Author: Darren Rowse

9 Key Ingredients for Creating the Perfect Sales Page

9 key ingredients for the perfect sales page

If you’ve created one of these 7 types of products to sell on your blog, or you’re going to start offering a service to your readers, then you need a sales page.

The sales page is (not surprisingly) a page on your blog that’s all about your product or service. You can link to it in the navigation menu, from an ad on your sidebar, from your social media accounts, and from guest posts.

As an example, here’s the sales page for Digital Photography School’s Photo Magic ebook.

Photo Magic sales page example

While sales pages don’t need to be complicated, creating your first one can be daunting. You may have seen all sorts of highly designed sales pages on large blogs and thought, “I can’t do anything even remotely like that”.

But all sales pages have similar elements, which you can think of as ‘ingredients’. Those elements are:

  1. A clear, compelling headline
  2. An image of the product or service
  3. An explanation of exactly what’s included
  4. A list of benefits the customer will get from the product
  5. Testimonials from satisfied customers
  6. The price (and the different pricing options, if applicable)
  7. A money-back guarantee (if applicable)
  8. A buy button
  9. No sidebar

Here’s what you need to know about each one.

#1: A Clear, Compelling Headline

Sometimes you can use the name of your product or service as the headline, providing it’s interesting and self-explanatory. But in most cases you should come up with a headline as if you were writing an advertisement.

Here’s an example from Copyblogger’s “Authority” membership.

Their sales page begins with a clear statement: “How to Take the Guesswork Out of Content Marketing”, followed by supporting copy about it being a training and networking community.

Try coming up with several possible headlines, and ask your readers (or fellow bloggers, if you belong to a mastermind group or similar) which one they think works best.

You might also want to look at some of the sales pages of products or services you’ve purchased, to see what they did. Do the headlines grab your attention and draw you in? How do they do it? (And are any of them a bit over the top and potentially off-putting?)

#2: An Image of the Product (or Service)

Even if your product is digital, or your service is something fairly intangible (e.g. email consulting), you need an  image.

Here are some ideas:

  • If you have a physical product, use high-quality photos that show it from different angles, or perhaps in different operating modes.
  • If you have a digital product, take screenshots of it. If it’s an ebook, you might want to create a ‘3D’ version of the cover to use on your sales page. (A cover designer should be able to do this for you. Alternatively, there are plenty of online and downloadable tools you can use.)
  • If you’re providing a service such as consulting, coaching, an in-person workshop, or similar, use a photo of yourself. If you don’t have any professional headshots, ask a friend or family member to take several different shots so you can select the best.
  • If showing your face isn’t an option for any reason, think of other ways you might include a relevant image. For instance, if you’re an editor you might have a photo of your hands on the keyboard.

On the 2017 ProBlogger Evolve Conference sales page, we had photos taken at past events plus headshots of all the speakers:

Use images in your sales page

Normally, you’ll want to save your image as a .jpg file so it loads quickly without losing much quality.

#3: An Explanation of Exactly What’s Included

Sometimes it seems obvious what the customer will get when they buy your product. But always spell things out as clearly as possible so there’s no room for doubt or confusion.

For instance, if you sell software you might want to make it clear they’ll receive a password to download it from your website. Otherwise, they might expect the software to arrive as an email attachment or even a physical CD.

With an ecourse, you’ll probably want to include at least the title of every module or part. And with an ebook, you may want to provide a full chapter list. Here’s what we do for our courses over on Digital Photography School. (This example is from the Lightroom Mastery course.)

#4: A List of Benefits the Customer Will Get

When you’ve created a great product or service, it’s easy to get carried away with the “features” – the nuts and bolts of how it works.

But customers don’t buy features – they buy benefits. (Or, as Harvard Professor Theodore Levitt put it, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”)

Think about what your product (or service) will help your customer achieve. Will they save time, avoid silly mistakes, or overcome fears?

You might want to list a benefit for each feature. For instance, if you offer website setup and design services, some of the features might be:

  • You’ll get your own domain name
  • Your site will run on WordPress
  • Your site will feature responsive design
  • You’ll get unlimited email support

But these features may not mean much to someone who’s new to websites. They might not even know exactly what a domain name is, let alone why having their own matters.

Here are those same features, along with their benefits:

  • You’ll get your very own domain name: you’ll look professional from the moment someone sees your blog’s address.
  • Your site will run on WordPress: this popular website platform lets you easily make changes without touching a word of code.
  • Your site will feature responsive design: it can tell when someone’s visiting from a mobile or tablet, and adjust (just for them) accordingly.
  • You’ll get unlimited email support: while you’ll be able to update every aspect of your site on your own if you want to, I’ll always be available to help.

You can see how adding simple, clear benefits makes the offer sound much more attractive.

#5: Testimonials from Satisfied Customers

One crucial sales tool is what other people say about your product or service. Readers will (rightly) treat your own claims with a little skepticism – of course you think your product is great. But what do other customers think?

Testimonials are quotes from customers recommending your product. You could think of them as reviews, though they’re invariably focused on the positive. And each testimonial may only talk about one or two aspects of the product.

Of course, before you launch your product you won’t have any customers. To get your first few testimonials, you may want to make advance copies of the product available for free (or very cheap), or offer your services for a nominal fee, or even free. You could ask people  on your blog or social media sites whether they’d be interested in using your product and providing a testimonial.

Here’s how Erin Chase from $5 Dinners incorporates testimonials for her meal plan subscription:

Use Testimonials in your sales pages

Ideally, you’ll want to use the full name and a headshot of anyone providing a testimonial to prove they really exist. But ask permission before doing it – some people may prefer to be known by their initials alone.

#6: The Price (and Pricing Options)

It probably goes without saying, but at some point you’ll need to let customers know how much your product (or service) costs.

Be clear about the price, and exactly what it covers. If there are several options, you may want to use a pricing table (showing the options side by side) to help customers choose.

Here’s what Thrive Themes does with its Thrive Leads product (affiliate link), so customers can compare the monthly subscription to all of its products with the price of just Thrive Leads:

We have a Thrive Themes Membership for ProBlogger, and now use it to create all of our sales pages. Check out their sales page so you can see what’s possible with their drag-and-drop builder, Thrive Architect.

#7: A Money-Back Guarantee (if Applicable)

Providing it’s reasonable to do so, offering a money-back guarantee can help those customers ‘on the fence’ decide to buy. This is particularly true for digital products such as ebooks or ecourses. If they buy it and realise it’s not what they wanted, they can get a refund.

With services you might offer a trial period, or a short free consulting session, to help customers make up their mind.

Most bloggers find that very few customers ever ask for a refund, but giving people the option results in more sales. A standard money-back guarantee period is 30 days, but you might offer a longer period if your product is quite involved (e.g. a 60-day refund period on a six-month ecourse).

Here’s an example from a recent Digital Photography School deal. And you can check out the full sales page we built with with Thrive Architect (affiliate link)

Use a guarantee in your sales page

#8: A “Buy” Button

This seems so obvious that you’re probably wondering why I’m including it. But if you’re creating your first sales page, you may not have given it much thought.

To sell your product or service, you’ll need a “buy” button. It might read:

  • Buy now
  • Add to cart
  • Sign up
  • Join now

or whatever makes sense for your product.

You can easily create a button using PayPal. If you want to style the button yourself, you can create any image and use the PayPal button link. (PayPal currently calls it the “Email payment code”. It’s just a URL you can send by email, use in a sales page, etc.)

If you want to automatically deliver a digital product when someone makes a purchase, you’ll need to use a third-party website or tool such as Easy Digital Downloads (affiliate link), which is what we use at ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.

Experienced bloggers sometimes split-test different button text, and even different button colours. But the most important thing is to make sure:

  • it’s clearly visible and easy to find (you may want to include several buttons on the page
  • it works.

#9: No Sidebar

This final ingredient is one you’ll remove from your sales page, rather than add. If you look at  the examples I’ve linked to in this post, you’ll see that while they all look very different in terms of design and layout, they all have one thing in common.

They don’t have a blog sidebar. And there are no interesting links and widgets to distract the customer from making a purchase.

Many bloggers use special software to create sales pages without sidebars (and even without the navigation bar or other standard elements on their blog). But you may be able to do it with your current WordPress theme.

When you’re editing a page, go to “Page Attributes” and look for an option called “blank page”, “no sidebars”, “full width” or similar:

Simply select the appropriate option and update your page: the sidebar should disappear.

I hope I’ve made the process of building a sales page a little less daunting. By gathering these ingredients one by one you can put your page together a bit at a time, rather than trying to write the whole thing at once.

Best of luck with your sales page, and your first product or service. I hope it’s the first of many for you.

The post 9 Key Ingredients for Creating the Perfect Sales Page appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Seven Types of Product You Could Sell From Your Blog

7 types of product you could sell from your blog

It took me nearly seven years of blogging to create my first products: two ebooks, one for ProBlogger and one of Digital Photography School. They made me a total of over $160,000 in 2009 alone and changed my business.

Back in 2014, I wrote about the experience … and how it nearly never happened:

My big issue was a severe lack of time. Between juggling two growing blogs and a growing family (we had just had our first child), I wasn’t sure how I’d ever write an eBook. I also had a long long list of other excuses to put it off.

I’d never written, designed, marketed a product of my own before… I didn’t have a shopping cart system… I didn’t know if my readers would buy…

In short – the dream of creating and selling an eBook of my own stayed in my head for two years until 2009. Ironically by that point I’d become even busier (we’d just had our second son and my blogs had continued to grow) but I knew if I didn’t bite the bullet and do it that I never would.

Does any of that sound familiar to you? Perhaps you’re blogging alongside a busy day job, or you’ve got young children at home, and the whole idea of creating a product seems very daunting.

You’re definitely not alone. But creating your own product – even a small, simple one – can bring in money much faster than affiliate sales or advertising: after all, your audience trust you and if they like your writing, they’ll want more from you.

In this post, I’ll take you through seven different types of product you could create. Some of these require more time and initial investment: others, you could plausibly create in a weekend.

But First … What is a “Product”?

What exactly do I mean by a “product”? It could be something virtual (like software or an ebook) or something physical (like a t-shirt or a paperback book).

A product might involve an element of ongoing commitment from you, but it isn’t only about the hours you put in – so I won’t be covering freelancing, virtual assistant roles, or other services here.

Seven Types of Product You Could Sell from Your Blog … Which One is Right For You?

The seven types of product I’m going to run through in this post are:

  1. Ebooks: these might be positioned as “guides” or even self-study courses. Essentially, they’re written downloadables, probably in .pdf, .mobi and/or .epub format.
  2. Printables: these are designed to be printed out! They might be planners, cheat sheets, party invites, worksheets … anything that someone might buy to print and (probably) fill in.
  3. Digital subscriptions: these are normally delivered by email, and are often relatively cheap compared with some other products (making them attractive to first-time buyers).
  4. Online courses: these could be text, audio and/or video, although video is increasingly becoming the “default” expectation.
  5. Membership of a private website or group: this might be a membership site that you host yourself, or something as simple as a closed Facebook group.
  6. Software or a phone app: unless you’re a developer, this probably isn’t the product you’ll go for first … but it could be a very lucrative one to try later on.
  7. Physical products: these could be almost anything from books to t-shirts to one-off pieces of art. Unless you’ve already got a business selling them, though, they aren’t the best products to begin with.

Let’s take a look at each of those in more detail. I’ll be giving examples for each one, so you can see how different bloggers are using these different types of product.

#1: Ebooks: Are They Right for You?

The first two products I created, back in 2009, were both ebooks: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (since updated) and The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography (now superseded by a range of portrait photography books)

That was almost a decade ago, which is a long time in the ebook world. Amazon had only recently launched the Kindle, and the first iPad didn’t appear for another year.

These days, there are a lot more ebooks out there, but don’t let that put you off. A well-positioned ebook can still be a great starter product. If you’re really pushed for time, you might want to compile some of your best blog posts into an ebook (that’s what I did with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog), then edit them and add some extra material.

Example: Deacon Hayes’ You Can Retire Early!

You Can Retire Early Deacon Hayes

Although many bloggers still sell ebooks via their own platforms, charging premium prices for specialised information, it may be a better fit for your audience if you sell your ebook through Amazon and/or other large e-retailers.

If your ebook has a (potentially) large audience, if they’re unlikely to pay more than $9.99 for it, and/or if they’re a bit wary about buying online, selling through a well-established ebook retailer could be the way to go.

This is what Deacon does with his ebook You Can Retire Early! – it’s sold through Amazon, but to make it a great deal and to capture his readers’ email addresses, he offers a free course for readers who email him their receipt.

If you’d like to see more examples of ebooks, we now have 23 ebooks on Digital Photography School.

#2: Printables

Printables are becoming increasingly popular. They differ from ebooks because they’re designed to be printed and used/displayed – and they’re unlikely to contain a lot of text.

Printables could be almost anything:

  • Planner pages
  • Party invites
  • Pieces of art
  • Greetings cards
  • Kids’ activities
  • Calendars
  • Gift tags
  • Adult colouring sheets

… whatever you can think of, and whatever suits your blog and audience.

Unless you’re skilled at design, you may need to hire a professional designer to create high-quality printables for you … though it depends what you’re creating.

Example: Chelsea Lee Smith’ “Printable Pack”

Chelsea Lee Smith printables

Many of Chelsea’s printables are available for free on her blog, but this pack adds five exclusive ones … and brings everything together in one place. Most of her printables are simple and straightforward (which could be a bonus to readers not wanting to spend a fortune on ink!) She’s priced the whole pack at $4.99, making it an appealing purchase for busy parents.

#3: Digital Subscriptions

A digital subscription is information or a resource that you send out to subscribers on a regular basis. Depending on what exactly it is, they might be paying anything from a couple of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars each month.

Delivering the subscription could be as simple as adding paying members to an email list (which you can do through linking PayPal with your email provider). You won’t need to create all the content up front – though you’ll want to get ahead so that you always provide your customers with their resources on time.

Depending on the type of subscription, you could either provide all subscribers with all the same content in order (e.g. they start with week 1, then week 2, and so on) – or you could send out a weekly or monthly email to everyone at the same time, so they get the same content whether they’ve been with you for a day or a year.

Example: $5 Meal Plan, by Erin Chase  

Erin Chase 5 dollar meal plan

Erin’s product solve a problem that many parents have: how do you get a tasty meal on the table each night, quickly and cheaply … without spending hours every week writing a complicated meal plan?

This weekly subscription costs $5/month, with a 14 day free trial. Like Chelsea’s printables, above, it’s priced at a point where it’s an attractive offer for busy families. We recently had Erin on the ProBlogger podcast where you can hear more about how she started blogging and went from zero to a six-figure income in two years.

#4: Online Courses

An online course can take quite a bit of time to put together, and some bloggers feel daunted by the technology involved.

At its simplest, an online course might be essentially the same sort of content as an ebook, only split into “lessons” or “chapters” rather than modules. Many courses will include additional features, though, like:

  • Video content: courses that are based around videos normally have transcripts or at least summaries to help your students who prefer not to watch video or who want a recap to refer to.
  • Audio interviews: if you don’t have the tools to create high-quality video, audio can be a good alternative (and some students prefer it to, as they can listen while commuting or exercising).
  • Quizzes: depending on what you’re teaching, it may be helpful for students to test their knowledge at the end of each lesson or module.
  • Interaction: you might choose to offer feedback to students, or you might have a closed Facebook group for students to join, where they can talk with one another and with you.
  • Certification: this is more appropriate for some topics than others … but offering students some sort of certification at the end of the course can be helpful.

Example: ProBlogger’s New Courses

ProBlogger Courses Example

At ProBlogger we’ve just gone through this process to launch our first ever course. We decided on the self-hosted route and use Learndash as our Learning Management System. You don’t necessarily have to host your course on your own site, though – there are plenty of online platforms like Teachable and Udemy that you can provide your course through instead.

Learndash (partnered with the Buddyboss-friendly Social Learner theme) allows us to offer all of the above features with our courses. Whilst our first course is free, we will be using the same platform to sell our first paid course, an update of my popular eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog in March.

For our free Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course, we are running a beta version in conjunction with our first ProBlogger International Start a Blog day on the 7th of February, so as part of the beta we’re also trialling a Facebook group. It is common for bloggers running courses to run a group for communication in conjunction with a course, but beware the amount of time and attention this requires.

We’re closing registrations to the course on the 31st of January, and after we implement suggestions from the beta group, we’ll open it up again as an evergreen course (ie people can start it at any time as a self-guided group) as well as again in the new year for the next International Start a Blog Day.

#5: Membership of a Private Website or Group

For quite a few years now, “membership sites” have been popular. These are essentially closed websites where people have to pay and sign up (almost always for a monthly fee) in order to view the content.

The content might be text-based, or (more often) it could involve audio or video. Sites might offer monthly “seminars” or “workshops”, or regular courses that members can take part in.

On a smaller scale, some bloggers offer Facebook sites with paid membership: this can be a quick and easy way to set up your product, though it’s worth remembering that if you were banned from Facebook, you’d no longer have access to your group!

Example: Copyblogger’s “Authority”

Copyblogger’s membership site Authority focuses on the community elements as well as the teaching materials provided. It’s a fairly high-end community site aimed at professional copywriters, small business owners, and so on, and also gives members the opportunity for expert coaching, in addition to peer support.

Like most membership sites, it has a monthly subscription ($55/month) – but there’s also the option to purchase a year’s membership for $550.

#6: Software or a Phone App

This is unlikely to be an option for your first product, unless you’re a developer … but creating a piece of software or a phone app could potentially be very lucrative.

There are a lot of options here, and your software/app might be anything from a business tool to something that relates to your readers’ hobby. You might have a one-time price, especially if it’s a relatively simple tool … or you might be pricing on a monthly basis (the “Software as a Service” or SaaS model, where you host the software for customers to login to).

Example: Fat Mum Slim’s Little Moments App

little moments app fat mum slim

Long-time blogger Chantelle Ellem created her fun photo editing app on the back of her viral Instagram hashtag challenge #photoaday. When she released Little Moments in 2014 it went to number one in Australia, and number seven in the USA. It was picked as the App Store’s best app for 2014 and has been Editor’s Choice {selected by the App Store worldwide}.

Whilst it’s a free app, it has in-app purchases where you can purchase packs of designs to use in the editor – either per pack or an offer to unlock everything and get all the packs.

Little Moments in-app purchases

Chantelle shares some insights here about creating the app, including being prepared for the feedback from customers and creating a community around your app.

#7: Physical Products

Finally, even though blogging life revolves around the online world … there’s nothing stopping you creating an offline, physical product. This could be almost anything you can imagine: bloggers have created board games, comic books, merchandise, artworks, and far more.

Physical products need to be created, stored and shipped, all of which will take time (and money) – so this probably won’t be the first product you’ll want to experiment with. You can sell directly from your own blog, or you can use an appropriate online marketplace: Etsy for handmade goods, for instance, or Amazon or eBay for almost any product.

Example: Kirsten and Co’s Skin Boss

Kirsten Smith Skin Boss

Personal and lifestyle blogger Kirsten Smith recently developed and launched Skin Boss, a range of facial oils in response to an issue she was experiencing with her skin. You can read the backstory here on why and how it was developed. When you create something in response to a real need and have a strong connection with your readers and other bloggers, it’s an excellent platform for the success of a new product. Kirsten has able to reach out to her network of blogging friends to get media coverage for her new product.

 

I know there’s a lot to take in here! All bloggers, however fancy and complex their products are now, started somewhere – often with an ebook, printables, or a simple online course.

Even if you’re pressed for time, could you set aside 15 minutes a day or maybe block out a weekend in order to create your first product?

It might just change your life.

The post Seven Types of Product You Could Sell From Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog

Start a blog course open

Is starting a new blog on your goals list for 2018?

If so – you’ll want to check out our brand new (and completely free) course – the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog.

Every year in January we notice a big spike people looking for information on how to start blogs, and while we have an article on how to start a blog that many use to walk through the technicalities of starting a WordPress blog, I’ve been aware since publishing it that there’s more to starting a successful blog than just the technicalities.

So, my team and I began to plan a course that would go deeper than anything we’ve previously created (or seen elsewhere) – while still keeping it free.

The course walks you through the technical stuff but more importantly it’ll help you make solid decisions that will get you a blog with all the foundations for success.

7 Steps to Your New Blog

We’ve designed it to walk through 7 steps:

  1. Is a blog right for you? What is your blogging purpose?
  2. What will you blog about? Define your blogging niche and make sure it’s viable
  3. What will you call your blog? 4 factors to consider when choosing a domain name
  4. Start your blog – register your domain name, set-up hosting and install WordPress
  5. Get your blog looking good – blog design and theme choices
  6. Add content and functionality to your blog with WordPress
  7. Blog launch checklist and bonus learning modules on email and social media

We’ve designed this course with the complete beginner in mind – our guide is to hold your hand through the process.

Sign Up Before 31 January for Two Bonuses

For anyone who joins during our beta period (before 31 January) there’s also a couple of extra bonuses.

Facebook Group

Firstly – we’ve set up a Facebook Group for you to ask questions and to meet and collaborate with others in the course.

Participate in the First International Start a Blog Day

Secondly – if you enrol and use our course to begin a blog before 7 February you can participate in the first annual international start a blog day – a day we want to celebrate new blogs and where we hope we can help with your blog launch by helping you find some new readers by featuring you on our blog honour roll, spotlight some of the new blogs started and when we’re going to award some scholarships for new bloggers to give them further training for their next steps.

We’ll announce more details of the International Start a Blog Day as it gets closer, but to participate you need to start your new blog by 7th Feb!

Claim Your Spot Today

All in all I’m really excited about our new course. There’s already hundreds enrolled and stepping towards their brand new blogs.

Join them today by claiming your spot here.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

232: Collaborative Blogging – How One Blogger Started a Blog with Over 200 Collaborators

Collaborative Blogging – One Blogger Shares How She Started a Blog with over 200 Collaborators

Today’s episode is the last in our series where I handed the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. It was all part of our Start a Blog course, which launches tomorrow. 

232 Chrissann Nickel Start a Blog Series

Today’s episode features blogger Chrissann Nickel from Women Who Live on Rocks. She shares her challenges and insights when it comes to collaboration, not listening to critiques, and working with multiple writers.

Links and Resources for Collaborative Blogging – How One Blogger Started a Blog with Over 200 Collaborators

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view

Darren: Hey there, welcome to episode 232 of the ProBlogger podcast. This is the last to the series of blogger stories that we’ve been featuring since way back in 221, the 221st episode. It’s part of our Start a Blog course which launches tomorrow. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com – a blog, a podcast, event, job board, a series of ebooks, and tomorrow a course which we have designed to help you to start a blog, to grow your audience, and to make money from your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com. You can sign up for our brand new free course at problogger.com/startablog.

As I said, this has been a part of a series of blogger stories that we’ve been running since episode 221. Really, this whole series has been about trying to inspire as many new bloggers as possible, and also helping those of you who are already on your journey to pick up some tips as well from other bloggers. You hear my voice every episode. We want to add in some other voices as part of this series. I’ve been loving the feedback that we’ve been getting as a result of this. We’ve featured tech bloggers, travel bloggers, recipe bloggers, nutrition bloggers, a voice coach, all kinds of bloggers over the last 10 or so episodes.

Today we’ve got a really interesting one for you. It is Chrissann Nickel. Chrissann has a blog called womenwholiveonrocks.com, which I think is just a fascinating name. Women who live on rocks got me curious. Chrissann actually talks a little bit about the name of her blog and how it’s actually been one of the things she’s been most grateful for in starting this blog. Chrissann’s blog is a collaborative blog. It’s a little bit different from some of the others that we’ve been mentioning so far. She gives some tips on that and talks a little bit about a thing about your readers. I’m going to hand over to Chrissann now.

Just a quick reminder, our Start a Blog course does launch tomorrow, the 10th of January 2018. If you’re listening after that time, you can join in any time on that course into the future. It’s really designed to help pre-bloggers to start their first blog. We’re going to talk you through the technicalities of how to set up a blog on your own domain, on your own servers in an affordable way. But we’re also going to help you make some good decisions about your blog and to think about how to build a profitable blog. Not just the technicalities of it but to make good decisions in the early days so that you set up a blog with good, strong foundations. Again, that course can be found at problogger.com/startablog. Please go up and sign up. It will launch tomorrow, the 10th of January. Over the next month or so we’ve got a whole lot of exciting things to share with you as part of that launch. I really can’t wait to see the hundreds, if not thousands of blogs that will come from that course.

I’m going to hand over to Chrissann now who’s going to tell you a little bit about her blog, womenwholiveonrocks.com and I will sum things up at the end of this episode.

Chrissann: Hi, my name is Chrissann Nickel. My blog is Women Who Live on Rocks. My blog is a collaboration of women writers sharing the quirks and eccentricities unique to life on a tropical island. The URL is womenwholiveonrocks.com.

I started my blog in February of 2013. I’ve been living in the Caribbean for over five years already at that point and have been dying to write about my experiences. However, after being the sole writer for another blog of mine for the past couple of years, I knew I didn’t want to do it alone this time. Additionally, I wanted my new blog to cover the full arc of the island women’s experience and not just be about me and my limited perspective. When I met a fellow writer friend who expressed interest in contributing when I told her about my idea, it gave me the push I needed to officially start Women Who Live on Rocks.

My main objective in starting this site was to provide a humorous and realistic look into living on an island. It’s so much that’s written about island life is all about how it’s all paradise and sunsets. That’s partially true. There’s a whole other side to it that I felt needed to be shared. It was also my intention to begin using my blog as a space to grow a platform in the hopes of one day selling the idea to a book publisher.

When I look back, I’m most grateful that I stuck to my vision and didn’t let others who didn’t fully understand and sway me away from what I knew was best creatively. One example of that was not listening to critiques on the name of my blog. Certain people thought the name, Women Who Live on Rocks, was too obscure and that I should just go with something simple and straightforward like Island Girl Blog. That just felt so boring to me. I wanted something with an air of fun and quirkiness to it. I decided that the right audience would find me. I’d help them do so in promoting it regardless of the name. Over the years I’ve had so many people compliment me on the name. It has become a recognizable brand on its own. I’m so glad that I didn’t go with what didn’t feel right to me. I’m really proud of my site’s unique name and concept now.

I have made a few mistakes over the years. I think I probably wasted the most time by not streamlining the communication to my contributors early on. Now when people want to become a writer on the site, I have the parameters clearly listed on the website with the details on how to apply that includes everything I need. This saves me a ton of back and forth emailing that wasted a lot of my time and energy in the early years. I think my other main mistake has been not finding a way to monetize the site properly. It was never my goal to make money off the blog. The goal’s been more about getting it published, getting a publishing contract for the book. But now that it’s grown so large, it takes a ton of time and effort to maintain the flow of content and the technology behind it. I really wish it generated some income to help me maintain the website cost and gave me the ability to hire out certain responsibilities.

Beyond that, so many amazing things have come from the blog that I would have never anticipated. I now have over 200 contributors to the site and tens of thousands who follow via email and social media. It has connected me with so many amazing women on islands around the world whom I would’ve never met otherwise. I also receive notes all the time from women telling me how this site has connected them with friends in real life and how it’s helped them in their transition to move to an island. That’s really rewarding for me.

The blog has provided me with a platform to sell the island children’s book I wrote which would’ve been much harder to reach my target audience without it. I also hosted my first island writers retreat this year with 10 writers from the blog. It was an incredible bonding and learning experience that I hope to repeat again in the years to come.

My number one tip for new bloggers is to always be thinking, “What’s in it for my reader?” Every step of the way this is essential to keep in mind from blog titles to topics you write about to the general perspective in which you write your post and pages on your website such as your about page, home page, etc. There’s so much competition for people’s attention on the internet these days that in order to catch their eye, it needs to appeal to them. People want to know how content pertains to them. They’re not interested in simply reading someone else’s journal entries. This is a mistake that I see a lot of new bloggers making. If your potential reader visits your site and thinks, “Why should I even care about this?” You’ll lose them just like that.

I guess that’s about it. I just wanted to say thank you ProBlogger for all that you’ve taught me over the years. I contribute much of my success to your incredible guidance. I really appreciate the opportunity to apply for this. Thank you.

Darren: That was Chrissann Nickel from womenwholiveonrocks.com. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Thank you so much to the other bloggers who’ve been a part of this series as well. We have really enjoyed featuring some different voices on the blog. I will mention that we did have a blog post go up on ProBlogger in the last week or so as well which featured five brand new blogger stories as well. If you’ve enjoyed this series, head over to the ProBlogger blog. I’ll actually link to that post in the show notes from today as well. It actually features five unedited audio stories of five brand new bloggers as well. You might want to go and listen to that.

I wanted to feature Chrissann’s story today for a number of reasons. Firstly because it’s a collaborative blog. I know some of you are thinking of starting blogs but you’re not sure if you want to be the only voice on your blog. Firstly, you might not feel like you’ve got enough to say on a topic and would want to include other perspectives as well. Maybe some of you also don’t have the confidence to start a blog but maybe doing it with someone else would be good as well.

I wanted to feature this story today because you don’t have to start a single-voice blog. ProBlogger and Digital Photography School are multi-voice blogs. Whilst I certainly started off being the only voice in both of those blogs, they very quickly became collaborative voice blogs, particularly Digital Photography School where I don’t actually write almost any content anymore at all. Occasionally I’ll do a promotional post but apart from that I don’t really write anything at all. We have a team of about 40 writers now who contribute to that site.

I wanted to include Chrissan’s story for those of you who are thinking about starting a collaborative blog, and also for those of you who maybe already have a blog and want to transition into a collaboration.

Her advice there of really streamlining that process of bringing on new writers is important advice. I certainly wasted a lot of time and energy and probably confused my new writers by not having a streamlined process at all. Today if you apply to be a writer on Digital Photography School, we actually have a sequence of emails that introduces you to the site and orients you to what’s the voice that we want you to write with and some of the technicalities as well. We’ve really worked on streamlining that process. In doing so, we end up with writers who write the kind of content that we want. They tend to stick around longer as well because they are less frustrated by the process of becoming engaged with the site. They actually feel a part of it much more quickly. We have a Facebook group now for those writers. I would encourage you to really think through how to bring on writers into your site.

I also love that whilst Chrissann makes it clear that she wishes that she’d monetize the site better and that’s probably still something that she needs to continue to work on, that she is mentioning some interesting monetization streams there, the children’s book and event for writers as well. This is something I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers starting to do over the last year, monetizing through events. I wanted to just point that one out for those of you who maybe already have a blog and are struggling to monetize. Maybe an event is a way that you can do that, a retreat, some sort of a personal experience for some of your readers. You will find that some of your readers are willing to pay for that type of experience. I just wanted to point that one out.

The last reason that I wanted to feature Chrissann in this very last episode of this series is her takeaway tip and that is to ask what’s in it for your readers, such an important thing. It’s simple. It’s something you would’ve heard before, particularly if you’ve been listening to this podcast. But as we move into this Start a Blog course, I think it’s probably the most important question that you can be asking. As you prepare to launch a blog, as you look at the blog that you’ve already got, have this question at the front of your mind again and again, “What’s in it for your readers?”

If you can be delivering benefits, if you can be enhancing the life of your readers, if you can be adding something of value into their lives, whether they be tips, whether that be stories, whether that be giving your readers a sense of belonging, whether that be giving them the latest news. If you’re enhancing the life of your reader, the listener of your podcast, the viewer of your videos, if you are enhancing people’s lives then they’ve got a reason to come back tomorrow. They’ve got a reason to stick around and dig deeper into your archives when they first show up. They’ve got a reason to share what you’re doing with other people. All of these things help you to grow your blog.

You’re also going to find it a much more satisfying experience as well if you can see that you’re creating content that is changing the world, that’s making people’s lives better. It’s satisfying for you, and it will help to sustain you, and make it a more meaningful experience for you as well. It’ll also help you to write and create content with more passion. As we wrap this series up, I hope you’ve seen that all of the people that we’ve been featuring have been considering this question, “What’s in it for my readers? What’s in it for the listeners of the podcast that we’re creating as well?” Put that question front and center.

Tomorrow, we do start the Start a Blog course. If you are thinking of starting a new blog, please go to problogger.com/startablog and sign up to reserve your spot. If you’re listening to this after the 10th of January 2018, you’re welcome to head to that link as well and begin the course for yourself. We’re going to help you to make good decisions, help you to set up good foundations for a profitable blog down the track for you, problogger.com/startablog.

Thanks so much to Chrissann for sharing her story. We do hope to feature more of the stories that were submitted over the coming months as well. We’ve had over 130 different stories submitted. We’ve used, so far, about 20 of them including the 5 that we included on the blog the other day. There’s a lot more still to share. If we haven’t featured your story yet, we will be featuring more in the coming weeks and months both on the blog and the podcast. Do stay tuned for that. We have had such a really positive experience with this series. It’s something that we’ll probably do again in the future. Maybe on some different topics as well because this has really been focused on that Start a Blog topic but maybe we’ll do some more on other topics down the track.

The podcast will return to normal next week with some more teaching, with more of my voice. I look forward to chatting with you then in episode 233. Again, check out Start a Blog course, problogger.com/startablog. Today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/232.

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232: Collaborative Blogging – How One Blogger Started a Blog with Over 200 Collaborators

Collaborative Blogging – One Blogger Shares How She Started a Blog with over 200 Collaborators

Today’s episode is the last in our series where I handed the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. It was all part of our Start a Blog course, which launches tomorrow. 

232 Chrissann Nickel Start a Blog Series

Today’s episode features blogger Chrissann Nickel from Women Who Live on Rocks. She shares her challenges and insights when it comes to collaboration, not listening to critiques, and working with multiple writers.

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Darren: Hey there, welcome to episode 232 of the ProBlogger podcast. This is the last to the series of blogger stories that we’ve been featuring since way back in 221, the 221st episode. It’s part of our Start a Blog course which launches tomorrow. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com – a blog, a podcast, event, job board, a series of ebooks, and tomorrow a course which we have designed to help you to start a blog, to grow your audience, and to make money from your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com. You can sign up for our brand new free course at problogger.com/startablog.

As I said, this has been a part of a series of blogger stories that we’ve been running since episode 221. Really, this whole series has been about trying to inspire as many new bloggers as possible, and also helping those of you who are already on your journey to pick up some tips as well from other bloggers. You hear my voice every episode. We want to add in some other voices as part of this series. I’ve been loving the feedback that we’ve been getting as a result of this. We’ve featured tech bloggers, travel bloggers, recipe bloggers, nutrition bloggers, a voice coach, all kinds of bloggers over the last 10 or so episodes.

Today we’ve got a really interesting one for you. It is Chrissann Nickel. Chrissann has a blog called womenwholiveonrocks.com, which I think is just a fascinating name. Women who live on rocks got me curious. Chrissann actually talks a little bit about the name of her blog and how it’s actually been one of the things she’s been most grateful for in starting this blog. Chrissann’s blog is a collaborative blog. It’s a little bit different from some of the others that we’ve been mentioning so far. She gives some tips on that and talks a little bit about a thing about your readers. I’m going to hand over to Chrissann now.

Just a quick reminder, our Start a Blog course does launch tomorrow, the 10th of January 2018. If you’re listening after that time, you can join in any time on that course into the future. It’s really designed to help pre-bloggers to start their first blog. We’re going to talk you through the technicalities of how to set up a blog on your own domain, on your own servers in an affordable way. But we’re also going to help you make some good decisions about your blog and to think about how to build a profitable blog. Not just the technicalities of it but to make good decisions in the early days so that you set up a blog with good, strong foundations. Again, that course can be found at problogger.com/startablog. Please go up and sign up. It will launch tomorrow, the 10th of January. Over the next month or so we’ve got a whole lot of exciting things to share with you as part of that launch. I really can’t wait to see the hundreds, if not thousands of blogs that will come from that course.

I’m going to hand over to Chrissann now who’s going to tell you a little bit about her blog, womenwholiveonrocks.com and I will sum things up at the end of this episode.

Chrissann: Hi, my name is Chrissann Nickel. My blog is Women Who Live on Rocks. My blog is a collaboration of women writers sharing the quirks and eccentricities unique to life on a tropical island. The URL is womenwholiveonrocks.com.

I started my blog in February of 2013. I’ve been living in the Caribbean for over five years already at that point and have been dying to write about my experiences. However, after being the sole writer for another blog of mine for the past couple of years, I knew I didn’t want to do it alone this time. Additionally, I wanted my new blog to cover the full arc of the island women’s experience and not just be about me and my limited perspective. When I met a fellow writer friend who expressed interest in contributing when I told her about my idea, it gave me the push I needed to officially start Women Who Live on Rocks.

My main objective in starting this site was to provide a humorous and realistic look into living on an island. It’s so much that’s written about island life is all about how it’s all paradise and sunsets. That’s partially true. There’s a whole other side to it that I felt needed to be shared. It was also my intention to begin using my blog as a space to grow a platform in the hopes of one day selling the idea to a book publisher.

When I look back, I’m most grateful that I stuck to my vision and didn’t let others who didn’t fully understand and sway me away from what I knew was best creatively. One example of that was not listening to critiques on the name of my blog. Certain people thought the name, Women Who Live on Rocks, was too obscure and that I should just go with something simple and straightforward like Island Girl Blog. That just felt so boring to me. I wanted something with an air of fun and quirkiness to it. I decided that the right audience would find me. I’d help them do so in promoting it regardless of the name. Over the years I’ve had so many people compliment me on the name. It has become a recognizable brand on its own. I’m so glad that I didn’t go with what didn’t feel right to me. I’m really proud of my site’s unique name and concept now.

I have made a few mistakes over the years. I think I probably wasted the most time by not streamlining the communication to my contributors early on. Now when people want to become a writer on the site, I have the parameters clearly listed on the website with the details on how to apply that includes everything I need. This saves me a ton of back and forth emailing that wasted a lot of my time and energy in the early years. I think my other main mistake has been not finding a way to monetize the site properly. It was never my goal to make money off the blog. The goal’s been more about getting it published, getting a publishing contract for the book. But now that it’s grown so large, it takes a ton of time and effort to maintain the flow of content and the technology behind it. I really wish it generated some income to help me maintain the website cost and gave me the ability to hire out certain responsibilities.

Beyond that, so many amazing things have come from the blog that I would have never anticipated. I now have over 200 contributors to the site and tens of thousands who follow via email and social media. It has connected me with so many amazing women on islands around the world whom I would’ve never met otherwise. I also receive notes all the time from women telling me how this site has connected them with friends in real life and how it’s helped them in their transition to move to an island. That’s really rewarding for me.

The blog has provided me with a platform to sell the island children’s book I wrote which would’ve been much harder to reach my target audience without it. I also hosted my first island writers retreat this year with 10 writers from the blog. It was an incredible bonding and learning experience that I hope to repeat again in the years to come.

My number one tip for new bloggers is to always be thinking, “What’s in it for my reader?” Every step of the way this is essential to keep in mind from blog titles to topics you write about to the general perspective in which you write your post and pages on your website such as your about page, home page, etc. There’s so much competition for people’s attention on the internet these days that in order to catch their eye, it needs to appeal to them. People want to know how content pertains to them. They’re not interested in simply reading someone else’s journal entries. This is a mistake that I see a lot of new bloggers making. If your potential reader visits your site and thinks, “Why should I even care about this?” You’ll lose them just like that.

I guess that’s about it. I just wanted to say thank you ProBlogger for all that you’ve taught me over the years. I contribute much of my success to your incredible guidance. I really appreciate the opportunity to apply for this. Thank you.

Darren: That was Chrissann Nickel from womenwholiveonrocks.com. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Thank you so much to the other bloggers who’ve been a part of this series as well. We have really enjoyed featuring some different voices on the blog. I will mention that we did have a blog post go up on ProBlogger in the last week or so as well which featured five brand new blogger stories as well. If you’ve enjoyed this series, head over to the ProBlogger blog. I’ll actually link to that post in the show notes from today as well. It actually features five unedited audio stories of five brand new bloggers as well. You might want to go and listen to that.

I wanted to feature Chrissann’s story today for a number of reasons. Firstly because it’s a collaborative blog. I know some of you are thinking of starting blogs but you’re not sure if you want to be the only voice on your blog. Firstly, you might not feel like you’ve got enough to say on a topic and would want to include other perspectives as well. Maybe some of you also don’t have the confidence to start a blog but maybe doing it with someone else would be good as well.

I wanted to feature this story today because you don’t have to start a single-voice blog. ProBlogger and Digital Photography School are multi-voice blogs. Whilst I certainly started off being the only voice in both of those blogs, they very quickly became collaborative voice blogs, particularly Digital Photography School where I don’t actually write almost any content anymore at all. Occasionally I’ll do a promotional post but apart from that I don’t really write anything at all. We have a team of about 40 writers now who contribute to that site.

I wanted to include Chrissan’s story for those of you who are thinking about starting a collaborative blog, and also for those of you who maybe already have a blog and want to transition into a collaboration.

Her advice there of really streamlining that process of bringing on new writers is important advice. I certainly wasted a lot of time and energy and probably confused my new writers by not having a streamlined process at all. Today if you apply to be a writer on Digital Photography School, we actually have a sequence of emails that introduces you to the site and orients you to what’s the voice that we want you to write with and some of the technicalities as well. We’ve really worked on streamlining that process. In doing so, we end up with writers who write the kind of content that we want. They tend to stick around longer as well because they are less frustrated by the process of becoming engaged with the site. They actually feel a part of it much more quickly. We have a Facebook group now for those writers. I would encourage you to really think through how to bring on writers into your site.

I also love that whilst Chrissann makes it clear that she wishes that she’d monetize the site better and that’s probably still something that she needs to continue to work on, that she is mentioning some interesting monetization streams there, the children’s book and event for writers as well. This is something I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers starting to do over the last year, monetizing through events. I wanted to just point that one out for those of you who maybe already have a blog and are struggling to monetize. Maybe an event is a way that you can do that, a retreat, some sort of a personal experience for some of your readers. You will find that some of your readers are willing to pay for that type of experience. I just wanted to point that one out.

The last reason that I wanted to feature Chrissann in this very last episode of this series is her takeaway tip and that is to ask what’s in it for your readers, such an important thing. It’s simple. It’s something you would’ve heard before, particularly if you’ve been listening to this podcast. But as we move into this Start a Blog course, I think it’s probably the most important question that you can be asking. As you prepare to launch a blog, as you look at the blog that you’ve already got, have this question at the front of your mind again and again, “What’s in it for your readers?”

If you can be delivering benefits, if you can be enhancing the life of your readers, if you can be adding something of value into their lives, whether they be tips, whether that be stories, whether that be giving your readers a sense of belonging, whether that be giving them the latest news. If you’re enhancing the life of your reader, the listener of your podcast, the viewer of your videos, if you are enhancing people’s lives then they’ve got a reason to come back tomorrow. They’ve got a reason to stick around and dig deeper into your archives when they first show up. They’ve got a reason to share what you’re doing with other people. All of these things help you to grow your blog.

You’re also going to find it a much more satisfying experience as well if you can see that you’re creating content that is changing the world, that’s making people’s lives better. It’s satisfying for you, and it will help to sustain you, and make it a more meaningful experience for you as well. It’ll also help you to write and create content with more passion. As we wrap this series up, I hope you’ve seen that all of the people that we’ve been featuring have been considering this question, “What’s in it for my readers? What’s in it for the listeners of the podcast that we’re creating as well?” Put that question front and center.

Tomorrow, we do start the Start a Blog course. If you are thinking of starting a new blog, please go to problogger.com/startablog and sign up to reserve your spot. If you’re listening to this after the 10th of January 2018, you’re welcome to head to that link as well and begin the course for yourself. We’re going to help you to make good decisions, help you to set up good foundations for a profitable blog down the track for you, problogger.com/startablog.

Thanks so much to Chrissann for sharing her story. We do hope to feature more of the stories that were submitted over the coming months as well. We’ve had over 130 different stories submitted. We’ve used, so far, about 20 of them including the 5 that we included on the blog the other day. There’s a lot more still to share. If we haven’t featured your story yet, we will be featuring more in the coming weeks and months both on the blog and the podcast. Do stay tuned for that. We have had such a really positive experience with this series. It’s something that we’ll probably do again in the future. Maybe on some different topics as well because this has really been focused on that Start a Blog topic but maybe we’ll do some more on other topics down the track.

The podcast will return to normal next week with some more teaching, with more of my voice. I look forward to chatting with you then in episode 233. Again, check out Start a Blog course, problogger.com/startablog. Today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/232.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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231: From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story

From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – A Tech Podcaster Tells His Story

Today’s episode continues our series where I hand the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs.

231 Neil Hughs Start a Blog Series

Today’s blogger is Neil Hughes from Technology Blog Writer. Neil shares how he started out writing articles on LinkedIn, and talks about some of his struggles, accomplishments, and goals.

Links and Resources for From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story

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Darren:
Hi there and welcome to Episode 231 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the founder of problogger.com – a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks and a course all designed to help you as a blogger to start an amazing blog, to grow that blog, the traffic to it, the content on it, and to make some money from it as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, we’re continuing our little series of blogger stories which we are ending 2017 and starting 2018 with in the lead up to our Start a Blog course. My goal in 2018 is to see hundreds, if not thousands, of new blogs started. We’ve developed this great little course which you can find at problogger.com/startablog. It’s free and it will help you, all your friends, to start a blog.

As part of the launch of this new course, we wanted to feature the stories of bloggers who had started blogging and to tell the stories of the opportunities that came from that. Also, to share some tips particularly for those starting out but also for those who are on the journey.

Today I’ve got a tech blogger from the UK who is gonna share some of his tips. He’s actually used blogging, podcasting. He started out on LinkedIn. He’s got some expertise in that as well. He’s really built himself an amazing little business as a result of that, a business that has enabled him to leave his full time job and work for himself. He talks a little bit about imposter syndrome and pushing through that. He gives a brilliant tip that I wanna add some thoughts to at the end of his story as well.

I’m gonna hand over now to Neil Hughes from Tech Blog Writer. You can find his blog at techblogwriter.co.uk. You can also find a link to that on today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/231. I’ll be back at the end of Neil’s story to wrap things up and tell you a little bit about tomorrow’s show too.

Neil: My name is Neil Hughes. My blog, podcast, and everything that I do comes into the name Tech Blog Writer. My URL is predictably www.techblogwriter.co.uk. I’m hoping that you know what I do from the title there. That was the idea from the very beginning. My story really began in July 2014 when I published my very first post on the LinkedIn publishing platform. It was a simple post calling out gurus, ninjas and those self-proclaimed influences, you know the kind, the Instagram expert with 72 followers.

The post was called The Rise of the Social Media Guru. This is where my tech blogging journey started. At the time, I didn’t have any objectives, any hopes, goals or dreams for the blog. I just wanted to share my insights having spent 20 years working in IT. I gotta be honest with you, I was originally scared about blogging on the LinkedIn publishing platform and crippled with that self-doubt and imposter syndrome that so many of us go through.

I still, to this day, remember nervously hovering over the publish button full of fears and doubts. What would my professional colleagues, friends, and contacts say? This was my personal brand on a professional platform that everybody would say and judge but obviously, I did hit publish on that post. It was instantly picked up and promoted by LinkedIn themselves. It received thousands of views. More importantly for me, fantastic engagement.

A year later, I had over a hundred tech articles against my name on LinkedIn that seemed to act as my own portfolio and cement me as a thought leader in the tech industry. What was also great about writing on the LinkedIn platform at the time was that they displayed all their sharing and viewing stats for everyone to see so everyone could look at all the articles you’re creating and how many views, how many likes, how many shares that you have.

Suddenly I found myself with one million views and was voted the number two tech writer on the whole of LinkedIn. Quickly I started getting accolades from my way including being named one of the top nine influential tech leaders on LinkedIn by CIO Magazine. ZDNet included me on the list of you need to follow these 20 big thinkers right now alongside from million names which is Jack Dorsey from Twitter, Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg and Jeff Weiner to name a few.

I still struggled with that pesky imposter syndrome. When I looked back at the mistakes that I made and I’d advise other people to avoid in their blogging journey, I would say that my biggest mistake was to unwittingly become too reliant on one platform. That platform was also somebody else’s playground. Essentially, I was just a guest there. Obviously looking back, I should’ve diversified my work much soon.

My best advice to anyone who wanna be a blogger is that never have all your eggs in one basket and don’t rely on a game where you’re playing by somebody else’s rules and in their playground. Saying that, but I did make the most of so many great opportunities. My LinkedIn work suddenly catapulted me into the tech writing stratosphere. I now have columns in Inc. Magazine and The Next Web. Millions of article views no longer excite me, it was finding other ways to meaningfully engage with those million readers.

I launched my own podcast around the same time that Darren launched his ProBlogger podcast. I still remember, on launch day, we were featured side by side on the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes. I tweeted Darren a pic which he immediately replied to. This is where things got really exciting. Fast forward two years, I’ve now performed over 400 interviews with the most significant tech leaders and startups in the world such as Adobe, Sony, Microsoft, IBM, writers and even TV chat show host, Wendy Williams and movie star William Shatner.

I still have to pinch myself. This work has enabled me to leave my day job as an IT manager and setup my own business. I’m now living by my own rules and doing something that I love to do. I guess worth pointing out, for me it was never about the Neil Hughes show, it was about me sharing insights and my guest sharing insights.

I’m then throwing it out there to all the people listening and reading and consuming my content and asking them to share their stories. This was always my biggest motivation because if we think about it, our ancestors thousands of years ago went from town to town exchanging stories around the campfire. We’re doing the exact same now but around virtual campfires. We’re tearing down geographical barriers and stereotypes by talking, working, and collaborating with each other. That’s what this recording is doing right now, isn’t it?

My number one tip for any new blogger would be don’t get carried away with this age of instant gratification where everyone wants instant success, [inaudible 00:07:27] solution but it doesn’t exist. Do not believe anyone that offers you a shortcut. Remember, we all digest content differently. If you wrote two blog posts per week, you can also turn those two blog post into podcast and to videos too.

After one year, you could realistically have 100 articles, 100 podcasts and 100 YouTube videos. If your audience likes to read, listen or view their content, you’ve got all bases covered. Most importantly of all, think of the SEO there because all of that content is against your name. That will cement you and your reputation as a thought leader within your industry.

Think of the SEO on iTunes, on Spotify, on YouTube and your own personal blog as a hundred pieces of content that sits next to your name. However, most people will end up doing 5 to 10 pieces of content in the New Year and say this is a waste to time and give up by the time they hit February or March. It’s that grind of getting 2 of pieces of work against your name every week until you have a 100 or 300 if you repurpose your content. That’s where the value is.

I think this is the only real secret to success. It is hard work. As Gary Vaynerchuk often says, “Don’t complain that you haven’t got a few hours to spend each week when you binge watching TV shows on Netflix.” My number one tip for new bloggers in 2018 is two blog posts per week every week. Two per week becomes eight per month and that becomes a hundred over a year.

Along the way, don’t forget to build on your success and grab opportunities along the way. Just like a snowball rolling down a hill, your content and your portfolio will get bigger and bigger. That’s it for me. Guys, what are you waiting for?

Darren: That was Neil Hughes from techblogwriter.co.uk. You can again find the links to Neil and his blog on today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/231. I loved Neil’s story today. I love today that we’re talking a little bit about a podcast as well because I think a podcast is essentially, whilst a lot of people would differentiate it from a blog because they would say a blog is a written content, a podcast is an audio content.

In many regards, they’re a blog, they’re both a blog and they share many features, they’re both presented in chronological order with dates and usually with show notes and comments. I generally would say it is an alternative to a blogger and a nice addition to a blog. I love Neil’s story for a number of reasons.

Firstly, he mentions the imposter syndrome there. I know many of you who are thinking about starting his blog in 2018 are probably wrestling with that right now. There are others of you who have already started your blog, this is a very common thing to wrestle with. You have fear, you have doubt about whether you really have the credibility to say what you’re saying on your blog, whether anyone is gonna listen to you. It’s something that we all face in different stages of our blogging and podcasting career.

If you’re struggling with that, can I really encourage you at the end of this podcast to go and listen to Episode 121. In that episode, I gave you seven strategies for really dealing with imposter syndrome. It is something you need to push through. In that episode, I gave you some practical things that you can do to really push through that imposter syndrome. That’s Episode 121.

I also love Neil’s story because he mentions there a mistake that many bloggers make and that is becoming too reliant upon a platform like LinkedIn. This really could be any platform at all that you don’t have complete control over. Neil mentions there that he really built his asset, he built his archive of articles on someone else’s playground.

LinkedIn owns LinkedIn, LinkedIn ultimately controls the content that he put onto LinkedIn. With the algorithm changes that’s on their domain, ultimately what you’re doing by building on LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or any of these other places is building someone else’s asset. You put yourself at the mercy of other people.

This is something a lot of bloggers who are starting out fall into the trap of. They see a tool like Medium or LinkedIn’s blogging tools or even Facebook and they’ll say, “I can just blog there.” There are certainly some advantages of using these types of tools because they can help you to get some exposure. If that’s all you do, if all your eggs are in that basket, you’re setting yourself up for trouble down the track and you put yourself at the mercy of their algorithms and their rules and there are limitations on what you can do.

What Neil did in starting his own thing, in his case it was a podcast, in many other cases it’s a more traditional written blog, in other people’s cases a video blog. Setting something up of your own that you have control of on your own domain, on your own service is one of the best things that you can do. Certainly I’m not saying you shouldn’t be involved in these other platforms.

I think LinkedIn is certainly a place that some of you should be working and building a presence but do it to build your own presence as well, drive people back to your own blog, your own podcast, your own email list and build the asset there. I think it’s great to do those things in conjunction. That’s what Neil is doing today.

I also love Neil’s tip there of not getting carried away with instant gratification, there are no shortcuts in this. Do what he said, his great call to action there. Create two pieces of content every week, two blog posts every week and then repurpose those two blog posts into two audio files if you can or two videos. You have 100 articles by the end of the year if you do that. I think that’s a brilliant goal for a new blogger just starting out, 100 articles by the end of the year.

As you get going, you might wanna then start repurposing and aim for 200 pieces of content with 100 articles and 100 podcasts or 100 videos as well. Start with those articles, start with the medium, I guess, that you’re most comfortable with. In most people’s cases, that does tend to be a written content but you might wanna start with a podcast as well and then learn how to repurpose those things.

Ultimately, that grind of creating that content every week is going to pay off in the long term because you’re gonna end up with an asset. The asset will be, if you set up on your own blog, in your own home base, something that you control and gradually over time, that asset builds. Every one of those articles is a new doorway into your home base. It’s a new potential reader who you can get the email address of and you can build a relationship with.

Over time, the more articles you’ve got, the more doorways you’ve got into your site. It doesn’t happen overnight, there’s no instant gratification here. This is something that does take time to build but it’s an incredibly powerful thing. It can open up opportunities for you in the ways that Neil has talked about in new relationships in building a business as well.

Also, I love that he said that we all digest content differently. This idea of not just creating written content but also exploring some of these other mediums is a very powerful thing as well. I know many of you who are listening to this podcast today have already got blogs. Maybe 2018 is the year where you need to explore that idea of podcasting for the first time or maybe you do need to start creating some videos in some way as well.

I hope that you’ve got some ideas and inspiration from that. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve already got this amazing archive, hopefully, of hundreds of articles that you’ve written. It’s not too hard to repurpose those in today’s other mediums. I encourage you to explore that in 2018.

Again, today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/231. You can find our Start a Blog course. We’re just two days away from launching that course now if you’re listening to this in the day that this episode goes live. You can find where you can signup to claim your spot in the course at problogger.com/startablog. If you’re listening after the 10th of January 2018, then that course is, hopefully, live now for you to go to as well. If you go to that URL, you’ll be at a signup and start that blog as well.

As I’m recording this, over 1300 people signed up already for that course. There’s a whole group of people going through it together. We’re gonna have a Facebook group where you can begin to interact with one another, support one another, ask questions. We’re also going to help you to launch your blog as well. I’ve got some great things planned where we’re going to feature all the blogs that start as a result of this course over on ProBlogger and hopefully find you some new readers as well.

Again, problogger.com/startablog. I can’t wait to get going with that course in the next couple of days. I hope you are finding some inspiration in this series. If you wanna listen to a few more stories of this series that we’ve been doing, every episode between 221 and 232 which will be tomorrow’s episode will be these blogger’s stories. Thanks for listening today. We’ll chat in the next few days.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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231: From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story

From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – A Tech Podcaster Tells His Story

Today’s episode continues our series where I hand the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs.

A tech podcaster tells his story

Today’s blogger is Neil Hughes from Technology Blog Writer. Neil shares how he started out writing articles on LinkedIn, and talks about some of his struggles, accomplishments, and goals.

Links and Resources for From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story

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Darren:
Hi there and welcome to Episode 231 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the founder of problogger.com – a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks and a course all designed to help you as a blogger to start an amazing blog, to grow that blog, the traffic to it, the content on it, and to make some money from it as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, we’re continuing our little series of blogger stories which we are ending 2017 and starting 2018 with in the lead up to our Start a Blog course. My goal in 2018 is to see hundreds, if not thousands, of new blogs started. We’ve developed this great little course which you can find at problogger.com/startablog. It’s free and it will help you, all your friends, to start a blog.

As part of the launch of this new course, we wanted to feature the stories of bloggers who had started blogging and to tell the stories of the opportunities that came from that. Also, to share some tips particularly for those starting out but also for those who are on the journey.

Today I’ve got a tech blogger from the UK who is gonna share some of his tips. He’s actually used blogging, podcasting. He started out on LinkedIn. He’s got some expertise in that as well. He’s really built himself an amazing little business as a result of that, a business that has enabled him to leave his full time job and work for himself. He talks a little bit about imposter syndrome and pushing through that. He gives a brilliant tip that I wanna add some thoughts to at the end of his story as well.

I’m gonna hand over now to Neil Hughes from Tech Blog Writer. You can find his blog at techblogwriter.co.uk. You can also find a link to that on today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/231. I’ll be back at the end of Neil’s story to wrap things up and tell you a little bit about tomorrow’s show too.

Neil: My name is Neil Hughes. My blog, podcast, and everything that I do comes into the name Tech Blog Writer. My URL is predictably www.techblogwriter.co.uk. I’m hoping that you know what I do from the title there. That was the idea from the very beginning. My story really began in July 2014 when I published my very first post on the LinkedIn publishing platform. It was a simple post calling out gurus, ninjas and those self-proclaimed influences, you know the kind, the Instagram expert with 72 followers.

The post was called The Rise of the Social Media Guru. This is where my tech blogging journey started. At the time, I didn’t have any objectives, any hopes, goals or dreams for the blog. I just wanted to share my insights having spent 20 years working in IT. I gotta be honest with you, I was originally scared about blogging on the LinkedIn publishing platform and crippled with that self-doubt and imposter syndrome that so many of us go through.

I still, to this day, remember nervously hovering over the publish button full of fears and doubts. What would my professional colleagues, friends, and contacts say? This was my personal brand on a professional platform that everybody would say and judge but obviously, I did hit publish on that post. It was instantly picked up and promoted by LinkedIn themselves. It received thousands of views. More importantly for me, fantastic engagement.

A year later, I had over a hundred tech articles against my name on LinkedIn that seemed to act as my own portfolio and cement me as a thought leader in the tech industry. What was also great about writing on the LinkedIn platform at the time was that they displayed all their sharing and viewing stats for everyone to see so everyone could look at all the articles you’re creating and how many views, how many likes, how many shares that you have.

Suddenly I found myself with one million views and was voted the number two tech writer on the whole of LinkedIn. Quickly I started getting accolades from my way including being named one of the top nine influential tech leaders on LinkedIn by CIO Magazine. ZDNet included me on the list of you need to follow these 20 big thinkers right now alongside from million names which is Jack Dorsey from Twitter, Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg and Jeff Weiner to name a few.

I still struggled with that pesky imposter syndrome. When I looked back at the mistakes that I made and I’d advise other people to avoid in their blogging journey, I would say that my biggest mistake was to unwittingly become too reliant on one platform. That platform was also somebody else’s playground. Essentially, I was just a guest there. Obviously looking back, I should’ve diversified my work much soon.

My best advice to anyone who wanna be a blogger is that never have all your eggs in one basket and don’t rely on a game where you’re playing by somebody else’s rules and in their playground. Saying that, but I did make the most of so many great opportunities. My LinkedIn work suddenly catapulted me into the tech writing stratosphere. I now have columns in Inc. Magazine and The Next Web. Millions of article views no longer excite me, it was finding other ways to meaningfully engage with those million readers.

I launched my own podcast around the same time that Darren launched his ProBlogger podcast. I still remember, on launch day, we were featured side by side on the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes. I tweeted Darren a pic which he immediately replied to. This is where things got really exciting. Fast forward two years, I’ve now performed over 400 interviews with the most significant tech leaders and startups in the world such as Adobe, Sony, Microsoft, IBM, writers and even TV chat show host, Wendy Williams and movie star William Shatner.

I still have to pinch myself. This work has enabled me to leave my day job as an IT manager and setup my own business. I’m now living by my own rules and doing something that I love to do. I guess worth pointing out, for me it was never about the Neil Hughes show, it was about me sharing insights and my guest sharing insights.

I’m then throwing it out there to all the people listening and reading and consuming my content and asking them to share their stories. This was always my biggest motivation because if we think about it, our ancestors thousands of years ago went from town to town exchanging stories around the campfire. We’re doing the exact same now but around virtual campfires. We’re tearing down geographical barriers and stereotypes by talking, working, and collaborating with each other. That’s what this recording is doing right now, isn’t it?

My number one tip for any new blogger would be don’t get carried away with this age of instant gratification where everyone wants instant success, [inaudible 00:07:27] solution but it doesn’t exist. Do not believe anyone that offers you a shortcut. Remember, we all digest content differently. If you wrote two blog posts per week, you can also turn those two blog post into podcast and to videos too.

After one year, you could realistically have 100 articles, 100 podcasts and 100 YouTube videos. If your audience likes to read, listen or view their content, you’ve got all bases covered. Most importantly of all, think of the SEO there because all of that content is against your name. That will cement you and your reputation as a thought leader within your industry.

Think of the SEO on iTunes, on Spotify, on YouTube and your own personal blog as a hundred pieces of content that sits next to your name. However, most people will end up doing 5 to 10 pieces of content in the New Year and say this is a waste to time and give up by the time they hit February or March. It’s that grind of getting 2 of pieces of work against your name every week until you have a 100 or 300 if you repurpose your content. That’s where the value is.

I think this is the only real secret to success. It is hard work. As Gary Vaynerchuk often says, “Don’t complain that you haven’t got a few hours to spend each week when you binge watching TV shows on Netflix.” My number one tip for new bloggers in 2018 is two blog posts per week every week. Two per week becomes eight per month and that becomes a hundred over a year.

Along the way, don’t forget to build on your success and grab opportunities along the way. Just like a snowball rolling down a hill, your content and your portfolio will get bigger and bigger. That’s it for me. Guys, what are you waiting for?

Darren: That was Neil Hughes from techblogwriter.co.uk. You can again find the links to Neil and his blog on today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/231. I loved Neil’s story today. I love today that we’re talking a little bit about a podcast as well because I think a podcast is essentially, whilst a lot of people would differentiate it from a blog because they would say a blog is a written content, a podcast is an audio content.

In many regards, they’re a blog, they’re both a blog and they share many features, they’re both presented in chronological order with dates and usually with show notes and comments. I generally would say it is an alternative to a blogger and a nice addition to a blog. I love Neil’s story for a number of reasons.

Firstly, he mentions the imposter syndrome there. I know many of you who are thinking about starting his blog in 2018 are probably wrestling with that right now. There are others of you who have already started your blog, this is a very common thing to wrestle with. You have fear, you have doubt about whether you really have the credibility to say what you’re saying on your blog, whether anyone is gonna listen to you. It’s something that we all face in different stages of our blogging and podcasting career.

If you’re struggling with that, can I really encourage you at the end of this podcast to go and listen to Episode 121. In that episode, I gave you seven strategies for really dealing with imposter syndrome. It is something you need to push through. In that episode, I gave you some practical things that you can do to really push through that imposter syndrome. That’s Episode 121.

I also love Neil’s story because he mentions there a mistake that many bloggers make and that is becoming too reliant upon a platform like LinkedIn. This really could be any platform at all that you don’t have complete control over. Neil mentions there that he really built his asset, he built his archive of articles on someone else’s playground.

LinkedIn owns LinkedIn, LinkedIn ultimately controls the content that he put onto LinkedIn. With the algorithm changes that’s on their domain, ultimately what you’re doing by building on LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or any of these other places is building someone else’s asset. You put yourself at the mercy of other people.

This is something a lot of bloggers who are starting out fall into the trap of. They see a tool like Medium or LinkedIn’s blogging tools or even Facebook and they’ll say, “I can just blog there.” There are certainly some advantages of using these types of tools because they can help you to get some exposure. If that’s all you do, if all your eggs are in that basket, you’re setting yourself up for trouble down the track and you put yourself at the mercy of their algorithms and their rules and there are limitations on what you can do.

What Neil did in starting his own thing, in his case it was a podcast, in many other cases it’s a more traditional written blog, in other people’s cases a video blog. Setting something up of your own that you have control of on your own domain, on your own service is one of the best things that you can do. Certainly I’m not saying you shouldn’t be involved in these other platforms.

I think LinkedIn is certainly a place that some of you should be working and building a presence but do it to build your own presence as well, drive people back to your own blog, your own podcast, your own email list and build the asset there. I think it’s great to do those things in conjunction. That’s what Neil is doing today.

I also love Neil’s tip there of not getting carried away with instant gratification, there are no shortcuts in this. Do what he said, his great call to action there. Create two pieces of content every week, two blog posts every week and then repurpose those two blog posts into two audio files if you can or two videos. You have 100 articles by the end of the year if you do that. I think that’s a brilliant goal for a new blogger just starting out, 100 articles by the end of the year.

As you get going, you might wanna then start repurposing and aim for 200 pieces of content with 100 articles and 100 podcasts or 100 videos as well. Start with those articles, start with the medium, I guess, that you’re most comfortable with. In most people’s cases, that does tend to be a written content but you might wanna start with a podcast as well and then learn how to repurpose those things.

Ultimately, that grind of creating that content every week is going to pay off in the long term because you’re gonna end up with an asset. The asset will be, if you set up on your own blog, in your own home base, something that you control and gradually over time, that asset builds. Every one of those articles is a new doorway into your home base. It’s a new potential reader who you can get the email address of and you can build a relationship with.

Over time, the more articles you’ve got, the more doorways you’ve got into your site. It doesn’t happen overnight, there’s no instant gratification here. This is something that does take time to build but it’s an incredibly powerful thing. It can open up opportunities for you in the ways that Neil has talked about in new relationships in building a business as well.

Also, I love that he said that we all digest content differently. This idea of not just creating written content but also exploring some of these other mediums is a very powerful thing as well. I know many of you who are listening to this podcast today have already got blogs. Maybe 2018 is the year where you need to explore that idea of podcasting for the first time or maybe you do need to start creating some videos in some way as well.

I hope that you’ve got some ideas and inspiration from that. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve already got this amazing archive, hopefully, of hundreds of articles that you’ve written. It’s not too hard to repurpose those in today’s other mediums. I encourage you to explore that in 2018.

Again, today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/231. You can find our Start a Blog course. We’re just two days away from launching that course now if you’re listening to this in the day that this episode goes live. You can find where you can signup to claim your spot in the course at problogger.com/startablog. If you’re listening after the 10th of January 2018, then that course is, hopefully, live now for you to go to as well. If you go to that URL, you’ll be at a signup and start that blog as well.

As I’m recording this, over 1300 people signed up already for that course. There’s a whole group of people going through it together. We’re gonna have a Facebook group where you can begin to interact with one another, support one another, ask questions. We’re also going to help you to launch your blog as well. I’ve got some great things planned where we’re going to feature all the blogs that start as a result of this course over on ProBlogger and hopefully find you some new readers as well.

Again, problogger.com/startablog. I can’t wait to get going with that course in the next couple of days. I hope you are finding some inspiration in this series. If you wanna listen to a few more stories of this series that we’ve been doing, every episode between 221 and 232 which will be tomorrow’s episode will be these blogger’s stories. Thanks for listening today. We’ll chat in the next few days.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 231: From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story appeared first on ProBlogger.

230: How a Blog Helped Grow My Voice Coaching Business

How a Blog Helped Grow a Voice Coaching Business

In our continuing series of blogger stories I’m handing the podcast over to you, our listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs.

230 Vahn Petit Start a Blog Series

This series started in episode 221, and is helping us launch our new (and completely free) ‘Start a Blog’ course that will go live on 10 January 2018. You can sign up to reserve your spot in the course at problogger.com/startablog.

Today’s short and sweet episode comes from My Happy Voice blogger Vahn Petit, and even includes a bit of singing..

Links and Resources for How a Blog Helped Group My Voice Coaching Business

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Darren: Hello, is it me you’re looking for? I promised you that there will be singing today and there’s gonna be more. I’m sorry about that. The singing that will come will be bit better than that.

Hi! Welcome to Episode 230 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. A blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and soon to be an album, maybe not, all designed to help you to grow your blog and to build some profit around your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, we’re continuing our series of blogger stories where I’m handing the podcast over to you as listeners and as readers of the blog, to tell your story, to share your tips, to talk about the mistakes you’ve made, and to talk about the opportunities that your blog has brought you. This series did start back in Episode 221. It’s all about trying to inspire as many bloggers as possible to start a blog in 2018 because we’ve got this free course going live on the 10th of January, just a few days away now. You can still sign up to reserve a spot in that course, it’s completely free. Go to problogger.com/startablog.

My goal, it’s a big one, is to see thousands of new blogs started this year because of this course. If you are thinking of starting a blog, please go sign up. Please get that blog launched.

In today’s episode, you’re going to hear from someone who is gonna sing to you. She’s gonna give you some amazing tips. It’s a sweet episode, it’s not too long. The blogger is Vahn Petit, who is a voice coach. She blogs at myhappyvoice.com. Love this episode, is lovely, and sweet, and has some great tips. I’m gonna come back at the end of the episode to share a few thoughts that I have on what Vahn shares with us. I’m gonna hand it over to her now.

Vahn: Hello, Darren. Hello, ProBloggers. Hello, my name is Vahn Petit, I am a voice teacher and a vocal coach in modern music at myhappyvoice.com. I started my first blog in 2010. I just wanted a platform to share my journey as a vocal coach. At first, I was writing very short articles, very, very short articles with stories about what was happening in the studio, could be about a student having difficulties to sing a song and how we’re trying to fix it.

I remember also I was posting each month a list of songs that had been studied with the links to some YouTube videos. I remember also I was sharing pictures and videos of the concerts of my students. I guess, at that time, I had several objectives. The main one was sharing stories and what was happening in the studio for my students so they could share the articles with their families. The second one was to find more students. I had a page with information about the singing one-to-one lessons, the group classes, and the workshops. I also was posting articles from time to time to attract people who wanted to take lessons.

It went pretty well but probably because I started in 2010. I didn’t have that many competitors. I was ranking on Google’s first page without doing that much. That was really great. But then things started to change and my blog was kind of getting old. I had to renew, rebrand. Now, I have a brand new blog but I like the old one still.

When I started my blog, it was not a big deal. Just me sharing my singing passion with friends, family, and students. I launched my blog with only one post. The about me page did not exist. I had no business plan but I’m so happy I did it that way and I did not wait for it to be perfect to launch it. I guess it’s a bit different nowadays because of the amount of blogs and online businesses. You probably need to have more than one post and several pages to launch. I’m really happy I did it that way. If I were to start a blog today, I think I would be the kind of person to postpone and postpone again. That was really great for me at that time. Being spontaneous helped me not postponing forever the launch of the blog.

Mistakes, oops, I did it again. So many mistakes with my first blog and I’m still learning. The first mistake I can think about goes together with me launching my first blog with no content, just one article. I was doing things as it comes, as it goes. My blog had no visual identity, no consistency, no clear purpose for my readers. It was just me. Decided I wanted to write something that day and so I was writing. Maybe for three months there was nothing on the blog. Now it’s a bit different.

For my new blog, I took a notebook and I wrote down everything from the colors I would be using, the different sizes for the images in the posts, the featured image, etc. The colors, the font, the font sizes. Everything is in my notebook. I go to it regularly when I don’t remember which color I’m using or which size or things to have a visual identity really strong. I’m much more consistent in the way I write, the voice I use. I remember you, Darren, speaking about the four voices we could choose. I think it was four. When we write, my voice is the professor artist, and it goes pretty well with being a vocal coach and a singer.

The first mistake was the lack of visual identity, I think. The second mistake was I was so disorganized that I forgot to renew my domain name and my site went down for a whole week. I was using too many email addresses. I did receive a reminder to pay but I was not checking that email address anymore and the payment was not recurrent at that time. To get back my domain name, I had to pay around $200. Yes, $200. Don’t do it like me and try to be organized and write down the important things.

Another mistake I can think about, I’m still struggling with that, is I am a learner. I love to learn and I get caught up in all the webinars hurricane. I registered in lots of webinars to learn about this and that. I ended up spending too much time doing that and not being able to even implement the tips I have learned plus I had no more time to create content for my blog. If you’re a learner, my advice is each time you find something you’d like to learn, register, learn, implement, and monitor what you’ve implemented. Don’t register in 7 or 10 courses or webinars. One at a time is the right thing to do, in my opinion.

The good things that have happened to me since I started my blog is opportunities. I’m sure I wouldn’t have met that many interesting people and really professional singers and I’m even coaching The Voice singers and actors. That’s very, very interesting for me because it’s a different level of teaching. It’s not teaching anymore, it’s coaching. That’s why we say, “I’m a voice teacher but I’m also voice coach now.” I still love to teach the beginners and I love to coach the professionals. That is thanks to my blog, I think.

My number one tip for new bloggers would be to take your readers on a journey, on your journey. That starts with stopping comparing yourself to others. It’s as if wanting to write a love song and being so depressed because there are already so many love songs. But hey, only you can write it your way, so don’t compare yourself to others. To take our readers on our journey, we have to be honest and be ourselves, to interact with them the most as we can, and to be consistent so they feel part of our story and they don’t feel let down ever. Blogging is a virtual thing but we’re only human after all. We’re only human after all. That was very, very nice to speak to you, bloggers. Thank you very much, Darren, for inviting us to share our story, our blogging story on ProBlogger podcast. Bye.

Darren: Thanks so much for your story today, Vahn. You can find Vahn’s blog at over at myhappyvoice.com. A few things that I love about this particular episode apart from the singing and wonderful accent, just to mix things up a little bit. I love that Vahn uses her blog to grow her business, and again, this is another example of a different business model to what many of us start out blogging. Many of us start out thinking that we’re gonna make money from advertising or selling ebooks or virtual products. Blogs are very powerful at doing all of those things but they’re also a fantastic way to find new clients and grow your profile in an industry and that’s something that this story illustrates really nicely.

I love the advice. Don’t wait for it to be perfect to launch. Whilst I’m a big believer in doing what you can before you launch your blog and setting up with good foundations, that is some great advice there. You can really have the intention of making it perfect before you launch to the point where you don’t actually launch anything at all. That’s something that we really wanna encourage you through this course that starts on the 10th of January to not just get the things right but to actually get it launched and to perfect it after it’s launched. It’s better to get it launched imperfect and to get things fixed up on the go afterwards than to wait until it’s perfect to launch. Because you’ll never actually launch it if that is your strategy. Yes, get it looking good. Yes, get some articles ready before you launch. But get it out there as well.

Really good advice there also around some of the mistakes that Vahn made along her way as well. Not being consistent nor organized. I love the advice there particularly thinking about the visual identity of your blog. I guess what you’re trying to do there is put together some sort of a brand, a key that’s going to help you be consistent with that. I like the idea that she had this notebook that had all the colors that she’s gonna use. That’s something that I think a lot of bloggers could learn from whether you’re starting out, that’s something good to think through in the early days. But also for those of us who’ve been blogging for a while, it can end up having a very messy looking blog as well. Think through some of the, I guess, visuals and the brand that you wanna portray. Something that might be well worth doing at this time of the year, the start of the year. Maybe you could give your brand a refresh as you move into 2018.

Also, I like that she mentioned there being consistent with her voice. She mentioned some teaching that I did on that particular topic, and if your ears picked up at that point of wanting to know what those four voices were, you can go back and listen to episode 213 where I talked about some teaching that I picked up from Jeff Goins where he talked about four different voices that almost any blogger could write in and the prophet is one of them. I actually suggested quite a few more. I think I came up with about 20 different voices.

If you wanna learn a little bit more about voice and thinking about the voice that you have needs to be authentic with who you are but also thinking about your audience and what you are trying to help them with, go back and listen to episode 213 and you’ll pick up some thoughts there. It is quite a long episode, kind of halfway through it will get into that stuff on voices or you can just look at the transcript there as well.

Another great point there is too much time learning, not enough time actioning. This is something I see a lot of bloggers falling into the traps of online entrepreneurs. There’s so much advice there on the topic of blogging. You could spend your whole life learning about blogging and not actually do any at all. This is something that I’m really aware of particularly as we’re creating courses and we’re creating content. You’ll know that we’ve pulled back on our content creation this year partly because we don’t want to feed the beast of those of you who are just learners and addicted to learning. We wanna create some teaching for you but we don’t want you to spend your whole life reading ProBlogger articles and listening to ProBlogger podcast.

I love the fact that you are listening but if you’ve listened to more than five episodes today, maybe it’s time for you to write a blog post. That’s my advice for you today. Yes, to learn. Yes, pick up the latest trends but put plenty of time aside to implement and to monitor what you’re doing as your advice in that particular episode there.

I just love the way that Vahn finished off her story today. Take your readers on your journey. Only you can write your story so own it, be yourself, don’t compare yourself to others, make your reader a part of your story. You’re a human being and so are they and the big thing that we love to do as humans is to connect with one another, to hear each others’ stories. Own your story, don’t try and be someone else. Don’t try and pretend and compare yourself and fall into that trap. Be yourself and take your readers on a journey.

Thanks so much for sharing your story today, Vahn. I really do appreciate all the advice. Check out her blog at myhappyvoice.com. You can also find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/230 where you’ll also find a link to our Start A Blog course. I’d love you to join us on our Start A Blog course. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, maybe to earn an income directly or maybe just to share your story or maybe to help build your business, whatever it is that is your intent, this course is designed to help you set up a blog with great foundations, to help you achieve your goals whatever they may be. You can find more details on how to join that course at problogger.com/startablog. As I mentioned yesterday, we’re gonna have a Facebook group that will help you to connect with others at that same point of the journey and hopefully we can all grow our blogs together as a result of that. Again, it’s problogger.com/startablog.

Lastly, we’ve got two more episodes coming in this series of blogger stories. We’re gonna have a little break for the weekend now. That will give you an opportunity if you do wanna dig back into the last few episodes. This series started back in Episode 221. There’s plenty of stories there to dig into over the weekend but I’ve got two more coming for you next week before the Start A Blog course does launch. I look forward to chatting with you then.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 230: How a Blog Helped Grow My Voice Coaching Business appeared first on ProBlogger.

230: How a Blog Helped Grow My Voice Coaching Business

How a Blog Helped Grow a Voice Coaching Business

In our continuing series of blogger stories I’m handing the podcast over to you, our listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs.

230 Vahn Petit Start a Blog Series

This series started in episode 221, and is helping us launch our new (and completely free) ‘Start a Blog’ course that will go live on 10 January 2018. You can sign up to reserve your spot in the course at problogger.com/startablog.

Today’s short and sweet episode comes from My Happy Voice blogger Vahn Petit, and even includes a bit of singing..

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Darren: Hello, is it me you’re looking for? I promised you that there will be singing today and there’s gonna be more. I’m sorry about that. The singing that will come will be bit better than that.

Hi! Welcome to Episode 230 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. A blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and soon to be an album, maybe not, all designed to help you to grow your blog and to build some profit around your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, we’re continuing our series of blogger stories where I’m handing the podcast over to you as listeners and as readers of the blog, to tell your story, to share your tips, to talk about the mistakes you’ve made, and to talk about the opportunities that your blog has brought you. This series did start back in Episode 221. It’s all about trying to inspire as many bloggers as possible to start a blog in 2018 because we’ve got this free course going live on the 10th of January, just a few days away now. You can still sign up to reserve a spot in that course, it’s completely free. Go to problogger.com/startablog.

My goal, it’s a big one, is to see thousands of new blogs started this year because of this course. If you are thinking of starting a blog, please go sign up. Please get that blog launched.

In today’s episode, you’re going to hear from someone who is gonna sing to you. She’s gonna give you some amazing tips. It’s a sweet episode, it’s not too long. The blogger is Vahn Petit, who is a voice coach. She blogs at myhappyvoice.com. Love this episode, is lovely, and sweet, and has some great tips. I’m gonna come back at the end of the episode to share a few thoughts that I have on what Vahn shares with us. I’m gonna hand it over to her now.

Vahn: Hello, Darren. Hello, ProBloggers. Hello, my name is Vahn Petit, I am a voice teacher and a vocal coach in modern music at myhappyvoice.com. I started my first blog in 2010. I just wanted a platform to share my journey as a vocal coach. At first, I was writing very short articles, very, very short articles with stories about what was happening in the studio, could be about a student having difficulties to sing a song and how we’re trying to fix it.

I remember also I was posting each month a list of songs that had been studied with the links to some YouTube videos. I remember also I was sharing pictures and videos of the concerts of my students. I guess, at that time, I had several objectives. The main one was sharing stories and what was happening in the studio for my students so they could share the articles with their families. The second one was to find more students. I had a page with information about the singing one-to-one lessons, the group classes, and the workshops. I also was posting articles from time to time to attract people who wanted to take lessons.

It went pretty well but probably because I started in 2010. I didn’t have that many competitors. I was ranking on Google’s first page without doing that much. That was really great. But then things started to change and my blog was kind of getting old. I had to renew, rebrand. Now, I have a brand new blog but I like the old one still.

When I started my blog, it was not a big deal. Just me sharing my singing passion with friends, family, and students. I launched my blog with only one post. The about me page did not exist. I had no business plan but I’m so happy I did it that way and I did not wait for it to be perfect to launch it. I guess it’s a bit different nowadays because of the amount of blogs and online businesses. You probably need to have more than one post and several pages to launch. I’m really happy I did it that way. If I were to start a blog today, I think I would be the kind of person to postpone and postpone again. That was really great for me at that time. Being spontaneous helped me not postponing forever the launch of the blog.

Mistakes, oops, I did it again. So many mistakes with my first blog and I’m still learning. The first mistake I can think about goes together with me launching my first blog with no content, just one article. I was doing things as it comes, as it goes. My blog had no visual identity, no consistency, no clear purpose for my readers. It was just me. Decided I wanted to write something that day and so I was writing. Maybe for three months there was nothing on the blog. Now it’s a bit different.

For my new blog, I took a notebook and I wrote down everything from the colors I would be using, the different sizes for the images in the posts, the featured image, etc. The colors, the font, the font sizes. Everything is in my notebook. I go to it regularly when I don’t remember which color I’m using or which size or things to have a visual identity really strong. I’m much more consistent in the way I write, the voice I use. I remember you, Darren, speaking about the four voices we could choose. I think it was four. When we write, my voice is the professor artist, and it goes pretty well with being a vocal coach and a singer.

The first mistake was the lack of visual identity, I think. The second mistake was I was so disorganized that I forgot to renew my domain name and my site went down for a whole week. I was using too many email addresses. I did receive a reminder to pay but I was not checking that email address anymore and the payment was not recurrent at that time. To get back my domain name, I had to pay around $200. Yes, $200. Don’t do it like me and try to be organized and write down the important things.

Another mistake I can think about, I’m still struggling with that, is I am a learner. I love to learn and I get caught up in all the webinars hurricane. I registered in lots of webinars to learn about this and that. I ended up spending too much time doing that and not being able to even implement the tips I have learned plus I had no more time to create content for my blog. If you’re a learner, my advice is each time you find something you’d like to learn, register, learn, implement, and monitor what you’ve implemented. Don’t register in 7 or 10 courses or webinars. One at a time is the right thing to do, in my opinion.

The good things that have happened to me since I started my blog is opportunities. I’m sure I wouldn’t have met that many interesting people and really professional singers and I’m even coaching The Voice singers and actors. That’s very, very interesting for me because it’s a different level of teaching. It’s not teaching anymore, it’s coaching. That’s why we say, “I’m a voice teacher but I’m also voice coach now.” I still love to teach the beginners and I love to coach the professionals. That is thanks to my blog, I think.

My number one tip for new bloggers would be to take your readers on a journey, on your journey. That starts with stopping comparing yourself to others. It’s as if wanting to write a love song and being so depressed because there are already so many love songs. But hey, only you can write it your way, so don’t compare yourself to others. To take our readers on our journey, we have to be honest and be ourselves, to interact with them the most as we can, and to be consistent so they feel part of our story and they don’t feel let down ever. Blogging is a virtual thing but we’re only human after all. We’re only human after all. That was very, very nice to speak to you, bloggers. Thank you very much, Darren, for inviting us to share our story, our blogging story on ProBlogger podcast. Bye.

Darren: Thanks so much for your story today, Vahn. You can find Vahn’s blog at over at myhappyvoice.com. A few things that I love about this particular episode apart from the singing and wonderful accent, just to mix things up a little bit. I love that Vahn uses her blog to grow her business, and again, this is another example of a different business model to what many of us start out blogging. Many of us start out thinking that we’re gonna make money from advertising or selling ebooks or virtual products. Blogs are very powerful at doing all of those things but they’re also a fantastic way to find new clients and grow your profile in an industry and that’s something that this story illustrates really nicely.

I love the advice. Don’t wait for it to be perfect to launch. Whilst I’m a big believer in doing what you can before you launch your blog and setting up with good foundations, that is some great advice there. You can really have the intention of making it perfect before you launch to the point where you don’t actually launch anything at all. That’s something that we really wanna encourage you through this course that starts on the 10th of January to not just get the things right but to actually get it launched and to perfect it after it’s launched. It’s better to get it launched imperfect and to get things fixed up on the go afterwards than to wait until it’s perfect to launch. Because you’ll never actually launch it if that is your strategy. Yes, get it looking good. Yes, get some articles ready before you launch. But get it out there as well.

Really good advice there also around some of the mistakes that Vahn made along her way as well. Not being consistent nor organized. I love the advice there particularly thinking about the visual identity of your blog. I guess what you’re trying to do there is put together some sort of a brand, a key that’s going to help you be consistent with that. I like the idea that she had this notebook that had all the colors that she’s gonna use. That’s something that I think a lot of bloggers could learn from whether you’re starting out, that’s something good to think through in the early days. But also for those of us who’ve been blogging for a while, it can end up having a very messy looking blog as well. Think through some of the, I guess, visuals and the brand that you wanna portray. Something that might be well worth doing at this time of the year, the start of the year. Maybe you could give your brand a refresh as you move into 2018.

Also, I like that she mentioned there being consistent with her voice. She mentioned some teaching that I did on that particular topic, and if your ears picked up at that point of wanting to know what those four voices were, you can go back and listen to episode 213 where I talked about some teaching that I picked up from Jeff Goins where he talked about four different voices that almost any blogger could write in and the prophet is one of them. I actually suggested quite a few more. I think I came up with about 20 different voices.

If you wanna learn a little bit more about voice and thinking about the voice that you have needs to be authentic with who you are but also thinking about your audience and what you are trying to help them with, go back and listen to episode 213 and you’ll pick up some thoughts there. It is quite a long episode, kind of halfway through it will get into that stuff on voices or you can just look at the transcript there as well.

Another great point there is too much time learning, not enough time actioning. This is something I see a lot of bloggers falling into the traps of online entrepreneurs. There’s so much advice there on the topic of blogging. You could spend your whole life learning about blogging and not actually do any at all. This is something that I’m really aware of particularly as we’re creating courses and we’re creating content. You’ll know that we’ve pulled back on our content creation this year partly because we don’t want to feed the beast of those of you who are just learners and addicted to learning. We wanna create some teaching for you but we don’t want you to spend your whole life reading ProBlogger articles and listening to ProBlogger podcast.

I love the fact that you are listening but if you’ve listened to more than five episodes today, maybe it’s time for you to write a blog post. That’s my advice for you today. Yes, to learn. Yes, pick up the latest trends but put plenty of time aside to implement and to monitor what you’re doing as your advice in that particular episode there.

I just love the way that Vahn finished off her story today. Take your readers on your journey. Only you can write your story so own it, be yourself, don’t compare yourself to others, make your reader a part of your story. You’re a human being and so are they and the big thing that we love to do as humans is to connect with one another, to hear each others’ stories. Own your story, don’t try and be someone else. Don’t try and pretend and compare yourself and fall into that trap. Be yourself and take your readers on a journey.

Thanks so much for sharing your story today, Vahn. I really do appreciate all the advice. Check out her blog at myhappyvoice.com. You can also find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/230 where you’ll also find a link to our Start A Blog course. I’d love you to join us on our Start A Blog course. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, maybe to earn an income directly or maybe just to share your story or maybe to help build your business, whatever it is that is your intent, this course is designed to help you set up a blog with great foundations, to help you achieve your goals whatever they may be. You can find more details on how to join that course at problogger.com/startablog. As I mentioned yesterday, we’re gonna have a Facebook group that will help you to connect with others at that same point of the journey and hopefully we can all grow our blogs together as a result of that. Again, it’s problogger.com/startablog.

Lastly, we’ve got two more episodes coming in this series of blogger stories. We’re gonna have a little break for the weekend now. That will give you an opportunity if you do wanna dig back into the last few episodes. This series started back in Episode 221. There’s plenty of stories there to dig into over the weekend but I’ve got two more coming for you next week before the Start A Blog course does launch. I look forward to chatting with you then.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 230: How a Blog Helped Grow My Voice Coaching Business appeared first on ProBlogger.

229: 2 Finance Bloggers Share their Tips for Building Blogs from Hobby to a Full Time Business

2 Finance Bloggers Share their Tips for Taking Blogs from a Hobby to a Full Time Business

Once again we’re handing the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs.

229 Two Finance Bloggers Start a Blog Series

Since episode 221 we’ve been hearing from our listeners about their blogs as a lead up to our new (and completely free) ‘Start a Blog course’, which goes live on 10 January 2018. You can sign up to reserve  your spot in the course at problogger.com/startablog.

Today we’re we’re featuring another two bloggers from the same niche. In this case, they’re both finance bloggers.

I met both these guys for the first time at our SuccessIncubator event in 2017. In fact, they both spoke and did great sessions.

Links and Resources for 2 Finance Bloggers Share their Tips for Building Blogs from Hobby to a Full Time Business

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Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 229 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. A blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, and to build profit around that blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, we’re continuing this series of blogger stories where we’re hearing from readers of ProBlogger and listeners of this podcast telling their stories of starting a blog and some of the opportunities that that blog has opened up for them. They’re also sharing some of their mistakes and tips for those of you who are starting out. But also you’ll hear today tips that I think are really relevant for those who are along the way with their blogging as well, particularly today, we’ve got a couple of tips that I think are particularly relevant for bloggers who’ve been around for a while, bloggers who maybe had been blogging maybe for a few years and things haven’t quite worked. Today is really relevant for both new bloggers and older bloggers as well.

This series started back in episode 221. If you haven’t heard them, we’ve been pumping them out on a daily basis for the last week, there’s quite a few there now. We’re hearing from DIY bloggers, travel bloggers, recipe bloggers, nutritional bloggers, all kinds of bloggers. Today, we are hearing from two bloggers both from the same niche. They’re both finance bloggers and both of these guys who I met for the first time in 2017 in person, I met them at our Success Incubator event in Dallas. Both of these guys, a lot of fun, they both actually spoke at the event and did amazing sessions. There’s a lot of wisdom behind both the men. I do encourage you to check out their blogs.

You can find today’s show notes with links to their blogs as well as a few things that they mention along the way over at problogger.com/podcast/229 and you can also leave a comment there. Remember, all of this is a part of our launch sequence for our new course for those of you who wanna start a blog. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, head over to problogger.com/startablog. I’m gonna come back between these stories to just make a few comments, throw out a few points, and then at the end I wanna tell you something new that I haven’t told you yet about the Start A Blog course, so stay tuned right to the end today.

The first blogger I wanna introduce you to today is Deacon Hayes from wellkeptwallet.com. He’s got an inspirational story. He’s gone from being a wood flooring salesperson to full time blogger over the last few years and has some really useful tips. As I mentioned at the top of the show, some of these are quite relevant for those of you who’ve been blogging for a while now. I’m gonna hand it over to Deacon.

Deacon: Hi, my name is Deacon Hayes from wellkeptwallet.com where we help people save money, make money, and pay off debt. Back in 2009, my wife and I got married and we decided we’re gonna combine our finances. We did that. We realized we had $52,000 in debt which, for us, in our 20s, was a lot. This was outside of mortgage debt and we’re severely in the negative. We knew we need to put together a plan to pay it off in a short period of time. Hence, created wellkeptwallet.com as kind of a way to track our journey, hold us accountable, but also to help other people that were trying to pay off debt by giving tips on how to save money, make money, strategies to pay off debt.

Originally, that was the idea. But we were able to pay off all of our debt in 18 months which was amazing. We set this goal, we hit it, and now I was like, “Wow, this would be so much more fun than selling wood flooring,” which is what I was doing at the time. Then, it led me on a journey to kinda figure out, “How could I make money with the blog?” Turned that into a full time job and that’s what I’ve done today.

When I first started out, one of the things I was most grateful for was learning SEO, search engine optimization. Because initially when I started the blog, no one was reading it. I would tell my friends about it and it was deaconhayes.wordpress.com. It wasn’t a legit site but then I learned SEO, I put it on wellkeptwallet.com, started ranking for some really competitive keywords, getting traffic, and then figuring out how to monetize it. Really encourage people that start out to kind of learn those different ways to drive traffic early on so you’re not just writing content that doesn’t get read.

I did make some mistakes along the way. One of the things was I would just write just to write, not with any kind of intent. I had an audience of five people or whatever, and I’m like, “I have to publish content.” There were short articles, they weren’t thorough. It just really didn’t do the job. Now, we write articles with purpose and don’t write just to write. I really encourage people that are starting out to do that. Along the way, we had a lot of cool opportunities, been featured on US News World Report, Yahoo Finance, and even my wife and I were on the homepage of CNN Money one day for our worst money mistake as newly weds or something. It wasn’t the most glorious thing but the tips were very helpful, I think, for people. That was just a good way to get exposure. We used HARO for that which is Help A Reporter Out and reach out to these different publications, share our story and we found that to be super helpful.

Now, we get over 700,000 page views a month which is crazy. Because last year, we’re getting a fraction of that. Now the blog is not a hobby anymore. It’s a full fledged business, makes six-figures a year. It’s an awesome opportunity, never would have thought I would be at this place with it.

One of the things that I really encourage people that are starting out to do is to really narrow down your focus. What do you wanna write about? When I first started, I had 40 different categories. I would just think of something, I categorize it, and then they just start adding up. Now, we have three. We kind of edge outside of that a little bit but really those three dictate the type of content that we write. You can’t be good at everything. You have to focus in on, “What are you really good at?” Like, “Well, I was good at figuring out how to save money, going through a budget line by line, and figuring out how to save the most money. I was really good at making money on the side, I’d go to garage sales and flip stuff online. I drive for pizza delivery.”

There’s all these things that I was doing to basically help kind of move the needle forward. Those were the categories that we stuck with. I really encourage you if you start now to look for those categories that you’re really good at, that really could add value to your readers. Think about less is more. Don’t write just to write. Write with purpose.

Darren: That was Deacon Hayes from wellkeptwallet.com. Love that story and it’s one that I’ve heard echoed, I guess, in many stories over the years. I wanted to share it for a few reason today. Firstly, as we heard in yesterday’s episode from Joanna Penn, the power of search engine optimization. Deacon mentioned that he was grateful that he learned SEO. Actually, at our Success Incubator, he did a whole session on SEO. It was one of the main reasons that his blog went from a hobby, something that he did on the side, to becoming a full time thing. SEO really changed the trajectory of his business. Learning that is such a powerful thing.

The mistakes that Deacon mentioned, he used to write just to write. He used to write short and non-thorough articles, and now, he writes with purpose. I really wanna hammer that home. Write with purpose, it’s such a powerful thing. Actually, every post you write has the potential to build your brand, to change the life of your reader, to make a connection with them. Every post you write has the potential to be shared by your readers as well and help you to grow your blog. None of those things is gonna happen if you just write just to write. If you’re just creating content because you wanna publish content, then it’s not actually gonna make any difference.

In many ways, you’re wasting your time but if you’re writing with purpose, if you’re thinking about who is searching for the content that you’re writing, what questions they have, how you can change their life in some way, everytime you publish something, you’re going to publish something that can build your business and that is gonna make the world a better place in some way as well. That’s why Deacon’s blog is now 700,000 page views a month, that’s why he has a full time income, it’s because he writes with purpose.

Deacon mentioned there HARO. I just wanna mention that again. I’ll link to it in the show notes today. Helpareporter.com, this is a service that will hook you up with reporters, with journalists who are looking for people to quote in their articles. This is what got Deacon on the television, this is what got him featured in a variety of websites. It’s a great service. If you are looking to build your audience through mainstream media, you might wanna check that one out.

The last thing I’ll just emphasize there is something that we’ve heard numerous times over this series already. I didn’t really intend for us to go down this path. I didn’t realize how many people are gonna say the same thing but narrow down your focus, narrow down your niche. He said he went from 40 categories to 3. I think that is really well worth saying. I think that this is a really good tip not only for new bloggers but for established bloggers as well. This is an advice that we’ve heard from our tech bloggers in Episode 222, we saw it in the Orlando dating ideas blogger that we had in 226, episode 226, and even Kris in the travel episode as well who said, “Think about who you’re not going to serve and be really intentional about just serving a narrow niche of people.” This is great advice.

Really, if you have had a blog for a while now, I wanna encourage you to think about what categories do you have. What are you writing about that’s not getting the traction? Deacon’s advice there was to really think back about what you’re good at. Identify what you’re good at writing about, identify where you are adding the most value to your readers, and focus upon those topics. I’m sure Deacon goes slightly off topic from time to time but going from 40 to 3 categories to me is a really smart move. If you are starting a blog, really think about narrowing that focus down, becoming the expert in a smaller topic. Unless you’ve got a lot of time and energy on your hands, you’re probably going to find a lot more traction doing it that way.

If you’ve been blogging for a while, great advice as well. As we go into 2018, what did you write about last year that really didn’t get the traction and that really didn’t add much value? Maybe you strip out some of those categories for a while and just focus on the things that are really getting the traction. Thank you so much, Deacon, for your story.

I wanna move now to Jim Wang from wallethacks.com. Jim is another person that I met this year in Dallas and we actually rode mechanical bulls together. But that’s a whole other story. I’ll leave you to go for a hunt for the video evidence of that. I think you’ll find it in my Instagram account if you really are desperate but we had a great time in Dallas. Jim has got a great story, well, some similarities with Deacon’s story as well. He’s obviously a finance blogger too but I’ll hand it over to Jim and then I’ll wrap things up towards the end.

Jim: Hi, my name is Jim Wang, I write Wallet Hacks, wallethacks.com. It’s a personal finance blog that I started about two years ago and I share the strategies I use to get ahead financially and in life. It’s actually the second blog that I started. I started one in 2004 called Bargaineering, also about personal finance and it grew to a point where I was able to sell it a bunch of years later for a significant sum.

I started blogging back then not because I wanted to start a business but because I just had no idea how to manage my money. I started my first day of work, they handed me this employee manual, I had to make all these decisions about… I have to start at $401k, what do you wanna invest in, here are the fees, it was just a big mess. I thought to myself if I’m having trouble at this, maybe other people are. I’ve always loved the internet. 2004, blogs weren’t really a huge thing. They had only just started becoming popular and I thought to myself, “I can start a blog. It’d be a fun little hobby.” If nothing else, I can connect with other people and we can learn from each other in a way that was better than me just trying to read a manual or read things online not really knowing whether or not I was right or wrong.

My friends, they weren’t really that interested in talking about it. As often as the case, people don’t talk about money in person. But on the internet, you can talk about anything. I thought I’d start a blog, and over time, it sort of grew in popularity. I learned that I was the only one writing about money. I started networking, and emailing, and instant messaging other bloggers. There were maybe around a dozen of us back then. Nowadays, personal finance blogging is huge, there are thousands of blogs out there. Back then, it was a much, much smaller community. We all knew each other, we shared ideas, it was really great.

I just wanted to just learn more and it wasn’t to start a business. When I think back to it, what I’m always grateful for in starting the business is the fact that I started it. Back then, since blogging wasn’t as big, there weren’t a lot of blogs about blogging. Actually, ProBlogger was one of the ones that I read that really gave me the confidence to think, “Hey, you know what, there are people out there doing these things and making a little bit of money.”

If I were to look back and think of some mistakes, it was that I treated it like a hobby for far too long. Started a blog, people started showing up, didn’t really feel like a business so I treated it like a hobby. I didn’t invest in the things that I should have, like investing in technology, investing in people, investing in tools, and all the other things that a business does in order to grow it bigger than a one-man operation. It wasn’t until a couple years into it that I started doing that. It really paid off dividends down the road. If I were to think back to mistakes, it’s really the investment aspect of it.

There are a lot of good things that have happened as a result of starting a blog. First off is that I learned a lot about managing money because I write about it all the time. Our finances are relatively strong as a result of just being responsible. A blog also keeps you accountable to your readers, some who you know and are friends with you in person, some who are complete strangers but it’s all the same. You’re sharing your story and people will call you out if you’re inconsistent or if you’re faking it. That accountability is very honest and very good.

The other good thing is that when I started the blog, I was working a corporate job full time. Now, I work for myself running Wallet Hacks and that’s in part because I start a business and it gave us the financial freedom to build or pursue the things that we want. That’s always floating out there for folks that are wanting to start business. If you reach success, that’s a good thing because that means you can focus more of your time and energy on this.

A lot of folks will say, “Well, I start a blog. I don’t wanna make money. I don’t want it to be about money.” I would say stop thinking about it in those terms. It’s not about making money is bad, making money is a noble good. Think about it like this, if you’re doing this on the side and you really love what you’re doing and your readers really love what you’re doing but you’re not getting paid, you still have to work a job to pay the bills. If this project can earn you a living, that means you can spend more of your time and energy pursuing the things that you enjoy and the things that your readership wants you to pursue. Think about it in those terms and you might not be so worried about making money from your project.

If I were to come up with a tip for new bloggers, it will be just to start. Just get into it, reach out to as many people as you can. You wanna find folks that are roughly at your level in terms of blog knowledge and maturity so that you guys can learn together and grow together, make some of the same mistakes. You wanna reach out to potential mentors that maybe, a year ahead of you, two years ahead of you, in terms of size and development. That way, they can point you in some of the good directions. I would avoid trying to reach out to superstars, in part because they may not remember what it’s like to grow a blog from 0 to 10 people a day to 100 people a day. They may not be current on what the trends are today to grow it to that size.

You wanna kinda build a mastermind group or a little cohort of folks that you can just talk to who are just dealing with the same struggles that you are, that way, you can both commiserate, give each other confidence, and learn from the mistakes that each of you are making. Most importantly is don’t give up. I’ve seen so many blogs over the years, I’ve been doing this since 2004. I’ve seen hundreds of blogs that have started that I thought were really good but for whatever reason, they failed, they stopped. Life got in the way sometimes. They start a family, the hobby time that they had after work or before work that was once there is no longer there. Try to persevere, and if you do, you’ll look back and you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been able to accomplish. Thanks for letting me share my story with you and I hope you learned something from it. Bye.

Darren: That was Jim Wang from wallethacks.com. Great voice for radio or for podcasting, Jim. Thanks for sharing your story. A few things there in Jim’s story. Again, some similarities, I guess, in terms of why he started blogging to Deacon. But I really wanna draw out what he was talking about with the mistakes that he made of treating it as a hobby for too long and not investing into the business as if it was a business. This really echoes from my story as well. For me, first couple of years of my blogging, it was a hobby, and I treated it maybe as a business one day but I didn’t actually treat it as a business today. Really for me I saw exactly the same thing when I started to treat my blog as a business and invested more time and started to invest a little bit of money into the business, it really did pay off for me.

I wouldn’t suggest you invest tens of thousands of dollars from day one but begin to think about investing and getting serious about your business. It’s more of the intent and the amount of time, and the intentionality. Writing with purpose as we heard in Deacon’s story. That is part of the investment that you bring, but gradually over time being able to invest in the technology, getting some better tools, and people as well.

This, again, is a great tip for those of you maybe who’ve been blogging for a couple of years now. Maybe not quite getting that traction. Maybe it’s time to begin to ramp things up in terms of some of the investment that you can do because, really for me, for Jim, and for many other bloggers, this is something that we’d look back on with, I guess, gratitude, that we did take those steps, that we pushed rather than just coasted.

Also, just the advice of starting. It sounds like the most simple advice that you can give someone. But so many people need to hear that advice. Maybe you’ve been thinking about having that blog for a long time. This is the moment to really do that, to get started, make a commitment to do that. This is a great time to do it because we’ve got this opportunity of the course that’s gonna walk you through it.

I do wanna, I guess, offer you an extra little opportunity for those of you who are thinking about starting a blog. Jim’s advice there is to get a cohort, to get a group of people around you, and to work with people at your own level. That’s a very powerful tip and many people try and reach out to the superstar blogger in their niche. That’s not always the best person to help you. Because, as Jim says, they are on a different level. But they are also getting pitched a lot of times everyday. They’re hearing from a lot of people who want their help. You’re much more likely to get help from people at your own level or people just ahead of you.

As part of our Start A Blog course, we wanna give you an opportunity to get together with a cohort of people at the same level as you. We’re actually starting a Facebook group purely for people who are starting a blog. We’ve got a Facebook group for those of you who are already going. If you haven’t joined that already, just do a search on Facebook for ProBlogger Community. You’d find a cohort of, I think, we’re up over 10,000 bloggers now who are blogging already but we wanna start a smaller group just for people working through the Start A Blog course. If you sign up for the Start A Blog course which is completely free, just go to problogger.com/startablog, we will send you some details. And as part of that, you’ll also get an invitation to the Start A Blog Facebook group as well.

That will be a place where we can work through the course together, where you can ask questions, where you can interact with other bloggers at a similar level to you, and also you can make suggestions on how we can improve that course along the way as well. Because this is the first version of it, and we do want to continue to improve it and make it better, and better, and better.

We already had, as I’m recording this in December, this is going live on the 4th or 5th I think of January. This is going on the 4th.. Even at two weeks before this episode goes live, we’ve already have almost 500 people sign up for the course. There’s gonna be a lot of people going through it together. The advantage of that is that we’re gonna be able to promote each other’s blogs. That’s what we want this group to be about as well. It’s not just about the learning together but we’re also gonna try and find some creative ways of promoting each other’s brand new blogs.

We wanna help you not only to set up your blog, but we wanna help you to find some readers for that blog through this process. One of the ways that we’re gonna do that is through the Facebook group where you have opportunity to share your blog with the rest of the community and perhaps even begin to link to one another.

Thanks for listening today. Thanks so much to Deacon, to Jim, for sharing your stories, very inspirational there. I hope those of you who are wanting to start a finance blog have appreciated that but also others of you as well. We’ve got three more stories coming up, one tomorrow, one on the 5th of January, we’re gonna hear from someone who’s got a completely different niche. I’ve never even knew that there was a blog on this particular topic, voice coaching. That blogger has an interesting story to tell, you’re actually gonna hear a little bit of singing in that episode as well.

Next week, we’ve got two more bloggers as well. We’ve got another tech blogger story. Then we’re gonna hear from a blogger who is writing another slightly unusual topic. I didn’t know there were blogs about it but it’s a blog for women who live on islands. They’re the three upcoming episodes before we get this course launched. Again, if you wanna start back at the start of the series of bloggers stories, go back to problogger.com/podcast/221 to hear the first in the series and there’s been quite a few since. Thanks for listening today. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/229. Thanks for listening, chat tomorrow.

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