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10 Realizations that Will Crush Your Little Heart In Your First Year of Blogging

This guest post is by Moon from Experiments in Passive Income.

This post comes from someone who has made a ton of mistakes and is on her way to learn from those mistakes. You and I probably have a lot in common … after all, you’re here to learn about blogging and how to do it well and, well, I’m trying to do the same.

Being the owner and author of a blog that is in its first year of infancy, it’s been an emotional roller coaster ride—kind of like riding a car with a driver who makes you think of your impending death thanks to their inept braking skills and their random urges to switch lanes (without looking).

As a new blogger in a very crowded niche, I’ve found the year tough. It’s been tough finding my voice among so many others, producing content that is rich and teaches others a thing or two, attracting traffic that sticks (subscribers)—all while trying to establish a schedule.

Still, it helps to be prepared. Here are ten things that will crush your little heart in your first year of blogging:

1. You’re still waking up to low subscriber levels.

After eight months, only 100 subscribers are subscribing to your blog feed. Yeah, that will kill you inside. You might smile on the outside and tell yourself all’s well … but you’ll have to swallow your pride and evaluate how you’re hindering your blog’s growth. Are you presenting your readers with boring content? Or do you need to guest blog to bring exposure to your new blog?

2. You realize that attracting visitors is more than just good SEO.

Sooner or later, you’ll realize that attracting visitors to your blog is more than just good SEO (long-term strategy). At that point, it’s time to buckle down and learn how to use Twitter, su.pr, and Facebook properly to garner thousands of views a month.

This type of social media marketing needs to be done, and done well. And it will take you more than a few minutes to promote your content properly and on a daily basis. No one wants to simply hear noise on their media streams—give them that, and they’ll quickly stop paying attention to you.

3. You realize what SEO entails.

Eventually, it dawns on every budding blogger that SEO involves much more than just incorporating your keywords into your content excessively and using keyword rich links. If you want search traffic, you need to spend a few hours a month learning about SEO and actually executing it. It’s amazing how much time I’ve spent catching up on SEO, but I’m still not using it properly. I bet you’re not, either.

4. You fail to monetize your blog.

When you don’t earn even a measly $100 per month from your blog, despite trying hard, it hurts. But earning money through your blog is more than slapping ads on it. Keep trying!

5. You realize there are no easy ways to make money through your blog.

It’s absolutely essential that you write great, unique content and create a list of subscribers who love that content. It’s not 2001 anymore! People have become wary of the Internet, and they want proof of your success before they’ll trust you. Give it to them.

6. You understand that you need to do more for others.

You want subscribers? You need to do more. To get that list going, you should probably create a handy, free ebook or report that deals with a topic related to your blog, and helps your readers. Yes, you do have to help others in order to help yourself.

7. You recognize that good content can take more than an hour to create.

Great content will definitely take more than an hour, especially if you’re a beginner. Anyone can produce good content. You’ll need to write unique and in-depth content to give your readers something to talk about and impress other fellow bloggers—to get the buzz going, so to speak.

8. You realize that people want to read specifics and in-depth case studies.

Your readers can find generic crap anywhere. There are tons of blogs that talk about growing your traffic or making money online … and the majority are boring!

Instead, show readers how you’ve helped someone grow traffic or what strategies you’ve implemented to make money through your blog. This is precisely what I did when I showed my readers how exact domain names can kill the competition! This kind of content takes a bit of time and experience to develop. Keep plugging away!

9. You understand that networking is a necessity, not an option.

This doesn’t mean you re-tweet someone’s post occasionally. You need to converse with your followers, ask questions, and interact with other bloggers—successful ones as well as beginners in your niche and peer bloggers who started around the time you did. Create a group that helps promote each others’ posts. You never know who will get your hype snowball rolling.

10. You realize that you’ve been doing most things wrong!

Just because you knew all this stuff doesn’t mean you executed it at all, or executed it properly. At the time when I started my blog, I thought I knew something about blogs and making money online. But that learning is an ongoing process. Once you realize this, you might feel momentary despair. That’s okay—as long as you continue to take steps and improve your efforts.

Despite all these things that might have you sobbing under the blanket with a pint of scotch, hopefully you’ll realize that you should keep going. In fact, if you love what you’re blogging about, the pure thrill of having your content go viral or making your first few sales will probably have you giggling like a school girl and make you realize that it’s all worth it.

I’ve made all these mistakes and then some and I won’t be quitting any time soon! What mistakes have you made in your blogging experience? Share them with us!

Join Moon as she shares results of her passive income experiments at her website. You can check out her free ebook, To The Moon & Back, in which she details all her experiments in the span of a year

Inspiration vs. Obligation: the Great Creativity Debate

Ali’s recent post discouraged us from forcing creativity. If you don’t feel it, she said, don’t write. Yet Gretchen recommends sitting down and writing every day, because you’ll get in a rhythm and stay connected to your material.

Well, which is it? Should you force yourself at your blogging, even when you don’t feel the inspiration, or wait patiently for the muse to visit, hopefully before you lose your readers through neglect? I’m curious to hear how you approach this question. After all, blogging is about content, right? If we can’t generate content on demand, what are our chances of being great bloggers?

As a professional writer, I’ve had plenty of time to consider the inspiration vs. obligation (or creativity vs. productivity) question, and I think the best answer revolves around self-awareness.

Starting out

When I began writing, I’d only write when I felt the urge. Fortunately for me, that was a fairly continuous state, but for many bloggers, it’s not. This is particularly true for the beginning blogger who’s striving to build an inventory of great content, but after an initial flush of inspiration, finds themselves scratching for ideas, and creatively burnt out.

As you’re beginning, and getting a feel for either blogging itself, or your topic in particular, you might do well to try to write multiple posts at those times when inspiration strikes. If you’re feeling psyched about your topic, don’t spend three hours honing one post: spend it drafting five posts. Then, on the days when you’re not feeling so creative, spend your time honing and publishing that store of articles, tiding your blog and your readers over with consistently great content until the muse returns.

This approach keeps you engaged with your blog and your topic—you’re working on new content every day—and can significantly boost your post quality, since you’re reviewing drafts with those fresh eyes that writers and editors are always talking about. It also keeps readers engaged, and returning.

If you can consciously tune in to your inspiration, you’ll come to know what it feels like, and understand the capabilities that come with different degrees of inspiration. Will you get three posts from today’s inspiration, or ten?

This approach really comes into its own as your blog becomes a longer term project.

Long-term creativity

If you’ve monetized your blog, or established a strong following, you may well find that you have more of an investment in it—and in producing great content for it. Without content, your income will drop, and your audience will be disappointed. Suddenly, writing when the mood takes you won’t seem like such a viable proposition any more. And with that thought comes a new kind of pressure.

Many bloggers struggle at this point, because posting becomes a monetized task—it becomes work, and an obligation—and the sense of creative fun that writing used to hold suddenly seems to disappear. But if you’ve taken the beginners’ approach I outlined above, you’ll have a strong chance of getting through this phase, to reach a point where you can produce a reliable stream of quality content on demand.

You’ve spent your first months or years of blogging learning what the creative urge feels like, and what it makes you capable of. You’ve also been developing your creative muscle and learning the techniques and skills that make your writing great.

So you have a rich store of experience, knowledge, and inspiration to fall back on. You also know what you’re capable of, creatively speaking.

When you sit down at your desk to write, you’ll know if you’ve got zero articles in you, or twenty. You’ll be able to manage the ebbs and flows of your creativity. Most importantly, though, you’ll be able to rely on your knowledge and skill—rather than heaven-sent inspiration alone—to produce excellent content.

You’ll know that all you need is that 1% inspiration to kick you off. After that, the work of writing the post is all perspiration: technique, concept, and skill.

Do I write my best work when I’m inspired? Who knows? Over time, the idea of “creative inspiration” has become immaterial. I just write. I know when I have a wild rush of ideas, and I know when my mind seems more suited to the more predictable work of editing and polishing my content. But through the process I outlined here, the magical, mystical quality of “inspiration” has been replaced by the more sustaining notion of reliable output—output being, by its very nature, creative.

How do you manage the balance between inspiration and obligation when it comes to creating content for your blog?

How Changing My Intentions Made Me Money

This guest post is by Roman from how this website makes money.

Two years ago I stumbled across the concept of blogging for money.  Instantly it hit me as the perfect thing: sit behind a computer, design a site, write, be my own boss, work from home, what could be better? I knew nothing about traffic, SEO, backlinks, Pagerank, or keywords.  I knew nothing about how to make money with a website.  So what did I do next?  I registered the domain name howthiswebsitemakesmoney.

Looking back all I can do is laugh at my arrogance.  Like thousands before me and thousands who will come after me, my first attempt at blogging was a site about making money online.

Two years later, I know how to start a site, I know how to write content, I know about SEO, I know about backlinks, I know how to add advertisements … but I still do not know how to make good money online.  The site makes dimes a day, not dollars.

The site has been two years of disappointment.  Two  years of waking up in the morning and seeing the same green egg in AdSense.  Two years of waiting for a four-digit affiliate check with my name on it.  Two years of working without pay.  Two years of scratching my head.

So I asked for advice, and every time the reply was the same: create a site about something else. Create a site about what you know and what you enjoy.  Do not create a site with the intent to make money, create a site with the intent to help people by doing something you enjoy doing.

What happened when I changed my intent

Six months ago I created a new site.  This time my intent was pure pleasure.

I live in Prague and I love it here.  So I made a little site about how great Prague is and what people should do when they come for a visit.  It was built in a month.  In a gust of activity I designed the site and wrote the content.

It was so easy.   I did not agonize over what to write about.  The content flowed effortlessly from my head to the keyboard.  I did not have to take long walks with the dog or waste water standing dazed in the shower coming up with new ideas.  I just sat down at the computer and wrote about what I know.  It was so easy I actually looked forward to it.

As an afterthought, I created a simple page where people can order a real postcard from Prague.  Visitors select a picture of Prague and fill out a form indicating what they want written on the postcard.  After they hit the Submit button I get the request by email.  I grab a postcard and, like an ancient scribe long before computers, lick the tip of the pen and write.  After pounding a Prague stamp on the postcard I toss it into the mailbox on my way to work. I charge $4.00 for this five minutes of work.

I created this site with no aspirations of becoming rich, no day dreams of shaking hands with Oprah, no imagined scenes of telling my employer to find some other donkey to kick around. I created the website because it was easy for me to do and I enjoyed it. I made it because I needed a break from my ‘real’ website. I expected nothing to happen.

Again, I was wrong.

My hand is ink blue from all the postcards I have written.

I wrote a postcard from a son playing a trick on his mother: “Hi, Mom!  Sorry for not calling in last few days.  But I am in Prague with friends.  Having a great time and the beer is sooo cheap.  Say hi to Dad.”

I have written postcards to countries all over the world.  Some of them in languages other then English—I have no idea what I am writing. Fortunately, the order form does not allow Chinese characters!

I get emails from people thanking me for the information they found on the site, thanking me for the postcard, asking for more information.

I feel like I am making the world a better place.  I made a website about something I know about and am interested in and people are thanking me. Emotionally it is a soft, warm, fuzzy ball.

And yes, I am making money.

Intend to enjoy and you might make money

I learned a lot about making money online not from my site about making money, but from licking postage stamps.

New arrivals to the make-money-online scene go through the same initiation—they start out with the intent to make money, then fail to make more then a pile of pennies.  For some it means the end and they quit, but for others this brutal introduction teaches them that their intent needs to change.

Of course, making money is about traffic, clicks, affiliates, backlinks SEO, but it’s also about finding something you enjoy doing.  If your intent is only to make money the odds are stacked against you: you will probably quit.  But if your intent is to do something you enjoy then you will keep moving forward until one day, you will be surprised to find that you are making money.

What’s your intent?

Roman intends to figure out how this website makes money.  He has been trying to do that for two long years, so when he needs a break and do something fun he goes onto his other website to send a real postcard to his mother who misses him very much.

How to Use Social Media to Attract a Higher Advertiser Rate

This post is by Clare Lancaster, of WomenInBusiness.com.au.

As a blog business owner, your brand needs to reach beyond your blog.

Your presence on social media is a valuable one. In some ways, it’s the ultimate opt-in. When someone follows you on Twitter, subscribes to your YouTube channel or likes your Facebook page they’re making a choice to connect with you—and are receptive to your message.

These communication channels become assets for you to cultivate loyalty, relationships, and importantly, influence.

These assets are valuable not only for you, but for advertisers also. More and more, my advertising leads are inquiring about social media reach. They don’t just want a banner ad on my website—they want their brand exposed to my social networks.

There are creative ways to add more value for advertisers (in exchange for higher rates) without being spammy. You don’t want to sell your soul and lose the trust that you’ve built, but there’s no reason why you can’t monetize the attention of your audience beyond your blog.

Ways to use social media to offer more value to advertisers

  • Publish a blog post to welcome a new sponsor and tweet about it.
  • Publish a monthly “Editor’s picks” post including from your advertiser’s products/service range.
  • Continue this by linking to a page within an advertiser’s products/service range from Facebook.
  • Add a page to your Facebook account detailing monthly special offers that you’ve negotiated with your advertisers.

Make sure in all cases that the line between all advertising/editorial is clearly drawn and appropriately marked.

Add your social media statistics to your media kit and include any extras that advertisers will receive when they choose to book a campaign with you. You’ll get extra dollars for minimal extra work, and your advertisers will receive extra value.

Haven’t separated your personal social media accounts from your blog’s yet? Next week I’ll explore the pros and cons of doing just that.

Clare Lancaster offers blog reviews to help improve the business performance of your blog. She is passionate about helping people make their own path in work and life and can be found on Twitter most days (@clarelancaster).

How to Create Killer Content for Your Blog: New Course Starting Soon

create-killer-content.png While great content doesn’t guarantee success,  it sure does help! Yet so many bloggers struggle to produce content that engages with and meets the needs of readers.

As a result, Chris Garrett and I have put together a brand new short course—Create Killer Content for your Blog—to help set you on the right track.

The course is presented over five modules (in five days):

  1. Planning your content: coming up with ideas, finding your voice, types of posts to try
  2. Structuring your content: writing your content in a way that works
  3. Polishing your content: taking good content and making it great
  4. Killer multimedia content: podcasts, interviews, slide shows, and video
  5. Live webinar: a Q&A call with myself and Chris at the end of the week.

This course starts Monday, 6 December and it costs just $29.95 (or $99 if you bundle it with the other 3 upcoming Pillars of ProBlogger courses).

If you can’t do it all in the week in which the course is scheduled, don’t worry: you’ll have access to all the course materials for 12 months, so you can take it at your own pace.

Who is this short course for?

Creating Killer content is for you if…

  • you’re struggling with producing content for your blog
  • you’re trying to find your voice as a blogger
  • you’ve run out of ideas to write about
  • you’re just looking for a little refresher and/or inspiration.

Note: we’re assuming participants of this course have a blog. If you don’t, check out the free Getting Started Blogging course.

So if you’d like to inject your blog with some killer content, this is a course for you. Sign up today here.

StudioPress Offer 25% Off Themes – Last Sale Ever

If you’re looking to start a new blog or redesign a current one, you’ll want to check this out.

StudioPress Premium WordPress ThemesStarting today, StudioPress (the creators of some amazing themes) are offering 25% off all of the products that they make if you use the word “BLACK” as a coupon code. It’s part of their Black Friday sale, which ends on Tuesday.

This discount applies to all of their themes and frameworks, including:

I’ve switched two of my main blogs over to StudioPress themes in the last few weeks, and have been very impressed by the results. They’re fast loading, well optimized for search engines, and simple to use and secure.

The team at StudioPress also tell me that as of Tuesday (when this ends) they won’t be doing any more discounting—this is their last sale.

Make the most of it and secure a StudioPress theme today.

Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate of StudioPress. As a user of StudioPress products I’m more than happy to recommend them. That’s why my face is on the front page of their site telling the world how much I love them!

Top 5 Affiliate Sales Techniques

This guest post is by the team at E-junkie.com.

Working with so many merchants and affiliates gives us a great opportunity to see what different bloggers are trying to do to generate sales of affiliate products, and over time we’ve noticed that some strategies work much better than others.

These are the top five affiliate sales techniques we’ve seen work time and time again.

1. Only promote products you’re willing to stand behind 100%.

We had one incident on our site where someone bought something from a third party, didn’t like it, and got so mad that they launched a Denial of Service attack on us!

It’s very common for us to receive emails from people who buy stuff from our merchants but get mad at us for allowing people to sell what they see as substandard products. Initially we used to tell them that this is akin to writing to Bill Gates complaining that someone who made budgeting software using Excel didn’t do a good job, but now if we get too many complaints we just get rid of the product.

We have a certain brand that gets attached to whatever is being sold using our platform, and if a product is bad, people view us negatively, even though we have nothing to do with it.

The same applies to your blog.

Your customers will see very little difference between your products and the affiliate products you sell. They’ll blame you if they don’t like the affiliate product. Only promote products you really love, and are willing to back 100%—or your readers will lose their faith in you.

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

The range of products that our merchants sell never ceases to amaze me. Recently we featured a seller whose product is poo-shaped pillows! No, that’s not a typo: these pillows are colored and shaped like poo.

You never know what will work until you try it out—many times you’ll think about something, assume it won’t work, and move on to something else. Yet the Internet makes experimentation so cheap and so easily measurable that you should give all your ideas some time before you drop them. You never know what will bring you the next million!

3. Reviews work much better for affiliate sales than buttons, widgets, or advertisements.

In Darren’s 31 Days to a Better Blog book, the exercise for Day 28 is writing a review post that includes an affiliate link.

We’ve seen this approach work much better, as far as conversions are concerned, than advertisements, widgets, or buttons on your website. You may drive a lot more traffic to your sales page using buttons, but contextual links in reviews have much better conversion rates.

4. Think of your customer service as your product.

If we see a merchant who offers first-rate customer service, we know that they’re going to be big. There’s so much commoditization in so many industries that it becomes difficult for customers to choose between products, and for merchants to be heard. Great customer service is something that easily cuts through this clutter.

Sometimes people will buy your product just because they know that you will pick up their call or answer their emails. When you put customer service on the same pedestal as your core product, you will see an attitude shift in the way you deal with your customers, and also the way they see you.

5. Don’t lose your customer at the last step.

One of our core mantras is to make our product as easy to use as possible, and we see a lot of other successful merchants do that too.

There are two key ways of doing this: simplify your product, and provide as much detailed documentation as you can on how to use it.

While there are limits to simplifying the product, you can always provide a great amount of detail on how to use your product, or how to become your affiliate.

Leo Babauta’s step-by-step directions on what to do when you want to join Zen Habits as an affiliate are a great example of what I’m talking about.

A user can walk through that whole process without any confusion, and providing such great detail can vastly improve your conversion rates. You really don’t want to lose your customer at the last step just because your instructions weren’t clear. It’s so hard to get people’s attention, and convince them to try your product. Don’t let them fail to sign up just because they can’t understand the directions on your site—that’s the last thing you want to happen.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out any of this stuff—it all makes so sense when you think about it.
The reason why affiliates and merchants fail to follow this advice isn’t because it’s hard to figure, but because execution is difficult. Doing the right thing, day in and day out, over and over for years, is what makes the difference between generating a six-figure income online, and the rest of the blogosphere.

Keep these best practices in mind—but also focus on executing them as much as you can. What tips can you add to this list?

E-junkie.com is a hosted shopping cart and digital service that lets you sell just about anything on your website, blog or social network. Our mission is to lower the barrier of entry in online selling. Our blog is about small business, e-commerce, self publishing and all the awesomeness in them. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Subscribe with us for all the action.

How a 30 Minute Reject Post Brings Me Hundreds of Subscribers a Week

This guest post is written by the Blog Tyrant.

Three weeks ago I wrote a guest post for a large blog that got rejected on the grounds that it contained ideas that had already been discussed at the blog. Now that same post is bringing me hundreds of email subscribers every week. Let me tell you what happened—and explain how you can replicate some of that success.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Julian Stallabrass

How I turned a failed post into a subscriber magnet

Ever since I first thought about selling a blog I knew that I had to grow my email subscriber list. I’ve talked about it in my post on how to blog and I’ve talked about here on my Problogger guest posts. It is your mailing list that allows you to grow a large online business that outlasts the ups and downs and brings in considerable income.

The rejected post

Seeing as I had spent a fair amount of time building sites and blogs, and experimenting with growing a mailing list I thought I would make it a regular theme on Blog Tyrant. People seemed interested. In order to grow my readership, though, I knew I had to write exciting and relevant guest posts about themes that are closely tied to my blog. So I wrote an article called How to Grow Your Email List by 120% Overnight that talked about some strategies I had used to massively boost my email subscribers.

It got rejected. Actually, it’s the only guest post I’ve ever had rejected.

The free ebook

After I had cooled down and patched up the hole I punched in my office wall I sat there staring at the post. For some reason I didn’t want to just use it on my own blog. Something was telling me not to. Then, on a whim, I thought I would just turn it into a free ebook and give it away on my site to anyone who subscribed by email (nothing new). I wrote the copy, added the email subscription form and went to bed. The next day my email subscribers had gone up by 200 addresses. The day after that, 120 addresses. Hundreds of people were subscribing to my blog to get this free ebook.

Why is this ebook so successful?

I started to wonder why this ebook was so successful. I have other blogs that give away free ebooks but none of them seem to pull in subscribers at the rate this one does. After a while, I realized that I’d carried out a strategy without even thinking about it. In an effort to promote my new site, I had inadvertently pre-promoted the launch of my ebook.

I went back and looked at all the guest posts I’d written in the past few weeks which were still bringing in traffic. In every single one, I had talked about growing a mailing list, the importance of community, or something to do with that rejected-post-turned-ebook.

In essence, I had built a whole lot of hype around the ebook without even realizing that I was doing it. If I was a marketing firm I would have charged a lot of money for that strategy!

How to replicate that success

Duesenberg SSJ Roadster replica
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ed Callow [ torquespeak ]

Now that I’ve admitted to the shameful fact that I did all this by accident, I want to talk about a few ways that you can replicate that success on your own blogs. These few steps are key to making sure the whole thing goes down well.

1. Research that ebook subject hard.

The subject of that ebook is of utmost importance. I go to so many sites where the free ebook is a bit wishy-washy and not really that exciting. You don’t want that. Look at your analytics and find out why people are coming to your site. Look at competitors’ blogs and see what posts have gone viral. Find bestsellers in your niche. Research hard and come up with a subject and title that’s really compelling to the people that you write for.

To be honest, the title and subject are almost more important than the content. Sure, my ebook has excellent tips that I really did use, but it’s not even 20 pages long, and it only took me about an hour to put together including the coding and the cover design. You want to make sure you get it right.

2. Create guest posts that target and promote your ebook.

Here is where the magic takes place. You want to write a good ten or 15 guest posts for blogs in your niche that target readers of your new ebook. Now, you don’t have to directly mention the ebook like I’ve done in this post. You just need to generate interest, as I managed to do in my other Problogger guest posts Why I Leave Your Blog, How to Make Your Blog Addictive, and Why Your Blog is Not Going to Make You Rich.

None of those posts directly mention any ebook, but they do spend a lot of time talking about mailing lists and growing a community as a way to make big dollars. If you landed on my blog after reading one of those posts and saw the ebook, you’d probably be more likely to download it than any other random visitor. In the affiliate marketing world, this is called pre-selling; Darren calls it a sneeze page.

3. Generate more interest in the comments.

Once your guest posts are published, it’s important to get over to the pushing site and interact with people in the comments. Share as much as you can about the topic, and try to dispel any objections that people might have. What you’re doing by taking this course of action is giving people a secondary gentle push in your blog’s direction. They might not love you after they read your guest post, but they certainly should be open to liking you after you talk to them in the comments.

4. Make sure your call to action is strong.

The last thing you need to do is make sure the signup area on your blog contains a good, clean, strong call to action. Put it in one of the blog hot areas. Make sure you use copy that gets people excited, and allows them to give you their email without worrying that you’re going to abuse it. Most internet marketers agree that you need to use a direct call to action that tells your visitors exactly what they need to do to subscribe. Don’t leave it up to chance.

Bonus: how to give away a free ebook with Feedburner

Not everyone out there can afford to use Aweber to give away free ebooks to email subscribers. Unless you’re making good revenue, it can be a little bit expensive. For that reason, I want to show you how to do it completely free with Feedburner. It’s not quite as efficient, but it works well for me and a lot of other bloggers.

1. Upload your ebook to your server.

Go to your FTP area and upload your ebook into the root folder. If it’s small enough you can just go into your WordPress Dashboard and upload the PDF as an image. Copy the address of the ebook.

2. Get your FeedFlare template.

While your FTP is open, download this file. Unzip it, open it up with Notepad or Wordpad (not Word) and edit the information that I’ve filled out for you. Once you are done, hit save and upload it to your root directory without changing the name at all. It should appear as an XML file if you’ve done it right.

3. Edit Feedburner

Now log in to your Feedburner account and activate FeedFlare (it’s under Optimize). Scroll down to the Personal FeedFlare heading and add the URL of the XML file that you just uploaded to your root directory. The URL should be http://youblog.com/feedflaretemplate.xml

4. You’re done!

Every time someone receives a Feedburner message from you, there will be a little ebook download link at the bottom of the post. I’d recommend making an instructions page for people so they don’t email you asking where it is. Just let them know that the free ebook will be at the bottom of the posts that arrive in their inbox.

Conclusion

This strategy of pre-promoting an ebook has worked extremely well for me in the past few weeks. I’m getting hundreds of new subscribers every week, and they are all turning out to be valuable members of my community who comment, interact, and share my posts. Try it out if you haven’t already.

I’d really like to know if you know any other ways to promote your blog or a product on your blog. Please drop a comment and let me know.

The Blog Tyrant has sold several blogs for large sums of money and earns a living by relying solely on the internet. His blog is all about helping you dominate your blog and your blog’s niche and only includes strategies that he has tried on his own websites. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to his feed for all the juice.

Welcome to a New-look ProBlogger

Those visiting ProBlogger today will notice that we’ve just released a new theme. It isn’t a complete overhaul in terms of look—rather, it’s an evolution or refresh of our existing design (much needed). Hopefully you’ll find ProBlogger a little easier to navigate and a little less cluttered.

There are quite a few changes in the back end of the site, though, in that we’ve moved over to the Genesis framework. Brian Gardner from StudioPress has been incredibly helpful in getting us set up—I can’t recommend their themes enough!

problogger-new-theme.png

I’ll let you look over the theme for yourself to see how we’ve gone about it. There are a lot of small changes including:

  • threaded comments—something that has been requested a lot
  • more prominent social media promotion of our Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • a refreshed front page with new featured-post layout
  • videos now are full size on single post pages (not more squinting)
  • those who leave comments will be depicted in an avatar alongside their comments (pulled in via Gravatar).

There are a few other small tweaks around the site, and there will be at least a couple of new additions in the coming weeks.

I’m sure there will also be a few small bugs that we’ll need to iron out, but overall things are pretty stable and I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback (give those threaded comments a workout)!

PS: Some people have commented on Twitter that they want the Subscribe to Comments feature switched back on. I’m interested to hear whether that’s the consensus—let me know what you think.