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Which Blogs Should You Be Watching?

This guest post is by Kevin Sanders, of strongandfit.net.

What if I said you’re only as good as the blogs you follow? Maybe that’s not completely true for everyone, but I’m willing to bet all the A-listers have several blogs they check out every day.

I think there are basically two types of blogs you should follow.

Type 1: Blogging blogs

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I believe every blogger should keep an eye on several pro blogs in the field—whether they’re on making money or SEO tips, etc). Why? Here are three reasons:

1. Game-changer posts

Every once in a while, I’ll run across a post that radically impacts my blogging from that point forward. One example would be a post I read here that explained how to optimize the position of ads. Following that advice greatly improved the profits I made through both Adsense and affiliate banners. I don’t find these high-impact posts every day, but they easily make up for the effort I spend following the blogs I read.

2. Motivation

I wasn’t even sure you could make money with blogging when I first started. It’s hard to keep posting every day when you aren’t even sure there’s a possibility of financial reward for your efforts. Following the pro bloggers gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going, even when profits were slow (or non-existent). It also helped me to have realistic expectations and patience. Building a good blog takes work and determination; never underestimate the power of motivation.

3. SEO tips

I was completely clueless about SEO in my early blogging days. I still don’t consider myself an expert—not by a long shot. I also don’t obsess over SEO. Having said all this, I needed to learn how to work with search engines—best SEO practices, so to speak. I learned most of what I know from reading what other bloggers had to say.

I follow about 17 blogs through feeds on my Google page. Do I read every post on every blog? No. I just keep an eye on them and click any titles that get my attention. Also:

  • Don’t overanalyze them. At some point you just need to shut up and blog. Don’t try to follow every single bit of advice you read—some of it may not apply to you, your niche, or your blog. You’ll even run across contradictory advice if you follow the blogging niche long enough. Just use what helps you and disregard what doesn’t.
  • Don’t snub the B-listers. Keep an eye out for up-and-coming bloggers who may not be well known yet. Some of these guys really know their stuff and are more accessible than their A-list counterparts. Some of my favorite blogs, in fact, are not nearly as popular as Problogger.net. One example is SEO-Hacker, a blog created by one of my friends here in Asia.

Type 2: Niche blogs

I mentioned that I follow several pro blogs through RSS feeds. I also follow several blogs within the same niche as mine (fitness blogs). Following blogs in your niche, or related niches, can help you in several ways:

1. Potential income streams

Your fellow bloggers can help you keep an eye on new ways of making money. You may learn of a new product or service to promote by watching other blogs in your niche. Most of us try to keep track of these opportunities through affiliate newsletters, but other bloggers can help you find even more opportunities.

2. Trends within your niche

Blogs within your niche will alert you to “hot topics” in your industry or specialization. You may want to post your own two cents about those trends—there’s always a chance you’ll get ranked well in search engines on a topic that everyone’s talking about (and searching for).

This is especially helpful if you live outside the country that’s responsible for most of your traffic. I live in Asia, but most of my fitness blog’s traffic (and revenue) comes from North America. It’s very beneficial for me to follow bloggers back in the States.

3. Rebuttal posts

Following other bloggers is also an opportunity to be a voice of dissent. If you read a post you disagree with, you can give your own unique point of view on a particular topic within the niche. This would likely be a post you would have never thought of if you weren’t watching the blogosphere in your niche.

The bottom line: watching blogs within my own niche gives me lots of new ideas for producing fresh, relevant, high-quality content. I think it will do the same for you.

What should you keep in mind as you follow niche blogs?

  • Be yourself. Don’t just repeat what everyone else is saying. Always try to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Loyal readers want to hear what you have to say.
  • Do your homework. Hopefully you’ll inspiration from other blogs, but be sure to do your own research. You’ll need to go back to original sources and studies to check the accuracy of other bloggers. You’ll also need to carefully look at products you choose to endorse—what’s right for one blogger may not be right for you (even if you are in the same niche).

Are there other types of blogs that you consider essential reading? Share them in the comments.

Kevin is a missionary, author and fitness enthusiast. You can check out his fitness tips at strongandfit.net. You can read his devotional thoughts and personal reflections at KuyaKevin.com.

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Comments

  1. Jia Jun says:

    Thanks Kevin Sanders for the post.
    I do follow many blogs in my RSS, but I only do so to keep me up to date on what’s new in their blogs, and read those that really interest me.
    *Like what Kevin said, agree that we shouldn’t spend too much time on reading other blogs, while it may affect and distract ourself in producing great contents for our own blogs.
    I read those interest me and well information that I can learn from, especially those that can improve my blog, from content, design, marketing and more.
    While follow some of the points, I stand on my own thinking and do as my mind tells, instead of just follow, to produce a great blog, instead of “just another similar blog”.

  2. Thanks for the post Kevin. I don’t follow any blogs by rss feed. I live under the pricipal that if i really like a blog i have to remember the domain name and will try and remember the domain name. If I don’t remember it it wasn’t meant to be :)

  3. Thomas says:

    Finding good SEO blogs is no problem there are tons of them. Finding high ranked blogs is also pretty simple. The high quality blogs that I find difficult to find is the niche blogs that write about the same thing that I do. Of cause I have found some, but it takes a lot of time to find the good once.

    • Thomas… I have a very simple search query I use to find quality niche blogs. Try googling this:

      “top 100 KEYWORD blogs” or “top 50 KEYWORD blogs.”

      Where you see KEYWORD you’ll put in your niche. For example, “top 100 fitness blogs.” There are many top blog lists that are niche specific. Not every niche, of course. But this is a fast way to scan the landscape.

      Hope this helps.

    • Just as a follow-up to Dahlia. You can try utilizing some of Google’s more specialized searches like blog search and Google alerts. These allow you to zero in more specifically to your niche and the alerts will monitor posts and deliver them to your email each day or week. This could be a great way to keep up with your niche without having to do a lot of work.

  4. Satish says:

    simple.

  5. G’day Kevin,

    I follow blogs that REALLY add value to my day. I post those that are most consistent and also some blogs that are outside the design niche that help me do my job better.

    As a graphic designer business owner and blogger (www.graphicdesignboss.com) I can see straight through the graphic designers who aren’t really that experienced and write out theoretical posts that lack substance. Even some of the bigger design niche bloggers feel a bit templated sometimes. Just like you said ‘be yourself’!

    I want to blog that REALLY adds value to aspiring graphic design business owners days.

  6. I live in a very small country and the amount of people earning money on the internet is very limited, a few of them have blogs which they update quite often, I visit those from a couple of times each day, just to see what’s going on – and it’s always nice to read content on your primary language.

    I only read blogs related to my niche as well, no reason to waste time reading content you can’t profit from :p

  7. Lea Sadler says:

    I, also, don’t watch blogs via RSS–I think there is much to be learned about the way an article appears on a page, as well as what other components appear on the page, what advertising appears, etc. If I really like a blog, I try to get it delivered to me via email–that way, I’ll have a nice record of the post in my inbox, AND I’ll be reminded to visit the site every time I check my email.

  8. Excellent post.
    John Burnside–I like your take on remembering a blog name without the help of your rss feed. Makes sense to me, a great way to simplify my online reading!

    A blog I consider essential reading is Becoming Minimalist @ becomingminimalist.com.

    I learn from it everyday. It is a different niche than my own blog on simplified homemaking-New Nostalgia (www.amy-newnostalgia.blogspot.com), but it definitely inspires ideas of new content, and causes me to think about life with a whole new mindset.

  9. I’ve had a really hard time finding social commentary blogs like mine that are truly value added. Good and entertaining writing is hard to come by. It’s been an interesting journey finding them and then creating connections with these people.

  10. Brad says:

    “Don’t snub the B-listers.”

    Best advice in the entire article! LOL. Be kind to us lower minions of the blogosphere who need a helping hand.

    Brad

    • Scrollwork says:

      Brad, “lower minions of the blogosphere” — LMAO. Yeah, count me in. Although I think I’m further down the alphabet.

  11. Good advice- but I didn’t see, did you post which blogs you follow?

    I’m newer to blogging, but follow only a few blogs regularly, usually I just come across blogs on a ‘need-to-know’ basis, when searching for specific information.

    I’ve looked for information on successful blogs, but most blogs I come across have the same exact info, or none at all, but are found on the front page of google. The only reason I know that this blog has more information is because I bought the book.

    It would be nice to know of a way to find out which blogs more people followed, instead of it being hit or miss trying to find a useful one.

  12. mainan anak says:

    great info! yes i agree “Following the pro bloggers gave the encouragement”
    these line always motivate

  13. I’ve never been confrontational with any of my readers. Are you suggesting that I should?

  14. Tech Crates says:

    Very well written…Kevin, I like the point SEO tips

  15. A major part of blogging is about being part of the dialogue. Writing comments, like everyone does, and being a part of that is important for raising your profile, and maintaining your position in the game.

  16. Does anyone know of a blogging site where the entire site is not guest posts?

  17. Problogger, Copyblogger, DailyBlogTips are the main blogs to watch if one is looking for Quality Content.

  18. Great, great advice!

    @ retroscifigeek ,,,,yes, mine!

    I have 2 that give blogging/working at home advice:

    Blogging Biz Mom

    While there, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter

    Workingathomeadvice.com

    Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

  19. Great article. It is very true that there are a lot of small blogs out there who really put out some cutting edge information. It is just a matter of finding these blogs and seeing if they do it on a regular basis or just got lucky with a one off.

    It is like Pop musicians and indie groups. You know what you get with pop musicians, you can expect the same level of product out of them all the time (the big blogs). But smaller blogs are like indie groups. Sometimes horrible, sometimes derivative but sometimes really on the cutting edge with mind blowing stuff.

  20. Joy says:

    Thanks for a great post. I am new to Internet marketing and was wondering where everyone got all their great ideas from. now I know, follow other peoples blogs regularly. I have started doing this but have to admit I spend way too much time reading heaps and not putting in enough action. Lovely to read everyone’s take on this topic, I am learning a lot.

  21. Great ideas on what blogs people should be following. I find related niche blogs are probably the most important.

  22. Julian says:

    i wonder why techno blogs haven’t popular yet

  23. Thanks for this post.

    However, I’m just a newbie blogger whose purpose is yet to come. So far I can, it seems the rebuttal posts is the way to go. How about techno blogs from the perspective of a non-techie freelance worker? I have two posts waiting to be born LOL

  24. I like to read blogs from other niches as well. I have a leadership/ human resources blog that is primarily read by executives and managers. And, I typically write with them in mind. To keep my material and ideas innovative and fresh, I read quite a few blogs about design, science and culture. Those often spark ideas that I can twist into a leadership or HR angle.

  25. Riantalks says:

    Hi Darren,
    Do you have some tips when it comes to looking for trends with general topics? My site does not have any niche but mostly health. Thank you.
    Rian

  26. Sean says:

    Hey Kevin!
    Great post! Yeah you definitely hit the mark as of what blogs bloggers should follow. Great advice!
    And thanks for mentioning SEO Hacker in this post. I really appreciate the mention.

  27. jezza101 says:

    I’ve had to unsubscribe from a couple of the “A-List” blogs. Having now been reading blogs about blogging/marketing/etc for a few years I’ve noticed that some of them are clearly riding the waves of early success. They don’t really have a lot to say and don’t really appreciate they are where they are by getting in early.

    The second bigger problem I have is that some of these blogs just seem to be geared to promoting various “make money online” products rather than actually bringing anything new to the table. I see how we all get sucked into the promise of running our own large Internet empire but perhaps we don’t see that we can’t all make money from selling each other these schemes!

    Thankfully Daz seems to have got the balance right here at PB, and although some of the content seems a bit repetative after a few years there is still plenty to interest the longer term readers.

  28. Kyle Logue says:

    It’s simple… watch blogs that you’re interested in. If they happen to help you out along the way, then awesome. If they’re in your same niche, even better!

  29. Lucan says:

    Thanks for the highly informative article. I just started blogging and it’s a lot harder than it looks.

  30. michelle says:

    I’m in asia too, singapore. 77% of my readers are from Singapore. LOL…but i’ve only been here a few months. Which blows me away.

    i also need a better stats counter than the WP one, so i can see what they are reading and for how long. Suggestions?

  31. Jerrick Yeoh says:

    i would say go for the competitor blog, they able to help you learn much from them and improve yourself. After you master your competitor blogging style is time you make it difference of your blogging with your competitor and taking advantages.
    Go for the bloggers blog which they able to teach you how to write a better blog, how to conduct and maintain a good blog.