A Blog School 2015 Admission plus the First 1000 Subscribers eCourse

Total prize value over $550!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ready? Week 1 tasks are listed below, let’s get started.

Summer Blog Challenge Week 1: Design

Day 1: Clarity

To start off our challenge, we’re going to begin with a brief look at the big picture of your blog. Ask yourself:

  • What’s the single most important thing someone needs to know about me, or my blog when they first land on my site?
  • What problem do I help them solve? What information do I share?

Now, ask yourself are those answers easily communicated through visuals (like your header) or brief sections of text on your blog?

For example, if you’re a food blogger how can you add visuals or text to your blog that help readers know the kind of food blogger you are so they know right away what you can offer them. A vegetarian wants one kind of blog while a paleo lover needs another!

Today’s Task: Help new readers know what you have to offer by making it super clear when they land on your site. Do you need to change your tagline? Add a text blurb in your sidebar? What can you do to make your site communicate clearly with your audience?

Day 2: Navigation

Navigation is there to help your readers move through your site and access your posts and pages.

Navigation is not there to display every single topic, post, page or option that you have on your site. That type of navigation is more about the blogger than the reader.

Too many choices overwhelm and confuse new readers. Simple choices and straight forward directions help us make sense of where we are and are more inviting which really is the whole point of the navigation in the first place.

Today’s Task: Take a good hard look at your blog’s navigation and cut out any unnecessary items, it should be more of a table of contents than an index of everything you write about.

The way I like to do this task is to think: “If I can only have 6 navigation items, which would I pick.” This exercise can help you narrow your focus to the most important ones.

When you’re done removing, see what can be combined? Can you create a start here page with all the best posts to help a new reader get up to speed quickly?

Creating a navigation that shows off your best stuff (rather than all your stuff) makes a dramatic and lasting impression.

Day 3: Sidebars

Sidebars can tell you a lot about a person. Never mind a psychic reading, give me a minute and a sidebar and I can tell you a lot about a blogger.

So what is your sidebar saying about you?

Crazy, disorganized and sloppy?

Straight forward, inviting and has a plan?

Today’s Task: Take a trip down your sidebars and for each item in there, ask yourself:

  • Is this helping me meet my blogging goals?
  • What does this communicate to my readers? Is that what I want to be saying?
  • Can I display this is a better way?
  • Does this link work?
  • Does this send people away from my site? Do I want to be doing that?

Use the answers to those questions help you clean up and focus your sidebars. If something isn’t helping you, your readers or is communicating the wrong message, delete or change it.

Day 4: Embracing Space

What’s the #1 most important thing on your blog? What’s the thing that often gets the least attention in DIY design? (Hint: it’s the same thing!)

It’s your content.

One of the easiest ways to make your blog feel more inviting, professional and easy to read is increasing the amount of white space that you have. Now I’m not talking about having a white blog design, I’m referring to the amount of space around certain elements. Increasing space around design elements can actually help draw the eye to that particular element!

Today’s Task: Look through your home page, a blog post and a blog page to see how you can remove unnecessary items or increase spacing and give your content some room to be the star of the show.

Can you increase the space around images? Add more space around text or increase the line height in your theme? What about upping the font a couple points to make the letters themselves easier to read? Is your background image or colors choices drawing attention away for the content?

Day 5: Prove It

You get somewhere between 3-7 seconds to draw a new reader into your blog before they bounce away. One of the easiest ways to communicate your blog’s value quickly is through social proof.

Today’s Task: Add at least 1 social proof element to your blog. This can be social media followers if that’s a strength for you but it can also be featured in logos, awards and even reader testimonials!

Day 6: Make a Connection

Bloggers have a unique advantage over more traditional media. We get to connect with our readers in a profound way through shared experiences and common goals. Today’s task is all about adding a little human touch to your blog to help make that connection faster.

Today’s Task: Add or update an “About You” section in your sidebar and link it to your About page. A great photo and a brief text blurb will go a long way to helping with the Clarity we talked about on Day 1 plus it helps readers connect with you as a real person.

Week 1: Done!