How To Improve Your Blog: Lessons Learned From The Problogger Event

Yaro Starak, Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett at Problogger Event, Melbourne

Blogging has changed my life both personally and professionally and I consider it an integral part of who I am now. It is also a critical part of an author’s online platform these days, even advocated by huge publishers like Simon & Schuster.

As part of my continuing education, I was part of the inaugural Problogger event in Melbourne, Australia the other day, and learnt so much as well as meeting some amazing people in many different niches.

The main speakers were Problogger Darren Rowse, Chris Garrett and Yaro Starak all featured in the picture above.

Here are just a few things I learnt from the day that you might also find useful for your blog.

  • Focus on the lifecycle of people on your blog, not just getting traffic which is only the first step. This includes: Attraction, Retention, Conversion and Referral. Think about ways you can engage with people at each step.
  • A blog is a loyalty generator” [Chris Garrett].
  • Keep people coming back and over time they will know, like and trust you. This creates relationships and they are also more likely to recommend you to others, as well as buy your books/products.
  • Don’t just hang out on your own blog. Go where your readers are. Find out where else they hang out and hang there too. Then some of them may follow you back to your blog. This is also relevant to authors with books to market. Go hang out at book review sites/GoodReads/Get Glue etc and interact there.
  • The best blogging is at the intercept between what you know, and what people want. If you can hit this target, then your blog will be popular. Find out what questions people have with surveys e.g. SurveyMonkey
  • People like people so personalize to stand out. People also like stories with a meaning, so share your own experiences if you want to touch people. Check out this great story with a message => On Dying, Mothers and Fighting for your ideas by Jon Morrow
  • Doing a series of posts keeps people on your site longer, creates anticipation and boosts subscriber count.
  • Create reader profiles for your blog. These are ‘made up’ people who you write directly to, ensuring you satisfy that type of person and provide information they want. Here’s an article about reader profiles from Problogger. [It's a great tip for authors too - who is going to read your book?]
  • The first year of blogging is the hardest. It gets easier as the snowball gets bigger.” [Darren Rowse, Problogger]
  • Anticipate big events and blog on them before everyone else is. For example, blog about the 2011 Rugby World Cup now and your posts will index well by the time everyone else is blogging about it.
  • Build community around your blog so that people have a sense of belonging. You share values and beliefs. Then you provide value, not just information. This might be a forum, a Facebook page/group or other community sites. Then be the community you want to have, model the behaviour you want and keep the tone positive. Be a leader. Be a model. Invite interaction on your sites and reward people for contributing.
  • Monetising your blog can be done in 3 main ways: Advertising, Affiliate Income and the sale of Products/Services. For advertising, it’s best to have a very niche blog and/or large traffic. Affiliate income is selling products for other people and taking a commission. Selling your own products can provide the biggest reward.
  • It is important to have an email list in order to market products and make income from your blog. It also helps if you have a great free resource to encourage people to be on your list. [Check out the Author 2.0 blueprint!]
  • Multimedia blogging is becoming critical. Video is ranked more highly and you can now load transcripts to YouTube as well as longer videos. Make sure you are combining text, audio and video for all senses (and live events for touch!)

My own biggest learning from the day

The bloggers who are making an excellent income online have been blogging 4-10 years. They have been in the market longer than most people and haven’t given up in the face of criticism or failure. They have persisted, tested, worked at their blogs and promoted themselves consistently over time. They provide amazing free information, they are useful, interesting, humble and generous people. They also sell brilliant products that teach people.

I have been blogging 18 months and am just starting to make an income from it. I have been writing books for 3 years and am starting to see improvement and benefits of being out there, being seen. The biggest authors are those that have been in the market a long time. The big names have 20+ books, so this lesson also stands for authors as well as blogging.

So, the secret is keep going.

On that note, here are 41 Blog Success Tips from 10 years of blogging you can learn today – from Chris Garrett

If you would like to start your own blog, or improve the one you have, you might like ‘Blogging for Authors and Writers”, available now for $39.99 and featuring Yaro Starak from Entrepreneur’s Journey. Click here for more information on the product, or click here to Buy Now.

Images are my own from Problogger day, iStockphoto and Flick CC Garrett Crawford

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Comments

  1. says

    Just came over here after Planning Queen RT your post.

    Thanks for taking notes and posting them! Gave me a lot of food for thought.

    It must have been great to participate in that event! Probably have info overload.

    All the best with your blog!

      • says

        I did some posting today after I received your newsletter. I am not asking people to visit my site and register. My granddaugher, Hannah, created this site for me. Let me know what you think of it. You will not be the first person I asked. I got feed back from my firend Newal @saxstation.

        Is this site a blog?

      • Deborah says

        I started a blog or rather 2 blogs, one about “Difficult People” and the second one about “Sexual Abuse in Marriage” (the topic of my first book, soon to be completed). So far NO ONE is following my blog. How do I get my blog out there?

    • says

      Well, don’t feel bad I’m not really a blogger. I have to make a bigger attempt at it. I’m a novelist with two wonderful stories. This economy is making things worse. It’s hard to get attention w/o being at three thousand places on the web. My FOXES is a digital novel.

      Have you done any writing? Are you a musician. I’m on tenor sax now and then.

      • says

        Dear Daniel
        I too am “not a blogger.” But I have published two novela and a short story collection. And play the alto sax. I have a tenor in the closet, but am fearful of an anuerism when I try to play it. Actually, I only play the alto in the closet too, so to speak.

  2. says

    A great summary of highlights from a great day. One of my other big take-aways was the importance of guest blogging as a way to build your own readership.
    Regards
    Mel

    • says

      Thanks Mel. This is something I suck at right now. I barely have enough time to keep up with my blog, let alone write articles for others. This is definitely on my list for next year – this year has enough goals in it :)

  3. Kay Bigelow says

    Thanks for sharing. My blog is two months old and I’m glad to see that it will take a year or so to build.

  4. says

    Hi Joanna – one of your points on problogging is to create a series which I am doing jointly with literary agent, Chris Bucci. Our topic is The Business of Writing encouraging writers to think of their efforts as a small business. We have posted four entries so far and have planned a total of sixteen. Given the focus of your blog I thought you and some of your readers might be interested. Topics so far are: Good Writing Isn’t Enough, Old World – New World, Nine Questions to Test Your Entrepreneurship and No Writer is an Island.
    Posts alternate between http://www.onewritersvoice.com and http://mcdermidagency.blogspot.com/ – the Anne McDermid & Associates blog. We would welcome your feedback!

  5. says

    Thanks Joanna. I needed the reminder to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m in this for the long haul. I lurk a lot on your blog, but I want to thank you for all the wonderful information you give to us. You really have to put together one of the best blogs on writing. Thanks for sticking it out and keeping on keeping on.

  6. says

    Thanks so much for the synopsis of the event. It’s great to see things I’ve stumbled on being taught by the experts.

    As a writer and a blogger, I really connect with your struggle and triumphs making use for both.

  7. says

    Been googling for tips to improve blogging and I found your post. Although it’s almost 2 months old but I can’t resist the urge to comment on this valuable info. Thanks.

    • says

      I’m considering a book about our senate and congress. I will not be pretty. We urgently need a new house on both sides. What aggravates me is the American voter. Good or not the same
      jerks get reelected. I’ve been trying to get rid of my congressman for years and he always gets reelected. Voters jus don’t use the power of the lever properly. I have recently found out the lobby goes back to our founders. What a stupid mistake they made. I know why. They got input from the wealthy of that day.

  8. MNKUJA says

    Thankz a billion Joanna.Your blog is more like a classroom.You are so kind for bringing us all the good stuff.Be blessed.

  9. says

    This is an awesome blog, and very encouraging. I especially like the points about persistance, and community building, and seriously will take on board the advice about developing some free products – the idea of humility of bloggers balanced with saviness as well is brilliant!

  10. Vusa Dasilva says

    As an aspiring Author who only started serious writing 2 months ago, I cannot thank Joanna enough. I signed up for Author 2.0 Blueprint. The information is overwhelming sometime(quantity-wise), but I am in it for the long haul.

  11. says

    Thanks for all the great information and lessons – very helpful. I have been blogging 1 & 1/2 years and have 3 books/book trailer videos on my site – the key is to keep going and not be short sighted. Bon courage!

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