responsiblecommenting.com

24Mar/120

Tips from the Trenches: Best Blogger Productivity Tools

When we put together Blog Wise, I thought I would be the only blogger who didn’t use many (okay—any!) of the productivity apps I downloaded. As it turned out, very few of the pro bloggers we spoke to relied on any apps or tools other than Gmail, Google Calendar, and Evernote.

So I decided to ask some of my connections on social media what kinds of tools they use, and I got a great response. Here I’ve compiled the list so that, if you’re interested, you can try some of these tools for yourself. Of course, if you have other time-savers you’d like to add, let us know in the comments.

Software

WordPress plugins

Blogging software

Other services

Hardware

Don’t forget to give us your recommendations for productivity-boosting tools and tips in the comments!

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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Tips from the Trenches: Best Blogger Productivity Tools


@ProBlogger

15Mar/120

5 Action Steps to Make You a Better Blogger



action stepsBlogging is currently the most effective way to utilize content marketing as an individual or business. More and more people are realizing how effective blogging can be.

You need to learn to market yourself. With rare exceptions, every blogger that fails to market is always a failure, so I hope you also don’t fall into the pitfall of thinking that you will start a blog, just write and expect the above benefits to come to you.

Here are some things you should do to market yourself as a blogger.

1. Define Yourself

What is your purpose as a writer? What do you want to use your writing to help others achieve, and how is it a part of your blog? Define yourself; let people know why you’re different, and why they should trust you instead of the competition online.

Your message should be a core part of your unique difference and you shouldn’t be afraid to show this. Let people know why you’re different, let your domain name reflect it, let your tagline reflect it, let your design reflect it and let every article you publish on your blog reflect it.

2. Take a Stand

Don’t just maintain a blog like every other person. Don’t be afraid to offend those who aren’t a part of your audience if you will be changing more lives. It’s okay to offend others, as long as you do it in a healthy way, and with a goal in mind. What I mean, is that, not everybody will agree with your message, but that shouldn’t prevent you from telling the truth, neither should it force you to “soften it”.

Taking a stand will make you come across as someone that can be trusted because your readers will always expect the truth from you. Taking a stand will also help you build a passionate audience that is always willing to hear from you.

3. Build a Tribe

A tribe is a group of people connected to an idea, connected to a leader, connected to one another – Seth Godin

There is a different between building a tribe and amassing numbers and there is a huge difference between building a tribe and getting traffic. Your tribe is connected to the same idea as you, they are connected to the same message as you, with you at the center of everything and they are always passionate about anything you have to say.

Don’t just build an audience, build a tribe!

4. Network

You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living. They don’t seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together. – Henry Ford

Smart people don’t do it alone, neither do they expect others to come and meet them. They go out of their comfort zone, they network and interact with other people, and they work on ways to achieve a common goal.

Don’t just wait and expect success to come. Be proactive at networking with others in your niche. Always be there for them, and let them know you are. Focus on contributing value to each other’s lives, work on keeping each other accountable and utilize your networks to achieve mutual success.

5. Leverage Other People’s Audience

For every topic you choose to write about there are at least a thousand other blogs online talking about the same thing. Don’t just wait and expect people to discover your blog by chance. Go out there, meet people and show them to your base. Look for other bloggers with the same audience as yours and contribute to their blog as a way to build exposure for yourself. The process of doing this is called guest blogging, and you can read this article on my blog to learn more about it.

Image Credit


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Blogging Tips

22Feb/120

The Elements of Style will make you a better blogger



There’s a need for more and more content as things go along and get more and more mobile, but that also means there’s a new need to revisit some of the rules of grammar that have held up since the First World War There’s room in today’s modern world of iPads, mobile apps and smartphones for some good old fashioned common sense when to comes to language, and that’s supplied best in The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.

The book has been teaching writers how to work their craft for years now and it all started just a short time after the turn of the last century when a college professor, no doubt upset with the bad grammar he was seeing at the time, decided to print a book privately that was referred to as the ‘little book’ by the students back then. The nickname was appropriate.

The book was short for good reason. William Strunk Jr. wanted to take all the complex rules for writing the English language and narrow them down until they “fit on the head of a pin” according to an introduction to one of the volumes written by E.B. White and that’s just what the book does in this age of needing to get right to the point as far as the written word goes.

When the author cries “Omit needless words” on one of the pages (different depending on which version you have, no doubt) it was meant to be a rallying cry for people who scribbled long before we were blogging, but who had the same needs from their written words that we do today—namely to write what we mean as succinctly as possible in as few words as possible.

The Elements of Style isn’t just one of the books that you read once and then remember fondly or use to fuel polite and witty conversation afterward, it’s a manual that should be referred to again and again so that you can not only improve your writing in these questionable linguistic times, but also hone the skills that will make you a better blogger and tie you to a long line of past writers who faced the same questions and issues with their writing that you do now.


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Blogging Tips

3Jan/120

From Blogger to Book Author: The 4-Step Guide

This guest post is by Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer.

Some bloggers don’t start a blog to make money. They start blogging, because they have a message that the world needs to hear. In other words:

Some bloggers blog to get published.

Recently, I signed a contract with a book publisher. I had always hoped to one day publish a book, but I never thought it would happen in a few months.

What made this possible? In a word: blogging.

Planning a book

Image copyright Lasse Kristensen - Fotolia.com

If you want to go from blogger to book author, you’ll need to do a few things. But the pay-off can be significant.

Why you should publish a book

With the rising popularity of ebooks and self-publishing, why should you go with a traditional publisher?

Why even write a book at all? Doesn’t a blog suffice?

Well, no. Not always. In some cases, self-publishing (especially your first book) may not be a good idea.

Reasons to work with a publisher

Although self-publishing can work just fine, there are still some legitimate reasons to go traditional:

  • Marketing: A publisher will offer its resources and knowledge to help you not only promote your book, but consider the marketability of it before it’s published.
  • Editing: A publisher will help you with the actual writing, as well as proofreading and copyediting. Normally, you would have to pay someone to do this or do it yourself.
  • Authority: There is still a great deal of social clout when it comes to having a published book from a reputable publisher. Publishing a book will make you more of an authority in your niche.

Of course, some authors make good money off ebooks without ever going through a publisher. So this may not be for everyone. But it’s at least worth considering. (Even Darren and Chris G. released their Problogger book through Wiley. It’s not about money as much as it’s about influence.)

If you’re interested in becoming a published author, there are the three steps you’ll need in your path to publishing.

Step 1: Build a platform

All publishers want to know the same thing: Do you have a platform?

In other words, are you “legit”? Do you have the audience and authority to speak on a particular topic? Money is so tight in publishing that if authors don’t bring their own marketing chops, they have little hope of succeeding.

A platform can range from a podcast to a television program; however, in our case, we’re going to assume it’s a blog.

Why a blog is a great platform

Blogs are great for authors, because of the following reasons:

  • A blog allows you to practice writing.
  • A blog allows you to capture email addresses (with a service like Feedburner or Aweber).
  • A blog allows you to communicate a core message over time.

My blog has been instrumental in helping me find my voice as an author, as well as providing some content that I’m actually re-purposing for my upcoming book.

Step 2: Release a manifesto

Once you’ve built a blog and starting building a decent audience, you can now work on something that articulates your core beliefs: a manifesto.

A manifesto is a short, actionable ebook that you give away for free. The point of it is to spread idea and help you connect with your tribe (i.e. people who share your beliefs).

This can also be a great way to capture attention, by exchanging the ebook for people’s email addresses. I grew my email list from 75 to 1000 subscribers in a week, thanks to a manifesto. And it also caught the attention of my publisher. It works.

If writing a manifesto sounds hard or overwhelming to you, don’t worry. It’s not.

The DIY way to publish a manifesto

  • Find the content. Dig up an old blog post or series of posts that resonated with your readers.
  • Develop it. Build upon your original idea and edit out what’s irrelevant.
  • Finish writing. Shoot for 1000-10,000 words long. It needs to clearly communicate one, important idea. The shorter you can make it, the better.
  • Create it. You can do this through a program like Word or Pages (for Mac), or you can use a slide presentation program like PowerPoint or Keynote and export as a PDF. Michael Hyatt also has a great seven-step tutorial for how to do this. (Note: This may create a huge file, depending on the length of your e-book. If you get something that’s over 10 MB, you can use the program PDFshrink to make it smaller.)

Alternatives

If you’re looking to spread an idea quickly, you can even publish the manifesto through a site like ChangeThis.com. Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, and Guy Kawasaki have all done this. Only the best ones make it, though, so this doesn’t guarantee you’ll get an ebook published through them. (See mine here.)

You can also hire someone to do it for you, if you have the budget.

Step 3: Connect with people through social media

Social media is a great way to find fans and create advocates that will spread your work for you.

The great thing about social media is that it’s social (obviously), which means it can lead to other meaningful interactions, including real-life relationships.

From follower to friend

I’ve connected with more people through Twitter than any other way. This has led to grabbing coffee with other writers, picking up freelance gigs, and even getting to meet some of my heroes. It’s the best networking resource I’ve found.

Starting a Facebook page for my blog has also been a great way to share content and connect with my audience.

The people you connect with through social media may begin as followers, but they can quickly become friends and even patrons of your work. If you do it right—by adding value to your readers and followers—these people can become life-long supporters of you.

What better asset to have before publishing your first book than an already large and growing fan base? The publishers will be fighting over you.

Step 4: Establish your brand by adding value

Every author needs a brand—an established voice that makes his or her content unique.

Blogging can help you do this, because it allows you to practice in public. It also attracts an audience, which can help you in defining (and building) your personal brand as a writer.

Serve your way into influence

The best way to earn trust and establish a brand is to serve people.

Do the grunt work. Hustle to help people, and you will get noticed. In a world full of self-promoting sleaze bags, if you add value to people’s lives, you will never have a marketing. People will come find you.

This is a great way to brand yourself as an author, too. Someone who serves others doesn’t have a hard time selling books. People know you’re going to help them, so they’re eager to pay money to hear what you have to say.

And if you can demonstrate that, a publisher will be honored to work with you.

Interview experts

Another way to do this is by interviewing experts. You can seek out other authors and bloggers in your niche and ask to interview them. Do this over time and you’ll not only deliver value to your readers, you’ll also build relationships with influential people.

Pretty soon, people will come to think of you as the expert—which is exactly what publishers are looking for.

All of these relationships (if founded on serving others) will come back to help you. It’s true what they say: what goes around comes around.

You’ll be publishing a book in no time.

Jeff Goins is a soon-to-be-published author, blogger, and nonprofit marketer. You can connect with him on Twitter @jeffgoins and Facebook and get his free, weekly newsletter. You can also find out more about his path from blogging to book contract by getting his eBook Every Writer’s Dream: How to Never Pitch Your Writing Again, which is free for a limited time.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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From Blogger to Book Author: The 4-Step Guide


ProBlogger Blog Tips

27Dec/110

How to setup Google Feedburner for Blogger and WordPress

Integrating Google Feedburner with blog feeds.

Easy way to setup Google Feedburner to your Blogs and Websites. Make your blog posts popular. Help your readers to subscribe your blog posts updates easily through Feedburner's headline animator . Try now. Don't miss it!

The blog post has a write-up to setup your blog feeds to the place you desire.

Step 1: Sign-up

Login to Google feedburner using your Gmail account.

Figure 1.0

Step 2: Getting your blog Feeds

Get your blog feeds from the following URL

Blogger - www.yourdomain.com/atom.xml
WordPress - www.yourdomain.com/?feed=rss

Step 3: Adding Blog Activity Feed

Assume you have selected one of your blog feed.
In the Feedburner dashboard you will have an option to paste the blog feed link in an text box as below (Refer Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1

If you have a podcast in your blog then click on check box “I am a podcaster” and click next button. If you don't have a podcast in your blog then leave the check box and click next button. On the next screen you may alter your Feedburner title and feed address and click again next button.

Now your Feedburner would have been created and you can see it live in the feed address you have created as seen in the below image (Refer Figure 3.2). Now you can share your feedburner's blog feed to your readers and friends.

Figure 3.2

Step 4: Creating and configuring to Feed Management

In Feedburner created page you have options to move to next step to configure stats (Refer Figure 4.1 and Figure 4.2) or to skip to feed management page as seen in below screenshot (Refer Figure 4.3).

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.3

Step 5: Activating Headline Animator

Now you can click on “Publicize” button (Refer Figure 5.1) and you will be landing to a page "publicize your feed". In this, on left hand side you can see services listed as seen in the below screenshot and from that you can click “Headline Animator”. (Refer Figure 5.2).

Figure 5.1

Figure 5.2

Here comes the page were you have the code to configure the “Headline Animator” Feedburner in your blog. Before that you can change the theme, colour code, wrap long headlines and font size for your taste and click on the Activate button as seen in the below screenshot (Refer Figure 5.3).

Figure 5.3

Step 6: Selecting the type of Code

Once it gets activated you can see an drop down option at the top of the page to select the type of platform you are about to use the code. There are options like my space, blogger, wordpress and so. Also you may select other option (just gimme the code) as seen in below screenshot and click next (Refer Figure 6.1). A pop new window will be opened with the code to paste in HTML part.

Figure 6.1

Creating Feedburner Widget for Blog - In Addition, if you would like to add your blog post activity Feedburner to your blog or signature then you may select the respective option and click next so that it takes to the next level of widget. Suppose if you select Blogger blog and click next you will have a pop up window with "Add to Blogger" button as below (Figure 6.2).

Figure 6.2

Click "Add to Blogger" button and it will open a new window where you can signin using your blogger account. Once you Signin you will be taken to a page with "Add Widget" Button. Click the button to add to the Widget to your blog layout page. Now you can click Save button in top right corner for the widget to show in your live blog. This can make your blog visitors know your posts in blog and this can even tend to click on the posts.

Coming back to the main post...

Step 7: Copy and paste the Code.That's it.

Now you may copy the code and paste it anywhere in the HTML part.

This can be done by editing the blog post or HTML template and then paste the headline animator Feedburner code in the place were you like to display and click update.

TIP: If you have no idea about HTML then you can have the headline animator Feedburner code after Div or Table closing Tag and it looks like this or and not in-between some or similar code to avoid HTML error.

Now your code is updated. You can press publish button. That's it. You are done and it would look something like the one below in your blog.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Help Articles & Tips Blog - Jag's SEO A Day Blog

↑ Grab this Headline Animator


It is recommended to have your headline animator in your blog or websites for your visitors to know the activity on your blog.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Help Articles & Tips Blog - Jag's SEO A Day Blog

20Aug/110

Blogger Is A Valid Option For Some Websites



This is a guest post by ES. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I have been blogging for quite a while, and most of this time I used WordPress, as most of you guys. While I still think WordPress is an awesome platform, recently I rediscovered Blogger (not the free hosted service, but the CMS you can to host your own domains). I found that it has got many new features over the years, and that it might actually be an option to host some of our projects. In this post I’ll highlight those features.

1. GUI Interface for Customizing Blog Layout

You get an easy to use GUI (Graphical User Interface) to customize the Theme/Layout. You can customize the Site Layout width, background colour, background image, font size, font colour, font type, number of sidebars, sidebar placement location (left, right), footer, etc. If you know to hack the code, you can customize your site even more.

2. Stats

Blogger offers Detailed Visitor Statistics – Per hour, Per Day, Per Week, etc from within the dashboard. They also show country wise, OS wise, Browser wise split up of audience visiting your blog. You can register your Blogger blog with Google Analytics to get detailed stats reporting, if you wish.

3. List of Following Blogs/ Friend Connect

When you click the profile of a Blogger user, you can see the list of Blogs followed by the blogger. A Blogger user can also see the List of Blogs (and posts) they are following, from within their dashboard. So, there is no need to go to Google Reader to read your favorite blogs. You can even display all your followers using a Friend Connect Gadget in your sidebar. This makes it easier for everyone to read other (perhaps related) blogs and connect with other bloggers. Blogging, is all about connections!

4. Variety of Gadgets

WordPress calls these Widgets. In Blogger there are 1161 Gadgets (the last time I checked) available for showing off in your sidebar and even in the footer. Some innovative Gadgets include Display Image, Slide Show, List of Planned Events, Games, Daily Quotes, Daily Images, Aquarium with Fishes, etc.

5. Google Translate

There is a Sidebar Google Translate Gadget that enables your blog visitors to Translate your blog, without leaving your blog.

6. Native Adsense / Amazon Affiliate Integration

You might not want to monetize your personal blog now. But you might want to do it after 1 or 2 years, as I did. Both Adsense and Amazon Affiliate Network are fully integrated with Blogger and once you are approved in either program, its easy to monetize your site from within Blogger.

7. Blog list with their Latest Posts in Sidebar

Its possible for you to list the blogs you follow in your sidebar. Actually, there is one sidebar Gadget that links to the latest post published by all the blogs you follow and enables your readers to visit other blogs, if they like any of the post titles. Of course, others might come to your site like this too (from other blogs).

8. Own Domain & Email in your Domain

Both Blogger and WordPress.com allow their users to upgrade to a custom domain (Your own URL – yourname.com, instead of yourname.blogspot.com). Of course, this needs to be done at additional cost – Around per year. But for that money, Blogger gives you a free Google Apps account. Among other things, you can use this account to create up to ten email addresses with your own domain like name1@yourdomain.com, name2@yourdomain.com, etc.

9. Support for Different Languages

From within the post editor, you can type in more than 50 languages! Its actually Transliteration – You type in English and it automatically gets converted into the script of the chosen language.

10. Blogger Dynamic Views

This is actually an upcoming feature in Blogger and if you are not aware of it yet, you should see this awesome video.

About the Author:ES is the author of an Indian Musical Blog. You can read more about why he chose Blogger for hosting his Musical Blog instead of WordPress on this post.


Original Post: Blogger Is A Valid Option For Some Websites

Daily Blog Tips

19Aug/110

Tips To Use Blogger To Increase You Website Traffic



Traffic, what does it mean to you? If you are a blogger then traffic is your livelihood, without it your blog will not last. What you need to understand is traffic is what makes or breaks a blog and that is why doing everything you can to get traffic is essential to making sure your blog gets the following that it needs.

When it comes to getting traffic you need to go where the traffic already is, Google. Everybody uses Google, so why not use one of their own websites to help you get traffic? The two best websites that Google has in order to get traffic are Youtube.com and Blogger.com, for the sake of this article I am going to focus on Blogger to help you get traffic. The reason why Blogger is such a great way to get traffic is because they have a high page rank, lots of viewers each month, it will pass some link juice, and it is very easy to set and forget.

The first thing you need to understand is how to setup a Blogger blog to work the way that you want it to. What I always do is I build a 10 post blog about whatever the topic is that my website is on and then I interlink all the pages together. The trick here is to target 10 different keywords, my advice would be to target keywords with at least 1000 local monthly searches each. The reason why you want this much traffic is because not everyone will go to your site if it is found on the search engines and an even smaller amount of people will click on your link. Just remember that this strategy along with the following 4 tips will get you more free traffic in a short amount of time than you have ever thought possible.

Tips To Increase Traffic From A Blogger Blog

Promote The Blog

Everybody knows that you need to promote your own site to get traffic but for some odd reason they think they don’t have to promote other blogs or Web 2.0 properties. Trust me, when it comes to getting traffic even Blogger blogs need to be promoted. What I do is I will write articles for article directories and other blogs and I will use 1 link for my Blogger blog and the other link for my actual website. Another thing you can do to promote the blog is to use social bookmarking, it is easy and if done right will actually get you a decent amount of traffic.

Add Pictures And Videos

Have you ever gone to a website that didn’t have any pictures, videos, or anything other than text? Don’t you get tired of just reading? It has been proven that pictures and videos will keep a reader on your site roughly 37% longer and that is why you need them on your blog. Not only will pictures and videos keep your readers on the site longer but they will also make the site feel more lived in so that it doesn’t just look like it is there acting as a portal to your main site.

Keep Adding Content

If you want to get the most traffic as possible then you need to keep adding content to your Blogger blog. I am not saying you need to write 1 new blog post every day but you at least need to add 1 new post each month. All you need to do is make it look like the site was not forgotten about because search engines dislike sites that never offer any new information.

Build More Blogs

Do you have more than 1 website that you want to promote? If you have a few websites then you don’t want to use the same Blogger blog for all your sites, build more blogs. People are always looking for a shortcut but when it comes to getting quality traffic there really aren’t any shortcuts.

Do yourself a favor, get out there and see for yourself how powerful this technique is while you are thinking about it. I am not saying that I am the best blogger out there and I know for a fact that I don’t get as much traffic as many other sites out there but I know what works and this is one of those methods.

If you have had experience with Blogger and it is sending you a decent amount of traffic then let us know about your experiences in the comments below.

About the author:
Adam Snyder has been able to earn cash online through his service business and through online marketing for many years now, if you want to see how he makes over 00 a month online then check him out at DormRoomCash.com

 


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Blogging Tips

29Jul/110

The 23 Blogger Breeds—Which Are You?

This guest post was written by Stephen Guise of Deep Existence.

A new blogger is born today! Aw, look at her beautiful blue Twitter and Facebook icon eyes and her cute little RSS nose. This baby blogger does not know the perils of comment moderation, stalkers, low traffic, and spam that await her. I wonder what type of blogger she’ll be.

The blogosphere is populous and it keeps growing. With millions of bloggers out there, there are a certain number of very identifiable qualities that are seen. This blogger aims to cover as many of those qualities, or “breeds,” as possible.

While there may be some purebreds out there, 99.832% of bloggers will be mutts, possessing a combination of these traits. Keep that in mind and don’t blame me for oversimplifying your primary breed! It is highly unlikely that you are a purebred.

You can consider this a tribute to blogging, but it will be educational as well as I’m listing pros and cons for every breed. You will laugh. You will relate. You will (probably not) cry. Enjoy!

1. The Machine

Blogger machines know how to pump out content … like a machine. They post on a daily basis and sometimes multiple times per day. Microbloggers fall into this category as they write very short, frequent posts.

Pros

  1. SEO— the more content you have, the more information Google has to work with.
  2. The readers of a machine blogger know that they can visit every day and still get fresh content—possibly boosting reader engagement and traffic.

Cons

  1. Burnout—I can’t imagine having to post every day (let alone multiple times a day) without getting mentally exhausted. That could be because some of my posts take me 15 hours to write, but I know I’m not alone in this.
  2. Quality could suffer from the obligation to produce content every day and forcing the issue when inspiration is lacking.

2. The Ninja

Ninjas are stealth bloggers and the opposite of machines. While the machines are pumping out blog posts like ipads, the ninjas are sitting back for days or weeks without posting. When the time is right, the ninja strikes with a mind-boggling post and dashes away for another few days … or weeks.

Pros

  1. Every post is special. Like the Summer Olympics and World Cup are special for being held every four years, new blog posts are a rare treat for fans of the blog.
  2. Quality can absolutely be assured if each post is being crafted over several sessions and multiple days.

Cons

  1. The audience might forget you exist if you post once every fortnight.
  2. If a new post fails to impress, there is a high probability of unsubscribes or generally upset readers. The stakes are higher and the consequences are greater when you post less frequently.

3. The Social Engineer

Social engineers are on Twitter and Facebook more than their own blog. They are the masters of the social world. There is something about the way they conduct themselves online that draws people towards them. That something could be that they are connected everywhere with 50 different social accounts—Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Google, Yahoo Buzz, Reddit, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, etc.

Pros

Social Engineers are very popular. They know what social media platforms to use and how to use them best. Their reach is far and they are always up to date with the latest social gadgets (such as Google’s +1 button).

Cons

Oh, they have blogs too? Social media is notorious for sucking away valuable time for trivial socializing. Social engineers are particularly vulnerable to this as their popularity results in many social interactions.

4. The Name-Dropper

Chris Brogan said that…

Darren Rowse did this…

53 other bloggers in my niche are great because…

Excessive name dropping is not my favorite for a few reasons, but some people thrive on it. Name-droppers mention other bloggers very frequently. If you become very entrenched in the industry and your blog topic is relevant to what other bloggers have said, you might find yourself dropping names everywhere.

Pros

From what I’ve seen, name droppers benefit tremendously from their efforts. They come across as unselfish “community bloggers.” The people that they mention will often be so flattered that they return the favor or at least leave a comment and share.

Cons

If people with my mindset visit your blog and just see you dropping names all over the place in most articles, we’re going to ask, “Okay, but what do you bring to the table?” Sometimes name-droppers will drop names because they know it gets a lot of attention. Skeptical bloggers like me wonder if excessive name droppers actually do it for selfish reasons (i.e. it helps their blog grow).

5. The Soloist

I see Steve Pavlina as a near purebred soloist. I frequent his blog and know that he does not write guest posts, accept guest posts, have a public email address, or allow comments on his blog. He has never spent any money on advertising. When you visit his blog, you’re getting Steve Pavlina and nothing else.

Pros

  1. If you’re very good like Mr. Pavlina, then you can just focus on writing great content and word of mouth will eventually spread everywhere. Steve has said that his blog grew because people wanted to share his content. I have shared his content often.
  2. Not needing to worry about writing for others, moderating comments, editing guest posts, and responding to emails is a HUGE time and energy saver.

Cons

  1. Most blogs will die if they are not connected, advertising and promoting themselves, writing guest posts, allowing comments, etc.
  2. Being out on an island has drawbacks too. You might be perceived as elitist or self-absorbed if you don’t engage with others.

Note: When bloggers reach a certain level of fame, it is very common to develop soloist tendencies. Don’t take it personally, they just want more time to write posts and spend more time with their family. It takes a lot of time to thoughtfully respond to 100 comments, emails, and tweets per day!

6. The Copy Blogger

This one has nothing to do with copyblogger.com, a fantastic copywriting blog. Copy [space] bloggers are actually terrible. Some of them will rip content word-for-word from other blogs’ RSS feeds (some person is doing this to my blog). Others will paraphrase content they read on other blogs without attempting to create their own content.

Pros

It is possible to get better content than you’re capable of creating—for free and without doing any work.

Cons

Oh that’s right, it’s illegal. Darn.

7. The Guest

Guests are always seen writing for other blogs. You’ve seen it—you’ll read two articles on two different blogs only to see they were by the same author of yet another blog! Guests feel at home on other blogs that have more influence than their own. There is something warm and cozy about traffic spikes.

I am one of them. ProBlogger seems to be my favorite host. At time of writing, I’ve written as many guest posts for ProBlogger as the others combined! I write for my own blog sometimes too.

Pros

Seasoned guest bloggers know the pros already—inbound links for SEO, increased traffic, credibility, valuable connections, and many more. Guest blogging is good.

Cons

Guest posting on a relatively dead blog is not fun. You’ll find yourself refreshing the page to see if there is any action—but nothing. You’ll look for incoming traffic on your own blog—but nothing.

I once guest-posted on a blog that buried my post under three other articles in the same day (I won’t be posting there again).

8. The Host

Guests need hosts. The purebred hosts are those blogs who live off of guest posts. They have enough traffic and reputation to consistently attract high quality content.

ProBlogger is the quintessential host of the blogosphere. Darren blogs here every once in a while, but if you’re a regular here, you know that the next post is probably going to be a guest post like this one. Guests like myself are very thankful for the opportunity to contribute!

Pros

Darren doesn’t have to write another article for ProBlogger ever again if he doesn’t want to. There is enough content coming in that he can simply post whenever he feels like it. Premium hosts can ride the wave of success into the sunset if they so choose.

Cons

It does take quite a bit of work to sort through guest posts, edit them, and manage the whole guest-posting process.

9. The Commentator

You see this blogger everywhere. They are not guest posters, they are the commentators. After every blog post you read, you scroll down to the comment section, and sure enough, there is the dude that commented on the last five blogs you visited.

Pros

I love commenting on blogs. It is enjoyable to engage with others who produce quality content. There are also some who believe that commenting is a viable traffic-generating strategy, but that has not been my experience.

Cons

  1. Some comments are better than others. If you leave stereotypical “great post” comments everywhere you go, nobody will like you or visit your blog.
  2. If leaving comments is your main strategy for getting traffic, I doubt it is going to get you very far. Correct me if I’m wrong.

10. The Evil Spammer (Sploggers)

Spam. Did you just shudder when you read that? Recent surveys show that approximately 0% of bloggers enjoy spam (that includes the internet and canned versions). Spam isn’t always in the obvious form of broken English and a shady link—sometimes the commentators will covertly use your comment area as a platform to advertise their blog and products.

Pros

It can work to the tune of a whole lot of money for those who run automated programs. It can also work to get sploggers more traffic. (That link is from a 2005 ProBlogger article and is a fascinating read … a little dated, but still good).

Cons

Everyone will hate you because spam is the worst.

11. The Comedian

The comedian is always out to make us laugh. Some blogs have that as the only goal. Other blogs are about different topics, but have an author that can’t resist to squeeze in a one-liner or share a funny story.

Pros

Who doesn’t like to laugh? Seriously, I’d be interested to know the answer to that. The fact is that laughter is enjoyable and a successfully comedic blogger will be able to gain fans quickly because people love to share funny content.

Cons

If your humor fails to impress, it has the opposite effect of “gaining fans quickly.” There will be some people out there that don’t appreciate your particular style of humor. Humor doesn’t mix well with all niches (sewing?).

12. The Statistician

Statisticians see blogging as a numbers game. They are usually the ones who make the most money because they track what visitors or doing and why. Then they make changes based off of that information.

You’ll hear them talk about “conversions” a lot—which is the number of desired actions divided by the number of visitors. Three advertisement clicks out of 100 visitors is a 3% conversion rate.

Pros

As I said, they tend to be able to make more money by making tweaks and experimenting with their sales pages. Split testing allows them to isolate variables and make definitive conclusions.

Cons

  1. Statisticians could possibly make poor decisions by interpreting data incorrectly.
  2. Analyzing statistics is a time-consuming affair (but the results can make it worthwhile).

13. The Authoritative Guru

Gurus are the unquestioned leaders in their niche—Darren Rowse, Seth Godin, Brian Clark, Stephen Guise, Steve Pavlina, Chris Brogan, Leo Babauta, etc. They have legions of followers and their advice carries a lot of weight. It takes a lot of time, effort, and talent to be in this elite group.

What? You’ve never heard of Stephen Guise? Don’t worry about it.

Pros

Yes, these guys are pros. They do well financially, are the most respected bloggers, and carry an enormous amount of influence in the blogosphere.

Cons

With great exposure comes greater amounts of spam, haters, and hackers to deal with.

14. The Experts

One step below the gurus are the experts. Experts may know their subject inside and out, but they lack the notoriety of the gurus. There are many experts in each niche. It typically takes great content over time to build up an expert reputation in your niche.

Pros

Lots of traffic from people wanting trust-worthy answers, a high degree of respect from peers (including other media outlets), and a very loyal following.

Cons

Increased pressure. When you are considered an expert, the pressure is on to live up to that. If you say something half-witted, you can expect a strong reaction by those who are waiting for you to mess up so they can announce it to the world.

15. The Inspiration

I think of Jon Morrow from Copyblogger as the face of this group. His story is so amazing and inspiring that it has a profound effect on everyone who hears it. He is also a fantastic writer.

Blogging is full of inspiring people and stories. Stories of people quitting the 9-5 job they hated to blog full-time and make more money. Amazing success stories of very young bloggers making five figures a month and traveling the globe. Others like Tim Ferriss that seem to succeed in everything they do.

This is such a broad category because inspiration comes in many different forms from different sources. Sometimes the people inspire us, other times the content inspires us. I’ve come to think that blogging is a communication medium packed full of inspiration—a wonderful thing.

Pros

Everyone loves to be inspired. Much good comes from it—changing lives, changing the world, and success.

Cons

A con about inspiring others? The only possible con would be if you inspired others to live incorrectly.

16. The Grammatical Failure

These bloggers aren’t the best with written language. I feel somewhat bad about including this, but it is what it is. Most readers won’t demand perfect grammar, but we all have our limits of what we will tolerate.

Pros

It is possible to write posts very quickly if no attention is given to grammar.

Cons

If the grammar is bad enough, I and many others won’t revisit a blog. Undoubtedly, many promising blogs have died from grammatical failure. I do, however, remember seeing a blog with disgusting grammar that had over 4,000 subscribers—so it isn’t always fatal.

17. The Disruptor

Disruptors create waves in the still waters of the blogosphere. They call people out. The write controversial posts more often than not. They challenge the status quo.

Pros

Disruptive posts have a greater chance of going viral (something all blogger dream about) than posts that fit neatly into a well-known category. I’ve noticed that disruptors are usually popular because they stand out so much from the crowd. Julien Smith at inoveryourhead is a popular disruptor.

Cons

When disruptors try too hard and aren’t very good at it, it is like watching a middle-aged white man try to dance. (When I’m a middle-aged white man, I will change this stereotype, but I still have 25 years to go.)

18. The Marketing Maven

Marketing mavens know what combination of words will psychologically induce you to buy a product. Scary, huh? These bloggers are often found in the making money online niche and simply know how to promote themselves and products.

Pros

If you are an expert marketer, you stand to make a great deal of money online. In most cases, excellent marketing of an average product exceeds the sales of average marketing of an excellent product. Darren gave a great example of the magic of marketing in this article.

Cons

If you’re constantly marketing (I’m talking to you, Twitter broadcasters) and selling, many people will grow weary of you and you could lose potential business. Once a customer thinks you see them as a sales opportunity, they will be hesitant to purchase from you. Then again, savvy marketers know how to avoid this perception.

19. The Beloved

Everyone loves _____!

These bloggers have the personality and charm to somehow avoid the haters and gain (nearly) universal praise and adoration. My guess is that they use a potent airborne concoction of concentrated love powder that can be dispersed through the internet.

It’s possible that they’re just too amazing to dislike. Still, I think this becomes very difficult as you gain influence and notoriety … unless you’re Barbara Walters.

Pros

We love them. All of us.

Cons

What’s not to love about being loved?

20. The SEO Fanatic

You think you’re reading a post written for you, but sorry, these bloggers are having an affair with Google. Oh the passion … Er, I mean they just want to rank well for particular keywords.

Pros

Search engine optimization done right can result in massive traffic numbers and increased sales.

Cons

  1. SEO fanatics might be tempted to try some “black hat” SEO tactics that Google doesn’t appreciate and get banned or demoted.
  2. Stuffing an article with keywords has a chance of sounding contrived, unoriginal, and repetitive.

21. The Passion Purist

Passion purists refuse to write about anything they wouldn’t lose a kidney for. They aren’t into making money by working the system and using SEO on an untapped niche of little interest. They blog because they have passion for the subject matter. Some make money and some do not.

Pros

Passion is contagious, and humans are attracted to it. If readers sense that a blogger is very passionate about a subject and they share interest in that subject, there is a good chance they will stick around.

Cons

  1. Missed opportunities to gain traffic, money, and sales from writing about something that isn’t inspired.
  2. Only posting when passion is present could mean an erratic and/or infrequent posting schedule – the effect of which is negative (debatable).

22. The Money Purist

These bloggers will blog about anything to make money. Blogging is a job and a business to them and pa$$ions exist to be monetized.

Pros

  1. Money purists are very intentional about making money and therefore will plan from the start how they plan to accomplish that.
  2. They are very likely to make more money than most bloggers as that is their primary focus.

Cons

  1. Possible burnout as a result of not caring what they write about.
  2. Potentially less enjoyment (offset by extra money?)

23. The Conglomerate

These are massive blogs that have an entire team behind the operation and multiple writers. Engadget is a popular tech blog that falls under this category.

Pros

  1. They get traffic numbers that make me nervous.
  2. They can make an enormous amount of money.

Cons

Conglomerate blogs don’t have the personal touch that individual bloggers have. You don’t go to Engadget to engage with their writers—you go there to read about the iPhone 5.

Honorable mentions

The blogosphere is bigger than this article of 3000+ words, and I simply couldn’t cover everything. So here are some honorable mentions (you can guess what they might mean).

The Moral Compass/Preacher, The Emotion Generator, The Mommy Blogger, The Novelist, The Fake, The Mystery, The Lurker…

Which breeds did I miss?

Stephen Guise spent a long time writing this. He blogs at Deep Existence, where deep thinking is deemed appropriate. If you subscribe, you’ll get a free ebook on how to remove stress permanently. Deal?

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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The 23 Blogger Breeds—Which Are You?


ProBlogger Blog Tips

15Jun/110

The Team Behind My Blogs: From Solo Blogger to Business

One of the requests that I’ve received a fair bit lately from readers here at ProBlogger is for me to write a little more on the team I’ve put together to help me run and grow my blogs. So today I thought I’d tell a bit of that back story.

But first, let’s go back in time… (this full story can be found in ProBlogger the book).

Blogging: from hobby to job

  • November 2002: I started my first personal blog almost nine years ago, without even the faintest suspicion that it’d be anything more than a hobby. In fact, I half suspected I wouldn’t still be blogging by the end of 2002—I don’t really have a good history of sticking with most of my hobbies for more than a month or two (hence the collection of sporting equipment and gadgets in my attic).
  • December 2003:  By this point, I’d started to experiment with making money from my blogs (I had a couple by this point). By no means was it a “job” (not even a part-time one), but I was earning a day and was starting to get an inkling that there could just be some potential if I could only keep the earnings from my AdSense ads trending up each month.
  • April 2004: I was now earning per day from my blogs, having put extra effort into them over the last few months, and at this rate I started to consider my blogs as a part-time job. As a result my wife (V) and I decided I would dedicate a little more time to blogging to see what impact that would have.
  • June 2004: May and June continued to see the income grow and it passed 00 in a month for the first time. The goal of being a full time blogger grew. We decided to give it a six-month deadline to get to a full-time level, or I’d have to “get a real job.” I began to slowly give up other work as the blogging income grew.
  • December 2004: We made a decision that things were at a level I could go full-time as a blogger. Income went up and down over the next year or so. but I was able to give up all other work and just focus upon blogging.
  • September 2005: I published a post here on ProBlogger talking about how I’d reached the “six-figure” level of income from blogging.

To this point, things had really just evolved. There were not too many months where there’d been spectacular growth or spikes in income. Rather, it was a very steady growth and I while I was working a lot of hours, the idea of hiring someone to help on an ongoing basis never really entered my mind.

I did hire blog designers once or twice in these early years, but that’s about as far as it went.

I look at this first phase of my blogging for income as blogging moving from a hobby to a part-time job, then to a full-time job.

Blogging: from job to business

The next phase involved moving to more of a “business” mindset.

I guess the transition of moving to more of a business model began with the starting of b5media—a blog network that I began with a small group of other bloggers in 2005. While I’m still a minor shareholder of the company, I am no longer actively involved. But the idea was that each of us founders realized we could probably achieve a lot more if we pooled out efforts and worked with an expanded team.

That business grew rapidly, and while we made mistakes, we also learned a lot about business, blogging, and working with teams. b5media took on a number of rounds of venture capital, which enabled us to grow, and I began to see the beauty of having a team working on the same projects rather than just doing everything myself.

While I didn’t focus all of my energies on b5media, I learned a lot in that period.

It was also at this time that I began to explore other partnerships and also began to toy with the idea of hiring staff and/or contractors to help me. I realized that in my own blogs, I was approaching a ceiling in terms of how much I could do each day. As a result, in this time I took a number of steps:

  • There was a period where I outsourced the writing of one of my old blogs (no longer active) to another blogger on a contract/revenue share basis.
  • I took on Lara Kulpa to help with the administrative load (Lara still contracts with me today to help with comment moderation and community management on ProBlogger.com).
  • I worked with others on a revenue share basis for a while on the ProBlogger Job Boards (I now maintain this myself).

Today: the team

dps problogger team.jpg

My blogs have grown beyond what I can really manage alone. Lara still is involved but the last year or so has seen a number of additions to the team. What follows is an attempt to give some insight into the different levels of involvement that others have on my sites—both voluntarily and in a paid capactity (I’m sure I’ll forget someone):

  • Guest writers: Gradually over the last few years I’ve involved others in the writing of content on my blogs. I did this first on my photography blog, where today almost all of our posts are either from guests or a small team of regular paid contributors.
  • Paid writers: Toda,y this is solely limited to the photography site (I did have a couple of paid contributors here on ProBlogger, but that never really panned out). These paid writers on dPS write between one and eight posts per month and are paid on a per-post basis. At times there were up to 10 paid writers on the team, but this has decreased a little as we’ve developed more of a guest writer team—as dPS has a considerable audience writers are mainly involved to help grow their profiles.
  • Editors: I’m currently working with a number of editors on different levels. The main editor that regulars of ProBlogger will know is Georgina Laidlaw, who edits ProBlogger and FeelGooder. Georgina works with guest writers on both blogs as well as creating content of her own. She is also involved in the creation of ebooks, writing sales copy, and other editorial tasks. We also have a couple of other editors who have helped with editing and proofreading ebooks.
  • Ebook authors: Over the last few years, I’ve expanded my focus to create more products to sell. These have largely been ebooks to this point. At this stage we’ve created six ebooks on Digital Photography School, three here on ProBlogger, and one on FeelGooder. I’ve written some of these myself, but have also partnered with other authors on some. Authors work with us on a revenue share arrangement where my company acts as a publisher and brings audience, marketing, customer service, and so on, and the author brings expertise. At this point, we have published ebooks with four other authors, but will release another four or five collaborative projects by the end of the year.
  • Product production: To help with this increased production I recently contracted with Jasmin Tragas, who heads up the production of new products. Jasmin works with authors, editors, designers, and marketing to get products to publication. It’s enabled us to increase product creation incredibly, and has allowed me to focus my attention on other activities.
  • Community management: As I mentioned above, Lara helps with community management at ProBlogger.com, but I’ve also got the involvement of Simon Pollock (my brother-in-law) to manage the community at dPS (among other roles).
  • Customer service: Simon is also involved in giving customer support on dPS. We’ve recently installed ZenDesk to funnel all incoming emails on that site into the one place, and Simon handles all of that.
  • Designers: Designers were perhaps the first people that I hired in the early days of my blogging, and I continue to work with a number of them (all on a contract basis). These come in on short-term basis to design/redesign our blogs but we also work with two designers on our ebook designs.
  • Social media: I do the bulk of my own social media marketing, but in the last month or so Simon has also become more involved in this for dPS.
  • Technology: Last year, I contracted someone to manage the servers and back end of my blogs. This had previously been handled by b5media for numerous years, but last year, we moved everything over to Amazon (and a variety of other technology partners).
  • Ad Sales: Gabrielle Green heads up ad sales on both ProBlogger and dPS. While we do use some more automated ad solutions (like AdSense) on dPS, we’re also growing the number of ads we are selling directly to advertisers—both banner ads and newsletter ads. It’s been great to have someone dedicated to this task.
  • Marketing: Lastly I’m fortunate to have the involvement of the Web Marketing Ninja (who has been a regular guest poster here on ProBlogger). The Ninja has helped sharpen sales pages and emails, and formulate strategy for product launches and promotions.

None of the above people work full-time just on my blogs, and none are “staff”—they all work on a contract basis. Interestingly, in the last 12 months the main additions to the team have all been local to me here in Melbourne, which has enabled more face-to-face interactions among my team (including the recent team lunch, where we took the above photo).

So … what do I do?

Having brought others in to take on different roles, one might wonder what it is that I do these days. Having an expanding team has certainly taken pressure off on some levels, but there is still plenty to do.

My main focus these days is on:

  • editing dPS (coordinating guest and paid writers, scheduling posts, writing email newsletters, etc.)
  • social media (mainly on ProBlogger)
  • team management—with more team members come more management tasks
  • writing and developing content, both for the blogs as well as products that we’re developing
  • strategy and partnership development—at present there are at least four other products/projects that I’m working on
  • administration—I’m amazed just how much admin there is, and while some of my email is now flowing through ZenDesk to Simon there’s still a tonne that needs to be done each day
  • speaking—this tends to come in fits and starts but it’s been nice to be able to allocate a bit more time to local speaking opportunities lately.

I realize that this post has been quite long, but I hope it answers some of those questions that I’ve been getting more and more of lately.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

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The Team Behind My Blogs: From Solo Blogger to Business


ProBlogger Blog Tips

27Apr/110

3 Effective Ways to Grow Your Email List as a Blogger



One of the most important things every blogger should do is develop a system that keeps on generating income for them for years to come and when it comes to developing a system the importance of having a mailing list should never be underestimated.

I didn’t realize the importance of building a mailing list of active buyers until late in my blogging career, I decided to try out building a mailing list and at just a little over 140 subscribers I was able to make by sending one email to my list. Just take a look at that, that was only an email, and it was sent to less than 150 subscribers. What if I had ten times that number of subscribers? What if I had hundred times that number of subscribers? What if I sent the email to my list 3 times or more? Your list is one thing, and your knowledge on how to make money from it is another thing so the importance of building a list of hungry buyers should never be underestimated.

It is also important that you realize that when it comes to building a mailing list the larger your list, the more you can make and you should also realize that not all traffic is equal. I have tested a squeeze page of mine to convert at around 80% (that is 80 out of 100 people) for a particular traffic source while the same squeeze page converts at around 20% for another traffic source. So when it comes to building a mailing list, the size of your list and where your traffic comes from are of utmost importance. Since you can’t build a list without traffic the main aim of this post will be to give you tips on gaining more traffic to your landing page which will in turn result in subscribers.

Also, so that you know that building a mailing list works, I was recently looking at my overall traffic source and I noticed my mailing list was the top traffic source to my blog in general (I started building a mailing list around 4 months after starting my blog), my mailing list has sent several thousands of visitors to my blog and the visitors from my mailing list are one of the best converting visitors to my blog. They take more action on my blog, spend more time reading my blog and do their best to share and interact with my content. Below are some tips on how to effectively grow your mailing list as a blogger.

1. Make Use of Referral Services

As a blogger who has been blogging for over a year now I have been observing visitors to my blog and how they interact and I have noticed that visitors who come to my blog through another person’s recommendation spend more time on my blog. Building a successful online business is all about trust and since there is a lot of information online it becomes difficult for people to know which one to follow so they look for the help of people they trust and this can make a difference in you getting results or not.

With a lot of competition online now it is becoming even difficult to get people to recommend you to others so a lot of tools have been developed to help you get more people to recommend your services to others in exchange for an incentive. The incentive can be in form of a free ebook, software or plugin and people will have to refer 1 or 2 visitors (or more depending on what you set) to be able to get the incentive. One of the best tools that can be used for this is the Viral List Builder Plugin (You should know that I’m a cofounder of Viral List so my views might be biased, but it doesn’t really hurt to try it).

2. Guest Blogging

If you’ve been reading my work for sometimes now you’d have noticed how much emphasis I do lay on guest blogging.

Guest blogging is a great way to market your blog and your business and it is one of the most used way to build an audience now. All you have to do is look for a top blog in your niche, study and observe the blog and its audience and craft a great post that meets with the blog audience. In return, you will be able to include some details about you and a link to your blog below your post and through this you can get more exposure, traffic and quality links to your blog. In this case, you won’t be linking to your blog in your guest post but your email list landing page so you can capture visitors from your guest post to your mailing list.

3. Split Testing

Even though I’m no expert when it comes to this it has been fun working on it so far. I have been hearing about split testing for a long period of time but I haven’t had the courage to try it, I recently decided to test it when I launched my ebook on how I make money online and the results has been awesome so far.

What split testing does is help you test 2 or more pages so that when visitors try to access your squeeze page they will be showed different squeeze pages randomly (depending on the number of pages you’re split testing). What I mean is if you decide to split test 3 squeeze pages and 90 people visited your squeeze page they will be divided into 30 visitors each (making 3 groups) and each group will be shown a different squeeze page. The highest converting squeeze page will then be determined so you can make it a permanent squeeze page. A lot of people underestimate this strategy, but believe me, it works.


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