Much of BlogPaws is focused on helping to educate and remind pet bloggers on the value and importance of viewing their blog as a business. Between developing a cohesive business plan to identifying key messaging themes and content, BlogPaws has helped many bloggers from simply writing and hoping someone winds up reading to sculpting a site that drives traffic and income. It is in this vein that the implementation of a regular S.W.O.T. analysis for a blog should come as no surprise to anyone who has a business background.
There are many pet bloggers who don’t hail from a formal business background, which is something I find to be exciting and refreshing. Individuals coming from any walk of life can become successful in the pet blogging industry! If you are one of those folks, but you’ve clicked through to this article and are still reading, it shows me that you are investing time and energy in order to educate yourself on an additional tool to add to your collection of resources. So, without further delay, let’s dive into the meaning, value and process for initiating a S.W.O.T. analysis.
A S.W.O.T. analysis is a tool used to benchmark internally and externally, using the key factors that you, the blogger, view to be important measures of success. The acronym stands for Strengths Weakness Opportunities and Threats. Typically represented in a grid, businesses can visualize the current and potential areas for success and items of concern in a single snapshot.
In order to conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis, it is important to remain as objective as possible. This is sometime difficult for a blogger, because they are so personally invested in their site and its content. Consider using the buddy method. Reach out to a fellow blogger who you would like to evaluate your site and return the favor for theirs. Recently, I conducted a S.W.O.T. Analysis for five different bloggers, which helped me to find some common trends.
Strengths: This is a list of internal positives. It can include advantages your blog may have in a niche or an aspect of a blog that you do particularly well. Here are examples of the types of strengths I identified.
- Compelling use of visuals
- Clean page layouts that are easy to navigate
- Site that is optimized for tablet and cell phone use
- Use of brand testimonials that demonstrate value to potential brands
- Consistent theme and imagery
- Use of storytelling to convey messaging (showing, not just telling)
Weaknesses: This is an internal listing of negative aspects of a blog. It can include areas of a site that need improvement ranging from navigation to necessary content updates. Here are common areas that need improvement.
- Failure to optimize images for sharing on varying social media platforms
- Having sections of sites that have been abandoned (not regularly updated) which could lead to a lack of interest from a reader’s perspective
- Lack of a quick way for readers to contact the blogger or to sign up for updates
- Too much image “clutter”
Opportunities: This is an external list of potential areas to expand or functions that have not yet been implemented which could improve site quality and reader experience. This can also include markets or additional demographics that have not yet been tapped, but could in the future. Here are some examples:
- The creation of an incentive for signing up for email notifications, like a free printable
- The addition of a Media Kit for brands to access in order to learn about site reach and engagement
- If a blog focuses a lot on holistic care, but they haven’t focused additional attention on yielding readers and sponsors that are interested on a similar concentration, they could be more targeted in the future to gain additional traction in a specific area of focus.
Threats: A listing of external obstacles or hurdles. A focus on competitors who have a similar audience is important in this area, along with potential legal or technical issues. Below are some types of possible threats.
- Failure to fully implement SEO optimization in such a way where a site and its content isn’t found
- A lack of collaboration with comparable brands & bloggers to reach a larger audience of like-minded readers
- Potential for image copyright issues if photos are not watermarked
- Possible loss of reader interest if certain portions of a page aren’t regularly updated
An analysis is a depiction of a snapshot in time. As a site grows and changes, so do competitors and reader expectations. It is important to take this into consideration and to plan on conducting a new S.W.O.T. analysis at the beginning of each new quarter so you can develop a plan of action for the following three months. If you maintain a record, you’ll be able to track areas of improvement and be more in tune with possible areas that need attention.
I hope that you find this to be a useful tool for optimizing your blog. If you would like assistance with conducting your own S.W.O.T. Analysis, please feel free to contact me. I have provided a free downloadable template for you to use for your own analysis.
Bryn Nowell is a blogger who loves dogs and drinking equally, which is why her blog, adogwalksintoabar.com, focuses on both! She is a passionate photographer and animal rescue advocate. Join her photography adventures with pups Bean & Yoda on Instagram at: A Dog Walks Into A Bar.
Images: Courtesy of the author