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A 5-Day Course to Help You Create Killer Content for Under $30!

Later today the first ever ProBlogger Academy short course, “Creating Killer Content for your Blog,” goes live. Have you joined yet?

It’s going to be an exciting week. Chris Garrett and I have put together some great content and are looking forward to interacting with students.

This five-module course will walk you through the five key aspects of creating a blog with the type of content that will:

  • engage the readers you have
  • draw in new readers
  • build your profile and credibility
  • help you to better monetize your blog.

If those things are of interest, this is the course for you.

What is it?

The course is presented with videos and articles over five modules (in five days) by myself and Chris Garrett (co-author of the ProBlogger book) and covers these topics:

  1. Planning your content: coming up with ideas, finding your voice, types of posts to try
  2. Structuring your content: writing your content in a way that works
  3. Polishing your content: taking good content and making it great
  4. Killer multimedia content: podcasts, interviews, slide shows, and video
  5. Live webinars: two Q&A calls with myself and Chris at the end of the week

The live calls will be held on Friday at different times of the day to make them accessible to as many people as possible in different time zones—but we’ll also record them for you.

You have access to all of the content for 12 months after the course runs, plus you’ll gain access to a Q&A tool to engage with other participants and Chris and myself during the coming week.

Join the Fun and Learning Today

Best of all, this five-module course costs just $29.95 (cheaper if you buy the four-course bundle we’re offering). Check out all the details and sign up today here.

Five days of learning for under $30? You won’t find courses like this for less!

Doors open about seven hours from now, but sign up now to get access when they do.

It’s going to be a fun week and I look forward to connecting with you personally during the course!

How to Create Killer Content for Your Blog: New Course Starting Soon

create-killer-content.png While great content doesn’t guarantee success,  it sure does help! Yet so many bloggers struggle to produce content that engages with and meets the needs of readers.

As a result, Chris Garrett and I have put together a brand new short course—Create Killer Content for your Blog—to help set you on the right track.

The course is presented over five modules (in five days):

  1. Planning your content: coming up with ideas, finding your voice, types of posts to try
  2. Structuring your content: writing your content in a way that works
  3. Polishing your content: taking good content and making it great
  4. Killer multimedia content: podcasts, interviews, slide shows, and video
  5. Live webinar: a Q&A call with myself and Chris at the end of the week.

This course starts Monday, 6 December and it costs just $29.95 (or $99 if you bundle it with the other 3 upcoming Pillars of ProBlogger courses).

If you can’t do it all in the week in which the course is scheduled, don’t worry: you’ll have access to all the course materials for 12 months, so you can take it at your own pace.

Who is this short course for?

Creating Killer content is for you if…

  • you’re struggling with producing content for your blog
  • you’re trying to find your voice as a blogger
  • you’ve run out of ideas to write about
  • you’re just looking for a little refresher and/or inspiration.

Note: we’re assuming participants of this course have a blog. If you don’t, check out the free Getting Started Blogging course.

So if you’d like to inject your blog with some killer content, this is a course for you. Sign up today here.

Welcome to a New-look ProBlogger

Those visiting ProBlogger today will notice that we’ve just released a new theme. It isn’t a complete overhaul in terms of look—rather, it’s an evolution or refresh of our existing design (much needed). Hopefully you’ll find ProBlogger a little easier to navigate and a little less cluttered.

There are quite a few changes in the back end of the site, though, in that we’ve moved over to the Genesis framework. Brian Gardner from StudioPress has been incredibly helpful in getting us set up—I can’t recommend their themes enough!

problogger-new-theme.png

I’ll let you look over the theme for yourself to see how we’ve gone about it. There are a lot of small changes including:

  • threaded comments—something that has been requested a lot
  • more prominent social media promotion of our Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • a refreshed front page with new featured-post layout
  • videos now are full size on single post pages (not more squinting)
  • those who leave comments will be depicted in an avatar alongside their comments (pulled in via Gravatar).

There are a few other small tweaks around the site, and there will be at least a couple of new additions in the coming weeks.

I’m sure there will also be a few small bugs that we’ll need to iron out, but overall things are pretty stable and I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback (give those threaded comments a workout)!

PS: Some people have commented on Twitter that they want the Subscribe to Comments feature switched back on. I’m interested to hear whether that’s the consensus—let me know what you think.

This Sunday You’re Invited to #Blogchat to Talk Monetizing Blogs

One of my favorite times of the week on Twitter is on Monday mornings, my time (Sunday night for many of you), when Twitter comes alive with #blogchat.

#blogchat is a hashtag on Twitter that ties together hundreds of bloggers all talking about a particular aspect of blogging for an hour or so. It starts at 8pm Central US time, and usually revolves around a specific topic and/or guest host. Bloggers exchange ideas, ask questions, and network. It’s a frenzy of activity, which can seem a little overwhelming, but once you get into the swing of it, it’s a lot of fun.

You can learn more about #BlogChat and how to participate here.

This coming Sunday/Monday (depending where in the world you’re located), I’m cohosting #blogchat and we’ll be looking at the topic, “How to Monetize Your Blog.”

I’ve got a little information prepared to share, but the hour (and I’ll probably hang out for longer) will largely be an exchange of ideas. I’m happy to answer as many questions as I can during the hour—so if you have any, do come prepared.

I’ve also promised a few people to give a bit of the backstory behind my upcoming project, @Feelgooder (which I hope to soft launch in the coming week).

Remember: it’s on at 8pm Central US time on Sunday night. So mark it in your calendar, set up a way to follow the #blogchat hashtag, and follow me on Twitter at @ProBlogger!

How to Set Up Your First Blog the Right Way the First Time

Are you convinced you need to start a blog, but you’re overwhelmed by the setup process?

getting-started-blogging.pngIf this describes you and you’d like a little hand-holding in setting up your own blog, I’ve been secretly working with Chris Garrett on a free resource that’s designed just for you. It’s called:

Getting Started Blogging

    It is a six-part course that will walk you through everything you need to know about setting up your blog the right way, the first time.

    Set up your blog with good foundations

    In a recent survey of ProBlogger readers, I discovered two fairly large groups of visitors with similar needs:

    Group 1. Readers who were yet to start their first blog.

    I was a little surprised to find this out at first, but it makes sense. Many people reading this blog are PreBloggers—they’re convinced that they need a blog, and they’re now researching how to do it.

    When I drilled down into the needs and challenges of these bloggers, I found that many felt real apprehension and fear about the setup process, and wanted some hand-holding in getting started.

    Group 2. Readers who had started their first blog, but had regrets about the way they’d set things up.

    This group had taken action on their desire to start a blog, but they’d done it in a way that left them with regrets. Perhaps they’d made poor domain choices, hadn’t thought through platform selection, or hadn’t thought carefully about content and technical issues that hampered them as their blogs grew.

    Many of this second group were reading ProBlogger as a way to research setting up their second blog in a way that was better than their first.

    Getting Started Blogging

    Whether you’re just starting your first blog, or you’re setting up your second, third, or fourth, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the options and how to do it right. Chris and I would love to walk you through the process and help you set up a blog with good foundations.

    This course will walk you through six lessons:

    1. Preparation. In this lesson, you’ll get tips on naming your blog, keyword research, and domain names.
    2. Platforms. Where will your blog live, and which platform is right for you?
    3. Types of Blogs.  This class is an introduction to some of the different blogging approaches you might consider.
    4. WordPress. Here, we cover how to install and customize WordPress.
    5. Adding Killer Content to Your Blog. This lesson is an introduction to the types of content you’ll want to add to your blog.
    6. Introduction to the Pillars of ProBlogging. Once you’ve got the foundations right, I’ll walk you through four areas you’ll need to work on moving forward to build a successful blog.

    Lessons contain a mix of both video content and articles. This course is completely free and is being run over at SitePoint’s courses area. And you’ll get immediate access to it all six lessons when you sign up.

    We’ll send you daily reminders over the week to help you keep on track, but you can take the course at your own pace—all in one go, or over a longer period if you choose.

    Interested? Sign up for Getting Started Blogging now.

    Too Basic for You? Check out the ProBlogger Academy

    getting-started-blogging-academyGetting Started Blogging is unashamedly for those at the beginning of their blogging journey—those who are starting their first blog.

    If you’re more experienced, you’re still welcome to take the course, but you might also be interested in a new series of short courses that Chris Garrett and I are putting together at the ProBlogger Academy.

    These four courses can be completed as a bundle, or you can pick and choose the topics that are most suited to your needs from the following:

    1. Creating Killer Content
    2. Boosting Your Blog Traffic
    3. Building a Community on your Blog
    4. Monetizing Your Blog

    Each course will be held over a week, and will have a forum area as well as Q&A sessions with Chris and myself.

    These courses are not live yet, but they will be rolled out in the coming months. You can sign up now or leave your email address to be notified of them as they go live.

    Will You Be Blogging for Blog Action Day?

    It’s that time of year! This Friday is Blog Action Day — a chance for bloggers the world over to raise awareness of a particular issue.

    This year, the theme is water, and the good people at Blog Action Day HQ have announced that the White House and the UK Foreign Office will be joining the chorus to help bring attention to water issues this year.

    So will we.

    Have you registered for Blog Action Day? How will you focus your blog on the topic of water for the day?

    ProBlogger the Book: Audio Version Available

    problogger-bookThe second edition of the ProBlogger book (hard cover) came out earlier this year and enjoyed some great reviews (you can read what was new in the second edition here).

    It also came out in a Kindle version at the same time, but in the last few months another version was released: the audio version.

    At the time it was released, I was traveling, so I put off posting about it (and then promptly forgot to do so). So here’s my belated launch post!

    The audio version wasn’t heard by either Chris or myself (it’s a little strange hearing someone else tell your own story in the first person) but I suspect the guy reading it does so in a clearer voice than either Chris and I could manage with our crazy accents!

    I know that many of you learn more effectively by hearing than reading, so if you’ve not yet read the book, you can grab the audio copy here and listen to it on your iPod, on your computer, or in your car.

    Enjoy!

    Win a BlogWorld Expo Pass Here Today!

    Update: this competition has now ended. Winners are announced below.

    Do you want to win a pass to Blog World Expo this year?

    I have two – just for ProBlogger readers that the team at BWE have kindly offered. One even comes with a voucher to go towards your flights to BWE with South West Airlines!!!

    Please read the following carefully to make sure you’re eligible and able to attend – we want these passes to be used by people who need them.

    The prizes

    There are two prizes as follows:

    1. A full access pass to the whole of Blog World Expo (worth $1195) – that’s Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s sessions, the exhibit floor, all the parties and the social media business summit. This one also comes with a voucher to go towards your flights to BWE flying with South West Airlines ($300 value).
    2. A Weekend Pass to Blog World Expo (worth $495) – this one gives you access to the sessions on Friday and Saturday as well as all three parties and the exhibit floor.

    Important Notes:

    • BWE is on from 14-16 October – please only enter this if you’re able to attend!
    • in both prizes you’ll need to arrange your own accommodation.
    • with prize #2 you’ll need to arrange your own travel.
    • the competition is open to people around the world but to international readers you’ll need to make sure you can get there under your own steam.
    • please note that these prizes are for those who have not already got tickets. We’re not able to organise refunds on previously purchased tickets but this is to get a couple of extra ProBlogger readers along.
    • You can enter both competitions but only once per competition.

    How to Enter

    I’m going to effectively run two competitions here. One for each prize. I’ll draw the winners in 36 hours time so this is a quick competition. You can enter both competitions but only once per competition.

    Competition #1 – to be in the running to win prize #1(full access pass with the travel voucher) you need to tweet out your desire to win a ticket.

    The tweet needs to include a shout out to @blogworld and @southwestair as well as the hashtag #PbBWEPass. I’ll randomly choose someone tweeting that and notify them via Twitter (so please make sure you follow @problogger so I can DM you).

    Competition #2 – to be in the running to win prize #2 (the weekend pass) simply leave a comment below. Please include the word ‘blogworld’ so I make sure none of your comments get caught in my spam filter. I’ll notify the winner by the email address that they leave with their comment.

    Prizes will be drawn 36 hours after this post goes live to enable winners to make their travel arrangements. That’s 4pm Melbourne time on Sunday 3rd October.

    Good Luck Everyone!

    Update: Thanks to everyone who entered – I’m closing this now and will get in touch with the winners shortly. Congrats to @jenwilsonphoto and Alison Golden who won!

    Please Welcome Georgina – ProBlogger’s New Content Manager

    georgina.jpgI’m really excited today to announce that I’ve just hired Georgina Laidlaw to help with content development and strategy here at ProBlogger. Her official title is Content Manager.

    The backstory

    Over the last year, I’ve become increasingly aware that I need to begin to expand my team to cope with the load of running my business.

    ProBlogger itself can be a handful to run at times, but add into the mix my biggest blog — Digital Photography School — and other projects (TwiTip, ProBlogger.com, Third Tribe, a Book), plus the other bits and pieces that I do, and I’m increasingly finding myself up against it to get everything done to the level of quality that I wanted.

    As a result I’ve begun to look at making a couple of strategic hires to enable me to increase the quality of what I do and also to free up some time for other projects that are coming.

    I’d already moved some way down the path of hiring people to help carry the load previously (although I haven’t really written much about it):

    • Lara Kulpa will be familiar to some of you as she’s helped with some of the admin tasks here on ProBlogger (comment moderation and other admin), and has managed the ProBlogger.com forums and edited Twitip.
    • I also have Simon Pollock (my brother-in-law) managing the community at dPS.

    Both are part-time and work remotely (Lara’s in the US and Simon in the UK).

    Why a hire a Content Manager?

    As mentioned in yesterday’s video, content is of primary importance to me and it’s something that I obsess over. It has been central in whatever success I’ve had, and I see it as extremely important going forward.

    For the first four years of ProBlogger’s existence, I wrote almost every post. The only times I really handed over posting to others was when I took vacations. However, in time I began to accept guest posts and have even hired semi-regular writers.

    I did this partly to lighten the load a little (to allow me to focus upon other aspects of the business), but also because I found that by including the voices, views, skills and experiences of others, the site became more useful to more people. I can take one approach to blogging and have certain skills, but I lack other areas of expertise.

    As a result of this increased featuring of others on ProBlogger, a number of things happened:

    1. I started getting more submissions for guest posts. When you feature one guest, post you can open a floodgate for others to approach you about writing. There have been weeks when I’ve fielded 20-30 guest post submissions (and I usually only feature two or three).
    2. I found myself working more on editing than writing. This shift has happened on all of my blogs. While having others write for you takes a load off your writing work,  it means you spend more time editing their work, talking to authors about topics, liaising with authors about post formatting, and so on.

    All in all, I’ve increasingly felt sidetracked by these tasks. They’ve taken me away from my own writing, but also from more strategic tasks (such as developing a more thought-through editorial calendar, building my community, and developing other projects).

    Managing writers is important, but editing and managing writers isn’t my strength and it has become increasingly apparent that it would be logical to get some help in this area.

    Hiring Georgina

    Georgina Laidlaw has come recommended to me from a number of people that I respect. She’s worked for some great sites such as Melbourne’s SitePoint (who I’m increasingly working with) and WebWorkerDaily.

    As part of the process of this hire, Georgina has also written a number of posts here on ProBlogger. Her work received a lot of positive feedback and it demonstrated to me that she “gets” what I’m on about here, and has the ability to connect with the ProBlogger audience. She’s also fast, efficient, and just in the process of sorting out this position has given me some great ideas.

    Georgina is also local to me. While I’ve worked with remote workers before there’s something that appeals to me about hiring someone local. Georgina and I won’t spend a lot of time in person, but having the ability to get together and knowing she’s in my timezone will be great.

    What does a Content Manager do?

    To be honest we’ve ummmed and aaahed about the title Content Manager quite a bit. I’m not sure it is completely accurate, but for now, it’ll do.

    Georgina will be taking on a number of rolls here at ProBlogger including overseeing, editing and managing writers (guest posters and regular writers), writing some posts of her own, editing my posts (I know that will please some of my more spelling-obsessed readers), and working on some other projects (for example ebooks, newsletters, and others).

    One of the goals that we also have with this new position is to widen the topics that we write about. There are some categories and topics that haven’t been touched on a lot lately here on ProBlogger. Having Georgina on the team will enable us reengage with some of those topics. This will also mean a slight increase in the number of posts each week (don’t worry we’re not going to go over the top).

    What about Darren?

    A number of people on Twitter yesterday asked me whether this means I won’t be blogging as much on ProBlogger. The answer to that is I’ll still be here as normal. This is my blog and you’ll continue to get regular posts from me.

    You might see a slight increase in posts by others, but I intend to maintain my own posting levels (currently around four or five posts a week).

    All in all I’m really excited about this development and hope you’ll join me in welcoming Georgina into the ProBlogger family.