I’ve now finished day 4 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. At the rate I’m going it will likely take me 31 weeks instead of 31 days to complete the course. But that’s ok, I said from the beginning I wasn’t on any strict schedule. My main goal is simply completing it. Day four’s task was to analyze a top blog in your niche. I’m going to briefly point out two blogs that I have in my feedreader and list a few things I like about each one.
First on the list is Viper Chill, written by a young blogger who goes by Glenn. Viper Chill covers multiple blogging and marketing topics with the goal of teaching you how to make money online. Most of the posts are geared toward the blogger who has yet to make any significant income online, which probably includes most of the bloggers out there. Viper Chill has a very interactive readership. Just scanning through the posts on the home page at the moment, I see a low comment count of 27 and a high comment count of 95. Obviously, he’s creating content that lots of people like and want to discuss further. Currently, his Feedburner stats show a readership of 3,777.
The most interesting thing to me is his posting schedule. In December, he posted only four posts and with today being the last day of January, he has only six for the month. That’s a much lower frequency than most bloggers aim for but if you take a look at his posts, you’ll see what I believe is the main reason for his success. These posts are often massive and always filled with great content. Personally, I just don’t agree with bloggers who put a numerical goal for post frequency. I would rather not read a post unless there is some serious value behind it and Viper Chill fills that need for me.
Looking at the overall design of the site, it is fairly simple but has just enough visual punch not to be boring. Regarding monetization, well there is none. He does have other sites where he makes money, but this one is dedicated solely to helping others succeed and he’s chosen not to monetize it with affiliate links, banners, Adsense, etc.
The next blog on the list is Niche Store Builder, written by Mark Hansen. Niche Store Builder helps people build and develop niche affiliate sites. It’s a bit smaller in scope than the previous blog, but that’s the whole point of being in a niche. Mark’s blog is one of the best resources out there for anyone wanting to build niche affiliate sites. This is another blog whose readers are willing to interact by commenting frequently. Right now on the home page, there are several posts with double digit comments. Mark is posting about 15-18 posts per month, so about one every other day. Compared with Viper Chill, Niche Store Builder has much less content per post on average, yet it’s still pertinent information for anyone who is into building niche affiliate sites.
You can see from the social icons that Mark interacts with people on both Facebook and Twitter, so he’s marketing himself through the social networks and has a fair number of fans and followers. The overall design of Niche Store Builder is very attractive in my opinion. I like how the construction crane ties in with the whole concept of site building. Regarding monetization, Mark uses affiliate banners to promote various products and services on his blog.
The thing I like about both these sites is that they provide content that is truly helpful to their readers. This sounds like a no-brainer but there are lots of sites out there that just don’t do that. Many sites simply regurgitate stuff you see everywhere else. That’s something I don’t want to do with my blog. I don’t have any goal on number of posts per day or week. I would rather wait until I have something to say that I feel may actually help someone out there than to make a post for the sake of meeting some frequency goal.
I think both of these sites could be monetized better. It’s noble that Viper Chill opts for no monetization, but I think he could throw in a little without readers being turned off. People will still read his site for the great content. In Mark’s case, I think he’s written enough great posts on niche site building to combine several of them into some type of course or ebook and use this as a featured item on his blog. I’ll bet that would result in greater revenue for him than the affiliate banners.
So, what have I learned from these sites and how can I use it to improve my own blog? First and foremost, it affirms my goal of quality over quantity. Both these sites provide content that their specific readers find valuable and that is what it’s all about. People are just too busy nowadays to stop and read some post that is simply there because the blogger had to meet his daily post quota. If people give you their time, you need to give them back something great in return. Secondly, I want my blog readers to interact with me by making comments and continuing the discussion. These blogs do this both by writing content their readers are interested in as well as placing a call to action at the end of many of their posts.
What do you think about these two blogs? What do you like, or what would you do differently?
Next Up: Day 5 – On Second Thought…