Come with Me to Tanzania

index.jpegBlogging has been very good to me.

Over almost nine years, it’s been a daily blessing in more ways that I can count:

  • new friends
  • new skills
  • new knowledge
  • the opportunity to travel
  • the ability to pay off a mortgage
  • business partnerships
  • the chance to do what I love (communicate and build communities) all day, every day—and get paid for it!

Blogging has been very good to me.

Can blogging be used to help others?

However I’ve always wanted blogging to be more than just good to me. I want it to benefit others, too.

The most obvious people I want it to benefit are those who read the blogs I publish. This is why pretty much everything I do has a “how to” or “advice” spin on it.

One of the most exciting things that happens to me each day is being thanked for achieving that goal—helping people improve in some area of their life.

However, I’ve always wanted blogging to be even more than that. Over the last few years, I’ve often found myself wondering how it could be used to make the world a better place in some bigger way.

With the opportunity to communicate to over 4 million people a month, surely I can find a way to do that.


The Tanzanian experiment

Next Thursday I’m going to experiment with doing just that—and I’d love you to join me.

On 25 February, I’m jumping on a plane (well, a series of them) for Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, East Africa.

I’ll be in the country for one week, to spend time observing—and reporting back to my social network on—an amazing project called Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT). It’s a project of CBM, an international disability and development organization.

The trip is being organized by CBM Australia (you can read more about it here) with the goal of raising awareness of the issues that are faced every day by people with disabilities in developing countries.

The work that they do is amazing.

Last year alone, they performed over 10,530 surgeries and helped improve the lives of around 120,000 people with disabilities and their carers.

Their work focuses upon many areas, including working with sight-related disabilities, club foot, cleft lip/palate, and maternal health (among others).

ccbrt_portrait.jpeg Having spent time visiting a number of other projects in developing countries over the years, I know that this trip will be confronting. But I’m excited by the opportunity at hand to both be personally impacted by what I see, and to share the journey with you.

Throughout the week in Tanzania, I’ll be sharing what I see via blog posts, videos, and Tweets. We’ll be focusing mainly upon some the hospital’s work with maternal health issues (mainly fistula) and tracking some of the stories of the people that we meet.

This trip is not a money grab. The intent isn’t to create daily calls for you to donate. I’m sure CBM wouldn’t say no to donations (in fact, they’d go a long way to change lives), but my intent with this trip is to share stories, highlight needs, and show what an amazing organization and its people are doing to meet the needs around them.

My hope is that we’ll all come away from the experience with a better awareness of the issues, and the motivation to do something to make the world a better place (whether that be by supporting the work of CBM, or supporting another need you know of).

How can you join this trip?

index-1.jpegThe bulk of the blogging that I’ll be doing while away will be on CBM’s blog (there isn’t much there yet, but we’ll be adding to it and redoing to the template significantly in the coming days). I’ll be adding posts, videos, and images during the week that I’m on the ground, and in the weeks that follow.

I’ll probably do an update or two here on ProBlogger also, but I’m aware that this blog is about blogging and not Tanzania or issues facing Developing Countries, so we’ll keep it largely on CBM’s blog.

If you’d like to get those updates please subscribe to their blog here.

You can also follow the journey on Twitter by following CBM’s Twitter account. I’ll be making updates on that and also, from time to time, on the ProBlogger Twitter account.

Lastly – you can support this project by sharing news of it and the content we produce while in Tanzania. Please consider passing on the links to stories we share and helping word spread further about what we’re up to. Thanks!

Boost Your Blog Traffic: A Guide For Bloggers Who Want More Traffic in 2011

boost blog traffic

Are you looking for more traffic for your blog?

If you answer yes – you’re not alone. In fact you’re in the vast majority of bloggers. I ran a survey of a segment of ProBlogger readers recently and a ‘lack of traffic’ was identified as the #1 challenge that bloggers face.

Kicking off on Monday 24 January Chris Garrett and I are running a short course to tackle this problem. Over 5 modules we’ll walk you through our philosophies for building traffic to blogs.

The course is just $29.95 USD – or $99 if you do it with our other 4 courses in the Pillars of ProBlogging series. It is the 2nd of these courses that we’ve created (the first had some great reviews) and we’d love for you to join us!

In the course we’ll cover 5 Modules:

Module 1: Where to Start

  • Starting with the visitors you have
  • Build Loyalty
  • Engagement
  • Subscriptions

Module 2: Get Off Your Blog

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Forums
  • LinkedIn
  • Blogs

Module 3: Get More Google Traffic

  • Keywords and key phrases
  • Keyword research
  • Landing pages
  • Links
  • Other ranking influences

Module 4: Advertising and Syndication

  • Adwords
  • Facebook
  • RSS, Aggregators and Syndication
  • Repurposing
  • Guest-Posting

Module 5: Live Webinar

  • Live chat with Chris and Myself (in fact we do two live webinars to accomodate different time zones). These will be recorded for those who can’t make the live webinars.

Each of the modules is made up of multiple videos (a total of over 20 videos) which you’ll have access to for a year – so you don’t have to complete it all in the five days that we release them.

So if you’re looking to boost traffic to your blog in 2011 and you need a little inspiration and instruction to get you going – sign up today for this course.

Christmas Greetings

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful year in 2010. Wishing you peace and happiness in this holiday season and looking forward to connecting with you in the new year!

ProBlogger the Book: 44% Off Today at Amazon

ProBlogger-book.jpgIf you’ve been putting off buying ProBlogger the Book (the ‘real’ paper one) that I wrote with Chris Garrett – today’s the day to pick one up at Amazon.

Normally retailing for $24.99 today they have it at 44% off – just $14.04. They often have had it at 30% off so this is the lowest I’ve seen it go.

I’ve no idea how long it’ll last at this price – so whether it’s for you to help you ramp up your blog in the new year or whether it’s a stocking stuffer or Kris Kringle gift for a friend or family member – grab your copy today.

PS: this is the 2nd edition of this book and it’s also available for Kindle as well as as an Audio version.

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!


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.