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Free Blogging Tips Podcast with Darren and Yaro

Just over one month ago Yaro Starak launched a great new Blog Mentoring program called Blog Mastermind. When I first announced the program the reaction to it’s launch was mixed. Quite a few readers signed up, others decided to wait and see what those who signed up said about it and there were others who criticized Yaro’s sales page (in fact quite a good discussion took place about the sales page).

Since the launch Yaro tells me that around 300 members have signed up for the program. The response has been so great that he’s had to hire a couple of extra Pro Bloggers to help with the program.

I’ve spent a few hours this week lurking around the members area of Blog Mastermind and am really impressed with what’s being provided to members. In addition to Yaro’s regular tips there’s some great audio interviews, video case studies and teaching and a great forum area with some great learning going on.

Yaro tells me that he and his team are also working on some more advanced tips for those members who are not coming in at an entry level.

Listen To Yaro and My Podcast Interview

This week Yaro and I spent an hour chatting about some blogging tips and recorded it as a free podcast for ProBlogger readers. Some of the topics we covered include:

  • Yaro on the convergence between the Internet marketing and blogging world
  • How to build buzz and traffic by releasing a viral PDF report
  • Tips on how to build relationships with other bloggers
  • Darren talks about techniques to capture more repeat readers using your blog archives
  • Customizing pages based on where your traffic comes from
  • Why adding an email list newsletter to your blog is critical
  • Tips to monetize your blog or newsletter using direct sponsorship
  • Testing how your ads convert on your site to increase income from sponsors
  • Using split testing software to improve the performance of ads on your blog
  • Testing different elements of your blog using crazy egg
  • Buying sites with the profit you make from blogging

This podcast is freelisten to it here – I hope you enjoy it!

Get a Discount on Blog Mastermind

Yaro’s also been generous enough to offer ProBlogger readers a special discount on the program for those who sign up before Friday of this week – instead of $77 per month he’s offering it for $47 – or $1.57 per day (and the monthly price will not go up if you sign up at this time).

Yaro’s also rewritten a new sales page – especially for ProBlogger readers which has the special discount offer. As always, Yaro offers a money back guarantee so if you sign up and find that the program doesn’t fit your needs then he’s more than happy to refund your money. I’ve heard from one reader that they’ve got their money back on the program because they found that they didn’t have the time to take it as seriously as they needed to.

Lastly – a quick thanks to those ProBlogger readers who have emailed to let me know how they’ve found Blog Mastermind. I won’t republish your comments here – but you’re more than welcome to tell of your experiences of it in comments below to help others worth out whether this is a program for them.

Using Google Analytics to Compare Traffic from Different Periods of Time

Matt Huggins has put together a useful article titled Beginner’s Guide to Interpreting Website Traffic Metrics with Google Analytics which will be very useful for anyone wanting a primer on how to use Google Analytics. Matt’s post reminded me of something I’ve been using Google Analytics a lot more for recently – comparing different periods of time to one another.

I’ve been getting a lot more into Google Analytics over the past few months – it’s one of the most useful metrics programs that I’ve ever used and has so much power under the hood.

There are a number of metrics that I keep an eye on but one of them that I’ve been tracking lately is to compare traffic from one month to another.

Let me illustrate. Here’s the last month’s traffic graph from ProBlogger (click to enlarge):

Last-Month

Now lets compare the this graph with traffic last month? (note – I’ve lined it up so that the periods both start on the same day of the week so that we can compare Mondays to Mondays and Saturdays to Saturdays):

Last-Month-Compared

You can immediately see that the dips and flows in traffic had some similarities on many days but that there were a couple of big variations. The first spike was when one of my posts got some attention on Digg’s front page for a few hours and the spike around July 2 was when we had some server issues one day.

OK – to this point it’s just an interesting graph – but one of the things I then like to do is drill down to different types of traffic.

Lets take a look at search engine traffic over the period:

Se-Traffic

With this graph we can see that from last month (green) to this month (blue) there is a noticeable increase in traffic coming from search engines. In fact lower on the metrics page we can see that there was a 6.11% increase over the month. Not bad considering that on the day of my server issues there was a 60% decrease. You can also clearly see the weekly cycle of traffic which is almost perfectly mirrored from one month to the next for the first half of the month.

Drilling down even further we can check out the comparison by actual search engine:

Here’s Google: [Read more...]

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.

Tell a Story – Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove Day 7

Rediscover-Blogging-Groove--1Today’s task in the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project is to tell a story.

One of the more helpful books that I’ve read in the last couple of years is The Story Factor by Annette Simmons. In it she talks about six different types of stories and how they can each be important in influencing people.

These six types of stories are:

  1. “Who I Am” Stories
  2. “Why I Am Here” Stories
  3. “The Vision” Story
  4. “Teaching” Stories
  5. “Values-in-Action” Stories
  6. “I Know What You Are Thinking” Stories

I’m looking to write a series of posts on these types of stories in the future so won’t go into great depth about each one except to say that stories are incredibly powerful ways of communicating for bloggers.

Stories are effective because they:

  • engage the imagination of readers
  • go beyond facts and theories
  • reveal something about yourself as a blogger
  • trigger emotions and the senses
  • provide hooks for readers to latch onto in your blogging
  • are relatable to readers
  • illustrate your points in ways that can be much more convincing (and convicting) than other types of information

The key with stories on blogs is making them tie into the rest of your blog – ie make them relevant and ensure that they have some point to them that is useful to your readers on some level. While telling the story of how your dog dug up your vegetable patch might interest you, the readers of your blog about (insert your blog’s topic here) may not be quite as fascinated – unless you use the story to illustrate something about your topic.

So what type of stories could you tell on your blog?

[Read more...]

Speedlinking – 22 July 2007

Ask a Question – Rediscover Your Blogging Groove Day 6

Rediscover-Blogging-Groove--1Today’s task in the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project is to ask your readers a question.

The ‘question post’ idea comes directly from one of my own weekend strategies for posting . I like question posts for a number of reasons:

  • It gives readers a sense of Community and Participation
  • It increases Blog Stickiness
  • These posts don’t take a whole lot of effort to write (although can take some moderation)
  • They are great for helping you to gauge where your readers are at on certain topics and can even give you ideas for future posts.
  • They open up opportunities for followup posts as you summarize the answers, pick up conversations and even answer the question yourself etc.
  • They can be great for generating incoming links to your blog as other bloggers pick up the conversation on their own blogs.

Of course some readers resist these types of posts because they are scared that nobody will answer the question. This can be a little disheartening – but if you construct the post well and include your own answer to the question then at least there is something there of value even if the conversation doesn’t emerge.

Remember that only around 1% of blog readers tend to leave comments – so if you don’t get a lot of responses it doesn’t mean that no one is reading – keep trying.

What question should you ask?

Really anything goes – however a few ideas come to mind to help you formulate effective questions: [Read more...]

Write a Tip Post – Rediscover Your Blogging Groove Day 5

Rediscover-Blogging-Groove--1Today’s task in the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project is to write a ‘Tip’ Post.

I know today’s task will be easier for some of you than others because your topic is more suited to writing ‘how to’ or ‘tip’ posts – however I’m sure that if you put your mind to it and get a little creative you can do it!

The idea behind today’s task is simply to help your readers in some way. What do you know that they might not? How can you teach them what you know?

9 Tips on How to write a Tips Post:

1. Present the Need - Most people will not read your tip post if they don’t feel they need to know what you’re teaching. Right at the top of your post (and even in the title) you need to show people why reading your tips is important. Tell them what problem you’re overcoming, what need you are trying to meet or what they’ll learn and how it will enhance their lives. Do this and you’ll increase the chances of them reading through your full post.

2. Base it On Your Own Experience – One of the best ways to write these posts is to base them on something that you have either done or something that you do. Perhaps it’s some process or workflow that you take for granted that will give someone insight into something they’d not considered before.

3. Base it on Someone Else’s Experience – Another technique is to base your tip on what someone else does. This might be someone you know well and that you’ve observed do something – or it could be a total stranger (How Donald Trump Gets His Hair to Comb Over….). [Read more...]

Alexa Releases Firefox Toolbar

Alexa has finally released it’s long awaited Firefox Toolbar. The little traffic and reach graph/tool that it shows of every site you’re on will be an interesting thing to see as I surf. While I don’t really take much notice of the actual ranking numbers (I have blogs that get a lot more traffic than ProBlogger which don’t rank as highly) I do think that the graphs can be useful to see how a blog or site is trending up or down.

Picture 3-1

Anyone else downloading it?

Speedlinking – 20 July 2007