Tag Archives: Start a Blog

How to Use the WordPress WYSIWYG Toolbar to Format Your Blog Posts Like a Pro

WordPress WYSIWYG tutorialAre you using WordPress’ formatting features to their fullest?

I expect you already know the basics of formatting your blog posts to make them more readable. (If you’re just getting started, you might want to check out 4 WordPress Formatting Tips to Make Your Posts More Readable for an overview of the basics.)

But many bloggers  even experienced ones  don’t realise just how many formatting features are built into WordPress.

Understanding the WordPress WYSIWYG Editor

Whether you write your drafts in the WordPress editor or elsewhere, it’s important to be familiar with the WordPress WYSIWYG toolbar and know what all those buttons do.

WYSIWYG (pronounced “wizzy-wig”) stands for “What You See Is What You Get”, and describes any interface where you can see how your text will actually look as you apply various types of formatting to it. Microsoft Word, Google Docs and WordPress are all WYSIWYG editors.

Whenever you create a new post or page in WordPress, you should see the WYSIWYG editor. The toolbar (the buttons along the top) looks like this:

(If you don’t see these buttons, make sure you’re using the “Visual” rather than the “Text” version of the editor. You can swap between the two using the tabs on the right-hand side of the box where you write your post.)

If you’ve written and formatted your post in another WYSIWYG editor and copied the text into WordPress, some of the formatting may have been preserved. But some formatting options, such as blockquotes and horizontal rules, can only be applied in WordPress.

(Don’t worry if you have no idea what “blockquotes” and “horizontal rules” are. You’ll know all about them, and how to use, them by the end of this post!)

Even if some of the buttons look confusing right now, they’re all straightforward to use. We’ll take the toolbar one row at a time.

The Top Row of the Toolbar: The Most Common Formatting Options

The buttons are divided into two rows. The top row contains the options you’re likely to use most frequently.

Here they are:

We’ll go through them one by one:

#1: “Paragraph” Dropdown

HTML tag equivalent: <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. and <pre>.

This dropdown menu lets you format your text using heading styles:

Heading 1 is used for the title of your post, and so should be avoided for subheadings within your post.

Most bloggers use Heading 2 for their main subheadings and Heading 3 for any subheadings nested beneath those. (In this post, for instance, the subheading The Top Row of Buttons: The Most Common Formatting Options is Heading 2, and the subheading #1: “Paragraph Dropdown” is Heading 3.)

The “Preformatted” option can be used if you’re including sections of code in your post. it will display the text exactly as written using a monospaced font.

#2: Bold Text

HTML tag equivalent: <strong>

The button that looks like a B is probably familiar to you from Microsoft Word and other programs. It makes your text bold like this.

To use it, you can either:

  • Click the “B” button, type the text you want in bold, then click “B” again to turn back to normal text.
  • Type your text as normal, then highlight the portion you want in bold and click “B”.

Use it for: Emphasising a key sentence, or creating a subheading where you don’t want to use a heading style.

#3: Italic Text

HTML tag equivalent: <em>

The button that looks like an I is probably also very familiar. It makes your text italic like this.

Use it for: Emphasis on a particular word, or for a sentence or two of explanatory text (e.g. a note at the start of your post saying This is the first in a four-part series).

#4: Unordered List (Bullet Points)

HTML tag equivalent: <ul> for the list, <li> for each item on the list

The button with three dots and lines might look a bit like Morse Code, but it’s actually used to create a bulleted list (also known as an “unordered list”) like this:

  • Item one
  • Item two
  • Item three

Use it for: A list where the order or number of items doesn’t particularly matter. If each item on your list is more than a paragraph long, you’ll probably want to format your list differently (e.g. using subheadings).

#5: Ordered List (Numbers)

HTML tag equivalent: <ol> for the list, <li> for each item on the list

The second list button is for a numbered list (also known as an “ordered” list) like this:

  1. Item one
  2. Item two
  3. Item three

Use it for: A list where the number or ordering of items matters (e.g. you’re giving step-by-step instructions or writing a top ten list).

For more help with lists, check out my post How to Use Lists Effectively in Your Blog Posts.

#6: Blockquote

HTML tag equivalent: <blockquote>

Blockquote (or block quotation) formatting is used to style quoted text so (normally) it has a wider left margin than the standard text. Depending on your blog’s theme, the blockquote text may also be in a different font and have quotation marks alongside.

This is how blockquotes look on the ProBlogger blog.

Use it for: Any quote from someone other than you that’s more than a few words long. Very short quotes can be placed within quotation marks in a sentence.

#7: Align Left/Center/Right

HTML tag equivalents: <p>, <p style=”text-align: center;”>, <p style=”text-align: right;”>

By default, your text will be left-aligned (flush with the left-hand margin). But you can also align your text so it’s centered or right-aligned.

This text is centered.

This text is right-aligned.

Use it for: Creating a sales page or special offer, where it might make sense to center your text. Some bloggers even use centered text for poems or other slightly unusual types of content.

#8: Link/Unlink

HTML tag equivalent: <a href>

This button lets you turn text into a link that readers can click to visit a different post or page. Simply type the text (e.g. the title of a post), then highlight it and click the link button. You’ll see this:

You can then paste in the URL (web address) of the page/post you want or, if it’s on your own blog, you can search for the page/post by title.

Your link will show up like this:

Which is the Best Blog Hosting Solution?

Use it for: Internal links to your own posts (good for SEO and encouraging readers to stick around longer on your blog), and external links to other people’s posts or other resources (good for demonstrating your knowledge/expertise within your field, and for building relationships).

#9: Read More Tag

WordPress tag equivalent: <!–more–>

Some blog themes show multiple posts on the front page or index page. A “read more” tag breaks the post into two parts: the first part will appear in the index, and the rest will only be shown once the reader clicks “read more” (or clicks on the post title).

Other themes are designed to show only an excerpt from the post (auto-generated or hand-crafted), so you won’t need a “read more” tag. You can see this in action on our own “Blog” page.

Use it for: Breaking off posts after the introduction, or if you want to show part of each post rather than full posts on your home page/blog index page.

#10: Toolbar Toggle

WordPress tag equivalent: n/a

The “Toolbar Toggle” lets you show/hide the second row of icons on your toolbar. (It used to be called “Show/Hide Kitchen Sink”, which you might recognise if you’ve been blogging for a long time.)

Use it for: Viewing the second row of toolbar buttons. Or hiding them if you find them distracting or only have a small screen to work with.

The Bottom Row of the Toolbar: Less Common Formatting Options

While you might not use these buttons very often, it’s useful to know what they do just in case you need them.

Again, we’ll take them one at a time starting on the left.

#1: Strikethrough Text

HTML tag equivalent: <del>

Strikethrough text is crossed out, like this. As with bold and italic, you can click the strikethrough button then type, or you can highlight existing text and apply strikethrough formatting to it.

Use it for: Humorous effect (if that suits your blogging tone), or for special offers on your products (you can “cross out” the normal price and display the offer price).

#2: Horizontal Rule

HTML tag equivalent: <hr />

The horizontal rule creates a line that runs across your post. It can be useful for breaking a post into one or more visual sections (although it doesn’t act as a “read more” tag).

It looks like this:


Use it for: Setting off the start or end of a post (e.g. if you’re introducing a new series of blog posts at the start, or making a special offer at the end).

#3: Text Color

HTML tag equivalent: <span style=”color: #ff0000;”> (for the color red)

Your text will default to the colour set by your blog’s theme – normally black or very dark grey.

Sometimes, you might want to put text in a different colour. You can do this by either:

  • selecting the colour, using the A dropdown, then typing
  • highlighting existing text and then choosing a colour for it.

After you click on the dropdown, you can pick a colour simply by clicking on it:

If you prefer, you can create specific custom colours by clicking “Custom…” and then setting the RGB values.

Use it for: Occasional coloured text, perhaps to highlight a special announcement or offer. Be careful not to go overboard with different colours in your posts. You might want to use the “custom” colour option to match special coloured text to the colour palette of your header or branding in general.

#4: Paste as Text

HTML tag equivalent: n/a

Most of the time you’ll want to paste text into the WordPress editor and keep its formatting. If you paste text that you drafted in Word, most of the formatting will automatically copy across too.

But sometimes you may want to paste text without the formatting. Simply click this button, which looks like a T on a clipboard, to toggle the “paste” function to “plain text mode”.

From now on, when you paste text, all the formatting will be removed. (You can click it again to toggle back to the normal mode.)

Use it for: Pasting formatted text (e.g. blog post titles that are formatted as a header, when you don’t want to keep any of the formatting). Remember to toggle it back off again if you only want to use it temporarily.

#5: Clear Formatting

HTML tag equivalent: n/a

To remove formatting, you don’t need to get rid of each instance of bold, italic, coloured text,  etc. individually. Instead, you can use the “Clear Formatting” button, which looks like an eraser.

Simply highlight the formatted text you want to change and click the button.

Use it for: Getting rid for formatting that you don’t want. That might be formatting that you accidentally applied, or formatting that’s appeared when you’ve copied text into your post.

#6: Special Character

HTML tag equivalent: n/a, though individual characters will have a special ASCII code

Occasionally, you might want to include a special character in your post or page that you can’t actually type, such as the copyright symbol ©.

To use this feature, position your cursor where you want the special character to appear, then click the Omega symbol to open a panel of special characters and select the one you want:

Use it for: Inserting a copyright notice with ©, using a Registered ® or Trademark ™ character when writing about your products/brand or someone else’s (if appropriate), or inserting any other special character!

#7: Increase/Decrease Indent

HTML tag equivalent: <p style=”padding-left: 30px;”>

If you want to indent text (push it over to the right), you can use this feature. The right-hand button of the two creates the indent; you can click it again to increase the indent.

Use the left-hand button to reduce or remove an indent that you’ve created.

Use it for: You might choose to set off specific text using an indent and perhaps a different  colour too (e.g. if giving an example within a “how to” step).

#8: Undo/Redo

HTML tag equivalent: n/a

You’re probably already familiar with these buttons from your usual word processor. Use “Undo” (the arrow pointing to the left) to undo whatever you just did. Use “Redo” if you change your mind again.

Use it for: Easily undoing an action (e.g. if you applied formatting you realise you don’t want, or you accidentally deleted your whole post and want it back).

#9: Keyboard Shortcuts

HTML tag equivalent: n/a

Most of the toolbar functions also have a keyboard shortcut, so you can easily use them without having to move your hands from the keyboard to the mouse. Click the ? button to see them in a handy list:

Some of these shortcuts may be familiar from other programs, such as Ctrl+B for “bold text” and Ctrl+Z for “undo”.

But there are others here that are specific to the WordPress editor, such as Shift+Alt+m to insert/edit an image.

Use it for: Speeding up your workflow, especially if there’s a particular type of formatting you use a lot.

While the WordPress toolbar buttons might not be the most thrilling aspect of blogging, being able to format your posts and pages effectively can really make a difference. Well-formatted posts look professional and are easy to read, and well-formatted pages can do a better job of converting prospects into leads or customers.

Is there a new feature you’ll be using in your next blog post, or on one of your pages? Which one will you be trying out?

Or did you learn about a feature you never even realised existed? Let us know in the comments.

The post How to Use the WordPress WYSIWYG Toolbar to Format Your Blog Posts Like a Pro appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

237: How Collaborations Can Accelerate Your Blog’s Growth

How to Use Collaborations to Grow Your Blog

Have you ever felt that too many things need doing to build a successful blog?

A student I spoke to this week who recently completed our Start A Blog course said they were a little overwhelmed by how much needed to be done.

They said it felt like juggling with too many balls in the air.

So today I want to share a principle that has helped me keep a lot of balls in the air, and scale my business beyond what I ever thought I could manage–collaborations.

When you’re juggling alone you can only keep so many balls in the air. (The current record is 9 balls for 55 seconds.) But if you juggle with other people, you can keep more balls in the air for longer.

And this podcast is all about how you can make your blogging a more collaborative experience.

Links and Resources for How to Accelerate the Growth of Your Blog with Collaborations:

Further Listening

Examples of Collaborative Content

Courses

Join our Facebook group

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there and welcome to episode 237 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses designed to help you to start and have an amazing blog that’s going to change the world in some way, that’s going to change the lives of your audience but also build a profit, and in doing so, change your life a little way as well. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

Of course, check out our two brand new courses. Firstly, our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog which was released earlier this year, and our soon to be released, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. You can find the Start a Blog course at problogger.com/startablog and you can sign up to be notified when our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course goes live at problogger.com/31days.

In today’s episode, I want to talk about collaborations as a way to grow your blog, to accelerate the growth of your blog. I want to give you some practical ways that you can collaborate with other bloggers to grow you traffic, to create content, to build engagement on your blogs, and to monetize your blog. Collaborations have helped me incredibly to grow my blog, to scale it so much faster than I could’ve ever done alone, and I want to help you to do the same. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/237.

Have you ever felt that there’s just too many things that need to be done to build your blog to make it successful? This week, I was speaking to one of the students who’ve recently completed our a Start a Blog course and they said to me that they felt like they were completely overwhelmed by how much needed to be done. The words they used were they felt like it was a juggle and that they had too many balls in the air at once.

This is a feeling that I can relate too and I’m sure many of you can relate too as well because there’s so many things that need to be done to build a successful blog.

You need to write content, edit that content, polish that content, and schedule that content. You need to promote that content, drive some traffic to your blog, engage on social media, set up an email list. Then when the traffic comes, you’ve got to moderate the comments and engage with the audience, there’s email lists, there’s blog design, there’s servers, there’s plugins, and WordPress that needs to be updated, then there’s the monetization and finding the advertisers, all the affiliate products that you’re going to promote or creating the products that you’re going to sell, and then learning how to sell them, maintaining shopping carts, and the list goes on, and on. I hope I haven’t just made you feel stressed.

This is something that we all feel from time to time. It’s a common feeling. Most of us feel like we just can’t get it all done. There’s a number of solutions to this. One, we can get more effective with our time and certainly productivity is something that we teach about at ProBlogger. In fact, if you want to go back and listen to episodes 40 and 163, I’ll give you some practical tips on how to be more effective with your time. But today I want to share a principle that helps me to keep a lot of balls in the air and to scale my business beyond what I’ve ever thought I’d be able to manage in the early days by myself.

Today I want to talk about collaborations. Here’s the thing when you’re juggling balls for example. There’s only so many balls you can literally keep in the air at once. I actually just look up the world record for how many balls can you keep in the air at once and the world record is nine balls for a single person to juggle for 55 seconds and there’s a video as well of it, it’s pretty cool. You can only juggle so many balls at once, there’s a ceiling to that number but when you juggle with other people you can keep more balls in the air at once and for longer. It’s just logic really. Two people juggling nine balls each, that’s 18 balls and if you’re juggling together, potentially, you could even increase that number.

One of the things that I want to encourage you to do if you’re feeling like you just can’t get it all done, is to consider how you might want to make your blogging more of a collaborative experience. How can you involve others in the experience of blogging? There’s a number of ways to do this and the most obvious one is to hire people to help you. New team members, or to outsource tasks. That’s certainly one option but I know for many of you listening to this, it’s not realistic at this point in your blogging journey. Maybe you don’t have any money to invest into that, you might not have that sort of budget.

For the purposes of this podcast, I don’t want to talk about hiring or outsourcing, that’s probably a topic for another episode. In this podcast, I want to talk about collaborations with bloggers or other online entrepreneurs where you find a win-win opportunity to work with each other, where one person isn’t paying another person to work for them but you’re finding a win-win solution where you both can benefit from doing something together. It’s a true collaboration.

In my experience of blogging, there’s so many ways you can do this to grow your blog and the other person’s blog. The key is to write from the outset, to look for a win-win, to look for something where you are going to benefit. Your blog will grow in some way, the other person’s blog will grow in some way, and their business will grow in some way as well. You both make the same thing out of it, you both make a traffic out of it all, you both make a content out of it all, or you both make monetization out of it all. In some situations, it may be that one person gets traffic and the other person gets content or vice versa.

There’s a variety of different ways you can collaborate. In this episode what I want to do is run through four main areas that you might want to consider collaborating on and they’re all tied around the pillars of ProBlogging that we talk about quite regularly on ProBlogger. If you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll know that I advise all the time that you really should be putting most of your efforts into four things.

Firstly, creating content for your blog. Secondly, building engagement with your readers, building community with your readers. Thirdly, driving traffic to your blog, promoting your blog. Fourthly, monetizing your blog. If you want to build a profitable blog, they’re the foundational of things you should be spending most of your time in. Content, engagement, traffic, and monetization.

There’s other things that you should be doing as well but that’s probably where 90% of your time should be going into. In my experience, you can collaborate in each of these four areas and some of you will have a real strength in two or three of them and you may have some weaknesses in another one. One way that you can supplement some of your weaknesses and boost one of those other areas is to find collaborations. What I want to do is to look at each one in turn and suggest one or two things that you could be doing in each of those areas to collaborate.

Firstly, let’s look at content. There’s a variety of way that bloggers could collaborate with one another when it comes to content. Firstly, and perhaps obviously, is we allow each other to create guest content for our blogs. This is very normal, it’s very common and it’s been going on for years. I’ll write you a blog post, you write me a blog post or I’ll just write you one and you post it. There’s a variety of ways that you can kind of structure those kind of agreements, it might be we exchange posts for each other’s blogs or maybe one person just writes for the other.

The idea here is that one person gets content and the other person get some traffic or some exposure to build their profile. This is very common and this is perhaps the easiest way that you might want to collaborate in this, but there’s so many other ways that you could collaborate when it comes to content.

As I look at YouTube, I think we can learn a lot from them. YouTubers collaborate all the time. In fact, if you go to YouTube you can actually find a whole page that YouTube has created themselves to try and foster collaborations because they see it in their best interest if they get their users collaborating together. It’s very common for one YouTuber to appear on another YouTubers channel and they create a piece of content together. Sometimes the piece of content will then go and appear on both of the channels. It’s just normal, they do it all the time and they do it very, very well.

It struck me that this kind of collaboration where we create content together could happen on blogs too. It may be slightly more tricky with written words. We might think, “Well, I can’t write an article with another blogger,” but you actually can. In writing books, co-authorship happens all the time. The ProBlogger book is a co-authored book, it’s Chris Garrett and myself writing different parts of the book. We’ve seen mainstream media. Articles get written all the time that are collaborations and the by line is two people’s names there. People work together as writers, why don’t we do it more as bloggers?

I’ve got 20,000 posts that I’ve published on my blogs over the last 14 years. I didn’t write them all but of those 20,000 posts, I would say 98% of them are one person writing the post. It’s probably more like 99%. There’s two main exceptions to that. Firstly, interviews would be the main exception to that and this is a relatively easy way to collaborate on a piece of content where one person interviews another and this is where I’d be starting out if you want to go beyond this post, I would be interviewing another blogger and then getting them to interview you and have those pieces of content go up on the blog. That’s a really easy way to collaborate on a piece of content.

You could actually write the post together. I can think of two occasions where I’ve done this and I’ve published a post on ProBlogger back in 2004 and I’ll link to the post in today’s show notes so you can see them. In both of these posts, it was part of a series that I was doing on ProBlogger and the posts were written with a guy called Shayne Tilley who many of you will be familiar with. He speaks at our events almost every year and he’s written a number of articles on ProBlogger.

In these two posts, I actually asked Shayne to tackle a topic but I also realized I had some things to say about that topic as well. If you go and have a look at the post, and I encourage you to do it, you’ll see that he’s written the post but from time to time there’s this little section that says, “Darren says,” and it’s got my head in it. It’s my little face and it’s in italic so it looks slightly different. We’ve got these call out boxes, almost looks like a block quote type thing around it. Shayne writes his and his head is there and it says something like, “Shayne says,” and then it says, “Darren says,” and it’s almost like a conversation. It’s not an actual interview. he had written his article and then I chimed in with my comments along the way. This post really went over well. Our readers really enjoyed that back and forth on this topic. It’s just one way that you might want to do a post with someone else, a collaboration in that written form.

There’s so many other ways that you can do it. You could run a series of blog posts across two blogs. I have the first post on my blog, you have the second post on your blog, and then we interlink them. Sending traffic back and forth and collaborating that way, we could do a blog take over. I’ve done this in the past on ProBlogger where I’ve taken a vacation and another blogger I think, Bryan Clark from Copyblogger came on in the early days of ProBlogger and he did a whole week of content on ProBlogger. You could do that type of collaboration as well. Think creatively about it. There’s so many different ways that you could collaborate with another blogger in your niche.

That’s the first pillar, creating content. The second pillar was growing engagement or building community. When it comes to doing that, I reckon there would be a lot of different ways that we could collaborate as bloggers together. For example, why does every blogger have to have their own Facebook group or their own Facebook page? What if a few small bloggers got together and they were from the same niche and decided to have a Facebook group together that they co-ran?

You’d want to choose carefully the type of person that you wanted to work with, you wanted to have some trust with that person, I’ll talk more about building that trust later but why not do that? You may not have a big enough audience to really keep a Facebook Group running but what if two or three other bloggers in your niche decided to do it with you? Together, you probably would have enough people and it’s a way of exposing each of you to each other’s audiences and to build some engagement that could go deeper and beyond what anyone of you could do individually.

Similarly, you could run a Twitter chat together. Some bloggers actually do this, they agree on a hashtag and they decide that each of them is going to promote this hashtag, and once a week they do a Twitter chat where they get all their readers together to have a chat. Live video will be another way of doing it. You could do some live videos and share them to all of your different Facebook pages, or all of your different Facebook groups, and introduce each other’s audiences to one another. Engagement, building that sort of back and forth is something that you could do together. In fact it may actually be easier to do, particularly if you’re just starting out, if you do it together.

Third pillar was driving traffic. The same thing is true when it comes to doing that. We all share our own content on social media and emails each week. Why not partner up with another blogger and agree to share some of theirs if they share some of yours? I’ve done this a number of times over the years with other bloggers.

For example, when I was just starting Digital Photography School, there was another photography blog that was on a slightly different topic to mine. It had a slightly different focus but we realized our audiences did overlap. We decided that five times a week, once a day, we would share a post that the other one had written that day on our social media accounts. It was very simple, we just had this little Skype conversation open all the time. Every time we publish a new post, we just left the link in the Skype conversation and then every day when we’re scheduling our social media, we went to the Skype conversation and grab the other persons link and added it into our social media channels.

Once a month, we decided that we were going to promote each other’s content, one piece of content in an email newsletter. We each got to choose one of our posts that we thought would work best for the other person to link to in their newsletter. As a result of just doing that, both of our blogs grew faster and we accelerated the growth of our blog. There’d be so many different ways to do that. That was just me working with one other blogger, I’ve seen bloggers do this in little groups and they set up a Facebook group and they do this sort of sharing type thing. There’s  a lot of different ways that you could do this.

The last pillar that I want to talk about is monetization and for me this has been the biggest area of collaboration. I guess this started way, way back when I began to do affiliate promotions of other bloggers’ products. I remember the first time I actually did, I saw this other blogger in the photography space, had created an ebook. I’ve never really seen another blogger do an ebook before and then I noticed that it had this thing called an affiliate program to promote the ebook. They said that I could promote it and anyone could promote that ebook and earn 50% commission.

I think it was like a $15 ebook and I was like, “Wow, $7.50 per sale,” I wonder what I could do in terms of sales. I signed up for their program. I didn’t contact the blogger at all. I just signed up for their program and I grabbed the affiliate link, and that night I sent out an email to my little photography list. By sending out that email, I made a few hundred dollars over night and I was like, “Cool! That’s pretty cool,” that was just one email and for me that was a pretty big deal at that time. I decided a few weeks later to contact that blogger directly because I noticed they had a number of different ebooks.

I approached him, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I didn’t know whether it was a dumb thing to approach people directly but I approach the blogger and I said, “Would you be interested in giving my readers a discount on one of your ebooks?” He didn’t really know whether that was a dumb thing either, this was all new to both of us but we decided to give it a go. He’d seen the sales come through from my previous promotion and he said, “Yeah, I’ll give you 30% off for your readers for a week.” We did this week long promotion on another one of his ebooks and a few months later my email list was slowly growing, and growing, and growing and it was the first time I’ve done anything like this.

I sent out an email and it went crazy because there was a discount this time. Over the coming weeks, I think we made about $5000 in sales as this promotion ran and that promotion did a few things. Firstly, it cemented a relationship with this blogger and we continued to work together for a few years after that. We’re semi-regularly promoting each other’s ebooks. Once I created some ebooks he became an affiliate for me as well. It became a really mutual relationship where we promoted each other’s stuff, where we made quite a bit of money together. The other thing that I learned by doing that little collaboration was that ebooks worked with my audience and so I decided to create my first ebook.

I began the painstaking process of writing my first photography ebook. For me, it took me three or four months to get that ebook written, it was a lot of work. I got there in the end though. I think I tell the story of the creation of that ebook in episode 67 and back in that episode you might remember that ebook actually did really well with our audience. We made about $72000 over the 10 days after that launch. It was a really good payoff for all that work. But I got to the end of that launch and I knew I needed to do more products of my own but I just didn’t have the time. This bring me back to collaboration again.

Creating ebooks was another ball that I had to put in the air but I was already at capacity, I was already juggling my nine balls, I didn’t know how to add a tenth into that scenario. I decided the only way I could do it to create a second ebook was to find a collaborator. I reached out to one of the people who’d been writing some articles on my blog and we started talking about maybe instead of writing some articles for me, they could write an ebook for us and we decided to create this ebook together. He’s had a collaboration work, he wrote it, he did all the work, and I’m writing it which was a lot of work but I worked on the design, the marketing, I had the traffic, I had the email list, and he didn’t have any audience. I worked on promoting it and marketing it. Getting a shopping cart up, doing the customer service, and drove a lot of traffic to it, and we decided that we were going to split the profits on that.

That ebook did a lot better than the first one and it began a snowball effect in many ways. That collaborator went on to write three more ebooks. We ended up with four ebooks with him and then he also created a series of courses with us as well. It became an ongoing relationship that we had and as a result we made a fair bit of money for him and he made a fair bit of money for us as well.

Today we’ve published I think it’s around 30 ebooks. All of them, except for the very first one, are collaborations. I’ve not written a single ebook on Digital Photography School since the very first one. In fact that first one no longer is available for sale, it’s been superseded. We’ve created six courses, all of them are collaborations. We’ve created some softwares, some Lightroom presets, all of them are collaborations.

As I look at my income streams, 90% of them are collaborations. The only real exception in all of my income streams that’s not a collaboration is the job board on ProBlogger and perhaps the event that we run for ProBlogger as well although even that you could probably argue as a collaboration of sorts because we work with a variety of speakers who speak at out events as well.

Ninety-percent of my income streams, even the ad networks, that’s a collaboration. I’m partnering with AdSense, we sell ads directly to sponsors. I guess you could say that’s a collaboration because the sponsor is working with us but we actually outsource the process of selling those ads as well to a third party who takes a cut of those ads as well so that’s a collaboration too. Everything I do is collaborations when it comes to income and as I’ve been preparing this podcast, I guess really come home to me just how important collaborations have been for me.

How do you develop these collaborations I guess is the big question. The thing I want to say is that, yes, today 90% of my income comes from collaborations but it started really small. It started because that guy who wrote that first ebook with us, he started as a writer on our site and that was the small collaboration. He started writing some guest posts for us and we sent him a little bit of traffic, and helped build his profile, and he created some content for us, and that’s where it began.

The first thing I would really encourage you to do is to think about how you can start small. You may not want to leap into writing a book together as your starting point. Start with them writing a piece of content for you or you writing a piece of content for them, or start with, “Let’s promote each other’s content once a week,” and let that relationship grow, let that trust grow, see if you work well together. Do small things and let the great relationship grow naturally over time.

When I first had that guy write on my blog for the very first time, I didn’t know it was going to turn into an ebook deal, then courses, and an ongoing thing. I didn’t realize the nature of that relationship, I just started with something small. When you’re looking for collaborators, look for people who have complementary skills sets to you. You don’t want to just duplicate it, you don’t want to just choose someone who’s exactly like you because then you’ll end up just doing the same things. As you look at your own skill set, maybe there’s a deficiency, maybe you’re not as good on design, or maybe you’re not as good at promotion and marketing. Find other people who can complement those things and fill in those gaps that you have.

Look for collaborators who share your audience or at least complement your audience. You don’t have to have a blog on exactly the same topic but there needs to be enough overlap, particularly if you’re going to drive traffic in the collaboration, there’s overlap there. You don’t want to be a fashion blogger, and if they’re a travel blogger, and you’ve got completely different audiences. You might work well together if they’re a fashion blogger, and you’re a travel blogger, and you share the same demographic of audience but if you’re talking to retirees who are 70 and they’re talking to millennials, it’s probably not going to work at least in terms of sharing traffic and building engagement in that way.

Look for collaborators who share your values. I can’t stress this enough. The few times that I’ve run into issues over the years with collaborations, it usually came down to us having different expectations of the relationship, different motivations, and ultimately some different values as well. You want to choose good people, people of character, people who share your values, your goals, and expectations as well. As part of this, you want to make sure you set the boundaries of the relationship early. Get the expectations right. If it’s going beyond, “Hey, I’m going to write a piece of content for you, and you write a piece of content for me,” if you’re getting into, “We’re going to create a product together,” you want to get that in writing and know right up front how that is going to operate.

There’s a variety of models there in terms of sharing revenue. You may do a collaboration where one person takes a higher percentage of profit or revenue based upon them bringing more to that relationship. It doesn’t always have to be 50-50 but you want to be really clear up front about how the benefits, the wins from that collaborations are going to be split up.

Lastly, communicate. It’s just so important to keep the avenues of communication open in these collaborations at all times. I’ll just stress again, start small, you don’t have to leap into a massive collaboration with someone that you barely know. You want to build trust. Let that relationship grow naturally and who knows where it might end up.

I hope that’s helpful. I would love to hear your stories of collaboration. I know many of you have collaborated in ways that I haven’t mentioned in this particular podcast and so I’d love to hear how you collaborate. Maybe we could do a follow up podcast at some stage with some of the things that you advice. You can let us know how you collaborate, any ideas that you’ve got on this topic in two ways. Firstly, on our show notes where there’s an opportunity to comment at problogger.com/podcast/237 or in our Facebook group. You can let us know there any tips that you’ve got. If you are sharing a tip, just make sure you use the appropriate hashtag there. We like everyone to hashtag every post that they’ve got. If you’ve got some advice, hashtag it with that and if you’ve got a question to ask as well, make sure you do that. There’s information in our pinned post about how to hashtag your posts.

Thank you so much for listening today. I’m actually going to be on the road next week, there may not be a podcast coming out on next Monday because I will be in San Diego at Social Media Marketing World where I’ll be doing a talk. Part of my talk is actually about this very topic. If you’re in San Diego, I’d love to catch up with you at Social Media Marketing World. Otherwise, I’ll be back on the podcast in a couple of weeks’ time with episode 238. Thanks for listening, chat with you next time.

If you are looking for something else to listen to, I did mention a few episodes during this particular episode. Episode 40 was 7 Productivity tips for Bloggers, episode 163 was another 3 Different Tips for Increasing your Productivity, and episode 67 was How To Create A Product For Your Blog where I tell the story of my first product and give you some suggestions on creating products for your own.

Dig around in the archives, there’s 236 other episodes to find there. You might want to go back through iTunes. They’re all sitting there, at least they will be for the next little while. I think 300 is the limit. Some of those early episodes will begin to disappear once we get up to the 300 episode mark. Thanks for listening.

If you’ve got a moment as well in iTunes or whatever podcast app you are listening to, I would love it if you’d leave us a review and rating. I do read them all, I get a notification every week every time a new one comes in. Let us know what your name is in that as well and if you want to pop in your blog link, it doesn’t come up as a hyperlink but I do check out the links of all blogs that are mentioned there as well. Thanks for listening, chat with you next time.

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 at @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 set up 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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237: How Collaborations Can Accelerate Your Blog’s Growth

How to Use Collaborations to Grow Your Blog

Have you ever felt that too many things need doing to build a successful blog?

A student I spoke to this week who recently completed our Start A Blog course said they were a little overwhelmed by how much needed to be done.

They said it felt like juggling with too many balls in the air.

So today I want to share a principle that has helped me keep a lot of balls in the air, and scale my business beyond what I ever thought I could manage–collaborations.

When you’re juggling alone you can only keep so many balls in the air. (The current record is 9 balls for 55 seconds.) But if you juggle with other people, you can keep more balls in the air for longer.

And this podcast is all about how you can make your blogging a more collaborative experience.

Links and Resources for How to Accelerate the Growth of Your Blog with Collaborations:

Further Listening

Examples of Collaborative Content

Courses

Join our Facebook group

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there and welcome to episode 237 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses designed to help you to start and have an amazing blog that’s going to change the world in some way, that’s going to change the lives of your audience but also build a profit, and in doing so, change your life a little way as well. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

Of course, check out our two brand new courses. Firstly, our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog which was released earlier this year, and our soon to be released, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. You can find the Start a Blog course at problogger.com/startablog and you can sign up to be notified when our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course goes live at problogger.com/31days.

In today’s episode, I want to talk about collaborations as a way to grow your blog, to accelerate the growth of your blog. I want to give you some practical ways that you can collaborate with other bloggers to grow you traffic, to create content, to build engagement on your blogs, and to monetize your blog. Collaborations have helped me incredibly to grow my blog, to scale it so much faster than I could’ve ever done alone, and I want to help you to do the same. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/237.

Have you ever felt that there’s just too many things that need to be done to build your blog to make it successful? This week, I was speaking to one of the students who’ve recently completed our a Start a Blog course and they said to me that they felt like they were completely overwhelmed by how much needed to be done. The words they used were they felt like it was a juggle and that they had too many balls in the air at once.

This is a feeling that I can relate too and I’m sure many of you can relate too as well because there’s so many things that need to be done to build a successful blog.

You need to write content, edit that content, polish that content, and schedule that content. You need to promote that content, drive some traffic to your blog, engage on social media, set up an email list. Then when the traffic comes, you’ve got to moderate the comments and engage with the audience, there’s email lists, there’s blog design, there’s servers, there’s plugins, and WordPress that needs to be updated, then there’s the monetization and finding the advertisers, all the affiliate products that you’re going to promote or creating the products that you’re going to sell, and then learning how to sell them, maintaining shopping carts, and the list goes on, and on. I hope I haven’t just made you feel stressed.

This is something that we all feel from time to time. It’s a common feeling. Most of us feel like we just can’t get it all done. There’s a number of solutions to this. One, we can get more effective with our time and certainly productivity is something that we teach about at ProBlogger. In fact, if you want to go back and listen to episodes 40 and 163, I’ll give you some practical tips on how to be more effective with your time. But today I want to share a principle that helps me to keep a lot of balls in the air and to scale my business beyond what I’ve ever thought I’d be able to manage in the early days by myself.

Today I want to talk about collaborations. Here’s the thing when you’re juggling balls for example. There’s only so many balls you can literally keep in the air at once. I actually just look up the world record for how many balls can you keep in the air at once and the world record is nine balls for a single person to juggle for 55 seconds and there’s a video as well of it, it’s pretty cool. You can only juggle so many balls at once, there’s a ceiling to that number but when you juggle with other people you can keep more balls in the air at once and for longer. It’s just logic really. Two people juggling nine balls each, that’s 18 balls and if you’re juggling together, potentially, you could even increase that number.

One of the things that I want to encourage you to do if you’re feeling like you just can’t get it all done, is to consider how you might want to make your blogging more of a collaborative experience. How can you involve others in the experience of blogging? There’s a number of ways to do this and the most obvious one is to hire people to help you. New team members, or to outsource tasks. That’s certainly one option but I know for many of you listening to this, it’s not realistic at this point in your blogging journey. Maybe you don’t have any money to invest into that, you might not have that sort of budget.

For the purposes of this podcast, I don’t want to talk about hiring or outsourcing, that’s probably a topic for another episode. In this podcast, I want to talk about collaborations with bloggers or other online entrepreneurs where you find a win-win opportunity to work with each other, where one person isn’t paying another person to work for them but you’re finding a win-win solution where you both can benefit from doing something together. It’s a true collaboration.

In my experience of blogging, there’s so many ways you can do this to grow your blog and the other person’s blog. The key is to write from the outset, to look for a win-win, to look for something where you are going to benefit. Your blog will grow in some way, the other person’s blog will grow in some way, and their business will grow in some way as well. You both make the same thing out of it, you both make a traffic out of it all, you both make a content out of it all, or you both make monetization out of it all. In some situations, it may be that one person gets traffic and the other person gets content or vice versa.

There’s a variety of different ways you can collaborate. In this episode what I want to do is run through four main areas that you might want to consider collaborating on and they’re all tied around the pillars of ProBlogging that we talk about quite regularly on ProBlogger. If you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll know that I advise all the time that you really should be putting most of your efforts into four things.

Firstly, creating content for your blog. Secondly, building engagement with your readers, building community with your readers. Thirdly, driving traffic to your blog, promoting your blog. Fourthly, monetizing your blog. If you want to build a profitable blog, they’re the foundational of things you should be spending most of your time in. Content, engagement, traffic, and monetization.

There’s other things that you should be doing as well but that’s probably where 90% of your time should be going into. In my experience, you can collaborate in each of these four areas and some of you will have a real strength in two or three of them and you may have some weaknesses in another one. One way that you can supplement some of your weaknesses and boost one of those other areas is to find collaborations. What I want to do is to look at each one in turn and suggest one or two things that you could be doing in each of those areas to collaborate.

Firstly, let’s look at content. There’s a variety of way that bloggers could collaborate with one another when it comes to content. Firstly, and perhaps obviously, is we allow each other to create guest content for our blogs. This is very normal, it’s very common and it’s been going on for years. I’ll write you a blog post, you write me a blog post or I’ll just write you one and you post it. There’s a variety of ways that you can kind of structure those kind of agreements, it might be we exchange posts for each other’s blogs or maybe one person just writes for the other.

The idea here is that one person gets content and the other person get some traffic or some exposure to build their profile. This is very common and this is perhaps the easiest way that you might want to collaborate in this, but there’s so many other ways that you could collaborate when it comes to content.

As I look at YouTube, I think we can learn a lot from them. YouTubers collaborate all the time. In fact, if you go to YouTube you can actually find a whole page that YouTube has created themselves to try and foster collaborations because they see it in their best interest if they get their users collaborating together. It’s very common for one YouTuber to appear on another YouTubers channel and they create a piece of content together. Sometimes the piece of content will then go and appear on both of the channels. It’s just normal, they do it all the time and they do it very, very well.

It struck me that this kind of collaboration where we create content together could happen on blogs too. It may be slightly more tricky with written words. We might think, “Well, I can’t write an article with another blogger,” but you actually can. In writing books, co-authorship happens all the time. The ProBlogger book is a co-authored book, it’s Chris Garrett and myself writing different parts of the book. We’ve seen mainstream media. Articles get written all the time that are collaborations and the by line is two people’s names there. People work together as writers, why don’t we do it more as bloggers?

I’ve got 20,000 posts that I’ve published on my blogs over the last 14 years. I didn’t write them all but of those 20,000 posts, I would say 98% of them are one person writing the post. It’s probably more like 99%. There’s two main exceptions to that. Firstly, interviews would be the main exception to that and this is a relatively easy way to collaborate on a piece of content where one person interviews another and this is where I’d be starting out if you want to go beyond this post, I would be interviewing another blogger and then getting them to interview you and have those pieces of content go up on the blog. That’s a really easy way to collaborate on a piece of content.

You could actually write the post together. I can think of two occasions where I’ve done this and I’ve published a post on ProBlogger back in 2004 and I’ll link to the post in today’s show notes so you can see them. In both of these posts, it was part of a series that I was doing on ProBlogger and the posts were written with a guy called Shayne Tilley who many of you will be familiar with. He speaks at our events almost every year and he’s written a number of articles on ProBlogger.

In these two posts, I actually asked Shayne to tackle a topic but I also realized I had some things to say about that topic as well. If you go and have a look at the post, and I encourage you to do it, you’ll see that he’s written the post but from time to time there’s this little section that says, “Darren says,” and it’s got my head in it. It’s my little face and it’s in italic so it looks slightly different. We’ve got these call out boxes, almost looks like a block quote type thing around it. Shayne writes his and his head is there and it says something like, “Shayne says,” and then it says, “Darren says,” and it’s almost like a conversation. It’s not an actual interview. he had written his article and then I chimed in with my comments along the way. This post really went over well. Our readers really enjoyed that back and forth on this topic. It’s just one way that you might want to do a post with someone else, a collaboration in that written form.

There’s so many other ways that you can do it. You could run a series of blog posts across two blogs. I have the first post on my blog, you have the second post on your blog, and then we interlink them. Sending traffic back and forth and collaborating that way, we could do a blog take over. I’ve done this in the past on ProBlogger where I’ve taken a vacation and another blogger I think, Bryan Clark from Copyblogger came on in the early days of ProBlogger and he did a whole week of content on ProBlogger. You could do that type of collaboration as well. Think creatively about it. There’s so many different ways that you could collaborate with another blogger in your niche.

That’s the first pillar, creating content. The second pillar was growing engagement or building community. When it comes to doing that, I reckon there would be a lot of different ways that we could collaborate as bloggers together. For example, why does every blogger have to have their own Facebook group or their own Facebook page? What if a few small bloggers got together and they were from the same niche and decided to have a Facebook group together that they co-ran?

You’d want to choose carefully the type of person that you wanted to work with, you wanted to have some trust with that person, I’ll talk more about building that trust later but why not do that? You may not have a big enough audience to really keep a Facebook Group running but what if two or three other bloggers in your niche decided to do it with you? Together, you probably would have enough people and it’s a way of exposing each of you to each other’s audiences and to build some engagement that could go deeper and beyond what anyone of you could do individually.

Similarly, you could run a Twitter chat together. Some bloggers actually do this, they agree on a hashtag and they decide that each of them is going to promote this hashtag, and once a week they do a Twitter chat where they get all their readers together to have a chat. Live video will be another way of doing it. You could do some live videos and share them to all of your different Facebook pages, or all of your different Facebook groups, and introduce each other’s audiences to one another. Engagement, building that sort of back and forth is something that you could do together. In fact it may actually be easier to do, particularly if you’re just starting out, if you do it together.

Third pillar was driving traffic. The same thing is true when it comes to doing that. We all share our own content on social media and emails each week. Why not partner up with another blogger and agree to share some of theirs if they share some of yours? I’ve done this a number of times over the years with other bloggers.

For example, when I was just starting Digital Photography School, there was another photography blog that was on a slightly different topic to mine. It had a slightly different focus but we realized our audiences did overlap. We decided that five times a week, once a day, we would share a post that the other one had written that day on our social media accounts. It was very simple, we just had this little Skype conversation open all the time. Every time we publish a new post, we just left the link in the Skype conversation and then every day when we’re scheduling our social media, we went to the Skype conversation and grab the other persons link and added it into our social media channels.

Once a month, we decided that we were going to promote each other’s content, one piece of content in an email newsletter. We each got to choose one of our posts that we thought would work best for the other person to link to in their newsletter. As a result of just doing that, both of our blogs grew faster and we accelerated the growth of our blog. There’d be so many different ways to do that. That was just me working with one other blogger, I’ve seen bloggers do this in little groups and they set up a Facebook group and they do this sort of sharing type thing. There’s  a lot of different ways that you could do this.

The last pillar that I want to talk about is monetization and for me this has been the biggest area of collaboration. I guess this started way, way back when I began to do affiliate promotions of other bloggers’ products. I remember the first time I actually did, I saw this other blogger in the photography space, had created an ebook. I’ve never really seen another blogger do an ebook before and then I noticed that it had this thing called an affiliate program to promote the ebook. They said that I could promote it and anyone could promote that ebook and earn 50% commission.

I think it was like a $15 ebook and I was like, “Wow, $7.50 per sale,” I wonder what I could do in terms of sales. I signed up for their program. I didn’t contact the blogger at all. I just signed up for their program and I grabbed the affiliate link, and that night I sent out an email to my little photography list. By sending out that email, I made a few hundred dollars over night and I was like, “Cool! That’s pretty cool,” that was just one email and for me that was a pretty big deal at that time. I decided a few weeks later to contact that blogger directly because I noticed they had a number of different ebooks.

I approached him, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I didn’t know whether it was a dumb thing to approach people directly but I approach the blogger and I said, “Would you be interested in giving my readers a discount on one of your ebooks?” He didn’t really know whether that was a dumb thing either, this was all new to both of us but we decided to give it a go. He’d seen the sales come through from my previous promotion and he said, “Yeah, I’ll give you 30% off for your readers for a week.” We did this week long promotion on another one of his ebooks and a few months later my email list was slowly growing, and growing, and growing and it was the first time I’ve done anything like this.

I sent out an email and it went crazy because there was a discount this time. Over the coming weeks, I think we made about $5000 in sales as this promotion ran and that promotion did a few things. Firstly, it cemented a relationship with this blogger and we continued to work together for a few years after that. We’re semi-regularly promoting each other’s ebooks. Once I created some ebooks he became an affiliate for me as well. It became a really mutual relationship where we promoted each other’s stuff, where we made quite a bit of money together. The other thing that I learned by doing that little collaboration was that ebooks worked with my audience and so I decided to create my first ebook.

I began the painstaking process of writing my first photography ebook. For me, it took me three or four months to get that ebook written, it was a lot of work. I got there in the end though. I think I tell the story of the creation of that ebook in episode 67 and back in that episode you might remember that ebook actually did really well with our audience. We made about $72000 over the 10 days after that launch. It was a really good payoff for all that work. But I got to the end of that launch and I knew I needed to do more products of my own but I just didn’t have the time. This bring me back to collaboration again.

Creating ebooks was another ball that I had to put in the air but I was already at capacity, I was already juggling my nine balls, I didn’t know how to add a tenth into that scenario. I decided the only way I could do it to create a second ebook was to find a collaborator. I reached out to one of the people who’d been writing some articles on my blog and we started talking about maybe instead of writing some articles for me, they could write an ebook for us and we decided to create this ebook together. He’s had a collaboration work, he wrote it, he did all the work, and I’m writing it which was a lot of work but I worked on the design, the marketing, I had the traffic, I had the email list, and he didn’t have any audience. I worked on promoting it and marketing it. Getting a shopping cart up, doing the customer service, and drove a lot of traffic to it, and we decided that we were going to split the profits on that.

That ebook did a lot better than the first one and it began a snowball effect in many ways. That collaborator went on to write three more ebooks. We ended up with four ebooks with him and then he also created a series of courses with us as well. It became an ongoing relationship that we had and as a result we made a fair bit of money for him and he made a fair bit of money for us as well.

Today we’ve published I think it’s around 30 ebooks. All of them, except for the very first one, are collaborations. I’ve not written a single ebook on Digital Photography School since the very first one. In fact that first one no longer is available for sale, it’s been superseded. We’ve created six courses, all of them are collaborations. We’ve created some softwares, some Lightroom presets, all of them are collaborations.

As I look at my income streams, 90% of them are collaborations. The only real exception in all of my income streams that’s not a collaboration is the job board on ProBlogger and perhaps the event that we run for ProBlogger as well although even that you could probably argue as a collaboration of sorts because we work with a variety of speakers who speak at out events as well.

Ninety-percent of my income streams, even the ad networks, that’s a collaboration. I’m partnering with AdSense, we sell ads directly to sponsors. I guess you could say that’s a collaboration because the sponsor is working with us but we actually outsource the process of selling those ads as well to a third party who takes a cut of those ads as well so that’s a collaboration too. Everything I do is collaborations when it comes to income and as I’ve been preparing this podcast, I guess really come home to me just how important collaborations have been for me.

How do you develop these collaborations I guess is the big question. The thing I want to say is that, yes, today 90% of my income comes from collaborations but it started really small. It started because that guy who wrote that first ebook with us, he started as a writer on our site and that was the small collaboration. He started writing some guest posts for us and we sent him a little bit of traffic, and helped build his profile, and he created some content for us, and that’s where it began.

The first thing I would really encourage you to do is to think about how you can start small. You may not want to leap into writing a book together as your starting point. Start with them writing a piece of content for you or you writing a piece of content for them, or start with, “Let’s promote each other’s content once a week,” and let that relationship grow, let that trust grow, see if you work well together. Do small things and let the great relationship grow naturally over time.

When I first had that guy write on my blog for the very first time, I didn’t know it was going to turn into an ebook deal, then courses, and an ongoing thing. I didn’t realize the nature of that relationship, I just started with something small. When you’re looking for collaborators, look for people who have complementary skills sets to you. You don’t want to just duplicate it, you don’t want to just choose someone who’s exactly like you because then you’ll end up just doing the same things. As you look at your own skill set, maybe there’s a deficiency, maybe you’re not as good on design, or maybe you’re not as good at promotion and marketing. Find other people who can complement those things and fill in those gaps that you have.

Look for collaborators who share your audience or at least complement your audience. You don’t have to have a blog on exactly the same topic but there needs to be enough overlap, particularly if you’re going to drive traffic in the collaboration, there’s overlap there. You don’t want to be a fashion blogger, and if they’re a travel blogger, and you’ve got completely different audiences. You might work well together if they’re a fashion blogger, and you’re a travel blogger, and you share the same demographic of audience but if you’re talking to retirees who are 70 and they’re talking to millennials, it’s probably not going to work at least in terms of sharing traffic and building engagement in that way.

Look for collaborators who share your values. I can’t stress this enough. The few times that I’ve run into issues over the years with collaborations, it usually came down to us having different expectations of the relationship, different motivations, and ultimately some different values as well. You want to choose good people, people of character, people who share your values, your goals, and expectations as well. As part of this, you want to make sure you set the boundaries of the relationship early. Get the expectations right. If it’s going beyond, “Hey, I’m going to write a piece of content for you, and you write a piece of content for me,” if you’re getting into, “We’re going to create a product together,” you want to get that in writing and know right up front how that is going to operate.

There’s a variety of models there in terms of sharing revenue. You may do a collaboration where one person takes a higher percentage of profit or revenue based upon them bringing more to that relationship. It doesn’t always have to be 50-50 but you want to be really clear up front about how the benefits, the wins from that collaborations are going to be split up.

Lastly, communicate. It’s just so important to keep the avenues of communication open in these collaborations at all times. I’ll just stress again, start small, you don’t have to leap into a massive collaboration with someone that you barely know. You want to build trust. Let that relationship grow naturally and who knows where it might end up.

I hope that’s helpful. I would love to hear your stories of collaboration. I know many of you have collaborated in ways that I haven’t mentioned in this particular podcast and so I’d love to hear how you collaborate. Maybe we could do a follow up podcast at some stage with some of the things that you advice. You can let us know how you collaborate, any ideas that you’ve got on this topic in two ways. Firstly, on our show notes where there’s an opportunity to comment at problogger.com/podcast/237 or in our Facebook group. You can let us know there any tips that you’ve got. If you are sharing a tip, just make sure you use the appropriate hashtag there. We like everyone to hashtag every post that they’ve got. If you’ve got some advice, hashtag it with that and if you’ve got a question to ask as well, make sure you do that. There’s information in our pinned post about how to hashtag your posts.

Thank you so much for listening today. I’m actually going to be on the road next week, there may not be a podcast coming out on next Monday because I will be in San Diego at Social Media Marketing World where I’ll be doing a talk. Part of my talk is actually about this very topic. If you’re in San Diego, I’d love to catch up with you at Social Media Marketing World. Otherwise, I’ll be back on the podcast in a couple of weeks’ time with episode 238. Thanks for listening, chat with you next time.

If you are looking for something else to listen to, I did mention a few episodes during this particular episode. Episode 40 was 7 Productivity tips for Bloggers, episode 163 was another 3 Different Tips for Increasing your Productivity, and episode 67 was How To Create A Product For Your Blog where I tell the story of my first product and give you some suggestions on creating products for your own.

Dig around in the archives, there’s 236 other episodes to find there. You might want to go back through iTunes. They’re all sitting there, at least they will be for the next little while. I think 300 is the limit. Some of those early episodes will begin to disappear once we get up to the 300 episode mark. Thanks for listening.

If you’ve got a moment as well in iTunes or whatever podcast app you are listening to, I would love it if you’d leave us a review and rating. I do read them all, I get a notification every week every time a new one comes in. Let us know what your name is in that as well and if you want to pop in your blog link, it doesn’t come up as a hyperlink but I do check out the links of all blogs that are mentioned there as well. Thanks for listening, chat with you next time.

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 at @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 set up 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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234: How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant

How to Relaunch a Dormant Blog

In today’s episode, I want to answer a question I get regularly from listeners: How do you relaunch a blog that has died or become dormant?

I want to talk you through two scenarios for relaunching a blog, and give you 11 things to consider during a relaunch.

Before I get into today’s show though, a couple of things.

Firstly, this week on 7th February we’ve got our first ever International Start a Blog Day. For those of you enrolled in our Start a Blog Course, keep working on your launch.

And secondly, coming up in March we have our brand new course – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. This is a perfect course for anyone in their first month of blogging, anyone relaunching a blog, or anyone who is blogging and just wants to give their blog a bit of a kick start.

It’s a brilliant month of learning, but more importantly doing small things every day to improve your blog.

Whether you do the tasks daily or tackle the course slower, it’ll give your blog a boost.

Register your interest in the course at problogger.com/31days and we’ll send you an email when it launches with a special early bird discount.

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Good morning and welcome to episode 234 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is 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 as a blogger to start a great blog, to create great content on that blog that’s gonna change your reader’s lives, to find new readers for your blog, and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do ProBlogger at problogger.com. You can also dig into previous episodes of the show and thousands of tutorials that we’ve published over the years.

In today’s episode, episode 234, I wanna answer a question I get regularly from readers. How do you relaunch a blog that’s previously died or become dormant? I wanna talk you through two scenarios for relaunching your blog and give you 11 things to consider during the relaunch, 11 questions to ask yourself that will help you to relaunch with your best foot forward.

Before I get into today’s show, I want to mention two things. Firstly, this week, on the 7th of February, we’ve got our first ever International Start a Blog Day. For those of you who have previously enrolled in our Start a Blog course, keep working on your launch and look out for emails from us of details on how to participate in that.

If you already have a blog and you wanna check out some amazing new blogs, watch out on problogger.com on the 7th of February and you’ll see a massive list of some amazing new blogs. If you follow us on our Facebook page, facebook.com/problogger, I will also be featuring some of the new blogs on that day and some live videos.

The other thing to mention is that coming up in March, we have a brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which has previously been an ebook and a series of blog posts, and a series of podcasts as well. We’ve updated it all and we’ve put it together in a course format.

For anyone who is in the first month of blogging, maybe you’ve just done that Start a Blog course or anyone who is relaunching a dormant blog, this would be perfect for you and anyone who’s been blogging for a while who just wants to give their blog a bit of a kickstart, maybe it’s that time of the year and you wanna get things going again, this is a brilliant course that’s really going to walk you through over a month or you can take it slow if you want to, some teaching, and more importantly doing some small things everyday to improve your blog.

Time and time again, I hear from people who’ve done this course and they’ve stuck it out through to the end. Previously, they’ve done it as ebooks, they’ve said that it really has given them a boost. The most important thing is not the learning, it’s the doing, it’s the implementing the small things that we suggest everyday. If that sounds like it’s gonna float your boat and improve your blog, check out problogger.com/31days and you’ll be forwarded there to an outline of the course and also a place where you can register your interests and we’ll let you know when the course goes live. We’ll also send you a special early bird discount as well.

If you are listening to this sometime in the future and it’s already live, you’ll already be able to sign up there at problogger.com/31days and get involved in that course. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/234 and with all that said, I’m gonna get into today’s show.

Last week, I was asked by a reader of ProBlogger for advice on how to relaunch their blog, which had become dormant for the last year. They’ve had 12 months off blogging. They’ve had to take a break from blogging, blogging had to take a backseat I guess, while other things in their life or their family took priority. They have some really good reasons for putting their blog on hold for that 12 months. But now things had settled down at home, they wanted to get back into blogging again.

This is something that many of us bloggers have to deal with at different times. There’s been times where I’ve put my blogs on hold, not ProBlogger and Digital Photography School but I’ve had other blogs that have been on hold and one day, I may need to relaunch them. This is something I thought through numerous times for myself but also in talking other bloggers through as well.

Maybe the reason your blog has become dormant is a family reason, or a health crisis that you just have to put things on hold for a while, maybe it’s because you’ve lost motivation or passion to keep the blog going, maybe you’ve become disillusioned, or distracted, maybe things just haven’t quite worked and so you’ve put things on hold for a period of time. No matter what the reason, many blogs tend to have this period where they at least slow down or become completely dormant.

In today’s show, what I wanna do is give you some advice on bringing those old blogs back to life. The first thing that I wanna say, and really this is so important, is to assess the current state of play, to actually do some thinking about where things are at for you at the moment. Of course, there’s no one piece of advice that I can give you here, but I think really, if you do this first step of assessing the current state of play, assessing how you are and how your blog is, it’s going to help you to determine what to do next.

What I wanna suggest you do is answer a few questions and these will all be in the transcript of today’s show. The first three questions are about you. The first question I want you to ask is why did the blog become dormant? Why did you stop blogging? Understanding this is gonna help you to guard against that thing happening again. Maybe it was you become disillusioned, maybe there’s health stuff going on. The answer doesn’t really matter but understanding why the blog became dormant is actually important because it’s gonna help you to guard against that happening again.

The second question is what are your dreams and goals for the blog? I think it’s really important to go back to this because you probably started your blog with certain objectives, certain goals, certain dreams, certain things that you thought might happen but the reality is that it may have changed for you. What were your goals and dreams and what are they now? Actually getting back to your why is really important because it will shape what you do and you’ll probably find your why will be a little bit more realistic the second time. It possibly has evolved a bit. What is your dream? What is your goal for the blog?

And thirdly, do you still want the blog to have the same topic or focus? You may just think this blog was great, I loved it, but life got in the way and I just wanna start again doing what I was doing. That’s fine, but maybe you wanna tweak things a little bit. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about pivoting your blog later but I think it’s really important to begin to ask those questions and you probably already got the answers to those in your mind.

The second group of questions are about the blog itself. The questions that you might wanna consider, I’ve got five for you. How long has it been since the blog was active? That is going to determine how you’ll relaunch it. If it’s only been month, you can probably get back to blogging pretty quickly. But if it’s been 12 months, or it’s been two years, or five years. I talked to one blogger recently who had a blog five years ago and they wanna relaunch it. The strategies that you use are probably going to be different.

If your blog has been dormant for five years, you’re probably gonna wanna do some redesign, you’re probably gonna wanna update archives, you might wanna completely change tech. But if it’s only been a month, you can probably get back to it a little bit faster. How long has it been since the blog was active? How much traffic does the blog still have? Actually, dig into your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t got a Google analytics account, install it, and work out if you still have any traffic.

I was looking at one of my old blogs the other day and I realized it was still getting a thousand visitors a day and they were all coming in from Google. Is it getting traffic? Where is the traffic coming from? Is it coming in from the search engines? Is it coming in from social media? Is it coming in from other sites? Maybe you’ve got some links coming in from other sites as well. Do you have traffic? How much traffic? Where is the traffic coming from and where is it going to? This is really important. Do you have a post or a page on your blog that’s still performing really well?

I talked to a lot of bloggers who have dormant blogs and they tell me that they’ve just got the one post in their archives that’s going really well. Understanding what that post is or what that page is can really help as you think about moving forward because that page might be a good starting place to do some analysis, to do some updating, and to think about the leveraging in someway. Think about the traffic but maybe you don’t have any traffic at all and so you can skip through that one, but digging into that is important.

Social media is another thing to ask. Do you have social media accounts set up? How many followers are on those accounts? Where was the action previously for you in terms of social media? You can ask the same question about email subscribers. How many email subscribers does it have? Is it still getting fresh email subscribers or are they all very old, you know, years ago kind of subscribers? Understanding a little bit about the health of your social media and email subscribers is important. Are they warm? Have automated things been happening to keep those subscribers and followers warm and connected with you or are they completely cold? That’s going to shape your strategy for warming up your list again.

I guess the last question to ask about your blog is if your blog topic or focus is changing. I’m getting to this a little bit more. Is the current domain still relevant? That’s just another question to ponder now. I’ll talk a little bit about that later.

We’ve asked questions about you, we’ve asked questions about your blog, and it’s probably also worth doing a little bit of analysis on the niche that you’re in as well. Some questions about your niche. What’s the current state of play in the niche that you’re operating in? If it’s been a couple of years since you blogged, you might wanna do a bit of a dig around to find out what other people are doing in your niche. Who are the big players? Who are the big bloggers? Who are the big social media influencers? What are other bloggers mainly doing at the moment? Have they changed tech? Are they using different types of mediums? Are they all in podcasts now? Are they all on video? Where is the action happening for them in terms of social media?

Doing some digging there can actually help you to work out where you should be doing things as well. Not that you wanna just copy what everyone else is doing, maybe you actually spot some gaps in what they’re not doing, some opportunities that you could do, but they also would give you some hints to where is the most logical place for you to be engaging in terms of social media. Are there any other emerging trends in the niche or industry that you could latch onto?

In the photography space for example, over the last four, five years, we’ve seen the emergence of new types of cameras, of drone photography. If I was relaunching my photography blog today, one thing that I might do would be to have a blog that really focuses on the new types of cameras, the new types of technologies, drone photography for example, mobile phone photography because things have changed over the years. Understanding how your industry, your niche has changed is really important as well.

Hopefully, in asking some of these questions about you, your blog, your niche, you begin to hopefully get a bit of an understanding for a few things about your relaunch. Hopefully, one of two scenarios is probably emerging. I wanna talk about these two scenarios.

Most of the times, I see people relaunching, they end up doing one of two things. First scenario, maybe as you’re pondering these questions, you will realize that you were already on the right track with your blog and you just needed to get back to it. Your blog was doing well and maybe the reason you stopped was health reason, or an emergency, or something just interrupted you and it was relatively healthy and you just wanna get back to it. This is obviously the most easy scenario but there’s a few pieces of advice that I would really want to encourage you to consider if that’s you. You just wanna get back to blogging, well there’s a couple of things that I would like to encourage you to really focus upon.  

Firstly, pay attention to the content you’ve already published that’s still working for you or that has worked in the past. One of the things that you can really shortcut the growth of your blog again is to really pay attention to that type of content. As I mentioned before, you possibly already got a post that is still getting traffic. I would be starting with those posts and maybe updating them, maybe republishing them. Put a new date on them as long as the URL doesn’t change. Put them back up as fresh content on your blog in someway.

If it’s something that’s already working for you in someway, update it and leverage it to get some new subscribers.Write some follow up content on those topics. Repurpose it perhaps in a different medium. You might wanna take the written basic content and do a video, or an audio post, and really pay attention to those pieces of content that are already working. Also, think about are there ways that you could expand upon them. I guess, do similar types of things. If you’ve got a category that’s really working for you, maybe focus more upon that category because there’s obviously still interests in that category if it’s still getting traffic to it.

Pay attention to your archives. Just don’t start writing new content all the time. Actually, I think one of the emerging trends I’ve noticed in a lot of bloggers recently is that they’re paying as much attention to their archives as they are to new content. Go into your relaunch maybe writing some new content but also updating your archives, maybe every second piece of content that you published, maybe you should be doing a new one and then updating something old and then a new one and then updating something old.

The second thing I’d say is if you’re just getting back into blogging, you wanna pay attention to warming up your old followers, subscribers, and readers. If you have a dormant blog, you’re gonna have a cold reader, a cold email list, a cold social media following. They’re not as warm to you as they were in the past. They may still think highly of you, they might still remember you, but they might be a bit frustrated that you haven’t been updating, or they may be wondering if you are still alive, or if you are still healthy, or if you’re still interested in them and their topic. They may be feeling a bit abandoned. You may need to just think through how do you warm them up again?

Maybe if it’s been a long absence, maybe you need to explain your absence, maybe this might be a time to do a video post that tells the story of your last 12 months. You may not wanna go into great detail if it’s been a health thing but maybe that actually helps to make connection with your audience. If you can tell your story, that sometimes can warm people up.

Maybe, now is the good time to create something to give them as a gift. Maybe you’re going to create an opt in for your new email subscribers but you can send it to your old subscribers as well just to say thank you for sticking around. Maybe this would be a good time for you to launch with a series of content that’s gonna get your readers to do something, some sort of a challenge, or content event. These types of content actually are all about not just teaching your readers or not just informing them but actually engaging with them in someway, or maybe you wanna use live video, or more images, or something that’s a bit more personal in terms of the medium itself to warm up your readers in some way.

I guess the key thing is if you just need to get back to blogging, you really just need to get back to blogging and you need to start creating content again. The best thing that you can do in relaunching your blog, particularly if it’s just picking up where you left off, is to be as useful as possible to your readers. That’s the first scenario.

What I wanna do after I talk about the second scenario is give you 11 more things to think about that will be relevant for you if you’re in that first scenario as well. Hang in there. I’ve got some more that will be relevant for you as well, but is also relevant to people in the second scenario.

First scenario, you’re just picking things back up where you left off. The second scenario is that maybe as you answer those questions that I went through earlier, as you assess the current state of play for your blog, maybe you’re realizing that you need to change direction. Maybe your blog became dormant because you lost the passion for your topic, maybe you stopped because the niche changed, the blog wasn’t working in some way. To just start up again in the same way that you ended it is probably gonna end up leading to the same kind of results.

Maybe as you’re doing the assessment, you realize you need to change the way you approach a blog. You need to pivot in someway. The second scenario is about pivoting your blog. I think in most cases, a pivot is probably a good idea. These things were really firing in the past and you can just pick things up again and keep them firing. You’re probably gonna change it if you’ve had a break from blogging. You’re probably gonna find, if you’ve had a break from blogging, that you need to pivot in someway. There are four different ways that you might wanna consider pivoting your blog. Changing things up to hopefully get slightly different results from what you were doing in the past.

Firstly, you might want to pivot your topic. Maybe you want to completely change your topic, or maybe you just wanna make some smaller evolutions and pivots in your topic. There are a few different ways of that you can do this. Firstly, you might just completely change it. Maybe you had a photography blog and you wanna start a blog about blogging. Maybe you had a fashion blog and you wanna do a blog about travel. They’re completely different topics, in which case you’re probably better off to start a new blog completely rather than relaunch it. Unless you had a domain that’s kind of relevant to both topics, you’re probably more thinking about a new blog and you might want to check out our Start a Blog course to do that.

But in most cases, the pivot that people make is actually more of a tweak and there are a few ways that you can tweak your topic to bring you new life for your blog. Firstly, you might want to  narrow your topic. For example, and I’ve used this example in the past, Donna Moritz who we talked to in episode 117, narrowed her focus. She used to have a blog that was on all things social media that was not really that different to all the other blogs that were all things social media and so she decided to really focus her blog of the topic of visual content in social media.

She talks about infographics, on how to create a visual content for social media. She very much narrowed her topic. As a result of that, she became known as one of the key people that had expertise in visual content for social media. Her narrowing her focus made her stand out from all the other social media blogs and so maybe, there’s a category in you old blog that should become your focus when you relaunch and then you can become the expert in that particular field.

I remember when I was getting you to answer questions earlier, one of the questions was is there traffics still coming to your old blog? Do you have a category that still getting lots of traffic? Do you have a blog post that’s still getting lots of traffic? Maybe that could become your thing. That’s a hint as to how you might want to narrow your focus.

The opposite of this is that maybe your previous topic was too narrow and you need to broaden it as well. I’ve seen bloggers do that quite well as well. They might have had just a blog that was about printers and they got bored with that topic and so maybe they want to broaden that out to other related technology type topics as well.

A second way that you might wanna pivot is to change the perspective that you’re blogging from. Perhaps your topic is right, you’re still interested in that topic but maybe you wanna explore using a different voice, or maybe you want to change the intent of your content as well. I talked a little bit about voice in episode 213 so I’m not gonna go into great depth there but in that episode, I talked about this five voices that Jeff Goins talked about and he says that you can use these five voices for any topic really.

You can be the professor who teaches. You can be the artist who brings out the beauty in their topic, that story tells. You can be the prophet who tells the cold, hard truth and busts myth. You can be the journalist who is curating and gathering ideas and putting them together in stories, or you could be the celebrity, the one that everyone wants to know your opinion, they wanna know what you think about a topic.

There are five voices but really, you can come up to any voice of your own as well. You can be the companion who journeys with people around a topic, you can be the mentor, the entertainer, you can be the reviewer, the curator, the storyteller, the guide, the teacher, the thought leader. All of these are different voices and you may actually want to try and bring out couple of those into your blogging. You can dig more into that in episode 213, but this is one way that you might want to consider pivoting your blog.

The other way to kind of think about this is to think about the perspective that you come from and the intent of your content. You might wanna tweak that, change that. Maybe your blog was about bringing your readers the latest news in a niche. Maybe you got a bit sick of that and maybe you could pivot to be more of an opinion blog. You’re still talking about them but you’re bringing your opinion into it. That’s a slightly different intent, that’s a slightly different voice that you bring to your blog. Maybe your blog previously was more of storytelling and you wanna bring in some more reviews. Maybe this is about completely changing your voice or maybe it’s just tweaking things as well.

An example of this was my original photography blog which used to be a review blog. Back in the day, 2004, I had these camera review blogs. I was reviewing cameras. I got completely sick of it. I got burnt out. It wasn’t something I was passionate about and so I decided to pivot that blog and to start teaching people how to use their cameras. This was, for me, a big change. I changed my domain, I changed the older content and really that’s when Digital Photography School was born.

For me, it was a big pivot. But you might just want to tweak your voice. Maybe it’s about adding in new types of posts to sit alongside of the old types of post. It’s really important to think this through before you relaunch your blog.

A third way you might wanna consider pivoting is around the medium. Maybe you previously had a written blog, but you wanna launch it to explore using more video or maybe you wanna use audio or more visual content, or do more live shows. This could be a complete shift. You might change from having a written blog to having a podcast or a video blog or you might just wanna add the new medium into what you’re doing. Like we do on ProBlogger, every week we publish a blog post, a podcast, and a video. Maybe you just wanna change the mix of the mediums as well.

The fourth and last way that I’ll talk about pivoting your blog is to change up the audience and to focus on serving a different type of demographic. This is something I’ve seen a number of bloggers do over the years with real success. I get it. Similar to narrowing your focus, instead of just having a blog that brought everyone in your topic, you might wanna focus in on being a topic blog for a certain demographic.

Instead of just being a travel blogger and trying to write general travel advice, you might wanna reposition your blog to be a blog that has travel advice for retirees, or for families, or for single women, or for gay men. You can think about your topic for a particular audience and this makes your content much more useful for those individual types of people.

It may sound a bit dangerous. You’re narrowing your potential audience down but it’s gonna make it more so much attractive to anyone who is from that kind of demographic and your content is going to be able to be more focused as well. It will probably impact your design, your  branding, and all of these things as well.

There’s four ways that you might wanna pivot your blog, it’s the topic, the perspective or voice that you’re writing from, the mediums that you use, and potentially, the audience that you’re trying to attract. You may be wanting to just pivot in one of these areas or you may actually wanna pivot in a few. You might want to narrow your topic and narrow down to a particular demographic, and to change medium slightly and to use a different voice. Maybe you want to do all of those things, or maybe your pivot is just in a couple of this areas and in quite small ways.

But I think it’s well worth considering. Particularly, if you’ve been blogging for a few years, you’ll probably find that things in your niche have changed quite a bit. For you to just go back to blogging in exactly the same way may not connect to its readers quite so much. One of the things that we all are aware of is the internet is changing a lot. We’re seeing a lot more video, we’re seeing a lot more visual content. Changing the medium can really work a bit and we’re also seeing more focused content, and more focused sites as well.

I’ve noticed, over the last few years, people focusing in on serving narrow niches of demographics as well. There are a few things to consider as you relaunch your blog. Can you pivot things a little bit? You will also find as you pivot, sometimes that will give you a bit more passion for what you’re doing as well. You’re not just getting back to the same old thing you used to do, you actually got something new to learn and that can keep you fresh as well.

Once you’ve worked out, if and how you’re gonna pivot, you’ll probably need to consider a few other factors. One of the biggest things you need to consider is whether you need to find a new domain or name for your blog. We’ve previously talked about domain names and how to choose good domain names and I’ll link to that particular episode in our show notes.

But for some people, this pivoting that you’re going to do is going to mean you just have to change your domain. This is particularly if you are changing your topic completely, maybe you’re going from being a travel blogger to a fashion blogger and your old domain just doesn’t suit you at all. In that case, to keep that old domain is just gonna confuse your readers and it’s gonna confused your brand as well.

Effectively, what you need to do if that’s the case is you’re almost starting a new blog and as I said before, that Start a Blog course the we’ve just released will be useful to you. But in many cases, the old domain you already have can work. Particularly if you’re only just changing the medium, or the audience, or the voice, or the topic in a slight way, or if your domain was a more of a general domain, or maybe it was your name, darrenrowse.com, I can change darrenrowse.com into any direction really I guess. That’s one of the advantages of having your name.

Keeping the domain of course is good in some ways because it does help you with search engine optimization, any past links coming into your site is gonna help you to rank higher for the future as well. It may also be helpful because you’d be able to keep your previous social media accounts but I just wanna emphasize, if it’s going to cause too much confusion to keep that domain and change things up, sometimes it’s better just to have a clean break. That’s what I did with my photography site in the early days. The domain that I previously was using just wasn’t right and Digital Photography School was a much better name for this new blog so I bit the bullet and I change things up. It felt really scary to do that and it did mean I was starting from scratch a lot more but in the long run, it did really help me a lot.

If you are changing domains, then you could keep that previous domain up as an archive of your  previous work and maybe have some links on it to what you’re newly doing or what you’re doing today. You might wanna even forward that previous domain to the new one. Anyone who arrives on that past one is gonna end up on your new site.

Again, you probably wanna really think through the user experience that your readers are gonna have. If your old blog is on one topic and the new one is on a new one, it’s probably no sense in forwarding people from one to the new one because it’s just gonna annoy them, really.  It’s gonna be hard to bring those old readers across as well.

Hopefully, you’ve worked out whether you’re doing a pivot or whether you’re just restarting what you’ve previously doing. No matter what the scenario you’re in of those two options or if it’s something in between even, there are still other things that you want to think about. What I wanna do is finish off this podcast with 11 other things that I’d be focusing my attention on as I was relaunching my blog.

These are the 11 questions that you can ask, 11 things that I think you should be working on, particularly in those early days of doing that relaunch, before you do the relaunch, and in the first month or so as well. I will say up front that most of these things are actually included in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course as well and if you go and have a look at that, you’ll see a lot of these things are mentioned in the outline.

First thing I’d be thinking about are your goals and objectives to your the blog going forward. Don’t just think about the topic, but what are you trying to achieve with the blog? What do you want it to lead to? Are you trying to build income? Are you trying to open up opportunities like landing a job or a book deal? Having this really thought through, what is it you are trying to achieve will help you in in so many ways. You will inform the content that you create the way you design your site the construction that have. What are those goals and objectives going forward? You don’t have to write a thesis on this but actually having them clear in your mind is really important.

A second thing to consider is how will your blog change you readers’ lives? If you’ve been listening to my podcast for any time now, you’ve heard me talk about this time and time again. For me, it is the key to success for blogging, having a blog that is gonna change people’s lives. Having a dream for what you wanna achieve with your blog is one thing but what is your dream for your readers? What’s in it for your reader? Get laser focused on that. How are you gonna change your readers’ lives? This will come out in the content that you create in the way you design your site as well. This is a really important factor to consider. All of your content should really be focused upon bringing about this change in some way.

Third thing to think about is to start generating ideas for content. This is pretty obvious. A blog without content is not a blog. Many bloggers, this is actually why the blog becomes dormant. It’s because they struggle to come up with new ideas. Before you get back into blogging, spend as much time as you can on generating ideas for content. Map out the next few weeks, the next few months, the next few years. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers recently mapping out a year of content ahead of time. This is particularly important if the reason your blog become dormant is because this was a struggle for you. If you know this is a struggle, put a lot of time into this, get some friends involved in it as well. Survey any past readers that you have to find out their questions. Dig into the archives. Look at what did well in the past. They can give you ideas as well.

Speaking of those archives, number four thing that that I wanna encourage you to think about and I mentioned this at the top of the show, is to build your archives up and to build upon your archives. If you’re not changing domains and are simply starting your blog again with minor changes, you wanna think really carefully about your previous content. Do an audit of what you have in your archives and once you’ve done that, be ruthless about deleting anything that is not  serving your readers anymore or updating it.

If you’ve got old posts that dated, taking your readers against the change you’re trying to bring about in their lives in some ways, delete them or update them in some way, or forward them to other articles that you’ve written. Pay attention particularly to any post that’s getting significant traffic. I would be identifying your top 10, maybe your top 20 or so posts that are still getting any traffic and make them more visually appealing, make them more scannable, optimize them for search engine optimization. Think about the calls to action that you have to get new subscribers. Think about could you do a follow up post? Could you add a link to further reading? Could you repurpose that content in someway?

It’s really important. Those posts that are doing well already, leverage them. Update them. Make them even bigger, make them even better. It’s really important to focus upon that. That’s probably the number one thing I’ve been doing out of all the things that I’m mentioning here. That’s number four.

Number five is think about the editorial calendar going forward. You’ve brainstormed the ideas but actually get those ideas into some kind of a calendar. When will you publish them? How often will you publish? What mediums will you use? You might wanna come up with a weekly format. Monday is gonna be a blog posts and it’s gonna be a tips article. Tuesday is going to be an audio post. Wednesdays might be a link post to someone else. Thursdays might be a review that you do. It really doesn’t matter whether you publish everyday but actually think about the types of posts that are you going to publish. Put topics alongside them in a calendar and suddenly, you’ve created yourself an editorial calendar. It’s so important to do that particularly if you struggled with keeping your blog going in the past because you had issues around planning.

Number six is to do some analysis on where your readers are going to come from. If you’ve already got some readers coming in, do some analysis on where they’re already coming from. Also begin to think about how am I’m gonna grow my readership. That’s really important as you launch your blog, as you relaunch your blog to think about could you do some guest posting? Should you be interacting in forums or Facebook groups? How can I be useful in these places? What other influences in the niche do I wanna network with? Maybe it’s been a few years since your blog was active. Maybe you need to introduce yourself to some of the new players. Maybe you need to reestablish contact with some of your previous friends in that particular niche. What events will you attend? Doing some analysis on where your readers could come from and how you’re going to grow your readership is really important.

Number seven point is kind of related to number six. Identify which social networks you’re going to focus your attention on. Things have probably changed in your space. We’ve had Snapchat come out. We’ve had Instagram come out. We’ve had all these different social networks come up perhaps since you previously were blogging. Do they present some new opportunities? Have people moved from one network to another in your particular niche? Identify the one or two that’s gonna be your primary focus. Make sure you’ve registered all the accounts that you need to. But then, come up with a little strategy of how you’re going to use those social networks going forward.

Tip number eight is to start creating content. I would be focusing upon pillar content first. This is sort of that evergreen content that is going to be really, it’s what the rest of your blog is going to be built around. It’s your pillar content. It’s that evergreen content that you’re gonna refer to time and time again. It’s what you stand for. It’s your core teaching.

On Digital Photography School, it’s my post around aperture, shutter speed, ISO, these key components of photography. As you relaunch your blog, go back and look at the previous pillar content but also are there new pieces of content that you need to write first. Think about that evergreen content because that evergreen content is the type of content that’s gonna payoff for years to come. Deliver as much big value as you can with your early posts.

Tip number nine is to think about your list. If you’ve previously collected emails, how are you gonna warm that list up again? How often are you going to send emails? How are you going to use that list going forward? How are you going to get new emails as well? Again, there are plenty of content in our podcast archives on growing your list. We’ve got some more coming up for you in the next little while, but begin to put some thought into that in those early days.

Number 10 thing to figure out is your blog design. Maybe it’s been a couple of years since you’ve been blogging. Things have changed in the blogging space. Blogs look different now to what they used to look like. Do you need to update it? Do you need to change that logo? Do you need to lay it out differently? Is your blog mobile friendly? It’s so important these days, most people are looking at your blog probably on their mobile phone. Is it viewable on a mobile phone? You may need to give things a refresh in that particular area.

The last thing I’d encourage you to think about as you’re relaunching your blog is how are you going to use your time going forward? This, again, is one of the reasons that so many bloggers become dormant, is that the blogger is struggling with juggling life and their blog and all the things that come along with having a blog. Actually thinking about how much time do I have that I can give my blog and what am I going to spend that time on?

We all have a limited amount of time and we are much more productive when we think ahead of time about how we are going to use that time. Make a list of what you need to do, and look at the available time that you’ve got, whether its one hour a week or whether that’s 40 hours a week and begin to prioritize the things that need to happen and plug them into a calendar.

This is what I do. I have a weekly template. I know on Monday mornings that I’ll write content. On Tuesday mornings, I’ll record a podcast. I know when things are going to happen and as a result, I’m so much more productive. Even if you’ve only got two or three hours a week to do it, you can fit a lot in if you’re sensible and proactive about planning and arranging your time.

Those are 11 things. That will be in today’s show notes as well. These are the kinds of things that I’d be thinking about if I was relaunching a blog. Ultimately though, the success of your relaunched blog is gonna be determined on what you do over the coming months and years. It’s the accumulation of the content that you create. It’s the accumulation of the value and usefulness that you deliver and the engagement that you have with your readers. Prioritize those things first. Content creation. Promoting your self, engaging with your reader. Creating value. They are so important.

To help you with this process, we are in that final stages of putting together our brand new course that I mentioned at the top of the show. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It really is designed to help bloggers to kickstart their blogs whether they are new blogs relaunching a blog, or established blogs. The course is launching in March. We’ll give you the dates in the coming weeks.

As the name suggests, it’s a 31 days course that will give you 31 days of teaching but more importantly 31 things you can do to make your blog better. It’s all about helping you to think through the kind of things I just ran through. Things that will help you establish good habits and routines for your blog. Things that are gonna help you to build the asset of your blog’s archives to grow you readership and to turn those readers into true fans.

I’m so excited about this new course because I know in the past, 31 days to Build a Better Blog is an ebook and as other series of content have helped tens of thousands of people and so I just know this course will help people as well.

You can head over to problogger.com/31days to be signed up and notified when that course goes live. It’s a paid course but we’re keeping it as affordable as we can and if you register your interest now, we will be sending you an exclusive early bird discount in the coming weeks, in the lead up to that. Again, that’s problogger.com/31days.

I really hope this has helped. It’s been a long one today, I know and it’s been a lot to digest so you may wanna head over to the show notes and dig into the transcript that I’ve got there for you and some further listening that I’ve got for you as well. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/234 and for the next little while, at least it will be on the front page of ProBlogger as well and at the top of your iTunes feed as well would be the podcast but you’ll be able to find the show notes there as well because I noticed the other day the show notes are appearing in iTunes if you click on the avatar, at least they do for me.

I hope you found some value in today’s show. Do check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Register your interest for that and I can’t wait to set that one live in March for you as well. Thanks so much for listening today. Again, today’s show notes, problogger.com/podcast/234. Thanks for listening. Chat with you 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.

Before I go, I wanna give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at PodcastMotor who’ve been editing all of our podcasts for sometime 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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The post 234: How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant appeared first on ProBlogger.

234: How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant

How to Relaunch a Dormant Blog

In today’s episode, I want to answer a question I get regularly from listeners: How do you relaunch a blog that has died or become dormant?

I want to talk you through two scenarios for relaunching a blog, and give you 11 things to consider during a relaunch.

Before I get into today’s show though, a couple of things.

Firstly, this week on 7th February we’ve got our first ever International Start a Blog Day. For those of you enrolled in our Start a Blog Course, keep working on your launch.

And secondly, coming up in March we have our brand new course – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. This is a perfect course for anyone in their first month of blogging, anyone relaunching a blog, or anyone who is blogging and just wants to give their blog a bit of a kick start.

It’s a brilliant month of learning, but more importantly doing small things every day to improve your blog.

Whether you do the tasks daily or tackle the course slower, it’ll give your blog a boost.

Register your interest in the course at problogger.com/31days and we’ll send you an email when it launches with a special early bird discount.

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Good morning and welcome to episode 234 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is 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 as a blogger to start a great blog, to create great content on that blog that’s gonna change your reader’s lives, to find new readers for your blog, and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do ProBlogger at problogger.com. You can also dig into previous episodes of the show and thousands of tutorials that we’ve published over the years.

In today’s episode, episode 234, I wanna answer a question I get regularly from readers. How do you relaunch a blog that’s previously died or become dormant? I wanna talk you through two scenarios for relaunching your blog and give you 11 things to consider during the relaunch, 11 questions to ask yourself that will help you to relaunch with your best foot forward.

Before I get into today’s show, I want to mention two things. Firstly, this week, on the 7th of February, we’ve got our first ever International Start a Blog Day. For those of you who have previously enrolled in our Start a Blog course, keep working on your launch and look out for emails from us of details on how to participate in that.

If you already have a blog and you wanna check out some amazing new blogs, watch out on problogger.com on the 7th of February and you’ll see a massive list of some amazing new blogs. If you follow us on our Facebook page, facebook.com/problogger, I will also be featuring some of the new blogs on that day and some live videos.

The other thing to mention is that coming up in March, we have a brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which has previously been an ebook and a series of blog posts, and a series of podcasts as well. We’ve updated it all and we’ve put it together in a course format.

For anyone who is in the first month of blogging, maybe you’ve just done that Start a Blog course or anyone who is relaunching a dormant blog, this would be perfect for you and anyone who’s been blogging for a while who just wants to give their blog a bit of a kickstart, maybe it’s that time of the year and you wanna get things going again, this is a brilliant course that’s really going to walk you through over a month or you can take it slow if you want to, some teaching, and more importantly doing some small things everyday to improve your blog.

Time and time again, I hear from people who’ve done this course and they’ve stuck it out through to the end. Previously, they’ve done it as ebooks, they’ve said that it really has given them a boost. The most important thing is not the learning, it’s the doing, it’s the implementing the small things that we suggest everyday. If that sounds like it’s gonna float your boat and improve your blog, check out problogger.com/31days and you’ll be forwarded there to an outline of the course and also a place where you can register your interests and we’ll let you know when the course goes live. We’ll also send you a special early bird discount as well.

If you are listening to this sometime in the future and it’s already live, you’ll already be able to sign up there at problogger.com/31days and get involved in that course. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/234 and with all that said, I’m gonna get into today’s show.

Last week, I was asked by a reader of ProBlogger for advice on how to relaunch their blog, which had become dormant for the last year. They’ve had 12 months off blogging. They’ve had to take a break from blogging, blogging had to take a backseat I guess, while other things in their life or their family took priority. They have some really good reasons for putting their blog on hold for that 12 months. But now things had settled down at home, they wanted to get back into blogging again.

This is something that many of us bloggers have to deal with at different times. There’s been times where I’ve put my blogs on hold, not ProBlogger and Digital Photography School but I’ve had other blogs that have been on hold and one day, I may need to relaunch them. This is something I thought through numerous times for myself but also in talking other bloggers through as well.

Maybe the reason your blog has become dormant is a family reason, or a health crisis that you just have to put things on hold for a while, maybe it’s because you’ve lost motivation or passion to keep the blog going, maybe you’ve become disillusioned, or distracted, maybe things just haven’t quite worked and so you’ve put things on hold for a period of time. No matter what the reason, many blogs tend to have this period where they at least slow down or become completely dormant.

In today’s show, what I wanna do is give you some advice on bringing those old blogs back to life. The first thing that I wanna say, and really this is so important, is to assess the current state of play, to actually do some thinking about where things are at for you at the moment. Of course, there’s no one piece of advice that I can give you here, but I think really, if you do this first step of assessing the current state of play, assessing how you are and how your blog is, it’s going to help you to determine what to do next.

What I wanna suggest you do is answer a few questions and these will all be in the transcript of today’s show. The first three questions are about you. The first question I want you to ask is why did the blog become dormant? Why did you stop blogging? Understanding this is gonna help you to guard against that thing happening again. Maybe it was you become disillusioned, maybe there’s health stuff going on. The answer doesn’t really matter but understanding why the blog became dormant is actually important because it’s gonna help you to guard against that happening again.

The second question is what are your dreams and goals for the blog? I think it’s really important to go back to this because you probably started your blog with certain objectives, certain goals, certain dreams, certain things that you thought might happen but the reality is that it may have changed for you. What were your goals and dreams and what are they now? Actually getting back to your why is really important because it will shape what you do and you’ll probably find your why will be a little bit more realistic the second time. It possibly has evolved a bit. What is your dream? What is your goal for the blog?

And thirdly, do you still want the blog to have the same topic or focus? You may just think this blog was great, I loved it, but life got in the way and I just wanna start again doing what I was doing. That’s fine, but maybe you wanna tweak things a little bit. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about pivoting your blog later but I think it’s really important to begin to ask those questions and you probably already got the answers to those in your mind.

The second group of questions are about the blog itself. The questions that you might wanna consider, I’ve got five for you. How long has it been since the blog was active? That is going to determine how you’ll relaunch it. If it’s only been month, you can probably get back to blogging pretty quickly. But if it’s been 12 months, or it’s been two years, or five years. I talked to one blogger recently who had a blog five years ago and they wanna relaunch it. The strategies that you use are probably going to be different.

If your blog has been dormant for five years, you’re probably gonna wanna do some redesign, you’re probably gonna wanna update archives, you might wanna completely change tech. But if it’s only been a month, you can probably get back to it a little bit faster. How long has it been since the blog was active? How much traffic does the blog still have? Actually, dig into your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t got a Google analytics account, install it, and work out if you still have any traffic.

I was looking at one of my old blogs the other day and I realized it was still getting a thousand visitors a day and they were all coming in from Google. Is it getting traffic? Where is the traffic coming from? Is it coming in from the search engines? Is it coming in from social media? Is it coming in from other sites? Maybe you’ve got some links coming in from other sites as well. Do you have traffic? How much traffic? Where is the traffic coming from and where is it going to? This is really important. Do you have a post or a page on your blog that’s still performing really well?

I talked to a lot of bloggers who have dormant blogs and they tell me that they’ve just got the one post in their archives that’s going really well. Understanding what that post is or what that page is can really help as you think about moving forward because that page might be a good starting place to do some analysis, to do some updating, and to think about the leveraging in someway. Think about the traffic but maybe you don’t have any traffic at all and so you can skip through that one, but digging into that is important.

Social media is another thing to ask. Do you have social media accounts set up? How many followers are on those accounts? Where was the action previously for you in terms of social media? You can ask the same question about email subscribers. How many email subscribers does it have? Is it still getting fresh email subscribers or are they all very old, you know, years ago kind of subscribers? Understanding a little bit about the health of your social media and email subscribers is important. Are they warm? Have automated things been happening to keep those subscribers and followers warm and connected with you or are they completely cold? That’s going to shape your strategy for warming up your list again.

I guess the last question to ask about your blog is if your blog topic or focus is changing. I’m getting to this a little bit more. Is the current domain still relevant? That’s just another question to ponder now. I’ll talk a little bit about that later.

We’ve asked questions about you, we’ve asked questions about your blog, and it’s probably also worth doing a little bit of analysis on the niche that you’re in as well. Some questions about your niche. What’s the current state of play in the niche that you’re operating in? If it’s been a couple of years since you blogged, you might wanna do a bit of a dig around to find out what other people are doing in your niche. Who are the big players? Who are the big bloggers? Who are the big social media influencers? What are other bloggers mainly doing at the moment? Have they changed tech? Are they using different types of mediums? Are they all in podcasts now? Are they all on video? Where is the action happening for them in terms of social media?

Doing some digging there can actually help you to work out where you should be doing things as well. Not that you wanna just copy what everyone else is doing, maybe you actually spot some gaps in what they’re not doing, some opportunities that you could do, but they also would give you some hints to where is the most logical place for you to be engaging in terms of social media. Are there any other emerging trends in the niche or industry that you could latch onto?

In the photography space for example, over the last four, five years, we’ve seen the emergence of new types of cameras, of drone photography. If I was relaunching my photography blog today, one thing that I might do would be to have a blog that really focuses on the new types of cameras, the new types of technologies, drone photography for example, mobile phone photography because things have changed over the years. Understanding how your industry, your niche has changed is really important as well.

Hopefully, in asking some of these questions about you, your blog, your niche, you begin to hopefully get a bit of an understanding for a few things about your relaunch. Hopefully, one of two scenarios is probably emerging. I wanna talk about these two scenarios.

Most of the times, I see people relaunching, they end up doing one of two things. First scenario, maybe as you’re pondering these questions, you will realize that you were already on the right track with your blog and you just needed to get back to it. Your blog was doing well and maybe the reason you stopped was health reason, or an emergency, or something just interrupted you and it was relatively healthy and you just wanna get back to it. This is obviously the most easy scenario but there’s a few pieces of advice that I would really want to encourage you to consider if that’s you. You just wanna get back to blogging, well there’s a couple of things that I would like to encourage you to really focus upon.  

Firstly, pay attention to the content you’ve already published that’s still working for you or that has worked in the past. One of the things that you can really shortcut the growth of your blog again is to really pay attention to that type of content. As I mentioned before, you possibly already got a post that is still getting traffic. I would be starting with those posts and maybe updating them, maybe republishing them. Put a new date on them as long as the URL doesn’t change. Put them back up as fresh content on your blog in someway.

If it’s something that’s already working for you in someway, update it and leverage it to get some new subscribers.Write some follow up content on those topics. Repurpose it perhaps in a different medium. You might wanna take the written basic content and do a video, or an audio post, and really pay attention to those pieces of content that are already working. Also, think about are there ways that you could expand upon them. I guess, do similar types of things. If you’ve got a category that’s really working for you, maybe focus more upon that category because there’s obviously still interests in that category if it’s still getting traffic to it.

Pay attention to your archives. Just don’t start writing new content all the time. Actually, I think one of the emerging trends I’ve noticed in a lot of bloggers recently is that they’re paying as much attention to their archives as they are to new content. Go into your relaunch maybe writing some new content but also updating your archives, maybe every second piece of content that you published, maybe you should be doing a new one and then updating something old and then a new one and then updating something old.

The second thing I’d say is if you’re just getting back into blogging, you wanna pay attention to warming up your old followers, subscribers, and readers. If you have a dormant blog, you’re gonna have a cold reader, a cold email list, a cold social media following. They’re not as warm to you as they were in the past. They may still think highly of you, they might still remember you, but they might be a bit frustrated that you haven’t been updating, or they may be wondering if you are still alive, or if you are still healthy, or if you’re still interested in them and their topic. They may be feeling a bit abandoned. You may need to just think through how do you warm them up again?

Maybe if it’s been a long absence, maybe you need to explain your absence, maybe this might be a time to do a video post that tells the story of your last 12 months. You may not wanna go into great detail if it’s been a health thing but maybe that actually helps to make connection with your audience. If you can tell your story, that sometimes can warm people up.

Maybe, now is the good time to create something to give them as a gift. Maybe you’re going to create an opt in for your new email subscribers but you can send it to your old subscribers as well just to say thank you for sticking around. Maybe this would be a good time for you to launch with a series of content that’s gonna get your readers to do something, some sort of a challenge, or content event. These types of content actually are all about not just teaching your readers or not just informing them but actually engaging with them in someway, or maybe you wanna use live video, or more images, or something that’s a bit more personal in terms of the medium itself to warm up your readers in some way.

I guess the key thing is if you just need to get back to blogging, you really just need to get back to blogging and you need to start creating content again. The best thing that you can do in relaunching your blog, particularly if it’s just picking up where you left off, is to be as useful as possible to your readers. That’s the first scenario.

What I wanna do after I talk about the second scenario is give you 11 more things to think about that will be relevant for you if you’re in that first scenario as well. Hang in there. I’ve got some more that will be relevant for you as well, but is also relevant to people in the second scenario.

First scenario, you’re just picking things back up where you left off. The second scenario is that maybe as you answer those questions that I went through earlier, as you assess the current state of play for your blog, maybe you’re realizing that you need to change direction. Maybe your blog became dormant because you lost the passion for your topic, maybe you stopped because the niche changed, the blog wasn’t working in some way. To just start up again in the same way that you ended it is probably gonna end up leading to the same kind of results.

Maybe as you’re doing the assessment, you realize you need to change the way you approach a blog. You need to pivot in someway. The second scenario is about pivoting your blog. I think in most cases, a pivot is probably a good idea. These things were really firing in the past and you can just pick things up again and keep them firing. You’re probably gonna change it if you’ve had a break from blogging. You’re probably gonna find, if you’ve had a break from blogging, that you need to pivot in someway. There are four different ways that you might wanna consider pivoting your blog. Changing things up to hopefully get slightly different results from what you were doing in the past.

Firstly, you might want to pivot your topic. Maybe you want to completely change your topic, or maybe you just wanna make some smaller evolutions and pivots in your topic. There are a few different ways of that you can do this. Firstly, you might just completely change it. Maybe you had a photography blog and you wanna start a blog about blogging. Maybe you had a fashion blog and you wanna do a blog about travel. They’re completely different topics, in which case you’re probably better off to start a new blog completely rather than relaunch it. Unless you had a domain that’s kind of relevant to both topics, you’re probably more thinking about a new blog and you might want to check out our Start a Blog course to do that.

But in most cases, the pivot that people make is actually more of a tweak and there are a few ways that you can tweak your topic to bring you new life for your blog. Firstly, you might want to  narrow your topic. For example, and I’ve used this example in the past, Donna Moritz who we talked to in episode 117, narrowed her focus. She used to have a blog that was on all things social media that was not really that different to all the other blogs that were all things social media and so she decided to really focus her blog of the topic of visual content in social media.

She talks about infographics, on how to create a visual content for social media. She very much narrowed her topic. As a result of that, she became known as one of the key people that had expertise in visual content for social media. Her narrowing her focus made her stand out from all the other social media blogs and so maybe, there’s a category in you old blog that should become your focus when you relaunch and then you can become the expert in that particular field.

I remember when I was getting you to answer questions earlier, one of the questions was is there traffics still coming to your old blog? Do you have a category that still getting lots of traffic? Do you have a blog post that’s still getting lots of traffic? Maybe that could become your thing. That’s a hint as to how you might want to narrow your focus.

The opposite of this is that maybe your previous topic was too narrow and you need to broaden it as well. I’ve seen bloggers do that quite well as well. They might have had just a blog that was about printers and they got bored with that topic and so maybe they want to broaden that out to other related technology type topics as well.

A second way that you might wanna pivot is to change the perspective that you’re blogging from. Perhaps your topic is right, you’re still interested in that topic but maybe you wanna explore using a different voice, or maybe you want to change the intent of your content as well. I talked a little bit about voice in episode 213 so I’m not gonna go into great depth there but in that episode, I talked about this five voices that Jeff Goins talked about and he says that you can use these five voices for any topic really.

You can be the professor who teaches. You can be the artist who brings out the beauty in their topic, that story tells. You can be the prophet who tells the cold, hard truth and busts myth. You can be the journalist who is curating and gathering ideas and putting them together in stories, or you could be the celebrity, the one that everyone wants to know your opinion, they wanna know what you think about a topic.

There are five voices but really, you can come up to any voice of your own as well. You can be the companion who journeys with people around a topic, you can be the mentor, the entertainer, you can be the reviewer, the curator, the storyteller, the guide, the teacher, the thought leader. All of these are different voices and you may actually want to try and bring out couple of those into your blogging. You can dig more into that in episode 213, but this is one way that you might want to consider pivoting your blog.

The other way to kind of think about this is to think about the perspective that you come from and the intent of your content. You might wanna tweak that, change that. Maybe your blog was about bringing your readers the latest news in a niche. Maybe you got a bit sick of that and maybe you could pivot to be more of an opinion blog. You’re still talking about them but you’re bringing your opinion into it. That’s a slightly different intent, that’s a slightly different voice that you bring to your blog. Maybe your blog previously was more of storytelling and you wanna bring in some more reviews. Maybe this is about completely changing your voice or maybe it’s just tweaking things as well.

An example of this was my original photography blog which used to be a review blog. Back in the day, 2004, I had these camera review blogs. I was reviewing cameras. I got completely sick of it. I got burnt out. It wasn’t something I was passionate about and so I decided to pivot that blog and to start teaching people how to use their cameras. This was, for me, a big change. I changed my domain, I changed the older content and really that’s when Digital Photography School was born.

For me, it was a big pivot. But you might just want to tweak your voice. Maybe it’s about adding in new types of posts to sit alongside of the old types of post. It’s really important to think this through before you relaunch your blog.

A third way you might wanna consider pivoting is around the medium. Maybe you previously had a written blog, but you wanna launch it to explore using more video or maybe you wanna use audio or more visual content, or do more live shows. This could be a complete shift. You might change from having a written blog to having a podcast or a video blog or you might just wanna add the new medium into what you’re doing. Like we do on ProBlogger, every week we publish a blog post, a podcast, and a video. Maybe you just wanna change the mix of the mediums as well.

The fourth and last way that I’ll talk about pivoting your blog is to change up the audience and to focus on serving a different type of demographic. This is something I’ve seen a number of bloggers do over the years with real success. I get it. Similar to narrowing your focus, instead of just having a blog that brought everyone in your topic, you might wanna focus in on being a topic blog for a certain demographic.

Instead of just being a travel blogger and trying to write general travel advice, you might wanna reposition your blog to be a blog that has travel advice for retirees, or for families, or for single women, or for gay men. You can think about your topic for a particular audience and this makes your content much more useful for those individual types of people.

It may sound a bit dangerous. You’re narrowing your potential audience down but it’s gonna make it more so much attractive to anyone who is from that kind of demographic and your content is going to be able to be more focused as well. It will probably impact your design, your  branding, and all of these things as well.

There’s four ways that you might wanna pivot your blog, it’s the topic, the perspective or voice that you’re writing from, the mediums that you use, and potentially, the audience that you’re trying to attract. You may be wanting to just pivot in one of these areas or you may actually wanna pivot in a few. You might want to narrow your topic and narrow down to a particular demographic, and to change medium slightly and to use a different voice. Maybe you want to do all of those things, or maybe your pivot is just in a couple of this areas and in quite small ways.

But I think it’s well worth considering. Particularly, if you’ve been blogging for a few years, you’ll probably find that things in your niche have changed quite a bit. For you to just go back to blogging in exactly the same way may not connect to its readers quite so much. One of the things that we all are aware of is the internet is changing a lot. We’re seeing a lot more video, we’re seeing a lot more visual content. Changing the medium can really work a bit and we’re also seeing more focused content, and more focused sites as well.

I’ve noticed, over the last few years, people focusing in on serving narrow niches of demographics as well. There are a few things to consider as you relaunch your blog. Can you pivot things a little bit? You will also find as you pivot, sometimes that will give you a bit more passion for what you’re doing as well. You’re not just getting back to the same old thing you used to do, you actually got something new to learn and that can keep you fresh as well.

Once you’ve worked out, if and how you’re gonna pivot, you’ll probably need to consider a few other factors. One of the biggest things you need to consider is whether you need to find a new domain or name for your blog. We’ve previously talked about domain names and how to choose good domain names and I’ll link to that particular episode in our show notes.

But for some people, this pivoting that you’re going to do is going to mean you just have to change your domain. This is particularly if you are changing your topic completely, maybe you’re going from being a travel blogger to a fashion blogger and your old domain just doesn’t suit you at all. In that case, to keep that old domain is just gonna confuse your readers and it’s gonna confused your brand as well.

Effectively, what you need to do if that’s the case is you’re almost starting a new blog and as I said before, that Start a Blog course the we’ve just released will be useful to you. But in many cases, the old domain you already have can work. Particularly if you’re only just changing the medium, or the audience, or the voice, or the topic in a slight way, or if your domain was a more of a general domain, or maybe it was your name, darrenrowse.com, I can change darrenrowse.com into any direction really I guess. That’s one of the advantages of having your name.

Keeping the domain of course is good in some ways because it does help you with search engine optimization, any past links coming into your site is gonna help you to rank higher for the future as well. It may also be helpful because you’d be able to keep your previous social media accounts but I just wanna emphasize, if it’s going to cause too much confusion to keep that domain and change things up, sometimes it’s better just to have a clean break. That’s what I did with my photography site in the early days. The domain that I previously was using just wasn’t right and Digital Photography School was a much better name for this new blog so I bit the bullet and I change things up. It felt really scary to do that and it did mean I was starting from scratch a lot more but in the long run, it did really help me a lot.

If you are changing domains, then you could keep that previous domain up as an archive of your  previous work and maybe have some links on it to what you’re newly doing or what you’re doing today. You might wanna even forward that previous domain to the new one. Anyone who arrives on that past one is gonna end up on your new site.

Again, you probably wanna really think through the user experience that your readers are gonna have. If your old blog is on one topic and the new one is on a new one, it’s probably no sense in forwarding people from one to the new one because it’s just gonna annoy them, really.  It’s gonna be hard to bring those old readers across as well.

Hopefully, you’ve worked out whether you’re doing a pivot or whether you’re just restarting what you’ve previously doing. No matter what the scenario you’re in of those two options or if it’s something in between even, there are still other things that you want to think about. What I wanna do is finish off this podcast with 11 other things that I’d be focusing my attention on as I was relaunching my blog.

These are the 11 questions that you can ask, 11 things that I think you should be working on, particularly in those early days of doing that relaunch, before you do the relaunch, and in the first month or so as well. I will say up front that most of these things are actually included in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course as well and if you go and have a look at that, you’ll see a lot of these things are mentioned in the outline.

First thing I’d be thinking about are your goals and objectives to your the blog going forward. Don’t just think about the topic, but what are you trying to achieve with the blog? What do you want it to lead to? Are you trying to build income? Are you trying to open up opportunities like landing a job or a book deal? Having this really thought through, what is it you are trying to achieve will help you in in so many ways. You will inform the content that you create the way you design your site the construction that have. What are those goals and objectives going forward? You don’t have to write a thesis on this but actually having them clear in your mind is really important.

A second thing to consider is how will your blog change you readers’ lives? If you’ve been listening to my podcast for any time now, you’ve heard me talk about this time and time again. For me, it is the key to success for blogging, having a blog that is gonna change people’s lives. Having a dream for what you wanna achieve with your blog is one thing but what is your dream for your readers? What’s in it for your reader? Get laser focused on that. How are you gonna change your readers’ lives? This will come out in the content that you create in the way you design your site as well. This is a really important factor to consider. All of your content should really be focused upon bringing about this change in some way.

Third thing to think about is to start generating ideas for content. This is pretty obvious. A blog without content is not a blog. Many bloggers, this is actually why the blog becomes dormant. It’s because they struggle to come up with new ideas. Before you get back into blogging, spend as much time as you can on generating ideas for content. Map out the next few weeks, the next few months, the next few years. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers recently mapping out a year of content ahead of time. This is particularly important if the reason your blog become dormant is because this was a struggle for you. If you know this is a struggle, put a lot of time into this, get some friends involved in it as well. Survey any past readers that you have to find out their questions. Dig into the archives. Look at what did well in the past. They can give you ideas as well.

Speaking of those archives, number four thing that that I wanna encourage you to think about and I mentioned this at the top of the show, is to build your archives up and to build upon your archives. If you’re not changing domains and are simply starting your blog again with minor changes, you wanna think really carefully about your previous content. Do an audit of what you have in your archives and once you’ve done that, be ruthless about deleting anything that is not  serving your readers anymore or updating it.

If you’ve got old posts that dated, taking your readers against the change you’re trying to bring about in their lives in some ways, delete them or update them in some way, or forward them to other articles that you’ve written. Pay attention particularly to any post that’s getting significant traffic. I would be identifying your top 10, maybe your top 20 or so posts that are still getting any traffic and make them more visually appealing, make them more scannable, optimize them for search engine optimization. Think about the calls to action that you have to get new subscribers. Think about could you do a follow up post? Could you add a link to further reading? Could you repurpose that content in someway?

It’s really important. Those posts that are doing well already, leverage them. Update them. Make them even bigger, make them even better. It’s really important to focus upon that. That’s probably the number one thing I’ve been doing out of all the things that I’m mentioning here. That’s number four.

Number five is think about the editorial calendar going forward. You’ve brainstormed the ideas but actually get those ideas into some kind of a calendar. When will you publish them? How often will you publish? What mediums will you use? You might wanna come up with a weekly format. Monday is gonna be a blog posts and it’s gonna be a tips article. Tuesday is going to be an audio post. Wednesdays might be a link post to someone else. Thursdays might be a review that you do. It really doesn’t matter whether you publish everyday but actually think about the types of posts that are you going to publish. Put topics alongside them in a calendar and suddenly, you’ve created yourself an editorial calendar. It’s so important to do that particularly if you struggled with keeping your blog going in the past because you had issues around planning.

Number six is to do some analysis on where your readers are going to come from. If you’ve already got some readers coming in, do some analysis on where they’re already coming from. Also begin to think about how am I’m gonna grow my readership. That’s really important as you launch your blog, as you relaunch your blog to think about could you do some guest posting? Should you be interacting in forums or Facebook groups? How can I be useful in these places? What other influences in the niche do I wanna network with? Maybe it’s been a few years since your blog was active. Maybe you need to introduce yourself to some of the new players. Maybe you need to reestablish contact with some of your previous friends in that particular niche. What events will you attend? Doing some analysis on where your readers could come from and how you’re going to grow your readership is really important.

Number seven point is kind of related to number six. Identify which social networks you’re going to focus your attention on. Things have probably changed in your space. We’ve had Snapchat come out. We’ve had Instagram come out. We’ve had all these different social networks come up perhaps since you previously were blogging. Do they present some new opportunities? Have people moved from one network to another in your particular niche? Identify the one or two that’s gonna be your primary focus. Make sure you’ve registered all the accounts that you need to. But then, come up with a little strategy of how you’re going to use those social networks going forward.

Tip number eight is to start creating content. I would be focusing upon pillar content first. This is sort of that evergreen content that is going to be really, it’s what the rest of your blog is going to be built around. It’s your pillar content. It’s that evergreen content that you’re gonna refer to time and time again. It’s what you stand for. It’s your core teaching.

On Digital Photography School, it’s my post around aperture, shutter speed, ISO, these key components of photography. As you relaunch your blog, go back and look at the previous pillar content but also are there new pieces of content that you need to write first. Think about that evergreen content because that evergreen content is the type of content that’s gonna payoff for years to come. Deliver as much big value as you can with your early posts.

Tip number nine is to think about your list. If you’ve previously collected emails, how are you gonna warm that list up again? How often are you going to send emails? How are you going to use that list going forward? How are you going to get new emails as well? Again, there are plenty of content in our podcast archives on growing your list. We’ve got some more coming up for you in the next little while, but begin to put some thought into that in those early days.

Number 10 thing to figure out is your blog design. Maybe it’s been a couple of years since you’ve been blogging. Things have changed in the blogging space. Blogs look different now to what they used to look like. Do you need to update it? Do you need to change that logo? Do you need to lay it out differently? Is your blog mobile friendly? It’s so important these days, most people are looking at your blog probably on their mobile phone. Is it viewable on a mobile phone? You may need to give things a refresh in that particular area.

The last thing I’d encourage you to think about as you’re relaunching your blog is how are you going to use your time going forward? This, again, is one of the reasons that so many bloggers become dormant, is that the blogger is struggling with juggling life and their blog and all the things that come along with having a blog. Actually thinking about how much time do I have that I can give my blog and what am I going to spend that time on?

We all have a limited amount of time and we are much more productive when we think ahead of time about how we are going to use that time. Make a list of what you need to do, and look at the available time that you’ve got, whether its one hour a week or whether that’s 40 hours a week and begin to prioritize the things that need to happen and plug them into a calendar.

This is what I do. I have a weekly template. I know on Monday mornings that I’ll write content. On Tuesday mornings, I’ll record a podcast. I know when things are going to happen and as a result, I’m so much more productive. Even if you’ve only got two or three hours a week to do it, you can fit a lot in if you’re sensible and proactive about planning and arranging your time.

Those are 11 things. That will be in today’s show notes as well. These are the kinds of things that I’d be thinking about if I was relaunching a blog. Ultimately though, the success of your relaunched blog is gonna be determined on what you do over the coming months and years. It’s the accumulation of the content that you create. It’s the accumulation of the value and usefulness that you deliver and the engagement that you have with your readers. Prioritize those things first. Content creation. Promoting your self, engaging with your reader. Creating value. They are so important.

To help you with this process, we are in that final stages of putting together our brand new course that I mentioned at the top of the show. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It really is designed to help bloggers to kickstart their blogs whether they are new blogs relaunching a blog, or established blogs. The course is launching in March. We’ll give you the dates in the coming weeks.

As the name suggests, it’s a 31 days course that will give you 31 days of teaching but more importantly 31 things you can do to make your blog better. It’s all about helping you to think through the kind of things I just ran through. Things that will help you establish good habits and routines for your blog. Things that are gonna help you to build the asset of your blog’s archives to grow you readership and to turn those readers into true fans.

I’m so excited about this new course because I know in the past, 31 days to Build a Better Blog is an ebook and as other series of content have helped tens of thousands of people and so I just know this course will help people as well.

You can head over to problogger.com/31days to be signed up and notified when that course goes live. It’s a paid course but we’re keeping it as affordable as we can and if you register your interest now, we will be sending you an exclusive early bird discount in the coming weeks, in the lead up to that. Again, that’s problogger.com/31days.

I really hope this has helped. It’s been a long one today, I know and it’s been a lot to digest so you may wanna head over to the show notes and dig into the transcript that I’ve got there for you and some further listening that I’ve got for you as well. Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/234 and for the next little while, at least it will be on the front page of ProBlogger as well and at the top of your iTunes feed as well would be the podcast but you’ll be able to find the show notes there as well because I noticed the other day the show notes are appearing in iTunes if you click on the avatar, at least they do for me.

I hope you found some value in today’s show. Do check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Register your interest for that and I can’t wait to set that one live in March for you as well. Thanks so much for listening today. Again, today’s show notes, problogger.com/podcast/234. Thanks for listening. Chat with you 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.

Before I go, I wanna give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at PodcastMotor who’ve been editing all of our podcasts for sometime 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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The post 234: How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant appeared first on ProBlogger.

Last Chance to Start a Blog with Us Today

Last chance to start a blog with usHave you started a blog this year? Every year between Christmas and New Year our enquiries for starting a blog skyrocket. It must be something to do with New Year’s Resolutions and setting new goals. Blogs still seem to be on everyone’s mind, even though they apparently died years ago.

I know it’s only the end of January, but if starting a blog was your New Year’s resolution then what are you waiting for? ProBlogger’s FREE Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course closes today, so act now and enrol here.

The first ever International Start a Blog Day on February 7 is fast approaching. We’re closing our course intake temporarily so the ‘Class of January 2018’ can work through the seven steps to launching their blogs in time for this event.

So far, more than 1,000 pre-bloggers have started the course and are on their way to launching a blog. Many have already completed the course, and are getting into their blogging stride. It’s fascinating looking at these new blogs from around the world and across different niches. We’re looking forward to sharing them all with you on February 7.

Want a sneak peak at some new blogs?

To whet your appetite and give you a taste of what’s coming, we’d like to introduce you to a few new bloggers and their blogs right now.

  • Michelle is the baker, recipe developer, and food photographer behind https://michellesmacarons.com – simple guides, tips, and easy macaron recipes all in one place.
  • Bob’s from South-Western Ontario, Canada and writes on taking a thrifty approach to personal finance on http://thriftymoneyeh.ca/.
  • Jon wants to help you crush the modern, solo lifestyle. On http://thirdwheelliving.com/ he shares tips, strategies, and benefits to living a fulfilling single life.

February 7 is International Start a Blog Day

International Start a Blog Day will celebrate the diversity of new bloggers around the world launching their blogs at the beginning of the year. It will provide a date every year where you can share your new blog, connect new bloggers, and help you get your first blog readers. If you enrol and use our course to begin a blog before February 7, you can participate in the first annual international Start a Blog Day.

International Start a Blog Day will feature:

  • A new blog honour roll listed by niche where you can share your blog’s URL
  • Live Facebook broadcasts with ProBlogger Darren Rowse
  • Spotlight profiles of new blogs and bloggers telling their story
  • Scholarship awards for new bloggers to undertake further ProBlogger training
  • Ongoing updates and progress reports on the ‘Class of 2018’ ProBlogger students

Here’s What Our Students are Saying

“I wish I had a course like this when thinking about starting my blog. The 15 questions asked in module one and two are so foundational to starting a blog, no course I have seen out there has done a very good job of it. Darren’s is the only one that goes into this detail about it and the foundation that he teaches.” – Darin

“I appreciated the ‘Why Blog?’ module. It made me realize that my ‘why’ is a bit self-centered. I know my strengths and interests but hadn’t thought through how my blog would meet the needs of a community and make an impact. Taking a few days to flush this out. Thank you!” – Jen

“Finished the first lesson, and it really made me think about my ‘why’. I didn’t know to do this with my old blogs, and I think it’s why I never really connected with my readers. Thinking about how I can make a difference is a whole different way of looking at it. And I’m looking forward to being able to help other people as well. Thanks for helping me to crystallize this!” – Darlene

“I just want to say how much I am enjoying the process (I am on Step 2), and how much I am learning about my core beliefs on the ‘why’ of my blog, and its true mission and my purpose. It is evolving from what I originally thought/saw as its role, and I am okay with that. I will tell more when I have it a bit more understood in my own heart and mind, and will be excited to share it. Until then it is great to see so many others along for the journey and sharing. I have my blog ready to start creating and look for it to be up and going no later than next weekend.” – Sheyla

Already Got a Blog?

If you already have a blog, you can still take part in International Start a Blog Day by providing your support and encouragement to the new and emerging bloggers. You may even find inspiration from these fledgling bloggers and their enthusiasm and new angles on your own topic or niche. Interestingly, we’ve also had great feedback from existing bloggers who have participated in the Starting a Blog course, saying the material covers some concepts of blogging they haven’t encountered before, and that it has sharpened their focus.

We’ve also got you covered with our next course coming out in March – “31 Days to Build a Better Blog”. The title may sound familiar – we’ve taken our best-selling book, updated it and beefed it up to help bloggers who are either in their first 30 days of a new blog or really need to breathe new life into an existing blog. If you’re interested, make sure to check out the outline of the course here and sign up to be alerted when it becomes available.

2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year.

The post Last Chance to Start a Blog with Us Today appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog

Start a blog course open

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

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

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

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

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

7 Steps to Your New Blog

We’ve designed it to walk through 7 steps:

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

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

Sign Up Before 31 January for Two Bonuses

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

Facebook Group

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

Participate in the First International Start a Blog Day

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

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

Claim Your Spot Today

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

Join them today by claiming your spot here.

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

      

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

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

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

232 Chrissann Nickel Start a Blog Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 232: Collaborative Blogging – How One Blogger Started a Blog with Over 200 Collaborators appeared first on ProBlogger.

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

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

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

232 Chrissann Nickel Start a Blog Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did you go with today’s episode?

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

The post 232: Collaborative Blogging – How One Blogger Started a Blog with Over 200 Collaborators appeared first on ProBlogger.

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

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

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

231 Neil Hughs Start a Blog Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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