Information, tips and guidelines for making your blog effective and worth reading
If you keep on an eye on the blogging community in Australia, it would have been a bit hard to miss the fact the Problogger event is on this weekend.
In fact, #PBEvent has already started trending on Twitter and the event hasn’t started yet!
Speaking for myself, I’m now getting itchy feet about not being there. I loved it last year and am sure this year would have been even better.
For one thing, this year there are 3 sessions on most of the time (mind you it was hard enough to decide between two at times last year!) and I would have loved catching up with some people from last year.
And I simply hate missing out on things, lol!
However, it just wasn’t possible for me this year due to family commitments, especially as the travelling would put me so much further away.
There are many blog posts around at the moment about preparing for and getting the most out of PBEvent, so I thought I’d write a post for those of us itching to go but staying at home this weekend.
These are just my ideas and if you can add to the list, please do in the comments below as I want the best non-event I can get!
There will also be related hashtags as each session will have its own – I guess the trending hashtags list will give us a clue on the day!
◊ Yes, this is an affiliate link. However, I suggest this because I know how great the event was last year. If I help cover my costs through an affiliate link, it helps my blog keep going and it doesn’t cost you anymore than if you bought a ticket directly. And it’s all done through Problogger so I never see any of your details.
On the other hand, there is a lot of skill, strategy and knowledge that goes into running a good blog. And a lot of different measures for deciding if a blog is successful, or not.
So what do you know about blogging?
What do you want to know about blogging?
This isn’t a trick question I can give you an answer to.
I do think it is important to know why you are blogging (or thinking of blogging).
If you know why, you can make your blog suit that purpose and you have something to measure your success against.
For instance, if your aim is to build awareness of topic X, you can decide if 10 targeted readers is enough or if you need thousands of readers a week. Whereas if your aim is to blog to build a habit of writing 200 words a day, a look at your post dates is an easy measure of your success.
I recently read a post by Rhianna which lists what she knows about blogging. It isn’t a technical list of how long posts should be, the best post frequency or choosing great titles, but a more basic list of what she knows about herself and her blogging purpose.
Like the Cheshire Cat said, how will you ever know you have arrived if you don’t know where you are going?
In a business context, I think this becomes even more important as time blogging could be spent elsewhere for perhaps greater profit – how do you know the blog is ‘working’ and worth the effort if you don’t know what it is meant to achieve for your business?
Even if you hire someone like me to help write or edit your blog posts, you need to know the purpose of your blog to assess it’s worth. And give direction to the writer.
So in the comments below, let me know why you blog. Or put in your ideas of maybe why you blog to help form your final answer and see if that changes how you blog.* Images courtesy of 123rf
For myself and for clients, I have often had an editor question whether I will provide an editorial (or article) rather than an advertorial. It’s almost insulting.
I say almost because I understand why an editor wants that reassurance.
It’s insulting because I wouldn’t ever pass an advertorial off as an article. I just wouldn’t. It is unprofessional for one thing and I would hate it as a reader so don’t do it as a writer/publisher.
Silly, I know, but I also assume others would not offer an article or editorial when planning to provide an advertorial.
This week, I was shown my silliness in believing that.
I read a guest post on a blog to find it was part advertorial. And the first part was advertorial to make it worse.
It flavoured how I felt about the post as I read the rest of it – I was suspicious because I was just waiting for the next sell instead of the next piece of information.
Let’s use this guest post as an example of advertorial.
It was a bullet list of tips related to a service offered by the guest poster. The topic and introduction did their job, bullet point one was a very generic statement without explanation.
The second bullet point was a sales pitch. “[This] is paramount. If you haven’t done it, I would be happy to help you”
It did not teach me anything, nor entertain.
A subsequent point included her business. Using your own business in examples is fine, and can be an effective way to put your name into an article. However, she did it as an explanation, not an example. And included a boast about her success in that area.
It probably would have come off as a clumsy example if the earlier point hadn’t been blatantly promoting her services.
In short, an advertorial is an ad disguised as an informative article.
A good article (or editorial or technical piece or whatever name a particular site or magazine calls it) is basically the sort of article you want to read.
It’s what I aim at in every blog post and article I write – I want to help people write and communicate well.
Is it the sort of writing you prefer to read?
Do you ever read an entire advertorial?
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of listening to the Problogger webinar. It was not on a specific topic (well, no more specific than blogging anyway!) but was a three person team (named below) answering questions.
As always, I shared various tips from the webinar on Twitter as I listened, but I am also going to share a summary of those tips here.
Writing out my notes helps cement the ideas in my head, for one thing, but I also like to share information to help others so this post is a win-win!
Obviously, a blog offers little value if it doesn’t have any content so this is a crucial aspect to cover. Shayne and Darren both agreed that content is the priority – you can adjust the layout and visuals of your blog if need be, but poor content really limits the success of your blog.
And always remember that blogging success can take time so hang in there and don’t give up too soon!
While not all blogs have advertisers, for those who do want this income option a common question is whether to get direct advertisers or use something like AdSense. Here are some of the comparisons from the webinar:
Many bloggers have found their blog has led to other opportunities – and many make more money and gain credibility more from those extras. Of course, many other bloggers are happy to just blog or use the blog to support a business.
Problogger is a website about blogging (what a surprise!) started by a Melbourne man, Darren Rowse. Darren and the site have gone on to be well recognised as blogging authorities, with a range of blog posts, eBooks, webinars and the annual ProBlogger conference (and virtual conference attendance) to help other bloggers learn and develop.
Today’s webinar was hosted by Darren and included Shayne Tulley and Jasmin Tragas. Shayne manages Problogger’s marketing and website design/development – and has a one week old baby – while Jasmin produces the eBooks and live events for Problogger.
Between them, this trio has a lot of knowledge and they generously shared some of it with us today.
Some other information gained from today’s webinar included:
Or you can listen to a recording of the webinar 🙂
Speaking for myself, the answer is a definite no!
Speaking on behalf of clients and many business people I have spoken to, I would also give a resounding no!
Speaking for yourself, do you think it’s easy to write blog posts? How about if you try writing them to fit a marketing schedule?
So sometimes we have to make ourselves write a post, even if it is hard finding an idea or topic.
A post on SEO outreach by Emma Fox stated “don’t force yourself into making something for a website.” (Yes, the same post that inspired my post about taking time to develop ideas last week has inspired this post, too!)
It’s an interesting statement.
You can take it to mean its best to write naturally and don’t go too far in making your posts relevant to a very different topic. Which are good points.
Or you can read it as advice to only write for other blogs when you feel like it. Which sounds very nice, but is not so practical for a business owner trying to market their business!
When it comes to choosing where to put a guest blog post, I try to get that balance through the following ideas:
Last night I read a blog post on guest blogging (or SEO outreach) as it is something I am interested in and enjoy doing. There were some great tips in this blog post, but there were also a couple of points that I reacted to.
If you don’t have any ideas for articles the first couple of minutes of scanning the website, better spend the next minutes looking for another website to scope out.
Many people will never find a host blog if they used that criteria!
A couple of minutes may show the blog is not suitable for you (eg the wrong topic or demographic) but it often isn’t enough to get ideas. Sometimes I get ideas from the first sentence I read in another blog, but other times I have to read a few posts to get a feel for that blog and allow inspiration to strike.
Creativity is in all of us, and I believe it can be developed, but even so that’s a lot of pressure to state you need to find ideas so quickly while also assessing the blog overall.
There’s a business concept about giving clients a choice of two elements – well done, fast or cheap. They can’t have all three options in the same project.
I think that’s true for guest blogging, too. You can do it well – quality writing on well researched blogs to build relationships with bloggers and their audiences – or you can work at getting a lot of posts online in a short time frame.
It’s that old quality vs quantity argument, I guess.
And to be frank, if you give me the impression of trying for maximum posts rather than quality the chances are I won’t accept your guest post. So I would never tell people to only spend a few minutes researching a potential host blog – it looks fast rather than in-depth to me.
How do you develop ideas, whether for a blog post or anything else?
Do you give up if no idea hits within a couple of minutes?* Images courtesy of 123RF
Setting up a blog may seem daunting but it really doesn’t have to be. However, the first step, how to host your blog, can be difficult if you haven’t done it before.
So, here are some things to know and consider before making your choice…
What other questions are you considering (or did you consider) as part of your decision?
Once you start blogging you will start getting comments. Unfortunately, a large proportion of them will probably be spam, but the real comments are great.
As I wrote a few years ago (back in December 2007 to be precise – old content that still rings true!), I think you have five choices about how to act on negative comments.
Spam and outright abuse I think should be deleted and forgotten.
Comments that just disagree with you or realistic or even constructive criticisms are a different story.
Keeping negative comments in your blog seems honest to me – you’re not censoring and are being transparent.
It may be confronting to leave negative comments live, but it gives you a chance to be human and show that you are open to feedback – especially if you show that you have learnt from it.
Have you ever left negative comments in your blog? What response have you got from doing so?
Would you use negative comments to stir a controversy or a discussion?