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Mark Pilgrim Gets Back in the Game

Mark Pilgrim is back. Mark Pilgrim was actually one of the early shapers of my philosophy on blogging and left me somewhat disappointed when he left the game a few years ago. It looks like he’s back though, based on his entertaining (as a parent) entry on bath time with his child, one cannot be sure what shape his blogging will take this time around.

Hat Tip: Blog Herald

15 Blogging Tips and Tools – Blog Case Study

The following post was submitted by Easton Ellsworth as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series

Hello! I’m Easton Ellsworth, associate editor for the Know More Media network of blogs about business. I blog at Business Blog Wire about corporate blogging. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah with my wife and baby.

Know More Media launched in December 2005, using the publishing power and search-engine-friendly nature of blogging to establish an online network offering business news and information on a wide range of topics. Blogging makes it incredibly easy to publish on the Web, and has done wonders for our organic traffic (traffic from search engine results and other links instead of from paid advertising).

Business Blog Wire was one of the first six KMM blogs. There are now more than 45 KMM authors publishing about 100 posts daily to 50-plus blogs!

I published my first post on October 17, 2005 and immediately found blogging extremely enjoyable.

We currently monetize our blogs using a mix of Google AdSense and affiliate programs. So far, so good. Blogging is like farming: You typically must spend months of arduous labor before you can finally reap the fruits of your work.

Since I began tracking my blog’s traffic a couple months ago, I’ve averaged about 70 unique visitors and about 130 page views per day. You can see my Sitemeter stats here. Note: Since I began posting three times a day instead of one, my traffic has approximately doubled.

My future ambitions for Business Blog Wire include more reviews of corporate blogs, more interviews with corporate bloggers and more collaborative projects with my readers. I believe that the Web has tremendous potential as a tool for human collaboration – the Wikipedia is a shining example of that. And I hope to invite more of my readers to work with me to help other business bloggers be successful.

My favorite part of blogging is the fine people I have come to know in the blogosphere. I find it pleasantly ironic that the biggest names in blogging are typically the easiest to talk to – that is, they answer your emails and even your calls, and are almost always willing to help you. Lesson learned: ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE. Do not be afraid to ask big questions and big favors of bigtime bloggers. Just remember to do unto others as you would have them do to you, and you’ll reap what you sow. “Enough preaching, Easton,” I hear you saying. Okay, enough – but I promise that following these simple ideals will bless your blogging experience tremendously.

Eight excellent tools I use:
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Celebrity Blogging – Blog Case Study

Celebrity-Blog-1The following post was submitted by Matt as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series

Hello, my name is Matt and I run a number of blogs, let me tell you how I have gone from a money sucking website to multiple blogs bringing in the cash.

I originally started off with a fan site www.aliciakeysfan.com for the artist Alicia Keys in January 2002, but in April of the same year was heading off to University and realised I would no longer be able to update my site as there would be no FTP access. So I looked in to a news type of system and stumbled across b2 (the origins of the popular WordPress blogging system). That was the birth of my very first ‘blog’, the idea and system worked great enabling me and others to easily update the site from anywhere.

Over the next few years the site continued to grow well, but nothing much changed with how the site was run and the increasing hosting costs were putting a strain on my student finances, due to this I considered closing down the site on more than one occasion.

I will now bring you right up to January 2005 (my blog has now been running nearly 3 years). I was just about to close the site down due to financial strain, when my girlfriend found and suggested Google Adsense. I was always against ads, but Adsense was very different. I signed up and added a ‘skyscraper’ ad down the right hand side of the blog, and the next day was excited to see I had already earned $8 or so. I quickly realised that in just a few days the blog would earn enough to cover the cost of the hosting and more. Having now seen the potential earning power of my blog I worked hard on improving the Google Ads on the blog. I moved the skyscraper on the right higher up to a more prominent position, I added a ‘banner’ sized Google Ad to the top centre position of my blog, right above the news, and also changed the Ad colours to blend in with my blog design colours. This had a dramatic improvement on my earnings (+200%), and the banner ad was well out performing the skyscraper, as it was closer to the action.
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Some Assembly Required – Case Study

Some-Assembly-RequiredThe following post was submitted by Thom Singer as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series

A year ago I attended a business lunch where the topic was blogging. I like to write, and was awaiting release of my first book, but did not know about blogs. The panelists spoke about how easy it was, how popular blogs were, the benefits of SEO and the ease of getting started. Later that night I started “Some Assembly Required: The Biz Dev and Networking Blog“. I used Blogger.com as my platform solely because that was what the panelist had recommended (and because it was free).

A year later I have learned a few things:

1. Traffic is hard to get. But with over 100 regular readers, I feel okay about my blog. If there are tricks to jumping to the next level, I am still looking for them.

2. Spam comments were ridiculous. They drove me crazy until I turned on the verification. People abuse blogs, and hide behind anonymity….that is bad.

3. SEO to my blog and my website went through the roof because I post 4-6 times a week. That has been a huge perk. Search engines like fresh content and regular posting is the key.

4. I have made some new friends with other bloggers who write on similar business topics. Bloggers have their own version of social networking. These people have become valuable resources for me and my career (outside of the book and the blog)

5. I have sold copies of my book to many who read my blog. (That makes me happy). That was the purpose of starting the blog…and so that part is successful. It also is an interesting topic when I do speaking events around my book.

6. It takes real dedication to keep a blog current. If you are not posting regularly, your blog becomes stale. A blogger must be committed to posting daily (or close to daily). People have so many choices they will tune you out fast if you are not providing new material.

7. After a year, I am still “new” to blogging. To gain real traction takes a long time. I hope to see the regular readership and traffic go up in the second year. I find I still have a lot to learn.

8. Sites like Problogger and the Blog Herald are important tools to read. They helped me learn without having to make some of the common mistakes. They also inspire me to keep going with their reports of others who drive their traffic, monitize their blogs, etc….

9. Blogger.com is not as flexible as I would like, but it would be hard to move at this point, so I just have to deal with the limitations.

10. Blogging has turned out to be a therapeutic experience. Writing everyday allows me to teach, vent and / or clarify thoughts. I am more focused at work and at home because of my regular writing.

Tips for Probloggers from Getting Real – the new e-book by 37 Signals

Rachel CunliffeHi! This is Rachel Cunliffe. I’m a blog designer from New Zealand and I thought I’d share with you some problogger tips from 37 Signals’ new e-book, “Getting Real” (which is selling very well).

If you haven’t come across 37 Signals’ products such as Basecamp, Backpack, Tada, Writeboard and most recently, campfire, it’s worth your time to find out what they offer. I’m finding Basecamp invaluable for managing my blog design clients.

As I read the e-book I realised that there’s also a lot of insight, encouragement and tips for (pro)bloggers. In fact, 37 Signals recommend their book for anyone who is an entrepreneur, designer, programmer or marketer working on a big idea. Their thoughts echo many of Darren’s posts here at Problogger too.

Here are 10 tips from the book along with some comments. [Read more...]

RSS: Blog’s Friend or Foe?

Is RSS is the downfall of building relationships and commerce on blogs? First, let’s set the record straight. I’ve drunk the kool aid. I get it. I love RSS and that new orange icon is pretty cute too. The ability to read huge amounts of information in one place, receive it at the second it’s published and not worry about email spam is awesome.

When Darren asked if I would help “blog-sit” ProBlogger I couldn’t say no. Last time I guest blogged here I met the talented Peter Flaschner from the BlogStudio. It led to a great bloggy relationship with Peter redesigning the skin of Diva Marketing. However, as creative as the design is, it doesn’t matter squat if the content of the blog is read in a reader. Nor do your ads or affiliate links show you the money if your readers never click through to your site.

Oh sure partial feeds may entice click throughs and not having live links in your feeds is another (spammy) way to go. Visitors coming in from the search engines might click on a link or two but it’s the folks who know and trust you who are most likely to click and convert…and that’s what makes the cash register ring or new sign-ups for your newsletter or site visits that go deeper into your blog. Keep in mind that comments and trackbacks are useless features without click-throughs to your blog.

What’s the solution? Should we kill off RSS? No way Jose! RSS is a valuable tool. Who wants to remember to click on Favorites on a daily basis?

The challenge is ours, as bloggers, to encourage those click-thoughts to the blog by creating -

1) enjoyable on-blog experience: look and feel, navigation, layout
2) providing information that can only be obtained by clicking through to your blog: podcasts, articles, photos, videos, terrific blogroll, archive links
3) including cues in your posts that talk about value-added content on your blog: new podcast tells how to go beyond the ProBlogger status to zillionarie!

The Story of Colblindor – Blog Case Study

Color-BlindThe following post was submitted by Daniel Fluck as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series.

I am reading some blogs about programming for quite a while now but never ever thought about starting my own blog. Until two month ago where I stumbled across a talk of Robert Scoble at the LIFT06 conference in Geneva. His talk was about what blogging really is and what you can achieve through it. This fascinated me immediately. Deciding in this very moment that I have to join the blog community I didn’t have a clue on its implications.

As being a retired programmer I was keen on setting up my own blog site, which turned out to be the first hurdle to take. My first post was on February 15th 2006 on a programming topic. The second one the day after on some completely different topic. After a few days of “blogging what comes to me mind” I came across ProBlogger.net which taught me differently.

As a first conclusion I deleted all my posts and started from scratch. It took me quite a while to figure out on which area I want to settle my blog. The niche topic “Color Blindness viewed through Colorblind Eyes” made the race. In the beginning I asked myself: Is there really enough to write about and will I still be writing on this topic in one year? But this thoughts were gone after a few days of daily posting and browsing the internet.

The first days were quite difficult to manage because I still had to learn so much, adjust my blog site to my needs and in the meantime try to post some good stuff. Technorati, statistic services, the blogger community, blogs to keep track of and browsing the web for new ideas and maybe even some news. I am still struggling with this. It takes so much time and usually I am not done with my post in only fifteen minutes. And as I want to post every day this is still a big effort to me.

Right now I am redesigning my page. Up to now I used one of the standard themes but my ambitions grew. And as the design has to look “great” and reflect my topic this takes some more days of work.

After a bit more than one month of blogging I am addicted. At the moment my investment is around four to six hours a day. In return I count between ten and twenty visits each day. Some readers are coming back once in a while. Others just end up at my page through a google search and are not always satisfied with what they find.

As being a blogging-greenhorn I have these two questions:

Where do I find readers? I am searching the blogosphere for a few keywords and started commenting here and there. But how can I find good blogs from others and readers who might be interested in my topic? The top 100 are just to busy. I would prefer some blogs on niche topics with good content, but it’s hard to find them. Usually they are writing just about everything and that’s not what I am interested in. Is there maybe a niche top blog site or something like that?

Do you write in advance? As described above it takes me everyday quite some time to get my article posted. Is there a good technique about writing? Let’s say: I try to write a pillar article early in the week and some small ones ahead as well. Then everyday I can decide which one of those to post or get some news up on my blog. Or is writing every day a must?

For me this blogging experience already payed off. I learned so much the last weeks. And as I am not a native english speaker (I suppose you could tell) it pushes my language and writing skills a lot.

Robert Scoble’s talk – it started blogging experience.
Colblindor – my blog, if you like to visit.

Buy BlogWild Today and Get $50 off Six Figure Blogging

My partner in SixFigureBlogging, Andy Wibbels’ new book is coming out today. It’s called Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging.

I’ve got an advanced copy of the book packed in my suitcase to take on holiday – but I took half an hour today to skim through it and it looks like a great introduction to business blogging. It looks comprehensive yet not overwhelming. Andy’s gift is in breaking complicated things down into easy to understand and doable tasks and BlogWild is yet another example of this.

As part of the book launch promotion, if you purchase the book on April 6th (one day only) through Amazon.com (it costs $12.97), you’ll receive $50 off our Six Figure Blogging course. I’m biased but I think the book and course make a great combination – the book walks you through setting up a blog and the course introduces you to ways of making money off it.

Buy the book now over at www.GOblogwild.com.

How to Sell Information Products

Wouldn’t you love to have your very own product to sell?

More and more bloggers are looking to diversify their income streams, rather than having all their eggs in the AdSense basket. Others are just now discovering blogging, and they recognize right away that it is an ideal platform for information sales business models.

For my very first guest article here at Problogger, I’d like to share a few tips about utilizing a blog to both create and sell information products. While it’s possible to sell information products created by others through affiliate programs, I’d like to encourage you to consider creating something yourself, as it puts you in the absolute best position in the online sales world.

The good news is, if you already have a blog, but no product, you’re on the right track. And if you have neither a blog nor an information product in development yet, you will definitely want to consider starting to blog first. I’ll explain why below.

So, without further ado, here are 7 tips for creating and selling information products with blogs:
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