8 Reasons to Add an Ecourse to Your Blog

This is a guest post by Kelly Kingman of and the co-creator of Engaging eCourses.

A great ecourse can make a huge difference to your blog and your business. In fact, I can name eight fantastic reasons why you should add an ecourse to your blog.

But first of all, what exactly do I mean when I say “ecourse”?

Ecourses can be anything from a simple, free auto-responder educational series to year-long, in-depth membership programs with live calls and personalized coaching. They could involve text, audio, video — and every combination of those.

For the purposes of this post, we’ll define an ecourse as instruction delivered over time, and delivered virtually, with the intention of helping the consumer achieve a result.

As I watched Darren’s 5Cs of Blogging video the other day, I realized that well-designed ecourses can deliver all five of these critical elements:

  1. incredibly useful content
  2. a basis for community
  3. points of connection with your audience
  4. cash in your pocket
  5. a contribution to your readers’ lives.

Not too shabby.

Pace Smith and I recently asked six bloggers who have mastered the art and science of creating great ecourses for their advice on inspiring people and helping them get results from ecourses. Our collected interviews make up Engaging eCourses: How to Motivate People to Get the Results they Want, which is available this week for the first time.

As we learned from our conversations with these bloggers, teachers, coaches, and authors, there are lots of great reasons to explore the arena of delivering educational content, and concrete benefits to be gained by setting the consumers of this material up for success.

Here are eight reasons we found why an effective, well-designed ecourse is good for your blog.

1. It inspires your readers to action.

In the Internet age, we have no shortage of information. Information is great. Information is important. And as bloggers, we thrive on delivering information — but it’s only part of the picture.

What people are hungry for now is inspiration. A great ecourse inspires people to implement the information they’re receiving.

Your readers’ results are the best way to build your business, according to Pam Slim, of Escape From Cubicle Nation. “[Results are] always, always is a stronger foundation for your company —rather than focusing all this time and energy on getting the perfect brand, or the perfect tagline, or the right people to be re-tweeting your stuff on Twitter,” she told us.

Not only do people like to feel inspired, but if you help someone solve a problem, they are likely to share their good results. This could take the form of social media buzz, testimonials and just good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

“People become sort of raving fans if they use the whole thing and complete it,” said Scott Stratten of “Don’t be afraid of the conversation [in social media]. People are going to ask, ‘what are you talking about? What is UnBootcamp?’ and then people can go check it out.”

2. It helps focus and refine your niche.

Teaching people shows you not only which chunks of information are the most useful, but who really “gets” what you’re saying. Sonia Simone, from Remarkable Communication, told us she didn’t really, really understand her niche until she launched her ecourse, the Remarkable Marketing Blueprint.

“When I launched the Blueprint I saw the people who stayed and got excited about it and those that drifted away or didn’t get it. It was really seeing that that helped me create Third Tribe, because I could say ‘this is the kind of person who gets it.’”

Instead of trying to figure out the nuances of your niche in advance, see who responds to the content and style of your instruction and then work with them in mind. “Always look to your students to see who you’re most able to help,” Sonia said. “Sometimes you don’t know until you try some stuff and see what people respond to … who is picking it up and running with it?”

3.  It deepens your relationship with readers.

It’s one thing to give someone ten tips on mountain climbing; it’s another to walk someone step by step through choosing the best path and preparing for the trip, then listening to how their progress is going along the way. Depending on the level of interactivity, creating and delivering an ecourse can give you crystal-clear feedback on what works and what doesn’t about your information and your approach.

“Ecourses represent a certain level of commitment,” Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing told us in his interview. “The more that you set the ecourse up so it reaches that peak level of commitment, the better the results [your participants] are going to have, and the more feedback you’re going to get.”

Designing an ecourse also means tuning into which problems your readers are really facing and what they want. “What’s going to make you feel really good is when you’re focused on the learner. What is that they’re trying to do? Be really curious about it, dig in,” Pam Slim told us. Pam co-created the $100 Business Forum with Chris Guillebeau.

4. It helps you monetize your offering.

Who doesn’t love money? The great thing about an ecourse is that if you offer it at a reduced cost to an initial “test group,” you essentially are being paid to create most of it.

Sonia Simone offered a “beta group” price to the first members of the Blueprint and made it clear that the content would evolve based on their feedback. She told us how this was the model Brian Clark used when starting out with Teaching Sells, essentially creating income from the ecourse before it was totally polished and done. This also lets you adapt the material on the fly to the needs of the group.

Even if you feel like you’re relatively new to your niche, you’re a few steps ahead of a total beginner. “The biggest market in all topics is the beginner market. That’s when people are looking for something to help them over the hurdle. If you’re an intermediate, you know of the basic advice that’s out there which is really key,” said Sonia.

5. It helps you grow a strong tribe.

Participants in an ecourse can form the core of a tight knit community. “If you let people know you care about them, they will have loyalty to you and that loyalty will help them get moving,” said Sonia.

Don’t spend too much time trying to convert those who don’t vibe with your approach. Sonia said that “people sign up because they resonate with your values — your point of view — and that gives everyone something in common and makes everything go more smoothly.”

A tribe gets stronger through the connections that are built within it. Students given a space to interact online often find enormous value in helping each other.

“It’s not been an uncommon phenomenon for people to come out of our courses and start a mastermind group or continue to have significant contact with some of their buddies from the courses one, two, three years later,” said Mark Silver, from Heart of Business. “Building those relationships, and really being able to trust and get support from your peers, are some of the most important parts of the learning experience.”

6. It helps you build expertise by teaching.

“As you help people solve problems, you tend to get the reputation for being an expert,” said Pam. But she also warned against getting too hung up on the word “expert.” “All that I care about is: are you really able to help people solve a problem?”

The best way to build confidence in your skills is to use them. “If you can really listen to and respond to what feels like it’s lacking with your folks … and be very responsive to that feedback, this is going to increase your confidence at such a deep level,” said Pam.

7. It helps you gain a competitive edge.

An ecourse can provide a way to help people cut through the noise, to figure out which information is key for their situation, and this will set you apart. “The entrepreneur who delivers a better experience to her right people, wins. It’s the experience — not the content, not the information,” said Charlie. “[Experience] can be the level of engagement, it can be the ease with which they get results that you promised, it can be the results themselves.”

Instead of striving to be original, Charlie said, focus on being effective. “The point is not to come up with something novel and new, though it’s great when you do,” he said. “The point is to explain, synthesize — do what you have to so people take the information that’s already there and use it.”

8. It helps you give back to your readers.

Ultimately, helping readers get results impacts their lives for the better. “When your focus is really, ‘how can I help my ideal client do what they need to do?’ that’s going to be driving excellence. That’s going to be driving results and impact,” said Pam.

She added: “That is what our work is about: it’s about the impact of your gifts on people that you care about that’s solving problems you want solved in the world.”

Kelly writes about creating compelling eBooks at To learn more about how to deliver ecourses that engage and inspire, visit Engaging eCourses.

How to Make an Absolute Fortune From Your Blog (Really)

Kevin Geary is the author of Employee Revolution: A guide to being indispensable, irreplaceable, and higher paid (without lying, cheating, or joining a union).

If you have a personal blog, I’m talking directly to you. If you don’t have a personal blog, get one now. Sorry, but this surefire strategy doesn’t work unless you have a personal blog (you can keep your other blogs, you just need a personal one too).

What is a resume`?

Try not to fall asleep. This is short and to the point, I promise.

A resume is a list of your qualifications on one page. It’s supposed to make it easy for a company to quickly determine whether or not you are qualified for a job.

But companies actually use your resume` as an excuse to exclude you.

Secret: They don’t look at what’s there, they look at what’s missing. The key is to not play by the rules.

This is where your personal blog comes in. The resume` is dead. It’s time to be unique. It’s time to be relevant. It’s time to be revolutionary. It’s time to be a real problogger.

I want you to use your personal blog as a launch pad for your dream career. The personal blog is the new resume` of the revolutionary.

What’s it look like?

In the new global economy, skills and titles are commodities. The times are changing so quickly that it’s nearly impossible to keep up, much less completely stand apart from others skill-wise or title-wise.

How much better of a programmer are you really? How many more titles can you achieve over the next person in line? How much faster can you complete the design process? It’s all a race in the wrong direction because there’s always someone (or a computer) who can do it better and faster than you (or good enough to get paid a little less and keep the job).

What’s important for the revolutionary is not physical skill and titles (things that look good on resume`s) as much as it is: personality, uniqueness, imagination, relevance, artistry, passion, personal connection, fearlessness, and problem solving. These are things that can’t be replicated; things that make you an individual and not a commodity.

It’s also a list of things that are impossible to communicate on a resume`.

Your personal blog is going to tell your real story. It’s not the story of physical skills and titles. It’s the story of getting things done. It’s the story of being invaluable. It’s the story of doing what nobody else has done, solving problems nobody else could solve, and not just having ideas, but consistently acting-on and shipping them (getting your idea to the public).

The revolutionary doesn’t have a resume`. The revolutionary has a story that is digitally recorded, spread across the globe, talked about, shared, commented on, revered, admired, hated, and loved. It’s uniqueness translates into scarcity, which translates into value in the marketplace.

Your personal blog is a chance to tell who you are and show what you do (beyond skills and titles) in a way that makes you irresistible. It’s the way you’re going to land the job you really want. It’s the way you’re going to make an absolute fortune.

This is where you expect the list.

There is no list. There can’t be. If there was a step by step process to creating a blog that accomplishes what we just talked about, everyone would have one.

There’s only step one: get started. Use what you’ve learned here from Darren to get everything set up. Then think about answering the following questions:

  • Who are you, really?
  • Why are you different?
  • How are you relevant?
  • What have you accomplished (not ideas, but actual accomplishments in your industry)?
  • What do you think?
  • Who will recommend you?
  • What have they said about you?
  • What are your ideas?
  • What problems have you solved?

There are many more, but I think you get the point. These are all things a company should ask, but doesn’t. This is how you change the rules. This is how you win.

The revolution is new, but the revolution is real. I invite you to leave the confines of the box everyone lives in and be a revolutionary. You’re important. We need you.

How To Convert Blog Readers To Paying Customers

You work hard to build your blog through traffic and content strategies, but are you working equally as hard at converting readers into paying customers? As Darren demonstrated during his week-long, $72,000 ebook launch, having your own product available for sale can help you generate an impressive revenue stream.

To get to the big numbers, however, you need more than just a high-traffic blog – you need a way to contact your readers via email, because that’s what really drives the sales. Let’s talk about why this is true (and how you can start using your blog to build a list who will buy from you).

The Blessing (and Curse) of A Blog Audience

Blogs are an incredible way to build a connection to your audience. People get a chance to sample your content, get to know you, and establish trust in you, all at their own pace. Your loyal readers can spread the word about you, creating “social proof” and an ongoing stream of new readers. It’s a beautiful thing.

The downside, though, is that a blog audience isn’t necessarily a “real time” audience, meaning that readers may not be keeping current with your content on a daily basis. And this will kill you when it’s time to do a promotion or sale.

You may be running a 5-day special on a new product or service, but what if readers only catch up on their RSS feeds once a week? They may miss out. Or, if their feed reader is too cluttered, they may never get to it at all. You run your promotions, and sales flounder.

But having a growing number of people who are subscribed to your mailing list turns the tables on this problem. If you’re releasing a product today, your subscribers will hear about it via email today – no matter what.

The Advantage Of An Email Audience

Unlike feed readers or tweet streams (which people often skim through, ignoring most of the content), email commands attention in a different way. Readers are used to opening emails in order to figure out what to do with it (read it, save it for later, or delete it), and they’re a lot more likely to give it a look – and click the links inside – within a few hours of it being sent.

So if you’ve got a promotion going tomorrow, you can let all your readers know about it tomorrow. Some may decide to ignore it, but they’ll have at least seen it, because their inbox gets looked at in detail at least once a day.

And if you’ve been doing your job using your blog to warm up your audience, they’ll be more likely to open that email soon after receiving it.

So let’s talk about a few field-tested strategies for getting your readers on your list.

How to Get Blog Visitors On Your List

To get blog visitors on your list, you need to have a reason for them to join up – and in most cases, people offer a freebie such as a special report or audio/video content as an incentive. The challenge with this, however, is that everybody’s doing it.

Years ago, just having something for free was enough to get people to join your list. But these days, people are inundated with free offers so you’ve got to do something more to stand out. Whatever it is that you give away needs to better than good – it needs to be spectacular.

The good news is that making this happen is pretty easy to do. All you need to do is create one small, product-worthy resource that solves one of your potential customers’ biggest problems. It doesn’t have to be a gigantic undertaking – just a resource that represents some of your expertise specifically positioned to solve a reader’s issue or help them become smarter than they were before.

I recommend you actually create a workbook for this free resource, because it’s a format that isn’t used too often and will more readily capture attention. “Special Reports” are a dime a dozen, but most people are accustomed to paying for workbooks, so your offer will automatically appear higher-value.

Why The “Free Product” Model Works So Well For This

Giving away a product-quality resource is an incredible list-building tool because it takes people by surprise – they’re not used to getting something truly substantial for free. And workbooks are particularly powerful because they contain the promise of some fairly immediate results – when the reader gets through it, they’ll either have a particular problem solved or they’ll have more information around a topic that’s important to them.

That promise of immediate results is a powerful motivator to get on your list, get your workbook and go through it. And once your reader finishes that workbook, they’ll be pre-sold on the idea that you are a person worth buying from in the future (after all, if your free stuff is product-quality, how much more impressive will your paid products be?).

One other benefit to this “over the top” free offering is that very few of your competitors will have the guts to do this. Just having this resource puts you at a competitive advantage.

What To Do If This Seems Like A Scary Amount Of Work

By this point you might be thinking that you don’t have the time to make a product-quality offer for your list. But it’s actually easier than you think. You don’t have to create a 100-page PDF or 6 hours of audio – all you need to do is pick one specific pain point your audience has and create a resource that lets them get one step further than they are now.

And to show you just how simple it is, I’ve put together a free workbook that steps you through how to put together a product-quality resource in a weekend (or even one day, if you’re ambitious). It’s not that difficult to do, and the payoff can be huge. I’ve personally used this free workbook strategy to drive over 3,000 people onto my list over the last seven months, all by adding additional free workbooks to a “library” on my blog.

(And the best part is, you can reuse the strategies in the free workbook to create additional products you can charge for after you get people on your list.)

When You’re Ready To Begin Building Your List, Here’s What To Do

What would it do for your blog’s reputation to have a product-quality resource available for free download? And how strong of a good first impression would you make on your readers if you offered it?

Take a look at the free workbook and decide what kind of resource you’re going to create to pull people into your mailing list.  One weekend is all it takes, and it could be the tipping point your blog has been waiting for.

Dave Navarro is a product launch manager who specializes in teaching smart blog owners how to build responsive email lists and create their own high-demand information product platform at his blog, The Launch Coach.

How to Stand Out in a Niche full of Jerks

Let me start this post by saying that I personally don’t see any of the niches that I blog in as being a ‘niche full of jerks’.

OK – now that I’ve got that out of the way – I was recently asked in an interview a question by a blogger who did ask me for advice on working in a niche that was full of jerks (although their language was slightly more colourful than that).

The niche that they were referring to was the ‘make money online’ niche which they perceived as being inhabited and dominated by people who took advantage of others, didn’t mind engaging in unethical tactics, engaged in all kinds of obnoxious marketing tactics.

I’m going to leave the debate as to whether that niche is ‘full of jerks’ to others – but wanted to share part of how I responded because while not every niche is ‘full of jerks’ – we can all probably benefit by presenting ourselves in a way where we are not seen in that light.

You see – whether we like it or not – some people see the internet as being filled with people and sites that can’t be trusted. That may be changing as people use and trust the web more but the if your media is anything like what we see from some parts of the media here in Australia – there’s still plenty of mistrust and examples of shoddy internet use being highlighted every day in mainstream media.

So how does a blogger develop trust, build authority and be seen as authentic?

Following are a few thoughts on the topic, none of them by themselves will flip a switch and make everyone trust you – but I think combined they help:

1. Persist

One of the first things I’ll say about ‘jerks’ is that most of them don’t last the distance. They tend to get found out, exposed or seen for what they are eventually (and perhaps increasingly as the web develops and becomes more social).

Work hard at consistently producing something worthwhile and and in many cases you’ll outlast the jerks or at least will find that people begin to realize that you approach things differently to others and perhaps are someone worth taking a 2nd look at.

PS: one thing I’ll add here is that it’s not just about longevity but also consistency. People get suspicious when your message changes too much. Your ideas will naturally change and evolve over time but if you’re chopping and changing your approach and perspective too much people can find that a little odd.

One example of this that I saw recently was a blogger whose readership pushed back hard at them after he’d been doing too many affiliate promotions of products that didn’t match up with the values that he was ‘preaching’ in posts. He was recommending products that were not consistent with the advice he gave in his teaching.

2. Be Personal

There are times in almost every bloggers career where they will be accused by someone else as being something that they are not. People will form perceptions of you as you blog and some of those perceptions will be far from reality. This has happened to be numerous times over the last 8 years of blogging but in most cases things have turned around (to some extent) with some personal contact.

In some cases its simply about leaving a comment on a blog post to show you’re willing to interact, in other cases its about engaging in a conversation via email, sometimes it is about jumping on the phone or Skype for a voice chat and once for me it even involved a face to face interaction.

There’s something very powerful about personal contact. I’m not just talking about fixing false perceptions – I also mean being personal in the way you go about your normal blogging. Sharing a little personal information or giving a little insight into who you are outside of your blog can have a profound impact on how people perceive you.

PS: one of the things I’ve noticed is that when you put yourself out there in different mediums (whether it be video, audio or in person) you will connect with different people. The occasional video post or podcast will make your ‘more real’ to some people.

3. Be Relatable

Building on this idea of ‘being personal’ is that of being relatable.

We like people who are like us – people who we share something in common with. This might be something personal (like being a parent, or reading similar books) or it could be something a little more on topic to our blogs (like having a similar question, experience or challenge).

Show people that you’re normal – that you have similar problems, passions, challenges, breakthroughs and experiences – and you’ll find people are a lot more willing to trust what you say.

4. Be Accessible

One of the most ‘perception changing’ things that I’ve ever done is to visit industry events/conferences. This is no easy thing for me as I’m ‘locationally challenged’ and live 24 hours travel from most events in my niche – but it’s certainly been worthwhile.

Meeting people in person is perhaps the best way to show someone what you’re like – it’s the ultimate in ‘accessibility’ (unless you surround yourself in people you know and book yourself solid with meetings).

Of course traveling to events does not suit everyone’s budget or life situation – however there are other ways to increase your accessibility. One that I’d like to do more of is livestreaming video events. I try to do these every month or two on Ustream and every time that I do I get feedback that indicates that people both enjoy it and find it to be something that changes perceptions of me.

Adding contact forms, doing interviews, answering reader questions, interacting on other blogs – all of these things can help a lot.

5. Be Useful

Sometimes the only thing that really matters to people is whether you’re useful or not. If you solve a problem for someone or make their lives better in some way… you’ll create a lasting impression. They still might not ‘like’ you but it can’t help but improve your reputation on some level in their mind.

Be useful over the long haul (persist) and you will grow that reputation and hopefully in time garner some respect also.

6. Be Transparent

Even trustworthy, authentic and honest people stuff up every now and again. Mistakes are made – tempers are lost – bad days are had – temptation to ‘do evil’ can get the better of most people.

No one is a complete angle and on those occasions where things get the better of you the best way forward is to be transparent about one’s failures and own up to our short comings. In fact in my experience – it’s sometimes when you own your mistakes and failings that you become all the more authentic and trustworthy to many.

7. Be Trustworthy

Ultimately it comes down to actually being the type of person that you want to be treated as (sounds like something most Mums probably drum into their kids). If you want to be seen as trustworthy – be trustworthy. If you want to be seen as authentic – be authentic. If you want to be treated with respect – treat others with respect and act in a way that will be respected.

Being true to yourself and a trustworthy person doesn’t guarantee that others will perceive you in that way – whether it be a personality clash or someone else having had previous bad experiences, some people just don’t trust easily – but ultimately the best way to be seen as ‘not a jerk’ is to avoid being one.

How To Be Funny Without Even Trying

A Guest Post by Jordan Cooper Not A Pro Blog.

Ok, so I lied. You’re going to have to try. But not too hard. I promise you.

You must have heard the saying “laughter is contagious”. Scientists have actually proven this to be true! Just as any other human emotion, we tend to mirror the feelings and reactions of those around us. Haven’t you ever found yourself laughing at something solely because your friend was cracking up to the point of tears? I rest my case.

The joy of bringing laughter to others is one of the most natural traits we all have in common. The feeling we share, both as the recipient as well as the teller, is equally as strong. Those that do it best are seen as highly attractive, a pleasure to be around and almost addictive like a drug. You see jokes are commonly passed from person to person virally, one after another with everyone taking part in each side of the equation. This is why humor can be the most effective weapon in a blogger’s toolbox to create highly shareable content.

I know what you’re thinking: “but Jordan, what if I’m not a funny person?”

Nonsense. If you can laugh, you can make people laugh. Don’t count yourself out just yet. Writing humor is not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination. As long as you know the basic tenets, the fundamental laws of all humor, anyone can do it. What exactly makes something funny?

The Element of Surprise.

Jokes are like magic tricks. They are meant to purposely misdirect you so that the climax cannot be expected. All facets of humor do just this. Presenting information that will cause others to make assumptions of fact, then turning this belief, reversing it on its head to show a contrary view. The difference between good humor and bad humor is based on how effective the surprise is.

Take a look at the following joke. Can you identify the misdirection and the reversal?

“My wife met me at the door the other night in a sexy negligee. Unfortunately, she was just coming home.” – Rodney Dangerfield

Context, Context, Context.

Closely conjoined with the element of surprise is the context in which such humor is displayed. Consider this the “where” factor. How come a quippy remark uttered by a co-worker can bring upon so much laughter in comparison to the professional comedian you see later that night on television? This all comes down to context.

In the first instance, the purpose of your occupational environment is not for cracking jokes, but for serious work. There’s no requirement for anyone to be funny. In fact, it’s probably even looked down upon. This now gives “Dave in Accounting” the proper setting to lay out a one-liner and achieve maximum surprise. No one is expecting it.

In the second instance, a professional comedian is sought after specifically to make people laugh. It’s in his or her job description. When taking the stage (or TV set), the environment has been set up where the audience already is aware that a surprise is coming. They’re expecting it. The comedian must overcome this by use of even more misdirection. This skill is what separates them from “Dave in Accounting”.

The less your audience is looking to be “tricked”, the less effort it takes in order to trick them.

How can you utilize surprise and context in your blog and be funny without even trying?

  1. Find the stereotypes surrounding your niche. What do you blog about? What do people assume about you because of this?
  2. Analyze the tone and structure of your past content. What do your readers expect from you on your blog?
  3. Present the same information in a different way either by being the stereotype fully or being against the assumption altogether.

Experiment with it. There’s no magic formula. Don’t try so hard. Remember, you don’t have to be hilarious.

Working with the notion that your context is not inherently based around being funny (like a humor blog), you should be able to pull off the surprise necessary to illicit laughter and amusement from your readers. Whether it be biking or hiking, cooking or scrapbooking, photography, techonology,or anthropology… there is a chance for you to stand out in a niche that doesn’t expect humor at all. It will make your content memorable, inspire others to share it and more importantly, giving you the joy of bringing laughter to your readers.

Jordan Cooper is a 13-year veteran professional stand-up comedian who showcases his sarcastic humor with videos and written rants about blogging, social media & marketing at Not A Pro Blog.

How To Stop Procrastinating and Start Your Blog

A Guest Post by Jennifer Blanchard of Procrastinating Writers

I read this blog daily. But it wasn’t until last week when I noticed the results of Darren’s poll on “How long have you been blogging?” that I decided it was time to submit a guest post.

According to that poll, more than 4,000 of this blog’s readers don’t actually have a blog.

I have to say, this fact stunned me a little. Why would 4,000-plus people want to read about blogging if they don’t actually have a blog?

Then the same answer that caused me to start my own blog popped up in my mind – Procrastination.

Procrastination is the continual habit of putting off – sometimes until the very last minute – tasks you need (and want) to accomplish.

Oftentimes people procrastinate on tasks they really don’t want to be doing, like household chores, writing a paper for school or making a phone call they’re dreading. But many times, people also procrastinate on tasks they actually want to be doing.

Why People Procrastinate

There are many reasons why people procrastinate. But the top reasons include:

  • Fear – Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough and fear of rejection are the most stand-out fears procrastinators often have. They fear starting a blog because it might not be as good as someone else’s blog. Or they fear starting a blog that no one will read. Or they fear they don’t know enough about a particular topic to start a blog. Or they fear their blog will actually be successful and that will cause them too much stress and anxiety. This list really could go on forever.
  • The Phrases “Should” and “Have To” – Believe it or not, by telling yourself you “have to” do something (ie: start a blog) or that you “should” be doing something, it makes you not want to do it at all. This is when procrastinating behaviors creep in.
  • Whole Project Thinking – When you think about starting a blog, you’re likely bombarded by all the things requiredto start a blog – you have to decide on a domain name, purchase it, then you have to choose a blogging platform, then you need to decide what you’re going to write about and you have to come up with topics and determine how often you’re going to post and then, and then, and then… Thinking of the project as a whole, rather than as small pieces, overwhelms you, which then causes you to procrastinate.
  • Perfectionism – Other than fear, this is the main reason people procrastinate. They get so worried that the blog they create won’t be perfect from the get-go that they don’t even bother starting it. Perfectionism causes serious stress, which is always a recipe for disaster.
  • Telling Yourself It’s “Too Much Work” and “Not Enough Fun”When people think a project they want to complete is going to be more work than fun, it usually stops them in their tracks and keeps them from starting.

How To Stop Procrastinating and Start Your Blog

Now that you know what causes you to procrastinate, you can begin to take steps to overcome it.

Truth be told, starting a blog is not as difficult as you think it is. All it really requires is a domain name, a content plan and a platform.

So here are some steps you can take to begin overcoming your procrastinating behaviors and start your blog:

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyways

I’ve heard this phrase a lot lately, and it couldn’t ring more true. Yes, it’s scary to start a blog. It’s scary to put yourself out there and share your ideas with the world. Yes, people may reject you. Yes, your blog won’t be perfect.

What you have to do is understand this; accept it; and start your blog anyhow.

If you allow fear to hold you back, you’ll never really be happy in life because you’ll always be compromising (or avoiding) what you truly want.

Remove “Should” and “Have to” from Your Vocabulary

These phrases make starting a blog feel forced on you instead of being a conscious choice you’re making; resentment and rebellion are typically the next feelings that come up.

In reality, there’s nothing you should be doing or have to be doing. If starting a blog doesn’t inspire you or if you don’t have a topic that you’re passionate about, then by all means, don’t start a blog. But my guess is, starting a blog does inspire you and you do have a topic you’re passionate about, otherwise why would you be reading this blog?

“Should” and “Have to” take your power away and give the power to the task of starting a blog. But by changing your self-talk, you can easily change the way you feel.

Instead of telling yourself, “I should start a blog” or “I have to start a blog soon,” tell yourself, “I want to start a blog” or “I choose to start a blog.” Words like “want” and “choose” are powerful words. These words mean you’re making a conscious choice. You’re deciding to start a blog; it’s not being forced on you.

View the Project in Pieces

You can’t start a blog and have it all pieced together in one day. It just doesn’t work like that. It takes time to come up with a name and determine a content strategy and learn how to write headlines that are effective and find traffic, etc. Instead, view starting a blog like putting a puzzle together: One piece at a time.

The best way to do this is to break the process of starting a blog into steps. Start slowly. Spend some time thinking about what type of blog you want to start. Then choose a domain name. Research available platforms and choose the one that best fits you. Next work on developing a content strategy, which includes what you’re going to write about and how often. Then work on how you’re going to market it and get traffic. Then you can work on finding ways to make money from your blog, and so on.

If you learn to break larger projects into smaller, more manageable pieces, you’ll feel less overwhelmed, which will help keep you focused and not procrastinating.

Give Up Perfectionism

No matter how hard you work, you will never be perfect. Perfection is an idea, not a reality. Humans weren’t born to be perfect. They were born to make mistakes and to learn from them. So rather than berate yourself for not being perfect, remember that life – and blogging – is a journey. And the only way to reach the end goal of that journey is to take the first step: Start your blog!

As you work through the trials and errors of starting a blog, you’ll come to realize that mistakes are actually gifts in disguise. Because for each mistake you make, you learn how not to do something, which will help you do it better next time.

Make It Fun

As the saying goes, “If it’s not fun, don’t do it.” But if you never start a blog, you’ll never get to see how much fun it actually is. Writing about topics you’re passionate about and connecting with readers are twoof the most fun things on the planet. And there’s definitely nothing more fun than getting an e-mail or Twitter message from a reader telling you how much you’ve inspired them.

What blog project have you been procrastinating on? Why?

Jennifer Blanchard is the founder of Procrastinating Writers, a blog that offers advice, motivation and inspiration for writers who struggle to get started. If this sounds like you, be sure to subscribe to her blog and/or follow her on Twitter.

The Power of Being Personal on Your Blog

personal.pngOver the last few weeks I’ve been exploring principles that are evident in many successful blogs. So far we’ve looked at Listening, Trust, Usefulness and Community. Today I want to get personal with you and share a story with you.

The Day I Was Jumped On By a Reader

Last week while at Blog World Expo I was coming down off the stage after presenting on a panel when out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone moving towards me – fast.

Within a second of seeing the movement I was literally jumped upon and found myself in a tangle of arms, hair and tears – I was being hugged within an inch of my life.

I didn’t know what to do at first – I didn’t know who was hugging me but while a bit of a shock at first I could tell the person was genuine and so did the only thing I could think to do – I hugged back.

After a few seconds of hugging the person pulled away. I had expected it to be someone I knew but realised pretty quickly that this was a stranger (or at least she had been a moment or two before). She had tears in her eyes and was obviously emotional – I didn’t know why until she began to talk.

For the next 4-5 minutes my hugging assailant (a reader as it turns out) talked, almost without taking a breath. She told me about the first day she read my blog (she remembered the first post), she told me about how it had helped her, she told me about the ups and downs of her blogging, she told me about her family, she told me about my family, she told me that she’d bought my book, joined my community, bought my ebook, she just talked…..

She talked as if we’d known each other for years – I guess in a way we had…..

Gradually my new friend began to slow down (and breathe) she suddenly began to become a little more self conscious. She began to blush a little as she realised how what she’d just done. I assured her that it was totally fine and in her flustered state she said:

“It’s just that I feel like I know you.”

As we continued to speak I realised that here was someone who I had previously not known had existed (she’d never left a comment or said a word on my blog in over 3 years) who ‘knew’ me – at least to some degree.

Here was someone who’d not only read something that I’d written daily for years – but someone who had watched my videos, had noted when I’d become a Dad, had seen when I’d travelled, had observed my disappearances from the blog when I’d been unwell.

She didn’t know all this stuff because she was a crazy stalker (far from it) but because I’d allowed myself to blog in a way that was personal.

Not that ProBlogger is a ‘personal blog’ as such (not in the sense that I blog about the movies that I see, the things I eat or the everyday experiences that I have) – but I inject something of myself into this blog:

  • I use my real name
  • I share images of myself from time to time in posts and on key pages
  • I share videos where people can see my face and hear my voice
  • I include details of what’s happening in my life and family (usually in passing and by way of illustrating something)
  • I try to use personal language (I blog in the first person most of the time)
  • I write in a style that is similar to the way I would speak to a person face to face
  • I tell stories about my experiences as they relate to my topic
  • I use personal examples where I can to illustrate what I’m saying
  • I’ve done live streaming question and answer sessions via video

By no means am I the most personal blogger going around. Everyday I see opportunities to be more personal in fact – but I’ve made a concerted effort over the years to inject something of myself into what I do – and it’s paid off.

It’s paid off not just in terms of being jumped on by strangers when overseas but also in creating the kind of site that people want to come back to, the kind of site that people recommend to others and also the kind of site that people want to spend their money on (remember my friend has bought everything I’ve released – she said she did so because they were ‘mine’).

I know being personal on a blog is not something that everyone feels comfortable with and that is in everyone’s style – but it is one thing that I’ve seen exhibited in many successful blogs.

How about you? Do you take a personal approach with your blog?

PS: one piece of advice – when it comes to being personal I’d suggest bloggers think a little ahead about what they will and won’t reveal about themselves, their family and their lives. Having some boundaries in place for personal safety can be a worthwhile thing – this doesn’t mean you’re not being personal, just that you’re being smart and exhibiting some personal safety.

Discover How to Build Profitable Membership Site

As mentioned a few days back – the popular Membership Site Mastermind Course has just reopened its doors to new members for the last time in 2009 – for 3 days only.

In short – Membership sites are where you sign up readers to pay a monthly subscription to receive teaching, tips, community, coaching or some other benefit from you. They don’t suit every niche and they do take a lot of work – but if you get them right they can be incredibly profitable.

A $100,000 a month example – at Blog World Expo I managed to catch part of a session of Timothy Sykes whose TimAlerts membership site pulls in over $100,000 a month. He built this off the back of a free blog (which he still runs) and with really affordable software (he uses WordPress) and mainly free plugins.

So yes – membership sites can be very profitable when you get them right.

Bonuses for Fast Action – If you signup in the next 24 hours Yaro is including some fast action bonuses including presentations on:

  • buying and selling websites
  • building profitable blogs
  • using video in online marketing
  • conversion points in online marketing

If you want a taste of Yaro’s style and the direction of this course grab this free report which is a great introduction to the topic and contains some great information on the topic whether you do the full course or not.

Again – the doors for Membership Site Mastermind close again on Friday at midnight. Also, as usual Yaro has a money back guarantee on this teaching – if you sign up and then find it’s not for you you can always get your money back.

If a membership site is on your radar as a potential way to extend your blog then this course is well worth checking out. Sign up Here.

How to Go from 1 to 1,000,000 Users (or Readers)

The gang over at Carsonified has released the following video this week by Kevin Rose talking about taking a web app from 1 to 1 million users.

While the video talks more about web applications and not specifically about blogging – some of the principles that Kevin talks about I think are applicable to blogging.

Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose from Carsonified on Vimeo.