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ProBlogger 2006 Reader Review

So where is ProBlogger.net headed in 2006?

This has been a question I’ve pondered over the past few weeks in those moments between the beach, the restaurants, the pool, the bed, the books, the cafes, the sunsets, the afternoon naps….

Ok I’ve not pondered it as much as I thought I would – but it’s a question I’ve pondered at least twice since leaving for my holiday and it’s a question I’d love to ask you the readers of this blog. After all I’m only writing this blog partially for my own sake – you’re the real focus of it in many ways.

How would YOU like ProBlogger to develop over the next 12 months?

Perhaps I should break down the question into a number of areas for those of you who like that type of thing (if you’re not that type of person feel free to just answer the question on a broad level).

1. Community and Interactivity – One of the things I often say I love about ProBlogger is the community around it. Of course I’m probably positioned best to see it happening as I get all the emails, I see all the comments and I get all the feedback. While I love the ProBlogger community I see what we have here as just the beginning. Since I started this blog I’ve dreamt of finding ways to hand it over to it’s readers (who are collectively wiser than I am) more and more. While I would not want to step away from ProBlogger in terms of my own voice and personality (it’s central to my business) I’m interested to find ways of making this a more interactive space. I’ve got a few ideas percolating away in my mind on this – but before sharing them am keen to hear what others think.

2. Content – Are their topics that I cover too much, or not enough? Sometimes a blogger gets sidetracked without knowing it and needs people to tell them about it. Share what you’d like to see ProBlogger tackling in terms of topics in 2006. Similarly fell free to share about posting frequency (too many posts? Not enough? Are they too long or too short? etc

3. Design – What do you like and not like about the design of ProBlogger. It’s been over a year since this blog was designed and it’s had a few adaptations along the way. Might be time for a make over.

4. Resources – 2005 was the first year that I developed a product to be sold (six figure blogging). I learned a lot through working with Andy on this resource and am keen to explore creating others in 2006. While I will keep ProBlogger free and with the same level of helpful content I know some readers are willing to pay for increased personal interaction and focused content. I’m interested in hearing people’s thoughts on what types of products and services people would be interested in investing in (if any).

Anything else you’d like to feedback I’d love to hear. You can do so in comments below or via my contact form if you’d like it to be more private.

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. Victor says:

    Darren, since you are the blogging entrepreneur around these (and those) parts, I would like to see a simple service that you could provide: brief consultations. Althought the main purpose of my blog isn’t to strike it rich, I won’t lie and say it isn’t something that would be terribly bad. Here’s an idea for a simple service you could offer:

    Visit a blog, analyze it, and let that person know what kinds of tweaks, if any, that they need to improve revenue in the long run (i.e., Adsense placement, overall design, content, etc)

    I’ve mainly been tweaking over the last four months, using my intuition, and research only. Although my expectations are currently being met, I would still like to have a second set of experienced eyes look over it. This service could be the lifeline any blog owner might need.

    Just a suggestion though. I’m sure you’d have to set some serious guidelines here (so that it doesn’t soak up your time). But I think you may get away with a service like that (as long as it’s priced reasonably well).

    Take care,

    Vic

  2. Chris Howard says:

    I’m with Victor and I’d happily pay for that service too.

  3. Martin says:

    Welcome back Darren,

    Well, please don’t write about ePublishing (eBooks, eSeminars, eCourses etc) because I’m about to launch a blog on that very same subject :-)

    Yeah, I’m with Victor here – an blog analysis service where you offer all the tweaks sounds about right. I think about $125-$175 sounds about right for such a service.

    Yeah, wouldn’t mind a new design – how about going 100% of the screen and more white space.

    All the best for 2006, Darren.

  4. Tecfolio says:

    About the content, I suggest two new categories: “Blogs all around the World” (what is the state of art in Europe, South America, Africa…) and “Blogs and the Mass Media” (newspapers, television and radio will see us in 2006 as one of then because we have millions of readers).

  5. Pat Gundry says:

    Me too, on Vic’s suggestion.

    And, I like your design as it is and don’t desire a change. I’m studying it to see how I can apply some of your design functions to my own blogs.

  6. brem says:

    The problem, Vic is I’m afraid that even though Darren can indeed help with pointers, one would still have to do a little bit of trial and error to see what works for him and his readers.

  7. Stuart says:

    Tecfolio

    I can’t agree with you there – the traditional media will never see us as one of them because we’re all unwashed, untrained and uncouth barbarians.

    That’s why more and more people are reading blogs :)

  8. GreySheep says:

    how much would people be willing to pay for the type of review or consulting Victor is talking about?

    $100 for half an hour? How would you come up with a figure?

  9. Hagrin says:

    A forum. That would be another way to sponsor growth of a community on your domain. SEO forums are highly popular and some even require payment to view (which is ridiculous) so a free forum would be a great addition.

    And as for the design, I say keep the same layout, but provide the ability to change the color scheme based on a user cookie. I love orange (have it on my own site), but I find ithard to read sometimes.

    This is a great site – I would maybe apply the “it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

  10. Victor says:

    A forum would be great, like Hagrin suggested. Not only would that build more of a community here, Darren, it might possibly serve to help your SE efforts as well. I would be definitely up for that.

    As far as putting a price tag on the consulting services, a $100 for half hour isn’t too bad. A survey for something like this might help (or checking out compeittion, if there is any for something like this).

  11. GreySheep says:

    another thought. Forums are good although last time you talked about them here as an option for Pro Blogger Darren you were concerned about the work in maintaining them.

    One way around this would be to appoint moderators from your readership group. Perhaps you could offer incentives for this to readers either in ad sharing or by giving links to moderators and letting them post occassionally on the main blog. It’s just an idea, I suspect some readers would take it up.

  12. Stuart says:

    $100 for half an hour consultation???????????

    That’s the going rate for a sex worker – I think Darren is worth a little more than that don’t you?

  13. Victor says:

    Alright, $101.95 ;)

  14. Darren says:

    I’m sure he meant to say 100 pounds per hour….

    and how do you know the going rate for a sex worker ;-)

  15. Paul says:

    Mate, I think your content is pretty much spot on. But I would revisit your design.

    When I thinking of blogging references I think of Peformancing and I think of Problogger. On purely aesthetic grounds, Performancing is ahead of Problogger by some margin and I would like to see you make some of that up.

    Besides, blog design is one of the topics addressed by your site so I would enjoy seeing Problogger lead by example.

    Welcome back and here’s to a fruitful 2006.

  16. The design is very professional and easy on the eyes, it does NOT have to be redone….

    More things for 2006 – would be reviewed add-ons and freebies for Blog owners to add to their blogs, and also good Stats Trackers for really gauging traffic.

  17. Andy Merrett says:

    Though it can affect branding issues, perhaps you can have this design and a new design and allow people to switch between them – no extra work just two stylesheet files.

    Personally I think the design is secondary on a site such as this – you don’t need to look like Performancing etc.

    Maybe getting a mix of guest bloggers in on a more regular basis – not only will it add new voices but it will iincrease your content and footprint still further. I wouldn’t want to see much more than a 1:3 ratio of visitors to your own posts, though. It’s your voice most people come here specifically for.

    As for the content – well I still think you’re best placed to decide what are hot topics, what should be written about.I can’t think of anything else I’d want you to write that you aren’t already.

  18. Lyndoman says:

    Darren, the last thing you want to do is stretch yourself too thin.

    Maybe just more of the same is in order, people seem to like what is already here. I know I do. There is enough info on these pages to help someone become a Problogger, but online markets change and develop at a rapid rate so it’s good to keep upto date.

    One of the problems I have with blogs is that the oldest post is last and the newest post is first. When you first come to this site you really need to read the whole thing backwards, ie. start with the first post in the archive and go forwards (taking notes). I think newer readers of this site would benefit from some kind of indexing, where first things are read first. I know categories sort to some extent, but a as a newbie I would have loved something like SEO book. Perhaps it could be an e-book, perhaps it could even be a proper book, but I am sure you have already been approached – considered this.

    Hagrin mentions forums, this is what came to my mind. Of course you get different problems with a forum and it can get quite hard. I ran a games forum for 3 years and the “nutty” quotient can be very high. Although they can be very powerful if good mods are in place. I would see the whole place run day to day by volunteer mods who are looking for exposure, networking and keeping their fingers on the pulse. These people would have to be the people you can trust, I guess it would be similar to recruiting people for a blog network.

    It should lighten your email traffic Darren as questions normally sent to you would be posted on the forum and usually answered by the membership. The community you already have on this blog seem willing to share and communicate and I’m sure a forum would rock.

    I think this is the best direction for both you and the community, I for one would be willing to mod a section or two.

    What do you think?

  19. Blog Network says:

    hi!
    finally you are back.
    i think your have perfect blog & i suggest you to start a blogger network like
    worldvillage blogger network or Weblog inc.

  20. Graham Doel says:

    1. I like the idea of a forum alongside, thought you would have to think about how it could operate alongside the comments on the blog.. If you choose this option an RSS feed is vital!

    2. I love your content, rarely too long, rarely too short. Personally I think four posts is enough for me to keep up with. 31 days to a better blog nearly finished me off!

    3. When you follow the link from the feed reader to the first post of the day, there is no way to easily navigate to the next post without returning to the feed reader or going to the home page.

    4. You could put together some e.books of some of the best content you have. It’s all available free, but some people might pay a little for the benefit of not having to go searching for it.

  21. Aaron says:

    Darren,

    We’ve talked about this a little bit in the past, but it sort of goes hand in hand with Lyndoman’s comment.

    I’d take his back-to-front, front-to-back comment a step farther. The problem with blogs is that they are too linear. The reality is that you have a cosmos (excuse a term used far too loosely and commonly in blogging) of content that is far from linear.

    Tagging is always an option but as we’ve discussed, how you tag has a direct influence on where your blog goes. There’s actually two kinds of tagging.

    Cosmo-tagging: Refers to tagging your own content to leverage Technorati, Del.icio.us, etc. Your tags refer to third party services and has the net effect of more exposure to readers who might not read you.
    Intra-tagging: Refers to tagging of your own content internally. Tags point to other parts of your blog and has the net effect of offering more complete exposure to existing readers. This is what I have at Technosailor and embraces the idea of a blog as a cosmos more

    I should write an article on this now that I think about it…

  22. Joe says:

    Hey Darren,

    Welcome back…

    I agree with All who recommended a Forum, I could lighten the load of requests by E-mail. You could set a certain time and/or day that you would be at the forum and leave the rest to the mod’s.

    You certainly have enough knowledgable readers and commenters to take some of the burden of running a forum off your shoulders .

    I also agree that you should either set up a way to read the Blog from the beginning or Write a Book (I’d buy it).

    Joe

  23. Dan says:

    As others have mentioned I think it would be hard to keep a good link between a forum and the comments on blog postings… It may seem weird but I would look into having a site similar to sitepoint.com. Have a good forum, good articles, and a few specific blogs breaking down the pro blogging subject. This would let the community take over while keeping the confusion down.

  24. Joe says:

    Sorry, I just noticed… that should be “IT” could lighten, not I…
    Joe

  25. The banker says:

    A forum would not add anything of value for me, neither would a redesign of the site. Instead I would like to see more posts on writing content and promoting blogs.

    Less news about whatever the blogging networks, search engines and software developers are up to. And I wouldn’t pay for any content.

    I do look forward to the launch of your new blog, that you wanted us to come up with a domain name for.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I posted a comment this morning over on Darren’s blog about tagging his content. The comment was a follow-on of a Skype conversation I had with him late last year before the Christmas holiday. Let me expand on the thought here. [...]