Looking Back/Looking Forward: A Blogger’s New Year’s Resolutions

As I look at my New Year’s resolutions for blogging from last year, my overall goal was to drive more traffic to my blog and to Image of 2011 New Yearbroaden my social network contacts.  I’m pleased to report that I received about 3 times as much traffic to my blog from the previous year.  In addition, I increased my Twitter followers from just shy of 200 to over 800.

As I transition into the new year, I plan to shift my blogging goals from a focus on increasing the quantity of traffic to a focus on the quality of visitor interactions.  My primary goal in 2011 is to deepen the relationships that I have with existing contacts instead of just broadening my influence across the social media spectrum.

I’m keeping this post short in hopes that other readers, like you, will be kind enough to add their blogging resolutions and feedback in the comments section below.

1) Make My Blog Even More Interactive: One of my biggest successes in 2010 was connecting with peers via guest posts.  Nothing helped to generate more traffic to my blog last year than exchanging guest posts.  This includes posts that I did on other blogs as well as posts from others on my own blog.  The external guest posts helped to link traffic back to my own blog while other bloggers increased my blog traffic by promoting the guest posts that they published on my blog.

As a bonus, in several cases, the guest posts led to joint webinars and even an in-person joint presentation with fellow Blogger’s Bulletin author, Michelle Salater, among others.  The great news is that these joint events led to new clients and more business for me, and they would not have been possible without guest post exchanges.

Not only did I pick up new clients from these events, but I also picked up new subscribers to my e-newsletter and rss feed which from a marketing point-of-view has the potential to lead to new clients down the road or referral business.

Because of the huge success I’ve seen from exchanging guest posts, I plan to solicit even more guest posts from fellow bloggers whose content will benefit the audience of professionals who subscribe to my e-newsletter and visit my blog.

2) Get More Feedback from Peers and Clients: Although, I was successful in increasing traffic to my blog and increasing comments, I failed to achieve the number of desired inquiries from visitors.  I plan to reach out to both clients and peers to see how I can improve this.

In my business, I execute direct mail campaigns for nonprofits, small businesses and PR & Marketing professionals from cradle to grave.  As the beginning of this process involves compiling a highly targeted database, I’ve focused most of my energies on getting blog visitors to submit a free database inquiry.  These inquires help to determine what is/is not available with a target database, and they also pinpoint the size of the targeted list within a specified geography.

To stimulate more inquiries, I added a new “contact” button prominently displayed at the top of my blog as well as designing a simple contact form on the back end.  To facilitate more database inquiries, I added a “Find Prospects Now” button at the top of my blog.  Despite making it easier to respond and increasing visibility, inquires remained flat when compared to the previous year.  This is all on the heels of substantially increased traffic to my blog.  This is clearly an opportunity for me in the new year.  Comments below from readers regarding generating more inquiries would certainly be welcomed.

After all, as an author for the Blogger’s Bulletin, I am blogging for business.  As excited as I am to increase traffic to my blog, at the end of the day, if it doesn’t lead to more inquires and ultimately more business then I’m just blogging as a hobby which doesn’t help to keep the lights on or to put food on the table.

3) Segment My Content: Since some of my posts do not apply to my entire target audience, I am working on launching a series of simple steps to better segment my marketing lists.  The goal here is to make sure that the content that my subscribers receive is always relevant.  A certain percentage of my posts are geared specifically toward helping nonprofits, so I plan to create an e-newsletter list for just the nonprofit community.

I’m also planning to add in a simple automated e-mail marketing campaign that will invite my subscribers to share some more information about themselves after they’ve been a subscriber for a few weeks and have had a better chance to assess the quality of the content on my blog.  The goal here is to be able to market to clients and prospects through multiple channels, and to be able to market to them using the methods that they prefer.

In summary, I want to deepen the relationships that I have in 2011 by exchanging more guest posts, generating more inquiries from visitors to my blog, and by creating more relevant interactions across a broader array of channels.

Don’t forget to please share your blogging goals for the upcoming year below in the comments section.