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How Can I Make ProBlogger More Useful for You?

It’s time for a reader question – how can I make ProBlogger more useful for you?

Every 6 to 12 months I like to ask readers this question in an effort to keep improving the blog and making it more effective in helping to improve your blogging.

I don’t like to lead such discussions too deliberately – but find that the discussion is better if I give a few general questions to stimulate the conversation. So here are some areas you might like to comment on:

  • Topics – are there topics (specific or general) you’d like covered in the coming months? What are the main issues that you’re facing as a blogger at the moment? What would you like to learn about or grow most in for the remainder of the year?
  • Types of Posts - reader questions, tutorials, case studies, short tips, guest posts, tool reviews…. have your say about what you’d like most/least
  • Posting Frequency – too many posts, not enough, just right?
  • Design – we are just weeks from launching a complete redesign – so your comments and ideas would be helpful at this point
  • Blog Features – what would make your reader experience better?
  • Community – do you feel you connect well with other readers? Are there features that you’d like added to help connect more?
  • Services and Tools – what could ProBlogger offer you to help you improve your blog?
  • What Frustrates You about ProBlogger? What is Best about it?
  • Other Ideas and Feedback – anything goes, big or little.

The ‘Rules’ – Any feedback, suggestions, dreams or ideas that you have are welcome. While I can’t promise to respond to each comment or put every suggestion into place I make a commitment to you to read anything you have to say.

All that I ask in return is that you be honest, courteous and constructive with your feedback.

ProBlogger is a project that I pour a lot of time and effort into – as a result sometimes criticism can be a little difficult to hear – however I think it’s vital to take it all on board if this is to continue to be a valuable resource for bloggers wanting to improve their blogging.

So it’s over to you. Feel free to either leave your feedback in comments below or to share them privately with me via my Contact Page.

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. Ori says:

    My suggestions:

    - More case studies (lots)
    - More tips on “getting things done” for your blog (time management etc…)
    - More posts on the indirect benefits of blogging (networking, consulting, etc..).

  2. Darren Rowse says:

    Gavin Smith – yes you’re right, I do get some financial benefit from this blog (although you’d be surprised how little it is in comparison to my other blogs – this is not a massive money machine). I guess that quote was more me psyching myself up for this post. What I was trying to communicate was that this blog has become something that I’m very passionate about and work very hard on – as a result it can be difficult to hear criticism and I’d appreciate people keeping that in mind as they share their constructive suggestions and critique.

    The quote wasn’t a sympathy grab – it was simply me worrying out loud that this thread could turn into a ‘lets bag ProBlogger’ post – something that I’m very pleased to see that hasn’t happened.

    To everyone – thanks for your constructive ideas and suggestions. I’m still reading and digesting them all. Thanks!

  3. Rich Minx says:

    Hi Darren,

    First, I’d like to say that you’re my favorite ‘how-to-blog’ blog and I find pretty much every post useful in some way. So thank you.

    If you’re looking to add features, I’d suggest a forum since you definitely have the traffic for it and your readers love to respond – and many have their own successful blogs.

    I’d also like to see some case studies looking at smaller bloggers, their progress, your suggestions etc.

  4. Mike Dammann says:

    Darren, I am part owner of Bloggertalk.com and asked a similar question regarding my upcoming newsletter and here is what some people have said:
    http://www.bloggertalk.com/showthread.php?t=7156
    It seems that people want anything that is new. Your blog covers everything related to blogging already. New technology, new ways to reach people, more interesting ways to blog. Anything that helps people connect with the more targetted audience would be of help.

    Mike Dammann

  5. Marija says:

    I’ve discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and I read 95% of your posts from top to bottom. Your blog is simply fascinating, you’re doing everything right, as far as I’m concerned. Since I read your posts in their entirety, sometimes there is too much to read (especially when you give a lot of links), but basically, that’s not a problem. To sum up, your are my blogging Bible, and I think your blog is perfect.

    Sorry, I was not helpful since I gave no suggestions, but I had to tell you that you have one more faithful reader.

  6. Gavin Smith says:

    Darren,

    That is quite fair; I misunderstood your motives behind the statement. Don’t take my remark as an insult – I seriously admire your blog.

    Keep doing what you ‘do’….

    Regards

  7. What I’d love to see is a cleaner, better design that’s easier on the eyes and less cluttered.

    You’re running a blog network, yes? I’d love to hear about it: how it’s run, what decisions were made and why, what it takes to run it well, what tools you’re using, and so forth.

    In any case, you have my warmest regards and best wishes for your continued success. ProBlogger has been the most helpful blog I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

  8. Jason says:

    Hi Darren.

    I’d like to see organized posts containing your philosophies and strategies on one digestible page. …Much like your series pages but on a very large scale.

    Sounds like a fun task, right?

    I love ProBlogger! Anyone who wants to criticize it, I challenge you to a duel!

  9. Ravi says:

    Darren, 3 things:

    1) Comment #31 was an excellent idea for a post. I only recently started my blog and I’m still confused with the legal use of images. Am I allowed to take Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons images from Flickr to use on an Adsense-supported blog? I think some of your insight here would be blog gold.

    2) Redesign is long overdue — glad to see it is being worked on. The first few times I came to this site, I was scared away because it seemed cluttered and the colors a bit “gaudy.” I soon learned the value of the content and returned shortly; still, a redesign would help draw in search engine visitors, me thinketh.

    3) Since this is 2007, and the era of Youtube, why not get some video tutorials from you? I think, using the right screencast software or the like, you could ably show us some new things to do with our blogs. Even if its not a regular feature, I would love to see some videos every once in a while.

    The case studies were a great idea…my favorite posts from Copyblogger were when he “upgraded” actual blog titles.

    Keep up the good work!

  10. Suzie Cheel says:

    I like the series you are doing,could you space that out, I am finding it a challenge to read all you posts and then implement the strategies, that work for me.

    How do you organize your information so it works and is productive?
    Don’t think you need a forum
    Thanks for sharing you knowledge

  11. Jason says:

    I’m serious, I will fight you with a ProBlogger t-shirt on and everything. It will say “Darren’s US Bouncer.”

  12. Two things:

    1) I just started a niche blog after getting a blog about making money online up and running. There are tons of resources and readers for making money online, but it’s more difficult to spread word-of-mouth about a niche. Advice on that would be great.

    2) This is partly a solution to #1. Combine the blog case-studies and the forum. Let there be at least a section of a forum for people to post their blog and get feedback, or for you to post a case-study of it and let readers give supplemental feedback. You could even code it so that a user had to do two or three quality blog reviews/case-studies in order to post their own.

    Basically you’ve got a huge, amazing readership right now, and the way to keep them coming back, and to keep them spreading the word, and to keep them on the site for longer, is to give them more to do.

  13. Michelle says:

    Yeah, I love all of your blog’s content; don’t change a thing, unless you’re planning on adding more… but you are a dad, so spend time with the kid, too!

    Otherwise, I think a redesign is well due. The site can look a little cluttered or messy at times, but I heart it.

    Thanks for everything you do!!
    -mG

  14. CatherineL says:

    Hi Darren – I think posting once or twice a day is fine. Anything else is just overkill.

    I really enjoyed the exercises in Rediscover Your Blogging Groove, and a lot of others seemed to do so too, so maybe it would be good to include more exercises and tutorials in the future. Perhaps you could do other tutorials and exercise on topics like: how I increased traffic to my blog, and how I connected with other bloggers?

    This blog is probably the one I’ve read more than any other. I find the links at the top of the page useful – eg 20 best posts etc, so more categories up there would definitely be helpful.

    Thank you. Catherine

  15. Hey Darren,

    - Not a fan of the forum idea, lots of work involved in running it and it’ll water down the conversation here.

    - sidebar clutter: no big deal, but it’s getting a bit messy.

    - Andy’s tip of threaded comments is a good one; makes it easier to reply to a comment directly without having 30 or so comments in between to confuse folks.

    - Group writing projects, though hard on you, seem to be a big winner with many.

    – if categories and the sheer number of information is too much, then two eBooks is my tip: one a freebie, basic information on blogging and another full featured one in the mold of Aaron Wall’s seobook model.

    Topics: I know it’s a hard issue because you have to balance between providing information for those new to blogging as well as those further along. For us further along the road, I wouldn’t mind seeing more written about direct advertising/sponsorship options/approaches, media kits, online media rooms, etc.,.

    Finally, The Blues need a new coach – I’m sure you could add that into your schedule. ;-)

    Cheers,
    Martin

  16. Darren Rowse says:

    Martin – LOL – very amusing on that last point :-)

  17. Too many posts; many a time has felt junk. Prefer quality than quantity.

  18. Lori says:

    Darren,
    I’m a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids. I, first, started blogging for money and quickly learned that it was much harder than originally anticipated. I became overwhelmed and currently blog for fun but with hopes of resuming my money blog soon. I read your posts daily (I am a fairly new reader) and understand the information you are giving us for the most part but I’m not exactly sure how to use it to my advantage. The real problem is that I am, in fact, a newbie (4mths) and need the information explained to me like I’m a 2yr old (so to speak). Example: I’ve signed up with a cajillion affilliates but need to know how to use them respectfully and need to know about which easy-to-understand tools are best to let me know what affilliates are working best for me. Flat out, I just need basic tutorials. I need steps to use and implement different programs, techniques, and simple methods to make a little money.
    Ok…obviously, I carried on and on a little too much. I would like to see you post a step by step guide to achieve a particular something. Whatever that may be…….
    P.S. I posted my personal blog url because I am ashamed of my money blog. It is very heavily monetized and in need of a complete “overhaul”.

  19. B. Durant says:

    Maybe have an interactive Q&A session once a month or so where you post 10 or 20 questions from the community and answer them via your blog. Or better yet have a live chat session…

  20. Tine says:

    I’m not sure if you’re blogged about this, but what about some tips and suggestions for tired-out bloggers? Bloggers who are, after a while, unmotivated, feeling a bit dry, not able to write good posts? That’s what I’m feeling right now :(

    I do enjoy reader questions and tutorials, so if you could maybe write more on that, that’d be great. Also, the site’s a bit cluttered, so maybe you could rearrange some stuff around?

    Cheers.

  21. Deb says:

    Considering the diversity of your audience I think overall you are spot on. I have read nearly every comment to this post and for the most part the authors are requesting consolidation of style and content as though their personality type was the only one that existed or mattered. I hope you continue to encourage all ages and personalities to hang out here.

    The only specific bone I might have would be the proposal by several commenters to switch to forums. I hope if you would ever decide to host a forum that it would be separate from the blog. I have belonged to several forums and have left all of them because the format encourages keyboard sniping even if it is registered users only.

    That’s all that comes to mind. Keep up the great work.

  22. Just keep doing what you are doing!

    “If it ain’t broke… Don’t fix it”

  23. Colin says:

    Darren

    I think you’re doing a pretty good job right now. I’m reasonably new to the site but have enjoyed your daily tips.

    I put my vote in for a forum as well.

    Col

    BloggingWorks.. But only if you do it right!

  24. topSPINme says:

    Maybe allow your readers to submit their blogs to you for review. And then you would post what’s good/bad in this particular blog. I believe you have solid patriotic readers, but no matter how hard they try following your tips, still end up unsuccessful especially in terms of readership. I guess they would like direct first-handed practical solutions to their blogging dilemmas. That way, it can be pointed out what specifically in their blogs work and doesn’t work.

  25. Scot says:

    Darren

    I think post length is perfect – I read via RSS and have consistently read through every problogger post. I find I get the most value out of longer posts, as opposed to shorter newsy posts. Speedlinking breaks that up beautifully though.

    Regarding a forum: While I think introducing a forum would enhance the level of community amongst the biggest Problogger contributors, some of your (presumably numerous) quiet (backseat) readers may find it slightly alienating miss out on a significant part of the discussion that might occur.

    Posts concerning the range of tools you’re currently using to earn money via blogging would be appreciated, because although you’ve covered it before there is a feeling of content dating very quickly online. Also, many people like me are looking to find the most appropriate and respectable form of advertising/other revenue earners for their sites. No one wants to be scammed though, and a word of recommendation from you goes a long way.

    Your case studies have proved most useful to me. Plus content generating ideas like your last series, which I thought was a fantastic re-energiser for pro blogger.

    Cheers
    Scot

  26. April says:

    Could do with a bit of help on multi-author blogs and payment options. I have a site which is a few years old and want to turn it into a blog on fashion, beauty etc. I though of allowing the blogger to keep all the adsense and affiliate money from their post whilst I keep money generated from the sidebar.

    Does this sound like an OK idea?

    Thanks

  27. Mike says:

    How about reviewing a different blog every week? Not just the big, popular blogs but any one of the millions out there. I think this could help people relate this info more easy back to their own blogs.

  28. Truden says:

    Hi, Darren :)

    Thanks for this topic.
    Great attitude about your readers, which we don’t see so often.

    I’d like to hear from you “what a new blogger should not do”.

    Love your design and hope that after the revamp the load time will improve (it’s not always that bad).
    Your post infrequency is just perfect.
    Not too dense and not too occasional – keeps me happy to see it in my feed reader ;)

  29. KiwiPulse says:

    I’ll vote for a Forum, I know it represent more of your time to moderated it. But it will help you to simplifly your work by getting ideas on the discussion forum. Having a active growing community, thats priceless :D

  30. Chris Peters says:

    Hi Darren,

    First of all I’d like to say that this blog has been my favorite since I found it. I love the design because it’s easy to oversee and when you are new you simply check out the key articles to start with.

    Some mentioned a Problogger forum but I advise strongly against it. Not because a forum is no fun but because a forum and a weblog are two different kinds of communities. You have built a community here, something that is vital to your success and I believe a forum would undermine your ‘formula’ as it is now.

    This weblog is regulated very well, updated more than most blogs and therefore you don’t need user generated content besides the comments you get. Case studies about monetizing forums are welcome given the number of votes for even though it’s almost off-topic being a different medium.

    The quantity and the quality of posts is perfect, I think this topic will tell you all you need to change. This topic itself is the key to improvement, readers are actively involved in the process of change: a win-win situation.

    I’m sure you will continiue to deliver high quality on Problogger and I wish you the best of luck.

    Kind Regards,

    Chris Peters

  31. How about read my emails?.

    Also I would like you to see to write more about SEO , who is doing that stuff for you etc.
    Find for us how people can get better ranking in SE?
    Why don’t you use keywords? or Meta Tags.

  32. Bob Blick says:

    Answering questions from time to time. WordPress is easy but yet can get a little complicated. Things you can’t figure out why they’re happening as there seems to be no logical answer and no way to find the answer. Yep – I have such a problem right now. :-)

    Overall though, this is an excellent site and should be frequented by anyone interested in doing blogs.

  33. Sue says:

    I cannot believe people want you to “review” their site. If they are reading this blog on a regular basis, and your archives, they don’t need it reviewed, they’d pick up enough tips. Like you don’t have enough to do! LOL! Okay, rant over. :-)
    My suggestions:
    Design: Perhaps consider going fluid on the width. I am seeing some huge resolutions at my little site, and with your traffic, it must be mega times more than I see. I’m coming to believe that is the way to go.
    Content: Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m nowhere near to monetizing my blog, but it’s maybe something for the future. Even though I’m not ready, and may never be, due to being very niche specific, and not something that a lot of people would read, the suggestions on building traffic and respect are the best. In fact, that’s how I found this site in the first place.
    I think the amount of posts is just right, along with the divisions between the content. And the length is good. Maybe I have a higher attention span, but too short posts (other than speedlinking ones) are a waste of a visit. You have a lot to say/teach and you do it in an effective manner.
    Forum: Uh-uh, no way. I don’t think you’d want the hassle. And it is a major hassle, and with your traffic, you’d have to have dozens of moderators. Comments work fine, don’t let anyone sway your opinion on that. You’re just opening up a can of worms if you start one. (Visions of flame wars, spam, spam, review my site please, etc.).
    Also, personal to Darren: I think very few of us read that quote mentioned by Gavin Smith as a plea for sympathy. Whether a blog makes money or not, no one wants a new you knowwhat ripped, just to slam the Darren, and I think you have a high caliber of commenters here. :D
    I can’t think of anything else, other than to keep up the great work. You are appreciated.

  34. Mark says:

    One suggestion I would like to make is that you consider starting a Bloggers Forum.

    Your readers base is impressive. I’m sure there are plenty of blogging enthusiasts who would be delighted if you were to start a blogging forum.
    Use Invision Power Boards. They offer regular upgrades and their forums are already high quality.

    If you start this bloggers forum, I would be one of the very first to join up. I would be ecstatic at all the blogging knowledge I would soak up in there.
    You could call it the Probloggers Forums.

  35. racketboy says:

    One of the comments above gave me a good idea to agree with.
    I’ve toyed with the idea of paying contributers to keep my blog going strong. (I’ve been writing for over two years and have less time than I used to)

    Coming up with strategies for organization and payment would be great. Determining a fair payment amount is the hard part. (Knowing how much a person’s post is worth to me/making it worth their while to write for me)

  36. Tony says:

    A Print Plugin. I have a friend who doesn’t have access to the internet but loves your stuff. I love printing it out and reading it somewhere else and as everyone knows ie is useless at print and firefox isn’t much better. I have seen some sites with a print plugin and they work extremely well.

  37. Mark Levison says:

    How about solve the worlds major problems: climate change, world peace, …. :-)

    Oh you meant relevant feedback:
    1) No videos or podcasts please. I can read much faster than you can speak. I just don’t have time for them. Consider I spend about 30-60 minutes a day reading blogs.
    2) Allow the main column to a bit wider on large screens. Not infinitely wide – maybe 50% larger.
    3) I struggle to keep up as it is so please don’t increase the posting frequency.
    4) A few case studies might be fun.
    5) As I’ve suggested via the contact form a story on Click Fraud – especially the risks of having your adsense account suspended through no fault of your own.

    Cheers
    Mark “Notes from a Tool User” Levison

  38. Jason says:

    I think it would be interesting to have forums where people could ask your readers for advice on specific things (a la “How do I make my landing page more sticky?”). That way we could get feedback from all your readers, who, presumably are interested in such things and likely constantly looking to learn more and refine their already existing knowledge, and not have to use up your valuable time.

  39. Ray says:

    I love your writings. But I hate to see some shallow and quickly written posts. 1-2 post per day is enough provided they are really meaningful and useful to us.

    PS: I don’t really like your Speedlinking post. I come to your blog just to get your opinions and not others ;).

  40. I read your blog about once a day, and I am constantly finding that the site design seems too cluttered, especially around the header. I appreciate how hard it is to design blog themes, but Problogger could really do with an overhaul.

  41. Jungle Mama says:

    I’ve just started reading your site and love it very much. There is a lot which does not pertain specifically to me as I am a “Mommy Blog”. Do you know how much I hate that term? I really do! I want to be recognized as something other than a Mommy Blog. How do I pull myself out of that rut? I’ve got a little niche that we are an overseas family, but to tell you the truth, the experience has had it’s great disappointments and I fear the blog would go to close to the edge if I described them, though how can you help scratch the surface on some of those issues. Well, aside from outright asking you to tell me what I should blog about, if you’ve got some advice for how to get an average Mommy Blog into a new realm I’d be grateful.

    As far as your design, it would be nice if you could clarify your lists along the top. So many titles I’m not sure what I’m looking at or where the link will take me. Will I stay on your page or go somewhere else?First impression was a little . . . can I use “scary” and not offend you?

    Thanks for all of your great reading material you’ve given me :)

  42. Turkey Photo says:

    Another vote for case studies