Feeling “Blogged Out?” [10 Pro Bloggers Share Their Advice on What to Do]

A Guest post by Heather Allard from The Mogul Mom.

If you’re a regular ProBlogger reader, you know that Darren dishes up heaps of incredible blogging advice 7 days a week, 365 days a year. His archives positively overflow with information on how to build a blog from the ground up, how to engage readers, how to earn a living from your blog, how to search engine optimize your blog, how to market your blog through social media and so much more.

If you’re a beginner blogger, there’s no better place to learn than at ProBlogger.

I know because when I started blogging in 2007, ProBlogger was like a launch pad for me.

I blasted into the blogosphere, writing posts in rapid fire succession as new idea after new idea spilled out of my bloggy brain faster than I could jot them down in trusty notebooks scattered around my house and car.

I churned out short posts, long posts, reviews, interviews, vlogs, linkies and more list posts than you could shake your cursor at. I SEO’d the daylights out of my blog, carved out a nice niche for myself and built up a pretty sweet subscriber base. I came, I blogged, I monetized. Oh yeah.

And then, after 3 solid years of blogging, I suddenly found myself with nothing left to say. No, not just blogger’s block. I’m talking not a damn thing to blog about. Zero, zip, nada. Last stop on the blogosphere for this lady.

350 posts, 1200 subscribers and 2000 comments later, I was officially all blogged out.

So I spent a week curled up in the fetal position deciding whether it’s better to burn out or fade away from the blogosphere, and then it hit me.

Surely I couldn’t be the first – or the only – blogger to feel this way!

So I did what any blogger worth her Alexa rank would do – I decided to BLOG about being all blogged out.

Newly invigorated, I set out in search of other solo bloggers who’d felt this same way to ask them what they did about it.

What I found was 10 top bloggers with very different takes – and advice – on being all blogged out.

Laura Roeder @lkr

Blogging Since:

Well I’ve been creating and sharing content online in various formats since about 1996. But I’ve never really considered myself a “blogger”or had one mega-popular blog. My current blog for my business has been running for about a year and a half.

Have you ever felt all blogged out?

Yes, definitely! I don’t blog that frequently so I usually don’t try to force it. I sometimes only update my blog once a month, it just depends on what I have going on and what I’m inspired to create. 99% of my blog is in video format, it is really difficult for me to write a beginning-middle-end article, it’s just not how my thoughts come I guess. But I could talk forever so video is the perfect format for me!

What did you do about it?

I plan out an editorial calendar at least 6 months in advance. This is the key part – you can’t just plan but you have to force yourself to stick to the weekly topic. I think too many bloggers wake up in the morning and try to think of a great topic that day – planning out a calendar in advance is a great solution. And then you have time to filter your ideas to make sure they’re all good instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel, desperate to come up with ANYTHING to write about!

Chris Guillebeau @chrisguillebeau

Blogging Since:

2008 — although I had been writing in other formats for a couple of years prior.

Have you ever felt all blogged out?

Thankfully — no.

How have you avoided it?

I’ve avoided it by trying to be somewhat intentional about the process.

First, I don’t limit myself in writing about one specific, niche topic. I write about a number of topics (travel, entrepreneurship, motivation) for a number of venues (my own blog, other blogs, a newspaper column, magazines, books, etc.). The variety is very helpful, because even though I’m writing a lot, the deliverables are not always the same.

And second, writing is my job. It’s just what I do. If a plumber gets bored, she still shows up every day and goes to work. Why should it be different for creatives? Steven Pressfield wrote about this in the wonderful little book The War of Art, which I re-read regularly and would recommend to anyone feeling “blogged out.”

Chris Brogan @chrisbrogan

Blogging Since:

I started in 1998 back when it was called journaling. I’ve used several different sites before settling on my own domain, and my blog technologies used to be WYSIWYG website design tools, so those ones are lost to all but the Wayback machine.

Have you ever felt all blogged out?

Never. I have more blog posts than I have time to post them. I write two or three at a time, so that I have a few in my rainy day pile (though at the time of writing this, I ran out, so will have to blog a few things on the next two airplanes). I never feel all blogged out. We have TONS to cover, and lots of ways of looking at things.

How have you avoided it?

Blogging/writing is about practice. The more you do it, the easier it comes. It’s like exercise. You can’t join a gym and bench press 300 pounds the next day. It takes a while to work your muscles up into the shape you need to perform. Same with writing.

I keep my eyes open. I read. I spend lots of time on other people’s blogs. I cultivate relationships, where sometimes the question someone poses makes for a great blog topic. There are tons of ways to find blog topics. One trick to doing something about it is to maintain a list of blog topics to write about for rainy days. I’ve given people over 300 over the last few years.

Danielle LaPorte @daniellelaporte

Blogging Since:


Have you ever felt all blogged out?

No, never, absolutely not, the very thought makes me gasp in horror. For real.

How have you avoided it?

Everything is content. Believing that it’s all around you will help you find it. The conversation that you had with your girlfriend about Haiti, or the absurdity of phone books being delivered, or why your barista gives you the best customer service. Notice what you notice and trust that you can create some value out of it.

Tell a story. My speaking coach, Gail Larsen told me something that changed how I approach both speaking gigs and writing: Creating good content is not about looking for stories that will support your message, it’s about letting the stories find you. The stories that you remember so vividly, that you recall with the most affection or emotional charge – they’re in your psyche for good reason. You’ve held on to them because they resonate with your truth, your message – and that’s where the creative sweet spot is. Find the message in the stories you’re inspired to tell.

Get interviewed. Ask a friend to ask you some questions. Keep it casual or turn on a video camera while you’re at. You will be amazed at how damn profound, informed, and creative you can be when you get to riff to someone who already thinks you’re great.

James Chartrand @MenwithPens

Blogging Since:

I began blogging in early 2007 for my own business blog at Men with Pens, and I also began guest blogging at various other sites around the blogosphere at the same time. This spring, it’ll be three years that I’ve been a full-time blogger.

Have you ever felt all blogged out?

Oh, absolutely. Since my focus has always been on freelance writing, and that’s what I’ve tried to blog about the most, there comes a point where you tell yourself that you’ve said all you could, that you can’t think of anything else to say. That feeling never lasts very long for me – I have a pretty active mind that seizes on new ideas and spins easily – but sure, I think every blogger goes through a period of feeling there’s nothing left to write about.

I feel that many people, when they hit this point, fall back on repeating the same messages or content, only in different words. It’s a way to break through the problem, but I didn’t want to go that route. I feel a sense of obligation not to cheap out just to be able to slap up a post – I worked hard to build my blog up, and it means more to me than that. Blogging is more than just a job you have to do; it’s a commitment you make and uphold.

What did you do about it?

To avoid feeling I was running on empty, I looked instead at the related subjects of freelance writing. I realized there’s a lot more to writing than just writing about writing. There’s the business side, the administration, the customer service, the branding, ways to land new jobs, etc. When I realized that I wasn’t limited to what I could write on and still stay within my specialty, a whole world of possible posts opened up. I revisit that vast pool of potential each time I feel tapped out.

Another trick I use when I’m feeling like I just have nothing to write about anymore is to write – about something else. I put the blogging aside and work on some fiction or creative writing, just for fun. Or, I go out for a day and screw off, and I find that taking myself away from feeling like I have to blog brings me new inspiration. As I enjoy my day, I think about how the experiences I have relate to my subject. How are buying a pair of boots and blogging the same, for example? How is grocery shopping and writing similar? What did I like about that sign, and why did it catch my attention?

Sometimes, to be creative, you have to get away from trying to be creative, and ask questions that you wouldn’t normally think of asking.

For tapped out bloggers, my best advice is to take away the pressure by reminding yourself that this isn’t an obligation. In the bigger scheme of life, missing a week of blog posts while you disconnect or cutting your posting frequency from five days a week to once every two weeks won’t really make much difference. It’ll give you some relief from that ‘have to blog’ feeling, remind you of what’s really important in life and let you take care of yourself first.

Johnny B Truant @JohnnyBTruant

Blogging Since:

I really only started seriously in late 2008, writing my old pure humor blog at I’d been writing “blog-like” stuff for some time before that on and off, but never actually launched a blog until 08.

Have you ever felt all blogged out?

Oh yes. Around 2001, I used to write a humor newsletter that I’d manually e-mail out to my friends and family. (The salvageable newsletters became the earliest posts in the humor archive on my current site.) Although I haven’t hit a wall since starting blogging in earnest in 2008-9, I hit several with those old pseudo-blog writings.

I started that endeavor with a weekly newsletter, and then slipped into monthly. Several times, I’d re-run old posts because I had nothing to write about, and once I wrote a post about having nothing to write about. The reason that pseudo-blogging ended was because I got tired of feeling like I had nothing to say every week — or at least, nothing to say that was funny.

What did you do about it?

I just quit.

Now, I’m not particularly concerned about running out of material and here’s why: Back in the day, I wrote humor and only humor. If it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t fit to run — with one notable exception just after 9/11/01. So not only was I looking for funny things to happen, but I had to work hard to tell folks about them in funny ways. That’s really, really hard to do — especially ongoing.

My blog now is an unashamed hodge-podge. I’ve deliberately kept my blog from having a niche, a genre, or a focus. It’s just about me, my business, what I’ve learned, what I do, and whether or not wild turkeys have found their way into my barn. Sometimes it’s funny, and sometimes it’s dead serious. All I have to do now is write what’s in my life, my head, and my heart — whatever that may be.

Lastly, I’ve only run two guest posts ever on my blog, but I’ve had other offers and may just start accepting some if I do get bogged down. I’ve seen some of my blogging friends do that if they are running low or if they go on vacation. I haven’t done it yet, but it’s nice to know the option is there.

Sarah Bray @SarahJBray

Blogging Since:

Don’t tell anyone, but I actually started several failed blogs before having even a whiff of success. My first one was in 2004. And no, I’m not giving details (curse you, Google archives!).

Have you ever felt all blogged out?

Heck yeah. Every blogger has those moments. We pressure ourselves to crank out amazing post after amazing post, and then we wonder why the wheels stop turning. For me, it was my subject matter — writing posts about the strategic side of web design for such a wide audience. I’ve got fellow designers who want to know how I do it, entrepreneurs who are completely new to the web (or the social web), entrepreneurs who are definitely NOT new to the web, people who are curious about my adamancy for content-driven websites…it’s just a really broad audience.

More challenges:

  • Writing about technology without inducing cricket chirps or loud snoring
  • Writing about things that anyone can do — not just super-technical people (which requires getting out of my super-technical brain and pretending I’m my computer-challenged mother…an interesting and involved process)
  • Writing about new ideas that are not talked to death all over the internet already
    • All of that has the power to turn me into a headlight-mesmerized deer if I think about it too much.

      What did you do about it?

      I put a lot of pressure on myself to only publish stuff that gives me a blood-rushing-to-the-head feeling. It’s what I do instead of punching all of those people in the face who say that bloggers aren’t “real writers”. Or maybe it’s because I like that writerly high you get when you know that you’ve communicated something really effectively.

      So to answer the question, I stick to a posting schedule that will allow me to do this. During some seasons of the work year, I publish three times a week. In this particular season, I publish once a week. I’m a huge believer in sticking to a posting schedule. It’s like your favorite show being on tv at the same time every week…you feel more committed to it when you can expect it. At the same time, I let myself be comfortable with changing my publishing schedule when that makes sense.

      I wouldn’t recommend doing this if your entire job is to write. But for my situation, giving myself permission to change my posting schedule for a season makes more sense than writing crappy stuff, not writing at all out of sheer overwhelm, or not getting my client-related work done. It takes some of the pressure off during busy times, which somehow brings blog topic epiphanies out of the sky. I don’t know how it happens…magic, maybe.

      Dave Navarro @RockYourDay

      Blogging Since:

      I started the blog in 2006, but didn’t really start building it seriously until the beginning of 2008, when I went all guns blazing (thanks to some inspiration from @menwithpens). I started The Launch Coach in early 2009 and hit the ground with a running start on that one, since it was making me money right off the bat, and that’s where I put 95% of my blogging time.

      Have you ever felt all blogged out?

      I feel that way all the time – I think it’s a natural part of a writer’s psychology, when we wonder how we can write something good when it’s already been done. We worry that what we write might not be good enough compared to other people or compared to our own successful posts, and it’s draining.

      What did (do) you do about it?

      The way out of that is to remember you’re in this to help people, not achieve God-like status on a post-by-post basis. What I do to break the funk is look through old comments for where people talk about what they’re struggling with and write about that, imagining I’m writing to that one person. That breaks the all-about-me-drama and gets me back on track. (And if I haven’t had comments lately I go to other blogs and look at their comments).

      Audrey McClelland @AudreyMcClellan

      Blogging Since:

      I started blogging in June 2008.

      Have you ever felt all blogged out?

      Definitely. I started my personal blog in June 2008, after I had my 4th son. After blogging about his birth and then about being the mother of 4 boys – I started to feel VERY “all blogged out” in November of 2008. I wanted to blog about things beyond my personal motherhood story. I think I kind of felt like, “What makes my story different or unique?” I kind of felt like nothing did… my blogs started to get very much of the same feel. So I made a conscious decision to change the direction of my blog in January 2009 because I felt it would infuse me with added energy.

      What did you do about it?

      I came out of it by starting my 365 Days of Fashion Advice for Moms. I loved sharing my experiences as a mom, but I wanted to get away from constantly talking about how difficult mealtime was or how I was so tired from not sleeping throughout the night. I wanted to add my love of fashion to the mix. So I started blogging about fashion advice for moms and I brought my own motherhood experiences to it, as the mother of 4 boys.

      The advice I would give a blogger that is all blogged out is bring another dimension into your blog. I had worked in the fashion industry for 6 years previous in New York City and I had a love and a passion for fashion. I did and still do wake up every single morning excited to blog about it. I just needed to take that step to bring another piece of me onto the table and not be scared to do it. Things changed for me professionally when I did make the change and it was all because I was feeling “blogged out.” I didn’t feel like my writing had a direction in 2008 and I wanted it to. Niching my blog became the best thing I ever did.

      Michael Martine@Remarkablogger

      Blogging Since:

      I had been creating and designing websites since 1994 (pretty much as soon as I got online when the Internet became available to anyone via AOL back in the day). I discovered Blogger in 1999 before Google bought them and have been a blogger ever since (though I switched to WordPress as soon as I discovered it).

      Have you ever felt all blogged out?

      Never! My audience is made of up certain segments who all have specific problems. So between that, the basics, and the new stuff that keeps unfolding, there is no end of topics to blog about.

      How have you avoided it?

      There are several reasons why I’m never blogged out. My readers, clients, and customers are mostly business owners. Different businesses have different challenges when it comes to blog marketing, so by focusing on a specific niche (like, say, real estate agents or freelance web designers) and then addressing a specific problem someone in that niche faces, I simply never run out of topics. I don’t always focus on a specific industry, but I’m guaranteed an infinite number of blog post topics if I do.

      This means my posts tend to be longer than the usual 250 – 500 words of a typical blog post. Because of this, it takes me longer to write a post and so I don’t publish as often as many other bloggers. At the least, I publish twice a week. At most, I may publish up to four times a week. But I never publish every day of the week. This makes it easier to come up with ideas and keeps the quality of the writing higher.

      Here are some tips for coming up with post ideas:

      • Think of a specific type of person in your blog audience and a problem they have, then write a post for that person that addresses the problem.
      • The basics never go out of style. Tackle them in your own way or link to posts which cover the basics.
      • Tell a story from your own life that has a lesson to teach your audience.
      • Compile a list of resources your audience will find valuable.
      • Accept guest posts from others in your niche (sometimes you have to ask for them).
      • You can always interview others in your niche.

      To prevent yourself from getting blogged out in the future, try these tips:

      • Be in constant communication with your audience: ask what keeps them up at night, what their problems are, what information they are hungry for.
      • Think of series of posts you can write. A series guarantees post ideas for many days. Note how successful Darren has been with his “31 days” series. You have to think of these in advance and plan them out.
      • As you surf the web, collect links by topic in Evernote or some other note-taking system. Then, when they become numerous enough, you can publish them in a resources post. These can build up over time, so that very little work is involved in creating them.

      Don’t let ideas get away from you when you do have them. There are many ways to capture ideas.

      So, if you’re feeling all blogged out, you’re in good company. And you’re definitely not at the end of the blogging road.

      Laura, Chris G., Chris B., Danielle, James, Johnny, Sarah, Dave, Audrey and Michael gave awesome ideas about what to do when you’re feeling all blogged out. And, I don’t know about you but my head is swimming with new blog ideas. Now…where’s my notebook?

      Well? What about you? Have you ever felt all blogged out? What did you do about it?

      Heather Allard lives in Rhode Island with her husband, three kids, Hope, Grace & Brendan and one big dog, The Dude. Since 2001, she’s started three businesses and sold one of them for six figures. Now she shows mom entrepreneurs how to build a business between diaper changes and play dates – without breaking the bank, or their spirit. Find her on Twitter as @HeathAll.

Rock Hard Thighs and Cold Hard Cash: Robb Sutton Spills His Tawdry Review Site Secrets

guest post by Kelly Diels

When I was wondering how to create an effective, money-making review site, I thought of Robb Sutton.

Robb Sutton’s review site, Mountain Biking by 198 “pulls in thousands in review product every month” and in the last 15 months has received over $100,000 dollars worth of review product. He’s also got several other sites, including a coffee review blog, and oh yes, makes a pretty decent living as a ProBlogger.

That is, when he’s not hanging out with the likes of me and telling me all his secrets.

Kelly Diels: Robb, tell me all the dirty details about review sites.

[looooooooooooong pause. Isn’t it a little early in the conversation to have offended him?]

Kelly Diels: Robb?

Robb Sutton: I’m here. Sorry…was just closing up a few things. Now you have my 100% attention.

Kelly Diels: You know a girl likes that.

Robb Sutton: Yes, they do!

Kelly Diels: I mean, so I’ve heard. Tell me, dahlink, how you got started with review sites.

Robb Sutton: Well, it all started with an idea that had nothing to do with reviewing product, ironically.

Kelly Diels: Go on…

Robb Sutton: I had this idea that I was going to have a trail review site for mountain biking that was all user submitted content. About 5 minutes into the process, I realized that you can’t have user submitted content without traffic. So I started a blog where I reviewed parts, bikes and other related products and that took over what was the user submitted part. Basically, I used it as a traffic generator that became the model for

Kelly Diels: So you’re inadvertently brilliant?

Robb Sutton: I fell into it…I like to think of it as a progression. I had some experience being on the other side of the fence in the corporate world, so I knew how to quickly adapt that to blogs.

Kelly Diels: How did you get your pretty mitts on things to review?

Robb Sutton: Well, back when the industry had no clue who I was, I relied on current contacts and cold contacting through emails and phone calls. Now it is a combination of them finding me and me finding them.

Kelly Diels: Do you work with PR companies, or companies directly?

Robb Sutton: I work with PR companies, directly with manufacturers, distributers and some retailers.

Kelly Diels: And for those of us who just got really scared, what does that process look like?

Robb Sutton: Typically, I send out an email explaining who the site is, what we do and what the process is. I then include examples with some simple search engine and site stats. If it is a smaller company, you pretty much get to the right person right away. A lot of times through that email and you are off and rolling. For larger companies and some smaller ones, a follow up call is required to get in touch with the right person. Phone calls always convert better than emails, but I always start with emails so they know who you are when they pick up the phone.

Kelly Diels: Gawd, it is almost like online dating.

Robb Sutton: Yeah, a little bit!

Kelly Diels: What sorts of strings get attached to the product and reviews?

Robb Sutton: No strings really. Sometimes you have to return the product if it is super expensive. But sometimes you don’t even have to do that. Most companies know what blogging and review blogging entails these days.

Kelly Diels: Which brings us to Disclosure, baby. Tell me how you handle Big Brother, the FTC.

Robb Sutton: I have a blanket disclosure on all of my sites that is linked up in the footer that explains links, products, etc. I am very up front with my readers on the process so there is nothing that is hidden that could be considered bad by the public or FTC. Everything is up front and honest.

Kelly Diels: And if you’re just not into her the product? What do you do?

Robb Sutton: I write the truth! Bottom line is that you are writing for your readers and not the companies. If you are just going to write glorified advertisements then no one is going to take you seriously. Back everything up with facts and everything turns out ok.

Kelly Diels: Sing it, sister.

Robb Sutton: Even companies I have given poor reviews to in the past still send me stuff. They want to reach the audience and you want to deliver the goods. Its a win/win.

Kelly Diels: All press is good press…

Robb Sutton: Actually…that is very true.

Kelly Diels: Seriously. The first time someone trashed me online (Allyn Hane, lover, I’m a-talking to you) I was delighted. But I digress. What kind of traffic are companies and agencies looking for?

Robb Sutton: They are looking for targeted traffic.

Kelly Diels: What does targeted traffic mean?

Robb Sutton: The specific number isn’t really important. 100 targeted eyes are better than 10,000 that aren’t targeted.

Kelly Diels: How do you demonstrate “targeted eyes”? I feel like we just took a sharp right turn into a gun range.

Robb Sutton: Targeted traffic is basically qualified leads. When someone subscribes to your blog, they are targeted because they want to digest that subject matter. And don’t shoot!

Kelly Diels: I can’t. I don’t even know the process for getting a gun permit in Canada but I know it takes forever. Also I’m a lover, not a shooter…Tell me about a review or a product that got you all hot ‘n bothered.

Robb Sutton: Hmmm…

Kelly Diels: I went to a sex toy party on Friday night and, given the subject of my blog, I’m pretty sure that I can review those products and claim them as a tax deduction. But again, I digress.

Robb Sutton: [laughs, possibly uncomfortably] Yes, you probably could…An example of an interesting product/review was when I got in a fork from a manufacturer because of comments I made about how I didn’t like the direction they were heading.

Kelly Diels: Umm… “got in a fork”? Dude. translation, please. I mean, it sounds naughty but even I’m drawing a blank.

Robb Sutton: Suspension fork. It is the thing on the front of the bike that is the suspension.

Kelly Diels: Oh it is a thing. Not a position. That clears everything up. So why was this fork so fabulous?

Robb Sutton: Because it was sent to me after I made the comments. I backed everything up with facts on why I didn’t agree. And they said…ok…try it out for yourself. I thought that was pretty cool.

Kelly Diels: That’s pretty smart marketing, actually. And..? How was the fork?

Robb Sutton: Great product. Still don’t agree with that one aspect.

Kelly Diels: I had no idea forks were so controversial.

Robb Sutton: They are a reputable company that produces a great product but I just didn’t agree with the “new standard” they were introducing.

Kelly Diels: Ok, Mr. Fancy Britches. I get it. YOU HAVE OPINIONS – which, I’m thinking, is probably why your review site works.

Robb Sutton: Doesn’t everyone?!

Kelly Diels: Yes, darling. That was a compliment in disguise. I think that is what reviews are about – good, solid, well-reasoned opinions…So. You get loads of free products, but how do you make money? You can’t eat forks.

Robb Sutton: Affiliate revenue, direct advertising, e-book sales like my Ramped Reviews (aff), pay-per-click…I like to diversify.

Kelly Diels: And what about all the companies kissing your…site? Do they ever buy advertising?

Robb Sutton: They do, and it is a lot easier to sell advertising space to people you already have a working relationship with.

Kelly Diels: And what does that do to the separation of church and state, editorial vs revenue? Do you feel awkward about reviewing your clients?

Robb Sutton: Not at all. Everything is explained up front. No surprises. Keep in mind that nothing is written that is pure emotion or inflammatory. It is all fact-based opinion.

Kelly Diels: That’s right. We all have niches. MINE is pure emotion and inflammatory prose. So stay outta that one, my love…Ok. Going general: do you think review sites of higher ticket items – like bikes, cameras etc – work better than other kinds of review sites, like say restaurants or experiences?

Robb Sutton: I think it is about equal. I also run a coffee review site ( that does really well and it is very young. I think the possibilities are wide open.

Kelly Diels: Now you’re speaking my language. The language of love/caffeine.

Robb Sutton: Yeah, I’ll leave that one to you! I’m obsessed…I’ll admit it.

Kelly Diels: With coffee? Or mountain bikes?

Robb Sutton: Nothing better than a great cup of coffee, but both. And blogging, of course.

KellyDiels: I ask because I like coffee and mountain bikers. I may have mentioned this before: THIGHS OF GRANITE.

Robb Sutton: Very true! And a strong grip.

Kelly Diels: If you do say so yourself. With whom can I verify this? I have to fact-check, you know.

Robb Sutton: Any cyclist…but especially mountain bikers because we have to ride technical terrain.

Kelly Diels: Well, there you have it. The secrets of review sites, hot coffee, and rock hard…thighs.

Kelly Diels writes for ProBlogger every week. She’s also a wildly hireable freelance writer and the creator of Cleavage, a blog about three things we all want more of: sex, money and meaning.

Interview with Six Figure Blogger Pat Flynn Available for ProBlogger Newsletter Subscribers

pat-flynnA couple of weeks ago I hooked up on Skype with a great blogger by the name of Pat Flynn who has a fantastic story to share.

Pat was working as an architect and was about to get married – life was good – but unexpectedly he was laid off from his job and was left wondering what to do.

It turns out that getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to Pat – he took a small blog about an architectural exam (the LEED exam) that he’d been using to help himself study for the exam and turned it into a six figure income generation machine.

He launched an E-Book off the back of his blog and in its first month he made $8000. That was just the beginning though – in his first year of business the site generated over $200,000!

You can check out Pat’s blog at Green Exam Academy and his newer site at Smart Passive Income.

My chat with Pat was both inspiring and informative and today I’m sharing it with those who have subscribed to the ProBlogger Newsletter and will be adding it as a free bonus to anyone who subscribes in future.

Sign up below to get access to our weekly newsletter and this free Podcast with Pat Flynn.

If you don’t see a signup form above you could be using an Ad Blocker program that also blocks signup forms. Please disable it for a few minutes and refresh this page to see the form and sign up.

Lesson from ReadWriteWeb: An Interview with Richard MacManus

readwriteweb_logo.jpgOne of my new years resolutions in 2010 is to interview one blogger per week as a podcast. I’ll post most of these for members of the community at but from time to time will share some of them here on for all to hear.

Yesterday morning I had the privileged of speaking with Richard MacManus – Founder and Editor of the successful ReadWriteWeb blog.

Richard started ReadWriteWeb back in 2003 and has since grown it into one of the world’s largest blogs in terms of traffic, subscribers and most importantly influence. Richard has also taken RWW from a single author blog into one with at least 13 writers.

In this 45 minute audio podcast Richard shares the story of RWW and its beginnings, talks about the transition to a multi-author blog, shares some tips for new bloggers, talks openly about how RWW is monetized (including through advertising, publishing premium reports and running events) and looks forward at the future of publishing.

The interview also briefly features my 18 month old son who decided that Richard was someone he really wanted to speak with :-)

Richard’s one of the most thoughtful and insightful bloggers I’ve interacted with and has built a blog that reflects this. He majors on being constructive, insightful and useful and this podcast reflects that.

You can listen to this 45 minute podcast here or right click and save it to listen to it at your leisure.

While you listen be sure to surf over to ReadWriteWeb and follow Richard on Twitter and Facebook.

PS: apologies if there is an initial slowness in downloading but as you’d expect, there will be a bit of action on this podcast in the first little while after this post goes live.

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits Shares a Popular Post Case Study

Leo-Babauta-Case-StudyThis week I’m featuring a short series of interviews with successful bloggers looking at a popular post on their blog and why they think it went viral. Today Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has agreed to dissect the popularity of one of his site’s most popular posts.

1. What is the post on your blog that has had the most traffic in the last 12 months?

I would never have guessed this until I looked it up in Analytics, but the top post in the last year is “10 Tasty, Easy and Healthy Breakfast Ideas“.

2. Where did the traffic mainly come from?

The page had nearly 500K pageviews in the last year, almost all from Google searches. A small amount came from Yahoo (#2), direct traffic, MSN, and other search engines.

3. Did you do anything extra to market or promote this post or did it just happen organically?

No, I didn’t promote this post any more than other posts. It did well in the first day, without my help, and quickly found its way to the #1 spot in Google searches for “healthy breakfasts” and related search terms. I don’t do SEO at all (I don’t believe in it), so this happened totally organically.

4. What can we as bloggers learn from the success of this post?

Google can bring tons of traffic, but the way to get there is not through SEO or overly promotional techniques. It’s by creating useful content that people will want to bookmark, link to, and find in searches, solving problems that many people have.


  1. Figure out what problems a lot of people have.
  2. Create really useful content to solve those problems.
  3. Write a good headline to help the post get spread more widely.

Duncan Riley of The Inquisitr Shares a Popular Post Case Study

This week I’m featuring a short series of interviews with successful bloggers looking at a popular post on their blog and why they think it went viral. Today Duncan Riley from The Inquisitr has agreed to dissect the popularity of one of his site’s most popular posts.

Screen shot 2009-09-10 at 1.30.40 PM.png What is the post on your blog that has had the most traffic in the last 12 months?

Is American Idol’s Adam Lambert Gay? Is there really any question? (656,254 page views)

Where did the traffic mainly come from?

Approx 85% came from Google. Interestingly after that was AOL and direct (as opposed to Yahoo or a social site)

Did you do anything extra to market or promote this post or did it just happen organically?

Initially it was organic. We’d picked up in the semi-finals of American Idol that there was this great singer, and people were asking whether he was gay or not. We led with the question people were asking, a tactic I know other sites advocate, but we don’t do that often, because it doesn’t always make for a good solid headline.

First day traffic was 611 page views, then 10,164…then it bubbled along: 1,000 one day, 2,000 the next, with a couple of 10,000 days as well.

It wasn’t huge for us on a daily sense for over 2 months, but it kept appearing in our stats. We did follow up posts (none which did the same level of page views, but some around the 50,000 to 100,000 page view mark) and we kept linking back to the original post each time. Two months later, and Adam Lambert was heading towards the final of American Idol, and more people kept asking the question. 2 months and 1 week after the post went up, it did a 107,834 day; we were the top result in Google for “Is Adam Lambert gay.”

The success was a combination of two things: timing and link strategy. We were early, if not the first site of size to write about the topic. After that, we not only linked back ourselves, but the post received a good number of external links as well (being first helped a lot), pushing us to the top of Google

What can we as bloggers learn from the success of this post?

1. Timing isn’t everything, but there is still strong opportunities for first to market. If you can offer a post that contains information (or commentary) that is unique, first (or close to first), and topical, that post can sometimes become a big post for you.

2. Sometimes long term pays A lot of what we do is short term when it comes to news, but some stories can wag not only for days, but weeks and (as in this case) months. Marque content has the ability to provide for you over a longer period; our post here didn’t start that way, but it had longevity.

For example this post I wrote back in June; it’s done just over 55,000 page views as I write this, but every day it gets page views, one day 500, next 1000, then 150 etc, and I have every reason to believe that in 3 months time it will probably still be wagging along and will eventually pass 100,000 pageviews. Not spectacular I know, but likewise if you’ve got a sizeable number of posts doing the same thing, they all add up.

It doesn’t matter what the vertical: both my examples here are entertainment related, but it could be just as easily be applied to a good advice post, or internet marketing post, or more. You need look no further that bloggers who post about WordPress templates and plugins for example to know that a good post can wag for not only months, but sometimes years.

Vitaly Friedman of Smashing Magazine Shares a Popular Post Case Study

This week I’m featuring a short series of interviews with successful bloggers looking at a popular post on their blog and why they think it went viral. Today Vitaly Friedman from Smashing Magazine has agreed to dissect the popularity of one of their most popular posts.

popular-post-smashing-magazine.png1. What is the post on your blog that has had the most traffic in the last 12 months?

The most popular post in our magazine was the article “Adobe Photoshop Tutorials – Best Of” which was published in October 2008. It is one of the many tutorials round-ups that we’ve done then. Overall, the post has now almost a 1,000,000 unique visits.

2. Where did the traffic mainly come from?

Most traffic came from Google, followed by social media, in particular via StumbleUpon, Twitter, Digg and Reddit (in this order). Since we are paying a huge amount of attention and time investment into preparing well-researched, high-quality posts, it is very likely that stories published on SM are going fairly well in social media. After all, almost every story needs over 25 hours to be completed. Another reason for our popularity in social media is the simple fact that we don’t post too often – at most 2 articles per day appear on Smashing Magazine.

About a couple of months after the post was published the organic traffic via Google etc. started to catch up, so at the moment we (on average) have much more traffic from search engines than from social media. All the social media together are still only a small portion of the traffic coming from Google.

3. Did you do anything extra to market or promote this post or did it just happen organically?

We never push a story hard to reach some critical mass of diggs, votes or tweets. The post did well, because many designers found it useful and bookmarked it or recommended it. That’s the basis and the requirements for a good, successful, popular post.

4. What can we as bloggers learn from the success of this post?

The quality of the content defines the nature of post’s popularity over months and years. The more time you invest into preparing a post, the more quality it will deliver to the reader and the more appreciative your readers will be. The latter will deliver your blog organic growth, traffic and solid readership. That’s as simple as that. Deliver quality and you’ll be rewarded with good reputation and good traffic.

5. I notice you’ve got a book coming out soon – how did it come to be? Got any tips for aspiring bloggers wanting to do a book?

Yes, we are currently in the final stage of publishing our “Smashing Book” – a printed book about best practices in modern Web design and development. Books are still valuable, because they are more solid and permanent compared to bits and bytes. The idea to create a book came because we wanted to explore how we can strengthen Smashing branding in further traditional media. We decided to create the community book, a book that is based upon ideas and suggestions of our readers, involving them in basically every step of the process.

Publishing a book is easy these days is easy – with digital printing and numerous layout applications one can create an e-book in hours. The process is also fast and relatively cheap. But this is not what we decided to do. The Smashing Book is printed the traditional way. We aim to the masses. This is possible because we have a huge audience and we are selling to them directly, bypassing common bookstores and shops. To do this we need plenty of money to pay for paper, layout and printing. But there is a traditional solution to go around this, the pre-sale phase. We have started the pre-sale to gather money and estimate the circulation (yes, it’s a secret). In exchange for customer’s trust, we are offering a big discount of 20%.

Since we wanted everybody to be able to afford the Smashing Book, we have decided to introduce something that we call “social shipping”. The idea here is that we offer customers from US and Germany free shipping, but since shipping costs are extremely high to some parts of the world, they can voluntarily pay more for the shipping of their copy. And, of course, selling around the world needs some serious logistics. There are literally tons to move. An e-book would be more much more comfortable, but we hope that our readers will appreciate our efforts to create a physical piece that can be put on the shelf. The printed Smashing Book will appear in the end of this year.

Check out the Smashing Magazin upcoming book (it is available for pre-order) here.

Interview with founder James Farmer today I posted about a fantastic new service by the name of – a service that enables you to set up your own blog network. Now I’d like to post a quick interview with James Farmer – co founder of Incsub, the team behind and the company that runs the WordPress MU hub WPMU DEV and the industry news blog He’s also the founder of He (like me) is based in Melbourne, Australia.

He caught up with me over email last week to talk about Incsub’s brand new offering:

So what’s the difference between, say, and


Well, the main difference is that at you become the blog provider, and you have a huge amount of flexibility and functionality that you just won’t get anywhere else.

It’s like in a box really, only better! Once you’re up and running you can create and host as many blogs as you want, at your own domain.

You’ve been able to do this for a while using WordPress MU but that’s been pretty hard as you need to setup hosting, run installation, download and configure themes and plugins etc.

Now though, we do that all for you… and you are free to grow your blog network or community in whatever niche you like – and, of course, run your own advertising!

It’s white label blog networks if you will… kinda like for blogging.

So, you say users can run their own advertising, how does that work? Supporters (starting from 5 cents per blog per month) can run their own advertising across the entire network just by dropping in any ad code – it’s simple and very effective (or at least we like to think that!)

Every blog theme has 4 ad ‘spots’: under the post title and above the content, under the content and above the comments and at the top of each sidebar – as well as across a footer slot, for running JS contextual ads like Kontera or similar.

And you can set display rules for your ads too – like ‘only show them to IE browsers’ or ‘only show them to search engine visitors’ so you can make money like too… without annoying your users.

So what’s with the MU, are you big in Mauritius?

Heh, very funny, the MU actually stands for MultiUser – as in WordPress MU – also known as WPMU. We love the platform and have been on it from the start – one our WPMU Sites (Edublogs) is older than by 3 weeks… so we know what we’re doing.

And yeh, we did the obvious as well and setup WP.MU too – it’s an installation service for people who do want to get down and dirty with the guts of it all.

So we hope we’re covering every base!

And how do you think Problogger readers could best use

Well, I’m hoping there are a heap of ways that established and aspiring probloggers could use First up, if you’ve got an active community then this is a great way to get them writing in your space (you could even configure your site to a subdomain of your existing site!)

Another way would be that it’s a really affordable and powerful way to run your own 10 or so blog network.

Either way there are tons of advertising opportunities – and we’re looking into incorporating eCommerce, membership subscriptions, ‘pay to blog’ features and more pretty shortly.

Also, we’ve got some forums up and running for existing and prospective users (it’s completely free to join) at so if any of your readers would like us to consider or build in specific features – we’d love to hear from them!

Check out for yourself.

An Interview (with Me) on Getting ‘Fast Traffic’ to a Blog

A couple of weeks back I was sent these questions as part of an interview that someone wanted to do in the writing of a book.

In the end the person doing the interview couldn’t use it – so I’ve decided that rather than waste the significant time I put into responding that I’d post the answers here.

The focus of the interview seemed to be going down the route of getting ‘fast traffic’ to a blog. You’ll see this theme coming up numerous times in the questions and probably sense a little of my frustration with the idea in my answers. I hope you find the interview useful.

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers…

My name is Darren Rowse, I live in Melbourne Australia with my wife ‘V’ and two boys (aged 6 months and 2 and a half). I’ve been blogging for a little over 6 years. It started completely as a hobby but gradually grew into a part time and then full time job (and then beyond). I’ve written a book on blogging (called ProBlogger), am the cofounder of the b5media blog network and over the years have started around 30 blogs (although only concentrate on 3 today). I’m also a keen photographer and love to read.

2. What blogs do you own, which one is your favorite, and why did you start it?

I personally own and edit three blogs today – ProBlogger (a blog about blogging), Digital Photography School (a blog to help digital camera owners get the most from their cameras) and TwiTip (my most recent blog – a blog focusing upon Twitter Tips).

I enjoy each blog for different reasons but I guess if I had to give up two and keep one the one I’d keep would be ProBlogger – simply because it is the oldest of the three (although not the biggest – DPS is gets more traffic) and one that I’ve put most time and effort into over the years.

I started ProBlogger simply because it was a blog I wanted to read myself. I was experimenting with making blogging a business but no one else was writing about that at the time – so I thought I’d start it and journal what I was learning.

3. what is the number one thing you learned about blogging that has impacted your bottom line, that thing that makes the difference between succeeding and failing in this business?

There are so many things and to isolate one is difficult (and perhaps not that helpful as great blogs are built upon many factors and rarely just one thing).

However if I had to choose one thing it’d be that successful blogs are ‘useful’ blogs in one way or another.

Blogs need to meet a need or solve a problem that potential readers have. The need might seem frivilous (the need to be entertained for example) or it could be a need for information, community, news etc.

Meet a need and you give people a reason to subscribe to your blog and to pass it on to others. Create a blog that doesn’t really prove useful in any way and you’re unlikely to build a successful blog.

4. If you have to bring instant visitors to your blog in the next 30 minutes, what steps will you follow?

If you’re expecting big traffic quickly you’re asking the wrong guy. My strategy has always been to write content that people will want to read now – but also for years to come. Some call this ‘evergreen’ content and it takes time to write. It might not bring traffic quickly but if you write something that is still relevant in a year or more you’ll continue to draw traffic to it.

I’m sorry if that doesn’t answer your question but to be honest there’s a lot of bloggers looking for quick traffic and quick money and a lot of people promising to teach them how to get it – but that’s not my experience of blogging.

Take a long term view, build something that matters and you’ll build a blog that grows in traffic over the long haul.

5. Most bloggers like to get passive traffic… What are the one time actions we can do which will keep on bringing traffic without any effort after that?

Once again I’m afraid my answer could disappoint…. I’m not really someone who has found too many actions that will bring traffic (or income) without any effort after you do them.

The only real exception to that is to write brilliant content. When you do this it has the potential to bring traffic to your blog (via search engines) for years to come. This in turn can lead to ongoing income.

Other than that I’ve not really found too much about blogging that is ‘passive’. It’s a lot of work over the long haul.

6. What’s your most effective traffic generating strategy which works every time for you and gives the best return in terms of traffic regarding to your time spent?

Outside of writing useful and high quality content (am I sounding like a broken record yet) I’d say it is engaging in social media communities. For me one of these has been Twitter (for others it’ll be sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, MySpace, Facebook etc). These social networking and social bookmarking sites have the potential to spread word of your site or posts on it virally through the network and beyond.

It takes a lot of time to build up these networks to the point that they are effective at driving a lot of traffic. Start building your networks now.

7. What are your top 3 traffic sources and how exactly do you attract traffic from each of those sources?

  • Google – write good content, build relationships with other bloggers and website owners in the hope that they’ll link to you, learn basic search engine optimization techniques and stick at it for the long haul.
  • 2. Direct Traffic – this traffic is largely from readers who subscribe to my blogs via RSS or newsletters. The key with this is to convert first time readers to your blog into loyal readers by interacting with them, displaying subscription methods prominently, calling readers to action and building anticipation in visitors to your blog that you’ll write something that they’ll not want to miss in future.
  • 3. Social Media – this is about building your network over time, writing the type of content that goes well in these networks (research what types of stories go viral on these sites) and making connections with others on the networks.

8. Let’s say you lose your name, contacts and everything. You have to start from scratch as a “nobody”. What will you do then for the next 30 days so that your blog will start getting 1000 unique visitors each and every day?

I’m not sure it’ll make 1000 visitors a day within 30 days the way I’d do it but I’d probably spend time investing into

  • writing great content
  • offering to guest post on other blogs (linking back to my own blog)
  • networking on social media sites
  • and even investing a little money into advertising on sites like Facebook and StumbleUpon (where you can advertise fairly cheaply).

Other than that I’d be wanting to take a longer term view than 30 days and concentrate on building a useful blog with lots of content over time.

9. What else would you like to share, something that our readers can immediately apply to their blogs and see results fast?

Forget the word ‘fast’.

Really – forget it.

You can probably use some techniques to get fast traffic but a more profitable strategy over the long haul is to build a blog that people become loyal to and proud to belong to over the long haul. Do this and they’ll pass on word of your blog to others for you and in the long haul you’ll see bigger growth.

In my experience – the only times I’ve had ‘fast traffic’ to my blog is once a blog has been going for significant time and after I’ve invested a lot of time and energy into it. While the traffic might come in fast – the reality is that it was only as a result of a lot of hard work in building the foundations of the blog.