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Most Blog Readers Don’t Care they are Reading a Blog

One of the problems of immersing yourself in any one sub-group of people is that it’s very easy to lose the bigger picture.

This happens in many areas of life but is true for bloggers and more specifically for those who are active in the ‘Pro Blogging’ part of the overall blogging community.

One of the traps that it’s easy to fall into as a blogger is to think that your readers care that they are reading a blog.

While there is definitely a growing percentage of the wider population that know what a blog is and that would intentionally seek them out to read – the vast majority of web users either are blissfully unaware of blogs or if they do know about them couldn’t give two hoots about them.

In my experience what web users DO care about is getting relevant and quality information quickly.

Whether they find it on a forum, a static web page or on a blog doesn’t concern them.

What worries me as I surf through many blogs each day is that there seem to be quite a few bloggers (and some blog networks) who in my mind are a little obsessed with reminding their readers that they are on a blog. While there is nothing wrong with educating readers about blogging occasionally I suspect in most cases readers don’t really care and that constantly reminding them of the fact that they are on a blog is something that can actually work against you.

This was illustrated to me a few months ago when after being Slashdotted I read the comments thread on the post that had linked to me there and was very amused by the fact that quite a few readers were paying out blogs but were completely unaware that their beloved Slashdot was in fact a blog itself. When some pointed this out to them there was a shock among some who said that they’d never considered Slashdot to be a blog because it had never promoted itself as such.

Instead of promoting itself as a blog as such, Slashdot works hard at presenting itself as a space where nerds get news about ‘stuff that matters’.

I listened to an interesting podcast this morning with Jeremy Wright and Tyme White where they picked up on this theme for a few minutes towards the end of their conversation. In it they talked a little about how many blogs and blog networks seem to be writing for other bloggers but are perhaps missing the bigger market of ‘non-bloggers’ who are not as technologically minded or web savvy but who just want information about the stuff they love.

I think their observation is correct. While I’m not suggesting bloggers need to dumb down their blogging I think the mind-shift of moving from writing for other bloggers to writing for ‘normal people’ (I can see bloggers everywhere scrolling down to the comments section after that phrase) is one worth making for most bloggers.

This means getting out of our own little Pro Blogging Ghetto and learning to communicate with others in ways that are accessible and smart – otherwise we limit the potential for our success.

From Corporate America to Professional Blogging – Becoming a Hired Blogger

Last week Jackie Willey (from Discover Walking and Amore Travel) left a comment on one of my posts as follows:

‘I own and market two blogs. As a result of my writing for these two blogs I was hired to write for two other blogs. In one case I bartered for services and in the other I was paid. There are opportunities out there once you can demonstrate your writing abilities.’


While this blog is about the broad topic of making money from blogs I’m aware that I tend to gravitate towards advertising and affiliate programs as this is how I make the majority of my own money blogging. I know that this is only one approach and that many others, like Jackie, are professional bloggers in other ways.

As a result I emailed Jackie and asked if she’d be interested in writing a post to share her experiences of becoming a hired blogger. Jackie went above and beyond my request for a short post on the topic and has put together the following guide on the topic which shares some of her own experiences of becoming a hired blogger.

From Corporate America to Professional Blogging

My career has been a magnet for corporate layoffs from mergers, consolidations and business closings. You would think that being an executive with Fortune 500 companies such as Citibank, Prudential and Digital Equipment would be a safe haven.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case. In key corporate finance and project management positions, my only saving grace is that I am usually one of the last employees out the door.

The good news, I can state from vast experience that the overwhelming majority of displaced co-workers found better jobs. In fact, many of my friends have taken the opportunity to find their dream jobs.

This last corporate layoff, I decided it was time to design my own dream job. After researching web-based businesses, blogs appeared to be an opportunity I could not resist. ProBlogger has been an enormous help getting me started. Reading the articles and comments became part of my “how to” guide.

My first step was to create one website to feed my traveling passion and another website to encourage people to walk. Both are subjects I enjoy writing about and having two subjects added diversity to my income stream.

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Lessons from my Tomato Patch on Pruning ‘Sucker’ Blogs

My-Tomatoes
Warning, Tangent Ahead – One of the best tips I’ve had in my new found hobby of growing vegetables is when it comes to growing Tomatoes (we currently have more than V and I can eat – so the tip is working).

The idea behind the tip is simple.

Tomato bushes grow fast in the right conditions and while they might start as a small seedling, left unchecked they will sprout out into all directions with new stems and can quickly become quite out of control and tangled. The result is that you end up with a very healthy looking bush – but because it is so large a lot of the energy that ideally should be being directed into growing fruit is wasted on growing leaves and stems and as a result your crop suffers.

The tip therefor is to look for ‘suckers’ and to prune them.

A sucker is a little shoot that grows out between two stems that can grow out into yet another stem (see picture below). In pruning them you keep the number of branches down and the bush doesn’t get out of control. Suckers also suck the energy away from your bush’s ability to grow fruit.

When I first heard this advice from my green thumbed friend it seems a little strange – surely one would want a big bush – wouldn’t that produce more fruit than a smaller one?

I decided to do a bit of an experiment. I let one bush go crazy and didn’t prune the suckers while I too the advice and removed them on my other bushes.

The results speak for themselves….

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There’s Gold in Your Archives

John from the Movie Blog just shot me an email with an experience he’s just had which illustrates one of the principles I tend to go on about here at ProBlogger (for example here, and):

Hey Darren,

Just a little piece of information that supports one of the things you talk about a lot here on your site… OLD POST STILL WORKING FOR YOU.

2 spikes in traffic that happend in the last week were both based on old post.

I put up a post a LONG time ago about the Colin Ferrell sex video scandle… when it came up again in the news this week, my old post brought in thousands of visitors.

Then last night… The Golden Globe awards were given out. My post for “Golden Globe Award Results”, which I put up for the 2005 awards show (a year ago) is coming up at #1 on Google and driving huge traffic today.

So there you go… just another illustration about how you’re right about the value of old posts still working for you.

John’s discovered first hand the power of Making Money with the Archives of your Blog. I’ve written numerous times on the topic – another ‘how to’ type post that might be helpful for people wanting to explore this is Increasing the Longevity of your Posts.

Sub-Niche Blogging – Lesson’s from a Baker Named Tom

Tom Otoole

Warning: Tangent Ahead

A few months ago ‘V’ and I took a some time off to go on a weekend road trip to a country town in the North East of our state called Beechworth.

One of the interesting things about the lead up to the trip was the well over half the people we told where we were heading immediately would tell us about the Beechworth Bakery (in fact it was probably closer to 80-90% of people).

I wasn’t surprised by this as I’d come across the bakery a number of times over the past couple of decades. Firstly as a child visiting Beechworth but then in more recent years as someone interested in business and coming across the name of the owner of the bakery (Tom O’Toole) many times as an entrepreneur who does a lot of public speaking and who has written a number of popular books on the topic of how he’s built his business. Tom has a reputation of being a pretty zany kind of guy who has built a multi-million dollar business.

When we got to Beechworth the Bakery was even bigger than I remember it as a child – business has been good for Tom. The Bakery now occupies two levels and is a dominant feature of the main street of what is a reasonably small country town with a big focus on Tourism for it’s Gold Mining History.

We enjoyed a number of good lunches and coffees at the bakery over the weekend (as well as some other very fine restaurants which the town has) but I didn’t think much more about Tom and his bakery until this past weekend when we were traveling through two other rural towns/cities in another part of the state (Echuca and Bendigo) and came across two more ‘Beechworth Bakeries’.

It seems that Tom has gotten into the Franchise business and that there are now 7 ‘Beechworth Bakeries’ across the country.

As I sat having lunch in one of them last Friday I began to ponder what Tom had done.

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Investment Blogging

Nice post by Chris again over at Performancing – Maximise Your Income With Common Sense:

‘Answer this, what is the basic unit of blogging? The blog post. Each post is like an individual worker in your workforce. Some posts might work harder than others. Some attract more attention than others. Each earns you a little revenue, together they are your means of gaining income. So common sense point number one; it makes sense that if you grow your work force, your body of work within your blog, that your income potential will grow.’

I love the ‘posts as workers’ analogy – very cool.

I was talking to someone recently about this very same topic and I used the analogy of each post being like a small deposit into the bank.

When I was a kid my parents would give me 20 cents each week to take up to the teller in the bank (back when banks had humans to serve you) to put into my savings account. They taught me the power of investing from a young age because my 20 cent pieces added up over the years and with the help of some interest and a few gifts from Nana Rowse saved up for that cool dragster bike I’d dreamt of.

20 cents by itself doesn’t get you much but consistent deposits can add up to something quite significant.

The same is true with blogging. Each post by itself might not have much impact in terms of traffic, ad revenue, incoming links (or any other way that you might measure it’s success) but write a few posts a day for a year and you’ll find yourself building something with a higher chance of ‘success’.

9 Ways to Screw Up Your Professional Blog

Today I spent a few hours surfing through this blog’s archives as part of my annual review. One of the many things I noticed is that there are many articles on how to improve your blog and hardly any on how to totally screw it up.

I thought it was time to rectify this and so tonight am proud to present my top 9 ways to screw up your Professional Blogging Career:

1. Ignore Ad Network Rules

Every ad network and most affiliate programs have sort of list of rules, regulations or terms of service that are very helpful for screwing up any hope of making money with them. If I was hell bent on ending my career as a blogger I’d start by flouting these sorts of rules. It’s very difficult to earn a living from blogging if the people who hand out the money boot you out of their networks. Rules like clicking on your own ads, asking others to click on your ads, telling everyone in minute detail all the details of your earnings stats, breaking swearing rules, writing about gambling, explicit content, changing ad codes – all these things and more can quickly ensue your evacuation from ad programs like AdSense, Chitika and YPN. Do this and you’re well on the way to screwing up your ProBlogging Aspirations. PS: an especially good way to kill a few birds with one stone is to run YPN, AdSense and Chitika Contextual Ads all on the one page at once.

2. Make Big Claims that Won’t Follow Through on

Once you’ve pissed off the advertisers it’s time to start messing with the minds with your readers. One great way to get them offside and leaving your blogs in droves is to constantly make massive claims and promises that you never follow up on. Constant announcements about your grand visions and plans that never eventuate, biting off much more than you can chew and generally big noting yourself and your achievements as a blogger when you’ve got nothing more to brag about than the fact that you know how to make words bold or in italics – yep all these things are sure to make your readers not only leave – but do so angrily.

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Guidelines for Teen Pro Bloggers

I’ve had a growing number of emails from teenagers in the last couple of months – all asking about how they can get into blogging for an income.

In a general sense I think blogging can be brilliant for teens (and even children) for a number of reasons as I’ll explain below, I also recommend to those that email me that they should proceed with a little caution as well.

Blogging is something that all ages can engage in (young and old). Many teens do it on a personal level (not for profit) and increasingly schools are using blogs in their curriculums as part of their assessment methods. Recent studies showed that 1 in 5 teens had blogs – whether you think it’s a good idea or not for teens (and some people do argue strongly against it) the fact is that they are doing it and perhaps rather than fighting against we should attempt to build awareness about how they can do it more safely and responsibly.

Teen ProBloggers
Over the last year I’ve seen a number of teenagers (and even one or two younger than that) doing blogging with a more professional intent.

There are some really great things about this. Here are a couple that come to mind:

PocketmoneyPocket Money (and more) – when I was 16 I worked in a supermarket stacking shelves (I referred to myself as a ‘shelf technician’). While it was nice to have some extra money in my pocket I would have loved to earn the same sort of money while surfing the web (if there had been a ‘web’ back then – gee I’m old). I know of a few teens who are making pocket money levels of income from blogging and think this will become more common. Of course just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can only earn small amounts of money from blogging. The cool thing about the web is that it has the ability to even things out for people on many fronts including that of age. I know of a couple of teens who actually make VERY good money from blogging. It’s taken them time to build up – but they’ll graduate high school with money to go to college (and more) from their micro businesses.

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The Secret to Becoming a Professional Blogger in Half the Time

The following post has been submitted by Shane Pike from Three: Twenty Interactive.

The secret to becoming a professional blogger in half the time is … doubling your current revenue.

Thank you very much. You guys have been a great audience. Enjoy the rest of the blog.

(Oh. You want to know how to double your revenue? Oh, allllllright.)

What do you think is the fastest way to double the revenue from your blog?

(I’ll give you a minute to think about it.)

(Seriously. Answer the question before you read on.)

(Did you really answer it?)

Alright. Show of hands. How many said a) doubling your traffic or b) finding higher paying advertisers was the fastest way to double your revenue?

If you did, you’re in very good company.

Too often, we get so close to our blogs that we develop tunnel vision. Everything is in place, and we think if we can just keep generating enough content, and growing our readership, and if we can just find some higher paying advertisers, surely, somewhere down the road, we’ll get to the point where we can quit our day jobs and do what we really enjoy. We can see the progress, slowly, day by day, so we know we’ll get there eventually.
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