Close
Close

How Cancer Changed My Blog

This post is by Karl Staib of Work Happy Now.

I was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. Yes, the dreaded c word. It’s probably not what you are thinking. I don’t look at this health issue as an anchor. I look at this as an opportunity for growth.

I’ve been blogging for over three years. Each year I’ve gone through unique pains.

The pain of no one reading my blog eventually transformed to Forbes.com contacting me and naming my blog one of the top 100 blogs for women. It’s been an amazing blogging journey.

I want to share how a major illness has shifted and improved my blog. It has been a journey that has bruised my ego, but it has also lifted me to new heights.

Blogging is not easy, every blogger will tell you that, especially when also dealing with personal issues. There are so many factors that can derail your progress if you don’t stay focused.

Put the important stuff first

You know that you need to put the important stuff first, but how do you figure out what’s important and what’s not?

You have to see where your present wins are coming from and figure out how to expand on them. I teach people to leverage their superpowers and bloggers are no different. You have your strengths, passions, and the work that puts you in the zone. All of these actions need to be pushed to the front.

Too many people say to focus on your strengths and you’ll be successful. That’s not true. You may be a great writer, but if you write about the wrong subject you are never going to thrive. You must take a holistic approach to your work. If you are crazy about music, but can’t seem to string your notes together then you won’t thrive either. It’s all about creating synergy between your passions, strengths, and focus. All three must be present for your action to be a superpower.

When you do work that gets you excited every day, it’s easier to keep your energy level high and stay productive. You have to have a system. Everybody’s system is different. Leo loves to write in the morning. Darren loves to do work in batches. The most important thing is that they put their passions at the top of the list and so should you.

Don’t be afraid to reach out

Blogs are dependent upon people not just following your posts, but also sharing your blog with others. That means you have to find the people who are willing to share your stuff with their friends. This is hard and I struggled with this concept in the first couple of years.

Since my cancer diagnosis, I’ve been more willing to put myself out there to be found by someone like you. I don’t care if I get rejected. The fear is just a little less intense.

Because the fear is less intense, I’m more willing to market my coaching or my brand.

You have to realize that you only have a finite number of days on this earth. If you want your blog to get to the next level you have to find people who will tell their friends about it. You have to connect with people in your niche and find a way to encourage other people’s audience to visit your blog on a regular basis. I know you know this, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. You have to test out a lot of different blogs until you find one that connects with your style.

Stop letting your frustration dictate your choices

I could have given up on my blog a long time ago. I have a full-time job, a wife, a kid, and not much time. My cancer would have been a perfect excuse to give up. Believe me, there have been times when I really wanted to do just that.

I didn’t give up because I know that I’m on a mission to help people leverage their superpowers. I want to help people change the world. It’s why I love working with bloggers. They are the type of people that are creative and passionate. They aren’t always sure how to get to point b, but they really do want to get there.

Your frustrations can take over if you let them, and they’ll wreck your happiness and relationships. You constantly have to be working with your emotions and using them to fuel your actions. Don’t not let them hold you back.

You can deal with your frustrations by taking time to process your emotions. I like to do a ten-minute meditation every morning and every night. It helps me set up my day and process my feelings each night. This mental exfoliating process is what keeps me balanced.

You may not like meditation, but you need to take time to process your emotions every single day. When you create this habit, you’ll improve your productivity and creativity. I promise.

Use a day each week to rest

As a blogger you have access to your work wherever you go. You can write a blog in any country, check your Facebook and Twitter account in any coffee shop, and build more connections at every comment on your friends’ blogs.

I’ve seen too many bloggers burn out because they go non-stop for too long and don’t enjoy the process. Blogging is a skill that takes time to develop, especially in this overcrowded age.

You have to take time to relax.

After discovering I had cancer and having it removed, I took a short time off from blogging. After a few days I quickly got back to it, but realized that I can’t go seven days a week any longer. I should never have been going seven days a week. I needed more time to relax and enjoy my family and life.

I’ve been blogging, networking and planning six days a week and I feel so much better. Sundays are no longer for blogging; whatever I don’t get done Monday through Saturday can wait until the following Monday. The best part about this new routine is that I get just as much done. I’m a little more focused, and I make sure that I get everything done by Saturday night.

You have to find time to relax that brain of yours. There is nothing wrong with posting seven times a week, but if you are constantly checking your stats, email, and whatever else you do all the time then you are missing out on life. You have to be willing to relax and let your mind recharge.

No pity

I’m not writing this post to gain your pity. I’m here to tell you that we have a short amount of time on this earth no matter how you look at it.

Bloggers are one of the luckiest groups of people on the internet. They have the superpower of communication. You can write, podcast, or video cast coherently. That’s a beautiful talent that you must optimize. You are changing people’s lives for the better. It’s up to you to find a way to take your setbacks and make you smarter, stronger and more widely read.

Have you ever been sick or had a family member become sick and had to adjust your blogging work load? What did you do and how did it change your blog?

Karl Staib is a career coach who helps people leverage their superpowers! If you enjoyed this article, you may want to check him out on or join his free 10 Part eCourse to a Happier and More Successful You.

Boost Your Blog Traffic: A Guide For Bloggers Who Want More Traffic in 2011

boost blog traffic

Are you looking for more traffic for your blog?

If you answer yes – you’re not alone. In fact you’re in the vast majority of bloggers. I ran a survey of a segment of ProBlogger readers recently and a ‘lack of traffic’ was identified as the #1 challenge that bloggers face.

Kicking off on Monday 24 January Chris Garrett and I are running a short course to tackle this problem. Over 5 modules we’ll walk you through our philosophies for building traffic to blogs.

The course is just $29.95 USD – or $99 if you do it with our other 4 courses in the Pillars of ProBlogging series. It is the 2nd of these courses that we’ve created (the first had some great reviews) and we’d love for you to join us!

In the course we’ll cover 5 Modules:

Module 1: Where to Start

  • Starting with the visitors you have
  • Build Loyalty
  • Engagement
  • Subscriptions

Module 2: Get Off Your Blog

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Forums
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogs

Module 3: Get More Google Traffic

  • Keywords and key phrases
  • Keyword research
  • Landing pages
  • Links
  • Other ranking influences

Module 4: Advertising and Syndication

  • Adwords
  • Facebook
  • RSS, Aggregators and Syndication
  • Repurposing
  • Guest-Posting

Module 5: Live Webinar

  • Live chat with Chris and Myself (in fact we do two live webinars to accomodate different time zones). These will be recorded for those who can’t make the live webinars.

Each of the modules is made up of multiple videos (a total of over 20 videos) which you’ll have access to for a year – so you don’t have to complete it all in the five days that we release them.

So if you’re looking to boost traffic to your blog in 2011 and you need a little inspiration and instruction to get you going – sign up today for this course.

How to Solve the Blogging Puzzle

This post is by Kiesha of WeBlogBetter.

Have you solved the blogging puzzle? Or are you just puzzled?

As a kid, when winter break rolled around, I found myself with too much time on my hands. So I would occupy myself with 1000-piece puzzles. They kept me entertained for days.

But after several hours working on the puzzle, I always came to a point where I wanted to quit—a point where I became so frustrated that I just wanted to throw the whole box of madness up against the wall. I can remember feeling as if the makers of the puzzle were deliberately trying to trick me, like they’d left out some very important pieces to keep me from finishing the puzzle. I felt like there were some insider tips that I was not privileged to know.

I was so puzzled, I had no choice but to step away from the table for a while—to actually eat, use the restroom, and do other stuff I somehow forgot while in my frenzied quest.

While on my break, I would continue to think about the stupid puzzle. I’d think about where I’d gone wrong. Perhaps there were pieces that I thought should fit in one spot that actually belonged somewhere else entirely. The puzzle even occupied my mind while I was eating.

When I got back to the puzzle with fresh eyes, I’d start seeing many pieces that I’d overlooked before. I’d find the exact spot where those pieces I’d been trying to force into all the wrong places really belonged. I’d get my second wind and before I knew it, every piece would be firmly placed and the beautiful, big picture would emerge.

Fast forward a few decades. I still love puzzles, but I no longer have time for such frivolous time-wasting (okay, I admit it: I still partake occasionally). However, I’ve learned that there’s a lot to be learned about blogging from puzzles.

Build the frame first

This seems like the most common-sense thing to do, but it’s also very tempting to just dive in and start throwing things together. Yet, without the frame, it’s easy to lose sight of how all the other pieces fit together—the puzzle becomes a vague, nebulous thing that makes no sense. The frame sets the physical boundaries that enable an understanding of the puzzle’s dimensions and help you see the significance of each individual piece.

It’s the same with blogging. A blog requires the solid foundation of a good design that visually shows your readers how all of the pieces of your blog fit together, and makes it easy to navigate. In addition to visual design, your categories provide the framework that’s needed to understand the boundaries of your blog. By looking at those categories, a reader should instantly get an idea of what they might or might not find on your blog.

Look at the big picture

Honestly, I see blogging as my latest puzzle adventure. As I continue to dive deeper into the world of blogging, I discover new pieces of knowledge that I had missed before. As I digest each new piece of information that comes in the form of books and others’ blog posts, the big picture begins to develop.

Sometimes, I realize there are misplaced pieces. The good news is that I don’t have to know everything. With a little research, I can do just about anything. Sometimes, I just have to go back and keep digging through the same pieces I thought were useless before until I realize those are the very pieces I need. There were pieces of the blogging puzzle I rejected at first. I couldn’t see the point of SEO, for example. I had to go back and add that valuable piece to my knowledge bank later, once I saw its relevance to my blog.

It takes work and time

Blogging requires work and a commitment of time. Like a 1000-piece puzzle, it’s never finished in one day. You have to keep at it, piece by piece, until it finally starts looking more and more like the picture on the box—like the blog you sought out to create before the frustration hit.

I don’t care how bad a blog starts out. I believe that, if you continue to work at improving it, time becomes the best medicine—especially in the blogosphere, where new blogs come and old ones go every day. If your blog can stand the test of time, some level of success won’t be far off.

It requires focus

I learned the hard way that jumping all over the place from one area to the next really only sped up the frustration factor. Instead of focusing on one area until I had developed something I recognized, I would become fascinated by a new set of pieces and start working on a totally unrelated section of the puzzle.

When I first started blogging, I was so fascinated by affiliate marketing and making money online that I didn’t have time to develop the most important piece of all: content.

It’s no wonder so many people step away from the blogging table—there are so many different elements demanding our attention. These factors can leave you feeling frazzled, and pull you all over the place, robbing you of focus. Once I realized the importance of focusing on one area at a time (when in doubt, focus on content), I was able to accomplish so much more.

What I learned about puzzles so many years ago now informs my blogging. That’s the beauty of personal experience: there’s an important lesson to learn in everything we do—even something as seemingly useless as putting together a puzzle.

So what about you? Are you still trying to solve your blogging puzzle? Or are you so puzzled that you’re ready to give in? What tips can you add?

Kiesha blogs at WeBlogBetter, a blog devoted to offering blogging tips. Sheís a technical writer, writing instructor, and blog consultant for small business owners. Connect with her on Twitter @weblogbetter.

7 Ways to Get Your Blog Posts Shared On Facebook

This guest post is by Dan Zarella of DanZarella.com.

Want to maximize sharing of your content on Facebook? Here are seven tips that are sure to help.

1. Publish on the weekend

Many companies block Facebook access from the office, so sharing of stories on Facebook tends to increase over the weekend. Experiment with publishing your stories on Saturday and Sunday.

2. Dig deeper into the news

Why” and “how” rank among the commonest words in the titles of most-shared blog posts. Facebook users want to get beyond the soundbite headline. They’re also fans of list-based superlatives like “best” and “most.”

3. Include specific digits

Just as Facebookers want to get beyond the headlines, they also like specific numbers. Articles with digits in them do better on Facebook than articles without them.

4. Don’t be a social media dork

Unlike Twitter users, most Facebookers are into social media for social media’s sake, they’re not social media dorks. “Google,” “iPhone,” and “Twitter” rank among the least shareable words.

5. Write simply and plainly

As the complexity of an article increase, the degree to which it gets shared on Facebook decreases. The same holds true for flowery language replete with adjectives and adverbs. Pick up a copy of The Elements of Style to help refine your writing.

6. On Facebook, sex and positivity sell

It may seem obvious, but it’s true: content with a sexual edge does well on Facebook. Of course not every brand can play that game, but there is another useful story in this data. Articles that are positive do better than negative ones.

7. Include video

Because Facebook has features that allow for easier and more engaging video sharing, articles that include videos tend to do very well on Facebook. On Twitter, not so much.

Have you found these tips to be true when you’ve shared content on Facebook? What other advice can you add?

The Facebook Marketing Book was written by Alison Zarrella and her husband Dan.

What My 4-Year-Old Son Taught Me About Successful Blogging

In October I was involved in a Keynote at BlogWorld Expo, where I told the story in this video of my son who reminded me of a powerful principle of successful blogging.

So many people have since told me how much they enjoyed and were impacted by the story that I thought I should capture it on video and share it here on the blog.

I hope you enjoy the wisdom of my four-year-old son.
[Read more...]

40 Bloggers to Watch in 2011

Welcome to the 2011 list of bloggers to watch. A few caveats before we launch into the list:

  • This is my own list of the people I’m watching. I was approached to do this list because of my work as a professional connector. These are the people that have stood out to me, or my network.
  • Your niche is different from mine, and that’s a given. My goal was to find the people whose tips and stories can be applied to your own niche.
  • Like last year, we will be creating a post collecting all of the watch lists ProBlogger readers create. The details for this appear at the end of this post.

Many thanks to Ali Luke, Jonathan Wondrusch, Allison Boyer, Andy Dolph, and Srinivas Rao for their help with background research.

Discovered at BlogWorld

BlogWorld is the social hub of this industry. It was where thousands of the world’s best bloggers met to network and learn. I recommend that bloggers of any niche attend conferences such as this to check out the rising stars. Based on many conversations over coffee, fries, and ice-cream, I was able to ascertain that the following people will have a lot to contribute to the wider blogging community.

Jaime Tardy

Blog |  Twitter

I almost missed meeting Jaime Tardy. She was this lovely, quiet girl that I met just a few times, which I sincerely regretted when I checked visited Eventual Millionare. Jaime is a fiercely talented blogger, but what I liked was how she approached the topic of personal finance.

Most people tend to go one of two ways: they blog about their journey to riches, or blog about their frugal lifestyle. Jamie was well on her way to becoming a millionaire; she was earning six figures at just 22. However, she decided that “instead of just a million dollars, I wanted to find work I loved, and the life I loved, and THEN make my million.”

I’m a huge fan of her because she has an authentic blogging persona, despite her recent success. She has been able to leverage her blog to get significant media attention—a goal most of us dream of. I think she’ll be taking her efforts up a notch this year.

Matt Kimberley

Blog |  Twitter

Matt Kimberley is just like his blog: suave, intriguing, and powerful with words. He is a fascinating case study of how you can leverage your blog to achieve personal and business goals.

He blogs at How to Get a Grip, which is “largely a rehashing of common sense, with a couple of practical tips for manning up and getting things done.” Biography jargon aside, he is one of my favorite examples of someone that combines personality marketing and no-nonsense advice to create a compelling blog.

His story is one that fascinated me, and many of my peers. He:

Blog lessons aside, I believe that How to Get a Grip should be required reading for everyone wanting to focus on the important stuff in 2011.

Jordan Cooper

Blog |  Twitter

Jordan Cooper is a blogger that I highly respect. He positions himself as a comedian who has an irreverent outlook at blogging, social media, and marketing. While he acts like the comedic anti-hero, he is this incredibly savvy guy who intuitively gets this industry. I love him because he is modest about his talents and success.

Last year, he became community manager of the Beyond Blogging Project and moderated the Treating Your Blog Like a Business panel at BlogWorld. He also has enjoyed considerable success with two video game-related fan sites he manages: FM-Britain and Gameworld One.

I suspect that he may be the silent success story of this year. He’s gotten the trust and attention of the many top bloggers he has worked with. He has all the resources at his disposal. He just has to choose his path.

Matt Gartland

Blog |  Twitter

I count Matt Gartland among one of my closest blogging friends. He has spent most of this year focusing on his Healthy Lifestyle Design blog. After meeting at BlogWorld, I got him on the phone and we chatted about his 2011 plans. Boy, is this guy going to shake things up. There are two things that I’m really looking forward to:

  • Modern Audacity. This is his blog “about bold ideas for brave adventurers hell-bent on living above expectations.” His content is looking to be challenging in a similar vein to Matthew Kimberly’s and is something that I’m really looking forward to reading.
  • Random Acts of Greatness. This blog aims to chronicle 10,000 acts of greatness over a five-year period. One trend that I’ve noticed is how many bloggers are leveraging their audience to deliver widespread social good. Johnny B Truant was among with first with his Bad Ass Project. I can see Matt’s project having a much wider reach.

His blog has gotten so many of my friends excited. His branding is something that many people, including myself, can learn from. His theme is inspired by comic books, which he leverages to tell a story. It is impractical for most bloggers to replicate this, however everyone is capable of telling a story via their words and visual elements. Excelsior!

Farnoosh Brock

Blog |  Twitter

Farnoosh impressed many with her positive energy during Blogworld. She was constantly engaging with people and showed how to make a solid impression in a short period of time. What was surprising is that she is just as active on social media and her blog.

  • She uses only images that she takes on her blog. This, along with her video and podcasts, allows her readers to join her on her journey.
  • She wrote an ebook about her BlogWorld 2010 experience. This was a great way to get more exposure, as she was subsequently featured on the BlogWorld blog.

Her blog aims to teach you smart habits for rich living. However, I feel that she has a lot of potential and that she has so much more to bring to her audience. I’m genuinely excited to see how she grows this year.

Srinivas Rao

Blog |  Twitter

I truly believe that Srini is going to become one of the major success stories of 2011. He is constantly applying what he has learned through the interviews he has conducted on BlogcastFM.

I was friends with Srini long before we went to BlogWorld, and meeting him only increased my admiration. He genuinely cares about improving his blog and connecting with others. He leveraged his connections to successfully launch BlogcastFM Premium, grow his personal blog, and expand Flightster’s social media presence.

If there is someone you think should be on this list, tell him. It’s likely they’ll be interviewed on a future podcast.

Karol Gadja

Blog |  Twitter

Karol got the attention of everyone at Blogworld. Part of it was due to his height—he was considerably taller most people he spoke to—but mostly it was because of his friendliness.

It was such an honor to get to know him because he was so laid back and genuinely interested in his community. He was incredibly generous with his knowledge despite the massive success of the past year.

His blog, Ridiculously Extraordinary, is an example of how to stand out in a crowded niche. He also showed how you can run a successful blog and leverage that to support business ventures. He has been able to grow his business so much in the last quarter thanks to the 72 hour niche sales he runs with Adam Baker.

I believe that he will continue to impact people in 2011.

Benny

Blog |  Twitter

I barely talked to Benny at BlogWorld. I had just enough time to ascertain his Irish accent before he got whisked away to a neighboring table. Fortunately, I hung out with some of the most connected people in the industry, who quickly informed me that Benny is someone worth paying attention to.

He is the Irish Polyglot behind Fluent In 3 Months: a how-to guide and story of becoming fluent in any language quickly. His story has attracted many but what I love is how the story extends to all facets of his blog. He:

  • encourages his readers to comment in the languages he is fluent in, and will respond in the same language
  • posts his videos in multiple languages—including his welcome video—to demonstrate his skills
  • maintains multiple Twitter accounts for his followers in other languages.

I believe that having your content available in multiple languages will become more relevant in 2011, and Benny is in the prime position to help people do this.

Heather Solos

Blog |  Twitter

I never met Heather. I came across her thanks to the recommendation of several friends and, after checking out her main blog, I could see why. See, she doesn’t fit the profile of your typical successful blogger. Her bio states that she is a “32-year-old professional blogger and author”. I see her as a master of leveraging communities.

Her profile has grown organically over the course of five years. She co-founded Home-Ec101.com, “a site designed to teach real people, real skills, as they apply to real lives.” In addition to this, she has gotten a book deal, leveraged in-person meetings to get great results, and has achieved multiple writing spots in newspapers. You can learn more about how she did this in her interview on BlogcastFM.

What I like about her is how she is shaping her content to her audience. In her sidebar she has a link to a feedback form to get more information about her readers, a note saying that her articles are print-friendly, and a phone number for questions that may get featured on her podcast. She is inviting audience engagement before readers even view her content, rather than taking the path of most bloggers and just targeting social media users. I’m fascinated to see where she takes this in 2011.

Pace Smith

Blog |  Twitter

Pace Smith is one of my favourite BlogWorld buddies. She is an extremely talented individual who brings a lot to the social media community. She is an amazing collaborator and business mind, but is very down to earth and friendly. She has tried to avoid the expert/guru scene and, by doing so, has enriched the wider community.

What’s resonated with me is how she’s evolved over the past year. Pace and her business-and-life-partner Kyeli rebranded “The Freak Revolution” to “The Connection Revolution”—a change that I believe suits them better. They wrote about the reasons why. They’ve also intentionally tried to avoid creating metablogging products and instead released two useful courses: 52 Weeks to Awesome and Engaging ECourses.

I’ll be watching to see how Pace develops the connection revolution. She intuitively understands the relationship side of blogging and I believe her impact will grow significantly this year.

Suggested by readers

Last year’s post got a lot of feedback. Many people felt that their niche or passion was excluded. For this edition, we scoured the comments to find the bloggers who you wanted to be highlighted.

Pat Flynn

Blog |  Twitter

I’m blog crushing on Pat. He was suggested so many times in last year’s list that Darren snagged him for an interview shortly after.

He is the type of blogger that everyone can learn from. He loves his readers to death and focuses on providing massive value. You can:

He is someone I believe every ProBlogger reader should watch. He is a talented marketer and mentor, and someone that is passionate about growing his community.

Brett McKay

Blog |  Twitter

Nate, from Practical Manliness, recommended Brett as a blogger to watch in 2010. He said “He did quite a bit in 2009 (book launch, hundreds of thousands of monthly visits, etc.), and I don’t expect him to slow down.”

Brett has shown how you can take your business beyond a blog. He has converted his blog into a community complete with forums and profiles for members, and introduced interesting concepts such as the Library of Random Man Knowledge and the Art of Manliness Trunk. He also created a mobile version of his website. I was part of a mastermind session with some pretty influential bloggers late this year and one thing we all identified was the role smartphones would play with our blogs.

He has also worked to grow his brand off the blog. He has released a book, and has a second out in 2011. He’s released themed posters and calling cards, as well as a t-shirt collection. I expect him to grow his brand further this year.

Lynn Terry

Blog |  Twitter

I included Lynn Terry thanks to the recommendation of Adriana, who said “she always puts out excellent information, and replies to just about every comment on her blog.” I’ve come across Lynn numerous times and loved her classy approach in a crowded and much-hyped niche.

She blogs at Click Newz, which has “internet marketing ideas, tips, and reviews to help you succeed.” She is a super-affiliate, and was involved in Internet marketing before social media became trendy.

One thing that intrigued me was Lynn’s Hot Topics page. Most people have a page, or sidebar plugin, that directs people to the best content. This technique takes the readers to the best tutorials. This is something that may be more useful to readers than a post that received a lot of traffic from social media sites.

Lynn has been in this business for 14 years. Her inclusion wasn’t based on anticipated success this year; rather, she is someone that I believe we all can learn from. If she, or any other person on this list, has helped you, I’d love to read about it in the comments.

Wil Wheaton

Blog |  Twitter

My dad would say that Wil Wheaton’s character Wesley Crusher is one of the most-hated characters in Star Trek. I, along with Slimeface, who recommended him, would disagree. I reckon that he is one of the coolest people I know.

The short version is that most people would consider him to be celebrity—ya know, except for Sheldon Cooper, who’s often mentioned as Wil Wheaton’s nemesis in “Big Bang Theory.” Jokes aside, he is one to watch is because he is a celebrity who’s using social media in the way it was intended.

A lot of bloggers struggle with scalability when it comes to managing relationships. Wil faces that on a much larger scale. His Twitter landing page is truthful and amusing. He doesn’t cater to popular opinion. Instead, he just acts like himself and attracts thousands of readers in the process. His success isn’t replicable for most of us, but his approach is.

In his post celebrating the new year, he said “2010 was easily the best year I’ve had in a decade, and 2011 is looking like it’s going to be pretty amazing, too.” I’m looking forward to following his journey.

Henri Juntilla

Blog |  Twitter

Henri first attracted widespread attention when he got over 1000 subscribers in three months. He was able to achieve this via two main methods: article marketing and guest posting. His content on Wake Up Cloud is mixture of metablogging and personal development.

Henri is currently in the transition stage. During 2010, he was able to gain a lot of attention for his work. The thing is, social proof doesn’t necessarily equal a successful business. Henri has earned a nice income from his affiliate efforts and product sales but is yet to turn his blog into a true business.

I believe he is one to watch as he makes this transition from blogger to entrepreneur. I’ve watched many people give up their blog or get burnt out. I think Henri will shine as he progresses on his entrepreneurial journey.

Daniel Scocco

Blog |  Twitter

Daniel Scocco has been someone I’ve been learning from for a while. I didn’t include him in the previous list because I assumed his prominence didn’t need mentioning, but you guys corrected me pretty quickly!

2010 saw Daniel reopen his membership site Online Profits. He offered the course for free (with the caveat that members need to sign up for an $8.95/month hosting plan with HostGator), posting Online Profits Is Open, And Now It Is Free!

This membership site has made for a fascinating case study. He was able to leverage the content of others to create a comprehensive product that covers more information than just blogging. He was one of the first people to make money from a course via affiliate commissions for other products. This is an underutilized technique and it will be fascinating to see if other people apply it to their own niche.

I know that he will keep challenging the status quo in 2011 and continuing to create useful content. I can’t say too much, but I can share that there are rumors of a new product released via Daily Writing Tips in early 2011.

Jean-Baptiste Jung

Blog |  Twitter

Jean-Baptiste Jung is “a 27-year-old blogger, web developer and web designer from the French-speaking part of Belgium”. He started out with a successful blog, Cats Who Code, and soon grew his business to include a portfolio of web development-related websites.

The past few years have seen him launched additional sites such as WpRecipes, PsdVibe and Cats Who Blog. In addition he has written for WpHacks, ProBlogDesign and Smashing Magazine, and released his first book, WordPress CookBook.

I’ll be frank—I’m not familiar enough with the WordPress community to discuss why Jean-Baptiste is worth watching. I’m relying on the many readers and friends who told me of his talents. However, I can tell you that his portfolio of WordPress and blogging sites will be a valuable resource for ProBlogger readers over the coming year.

Potts Weinstein

Blog |  Twitter

Elizabeth’s bio states that “I’m a woman who is on a continuing adventure of living my truth. And I’m inviting you to come along.” A consistent theme with many people on this list is that they have created a blog that is a natural expression of who they are. Elizabeth is no exception.

She explains, “Living your truth finds the nexus of your passions, your skills, everything that is unique and amazing about you, with practical, smart, efficient business strategies and systems and marketing and relationship building.” She has been a mentor to many of my good friends and accomplished a lot despite a tumultuous 2010.

Her personal and business theme for 2011 is “Creating Space for Ecstasy via Boundaries and Self Care.” This is a theme that a lot of people will resonate with in the coming year. It may take longer than one year for her to achieve true greatness but hers is such a fascinating journey to watch.

Chris Owyoung

Blog |  Twitter

Chris is a freelance music photographer based in New York City. He was included thanks to the recommendation of Greg Taylor. Chris blogs in a niche that most wouldn’t pay attention to. His target readers are potential clients rather than tutorial seekers. He approaches his blog differently from most ProBlogger readers.

A lot of the focus is on the visual experience. His sidebar comprises images rather than text—a technique that compliments his photography. He also invites the readers to view images from a shoot by telling a story and capturing the reader’s attention. Both techniques are common, but it’s worth seeing how it’s applied to a different niche.

His blog is a solid case study and it will be interesting to check if he changes his approach over the course of the year. I think he’s onto a winning formula.

Jade Craven

Blog |  Twitter

Yeah, I’m totally cheating by putting myself on this list. I was going to include Anne Jackson from Flowerdust.net, but she recently wrote a post discussing the end of her blogging. Long story short, I went through the comments again and after going through the joke suggestions, my name came up twice. So I snagged rising star Allison Boyer to write a bio for me:

Even if you don’t know Jade Craven yet, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ve been affected by her work. Jade is of course the author of this list, but she’s everywhere, working with people such as Dave Navarro, Jonathan Fields, and Johnny B. Truant. Regardless of her work with high-profile people, Jade always also has time for interesting up-and-comers who haven’t yet made a name for themselves. If you’re someone with passion and dedication, Jade wants to know you—and she will make good things happen for you without asking for anything in return.

I’m officially dubbing 2011 “The Year of Jade Craven”—she’s got some super-exciting secret plans for awesomeness that you don’t want to miss. Get Jade Craven on your radar if she’s not already, and you can be part of that awesomeness.

New talent

Sometimes it seems like a success story comes from nowhere. You’ll briefly see someone on Twitter, and then Bang! Their work is everywhere. This section deals with some of the success stories of the past year. These are the people who will be profoundly growing their profile in the coming months.

Jonathan Wondrusch

Blog |  Twitter

Jonathan is a paragon of blogging awesomeness. He is co-founder of By Bloggers and is working with Lavonne Ellis on the upcoming Customer Love Challenge. His profile has grown quickly over the four months—and for good reason.

His stand-out resource is By Bloggers, which is a site for ambitions webpreneurs creating incredible eproducts. His content is very high quality—Epic Ebook Creation is one of the best free books I’ve read—and has been able to attract a lot of attention in a short period of time.

I’m confident that he will rock it in 2011. He’s found a gap in a market targeting infoproduct creators, and has some some killer plans to help bloggers. You can see them taking shape with the new Blogging Bootstrappers community, along with the continually growing Bootstrapper’s Toolkit—a resource that adds new free worksheets and ebooklets every month.

Johnathan also is a talented relationship marketer and it’ll be worth watching to see where he takes his audience. It’s most likely to be silly (this man sported a half beard—a beard on one side of his face, but not the other—for a week), nerdy, and absolutely inspiring.

Peter Shallard

Blog |  Twitter

Peter is an example of someone who launched with a bang. See, Peter isn’t like us bloggers. He has a strong corporate background and he’s one of the people who understands relationship marketing and sales—something that many people find difficult.

He launched strongly by making a number of smart decisions, such as hiring 2010-blogger-to-watch James Chartrand for website design and copywriting. This allowed him to focus on what he did best: engaging with people via social media and empowering his clients.

He is a fascinating example of how a suit can dive into the world of social media and enjoy massive success. He is also someone that is laid back and a lot of fun to get to know. Even if you aren’t interested in his blog, hit him up on Twitter. Tell him Jade sent you!

Scott McIntyre

Blog |  Twitter

Scott McIntyre got on my radar before he had even launched his blog, Vivid Ways. He contacted me because he had been regularly guest posting on Liz Strauss’s blog and didn’t have a blog, nor much of a social media presence.

I believe he is one to watch because he made a conscious choice to focus his effort on developing relationships and learning as much as possible. Most people are busy sucking up to the big names, rather than finding ways they can contribute to the community.

Lavonne Ellis

Blog |  Twitter

Lavonne has spent most of 2010 in the transition phase. I met her via a paid program where she impressed me with her tenacity and willingness to learn. She launched her first blog, the Complete Flake, and was willing to admit her business had evolved.

What really put Lavonne on my radar was the community she developed around the Customer Love challenge. She’s run two Customer Love challenges, helping people to love their audiences and launch products. She’ll be co-leading her next challenge in February and launching a paid product at that time.

I think the customer love challenge will be something to watch in 2011. Lavonne is brilliant and smart, and she intuitively knows what bloggers want. She knows how to empower a community and is an example of how you can enjoy viral success just by being useful.

Jean Sarauer

Blog

In October, Jean decided to quit blogging to pursue her fiction writing. She handed her flagship blog over to Mary Jaksch, who has continued to develop it as a “safe, supportive space for bloggers to learn, grow, and enjoy their online journey.”

Despite that, I believe she is someone to watch. She contributed a lot to the blogging community during 2010 and has the potential to do so again during 2011.

Lynn Fang

Blog |  Twitter

Lynn Fang has garnered a lot of attention for her minimalist/environmentalist blog, Upcycled Love. She has built her blog with interviews and DIY tutorials on how to follow a green-friendly lifestyle and still achieve your dreams. She also happens to be a pretty amazing designer, redesigning Sam Spurlin’s first ebook.

I believe Lynn is one to watch because she’s empowering her community to achieve social change. She has accomplished so much in a relatively short period of time and I’ll be intrigued to see how she develops her brand and website this year.

Tyler Tervooren

Blog |  Twitter

Tyler Tervooren shot to fame so quickly that I didn’t have time to watch him. Seriously. I’d heard his name, but he’s included here because so many people recommended him.

Tyler is the type of person that I want to be like. He has incredible plans, such accomplishing goals that only 1% of humanity ever does. He aims to promote better living through uncertainty, which is something that really resonates with me.

If you don’t like his blogging style, that’s cool. You can still learn a lot from him. He rocketed to 2000 subscribers in three months. He is extremely talented at word-of-mouth marketing and taking care of his community.

This sentiment is echoed in multiple niches. Jonathan Woodrush said that Tyler “released hands down one of the best free and useful e-books I’ve seen when it comes to quitting your job: Take This Job and Shove It.” I agree. His first information product, the Guerilla Influence Formula, is a must-read if you want to create a blog that people naturally want to talk about. I believe he’ll be raising the bar on his paid content this year.

Kelly Diels

Blog |  Twitter

Kelly is no stranger to the ProBlogger audience. She had a regular column early last year and impressed many with her unique writing style. She has become notable for her continuing popularity, as well as her incredible writing. Her authenticity and presence really shine through every time she posts, as does her love of helping others.

She has done a lot since her stint at ProBlogger. For example, she launched The League of Extraordinary Bloggers with Dave Doolin to help people rock their blogs and their copywriting.

I believe she is one to watch because of her raw talent. She hasn’t tried to take over the blogosphere like many of her caliber. Instead, she’s worked on growing Cleavage, and developing her audience. Her work ethic and blog savvy make her one to watch for a long time.

Robert Hickman

Blog |  Twitter

Robert Hickman suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and writes about giving your disability a kick in the you-know-what. His blog is new, but it challenges readers to reframe their thinking and leverage their problems to their own advantage.

I believe he is one to watch because he’s offering a unique perspective in an overcrowded niche. He is writing about how popular concepts, such as minimalism, can have a positive influence when it comes to managing a disability. He isn’t blogging to be the most popular, nor for the social proof; he is blogging out of pure motivation for his project. This makes him truly stand apart.

Everett Bogue

Blog |  Twitter

Everett Bogue carved a name for himself, and his blog Far Beyond the Stars, rather quickly in 2010. He become known as someone who was applying minimalist principles to his life, and business, and having great success. He quit his job at New York Magazine to pursue a minimalist, location-independent life and has turned his blog into a work of art.

He has some pretty heavy plans for his content in 2011. Topics include:

I’m not sure what to expect business-wise from him, other than a new ebook shipping early in February. I do know that he will be exploring some vital topics that most bloggers wouldn’t even think about. I believe he is destined to grow rapidly beyond his blog and become a thought leader in relation to the ways in which our digital selves interact with our physical selves.

Inspiring blogs

Sometimes you find a blog that just makes you feel good about yourself. It could be because the blogger is a creative genius. With others, they just inspire you to be a better person.

The following people are the ones that inspired me over the past year and will continue to do so in 2011.

Jess Van Den

Blog |  Twitter

Jess is a rising star in the Australian creative scene. She creates jewelry under the brand, Epheriell, but I believe her real talent is her blog. She intuitively understands how to develop a community surrounding her blog.

2010 saw her create a popular craft zine, Bespoke. She created Crafting A Business for those like her who were developing a business online. She also wrote the book Etsy Success Stories in addition to maintaining her own popular blog.

I think Jessica will really shine in 2011. This year has seen her set up the foundation for success. The crafting scene is built on community and it has been so inspired by watching Jess grow hers.

Nathalie Lussier

Blog |  Twitter

Nathalie is a tech-savvy wellness-minded entrepreneur who writes about the intersection of technology, health, and business. She shot to fame as the creator of Raw Foods Witch and has developed a brand as a successful entrepreneur in her own right.

Late in 2009, she chose the word “confidence” as the one that would guide her through 2010. The past year has seen her accomplish great things. She has spoken at many conferences, including a much-praised presentation at BlogWorld, and has launched her own business website.

Nathalie is one of the true hidden gems. She instinctively knows how to empower her audience and help people. I’m hoping that 2011 is the year where she combines her many talents to create a world-changing business.

Danielle Laporte

Blog |  Twitter

Danielle is one of my favorite discoveries this past year. She blogs at White Hot Truth and is a continual source of small business leadership and inspiration. Her blog is a guilty indulgence. Just check out her shop. She combines aesthetics with her artistic soul and incredible writing style. She rocked the year hard with her Firestarter Sessions product and shows no sign of slowing down in 2011.

Danielle made a number of huge decisions in 2010. She turned off comments on her blog to make room for her art. This caused a huge discussion and many successful bloggers have followed suit.

Danielle is on the cusp of greatness. This is fact. She is already extremely successful but she will be taking her work to a new level this year. She recently got (another) book deal. Every part of her blog and social media presence tells a story. I can’t wait to see what story she tells this year.

Natalie Peluso

Blog | Twitter

The first half of 2010 saw Natalie rebrand herself a couple of times as she was discovering her blogging identity. She has a lot of success, such as the launch of Action Studio and the release of her Fearless Karaoke video—until she discovered that her true calling was helping creative entrepreneurs develop their presence.

She’ll be relaunching Action Studio early this year. Sources have told me that that’s just a taste of what’s to come. She has been working for a long time to get to her current level of success and, now that she’s found the right message, will enjoy rapid blog growth over the coming year.

Rachel Hills

Blog | Twitter

Rachel is more than just a blogger—she is a journalist, author and “digital media professional.” I discovered her when she featured me in a newspaper article about getting paid to play. I was impressed with her industry knowledge, so I investigated further. I was impressed with what I found.

She is a successful blogger in her own right. Her blog, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, is considered to be the best Australian feminist blog. Her posts aren’t as conversational as many bloggers, myself included, but I found myself drawn further and further into her archives. She is one of the rare journalists that have been able to carve a name for themselves in digital media while staying true to her writing style.

I think she is incredibly talented and will get up to great things this year. That may be impacted by her other commitments, such as her forthcoming book, but I’d love to see her profile grow in 2011.

Ashley Ambirge

Blog |  Twitter

Ashley  has been described as one of the most unique and inspiring voices in the blogosphere. She’s truly in a class of her own with a writing style that leaves readers hanging on her every word and challenging them to think beyond where they’re at today.

She writes at the Middle Finger Project and has recently launched a new product: You Don’t Need A Job, You Need Guts. I love her content. My personal favorites are her Fear, Exposed series and her post The 67 Emotions of Online Success: My Story. She is one of the most unapologetically-herself bloggers out there right now, and loves both her life and audience.

I think she will be accomplishing great things in 2011. She has the audience and the raw talent. It will be interesting to see what direction she chooses to go in.

Willie Hewes

Blog

Willie Hewes is the freelance illustrator behind Itch Illustration. She is also a comic book publisher and launched the Monster Journals in August 2010. I started following her because I was a fan of her work, and because she was skilled at connecting with other bloggers.

Her main blog is Mad Science, where she blogs about mindfulness tactics for practical people. For those that are unfamiliar with the concept, mindfulness is a technique that is increasingly recognized as a useful way to reduce stress and anxiety. She takes a topic that is normally dry and technical, and makes it fun.

I love her because she has turned her blog and her work into an experience. Her friendly writing style and relationship marketing skills make it a pleasure to interact with her and her blog. I look forward to watching how she grows her business this year.

Catherine Caine

Blog |  Twitter

I hesitated about including Catherine on this list. She is a close friend and I’d been singing her praises for a while now. Then she launched her new site, Cash and Joy.

Catherine is an example of someone who evolved with her business, rather than her blog. She realized that why she loved the work she was doing at Be Awesome Online, the readers weren’t the type who could afford the services she’d been gravitating towards. She went on hiatus, restructured her current site (which included stopping a course mid-way), and then launched her current site. This is admirable because most people wouldn’t have the guts to launch something completely new or, if they did, they would have been torn between both brands.

I think she has barely started with her plans for Cash and Joy. She’s found her blogging groove and has gone past the struggling phase of her business. She has so much brilliance and a knack for helping people find their target audience. It will be interesting to see what she does on her own blog, and how she helps her clients achieve their potential.

David Crandall

Blog |  Twitter

David Crandall is a rising star in the blogosphere. In the short time since he started his blog, he’s become a master at building effective relationships. This year has seen him launch a product with Srinivas Rao titled How to Grow Your Blog Through Interviews and co-lead the first Customer Love challenge with LaVonne Ellis.

I believe that you guys can learn a lot from him. In addition to his relationship marketing skills, he is brilliant at polarization. When a good friend was recommending him, he said that he “has a unique voice on his current blog, Heroic Destiny, and loves unicorns and getting his hair done.” That’s referral marketing right there.

In 2011, he’ll be using his business intelligence skills to help bloggers transform knowledge into action. He’s recently launched Business Intelligence Badass and it will be interesting to see where that leads. He’s also worth watching to see how he leverages the relationships he’s worked so hard to build.

El Edwards

Blog

You probably haven’t heard of Eleanor Edwards. She is the founder of UK charity Give A Brick and the hostess of happiness at Heaven and El. Her personal blog has two goals: to make you smile and to support her charity efforts.

I love Eleanor because she isn’t out to be a super-famous blogger. She doesn’t want, or need, anyone’s attention to succeed. She blogs for the pure joy of it and genuinely cares about her readers. She is one of my favorite examples of someone who invests time in building her community rather than building her network.

From a networking perspective, this is the type of person you should emulate. Very busy, and important, people will make time for the friendly person cheering them on. During 2010, I watched her find her writing voice and purpose for her work. It will be fascinating to see where she takes her (accidental) relationship marketing efforts this year.

Which bloggers are you watching?

This list isn’t the definitive list—I accept that. We want to know which bloggers you’re watching, too! I’ll be writing about what’s going on in the ProBlogger community and would love to share your stories. You can contribute in the following ways:

  • Create your own list of bloggers to watch. They will be included in a follow up post.
  • Share specific bloggers you are watching. Go into as much detail as you like.
  • Comment about how you would improve on the list format. Do you want more people? A certain type of information? Tell us and your suggestions may be included in future lists.

How to Get 80+ Comments on Your Next Blog Post

This post is by The Blog Tyrant.

My blog is only 22 posts old but I already get close to 100 comments on most of the articles I write. I recently wrote about how to increase conversions and got over 250 comments in about six hours. It’s a surprising amount.

You only get one shot
Creative Commons License photo credit: aqsahu

So why is my blog getting so many comments? And more importantly, what can you do to replicate the commenting frenzy on your own blog? Let’s take a look.

Why comments matter

The first thing I want to talk about is why comments are important to a blog. It’s quite simple—one word in fact: community. Blog comments are a sign that your community is healthy and functional. The post I linked to above was the 18th article I had written on Blog Tyrant and I hardly had to participate in the discussion: my readers did it all. I just put up a post and watched my amazing community help each other out with their questions and concerns. I felt like a proud dad.

I’ve found that if you can increase comments on your blog, you’ll often find that traffic, subscribers, and all the other nice metrics rise as well. In fact, when I look in my analytics I see that the posts that get the most comments also do the most converting and bring the most visitors—not the other way around.

Let’s say that again: more comments lead to more traffic, conversions, and sign ups.

How I get people to comment

I want to share some simple little strategies that I use on my blog to get comments, and lots of them.

1. Close comments

Wait a second … close comments? Yep, close them. After two weeks I close off the comments on my posts so that people have to wait for a new post if they want to start commenting. Sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? In fact, just two weeks ago I got an email from another blogger who asked:

Why do you close comments on old articles? What if people want to add to the discussion? You may as well close comments entirely.

I visited his blog and, quite ironically, almost every post he has written has zero comments. Unfortunately this guy has underestimated the power of scarcity. People are much more likely to interact with a product or a blog if they perceive it to be scarce or limited. That’s why car companies release limited editions and the big clothing stores have “one day only” sales. If you close comments your comment section automatically becomes more alluring.

2. Show up every single day

At least once a day I get an email from a reader thanking me for personally replying to their comment. In actual fact, I make it a policy to reply to every single comment that I get on my blog, unless it has already had some good replies. I do this because I want to show my readers that I care and that I really like getting comments from them. Replying individually, every day, shows them that I am interested and the karma of that action is that they want to comment more often.

You might also see a slight trick here. By replying to every comment you also increase your comment count. So instead of having ten reader comments, you might have 20 with your own individual replies. Not all of my posts are like this but in some of them, 30-40% of the comments are from me. Tricky huh?

3. Write full and detailed articles … but don’t finish them

In my 7,809 word series on how to blog, I told my readers to write comprehensive articles but not to finish them. This little trick is something I picked up years ago when I decided to sell a blog for $20,000: long but incomplete articles really attracted a lot of interest amongst visiting traffic.

Here’s the deal. If you totally exhaust a topic, you leave your readers with nowhere to go. They already have all the answers from your post, so why would they comment? The reverse of this situation occurs if you write articles that are too short and incomplete. In that case, you aren’t going to rouse enough passion and interest in order to generate some discussion.

The ideal situation is to write comprehensive articles, but to not quite finish them. Don’t complete every topic and always finish the post so that the reader wants to learn more, research further, and talk to you about what you have written.

What’s worked for you?

Have you ever heard the saying, “the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know”? I have been blogging for a long time but still, every day, I find new strategies and techniques to improve what I do. I get totally embarrassed by the fact that, after years of blogging, I still don’t know a thing!

Please leave a comment and let me know what strategies worked best for you on your blog. Is there any reason why your most commented articles did so well? Or is it totally random? I’m looking forward to hearing what the ProBlogger community has to offer!

The Blog Tyrant is a 25-year-old guy from Australia who has sold blogs for large sums of money and now writes about dominating your niche. Subscribe by email or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Monthly Trends + Resolutions for a Better Blog

Happy 2011! How are the ole resolutions holding up so far? Have you stopped biting your nails, started a daily exercise regimen, and organized your closets yet? Me neither. Still, ’tis the season for new starts, and while you’re thinking about improving your health, your home, or your life balance, don’t forget about your blog. Make a resolution today to take your blog to the next level in 2011.

It’s the beginning of the month as well as the year, so, as always, Regator has provided blogosphere trends for the month, and I’ll use posts about these popular stories to inspire you to make a vow to improve your blog in the New Year. (The most-blogged about stories for December 2010, in order, were: Christmas, Wikileaks, Tax Cuts, DADT/Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Tron, New Year’s Eve, Net Neutrality, Elizabeth Edwards, Oprah, and Michael Vick.) Let’s make some resolutions!

1. I resolve to be funnier.
Inspiration: Cracked’s The 12 Most Unintentionally Disturbing Christmas Ads. Obviously, humor isn’t always appropriate, but it certainly has its place and can breathe life into a dry subject if it’s used correctly. If you can handle a bit of rough language, comedy blog Cracked.com provides plenty of inspiration, putting an amusing spin on everything from Christmas to science to pop culture.

2. I resolve to take extra time to write gripping intros to my posts.
Inspiration: The Chronicle Review’s Why WikiLeaks Is Bad for Scholars. The first few lines of your post will determine whether readers will stick around or click around. Don’t save your genius for the third paragraph. Use your first paragraph to make a promise, create intrigue, hit readers with a killer quote, or—as in this example from The Chronicle Review—build suspense with a story.

3. I resolve to help my readers solve more problems.
Inspiration: The Consumerist’s Calculate How Much Of A Raise You’ll Get On January 1 [Tax Cuts]. You’ve read it over and over here at ProBlogger, but it can’t be said enough: Be useful to your readers and they will come back for more. As you sit down to write each post, ask yourself what the reader will get out of it and why he or she should take the time to read it. Even if it’s not a straight-up, service-oriented post, like this example from The Consumerist, all of your posts should provide some benefit: entertainment, knowledge, advice, etc.

4. I resolve to take more time to craft my headlines.
Inspiration: Queerty’s Why Fox News’ Story On Gay Soldiers Living Under DADT Never Got Filed. Your headlines should not be an afterthought and, if they are, this is the resolution for you. They’re all people see when your link is tweeted and the first thing potential readers see in RSS readers and aggregators. A great post with a mediocre headline will lose countless potential readers. This example from Queerty is keyword-heavy, potentially controversial, and seems to promise an intriguing bit of information.

5. I resolve to be more creative and to break out of the echo chamber.
Inspiration: Pushing Pixels’ The colors of “Tron: Legacy”. While many were blogging about Tron’s opening weekend numbers or its (awesome) Daft Punk soundtrack, Kirill Grouchnikov took a different approach and blogged a fascinating breakdown of the color usage in Tron’s computer world. It’s a perfect fit for that blog’s readers and a unique twist on a frequently covered story. If bloggers in your niche are writing about one particular story, find a way to put your own unique twist on it.

6. I resolve to use more photos and/or video.
Inspiration: The Big Picture’s A New Year rolls in. Photos and video add interest and depth and if you aren’t using many, this may be the resolution for you. Just be sure you’re using them legally. This example from The Big Picture shows just how striking the right photo can be.

7. I resolve to be more opinionated.
Inspiration: Tech Talk’s Opinion: Who’ll Really Benefit from Net Neutrality Regulation? Strong opinions have the potential to put some people off and generate controversy, but they also have the potential to establish you as a blogger with interesting things to say and to solidify your blog as a place where healthy debate can happen. This example from Tech Talk is clearly labeled as opinion, presents facts to back up the opinions in the post, and takes a respectful tone.

8. I resolve to develop my blogging voice.
Inspiration: The Atlantic’s Elizabeth Edwards and the Case Against the Political Wife. If you look back at 2010’s posts and find they don’t sound much like you or that they simply lack a bit of personality, resolve to work on your blog’s tone in 2011. This example by Elizabeth Wurtzel is conversational but smart and, quite simply, sounds like Wurtzel. Let that be your goal: sound like you.

9. I resolve to interact with commenters.
Inspiration: TV by the NumbersNo Matter How Tiny the Ratings for OWN, the Media Will Obsess Over Oprah. It’s easy to get so busy working on your next post that you don’t take time to correspond with readers about your previous post. It happens to us all at times (guilty). There’s certainly no need to respond to every comment left on your blog, but interacting with readers where appropriate can go a long way in building a community and, by extension, fans and advocates for your blog. In this example, blogger Robert Seidman responds to questions and even refers back to one commenter’s previous comment, showing that he pays attention to what’s being said on his posts. It’s a good habit to get into.

10. I resolve to edit my posts after I finish them.
Inspiration: The Phillyist’s White House: Vick’s Crimes Deserve Condemnation. This example is short and sweet. It gets the points across with no more words than are necessary. There’s nothing wrong with longer posts, but chances are, you can take around 15 percent off the word count of most posts without losing anything important. Try it for a month and you’ll find your writing is sharper and more concise.

So what do you say? Will you make a resolution to improve your blog this year? My blogging resolution is pretty simple: I resolve to blog more often. As one of the founders of Regator, it’s all too easy for me to get so distracted by the day-to-day running of an internet startup that my first love, writing, gets pushed aside. 2011 will be the year that changes. How about you? Please share your resolution in the comments!

Kimberly Turner is a cofounder of Regator, as well as an award-winning print journalist. Find her on Twitter @kimber_regator, get free widgets for your blog, or nominate your blog for review.

Buying and Selling Blogs with Strong Personal Brands

This guest post is by Andrew Knibbe of Flippa.

The responses to my last post raised the crucial issue of selling a blog that’s built around a strong personal brand.

Mark Wolfinger wrote, “When I write a blog, it’s my passion that the readers see. It’s my writing style and knowledge. Buy an existing blog and the blog’s voice changes immediately. How can you keep loyal readers who loved the previous voice?”

This is of course a key consideration in buying or selling a personally branded blog. It’s true that the strength of some personal brands may make a blog unsaleable, but that doesn’t need to be the case.

The blog as a business

In response to Mark’s comment, the Blog Tyrant pointed out, “Mark you read ProBlogger and hardly any of the posts are by Darren nowadays.”

This reminds me of that old saying that if you want to have a saleable business, you have to be able to step back at some point and work on it, rather than in it.

This seems to be the approach that Darren has taken with ProBlogger. He’s spent years building a strong personal brand, and building a blog that revolves around that. By establishing ProBlogger as a leading light in the niche, he’s able to attract some of the best bloggers and source high-quality content for the site, and that’s let him step back from the blog to work on aspects like product development.

We can guess that he’s now spending time he used to spend writing blog posts preparing courses, writing ebooks, and coming up with new concepts.

But the things that make ProBlogger what it is remain here, even if Darren’s time and presence on the blog has decreased from what it was when he started all those years ago. There’s a large and loyal community, a strong brand, an enormous, high-quality content inventory, and  a raft of happy advertisers, affiliates, and so on. So if ProBlogger was for sale, you can see that it would have a lot to offer a potential buyer.

Getting personal

What if this site was called DarrenRowse.net, rather than ProBlogger.net? Sure, that might reduce the overall sale price of the site, but it certainly wouldn’t make it unsaleable. As a potential buyer, you might choose to move it to a new domain, but if you were smart, and Darren was a caring seller, you’d probably negotiate a handover arrangement whereby you as the new site owner could be introduced to the ProBlogger readers and community.

Before you agreed to buy the site, you’d probably assess the alternative domains you could use, and you might buy one—possibly one like, say, ProBlogger, which talks about the niche more than a personality—as you bought the site. Perhaps you’d also secure Twitter and Facebook accounts with the same brand, or negotiate with the owner to transfer the existing account’s ownership with the blog.

During the handover period, you might undertake a gradual rebranding of the site and announce to users that its location was changing. Rather than switching off DarrenRowse.net the day your turned on the ProBlogger domain, you might have the two running in tandem, with a redirect attached to the personal domain, for a while.

Buying (or selling) an existing blog isn’t like buying a used car: it doesn’t need to be a take-it-or-leave-it situation. As the buyer, you can request any assistance you need to transfer the blog safely to your ownership, complete with its full complement of readers. If the seller cares about the community he or she has built up, they’ll hopefully be pretty happy to negotiate this kind of thing among the terms of the sale.

Finding opportunities on a personal blog

Another response to Mark’s comment on the article came from Alex, who wrote, “buying a blog which already has a small reader base and some articles can save you quite a bit of time, otherwise you’d need to “get the ball rolling” yourself, which is the hardest part of blogging, IMO.”

Mark replied, “It’s funny. I find writing to be the very easy part. And I have a decent number of readers (24,000 monthly unique). It’s the monetizing that’s difficult for me.”

These comments really show the variation that exists in the blog trading space—people buy and sell blogs for all sorts of reasons, and a blog that has real potential for one buyer will hold little appeal for another.

Take Mark’s comment, for example. It sounds like he’s built up a great content inventory, and a loyal, committed readership—but he has difficulty monetizing blogs. Alex says he finds the initial stages of starting a blog the biggest challenge, but perhaps he’s the type to easily spot monetization opportunities and do something about them. The fact that Mark’s been unable to monetize his blog presents an opportunity: if he wanted to, he might sell the blog to someone like Alex, who had monetization skills. After all, strong community and great content are valuable assets.

Mark comments that his unique style and personality are what readers come to his blog for. That’s great, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that, if he wanted to sell the blog, he couldn’t.

Firstly, he’d be choosy about the buyers he considered, looking for someone who knew his site and understood what it was about—he might well find that among the interested buyers were some of his site’s current users. He’d look for a potential buyer who had an appealing writing style that he felt would really engage his readers. Perhaps he’d invite them to write some guest posts so that he could see how his readers responded to the potential buyer, and to help that person build a profile among the readership in advance.

If the sale went ahead, he’d make a personal announcement to his readers, perhaps via email to subscribers as well as in a post on the blog itself. He might also recommend a handover period to help the transition go smoothly, and keep readers as loyal to the blog—and the new owner—as possible.

Personal brands can add an extra dimension to the buying and selling of blogs, but they don’t have to be a problem. A buyer might be able to find a personally branded blog that doesn’t have a strong personal style (we’ve all seen them online)—another opportunity for the astute buyer who knows what they have to offer.

Have you ever though about buying or selling a blog with a personal brand? What other concerns would you have about the process?

Andrew Knibbe is the Marketing Manager at Flippa, the #1 marketplace for buying and selling websites. He blogs at the Flippa blog. Follow him @flippa.