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Writing Challenge: Write a “Mistakes” Blog Post

Writing Challenge: Write a "Mistakes" Blog PostToday I want to give you a writing challenge – one of many we’ve done during the life of this podcast. We’ve tackled list posts, link posts, opinion posts, calls to action, review posts, and “how I do it” posts, and now it’s time to crack open our vulnerabilities with posts about making mistakes.

As usual, you are welcome to link up the post you’ve written at the show notes for this episode here.

I want you to think about some mistakes you’ve made, or that you see people in your niche or industry making. Write about what these mistakes are and offer solutions to and preventions for them. These types of posts do well for several reasons: people often wonder if they are making the mistakes, then they’ll want to know how to fix it if they do, and where to get help when they realise they’ve done wrong. It also helps keep you relatable to show that you’ve made errors in the past.

In today’s episode I also have six tips to help you write a great “mistakes” post – everything from ideas for content angles, how to personalise the story, and of course, what not to do!

Don’t forget to link up your post at the show notes and browse around other listener’s efforts.

Further Reading:

How I Lost 80% of My Traffic Overnight (And How I Got it Back, Plus More!)

How I Lost 80% of My Traffic Overnight (And How I Got it Back, Plus More!)In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I want to tell you a little story.

I want to tell you about one morning in 2004 when I realised my blog, which I’d recently established as my full time source of income, had hardly any traffic coming to it. I lost between 80 and 90% of my traffic literally overnight, and I couldn’t figure out why. You can imagine that when my traffic took such a shocking nosedive, so did my income! It was one of the biggest wake-up calls I’ve had in my career, and it changed the way I blogged from that day forward.

When I look back, I probably think I was a bit complacent about traffic, and I really hadn’t thought much past what Google could bring. So when Google stopped bringing it, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had worked my way up to a point where the blog was thriving, and so I went into coast mode rather than ensuring that it had longevity.

It’s funny that although I thought it was the end of the world at the time, I’m actually really grateful it happened because the steps I took to rectify it ended up growing my blogs much faster than before.

In today’s episode I’m going to outline the steps I took to not only recover the traffic I lost, but to drive it even higher, and what you can do if disaster happens to strike you!

You can find the ProBlogger podcast shownotes here.

Further Reading:

How to Build A Culture of Community on Your Blog

How to Build A Culture of Community on Your Blog

If you were listening to the episode 60 of the ProBlogger podcast, you would have heard me talking about why I think it’s so vital that bloggers create a culture of community on their blog to help deepen relationships with their readers and to drive engagement. I also promised a follow-up podcast on how to do just that!

Today’s episode is part two of building a culture of community and I wanted to talk about the strategy of how to create an atmosphere of belonging, what you should aim for, and how to go above and beyond just encouraging engagement, but to foster a sense of ownership and even collaboration with your readers.

There are 7 ways I think are useful in creating a culture of community to help your blog come alive. As i mentioned in the last podcast, there’s no real way to have it happen overnight, it just takes time as you build trust with your readers. These seven steps will help you on your journey though, so grab a pen and take some notes!

You can find the show notes of episode 61 here, and as always, I welcome your feedback on the podcast in the comment section. What have you done to create a culture of community on your own blog?

Further Reading:

Building a Better Blog: Help Us Help You With the 2015 ProBlogger Census

Building a Better Blog: Help Us Help You With the 2015 ProBlogger Census

It has been a massive year here at ProBlogger HQ – behind the scenes we’ve been working hard on a number of new things including:

  • Adding to our team – in addition to having Stacey Roberts come on as our editor almost two years ago I’ve more recently brought Laney and Grove Galligan into the team. Laney and Grove have both worked with ProBlogger in producing our Aussie event these last few years, but recently they’ve stepped up their involvement to oversee the whole ProBlogger brand.
  • Redesign and Rearchitecture of ProBlogger – in the coming months you’ll notice some big changes to ProBlogger. You’ll notice a fresh new design but also some big changes to all the different parts of the site. Instead of being scattered across ProBlogger.net, ProBlogger.com, ProBloggerEvents.com etc it’ll all be found on ProBlogger.com. This will be a staged rollout over a number of months starting by the end of year (all going well) with a new design here on the blog.
  • US Event – over the last 6 years we’ve grown the Australian ProBlogger event from 100 attendees to 700+ attendees this year. Every time we run an event we are asked by our international audience when we’ll be holding them outside Australia. Each year we’ve said ‘one day’ but now we can tell you that there will hopefully be a ProBlogger event in the USA in 2016. Stay tuned for details.

There is a lot more in the pipeline but to help us shape ProBlogger in a way that serves you better we’d love to get your input and to get it we’ve put together the 2015 ProBlogger Census.

It’s a short survey that will help us get a sense of where you’re at in your blogging journey and how we can help.

We really look forward to hearing your thoughts!

You can take the survey here.

Thank you, and here’s to another great year!

Why You Should Make Building Community a Priority in Your Blogging

Why You Should Make Building Community a Priority in Your BloggingDo you ever feel as a blogger like you’re talking to an empty room?

I know I have definitely felt that way! Particularly when I first started Digital Photography School. But if you feel that way too, I want you to know: you’re not alone.

When you write a blog post, you hope that your readers will interact, leave a comment, acknowledge that you’ve even written something, and today I’m going to talk about how to do just that – deepen that reader engagement, and some reasons why I think this is so important (particularly for those just starting out).

Today’s ProBlogger podcast is the first of a two-part series, following up in the next episode with some really practical tips on how you build community.

The first thing I want to tackle is to talk about why you should try to deepen reader engagement. I know especially when first starting out there can be more of a focus on creating good content and promoting it (and there are a handful of established bloggers who make it a point not to encourage community on their sites), but most of the successful bloggers I know have invested time and energy in really inviting and facilitating a collaborative environment.

But back to the beginnings of Digital Photography School when I made a choice that really impacted how people responded to it: in this episode I discuss when (and how) I realised the choice I made meant I was missing out on the key factor that was really going to help my blog take off.

I also give 9 reasons why I think creating community is so incredibly important, and a couple of tips for getting through the negative flip side – building community takes real time and effort!

You can find episode 60 of the ProBlogger podcast show notes here.

Further Reading:

 

 

 

15 Questions to Ask to Help Identify Your Blogging Niche or Focus

15 Questions to Ask to Help Identify Your Blogging Niche or FocusIn today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast I wanted to talk about the nitty gritty of defining what your blog is about. Not just to pigeonhole anybody, or to put any constraints on your creativity, but to help you hone in on what you want to provide and how you want to come across online.

This is a question that’s particularly important to think on when you’re first starting out (although experimentation is also encouraged!), but still useful when you’re already established to ensure you’re working within your goals. It’s also ok to change your mind as you go!

Most successful blogs do have a niche or a topic, and in many cases it’s the reader demographic and not so much the topic niche that drives the content. You can cover a large amount of topics if your readers are parents, or retirees – topics can really depend more on the audience than the niche itself.

If you’re struggling with defining your niche, then I’ve got 15 questions for you to ponder – grab a pen and a notebook and jot down your answers as they come to you, and hopefully by then end you will see some themes emerging… and some focus for your site.

You can hear the podcast and questions below, and find the show notes over at episode 59 of the ProBlogger podcast here.

Further Reading:

Should You Use Timestamps on Your Blog? The Pros and Cons

Should You Use Timestamps on Your Blog? The Pros and Cons on ProBlogger.netA reader asked me recently about using timestamps on blogs, as she’s redesigning hers and wondered if she should use them or not in her new design. It’s a question I get asked fairly often so I’ve dedicated today’s ProBlogger podcast to sharing with you the pros and cons of blog timestamps and whether I think they should be included or left off.

Reader Bernadette also noted that I use timestamps here on ProBlogger.net, but not on my main blog, Digital Photography School. There are a few reasons for that: the blogging industry is moving fast, and I’ve had this blog for so many years now that I want to signal to readers when the posts were published so they can see whether the information is still relevant for today, and also that if the information isn’t quite relevant, they can see that I wrote it early in my blogging journey. It helps them see the context around the content.

For Digital Photography School, I’ve never used timestamps and that’s because the posts there aren’t newsy – they’re timeless, evergreen posts that will always be useful. Putting a date on these posts might cause readers to assume that because they weren’t written recently that they will be behind the times, which often isn’t the case. A date in this instance would be a distraction and because it’s not relevant to the post itself, I leave it off.

So in short, my theory is that date stamps either add to or take away from your blog. In this episode I discuss why you should and also why you shouldn’t include them on your content, and three options for what to do on your blog for when a black and white decision isn’t so easy.

You can listen below, or on iTunes, and find the show notes here.

Further Reading:

9 Hurdles I’ve Faced as a Blogger and How I Got Over Them

9 hurdles I've faced as a blogger, and how I got over them :: problogger.netI was speaking at a small event here in Melbourne recently and I was asked about the common hurdles bloggers face when building profitable blogs. It’s a difficult question to answer, as everyone’s hurdles are different – as are their coping strategies.

In today’s podcast I thought going through the hurdles I’ve faced personally in blogging and the strategies I used to get over them might be useful. You might recognise some or all of them, or you might know someone struggling with one of these (in which case, feel free to share this post with them!). I’ve also included links in the show notes for you to get more information.

The obstacles in my journey I’ve faced to get to where I am today first started with technical know-how – or rather, lack thereof. As a result I made a huge amount of mistakes that meant it was a slow and painful beginning. I’ve learned so much over the years, and as I did I made better and better choices so there are six tips in the podcast that should ensure you avoid or at least minimise the hurdles along your own path.

I also talk about fear: fear of looking stupid, fear of being criticised and even personally attacked (and how I dealt with a particularly frightening encounter when it was happening to me). There’s a section on building readership, which is incredibly frustrating when you’re writing good content but nobody is reading it, and a section on finding the right monetization model, blogger’s block, blogger’s burnout, narrowing your niche, and getting your time management balance right. All things I’ve struggled with but eventually found a way out of.

You can listen to the podcast here, or over at the show notes of episode 57.

9 Hurdles I've Faced as a Blogger and How I Got Over Them - on ProBloggerWhat do you struggle with as a blogger? Have you found an effective strategy of getting around it?

Further Reading:

8 Effective Ways to End a Blog Post

So we know how to start a blog post, write a great headline, and hook the reader in, but what happens next? 8 Effective Ways to End a Blog Post: on ProBlogger.netBloggers talk a lot about how to start a blog post – how to craft the perfect title, how to hook the reader in from the first sentence – but equally important is how you end it.

How you leave the reader at the end of your post can have a huge effect on whether they will engage with you or not, how they feel about what they just read, what they will do next, or even if they will return. It’s a great time to deepen the relationship with your audience, be useful, and provide a lasting impression.

In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I talk about eight ways you can create this kind of environment for readers who stop by your blog, but recommend you only pick one per post! It’s easy to get carried away but less is more, in this case.

You can listen here below, over with the shownotes of episode 56 or on iTunes.

Listen out for:

  • how to effectively sum up your main points
  • tips to get more comments on each post
  • the one thing you can do that really works for shares
  • the value of related links
  • what to do after you’ve written a particularly helpful post
  • examples of incentives you can provide for people to subscribe

Further Reading: