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What to do with 10 Hours on Your Blog?

reader-questionsRoss asks – What is more important, working on getting more traffic (digg, links from high traffic sites) or working on search engine optimisation? If you had 10 hours to spend on one or the other which would benefit you more?”

I think both strategies can be important for a blog – depending upon it’s life stage. They’re also really linked…

I’m a big believer in getting good SEO principles into play on a new blog from day one so in the very early days I’d work on some SEO above trying to leverage other site’s traffic. However most blog platforms come with fairly decent SEO these days and most of what I’d do on an SEO front after a few basic tweaks is while I’m writing a post (ie good titles, using keywords well etc.

In terms of leveraging traffic from other sites – a lot of this also happens for me in the writing process. Knowing the type of style and topic of posts that people like to link to is a big part of it. I don’t tend to actively promote many of my posts to other sites these days but instead let my readers do a lot of it.

Not sure if I’ve really answered your question Ross. So I’ll say this:

If it was in the first week of a blog’s life I’d work on the SEO of the blog (things like getting title tags right, looking at how it interlinks internally etc). In fact I’d work on this stuff before the blog was launched – but it probably wouldn’t take 10 hours. Once this stuff is set up it’s not something I generally spend a lot of time on – my focus switches to content creation.

In the coming weeks (and months) I’d work hard on developing key content that is useful, unique and attractive to other sites. I’d also promote some of that key content to other key blogs in the niche I was attempting to break into (keep in mind that in doing this you’re also really working on your SEO as incoming links play a big part in helping your Search Engine ranking). 10 hours a week doing this can really have a powerful impact!

What would you say is the most effective use of 10 hours as a blogger?

ProBlogger NY Meetup – A Recap

539031065 Cfcd51A616This time last night the ProBlogger meetup was in full swing in an Upper West Side Bar here in New York.

The night was a great time of catching up with old friends, putting faces to names and meeting a few brand new people. The picture to the left is me with Shai Coggins (one of my partners at b5media – who I only met this week for the first time after being in business with her for over a year!) and Aaron Brazell (b5′s Tech Director).

Thanks to everyone who came along and made the night such a fun one. Thanks also to Chitika who were generous enough to buy everyone a drink or two and to Lara who helped in putting the night together for us.

I can’t link to everyone who attended but here are a few links to some pictures, posts and even a video of the night for those of you who couldn’t make it but wanted to be a part of the night by watching on:

Video via WebMetrics Guru

I’m sure there’s more floating around – if you have photos or a post feel free to link up below.

The ProBlogging Workflow of a Working/Traveling Mother

This post on blogging workflow has been submitted by Melissa Petri of Europe String.

Apart from maintaining 5 travel blogs under 3 different networks, I also: (1) work full-time; (2) am a mother of 2 very young boys; and (3) travel a lot for work.

Many have asked how I manage all that and still get some sleep.

The conflicting demands of my family, work and pro-blogging can only be answered if I manage my time well, set my priorities and use tools to aide me in my research and in blogging.

1. Time Management
I have to admit that problogging takes a backseat BUT I still meet my quota if I make use of my free time at night and/or on weekends.

I try to be strict with myself when I face the computer. My YM and Skype are on invisible mode to avoid distractions.

On the other hand, when the weather is beautiful or something interesting is going on, I take a break even if it’s time to blog. I have no plans of missing life. Besides, the beauty of travel blogging lies in the fact that almost everything I see or enjoy could become great blog fodder.

Whenever I am on business trips, I also use my downtime to blog rather than watch TV out of boredom.

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What Matters Most to You as a Blogger?

reader-questionsStephanie asks – “I’d like to know: As a blogger: What matters most to you?”

Wow – this could go in any number of directions including the philosophical!

I don’t think I could name one thing alone but here’s the first few things that popped into my head (I’m sure I could write a lot longer list if I were to give it extended thought):

  • Useful Content – as a blogger wanting to both build a successful blog as a business but who also wants to build something of value to help people I spend a lot of time asking myself how I can provide something that is useful to readers. The longer that I blog the more I am convinced that building something useful online is a key to it’s success.
  • Sustainable Model – as a blogger earning an income from my blogging I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in the money side of things. While money isn’t everything to me and V and I do strive for a relatively simple lifestyle – it’s important that what I build has a way of both sustaining us and building an income to a level where it can also help others.
  • Stimulation – over the years I’ve built blogs on topic that I have limited or waning interest in. I don’t want to do this any more. I’m happy to help other bloggers with a passion for a topic build their blogs in the network I’m a part of (even if the topic isn’t of great interest to me) however life’s too short to be writing about something that doesn’t stimulate me.
  • Conversation – by no means am I satisfied with the level of community that currently happens on my blogs but it’s important to me that it’s growing. I’m not satisfied because I know I could contribute to it a lot more and I often feel torn between the many roles that I have as a blogger these days (here at ProBlogger alone I get 100 or so comments on an average day and to respond to them all could be a full time job in itself). My hope is to build blogs that don’t rely upon me as the only ‘expert’ but rather to build communities of expertise where the conversation is rich as a result of the knowledge that the community as a whole has.

Like I say – this is just the beginning of a longer list that I could spend a lot of time upon.

What matters to you most as a blogger?

New York Meetup

I’m just home from the Problogger NY Readers meetup – what a fun night! Thanks everyone. I’ll post some photos and comments tomorrow after I recover.

If you’ve got pictures or blog posts about the meetup please tag them pbny07 so we can all share the fun.

By the Way – NYT has an article in the Sunday edition titled Can Blogs Become a Big Source of Jobs? ProBlogger even got a quick mention (if only the journalist knew I was in town).

Would I Consider Selling ProBlogger?

reader-questionsPhil asked – Would you ever consider selling problogger.net?”

I’ve been asked this quite a few times of late for some reason – increasingly by genuine buyers.

The answer is Yes…. and No.

At this point I’m not looking for a sale and am not even close to doing so because over the last couple of years this blog has built itself into a tool that is incredibly useful for building my own profile and for my own personal income earning capacity for the longer term.

While this blog doesn’t earn a great deal of money (although it’s continuing to increase in it’s earnings as I’m starting to sell more sponsorships) it sells me very well and for me to sell it would decrease the potential for me to sell myself as a consultant, writer, speaker, business partner etc

Having said that – if the offer were right I’d be crazy not to consider selling.

However for the offer to be ‘right’ it would have to be fairly significant. I’ve been offered medium six figures for it already and didn’t have to think too hard before saying no.

FOOA Recap

536417500 1179Bb20DcLots of people have been emailing to ask how the Future of Online Advertising (FOOA) conference has gone here in New York over the last couple of days – so I thought an update was in order.

Overall I’ve found it to be a very worthwhile experience – both as a speaker and attendee.

While this is the first time the team at Carsons have run this event they managed to get 500 or so people to come along and pulled together a worthwhile event. I’m sure if one was to ask the team if they could improve that they’d list of a few things that they’d like to work on for next time – but despite a few minor glitches I thought it was well worth attending, that they put together an event that has been very successful and that will be a good springboard into future versions of the event.

A Personal Downside
My main regret from the last few days has been suffering from the flu. This dampened my first couple of days in NYC (I spent most of them in bed) and left me feeling pretty exhausted for the actual conference.

Networking
The highlight of the event for me has been the networking opportunities and the chance to meet many ProBlogger readers. There are too many names to mention in a post like this but I would like to thank everyone for their encouragement, welcome and hospitality over the last couple of days. I’m looking forward to catching up with many of you again tonight at the ProBlogger meetup.

My Presentation
I arrived in New York with a couple of days to recover from the trip and to put the finishing touches on my presentation – only to get sick. So to be honest I did get to my session today feeling a little daunted. Ryan (the organizer) asked me to focus half of my talk upon Advertisers and half on Publishers/Bloggers. Considering the sessions were 30 minutes long (and I needed to leave 5 minutes for questions) it was a challenge to work out what to focus upon.

What I decided to focus upon was two questions that I get asked a lot by ProBlogger readers:

1. From Bloggers – ‘How do I find Advertisers to directly sponsor my blog?’
2. From Advertisers – ‘How do I engage Bloggers?’

I get both of these questions regularly – to the point that sometimes I feel a little like a ‘dating consultant’ or ‘matchmaker’. The result is that the title of my presentation ended up being:

‘Bloggers and Advertisers: Dating Tips from the ProBlogger’

I gave a couple of lists of tips – one for bloggers and one for Advertisers on how to ‘court’ or ‘pickup’ the other. I’ll post the presentation later so you can see my points.

I guess you’d need to ask those in attendance what they thought of it (I’m sure there will be some blog posts about it floating around – one I’ve found already is here) however I felt it went over reasonably well. I wasn’t really able to go too deep into the topic in within the time constraints – but hope that something I shared was helpful. My only regret was that my presentation was the second last one (on a warm Friday afternoon) and many had understandably gone home already – that’s the luck of the draw though.

What others are saying about FOOA
There are quite a few people who were blogging and photographing the event that you might like to read if you want to see what others thought and what other presentations there were.
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How to Build Your Personal Brand Through Your Blog

reader-questionsBob (no url provided) asks – “I want to know how blogging can be used in personal branding. I want to be considered an expert in a topic, how best can writing a blog get me there? I do not care about adsense or CJ.com, I want to know how to use a blog to get consulting and freelance work in my field.”

Glad to hear you’re wanting to use your blog in this way Bob, you’re not alone as more and more people are doing it too.

Really what you’re saying here is that you want to use your blog to ‘sell yourself’ instead of to sell a product or ad space.

Here are a few things to work hard at:

  • build trust - increasingly marketers are finding that people want to know and be in some sort of trusting relationship with those that they buy products or services from. This is particularly true for a personal service like consulting. Be open about your agenda and about what you do and don’t know. Talk both about your successes and failures. If all you do is use a blog for ‘spin’ you’ll present as too good to be true.
  • be personal – building on the last point – one way to make a deeper connection with potential clients is to show something of who you are. This doesn’t mean blogging about your personal life, but show you’re human injecting humor, a photo or two of yourself and showing your personality.
  • use story – I find readers respond very well to story on blogs. Stories of my own experience, stories of other clients (shared with permission as case studies) etc. Using relevant stories can help build credibility in your niche.
  • establish expertise – people won’t give you the ‘expert’ label without you earning it. Show what you know (without being arrogant), show how you apply it (it’s one thing to know a lot – but can you translate your knowledge into something constructive and useful) and be a thought leader in your niche (ie break some new ground and show people that you’re capable of original thought).
  • be generous – some consultants use their blogs to talk very abstractly about their field of expertise but don’t actually give their readers much in the way of practical and applicable content. My approach is to give away quite a bit of information and to be quite generous with what you share. If you help someone for free I find that the next time they need something they’ll quite often be willing to pay for it. You might not want to give everything away for free but free reports, ideas and tips should feature pretty heavily on these types of blogs.
  • establish relationships in your niche – while building relationships on your own blog with potential clients can be very effective – when another blogger recommends you it can be even more powerful. Get to know other bloggers in your niche and you’ll find they will add to your credibility with their links and mentions on their blogs.
  • be consistent – while there’s no problem with changing, growing and developing in your ideas over time you do need to present some consistent messages over time. If you’re constantly chopping and changing what you’re on about and focusing on you’ll find that readers find it hard to connect with you and build a ‘relationship’ over time. Remember that every time you post you have the opportunity to add to or take from your reputation and brand (I’ve written more about being consistent in your messages here).

ProBlogger New York Readers Meetup Reminder

Just a quick reminder for those of you in New York and surrounding areas – this Saturday night (tomorrow) is the ProBlogger New York Readers Meetup.

We’ve got 38 RSVPs on the meetup page but there are others I know who are coming that are not on the list so it should be a great night of networking, fun and perhaps even the start of some great collaboration.

First 100 who get in get a free drink from Chitika!