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:

How to Promote Yourself without Coming Across as a Jerk

How to Promote Yourself without Coming Across as a JerkThe thing about blogging is that it’s not just blogging – you have to push your work out to others in order to be read. It’s an aspect of the job that is so intimidating for some that it totally holds them back from reaching their blog’s full potential. But without it, your blog is one of millions begging for attention and not getting it. “Build it and they will come” unfortunately doesn’t work here!

I was recently asked by a reader how to tackle this head on:

I’ve been blogging now for a few months and have built up an archive of posts that I think are useful for those who might find them – but I’m struggling with one big question – how to get people to read!
I’ve listened to some of your episodes on growing readership and understand the techniques I probably need to use – but my problem is that I’m scared to start.
More specifically my issue is that I don’t want to get too self promotional and come across as a complete jerk by over doing it and always be in people’s faces. Can you help?

In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I do just that.

The thing is, you do have to promote yourself, there’s really no way around it. From episode 33 to 37 of the podcast, we talked about finding readers but I guess what Samantha is asking is how do you do it the right way? In this episode I discuss the best ways of showcasing your expertise without coming across as a know-it-all.

I also touch on how to work to the best of your ability, why you should focus on exchanges rather than just broadcasting, what topic you should lead your blog with, where you should admit your knowledge deficits, the usefulness of storytelling, and more – including why you shouldn’t go overboard with the modesty thing. It’s all about what I think the secret to being a good influencer is and how it can make a difference between promoting yourself and promoting yourself so much you turn others off.

You can listen to this episode in the player below or over on the episode 55 shownotes.

I’d love to know – what are your favourite self-promotion tips? And is it something you struggle with, like Samantha does?

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Afraid

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You're AfraidFear is one thing I know those of us in this industry (and generally in life) can really hold you back. Often we’re so worried about what might happen when we try something new that we end up just not. So in today’s podcast I wanted to share some strategies for overcoming fear and taking a chance on something that just might work.

I don’t think ignoring fear is necessarily the right choice, but rather working with it, acknowledging it, and even harnessing it to some degree so you’re more in control of the fear than it is in control over you.

People starting out with blogging, podcasting, and using social media often come up against some or even all of these questions as the test the waters with this new hobby they’re excited about – what if no-one reads? What if no-one likes it? What if it upsets someone? What if I fail? What if I get criticised? What if I’m wasting my time?

Sometimes answering these questions instead of shying away from them can actually help you drill down to your ‘why’, and what you’ve started on this journey for in the first place. It can help you realise that even if all these things do happen, you will survive and even thrive because they’re not the end of the world.

We all face fear. And I happen to think it’s a pretty useful thing when we do. Fear can give you an insight and clarity when faced with danger – it can help you make the right decisions when it’s crunch time.

In today’s podcast I talk about what you can do when faced with fear that’s paralysing. When you feel as though it’s holding you back, that it’s too scary to go on, the ways you can push through and make a go of it anyway.

I talk about why I see fear as a signifier that something important is about to happen, the times I’ve felt most afraid, and the three questions you can ask yourself when you feel that familiar feeling take hold.

It’s not about totally removing fear from all your decisions, but how to manage it so you can still succeed.

You can listen to this episode in the player below or head to the episode 54 shownotes here, where you’ll find other notes and opportunity to connect with other Podcast listeners.

Further Reading:

How I Made over $500,000 with the Amazon Affiliate Program

How I Made over $500,000 with the Amazon Affiliate Program - on ProBlogger.netSix months into blogging, I realised that this hobby of mine was going to need some kind of income stream, and I happened to come across the Amazon Affiliate program, where I would earn a small commission on their products I recommended. Twelve years later, I’ve earned over half a million dollars with them and I continue to be an Amazon affiliate seller (primarily on Digital Photography School, my main blog).

In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I discuss the reason I chose Amazon out of the many options available, and how I have made the most of that relationship. I also give 20 practical tips for making affiliate selling a profitable income stream.

I cover:

  • the reasoning behind my choice
  • why you should have a go at affiliate sales even when you don’t have a lot of traffic
  • what your focus should be if you choose affiliate sales as an income stream (it might not be what you think!)
  • what I’ve found converts the best
  • buying cycles and how to read the mindset of your audience
  • the strategy behind relevancy
  • how to use social proof marketing for higher conversions
  • how to write great product reviews
  • the usefulness of relevant links even to non-reviewed products
  • what type of promotion is the most successful
  • capitalising on trends for higher sales
  • how many contextual links are best in one post
  • the value of linking the images in your post to the product
  • how to find products to recommend
  • how to track campaigns
  • the reasons you should bother promoting less-expensive items
  • transparency and disclosure
  • how to watch for opportunities.

Listen to this podcast in the player below or head over to the shownotes where it’s also embedded with some further reading, diagrams and other show notes.

Further Reading:

10 Writing Tips to Help You Sound More Human



Today’s episode of the ProBlogger Podcast is an interview with Beth Dunn, Product Editor-in-Chief at HubSpot. Beth is responsible for the HubSpot product microcopy, voice and tone, and customer communications, as well as being the founder of their internal newsletter. I was attending the HubSpot Inbound conference in Boston recently and had been so impressed with some of Beth’s earlier talks that she was the first person I plugged into the schedule to see.

Her session at the conference was titled “Use Your Words” and it was all about how you build you brand through the words that you use – and conversely, how you can damage your brand through language.

In today’s podcast, Beth takes us through 10 tips to get us through the creation of content and how we interact with our audience – you might even feel you want to go back and edit some of your previous posts!

Beth discusses these issues that reinforce the brand we’re trying to portray:

  • how to write and connect like a human – and how jargon can ruin relationships
  • how using short words can actually increase your perceived trustworthiness
  • why not to use exclamation marks, and how to convey excitement in other ways
  • what to do about mistakes
  • the importance of style guides even if you’re a solo blogger
  • how different pronouns elicit different reactions in readers
  • Writing as a reader
  • navigating the fine line between sassy writing and being a jerk

And other ways of using your writing to build relationships.

It’s a fascinating look at how brand consistency and chosen words can make or break a blogger.

You can find episode 52 of the ProBlogger podcast “10 Writing Tips to Help You Sound More Human” here, along with show notes, links to Beth’s detailed descriptions of what we discussed, and video of her talks.

Further Reading:


How to Make Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing

How to Make Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate MarketingThanks all for your feedback on our 50th episode of the ProBlogger podcast! I still can’t believe we finally made it.

Onward with episode 51 and my tips on affiliate marketing as an income stream:

This episode is sort of an introduction to what affiliate marketing is and how I personally approach it. There are a heap of practical tips so you’re sure to get something out of it whether you’re a complete affiliate newbie, or have seen some success before.

Affiliate marketing is a blogger’s promotion of a particular product (created by someone else) with a specific link that contains a tracking code. When someone buys on the basis of your recommendation, and clicks through from your tracking link, you get a commission on that sale. For Digital Photography School, we often recommend cameras, and therefore will get 4% of any sale resulting from that recommendation from Amazon.

So why consider affiliate marketing as an income stream? When you consider in advertising the advertiser is taking a risk by paying you for amplification on your blog that might not work out, and you as the publisher are taking the risk by becoming an affiliate, it seems like a dud deal. But the rewards of affiliate sales can often be greater than through general advertising alone, which can make it an attractive option despite the risk.

Today I discuss one particular experience I had with an early affiliate collaboration and how it exceeded beyond everyone’s expectations, and I also talk about the kinds of blogs that can be more successful with affiliate sales, and the three things I believe they need to have that will boost their chances of getting a high return.

The other topics I touch on are:

  • Personally how I approach affiliate marketing
  • How much of my income is derived through affiliate marketing
  • How it is often dictated by seasonal trends
  • The three types of affiliate programs I promote on my blogs
  • The types of affiliate networks available and how they work
  • Tips for affliliate marketing on blogs (and what NOT to do!)
  • The types of promotion you can use depending on your audience
  • Placement of affiliate links for higher returns
  • How I drive traffic to the post and the promotion
  • Tips on transparency and disclaimers
  • Easy tracking of results
  • Promotional sequences and strategies
  • How to balance promotion frequency

You can find episode 51 of the ProBlogger Podcast How to Make Money As a Blogger Through Affiliate Marketing here. 

Related Reading:

What I Learned About Podcasting in my First 50 Episodes

What I Learned About Podcasting in my First 50 Episodes on

We made it to episode 50 of the ProBlogger Podcast!

To be honest, when I was about halfway through the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog podcast series, I didn’t think I would make this that far. Podcasting in the early days is tough going!

In this episode, I discuss all the things I’ve learned so far about podcasting in terms of content, delivery, tools, monetization, building an audience and what I think are the benefits to taking a different road with your blog and interacting more personally with your readers.

It’s been interesting to see which episodes have been the most popular – it appears that the more personal and relatable the topic, the more it is downloaded and shared. Quite similar to blogging, but of course in such a different format and with a whole new audience as well. Storytelling and humanism really does draw people in regardless of the vehicle by which you do it. Being useful too, has massive benefits – five out of the top 10 podcasts have filled a gap or met a need for listeners, or even directly answered their questions.

If you are thinking of starting a podcast, I am sure you will find this mix of personal experience and practical tools and tips helpful to you on your journey.

You can find episode 50 of the ProBlogger podcast What I Learned About Podcasting in my First 50 Episodes here, along with show notes and links to the tools mentioned. I’d love to hear your feedback – what has been your favourite episode? What has helped you? You can leave a comment here, on the episode page, or you can fill in a short survey here.

Thanks for listening!

How to Define Your Blog’s Brand


In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I want to talk to you about blog branding, and how it shapes the relationship between you and your reader.

It’s something I think everybody should take seriously, and put thought into, rather than just muddle along and see what happens – it really makes such a difference not only to how you are perceived, but also in growing your presence.

Today’s episode is super-practical, and includes lifestyle blogger Claire Hillier from Checks and Spots giving her top tips for building a brand. She spoke at the recent ProBlogger event about blogging for beginners and mentioned these incredibly important points about personal branding, your blog mission, and how these things tie together. These ultimately have a flow-on effect for other parts of your blog and presence online.

Grab a notepad and jot down the notes as they come – also feel free to stop the podcast and answer the questions she raises – and really engage with the content and concept of building your own blog brand, whether it’s commercial or as a hobby.

Claire discusses:

  • What is a brand?
  • What is the essence of a blog?
  • What is the audience?
  • Where is my blog useful?
  • Brand values

You can find episode 49 of the ProBlogger podcast How to Define Your Blog’s Brand here, as well as the show notes.

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