One of my very favorite websites for blogging, social media and making money from it all is ProBlogger. I even bought all of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook but haven’t yet found the time to read it. Oops. So thank goodness Tamara offered to share with my readers this review of Darren Rowse’s incredibly popular new book. Enjoy!
For Christmas, my 13-year old son gave me the newest edition of Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett’s book; ProBlogger, Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. I suspected an ulterior motive on his part (X-box, iPhone, a car for his 16th birthday…), but was intrigued by the title, as I often dream of being able to leave my day job to devote more of my time to my first love, writing!
While the book has several chapters clearly detailing the specifics of monetization strategies (and a warning that very few bloggers ever see six-figure financial success), I believe it’s most important contributions lie in the myriad suggestions for building a better, more widely read, shared and hence, more easily monetized blog.
Below are my 10 favorite ProBlogger tips.
1. Know your niche and blog within it.
Well-monetized sites tend to be seen as an authority on a single topic. Write on too many topics and it’s hard to cultivate an engaged community (most members won’t share all of your passions). Brands may feel that the attention you can generate for them is ‘watered down’ when compared with a site that only publishes content relative to the brand’s target audience. I blog about fitness, food and fiber, not blogging, hence this guest post (thanks Katy!).
2. Provide useful content.
Posts that attempt to answer questions and solve problems are much more likely to be shared. Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers. Open-ended or unfinished posts tend to generate the most comments from readers.
3. Improve your writing.
Quality over quantity. Make it easy for readers to figure out what your post is about. Your first sentence or two should hook the reader and compel them to read on. Bury your main point and many won’t read through to find it. Make sure spelling and grammar are correct; nothing turns a new reader or potential brand off faster than poorly written content.
4. Keep posts to a single topic.
Rambling posts lead to click aways. Brands don’t always want to share the spotlight with your workouts, outfits and family photos. Got five things to talk about? Write five posts! A series of posts on related topics can be a great way to generate return readers and help turn you into an authority. Brands love authorities.
5. Make it easy for readers to stay on your site.
Give them something to click on. Back links to previous posts are a great way to improve your reader retention. (I’ve recently gone back to my most popular posts and added forward links to relevant posts that I’ve written more recently; it works!). Keep them on your page rather then directing them to other sites. Place the material that you want them to find early on and high up on your page. People tend to read diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right; start and end points are the best places for call to action items.
6. Think about your posting frequency.
Too infrequently and you won’t gain momentum. Too frequently and you may turn readers off. Additionally, you’ll ‘bury’ posts before people have time to read, comment and share. I used to worry about losing readers on days when I didn’t have a post to publish, but noticed that waiting an extra day or two between posts that I really wanted input on, dramatically increased my page views.
7. Know who’s visiting your blog, what they expect to find when they arrive and the search terms they’re using to find you.
Use analytics to find the most frequently searched terms that lead to your site. Then write about these topics! Find your most read posts and write about those topics again. Don’t forget to back link to the earlier, popular post. Need help writing for SEO? Katy’s got you covered!
8. Cultivate incoming links.
Search engines reward pages that have lots of inbound links, especially if those links come from high ranking pages. Tips for getting those links? Link to those high ranking pages first! Every time a blog post is linked to the author gets a ‘track back’ notice. When I see these on my own blog, I always click through to find out who’s linking to me and what they’re saying! Writing guest posts for high ranking sites is also a way to direct traffic back to your site. Check out Katy’s guest post do’s and don’ts.
9. Create a ‘sticky’ community.
You want people to feel like your page is their second home. Encourage comments by asking for them. Pose a question, leave a call to action; earlier in the article (or even in the title) is best. In the early stages of your blog, make sure you’re responding to ALL comments (and with thoughtful responses, not just “THANKS!”). If you’re commenting on other blogger’s posts (a great way to get inbound links), make sure you’re adding value. “Nice post” doesn’t cut it and often, effectively ends the conversation.
10. Tap into human nature.
People naturally gravitate towards the popular. Studies show that when people see a lot of other people doing something, they’re more likely to themselves (remember high school?). Consider letting readers know how many page views your blog has had, the number of people who subscribe to it, the size of your Twitter and Facebook and Instagram communities. Most of these numbers can be made visible by simply checking off a box in your settings or widget configuration files.
Note that I could easily have added another ten tips to this list (or even turned it into a series!), but am paying attention to tip number 11: avoid writing overly length posts
Tamara Grand lives in beautiful British Columbia Canada with her husband, three children, a ginger cat and a large stash of hand-dyed yarn. She works as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor and enjoys pushing her clients and class participants out of their comfort zones. She’s happiest when they text her the day after a workout complaining about sore arms and legs.
She believes that exercise and healthy eating need to be part of everyone’s life and aims to inspire and motivate others by showing them that if she can do it, anyone can. She blogs about fitness, food, family and fiber (knitting fiber, that is) at fitknitchick.com and is always thrilled when you comment on her posts. Please follow her on Twitter @fitknitchick_1.
Have you tried (and had success with?) any of the above tips? What’s your favorite strategy for improving your blog?