What Blogging Platforms Do We Use? [POLL RESULTS]

Last month I asked readers what blog platform they are using?

The results were clear with 43% of ProBlogger readers using, 29% using Blogger and 13% using

Picture 7.png

This isn’t the first time I’ve run this survey. The first time I ran it was in January of 2006 – since then I ran it again in November 2007. Here are those results:

Picture 10.png

Picture 9.png

The top two platforms still remain #1 and #2 although has taken pushed out their lead but from there on in there’s been a shift with MovableType taking a step back and WordPress.come surging. Also interesting to me is the ‘Other’ category. When we ran this survey in 2006 there were many more platforms mentioned.

Keep in mind that this is just a survey of ProBlogger readers. While we have some diversity in our community we’re just a subset of the wider blogosphere and I’m not sure that these stats are representative of all bloggers.

Warning: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes?

“What’s the most common mistake made by new bloggers? How can we avoid it? – asked on Twitter by @alisonkerr.

Here are a few quick mistakes that I see new bloggers making (some of which mistakes I made myself). They’re listed in no particular order and I’d love for you to continue the list in comments below:

  1. Giving up too early – blogs take time to take off
  2. Putting off starting a blog – waiting until everything is just right before launching can mean you never do it
  3. Echoing what everyone else is talking about – say something unique and share your opinion
  4. Not blogging on your own domain – I know some swear by using hosted blogs but if you want ultimate control of your blog it is best to do it on your own domain and hosting.
  5. Irregular Posting – you don’t have to post every day but try to establish a regular rhythm of posting
  6. Being too apologetic – ‘sorry I haven’t written for a while’ can end up being the most common type of post on a blog – yes apologize if you’ve messed up but don’t be too hard on yourself – keep investing your time into building your blog up rather than highlighting it’s problems.
  7. Focusing more upon Quick Traffic than Loyal Readers – there’s nothing wrong with a big rush of traffic from social media or another blog – but just as important as that is building reader loyalty. Sometimes growing one reader at a time is more fruitful than getting spikes of traffic that never returns.
  8. Clutter – too many buttons, widgets, navigation elements
  9. Great Posts but Terrible Titles – don’t short change yourself by investing hours into writing great content only to slap a mediocre headline/title onto it.
  10. Not Defining a Topic – the most successful blogs have a well defined topic/niche (or they target a certain demographic)
  11. Choosing a Topic you have no Interest in – for your blog to be successful you’ll need to blog regularly on your topic for years – if you want to sustain it choose something you have an interest in or love for or you’ll run out of steam.
  12. Too many Ads – I don’t have a problem with ads on a blog from Day #1 but when they overpower the content and push it down the page too far they hurt your chances of building a loyal readership.
  13. Being too Insular/Expecting Readers to come to You – many bloggers starting out fail to realize that the more you put yourself out there and interact with other bloggers the more chance you have of being read.
  14. Blogging about Making Money Blogging (as a first blog) – I’ve lost count of how many bloggers I’ve seen start blogs on the topic of blogging for money when they’ve never made money blogging. Start with something you know.
  15. Not Being Useful – blogs that meet needs and solve problems are blogs that people will keep coming back to and which they’ll spread news of to their network.
  16. Writing for Search Engines Before Humans – you can always tell when a blogger discovers Search Engine Optimization for the first time. Suddenly titles don’t make sense, keywords appear in posts for no real reason, links to other pages on the blog that are irrelevant to the post keep being used. Learn SEO – but keep your readers as your #1 priority.
  17. Becoming a Stats-a-holic – the lure of checking your stats is understandable and common to new (and older) bloggers – but it can become an unhealthy obsession that leads to distraction and depression.
  18. Link Baiting with Personal Attack – taking pot shots at other bloggers might get you some quick traffic – but hate breeds hate and the type of readers you attract and the culture it’ll breed on your blog could come back to bite you. Plus you’ll get a reputation that you might not want to live with.
  19. Not Knowing Why You’re Blogging – while most of us don’t really know what we’re doing at the start – the faster you can work out what the purpose of your blog is the sooner you’ll start moving toward achieving that purpose.
  20. Not Selling Yourself – one thing I don’t think many bloggers get is the power of blogs to sell yourself as a blogger. There’s nothing wrong with monetizing a blog with ads – but maybe a better long term strategy is to use a blog to advertise who you are and what you can offer readers.
  21. Thinking You Have to Know it All – one of the best things about blogs is that they’re a great medium for involving your readers in the process of learning. Leave space for others to interact, share what they know and contribute.

There’s A LOT more to be said on this topic – what mistakes do you see new (and older) bloggers making?

Get Your Own Copy of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog WorkBook

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Give your Blog a Kick Start with this 31 Day Challenge.

31dbbb2.pngRegular readers of ProBlogger are familiar with the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog project that we ran here recently.

The concept was simple: bloggers set aside 31 days to be intentional about improving their blogs.

Each day for 31 days readers were presented with a daily task and teaching to give them concrete ways to take their blogs to the next level – the goal being more readers, higher quality content, deeper reader engagement and higher levels of creativity and energy for the blogger.

Challenges included writing tasks, promotion techniques, methods to deepen reader engagement, creating thinking exercises, ideas for breaking through bloggers block and much more.

Today I’m releasing a Workbook that puts a fully updated version of 31 Day Challenge in your hands

If you already know about it and want a copy now – you can buy it now here.

Why a Workbook?

Over 14,000 bloggers have completed the challenge and the feedback was fantastic.

Bloggers who’ve taken the tasks seriously are reporting increases in traffic, greater reader engagement, fresh inspiration for posts and a greater sense of where their blog is headed.

However two common requests came from participants repeatedly:

  • 1. People wanted to do the challenge at their own pace (some found daily tasks too fast, some too slow).
  • 2. People wanted all the content in the one place (so they could keep it somewhere handy and dip into it again and again over time).

As a result I decided to put together a downloadable workbook version of the challenge.

The work book is professionally edited – contains new content, unique to the workbook and it is available to purchase today in two ways.

Two Ways to Get the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook

1. Get the Book By Itself For $19.95

31days.pngDownload the 31DBBB workbook as described below for $19.95 USD.

To order it with this option simply hit the following ‘buy now’ button and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can finalize your payment and download the workbook immediately.

Buy Now

2. Get the Workbook + Online Marketing Inside Out Book For $29.95

SitePoint (who helped me with editing the book) are also releasing a new book (a hard cover book not an e-book) today – it’s called Online Marketing Inside Out.

It is a great resource for those wanting to market products or services on the Web. This book shows you how to reach customers through podcasting, blogs, social networks, video, email, and contextual advertising and much more.

To get this 2-for-1 deal simply head over to SitePoint where you can read more about the book they’re offering and will receive both books when you order. Order Now (via SitePoint).

What You Receive with the Workbook

The 31 Days to Build a Better Blog project is all about giving participants a series of 31 daily tasks to help them make improvements in their blogs. This workbook takes this goal a step further with:

  • Refreshed and Edited Versions of the Daily Tasks and Teaching
  • New Bonus Material – each day has extra tips, questions and reflections (6000 extra words of content to help you extend the daily tasks and help you to apply them)
  • Notes Areas – if you print out the book there is room to take notes, record ideas and make plans to help you implement the content
  • 94 pages of content – actually we put two pages on each page in the book so it’s actually 188 pages.

Grab Yourself a Copy Today

Whether you’ve completed each of the 31 Daily tasks already and want to have a copy to dip into again and again as you continue to develop your blog or whether you’re yet to really start 31DBBB – I hope you’ll find this workbook helpful.

Grab your copy of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook here

PS: How are Bloggers using 31DBBB?

One of the things that I’ve loved about 31DBBB is seeing how it is being used so differently by different participants.

While originally designed for bloggers to work through over a month – the feedback that we’ve been hearing from bloggers indicates that 31DBBB is being used in a variety of ways including:

  • Intense Training – bloggers setting aside days, weekends or weeks to go through multiple tasks at once
  • 1 Task a Day – the way we designed it – one day at a time
  • 1 Task a Week – bloggers taking their time with the challenge and making the tasks week long tasks
  • Monthly Cycle – bloggers using the tasks again and again each month as a monthly routine for their blogging.
  • Occasional Inspirational Resource – bloggers dipping into 31DBBB on a more occasional basis – using it on days when they have time or lack inspiration.

The great thing about 31DBBB is that you can do it at your own pace and in your own way. Daily tasks don’t need to be done daily or in any particular order as all but two are independent tasks that can be repeated time and time again to help you grow a dynamic blog.

Grab your copy of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook here

PS: A special thanks to the team at SitePoint who helped with cover design and editing as well as to Reese Spykerman with help with layout and design.

Got a Question? Want to Connect?

Two quick notes for ProBlogger readers of a ‘social persuasion’:

1. Got a Question? Ask it on Twitter – if you have a question that you’d like me to answer as a post on ProBlogger please feel free to ask it on Twitter with the hashtag of #pbquestions. I can’t do them all but am using it as a way to collect topics that you’re interested in. If we’re not already connected on Twitter follow me at @problogger.

2. Connect on Facebook – As Facebook limit ‘friend numbers’ to 5000 I’ve started a ‘fan page‘ for those who’d like to connect with me on that social network. I’ll be monitoring facebook more than I previously have so if it’s your preferred social network I’d love to connect with you there.

PS: while we’re talking social media – if your preferred network is LinkedIn or FriendFeed I also have accounts there where I’m happy to connect (although at this point I’m not quite as active there). The other place I have a presence is YouTube – subscribe to my channel there and you’ll get an advanced warning of new videos before they hit the blog here.

Should You Secure .com AND .net for Your Domain?

“how important is it to buy both the .net and .com of the same domain name?”

Over on Twitter TragicDog asked me this question domains.

Different bloggers will have different approaches to this one but my personal preference these days is to secure the .com version first and then to seriously consider other versions of the domain if you are serious about developing it in the long term.

There are a couple of reasons I advocate grabbing the .net version (and potentially others) of your domain name in addition to the .com.

  • As Defensive Move – just yesterday I received an email from a distraught blogger who had worked for 4 years to build their blog up only to find that this week another blog had started using the .net version of their blog. While the 2nd blog was behind the eightball and wouldn’t rank as well in Google this blogger saw it as a threat to their business.
  • With a View to Expansion – having a second domain gives you the possibility of expanding your brand later with a different type of site. For example here at ProBlogger I initially set this blog up on (.com was parked and not for sale at the time) but now I’ve secured the .com version I now have a 2nd domain to set up another site. In fact with the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge I set up the forums on which gives you a hint at what I have planned for that domain.

Whether you use all of the versions of your domain that you secure or not they are generally handy to have. I usually set mine to redirect to my main blog until I develop them.

My last piece of advice is to secure whatever versions you ‘might’ buy one day now. If you don’t you run the risk of losing your opportunity when others snap them up and either hold them ransom, develop them themselves or park them for their own profit.

For Further reading on domain names check out:

What is your approach to domains? Do you get more than the .com version?

Have You Ever Written Paid Posts On Your Blog

It’s been a few years since services like PayPerPost (and others) controversially came onto the scene and gave bloggers the option to be paid for writing posts about products, companies or services.

So I thought it’d be interesting to see how many bloggers have done paid posts (and how many still do).

Have You Ever Written a Paid Review on your Blog?
View Results

Feel free to expand upon your vote in comments below.

9 Tips to Help You Find More RSS Subscribers for Your Blog

Finding RSS Subscribers is something that many bloggers spend a lot of time thinking about – so in this video I thought I’d put together a few thoughts on how to grow your subscriber numbers.

See the full sized version of this video here at YouTube.

PS: in the post I mentioned some links that might help you to expand upon some of the ideas touched upon in this video. Here they are:
[Read more…]

How to Lose Readers [And Not Get Depressed]

Much has been written on the topic of how to get readers to visit your blog and how to make your blog sticky so that they stick around once they’ve arrived – but I’ve not seen too many written about how to lose readers.

losing-readers-depressed.jpgImage by Lst1984

It might seem like a strange topic to write about – but the reality is that all blogs, whether they are successful ones or not, lose readers from time to time.

Usually the readers just silently disappear – you might not have even known that you had them so losing them goes unnoticed – however occasionally you hear about it either with the reader sending you and email or at times quite publicly.

For example – I recently had one previous reader of this blog write a post on his blog (a blog with a shared topic – ie a competitor) write a post telling his readers why they should all unsubscribe from this blog (because my advice was stupid, useless and potentially dangerous).*

The blogger in question obviously had his own agenda with his post which I won’t get into right here – but it serves as an example of how at times the losing of a reader (or readers) can become a public thing.

Losing Readers Sucks

Whether it happens silently or in a public way – losing readers sucks. Not only that – many bloggers take it personally and get quite depressed about it.

As I’ve responded to this blogger (and his readers) over the last few days I’ve been pondering this whole topic of losing readers (as I’ve grappled with the emotions one feels in such situations) and thought I’d jot down a few thoughts on it – as it’s something that impacts us all as bloggers.

A few thoughts on how to lose readers well:

Note: a lot (but not all) of the points that follow relate more to when readers write about leaving your blog in a more public way.

1. Don’t let it Impact your Self Worth

Whether you lose a reader in a public way or a private and silent one – many of us as bloggers feel it’s sting. If you’re anything like me it can actually be a somewhat depressing process.

Losing readers = failure in the eyes of many bloggers.

If this is you can I highly recommend you read this post that I wrote last year that talked about how to sustain yourself as a blogger you need to come up with a new way of thinking about your worth as a person.

Your worth as a blogger and as a person does not come from what you achieve or what others think about you – if you fall for looking at life this way you’re in for a fall at some point or another.

2. Listen to Critique

It is never easy to hear the negative things that others say about you – particularly when what they say is filled with a mixture of half truths, misinformation, a lack of understanding, personal attack and self serving agendas.

However….. also in the mix is sometimes a message that you could do well to listen to – something that could improve your blog.

The key is to attempt to strip back some of the negative stuff and try to take an objective look at the core of what they’re saying. This is far from easy to do, particularly when the person leaving your blog as a reader does so publicly and unfairly- however there have been a couple of times when I’ve learned important lessons from these types of interactions.

3. Develop Strategies for Listening to Readers

One of the things I like to do is to take the critique that I hear from others and hold it up against not only what I think but what my other readers are thinking and saying to me to see if there’s truth in their critique.

Of course to do this you need to have avenues for reader feedback and perhaps even some strategies for getting reader feedback. A few that I use include:

  • monitoring reader comments – if you consistently get negative comments about an aspect of your blog it’s a signal to listen to
  • feedback from Twitter/social media – similar to reader comments but what are people saying about/to you on social media sites
  • monitoring what other bloggers are saying about you – set up vanity alerts to see when and what other bloggers are writing about you
  • reader emails – have a way to be contacted and take on board the suggestions/feedback readers give you
  • reader focus group – I have a small group of about 10 readers on my photography blog that I email every month or two to get feedback from
  • metrics – are your visitor numbers, RSS subscriber numbers, Twitter followers etc on the rise or fall)
  • blog buddies – I have a small group of fellow bloggers that I will occasionally email to ask their opinion on important aspects of my blog – sometimes if I’m being critiqued I ask them for their honest feedback on whether it is fair or not
  • reader surveys – I recently ran a reader survey on DPS in which we gathered a lot of feedback – it was fascinating to see the trends and common threads of feedback we got.

The more tapped into what others are saying, thinking and feeling about your blog the better equipped you’ll be when working out whether the person critiquing your blog has a point or not.

4. Open a Conversation But Don’t Get Into Mud Slinging

One of the hardest things to decide when someone else writes anything negative about you is whether to engage with them in conversation – and whether to do it publicly or privately.

My approach is to try to engage with the person writing about me – but to only do it to a point that is constructive. If the person is not willing to engage or has their own agendas behind it and is not willing to be constructive I don’t engage them any further.

On whether to do it privately or publicly – again it comes down to whether it is going to be constructive. For example if the person has said untruths about you or has said things that can be cleared up with some clarification – I generally try to reply with a comment that politely clears up the errors in what they’ve said so that others coming across the post have a chance to get the full story.

However after this I try to not get into much of an ongoing debate unless it’s a healthy and constructive conversation. If it’s not healthy – say your piece and leave. If more needs to be said try to do it via email.

Try not to let your responses get personal – it’s not easy and I’ve messed up on this on occasion – but when things get personal nobody wins and all you’re doing is publicly having an interaction that could be detracting from your reputation.

5. Acknowledge a Reader Life Cycle

One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned over the last 7 years of blogging is that it is rare to have a reader stay with you forever. Readers move on for a variety of reasons and many of them have nothing to do with you or your blog:

  • Some readers leave because they no longer have an interest in your topic
  • Some readers leave because they don’t have time to read any more
  • Some readers leave because their level of knowledge on a topic has grown

The list goes on – readers will come and go.

It is important to know also that some of your readers will not fully realize why they don’t find your blog as useful any more. For example – recently on my photography blog I had a reader email me to say that my blog wasn’t as good as it used to be. They said that my posts used to be more advanced and were now becoming too beginner oriented.

We had a conversation via email over the next day or two where I unpacked their feedback. What we found is that through the 2 years that they’d been reading my blog they’d progressed from a beginner themselves to someone who was an intermediate (and approaching advanced) photographer. We found that it wasn’t my blog that had changed but them – and that the blog itself was part of the reason for their progression.

The ‘advanced’ posts that they said we used to write were actually beginner posts.

The lesson I guess I’ve learned is that readers come and go and that in many cases it’s got less to do with your own performance as a blogger and more to do with the reader and their circumstances changing. While it’s important to be aware of any issues readers are facing it is important also to be aware of the life cycle of your readers and be willing to release them when the time comes for them to go.

6. Watch for Opportunities to Grow Your Blog by Creating Spaces for Dissatisfied Readers

One might read my last paragraph and think that I’m resigned to losing intermediate readers from my photography blog. This is not the case. Once I identified that readers progressing past the beginner stage were not always satisfied by my blog I decided to create a space for them on my site – our photography forum was born.

This is a part of the site where users of all levels gather – but where there are sections that allow those a bit more advanced to interact with each other and even share what they know with beginners.

So now every time I’m given feedback that the site is too basic – I just point people to some of the conversations happening in our forum.

Another quick tip on keeping more advanced readers is to invite them to participate in sharing what they know with others. There have been a couple of these readers who have become semi-regular guest posters on my blogs over the years and a couple of others who have become moderators of the forum mentioned above. In creating ways for these readers to not just consume but share their knowledge and expertise they’ve not only kept using the site – they’re now helping to make it better.

7. A lesson from a Bhuddist monk

Two years back I wrote about a lesson I’d learned from a Bhuddist monk. In short it is:

“When someone attacks you with anger and hatred say to them:

“thank you for your ‘gift’ – but I think you can keep it for yourself.”

It is easy to take on the anger of other people and to wear it as a burden of your own but it is usually unhealthy to do so. “

Life is too short to get drawn into the anger and bitterness of others. While not every reader who leaves your blog will fit into the angry category there are times where you just need to release them and the emotion that they have about your and your blog.

* A note on the post mentioned above – The irony was that the blogger had been previously republishing my posts on his blog without acknowledgment of the source (he had his own name on the posts) and explained the oversight by saying he’d outsourced his writing to someone else who stole my content. Whether he actually did outsource it or not – he obviously found my content to be good enough to share with his readers and made a stupid mistake in using it.

ProBlogger Book Available for Kindle

problogger-kindle.jpg One of the most common requests that I’ve had since launching the ProBlogger Book is from people wanting to buy a copy for their Kindle.

Until recently this wasn’t an option but in the last couple of months Amazon made it available for Kindle.

For those waiting for it – enjoy!