Author: Darren Rowse

270: How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog

The post 270: How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

How Starting a Blog Helped Transform the Life of a Blogger

Happy New Year!

This first episode of 2019 launches a series of stories from new bloggers who started their blogs after completing our free Start a Blog course.

The course features seven steps, which makes it a perfect way to celebrate International Start a Blog Day on February 7.

How one blogger changed her life by starting a blog

The first story comes from Denise Bumby, who took our course last year and launched her Does Size Matter? blog about six months ago.

Denise was searching for a way to cope with changes in her life. And she found her way through blogging, which brings her joy and hope.

She may not have many subscribers yet, but that number is growing daily. And so is Denise.

Denise’s tips on how to boost your blog:

  • Consistently produce content
  • Use social media
  • Post content in various formats (videos, etc.)
  • Get mentioned on other blogs
  • Learn and implement affiliate marketing and sponsorship
  • Keep working. Don’t give up or get discouraged

Despite what you may think, anyone can start a blog – young or old, tech savvy or not. Blogging is for everyone.

So, are you ready to start a blog?

Links and Resources for How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog:

Courses

Join our Facebook group

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

Darren: Hey there and welcome to the first episode of the ProBlogger podcast for 2019. This is episode 270. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/270. ProBlogger is a site for bloggers and prebloggers, who today’s episode is particularly for. It’s all designed to help you to build and grow a blog that not only makes your reader’s life better in some way but also helps you to achieve your goals and bring you a little joy to your life as well. We’re going to hear a story today where that happens.

Today, we are launching another round of our bloggers’ stories. It’s a series that’s going to go for the next couple of weeks. They’re shorts stories from brand new bloggers. This series is all about starting a blog and hearing the stories of bloggers who started their blog over the last 12 months.

They all started their blogs as a result of doing our Start A Blog course, which we are currently really pushing hard because on the 7th of February, we’re running our International Start A Blog Day for the second year in a row. Last year, we ran International Start A Blog Day and hundreds of bloggers started a blog on that particular day.

As you’ll hear today, hundreds more started their blogs in the months afterwards. Some people needed a little bit more time. We want you to be a part of this year’s Start A Blog Day. Whether you are a blogger who’s about to start and you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or whether you know someone who should start a blog, we want you to encourage them to get involved. If you want to be a part of it or if you know someone who really does need to start a blog, our course is 100% free and it will help you to start that blog. You can find it at problogger.com/startablog.

Before I introduce you to today’s story, I want to pause for a moment and say Happy New Year. I know it’s three weeks into the new year and I should apologize for the delay in getting this episode out but I do want to start off by saying Happy New Year. The reason for the delay this year is that it’s been a bit of a tough year so far. In fact, last year was a little bit tough as well. Many of you I know have been following my Facebook profile and my personal profile where I shared recently a couple of posts about my own battles with depression over the last year and also the recent loss of a friend.

I wanted to mention those things here because I’m really aware that sometimes in the online space, we only talk about the good stuff, the highlights. I’m not sure how helpful that is for you as a listener to only hear the ups, the successes, the highlights, to see the good things that is going on. The reality is that sometimes life gets tough and there are good times to step back, to change things up, to take a break, to rest, and to heal.

That’s what I’ve been doing really over the last six or so months as I changed the structure of this podcast and the start of this year, particularly, with the sad news that we’ve had. I also wanted to mention that here because so many have left kind messages for me over the last couple of weeks, particularly, and I just want to pause and say thank you. I love our community. I only hope that I can offer a little encouragement and support back to you. So, Happy New Year. But for those of you that is not a happy new year, that it’s just a new year, or a sad new year, I feel your pain. Hang in there, you’re not alone, and I hope that things improve for you.

Okay, I’ve said I love that and I really do send my wishes to you today. But I also want to get on with today’s podcast and I’m going to move into today’s blogger story. I love this one. It’s a lovely story from Denise Bumby from a blog called Does Size Matter? which you can find at koryanddenise.com and I’m gonna link to it in today’s show notes if you want to check it out, and I encourage you to do. I encourage you to support these new bloggers that we are featuring in this series.

Denise took part in a course last year and as you’ll hear, she worked though it at her own pace. She didn’t make the International Start A Blog Day launch but she launched it about six months ago and she battled through the learning process and she shares her story today. It’s a short story and it goes for about five or so minutes, but I hope it is one that will warm your heart as much as it warmed mine. Here’s Denise.

Denise: My name is Denise Bumby and my blog’s name is Does Size Matter? We are a traveling RV review blog and we kind of just show things from our unique perspective. You can find us at koryanddenise.com. That’s kory with a K and denise dot com or on YouTube at youtube.com/doessizematter.

I started this blog because I was searching. I was at that stage in my life when there were a lot of changes and I wasn’t coping well. My only child had gone away to school, we had moved out of our childhood home, and the medical clinic where I was a nurse had closed, so I lost my job. I know the first two things are good things but I still felt some loss from them. I know many people can relate to this but even though change can be good, there’s still loss associated with it.

I had lost my identity as a mom, my purpose in the world as a nurse, and the familiarity of my home. Every night, Kory would come home to me sitting at the table crying. He would ask how he could help and all I could tell him was to just give me some time and I would find my way. I’d sit on my computer and read blogs, watch videos, and find myself starting to feel a little bit better. I wondered how can I do this, how can I continue to feel better, how could I be part of this blogging community.

I started to search until I found the ProBlogger course and then I started to learn new things with that. I worked through it at my own pace and I didn’t launch my site on the projected date with the others because I just needed to learn so much and I wanted to do it at a pace that I felt good with.

I went on in and I did finally launch my site in April and I put my first video out to the public in June. I went really slowly because I was that person in the office who cannot handle any new technology and I was always calling someone in to fix my computer and give me help. I truly learned everything from scratch, things most people just know I had to learn. So, along with my ProBlogger course, I searched everything and anything, a word, a step, anything I didn’t understand, the internet taught me how.

So now, six months after we went public, we have 454 subscribers. I know it’s small in the grand scheme of things but it’s growing everyday and more importantly, so am I. The main highlight of this past year is that I have created something that people are watching and reading and enjoying. I love the comments and the discussion that comes from all of this. I’ve actually created something.

When it comes to content creation, I find it super fun. I do lots of research, which I also like, on the places we go, the RVs we review. Some of them are really special and unique, and it’s just fun for me to do. We also like really helping people make their purchases or their plans of things they want to go or just giving them that little extra information they needed.

The other part of our blog is to show people that you just got to go out there and do the things you want to do and not just because there might be some blocks or something, you can find a way around it. You can do things. You just might have to do them a little bit differently and that’s okay.

When it came to finding readers, it’s been tough and I think that’s a pretty usual thing for newbies at this. But we just keep producing no matter what, we keep putting out content and we used lots of social media. We’ve had one video get over 19,000 views so we’re really proud of that. Then just another time randomly we ran into another blogger who mentioned us on his site and that gave us a boost as well. Every one of those boosts gives you a little bit of excitement and I need just keep moving forward and working harder and just keep producing consistent content.

As for community, there’s a lot of like-minded bloggers, YouTubers, RVers, et cetera. People that are interested in the same kinds of things that we’re interested in, whether they be new or very successful people, they’re also very kind, easy to talk to, and willing to share suggestions and advice or what’s worked for them. It’s a broad and supportive group. We enjoyed to contact and the guidance. Sometimes, we just get it through a Facebook group or email or where we’ve even been to group gatherings that were really helpful.

Next for me, I’ve got to go back and start all over with all my same trusted resources like ProBlogger, to learn and implement affiliate marketing and sponsorship. I can’t wait to see how this goes. What I do know is that it’s a whole other set of learning that I need to do. But I’m confident now that I will be able to handle this and I’ll be able to implement it into my site. So check back with me next year and see how much I made.

My biggest tip is just keep working and learning. Even when it seems so above your head, the answers are out there. If you find some good, trusted resources that you can follow along with in a place like ProBlogger that has so many things, posts to read, podcast to listen to, there is just a wealth of information there. I just keep going to those places, looking for the information, learning it, and then learning how to implement it.

Blogging seems like it’s only for the young or the computer geeks. But it can be for anybody. It can be for you, too. Don’t get discouraged by foreign things and hard work. Now, when Kory comes home, I’m too busy to be crying at the table because I truly have found my way.

Darren: Thank you so much, Denise. I really appreciate you sharing your story with me and our community today. I wanted to share this story as the first one today because it kind of touched a nerve with me in some way. It’s a representative of the stories that I hear from many readers of ProBlogger. Whether you’re brand new in blogging or whether you’ve been blogging for a while, I hear this story again and again from people about how blogging has a potential to bring joy and hope and purpose to people’s lives.

This is my own experience in the early days of starting a blog. I started my blog on impulse, not knowing what I was doing, not really understanding what a blog was at all. But there’s something about the constant creation of content, the building of community with my readers. Those interactions that I had, the development of my ideas and the sharing of my experiences, putting those things out into the world, it not only became an income and became success in terms of the numbers, but it brought hope and it brought life to me. It changed my life in numerous ways on a more personal level.

Whilst you might listen to stories like Denise’s and say, “Well, she’s only got a small number of readers or a small number of subscribers or she’s not yet making an income.” What I actually hear in the story is the story of someone who has already had her life change through blogging. She’s gone from a time of sadness and that’s part of all of our lives, I certainly understand that, but blogging has actually brought her through that and has given her something else, and added something else into her life.

I wanted to share that and this story for that reason mainly, but I also love her tips. Her tips of keep working, keep learning, don’t give up, there’s always something new to learn in blogging. Whether you are just starting out or you’re about to start your blog, you’re about to enter into a steep learning curve if you’re just starting out. But don’t be scared about that. There’s plenty of great resources out there and there’s plenty of support out there for new bloggers as well.

But if you’re listening to this and you’ve been blogging for a while but you’re about to start monetizing for the first time like Denise is, or whether you are thinking about moving from one blogging platform to another, or exploring a new medium, keep learning. The learning curve gets steep from time to time. Keep producing content, keep learning, keep serving your readers, and don’t give up.

Lastly, I love that Denise said that blogging is for everyone. Often, people think blogging is just for young people. The reality is, as I look at our audience, our audience is actually older than you might expect. I don’t have the stats right in front of me but the vast majority of ProBlogger readers are my age—I’m 46—or are older, there’s quite a few. We do have younger readers as well but it’s certainly isn’t just a young person’s game.

Denise took her time. She doesn’t feel super techy but she learnt what she needed to do and she got through it. Denise took her time going through the course and if you are wanting to start the course, you can go to problogger.com/startablog. You’ll see that we’ve outlined the course in seven steps. We see some of our students right through those steps in seven days. Some people who’ve got the time, maybe a little bit of experience, or maybe some support, they go through it in seven days. Some even go through it in a shorter period. But many of our students do take longer and that’s totally fine.

If you make our 7th of February International Start A Blog Day, then that’s great. But if you take a little longer, you’re still part of the family and most importantly, you too can have that life-changing experience of starting your blog.

Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcst/270. We’ve got all the links there to Denise’s blog, also to the Start A Blog course, or you could go there directly at problogger.com/startablog. We’ll also be promoting it around the site at the moment, particularly going to lead up to the 7th of February. I do encourage you to take that step. Sign up and get involved. We are doing some support on our Facebook pages as well at the moment. I really can’t wait to see the new blogs that come out of this year’s batch of students to go through Start A Blog course. 

How did you go with today’s episode?

Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.

The post 270: How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

270: How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog

The post 270: How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

How Starting a Blog Helped Transform the Life of a Blogger

Happy New Year!

This first episode of 2019 launches a series of stories from new bloggers who started their blogs after completing our free Start a Blog course.

The course features seven steps, which makes it a perfect way to celebrate International Start a Blog Day on February 7.

How one blogger changed her life by starting a blog

The first story comes from Denise Bumby, who took our course last year and launched her Does Size Matter? blog about six months ago.

Denise was searching for a way to cope with changes in her life. And she found her way through blogging, which brings her joy and hope.

She may not have many subscribers yet, but that number is growing daily. And so is Denise.

Denise’s tips on how to boost your blog:

  • Consistently produce content
  • Use social media
  • Post content in various formats (videos, etc.)
  • Get mentioned on other blogs
  • Learn and implement affiliate marketing and sponsorship
  • Keep working. Don’t give up or get discouraged

Despite what you may think, anyone can start a blog – young or old, tech savvy or not. Blogging is for everyone.

So, are you ready to start a blog?

Links and Resources for How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog:

Courses

Join our Facebook group

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

Darren: Hey there and welcome to the first episode of the ProBlogger podcast for 2019. This is episode 270. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/270. ProBlogger is a site for bloggers and prebloggers, who today’s episode is particularly for. It’s all designed to help you to build and grow a blog that not only makes your reader’s life better in some way but also helps you to achieve your goals and bring you a little joy to your life as well. We’re going to hear a story today where that happens.

Today, we are launching another round of our bloggers’ stories. It’s a series that’s going to go for the next couple of weeks. They’re shorts stories from brand new bloggers. This series is all about starting a blog and hearing the stories of bloggers who started their blog over the last 12 months.

They all started their blogs as a result of doing our Start A Blog course, which we are currently really pushing hard because on the 7th of February, we’re running our International Start A Blog Day for the second year in a row. Last year, we ran International Start A Blog Day and hundreds of bloggers started a blog on that particular day.

As you’ll hear today, hundreds more started their blogs in the months afterwards. Some people needed a little bit more time. We want you to be a part of this year’s Start A Blog Day. Whether you are a blogger who’s about to start and you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or whether you know someone who should start a blog, we want you to encourage them to get involved. If you want to be a part of it or if you know someone who really does need to start a blog, our course is 100% free and it will help you to start that blog. You can find it at problogger.com/startablog.

Before I introduce you to today’s story, I want to pause for a moment and say Happy New Year. I know it’s three weeks into the new year and I should apologize for the delay in getting this episode out but I do want to start off by saying Happy New Year. The reason for the delay this year is that it’s been a bit of a tough year so far. In fact, last year was a little bit tough as well. Many of you I know have been following my Facebook profile and my personal profile where I shared recently a couple of posts about my own battles with depression over the last year and also the recent loss of a friend.

I wanted to mention those things here because I’m really aware that sometimes in the online space, we only talk about the good stuff, the highlights. I’m not sure how helpful that is for you as a listener to only hear the ups, the successes, the highlights, to see the good things that is going on. The reality is that sometimes life gets tough and there are good times to step back, to change things up, to take a break, to rest, and to heal.

That’s what I’ve been doing really over the last six or so months as I changed the structure of this podcast and the start of this year, particularly, with the sad news that we’ve had. I also wanted to mention that here because so many have left kind messages for me over the last couple of weeks, particularly, and I just want to pause and say thank you. I love our community. I only hope that I can offer a little encouragement and support back to you. So, Happy New Year. But for those of you that is not a happy new year, that it’s just a new year, or a sad new year, I feel your pain. Hang in there, you’re not alone, and I hope that things improve for you.

Okay, I’ve said I love that and I really do send my wishes to you today. But I also want to get on with today’s podcast and I’m going to move into today’s blogger story. I love this one. It’s a lovely story from Denise Bumby from a blog called Does Size Matter? which you can find at koryanddenise.com and I’m gonna link to it in today’s show notes if you want to check it out, and I encourage you to do. I encourage you to support these new bloggers that we are featuring in this series.

Denise took part in a course last year and as you’ll hear, she worked though it at her own pace. She didn’t make the International Start A Blog Day launch but she launched it about six months ago and she battled through the learning process and she shares her story today. It’s a short story and it goes for about five or so minutes, but I hope it is one that will warm your heart as much as it warmed mine. Here’s Denise.

Denise: My name is Denise Bumby and my blog’s name is Does Size Matter? We are a traveling RV review blog and we kind of just show things from our unique perspective. You can find us at koryanddenise.com. That’s kory with a K and denise dot com or on YouTube at youtube.com/doessizematter.

I started this blog because I was searching. I was at that stage in my life when there were a lot of changes and I wasn’t coping well. My only child had gone away to school, we had moved out of our childhood home, and the medical clinic where I was a nurse had closed, so I lost my job. I know the first two things are good things but I still felt some loss from them. I know many people can relate to this but even though change can be good, there’s still loss associated with it.

I had lost my identity as a mom, my purpose in the world as a nurse, and the familiarity of my home. Every night, Kory would come home to me sitting at the table crying. He would ask how he could help and all I could tell him was to just give me some time and I would find my way. I’d sit on my computer and read blogs, watch videos, and find myself starting to feel a little bit better. I wondered how can I do this, how can I continue to feel better, how could I be part of this blogging community.

I started to search until I found the ProBlogger course and then I started to learn new things with that. I worked through it at my own pace and I didn’t launch my site on the projected date with the others because I just needed to learn so much and I wanted to do it at a pace that I felt good with.

I went on in and I did finally launch my site in April and I put my first video out to the public in June. I went really slowly because I was that person in the office who cannot handle any new technology and I was always calling someone in to fix my computer and give me help. I truly learned everything from scratch, things most people just know I had to learn. So, along with my ProBlogger course, I searched everything and anything, a word, a step, anything I didn’t understand, the internet taught me how.

So now, six months after we went public, we have 454 subscribers. I know it’s small in the grand scheme of things but it’s growing everyday and more importantly, so am I. The main highlight of this past year is that I have created something that people are watching and reading and enjoying. I love the comments and the discussion that comes from all of this. I’ve actually created something.

When it comes to content creation, I find it super fun. I do lots of research, which I also like, on the places we go, the RVs we review. Some of them are really special and unique, and it’s just fun for me to do. We also like really helping people make their purchases or their plans of things they want to go or just giving them that little extra information they needed.

The other part of our blog is to show people that you just got to go out there and do the things you want to do and not just because there might be some blocks or something, you can find a way around it. You can do things. You just might have to do them a little bit differently and that’s okay.

When it came to finding readers, it’s been tough and I think that’s a pretty usual thing for newbies at this. But we just keep producing no matter what, we keep putting out content and we used lots of social media. We’ve had one video get over 19,000 views so we’re really proud of that. Then just another time randomly we ran into another blogger who mentioned us on his site and that gave us a boost as well. Every one of those boosts gives you a little bit of excitement and I need just keep moving forward and working harder and just keep producing consistent content.

As for community, there’s a lot of like-minded bloggers, YouTubers, RVers, et cetera. People that are interested in the same kinds of things that we’re interested in, whether they be new or very successful people, they’re also very kind, easy to talk to, and willing to share suggestions and advice or what’s worked for them. It’s a broad and supportive group. We enjoyed to contact and the guidance. Sometimes, we just get it through a Facebook group or email or where we’ve even been to group gatherings that were really helpful.

Next for me, I’ve got to go back and start all over with all my same trusted resources like ProBlogger, to learn and implement affiliate marketing and sponsorship. I can’t wait to see how this goes. What I do know is that it’s a whole other set of learning that I need to do. But I’m confident now that I will be able to handle this and I’ll be able to implement it into my site. So check back with me next year and see how much I made.

My biggest tip is just keep working and learning. Even when it seems so above your head, the answers are out there. If you find some good, trusted resources that you can follow along with in a place like ProBlogger that has so many things, posts to read, podcast to listen to, there is just a wealth of information there. I just keep going to those places, looking for the information, learning it, and then learning how to implement it.

Blogging seems like it’s only for the young or the computer geeks. But it can be for anybody. It can be for you, too. Don’t get discouraged by foreign things and hard work. Now, when Kory comes home, I’m too busy to be crying at the table because I truly have found my way.

Darren: Thank you so much, Denise. I really appreciate you sharing your story with me and our community today. I wanted to share this story as the first one today because it kind of touched a nerve with me in some way. It’s a representative of the stories that I hear from many readers of ProBlogger. Whether you’re brand new in blogging or whether you’ve been blogging for a while, I hear this story again and again from people about how blogging has a potential to bring joy and hope and purpose to people’s lives.

This is my own experience in the early days of starting a blog. I started my blog on impulse, not knowing what I was doing, not really understanding what a blog was at all. But there’s something about the constant creation of content, the building of community with my readers. Those interactions that I had, the development of my ideas and the sharing of my experiences, putting those things out into the world, it not only became an income and became success in terms of the numbers, but it brought hope and it brought life to me. It changed my life in numerous ways on a more personal level.

Whilst you might listen to stories like Denise’s and say, “Well, she’s only got a small number of readers or a small number of subscribers or she’s not yet making an income.” What I actually hear in the story is the story of someone who has already had her life change through blogging. She’s gone from a time of sadness and that’s part of all of our lives, I certainly understand that, but blogging has actually brought her through that and has given her something else, and added something else into her life.

I wanted to share that and this story for that reason mainly, but I also love her tips. Her tips of keep working, keep learning, don’t give up, there’s always something new to learn in blogging. Whether you are just starting out or you’re about to start your blog, you’re about to enter into a steep learning curve if you’re just starting out. But don’t be scared about that. There’s plenty of great resources out there and there’s plenty of support out there for new bloggers as well.

But if you’re listening to this and you’ve been blogging for a while but you’re about to start monetizing for the first time like Denise is, or whether you are thinking about moving from one blogging platform to another, or exploring a new medium, keep learning. The learning curve gets steep from time to time. Keep producing content, keep learning, keep serving your readers, and don’t give up.

Lastly, I love that Denise said that blogging is for everyone. Often, people think blogging is just for young people. The reality is, as I look at our audience, our audience is actually older than you might expect. I don’t have the stats right in front of me but the vast majority of ProBlogger readers are my age—I’m 46—or are older, there’s quite a few. We do have younger readers as well but it’s certainly isn’t just a young person’s game.

Denise took her time. She doesn’t feel super techy but she learnt what she needed to do and she got through it. Denise took her time going through the course and if you are wanting to start the course, you can go to problogger.com/startablog. You’ll see that we’ve outlined the course in seven steps. We see some of our students right through those steps in seven days. Some people who’ve got the time, maybe a little bit of experience, or maybe some support, they go through it in seven days. Some even go through it in a shorter period. But many of our students do take longer and that’s totally fine.

If you make our 7th of February International Start A Blog Day, then that’s great. But if you take a little longer, you’re still part of the family and most importantly, you too can have that life-changing experience of starting your blog.

Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcst/270. We’ve got all the links there to Denise’s blog, also to the Start A Blog course, or you could go there directly at problogger.com/startablog. We’ll also be promoting it around the site at the moment, particularly going to lead up to the 7th of February. I do encourage you to take that step. Sign up and get involved. We are doing some support on our Facebook pages as well at the moment. I really can’t wait to see the new blogs that come out of this year’s batch of students to go through Start A Blog course. 

How did you go with today’s episode?

Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.

The post 270: How One Blogger Changed Her Life by Starting a Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

6 Ways to Boost Your Blog Traffic in the New Year

The post 6 Ways to Boost Your Blog Traffic in the New Year appeared first on ProBlogger.

6 ways to boost your blog traffic in the new yearThis post is based on Episode 177 of the ProBlogger podcast.

Did your blog have a bit of a holiday slump?

Many bloggers find they lose momentum with their traffic in January. So if it happened to you, you’re not alone.

Your readers were probably online less than usual. A lot of my fellow Aussie bloggers struggle at this time of year because their readers are enjoying the beach or off on vacation.

You may have taken some time away from blogging as well to spend time with friends and family.

But now you’re back at your desk, and want to start working on your blog in earnest.

Today, we’ll be looking at six things you can do to boost your traffic and get it back to where it was (or perhaps even higher).

Tip #1: Focus on Creating Shareable Content

Head to BuzzSumo.com and type in your URL. You’ll discover what content from your site was shared the most during the previous year.

Look at the top three or four posts and ask yourself, “Could I repurpose that content into a different medium?”

Maybe you could turn a blog post into a video or a SlideShare presentation. Perhaps it could even become a podcast.

If something’s been shared a lot as a blog post, and you repurpose it into another type of content, chances are the new version will be shared a lot too.

Another question to ask is, “Could I update this?” Perhaps you could do a second post with a fresh take on that topic for the new year.

You could also ask yourself, “How could I apply this format to a new topic?” For instance, on Digital Photography School posts such as “21 Mistakes that Wedding Photographers Make” always do well. A post like that could be repurposed for a different part of our audience. How about “21 Mistakes that Travel Photographers Make”, for instance, or “21 Mistakes that Portrait Photographers Make”?

Other options are to do a roundup post (where you link to other people’s content on the topic, as well as your own), or even interview influencers in your niche about that topic.

Tip #2: Create a Highly Valuable ‘Mega Post’

On Digital Photography School, we sometimes publish what we call ‘mega posts’. These are long, in-depth posts that are often titled “The Ultimate Guide to…”

Here are a couple of examples:

With these posts we choose one of our categories (e.g. “landscape photography”) and put together a 5,000–7,000-word post that covers the area in depth. They take a lot of time and effort, but they get shared a lot.

Along with the post, we normally create an email opt-in where readers can enter their email address to get a downloadable version of the post. So these posts also help us grow our email list.

To make the most of the time you invest in creating mega posts, you might also want to turn them into an autoresponder series or a free online course. You could also repurpose the content for SlideShare or for videos.

Tip #3: Create a Series of Blog Posts

Another great way to build momentum is to run some kind of event or project on your site. An ongoing series of blog posts – particularly one that addresses a core problem your readers want to tackle or a goal they want to reach – can really build excitement and anticipation.

Announce the series to your readers, and explain what’s coming up. This gives them a reason to subscribe and keep coming back to your blog.

You might even want to build some sort of challenge into your series. This gets your readers not just reading your content but also taking some action. I first did this with the “31 Days to Build a Better Blog” series, which gave readers a little bit of homework each day.

Getting readers to engage and participate can really build a sense of energy around your blog. And it can help you grow your traffic a lot.

During the series, you may want to publish content more frequently than usual. When I ran the “Find Your Blogging Groove Challenge” on the ProBlogger podcast, I did a week of daily shows (instead of publishing two shows a week). Each day there was a little bit of teaching and a challenge. This resulted in a huge increase to our download numbers during that week. And even when I returned to the normal frequency, the numbers were still higher than they were beforehand.

Tip #4: Create Guest Content in Other Places Online

You’ve probably come across the idea of “guest blogging” before. But guest content can encompass a lot more than just blog posts (though those are still well worth doing).

Your guest content could include:

  • Answering questions in Facebook groups relevant to your blog (without spamming or being overly self-promotional). People in the group will see how useful your answers are, and this will naturally drive traffic to your site.
  • Being interviewed as a guest on someone else’s podcast. (Here are some tips on how to pitch yourself as a guest.)
  • Taking part in an organised Twitter chat, perhaps as a guest or the main interviewee.

With all of these, you’re adding value to someone else’s blog or podcast. And in return you get to borrow their audience and profile.

You can find more about these ideas and others in Episode 37 of the ProBlogger podcast.

Tip #5: Warm Up Your Email List

Sometimes our traffic drops off because our email list activity has also dropped off. If you haven’t sent an email to your list recently (or you’ve only been sending promotional emails), send them something useful.

For example, you could answer some frequently asked questions you get. Or you could write a short article that tackles a particular problem your readers may have.

Another good thing to do here is to update your autoresponder sequence (a sequence of emails that go out automatically to new subscribers). They can easily become dated over time, and refreshing them to highlight your best recent content can really help drive traffic.

You can learn more about autoresponders in Episode 70 of the podcast.

Tip #6: Pick a Fight (Yes, Really!)

Name something big you want to attack as a community, and announce it to your readers.

I’m not suggesting you pick a fight with another person, or that you pick a fight for the sake of being controversial. Instead, choose something you’re going to be passionate about during the next few weeks or months. Something you want to take a stand on.

It might be tied in with a series of posts you’re writing. For instance, I was talking to a blogger who writes about fashion for mums, and she’d decided to write a post each month on the topic of body image to help readers think more positively about it.

Fights can be positive. By giving your readers something to rally around, something to believe in, you can really build momentum on your site.

Any one of these things could get your traffic out of a slump. And if you can do several of them, you’ll hopefully give your site a real boost, creating energy and anticipation among your readers.

If you try any of these – or something else completely – to grow your traffic, leave a comment below to tell us how you got on.

Image Credit: SpaceX

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One (Surprising) Blogging Resolution You Should Make for 2019

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2019 Blogging Resolution

It’s the start of a brand new year (give or take a week or so), and chances are that at some point you made some New Year’s resolutions.

As a blogger, you may have set yourself some goals (something I recommend) such as:

  • “I want to double my traffic.”
  • “I want to create an ebook to sell on my blog.”
  • “I want to write five posts a week (and publish three) so I can get ahead.”
  • “I want to grow my email list.”
  • “I want to redesign my blog.”

These are all great goals that will help you achieve in some area, or perhaps eliminate a problem or bad habit. But they all focus on what you want to achieve as a blogger. There’s another key element you may want to include in at least some of your goals.

Your readers.

Instead of thinking about what you want to achieve in 2019, try thinking about what you’d like your readers to achieve. What resolution would you like to set for them?

Setting a Goal or Resolution for Your Readers

One approach you can take to come up with a possible goal for your readers is to think about removing negatives. Ask yourself questions like:

  • “What kind of pain could I help eliminate from their lives?”
  • “What bad habit could I help them get rid of?”
  • “What mistake do you want them to stop making?”
  • “What obstacle could I help them overcome?”

You can also can look at it from a more positive angle with questions like:

  • “What can I help them achieve in the year ahead?”
  • “What good habit can I help them develop?”
  • “What positive change could I help them bring about in their lives?”
  • “What goal can I help them reach?”

Think about your readers. You might want to go back to your reader avatars, or even think about the individuals who commented on your blog or emailed you about your posts.

Who are your readers? What are their pains, obstacles and problems? And what are their hopes and dreams?

Identify one thing you can help your readers work on in the year ahead.

Why Helping Your Readers Helps You Too

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with setting your own goals for more traffic, income, comments and reader engagement. But flipping it around and looking at the change you want to see in your readers may also take care of some of your own goals.

Pinpointing how you want to help your readers during 2019 will help you work out:

  • What content to produce: what posts could inspire your readers, for instance?
  • What products to create: what would help your readers move forward?
  • How best to promote your blog and attract new readers.

Write Down a Resolution for Your Readers (and Use It)

What’s your goal for your readers in 2019? Write it down, ideally in a single sentence.

If you’re struggling to come up with a goal for your readers, ask them what they’d to achieve (in relation to your topic). You could ask on Facebook, or even run a survey.

Once you’ve written down that resolution, put it somewhere you look every day. For example, you could put it next to your computer so whenever you sit down to write it reminds you of what you’re trying to help your readers achieve.

That resolution might be the starting point for:

  • A weekly post that hones in on the problem or goal you’re trying to help your readers achieve
  • An extended blog post series
  • Discussions you have with your readers on social media
  • Launching a Facebook group to help your readers achieve that particular goal
  • A course, an ebook, or even a membership site.

You might want to announce the goal you’ll be helping readers work towards, especially if they helped you choose it.

For instance, you could say, “Since sending out that survey, I’ve thought a lot about what I want to achieve with this blog in 2019. And I’ve decided I want to help you…” and then state whatever it is you’ll be helping them achieve.

I’d love to hear what goals you come up with for your readers in the year ahead. Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Image Credit: Marten Bjork

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The Best Way to Start a Blog in 2019

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International Start a Blog Day 2019

If you’ve been Googling how to start a blog, then I’m sure you’ve already come across many resources telling you how. And most of them are pretty much the same, as creating your first blog is just a matter of a few technical steps. We even have a “how to start a blog” right here.

However, we then went one step further and created another free resource – the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog – a course with videos and resources to step you through not just creating a blog, but one that helps you make some of the most important decisions when starting out. In fact, one of the more important modules is the first one – should you even start a blog at all?

Thousands of bloggers have signed up for the course since it launched almost exactly one year ago. But this isn’t why we think starting a blog with us is the best way to start a blog in 2019. It’s because we went even one step further again and designated February 7th as International Start a Blog Day!

International Start a Blog Day

We created International Start a Blog Day to celebrate the achievements and diversity of new bloggers around the world launching their blogs at the beginning of the year.  And because it helps you take action!

How to participate:

  1. Sign up to our free course – the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog between the 1st and 31st of January 2019.
  2. RSVP to the Facebook Event so you get reminders about our Facebook Lives and other helpful tips from our team.
  3. Join our ProBlogger Community Facebook Group where over 16,000 bloggers help each other with tips and answers to all your blogging questions.
  4. Launch your blog between the 1st of January and the 6th of February 2019 and add it to our Members directory (you’ll have access to this once you’ve signed up to the course).

You’ll then be included in the Class of 2019 Blog Roll here on the ProBlogger blog. You can see the Class of 2018 here.

Benefits of starting a blog with ProBlogger in 2019

Here’s why we think this is the best way to start a blog in 2019.

  • International Start a Blog Day gives you a deadline to get your blog up and running
  • You get an instant community of other bloggers at the same stage of blogging as you
  • Our FREE course guides you through not just how to start a blog, but how to make some of the more important decisions you’ll make – right from the start.
  • Your first few blog posts will get some valuable exposure and it will make it easier for other bloggers to connect with you
  • You’re supported in your first steps into blogging by the ProBlogger team and other experienced bloggers in the ProBlogger Community

So, if you want to get started, sign up to the course now and we look forward to helping you and celebrating your new blog with you!

 

 

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How to Start a Blog When You’re Not an Expert: 11 Ways to Make it Work

The post How to Start a Blog When You’re Not an Expert: 11 Ways to Make it Work appeared first on ProBlogger.

Starting a Blog When You're Not an Expert

Is it okay to blog about a topic you’re not an expert on?

Definitely.

I wasn’t an expert blogger when I started ProBlogger, or an expert photographer when I started Digital Photography School. Even now I don’t consider myself an expert, especially with photography.

When I started ProBlogger in 2004 I’d been blogging for a couple of years, but hadn’t been making money from blogging for very long (less than a year). I wasn’t a professional, full-time blogger by any means, and never claimed to be one.

It was the same with Digital Photography School. I wasn’t, and never claimed to be, a photography expert.

But it didn’t matter. In fact, my lack of expertise helped me to make those blogs a success.

Why a Lack of Expertise Might Work in Your Favour

Some experts are great at talking to beginners. But a complete beginner may find it hard to connect with an expert who’s had years of experience or is seen as a ‘guru’ in their area.

If you’re still relatively new to your topic area, you’ll remember what it was like to be a beginner.

You’ll know what it feels like to be starting out, and be able to explain things in ways beginners can easily understand.

You can position yourself as someone who gets what it’s like to be in your readers’ shoes. And as you learn new things, you can share what you learn with your readers.

Three Key Things to Do When You’re Not an Expert

If you decide to blog about a topic you’re not yet an expert in, or even one you’ve just started learning about, it’s important to:

#1: Be Transparent and Ethical

Be upfront about who you are and what experience you have. That might mean telling your story so far in a blog post or on your About page, which I did in the early days of both ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.

There’s nothing worse than reading a blog by someone who claims they’re an expert (or at least implies it) but isn’t. It usually comes across in the writing, but even if it doesn’t it can have a serious impact when readers later find out the truth.

#2: Think Carefully About the Types of Post You Create

These days on ProBlogger we publish a lot of tutorials that are quite authoritative. They build on years of testing and experimenting, talking with people and gathering ideas.

But in the early days my teaching posts focused very much on the beginner, and were generally based on something I’d experimented with. And the rest of my posts didn’t require particular expertise. (I’ll talk about them in a moment.)

Be very careful writing about topics where misguided advice could have a detrimental effect on your readers’ lives. This includes areas such as legal advice, financial advice, and physical or mental health.

I’m sure the last thing you want is to ruin someone’s life. But that’s a potential consequence of giving poor advice in these critical areas. You also run the risk of getting sued or destroying your own reputation.

#3: Keep Actively Learning About Your Topic

While you might not be an expert yet, you can and should keep learning about your topic area. Even if you don’t ever get to the level where people would consider you an ‘expert’, you’ll still be learning things you can share with your readers.

When readers see you’re enthusiastic about your topic and moving forward yourself, it helps them to be enthusiastic too. It can build anticipation and momentum, and help them connect with you and your blog.

What Kind of Content Should You Create?

If you’re not creating tutorials or ‘how to’ posts, what sort of content can you create as a non-expert?

#1: Write About What You’ve Done or Seen

I listen to Rob Bell, a podcaster who teaches public speaking. He suggests that if you’re asked to do a talk on something you’re not an expert in you should start by asking yourself, “What can I be witness to?”

What have you seen or experienced? What involvement have you had with your topic on a personal level? Start with your experience of that.

#2 Write About Your Mistakes or Failures

I did this a lot in the early days of ProBlogger. I wrote about things I tried that didn’t quite work out, and about what I’d do differently the next time.

This type of post can really resonate with readers because it’s honest and authentic, and genuinely useful in teaching them what not to do.

#3: Write About Your Successes

Share what you’ve done that’s gone well, like a case study. You might want to talk about how you’d tweak it next time or build on it.

This is a good way to do teaching content by basing it on your own experience. For instance, fairly early in the life of ProBlogger I wrote a series of posts on how to monetize your blog using Adsense. It included posts on how I started out, where I positioned my ads, how I changed the size of my ads, and so on.

#4: Write About What Others Are Doing

A great way to share what other people are doing is to write a case study. I used to do this a lot of ProBlogger, and we still do it occasionally.

These days, we normally involve the person we’re doing a case study on. But in the past I’d just write about what I saw people doing: how they’d redesigned their blog, what I liked about it, how I might improve it, and so on.

#5: Interview People for Your Blog

This can be tricky in the early days of your blog when you haven’t built up a profile. But it’s still possible. Listen to episode 172 of the podcast to hear how Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner built his blog based on video interviews with experts.

Whether you do text, audio or video interviews, this type of content can build your credibility, drive traffic, and help you network in your industry.

#6: Run Guest Posts on Your Blog

This is something you probably won’t want to try when you’re just starting out. But once your blog is more established you could open it up for guest posters, or even hire someone to write for your blog.

Digital Photography School began with just me writing posts aimed at beginners. These days we’ve got professional photographers writing on more advanced topics so we can fill the blog with expert content.

#7: Write About News and Developments

In the early days of ProBlogger I’d write an article every couple of weeks that covered a development in blogging, or maybe a new tool or controversy in the industry.

But I didn’t just report what had happened. I wanted to interpret it for my audience in some way (“What does this mean for us?”) This could also work for a discussion post (which we’ll come to in a moment).

#8: Create Curated Content

“Curated” content is when you link to and quote from someone else’s content. (Never copy it or present it as your own.)

If another blogger has written a great article, pull out a short relevant quote, link readers to the entire article, and add some of your own thoughts. Tell readers what you liked, and maybe add something to the article (e.g. if it has ten reasons or ten tips, come up with an eleventh).

#9: Embed Content into Your Posts

As well as linking to and quoting from other people’s content, you can include their content by embedding it. The most obvious examples here are YouTube videos and tweets.

Again, these let you bring other people’s voices and expertise onto your blog. Using curated and embedded content is also a great way to build a relationship with the influencers in your niche.

#10: Write a Research Post

This is a bit like writing an essay on a particular topic. You go away and learn from lots of different sources, then create something that brings together what you’ve learned, quoting from and crediting your sources.

You’ll learn more yourself (which will get you closer to that ‘expert’ status), and you can share what you’ve learned in an authentic way. It helps your readers to see you as more authoritative and knowledgeable.

#11: Write a Discussion Post

We publish a discussion post every week on Digital Photography School. And it doesn’t take any expertise at all. (If you have only a few readers you may need to wait till you’ve built up a larger audience.)

With a discussion post, you ask a key question: something you want to know the answer to, or that will prompt a bit of a debate. This gives your readers a chance to participate and engage. You could even take some of the best comments and use them in a future post.

You can have a blog that covers a topic area you’re not an expert in. Just make sure you’re transparent, and be careful about the type of content you create.

Keep actively learning, and keep sharing what you learn with your readers. If you have any suggestions for other types of content that work really well on a non-expert blog, share them with us in the comments.

Image Credit: unsplash-logoRita Morais

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Have Blog, Will Travel: Tips For Blogging On the Road

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Tips for blogging on the road

This post is based on Episode 243 of the ProBlogger podcast.

If you’re travelling over the holidays – to see family and friends, or just for a vacation – then you might be worried about you’ll keep up with your blogging. (This can also be a challenge if you travel regularly.)

Here are five broad options you might like to consider, depending on your situation.

#1: Take a Complete Break

A break will allow you to focus on your trip. It will also give your readers a break, which can be a good thing from time to time.

#2: Get Ahead Before You Go

If you write and schedule posts ahead of time, there won’t be so much to handle while you’re on the road. (This is something I do quite a lot.)

#3: Use Your Archives

While you’re away, you could republish some of your popular posts (perhaps after editing them a bit), or publish posts that link to some of the best pieces in your archives.

#4: Use Guest Bloggers

You could ask one or more guest bloggers to post on your blog while you’re away. And ask if they’re happy to answer comments as well so you can have a proper break.

#5: Work While Away

Finally there’s the option of blogging on the road, which is what I’ll be covering in the rest of this post. But to make things easier for yourself, you should probably stick to straightforward posts that don’t take too much writing or managing. (This isn’t the time for an in-depth reader poll or a huge multi-person interview post.)

Working While You’re Travelling

When I started blogging in 2002, smartphones weren’t really a thing. My Nokia offered rudimentary internet access, but it was a very slow and clunky experience.

Back then (and even today), most bloggers would find internet access along the way. I’d look for an internet cafe, or borrow a computer from the friend I was visiting. Sometimes I’d visit the local library, which often had computers with internet access.

I’d take a notebook and outline my blog post on the go. Then when I was at the internet cafe, the library or my friend’s computer, I could write that blog post quickly and efficiently. So if you want to travel without any technology, it’s certainly possible.

But these days most of us travel with some sort of device, whether it’s a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or a combination of them. So let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of using each one.

#1: Blogging from Your Mobile Phone

While you can create text content on your mobile phone, I find it cumbersome. I wouldn’t want to write much more than 100 words. Anything longer would be slow and frustrating, and I’d make a lot of mistakes.

But some things are easy to do from a mobile. For instance, I might check in on social media, interact with comments, or even make minor edits to blog posts.

So if you’ll be focusing on the social media side of your business while travelling, a mobile phone would certainly be an option.

#2: Blogging from Your Tablet

In the past I’ve found using my iPad to create content a bit clunky. But a while back I won an iPad Pro with a keyboard, and I can plausibly use it instead of a laptop.

Obviously a tablet takes up a lot less space than most laptops. So if you’re on holiday for a week or two and just want to be able to check in on things and do a bit of work if/when inspiration strikes, a tablet could be a great option.

My iPad has apps that let me do pretty much anything I need to do with my blog, such as log into the backend of WordPress. (I can also do it through a browser on the iPad). I can chat with my team, access Google Analytics, and much more.

#3: Blogging from Your Laptop

When I’m on a work-related trip I always take my laptop. Presenting at a conference is more reliable from a laptop. And chances are I’ll be working on the plane (each way), in the hotel, and so on. I’m much more effective on a laptop, and so for me it’s definitely worth taking.

But you might think a laptop will be a nuisance to carry around. Or you might be concerned about losing it, particularly if it’s an expensive one.

Whatever technology you choose, you then need to decide how to fit it all in while you’re on the road.

How do you juggle blogging with being on holidays, or at a conference? Obviously you want to focus on whatever you’re there to do – spend time with your family, catch up with friends, network at the conference, etc.

I’ve already given you one key tip: schedule as much as you can before you go, even if it means working extra hard for a few days or weeks.

Beyond that, I’ve found that what helps the most is to have a routine for working while you’re away.

With smartphones, it’s easy to be “always on”. But this can really intrude on time with family and friends. Find some blocks of time where you can work: perhaps a small block every day and a few bigger blocks for tackling larger tasks.

If I’m travelling with my family this means I’ll either get up early to do my social media, check my email, etc. or work after my kids have gone to bed. In either case I keep the main part of my day free to either spend with friends and family or be present at the conference I’m attending.

With any larger tasks I couldn’t schedule ahead of time (such as sending out a newsletter), I make sure I’m clear about when I need to do it, rather than springing it on my family. I’ll tell my wife Vanessa and the kids, “I’ll be working on Wednesday morning for two or three hours. I’ll need to find a cafe somewhere, and I won’t be with you during that time”.

Scheduling blocks of work ahead of time like this also helps me:

  • Mull over the task I’ll be tackling, such as figuring out the subject line for an email or getting clear about the structure of a blog post in my head.
  • Work efficiently. I can get a lot done in an hour if I know what I need to tackle and I get straight to work.

That being said, I generally try to avoid mixing work and relaxation too much. Even if we get our energy from blogging, we all need breaks from it too.

How do you handle working while you’re away? Share your tips with us in the comments.

Image credit: Oliur

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Four Realities of Blogging Every Blogger Should Know About

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Four realities of blogging every blogger should know

Does it look like other bloggers achieve success really easily?

Maybe they’re content machines, pumping out great post after great post. Perhaps they’ve just launched yet another course, or have an amazingly swish new design for their blog. Or maybe they always reply to comments and emails really quickly.

And so you start to feel inadequate. You wonder how they do it, and why they never seem to struggle like you do.

But the truth is they probably do struggle. All bloggers do, even long-established ones. That’s why in today’s post I want to share four realities of blogging that don’t often get talked about.

#1: It’s Hard to Be Creative Every Day

I’ve written thousands of blog posts over the past fifteen years or so. But it can be hard to be creative every day, or even every week.

As any blogger will know, there are times when you have loads of ideas and your posts or podcasts flow easily.

But there are also times (a lot of times) when you stare at the screen and wonder what to write about. You worry that everything has been done already, or that you don’t really have the skills or experience to cover a topic.

Every blogger goes through this, so don’t think you’re alone.

Make it Easier

Push yourself to make a start. Once you push through that initial resistance, you’ll feel a sense of creative energy and your ideas will start to flow.

Make creating a regular part of your day or week. Even if you don’t create something each time, just getting into this rhythm will help.

#2: First Drafts are Almost Always Bad

It often seems like my favourite bloggers have this innate ability to put words together in an amazing, effortless way.

But that gripping article probably started out as a hastily scribbled list on a scrap of paper that became a first draft full of mistakes and awkwardly formed ideas.

Then it was revisited and reworked time and time again. The headline, opening lines and conclusion were probably agonised over. And it was critiqued and edited multiple times before eventually being polished and published.

Make it Easier

Don’t compare your first drafts to someone else’s polished, published work. It’s not a fair comparison.

If your ideas don’t feel complete or your writing doesn’t seem to flow, make sure you’re putting enough time into editing. You need to spend as much time on editing, polishing and finishing your work as you do on that first draft.

#3: You Never Really Finish Anything

In fifteen years of blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever hit “publish” on a post or podcast episode I’ve been 100% happy with. I always have mixed feelings. While I’m proud of what I created, I also think I could have done more – added extra details, polished it further, found a better quote, or made it look better.

These feelings of “I could do more” can be a good thing if they drive you to improve your first draft. But they can also stop you in your tracks and prevent you from publishing anything.

Make it Easier

Recognise that perfectionism can be both a superpower and a curse. Let it drive you to improve, but also learn to set your work free.

Remember, you can always go back and tweak your post or product later. But you’ll never build anything of value without hitting “publish”.

#4: We All Procrastinate

Do you ever put things off that you know you should get done? I bet you do, because everyone does.

For me, procrastination is often tied to fear. But I know the things that scare me are also the things that could potentially have the biggest impact on my life. For more on that, check out episode 167 of the ProBlogger podcast – My Million Dollar Blog Post (and How Procrastination Almost Stopped me Writing It).

Maybe it’s the same for you, in which case procrastination is a sign you need to pay attention to something.

Make it Easier

Set yourself a deadline and tell your readers (or a fellow blogger) about it. The main reason I launched my podcast was because I told a friend I’d do it by the 1st of July 2015. And I did.

Pick one thing you’ve been procrastinating about – something that would have ongoing benefits for your blog – and do it. You might start an email list, create your first product, set up a “Start Here” page, or something else entirely.

When you’re having a bad blogging day (or week, or month), and it feels like everything’s difficult for you and easy for everyone else, remember these four realities of blogging.

Keep persevering. The more you face up to the difficulties, the easier it will be to overcome them.

Image credit: Niklas Hamann

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13 Key Ways to Lower Your Blog’s Bounce Rate (and Why it Matters)

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13 key ways to lower your blog's bounce rate (and why it matters)

Bounce rate is a Google Analytics metric that tells you the percentage of people who “bounce” off your site (i.e. visit your site and leave from the first page they arrive on).

To find out your bounce rate, log into your Google Analytics account.

(If you haven’t set up Google Analytics on your blog, do it. It’s powerful, very useful, and completely free. You can find out more about Google Analytics in episode 30 of the podcast.)

Once you’re in Google Analytics, go to Audience → Overview and look at the Bounce Rate. You should see a little chart and a percentage that looks something like this:

On my Digital Photography School site the percentage is around 78%. That means 78% of the people who arrive at the site only view the page they arrive on.

You can click the little chart or select from the dropdown menu to see the entire chart for the previous month (or whatever period you select):

Most blogs don’t see much day-to day-variation in their bounce rate. Mine changes slightly when I send out our email (which I’ll talk about soon), but chances are your blog has a steady, even line when you view your chart.

Interpreting Your Bounce Rate

A high number (say, 99%) means a lot of people are leaving your blog without checking out any of your content beyond the page they arrive on.

A low number means a lot of people are sticking around, and looking at more than one post or page on your site.

Bloggers often think a high number is bad and a low number is good, and later in the post I’ll be showing you ways to lower your bounce rate. But it’s worth keeping in mind that a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For instance:

  • You might want readers to leave and do something else. For instance, if you promote affiliate products you probably want to send readers away to buy them.
  • You might want people to call your business. And a high bounce rate might suggest that’s working. People are finding your site, and then picking up the phone to call you.
  • You might sell products through a major e-retailer such as Amazon or eBay. If you are, you’ll need to send people away from your site.
  • You might be getting readers to sign up to your email list through a popup tool that doesn’t load another page on your site.

How to Drill Down When You’re Looking at Bounce Rate

While looking at the bounce rate for your entire site can be interesting, it’s better to focus on specific pages. You can do this by going to Behavior → Site Content → Content Drilldown, and clicking on the page you’re interested in. Here’s an example:

On ProBlogger, the bounce rate for the front page is 61%. That’s lower than our site average, which is normally in the high 70s. When people arrive on the front page, they’re probably trying to figure out what the site is, what content they’re interested in, and so on. So it makes sense for the bounce rate of that page to be relatively low.

Some pages on ProBlogger have a really low bounce rate. On the “Start Here” page it’s 54%, and on the job board it’s 35%. That’s great, because it means people are clicking to view individual jobs.

Other pages have a much higher bounce rate. One post from 2012 gets search engine traffic every day, but its bounce rate is 91%. People arrive, see that the information isn’t relevant for them, and leave.

How to Look at the Bounce Rate of Different Sources of Traffic

Another thing to be aware of is that bounce rates vary depending on the traffic source. In Google Analytics, you can go to Acquisition → All Traffic → Channels to view the bounce rates for different sources of traffic. It’ll look something like this:

On Digital Photography School, Google traffic bounces away at 77% and social media traffic bounces at 81%. But email traffic has a much lower bounce rate – 55%.

So when I’m looking at lowering the bounce rate there, I’m particularly interested in the Google traffic because more than half of my traffic comes from Google. And most of it comes from first-time visitors. I’d love them to stick around and hopefully subscribe.

But I’m not particularly bothered about lowering the bounce rate for email traffic. It’s already pretty low, and those people have already subscribed.

13 Straightforward Ways to Lower the Bounce Rate on Your Blog

Now that you understand bounce rates, and how to break it down by page and traffic source in Google Analytics, let’s go through some ways to lower it.

#1: Make a Great First Impression

When someone comes to your site for the first time, they decide within seconds whether it’s credible, is relevant to them, and has content worth reading.

And they base those decisions on your design, branding, tagline, and other clear indicators to the benefits of them reading.

#2: Work on Social Proof

If you have a testimony from a reader (or from someone well known), include it. If you’ve got a lot of Twitter followers or email subscribers, put the number on your site. If you’ve been quoted or featured in mainstream media and can use that publication’s logo, use it.

These are all signals to first-time visitors that your site is credible and useful.

#3: Remove the Dates on Your Blog Posts

This might be a bit controversial, but I’m going to suggest it anyway. Consider removing the dates on your blog posts. It can help make a good first impression – especially when you have a lot of older evergreen posts.

On my Digital Photography School site I have a post about shutter speed that I wrote in 2007. It’s just as relevant today, but if I included the date on that post people would inevitably judge it as less worth reading.

#4: Make Your Site Easy to Use

It might sound obvious, but people are more likely to click around on your site if it’s easy to do. Make sure your site loads quickly, and make your content easy to read.

For more on this, you might want to listen to episode 176 of the podcast where I talk about creating scannable content: making sure the text is easy to read, having clear navigation, making your site responsive so it’s optimised for mobile, minimising interruptions, and so on.

#5: Focus on High-Quality Content

If a first-time reader lands on a well-written, articulate article that enhances their life in some way, they’re going to click around. So focus on writing consistently good posts that help your reader as much as possible.

And investing time to write great content improves your blog in other ways too.

#6: Ask Readers to Connect in Some Way

Normally you want readers to make an ongoing connection with you – perhaps by subscribing to your email list or following you on social media. Make strong, clear calls to action in various parts of your blog to encourage readers to connect to you.

This will help keep readers coming back to your site as return visitors, which will reduce your bounce rate over time. On Digital Photography School we see that people who come back every day click around at a much higher rate than first-time visitors.

#7: Create Portals for Your Site

This is one of the best things I’ve done on ProBlogger. On the front page we have icons for different ‘portals’ (under “I need help to…”). The same icons also appear in the sidebar next to every single post.

Each portal is a special page that includes a video greeting (where I make a personal connection) and a call to subscribe. There’s also lots of information on each portal page. It isn’t a category page with links to our latest posts. Instead it’s a curated list of the best content we have.

These portals have reduced our bounce rate a lo. The individual portal pages have a bounce rate as low as 40%. If you’d like to know more about them, check out episode 114 of the podcast.

#8: Create a “Start Here” Page

Our “Start Here” page is featured prominently in our navigation: it’s the first item in the menu. It’s targeted at first-time readers, particularly those coming from Google who hopefully spot the link in the navigation and click on it.

You don’t have call yours a “Start Here” page. An “About” or “My Story” page could serve the same purpose.

#9: Make External Links Open in a New Tab

When you link to another site or blog from one of your posts, a simple way to ensure you don’t lose your reader is to make the external link open up in a new tab (or window). That way, the reader won’t actually leave your site.

This is simple to do in WordPress. Simply edit the link and click the checkbox to open it in a new tab. There are also WordPress plugins that can handle this for you, such as Open external links in a new window.

#10: Link Back to Older Content from Your Posts

When you write your next blog post, challenge yourself to create links to at least three of your existing posts. For example, you could link to a previous post that covers something you mention in greater detail.

Another option is to add suggested reading (or listening) at the end of your post. While you can do this using a plugin, I like to add in my own so I can choose exactly what I want to encourage readers to look at next.

You could also create an interlinked series of posts, which can be great not only for lowering your bounce rate but also for exploring more complex ideas on your blog.

#11: Link to Popular Posts in Your Sidebar

If you’ve got a post (or several posts) you know are popular, make sure they’re really easy to find. You could highlight them on your About or Start Here page. But you can also link to them in your sidebar.

You can do it with a text link, or you can get more creative with a button or a banner. For example, on ProBlogger we have an image in the sidebar that links to our “How to Start a Blog” post, with the call to action text in the image itself.

#12: Create a “Sneeze” Page

In the menu on Digital Photography School, we highlight a post called “Tips for Beginners” because it’s always popular with our readers. If a reader clicks that link, they end up on what I call a “Sneeze” page.

This page introduces the topic, then lists 40 or so different posts we’ve written that are relevant for beginners. The point of the page is to get people “sneezed” deeply into our archives.

You can also write entire posts with this in mind. One we produced for Digital Photography School is “21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know”.

#13: Make it Easy to Search Your Site

Many blogs don’t give readers the opportunity to search their content, or bury their search bar somewhere low on the page. This makes it hard for readers to search for information they particularly want.

Make sure your search bar is easy to find. You want you readers to find the right content as easily as possible.

I know that’s a lot to take in. So here are some practical steps for what you can do next:

#1: Identify the top three posts on your site that consistently get a lot of traffic.

#2: Have a look at the bounce rate on each post. Are they all similar, or is one much higher or lower than the others? Can you figure out why?

#3: Try to optimise those three posts to reduce the bounce rate. You could add a call to subscribe, include further reading, or add extra links in that content.

If you want to go further, create a “Start Here” page for your site, or create some “Sneeze” pages or posts to list your best content in particular categories.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to let us know how you get on.

Image credit: Markus Spiske

The post 13 Key Ways to Lower Your Blog’s Bounce Rate (and Why it Matters) appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Why Bloggers Should Pay Attention to Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The post Why Bloggers Should Pay Attention to Black Friday and Cyber Monday appeared first on ProBlogger.

Did you know that last year’s Cyber Monday was the largest online sales day in history with $6.59 Billion spent?! (source Adobe Analytics).

And from Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving - the third Thursday of November) through to Christmas, one third of all annual retail sales are made.

For bloggers, in this frenzy of promotional activity, there are some incredible bargains on online products or services that you may actually need. Whether it be enrolling in an online course, claiming domain names, renewing your hosting, upgrading your theme, switching email providers or buying new tools you can make considerable savings.

As ever, we suggest you weigh up the value proposition of any purchase for your blog and only buy what you need and/or can afford. The links below are affiliate links which mean we earn a small referral commission at no cost to you - in fact you often get a better discount for being a ProBlogger reader. And we only present and recommend products and services we’ve used ourselves and stand by or come highly recommended by people we know and trust.

Course

Our top recommendation is that you take our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course. Designed to help you develop successful blogging habits and build strong foundations for a profitable blogging business, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog will kickstart your blog with 31 easy-to-follow tasks that you can work through in your own time.

Domain Name Registration

If you’re planning to start a new blog you’ll need a domain name. Now’s the time to buy it cheap. We cover how to choose a domain name in our quick and easy FREE Ultimate Guide to ​Starting a Blog Course.

Namecheap - hassle-free value-for-money domain name registration

Save up to 98% in their epic Black Friday sale

Sale starts November 23, 2018 from 12 AM EST with new deals live every hour.

Web Hosting

If you’re unsure which web hosting is best for your blog read this article.

Bluehost - Our recommendation for best ‘Budget’ hosting for beginner bloggers

Plans from $2.65/month, usually $2.95 for ProBloggers, otherwise $7.99

Black Friday sale starts November 23rd at 12:01AM MST and will last only 24 hours

Cyber Monday sale starts November 26th at 12:01AM MST, and end at 11:59PM MST


Siteground - Our recommendation for best 'Premium' hosting for beginner/intermediate bloggers.

75% off all annual shared hosting plans

Siteground have also just released their own WordPress Starter plugin, which helpfully steps you through setting up your WordPress blog, including theme and plugin selection and installation.

Starting on Black Friday November 23) through Cyber Monday November 26


WPEngine - Our recommendation for best 'Premium' shared hosting for advanced bloggers.

5 and a half months free off any annual shared plan.

Expires Monday November 26

Themes

If you want to know how to choose the right WordPress theme for your blog listen to this podcast.

StudioPress - The premium theme supplier ProBlogger has used over the years and highly recommend. We love their design but also their support.

Save 20% off all StudioPress themes

Existing StudioPress customers can also get $100 off the Pro Plus All Themes Package PLUS our 25% off returning customer discount.

Email

Convertkit - built specifically for bloggers, we recommend this email service for beginner to intermediate bloggers.

Extended 30-day free trial (usually 14-days). 


OptinMonster - a tool to help you collect email addresses through a variety of popups, hello bars, welcome mats and other innovative tools

35% off available NOW 


Leadpages - a powerful tool to create landing pages and pop-up forms for your blog to help grow your subscriptions

60 days for $1

Starting Thursday, November 22 at 6PM Eastern

Courseware

Learndash - we use Learndash to deliver both ProBlogger’s Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog Course and 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course and can highly recommend them.

50% off all packages
Only available Black Friday (November 23th) from 7AM-4PM (EST) Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAY

and Cyber Monday (November 26th) from 7AM-4PM (EST) Coupon Code: CYBERMONDAY

 

Happy bargain hunting!

The post Why Bloggers Should Pay Attention to Black Friday and Cyber Monday appeared first on ProBlogger.