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ProBlogger – Reflections on Guest Blogging

I thought I’d give a quick update – we’ve finished our tour of Turkey (amazing) and are back in London for a couple of days. I’m slowly leaving holiday mode as I have a couple of meetings lined up over the next day or two. Some are blogging related, others are not.

On the blogging front I’m trying to hook up with some of the gang at Shiny Media tomorrow (update – just heard from Ashley and we’re doing it). I’ve been a big fan of some of their blogs for a while now and am looking forward to picking their brains and perhaps having a beer with them.

We’re only here for a couple of days so I’m also trying to fit in a bit of sight seeing and relaxation. I’m going to see Coldplay tonight which will be fun.

Tomorrow night we head for Singapore for a few last nights of holiday before heading home at the end of the week when normal blogging here at ProBlogger will resume.

In the mean time I’m left pondering my ‘guest blogging’ experiment over the past month here at ProBlogger and am interested to hear your reflections both as readers and guest bloggers. Have you enjoyed the change? How have you found the group blog experience? Has it added to the value of ProBlogger? Would you like to see it continue in some way?

A couple of people have already emailed me to say they’ve both appreciated the new voices and to say that next time I go away perhaps I should only have one guest blogger. I’m interested in others opinions either in comment or via email. One person suggested I continue to allow this blog to be a group blog – another suggested I invite one guest blogger to join me each month so there is some rotation of new voices. I’m unsure as I’ve barely been online to follow how its gone. My only initial impressions have been:

- unique readers are a touch lower than normal (I suspect this is largely due to a slightly lower posting frequency than normal)
- comments levels are up (on a per post level) – the blog seems to have been more interactive in my absence. (I suspect this is partly due to less posts per day which means posts stay on the main page for longer – it also says something about the quality posting that has been done over the last few weeks).

Anyway – I’m not thinking too much about it until I get home – but am interested in your thoughts.

I’m also interested in the reflections of guest bloggers from my other blogs who’ve been doing an amazing job while I’ve been away.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I clicked through less, largely because it wasn’t YOU writing.

  2. Jacob says:

    Yeah, I don’t know what it was, but I also barely clicked through because it wasn’t you.

  3. David says:

    It was fun to read what others had to say on the subject here on problogger.
    Also, I found it great fun to find articles for Laptop Blog, but it does take a good amount of work to find the latest content. Hopefully I will have a good amount of stuff to put up before you get back.

  4. Andrew says:

    To be honest I didnt really notice if it was you or not blogging. The standard was still high and interesting as usual. Is not the declne in numbers perhaps because of summer in the north rather than the quality of the posts?

  5. Gary says:

    I’m in agreement with Jeremy & Jacob – I haven’t been clicking through nearly as often.

    I read ProBlogger because I find your thoughts and ideas useful and they make me think. I can’t say that for everyone else.

  6. jim says:

    With multiple bloggers writing, I think there was a bit of disjointed-ness where posts didn’t really flow and relate with one another (as much as if you had only one person writing, you) – so you had a dozen posts of a dozen individual topics, as opposed to your typical style where you might have a dozen posts on perhaps four or five topics. That may explain the higher interactivity despite the lower posting frequency.

    Personally, I thought the blog carried on well in your absence and I still learned quite a bit while you were gone.

  7. A blogger’s point of view, or “voice” is the main ingredient of a blog. When that fragments because of multiple guest bloggers, the backbone disappears and the blog becomes an invertebrate, like a jellyfish. Some of the contributions were very good, others so so. The self-promotion got a bit hard to take some times. Stick with your winning formula.

  8. Ken says:

    All in all, I think it was a great experiment, that’s what it was, an experiment. I think people who decided to click less missed out on some great insight.

    As great as a blogger Darren is, he is still one person, it’s always great to get others perspectives and I know Darren is the first to say this as you can see from his openess in meeting with other groups and bloggers for ideas.

    For myself, I found the experience enormously beneficial, people have been e-mailing and commenting me with some great stuff from Darren’s Digital Photo blog and my own personal blog.

    It’s opened up more doors for me and has brought me more readership. I just hope to add a few more posts that I’ve been meaning to post for a while now.

    All in all, if given the opportunity, I would love to come back on either as a guest blogger or part time blogger.

    As for the self promotion, I have to admit I was turned off by some of it too, I figure if people like what was written, they’ll visit the site of the person who wrote it. I hate spam/commercials and etc, so I tend to just hope people will follow through.

  9. I clicked through because I was curious. But the format is different. Before the guest blogging, content was key — I mean, you scooped everyone with insightful content. Over the last couple weeks, it has been about personality — mind you, Darran, you have personality — what I mean to say is different flavors and different ways of doing things. I have quoted ProBlogger a lot less, but I have commented a lot more, if that makes any sense.

  10. Tony E says:

    I thought that overall, the posts were a nice change though I agree about the self promotion comment. I look forward to you blogging again after the nice vacation you’ve had. I also enjoyed guest blogging on the PDA Review blog this month. Have fun at the Coldplay show!

  11. Cary says:

    For me anyway, the reason I think I commented more while Darren was gone is because Darren’s voice as an author is very authoritative…I seldom feel I have anything to add to the conversation because he has covered it so well, but the mix of different guest-bloggers for the last few weeks really made ProBlogger feel like a big social gathering, so i was more inclined to comment.

    I personally clicked through on most of the posts, and found them well written and inciteful in general, but they were less often relevant to what I do, which suggests to me that Darren is writing very close to his subject, while some of the guest-bloggers stuck to their niches, even if the weren’t perfectly suited to ProBlogger. A couple of posts seemed like blatant self-advertising, and those ones were quickly dismissed, and the authors noted ; )

    I really enjoyed being exposed to some other great bloggers, and i feel like i made some great new contacts via this experiment!

    Glad you had a great trip, Darren : )

  12. David Finch says:

    In general I thought that it went well. There where a few posts that had some really great information. While at times there did seem to be a little self promotion, there still was good content.

  13. Ian McKenzie says:

    I haven’t clicked through much either. There’s something about knowing your “voice” that lends credibility to the content.

  14. Smart Money says:

    Overall the content has been good. Not as ‘on top of things’ as Darren usually is, but high quality.

    I’ve been really enjoying guest blogging on your Personal Finance blog. The team effort and back and forth between the three of us has been a lot of fun. Also, getting to speak to a different audience, with completely different expectations has been cool.
    I also have found myself being determined that the daily page views will be higher when you return than when you left, a pride thing and respecting the fact that this is how you pay the bills.

  15. JSLogan says:

    I’m one of the guest bloggers.

    My perspective is ProBlogger is much better with Darren. Darren’s voice and style make ProBlogger what it is. Comments and participation follow the tone Darren sets. The whole thing works.

    It works less with guest bloggers.

    As a blogger, I find this experience highly interesting, especially as it may relate to multi-author blogs. There’s a lot to learn from this experience.

    Of further interest is I found myself reading ProBlogger less than when Darren is at the helm. It just doesn’t read the same. Although there were many great posts and information imparted…it just wasn’t ProBlogger.

  16. Speaking of just this blog (since I don’t read the others) I think the writing quality (spelling, grammar, typos, and style) and consistency is better with just Darren. And for me, that’s important when reading a blog – it’s not just the subject matter that’s important, it’s how it’s conveyed.

    For an experiment, it was fine, but next time, I’d probably (as a reader) just prefer to see fewer posts, or nothing. Though I guess that wouldn’t be so good for the income stream…

  17. Darren Rowse says:

    Thanks for the responses so far both here in comments but also via email. I’ve received all of them and am taking all thoughts on board as I consider the future of ProBlogger.

    Whilst I’ve had a break from blogging this past few weeks I have done some serious thinking about my blogging business and have begun to map out some new directions and projects that I hope to start up in the upcoming months.

    Your comments so far have been very helpful in considering a few of the ideas.

    Keep them coming in.

    If you have any suggestions on what you’d find helpful from ProBlogger I’d love to hear them also.

  18. Chrispian says:

    From a guest blogger point of view, it was pretty fun. From a readers POV, I do rather like reading your spin on things. That’s what drew me here. Still, I also read several of the guest bloggers so it was a great way to get some of my daily reads all on one place, especially on the topic of blogging.

    I think this topic is just going to get bigger. I don’t know about letting us “temps” stay on here. I think most people are coming to hear your voice. But perhaps there is a another blog in the idea ;)

  19. Ken says:

    While Darren has been the main focus of this blog and the reason why we’ve come, it seems ProBlogger has gone beyond just Darren and become the town center.

    Think about it, would any of us have gotten to know one another or found each other’s blogs without Darren in a place of influence?

    I’m glad this happend because I also got to see what Darren considered a good blog too and I believe it was a great thank you to those who have remained faithful to the craft of blogging or else Darren would never have asked/accepted you as a guest blogger.

    All in all, maybe a mix is better?

  20. Ben says:

    I’ve appreciated having some newcomers on board. There’s nothing wrong with solely Darren posting but the novelty of newcomers does entice. Maybe a rotating guest blogger into the future would be interesting…?

  21. Melody says:

    As a fairly new blogger, I felt lucky to discover ProBlogger so early on in the process. While I did read some of the posts – and found much to value – it’s interesting to realize how strongly intertwined Darren and ProBlogger are in my mind. Therefore, if the format changed significantly – if the past weeks are any indication – I’m not likely to read as often.

    However, the idea of inviting a guest blogger to “join you” for periods of time might be another interesting experiment. Perhaps even to see an active dialogue – of which PB founder was a part – would be intriguing.

    Thanks to all for the thought-provoking posts. And good to have you back…almost. Enjoy the last leg of your trip, and the concert!

  22. I enjoyed the experiment, but I did miss your content and continuity. The quality was less consistent–there were some great posts and some I didn’t bother to finish reading.

    I like the idea of having a guest blogger(s) on a regular basis. If it’s done right it would bring new voices in without losing your own…

  23. David says:

    I should also mention, that any other guest blogger that you had working on Laptop Blog…could have helped out a bit more. :P

    All in all it was an excellent experience, and I would love to discuss my continued stay on Laptop Blog…whenever you have time.

    Sad that Chris Pirillo never came and said hello, I was hoping to read his point of view on the whole thing.

  24. Jack Swift says:

    I normally read ProBlogger every day and I didn’t think it had anything to do with Darren’s “unique voice” or anything like that. But I guess it really does. I probably only stopped by twice during the guest blogger experiment. So I guess it really is your writing/voice/etc. that brings me to the site on a regular basis. Keep up the good work.

  25. Netwalker says:

    I liked hear diferent voices around here. I think they all followed the usual content and they do it with quality.

    Was a good experiment, and the final decision will be up to you. I think that your idea of having one or two guest bloggers by month could be a good choice.

  26. I have only started reading ProBlogger since this year so I can give you a recent reader’s point of view.
    Many guest bloggers wrote very good and useful posts, that’s why I kept coming back here even during Darren’s absence.
    I think guest blogging is a good thing and I was thinking about experimenting it on my own blogs…
    On the other hand I felt like ProBlogger was a sort of “club” where the people posting and commenting “knew” each other, it felt a little bit exclusive -I have to admit this may have nothing to do with the guest blogging-. Then again, the one time I wanted to write a comment on a post by a guest blogger I didn’t do it because of that closed-club feeling though I am writing now on Darren’s post on a similar theme… It seemed the guest bloggers were content in just interacting with each other anyone else’s voice would be superfluous.

  27. Guest blogger Stephan Spencer here. I only posted once (really crazy busy this month, sorry!). I think it was a GREAT idea to recuit guest bloggers rather than let the blog go dark for a month while you were on holiday. However, I would have recruited only a few bloggers rather than over 20, and have a mutually agreed editorial calendar and posting frequency. There wasn’t any real cohesiveness to the guest blog posts. I think it came through from reading the posts over the month that the guest bloggers weren’t talking to each other and coordinating. Just my 2 cents…

  28. Ken says:

    I think Darren tried to be more democratic in allowing the guest bloggers to write on what they felt would help the rest of become more pro in our blogs.

    As for the closed group feeling, sorry you felt that way. I have to say that most of the times I’m commenting here, I don’t know the people who have commented already so I just dive head first.

    Blogging does require a lot of putting yourself out there in terms of your writing, personal info and etc. But I find that bloggers are very open to discussion and different views because it helps hone their skills.

  29. Teli says:

    Hello Darren,
    I hope your trip is going well :).

    Re: Click through rate to ProBlogger
    I honestly didn’t click through as much and I checked the feed a lot less often because it wasn’t you. I did find a few shining star posts which I commented on. All in all, I believe having the guest bloggers was a nice touch – but I’m in accordance that the number of guest bloggers to ProBlogger should have been less (maybe one or two). Once I got used to your writing style, coming back and seeing so many different “voices” seemed a little daunting to me.

    Re: On being a guest blogger
    Blogging is hard work :). With that said, I enjoyed the moments I spent researching and coming up with content, however, I noticed you didn’t have a way to “future date” posts on the blogs I was guest blogging for and that dampened my spirits a bit because I had planned a few articles that I wanted to have released over a period of days instead of all at that moment.

    I also learned that I am a lot more cautious with someone else’s blog than I am with my own. I received a comment on one of my blog posts (which was unexpected). That got me thinking of the potentially spammy (but not overtly so) comments and I didn’t know whether I should edit them, delete them, or what I could do with them.

    My final thoughts – guest blogging has been fun, lessons have been learned and ideas have been conceived :D.

  30. BJ says:

    From a reader’s perspective, while I did enjoy the guest blogging posts, I found myself not checking your feed as often as I usually do. Usually whenever I’m going through Feeddemon (and given my work routine, this s usually many many times a day) I check your feed at least once o see if you’ve posted anything new. I didn’t do this as much while you were gone, and while the guest blogging posts I read were informative, I really did miss your posts, Darren.

    I think it’s a combination of your voice or style, and the fact that you are always really on top of things in the blogging world. I know I’m going to find the latest news going on in the problogging world here, and I guess I’ve missed that a lot.

    From a guest blogger’s perspective, I’ve really enjoyed my time as a guest blogger. The SEO Blog was a nice challenge because it kept me on my toes keeping an eye out for the latest SEO news, which was a bit harder than I thought it would be. So it was a good thing you had so many other guest bloggers there!

    I have also really benefited from my time as a guest blogger on the Camera Reviews site. I found I was far more disciplined as a guest blogger on that site than I tended to be for most of my own blogs, and as a result, I’ve been far more productive on my own niche blogs. And it was a good experience searching for the latest information and news and writing them up on a timely basis. I also got to meet Chrispian, my fellow Camera Review blogger, and that was another benefit.

  31. Cyril says:

    (Sorry to interrupt… Darren, did you have time to check my mail about the interview? Have a nice holiday :)

  32. Craig says:

    I initially clicked through as per normal when the guest bloggers kicked in but later found myself losing interest. A lot of the topics simply didn’t interest me and the ones that did simply didn’t have that Darren pizzaz, the new angle nor eye-opening insight into the old. Soon I stopped clicking through unless titles or Author names really caught my eye. It’s a lot about the way Darren writes that keeps me coming back, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy some of the guest bloggers.

    For me its the topic of this blog that keeps me entertained. “Helping Bloggers Earn Money” and I think with a number of bloggers what lost it for me was a lack of real direction there.

    I’d personally prefer to see the old ProBlogger with occasional guest bloggers and possibly a seperate a fork blog for all the rest who wish to share in a ProBlogger community project. Something along the lines of Urban Vancouver multi blog/portal style.

  33. It was a hard time without you. The reason why your Blog is so good and I read is you. Your guests have also own Blogs – however I read your Blog. That has a reason.

  34. muuhsvi says:

    Hi all!!! Cool site!!!

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