Running a blog is similar to running any business in the sense that you need to know what your competition does at all times. Most bloggers only stay focused on their blog and forget about the lessons that they can learn from other blogs. When we compete with someone, we need to be aware of what that person is doing.
15 Minutes Ever Day
This is all you actually need. You just need to pick one blog that is in direct competition with you and spend a quarter of an hour studying it. It might seem like something that is not important but the truth is that it is. When you spend 15 minutes every day and analyze your competition, you see what works, what does not work and you can better understand what changes you have to make. Do this for as many days as you see fit for any blog but make sure you spend those 15 minutes studying every day.
What Should You Analyze?
In short, you should look at everything. You should think about what sets your blog aside and what the other blogger is doing better than you. Also, make sure that you take a look at how he/she communicates with the audience. What voice is used and what language is utilized? What categories are included and what title formula is utilized?
Analyze the community engagement. See how readers are engaged and see what you can modify in order to get a better engagement. Always analyze the social media channels that are connected to the blog since these are important. You can learn a lot about the community that follows a blog if you look at Facebook and Twitter.
You will obviously also want to take a look at how that particular blog makes money. This can give you ideas that you never actually thought about. For instance, you may see that there are many blogs that hand out free books in order to eventually make a sale through email marketing. You may want to try that.
The trick is to basically find those blogs that do a better job than you. See where they are featured and what partnerships they have. Based on what your analysis says, you can make important modifications that will make your life easier and will make your blog more successful.