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Blogging for Beginners Series – What’s Missing?

Blogging Basics
I’m coming to the end of my Blogging for Beginners Series (I have a plan for another 5 entries) but wanted to ask readers to take a look through the series so far and see if there are any topics that they feel are missing.

The posts I’m planning to write are another one on income (an introduction to Ad and Affiliate optimization), another design post (from Peter to round out his mini series), one introduction to Blog Networks post and two or three other general ones.

What’s missing?

Keep in mind that the series is aimed at beginners and the topics need to reflect this.

I’d love to hear your suggestions in making this tips collection as helpful as possible for beginner bloggers.

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. katiebird says:

    I’d like to see some discussion about comments. Does an active comment dialog encourage visitors? Or does is it off-putting?

    I know to some extent, it depends on the nature of the blog. Mine requires dialog (it’s a sort of on-line support group). So I try to answer almost every comment.

    But I’ve visited blogs where the owner is frustrated by the lack of traffic. And I wonder if more direct comment participation would help.

    I notice that you check in to most threads, and I like that.

    Which is a rambling way to say, that as a blogging newbie (2 months next week), I’d like to see a discussion of the role comments play in a blogs success.

  2. kalbzayn says:

    How about something about getting Google to index your site initially and then frequently?

    Maybe something about how Google uses a sitemap and whether that helps with the first question.

    Maybe something about how Yahoo handles similar functions.

  3. Jake says:

    Hey Darren,
    You did a great job. Definately another book waiting to happen by Darren Rowse.

  4. Joe says:

    Hey Darren,

    Maybe you should write something on Writers Block, if a newbie hasn’t run into it yet, they will.

    I know you have written on the subject before, but it may be a good topic for beginners as well.

    Just my 2 cents,

    Joe

  5. Bruce Allen says:

    I’m a big fan Darren, and the series has been terrific for the audience to which it was intended.

    I know I’m in the minority here, but I’ve found that the series has slightly taken away from my enjoyment of Problogger. While some of the reminders in the series are definitely helpful, I come to the site to find more advanced information on things that are going to be helpul to someone aspiring to be a pro blogger. The tips, advice and hints that I have found here have been invaluable, and I thank you immensely for them.

    This “Blogging for Beginners” series has seen me coming to the site, perhaps browsing the topic quickly and then leaving because there is really nothing new for me. I think the emphasis on the series has taken away from the other more valuable (in my opinion) posts that this site has provided in the past.

    Again, this is NOT meant to be mean, negative or anything like that. Darren is still my idol! But as a loyal reader, I felt I had to express my feelings on coming to the site as of late. I’ll still come every day with enthusiasm, but wanted to let you know my two cents on the matter.

  6. Carl says:

    Networking – How to get that list of people that you can contact if you want help, want to talk about your latest venture and get their opinions ect.

  7. katiebird says:

    Bruce, I hear what you’re saying and I like the advanced stuff also. But I don’t think a recurring series hurts the tone of the place. This might be a topic you aren’t particularly interested in. But, Darren posts several (or more) times a day. And he’s bound to have things that interest you. Even on the days he posts a Beginner Article.

    I’m not particularly interested in the AdSense stuff right now. But, it hasn’t driven me away.

    It’s just my opinion. I’m not trying to change any minds.

  8. Aaron says:

    Actually, I agree with Bruce. Not from the standpoint that it’s taken away from the site and heck, I wrote two of the pieces. But as someone ont he outside, I thought I’d sensed a drop in interest from readers. I don’t know if it seemed like the comment count was down or what. It just seemed like a bit of a muted response of late. Who knows… Darren’s established high standards to measure up against.

  9. katiebird says:

    Again, this is just my opinion. But he’s had a rough time the last couple of weeks with feed issues and a DOS attack. I guess I attribute the quiet to the lingering after effects of those issues.

    But, I like the tone here as much as the articles. I get ideas from his articles, the comments, the archives.

    If the Beginners series stopped right now, I’d be happy with whatever came along, I’m sure. So don’t mind me.

  10. Marco says:

    Darren, I would like to see some basics SEO and how to get started with adsense.

  11. @KB:

    Yep those probably play in too.

  12. Brion says:

    How about the first 10 things you personally did to generate traffic?
    Is it important to use a custom made template? How essential is SEO for blogs? At what point should you add advertising? If you have the money, should you try adwords PPC advertising to build a quick base of hits for your site? What should you look for in hosting providers for your blog?

  13. MarkB says:

    Hey Darren…

    I wrote a nice (even if i say so myself :) article on SEO for blogs..in particular WordPress blogs and how to get it done successfully, using a bunch of handy plugins etc that I’m sure are available on most platforms.

    Feel free to contact me, if you think this article would be of use… I won’t post it here… not trying to spam your blog :D

    Love your work.

    Keep it up.
    Mark.

  14. Rich Owings says:

    Not what you asked, but how about an intermediate series? Maybe “Taking your blog to the next level.” I’ve been able to learn HTML pretty easily, but CSS is another beast entirely. Is it best to just pay someone to do that work for you if you’re not technically inclined? Another good intermediate topic would be internationalizing your revenue stream. A large percentage of my readers are outside the US. I believe AdSense is serving them, and Chitika is too (for the most part), but not Amazon. How can I capitalize on this traffic?

  15. Leon says:

    I would like to something on encouraging repeat readers (other than RSS and email subscriptions). I have both of them on my blog and people hardly use them, and I’ve seen plain ol’ simple blogs that get several visits and like a dozen comments for each post!

  16. Gavin White says:

    Very Interesting and Informative Site

    Gavin

  17. Ryan says:

    I like the idea that I read above about Google indexing your site. Maybe also about getting into the DMOZ and other such directories.

    -Ryan

  18. Vlad says:

    I think you should have an intermediate and an advanced series for more experienced bloggers.

  19. James Brown says:

    Great advice for newbies or pro’s!

    Keep up the good work :)

    Cheers
    James

  20. Chris Albon says:

    I’d like to read about making money “because of your blog” instead of “from your blog”.

  21. Would love to see intermediate series; with posts about template creation/customization, plugins,increasing organic traffic,editing (after writing) articles,white hat seo.

    Love the blog, interesting that others were commenting about the traffic levels – I found in the last couple days that I am deleting several from my reader without visiting. A couple weeks ago, I think I visited every post.

    Keep up the great work!

  22. katiebird says:

    Well I guess I’ve got one answer. This place is officially on my list of important sights — I’m checking back every 20 minutes just to see if there’s something new. And sighing mightily when there isn’t. (and I know, RSS would tell me in a flash — but I’m not counting on it as the final authority yet)

  23. Jon Tillman says:

    Firstly, I want to thank you for this series (and for this blog). It has gotten me off of the preblogger fence and down in the trenches, actually blogging.

    However, I would like to see some information on how to manage the “many blogs” idea instead of the “one-blog-many-categories” style. I am working on getting several other blogs off the ground, all tightly focused, and some Beginner information on managing that process would be invaluable.

  24. Cary says:

    Jon’s got a great point here…I run a number of blogs now, but I’ve never seen anyone address just how they go about managing a full load of blogs.

    I of course have my own process now, but I’d rather not re-invent the wheel any more than I have to!

    ;)

  25. It might be helpful to have something more on how to custmise templates. I know there are hundreds of templates out there for WordPress – but, as a complete newbie, there’s nothng I actually want to use. So, instead of starting to blog, I’m spendings days and weeks learning CSS and PHP. (I know, I should pay a designer… but money’s tight and I want to be in control. Besides, I don’t actually know what I want yet, which is designer’s biggest nightmare).

    Another possible topic is pictures / images in blogs. I don’t mean the design elements – I mean images inserted into everyday blog posts. How do bloggers deal with copyright? It looks to me like a lot ignore it. What are the ethics around linking to a picture on someone else’s site? You’re not ‘stealing’ their pic by downloading and uploading it onto your own site. Instead, you ‘steal’ their bandwidth.

    I’m particulalry interested in this as I’m starting a blog about a particular sport, so there’s lots of great pics available on mainstream media sites. But I have no right to use them…

  26. Marty says:

    Being new to the blogging fold, I’d like to know how the bloggers that do product reviews get the product to review. Surely they’re not buying everything they review. Do they get info from the manufacturer website, or have company news sent to them? I’d like to do some type of product review blog as I really enjoy reading some of them myself. My current blog is not good enough to get me accepted into Adsense or Chitika…I’ve tried.

  27. Rich Owings says:

    Here’s a couple of ideas:

    1. Keywords…For example, how many keywords should I list? A post can have 20 terms someone could search on. Should I list all 20 or only a few “key” ones.

    2. Images…Should I resize images? If I load hi-res images (thumbnailed on my post), will it eat up bandwidth? How do I resize them?

    Thanks for considering these. I love your blog and visit it every day.

  28. Getting indexed by the search engines in the first place can be accomplished in several ways. The most common technique is to receive an inbound link from another blog or traditional website that’s already indexed. The search engine spider program will follow the link to your blog and index it. If you have no such links, you can generate them yourself by submitting your blog to the many free for entry blog directories. They are indexed on a very frequent basis, and your blog will be indexed along with them.

    Another method is to activate an RSS feed to your blog and then subscribe to your own feed. The spiders will crawl that feed. Keep pinging your blog as well to keep the spiders returning to your blog by reminding them of fresh posts all ready for inclusion in their index too.

    Don’t submit your site to the search engines like Google, Yahoo, or MSN Search. Only submit to the directories and RSS feeds. The search engines will find your blog and index it faster that way.

  29. Niall says:

    I’d like to know about the efficacy of pinging/manually submitting to Technorati and/or other blog/RSS directories. Worthwhile, or will they find you anyway?

  30. Jon Tillman says:

    Heck, while we’re at it, some sort of (near) exhaustive list of blog/rss directories to ping would be nice…