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Here’s What You Should Do to Improve Your Blog Today

Earlier in the week I was asked this question – what is one thing that I can do tomorrow morning when I sit down at my desk that will improve my blog?

My answer was this:

Identify a reader’s problem (or that of a potential reader) and produce a post that will solve it.

I’ve covered some of how to identify readers problems in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook (day 16) but this has been such an important part of my own blogging that I want to emphasise it again here.

Ultimately if you are solving someone’s problem you’re doing something that creates an impression and when you do that you do a number of things including:

  • increasing the chances that they’ll come back and become a loyal reader
  • increasing their trust in you – which helps build authority, credibility and influence
  • increasing the chances that they’ll tell someone else about you

I attempt to solve problems for readers on two main levels

Big Picture – What Problem is your BLOG solving?

I find it helpful to have a ‘big’ and overarching problem in mind as I start and then develop a blog. It helps keep me on track and is great for attracting new readers if you communicate it well.

For me on my photography blog the problem that I’m attempting to solve is that most people who own a camera are not using it to its potential. They take pictures that could be improve greatly with a little knowledge and so I want to give them more control over their cameras.

Small Picture – What Problem is your new POST solving?

With your big picture problem in mind you can now begin to break it down into smaller and more specific problems that your readers may have.

For me this means tackling problems like – taking blurry photos, not knowing how to take a decent social media profile picture, not knowing which DSLR to buy and not knowing the basic settings that most cameras have.

Some of these problems are more basic, common and general while others are more specific or advanced – but they all aim to help those who face the problems leave the blog better informed and equipped to solve the problem.

Ultimately this is all about being Useful. Of course being useful takes many forms and the problems that your readers might have could include a large list of things including some like:

  • “I’m bored”
  • “I want the latest news about….”
  • “I want to learn how to….”
  • “I want a laugh”
  • “I am lonely”
  • “I want to improve….”
  • “I need a review of….”
  • “I need advice about….”
  • “I think I’m the only one with the problem of….”

The list goes on and on.

Here’s what to do Today

If you’re looking to improve your blog and you have a few minutes right now – start making a list of the types of problems your readers (or potential readers) have. (if you need help on identifying these problems check out the 31DBBB workbook (day 16) if you have a copy).

Once you’ve got your list of problems – select one and produce something (a blog post, a video, a podcast, a PDF report or even a tweet if its a small problem) and publish it.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Matt M. says:

    This is actually a really good approach for coming up with relevant, helpful blog entries. On our company’s blog the target demographic are mid level marketing managers that know just about SEO to be dangerous, but not enough to be effective – thus, we try and help them by addressing common concerns, isuses, and questions.

    With Problogger, it seems that you do the same thing regularly, except within the blogging industry and in turn your readers highly value your content since it helps them.

  2. Wallpapers says:

    When ever I read this blog, I post a blog post very soon after.

    It is a way for me to get myself motivated enough to go post something worth people’s time.

  3. As always, this is great advice. I’ve often produced these “problem solving post” based on things my readers have asked to do in the comments section. One reader left a comment that immediately sparked a great blog post.
    I found that by addressing this one person’s problem, it turned out that there were many with the same issue.
    Also, every now and then it’s good to just simply ask readers – what would like me to address? What do you need? What problems are you facing? You’ll be surprised and inspired by the results.

  4. Srinivas Rao says:

    This is actually a great way to come up with a steady stream of blog post ideas. Another thing you could do is actually do a survey where you ask people “what are your greatest challenges and problems (Blogging/non-blog related) and then you can take all of the responses and write a series of posts based on that.

  5. The day I figured out this approach was the day my site finally starting growing.

    When I evaluate my top 100 posts they all share one theme. Every one of them solves a problem for people. It really is as simple as that!

    Thanks for the reminder Darren!

  6. Paul says:

    This really gave me some confidence in the niche I selected for my first blog! I’ve heard you mention saving problems a lot and this one came at just the right time for me. Thanks Darren!

  7. FredInChina says:

    How do you tell someone you love that he is doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons?
    Posted today!

    Cheers

  8. Kharim says:

    Thank you very much Darren for the great tips. I have tried to apply some of them for my blog and it really works.

    This topic deserves a tweet :)

    Thanks again…

  9. Roman Soluk says:

    Today I asked myself this question. And I remembered that once on the forum a person told me that they couldn’t find some info. Today I published a post, solving this problem. I’ve contacted this person and gave them a link. I hope it was useful.

    And now I see your post and I understand that I did right. Thanks for this!

  10. Kasia says:

    Your tips are very to the point. I think most people on the web are looking for something specific even if they are not consciously aware of it.

    Writing something of value does not take as much work, as finding the right ideas, and in this case, how you can help your reader solve a problem.

    One of the themes of your sites is how to help people become financially independent doing something you love.

    This is a great contribution to the world whether you know it or not.

  11. CoreBloggers says:

    Great post…if anyone would able to take action on all the steps that you have mentioned then their blog will certainly create a good value for readers

  12. John McTigue says:

    For me, it’s all about putting myself in my readers’ shoes. You have to look at yourself from their perspective and deliver content that speaks to their needs, interests, etc. When I drift away from that and start pontificating, my blog gets ignored.

  13. Lauralee says:

    Thanks. This is so simple but true. I needed this today.

  14. A valid point. Posts that are entertaining are also very popular with viewers. Of course we want to learn, and I believe we should help readers, but at intervals people just want to sit back, relax and be entertained. I try to fit in a few of these in my blogs.

  15. Tyler Davis says:

    I can solve people’s problems, the problem is getting people to listen if your solution is not the common sense opinion. Let’s say hypothetically that your solution to the problem was to smash the digital camera with a rock and throw it in the garbage :) How would you get people to listen then?

    You can’t solve problems if people don’t listen to your solutions.

  16. Sudeep says:

    That is so true and worthy advice to practice…. to understand and solve readers issue… Thanks for that advice .
    But what I would love is if my blog do have too less readers what would be the best advice then…. any thoughts

  17. Bottom line: helpfulness breeds trust. I’ve also found that first person pronouns and personal illustrations in my blog posts give off an approachable vibe, and readers are more prone to ask questions.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your insight with us!

  18. Well, that definitely solved one of my problems…how to motivate your customers to want to read what you have to say.

    Have a great Friday/weekend, Darren.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  19. Good stuff, there are so many people that want to get set up and established on the internet and I think that if you are 2 years into the setting up phase you can pass on your knowledge to those people in your blog…

    If you are 5 years into your website, then it should be running pretty sweet with regards to traffic, comments and overall brand…

    For all the new starters to owning a blog, I would say get involved in “YouTube”, this may sound unusual but it can get very fast momentum, much faster than building search engine presence and links from other bloggers…

    Thanks Darren :]

  20. Eric says:

    Picking one thing to post a blog article about that will solve a problem either for you or your readers is an awesome way to do it. If you know a blogger who doesn’t understand something and you publish something on how to do just that and they reply back thanking you, it’s all worth it.

  21. Darren, the problem I am trying to solve is:
    1-Not perceived as a problem in modern culture, though that is largely from eons of ignorance, like the dawn of modern civilization.
    2-The “problem” I am trying to solve is too LARGE!

    Thanks for the focus though…

  22. Corbett says:

    Hey Darren, this approach (solving problems and being useful) is the key not only to blogging but to business as well. Excellent post – this point can’t be reiterated enough.

  23. Well, this thing also cross my mind this few days…Meeting with some bloggers and chatting with them make me realize that some need tips and extra helps in managing their blog. However, those list usually kept in mind for that time while explaining to them…as time goes by, I have forgotten things that were very important for the readers to know…that I could have put it in my new post… Thanks Darren, a nice post and a good reminder to all..;)

  24. Blitz Surfer says:

    Fixing problems slowly is the best way to help your blow grow in the first stages- you can get constructive criticism from other bloggers in your niche and visitors to help you find trouble spots.

  25. Alex Nech says:

    Would you please suggest problems which may readers of a designer’s blog come across… if the main thing in my country for (freelance mostly) designers is to grab an exiting designs for free (i mean steal) and sell it as their work.

    Should i go sharing stolen designs from templatemoster or? )) (joking…) But srsly

  26. Very useful suggestions! I’m sure every blogger at some point has trouble coming up with new ideas. Going through comments for older posts also helps in being useful for your reader.

  27. It’s good to know that I’m not too far off in my concept of blogging. Sometimes I have to remind myself to look at the bigger picture and make sure I’m blogging about what my readers want to read. Making sure that I’m solving their problems.

    Thanks for sharing, very helpful indeed!

  28. Darren, I am sure you have covered this somewhere, but you can identify your target market’s problems simply by asking them.

    21 days to launch of The “Zero To A Hundred K in 30 Days” Blueprint.

    We release our Blueprint on 1st May, 2010

  29. Jarret says:

    Help!!! lol…

    I had a very old and defunct blog on wordpress.com that was still getting 3k uniques per month for some odd reason despite a PR drop from 4 to 2.

    I used that content to start a new blog on a self-hosted wordpress site. Worried about the duplicate content penalty, I decided to redirect that blog from wordpress.com. They allow you to do this for $10 per year by using the domain mapping feature.

    After doing this, now all of my overlapping posts that are redirected have been flagged by Google Webmaster as duplicates.

    Oddly enough, I thought that I would get another 100 hits per day like the old site was doing, but my traffic has only gone up about 30 hits.

    Any ideas on how I can solve the duplicate content flag on my redirected posts from wordpress.com?

  30. Jigen Shah says:

    Hi Darren, its great to learn about blogging from an experienced blogger like you, i just got a blog for myself and i am wiling to write good content on it. your “31 Days to Build a Better Blog” had really helped me in many ways. I am really looking forward to carve my niche in blogging world. Thank you very much..

  31. Adam says:

    Brilliant article Darren! I run a men’s lifestyle blog so solving problems is easy, i make people laugh, teach them how to play pool, how to shave properly, advice on dating all sorts,

    Its not to say i write useless stuff too cos boy do i, some days i am too tired to write informative posts and instead write newsworthy topics,

    it swings in roundabouts really, Thanks for the post Darren

  32. Bella says:

    Love this blog! All the posts are always so relevant and spot on to problems or issues I have been thinking about. It seems that every time I am wonderng how to do something in relation to my blog, I come here and there is a post which looks like it was just written for me! haha

  33. hokya says:

    it’s good to include pictures, but i have some problem with pictures

    when i changing themes, the big picture go outside the container and it looks awful

    so i don’t use big picture after that :-P

  34. chandan says:

    Thank you Darren for some great advice on blogging. Every day we can learn new things by blogging and it help us to improve our blog for future.

  35. Hi guys,

    Trying to solve your readers problems is popular. I think a lot of us are looking for answers to resolve some of our problems. I know that I am.

    Kind regards,

    Sam
    X

  36. Nabeel says:

    really nice points, but how will i come to know my visitors problems? just their comments? or shall i add a separate page on my blog where they can post their queries?

  37. Kat Eden says:

    Funny, I started doing reader questions as posts 2 weeks ago. The response has been so great I’m going to do one a week.

  38. Thanks for great advice. I understand that most readers including me are looking for solutions to the problems that we are having. After knowing what the solutions are, I will apply them and analyze them.

  39. Yea this is exactly what I do anyways, but I also take a look at google keyword to see if my post topic is being searched, or if I shoulld change it slightly to match what people are looking for.

  40. Rich Hazlett says:

    Thanks for the great post, Darren. I read through it and thought, I’ll do that later…then decided I needed to go ahead and do it now.

    In three minutes I came up with 12 new post ideas. Awesome.

  41. awwww, you ruined day 16 for me! ;-)

    This is great advice. Identifying what the client needs is always a good business model. I look forward to continuing on with the 31 days to a better blog!

  42. Ishrath says:

    Agreed.

    I dont see any reason why people should come to your blog if you dont have something for them.

    My top posts are my DIY – tutorials.

    The mantra is to help-share-shine.

  43. Susan Redmon says:

    Thanks for the tips. Keeping a list or journal of thoughts and ideas helps me maintain focus. Without it I’d be lost … writing posts on a random basis rather than focusing on problem solving for my readers. Again, thanks for sharing such valuable info.

  44. I just started less than a month ago in this blogging idea and i’m beginning to panic at generating blog topics week after week. This entry solves this issue for me. Great Advise. Thanks a lot.

  45. Frank Brown says:

    Thanks for the info i really didnt knew that understanding my readers problems whould help me stand out of the line.

  46. Ann Krebber says:

    Hi Darren,

    Get here again. I start to think deeper about : The big picture and the small picture. I must dig them deeper in my niche: diet menu :-) It is time to work harder.

    Thanks. It’s shining, really.

  47. kid money says:

    Thank you for this post. I have been blogging for awhile now with a few friends, and we aim to help a lot of kids and teens like us who have similar issues and problems. And you’re right – the posts that are most well-read are usually about a concerns that have solutions.

    It’s fulfilling to know that not only do you have an audience who reads what you write – it’s knowing that you can help them with whatever problem they have that makes us all feel good. And ultimate it’s what gives us the inspiration to write more :)

    - Steve

  48. Kelly says:

    I’ve got a class blog that I’m considering transitioning into a personal blog..you’re suggestions are seriously helping me to plan out how to get this thing off the ground! Thanks a ton.

    http://www.talktechbaby.blogspot.com

  49. The construction sector is becoming more and more difficult. I agree with your blog and think this is information that should be shared. I’m going to show your information from Here’s What You Should Do to Improve Your Blog Today with people at my job. Thank you for posting this. Nice website layout btw.

  50. Rick says:

    Thank you for this post. I have been blogging for awhile now with a few friends, and we aim to help a lot of kids and teens like us who have similar issues and problems. And you’re right – the posts that are most well-read are usually about a concerns that have solutions.

    It’s fulfilling to know that not only do you have an audience who reads what you write – it’s knowing that you can help them with whatever problem they have that makes us all feel good. And ultimate it’s what gives us the inspiration to write more :)

    - Steve