Another Chance to Win 1,700 Visitors: Review

This week’s community consultation of Free Money Finance boasts a very useful prize for bloggers: 1,700 visitors. Leave a helpful review with some non-intuitive points in your comment and you could win a stampede of 1,700 StumbleUpon users to your favorite post. If your content is good, those 1,700 visitors could grow into a much bigger traffic snowball as votes for your content pile up.

What we’re looking for: a thorough review of the blog answering all the questions below and containing some non-intuitive advice. That’s all you’ve got to do to be in the running. There will be only one winner.

The blog’s owner, who writes under “FMF”, describes the blog like this:

Free Money Finance is a personal finance blog designed to help people grow their net worth. As such, the site covers all money-related topics including investing, retirement, saving money, making money, getting out of debt, etc. The blog is written anonymously by FMF and he shares the strategies he’s used the past 20 years to create a substantial net worth. The blog is updated five times a day every weekday and once each on the weekends. Some content is completely original, but most of it features quotes from other sources and commentary from FMF on his opinions about what is being recommended.

Free Money Finance screenshot.

The blog’s owner has asked for feedback on the following areas:

  • Design – This is NOT my expertise at all and I’d be interested in what ProBlogger readers suggest to make the site look better and become more usable.
  • Posts – Currently when I quote a source, I put the quoted areas in red/maroon shaded text. What do your readers think of this? Good? Bad? Better suggestions? (FYI, I use Typepad and hence might be limited in some design options.)
  • How to drive traffic – The blog is doing well in terms of traffic, but could do better. Other than the standard ideas for driving traffic, are there any suggestions I may not have thought of?
  • Generating revenue – The blog earns a decent income from Adsense and a few affiliate programs, but more is always better! Any suggestions for doing this? (FYI, I give all my income to charity – details here.)

We look forward to your helpful and respectful advice. Good luck!

A Tortoise’s Guide to Blogging

The following post has been written by Kaila Colbin from VortexDNA

torthare2.jpgEffortless Traffic-Building. 5 Easy Steps to Number 1. Lose Weight in Your Sleep. We’re hardwired to be tempted by shortcuts, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that they don’t work. The good news is that it’s more fun—and more gratifying—to succeed in blogging the old fashioned way. This step-by-step guide will show you how to blow by the hares and laugh all the way to the finish line.

Step 1. Remember what a blog is about.

I’ll be the first to confess that I’m obsessed with my stats. I check them several times a day; I delight in every uptick and despair at every downturn. At the end of the day, though, stats are just one way of measuring what a blog is really about: people.

That’s why artificial jumps in stats aren’t sustainable, because people and traffic are two different things. You can pay for traffic, but people define your success. Traffic doesn’t come back again and again; people do. Traffic doesn’t tell its friends; people do. Traffic doesn’t comment; people do.

Hares only worry about traffic; tortoises create blogs to serve the people who read it, with the professionalism, quality and content that they deserve.

Step 2. To make a friend, be a friend.

When you meet somebody new, do you start by asking them to help you move house? Or do you wait until you’ve built the foundation of your friendship? Tortoises cultivate blogging relationships the same way you cultivate your friendships: one at a time, thinking about the other person as well as yourself, contributing at least as much value as you take away.

Hares, on the other hand, send non-personalized link-request emails to people whose blogs they’ve never read without offering anything in return.

True relationship building can’t be faked and it can’t be hurried. It won’t work if you’re not genuine about it, but it will pay enormous dividends if you are.

Rule 3. Stay humble.

Your blog cannot succeed without the help of a lot of people, big and small, buying into what you have to offer. Nobody owes you anything, so remember to express gratitude for everything you get: every link, every review, every comment, every visitor.

Tortoises write thank-you notes. They link to others. They offer guest posts.

View yourself as a contributor to society, and continually ask yourself, “What more can I do?” This takes time, but if you’re not willing to give your time to others, why should they give theirs to you?

When people link to you, they are entrusting you with their reputations. When people read your blog, they are entrusting you with their time. Hares do not appreciate the value of others’ reputations and time, but tortoises do.

Rule 4. Be patient.

The Internet invites speed, and hares love it. We can throw up a blog at the drop of a hat. We want six-figure AdSense checks, and we want ‘em yesterday. In the midst of all that speed, the longevity of the tortoise carries an unmistakable weight.

Started a blog a week ago? Why should I care? So did ten thousand other people. You’re going to have to prove to me that you’re dedicated to this before I’ll be willing to be dedicated to you. So don’t despair; just keep writing.

Building a successful blog is a marathon with no shortcuts, but great rewards. Do your training. Eat right. Sleep well. Pace yourself, and don’t give up. Day by day, link by link, your blog will build in reputation and reach.

Caution will turn to trust will turn to love, and the love of your readers will keep you going long after the hare has fallen by the wayside. Five or ten or twenty years from now, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come—even at the slow pace of a tortoise.

Kaila Colbin blogs for VortexDNA, whose technology can improve relevance for search engines, ecommerce sites, or any other recommendation service.

ProBlogger Switches to Guest Blogger Mode

Just a quick update on the guest post situation here on ProBlogger. A couple of days ago on the spur of the moment I invited readers to submit a post for next week (and a couple of weeks in March). Within 22 hours of posting that I had just under 100 people say that they want to participate. I closed submissions off at that point (it was getting too big to handle).

So far 60 posts have been submitted and I’m expecting more in the next few days. The quality of posts submitted is fantastic.

I’ve chosen 13 for the next week (you’ll see them start appearing in the next day), will use another 20 or so while I’m at SXSW and hope to use most of the rest in the coming months that follow.

Thanks to everyone who has participated – it’s been a fascinating process, lots of work and something that I’m sure will make for an interesting month ahead.

TeachingSells offers a $1 Sneak Peek

teachingsells.pngOne of my favorite resources for teaching people how to make money from building online communities is TeachingSells.

Produced by Brian Clark of CopyBlogger fame this course has so much amazing information packed into it that it is difficult to digest it all. Actually when I say it’s a ‘course’ I should probably describe it as 9 courses (I’ll tell you why below).

Usually priced at $97 for 3 months access (a bargain for what you get) TeachingSells currently has a $1 for 7 days promotion running.

Yes for the cost of just $1 you get 7 days access to every single piece of information on the site. When Brian told me about this earlier today I was amazed.

9 Courses not 1

I mentioned above that TeachingSells isn’t a course – it’s 9.

The way TeachingSells works is that new teaching is added to it regularly in nine different courses. The first five courses (the Core Courses) are now fully complete and three of the last four (Advanced Courses) are well under way with more content being added each week.

The 9 courses are:

  • How to Create Content That Sells
  • How to Effectively Market Interactive Learning Environments
  • How to Create Killer Multimedia Content with Quick and Easy Tools
  • Seven Profitable Business Models for Interactive Content Developers
  • Your Blueprint for Building Membership Sites with Open Source and Low-Cost Software
  • Educational Marketing: Persuasive Promotional Content That Prompts Action
  • Advanced Positioning and Creative Adaptation Strategies
  • Quick, Easy, and Inexpensive Niche-Focused Membership Sites
  • Multimedia Storytelling – When the Medium is NOT the Message

But you can get all this on the TeachSells site – and considering that it’s $1 to sample everything that’s already been posted (the majority of it) you’d be crazy not to go and check it out for yourself. It’s the perfect offer if you’re not sure it’s the right resource for you – taste, see and then decide.

Find Creative Commons Licenced Photos from Flickr via Your WP Blog

This WP plugin looks amazing – it finds Flickr Creative Commons licenced images all from within WP.

“With the Photo Dropper plugin, you can now search millions of Flickr photos and add them to your WordPress posts with just 1 click, all without leaving your WordPress dashboard. Attribution links are automatically added underneath the images to comply with the Creative Commons license rules. It’s the easiest way to add photos to your blog. Period. And best of all – it’s Free!”

AdSense for Video Goes into Beta Testing

I’m literally running out the door for a week’s vacation but the news broke last night that AdSense for Video has finally come out of it’s initial pilot testing into a wider beta test. You can read about it on the AdSense blog or check out an overview of it with this video.

Keep in mind – these are not video ads – but ads that become embedded in video that you show on your blog.

At this point it’s a US publisher only test (grrrr) but I’m assured that other parts of the world will come into the program at some point (I got the sense it wouldn’t be too long). There’s more information on the blog or here on their Video Advertising Solutions page.

4 Social Media Marketing Tips for Bloggers

My good friend Aaron Brazell from Technosailor asked me if I’d record a short video for a presentation he was giving on the topic of Social Media. He asked me to speak about marketing with Social Media sites. I thought I’d publish the video here also.

To summarize – I share 4 simple tips on marketing your blog with social media sites.

  1. Be an Active Participant
  2. Have a Consistent Presence on Different Social Media Sites
  3. Add Value to the Wider Community
  4. Let Others Sell You

Blogsavvy up for Sale – an Interesting Opportunity

Friend and fellow Melbourne Blogger James Farmer has decided to put his blog Blogsavvy on the market. It’s going to be an interesting auction to watch – because it’s a little different to many other blog sales that we’ve seen.

What is different about this auction is that it doesn’t run advertising on it, there’s no affiliate product income – in fact there’s no direct income on this blog at all. However – it does make James money.
You see this blog ranks well for the term blog consultant and enables James to sell his own services as a blog consultant. In the Sitepoint auction James reports his consulting income as $2000 per month. At the Buy it Now Price of $10,000 it’s a pretty tempting offer with those potential earning figures – not to mention it’s established presence in the blogosphere (it’s 2.5 years old).
Of course you’d need to be able to offer blog consulting services to make a business of it but I think it’s going to be a fascinating auction to watch.

Are You Coming to SXSW? Enter this Competition to Come have a Beer with Me!

problogger-chitika-beer-bus.pngAre you coming to SXSW? If so – I’d love to meet you.

Comments are now closed. Winners will be notified by email, by Lara, who is helping to manage the site while we’re in “Guest Blogger Mode”. Thanks to all who entered!

Chitika have been kind enough to sponsor me in coming along this year and to celebrate we’re holding a little event called the:

Chitika/ProBlogger SXSW Beer-Bus!

Yep it’s a party and a great opportunity to come along and meet some fellow bloggers, Chitika staff and me – on a bus for 3 hours as we travel around Austin.

Of course a bus only holds so many people so there’s a limit on how many people can attend so to work out who is ‘on board’ I’m holding a little competition.

Requirements of Entry

  • IF you’re coming to SXSW all you need to do to be in the running to win a spot on the bus is to comment below.
  • You MUST be coming to SXSW to be eligible and you MUST be able to come along on 9 March (Sunday) from 3pm-6pm (update: the party starts at 3pm with the bus leaving at 4pm I’m told).
  • If this excludes you then please don’t enter as someone else will miss out.
  • This competition will run from now until the end of Tuesday 26th.
  • One entry per person.
  • Entries will be selected randomly and will be notified via email (please include a valid email address in the email field of your comment)

I’m not sure exactly of how many spots we’re giving away but I’m hoping it will be around 20 (depending how many RSVPs I get from others that I’ve invited).

Comments are now closed. Winners will be notified by email, by Lara, who is helping to manage the site while we’re in “Guest Blogger Mode”. Thanks to all who entered!