31DBBB Day 31: Next Steps

Congratulations! You’ve made it to Day 31.

Hopefully you’ve found some of the challenges over this last 31 days to be useful. Thousands have completed the program over the years and I’ve heard so much great feedback, but there’s one thing I’d like to share with you today on the podcast.

What’s the key to really getting the most out of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog? And how do you do that? I share all!

You will need a calendar set up somewhere so make sure you have one you can use before you get going with today’s challenge. Nothing will change if you only think about it, so we’re going to ensure you’ve got the tools to keep on going the way you have and to really get stuff done. It’s all about keeping active, so I’ll help you put some strategies in place to do just that.

I’m also going to share what the format for the usual podcasts will be and where you can find more activities to keep you busy and your blog the best it can be.

Thank you so much for joining me this month, and I hope you enjoy today’s episode.

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Click here to listen to day 31 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series on the ProBlogger Podcast. 

The ProBlogger Podcast: Digging into Statistics

Almost the last day!

While yesterday we looked to the future to build a plan to find readers, today we’re going to dig into our stats to find out what kind of effect the last 29 days have had on our sites. What can you see is different after the changes you’ve made?

Some of you will be seasoned pros at looking at your stats, but if you’re newer to blogging and want some starting points, these are the metrics I recommend you keep track of regularly as you go on with your blogging.

In the show notes I also link to a post I published recently that gives you an overview of how I use Google Analytics to do this kind of investigation, and I’ll describe how and why these are the metrics I choose to keep tabs on.

Every month or so I go through each of these and compare them to the previous month (I give you a quick tip on how to do this easily), and also think about how I can recreate successes in content, on social, and how well other types of traffic are doing.

Today we’ll also go a little deeper into channels to look for trends, behaviour, and other hints that will help us keep the trend on the up.

If you are indeed in the newer camp, please don’t fret about stats. It can be easy to get disillusioned in the early days, but we all feel small when we start out! Most successful blogs go for 2-3 years before they hit a tipping point of sorts. We discuss that a little more in today’s podcast also.

So open up Google Analytics and take a little dig with me. Feel free to share your most popular post from the month in the comments too – you might be surprised what has worked better than you thought it would!

See you tomorrow for the wrap up of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Podcast.

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Click here to listen to day 30 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series on the ProBlogger Podcast. 

Further Reading:

How to Develop the Right Plan to Grow Your Blog’s Readership

We’re getting to the end of our time together, and in these last few days I like to look to the future and see how we can use what we’ve learned over the last few weeks on our blogs.

Today’s challenge is a simple one, although it might take you a bit of time, but it shouldn’t be skipped. We’re going to switch from creating content and the day-to-day of building community with our readers, and do things that are a little more long-term and strategic.

Today is all about growing your readership. I’ll discuss some of the drawbacks of focusing solely on content (as in a “build it and they will come” idea), and why it’s not going to do you any favours if you blog on a whim without a focus.

I’m also going to give you guidance when it comes to where you spend your time, who you are talking to, and how to find readers who will love your blog and what you do. I’ll tell you how to make a list that focuses on these things, and how to figure out what opportunities there are for you to join those readers and make an impact where they already are.

We’ll also have a look at where you are now and if the habits you currently have are serving you. And if they’re not – well, I’ll guide you through how you can make a change to blog to the right audience more effectively.

We’re almost there! Let’s go out with a bang.

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31DBBB Day 28 Writing Challenge: Write a Review Post

It’s writing challenge day!

For some of you, this will be “business as usual”, as review posts are already part of your repertoire. For others, it will be something quite new.

In today’s episode we discuss why review posts are even something to consider. They can be useful for many reasons, not just for the reader who may be researching a decision, but also for you and your blog too – not the least of which could lead to monetization. I built my first commercial blog 100% around reviews!

We’ll also discuss the reasons for and against having reviews on your type of niche blog, and the types of reviews you could do depending on your regular topics.

And last but not least, my top tips for how to make your review great – there’s plenty here for everyone, whether you think a review would fit on your blog or not. Try it and see!

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Click here to listen to day 28 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series on the ProBlogger Podcast. 

Further Reading:

31DBBB Day 25: Ask a Question

Today is another writing challenge, but it’s one that need not take much time at all. In fact, it might be the shortest post you’ve ever written!

Very simply, ask your readers a question.

In the episode, I detail the benefits of writing this kind of post – things like how it can increase blog stickiness, how it can help you gauge where your readers are at, how to tailor your content from what you’ve learned, how it even helps your post rank higher in Google searches.

And if you’re new, or concerned that you won’t get much of a response, take heart! I explain how it can still be useful even if you only get a handful (or less!) of answers.

I also go through 12 tips and ideas for asking readers questions on your blog, so you will come away with plenty of ideas to help you nail today’s challenge. I’d love to see what kinds of questions you ask your readers, so feel free to leave a link in the comments to your post and we can check it out.

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Click here to listen to day 25 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series on the ProBlogger Podcast. 

Further Reading:

Beginner Blogging Insights From Making My First $1000

This is a guest contribution from Hassan Ud-deen.

I love blogging.

But as a beginner, it’s made me feel like complete crap at times.

When I started blogging, failure’s heavy blows hit me hard. Filling my stomach with angry butterflies that constantly questioned: “Will I ever be able to make money blogging and sharing my words, or will I remain a permanent member amongst the hordes of “tragic wannabes”? Slowly sinking into the quicksand of their wordless, settled lives and dying inside…clinging to their broken dreams like a drowning man clinging on to his last reserves of oxygen?”

Everyone else around me seemed to be doing great.

But me? I couldn’t even get a negative response to a guest post pitch, never mind making my first dollar…

But things changed for the better.

I’m no longer shackled by anxiety. I’m no longer sending pitches with 101 doubts swirling in my brain. I’m no longer haunted by thoughts of being able to put food in my belly and a roof over my head with my words.

And I know I can succeed.

Am I living on a tropical palm tree decorated island, only moving my pina colada sipping butt off my hammock to sip even more pina coladas on some luxury cruise boat that’s idyllically sailing into the sunset?

Hell no. Well not yet anyway.  But I have hit some blogging milestones.

Since last November I have:

  • Snatched up my first $1000 from blogging
  • Took my blog from 0-1000 visitors a month
  • Published over 20 guest posts
  • Landed my first four freelance writing clients

I’m no expert, but I’m still learning.

And along the way, I’ve picked up some valuable lessons that’ll help fellow bloggers.

If you’re a grizzled blogging veteran…congratulations. But this post isn’t for you. It’s for the beginner bloggers out there, who are having a tough time getting started and are ready to slay their blogging demons.

Let’s go.

Expert Help Can Skyrocket Your Growth

The blogging word can be feel like an informational warzone at times, with you smack-bang in the middle of it all….

You barely have enough time to duck under your keyboard before you’re barraged by conflicting bullets of advice.

Is SEO the way to go? Is killer content king? Or does link building reign supreme?

The truth is, there isn’t one perfect strategy. You have to pick one and stick to it.

And mastering your chosen strategy by yourself will take a lot of time. That’s why investing in your education is the best thing you can do for your blogging career.

Sure, you can save a ton of heartache with time-slicing hacks and tips from the pros.

But nothing beats having a battle-tested blogging veteran look over your shoulder. Whether you use a coaching program or a course, proactively seeking expert advice will yield a huge ROI.

Investing in a proper blogging education will:

  • Allow you to “stand on the shoulders of the giants” and experience success without having to soak up your share of failures.
  • Force you to commit, because shelling out your hard money will make you more invested.
  • Give you instant access to influencers and leaders

Remember how I said guest posting was real hard for me?

Well, that was an understatement. Guest posting was hell for me.

Before enrolling in Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging Program, I was like a bad-breathed pick up artist at a busy nightclub. I was swamped with rejections, and couldn’t land a guest post no matter how many editors I approached.

After taking the course, I’ve landed guest posts on many top blogs and have never looked back.

Investing in my blogging education also helped me win clients. Before working with my awesome mentor and friend Bamidele Onibalusi I was stuck. I could write, I could land guest posts, but I couldn’t snag those pesky clients.

After working with Oni, I had a kick-ass guest blogging strategy and landed my first few clients.

Working with an experienced pro will guarantee that you improve. Find out where your weaknesses lie and transform them into strengths with the help of a killer course or coach.

Get to Know Your Readers and Subscribers

Creating compelling content is hard enough, but not knowing your audience makes it almost impossible.

That’s why it’s important to get to know who your readers are.

What are their dreams and goals? Who do they admire? What are their hobbies and interests?

You have to know who is reading what you write.

I used webinar services like clickmeeting to connect with my readers.

I brainstormed topics (I was familiar with) that would help my readers . And because there wasn’t a large amount of people, I was able to do things like give live copy critiques for free. This allowed me to simultaneously engage my audience and learn more about them.

But if webinars aren’t your thing, you can also use surveys and blast out emails to get to know your audience better.

Focus On Your Email List From The Start

In the beginning I didn’t think about growing my email list.

Which is a huge mistake when you consider that:

As a complete noob (I’ve graduated to just noob now), knowing that a few eyeballs had been scanning my site gave me a euphoric rush. But I soon realised all the traffic in the world is useless unless I’m able to capture it.

So I threw up a subscription box on my site. It snatched me a few emails, but my conversion rates sucked harder than a faulty Dyson…

I was scraping 1-2 subscribers a week, if I was lucky.

So I created a short irresistible incentive for my readers and offered it in exchange for their email addresses. This lead to an immediate increase in subscribers.

Don’t wait till “later” to build your email list like me. Start now. Create an incentive for your audience and work on promoting it. Some great list building apps are:

And don’t be afraid to use pop-ups. Darren soared his daily subscriber count from 40-350  by simply using a “pop over” subscription form.

Guest Posting Still Works

The blogging world let out a collective grasp when Matt Cutts declare that guest blogging is dead. However feedback from the world’s most recognized bloggers shows otherwise.

Inspired by guest posting bad-asses like Bamidele Onibalusi and Danny Iny, I  launched my first guest posting campaign in November 2014 – two months before Matt declared it as dead.

Considering the fact that I had just spent around $400 (a nice chunk of change for an unemployed student) on Jon Morrow’s guest blogging program…this hit me, very hard.

I wasn’t versed in SEO and I didn’t have money to splash on ads and facebook traffic. I started to panic. Guest posting was the only real option I had. How was I supposed to share my thoughts and make money blogging without it?

But I still went on with the campaign.

And it paid off.

Here’s a look at my site before the campaign:

Beginner Blogging Insights From Making My First $1000

Here’s my traffic after:

Beginner Blogging Insights From Making My First $1000

Did I get massive spikes in traffic and attract thousands of daily visitors to my site? Not really. However I did go from 0-1000 visitors a month, and landed my first two clients.

I learned that guest posting isn’t dead. It’s just changed a little.

Instead of guest posting for short bursts of traffic and exposure, focus on the long-term benefits of guest posting, like building your list, your credibility, and your relationships. After a while, your links will add up and lead to constant referral traffic.

Guest posting is also handy when marketing your business…

It put me in front of potential writing clients and helped impress them because of the high profile sites I had been on.

And as a beginner, guest posting can also help whip your flabby writing muscles into shape.

Having editors chop down my work to the best it can be was a great experience. It taught me a ton about my writing and showed me where I could improve.

Three of the best guides on guest posting I’ve come across are:

Remember, guest posting is a long term strategy. Focus on developing relationships, building your brand, bagging subscribers and consistent traffic will be yours.

It Takes Persistence and Patience

I turned 19 this year, but when I was 16, I read The Millionaire Fastlane. It changed my life.

I decided to no longer accept the status quo. F**k normal. I was going to be who I wanted to be no matter what.

So I quit college and told my family that I wanted to started a business…

They didn’t think I was serious. I was mocked, laughed at, constantly reminded of how I quit college to do…“nothing”.

But I was determined to make money blogging and writing. And after three years of questioning myself and my abilities and being mocked by friends and family…

I can now look in the mirror and say “I make money blogging”, “I’m a writer.”

And I have to admit, It feels damn good.

And If I can hit these blogging milestones, so can you.

Don’t comment below. Instead, tell me what action you took after reading this post. Did you send a pitch? Sign up for a course? What did you do? I’d love to know!

Hassan Ud-deen is a content marketer on a mission to kick conventional marketing’s fat boring ass…one buttcheek at a time. Troll him under his bridge at twitter (he likes it).

31DBBB Day 22 Challenge: Pay Special Attention to a Reader

Today’s podcast episode is all about your audience, and how to make them feel valued.

If there’s one way to build a better blog, it’s taking care of the people who take the time to read and engage with you, therefore creating a space that both you and they love. And one way to take care of those people is to not only tell them they’re valued, like we did on day five by emailing them, but by actually showcasing them publicly. Tell them why you appreciate them, loud and clear!

In the early days, I regularly gave two pieces of advice: “make your readers famous”, and “love your readers to death”. Today your challenge is to do just that, and I’m here to tell you how. I also explain how it has a three-pronged impact on you and your blog and a few ways I’ve gone about publicly valuing my readers and the effect it has had.

As always, feel free to share on Twitter or here in the comments how you’re doing with the challenge – can you believe we’re past the three-week mark now?!

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Click here to listen to day 22 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series on the ProBlogger Podcast. 

Further Reading:

The ProBlogger Podcast How-To: Conduct a Policy Review

I know – it sounds so technical. What blogger has a policy review and why would you even need one?

Bear with me, I think you’ll find today’s challenge super useful even if you think it doesn’t apply to you.

Of course, for some of you it’s a legal requirement in your jurisdiction to have a privacy policy if you’re collecting emails, or a disclosure policy if you’re working with brands. For the rest of you, it’s just good form to be transparent with your readers how you operate.

You may even have just a quick run-through of procedures you follow in general, or if something goes wrong. They don’t always have to be published.

In the workbook, I mention six areas you might want to consider a policy, and in today’s podcast episode, I go into detail with those, including how you can go about creating them to be as simple or as complex as you like.

You can also use today to create these policies if you don’t have any to review. I think you’ll find them incredibly handy.   ProBlogger Podcast AvatarClick here to listen to day 21 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series on the ProBlogger Podcast. 

Further Reading:

How and Why to Experiment with Opinion Posts on Your Blog

Today’s challenge in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog should be easy for some of you – but terrify the rest!

Opinion posts come easily to those who are happy to share and engage in the feedback that they get. For others, though, it might not come naturally to put yourself out there and perhaps meet some resistance from those who don’t agree.

I’ve definitely had to push myself out of my comfort zone to share how I feel about something. It comes with a range of emotions about how your post will be met – what will people say? How will they think of me?

It turns out your opinion is something your readers want, so by not sharing it, you’re doing yourself and them a disservice. In today’s episode I outline the reasons why opinion makes your blog useful, and how it differentiates your blog from standard news and even other blogs in your niche.

So of course today’s challenge is to actually write an opinion post. Be brave! In the podcast I give some ideas for different niches about what you can write about and what might work for your situation. You’ll find some are easier than others, but the point is not to be controversial, just to mention where your values align.

Having said that – don’t shy away from controversy if you think it will be a relevant discussion.

Feel free to share your post in the comments below, and have a look at other bloggers’ posts as they come in. You’ll never know where it will lead you.

As always, stay tuned tomorrow for a brand new topic.
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