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Build Your Blog With Forum Traffic

Keeping You Posted by Skellie.Skellie is a regular writer for ProBlogger. You can subscribe to her feed or visit her blog, Skelliewag.org, for more posts like this one.

One of the most satisfying aspects of blogging is finding uncommon and underrated ways to build your blog’s traffic.

One traffic building strategy I’ve always found to be underrated is using a niche forum profile to draw visitors back to your blog through a signature link.

One thing you might not know is that I built my blog, Skelliewag, from 0 to 100 subscribers almost exclusively using a forum profile. My forum posts would bring in dozens of visitors every day. Though my blog has over 2,000 subscribers as I write this, I still get comments and emails from loyal readers I first met through the Authority Blogger Forums.

If you’re skeptical…

There is a general consensus on the wisdom of using comments to get incoming traffic to your blog. In my experience, forums have been even more effective than a comments-for-traffic strategy, yet the two strategies aren’t often compared. Posting once or twice on a busy forum often brought dozens of visitors back to my blog. You’d need a much higher volume of comments to achieve the same results.

While I don’t claim that everyone will have the same experience, I found forums to yield more traffic for less work than a commenting-for-traffic strategy.

Is forum traffic part of your blog’s growth strategy? Perhaps it should be. Here are my suggestions for growing your readership through a solid forum profile.

1. Find your target audience

What kinds of people do you think would be most interested in your blog? If there are blogs in your niche, there are probably forums in it too.

If you can find a forum dedicated to your target audience, every forum user is a potential reader.

2. Create a compelling signature

Your forum signature will appear beneath every post you write. Unlike comments, where the only way to link back to your blog is via your name (or by linking in the comment), you have a lot more control over your signature.

You can link to your blog and include a tag line. You can format it with color and bolding to get more attention. You could also link to a featured post using one of your best headlines.

Your signature is the point of conversion where forum visitors become blog visitors. Take the time to make sure it’s as effective as possible.

City buildings.
Photo by extranoise

3. Make an impression

The quality of your forum posts will influence incoming traffic more than their volume. You need to make an impression on other forum users — something which makes them think: “I want to know more about this person.”

You can do this simply by being a friendly and helpful user. Go out of your way to do favors for others and become well-respected in the community.

You can also get more traffic back to your blog by writing interesting posts in high-visibility locations, for example:

  • Starting a popular thread.
  • Writing a FAQ or Guide which is stickied by a moderator, meaning it will stay on the front page of the forum permanently.
  • Becoming a moderator (people always pay attention to them!)
  • Becoming a forum power-user (people pay more attention to them, too).

4. Make connections

Aside from the traffic benefits, forums allow you to make connections with a diverse array of individuals with a variety of skills.

Making connections with people through forums is rewarding in its own right, but it can also present opportunities for mutual benefit. You might meet potential guest posters, other niche bloggers, experts or other people with skills you can use.

When I was trying to guest-post as much as possible, I made a forum thread offering to do a guest-post for anyone who asked. Quite a few bloggers accepted the offer. The resulting guest-posts helped take my blog to the next level.

The overall point I’m trying to make is that the rewards of an active forum profile go beyond traffic. Genuinely enjoying your participation in the forum (rather than viewing it only as a means to an end) will result in opportunities you would not have been able to orchestrate on your own.

Points to review

  • Find a forum (or more than one) popular with the people you want to reach.
  • Create a signature designed to convert forum users into blog readers.
  • Be a remarkable forum member.
  • Reach out and make connections with other forum users. They might have valuable lessons to teach you.

Elite Retreat San Francisco

 Images Elite RetreatI rarely promote conferences that I’m not attending – but in the case of Elite Retreat I make an exception because it’s a concept that I believe in strongly and it’s something that I’ve been a part of previously.

Last year I was a speaker on their last San Francisco Retreat and it was an amazing time where I learned so much and met some people that literally changed the way I run my online business. I just wish I could go again – but I’ll have just come back from another US trip to SXSW.

The concept is simple – a small group of experts (there’s six this year) with extensive online experience gather together with a maximum of 35 attendees to share everything that they know on their field of interest.

There’s no selling of products – just speakers sharing everything they know on the topic and answering questions as honestly as I’ve ever heard at one of these events.

The speakers this year are Aaron Wall (SEO expert and regular guest poster here at ProBlogger, Jeremy Schoemaker (Shoemoney and holder of the most circulated picture of him holding a six figure AdSense check ever), Guy Kawasaki (venture capitalist – Guy is Keynoting the event), Neil Patel (what this guy has forgotten about Social Media would make a best seller), Any Liu (he attended last time and has since taken BuddyTV onto be a major success and Margie Zable Fisher PR expert.

The group is small so there’s lots of time for personal interaction – in fact it’s even scheduled into the time with each attendee able to spend specific time with each expert to pick their brain as it pertains to their own projects.

The cost of the Elite Retreat is, as the name and format would suggest, at the high end of this type of gathering. It’s not cheap but this is now an annual event and it’s one of those things that can take your online business to the next level.

Jeremy tells me that there’s a money back guarantee also for this retreat. I’ve never heard of that being offered on a conference before – pretty cool.

Get more information on Elite Retreat here.

A quick note: this isn’t a first in best dressed type of thing. They choose the best applicants that they can (they want people who they think are best suited for them to help). So if you want to go, think about your application a little and sell yourself a bit.

AdSense Change Rules – Stupidity Stupidity Stupidity

The AdSense blog has just announced changes to the AdSense referral program which I’m pretty disappointed in. In fact they anger me and leave me disillusioned with AdSense.

There are two changes:

1. Changes to Payment System

The ‘experimental’ payment system for publishers promoting AdSense is being changed back to the way it was before it was changed a year ago.

The current pay system (that is about to change) works like this:

  • If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $5 within 180 days you get a payment of $5.
  • If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $100 within 180 days you get $250
  • If you refer 25 people who make $100 within a 180 day period you get a bonus payment of $2000

The previous payment system (which is what things are being changed back to) is this:

If you refer someone to AdSense who makes $100 within a 180 day period you get $100.

This removes the incentive to refer anyone who is a small publisher and it removes the incentive to work hard at referring multiple publishers. In fact it removes quite a bit of incentive to use the program at all.

As someone who had always just fallen short of the $2000 bonus I can tell you that for me it always acted as a huge incentive to promote AdSense. When AdSense added the $5 and $2k bonus I thought it was genius – while the numbers may not have been right – I’m surprised that AdSense have removed incentive for publishers to refer them in this way.

But if that’s not enough – get this second change:

2. AdSense Referrals Retired for Publishers outside of North America, Latin America and Japan.

If YOU as a publisher are outside of North America, Latin America, and Japan – you’ll no longer be able to participate in the referral program.

Yes you hear me right, its about the location of you as a publisher that excludes you from participating in the AdSense referral system. It’s got nothing to do with your audience’s location, the topic you write about, the quality of your blog or any other factor – it’s about where you blog from.

I’m not privy to the reasoning for this – they simply say ‘We’ve found that this referral product has not performed as well as we had hoped in these regions’ – but in my mind this is stupidity to the ultimate degree.

As a publisher who blogs from Australia but who has a blog on a niche topic that relates perfectly to AdSense and which has the vast majority of it’s traffic from the USA (and which has consistently referred publishers to AdSense that have converted at the $100 in 180 range) I cannot understand the reasoning for this change.

I’m just one example (I’m the example I know best) and a quick look at my stats shows me that I’ve displayed AdSense referral ads close to 20 million times. I’ve sent them tens of thousands of visitors and have been responsible for thousands of sign ups. I cannot even begin to imaging how much money those signups have made AdSense – yet today they’re telling me that they don’t feel that that kind of evangelism for them is worthwhile paying for?

I can understand the reasoning for changing payment levels if they are not converting well for AdSense, but to exclude publishers from promoting them based upon the location of the publisher is simply dumb.

AdSense – this is short sighted, this will cost you money, this is stupid.

PS: The last line of the post on the AdSense blog which announces this shows just how out of touch the team that made this decision are with international publishers.

“We appreciate your support of this referral product, and hope it won’t cause you any inconvenience.”

You hope it won’t cause inconvenience? Are you serious?

Shoemoney joins the conversation with AdSense Slaps Foreign Webmasters in the Face

Update: I’m still a little confused by this decision of AdSense and have been wondering what’s behind it. One that comes to mind is that perhaps they have an oversupply of publishers and need to slow down the intake of new ones. Perhaps with the rise of so many other ad networks advertisers are finding other options to advertise with and going with AdWords less – causing an oversupply of publishers.

Not sure on that one – just the beginning of an idea.

Update 2: one thing I failed to point out in this post that Andy points out is that publishers that you’ve referred to Google in the last 180 days which are yet to make $100 will be switched to the new payout system at the end of the month. For example, if you referred someone 4 months ago who has made $99.99 as of the end of this month (when the changes come into effect) and who makes makes another cent the day after taking them up to $100 – you will only get the $100 payout instead of a $250 one. Of course that is if you live in the ‘golden zones’ of the Americas and Japan.

So for ‘international’ publishers – every person that you and I have sent to AdSense since the end of July last year that reaches a conversion point in the coming months will earn us nothing at all.

Don’t Just Have a Blog – Learn to Think Like a Blogger

Think-Like-A-BloggerLast week I was chatting to a new blogger and he asked me

“how do you manage to keep coming up with post ideas for my blogs?”

It’s a question I get a fair bit – and one I’ve struggled to answer… until recently.

It sounds odd that I don’t know how I keep ideas coming – but I’ve never really understood how I’m able to do it – it just seems to happen quite naturally.

What clicked for me was a conversation with my personal trainer who said something that switched a light on for me.

Learning to Think Like a Fit Person

He told me that what we’re trying to do in this early stage of my new training routine (I’ve been at it a month now) is really to establish new patterns in the way that I think.

I’d been thinking about my training as exercising my body – but what he’s helped me to see is that we’re actually working upon my mind as much as anything.

It’s a process of retraining my mind and how it thinks about numerous aspects of my life including what I eat and the activity that I do each day.

In the early stages of this process I’m being quite intentional about it (keeping a food diary, recording the amount of exercise that I do, having a weekly plan of exercise, learning about food portion sizes etc).

To be perfectly honest, a few weeks, the process doesn’t feel at all natural. My body feels sore and I feel like I’m thinking of nothing other than food and exercise and how they fit into my day.

It doesn’t feel natural at all – but what’s gradually happening is that I’m having a mind-shift.

Danny (my trainer) explained to me that in time the food diary will become less important because I’ll just start to ‘get it’. The exercise plan will be less central because I’ll be thinking like an active person and incorporating activity into my day in a more natural way.

Learning to Think Like a Blogger

Today blogging is a very natural part of my life. On most days I can sit down at the keyboard and start typing – a post appears. Sure I need to ‘work’ at it – but more often than not it’s relatively easy.

However it wasn’t always like this.
In my early days of blogging the process was far less natural. I sometimes forget how challenging it was – but when I force myself to think back:

  • I remember a period where I had to set an alarm on my phone to remind myself to post
  • I remember times where I’d sit down to write an nothing would come
  • I remember times where I’d write and rewrite posts and then hit delete – not publishing anything at all
  • I remember at times being quite structured in setting myself goals (posting targets, the number of comments I wanted to write on other people’s blogs etc
  • I remember times where it would take me hours to come up with a satisfactory opening line to a post or where I’d write 20 or so titles before finding one I liked
  • I remember struggling to find my ‘voice’ – wondering if I should be more professional, more personal, use humor, write as an expert etc

This process wasn’t always easy and as I think about it I realize that what I was doing in these early days was as much working on my mindset as I was working on my writing skills.

In a sense I was teaching myself to think like a blogger.

In time things began to change – in a similar way to the way Danny explained the process that I’m going through with my diet and exercise. The blogging process became more natural, it began to flow, the ideas came, I found my voice and I began to see some progress.

So what helped me to not only have a blog but to think like a blogger?

1. Goals and Planning – one of the main things that helped me in the early days was to sit down and think strategically about my blogging. As I mentioned above I had specific goals in the early days – particularly around how many posts I wanted to write per day. In a sense this was my exercise plan but instead of how many pushups I needed to do or what weight I needed to bench press the goal was XX posts per day.

This planning and objective setting went beyond the number of posts – but got as detailed as the days that I’d post, the types of posts that I’d write and even down to the time that I’d hit publish (I found giving myself specific deadlines helpful).

2. Structure and Routine – out of this objective setting I could then structure a routine for my blogging. You can see some of this routine in my posts A day in the life of a ProBlogger and Another Day in the Life of a ProBlogger (note, these posts are now 2 and 3 years old, my routine’s changed quite a bit – I’ll do another one in the new year). While you’ll see in those posts that my routine did change from day to day – there were specific tasks that I needed to achieve each day and I did develop a rhythm that repeated itself over time.

These routines changed over time and at some stages I didn’t feel the need for them at all – but in times where I hit a slump I’d revert to them to get myself back on track.

3. Spending time with other Bloggers – one of the reasons that I’ve started seeing a personal trainer to help me get fit lately is that I recognized that I’d be more effective in achieving my goals of fitness if I spend time each week with other people who already are (and think) the way that I want to be. Danny is (and thinks) like a fit and healthy person and spending time with him means some of this rubs off on me as we talk, and as he models what he asks me to do.

In my early days of blogging I gravitated towards other bloggers who’d been doing it longer than me. I particularly spent quite a bit of time interacting with Rachel from cre8d design. Rachel taught me so much about blogging – sometimes quite intentionally and sometimes just by me watching what she did.

4. Education – in my early days of blogging i was quite intentional about being a person who was constantly learning. I bought books about html (you wouldn’t know it), I asked other bloggers to teach me how to do things, I bought books on blogging (there was only one or two back then) as well as books on other online ventures and even did some online training courses. Some of what I learned I didn’t really use – but in time I grew in my knowledge of online activities. While I know not everyone has the budget for self education – I would highly recommend bloggers who are serious about learning more about their craft consider investing in themselves in this way.

5. Experimenting – over the last 5 years I’ve written many thousands of posts (on this blog alone it’s now over 4000). In that time I’ve tried so many types of posts, experimented with different voices, tried so many ways of promoting my posts and used hundreds of different types of blogging tools. The result of this is that much of the blogging process has become natural to the point where I sometimes forget what I’ve learned and find myself making decisions quickly that I used to have to think carefully about (for example knowing when a good time to post a particular post is – something I used to agonize over).

6. Making Mistakes – perhaps the best way to learn how to think like a blogger is to make mistakes. There’s nothing like falling flat on your face, making a fool of yourself, or doing something stupid that can’t be reversed to teach you how something should be done. I’ve made more mistakes than I can remember – each one has shaped me.

In time as I did these things (and mainly as I just practiced blogging) my thinking changed. As it did so did my blogging itself.

Image by minifig

Having an Elevator Pitch Isn’t Enough – How PostSecret Improved in 2007

Improve-BlogI mentioned earlier in the week that there was one more response to come in from bloggers responding to my 1 Question interview on how they improved their blog in 2007. Today I’m happy to present it – a response from Frank Warren – the blogger behind the wildly successful PostSecret.

I come from an entrepreneurial background and have composed more than one “elevator pitch” for past ventures. So when I started PostSecret one of the first things I did was come up with a short but precise description of my Blog. (In fact, it is still the first line at www.PostSecret.com) But I soon discovered that just having an “elevator pitch” wasn’t enough.

Blog Logo

I found that my friends wanted a deeper explanation of my project. “Why are you collecting secrets from strangers?” Was the most common question, and it took more than one sentence to answer it. I began to talk about meaningful secrets I had seen and recount poignant email messages from people who, like me, had been moved by the courage and art on the postcards.

Struggling to answer these questions helped me further locate where the true value was in my Blog. It also prepared me for a consequential meeting with a publisher. I was not given a book deal from Harper Collins because I had a great “elevator pitch”. It was because PostSecret had become a community and I was able to convey that through the stories and vignettes I had been shaping and sharing with friends.

All this really came together to help me improve my Blog during the book tours. Public speaking was a great challenge for me but going to dozens of cities and talking face-to-face with members of the PostSecret community gave me a better understanding of how to share the full value of the of the project.

Speaking at bookstores, colleges and museums has lead to other unexpected opportunities. I was invited this March to deliver one of the keynote speeches at SXSW. I can’t wait to meet some of my heroes there; and I can’t wait to learn more ways of improving my Blog by talking about it (and actively listening).

How I Redesigned My Blog [by Ben Yoskovitz]

One blogger that I read regularly and have come to respect over the last few years is Benjamin Yoskovitz from Instigator Blog. Yesterday Ben and I were chatting on skype and he mentioned that today he was launching a new design on his blog. I liked what I saw of the new design and said he should write up a post talking readers through how he went through the redesign process. Today the following post hit my inbox – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Design matters. A great, well-polished design raises the bar of your blog instantly. “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” And it’s a shame and waste when you don’t make the right impression off-the-bat.

There are millions of blogs out there. And one way you can stand out from the crowd is through a good design. Certainly, you need to back it up with quality content, but don’t forget that first impression…

I recently launched a new design for Instigator Blog. It took quite some time to do, and although the original design was something I put together, I brought in much better designers than me to help out. That’s really the first important point: Get help. If your blog is important enough to you, then hire someone to help you.

With this redesign, I didn’t only tackle things at the surface level — this wasn’t simply about putting a new face on the blog — I decided to examine each and every element of it, and do a real overhaul. Hopefully my experience reviewing my blog with a fine tooth comb helps others.

instigator-blog

1. What’s Your Blog’s Brand? What’s Your Brand?

The first thing I did was examine the overall brand of Instigator Blog and how I wanted that portrayed. The name lends itself to a more “aggressive” look, but I didn’t want the blog to be “in your face” or “over the top.” It was important to blend the instigator with sophistication. Describing how you want to be portrayed, or your brand, isn’t always easy. I did it by listing a bunch of words, and then sorting and ranking them. For example:

  • instigator
  • sophisticated
  • clean
  • professional
  • fun
  • punchy
  • educational
  • etc.

Writing the words out, and moving them around, helps you get a clearer vision of what you’re looking for. Then I looked at other websites and blogs, searching for designs that I thought matched the words (or criteria). This can be a difficult process, but I was able to pick elements out of numerous designs that I thought fit well, and start stitching them together.

Note: Try writing out colors as well, that you feel represent your brand. Picking the right colors for your blog is critical.

2. Tackle the Design Basics.

I had several design goals in mind for the new look. For example, I wanted the content to be higher up on the page. I also wanted to clean up the sidebars and really think about what belonged there and in what order. It was important to truly de-clutter the design. These are what I call “design basics” because they don’t give you a full picture or overall view of what your design should be, but they help set out some simple parameters. For example, I knew I wanted a better footer and a better Archives page.

Again, I looked around the Web at many sites that I liked and admired. ProBlogger was one, as was copyblogger. When looking at design, layout or structural basics, just go to the experts; they’ve spent way more time than any of us evaluating what works and doesn’t. I used Shoemoney’s Advertising Page as a template for my own (previously I didn’t have one.) There’s nothing wrong with using elements of someone else’s design, as long as you’re not outright copying or stealing.

With some basic design, layout and structural decisions made, I continued to evolve the overall look and feel of the site (along with the expert web designers.)

3. Go Through the Design Process.

You’ll never get a design right the first time. I probably went through 5 or 6 designs before I got one I was happy with. And then the process of smaller iterations began. Once you have a design you’re happy with, you can expect to be fine tuning for some time. Especially if you’re really going to evaluate each component of the blog.

Once I had a design that I was 80% or so pleased with, I started implementing it, filling in the spaces and seeing what it looked like.

4. Deeper Structural Issues.

As the design came to life, I was faced with several tough decisions. For example, I decided to use excerpts on the home page instead of full posts. I also decided to remove the list of categories from the sidebar. And you’ll no longer see the same prominence of social bookmarking links either.

A big part of any blog comes down to information architecture – how do you organize the content in a way that makes sense, makes it easily accessible, and helps people dig deeper? This was one of my biggest challenges, primarily because of my blog’s diversity and evolution. I’ve never been able to stick with one niche, jumping around from blog tips to marketing, small business issues and social media. Of late, my blog’s focus has really been on startups and entrepreneurship. As a result, my audience is diverse, coming to me from different sources, looking for different things. And how to organize that content better is tough. If someone visits because of a Google search on blogging tips, I want to make sure they’re presented with additional, related content, not stuff about startups or buzz marketing.

I’ve tackled this by using the sidebar more effectively. When you view a single post on Instigator Blog you’ll see two lists in the sidebar: Most Popular Posts and Recent Posts. That’s nothing new, lots of blogs do that. But my lists are related to the category of the blog post you’re viewing. So if you’re viewing a blog post on startups, the popular and recent posts will only be about startups. I also highlight six key categories in my footer, sorted in order of importance, instead of showing all my blog’s categories.

The goal of showing the most popular and recent posts by category is to give people who get to the blog via a single post (which happens often) additional, targeted content. There’s plenty of content in each category to keep people busy, and if they see enough of value in one category, they’re more likely to subscribe. Then they can discover additional categories of content later.

Of course, after coming up with the solution for targeted popular and recent posts, I realized that I’d have to go through all my categories and do two things: (1) come up with a shorter list, and (2) re-categorize all my blog posts. Many of my posts were in 2, 3 or even 4 categories. That starts to pose a real problem when trying to show targeted lists in the sidebar. So I re-categorized almost every post, and now, only a few remain in 2 categories, whereas most of them only have one.

5. Endless Fine Tuning.

A blog design is never set in stone. You know you’ll be modifying it, tweaking it and experimenting with it forever. That’s what we do. But I wanted to get as much of it done as possible up-front. And there’s always “one more issue” to handle. For example, I went through and looked at the design and formatting of:

  • Images
  • Numbered and bulleted lists
  • H3 tags
  • Advertising graphics
  • Link colors
  • Font sizes
  • Comments
  • Blockquotes
  • Etc.

The fine tuning will never end, but the best time to tackle these issues is during a redesign when you can focus on the big picture look but also the nitty-gritty details.

6. Copywriting.

No blog redesign would be complete without a full evaluation of the copy. Obviously you can’t go back and re-write any posts (well, you can, but I’m not sure it’s worth the effort), but you can certainly look at the supporting pages and all the supporting copy. I re-wrote my About page (which I had intended to do for many months), created an Advertising page, and generally did a sweep of the site. Writing a great About page is a must, but it’s not always the easiest thing to do.

7. Launch.

Launching a new blog or a new design is never easy. There are many steps to go through, many things to double check. I went through and deactivated a host of plugins (and activated new ones.) I tested everything thoroughly and discovered numerous bugs that had to be dealt with. This is a tricky and often frustrating process, and it always takes longer than you think.

I’m thrilled with the way my blog turned out. Will it be the last redesign? Probably not. But for now I’m glad that most of the work is done, and I can go back to writing!

Posting Less Frequently Can Lead to Higher Reader Engagement

I just read an interesting post by Terry Dean outlining Which 10 RSS Feeds He Actually Reads.

Terry used the ‘Trends’ feature on Google Reader to analyze which blogs had the highest % of posts that he actually read. The list of blogs that he mentioned were all great blogs which would account for the high %’s that each got to some degree – but as I read through the 10 blogs I noticed something else that I think might also account for it and increase the chances of them having their posts actually read….

they post less frequently than many other blogs

This was initially just a hunch – so I decided to do a little research on each of the ten blogs.

less=more

Posting Averages of Terry’s Most Read Blogs

Over the last week on these blogs the average posting frequency was 0.8 posts per day. I thought that is probably a little skewed because it’s the new year – so I went back to an early week in December where I found that the posting averages were just on 1 post per day on average per blog.

A couple of them post only on weekdays, a few post once 7 days a week and a couple of others post up to 2 posts a day – but on average the posting frequency wasn’t huge – but it was consistent.

Posting Averages of My Most Read Blogs

I then decided to do the same research on my own most read feeds in Google Reader.

My results were a little different to Terry’s and probably skewed because I have an ‘A-list’ of feeds that I follow more religiously because they break news (this group were all at 100% read) but I noticed a similar trend to what I observed in Terry’s top read blogs – they posted less frequently.

At least in my own reading habits – if you post more than a few times a day my engagement with your posts (or the % of them that I actually read) decreases a little.

I’m not arguing that everyone should cut their posting levels back to a minimalist level (because there are some blogs who post a lot that I do read heavily) – but it does illustrate that sometimes less is more.

Of course there are other factors that will impact the % of posts read by readers and I’m not suggesting that it’s just about post frequency – quality of posts, topics covered, post length, how compelling writing is, the titles of posts, the demographics of readers and many other factors would all play a part.

On the Other Hand….

I was just chatting to another blogger about this (who wanted to remain nameless). He told me that his strategy was quite the opposite and was to post as many posts as possible in the day.

He didn’t mind that this might decrease the % of posts read – his theory was that if he posted 20 posts a day that even if only 20% of his audience actually read those posts that he’d end up with more readers on that day if he wrote 1 post a day and 100% read it.

The result is that he writes a very successful blog with a lot (and I mean ALOT) of short sharp posts per day).

I guess there’s more than one way to build a successful blog and I guess ‘success’ can mean different things to different people.

Blogging Experiment — a ProBlogger Community Blog Consulting Project

This week we’ll be looking at a fellow make money blogging blog — one that some of you might already be reading — called Blogging Experiment.

If you’re new to the project, it’s recommended that you read the launch post. This week there’ll be yet another chance to score an iPod Shuffle and a link to your blog under the winner’s name in the summary post.

To be in the running to win, give some useful feedback on Blogging Experiment in the comments section of this post.

The blog’s owner, Ben Cook, describes the blog like this:

Blogging Experiment is just what the name suggests. It’s an experiment to see if I can take a brand new blog from earning absolutely nothing, to a full time income in only one year. I’m documenting every step along the way in hopes that my successes can be replicated and my mistakes avoided. The blog just turned six months old and last month it made just over $1,000. While that doesn’t put me in the same league as Darren, Shoemoney, John Chow, or some of the other high profile bloggers, I think I’m well on my way to accomplishing my goal.

Blogging Experiment.

Ben is particularly interested in feedback and advice on the following:

  • How can I better convert visitors into subscribers?
  • How can I use the blog to make more sales of our WordPress theme?

He recommends his Lessons on Blogging series if you want to get a better idea of the blog’s content. He’s also looking for feedback on these key areas:

  • Design — usability, visual appeal, readability, navigation.
  • Content — got an idea for a great viral post the blogger could write?
  • Promotion — how would you suggest the blogger promote the blog?
  • SEO — can you see areas for improvement?
  • Monetization — could this be done more effectively? Do you see any missed opportunities?

We’d love for comments to be as constructive, helpful and practical as possible. I’m sure Ben is looking forward to your advice!

You can send an application to Darren if you’d like your blog featured and reviewed at ProBlogger for $250. Click to get more information on our community blog consulting services.

Why Advertise on Blogs?

My coworker at b5media Chad Randall (he’s the head of our ad sales team and one of the people to chat to if you want to Advertise on ProBlogger or one of our 300 other blogs) has put together a useful post – 7 Reasons You Should be Advertising On Blogs (although call me blind but I can only see 6).

I think it’s a good post for two reasons. Firstly – it’s something that more and more bloggers are doing to grow their own blogs (ie advertise on other blogs). Secondly, and more importantly, this post is a great one to have tucked away to refer to when you’re speaking to potential advertisers to your blog. Whether you send them to it or simply reel off Chad’s points to them I think it makes some convincing arguments.

What would you add to his list? Head over to the post and have your say.