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NYC ProBlogger Meetup Prizes

As I mentioned in my last post – last night didn’t quite work out to be an appropriate place for a prize draw – so I’ve just drawn six winners.

If you’ve won I’ll need to get a postal address from you – if you could shoot me an email via my contact form with your name and address I’ll try to get the prizes off into the mail for you.

Six Figure Blogging – worth $325

The three winners of the Six Figure Blogging course are:

Best of ProBlogger – price to be announced

This is a soon to be released product that I’ve been working on with Chris Garrett. We still need to do a little work on some aspects of it’s marketing but as a result of a lot of emails from readers asking for a condensed version of this blog we’ve been putting this together and are hoping to release it in the coming month. These three lucky winners get a sneak peak of a beta version.

As I say – I need to get postal addresses of the above winners and will attempt to get the prizes to you this coming week.

Thanks again to everyone who came along last night. Hopefully at the next meet up there will be more prizes to give away too!

The Importance of Letting A Good Post Wait

This article was written by Glen Stansberry of LifeDev (feed). Check out LifeDev if you want more ways to be creative and efficient with your writing.

Growing a readership is something that takes hard work and a little luck. Sure, sites like Digg and Reddit can greatly expand your readership overnight, but it’s really the way you craft your posts that will help the most with growing your blog. A bangin’ post is worth 10 mediocre ones any day. But unfortunately for most of us, in order to write a great post you have to be a… decent writer.

Becoming a better writer should be every blogger’s goal. Better writers can craft posts in a way that a) get their point across quicker and b) connect with the audience more effectively. No matter what your content, your audience will always benefit from better writing. And if your audience is happy, you’ll be happy too.

The darndest thing about blog content is that you can have the most amazing post in the world, but if you can’t create mildly decent sentences with proper spelling and grammar, nobody’s going to listen to you.

If you’re going to write like a drunk kindergartener, you can kiss your subscription rate goodbye.

[Disclaimer: The author does not even pretend to be any authority on "proper writing". As a matter of fact, he fell asleep frequently in English classes throughout his youth.]

If you’re not a great writer yet, don’t stress. Improving your writing skills comes mostly from practice and reading other great writers. But I’ve found that the most effective way to improving my blogging has been to just let my posts sit. If I sleep on a post, odds are it will be much better than had I just hit “Publish”. You see, most of the blogging mojo comes after the writing is done.

Once you’ve stopped typing you’ve only just begun the writing process. Read it through, at least a couple times. Odds are each time you read it through, you’ll pick up on stuff that could be worded better, or explained more, or even taken out completely. Don’t be afraid to let something sit overnight, or even longer. Think of your post as like a cheese that just gets better with age.

I’ve found that some of my best posts were crafted over the course of days. Yet it paid off in the end. The social sites went to town on that content, and now I’ve got backlinks galore from those posts.

You don’t want to let your posts sit too long though. At this point your fine cheese has turned a little too green. I wouldn’t recommend letting your posts “percolate” more than a week. Some people can pull it off, but for me I lose interest in the original topic too quickly, and most of my original ideas are gone.

So when you start to craft your next post, let it sit for a bit and see what happens. I guarantee your quality of writing will increase. And if your blog’s quality increases, so will your readership.

ProBlogger Meetup NYC – Recap

Last night was the first ever ProBlogger Readers Meet Up here in New York City.

V and I arrived just after 6.30pm and walked into a room which at first impression didn’t seem to be the right one – there were just way too many people there. I am not sure what I was expecting but the turn out was great. I’ve heard estimates of the attendance from anything from 60 to 100 people (perhaps Patrick from TLA would have a better idea after looking at the bar tab).

The night was pretty relaxed and consisted of networking, eating and drinking. I’m not quite sure if I got around to meeting everyone but did meet some great new friends and was quite amazed by the variety of topics that they are blogging about.

Pictures – in the links below from attendee’s recaps you’ll find some great pictures of the night – I’ve also just uploaded a few that V took on our compact camera. Next time (and hopefully there will be one – see below) I’ll get someone to use my DSLR to get some higher quality ones than what our little camera managed).

Problogger-Meet-Up

Prizes – unfortunately due to the noise in the room (and with there being other functions sharing the room) I didn’t get to thank everyone personally or do the prize draw – however I’ve got 50 or so business cards from attendees so will do the prize draw shortly and will mail the prizes out before leaving NYC.

For more coverage of the event from bloggers in attendance you might like to read some of the following posts (if you have one that I’ve not yet found please leave a comment with the link):

Lara Kulpa (she has some great pics)
Silence and Voice Jeffrey Keefer
1938 – Loren Feldman
deVCeed – Minic Rivera
Marios Alexandrou
Elaine Vigneault
shedwa
Marshall Sponder
Web Analytics Book
Philip Liu
Sellsius
Alex Shalman
Aaron Brazell
Ian
David

I’m sure there are more – if you’ve posted about the meet up or have some pictures of it – I’d love to see them!

Thanks again to Text Link Ads for their generous sponsorship of the evening! Patrick and Bill were the best hosts you could hope for and from what I can tell everyone had a great night.

Next Time? – as I mentioned to a few people at the meet up last night – I’m back in NYC for FOOA in June. I’m thinking that it might be good to have another meetup in a similar fashion – but also to spend a few hours in the afternoon running some workshops on blogging. While last night was productive on a networking level it’d be great to have some opportunity for some learning on a different level.

I’ve only got 2 months to pull that type of event together – but if people are interested and a few were to offer to help organize it (hint hint) I’m sure we could have a successful time together. Anyone interested?

Blog Contests for Fun and Profit

The following post was submitted by Mark Shead. Mark writes about personal productivity at Productivity501 where he’s experimenting with running a contests to help build a larger base of readers.

Contests are a common way to try to increase your traffic. With the correct strategy a contest can really put your blog on the map. Done incorrectly they can be difficult, lose money and lose credibility with your audience. This article looks at seven basic steps in creating contests that have a good return on investment for blog sites.

1. Decide how People will Enter.

This is the most important part. If you choose poorly, you will waste a lot of effort and a prize. If you choose wisely your site will benefit for years after the contest is done.

Entries need to help your blog grow in a way that aligns with the goals for your site. If you just ask people to email you, it probably isn’t going to help you grow your blog long term. You need to chose something that helps bring traffic back. Here are a few ideas for contests that benefit your site:

  • Subscribe to RSS – This can be a little tricky because you can’t just randomly choose a name from the RSS subscribers. However you can tell people to watch the feed for a special message telling them how to claim the prize.
  • Subscribe to an Email Newsletter – This is one of the easiest contests to implement because all you have to do is chose a random subscriber.
  • Leave a Comment on the Contest Post – This is simple to run because you just have to select a random comment. It doesn’t have as much benefit as some of the other options because it doesn’t necessarily help your reader connect with the rest of your site.
  • Leave a Thoughtful Comment Anywhere on the Blog – This may be a better option than just leaving a comment on the contest post. It requires the reader to help add content to your site. The more the reader interacts with your site the more likely they are to return.
  • Review Your Blog on their Site – This requires more work for the person entering the contest, but it gives you the biggest benefit. Not only do you get a link, but you get some great feedback to help you tune your site. In addition the person writing the review is going to remember your site because it is now featured on their blog.
  • Hunt Through Your Site to Find Something – For example, you could say that sometime in the next 30 days, you are going to put a secret codeword on your blog and the first person to send you the code word wins the prize. This is good for increasing your page views (assuming your prize is enough to encourage people to dig through your blog), but it might not have the best long term benefit.
  • Content Projects – Asking people submit or post content on a particular topic and then rewarding the top submissions can be a great way to get new content as well as raising awareness of your blog. This can be as simple as asking them to add a tip to the comments or as substantial as asking for long essays to use as guest posts.

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How Many Blogs Should You Run?

Reader QuestionsGabu_uy asks – What is in your opinion the best strategy, a few quality blogs, or a myriad of two nickels a day blogs?

This is a question that I think you’ll find people will argue both sides of and it is something that I’ve changed my views on backwards and forward over the last few years. Perhaps this one is best explored with a little of my own story and then a few random thoughts.

When I first started blogging with entrepreneurial aspirations I did so with one monetized blog – an extension of my first personal blog – Digital Photography Blog.

While I made a lot of stupid mistakes in the setting up of that blog and probably wouldn’t set it up to run as it currently does if I were starting over, it’s a blog that gave me a taste for the idea of making a living from blogging.

Multiple Blogs
I started experimenting with advertising on that blog with the hope of covering my hosting and ISP costs but quickly found that I could exceed that and perhaps even earn enough for a computer upgrade. I didn’t really have any aspirations for much more than that in the very early days – although I still remember laying in bed at the end of the day I first hit a daily total of $10 in AdSense earnings and excitedly having the realization that if one blog could earn $10 a day with AdSense that 10 blogs could earn $100 and 100 could earn $1000!

I made the decision on the spot to roll out new sites and continued to do so until I hit around the 25 mark.

It was at about this time that I realized that my strategy was somewhat flawed (for me) for a number of reasons:

  • I couldn’t sustain the load – 25 blog is a killer to maintain, even if a lot of them are ‘newsy/link’ blogs.
  • I couldn’t sustain my enthusiasm – while I had a mild interest in all of the topics I didn’t really have what it takes to summons the energy that it took to keep tabs on them all on a daily basis
  • The traffic didn’t come – there are many reasons for this but ultimately I believe that the way to grow traffic to a blog is to have someone who has energy for the topic and the ability to write engaging and useful content – I couldn’t and the traffic didn’t come
  • The money didn’t come – some of the blogs I started did earn more than $10 a day in the end – but the majority were lucky to make that much a month.
  • The money came from elsewhere – while I developed all these extra blogs I was experimenting with other projects (like b5media) and putting time into blogs that I was more passionate about (like ProBlogger and DPS). These were projects that I had energy for and that I put more and more time into developing. In contrast to the minutes that I put into my ‘mass blog strategy’ I put hours into these blogs and the payoff was that readers and money followed.

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5 Ways to Tap Hidden Money Making Opportunities With Your Blog

This Guest Post was written by Wendy Piersall from eMoms at Home.

Although Darren writes frequently on the ways to monetize a blog, it’s no secret that many of his tips work best on a product-focused site such as his Digital Photography Blog. This leaves many of us who write content-focused blogs scratching our heads sometimes, wondering how we can translate the monetary success of a product blog into our own content blogs.

The fact of the matter is, you can’t. Making money off of a non-product blog takes a completely different approach, and much of the earning potential of this kind of blog is created indirectly.

Darren goes into great detail on the indirect methods of making money from blogging in this rather timeless post. The points he covers include consulting, book deals, business partnerships and speaking opportunities among others.

These opportunities are open to pretty much any writer on the planet. But the way to really leverage them to your advantage takes good blogging skills as well as good old-fashioned business and people skills:

  • The Ability to Sell – The most successful people in business are sales people – but I’m not talking about just selling products. Visionary leaders sell us on ideas, beliefs and indeed they sell us on ourselves, by influencing our thoughts and actions.
  • Solid Networking Skills – Not many people get to the top alone. I’m fond of saying that groups of people function at the level of the ‘lowest common denominator’, meaning that many times we do the bare minimum that we can get away with. Make it a point to know successful people for the simple fact that it will force you to raise your own standards (the doors they can open aren’t bad, too!).
  • The Law of Reciprocity - Add value. Give to get. Successful bloggers know they have something to offer, and ensure that their focus is on giving rather than getting. When you give a lot, the receiving part is a natural part of the cause-effect equation.
  • Get Uncomfortable – Becoming well known is something that many people aspire to, but in actual practice, pushes us to the absolute limits of what we feel we are capable of. Andy Wibbels has said it far more succinctly than I could, “If I don’t feel like a fraud at least once a day then I’m not reaching far enough.”
  • Strong Branding – Developing your own unique voice is critical, because millions of blogs are a dime a dozen. No matter if your readers love you or love to hate you, it is most important that you develop yourself as a “brand” and build on that foundation congruently.
  • Determination – Otherwise known as motivation, inspiration, etc. When it comes right down to it, finishing a big project can get downright boring at times. It’s easy to lose steam when results seem months or years away. Sometimes it takes a good old fashioned pep talk from a friend to stay on track until that book deal is within reach.

5 ways to Increase your Blog Traffic

This post has been submitted by Neil Patel. Neil is co-founder and CTO of ACS) and writes regularly on social media issues through the company’s blog, Pronet Advertising.

Traffic, traffic, traffic! We all want more traffic but sometimes it can be hard to sift through all the things you can do and figure out the best way to increase your traffic. For starters, here are five proven things you can do that will increase your traffic.

1. Hit the GYM

A great source of traffic is search engines, so why not leverage them to their fullest before worrying about anything else. Getting your website placed high within search results is determined by three main things: code, links, and content. Because you are a blogger, content isn’t the biggest problem however the other two might be. By following these simple steps, you can increase your rankings and increase your search traffic.

2. Don’t be shy

There is always something hot in the blogosphere, just keep an eye out for what’s hot and make sure to join in on the conversation. This can boost traffic and links almost immediately. Sites like Techmeme feed off of what’s hot in the blogosphere and are a great place to put on your watchlist for the latest hot topics. One great example of this is the 5 rules of social media optimization. This article was taken by a handful of other bloggers and ended up becoming the 16 rules of social media optimization. This did not only create tons of links for the original article, but it also created tons of links for all the other bloggers who added to it.
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New York ProBlogger Meetup – There are Prizes!

We’ve arrived in New York after a few great days at the Underground Seminar in Washington DC where I was privileged enough to speak and had a great time meeting some wonderful internet marketers (I learned a lot – but will talk about that when I get home in April).

ProBlogger Meetup in New York Update – We have Prizes

Just a reminder that the ProBlogger reader’s meetup/party is still happening this Thursday evening (26th) in New York.

I can’t wait to meet the many bloggers who tell me that they’re coming and want to offer just a little more incentive to come – prizes!

  • Three random attendees to the meetup will win a copy of Six Figure Blogging on CD.
  • Three random attendees will receive another ‘mystery blogging resource’ that I’m not able to talk about yet on this blog – but will mention on the night.
  • A few attendees will also walk away with some b5media schwaag (if I can get it down from Toronto in time).

To be eligible – just bring along a business card (yours) or a piece of paper with your name and email address on it. I won’t be spamming you with it – but would love to let you know of an upcoming announcement that I have plus a future New York meetup that I’m hoping to run later in the year.

Lastly – ‘V’ (my wife) will almost certainly be coming along – so those of you curious about what a ProBlogger’s wife might be like can have your curiosity satisfied.

Don’t forget the details:

THURSDAY, March 29, 6:30pm to 9:30pm at:
Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant
121 West 45th St (between 6th and Broadway)
(212) 597-5126 phone

TLA is sponsoring the event – drinks and food will be available for you to enjoy.

Please pass the word along and bring blogging friends for a fun night.

What I’ve Learned about Blogging From Robert Scoble

Robert-ScobleToday’s guest post is from Chris Garrett from chrisg.com.

In my last guest post here I listed some things we can learn from Darren’s blog. This time I am going to look at a blogger who many would like to emulate, if only for the fame, blog celebrity lifestyle and cool geek toys he gets access to. For todays post I am going to look at Robert Scoble. Now before I get slated for name-checking an “A-Listers A-Lister” let me explain why I find him interesting. Robert Scoble on the face of it does many inadvisable things, he …

  • moved URL – a sure fire way of losing readers is to move domains
  • lists his cell phone number – how many crank calls must he get?
  • has a feed addiction – he reads way more feeds than any human being should consume (although I think I am catching up)
  • publishes a link blog – we always say add value to be successful yet here is a famous blogger just posting links?
  • is pro-Microsoft - enough on its own to get flamed in some areas
  • name-drops – sometimes reading his posts is like looking at the cover of a celebrity magazine “so and so says” “I just met” “talking to” “over dinner with” …
  • has a horrible design – design? What design? – his template is, well I wouldn’t say ugly … but … pretty basic. Surely he has access to a decent designer? I guess you can say it is clean. Could be worse.

So he is not perfect by any means. In fact as he said himself, he does many of the things that make people unsubscribe from your feed. He is doing something right though, he is an A-Lister after all. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. What can we learn from him?

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