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Learn How to Blog Better – Reader Blog Tips

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Part of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog project that I’m currently running here on ProBlogger is an invitation to readers to share what they are learning about blogging by publishing their own blog tips (you can learn how to participate here). Every few days I’ll publish a new batch of links to these tips here at ProBlogger (in addition to my own daily tips which you can follow via our RSS feed or by subscribing via email to our latest posts).

I’m very excited to say that in this first batch of reader blog tips there are some exceptional tips and if this is the standard of those submitted over the coming month then I’m very excited.

Here is the first batch of reader blog tips from the first two days of the project.

Thanks to everyone who has already participated. You’re more than welcome to submit more new posts. Lets keep it to a maximum of 1 per day though. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work!

How to Find Fresh Expert Guest Posters for Your Blog

Here’s a quick tip that I’ve used a few times with success over the last couple of months on my photography blog.

Like most bloggers I find it difficult to sustain writing a new tip or tutorial for Digital Photography School everyday. I do want to provide readers with helpful tips on a daily basis but after a year of writing and in the busyness of life it can be difficult.

As a result, recently I’ve been approaching a few experts to contribute to the blog.

I’ve done this before on different blogs but what I’ve done differently this time is look offline for the experts to write guest posts for me.

Where have I found my guest bloggers?

Two places:

1. Magazines and Periodicals

I subscribe to a number of digital photography magazines to help me keep inspired and up to date on my niche. One of the things that struck me a couple of months ago was that all of these magazines regularly feature interviews and guest articles with Professional Photographers. Many of these photographers have their own websites (usually not blogs).

On a whim one day a recently I emailed two of the Pro Photographers featured in these magazines and introduced myself. I asked them if they’d be interested in writing a guest piece for DPS in return for a little publicity of their site.

2. Books

The other place I’ve found guest posters recently is in my local bookshop. No – they were not there browsing the digital photography section – they’d written the books there.

Again, just to see what would happen, I tracked down and emailed the author of one photography book asking if he’d be interested in a guest post in return for a little publicity for his book (with my own Amazon affiliate link).

Does it Work?

Before I tell you what happened as a result of my approaches – let me tell you why I suspected the technique might work….

  • They’ve demonstrated their expertise and ability to communicate
  • They’ve demonstrated their willingness to write for publicity already (in magazines)
  • They have something to gain from participating (links to their sites/books)

What happened?

  • One of the magazine authors emailed within an hour agreeing to write a post.
  • One of the magazine authors didn’t reply for a month – but yesterday did and offered not only to write one guest post – but a series of 10 of them! He’s already written a few and we’ve agreed to release them 1 per week over the next few months.
  • The book author agreed to a guest post and is interested in doing more (one per month) depending upon the results of the experiment.

I’m pretty happy with the results to this point. I’m yet to get any of the posts actually in my inbox so there jury is still out on it – but the initial response has been very positive and I’ve already approached a couple more people to participate.

I particularly like this strategy because it brings new faces to the blogosphere. Usually guest posts tend to come from other blogs in a niche. While this can be very effective – it can sometimes produce posts that are nothing too new. Bringing in authors from outside of the blogosphere can bring a new voice that your readers may not have heard before.

Time will tell how it works out – but it’s an experiment with promising results so far.

Run a First Time Reader Audit on Your Blog

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Today is Day 2 in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Challenge and today your task is to Do a First Time Reader Audit on your blog.

Get a friend or family member who has never read your blog before and sit them down at a computer.

Load your blog up and let your friend surf it.

Don’t talk to them as they do – but watch carefully how they use your blog.

  • How do they navigate?
  • Where do they click?
  • What do they pause to read?
  • What do they skip over?

Once they’ve surfed your blog ask them some questions about the experience.

  • What were their first impressions?
  • What did they first think your blog was about when they arrived at it?
  • Did they find it easy to read/navigate/understand?
  • What did they ‘feel’ when they first arrived at your blog?
  • What suggestions do they have on how you could improve your blog?
  • What questions do they have having surfed your blog?
  • What words would they use to describe the design?
  • What are the main things that they remember about your blog 10 minutes later?

It’s amazing to see what you’ll learn by watching someone use your blog.

Once you’ve done your First Time Reader Audit come back to this post and let us know what you learned.

Your Audience Doesn’t Know About You So Go and Find Them!

A quick quote from Chris Pirillo:

“Your audience is still trying to discover you, but you have to go to where THEY are and not expect them to come to you in any other way.”

Chris is talking here about video blogging and podcasting more than blogging but the same thing applies to blogging.

‘Build it and they will come’ doesn’t apply to blogging – you need to think about where your potential readers are already gathering and go interact with them there. Read more about this process of growing your blog’s readership by targeting readers.

Email a New Reader of Your Blog

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Your task for this first day of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Challenge is to email a new reader of your blog.

Create a great impression upon a brand new readers to your blog by choosing a commenter that is new and emailing them to thank them for their comment.

It might not sound like the most profound tip but I’ll let you in on a secret – this is one of the main strategies I used to build up ProBlogger’s audience a couple of years ago.

What I found is that when you do it the chances of the readers that you email coming back to your blog again increases significantly. Get them to come back to your blog once and you increase the chances of them coming back again… and again….

So email a reader now, thank them for commenting and tell them that you’re looking forward to further interactions.

Make sure you include a link back to your blog so they know who you are and make the email relevant to their comment (ie answer a question they asked or add to their comment in some way). While there are some tools out there that do this automatically for you – the more personal you can make it the better.

This simple tip takes just a moment to do but can create a loyal long time reader. Do it at least once a day (or set yourself a higher target) and you’ll build your blog consistently over time.

Is this Tip Not SPECTACULAR Enough For You?

Last time I shared this tip with a fellow blogger they rolled their eyes at me and told me that they didn’t want to find just one more reader for their blog – they wanted hundreds or thousands.

This blogger failed to realize two things: [Read more...]

31 Days to Building a Better Blog – 2007

Do You want to Improve Your Blog with Some Daily blogging Tips? Read on to Find Out How

Two years ago today I launched a month long project here at ProBlogger that I still get feedback about today. For the month of August in 2005 I ran something called – 31 Days to Building a Better Blog.

When I started out on this project I wasn’t quite sure how it would end up – but it ended up being largely two things:

1. A month long series of my own blog tips covering a wide array of topics
2. A month long Group Writing Project – where readers were encouraged to write and submit their own blog tips (written on their own blog but linked to from ProBlogger)

You can see the results of the project at the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Summary Page where I list both my posts and those written by readers.

Building-A-Better-Blog

August is here again and after many requests to run something similar I’ve been planning another 31 day project and have decided to declare August 2007 another Build a Better Blog Month.

This time there will be a few changes – but the basics will remain the same (ie that I’ll be writing a tip per day for the whole month and that I’ll be linking to tips written by readers over the month).

The details:

My Posts

This year my posts will have a slightly different focus than last time we ran this project. Over this time I want to post 31 simple and practical tips – each with a task associated with them (homework). The tips will not be massive posts that will take you hours to reader and apply – rather they’ll be short, sharp tips that hopefully you’ll be able to spend a few minutes reading and then 10 or so minutes doing something about.

The Tips will not be about writing content (If you want a similar thing but with a writing content focus check out my very recent 7 Days to Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove project).

While writing content is absolutely central in creating a successful blog – I want to focus this next month more upon some tips around:

  • finding readers
  • building community/keeping readers
  • monetizing a blog

My hope is that each day you’ll have something to read but then have an achievable task to do that over time will help improve your blog. Some of these tasks will be one off things and others will hopefully be skills and practices that you can revisit over the weeks and months that follow.

The tips that will come over the coming month will be basic enough for beginners to follow but also solid tips that should help any blog to grow.

To keep up to date with these posts you’ll need to either subscribe to ProBlogger using our RSS feed or subscribe via Email for daily updates.

Your Posts

I want to put a call out for readers to write their own blog tips and to post them on their own blogs. Once you’ve written your post (note – I’m only accepting new posts, not previously written ones) please let me know via this submission form where you’ll be asked for your blog tip’s title/post name, the URL of the tip on your own blog as well as your own name (all of this will be published). You’ll also be asked for your email (not to be published) so that we can contact you if there’s a problem with the submission.

At least twice per week over the next month I’ll post a list of the blog tips that you have submitted so that everyone can learn from your experience and expertise. Do you have to link back to ProBlogger with your post? No – but you’re more than welcome to if you would like your readers to find out what you’re participating in.

I will endeavor to find a prize for one lucky participant between now and the end of August – although the point of this isn’t really about competition or prizes – but is about us learning about blogging together.

Your posts can be on any topic that is relevant to helping other bloggers improve any aspect of their blogging (but please keep them to the theme of improving a blog). It could be on writing content, finding readers, SEO, blog design, monetizing a blog, blog marketing etc – as long as it’s a genuine tip I’ll include it. My hope is that you’ll particularly feel inspired to write practical tips that readers can apply to their blogging – to help them actually improve their blogs.

Please feel free to submit multiple tips – however please don’t go overboard (one per day as an absolute maximum). Please also keep them to being NEW POSTS.

Other Ways to Participate

If you don’t want to submit a post (or it’s not appropriate to write one on your blog) you can still participate in a few ways:

  1. ask a question that you’d like someone to write about in comments below this post
  2. submit a quick blog tip in the comments of this post (I’ll put together a compilation post of them later in the month)
  3. follow along with my tips and do the homework – let us know how you apply it in the comments of the posts that I write
  4. comment on the posts written (both here at ProBlogger and those who submit posts) – leave your own suggestions and tips on the topics covered and share with us what you’re learning
  5. link up to the posts that you enjoy that are submitted by others

My hope with this project is that readers will not only come away from it having read some good blogging tips – but that they’ll come away with it with better blogs. If you’re anything like me you probably read a lot of great tips and theory about how to blog better – but only apply a small amount of it. This project is actually about building better blogs. The more you commit to apply what you read the better.

Remember that to keep up to date with these posts you’ll need to either subscribe to ProBlogger using our RSS feed or subscribe via Email for daily updates.

The Project So Far

If you are looking for all of the posts so far then check out this page which has a good summary of it all.