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How Do you ‘Give Something Back’ with your Blogging?

How do YOU ‘give something back’ with your blogging?

Blogging has given so much to me:

  • financially it’s given me a living, paid my mortgage and put food on the table for my family now for 5 or so years.
  • socially it’s opened up some fantastic opportunities for new friends.
  • it’s taken me around the world to speak to amazing groups of people at conferences
  • it’s opened up great opportunities to meet and partner with some very smart people
  • it’s helped me to develop skills that I’d never have imagined having

In all it’s been an amazing ride so far and I feel very lucky to be where I’m at.

However over the years as my blogs have grown and as I’ve benefited from blogging I’ve also felt a growing responsibility to use what I’m building to give something back and to make the world a better place.

I guess at a base level – the blogs that I run aim to help people by teaching them (all my blogs are ‘how to’ in nature). Also as a family we do support a variety of charities with the money we earn from blogging – however I’ve always wondered if there are other ways to leverage the success of a blog to make a bigger difference in the world.

In previous years I’ve raised money through doing blog-a-thons (I blogged something every 5 minutes for 24 hours on two occasions) or other types of fund raising. I’ve also participated in events like ‘blog action day’ (where bloggers all blog on an issue like poverty or the environment) – but I’ve always wondered if there could be more?

I’ve seen some bloggers offer to give percentages of sales of their products to charities and support different causes through their blogs – but I’d be interested to hear more stories of how bloggers can ‘give back’ and make a difference in the world?

One of the things I’m currently exploring is doing a trip with a Not for Profit organisation to witness the work that they’re doing in a developing country (it looks like I’ll be heading to Africa in February), and to report on that to my network – but I’d love to hear your ideas on how bloggers can (and do) make a difference through their blogs.

What do you do to give something back? How have you seen others give back?

Influence vs Fame

“Can you help me to become more Influential?

This was the question I was asked by someone at a recent networking event.

I replied: “Why do you want to be influential?”

He responded: “I want more people to know about me.”

I said: “Why?”

He answered: “Because I’d be more successful if more people knew who I was.”

I asked: “What would you do next if more people knew who you were?”

He stared at me blankly: “I’m not sure…. does it matter?”

I responded: “I don’t think you really want to have influence…. I think you want fame.”

He responded, with a beaming smile: “Can you help me become famous?”


Influence – it’s not just about the size of your network or how many people hear what you say – it’s about your capacity to impact the actions and and opinions of others.

Fame – the state of being widely known or recognized; renown; celebrity.

Fame or Influence – which would you prefer?

How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for June 2010

It’s that time of month again where I talk a little about the split of my own income streams in the previous month. We’re looking at June here and I’m excited to share this month’s charts because it illustrates something that I’ve been saying for the last couple of months really well – things DO vary from month to month.

In April and May we’ve seen the charts look much the same from month to month with AdSense being the #1 earner, followed by Affiliate earnings, eBook sales and Continuity programs. This month we’ve seen AdSense toppled as the #1 earner.

blogging-income-june-2010.png

eBook sales dwarfed all other income streams in June – mainly because I released a Travel Photography eBook. I should note that the figures I used to calculate this graph are not total income from eBooks but just my share of them (I do a revenue share with the author of this eBook).

Continuity programs also earned just a few dollars more than AdSense this month so it was pushed down into #3 position.

Interestingly the earnings in all areas except eBook sales, continuity programs and the Job board were down on May figures. I do tend to find this happens most years in the middle of the year – probably due to a bit of a downswing in the number of people in the northern hemisphere who are getting out and enjoying good weather in comparison to the number of people inside during winter months in that part of the world.

I thought it might also be interesting to share the different income streams over the last 3 months so you can see how they each do go up and down a little from month to month.

blogging-income-quarter.png

Last month a couple of readers pointed out that the charts are a little meaningless without actual dollar figures and people were confused about whether we were talking about the different areas being in the tens, hundreds, thousands or more. I’m not going to get into specifics on this except to say that June was comfortably in the six figure zone for a month after expenses.

July will probably return to a more ‘normal’ looking month – although I do hope to launch another small eBook here on ProBlogger in the coming weeks which could lead to that segment being a little higher than in April/May (although I doubt as high as June).

What Metric or Statistic do You most Watch on your Blog?

I tweeted this question a few days back and the variation in responses was quite interesting:

What metric or statistic do you most watch on your blog?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this:

  • for some it’ll be mainly about traffic – for some it is visitor numbers, for others it will be page views.
  • other bloggers are more interested in subscriber numbers – against there is variation here, RSS and/or Email subscribers.
  • some bloggers are more regularly checking the bottom line – earnings. This might be affiliate earnings, advertising earnings or even the sales of their own products.
  • another group of bloggers are more interested in reader engagement – so comment numbers, ReTweet counts or Facebook ‘likes’ might grab their attention
  • some bloggers are more focused upon the social media space and are monitoring Twitter or Facebook follower/friend numbers or how often they are replied to or interacted with.
  • other bloggers get more into the more detailed stats – looking at things like bounce rate, time on site, page views per visit, referrals (where traffic is arriving from) or looking at what the most popular posts are doing in terms of traffic.
  • further still, other bloggers are more into SEO and are always analyzing how many links are coming into their blog, how their blog ranks for certain keywords etc.

Of course there are more things to watch – but for you, what’s the #1 metric that you tend to be drawn to throughout your day or week? And why?

For me it varies a little depending upon what I’m focusing upon.

For example – during a product launch I’m obviously looking more at sales of eBooks, conversion numbers and at testing sales pages.

On a normal day I’m probably checking traffic numbers and watching for spikes in traffic so that I can take quick action to leverage them. I tend to check income streams a little less often (once a day) during a ‘normal’ day.

Further Reading: 17 Statistics to Monitor on Your Blog

Interview with Jeremy Vohwinkle – ProBlogger.com Small Victories Series

Jeremy Vohwinkle - Gen X FinanceToday we have another ‘Small Victories’ interview with blogger Jeremy Vohwinkle of Gen X Finance.

These small victories interviews are with members of ProBlogger.com and are all about highlighting some of the small wins that real bloggers have – our hope is that they’ll inspire other bloggers at similar stages to not only celebrate the ‘big wins’ and those that have already gone pro – but to focus upon the smaller things that take us forward as bloggers.

This video only goes for just over 9 minutes so sit back and enjoy.

Transcription of Interview with Jeremy Vohwinkle

For those of you who prefer to read than listen – here’s a transcription of the video by The Transcription People.

Lara: Hi ProBlogger readers, this is Lara Kulpa again, the Community Manager from ProBlogger.com and I have with me today Jeremy Vohwinkle from Gen X Finance. How are you Jeremy?

Jeremy: Hi, I’m great thanks.

How Jeremy Got Started

Lara: Wonderful. So, tell us a little about your blog and your background and why you started.

Jeremy: Okay, sure. I’ve been working in finance for a number of years and, through my course of, you know, helping people with their finances, I would spend a lot of time researching different financial topics and what happened is I noticed a lot of times I would stumble on sites that weren’t necessarily big media sites or official finance sites and I kind of wondered, “Who are these people and why are they writing about finance?”

So I did a little research and I noticed that most of these people were running what I guess people called blogs at the time; this was back in 2006, and I was clueless. I had no idea what a blog was. If you asked me, I would have said it’s what some teenager writes when they get home from school or something. So, I had no idea this was the same sort of thing.

So, I researched Word Press and just kind of how the whole process goes and I figured “Okay, I’m pretty good with computers. I bet I can set this up myself.” So, I had sat around thinking about what I want to write about and obviously finance was at the top of my list because that’s what I do for a living and I pretty much am borderline Generation X myself and I worked with pretty much the same people in that demographic, so it just came to me “Let’s do Generation X Finance”. Not very inspiring, but that’s how I came about it. And, to be honest, it was just a part time thing after work. I just wanted to kind of hone my skills in, in terms of what’s going on in the world of finance because things are always changing; the laws and the stockmarket and
things like that, so it really was a way for me to just stay up on what’s going on in current events.

That being said, you know, I just, I really got kind of sucked into it and the more I read other blogs, the more I was excited to write about my own and it just kind of fed off itself.

Lara: Yep, that happens.

Jeremy: Yep. So, I mean that’s kind of where I got started and I went from being completely clueless to now this is my full time job and I make a living writing about finance. So, it’s been a pretty amazing journey.

Jeremy’s Small Victory #1

Lara: That’s fantastic. So, what was the small victory you shared with us in the ProBlogger community?

Jeremy: Well, there is a couple of them. One of them actually stemmed from ProBlogger itself. When I first got started – this was probably 2007 I think, so I was only a few months into my blogging career I guess you could say. He, you know, Darren hosted a group writing project and I didn’t know what this was but I thought ProBlogger’s a big site so if I can somehow maybe get a link or something on the site, that would do wonders for my blog.

So I sat down and I kind of, you know, I hammered out a post in maybe an hour. I just, I submitted it and, you know, that was it. I didn’t expect a whole lot from it but I wanted to take part in, you know, what other people were doing.

What happened after that was kind of amazing because it, over the coming months, I received a lot of other sites linking back to my site. So that, the fact that I was mentioned on ProBlogger really evolved into getting dozens if not hundreds of links to this one post and, as I watched my stats, I realised that now this post was my most popular post on my entire site. And it was with this a light bulb kind of went off and said “Okay, if I can write one post that gets so much interest and in turn has started making me money, I bet I can take this blog to the next level.” I was doing it just as a hobby at the time but this was a real turning point where I decided that I have to look deeper into blogging and what I can do to actually get more popular, get more links and maybe turn that into some money. So, that was probably my biggest small victory.

Jeremy’s Small Victory #2

Jeremy: But the other one, which didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, was meeting, kind of not meeting, but interacting with other bloggers in the personal finance kind of blog space. There were a number of us that kind of got started right around the same time, we all had similar subscriber bases, we had similar traffic levels and we kind of just informally reached out to each via email and, I don’t know if it was 2007, 2008, but someone came around and said “You know, maybe we should form sort of a blog alliance or maybe we should kind of unofficially form a blog group or something like that.” And we kind of said “Okay, let’s do that.” And, being as original as we are, we called ourselves ‘The Money Writers’, which again not too exciting but we write about money, so it just made sense.

We set up a site ‘themoneywriters.com’, we just kind of pooled all our feeds together into one handy location and we set up an email group so that we could just communicate easily back and forth with each other. And, essentially, early on it was just kind of a virtual water-cooler. You know, we would talk about what people are talking about on finance blogs, what, what’s going on in terms of advertising, we’d bounce ideas off each other in terms of you know “How are you making money on your site?” and “What are you writing about that’s successful?” and things like that.

But eventually it kind of evolved into a more official group where we were pitching advertising to, you know, the whole group. So someone might come to us saying “I want to place an ad on your site” and we’d say “Well, you get a discount if you place ads on all of our sites.”

Lara: Wonderful.

Jeremy: So, this kind of collaboration allowed us to, all of us take part in advertising that we may not have had an opportunity to in the past. So that was a big stepping stone in terms of starting to propel our blogs into the pro-blog status.

Lara: Right.

Jeremy: But I think more important than that was simply having a group of trusted bloggers that you can, you know, talk about things with because, when you blog on your own, it’s kind of a solo job for the most part. You’re writing, you’re just trying to get links, you’re trying to do some social media stuff but you don’t really have a close connection with a lot of people, so having this kind of network where you can confide in people and you can kind of vent or, if you’re, got writer’s block, you can kind of get ideas from people. That was a huge, a huge benefit and to this day, if I didn’t you know kind of become part of this group, I don’t know if I would’ve had the energy to keep up with this for the past four years. I don’t know if my site would be making as much money as it is now. So the simple act of, you know, joining a small group of other bloggers has done wonders for the long run.

Lara: That’s wonderful. I know Darren has talked about blogger alliances before in the past.

Jeremy: Yep.

Lara: And it’s always been a really great idea to find people that are in the same niche as you and working together is clearly, it definitely gives you some level of victory together.

Jeremy: Oh yeah, for sure.

Lara: That’s great. So, last but not least, do you have any words about the ProBlogger community that you’d like to share with the readers of Problogger.net?

Jeremy: Yeah, certainly. Probably to kind of feed off of what I just talked about, which was forming that kind of blogger alliance. If you don’t have that personal alliance, I think the ProBlogger community is the, probably the next best thing because you have a group of people that all basically are sharing the same sort of goals. These bloggers wouldn’t have signed up if they’re not serious about taking their blog to the next level and if they’re not serious about making more money or propelling their blog to a new status. So, if that’s kind of what you’re looking to accomplish, you might as well sign up because you’re going to have people that you can bounce ideas off of, you can get people to, you know, share links, you can expand your reach by joining other social networks. It’s just, it’s a great way to kind of meet other people and really get the support that you need as an individual because, you know, it is hard work, there’s a lot of competition and every little bit of help you can get is going to make all the difference in the world.

Lara: Awesome. So I will cut this off here and thank you so much, Jeremy, for doing the interview with us. We’ll see you in the forums.

Anonymous Blogging 101: a Quick and Dirty Primer

A Guest post by Treacle from The Lingerie Addict.

When the internet first became popular, many people loved the idea of creating a new identity online. Name, gender, age, hobbies …anything and everything could be fabricated. But in the era of Web 2.0, people have a new fixation–authenticity. Nowadays, your readers want to know that you are who you say you are, and for a lot of bloggers that includes using your real name.

But some folks, for one reason or another, just aren’t comfortable attaching their given name to a blog. Perhaps they’re blogging about sex or eating disorders or unfair corporate policies, but whatever the subject, the one thing they all have in common is a behind-the-scenes writer who wants to blog freely but not have to worry about some of the potentially negative consequences of blogging.

As one of those anonymous bloggers, I want to share with you the reasons why some people choose to blog this way, a few different methods to hide your identity, and a couple of things to keep in mind if you decide to go the anonymous route. Because this article is just a basic primer, we won’t talk about proxy servers, re-routing, and all the other technologically elite methods of making your online trail invisible. As the title says, this is simply a “quick and dirty” guide for people who want to know how to get started.

Why Blog Anonymously?

  1. Privacy & Safety—An anonymous blog allows for the most complete separation between your blogging life and your personal/professional life. For example, the once anonymous author Belle De Jour completed her PhD and began her career as a scientific researcher while blogging about her other job as a sex worker. Being public with her identity from the get-go would almost certainly have limited her career options. As another aside (and this is especially true for bloggers who write about sensitive subjects like sex, sex work, and pornography) blogging anonymously helps to control the risk of stalkers—those people who are determined to pay you unwanted and uninvited attention. Finally, anonymous blogging makes it clear that you’re only writing for yourself; your place of employment needn’t worry about people thinking you’re a “representative” of them.
  2. Honesty—Anonymous blogging allows some people to be more than honest than they might be if their real name was attached. For example, if you’re writing a blog about relationships, you may not want your name attached to that essay about your terrible date over the weekend. A blog identity that’s separate from your personal identity gives you a bit of breathing space that lets you write more openly and honestly.
  3. Personality & Character—Writing under a different name allows you to express different aspects of your personality, including parts that may not be appropriate to show at other times. In the same way that Superman was a cooler version of Clark Kent, your blog identity can be a cooler version of you. For example, my alter-ego Treacle is mellower, sexier, and more outgoing than the chick who shows up at my dayjob. Writing an anonymous blog gives me permission to play because I’m not dealing with the constraints of my already established “mundane” personality.

Ways to Blog Anonymously

  1. Full-on anonymity—This style of anonymous blogging uses an obviously fake name (think John Doe), no photographs, no birthdate, no city, no hobbies, nothing identifying whatsoever. This is actually how I started blogging, and I don’t recommend it. Unless you are really, really, really good…it’s hard for people to feel attachment to a question mark.
  2. Semi-anonymity—In this type, you use a false name but share some identifying details. This is how I blog right now. Treacle isn’t my given name, but the photos of me are real. So are other details like my hobbies, interests, relationship status, and so on. You might call this “everything but anonymity,” as in I share everything but the name on my driver’s license.
  3. “Secret identity” anonymity—I know of quite a few anonymous bloggers who do this. In this style, you choose an authentic sounding first and last name, complete with its own Twitter, Facebook, mailing address, activities, and so on. A side effect of creating a new and fully-formed identity is that people believe they’re already interacting with the real you, and so don’t go looking for it. But the downside is that if it ever comes out you created a fictitious personality and put it out there as your own, your readers can feel massively betrayed. You also have to start doing this from the very beginning of your blog for it to work effectively.

How to Blog Anonymously?

First of all, you want to set up a separate e-mail address just for your blog, register your blog’s domain name anonymously (I think most folks do this anyway), and consider using software like Tor to make your IP address untraceable. Some bloggers refuse to blog from their personal or home computers; they’ll only use the libraries computer, for example. Other bloggers write while offline, and then copy and paste the entire post into the blog while Tor is turned on. You should also consider setting up separate Twitter, Facebook, and Paypal accounts and perhaps even buying a P.O. Box if you’ll need to send or receive goods later on.

Second, spend some time thinking about your pseudonym. Whatever you pick, that will be the identity always associated with your blog. In the same vein, spend some time thinking about your boundaries. What are you okay with sharing? What is absolutely off limits? What are you unsure about right now but will revisit a month or two down the road? For example, I never share the names or any identifying details of friends, family, and intimate partners on my blog. I don’t even make up pseudonyms; I just call them by nouns like “The Boyfriend,” “The Best Friend,” or “The Cousin.” You want to work out the answers to these questions before you start posting.

Third and finally, just keep your mouth shut. If you don’t want anyone to know who you are, don’t tell anyone. Plain and simple.

What are Some Other Things to Consider?

  1. The only foolproof way to keep from being found out is to never blog at all. Therefore, you should start blogging under the assumption that you’ll be discovered one day. It’s depressing, I know, but it’s important to think about. One day, someone will recognize you and very possibly expose you. So, before blogging about anything, think about the potential consequences of that exposure. Whether it’s losing your jobs, losing your kids, or losing your freedom be prepared for the worst possible outcome.
  2. Anonymous blogging is not a free pass to be an asshole. Aside from the possibility that you’ll eventually be found out (see above), you are what you blog. Nice, nasty, or in between the people you attract are going to reflect what you write.
  3. It’s easier to start out with a lot of anonymity and open up over time than to do the reverse. If you’re not sure exactly how much you want to share just yet, start out by sharing a little less. You can always give more, but you can’t take anything back once it’s out there.

I hope this article helps you understand a little bit more about why some people prefer the anonymous approach, and, if you’re thinking about blogging anonymously, I hope it gives you a solid place to start. If you have any questions (about lingerie or anonymous blogging!), feel free to write me at [email protected].

anonymous-blogging-101.jpgAbout the Author: Treacle is a 25 year old knickers junkie who started blogging because her friends threatened to tape her mouth shut if she didn’t stop talking about her underwear. She welcomes lingerie lovers of every nation and persuasion to her blog, The Lingerie Addict.

The Unmissable Secret of Long Term Blogging Success.

In The Myth Of Great Content Marketing Itself, Darren said that:

The reality is that many blogs produce quality content that doesn’t get read. The reason isn’t that the blog’s not worth reading – but in many cases it’s because nobody knows to go read it.

Later, he said:

Letting your content market itself DOES work IF you already have an audience to help with that process by spreading word of it through word of mouth. YOU need to be the one who starts the process.

It’s time to hustle and get word out about your content.

I agree. Most of the apparent success you see on a blog is based on what happens outside of content creation. The main secret to kicking arse online is knowing the right people.

Yes, I’m talking about the networking.

How Networking Leads To Blog Success

You're it! - TaggedImage by Sudhamshu

Do you ever see posts with high profile commenters and tonnes of retweets that seems to echo around the blogosphere? All that happened off the blog. The connections were made months before a favour was asked. The person had provided enough value for the person to not even considering saying no to a request for help.

I recently wrote a post taking readers step by step through my networking methods. This guest post will take you through specific observations that helped me garner the attention of the big guns – and keep it.

Be A Filter. Be Seen.

I owe the discovery of this concept to Dave Navarro at The Launch Coach

“the busier and more successful someone is, the more they rely on people they trust to filter decisions for them.  They don’t have the time to take in an process all the pros and cons of some new unknown quantity, so they simply look to their “influencers” - the people who already have established trust with them – for recommendations. “

Positioning yourself as a filter is a great way to get on the radars of awesome people.

I became a filter by accident and it’s a role that I’ve embraced. I’m known as the person that hooks people up. I did one consulting call and was interviewed for two paid programs in the past week. In all three cases, I asked the person is there was anyone I could connect them too.

This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In many cases, it means getting them featured on a certain blog. They get publicity. The blogger gets quality content. I get the happiness from making awesomeness happen.

The key to being a indispensible filter is being so darn useful that the A-listers clamor to get to know you. However, before you can get to know them they have to know who you are.

So – how do you get to know them?

Meet them on their turf and go where they are most comfortable. This is where they will me most receptive to your attempts at connection.

For many people, this is Twitter. For others, it may be a uStream or an interview. Be where they are, and without being spammy show how intelligent and helpful you are. In some cases, they’ll get to know you and ask to take the conversation elsewhere.

Taking the conversation off that platform

On the platform, readingImage by Moriza

Take the conversation to phone

It’s weird, but hearing someone’s voice encourages them to be more emotionally involved. They are more likely to remember you and be willing to help you out down the track.

I know this because I’ve Skyped a lot of my blogging friends. It’s hard, especially when you are introverted. It has lots of awesome networking opportunities. You can pick up little pieces of information to leverage later, such as birthdays and children. You can also bond over accents or similar work.

For most people, this means talking to them on Skype. You can also talk to them via conference call products or by a regular phone.

Take it to email

I try and funnel most conversations to email. This makes it a lot easier to form a connection and figure out how you can help each other. I have one email for most people and a separate email for those I have a preexisting relationship with. This means that I can give a priority to those I am willing to help out.

This may not be practical for some of the bigger names. They generally get so many emails that yours will get lost. In these cases, it’s worth getting to know the person that filters their email if you definitely need their attention.

Meeting in real life

In most cases, this is unlikely to happen. That’s just the way the internet works. There is often too much hassle involved in meeting up unless you live physically close to them. I have three main ways I meet people:

  • If a social media friend will be in the same city as you, casually offer to meetup. I got to meet Yaro Starak and Melinda Brennan this way.
  • I also to conferences that my friends will be attending. This means we get to hang out during the sessions and can make additional connections with some of their friends.
  • My other method is tweetups. I limit the ones I attend because they can be tiring but they are an awesome place to develop new friendship circles.

How to be incredibly useful.

Strawberry Frozen YogurtImage by thebittenword.com

Know what they need before they know they need it

Imagine. You are craving an ice cream. You don’t have the time to go and buy the ice cream but then someone offers one because they instinctively know that it could help you right then. Now, imagine that you could help people find solutions that could save or earn them thousands of dollars. They’d be pretty darn grateful, right?

That’s what I do and it’s how you can get a lot of the big guns to view you as a peer in a short period of time.

To succeed at this you have to be good at reading between the lines. You have to:

  • Be able to see when they are hinting towards needing help such as them tweeting about feeling sick.
  • Know what type of person/product they like being referred to.
  • Know about the various solutions that they haven’t heard of. This can require a lot of research.

It’s hard work but you eventually develop processes so it requires very little time. One you reach a tipping point most of the people come to you on a referral basis.

Connect them to people that profoundly change things for them

I know I changed Dave Navarro’s career when I reviewed How To Launch The **** Out Of Your Ebook on this blog. That connection has led to so many opportunities and experiences for me.

When you do something amazing, the person will be grateful for a long, long time. People still thank me for mentioning the in the 30 Bloggers To Watch post. And, when I recently needed help, they all rallied around to support me because I’d done so much for them previously.

You don’t have to help in a huge way. Sometimes, it can be a small favour that spurs a person on. Ideas include:

  • Get a review copy of an information product on their behalf
  • Review their product on a popular blog
  • Highlight them in front of an influencer
  • Connect them with people with complementary skills

Givers get. Simple.

I help you build your influence at jadecraven.com. If you want to know whats hot in the blogosphere before it goes mainstream, check out my How to Network Fast Course. People come to me whenever they want their stuff to be shared and I only share the best with my readers.

How to Create a FaceBook Landing Page for Your Blog

Yesterday I shared 5 ways that I’m using Facebook to drive traffic, Build Brand an increase Reader Engagement on my blogs.

After publishing the post I was asked a few questions about things that I brushed over that I thought might be worth following up upon. Here were the three main questions:

  • How did you make the landing page graphic?
  • How do you use the FBML application to serve up the landing page?
  • How do you make your landing page show up to new visitors?

Lets tackle them each in turn.

Creating the Landing Page Graphic

Let me start by saying that I’m very surprised anyone wants to emulate this because I did it myself and I’m certainly no designer.

Also worth noting is that the graphics on the current landing pages are temporary. I’m hoping to move them to a live html landing page in the coming weeks. The FBML facebook application lets you put any kind of html on the landing page which means that almost everything that you see in the graphic that I’ve created can become a live page. I could for instance make the blue mentions of my blogs in the graphic below live links (as would be the link to problogger and my twitter account at the bottom).

Screen shot 2010-06-30 at 9.07.55 PM.png

In the mean time though – I wanted to test the idea of a landing page and get some reader feedback on it before hiring a designer to create the html version.

As a result I went for creating it myself using Keynote. Keynote is a mac application similar (but better than) Powerpoint but you could probably use Powerpoint or pretty much any other kind of graphic program to create such a graphic.

In terms of what to put on the landing pages – I went for two different approaches with my two different facebook pages. On the ProBlogger one I went for a much more personal feel – my face, an invitation to connect with ‘Darren’, a personal introduction etc.

I decided to take this more personal approach because ProBlogger is a brand that I tie myself to quite a bit and my hunch is that a topic like making money from blogging is going to be viewed with suspicion and that a personal approach might help to break that down.

With my dPS landing page I obviously went with some similar layouts but kept it much more branded along the lines of the dPS site – and not very personal. I do try to get across some element of social proof though with the ’3 million’ highlighted.

dps-facebook-landing1.png

I’m thinking in the next version I’ll incorporate a couple of other factors – firstly something more ‘visual’ (it’s a site about photography after all) and a mention of it all being ‘free’.

How do you use the FBML application to serve up the landing page?

OK – so once you’ve got your graphic or html for the landing page – how do you get it up onto Facebook?

The tool I used was a little application called Static FBML.

The application allows you to add a ‘box’ to your page in which you can render HTML or FBML (Facebook Markup Language). You can also display it as a ‘tab’ (as I’ve done on mine).

Here’s how to create your Static FBML landing page:

1. go to the Static FBML application page on Facebook (make sure you’re logged in)

2. look for the ‘Add to my Page’ link under their logo (top right hand corner of the page) – click it!

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3. A popup window will open up – it will contain any ‘pages’ that you are admin for that you can use it on. Hit the ‘add to page’ button on the page you’re wanting to use Static FBML to.

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4. Go to the facebook page that you selected. Look for the ‘Edit page’ link under your page logo and click it.

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5. On your ‘edit’ page scroll down to the Applications section until you see the FBML page. Click the ‘edit’ link.

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6. Change the Box Title. I use the title of ‘Welcome’ but have other FBML pages for my newsletter, for my eBooks etc. Under the title box you need to enter your html. Don’t make your title too long as Facebook will cut it off.

In this case my html is pretty simple – I uploaded my image file (created above in Keynote) to my blog and so I simply embed the image code into the FBML application.

I also include two links for people to be able to click on to visit my site and my Twitter account. Once you’re done click ‘save changes’.

edit fbml

7. Return to your page’s ‘edit’ page and look down to find your newly named page in the applications section. This time click ‘Application settings’.

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8. A popup box will appear that lets you choose where to display your new application. By default it’ll be showing as a ‘box’ but not as a ‘tab’. I hit ‘remove’ for the box and hit ‘add’ for the tab. Then hit ‘okay’.

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Selecting to show it as a ‘tab’ means that your landing page will now appear at the top of your page

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Click the tab to check that it all looks ok. You might need to go back into edit the page to tweak it and get it looking right.

How do make your landing page show to new visitors?

The last thing that you might like to do is set up your landing page so that everyone who arrives at your facebook page is automatically taken to it. If you don’t do this it’ll just be a tab in the navigation area of your page and everyone will only see it if they click it.

By default everyone will be taken to your ‘Wall’ tab. This might be ok but if your have a landing page then it makes sense to have people land on it.

1. To change this visit your page and again click the ‘Edit Page’ link under your logo.

Screen shot 2010-07-01 at 10.53.06 AM.png 2. On your editing page look for ‘Wall Settings’ and click ‘edit’.

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3. You’ll then be presented with an array of settings that you can choose to determine how your ‘Wall’ operates. The one we’re interested in is ‘Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else:’. By default it’ll show ‘Wall’ but you can choose any of your tabs here. Select your landing page and it’ll automatically change your settings.

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Doing this will mean that anyone landing on your Facebook page for the first time will be taken to your landing page and not your Wall. From my understanding of Facebook’s FAQ they’ll then be taken to your Wall the next time they come to your site (it’d be great if Facebook allowed more control on this at some point to set different rules for what tabs are shown).

Some Final Tips for Facebook Landing Pages

Ultimately what you include on your landing page will depend upon the goals for your facebook page.

  1. Don’t Try to do too Much – As with all good landing pages you don’t want to try to achieve too much on a single page. If you try to get people to like your page, sign up for an email, watch a welcome video, follow you on Twitter, visit your forum, buy your eBook and share your page with a friend you might end up not getting any action. You can do more than one thing on a page but think about your priorities and make your primary one clear.
  2. Consider Secondary pages for other Actions – you can set up as many Static FBML tabs as you like. There’s only so much room in your navigation area to show tabs but you might want to set up other tabs for other purposes.
  3. Call people to Action – make it as clear as possible what action/s you’re wanting people to take. Remember not everyone will be as savvy as you on how to take that action so be as clear as possible.
  4. Test it – you might not get your landing page right the first time – try a variety of approaches to see how people respond.

Show us Your Facebook Landing Page

I know many ProBlogger readers already have facebook landing pages – and those of you who don’t now have the ability to do it – so I’d love to see examples of yours. To get the link simply go to your page’s edit page and scroll down to the application of your tab and click the ‘link to this tab’ link and you’ll have it.

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Share a link in comments below with a link to your landing page.

4 Resources to Build Your Blogging Business

Every week I am contacted by people producing training resources, courses, eBooks, books etc for people wanting to make money from blogging and other online activities.

If I were to write a post about every one it’d almost take over this blog completely so I’m pretty fussy about which ones I promote. However lately there have been a lot of them coming from people that I know and respect.

Not all will be ideal for every person (they have a huge variation in price points and a fair variation in topics covered) but I do know that some are going to be very valuable to different readers so here’s a summary of the latest products coming across my desk (in no particular order).

1. Freelancer’s Survival Guide

ZZ3D5154C5.jpgChris Guillebeau has done it again with another of his ‘Unconventional Guides’ (out today).

This one is for those wanting to get serious about their Freelancing Businesses. As with most of these guides Chris offers 3 price points for different levels.

Learn more about this Freelancing Survival Guide Here.

2. Beyond Blogging Project

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A brand new project by Nathan Hagan and Mike CJ – authors of the successful Beyond Blogging book.

This project is a 6 months project to help you build your blog to the next level.

It includes web casts, podcasts, site critiques, Q&A calls, forum and a lot more. Both Mike and Nathan know what they’re doing – looks like something well worth considering. It’s not cheap and will price some out of participating (although not as expensive as some courses) but for a 6 month course with lots of personal touches it’s about what I’d expect.

Get all the information on the Beyond Blogging Project here

3. Product Launch Formula 3

_wp-content_uploads_2010_06_jeff-walker.pngJeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula 3 has had enough buzz in the last week that you’d have to have been having an internet free week to miss it.

It’s a high level product for those looking to launch products (I took version 2 and it’s helped me double my income from product sales in the last year) and it closes its doors in the next 24 hours (Jeff tends to only open them every 6-12 months).

Again – this isn’t a cheap product but it’s the formula behind many very successful online product launches so if you’re getting into that game it’s the type of teaching that has the potential to pay for itself. At the very least get yourself signed up for the product launch formula blueprint (pdf and video) which is free (for the the price of an email address) as it’s a handy thing to have.

Learn more about it in this interview I did last week with Jeff.

Full Details on Product Launch Formula 3 are Here

4. Engage

_wp-content_uploads_2009_05_20100126-kis1nw5n1qen8kpy186ijj4d9s.jpgThis is a book (yep, a paper one) that I’ve been reading for a month now. I usually don’t read too many paper books these days but this one is well worth the read.

The sub title is – ‘The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web‘ which gives you a little more on what it is about but as a mini review I’d say it’s well worth the read for anyone whose business is developing a plan for their use of social media. Much of it is useful for individuals but I suspect it’s going to be most powerful when a company gets ahold of it and implements some of Brian’s thinking in their business.

The first half is more introductory into the world of social media while the 2nd half is more about how to use social media to engage and some of the responsibilities that come with that. It’s a meaty book – enjoy.

Engage is Available on Amazon here

Disclaimer – each and every one of the links above is an affiliate link and you can assume that I stand to earn a comission if you buy any of the products. However I stand by the recommendations of the products and people mentioned. For every product mention you see here there’s another 1-2 that I’ve chosen not to include.