Author: Darren Rowse

Facebook Group Hacks with Pat Flynn

The post Facebook Group Hacks with Pat Flynn appeared first on ProBlogger.

Facebook group hacks

Our team has just finished watching this video of Pat Flynn’s from earlier this year. It’s all about using Facebook groups, and he shares 27 different tips and hacks for Facebook marketing within your groups.

We think it will give you a lot of great ideas for your own Facebook group. It even prompted us to reflect on how we use Facebook groups at ProBlogger.

Pat’s Facebook business group tips are for how to:

  • Grow your group
  • Increase engagement
  • Make money from it

Check out all of his 27 tips and hacks here:

For the first six tips (‘Growing your group’), I’ve outlined what it looks like for us at ProBlogger.

Growing your group:

1. Make joining part of a step-by-step process (0:51)

Unlike Pat, we don’t send first-time visitors to the Facebook Group from our Start Here page. Instead we use it to help new users navigate our site, and prompt them to sign up to ProBlogger PLUS.

2. Put a call to action to join in your email signature (1:23)

This is such a simple thing to do. But only a few of our team members use signatures, and none of us have a link to the group in it. Laney is one team member who doesn’t use them, and this has prompted her to set hers up.

3. Create a handy short link for your Facebook group (1:44)

On ProBlogger our short link for the ProBlogger Community Facebook group is problogger.com/group instead of https://www.facebook.com/groups/probloggercom/.

4. Mention that short link organically in your content (2:05)

Having a short link makes it easy for Darren to mention the group in the podcast, and for people to remember it.

5. Link multiple Facebook groups together (2:23)

We hadn’t done this before now, and it took all of 30 seconds to link our new 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course group to our main group with a note of how to sign up for the course. We may get an influx of people requesting to join, but you need a password to be accepted into the group (which you get when you sign up for the course).

6. Feature community members outside the group (2:51)

We’ve previously featured community members on the podcast (check out our Start a Blog series) and the blog (Caz McCulloch, Amelia Lee, Laura Trotta, and Sharon Gourlay).

And right now we’re in the process of inviting our community to be on the ProBlogger podcast in a series about “blogging breakthroughs”. (You can submit your breakthrough story here.)

I encourage you to go through the rest of Pat’s 27 tips and hacks to improve your own group.

Here are some more tips from the way we use groups, as well as reiteration of points Pat made.

How ProBlogger Uses Facebook Groups

Rules and Engagement

In our ProBlogger Community Closed Facebook Group (which has more than 10,000 members):

  • We ask a few questions of aspiring group members applying to join:
    • What is your blog’s URL? How long have you been blogging?
    • Why do you want to join the Problogger Community group?
    • Do you agree to abide by our group rules outlined in our description?
  • We use hashtags to direct discussion so it’s constructive and positive as possible for members, and to make threads easier to find
  • We post our group guidelines on our About Page, and expect members to read and abide by them so everyone can come away feeling a step closer to building a successful blog
  • ProBlogger Darren Rowse usually does a Facebook Live video tutorial in the group once a week (Tuesday 10:30am AEST, Wednesday 5:30pm PT, Wednesday 6:30pm MT)

Groups for Support and Feedback

We used a Facebook group to launch our Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog course in January this year for more than 1,000 enrolled students to provide us with feedback on the course.

We also have a Facebook group for a Mastermind group for people to connect before and after a live event to share ideas and expertise.

Social Learning Groups

Right now we’re most excited by our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course Facebook group, which uses new ‘Social Learning Group’ functionality.

Facebook’s Social Learning Group type has only been released in the past couple of months. We decided to try it after one of our ProBlogger Community members Melanie Surplice of Surplice of Spirit originally mentioned it in a group discussion. (How handy are groups?!)

Apparently Facebook first trialed a feature called ‘units” last year without announcing or publicizing it. Units are incorporated into this social learning group, which is just like a regular group except:

  • Admins can organize posts into units, and change the order they appear in
  • Group members can click ‘I’m done’ to let the admin know they’ve interacted with the unit
  • Admins can view group insights and see details on unit and post completion.

We’ve set up units to match each day of our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course. For each unit we have:

  • an image that relates to the day/topic of the course
  • a call to action for students to share their results or comment on the learning outcome of that day

That way, students can easily find the discussion for the particular day or topic of the course they’re up to and interact with their fellow students and the ProBlogger team.

Although our courseware has forum functionality, we’ve switched it off in favor of using Facebook. Our students prefer the more open, social nature of interaction on Facebook. They also get Facebook notifications, which provide another touchpoint to check back into the course and keep progressing.

Do you have a Facebook group for your blog? Which tips do you think you can use straight away?

The post Facebook Group Hacks with Pat Flynn appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How Often Should You Email Your Newsletter List?

The post How Often Should You Email Your Newsletter List? appeared first on ProBlogger.

What's the best newsletter frequency for you and your readers?

In the past we’ve taken a look at why your blog needs an email newsletter and what you should include in your email newsletter.

But people have been asking for more detail on how often you should send emails to your newsletter subscribers. So we’re adding this post to round out our series on Newsletters.

Almost anything is possible here – from emailing once a year to emailing multiple times a day. For most bloggers, though, there’s a happy medium somewhere in between.

How Often Should YOU Email Your Audience?

Before we dig into the details, let’s look at some rough guidelines that will apply to most bloggers.

Chances are, your readers will want to hear from you somewhere between once a month and once a week. Less than once a month, and they may forget who you are or miss out on good offers. More than once a week, and they may see your emails as just more “noise” in their inbox.

A couple of years ago, Marketing Sherpa found that most customers (close to 90%) want to receive emails “at least monthly”, and just over 60% of those want emails “at least weekly”.

So if you decide to email twice a month, you probably won’t go far wrong.

However, you may need to adjust this frequency depending on the type of email newsletter list you have.

Scenario #1: An ‘Updates’ Email List

Let’s say readers have signed up to hear about your new book when it’s released. They might be interested in a monthly or quarterly newsletter about your progress, with links to interesting blog posts you’ve written, or other resources. But they’re unlikely to want emails every week or two.

In some situations (e.g. you’re a fiction author who brings out a book every year or two), an ‘update’ email just once a year might be appropriate. Readers may not be interested in hearing regular details about your life and how the book’s coming along, but they might be very excited to get an email when it’s finished.

Scenario #2: An “Ecourse” Email List

If readers have joined your email list to take a short ecourse by email, it might make sense to email them as often as daily (if each email is short) .Anything less than weekly won’t be enough for them to make steady progress. Even if you’re only sending out the ecourse material in weekly doses, you might want to send a second reminder email.

Readers are unlikely to want emails multiple times per day. But if you’re running an intense ecourse (e.g. a week-long one that requires multiple hours of work per day) then it might make sense to email both morning and evening. This is definitely a case, though, where you’ll want to …

Survey Your Audience to Find Out What They Want

If you’re not too sure what will suit your audience, ask them.

The easiest way to do this (and get a reasonable range of responses) is to run a survey. You’ll probably want to ask questions that go beyond just the frequency of your emails. For example, you may want to ask them what types of content they’d like to receive, or how long they want your emails to be.

You could ask something like this:

How often would you like to receive emails from me?

  • Daily
  • Twice a week
  • Once a week
  • Twice a month
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly (every three months)
  • Other

Some Common Problems Related to Emailing Frequency

Sometimes, you might be having difficulties with your email newsletter without realising those difficulties could be solved by changing the frequency.

On the other hand, you might also be worried about your email frequency because you think something is a problem when it really isn’t.

Here are some common worries and difficulties bloggers have, and my suggestions for solving them.

#1: “I Struggle to Come Up With Enough Content for My Newsletters”

If you find it tough to come up with ideas for your newsletters, you could:

  • Send out blog posts rather than separate newsletters. Some bloggers send their entire blog post by email. Others craft a short summary or ‘teaser’ and then link to the post. You can send out your post using RSS to email.
  • Write shorter newsletters. If you’re including two unique articles and a Q&A in every newsletter, you’re probably overwhelming your readers as well as yourself.
  • Email less frequently. Obviously, if you go from emailing once a week to once a month, you’ll only need to come up with a quarter of the original amount of content.
  • Re-run old newsletters. If you’ve been emailing for more than a year, you’ll have lots of people on your newsletter list who never saw your earliest newsletters. And even those who’ve stuck around from the beginning will probably have forgotten them. Pick a few good ones from your archives, edit them, and send them out again.

#2: “People Unsubscribe Whenever I Send an Email”

This causes a lot of bloggers to worry unnecessarily. You’ve probably noticed that when you send an email your unsubscribe rate goes up. This might put you off emailing at all, but it shouldn’t.

If you think about it, there’s a good reason why this happens. And it’s (normally) nothing to do with you emailing too often or emailing the wrong content. It’s because some people are trying to reduce their incoming emails, and when an email comes in from you it acts as a signal to them to unsubscribe.

However, if you get comments or feedback saying “Too many emails” or similar, you might want to think about reducing the frequency.

And don’t worry if you get a lot of unsubscribes whenever you send a promotional email, either. If someone had no intention of ever buying anything from you, let them go.

#3: “I Get a Lot of Spam Complaints”

This is a situation where you’ll want to take action, as a high volume of spam complaints can affect the deliverability of your emails.

If you’re emailing more than a couple of times a week, it’s possible that the spam complaints are related to the frequency of your emails. According to Campaign Monitor, one of the most popular reasons for marking emails as spam is because “they emailed too often”.

Another possibility here is you’re emailing at the right frequency, but not sending people what they asked for. If your newsletter sign-up form promises “exclusive weekly tips” and you’re sending out two promotional emails every week and a few tips once a month, you need to change things so you’re delivering what people expect and, more importantly, what they consented to.

Changing the Frequency of Your Emails

Normally, it’s best to change your emailing frequency fairly gradually.

Don’t suddenly go from emailing once a quarter to once a week. It’s going to confuse and put off your subscribers. Instead, gradually change the frequency. You might go to monthly emails, then twice monthly, and then weekly.

Similarly, if you normally email twice a week, your readers may start to worry if they don’t hear from you for a whole month  especially if you haven’t mentioned you’re going monthly.

The exception here is if you’re having problems because your emailing frequency is too high. If you’re getting lots of spam complaints because emailing daily is too much for your audience, you can switch to weekly straight away.

Let Your Readers Choose How Often They Want to Hear From You

If you want, you can also let your readers decide how often they want to hear from you.

It can be a little fiddly, but most email providers let you add an option on your sign-up form (and/or where subscribers can update their details) that lets your subscribers choose how often they want to receive emails from you. Here are instructions on how to do it in MailChimp.

Some readers might be delighted to receive every blog post the day you write it. Others may only want a weekly summary. By giving them the choice, you can keep everyone happy.

The appropriate frequency for your list depends very much on what you write about and who you’re writing for. If you’re not sure what to go for, try emailing twice per month and ask readers to let you know if that’s about right for them. You can easily adjust the frequency up to weekly or down to monthly, depending on the feedback. But be careful not to vary too wildly from what they consented to receiving (i.e. going daily after telling them they were subscribing to a monthly newsletter).

I’d love to hear about your experiences with email frequency – whether with your own newsletter list or someone else’s. Have you emailed too often (or not enough) in the past? Or have you ever unsubscribed from someone else’s list because the emails were too frequent, or too far apart? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The post How Often Should You Email Your Newsletter List? appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

254: Blogging Breakthroughs – Your Invitation to Be on the ProBlogger Podcast

The post 254: Blogging Breakthroughs – Your Invitation to Be on the ProBlogger Podcast appeared first on ProBlogger.

Share Your Blogging Breakthrough on the ProBlogger Podcast

Do you have a blog? Why not? It’s time to get started. Imagine the breakthroughs you could experience.

And if you do already have a blog, have you had a breakthrough? You have? Then tell us about it.

We’re seeking submissions of stories to appear on the ProBlogger podcast for the theme, My Blog Breakthrough.

Our goal with this series is to feature bloggers from around the world telling stories about breakthroughs in their blogging.

We want to inspire ProBlogger listeners and give them practical ideas to try with their own blogs.

Your breakthrough can be about anything, big or small. For example:

  • How an influencer helped you grow your blog
  • A new income stream
  • How you made your first dollars blogging
  • How a post went viral
  • An opportunity that arose from blogging
  • A mindset shift that led to growth in your blog
  • A tool you started using that led to new results
  • Refocusing your blog on a new, narrower, or broader niche
  • How you overcame fear or some other obstacle in your blogging

We want to feature a variety of bloggers’ stories, including bloggers of different experience levels, countries, and niches.

If you’d like to participate, submit your story and complete the form at problogger.com/breakthrough.

You can be brief and only include:

  • Your name
  • Your blog URL
  • Your blog topic
  • What blogging was like before the breakthrough
  • What the breakthrough was
  • What blogging was like after the breakthrough
  • A tip you’d give listeners that might help them with this breakthrough
  • Anything else you think we need to know that relates to your breakthrough story

If your story is selected, you will be asked to record your breakthrough story as an audio file.

Ready to share your story and help others?

Further Listening

Courses

Join our Facebook group

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

Hi there and welcome to episode 254 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, events, job board, ebooks, and a couple of courses now that help you to start a great blog, and to build a profit around that blog as well.

In today’s episode, episode 254 which you can find the show notes for it at problogger.com/podcast/254, I want to invite you to be a part of an upcoming show on this podcast. We want to do a series of shows actually called My Blog Breakthrough. We are seeking submissions from you, listeners of the podcast and readers of the blog, to appear on the podcast by submitting a short audio clip where you talk about a blogging breakthrough that you have had.

My hope is that this series is going to both inspire our listeners by hearing some different voices from bloggers around the world, sharing their stories, but also giving a few practical ideas of things that other listeners could apply as well. If that interests you, listen on, and I’ll talk to you a little bit more about what we’re looking for and how you can participate in today’s challenge.

Again, the show notes today where you find links to how to submit your story, the show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/254.

As part of our Start A Blog course which we launched at the start of this year. We did a similar series to what we are planning with this new one–where we invited listeners to submit stories of them starting a blog and it was amazing. People really enjoyed that series. We featured, I think it was probably almost 10 different stories over a week or so of bloggers. It was really great to hear the different accents and the different stories of bloggers in different nations starting their blog and what the start of their blog led to. This really stimulated us with this idea today of doing a series of your blogging breakthroughs.

We know, for a fact, because we hear about these little breakthroughs all the time in our Facebook group, and via emails from listeners and readers as well, that you are constantly, as a listenership, having breakthroughs in your blogging. Everytime we get one of the stories, we think, “Ahh, wish we could share this with a wider audience.” That’s what this series is about. I hope, as I said at the start, is that we want to inspire ProBlogger listeners with your stories—your big stories and your little ones as well because we all have different types of breakthroughs in our blogging.

We also really would like this to be a practical thing as well. What we’re going to ask you to do is to submit your story but also share a tip that will help others make a similar breakthrough as well. Now, you’re probably wondering, “What could I do as a breakthrough?” Well, really it could be anything at all that has helped to grow your blog.

Now, probably some of you are already thinking about how you’ve grown your traffic. We’re certainly open to hearing breakthroughs about traffic but we don’t want everyone to talk about the same thing. In fact, if everyone submits traffic, we’ll only probably be able to feature a few of them. There’s so many other breakthroughs that maybe you could talk about.

Maybe it could be the story of trying a new income stream or even the story of how you made your first dollar blogging–that first income stream for you. Or maybe some are story about how an influencer has helped, or how you got featured in the media, or how a post that you wrote went viral for the first time and how you’ve replicated that. Or an opportunity that arose from blogging. Maybe a book deal came through, maybe an opportunity to be featured on someone else’s podcast–a big blogger’s podcast. Or maybe it was a mindset shift that led to growth in your blog in some way. Or a new tool that you started to use that led to new results. Or a new strategy, or a new social network that you tried. Or maybe it was you’ve refocused your blog, relaunched it. A new niche, or a narrower niche, or a broader niche. Or maybe it’s the way you overcame fear or some other obstacle in your blogging.

Really, the breakthrough can be anything that you would like. Even if it’s something small because what I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes it is the small things that lead to bigger on-going results. I would love to hear some of those types of stories as well. But if you’ve got a big one as well, you’re more than welcome to share that too.

Now, we do want to feature a variety of bloggers. We want to feature bloggers male and female. We want to feature stories from bloggers who sort of are at the beginning of their journey and more experienced bloggers. We want to feature some stories of bloggers that you may have heard of before and some new bloggers, bloggers from different countries, and bloggers focusing on different niches. If you’re thinking, “Oh, I’m not big enough. I’m not well-known enough.” We would love to hear your stories. Sometimes those unknown bloggers that the rest of us don’t know about, they’re sometimes the best stories of all. We’re looking for breakthroughs of different kinds.

Again, we cannot feature too many on the same kind of wavelength. That’s why we’ve kind of chosen the way that we have for you to submit your stories as well because we don’t want you to start recording your story straight away. We’d like you to submit in a form your idea for the story, just to save you the work of recording something. We want to select and then we’ll commission the ones that we want. That way, we’d know we’re going to get a variety of stories, and we’re not going to waste too much of your time as well.

If you’d like to participate, we are going to ask you to record a story, it’ll have to be within 10 minutes, and we would like it to be of a reasonable quality so that we can use it on the podcast. You need to be able to record a story. You need to be willing to have your voice on the ProBlogger podcast and heard by quite a few bloggers. There’s an opportunity for you here to share your link. Hopefully, it will help you to grow your blog and connect with other bloggers as well but we would love it if you head over to a form that we’ve set-up. We’ve set-up the form at problogger.com/breakthrough. We’ll link to it in today’s show notes as well. You will see there that I’ve written a little bit of information about what we’re looking for and there is a form there that asks you a few questions. It asks you, what is your blog name, what’s your blog URL, what’s the topic of your blog. Then it asks you some questions that again, help us to understand about what you are going to talk about in your recording.

We want to know what was blogging like before your breakthrough, what was the breakthrough, and what was blogging like after the breakthrough. That’s really important for us because we want to see that this breakthrough actually led to some kind of transformation in your blogging or growth in your blogging in some way. You don’t have to write a lot in there. We just want to know the theme of your topic and any relevant information for you there. We don’t want a transcription of what you’re going to say, just the idea, really. We want to know what tip you will give our listeners that might help them with a similar kind of breakthrough. Then there’s also opportunity for you to tell us anything else that you think we need to know about your story.

Now, keep in mind we’re looking for storytelling here that is going to inspire our readers. Again, it doesn’t need to be a massive story in many ways. It could be something small. In fact, sometimes those small things can inspire people the most because they think they can do it too. We’re looking for stories but also looking for something practical here as well. That’s something that I always try with the ProBlogger podcast to do. I want to inspire you but more than that, I want to give you something that you can go and do as well. Please don’t feel the need to write too much. I’m looking forward to seeing what you submit.

Now, if I was doing this, as I thought about this, I really have done this with almost every podcast I’ve written out, I usually try and bring something into the podcast that is a story for myself. If I was doing this, a few things that I would—I’d give you some ideas, it might help to get the wheels turning in your mind—I might do a mindset shift that I made in the early days in my blogging where I decided to stop treating my blog as a hobby and it’s something that might, one day, become a full time thing. I made this mindset shift with Vanessa to treat my blog as a business today. I talk about that story in episode 100 of this podcast.

That might be an example that you might want to listen to that could give you some ideas about a mindset shift that changed for you. Or back in episode 167, I talked about how I overcame eight years of procrastination to write a blog post that I’ve been putting off, that I’ve been too scared to write. Hell, that blog post, when I did write it, actually ended up helping me earn an income–a 5-figure income a month in some months. That was 167.

Episode 67 was when I created my first ebook by repurposing a lot of the content I’d already published before. That was a breakthrough because it, one, it grew us an income stream but it helped open up a new type of income stream for me. That was the first of many ebooks that came or when I created the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog blog post series. The breakthrough there was really understanding that my readers didn’t want just information, that they wanted a challenge, they wanted something to do as well, and that in turn, let to the new course that we’ve just launched as well which you can listen to information about in our last podcast.

These are types of things that I’m looking for. They could be mindset shifts, new tools, new strategies, and new understandings, new learning even. Again, head over to problogger.com/breakthrough. I will love to read your story and then we will be in touch with those that submit that. We want to actually record something as well. I look forward to presenting those stories in our future episodes of this podcast. It might take us a few weeks to go through this process and get them up and running as well.

The other thing that I just wanted to let you know is that there will be a few weeks break on this podcast. It’s the middle of the year. We’ve had a fairly intense year so far and we think, as a team, we just need a little bit of break from producing the podcast for a few weeks. I know a lot of you are on a summer holidays in America or in other parts of the world. Here in Australia, we’ve in the middle of winter and it’s freezing. We’re just going to have a little bit of hibernation of the podcast for a few weeks while we get this new series up and running.

If you’re missing the ProBlogger podcast, there’s 253 other episodes that you can dig around into. I mentioned a few of those today in the show. I do encourage you to dig around in the archives. Have a listen to something that you may have missed in the past. Thanks for listening. I look forward to chatting with you in a few weeks’ time in the upcoming episodes of the ProBlogger podcast. Thanks for listening.

If you’re still listening and you are still thinking about your breakthroughs and wondering what breakthrough you could share, I know some of the biggest breakthrough you really need is to start a blog. It’s amazing how many listeners of the ProBlogger podcast who are in the same position as you. People who haven’t yet started a blog. If you are one of those, I do encourage you to check out our completely free Start A Blog course. It is designed to walk you through the process of starting a blog. It is a seven-step course. It’s very comprehensive but it will walk you through even the question of, “Is a blog right for you?” It will help you to define what your blog is about. It will help you work out what to call your blog, how to get a domain name set up, how to get hosting set up, how to get your WordPress theme set up, and a bit of a checklist there for getting your email and social media account set up as well. It is completely free. It can be found over at problogger.com/startablog. It will take you through there where you can signup and register for that free course. If you know someone who hasn’t started a blog, give them the gift of this course by letting them know about it as well. Again, it’s problogger.com/startablog.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 254: Blogging Breakthroughs – Your Invitation to Be on the ProBlogger Podcast appeared first on ProBlogger.

What is the Secret to Successful Blogging?

The post What is the Secret to Successful Blogging? appeared first on ProBlogger.

What's the secret to successful blogging?

"What's the secret to successful blogging?"

"How do I build a profitable blog?"

I get asked these questions a lot. And my mission with ProBlogger is to address them.

Let me start by answer the first question. There is no secret to successful blogging, and no magic formula for a successful blog.

But there are some common things many successful bloggers share—decisions, behaviors, disciplines and habits—that take them closer to a profitable blog.

It’s the accumulation of the basic little things you do every day that makes you a successful blogger. Small but consistent actions such as creating and publishing new content, responding to comments and interacting with your audience are more important than almost anything else in building a sustainable blogging business.

Habit forming was the big thing I noticed that really escalated the growth of a blog. Setting up routines, getting into the flow of all the different blogging activities and being disciplined about taking action is the not-so-secret to building a successful blog and making money from it.

So how do you do this? What do you do first? What if you’ve tried and failed?

31 Days to Build a Better Blog was created to answer these questions, and provide the solution of what to do.

When I first came up with the idea for a 31-day blog post series back in 2006, I'd noticed that the things that really improved a blog, and the things I observed other full-time bloggers doing, was taking small consistent actions over time.

From a blog post series to an eBook and now a course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog has certainly evolved. And in doing so it has helped tens of thousands of bloggers.

While a lot of people come looking for the secrets of making money blogging at ProBlogger, what I learned in the early days of ProBlogger was that what seemed to help bloggers the most was challenging them to take action rather than just gain knowledge.

What’s in the Course?

31 Days to Build a Better Blog is designed to make you think, but more importantly DO. The course is divided into 31 easy-to-follow tasks you can work through in your own time. Each step in the course contains:

  1. Teaching - You’ll be given in-depth video instruction on both the WHY and HOW of the task of the day.
  2. A Task - You'll also be given something to DO in that step so you make actual progress using worksheets, printouts and step-by-step guides.
  3. Further resources and reading - Finally, you'll be equipped with the tools to help you dive deeper on any task.

We've designed this three-pronged approach so you come away from the challenge having not only learned how to build a better blog but also achieved something with the knowledge. By the end of the 31 days I want you to have taken 31 actions.

In fact, by the end of the 31-step course, you’ll have:

  • Set objectives and goals for your blog
  • Identified and really understood your audience
  • Learned techniques for coming up with new post ideas
  • Promoted your blog in a variety of ways and found new readers
  • Deepened reader engagement with current readers
  • Developed an editorial calendar for your blog
  • Discovered ways to be more connected to your niche/topic
  • Designed a plan for the next month of your blogging
  • Explored opportunities for monetizing your blog
  • Clarified your next steps on the path to a blogging business

Can This Course Help Me?

If you've just started your blog and figured out all those first steps of getting your first few posts published you're probably thinking, "Now what?" This course will give you direction in building successful foundations for a profitable blogging business.

Or maybe you've been blogging for a while and have lost your way or your 'blogging mojo'. Consider this course a 'lifesaver' for your blog, with a month of actionable prompts to kickstart your blog again and get it on the right path to becoming a profitable business.

Special Offer For You to Take the Course

As a ProBlogger reader, we’d like to extend an invitation for you to take the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course at a discounted ‘launch offer’ rate. Instead of the usual price of $99 you can buy it now until 30th June 2018 for $49, which is less than half price.

Your course registration includes:

  • A 60-Day Money Back Guarantee
  • Instant Access to Online Course Materials
  • Videos, Audio, Slides and Writable Worksheets
  • A Structured Facebook Group for Progress and Accountability
03
Days
20
Hours
42
Minutes
47
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I'd love to hear your stories, case studies and more after doing the course. Make sure you submit your testimonial so we can contact you about your better blog story and share it with the ProBlogger community.

The post What is the Secret to Successful Blogging? appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

253: I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog

The post 253: I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

What You Can Learn From the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course

From a blog post series to an eBook and now a course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog has certainly evolved. And in doing so it has helped many people. Today’s episode is based on information about the course.

I created the course, which is a combination of repurposed teaching from places on ProBlogger and the blog post series, to:

  • offer teaching that inspired action
  • help people develop good habits
  • give them a variety of things to try.

The goal is to give you 31 modules that each contain teaching, a challenge, and further reading using a combination of videos, audio files, printable worksheets and links.

There’s also a private Facebook group just for the students in the course to share what they’re doing and interact with each other on their journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  • Who is it for? Those who already have a blog; beginners to advanced bloggers; and groups.
  • Does it have to be done daily? No, it can be done at your own pace.
  • How much work is it? It varies depending on the stage you’re at; it usually takes 1–5 hours a week.

Tips for Taking the Course:

  • Regularity is key
  • Be accountable
  • Take action

We’re extending the Early Bird price of $49 until the end of June. When it turns midnight (Pacific time) on June 30, the price goes up to $99. So if you’re interested, sign up now.

Links and Resources for I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog:

Courses

Join our Facebook group

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

Hi there and welcome to episode 253 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog that will hopefully change the world, change the lives of your readers, but also change your life as well both through the blogging experience which can bring you a lot of joy and ideas. Help you to develop your ideas, but also hopefully will become a profitable thing as well, that’s what we teach over at problogger.com.

Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/253 that’s number 253. In this week’s episode, I want to touch base with you about our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, which I have mentioned a few times in passing over the last month or so. I’ve been talking about how it was coming and then last week, I mentioned that it was live and I had a number of you give me feedback that you needed a little bit more time to make a purchase.

A couple of things I want to let you know, firstly we’re going to extend the early bird discount a little bit until the end of the month but I also wanted to answer some of the questions today that we’ve had about the course and also talk a little bit about the backstory of the course as well. I want to talk today about why I first came out with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, how it has evolved, and particularly this last step in the evolution to bring it into a course rather than an ebook.

I want to talk a little bit about why I think this format has helped so many people. I hope you find that interesting for those of you who want to build a course, or a product as well. We’re going to talk about what’s in it, who it’s best suited for, and I want to answer some of those frequently asked questions about who it is for, how much work is involved, and then also want to give you a few tips on taking this course as well. For those of you who’ve already purchased and there’s quite a few of you who are already enrolled in the course as well.

If you’ve been wondering about whether this course is right for you, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, or if you’re just interested in the back story, and journey of creating a product like this, I hope you find this week’s episode useful to you. It is worth mentioning we are extending this early bird bonus until the end of June, so midnight Pacific Time, on 30th of June this year 2018, the price will go up from $49 US to $99 US.

You’ve got a 50% discount to get in early, and there’s one little condition on that, we do want your feedback on that. We’re sort of considering you as early bids as well so we want to gather as much information as we can from you on how we can improve that course. We’ve already been improving it from our early testers but we like to hear from you as well. If you do want that early access through the course, make sure you head to problogger.com/31days. It will also be linked in the show notes.

The reason we are extending the price is for two reasons, really. One, to allow those of you who need a little bit of time to get that money together. I know a $49 now for some of you isn’t that much money but for others of you, it is a big deal, and you need that little bit of late time to grab that together, so we wanted to extend that to make it as accessible as possible, and also we’ve had a few server upgrades going on at the moment. There have been a few brief periods over last the week because our resources area has been down and we got a few emails from people saying that you’ve been trying to access it. We just want to make sure everyone gets access to that by the 30th of June. Let’s get into today’s show.

The first question that I have had from a number of people is about the journey of 31 days. I know some of you are familiar with where 31 Days to Build a Better Blog came from. It really came from, I think it was back 2007 or 2006 even, where I came up with this idea for a 31-day blog post series. The reasons that I first ran that first series is that, I noticed that the things that really improved a blog, and the things that I’ve noticed in the journeys of other full time bloggers that I’ve met was that the secrets really were around, people were taking small consistent actions over time.

In fact, the small consistent actions that they were doing, writing a new blog post, responding to comments, these basic things were actually more important than almost anything else. It was really habit forming, that was the big thing that I noticed that really escalated the growth of a blog. Setting up routines, getting into the flow of creating content, getting into the flow of interacting with your audience, having an editorial calendar, and experimenting with different types of content. What I realized is that while still a lot of people were coming to ProBlogger, looking for the secret sauce, or the secret technique, those things can be interesting, and they can be fun, but what really was growing blogs was the small consistent actions, and habit forming, and doing was more important than knowing.

A lot of people came looking for the secrets of making money blogging at ProBlogger, but really, what I learned in the early days of ProBlogger was that, what seem to help bloggers the most was when I challenge them to take action rather than just to gain knowledge. I wanted to create this 31-day blog post series that was a little bit of teaching every day, a little bit of knowledge sharing, but was more based around challenging readers to take action.

I came up with this idea, by the end of the month I want you to have taken 31 actions. I did this blog post series and it went viral. It went crazy, bloggers from around the world, thousands and thousands of them took this challenge that I put out there over a month. By the end of the month, I was getting feedback from readers saying, “My traffic doubled this month.” Or “I’ve had more comments this month than I’ve ever had before.” Suddenly, I know what I’m doing with my blog. I’ve got a vision for my blog and I started getting these feedbacks from people that they really saw a lot of benefit from the learning but more importantly the doing.

I ran this series of blog post three times over a number of years, and every time I did this series, I updated it, I added more depth, I tweaked the challenges because over the years, blogging has changed and some of the things in that first challenge really didn’t relate three years later when I did it again. I tweaked it every year, and in the last year, I think it was 2009 or 2010, I turned it into an ebook, and that was based upon readers saying, “Hey, we know it’s all on the blog already for free, but we want it in the one kind of place where we can keep coming back to it. We want to be able to print it out, we want to be able to keep coming back to it, and doing it again, and again.” Because it was actually a 31-day process that you could do more than once.

I turned it into an ebook, not really sure whether anyone would buy the ebook, but very quickly found once I released it that it was a very popular product, and we sold tens of thousands of copies of that ebook in the year or so after I launched it. I updated it again in 2012 because as I said, things were changing in the blogosphere, and some of the challenges were becoming a little bit dated, so I came up with seven new challenges for the second edition.

Late last year, we realized, well 2012 when we did the second edition was quite a long time ago, six years have passed and again, things have been changing, and this product, this ebook needed to be updated again, and we began to ask ourselves, should we do it as an ebook? Should we do it as a course, or in some other format? We kind of landed on the idea all modernizing it, updating it, both in terms of the challenges. There are some new challenges in this one if you’ve taken it before, but also in terms of the delivery method.

I realized that a lot of people were benefiting from the podcast that I’ve been doing, and a lot of people preferred hearing and viewing content teaching. My team and I begin to put together this new version of 31-days to build a better blog as a course. The course is a combination of a number of things, some of it is repurposed, you all have had little bits of it on that the podcast in the past. There’s some references and further reading to blog articles as well, there are some printable worksheets that we’ve put together for it. the idea is still the same, every day or every module I should say, you’ll get a bit of teaching, and then most importantly, you’ll get a challenge to go away and do, and you also get a little bit of further reading as well, and to actually share what you’re doing in our Facebook group as well.

This has involved since the early versions of the ebook, some of the challenges are still the same activity but we’ve added depth, we’ve added some further reading, we’ve added some more suggestions, so it is a deep and different experience to those of you who have had the ebook before. Every module, you get a video presentation and you can also download that as an audio file if you prefer just to listen while you’re out on your walk, you get printable worksheets, and also some links to some further reading, and some for that listening as well. There’s also a private Facebook group just for course students where you can share what you’re doing, and interact with other students on the journey.

A few other commonly asked questions that we have been getting about this, the number one is who is it for? ProBlogger listeners span the whole breath of experience. we’ve got people listening to this podcast right now who have not even started a blog, we’ve got others who have started a blog in the first month, and then others who three or four years in, and then others who listen to this who are 10, 12, 15 years in the blogging as well. So who is this course designed for?

We’ve actually designed it for a number of groups, probably not everyone in that spectrum. Particularly those who are just starting out, so those of you who have a blog, and I need to emphasize that if you haven’t yet got a blog, this course isn’t for you. I would highly recommend you go back and start out, start a blog course, which is a free course that you can also find on ProBlogger. This course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is much better for those of you who have just started a blog, that’s one of the groups that I think it’s ideal for. If you’ve done the start a blog course, this is designed almost to take you on your next steps.

We kind of almost toyed with the idea of calling this your first 31 days of blogging. We didn’t do that because I think it also is relevant for those of you who are a bit further along the journey as well. If you’re just starting out, this is a great course to follow on. It’s a good companion course if you like to start a blog course. Number two group that this is ideal for is anyone who’s got an intermediate kind of level of blogging but maybe your blog needs a kick start in some way. I can relate to this, it’s been periods in my own blogging even in the last few years where I’ve kind of just needed a burst of something to really kick start the blog again.

I spoke with one blogger this morning who is loving doing the course. She’s been blogging now for four or five years, but her bloggers hit a plateau. It grew and grew, she’s a full time blogger but it’s just been slowing, and whining a little bit, and she realized that some of that was because of her, some of that was because she was a bit bored with blogging. She needed this kind of little injection of energy. She found 31 days as a good way to give her a framework I guess to be more intentional about her blog.

I also spoke with another blogger who is using 31 Days to Build a Better Blog to re-launch her blog. Her blog has been dormant for a couple of months because she’s had some other stuff going on in her life, and so she is using this course to help her kind of get it back up and going again, and to refocus it in some ways. I do know a few advanced bloggers who also have used the ebook version of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as something to I guess give him that little injection of energy every now and again to give them a little bit of inspiration. The way we’ve designed this is that you can take it as 31 days in 31 days if you like and I’ll talk about the frequency of how you need to take it in a moment.

You can also come back to it again, and again, and one of the things I found really interesting, I was actually at a conference late last year, at a theme con and someone came out and said, “You know, I do 31 Days to Build a Better Blog every year.” And I was like, why do you do it every year? And they bought it in 2009, they’re doing the first version every year, and he said, that it was just something that he does every October, and October is the month that he does it, and he works through it and he’s found it really helpful to kind of just ask himself the questions around the daily challenges, and once he doesn’t learn a lot from it, the challenge of doing something in each of these 31 areas has been enough for him.

It may be useful for those of you who are more at that advanced end, but we have designed it more for beginner bloggers and intermediate bloggers particularly, and that’s who we’ve seen getting the most value out of it. The other thing I mentioned is that it is also ideal for bloggers who want to do it together, there is a group, a very small group of fashion bloggers, we’re going through it together right now, I’ve had an email from one of those this morning. It’s just a little Facebook group of five fashion bloggers, and they’ve all enrolled in the course together. That’s something that I’ve seen in the past that has worked quite well, bloggers within a niche doing it together, or even bloggers outside of a niche.

There’s a couple of Facebook groups around who have taken the ebook version together in the past. That’s one of the things I actually have noticed, and we’ll talk about this in a moment, when you do this together, when you have that accountability, it can really help to accentuate the good things that come out of it in some ways. The second most common question that I get asked is, does it have to be done daily? Absolutely not. Whilst we’ve certainly called it 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, that was because the first blog post series was rolled out on a daily basis.

We’ve actually designed this course version to be taken at your own pace. We actually ran this course with about 100 beta testers a few months ago, and we’ve surveyed them, and most of the responses that came back is that they took it, or they’re expecting to take it over two to three months. So it seems like the average is that people are working through a module every two to three days instead of a daily basis. That’s possibly because we’ve added a little bit more depth into this version of the course. Also, we’ve all got plenty of other things going on in our lives, and really to take this course, you need to put aside a little bit of time for learning, to listen to, and watch the video presentation, and work on the worksheets, but then you also need to put aside a little bit of time for doing the activity, and some of the activities do take a little bit more time than others.

Which leads me to the third question I get asked is, how much work does it take? Let me just say though, I do know bloggers who have taken this course faster than 31 days. If you do have a lot of time in your hands at the moment, maybe you are having a mid semester break at college, or university, or maybe you’ve got a couple weeks of work, you probably could do the whole lot in a couple of weeks if you really pushed hard, but most people do seem to be taking it at a slower pace. I know a number of people who are even doing it one module per week, and they got a list of to do after 31 weeks.

That next question, how much work is it? That’s an interesting one, there’s no one answer to this. We’ve designed the module so that you can consume each module in terms of the teaching of the module in less than an hour, some of them are less than that, some of them are kind of pushed right up to the A mark. As I mentioned a few times, you’re not going to get a lot of benefit out of this course if you just do the learning parts of it, you really need to turn that into action.

Every day, we do give you a challenge, and in a couple of days, we give you a couple of things to do as well. This will vary a bit, depending on the day. Some of the days take a little bit more work than others, some of the days, you probably could do in an hour, so the learning might be half an hour, the doing might be another hour. Some of the days, you might actually need to put aside a few hours as well. It will also vary a little bit as to whether you’re a beginner blogger or a more intermediate blogger because some of the things you’ll find, if you’re an intermediate blogger, you might have already done some of the challenges, and so, you may be able to use that day more to evaluate how you’re going.

For example, day 19 is about email newsletters, and so, for those of you just starting out, the challenge is to start an email newsletter. You’re going to have a bit of work to do, we’ll give you some tips on things to think about in doing that. Now, if you’ve already got a newsletter, you don’t need to do some of that work, but you could use that day to evaluate how your newsletter has already gone. that might take less time, so it will vary from person to person, most of those who are already doing the course, again, we survey them, and most of them are saying they’re spending between one and five hours a week on the course.

Again, it’s designed for you to take at your own pace. If you don’t have five hours a week, you could just slow the pace down a little bit and work through it, and move on to the next module when you are finished. We do have some emails that will go out during the process just to prompt you to keep moving for the course, we want to keep people moving through because we know the people who get the most value are the ones who complete it but really, you are able to take this completely at your own pace.

Lastly, I want to just give you a few tips for those of you who are thinking about doing the course, those of you who are already signed up, the number one thing that I found in talking to a lot of students of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is the people who do get to the end, the people who do get the most benefit are the people who seem to send a scheduled time to do it. I’ve been guilty of this, I’ve signed up for courses, I’ve taken ebooks, and I think to myself, well, I’m going to do that course one day when I get time, and I know that when I take that attitude with any kind of teaching, whether that be a formal learning qualification at a university or something else, like an ebook, or a course online, I don’t tend to move through it. I don’t tend to finish it unless I’ve scheduled time for it.

I would highly recommend that you put in your diary a little bit of time every day, or a limited time every week, depending on your schedule but actually, put aside time to do it. Like I say, don’t just put aside time to learn, put aside time to do, that’s really important. The second thing I’ve noticed is that the people who seem to get the most out of this have accountability. Whether you are going to use our Facebook group for that, there’s a private Facebook group, or whether you’re going to take a buddy through the course, or do it as a group, or whether you’ve just got an offline friend who knows nothing about blogging who you ask to keep you accountable, I really encourage you to find some way of keeping accountable to keep you moving through this course, and to keep you taking action, and that’s the most important thing again and again.

Which leads me to the last tip, the people who get the most out of this really do take action, the temptation is just to listen, just to learn, and then to put the doing aside for one day. As we all know, one day tends not to happen, and it leads to regret later on. Schedule time to learn, but also schedule time to do, and that’s really important.

The last thing I will say is that we do have a 60-day guarantee on this product. We always have had guarantees, money back guarantees on all of our products. Personally, I would much rather have you as a happy, ongoing reader or listener, than having your $49—$49 will be great, that helps me to sustain ProBlogger to keep the podcast running, to pay my team, and fund my life and my children’s life as well.

I much prefer to have an ongoing relationship with you as a listener, as a reader, than having your $49. Feel free to take advantage of that guarantee, to enroll, start interacting with the course, find out whether it’s for you or not, if it’s not quite for you, contact our support team and they will arrange a full refund for you, no questions asked.

Do feel free to take advantage of that, and lastly, I really would love your feedback on how we can improve it if you’ve already taken the course, let our team know, just send our team an email via our contact form, or send it to help@problogger.com and let us know how we can improve that course as well.

Lastly, remember the early bird price is $49 US, that’s 50% off, but that will go up on the 1st of July midnight, on the 30th of June. Again, go to problogger.com/31days for the link and more information on what’s included.

I hope that answers all your questions, if you do have more questions on 31 days, any aspect of it, please shoot our team an email, help@problogger.com or you can shoot us an email via social media or in our Facebook group as well. thank you for listening today, we look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 254, and I look forward to seeing some of you in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Facebook group as well. Thanks for listening, chat next week.

You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast. Tweet us @problogger. Find us at facebook.com/problogger or search ProBlogger on iTunes.

This episode of the ProBlogger podcast was edited by the team at PodcastMotor who offer a great range of services including helping you to setup and launch your podcast as well as ongoing editing and production of the podcast that you produce. You can check them out at podcastmotor.com.

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The post 253: I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

253: I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog

The post 253: I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

What You Can Learn From the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course

From a blog post series to an eBook and now a course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog has certainly evolved. And in doing so it has helped many people. Today’s episode is based on information about the course.

I created the course, which is a combination of repurposed teaching from places on ProBlogger and the blog post series, to:

  • offer teaching that inspired action
  • help people develop good habits
  • give them a variety of things to try.

The goal is to give you 31 modules that each contain teaching, a challenge, and further reading using a combination of videos, audio files, printable worksheets and links.

There’s also a private Facebook group just for the students in the course to share what they’re doing and interact with each other on their journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  • Who is it for? Those who already have a blog; beginners to advanced bloggers; and groups.
  • Does it have to be done daily? No, it can be done at your own pace.
  • How much work is it? It varies depending on the stage you’re at; it usually takes 1–5 hours a week.

Tips for Taking the Course:

  • Regularity is key
  • Be accountable
  • Take action

We’re extending the Early Bird price of $49 until the end of June. When it turns midnight (Pacific time) on June 30, the price goes up to $99. So if you’re interested, sign up now.

Links and Resources for I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog:

Courses

Join our Facebook group

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

Hi there and welcome to episode 253 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog that will hopefully change the world, change the lives of your readers, but also change your life as well both through the blogging experience which can bring you a lot of joy and ideas. Help you to develop your ideas, but also hopefully will become a profitable thing as well, that’s what we teach over at problogger.com.

Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/253 that’s number 253. In this week’s episode, I want to touch base with you about our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, which I have mentioned a few times in passing over the last month or so. I’ve been talking about how it was coming and then last week, I mentioned that it was live and I had a number of you give me feedback that you needed a little bit more time to make a purchase.

A couple of things I want to let you know, firstly we’re going to extend the early bird discount a little bit until the end of the month but I also wanted to answer some of the questions today that we’ve had about the course and also talk a little bit about the backstory of the course as well. I want to talk today about why I first came out with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, how it has evolved, and particularly this last step in the evolution to bring it into a course rather than an ebook.

I want to talk a little bit about why I think this format has helped so many people. I hope you find that interesting for those of you who want to build a course, or a product as well. We’re going to talk about what’s in it, who it’s best suited for, and I want to answer some of those frequently asked questions about who it is for, how much work is involved, and then also want to give you a few tips on taking this course as well. For those of you who’ve already purchased and there’s quite a few of you who are already enrolled in the course as well.

If you’ve been wondering about whether this course is right for you, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, or if you’re just interested in the back story, and journey of creating a product like this, I hope you find this week’s episode useful to you. It is worth mentioning we are extending this early bird bonus until the end of June, so midnight Pacific Time, on 30th of June this year 2018, the price will go up from $49 US to $99 US.

You’ve got a 50% discount to get in early, and there’s one little condition on that, we do want your feedback on that. We’re sort of considering you as early bids as well so we want to gather as much information as we can from you on how we can improve that course. We’ve already been improving it from our early testers but we like to hear from you as well. If you do want that early access through the course, make sure you head to problogger.com/31days. It will also be linked in the show notes.

The reason we are extending the price is for two reasons, really. One, to allow those of you who need a little bit of time to get that money together. I know a $49 now for some of you isn’t that much money but for others of you, it is a big deal, and you need that little bit of late time to grab that together, so we wanted to extend that to make it as accessible as possible, and also we’ve had a few server upgrades going on at the moment. There have been a few brief periods over last the week because our resources area has been down and we got a few emails from people saying that you’ve been trying to access it. We just want to make sure everyone gets access to that by the 30th of June. Let’s get into today’s show.

The first question that I have had from a number of people is about the journey of 31 days. I know some of you are familiar with where 31 Days to Build a Better Blog came from. It really came from, I think it was back 2007 or 2006 even, where I came up with this idea for a 31-day blog post series. The reasons that I first ran that first series is that, I noticed that the things that really improved a blog, and the things that I’ve noticed in the journeys of other full time bloggers that I’ve met was that the secrets really were around, people were taking small consistent actions over time.

In fact, the small consistent actions that they were doing, writing a new blog post, responding to comments, these basic things were actually more important than almost anything else. It was really habit forming, that was the big thing that I noticed that really escalated the growth of a blog. Setting up routines, getting into the flow of creating content, getting into the flow of interacting with your audience, having an editorial calendar, and experimenting with different types of content. What I realized is that while still a lot of people were coming to ProBlogger, looking for the secret sauce, or the secret technique, those things can be interesting, and they can be fun, but what really was growing blogs was the small consistent actions, and habit forming, and doing was more important than knowing.

A lot of people came looking for the secrets of making money blogging at ProBlogger, but really, what I learned in the early days of ProBlogger was that, what seem to help bloggers the most was when I challenge them to take action rather than just to gain knowledge. I wanted to create this 31-day blog post series that was a little bit of teaching every day, a little bit of knowledge sharing, but was more based around challenging readers to take action.

I came up with this idea, by the end of the month I want you to have taken 31 actions. I did this blog post series and it went viral. It went crazy, bloggers from around the world, thousands and thousands of them took this challenge that I put out there over a month. By the end of the month, I was getting feedback from readers saying, “My traffic doubled this month.” Or “I’ve had more comments this month than I’ve ever had before.” Suddenly, I know what I’m doing with my blog. I’ve got a vision for my blog and I started getting these feedbacks from people that they really saw a lot of benefit from the learning but more importantly the doing.

I ran this series of blog post three times over a number of years, and every time I did this series, I updated it, I added more depth, I tweaked the challenges because over the years, blogging has changed and some of the things in that first challenge really didn’t relate three years later when I did it again. I tweaked it every year, and in the last year, I think it was 2009 or 2010, I turned it into an ebook, and that was based upon readers saying, “Hey, we know it’s all on the blog already for free, but we want it in the one kind of place where we can keep coming back to it. We want to be able to print it out, we want to be able to keep coming back to it, and doing it again, and again.” Because it was actually a 31-day process that you could do more than once.

I turned it into an ebook, not really sure whether anyone would buy the ebook, but very quickly found once I released it that it was a very popular product, and we sold tens of thousands of copies of that ebook in the year or so after I launched it. I updated it again in 2012 because as I said, things were changing in the blogosphere, and some of the challenges were becoming a little bit dated, so I came up with seven new challenges for the second edition.

Late last year, we realized, well 2012 when we did the second edition was quite a long time ago, six years have passed and again, things have been changing, and this product, this ebook needed to be updated again, and we began to ask ourselves, should we do it as an ebook? Should we do it as a course, or in some other format? We kind of landed on the idea all modernizing it, updating it, both in terms of the challenges. There are some new challenges in this one if you’ve taken it before, but also in terms of the delivery method.

I realized that a lot of people were benefiting from the podcast that I’ve been doing, and a lot of people preferred hearing and viewing content teaching. My team and I begin to put together this new version of 31-days to build a better blog as a course. The course is a combination of a number of things, some of it is repurposed, you all have had little bits of it on that the podcast in the past. There’s some references and further reading to blog articles as well, there are some printable worksheets that we’ve put together for it. the idea is still the same, every day or every module I should say, you’ll get a bit of teaching, and then most importantly, you’ll get a challenge to go away and do, and you also get a little bit of further reading as well, and to actually share what you’re doing in our Facebook group as well.

This has involved since the early versions of the ebook, some of the challenges are still the same activity but we’ve added depth, we’ve added some further reading, we’ve added some more suggestions, so it is a deep and different experience to those of you who have had the ebook before. Every module, you get a video presentation and you can also download that as an audio file if you prefer just to listen while you’re out on your walk, you get printable worksheets, and also some links to some further reading, and some for that listening as well. There’s also a private Facebook group just for course students where you can share what you’re doing, and interact with other students on the journey.

A few other commonly asked questions that we have been getting about this, the number one is who is it for? ProBlogger listeners span the whole breath of experience. we’ve got people listening to this podcast right now who have not even started a blog, we’ve got others who have started a blog in the first month, and then others who three or four years in, and then others who listen to this who are 10, 12, 15 years in the blogging as well. So who is this course designed for?

We’ve actually designed it for a number of groups, probably not everyone in that spectrum. Particularly those who are just starting out, so those of you who have a blog, and I need to emphasize that if you haven’t yet got a blog, this course isn’t for you. I would highly recommend you go back and start out, start a blog course, which is a free course that you can also find on ProBlogger. This course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is much better for those of you who have just started a blog, that’s one of the groups that I think it’s ideal for. If you’ve done the start a blog course, this is designed almost to take you on your next steps.

We kind of almost toyed with the idea of calling this your first 31 days of blogging. We didn’t do that because I think it also is relevant for those of you who are a bit further along the journey as well. If you’re just starting out, this is a great course to follow on. It’s a good companion course if you like to start a blog course. Number two group that this is ideal for is anyone who’s got an intermediate kind of level of blogging but maybe your blog needs a kick start in some way. I can relate to this, it’s been periods in my own blogging even in the last few years where I’ve kind of just needed a burst of something to really kick start the blog again.

I spoke with one blogger this morning who is loving doing the course. She’s been blogging now for four or five years, but her bloggers hit a plateau. It grew and grew, she’s a full time blogger but it’s just been slowing, and whining a little bit, and she realized that some of that was because of her, some of that was because she was a bit bored with blogging. She needed this kind of little injection of energy. She found 31 days as a good way to give her a framework I guess to be more intentional about her blog.

I also spoke with another blogger who is using 31 Days to Build a Better Blog to re-launch her blog. Her blog has been dormant for a couple of months because she’s had some other stuff going on in her life, and so she is using this course to help her kind of get it back up and going again, and to refocus it in some ways. I do know a few advanced bloggers who also have used the ebook version of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as something to I guess give him that little injection of energy every now and again to give them a little bit of inspiration. The way we’ve designed this is that you can take it as 31 days in 31 days if you like and I’ll talk about the frequency of how you need to take it in a moment.

You can also come back to it again, and again, and one of the things I found really interesting, I was actually at a conference late last year, at a theme con and someone came out and said, “You know, I do 31 Days to Build a Better Blog every year.” And I was like, why do you do it every year? And they bought it in 2009, they’re doing the first version every year, and he said, that it was just something that he does every October, and October is the month that he does it, and he works through it and he’s found it really helpful to kind of just ask himself the questions around the daily challenges, and once he doesn’t learn a lot from it, the challenge of doing something in each of these 31 areas has been enough for him.

It may be useful for those of you who are more at that advanced end, but we have designed it more for beginner bloggers and intermediate bloggers particularly, and that’s who we’ve seen getting the most value out of it. The other thing I mentioned is that it is also ideal for bloggers who want to do it together, there is a group, a very small group of fashion bloggers, we’re going through it together right now, I’ve had an email from one of those this morning. It’s just a little Facebook group of five fashion bloggers, and they’ve all enrolled in the course together. That’s something that I’ve seen in the past that has worked quite well, bloggers within a niche doing it together, or even bloggers outside of a niche.

There’s a couple of Facebook groups around who have taken the ebook version together in the past. That’s one of the things I actually have noticed, and we’ll talk about this in a moment, when you do this together, when you have that accountability, it can really help to accentuate the good things that come out of it in some ways. The second most common question that I get asked is, does it have to be done daily? Absolutely not. Whilst we’ve certainly called it 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, that was because the first blog post series was rolled out on a daily basis.

We’ve actually designed this course version to be taken at your own pace. We actually ran this course with about 100 beta testers a few months ago, and we’ve surveyed them, and most of the responses that came back is that they took it, or they’re expecting to take it over two to three months. So it seems like the average is that people are working through a module every two to three days instead of a daily basis. That’s possibly because we’ve added a little bit more depth into this version of the course. Also, we’ve all got plenty of other things going on in our lives, and really to take this course, you need to put aside a little bit of time for learning, to listen to, and watch the video presentation, and work on the worksheets, but then you also need to put aside a little bit of time for doing the activity, and some of the activities do take a little bit more time than others.

Which leads me to the third question I get asked is, how much work does it take? Let me just say though, I do know bloggers who have taken this course faster than 31 days. If you do have a lot of time in your hands at the moment, maybe you are having a mid semester break at college, or university, or maybe you’ve got a couple weeks of work, you probably could do the whole lot in a couple of weeks if you really pushed hard, but most people do seem to be taking it at a slower pace. I know a number of people who are even doing it one module per week, and they got a list of to do after 31 weeks.

That next question, how much work is it? That’s an interesting one, there’s no one answer to this. We’ve designed the module so that you can consume each module in terms of the teaching of the module in less than an hour, some of them are less than that, some of them are kind of pushed right up to the A mark. As I mentioned a few times, you’re not going to get a lot of benefit out of this course if you just do the learning parts of it, you really need to turn that into action.

Every day, we do give you a challenge, and in a couple of days, we give you a couple of things to do as well. This will vary a bit, depending on the day. Some of the days take a little bit more work than others, some of the days, you probably could do in an hour, so the learning might be half an hour, the doing might be another hour. Some of the days, you might actually need to put aside a few hours as well. It will also vary a little bit as to whether you’re a beginner blogger or a more intermediate blogger because some of the things you’ll find, if you’re an intermediate blogger, you might have already done some of the challenges, and so, you may be able to use that day more to evaluate how you’re going.

For example, day 19 is about email newsletters, and so, for those of you just starting out, the challenge is to start an email newsletter. You’re going to have a bit of work to do, we’ll give you some tips on things to think about in doing that. Now, if you’ve already got a newsletter, you don’t need to do some of that work, but you could use that day to evaluate how your newsletter has already gone. that might take less time, so it will vary from person to person, most of those who are already doing the course, again, we survey them, and most of them are saying they’re spending between one and five hours a week on the course.

Again, it’s designed for you to take at your own pace. If you don’t have five hours a week, you could just slow the pace down a little bit and work through it, and move on to the next module when you are finished. We do have some emails that will go out during the process just to prompt you to keep moving for the course, we want to keep people moving through because we know the people who get the most value are the ones who complete it but really, you are able to take this completely at your own pace.

Lastly, I want to just give you a few tips for those of you who are thinking about doing the course, those of you who are already signed up, the number one thing that I found in talking to a lot of students of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is the people who do get to the end, the people who do get the most benefit are the people who seem to send a scheduled time to do it. I’ve been guilty of this, I’ve signed up for courses, I’ve taken ebooks, and I think to myself, well, I’m going to do that course one day when I get time, and I know that when I take that attitude with any kind of teaching, whether that be a formal learning qualification at a university or something else, like an ebook, or a course online, I don’t tend to move through it. I don’t tend to finish it unless I’ve scheduled time for it.

I would highly recommend that you put in your diary a little bit of time every day, or a limited time every week, depending on your schedule but actually, put aside time to do it. Like I say, don’t just put aside time to learn, put aside time to do, that’s really important. The second thing I’ve noticed is that the people who seem to get the most out of this have accountability. Whether you are going to use our Facebook group for that, there’s a private Facebook group, or whether you’re going to take a buddy through the course, or do it as a group, or whether you’ve just got an offline friend who knows nothing about blogging who you ask to keep you accountable, I really encourage you to find some way of keeping accountable to keep you moving through this course, and to keep you taking action, and that’s the most important thing again and again.

Which leads me to the last tip, the people who get the most out of this really do take action, the temptation is just to listen, just to learn, and then to put the doing aside for one day. As we all know, one day tends not to happen, and it leads to regret later on. Schedule time to learn, but also schedule time to do, and that’s really important.

The last thing I will say is that we do have a 60-day guarantee on this product. We always have had guarantees, money back guarantees on all of our products. Personally, I would much rather have you as a happy, ongoing reader or listener, than having your $49—$49 will be great, that helps me to sustain ProBlogger to keep the podcast running, to pay my team, and fund my life and my children’s life as well.

I much prefer to have an ongoing relationship with you as a listener, as a reader, than having your $49. Feel free to take advantage of that guarantee, to enroll, start interacting with the course, find out whether it’s for you or not, if it’s not quite for you, contact our support team and they will arrange a full refund for you, no questions asked.

Do feel free to take advantage of that, and lastly, I really would love your feedback on how we can improve it if you’ve already taken the course, let our team know, just send our team an email via our contact form, or send it to help@problogger.com and let us know how we can improve that course as well.

Lastly, remember the early bird price is $49 US, that’s 50% off, but that will go up on the 1st of July midnight, on the 30th of June. Again, go to problogger.com/31days for the link and more information on what’s included.

I hope that answers all your questions, if you do have more questions on 31 days, any aspect of it, please shoot our team an email, help@problogger.com or you can shoot us an email via social media or in our Facebook group as well. thank you for listening today, we look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 254, and I look forward to seeing some of you in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Facebook group as well. Thanks for listening, chat next week.

You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast. Tweet us @problogger. Find us at facebook.com/problogger or search ProBlogger on iTunes.

This episode of the ProBlogger podcast was edited by the team at PodcastMotor who offer a great range of services including helping you to setup and launch your podcast as well as ongoing editing and production of the podcast that you produce. You can check them out at podcastmotor.com.

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The post 253: I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued

The post How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued appeared first on ProBlogger.

At some point (probably soon after you launch your blog) you’ll want to start using images.

You probably already have some of your own images you can use: a photo of yourself for your About page, or a photo of your workspace, home, garden, or whatever’s relevant for your blog.

But when it comes to your regular blog posts, your first instinct might be to head to Google and search for whatever you need: “happy people”, “woman writing”, “fresh salad”, etc.

But looking for images through Google can be a huge and very expensive mistake.

Images, just like blog posts, are automatically copyrighted to the person who created them. You wouldn’t want someone to take your blog post and use it on their site, would you? Well,  photographers and artists feel the same way about their work.

While it’s unlikely you’d get sued for inadvertently using someone else’s art without permission, you could upset someone and look unprofessional.

But bloggers have been threatened with legal action (and pressured into paying huge fines) for using copyrighted images.

In The $7,500 Blogging Mistake That Every Blogger Needs to Avoid!, Chrystie from Living for Naptime details her experience with being asked for $7,500 in ‘damages’ by a scammy photographer for using a single green bell pepper photograph.

Big companies can also pursue bloggers for minor, unintentional infractions. Getty Images has gathered a bit of a reputation for this. And a lot of blog posts out there explain how to respond to Getty Images if they contact you demanding money. (Settlement Demand Letter from Getty Images and Tips for Responding to a Getty Images Extortion Letter are good places to start if you’ve run up against Getty Images yourself.)

You might think that if you’ve seen an image being used on someone else’s blog then you’re safe. But that’s not necessarily the case. They might be using it illegally without realising.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to safely use other people’s images on your blog that are completely legal.

Copyright and Creative Commons (Briefly) Explained

Before we take a look at specific image sources, I want to briefly talk you through a couple of important terms: ‘copyright’ and ‘creative commons’. Note that I am not a lawyer, and this is a quick rather than exhaustive explanation.

‘Copyright’ indicates that a person holds the rights to control where an image, blog post, etc. is published. They can give you permission to use their photo (e.g. if you email them to ask), but you can’t (legally) use it without their permission.

‘Creative Commons’ is a special type of licensing system for images, blog posts and other creative works. If an image is licensed under Creative Commons, you may be able to use it safely on your blog. However, there are several different types of Creative Commons licenses, so make sure you follow the terms of the specific license for your chosen image.

For instance, an image might be licensed under Creative Commons for “non-commercial use”. This means you shouldn’t use it on a blog that runs ads, sells products, or otherwise brings in money. And you definitely shouldn’t use it as, say, the cover image for an ebook.

Images can also be licensed under Creative Commons to require attribution. This means you must name and link to the photographer or artist from your blog post. If you prefer not to do this, you’ll need to source images that don’t require attribution.

Note: licensing an image under Creative Commons doesn’t mean the photographer/artist has given up their copyright. For instance, you can’t take their image and claim that you made it yourself.

You can find out all about Creative Commons on the Creative Commons website.

This might all sound very daunting, and I hope I haven’t put you off ever using images on your blog again The good news is there are plenty of ways to find images that you can safely use. And I’m going to share some of the best ones with you now.

Option #1: Use Stock Photographs You Pay For

There are plenty of stock photo sites out there that sell images, normally for a fairly small fee. If you want high-quality images for your site this is a good option, although it may be unrealistic to pay for an image every time you write a blog post.

Stock photos can be a good option for products/services you offer. Even if you don’t want to use them regularly, you might want to dip into stock libraries occasionally. Just check the terms and conditions carefully to make sure you’re allowed to use them in this way.

Some large, reputable stock photo sites include:

As well as letting you buy individual images, most stock photo sites let you buy a subscription plan. If you want a lot of stock photos (e.g. you want to use one in every post you write), this may be better value.

Stock images are normally available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest size being the cheapest. If you want a 500px wide image for a blog post, the smallest size will often be all you need.

Option #2: Use Free Images that are Creative Commons Licensed for Commercial Use

While you could use non-commercial licensed Creative Commons images if you’re blogging as a hobby, it’s safest to use only images that have been licensed for commercial use. This way, if you monetise your blog in the future you won’t have to worry about whether it’s still okay to use all of your images.

Free images vary in quality, and you may find your search doesn’t bring up many options. And some of the better free images may have already appeared on a lot of other blogs in your niche. So you might need to dig around a bit to find ones you’re happy to use for your posts.

But since you’re not paying anything, you can always switch an image for a new one if you find something better in the future.

We’ve covered lots of great places to find free images for your blog here on ProBlogger before, so I’ll share just three good options here:

Pexels – All images on the site are licensed for commercial use and don’t need attribution.

Flickr – Some images are copyrighted, while others are licensed under various Creative Commons licenses. You can use the Advanced search to find commercial-use images.

Unsplash – As with Pexels, all images are licensed for commercial use and don’t need attribution.

Option #3: Creating Your Own Images

Finally, you could create your own images for your blog. That might mean taking photos, sketching cartoons, creating digital art, or whatever you enjoy.

Using your own images can make your blog feel especially real and authentic to readers. In some types of blogging – e.g. if you’re a craft blogger – it’s expected that you’ll use your own images of your projects.

Taking Photos for Your Blog

You don’t need to be super professional, but try to make it the best you can. If you have a DSLR camera, learn how to use it properly. Who knows? You might discover an entirely new  hobby to blogging!

ProBlogger’s sister site, Digital Photography School, has plenty of resources to help you. A good place to begin is on the Start Here page.

Using Screenshots on Your Blog

Another type of image you can create is a screenshot. These can be very helpful when giving a tutorial about how to do something online. If you’re using screenshots of web pages that are publicly available, the copyright holder (i.e. the website owner) probably wouldn’t object. But it never hurts to check with them.

If you want to use screenshots in a paid-for product (such as an ebook) or something people have to sign up for (such as a free email course), always check with the copyright holder first.

I know there’s a lot to take in here, especially if you’ve been using Google to find images in the past.

If you’re worried the images you’ve already used might be infringing someone’s copyright, it would be worth going through your posts and searching for each one in Google Images. (Click the camera icon next to the search bar to upload the image.)

Once you’ve found the image, track down the original source (e.g. a stock photography site or the photographer’s own website) and check whether the image is licensed under Creative Commons. If it isn’t, or you can’t be sure of the original source, take it down immediately and replace it with an image you can legally use.

How do you source great images for your blog? Or do you prefer to create your own? Share your tips with us in the comments.

The post How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued

The post How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued appeared first on ProBlogger.

At some point (probably soon after you launch your blog) you’ll want to start using images.

You probably already have some of your own images you can use: a photo of yourself for your About page, or a photo of your workspace, home, garden, or whatever’s relevant for your blog.

But when it comes to your regular blog posts, your first instinct might be to head to Google and search for whatever you need: “happy people”, “woman writing”, “fresh salad”, etc.

But looking for images through Google can be a huge and very expensive mistake.

Images, just like blog posts, are automatically copyrighted to the person who created them. You wouldn’t want someone to take your blog post and use it on their site, would you? Well,  photographers and artists feel the same way about their work.

While it’s unlikely you’d get sued for inadvertently using someone else’s art without permission, you could upset someone and look unprofessional.

But bloggers have been threatened with legal action (and pressured into paying huge fines) for using copyrighted images.

In The $7,500 Blogging Mistake That Every Blogger Needs to Avoid!, Chrystie from Living for Naptime details her experience with being asked for $7,500 in ‘damages’ by a scammy photographer for using a single green bell pepper photograph.

Big companies can also pursue bloggers for minor, unintentional infractions. Getty Images has gathered a bit of a reputation for this. And a lot of blog posts out there explain how to respond to Getty Images if they contact you demanding money. (Settlement Demand Letter from Getty Images and Tips for Responding to a Getty Images Extortion Letter are good places to start if you’ve run up against Getty Images yourself.)

You might think that if you’ve seen an image being used on someone else’s blog then you’re safe. But that’s not necessarily the case. They might be using it illegally without realising.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to safely use other people’s images on your blog that are completely legal.

Copyright and Creative Commons (Briefly) Explained

Before we take a look at specific image sources, I want to briefly talk you through a couple of important terms: ‘copyright’ and ‘creative commons’. Note that I am not a lawyer, and this is a quick rather than exhaustive explanation.

‘Copyright’ indicates that a person holds the rights to control where an image, blog post, etc. is published. They can give you permission to use their photo (e.g. if you email them to ask), but you can’t (legally) use it without their permission.

‘Creative Commons’ is a special type of licensing system for images, blog posts and other creative works. If an image is licensed under Creative Commons, you may be able to use it safely on your blog. However, there are several different types of Creative Commons licenses, so make sure you follow the terms of the specific license for your chosen image.

For instance, an image might be licensed under Creative Commons for “non-commercial use”. This means you shouldn’t use it on a blog that runs ads, sells products, or otherwise brings in money. And you definitely shouldn’t use it as, say, the cover image for an ebook.

Images can also be licensed under Creative Commons to require attribution. This means you must name and link to the photographer or artist from your blog post. If you prefer not to do this, you’ll need to source images that don’t require attribution.

Note: licensing an image under Creative Commons doesn’t mean the photographer/artist has given up their copyright. For instance, you can’t take their image and claim that you made it yourself.

You can find out all about Creative Commons on the Creative Commons website.

This might all sound very daunting, and I hope I haven’t put you off ever using images on your blog again The good news is there are plenty of ways to find images that you can safely use. And I’m going to share some of the best ones with you now.

Option #1: Use Stock Photographs You Pay For

There are plenty of stock photo sites out there that sell images, normally for a fairly small fee. If you want high-quality images for your site this is a good option, although it may be unrealistic to pay for an image every time you write a blog post.

Stock photos can be a good option for products/services you offer. Even if you don’t want to use them regularly, you might want to dip into stock libraries occasionally. Just check the terms and conditions carefully to make sure you’re allowed to use them in this way.

Some large, reputable stock photo sites include:

As well as letting you buy individual images, most stock photo sites let you buy a subscription plan. If you want a lot of stock photos (e.g. you want to use one in every post you write), this may be better value.

Stock images are normally available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest size being the cheapest. If you want a 500px wide image for a blog post, the smallest size will often be all you need.

Option #2: Use Free Images that are Creative Commons Licensed for Commercial Use

While you could use non-commercial licensed Creative Commons images if you’re blogging as a hobby, it’s safest to use only images that have been licensed for commercial use. This way, if you monetise your blog in the future you won’t have to worry about whether it’s still okay to use all of your images.

Free images vary in quality, and you may find your search doesn’t bring up many options. And some of the better free images may have already appeared on a lot of other blogs in your niche. So you might need to dig around a bit to find ones you’re happy to use for your posts.

But since you’re not paying anything, you can always switch an image for a new one if you find something better in the future.

We’ve covered lots of great places to find free images for your blog here on ProBlogger before, so I’ll share just three good options here:

Pexels – All images on the site are licensed for commercial use and don’t need attribution.

Flickr – Some images are copyrighted, while others are licensed under various Creative Commons licenses. You can use the Advanced search to find commercial-use images.

Unsplash – As with Pexels, all images are licensed for commercial use and don’t need attribution.

Option #3: Creating Your Own Images

Finally, you could create your own images for your blog. That might mean taking photos, sketching cartoons, creating digital art, or whatever you enjoy.

Using your own images can make your blog feel especially real and authentic to readers. In some types of blogging – e.g. if you’re a craft blogger – it’s expected that you’ll use your own images of your projects.

Taking Photos for Your Blog

You don’t need to be super professional, but try to make it the best you can. If you have a DSLR camera, learn how to use it properly. Who knows? You might discover an entirely new  hobby to blogging!

ProBlogger’s sister site, Digital Photography School, has plenty of resources to help you. A good place to begin is on the Start Here page.

Using Screenshots on Your Blog

Another type of image you can create is a screenshot. These can be very helpful when giving a tutorial about how to do something online. If you’re using screenshots of web pages that are publicly available, the copyright holder (i.e. the website owner) probably wouldn’t object. But it never hurts to check with them.

If you want to use screenshots in a paid-for product (such as an ebook) or something people have to sign up for (such as a free email course), always check with the copyright holder first.

I know there’s a lot to take in here, especially if you’ve been using Google to find images in the past.

If you’re worried the images you’ve already used might be infringing someone’s copyright, it would be worth going through your posts and searching for each one in Google Images. (Click the camera icon next to the search bar to upload the image.)

Once you’ve found the image, track down the original source (e.g. a stock photography site or the photographer’s own website) and check whether the image is licensed under Creative Commons. If it isn’t, or you can’t be sure of the original source, take it down immediately and replace it with an image you can legally use.

How do you source great images for your blog? Or do you prefer to create your own? Share your tips with us in the comments.

The post How to Find Images for Your Blog That Won’t Get You Sued appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

252: What Thomas Edison Can Teach YOU about Profitable Blogging

11 Things Thomas Edison Can Teach You About Profitable Blogging

If it wasn’t for Thomas Edison, you’d probably be sitting in the dark feeling quite bored.

Edison was a prolific and influential inventor. He invented world-changing technologies including the light bulb, the phonograph and motion picture camera.

And his views back then on emerging technologies can teach you about blogging today.

Quotes from Edison and thoughts on how they apply to blogging:

 

Start with a need: “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”

When building a blog, think about what problems it will solve, how it will serve people, and what changes it will bring.

 

Work smart: “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

It’s easy to fill your time with tasks that seem urgent but aren’t necessarily important. Avoid distractions. Write content, update archives, and drive traffic.

 

Work and wait: “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”

It takes time to build a blog to its full potential. While search engines index your blog, establish trust with readers and build a profile in your niche.

 

It takes work: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Coming up with a great idea for a new blog is just the beginning. It takes a lot of hard work to make it successful. Lots of little actions add up to a great blog.

 

Failure brings You closer to success: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Treat every post you write, every attempt you make to promote your blog and every tool you use as learning experiences that shape your future.

 

You are capable of astounding things: “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

You have incredible potential. You are unique. And you know something no-one else does. Tap into what makes you special, and don’t sell yourself short.

 

Sometimes failing is the start of success: “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”

Even when things don’t turn out the way you want, they can still be a success. What you include in your blog can rise to something new.

 

Don’t give up too early: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Most blogs are abandoned after a month or two. The average time that it takes a blog to rise to the top is about 3 years or longer. Don’t give up on it.

 

Make it fun: “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”

Blog about something you enjoy and are passionate about. Readers pick up on your energy and love for the topic.

 

Have lots of ideas: “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.”

Put time aside to dream, brainstorm, and wonder “What if?” Not every idea for your blog will work, so it pays to have lots of ideas. Practice the art of curiosity.

 

You don’t have to start with a finished product: “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

Don’t get trapped into thinking you need to start with all the bells and whistles. Most successful bloggers start with just the basics.

 

Links and Resources for What Thomas Edison Can Teach YOU About Profitable Blogging:

Courses

Join our Facebook group

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hey there and welcome to episode 252 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, ebook, courses, events, and so much more that all help you to start a great blog, to create content for that blog that’s going to make the world a better place in some way, but also that will hopefully be profitable for you in some way.

In today’s episode I want to do something a little bit different. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing a quote of the week and I’ve had some really nice feedback on that. In fact, quite a few of you have been tweeting and sending me quotes that you love on Twitter, social media as well.

This week is all based around 11 quotes from Thomas Edison. I want to talk about these 11 things that Thomas Edison can teach you about blogging. This is just a different way of talking about some of the principles of building a profitable blog. Thomas Edison was one of the most prolific and influential inventors that the world has seen, particularly for his time and has developed all kinds of amazing technologies. He’s also prolifically quoted. As I was digging around looking at some quotes, I came across quite a few his that I thought really did relate to blogging. We’re going to go through those. It will be a relatively quick episode today. You can find all of the quotes and full transcript of today’s show over at our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/252.

I also want to mention today before we get into the show, that you can enroll in 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. This is a course that I’ve been talking about now for a few months which we have officially launched. If you go problogger.com/31days or you’ll find it linked to in our courses tab over at problogger.com. This course is an updated version of our incredibly best-selling ebook, the best selling ebook I’ve ever launched, 31 Days To Build A Better Blog, which I launched I think it was back in 2008.

We did an update in 2012, and now 2018, we’re doing a complete overhaul of it and presenting it as a course. You get video, audio, you get all the slides, you get a whole stack of writable worksheets. There’s a Facebook group for some accountability as well. You get all that for $49. This is an early bird special for the next—as I recall this—seven days as this one goes live, it’ll only be for the next five days. So you want to head over to problogger.com/31days where you get it for $49. The normal price will be $99.

This course is perfect for those of you who are either just starting out. You might have just started a Start A Blog course which is a free course. This is the perfect kind of next step. It will help you to set up some routines and rhythms in your first month or so of blogging. It’s also really great for those of you who’ve got a blog that has been maybe plateaued, that you need a bit of a kick start. It gives you 31 pieces of teaching, but more importantly, 31 pieces of action that you can take to improve your blog.

It’s been done by over 20,000 people in the ebook version. I know it’s going to help a lot of you. We’ve just had over 200 bloggers go through the beta version of it and I’ve incorporated a lot of their feedback into improving it even further. Again, check it out at problogger.com/31days. Make sure you do that very fairly because it only lasts—for the early bird discount—for the next few days. Alright, today’s show notes again problogger.com/podcast/252.

Let’s get into today’s show. What Thomas Edison can teach you about profitable blogging? Now you might think nothing at all because he was around way before blogging was invented. But just pointing out the wisdom from these 11 quotes, I do think a lot of them do apply to any kind of entrepreneurial activity, blogging being one of those if you are trying to do it for profit. So, let me go through them.

Number one thing that I think he can teach us is to really have at the center of what you do the need of someone. Start with a need. This is the quote that I found: “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others. I find out what the world needs then I proceed to invent.” So, this sense that really does start with a need and then the invention comes out of that. This is certainly something that I’ve seen in many entrepreneurs over the years. Spot a problem, solve the problem whether that problem be someone else’s problem or your own, and then create a product or a service to solve that problem.

Most successful blogs that I’ve come across succeed when they meet a need, when they solve a problem, when they enhance the life of someone. This is something that I took almost every episode over the years in some way or another. Whether it be your blog is to give people information when they don’t have information, whether your blog maybe is to entertain people when they’re feeling bored, whether it is your blog gives people a sense of community when they feel alone, when it gives them information that teaches them something, how to do something when they don’t know how to do something.

Blogs succeed most when they meet a need, when they enhance the life of their reader in some way. The best place to start now when you’re building your blog is to think about that need, that problem that people have. Many times, many successful blogs start with a problem of the blogger themselves. They solve that problem and they talk out loud about how they solved their own problem, or it is spotting someone else’s problem.

Certainly for me, ProBlogger was me trying to solve my problem; how do I build a profitable blog. That was a problem I had and so I started a blog about my journey in solving that problem. Digital photography school was me seeing the need that other people had, the questions that other people are asking. So I began to answer those questions, solve those problems of other people. I already had answers to those things.

Really, this does apply on a couple of levels. Firstly, in a big picture way, when you’re choosing your niche, when you’re choosing your topic, when you’re choosing the focus of your blog, keeping the problem, keeping the need, keeping that gain that people want in mind, keeping that central when you’re choosing your overall theme, but also on a post-by-post basis. Every post I write, the goal that I have, and then I tell my writers is that we want to solve at least one problem with every post that we write.

You could take it further. Every Facebook update you do, every Instagram post you do, every tweet you do. Really, you could be making it your goal to solve that problem in some way. The problem doesn’t need to be big. It doesn’t have to be life-changing in a massive way for your reader. But if it does enhance their life in some small way, that goes a long way in the long run to building a profitable blog–so, number one start with a need.

Number two: work smart. This is another quote that I found from Thomas Edison: “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment. To either of these ends, there must be a forthright system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

I love this quote because there’s a sense that, many times we fill our lives with things that seem to make us look busy but they don’t actually take us towards our goal. It’s really easy as a blogger fill your time with a lot of tasks that seem important, that seem urgent but they are not actually important in any way. It’s so easy as a blogger to build these machines of routines and things that we do that, when we first start doing them, we think maybe they could help us but they turned out not really to do anything at all.

Social media can be one of these things. Social media can build our blog but we spend a lot of time doing it in ways that don’t always translate into growth in our blog. They can end up being a distraction from the key things that we need to do. Exploring the latest tools, the latest trends, these can all be distractions. They can be good things but if we spend all of our time, filling our time with these things that everyone else is doing, that everyone else is talking about, that can actually take us away from the core things that we need to do to build a blog.

Really, ultimately the core things you need to do to build a blog are write great content, update your archive, working on that content side of things, working on building traffic to your blog, to activities that are putting yourself out there, building community engagement with the people who come to your blog, and then thinking about monetization. The tools, the social media, and all these things, they can play their part in that but many times we get distracted by it–so work smart. Be ruthless as you think about what you are doing with your time.

If you are thinking maybe you’re not working smart, I challenge you, over the next week, to record everything that you do and take a look at that at the end of the week. Ask yourself at the end of the week, “How much of my time was spent on those core activities and how much of that time I’m spending on doing things that weren’t really converting, that weren’t really helping me to build my blog.

Number three thing that I learned from Thomas Edison is work and wait, which sounds weird, work and wait, but here’s the quote: “Everything comes to him or her who hustles while he or she waits.” Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait. There’s this sense of hustling, working, striving, but also waiting. These things can actually sit side-by-side. Most bloggers that I meet—very quickly in their journey—find that to build a profitable blog takes both work but also time. You need to work. It’s not just going to happen. It takes action but it also takes waiting. It’s a waiting game.

It takes time for the search engines to index you. It takes time for you to create enough content to have an archive. It takes time to establish trust with your readers. It takes time to build profile in your niche. It takes time to learn about blogging. It takes time to learn about your niche and to find your writing style, to find your voice. All these things take time.

There’s this sense of having to wait but also there’s a sense that you need to be hard at work in the waiting as well, particularly in those early days of your blog, you need to not just wait, you need to work. You need to hustle as Thomas Edison said. Be busy but be patient. Busily wait, if you like. I love that kind of idea these two things that seem almost opposites but they both are true.

Number four, and builds on this idea that I just talked about, it takes work. This is another quote from Thomas: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Coming up with great ideas for your new blog is great. You need to nail that. You need to work out what that focus is so that first idea you have is great. The inspiration you have, fantastic.

I’ve met so many people who’ve got great ideas for blogs, brilliant ideas for blogs but they don’t actually do anything. They don’t actually perspire. To make a blog successful, it takes a lot of work. It’s the accumulation of all of those little actions that you need to do over time that add up to create an epic blog that’s going to be successful. If you want a profitable blog, yes, that first idea you have is so important, nail it but then follow it up with a lot of work. It takes so much work.

Number five: “Failing takes you closer to succeeding.” Another quote that many of you will have heard before, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I’ve heard variations of this quote. Every post your write, every way that you attempt to promote your blog, every tool that you used, every question you ask your readers, all of these things that you do, treat them like little learning experiences that will shape your future.

If you put something out there and it doesn’t work, you are one step closer to finding something that will work. To continue to put things out there, to treat everything you do as an experiment. The key with an experiment is that the experiment itself doesn’t always end up being the finished product. The experiment reveals something that can reveal the product that you want to create. Everything you do, treat it as an experiment.

Many of the things you do will fall over, they’ll fail. Some of the things that you do will work and they’ll go okay. But a few of the things that you do, the few of those thousands of experiments that you do will fly. They’ll go viral and you build further on those things, you evolve those things even further. Pay attention to what is going okay and particularly what’s going brilliantly. Out of those little sparks that fly when you experiment will become the things you need to pay more attention to and then you need to put more work into those things as well.

Number six, I love this one, “You are capable of astounding things.” I love this quote. If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. Don’t get trapped into limiting yourself as a blogger because you’ve not made it yet. You may look at your blog and you may think, “It hasn’t made it.” Or you may compare it to someone else and what they’re doing. Don’t limit yourself by what’s in front of you right now. You have incredible potential.

Potential is a future thing. Something that’s not yet reached. You’re unique. You have something that no one else has. Your story, your experience, the combination of your personality and those things, so tap into those things. Tap into the things that make you, you. Hopefully, you’ll be on the way to building something valuable. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re capable of astounding things.

Those things won’t just fall in your lap, though. You got to combine this one with some of those other things. There’s a lot of work. There’s patience. Busily wait. Remember that one. But don’t sell yourself short. You are capable of astounding things. Those things will hopefully reveal themselves to you particularly when you tap into what makes you, you.

Number seven tapped into a theme that we did touch on a little bit before: “Sometimes, failing is just the start of success.” Another quote that Thomas said, “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do, doesn’t mean it’s useless.” There’s the sense here in the experiments that Thomas did. Sometimes, he would start an experiment thinking it would turn out one way but it turned out the other way, and the other way actually revealed something else he could do. This is a thing that comes out many times when you talk to inventors.

It’s how the microwave oven was invented. I can’t remember the guy who did it, but he was developing radar in weaponry. He was working in the US Department of Defense in radar weaponry and he was standing in front of this microwave unit that he was developing for a weapon and he notice that the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. This unexpected outcome of the experiment showed him potential in another area–heating food. You couldn’t get two things that are more different, but he took notice of this unexpected outcome and that actually sparked an idea that then became the microwave oven, and became one of the most successful inventions of all time, we’ve almost all got one in our family’s homes.

One of the wonderful things about experiment is that you will have unexpected outcomes. One of the wonderful things about the blogging space is that sometimes you put things out there and they come back to you in a different way. Sometimes, you start out thinking that you’re going to serve your readers in one way and then you actually serve them in another way.

There’s been many times in my own journey where the things that I thought I was doing actually didn’t work but they revealed something else. Perhaps the best example I can give you of that is my first ever photography blog. It was designed to be a photo blog. I was going to share photos of a trip I was taking to Morocco. I also wrote this little review of the camera I was using on this trip. Of course, went away on the trip, came home, and realize no one took any notice of my photos. It turns out my photos weren’t that great but the camera review took off. It was ranking high in Google and people were responding to that and that gave birth to a camera review blog. The photo blog became something else. I would never have discovered that if I hadn’t have done the experiment of the photo blog and taken note of the unexpected outcome.

Take note not only of your failures, of things that don’t work, but also pay attention to what unexpected things come out of that failure. Maybe it will give birth to something new, that can become your new main thing.

Number eight, don’t give up too early. Here’s the quote: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.” Most bloggers abandon their blogs after a month or two. I actually saw a study a few years ago. I think it was two months was the average length of a blog. Here’s one thing for you; if you’ve been blogging for longer than two months, congratulations. You’re above average. You’ve done well. If you’re less than two months, persist. Get to that two-month mark to make yourself above average.

But here’s the thing. Our most successful blogs, most profitable blogs actually take two to three years to get to that point where they’re beginning to take off. There’s this patch between that two-month mark where most people give up and the two, or three, or four-year mark where blogs begin to grow and take off–that is a tough time to get through. I remember that time myself, of wondering, “Is this going to work? I can see some little sparks and some things happening but I’m not full time. I’m not able to sustain it.” That time can be a hard time to push through.

That’s why we started 31 Days To Build A Better Blog, to be honest. Because that’s where I find most people who are in that patch of just sort of wondering if they should just give up. Thirty-one days of intense burst of action and interaction on your blog can actually lift it a lot. Use 31 Days if you want. I’ll start a Facebook group and get together with a few other bloggers to get you through that patch. Because that is the number one I think that most blogs fall on is that bloggers don’t just doesn’t persist for long enough, so you need to persist with that.

Number nine: “Make it fun.” I love this quote from Thomas. I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun. Blog about something that you enjoy. Blog about something that you have an interest in, a passion in, something that you would talk to your friends about, even if no one was paying, even if no one else is listening, you just enjoy it. This doesn’t guarantee success but it certainly makes blogging a more pleasurable and therefore a sustainable thing.

If you are going to get through that, that tough patch between in the first two or three years, you want to be doing something fun. You’re not going to be making much money in those early days. You probably won’t have a whole heap of recognition. You probably won’t have a lot of traffic or people affirming you in those early days. But if it’s fun, if it’s the type of thing that you do for free—because you are doing it for free—then it will get you through that tough time. Choose something that you are going to enjoy.

You also will find the other benefit of doing something that you enjoy. Those who do eventually read your blog will pick up on your energy. They’ll pick up on your enjoyment of your topic. They’ll pick up on the fun that you are having and increases the chances of them having fun too. I know when I read a blog for the first time whether the author is actually engaged with their topic. If they’re energized by their topic, it shines through in the writing. You can hear it in the voice of a podcaster. You can see it in the face of a video blogger. It shines through. You might want to choose something that you actually do enjoy and that will help you to sustain but it will also help you to grow your blog as well.

Two more things that Thomas Edison can teach you about profitable blogging. Number 10 is have lots of ideas. This is the quote: “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” The reality is—this does tap into some of the other things that we’re talking about with experiments before—the reality is a lot of the ideas that you have over time will go okay. Some of them will completely flop, but occasionally you’ll have one that just sparks, and that does really well for you.

Again, I don’t want to talk too much about 31 Days To Build A Better Blog but it all started with a crazy idea that I had lying in bed at two o’clock one night, to do a blog post series of 31 blog posts over a month. This ebook that eventually sold 20,000 copies and now has turned into a course, all started with just this crazy idea I have one night to do a 31-part series on my blog. The unexpected result was my readers really loved it and they suggested I turn it into an ebook. That would never happened if I hadn’t paid attention to that crazy idea.

But here’s the thing, I had hundreds of crazy ideas at 2:00 AM. That’s my best time of thinking of ideas. I sleep with a little pad and pencil next to my bed. Quite often in the morning I wake up and there’s an idea there that I’ve had during the night. I’ve had thousands probably of ideas in the last 15 years but only a few of them were really taken off like 31 Days To Build A Better Blog.

Put aside time to dream, to brainstorm, to wonder what if, pay attention to those ideas and most importantly, capture them in some way. Having that piece of paper and pencil next to my bed is so important. Develop a way to capture those ideas and be willing to try ideas that may not work. It’s all about that prolific experimentation.

Practice the art of curiosity–is something that I will encourage you to do. Schedule time for curiosity and for playfulness. Whilst you do need to work, I also do believe that it’s important to have a little bit of white space in your week as well where you allow yourself just to dream, to be curious, to ask questions, and to brainstorm things as well. You never know what might come out of that.

The last thing that I’ve learned from Thomas Edison quotes is you don’t have to start with a finished product. This is the quote that I found to talk about this: “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” You’ll never going to start with a perfect blog. A lot of bloggers get trapped into this way of thinking that on the day they start they need to have a brilliant blog design, they need to have the perfect blog domain, they need to be using the perfect tool, they need to have all their tools installed, they need to have the opt-in, they need to have the product, they need a logo, they need to have all these things before they start.

The reality is that–no successful blog ever started that way. I can’t think of one that launched and it was perfect out of the gate. I looked back on my first blog. It was on Blogger, it was on the Blogspot domain. I didn’t have a server, I didn’t have the best tool. I didn’t have a design. I was using this ugly navy blue default template that they had. I didn’t have any pictures or visuals on my blog at all. It was not perfect. I did not know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to make text bold, I didn’t know how to code, I didn’t know anything. But I wrote a post and that post led me to write another post. Gradually, I learned the skills. Gradually, I designed my blog. Gradually, I realized there were other tools that I could use and I learned how to use them. I learned how to make text bold. Gradually, over time, I added some bells and whistles.

Even today, I look at my blog and it’s not perfect. There are still things that I’m learning and still things that I can add to it. The key is to experiment. It’s to start and to keep working. Gradually, over time, your ideas will be refined, your blog will begin to grow, it will improve, and you’ll get there. You’ll get to that point where you have a finished product but it all starts in a kind of an ugly, awkward way. That’s totally okay because over time, as you persist, as you experiment, as ideas turn out in unexpected ways, all of these things that I’ve been just talking about, as you have fun, hopefully it would grow.

I hope you found a little bit of inspiration in these quotes from Thomas Edison. I’m going to include them all over in our show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/252. I really hope that something in that has sparked for you some ideas, and some inspiration, some encouragement to persist and keep working on what you are doing.

If you’ve got a favorite quote, I would love to hear it. You can share it over in our Facebook group or on the show notes as well. You might just find it gets featured in an upcoming show as well. Lastly, don’t forget 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. As this podcast goes live, there’ll be only about five days to go, to get that early bird special of $49. It’s about half-price. Find it at problogger.com/31days. I look forward to seeing you in that Facebook group as well. Thanks for listening today. Chat with you next week in episode 253.

You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast. Tweet us @problogger. Find us at facebook.com/problogger or search ProBlogger on iTunes.

Before I go, I want to give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at PodcastMotor, who’ve been editing all of our podcast for some time now. PodcastMotor have a great range of services for podcasters at all levels. They can help you to set up your podcast but also offer a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out at podcastmotor.com.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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252: What Thomas Edison Can Teach YOU about Profitable Blogging

11 Things Thomas Edison Can Teach You About Profitable Blogging

If it wasn’t for Thomas Edison, you’d probably be sitting in the dark feeling quite bored.

Edison was a prolific and influential inventor. He invented world-changing technologies including the light bulb, the phonograph and motion picture camera.

And his views back then on emerging technologies can teach you about blogging today.

Quotes from Edison and thoughts on how they apply to blogging:

 

Start with a need: “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”

When building a blog, think about what problems it will solve, how it will serve people, and what changes it will bring.

 

Work smart: “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

It’s easy to fill your time with tasks that seem urgent but aren’t necessarily important. Avoid distractions. Write content, update archives, and drive traffic.

 

Work and wait: “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”

It takes time to build a blog to its full potential. While search engines index your blog, establish trust with readers and build a profile in your niche.

 

It takes work: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Coming up with a great idea for a new blog is just the beginning. It takes a lot of hard work to make it successful. Lots of little actions add up to a great blog.

 

Failure brings You closer to success: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Treat every post you write, every attempt you make to promote your blog and every tool you use as learning experiences that shape your future.

 

You are capable of astounding things: “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

You have incredible potential. You are unique. And you know something no-one else does. Tap into what makes you special, and don’t sell yourself short.

 

Sometimes failing is the start of success: “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.”

Even when things don’t turn out the way you want, they can still be a success. What you include in your blog can rise to something new.

 

Don’t give up too early: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Most blogs are abandoned after a month or two. The average time that it takes a blog to rise to the top is about 3 years or longer. Don’t give up on it.

 

Make it fun: “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”

Blog about something you enjoy and are passionate about. Readers pick up on your energy and love for the topic.

 

Have lots of ideas: “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.”

Put time aside to dream, brainstorm, and wonder “What if?” Not every idea for your blog will work, so it pays to have lots of ideas. Practice the art of curiosity.

 

You don’t have to start with a finished product: “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”

Don’t get trapped into thinking you need to start with all the bells and whistles. Most successful bloggers start with just the basics.

 

Links and Resources for What Thomas Edison Can Teach YOU About Profitable Blogging:

Courses

Join our Facebook group

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hey there and welcome to episode 252 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, ebook, courses, events, and so much more that all help you to start a great blog, to create content for that blog that’s going to make the world a better place in some way, but also that will hopefully be profitable for you in some way.

In today’s episode I want to do something a little bit different. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing a quote of the week and I’ve had some really nice feedback on that. In fact, quite a few of you have been tweeting and sending me quotes that you love on Twitter, social media as well.

This week is all based around 11 quotes from Thomas Edison. I want to talk about these 11 things that Thomas Edison can teach you about blogging. This is just a different way of talking about some of the principles of building a profitable blog. Thomas Edison was one of the most prolific and influential inventors that the world has seen, particularly for his time and has developed all kinds of amazing technologies. He’s also prolifically quoted. As I was digging around looking at some quotes, I came across quite a few his that I thought really did relate to blogging. We’re going to go through those. It will be a relatively quick episode today. You can find all of the quotes and full transcript of today’s show over at our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/252.

I also want to mention today before we get into the show, that you can enroll in 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. This is a course that I’ve been talking about now for a few months which we have officially launched. If you go problogger.com/31days or you’ll find it linked to in our courses tab over at problogger.com. This course is an updated version of our incredibly best-selling ebook, the best selling ebook I’ve ever launched, 31 Days To Build A Better Blog, which I launched I think it was back in 2008.

We did an update in 2012, and now 2018, we’re doing a complete overhaul of it and presenting it as a course. You get video, audio, you get all the slides, you get a whole stack of writable worksheets. There’s a Facebook group for some accountability as well. You get all that for $49. This is an early bird special for the next—as I recall this—seven days as this one goes live, it’ll only be for the next five days. So you want to head over to problogger.com/31days where you get it for $49. The normal price will be $99.

This course is perfect for those of you who are either just starting out. You might have just started a Start A Blog course which is a free course. This is the perfect kind of next step. It will help you to set up some routines and rhythms in your first month or so of blogging. It’s also really great for those of you who’ve got a blog that has been maybe plateaued, that you need a bit of a kick start. It gives you 31 pieces of teaching, but more importantly, 31 pieces of action that you can take to improve your blog.

It’s been done by over 20,000 people in the ebook version. I know it’s going to help a lot of you. We’ve just had over 200 bloggers go through the beta version of it and I’ve incorporated a lot of their feedback into improving it even further. Again, check it out at problogger.com/31days. Make sure you do that very fairly because it only lasts—for the early bird discount—for the next few days. Alright, today’s show notes again problogger.com/podcast/252.

Let’s get into today’s show. What Thomas Edison can teach you about profitable blogging? Now you might think nothing at all because he was around way before blogging was invented. But just pointing out the wisdom from these 11 quotes, I do think a lot of them do apply to any kind of entrepreneurial activity, blogging being one of those if you are trying to do it for profit. So, let me go through them.

Number one thing that I think he can teach us is to really have at the center of what you do the need of someone. Start with a need. This is the quote that I found: “I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others. I find out what the world needs then I proceed to invent.” So, this sense that really does start with a need and then the invention comes out of that. This is certainly something that I’ve seen in many entrepreneurs over the years. Spot a problem, solve the problem whether that problem be someone else’s problem or your own, and then create a product or a service to solve that problem.

Most successful blogs that I’ve come across succeed when they meet a need, when they solve a problem, when they enhance the life of someone. This is something that I took almost every episode over the years in some way or another. Whether it be your blog is to give people information when they don’t have information, whether your blog maybe is to entertain people when they’re feeling bored, whether it is your blog gives people a sense of community when they feel alone, when it gives them information that teaches them something, how to do something when they don’t know how to do something.

Blogs succeed most when they meet a need, when they enhance the life of their reader in some way. The best place to start now when you’re building your blog is to think about that need, that problem that people have. Many times, many successful blogs start with a problem of the blogger themselves. They solve that problem and they talk out loud about how they solved their own problem, or it is spotting someone else’s problem.

Certainly for me, ProBlogger was me trying to solve my problem; how do I build a profitable blog. That was a problem I had and so I started a blog about my journey in solving that problem. Digital photography school was me seeing the need that other people had, the questions that other people are asking. So I began to answer those questions, solve those problems of other people. I already had answers to those things.

Really, this does apply on a couple of levels. Firstly, in a big picture way, when you’re choosing your niche, when you’re choosing your topic, when you’re choosing the focus of your blog, keeping the problem, keeping the need, keeping that gain that people want in mind, keeping that central when you’re choosing your overall theme, but also on a post-by-post basis. Every post I write, the goal that I have, and then I tell my writers is that we want to solve at least one problem with every post that we write.

You could take it further. Every Facebook update you do, every Instagram post you do, every tweet you do. Really, you could be making it your goal to solve that problem in some way. The problem doesn’t need to be big. It doesn’t have to be life-changing in a massive way for your reader. But if it does enhance their life in some small way, that goes a long way in the long run to building a profitable blog–so, number one start with a need.

Number two: work smart. This is another quote that I found from Thomas Edison: “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment. To either of these ends, there must be a forthright system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

I love this quote because there’s a sense that, many times we fill our lives with things that seem to make us look busy but they don’t actually take us towards our goal. It’s really easy as a blogger fill your time with a lot of tasks that seem important, that seem urgent but they are not actually important in any way. It’s so easy as a blogger to build these machines of routines and things that we do that, when we first start doing them, we think maybe they could help us but they turned out not really to do anything at all.

Social media can be one of these things. Social media can build our blog but we spend a lot of time doing it in ways that don’t always translate into growth in our blog. They can end up being a distraction from the key things that we need to do. Exploring the latest tools, the latest trends, these can all be distractions. They can be good things but if we spend all of our time, filling our time with these things that everyone else is doing, that everyone else is talking about, that can actually take us away from the core things that we need to do to build a blog.

Really, ultimately the core things you need to do to build a blog are write great content, update your archive, working on that content side of things, working on building traffic to your blog, to activities that are putting yourself out there, building community engagement with the people who come to your blog, and then thinking about monetization. The tools, the social media, and all these things, they can play their part in that but many times we get distracted by it–so work smart. Be ruthless as you think about what you are doing with your time.

If you are thinking maybe you’re not working smart, I challenge you, over the next week, to record everything that you do and take a look at that at the end of the week. Ask yourself at the end of the week, “How much of my time was spent on those core activities and how much of that time I’m spending on doing things that weren’t really converting, that weren’t really helping me to build my blog.

Number three thing that I learned from Thomas Edison is work and wait, which sounds weird, work and wait, but here’s the quote: “Everything comes to him or her who hustles while he or she waits.” Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait. There’s this sense of hustling, working, striving, but also waiting. These things can actually sit side-by-side. Most bloggers that I meet—very quickly in their journey—find that to build a profitable blog takes both work but also time. You need to work. It’s not just going to happen. It takes action but it also takes waiting. It’s a waiting game.

It takes time for the search engines to index you. It takes time for you to create enough content to have an archive. It takes time to establish trust with your readers. It takes time to build profile in your niche. It takes time to learn about blogging. It takes time to learn about your niche and to find your writing style, to find your voice. All these things take time.

There’s this sense of having to wait but also there’s a sense that you need to be hard at work in the waiting as well, particularly in those early days of your blog, you need to not just wait, you need to work. You need to hustle as Thomas Edison said. Be busy but be patient. Busily wait, if you like. I love that kind of idea these two things that seem almost opposites but they both are true.

Number four, and builds on this idea that I just talked about, it takes work. This is another quote from Thomas: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Coming up with great ideas for your new blog is great. You need to nail that. You need to work out what that focus is so that first idea you have is great. The inspiration you have, fantastic.

I’ve met so many people who’ve got great ideas for blogs, brilliant ideas for blogs but they don’t actually do anything. They don’t actually perspire. To make a blog successful, it takes a lot of work. It’s the accumulation of all of those little actions that you need to do over time that add up to create an epic blog that’s going to be successful. If you want a profitable blog, yes, that first idea you have is so important, nail it but then follow it up with a lot of work. It takes so much work.

Number five: “Failing takes you closer to succeeding.” Another quote that many of you will have heard before, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I’ve heard variations of this quote. Every post your write, every way that you attempt to promote your blog, every tool that you used, every question you ask your readers, all of these things that you do, treat them like little learning experiences that will shape your future.

If you put something out there and it doesn’t work, you are one step closer to finding something that will work. To continue to put things out there, to treat everything you do as an experiment. The key with an experiment is that the experiment itself doesn’t always end up being the finished product. The experiment reveals something that can reveal the product that you want to create. Everything you do, treat it as an experiment.

Many of the things you do will fall over, they’ll fail. Some of the things that you do will work and they’ll go okay. But a few of the things that you do, the few of those thousands of experiments that you do will fly. They’ll go viral and you build further on those things, you evolve those things even further. Pay attention to what is going okay and particularly what’s going brilliantly. Out of those little sparks that fly when you experiment will become the things you need to pay more attention to and then you need to put more work into those things as well.

Number six, I love this one, “You are capable of astounding things.” I love this quote. If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. Don’t get trapped into limiting yourself as a blogger because you’ve not made it yet. You may look at your blog and you may think, “It hasn’t made it.” Or you may compare it to someone else and what they’re doing. Don’t limit yourself by what’s in front of you right now. You have incredible potential.

Potential is a future thing. Something that’s not yet reached. You’re unique. You have something that no one else has. Your story, your experience, the combination of your personality and those things, so tap into those things. Tap into the things that make you, you. Hopefully, you’ll be on the way to building something valuable. Don’t sell yourself short. You’re capable of astounding things.

Those things won’t just fall in your lap, though. You got to combine this one with some of those other things. There’s a lot of work. There’s patience. Busily wait. Remember that one. But don’t sell yourself short. You are capable of astounding things. Those things will hopefully reveal themselves to you particularly when you tap into what makes you, you.

Number seven tapped into a theme that we did touch on a little bit before: “Sometimes, failing is just the start of success.” Another quote that Thomas said, “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do, doesn’t mean it’s useless.” There’s the sense here in the experiments that Thomas did. Sometimes, he would start an experiment thinking it would turn out one way but it turned out the other way, and the other way actually revealed something else he could do. This is a thing that comes out many times when you talk to inventors.

It’s how the microwave oven was invented. I can’t remember the guy who did it, but he was developing radar in weaponry. He was working in the US Department of Defense in radar weaponry and he was standing in front of this microwave unit that he was developing for a weapon and he notice that the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. This unexpected outcome of the experiment showed him potential in another area–heating food. You couldn’t get two things that are more different, but he took notice of this unexpected outcome and that actually sparked an idea that then became the microwave oven, and became one of the most successful inventions of all time, we’ve almost all got one in our family’s homes.

One of the wonderful things about experiment is that you will have unexpected outcomes. One of the wonderful things about the blogging space is that sometimes you put things out there and they come back to you in a different way. Sometimes, you start out thinking that you’re going to serve your readers in one way and then you actually serve them in another way.

There’s been many times in my own journey where the things that I thought I was doing actually didn’t work but they revealed something else. Perhaps the best example I can give you of that is my first ever photography blog. It was designed to be a photo blog. I was going to share photos of a trip I was taking to Morocco. I also wrote this little review of the camera I was using on this trip. Of course, went away on the trip, came home, and realize no one took any notice of my photos. It turns out my photos weren’t that great but the camera review took off. It was ranking high in Google and people were responding to that and that gave birth to a camera review blog. The photo blog became something else. I would never have discovered that if I hadn’t have done the experiment of the photo blog and taken note of the unexpected outcome.

Take note not only of your failures, of things that don’t work, but also pay attention to what unexpected things come out of that failure. Maybe it will give birth to something new, that can become your new main thing.

Number eight, don’t give up too early. Here’s the quote: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.” Most bloggers abandon their blogs after a month or two. I actually saw a study a few years ago. I think it was two months was the average length of a blog. Here’s one thing for you; if you’ve been blogging for longer than two months, congratulations. You’re above average. You’ve done well. If you’re less than two months, persist. Get to that two-month mark to make yourself above average.

But here’s the thing. Our most successful blogs, most profitable blogs actually take two to three years to get to that point where they’re beginning to take off. There’s this patch between that two-month mark where most people give up and the two, or three, or four-year mark where blogs begin to grow and take off–that is a tough time to get through. I remember that time myself, of wondering, “Is this going to work? I can see some little sparks and some things happening but I’m not full time. I’m not able to sustain it.” That time can be a hard time to push through.

That’s why we started 31 Days To Build A Better Blog, to be honest. Because that’s where I find most people who are in that patch of just sort of wondering if they should just give up. Thirty-one days of intense burst of action and interaction on your blog can actually lift it a lot. Use 31 Days if you want. I’ll start a Facebook group and get together with a few other bloggers to get you through that patch. Because that is the number one I think that most blogs fall on is that bloggers don’t just doesn’t persist for long enough, so you need to persist with that.

Number nine: “Make it fun.” I love this quote from Thomas. I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun. Blog about something that you enjoy. Blog about something that you have an interest in, a passion in, something that you would talk to your friends about, even if no one was paying, even if no one else is listening, you just enjoy it. This doesn’t guarantee success but it certainly makes blogging a more pleasurable and therefore a sustainable thing.

If you are going to get through that, that tough patch between in the first two or three years, you want to be doing something fun. You’re not going to be making much money in those early days. You probably won’t have a whole heap of recognition. You probably won’t have a lot of traffic or people affirming you in those early days. But if it’s fun, if it’s the type of thing that you do for free—because you are doing it for free—then it will get you through that tough time. Choose something that you are going to enjoy.

You also will find the other benefit of doing something that you enjoy. Those who do eventually read your blog will pick up on your energy. They’ll pick up on your enjoyment of your topic. They’ll pick up on the fun that you are having and increases the chances of them having fun too. I know when I read a blog for the first time whether the author is actually engaged with their topic. If they’re energized by their topic, it shines through in the writing. You can hear it in the voice of a podcaster. You can see it in the face of a video blogger. It shines through. You might want to choose something that you actually do enjoy and that will help you to sustain but it will also help you to grow your blog as well.

Two more things that Thomas Edison can teach you about profitable blogging. Number 10 is have lots of ideas. This is the quote: “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” The reality is—this does tap into some of the other things that we’re talking about with experiments before—the reality is a lot of the ideas that you have over time will go okay. Some of them will completely flop, but occasionally you’ll have one that just sparks, and that does really well for you.

Again, I don’t want to talk too much about 31 Days To Build A Better Blog but it all started with a crazy idea that I had lying in bed at two o’clock one night, to do a blog post series of 31 blog posts over a month. This ebook that eventually sold 20,000 copies and now has turned into a course, all started with just this crazy idea I have one night to do a 31-part series on my blog. The unexpected result was my readers really loved it and they suggested I turn it into an ebook. That would never happened if I hadn’t paid attention to that crazy idea.

But here’s the thing, I had hundreds of crazy ideas at 2:00 AM. That’s my best time of thinking of ideas. I sleep with a little pad and pencil next to my bed. Quite often in the morning I wake up and there’s an idea there that I’ve had during the night. I’ve had thousands probably of ideas in the last 15 years but only a few of them were really taken off like 31 Days To Build A Better Blog.

Put aside time to dream, to brainstorm, to wonder what if, pay attention to those ideas and most importantly, capture them in some way. Having that piece of paper and pencil next to my bed is so important. Develop a way to capture those ideas and be willing to try ideas that may not work. It’s all about that prolific experimentation.

Practice the art of curiosity–is something that I will encourage you to do. Schedule time for curiosity and for playfulness. Whilst you do need to work, I also do believe that it’s important to have a little bit of white space in your week as well where you allow yourself just to dream, to be curious, to ask questions, and to brainstorm things as well. You never know what might come out of that.

The last thing that I’ve learned from Thomas Edison quotes is you don’t have to start with a finished product. This is the quote that I found to talk about this: “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” You’ll never going to start with a perfect blog. A lot of bloggers get trapped into this way of thinking that on the day they start they need to have a brilliant blog design, they need to have the perfect blog domain, they need to be using the perfect tool, they need to have all their tools installed, they need to have the opt-in, they need to have the product, they need a logo, they need to have all these things before they start.

The reality is that–no successful blog ever started that way. I can’t think of one that launched and it was perfect out of the gate. I looked back on my first blog. It was on Blogger, it was on the Blogspot domain. I didn’t have a server, I didn’t have the best tool. I didn’t have a design. I was using this ugly navy blue default template that they had. I didn’t have any pictures or visuals on my blog at all. It was not perfect. I did not know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to make text bold, I didn’t know how to code, I didn’t know anything. But I wrote a post and that post led me to write another post. Gradually, I learned the skills. Gradually, I designed my blog. Gradually, I realized there were other tools that I could use and I learned how to use them. I learned how to make text bold. Gradually, over time, I added some bells and whistles.

Even today, I look at my blog and it’s not perfect. There are still things that I’m learning and still things that I can add to it. The key is to experiment. It’s to start and to keep working. Gradually, over time, your ideas will be refined, your blog will begin to grow, it will improve, and you’ll get there. You’ll get to that point where you have a finished product but it all starts in a kind of an ugly, awkward way. That’s totally okay because over time, as you persist, as you experiment, as ideas turn out in unexpected ways, all of these things that I’ve been just talking about, as you have fun, hopefully it would grow.

I hope you found a little bit of inspiration in these quotes from Thomas Edison. I’m going to include them all over in our show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/252. I really hope that something in that has sparked for you some ideas, and some inspiration, some encouragement to persist and keep working on what you are doing.

If you’ve got a favorite quote, I would love to hear it. You can share it over in our Facebook group or on the show notes as well. You might just find it gets featured in an upcoming show as well. Lastly, don’t forget 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. As this podcast goes live, there’ll be only about five days to go, to get that early bird special of $49. It’s about half-price. Find it at problogger.com/31days. I look forward to seeing you in that Facebook group as well. Thanks for listening today. Chat with you next week in episode 253.

You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast. Tweet us @problogger. Find us at facebook.com/problogger or search ProBlogger on iTunes.

Before I go, I want to give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at PodcastMotor, who’ve been editing all of our podcast for some time now. PodcastMotor have a great range of services for podcasters at all levels. They can help you to set up your podcast but also offer a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out at podcastmotor.com.

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