Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

The sun is shining, the birds are singing – I think spring has finally hit Melbourne!

With that, I will leave you with this week’s links to ponder…

Instagram Images: How to Stand out on Instagram // Social Media Examiner

This podcast was interesting – I’ve definitely seen the trend for very similar images being used on IG, particularly for specific niches. I’ve experimented with a lot, and I found the opposite of what I often expected. For example, an image set out similarly to one I admired ended up getting the least amount of likes. So how do you stand out when it seems everyone is homogenous? And how do you stay true to your own aesthetic in the process?

Facebook Turns Notes into a Blogging Platform with a Revamped Interface // TNW News

Everyone’s talking about the revamped Notes section on Facebook – it looks and functions much more like a user-friendly blogging platform. Perhaps a way to get around the Facebook page (dismal) algorithm to get your content seen?

How to Hack the Amplification Process (Whiteboard Friday) // Moz

Have you been looking in the wrong places for your audience?

The 5 Biggest Social Media Trends of 2015 (Infographic) // Social Media Today

Number 3 I already knew, but Line? What on Earth is Line?!

What it takes to Make Fashion Blogging Look Effortless // The Atlantic

It’s not all front row seats and fancy lipstick.

3 Resources to Help you Become a Professional Content Marketer // Copyblogger

I see a lot of bloggers turn pro by instead becoming professional content marketers. If that’s something you’re interested in, Stefanie Flaxman gives a great overview of getting started.

How This Blogger Made $1 Million in 3 Years and Is Visiting Every Country on Earth // Forbes

I’m always fascinated about how bloggers make a living from travelling, but this guy earns $1000 a day: something I was EXTRA fascinated with! What a lot to learn.

3 Things all Great Digital Marketers Know // Business2Community

Ah yes… we all forget number 2!

Facebook Audience Insights: 5 Groups You Should Analyze // Jon Loomer

Have I convinced you to come around to Facebook Ads yet? Jon really makes it easy to figure out the best method for maximum results.

How to Use Snapchat for Business // Social Media Examiner

A few weeks ago I linked to an article stating we were missing out on reaching the youth of today if we weren’t implementing Snapchat. Afterwards, I reinstated my account but I guess I’m still missing the point of it. I like the idea in this article of creating a tutorial – I’m seeing a lot of people doing that on Periscope lately.

So what have you read lately? Are you earning $1000 a day?!

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Writing Challenge: Write a ‘How I Do It’ Blog Post

Bookshelf filled with colorful books

Today’s podcast episode is a little bit different – a throwback of sorts to one of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Podcast challenges.

I think it’s important to offer challenges like this, as it’s very easy to read or listen to what to do, but actually doing it is a totally different thing all together. In fact, absorbing knowledge without putting it into practise is one of the 21 mistakes I see new bloggers make fairly consistently.

So today the challenge to you is to write a “How I do it” blog post. Something about how you do whatever it is you’re good at, to share with your audience. It might be a very simple topic idea, but it is in fact a very valuable way to drive traffic to your blog, and in turn, grow your readership.

In the podcast I discuss the differences between the style of posts you could create, and examples for each – from styling a bed to making $72,000 in eBook sales – and also tips for brainstorming and writing.

You can listen to episode 47 of the ProBlogger podcast: Writing Challenge: Write a ‘How I Do It’ Blog Post here, and access the examples above in the show notes.

You are also welcome to link to the post you’ve written in the comments below.

Further Reading:

Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes?


While the pathway to blogging is different for everybody, and you could argue there’s no “wrong” way, in today’s ProBlogger podcast I discuss some of the mistakes I made when first starting out, and the most typical mistakes I see newer bloggers making. I wonder if any of you recognize yourselves in these behaviours that could very well hold you back?

I talk about everything from before people even start their blogs, to they way they market them, how they drive traffic, how they monetise, site design, and even the chosen niche. But all is not lost if you do find yourself taking these wrong turns – I also give options about how to avoid the pitfalls I see so many falling into.

You can find episode 46 of the ProBlogger podcast: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes? here, along with the show notes.

I’d love to hear of the mistakes you made or the ones you see others making – which ones were the hardest to overcome?

Further Reading:

If Blogging Were a Sport, Here are Three Things I Learned While Playing the Game

If Blogging Were a Sport, Here are Three Things I Learned While Playing the GameThis is a guest post from Laura Forde from Life of the Differently Abled.

When I think of blogging, I think of a sports stadium with a game being played on the field.

It truly doesn’t matter the sport in question for this analogy to work, what matters is this:

What matters is that the sport has many moving pieces and each one has an important role to play in the completion of the match. We are all required to play within the restriction of those rules, but for some of us those rules don’t cover our reality.

All my life I have played all sports with an adapted rule book. My set of rules were added to by my physical limitations that others simply didn’t have. Those extra ‘rules’ could have set me back, but instead they caused me to work harder, give more to the game and this in turn gave me a competitive edge.

An example of such an adaptation in sport is sledge hockey. For those of you unfamiliar with sledge hockey, it is adaptive hockey that follows the rules of international ice hockey, but the adaptation comes in, in terms of the equipment used. Because sledge hockey is played mainly by people with some form of mobility limitation they use a device called a sledge. It is a contraption that one sits in, and then propels themselves using pics attached to the non-shooting end of two mini hockey sticks (players have two sticks one for each hand)

Adaptive sport isn’t often about changing how the game is actually played, but more about making it accessible to everyone regardless of physical ability.

But back to blogging.

I started blogging knowing absolutely nothing about blogging. Would I sink or swim? To know I had to jump in! I took action and found I didn’t sink. Everything I have learned to date I have extracted from watching and learning from those who know how to blog.

The immediate thing that drew me into blogging was that I could play it as an adaptive sport. if I could type with my fingers even slowly or via a voice dictation software I had a way to play.

And in learning to blog, I learned something about myself and what makes me able to ‘play a sport and win the prize I seek’ despite the tougher rule book which is my lot.

The three things I have learned from blogging

  1. Believe in yourself and what you have to say
  2. Don’t let any fears stop you, especially fear of what others will think. Be yourself and serve from there
  3. And before you give up on anything in life that you truly want remember:
  • Believe in yourself because when you start believing in yourself, whatever your apparent limitations, others will take notice and start believing in you too
  • Go beyond your greatest fear
  • Be your best self

So tell me which of these three lessons have you found the most valuable to apply in your own life and where did you first learn it? Comment below.

Laura Forde is one of few bloggers who writes about life with cerebral palsy from a first hand account you can find her blogging at Life of the Differently Abled.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

It’s the weekend again (with bonus school holidays for some!) and the wrap-up of blogging goodies online. No matter how much I think I’ve read on a topic, there’s always something I learn, or a new perspective to take that I haven’t explored yet.

How to Boost Your Engagement with Visual Content // Social Media Examiner

Definitely a few new ideas I hadn’t thought of yet, and links to the tools that make them.

6 Aspects of SEO the Busy Entrepreneur Can Finally Stop Worrying About // Search Engine Journal

Do you agree with these? They definitely gave me food for thought. I do like the idea of link earning rather than link building.

Why Your Colleagues Still Won’t Share Your Blog Post // Hootsuite

Yeah sure, we know the science behind how to get shared, but what happens when it doesn’t work?

SEO Tips for Social Media Managers // Sprout Social

Solid tips that sometimes we forget. Bonus – the graphics are pretty!

Your Website is Way Too Confusing: Simplify Your Website with the KISS Rule // KISSmetrics

I changed my blog a few months ago to a minimalist theme and I cannot recommend it highly enough. No, it won’t work for everybody, but it’s pleasing to the eye and keeps the focus on the content. Is your website too busy?

The Perfect Anatomy of a Modern Web Writer // Copyblogger

With bonus infographic! This is for everyone who is a web writer, who wants to become one, or who wants to hire one. Tons and tons of useful info here.

Is Facebook Finally Introducing a “Dislike” Button? Not Exactly // Slate

Errbody’s talking about it: but what’s actually happening with the Facebook “dislike” button? It’s actually more about empathy. What are your thoughts?

10 Common Mistakes When Setting up Audiences in AdWords // Search Engine Land

I’ve been looking into AdWords lately, so this came at the right time. Learn from the mistakes of others, eh?

The Anatomy of a Shareable, Linkable, and Popular Post: A Study of Our Marketing Blog // Hubspot

Everything from the effect of word count on social shares to the number of links’ effect on organic traffic, they’ve really crunched the numbers on this one. Fascinating stuff.

5 Overlooked But Super Effective Ways to Boost Sales on Your Blog // Jeff Bullas

Have you been overlooking these too?


What news have you read lately that taught you something?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

7 Habits of Lucky Entrepreneurs

7 Habits of Lucky Entrepreneurs on ProBlogger.netIn today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I’m talking about all things luck. How important is it in business and blogging? How much of luck is really just hard work? Do you need to be lucky to successful.

My first steps along this journey into blogging really were lucky, I feel. It all started from a random email one day sent to my Hotmail from my mate Steve – and it changed the trajectory of my life. As I look back over the years since there have been many lucky moments along the way, chance encouncers, meeting the right people at the right time, being in the right place at the right time sort of thing but there has also been hard work and strategy.

I’ve talked to plenty of successful people and I often ask them if their success is due to serendipity or strategy, and today I share I’ve learned from them, the seven lessons we can really take on board to increase the chances of lucky things happening to us.

I share what I know about learning, curiosity, problems, positivity, experimentation, creation, daydreaming, reflection, knowing your place in space, reactions, pivoting, small change, and mindset – and almost none of them are personality traits, they’re learned behaviours.

I also provide some questions designed to get you thinking about how you make your decisions and deal with setbacks.

You can hear episode 45 of the ProBlogger podcast: 7 Habits of Lucky Entrepreneurs here.

Further Reading:

10 Ideas for Finding Blogging Inspiration

10 Ideas for Finding Blogging Inspiration on ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Larry Alton.

No matter what famous authors tell you, writer’s block is a real thing, and it’s not easy to overcome. If you’ve spent much time in the content creation world, you’ve probably done your fair share of staring at a blank word document, wondering what you should be writing next. However, that gets you no closer to your end goal. If you find yourself hitting a wall the next time a blog post is due, consider these inspirational tactics. 

Set Up Google Alerts

When in doubt about what to write next, stick to current news and events. By setting up Google Alerts, you can always be aware of the biggest trending news topics and subtopics. It also introduces you to new content sources and helps you stay informed about what’s happening with your niche in real time.

Subscribe to Similar Blogs

Be aware of what your competitors are blogging about. Monitor their latest topics by subscribing to their blogs. This will allow you to enter the current conversation rather than end it, which is what your bloggers really want.

The topics others are writing about will give you inspiration for your own blog and keep you up to date on current topics. However, beware of taking the same angle as a competitor. In most cases, you’ll want to take a different angle on the same topic so that you aren’t simply mimicking other blogs.

Post a Poll

Readers love to be given a chance to participate, and posting a relevant poll is a great opportunity to engage readers while gaining useful feedback. You can do this on both social media and your blog post. At least once a week, ask an interesting question and let the answers tell you what your readers want to read now.

For example, you might ask them what movie they watched last, what their greatest fear is, or any other question that could spur relevant content for your blog. If you have a vast readership, consider using a free polling service that will make collecting the results easy.

Invite Guest Authors

If you’ve really hit a wall with no immediate signs of recovery, get a guest blogger to post on your website. This will keep your readers entertained while you take some time to generate new ideas. There are several online tools you can use to find guest bloggers for your website at decent prices.

Take a Walk

Still can’t think of a topic? How long have you been sitting in your desk chair? Your prolonged stationary position is probably only stifling your creativity. The longer you sit staring at the computer screen, the more your brain begins to get sleepy, distracted, and burnt out.

Going for a walk or exerting some other form of enjoyable exercise will help you to be more awake and alert and give you the boost of creativity you desperately need to get writing again.

Blog About Mistakes

The general population loves to read about mistakes. It makes them feel human and allows them to learn a powerful lesson. We’ve all heard the old adage, “You learn more from failure than success,” and readers eat that stuff up. The next time you can’t think of a topic, reflect on a recent mistake you made and create a blog post based on that.

Talk It Out

Blogging is a solitary job, and you can gain powerful insights from talking with a friend or family member. Explain your problem and talk about some ideas you’ve considered or talk through what’s blocking your inspiration. Your friend doesn’t need to know anything about your blog or offer any suggestions. Simply talking about your dilemma out loud is an excellent way to spark creativity.

Write About a Controversy

Do you feel differently about a hot topic than many of your competitors? Address the controversy. Every niche has a subject that’s currently garnering both attention and fire. Don’t ignore what’s popular. Take a stance on the current hot topic and discuss the matter in depth.

Ask Questions

Furthermore, if there’s a controversy in your industry that you’re undecided about, ask your readers what they think. Begin by offering context on the subject and explain a few of your competitors’ viewpoints; then ask readers what they think. This is another great opportunity to engage with your fans, and it will help you come to a conclusion regarding this topic.


Get out of your office and into the world where you can view a world of interesting people making interesting decisions. Go somewhere where your target audience usually congregates, and observe their actions. You can gain a lot with your insights from this activity.

There are hundreds of things you can do to get out of a writing slump and inspire a topic that’s truly creative. One of those things might be entering a community where you can find inspiration for blog posts, network with other writers, apply for gigs, and learn more about your trade.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How to Use Blab Live Streaming to Grow Your Blog


NewImage.pngIn today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I am talking about a new tool for bloggers and content creators that I’ve really taken to: Blab. It’s kind of like the lovechild of Google Hangouts and Periscope, and I’ve been experimenting with it a lot lately.

When I first heard of Blab I was sceptical, but over the next few days I noticed quite a few people I respect were using it, so I checked it out properly. It was broadcasting the speaker, much like other apps, but I quickly realised it solved a problem that I’d been having with Periscope – it was too much centred on me, and Blab meant I could have greater interaction with the people watching and listening, which was a much more two-way conversation.

In episode 44, I describe how Blab not only has been useful for me, but also how I think it can be useful to you to help grow your blog – from deepening relationships with your audience, getting ideas from chat and Q&A sessions, the ease of sharing Blab content, replays, continuation of videos, repurposing blog posts or posts you’ve written elsewhere, to the benefits of being able to interact in real time, whether it’s a keynote-style presentation or a more relaxed conversation.

I talk about how I use Blab, the basics of getting started, how I learned best practice, and tips to help you on your live streaming journey.

You can find episode 44 of the ProBlogger podcast: How to Use Blab Live Streaming to Grow Your Blog here, along with show notes and extra links.

You can also follow me on Blab here, and be notified of future broadcasts.

Are you on Blab? Leave a link to your profile in the comments.

Further Reading:

Can Launching a “For Beginners” Blog Still Work?

Can Launching a "For Beginners" Blog Still Work?This is a guest contribution from Karol K.

Here’s the thing. One of the prevailing myths around blogging is that the best way to start a new blog is to find a topic you’re passionate about, and then build a blog targeting a general, beginner audience interested in it.

For example, if your passion is WordPress then a (seemingly) good idea for a blog is something like “Beginner’s Guide to WordPress.”

Well, here’s the kicker … even though it might sound like a good idea, it actually isn’t.

In theory, you should be able to attract beginners and effectively be the first resource they encounter. But in practice, most of your readers will already be familiar with some of the big-name blogs in your niche by the time they even get to yours.

Those big-name blogs have all the power they need to sweep your target audience right from under your nose. They have the reputation, they have the brand and they have the social proof that beginners look for.

So what to do?

Is the “beginners” market so saturated that there’s no place left for you? Should you just abandon the idea of blogging entirely?

In a sentence: Of course not!

Let’s look into the possibilities that are still out there, and the specific things to do if you want to get into blogging.

Fork in the road – three paths to blogging

Taking the problem described above into account, there are basically three paths you can follow:

  • Launch a “for beginners” blog anyway. Hey, it will be difficult, but it’s not impossible, provided you have these two things: (1) a big budget to spend on promotion, SEO and other marketing-related things, or (2) a truly unique angle that has the potential to stick right from the get-go.
  • Launch a blog in a specialized area within the “beginners” niche. Using my previous example, a specialized area in “Beginner’s Guide to WordPress” might be a “Designer’s Guide to WordPress” – exactly what CodeinWP did when launching their blog meant for WordPress enthusiasts and pros.
  • Launch a blog focusing on more advanced aspects of the niche. Here, you’ll be going the completely opposite way and not paying much attention to beginner topics.

All of the above have their pros and cons, so let’s go over each and get a little more in-depth here.

“For beginners” blog

The main advantage of launching a “for beginners” blog is that creating content shouldn’t be very challenging. I mean, I know that bloggers have to be able to provide quality no matter who they’re writing for, but creating beginner content is always … what’s the word … lighter than creating advanced content.

It’s also easier to explain the purpose of your blog and probably convey its brand too.

Moreover, beginner blogs can usually utilize different content types more effectively than advanced blogs. For instance, it’s way easier to conduct an interview with a respected figure in the niche and prepare a list of questions that everyone can benefit from (not only advanced listeners).

On the other hand, the main downside is that making such a blog popular is next to impossible. Okay, maybe I’m a little too harsh, but let’s not forget that only a small part of blogs manage to attract more than 200 visitors a day, and the more competition you have, the more difficult it gets.

In order to grow such a blog, you’ll have to invest not only in good SEO, active social media promotions, massive guest blogging, but also in promotion through other online media channels like YouTube or podcasting.

Specialized “for beginners” blog

Launching a specialized “for beginners” blog shouldn’t be much more difficult than launching a standard one; although creating regular content can be a bit more challenging and will require more time.

However, one of the great things about such sites is that they become somewhat authoritative by default right from day one. For instance, if you title your blog “The Beginner’s Guide to Grilling Steak” then very few people will question your expertise in that space. It’s much more difficult to portray yourself as an expert in “all things cooking,” than it is in “all things grilling steak.” The same thing goes for most other niches too.

For example, this approach was neatly used by Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch when he launched a blog to get more people interested in his main product – project proposal software for freelancers. The main idea of the blog was to focus on topics related to project proposals and working with clients.

Such a strategy has made it easier to get the initial stream of visitors and build a core audience. In comparison, launching and growing a blog that simply talks about marketing or business would have been much more difficult.

Essentially, the more niche you go, the easier it is to find a small group of devoted fans. That being said, the problem you might encounter sooner or later is that building your audience can gradually become more challenging every month. You can simply start running out of audience, so to speak.

What to do when that starts to happen? Pivot. Start writing about other more general topics related to your niche. Your core audience will help you spread the word and reach new readers. Readers who would have never stumbled upon you otherwise.

Good SEO and other promotional methods are still important when growing a specialized niche blog (like they always are). So you will need to devote significant amount of your time to that. On the bright side, your hyper-niche idea is most likely to stick right away and resonate with a targeted visitor who’s actively interested in the topic.

Advanced niche blog

A good way to get a grasp on what an advanced blog should cover is to think about one of your passions and try answering the following question:

What were the things you were interested in once you were already 2 to 3 years into your passion? In most cases, this is the kind of topics that are perfect for an advanced blog.

Nevertheless, an advanced blog is probably the most challenging project to launch successfully from a content creator’s point of view. Advanced content is always the most time-consuming type of writing, and it needs to be 100 percent accurate with no room for mistakes (advanced audiences will quickly catch those).

Thankfully, you don’t have to publish new posts very often. Even once a week or once every other week will do just fine, as long as your content is extremely useful.

Just like with the other two types of blogs described here, good SEO is always the key ingredient. Luckily, the keywords for an advanced blog are usually less competitive and easier to target. Most of them are long tail keywords.

For example, two or three weeks ago I wanted to get some info on creating a grandchild theme in WordPress. The phrase I used in Google was something like “how to create a child theme of a child theme WordPress” … this is what we call long tail.

The greatest power of long tail keyword phrases is that when someone searches using them, they are almost 100 percent certain to visit your page if the title (more or less) matches their search query. Going long tail, as a searcher, is the ultimate desperate move. It simply means that you haven’t been able to find quality information with shorter queries.

One more cool thing is that the big and popular blogs in your niche are more likely to link to a blog that covers advanced topics. That’s because you’re positioning yourself as the “next step up” kind of resource. Comparing this to a scenario where you have yet another “for beginners” blog, there’s just no need for an already established popular “for beginners” blog to link to it.

Taking action

All three types of blogs have their individual challenges and pros and cons to tackle. But in the end, launching a successful blog is always a lot of work. I’m sure you’re familiar with Darren’s story on how he built his blogs.

Every project like this should start with a good plan. I hope that this post will help you craft such a plan and then put it in practice.

Lastly, what’s your opinion about blogging in “for beginners” niches? Does it still make sense to do it?

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger and writer, published author, and online business figure-outer. His work has been featured all over the web, on sites like:,,,,,, and others. Feel free to contact him to find out how he can help your business grow by writing unique and engaging content for your blog or website.