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The Biggest Question Any Blogger Must Answer

So in your quest for blogging awesomeness, you may have had a chance to reflect on things and ask yourself a few questions.

  • What can I do to grow my blog?
  • Should I try that next marketing trick?
  • What will my next post be about?
  • How does Darren produce as much as he does?

But there’s one question that you might not be asking — that might be the most important one you, or any blogger could ask him (or her)self. Assuming that you’re a blogger who is interested in creating a blog that is read, well regarded, and well trafficked, there’s only one question that should preoccupy your mind at all times.

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Understanding The Rules of Great Content

In your quest for creating excellent content, you may have come across the following dilemma: I would love to create something important for my blog, but how do I, as a “mere” blogger contribute to that conversation at large? If I don’t create something de novo, will it be worth posting?

To answer that question, let me tell you about the 1 / 9 / 90 rule — and, in my humble opinion, its a rule that every blogger ought to live (and subsequently), die by.

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A Few Last Lessons On Blogging

The blogosphere’s a tough place. And to create a blog that survives and thrives under absolutely Darwinian conditions isn’t easy. Since this business week is coming to a close, I’d like to share a few universal lessons that I’ve learned over the past six months that have allowed me to enjoy a few successes that I’ve had, such as being paid for blogging, getting hired, then promoted, at a blog news magazine, growing a personal blog that cracked the Technorati 5000, and have it be mentioned by major blogs to mainstream sites, and of course, being offered this plum guest blogging spot. Oh, and all the while continuing with my medical residency.

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How To Market Your Blog in 2007

What-Is-Rss-1-1Want to learn more about marketing a blog? Subscribe to ProBlogger today for free and check out our how to find readers for your blog page.

It breaks my heart to see blogs with great content languish in utter anonymity, devoid of comments, saddled with a seven-figure alexa traffic ranking, and rotting in pagerank purgatory.

Well, no more, I say!

For those bloggers out there who have decided to start their blogs, or launch their blogging careers, in 2007 I salute you — and present to you with 41 ways to kickstart your marketing efforts. Kick back, grab a cold one, and check it out. And if, in a year’s time, you’ve cracked the Technorati 1000, don’t forget where it all began! :)

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How To Find News For Your Blog

In your quest to find interesting things to blog about, you may want to consider blogging about The News. Sure, there are loads of ways to create great content — interviews, tips, opinion pieces, research and so on, but blogging about news items can be particularly useful.

Why News is Good for your blog
First, because it can be an easy way of injecting fresh content — particularly if its a unique tidbit that no one knows; second, because when done well, you can demonstrate your own thought leadership in a given category; and third, it provides the opportunity to get The Scoop — the first blog to recognize a particular bit of news, and the potential for being explosively linked to (i.e. “link bait”), bringing traffic, comments, all of those precious inbound links, and the recognition that your site has done well.

Now, Its Actually Ok *Not* To Break The News
Unless bloggers have deep connections within any particular industry, most bloggers are not in the position to report on breaking news in any fashion. This is ok. Almost all A-list bloggers do this. Blogging magazines do this. And quite frankly, mainstream news organizations do this. In fact, most “news” is simply repeated ad nauseum between different networks and across different media (think about how many stories are going to be repeated in your local television news casts). Most bloggers will therefore need to comment on existing news that other mainstream organizations, or bloggers have discovered, or actually created (such as newsworthy research) first.

The trick, therefore, is to actually find news that’s worth commenting on.

And here’s how I do it.
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The Rules Behind Creating a Great Blog

So in your quest to dominate your corner of the blogosphere, you might be wonder about higher order questions. How does one blog? What are the “rules” behind creating a great blog? Is there anything universal that connects the very stuff behind the truly great blogs irrespective of their content? What does a great science blog have in common with a great celebrity blog? And can corporate blogs, be great?

Well, if yesterday’s post was about the habits of being a successful blogger (I seemed to dwell on time management, didn’t I?), today’s post is on what what truly great blogs have in common, and a few exercises that you can do to try and bring your own blog up to par (if it isn’t already at par!).

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5 Prerequisites For Blogging Success

In the time that I have been blogging, I have noticed that there are a few things that “successful” blogs have in common. And I am defining “success” in every way — monetary terms, absolute traffic, but more importantly, in robust and continued growth. With 2007 here and many New Years Resolutions on the cusp, I thought we would start things off with what I believe are 5 things that are necessary to grow one’s blog.

1. Putting in the Time and Commitment.
One of the things that I didn’t fully appreciate is what a time commitment blogging is. I’m not including all the time it takes to literally set up a WordPress installation, or taking the time to tweak your theme just right, or even answering the buckets of email you may (or may not) have. What I am talking about is the time it takes to actually write.

If you’re a gifted writer, all the best to you. Skip the rest of this tip. For the rest of us who were not born with a pencil in their mouths, it literally takes time to write something really meaty, interesting, and worthy of your blog. The stuff that makes people fascinated and can’t wait to want more. It takes time to research stuff you don’t know about, to find a block of uninterrupted time to actually sit down and write the blasted piece, and then actually get it out in a form that you feel comfortable with.

And for people who have a semblance of a life — husband/wife, kids, a job, other Responsibilities — it can actually come as a bit of a shock, because in the blogging world no one really talks about how long it takes to actually create something you’re proud of.

For the literal minded (who have not yet started to blog), what this means is that at a post a day, it might require one extra hour of your life to produce that single post alone. Are you going to take that hour away from television time? Time with your family? Time to sleep? For most folks, their days are packed to the gills doing Stuff; taking the time to commit to blogging will often mean taking time away form something else.

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