236: 5 Areas to Focus on to Grow Your Blogging Income

Growing Your Blog’s Income

In today’s episode, I want to talk about growing your blogging income, particularly when you’ve already started building some traffic and income streams on your blog.

This one will be most relevant if you’re at an intermediate to more advanced level. If you’re just starting out you’ll learn things that may not be relevant for you today, but will be good to know going forward.

Series on Growing Traffic to Your Blog:

Podcast on Autoresponders:

Check out our two courses – ProBlogger’s ultimate guide to start a blog and the soon to be released 31 Days to Build a better blog:

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Hi there and welcome to episode 236 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, events, job board, series of ebooks, and courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog and to build profit around your blog which is exactly what we’re talking today in today’s episode. You can learn more about ProBlogger at problogger.com. Also, check out our two new courses, How to Start a Blog course for those of you who are wanting to start a blog. You can get it at problogger.com/startablog or 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which will be launching in March which is more relevant for those of you who’ve already got a blog whether it’s a relatively new one or you’re at that intermediate stage. You can find that at problogger.com/31days.

In today’s episode, I wanna talk to you about growing your blog’s income, particularly those of you who’ve already got a bit of a start with building some traffic and income streams to your blog. This episode will be much relevant for those of you are perhaps at more of an intermediate level, maybe more of an advanced level. You’ve got a start but you’re not satisfied with the level of your income. Those of you who are just starting out, you’re probably gonna hear some things that may not be relevant to you today but you might also find them useful to have in the back of your mind as you go forward.

Today’s show notes and full transcript of the show are at problogger.com/podcast/236.

Today’s show is inspired by a conversation I had this week with a blogger who had been blogging for a couple of years now. She built some traffic up to her blog. She’d already started to experiment with selling sponsored content on her blog. She was in sort of a style, fashion, beauty type niche and had been selling sponsored posts on the site but was not satisfied with the level that she was at. She’s been blogging for two or three years and when she started out had hoped she’d be full time by this point. Whilst she had some success so far with building the income on her blog, she came to me asking, “How do I double what I’m doing?” She really needed to double what she was doing to get to a full time level.

On one hand, it was great, getting to a half time level with your blog is something that many bloggers dream of but she also had this thirst for more because she wanted to be able to give up other par- time work, children were going to school now and she had a little bit more time on her hands and so she wanted to really sink herself into her blogging, and to justify being able to do that full time rather than having to have a bitsy kind of life doing lots of different things. She came to me asking, “How do I double my income?” Now, it’s a tricky question and to answer it, I actually took her back to my own kind of tipping point of my own blog.

Back in, I think it must have been 2004, I’ve been blogging for a couple of years by this point, and for the first year I didn’t even know you could make money from your blog. I hadn’t made any money and then the second year, I started to dabble with some Google AdSense ads on my blog, some Amazon affiliate income. Many of you have heard me tell the story before, I did not start spectacularly, I had a few dollars a day really in those first months or so. But it did gradually grow and I got to a similar point to the blogger that I had this conversation with this week where I was starting to see it as a part-time job. I began to have this dream that it could be a full time job.

To cut the long story short, I realized I needed to really escalate the growth of my income. Because it was a very slow, steady growth, and it eventually was going to get to be a full time thing if it kept growing the way that it was, but it was gonna take me 10 years to get to that point. Vanessa and myself decided that really, if I wanted to be a full time blogger, I needed to escalate the growth of the income. We set ourselves a six month time limit to do it which perhaps is not the most realistic deadline saying, “I’m gonna be full time in six months,” isn’t something I would recommend every blogger do. But we kind of sensed that I really needed to have this deadline because I was treating it as a one-day thing. We set ourselves this deadline.

The problem was to get to that deadline, I needed to not double my income, I needed to quadruple my income. I was a quarter time kind of blogger, if you like, at the time. I wanted to get to a full time level.

Having that deadline really did help me to spur myself on. One of the things I actually said to tis blogger this week was, “Maybe you need some sort of a deadline.” In my case, we actually said that if I didn’t get to full time level in six months that I would go and get a real job, and that would kind of put a real halt on my blogging. Potentially, could have even had to give it up, that six month mark. I wouldn’t suggest you do that but at least having some sort of date in mind, some sort of a deadline in mind, can actually be helpful. It certainly helped me. It motivated me incredibly.

Some of you heard me tell the story before, but the day I set that deadline was the day I started doing things I always knew I should do, but I had no real reason to do. Like ringing up an advertiser for the first time and saying, “Hey, will you advertise on my blog?” Thinking seriously about growing traffic and all the things I knew I could be doing and I should be doing, I actually had a reason to start doing them. That deadline really did help in that regard. Over the next six months, I worked really hard on the things that I knew should be doing. I got to the point after a few months, I think it was three or four months, where I did reached that full time level, things just took off as a result of me doing things I knew I should do.

The first thing I encouraged this blogger to think about was, “What are the things you already know you should be doing that you’ve been putting off?” Most bloggers I talk to have this someday list, one day I’m going to do this, or one day I’m going to do that. I really wanna encourage you to look at your someday list and ask yourself, “What have I been putting off doing?” It’s such a powerful exercise to do, and to write out your someday list, and then to identify the things on that list, the things you already know you should be doing, identify those and start with those because you already probably know what you need to do to get to a full time level.

I’m gonna suggest to you, five areas that will help you to grow your blogging income. I wanna encourage to just pause this podcast for a moment and to ask yourself this question, “What do I think I need to do?” Because I suspect, that as I go through this list, if you have paused and you’ve asked that question, you’re probably gonna already have the answer. Once you do it, go listen to the rest of the podcast. I also wanna encourage to listen to you because I suspect you already intuitively know what it is that you need to do.

Some of you will remember I did a series of podcasts. I think it started back in episode 66 and then went for 10 more episodes over the next few weeks. It was called 10 Things That You Can Do Today That Will Payoff In Your Blog Forever. The whole idea of that series was to identify the things on our someday list and to do those things today, to bring those things forward. I suggested ten things in that series that will help to escalate the growth of your blog. Things that you can do today that are gonna payoff forever. I wanted to say right up front, for me, this is the key. This is the key to escalating the growth of your income in your blog, to take off of your someday list and start doing them today.

I think it was episode 66 right up to I guess episode 77. You might wanna check out that. But as I think about the growth of my own blogging income back at that point, in 2004, but also eversince. Since 2004, I’ve been full time pretty much the whole time. My blogging income did dip for one short period after that where Google decided to deindex me from their search result but apart from six-week glitch where I felt out of Google’s result, I’ve been a full time blogger ever since 2004. My blogging income has gone up and down over that time. But there’s been these spikes or there’s been these periods where the blogging income has escalated really quickly. I think it was back in 2004 things really took off and I got to the full time. But 2008, it plateaued, it was steady, and then it took off again.

What I’ve put together today for this podcast episode are five things that I can see over the last 15 or so years that have led to spiking my income and growth in my income. As I think about it, there’s five main things that have led to that type of growth. I wanna share them with you today. These are not tactical things, these are more general things, and then I’m gonna sort of dig into some tactical things as well.

The first thing that almost always has led to growth in the income is spikes in traffic. I can see very clearly as I look at my earnings over the last 14, 15 years that there’s a correlation between an increase in traffic and an increase in income. It’s not always exactly correlated. Different types of traffic can lead to different increases in income. A spike in traffic from Google for me pays off really well when it comes to Google AdSense earnings. But it doesn’t necessarily lead to a massive increase in affiliate earnings, but other types of traffic do convert with affiliates. It’s not an exact science but in the general principle I will say if you can increase your traffic, you’re going to increase your income, at least potentially.

This is a no-brainer in some ways. I know most of you kind of understand this. But one way that I grew my income back in 2004 when I went from part-time blogger to a full time blogger was to put a lot of effort into growing my traffic. I learned SEO in that period. I started to write content based upon the words that I felt people would be searching google for. I put a lot of effort into creating guest content for other blogs and participating in forums. Back then, there was no real social media, but today I will put more time into social media. These types of activities can drive more traffic to your site which can lead to an increase in your earnings.

Another one that you might wanna try is advertising your blog, investing some money into driving some traffic. Maybe you wanna spend some more time on a new social network, maybe it’s time for you to really invest your learning into Pinterest. There’s a variety of different ways that you can grow traffic to your blog.

I don’t wanna get into the nitty-gritty of growing traffic to your blog in this particular episode because I’ve covered it so many times in the past. I would encourage you, if traffic is the thing you know you need to grow and particularly if you’re a new blogger, this is probably the one that’s going to lead to the biggest growth for you in terms of income. You really need some traffic.

Go back and listen to episode 33, 34, 35, 36, and 37. There’s five episodes there that I did as a series on growing traffic for your blog. I talk about the different types of content that can grow traffic. I talk about creating guest content in different places. I think I talk about using challenges to grow traffic. There’s five episodes there that will help you to think about how to grow traffic to your blog. Again, I don’t wanna promise if you double your traffic, you’re gonna double your income because it does depend upon where the traffic is coming from, and the type of traffic you could get.

I remember there were times, way back in the day, where I got a lot of traffic in from a site like Digg which is similar to Reddit today. That really did not grow my income at all because it was the wrong type of traffic. It was teenage boys who were there to make fun of my content, some even went viral because it was funny but it didn’t really lead to an on-going growth to my income.

Part of the process is to try and work out what type of traffic and what type of reader you’re going to get as well. But in general, if you’re gonna grow your traffic, you’re gonna grow your income.

Again, that’s a bit of a no-brainer in some ways but it just has to be said. If you can grow your traffic, you’re gonna hopefully grow your income as well. So that’s number one, traffic.

Number two, and this has happened time and time again for me, to grow your income, one of the ways that you can do that is to add a new income stream. One of the first times I learnt this was when I had been playing around with AdSense for a while. I think I was probably earning $ 30 or $ 40 a day from AdSense which I was pretty happy with. AdSense, for those of you who don’t know, is Google’s ad network. I was kind of managing along okay and then I began to realize other bloggers were using other ad networks as well as AdSense.

Back in the day, there were some rules around what kind of ads you can have on your blog alongside the AdSense. You couldn’t have exactly the same types of ads. But there were these other ad networks beginning to emerge. One of them that caught my eye was Chitika which is still around today. You might wanna check that out. I’ll link to it in today’s show notes. It doesn’t work on every blog but back in the day, it was a different type of ad. They were image-based ads but they weren’t sort of like the banner ads that we see today. They actually featured little products. It didn’t break AdSense’s Terms of Service to run these Chitika ads alongside the AdSense ads, and so I decided I’m gonna experiment with Chitika. I didn’t replace AdSense, I actually added these new ad units onto my page.

I remember doing it thinking maybe I’ll land a few extra dollars a day. I went to to bed the night after I did it, the reports took a little while to come in so I didn’t really know what impact it was going to have. I was a bit worried that maybe it would decrease my AdSense revenue. I woke up the next day and checked my reports and I couldn’t believe it because my AdSense had not gone down at all but my Chitika income was the same as my AdSense income. What I realized is that I doubled my income overnight. Now it took me a few days to work out this was actually true, because I thought I’ll give it a few days to work it out, but I doubled my income simply by adding a new couple of ad units onto my site. Adding this extra income stream obviously led to an increase in my overall income. This has happened time and time again for me.

I wanna say right upfront you wanna be a bit careful about adding too much onto your site in terms of ads particularly because it can have a downward effect on your Google search rankings. Google doesn’t like it when you put too many ads on your site particularly if they’re really up or above the fold, and they can’t see any content vault. You wanna be a bit careful there, you don’t want to plaster yourself with ads.

But there’s such a variety of ways that you can monetize your site. I saw this when I added Chitika. I saw this when I began to added a job board onto ProBlogger. I saw this when I started to create ebooks for my sites, when I started to create other products like courses. I started to promote affiliate products, other people’s courses and ebooks. There was a period on ProBlogger when I offered coaching services. There was a period where I did some freelance writing for other sites, that was another income stream.

There’s all these different ways that you can explore adding a new income stream onto your site. This is probably one of the things I would encourage those of you who have one or two income streams on their site to begin to think about. Have a look at what other bloggers in your niche are doing. What are they doing to make money from their blogs? You might discover by looking around that they’re all using this one type of ad network, or you might discover that they’re all promoting this type of affiliate product, or you might discover that there’s an opportunity for you to set-up a membership area on your site where you charge a little bit of money per month for some premium content to your community area. Or maybe you could offer some coaching, or maybe you could set-up a mastermind group, or maybe you could set-up a Patreon account. This is where people donate money and you maybe give them some extra bonuses, maybe you could run a little event, maybe a meet-up in your area, or an online event. These are all different income streams that bloggers use at different times.

Again, in today’s show notes, I’ll link to a money map that I created with 30 or 40 different ways that you can make money from blogging. For me, this was one of the ways that I went from part-time to full time, adding these new income streams into my blog. It wasn’t just a matter of doing this or increase my traffic, I actually focused on both of these things, and that had this compound effect as well.

Maybe now is the time to begin to think about adding a new income stream to your blog. But for me, the most powerful one that I ever did is I doubled my income by adding Chitika but that went from $ 30 to $ 60 a day. It was significant at the time but it wasn’t huge.

For me, the big one was when I began to do ebooks and I began to sell my own products. That’s a fairly serious investment of time to create a product of my own but it paid off. I’ve talked about that first experience on this podcast before – overnight earning $ 10,000 or $ 15,000 when I first launched my first ebook. Over that first week, making $ 70,000 from that ebook. That blew my mind but I have to say that was based upon the first thing I talked about, building the traffic. You’re not gonna have those massive results unless you also do number one.

Again, the first one is traffic, second one was adding a new income stream, the third one is better execution of an existing income stream or better conversion, I guess you might wanna talk about. This really does apply to almost any income stream. What you are doing presently to earn income, you could possibly do it better. There’s probably some way that you can improve what you are doing. Again, this was another thing that I really focused on back in 2004.

I had these AdSense ads on my site but gradually, over time, I began to learn that I could earn more from AdSense on my site, even with the same amount of traffic. I could get better at doing AdSense. For me, Adsense, it’s a about a number of things. How many ads do you have on the site? Where are they positioned on the site? What size ad units do you have? Back then, it was also the design of the ads because you can change the colors of the texts ads. There was a variety of things that I began to learn about AdSense that improved the conversion that I was getting from that. That increased my, to get a bit technical, the CPM, what I could earn per page view.

If you’re running ads on your site, invest some time and energy, and maybe even some money to do a course on a how do you convert better with those ads. But the same principle applies no matter what the income stream you have. I saw this work for AdSense, I saw it work with Chitika.

I also saw it work when I began to think about how do I increase my earnings with Amazon’s affiliate program. I learned that sticking widgets, Amazon affiliate widgets on my sidebar didn’t really convert very well but when I mentioned the product inside my blog posts and had little calls to action that specifically said, “Get the price on this product on Amazon,” that lead to an increase in conversions. I learned that creating bestseller lists of products worked really well. Again, I can link to that in today’s show notes, a previous episodes where I’ve talked about creating bestseller links. These things led to increased conversions for me with Amazon.

The same is true for all of the different income streams. If you are selling an ebook, maybe you could convert better if you split test your sales page, run two different versions of the sales page, and there’s plenty of tools around that will enable you to do that. We talked in a few episodes ago that Thrive Architect as a tool that we’re using to create landing pages, that will allow you to split test different versions of a sales page. Test different headlines, test different pictures, test different calls to action, maybe you can increase the conversions that you’re getting on that particular page.

If you’re monetizing with sponsors, the blogger I was talking to, she’d been selling sponsored posts on her site. One of the things I encourage her to think about is what else could she be offering those sponsors in addition to the sponsored posts. Maybe she could create a little bundle of things that they could do on her site. Maybe if they pay double the price, they could get some banner ads on the site or maybe they could get a mention in her newsletter, or maybe they could run a competition with her, maybe they could do a giveaway with her audience, these extra things on top of the sponsored content.

This is one of the things that we’ve done over the years is begin to offer our sponsors extra stuff if they’re willing to upgrade what they’re spending with us. It maybe some mentions on social media, it maybe a competition we’ve done, all of these different types of things. We find particularly newsletter advertising works well with our advertisers as well. They’re getting better results because they’re not only buying a banner ad on our site but they’re being mentioned in these other places which reinforces their messaging. This allows us to charge more for the ads.

What could you do to improve your conversions you’re already getting? Look at your current income streams and ask yourself, “How can I grow those income streams?” It’s not just about adding new ones but improving and optimizing the way that you’re currently earning an income.

Another quick one that you could try if you are selling a product is to add an upsell. We did a test on this just last week. We had a launch on Digital Photography School. We had a course, 31 Days To Become A Better Photographer, makes sense to me and to some of you because we use that same sort of format on ProBlogger, 31 days. We had this course and we decided to add an upsell in the check out. The course was, I think, $ 49 for the course, and if you paid the extra $ 9, we give you an ebook. It’s just like a little upsell. It was converting okay. I think the first few days we made $ 700 from that upsell, and that was a nice little extra $ 700 that we would never have had.

As I began to think about it, I was like, “$ 9 upsell on a $ 49 product, I wonder what would happen if we did an upsell of a bundle of our ebooks for a little bit more.” So we tried overnight one night, we tried an upsell of three ebooks for $ 19. We immediately saw that that converted at a higher rate plus it was earning more because it was a higher price. We immediately saw that that led to an upswing in people taking the upsell. I think by the end of the campaign, we’ve made close to $ 7000 from that particular upsell. It was converting at a high rate.

These are all the little things that you can do and it’s just about tweaking, and testing, and trying new things. Similarly, you can do an upsell after a sale. You could, in the thank you email say, “Here’s another offer that you might wanna take. It’s a great companion to what you’ve already bought.” There’s a variety of different ways to do that.

Tip number one was to grow your traffic. Put effort into that. That is going to set almost like a baseline, a foundation for the growth of your income. Adding a new income stream is number two which in conjunction with the traffic is great. Number three is better execution of what you’re already doing, better conversions, focusing upon those tweaks that will lead to growth.

The fourth thing that you might wanna try, I’ve seen this work time and time again, is what I would call extra promotional activity. You could almost argue that this fits into number three as well, it’s better execution. But it’s where you do an extra burst of promotion of something. This particularly works if you are promoting one of your own products or if you’re an affiliate as well.

For us, the best example I can give you is, I think, it was seven or eight years ago now on Digital Photography School. We started to do 12 Days of Christmas campaigns. Typically, we’re launching three or four products a year and we would see big spikes in income everytime we launch a new ebook, or a new course, or when we would promote an affiliate product of someone else. I kind of came out with this idea with one of my team members to do this intense burst of promotion of all our products at the end of the year and the lead up to Christmas.

Most of you, by this time, seen 12 Days of Christmas campaigns, you possibly even run them yourself. For us, it was a matter of sending 12 emails in 12 days about each of our products, and some affiliate partners as well which is pretty intensive. It was a lot of work. It felt a bit risky because we’re doing a lot of promotion over a short period of time with our audience. I was worried about our list but it led to a massive spike in income as well.

Our audience seemed to like it. They like this event that we put together. So we’ve run 12 Days of Christmas in different forms over the years, different times. This led to an increase in sales. I wasn’t really adding a new income stream, although I guess you could call that whole campaign a new income stream, but it was really just growing the sale of our products, and the sale of affiliate partners which we were already doing anyway. It wasn’t really tweaking or better execution of what were already doing, it was a new thing. It was this extra burst of promotion.

There’s a variety of ways that you can do that. You can do a seasonal promotion. We just had Valentine’s Day. I saw some bloggers running specials on the products that they have or some affiliate stuff around that. Christmases are our ideal time for that Black Friday, Cyber Monday. We see all these different times of the year where it’s possible to do promotion. Maybe it’s a seasonal promotion. Maybe it’s just a flash sale. This is something we did a little bit more last year on Digital Photography School.

We decided to just do these 24 hour sales on some of our products. They didn’t led to massive spikes but they did lead to increases in sales of our products. It’s just a matter of looking at your calendar for the year. You’ve probably got some big promotions that you’re doing but what goes in between them? What could you do? Something small, something targeted, something focused, that might lead to increase in sale. So a flash sale might be one way to do this.

Maybe it’s about creating an autoresponder. Autoresponders are something that we’ve talked about numerous times over the years. I think back in episode 177, I talked about autoresponders. Autoresponders are basically a sequence of emails that you send your list. Maybe that’s something that’s been on your someday list. I know a lot of bloggers, that’s something that they wanna do. An autoresponder could be a sequence of emails that promote your old archives which drives more traffic to your site which can lead to higher income in terms of your AdSense or it might include some promotional emails as well. Maybe setting up a new autoresponder that takes your readers through some of your archives but also promote an affiliate product or one of your own products could be useful as well.

There’s some bloggers who, in their autoresponder sequences, have partnership emails. This is where they do a deal with a sponsor to have an email in their autoresponder that promotes that sponsor. That’s another income stream that you might add, or if you’ve already got an autoresponder, and I know a lot of you do, when was the last time you added an email to that sequence? Maybe, one way that you can grow some income is simply to add one more email into your autoresponder sequence. Maybe it’s an email that promotes something you’ve got that does almost like a little sale to anyone getting that particular email.

That’s something that’s worked really well for me over time as well because everyone getting that one email, anyone who’s at the end of your sequence who gets this extra email, they could potentially buy what you’re selling. But it’s also an ongoing income stream as well. There’s all the different things that you can do to promote what you do a little bit more, to drive more targeted traffic towards the thing that’s converting for you.

I guess another one that you could do is potentially set-up and begin to learn about advertising your products as well. If you’ve got a product or an affiliate product, maybe another way that you can promote that more is to do some Facebook advertising or some Google advertising or something along those lines.

Lastly, another way to promote what you’re doing more is to think about the user interface of your site and the design of your site. Maybe you’ve got this product in your shop or maybe you’ve got an affiliate product that you’re promoting but no one ever knows that you’re promoting that thing because you really haven’t updated your menu to include the fact that you’re promoting this thing. That might be another way that you might wanna try. We are redigging out our menus at the moment to be a little bit more focused on driving people to those type of activities as well.

The last one that you might wanna think about there to get more people to those activities is to create a resources page. If you go to ProBlogger and you look in our menu, you’ll see resources there. On that page, we list our affiliate partners. The people we recommend for servers, and some of the tools that we use as well. That page drives affiliate income for us. Actually having a landing page that doesn’t just sell one thing but sells a variety of things can be useful as well.

If you go to Smart Passive Income and look at Pat Flynn’s site, you’ll see that he has resource pages as well. He actually, on the front page of his site, promotes quite heavily some of his main partners as well. It really comes down to the design of your site, maybe you can actually promote what you’re doing better as well.

The last thing that I wanna talk about, the fifth thing is one that, again it’s a bit of a no-brainer, but it is something that’s incredibly powerful and it can lead to increased income as well. That is to increase your prices or at least to change your prices because sometimes decreasing your prices can actually lead to more income as well which is a bit of strange one. But in most cases, I think considering increasing your prices can work as well. We’ve seen this a number of times over the years.

Digital Photography School, we were selling our courses for a long time for about $ 29. We realized, one, a lot of our competitors were selling courses for $ 300 that were very similar to our courses. I guess having seen the value in our own courses, we put a lot of time and energy into creating them but we were underpricing them. We weren’t actually putting them forward at the value that they really had. As a result, some of our customers weren’t actually thinking that they were any good. I remember talking to some of our customers who were buying these $ 300 or $ 400 products from our competitors. I remember having conversation with one of them, I was like, “Why do you buy that product when ours is $ 30?” They were like, “I just thought their product was better.” And I was like, “Why?” And they were like, “Well, it’s $ 300.” There’s this perception there, there’s a lot of psychology behind that.

I’m not saying that you all need to 10X your prices just because it’ll make people think they’re more valuable. You gotta price your product at a price that is actually reasonable and that does give value to your customers. But sometimes, I think, we underprice ourselves. If you’re like me maybe that’s you. At our events every year, people come up to us and say, “Your event’s too cheap. It’s amazing what you deliver at your events for $ 300 or $ 400. There are other people charging a lot more.” I have this internal battle going on. I wanna keep our event as affordable as possible so that people can come to it so it serves them, as many people as possible.

But at the same time, I know that the value that we deliver is above and beyond the price that we charge for it. It’s a wrestle sometimes. If you’re like me, it’s probably something that you feel, but I wanna encourage you to think about increasing the prices if you’re selling something. Or, connected to this, add a premium level to your product. This is something we discovered last year at our event that when we added a mastermind day to our event, that there was a certain segment of audience who were willing to pay considerably more to get a more intimate experience, a more personal experience with myself, and my team, and the speakers.

James Schramko, I think I heard him say once that there’s 10% of your audience who’s willing to pay 10x more than what you are charging for something that is at a higher level. I don’t know if it’s 10%, I don’t know if it’s 10x the value, but I found that to be true. There is always a segment of your audience is willing to pay more for something extra. One, they’ve got the budget, but two, they’ve got the demand. They want something extra, above what you’re doing. What could you add to what you currently sell that is at a premium price? Maybe it’s that more personal attention, maybe it’s extra content, maybe it’s more advanced, maybe it’s a mastermind group of some kind. Increasing your prices can significantly help.

When we actually did increase the prices of our courses, eventually we did, we actually realized, and it’s a bit of a no brainer really, but you don’t need to sell as many courses to make the same amount of profit. If you can sell the same amount then you significantly your profit and your income level as well.

The other thing worth mentioning is sometimes decreasing your price can actually lead to more sales as well. That’s a whole other podcast to talk about as well. But experimenting with that, you can split test your product pricing can actually be a really worthwhile thing to do to better optimize your conversions as well.

There’s five things that you can do to grow the income of your blog; more traffic, a new income stream, better execution of an existing income stream to increase your conversions, extra promotional activity to really get more eyeballs on the thing that you’re doing which I guess is 3.5 really, I say those two things is quite connected, and then the last thing is to play around with your pricing, particularly considering adding a premium level pricing to what you do as well.

As I’ve said all through this podcast, you don’t have to do any of these things in isolation. It’s actually probably the combination of two or three of these things that’s going to lead to the growth in your business. This is the reason that I went from a very part-time blogger to a full time blogger within a few months because I worked so hard on increasing my traffic.

Over that six months, I increased my traffic significantly but I also added new income streams, and got better at what I was already doing. As a result of those three things that I focused on over those months, my income more than quadrupled over the six months. I went from being someone who dreamed of one day being a full time blogger to being a full time blogger, and actually growing the income beyond what I ever thought I would do from anything that I would ever do.

I really wanna encourage you to do that. Again, pay attention to what you already know. You probably already know the answer. It may not be doing something completely new that you never thought of, it might actually just be learning SEO, or setting up that autoresponder, or sending some emails to your list, or creating a product. These are the things that you’ve probably already been dreaming of doing. I encourage you to put those things on your today list instead of keeping on dreaming of doing them one day.

I hope this has been helpful to those of you who are listening. This is literally life-changing stuff. I went from, in 2004, from being part time to full time, my dreams came true because of the intense amount of action that I took over those six or so months. Your life can really change in many ways as a result of this burst of today action, just remember that, and keep at it.

If we can serve you and encourage you in any way through that process, head over to our Facebook group and let us know the questions that you have. Let us know what you’ve decided to do so we can keep you a bit of accountable to that as well. Just search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and you’ll find our little group as well.

Also, check out our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course which is coming out in March. I think it’s perfect alongside this particular podcast because a lot of the activities that we’ll be teaching in that 31 Days to Build a Better Blog are about increasing the traffic to your site as well. That certainly is gonna help you with that. problogger.com/31days and you can sign-up to be notified when that particular course goes live.

Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week in episode 237, I think it is. Thanks for listening. Chat next week.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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Case Study: What Happens When You Want to Sell Your Blog?

When I started my travel blog back in 2005, I never imagined I’d be selling it.

After all, I just wanted to tell my family and friends what I was up to. I had no idea it would become a business that supported my family.

Even when it became a central part of our lives ten years later, it was like another child to me. I loved it, coddled it, and put so much of myself into it.

I learned a lot from growing and monetising my blog. I also learned a lot from selling it. And in this post I want to walk you through the process of selling my blog, and what I learned.

The interesting part is that getting a blog ready to sell is really about making your blog more valuable. And that’s something every blog owner can benefit from—even if they never plan to sell.

So whether you’re planning on selling your blog one day or not, my tips will help you get your blog earning more without needing your constant attention. It will help reduce the stress of running your blog while making more money. And if you ever decide to sell, you’ll walk away with the maximum amount possible.

Why I decided to sell my blog

So how did my blog go from something I thought of a another child to something I couldn’t wait to get rid of?

There were a few reasons.

I had way too many sites, and needed to let some go so I could focus my energy better. I’d just sold my first niche site, and letting it go felt so good that I decided to sell all my other niche sites and have just my two main blogs.

Then I realised I’d be better off getting rid of the blog (where I spent a lot of my time) rather than the sites that brought in money without any effort.

It also coincided with me restructuring my business. Thanks to some bad advice, I’d just discovered  I’d have to pay capital gains on the value of my business to move it to a company structure. I couldn’t afford to pay tax on something I wasn’t getting and value from, so selling it made a lot of sense.

And of course, the money from the sale would remove a lot of the financial pressure as I worked on building up my second blog.

But the biggest reason I decided to sell it is that I simply didn’t want to do it anymore.

I started writing about travel because I was passionate about it. Travelling was the one time I could really live in the moment.

But blogging about travel ruined that for me. I took it very seriously, and while my blog became very successful, travel became more and more stressful. My brain worked overtime as I analysed every aspect of what I was doing and how I would write about it.

We also did crazy things like visiting six attractions in a day. Try that with three young kids.

Towards the end I was exhausted and burnt out. I hated everything about the blog, and stopped working on it.

Thanks to my business model (using Google for traffic and affiliate marketing for income), money was still coming in. But no income is truly passive, and I knew my earnings would decrease over time if I couldn’t rekindle my passion.

And then I found myself on Facebook, where I described my blog as a gangrenous arm that needed to be cut off.

It was time to sell.

What buyers are looking for in a blog

No-one buys a blog because they’re passionate about the topic. They buy it because they think it’s a good business to own.

Which means they’re looking for a good business model.

They aren’t interested in what many of us bloggers stress over—page views, number of followers, etc. They want to know:

  • How much money the blog makes
  • How much time you spend on the blog
  • The business costs

That’s it.

Yes, a blog with strong metrics in page views, email subscribers and social media can make it more attractive. And they may want to talk about how you do what you do. But what they’ll care about the most is how much money the blog makes.

So don’t be too concerned about page views, number of likes, etc. They really don’t matter that much. What you should be concerned about is whether your blog is doing what you wanted it to do. Anyone looking to pay good money for a blog will want to be sure they’re getting good a return on their  investment.

And page views don’t pay the bills.

A lot of people didn’t think I could sell my blog because my name and image is all over it. But that’s not a problem so long as it doesn’t need you to make money.

How to work out the value of a blog

Figuring out the value of a blog is the same as figuring out the value of any businesses. You need to look as the profit it makes.

Along with my travel blog I’ve sold three other sites, and each time the value was based on a multiple of its monthly or annual profit.

Note that we’re talking about profit, not revenue, which means you need to subtract a wage for the effort you’ve been putting in.

A good broker will ask you to estimate how much time you spend on your blog each month, and put a value on that time. For me, they recommend US$ 25 an hour.

And just like any other business cost, this gets subtracted from the revenue.

While multiples vary, a good starting point is:

  • monthly profit x 20 for a site less than three years old
  • monthly profit x 30 for a site more than three years old.

Monthly profits are based on the site’s average income over the past year.

If profit has been steadily increasing you may be able to base your calculations on the past six or even three months’ worth of figures. But chances are you’ll get a lower multiple. For example, the profit of one site I sold was going up steadily, and the overall profit of previous six months was higher than the six months before that. I was able to use the average of these months, but the multiple went from 30 to 29.

My travel blog had a good steady income, big audience numbers, and potential for monetisation beyond affiliate marketing. It also appealed to people who wanted a passive income and to be able to claim their travel as a tax deduction. That meant I could list the site for a higher multiple than those earlier examples.

Depending on your site, and exactly what you’re offering, you may have to negotiate the price when you find a buyer.

But again, page views and social media followers didn’t matter, and played no part in the negotiations.

How to sell a blog

You’ve probably heard of Flippa—a well-known platform for selling sites.

I sold two sites on there recently, and it’s a relatively painless process.

However, I only recommend Flippa for low-value sites worth less than $ 10,000. At this price level, you’ll struggle to get a good broker.

For a blog doing well, you’re better off using a broker.

For the two higher-priced sites I sold last year, I used Empire Flippers and FE International.

I had very positive experiences with them both.

They both have a similar process. Expect to spend a few full-on days getting your financials together. There’s a format they need to go in, and you’ll have to show proof of everything – a receipt for every payment and some type of tracking for every payment.

You’ll also need to write a lot about your blog to explain to potential buyers what it’s all about, why it’s a good purchase, what tasks you work on, etc.

Once you hand over everything, expect them to keep coming back with more questions and wanting more proof of various things.

This was the most (and possibly only) frustrating part of the process for me. I wanted my sites for sale immediately, but we did this back and forth for a couple of weeks and sometimes it didn’t seem necessary.

When this process is finished, they’ll tell you the price they want to list the site for. (You’re allowed to negotiate.)

Once you both agree on a price, the details are put up on the broker’s site and sent out to their email list.

Potential buyers may ask questions that you’ll need to be ready to answer. They may request a phone call to discuss it further, and will probably want access to your Google Analytics and, in my case, Amazon affiliate account.

For each buyer there might be a contract discussion (more about this later) and possibly haggling over the price.

These options took a 15% cut of the purchase price. Empire Flippers and Flippa also have listing fees. It can be a lot of money, but I think it was worth it. My sites all sold not long after they were listed, which would never have happened otherwise.

While Flippa doesn’t really do much for the money, using a broker is fantastic. I didn’t have to deal with enquiries, and they have processes to ensure they only deal with serious buyers and I’m not sharing my financial information with everyone in the world.

Buyers also like buying through a broker because they know they’ve done a lot of due diligence, which minimises the risk of fake information and protects both parties.

Once you have a buyer, they also make the transition process very painless. They’ll do the negotiations, write the contracts, and ensure you won’t be ripped off by someone taking your site without paying you.

I highly recommend FE International or Empire Flippers for selling your blog.

I found Empire Flippers better for sites that are straightforward, such as my niche site that I spent basically no time on and was all about SEO traffic and affiliate income.

They also make potential buyers pay a refundable deposit to see your site data, which helps keep away nosey people (and potential competitors).

For sites that have a higher value and/or get more complicated (e.g. most blogs), I found FE international better. I’m  glad I sold my blog with them. They tell you how they’ll value the blog and what price to expect before you have to start providing all the information.

Empire Flippers will only discuss this after you’ve provided all the information. But they do have a calculator on their site you can use to value your blog.

Making a contract for your blog

The biggest concern I had about selling my blog was the new owner using photos of my kids in ways I didn’t like, or perhaps impersonating me.

Thankfully, you can make a contract for your blog sale with any conditions you want (assuming the buyer agrees).

I made sure my broker understood I needed clauses that helped me feel less concerned about these points.

The buyer may also have concerns that they’ll want to negotiate on. For example, they’ll probably want a clause that says  you can’t build a competing blog for at least two years. There may also be clauses about you training them to run your blog.

Another clause will specify when you get paid. On Empire Flippers, the buyer had a few weeks to verify the income before the money was released from escrow to me.

FE International had a policy of releasing the money as soon as everything was handed over.

If you have any concerns about how the new buyer will handle your blog and its assets, discuss it with your broker and potential buyers in advance so you come up with a solution.

Handing over the blog

This was far less painful than I expected.

After the buyer puts the money for the blog in escrow, you’ll start the handover. (Your broker can help with this.)

FE International helped me complete a huge handover document that specified  everything the new owner needed to know including:

  • how to get to the blog
  • social media logins
  • which affiliate accounts they needed to set up where
  • how to run the site day to day.

It meant the buyer had access to everything immediately, making the transfer fast, easy and smooth.

To make things even easier we give the hosting accounts to the new owners. Hosts such as SiteGround let you  change the owner’s details. If you can’t transfer the site yourself, the broker or your host can help.

I also use shared Google drive folders to  put everything related to my sites, from logo images to affiliate partner contacts.

It’s a good idea to be readily available during the handover. We had Skype calls  to help things move along. After all, the faster the handover happens, the faster you get paid.

Within a few days of the sale going through, I had the money for my blog.

My top 3 tips for selling your blog (or for building a more valuable blog)

1. Start removing yourself from the blog 12 months in advance

The only mistake I made in selling my blog was not deciding 12 months in advance so I could better remove myself and my family.

There are two reasons you may want to do this.

Firstly, a blog will be more attractive to buyers if it doesn’t look like it relies on you. Having your photo all over it isn’t ideal.

A better idea is to start using a pen name in advance, and limit the amount of yourself on the blog.

It’s also a good idea if you feel nervous about selling your image, and what can feel like part of your identity, to someone else. It’s much easier to just remove anything you don’t want on there before you sell it, rather than coming up with conditions you  hope the other person will abide by.

You may also want to remove some of the more personal posts.

You need to do this 12 months in advance because you can’t change anything that could affect the business operation of the blog just before you sell it.

If you remove posts or change the site much in the months leading up to the sale, the buyer will have a legitimate concern that the earnings you declared aren’t correct. How much your blog earns is obviously affected by what’s on your blog.

It’s also a good idea to remove yourself from the day-to-day running on the blog. Your blog will look more attractive if you already have a trained VA that the new buyer can also hire.

This should also raise the value of the blog, as a VA usually costs less your own hourly rate.

Even if you don’t have plans to sell your blog any time soon (or ever), it’s worth looking at these areas. For example, it’s good to regularly reflect and adjust how much of yourself and your family you want to share with your readers. And becoming less essential in the day-to-day running of the blog is a great way to save yourself a lot of stress and have more time to work on more important tasks in your business.

2. Concentrate on passive income sources

The value of your blog is all about the profit you are making so the easiest way to increase your blog value is to make more money while putting in less effort.

Thankfully, this is easily achievable in blogging.

I always concentrated on getting traffic with SEO and converting it with affiliate marketing which helped my blog not only earn good money, but made it worth a lot of money because this is largely passive once you get it working.

I recommend you work on this aspect of blogging before getting to the point of wanting to sell your blog.

The way to do this is to concentrate on learning about buying keywords and reader intent.

Making affiliate profits is easiest when you attract readers to your site that have a buying mindset. This means that they already have the intent to buy something; they just need you to point them in the right direction.

SEO is a very powerful way to do this as you can write articles using keywords that people use when they are in this buying mindset. These are called buying keywords and are statements like “best juicer”, “juicer reviews”, “top juicer on the market”.

If you have a health blog and published an article on the best juicers that helped people looking for one find the perfect one (with an affiliate link of course) and were able to rank on the first page of Google for these keywords, you would make a lot of ongoing cash with very little effort.

If you can have even a few articles like this ranking well in Google and converting well with an affiliate, this can add a few extra thousand a month to your profits.

Times that by 30 and you could add an extra $ 90,000 to your blog value.

And if you never sell your blog, the extra money will be great in your pocket.

There are other ways to make more passive income as well. Display advertisements using services like Mediavine or Google AdSense are a good option.

Products can also be passive once you have a sales funnel set up if they are items like eBooks that require little ongoing support.

3. Stop worrying about page views and social media followers

The best way to find time to work on the things I mention above, like growing your passive income, is to cut out all the tasks that don’t really matter.

This will also mean you don’t need to work as much which will also increase your profits.

I highly recommend going through your task list monthly and removing anything that isn’t directly related to your blogging goals whether you plan to sell or not.

This means that unless your prime goal is to get x number of page views, stop working on tasks just to get more traffic. More traffic generally doesn’t lead to more income unless it’s the right sort of traffic. For example, if you want to make good money with affiliates, you need readers with the right reader intent as mentioned above.

It can be hard to let go of something like going on social media, but if it’s not helping you reach your goals and is only sucking away your time then it can be highly valuable to focus that energy elsewhere.

Final thoughts

It’s been a few months now since I sold my blog and I haven’t regretted it for even a second. It does feel strange to not be a travel blogger anymore when I was so focused on it at one point, but it feels great to have let it go and to have moved on to my other blog, DigitalNomadWannabe.com, where I get to do work that I love.

Whether you should sell your blog or not is a very personal decision.

If you are at all considering it, I recommend you start doing the tips I recommend above as soon as possible so it leaves you in a better position when it comes time to sell. By the time I realised I wanted to sell, I was so over it that I couldn’t give myself a 12 month run up to remove myself in the way I would have liked.

If you do this and you never end up selling, having more income and less work to do will be a bonus anyway.

Bio

Sharon Gourlay is an Australian blogger who now only blogs about SEO, internet marketing and making money from blogging at DigitalNomadWannabe.com.

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235: How to Build Authority, Influence and Trust When Nobody Knows Who You Are

How to Build Authority and Influence with Your Audience

In today’s episode, I want to talk about building authority and influence.

This topic came about from talking to a number of bloggers who’ve just completed our Start a Blog course. They’re starting from scratch (as we all did), and want not only to be found, but also to make an impression on those who arrive at their blog.

How can you be seen as a trusted authority on your topic, and a credible source of information, people don’t yet know who you are?



Getting traffic is one thing, but how do you build influence?

In this episode, I want to share 13 things that I’ve noticed good influencers do to build authority and credibility with their audience.

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Hi there. Welcome to episode 235 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, to create content for that blog that’s going to change the world, that’s going to change your reader’s lives, to grow traffic to your blog, and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do at problogger.com. In particular, check out our brand new course How to Start a Blog, our ultimate guide to starting a blog. Check out our new course which is coming in the next few weeks, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which is perfect for new bloggers and intermediate bloggers who want to give their blog a kickstart. You can find our How to Start a Blog course at problogger.com/startablog and 31 Days to Build a Better Blog at problogger.com/31days or just over on ProBlogger, look for the courses tab and you’ll find them all.

In today’s episode, I want to talk about building authority and influence with your audience. This topic came up as I was talking to a number of the bloggers who just completed our Start a Blog course. We just graduated 103 bloggers. They’ve just started their brand new blogs. We posted links to all of them on our site. If you want to check them out, head over to ProBlogger. Today I’ll actually link to them in our show notes as well.

These 103 bloggers, just like all bloggers starting out, they’re starting from scratch. They’ve got a number of challenges. One, they need to create content. Two, they need to build traffic. But also more important than building traffic, they need to actually build influence, they need to build authority, they need to build credibility. This is one of the things that a number of new bloggers have talked to me about in the last few weeks. They can see the traffic coming in but how do they actually become someone with authority on their topic? How do they become someone who is trusted as a credible source of information? How do you build this when the traffic that’s coming in has no idea who you are? It’s one thing to get traffic but how do you build influence?

In this episode I want to share 13 things that I’ve noticed good influencers do to build this authority and credibility with their audience. You can find today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/235.

Today we’re talking about how do you build authority, how do you build influence, how do you take this traffic from giving you their attention to actually beginning to feel connected to you on this deeper level and seeing you as someone to be trusted.

There’s a number of different approaches to this. One of the old school way of thinking about this, I’ve seen many people build their business in this old school way, that school of thought would say gather as much knowledge as you can. Then show what you know, show what you’ve achieved. Be an expert, look the part. If you don’t know it all, fake it ‘til you make it. Be confident, promote yourself. This is the advice that I grew up seeing other people living out. This kind of approach works sometimes. But over the years, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of bloggers, a lot of podcasters who don’t take that kind of approach, this approach where you build your authority but telling everyone that you’re an authority, that’s the approach that I see a lot of bloggers are doing. Sometimes it does actually work but in most cases I don’t think it does today. I think things have changed.

What I want to give you today is 13 things that I think you can do to help you to build some authority. We might call this the Authority 2.0. It’s a slightly different approach. It’s not just about telling everyone that you’ve got authority and they should trust you but it’s a deeper way. It’s perhaps a little bit slower in some ways but it’s actually more powerful, more sustainable. It’s hard to put your finger exactly on how someone builds authority so I can’t give you a definitive list of all the characteristics of these kinds of people. But in this episode, I want to share some of the common characteristics that I’ve noticed in meeting people who do have influence. They’re the people who I guess have had influence upon me.

Really I guess one of the things I would say before I get into my list is that I would encourage you to think about who influences you and to do some analysis on why you think they influence you because really, that is the answer. If you do that analysis yourself, what individuals, what authors, what companies, what friends influence you? If you can unlock why they influence you, you’ll probably find the answer as well. That’s really how I’ve come up with this list.

I will say I don’t know anyone who’s got all these 13 characteristics but let me have a go at describing some of what I’ve noticed about them. Number one, this is what I’ve noticed, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know. I’m not discounting the fact that you need to know something about your topic. I do believe that the more you know about your topic, the better position you’re going to be in to be seen as a credible, authoritative type of person. Talking about your topic, knowledge is important but if you want to be influential, if you want to actually be trusted, if you want to be seen as someone that people want to connect with, it’s probably just as important to be known as someone who’s generously sharing what they know. Let me say that again, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know.

I’ve seen this time and time again. Sometimes the people who rise to the top of the niche don’t know the most but they share everything that they know. I think about my own situation, Digital Photography School, I’m not a professional photographer. A lot of people are surprised at that, “You’ve built this site with millions of readers, how did you do that? You must be a professional in photography. You must know a lot about photography.” The reality is I didn’t know a lot about photography, I knew enough to teach beginners. I shared everything I knew on that topic.

I shared this one as number one because I want to be an encouragement to those of you who are struggling with impostor syndrome. This is something I see time and time again with bloggers starting out. They want to write on a topic but they’re not an expert in that topic yet so they discount themselves as being someone who should have a blog on that topic. You can be an intermediate level and write about that topic as long as you are transparent about what you know and what you don’t know and as long as you are aiming to teach people who are a bit behind you on that journey. That’s important.

Be known not just as someone who knows a lot about what you’re writing about but as someone who shares everything that they know. That goes a long way as well. Not to discount that you need to know something, you can’t just bluff your way through it. It’s not just a fake it and make it approach, you do need to know something, you need to be a learner on your topic, you need to be growing in your knowledge. But it’s just as important to be known as someone who is generously sharing everything that they know. Number one, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know.

Number one, they don’t just talk about what they know but they also share what they don’t yet know. This comes into what I was just talking about, that transparency. The old school way of building authority is to just build yourself up to present yourself as the expert, as the guru. The reality is none of us know everything about our topic. We need to be clear with people that we have strengths and to promote those strengths but we also need to show people that there are areas that we don’t yet know and that we’re still learning about. That transparency about where your expertise ends and who you are best at serving, those types of things are really important.

If you’ve been traveling with ProBlogger over the years, you know that I’m not the most technical blogger in the world. I, quite often, in my Facebook live say I don’t know the answer to that question about how servers or domains or those types of things. I know enough to teach a beginner but we’ll find the answer for you because it’s not an area of expertise for me. I’m putting people around me who can fill in those gaps. Don’t just talk about what you know, talk about what you don’t know.

Whilst that might seem a little bit counterintuitive, it actually has a big impact upon your readers. They will trust you so much more because they see that you are willing to admit to a weakness or a deficiency in your knowledge in some way. It’s a very powerful thing. It’s a way of making a really deeper connection with people. Don’t just talk about what you know, talk about what you don’t yet know.

Number three thing is that these people that I’m thinking of who influence me and that I see as authorities learn in public. They learn in public. This is all a part of that transparency. When people see you as someone who’s still learning on a topic, who’s still gathering knowledge, who admits that they don’t know everything, that has big impression. But when you learn in public and share the journey of your learning, that is something that people want to be a part of as well because they can relate to that. They’re on your blog because they want to learn about that topic. When they see you learning and sharing immediately what you’re learning, then that’s a powerful thing.

Some of the things that you can do there to learn in public, I used to do interviews. I’ve used the example of Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner, one of the biggest social media blogs on the planet right now. He started out as someone who didn’t really know a lot about social media by doing interviews at conferences with social media experts. One of the reasons he did that was to learn from these people. He said, “I couldn’t get one-on-one coaching sessions with them all so I decided to interview them and record those interviews and then share those interviews.” It became a content creation strategy but it also was a learning strategy for him. It also built relationships with the people he was interviewing. He was learning in public. He was asking the questions he wanted the answers to. One, to gather his own knowledge and to improve the position that he was in but also to create content that he knew would be relatable to other people who’s in that same position. Interviews are a great way of doing this.

Doing experiments in public can be really important as well. I’ve seen people like Pat Flynn do this over the years really well. He’s known for doing experiments in starting new blogs, starting new businesses in public. He doesn’t do them behind closed doors and then report what happened. He actually says, “Here’s what I’m doing. Watch me do it. I’m experimenting, I’m learning.” People can really relate to that. Talking about the failures as well as the success is really important.

Asking lots of questions, this is one of the things I use to do on ProBlogger all the time, have blog posts that were me seeking information from my readers and me asking, “What would you do in this situation?” That again seems a bit counterintuitive, shouldn’t you as the expert be telling everyone what the answer is? No. People actually respect when you don’t know all the answers and when you are trying to find the answers for people. You will learn and as a result, you become more of an authority on your topic and more of an expert because you’ll be gathering these answers. Don’t pretend you know it all. Learn in public is a very powerful thing that you can do.

Tied into this is my fourth point. They use case studies, both case studies of themselves and others. Talk about the experiments that you’ve done, report back on what you are learning and what you are doing. But also talk doing case studies of other people can be a powerful way for you to learn but also for you to build credibility particularly when you’re doing case studies of what you were doing with other people.

Let me give you an example on ProBlogger. When I started ProBlogger, one of the things I did semi-regularly was to do case studies of how I would improve another blog. Sometimes these were blogs that hadn’t actually asked me to do this case study. It was just me seeing something and thinking I like the way they do this, this is what I would do to improve their blog and to actually write that type of post in a positive way. I never critiqued what they were doing. They were just suggestions and constructive things.

Down the track, people began to ask me to critique their blog and to coach them. Instead of coaching them one-on-one in private, I would coach them in public. I’d write the little critiques of their blog, with their permission, in public. This became really useful in the type of content that my readers wanted. The post became very popular but they also showed that I knew what I was talking about. This is one of the things that I’ve learned over the years. When you can demonstrate your knowledge indirectly, that’s a very powerful thing.

The old school way of building authority is to tell everyone what you know. But when you do this type of public coaching, in this case study, you’re demonstrating what you know. You’re actually showing people what you know by just doing it and by giving advice to someone else. People find that as a less confrontational way of building authority. Instead of telling people what you know, actually show them what you know in an indirect way, whether that be through a case study, whether that be through public learning or public coaching in some way.

Number five is that they show vulnerability. This, really, I guess comes into this transparency that I was talking a little bit about earlier. They don’t just show their credentials and strengths but also their weaknesses in that way. That’s vulnerability. There’s been a lot written over the years about vulnerability. Brené Brown’s written some great stuff on that topic. It’s similar to that transparency one earlier but I really want to emphasize it here because there’s something about being vulnerable in public that people really do respect. It builds relatability and it also shows that you are a human being.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years about people who take this old school way of building their authority, telling everyone what they know is that they almost become superhuman. It’s almost like they become a bit robotic. Sometimes they come across as having it all so much together that they don’t actually relate to me. People like to see the frailties and the humanness in other people as well. Showing your vulnerability is important.

As part of that, to show as much of your personality and your personal situation, your personal life as you feel comfortable to do. This doesn’t mean you need to be Instagramming your family life, you might want to have some boundaries around some of that. But people do appreciate when you are able to weave into your content the fact that you are a normal person. To show a little bit of yourself in that way can be powerful.

Last year I think it was, I had one of my sons do the intro for this podcast. You wouldn’t believe how many people contacted me about that. Actually hearing one of my kids’ voices on the podcast made a big impression upon people. When I meet people in public, that’s the podcast episode that people tend to remember the most for some reason. They don’t even remember the content I had there but they remember the fact that I let my kid to be on my podcast. That was something that connected with many people, I guess who are parents as well. Allowing these little personality quirks, your personal situation but also your vulnerabilities into your podcast can really make a deep connection with people as well.

The other thing I will say about this by way of a personal example is some of the podcasts where I’ve shared my failures and mistakes have been the most powerful. I did a podcast about my procrastination, my character trying to be a perfectionist and as a result procrastinating. That podcast, again, had a massive impact upon people. I did another podcast years ago now about my health situation, how I was gradually putting on weight and what I did about that. Those podcasts are slightly off topic in some ways but they actually had a massive impact and made a deeper connection with people. Share your vulnerability, share your personality – really important.

Number six. People with authority, people with influence that I respect the most, they share their transformations and conversions. This is a massive part of them being seen as a credible source. They don’t just talk about the destination of where they’ve arrived but they talk about their origins and who they were when they started out. This inspires and it also makes them more relatable. If you think about it, if you were hiring a personal trainer, would you be more likely to hire a personal trainer who was born with chiseled abs, perfect genetics, and had no struggles in their health or would you prefer to go to someone who had really struggled with their nutrition and with exercise over the years but through trial and error has gotten to a point where they’re healthy? I personally would prefer someone who has had ups and downs over their life and who has come out the other end in a better place because I can relate to that type of person. I can’t relate to someone who always had chiseled abs and who’s got perfect genetics and who’s never struggled with their health. I prefer to go and see someone who has journeyed through it and can relate to the struggles that I’m having.

The same is true with building authority in your particular topic. If you can demonstrate by telling your story about who you were and who you are now, you may have reached a point where things are really great but what were things like in the way to getting there? Actually sharing those stories is a very powerful thing. This taps into the transparency and the vulnerability. It’s amazing how many people on their about pages talk about their achievements and talk about where they are now but they don’t actually tell their story. I think your about page is a brilliant place for you to tell stories about your journey, about your transformations, about your conversions to the way that you’re living today. It’s not just about the destination but it’s about the journey. People are much more interested in the journey that you’ve had than the destination that you’re at now. Weave that into your about page. Weave that into your brand if you can. Weave that into the way you promote your blog, the taglines that you have, your content, you can be constantly telling those little stories.

Pretty much every time I talk, I tell my stories of becoming a blogger. I talk about how I really had no credentials to be a blogger, I talk about how it took me three months to work out how to make text bold on my blog once I’ve started. This is I guess an entry credential in some ways, me talking about my weaknesses. But it illustrates the transformation to get from that to being a full-time blogger, to get from no readers to having millions of readers. That is something that people get inspired by all the time but they can also relate to that because they can relate to having those same challenges in the early days as well. Share your transformations, build your brand on those transformations that you’ve had. It’s a very powerful thing.

Number seven thing, over halfway now. They tend to be positive, optimistic, and constructive in their outlook. I’m thinking here about people who I’m drawn to. Maybe it’s just partly my personality coming out here but I’m personally much more likely to be influenced by and see someone as an authority on their topic when they have this more positive, optimistic outlook. They’re not just interested in busting myths and tearing down and critiquing. They spend more time presenting solutions, solving problems, and pointing to a way forward. This isn’t to say that from time to time you can’t get negative with your blog. I think being negative, critiquing something, busting myths – these types of things can actually play a part in building authority. To show that side of yourself from time to time can be important. I think you don’t want to be known purely as a negative person.

I know some people build their whole brand around critique. But most of the people I’ve seen attempt that don’t tend to last the journey or they tend to transition into a more positive person at some point because they realize that people come to them for their critique but they’re coming almost more for the entertainment of the critique and the snarkiness but they don’t actually see them as an authority on that topic.

I think probably about ten years ago in the blogging about blogging space, there are a number of people who started blogs that were very negative, very snarky. They’re talking about the negative things that they were seeing other people were doing. They were having a go at people, they were tearing down, and they were calling them out. Their blogs became very popular. They got a lot of traffic but no one actually saw them as an authority on their topic, no one actually bought their products, no one actually saw them as an authority in their space. They weren’t actually putting forward a solution alongside their critique. Go there if you need to from time to time, bust myths, critique, that’s fine from time to time. But always do it with a solution, with an alternative, and you’re going to be in a much better position. They’re positive, they’re optimistic, they’re more constructive than being known for being negative.

Number eight, they build a platform of giving and generosity before they promote. There’s definitely a time for asking. There’s definitely a time for selling what you do. But as I think about the people who I see as influencers and the people who I bought their products, the asking tends to be dwarfed by their giving and by their generosity. Survivors don’t be self-serving. Yes you need to win out of the scenario and this is a trap that some bloggers get into, it’s like just give, give, give and don’t actually get. You’ve got to get some balance in there on that. But you want to be known as generous before you ask.

Blogs like Copyblogger. I’ve read Copyblogger for years. Brian Clarkson Simone generously gave amazing teaching. I read them for years and as a result of that, anytime they will release a product I was a buyer of that product based upon the generosity of what they’ve done. I wanted to reciprocate. The only reason I bought their products was because they were so generous. Build a platform of generosity, of giving before you ask or promote.

Number nine, they show up, they deliver quality, they ship, they’re reliable. Authority isn’t just built on what you know but rather people knowing they can rely and depend upon you, people knowing that you have their back. Don’t be flaky. Don’t promise things that you don’t deliver upon. You want to be shipping, you want to be showing up. If you say that you were going to do a podcast every week, do a podcast every week. If you’d say you’re going to do a blog post every week, do a blog post every week. If you’re going to send an email newsletter every week, send that email newsletter every week. Do everything you can to show up. Not to say that you can’t take a break but forecast that break. Tell people the reason why you’re taking that break.

It’s reliability. It’s being there for your reader and them feeling like you’re consistent and you’re going to continue to show up and you’re going to have their back. This builds credibility. When people know that you deliver a podcast every week or that you deliver articles every week and you deliver that newsletter, they begin to show up expecting that you’d be there as well. Be reliable in that way.

Point number ten is to keep your messaging clear and simple. Did you notice how clearly and simply I said that? Keep your messaging clear and simple. Authority isn’t built upon making yourself look smart and lording your intelligence over those who follow you. Authority comes when you make your audience feel smart, when you facilitate them making discoveries, when their knowledge grows because of you. Again, let me think about this. It’s not about you looking smart, it’s about you making your readers feel smart.

I love the quote from a guy called Adam Grant. He said, “Good communicators make themselves look smart. Great communicators make their audience feel smart.” Really important distinction there. The old school way of building authority is about look at me, look at all the things that I know, look at all the things that I can say, look at all the big words that I can use. That might make you look good but influence, trust is built upon people feeling that they are benefiting from the relationship and that they are getting smarter as a result of you.

This needs to shine through in your content, the way you write your content. I’ve read a number of articles recently that talk about how to best communicate is actually write at a low level. They write at an 8th grade level rather than a university level. Actually writing in a way that your readers can understand the words, they don’t need to go away and look up words in dictionaries, they don’t need to guess the jargon you used – actually writing in a very clear way that makes your readers feel like they can understand what you’re saying is actually so powerful in building authority and credibility as well. It needs to shine through in the content that you use but also in the way you promote yourself as well. Don’t just make yourself look smart, make your readers look smart. Bring them into that in many ways that you can.

Number 11 is one that I’m really passionate about. Great influencers use their influence for the benefit of those they influence. There are too many word influences in there but think about this. A lot of influencers use their influence to benefit them. “I want to be influential.” “Why do you want to be influential?” “I want to be influential because it’s going to get me a car, it’s going to get me a holiday, it’s going to get me money. It’s going to get me all this stuff. I’m going to get a lot out of being influential.” The reality is that that’s only going to get you so far.

Great influencers use their influence for the benefit of other people. Use your influence for the benefit of other people. I see a lot of people trying to build authority and influence because of how their influence and authority will improve their lives. But I’m struck by the fact that many of the great influencers that I’ve met live very simply. They use their influence to benefit others.

What can you do that’s going to improve the situation of your readers and make the world a better place in some way? I actually ask that question from time to time. You will discover ways to use your influence, as small as it may be, to benefit other people. Obviously, you can write content that’s going to solve your readers’ problems but what more could you do? What more could you do for your readers?

For example, as I think about this for ProBlogger, what can I do to benefit you as an audience? One of the things that we’ve been realizing over the last year or so is that yeah, we can teach you how to blog but one of the needs that we see a lot of bloggers having is they want more traffic, particularly new bloggers. As you start your blog, you’ve got no traffic. One of the things we realized as we were doing this Start a Blog course that we launched recently is that we can actually help our students to get their first traffic.

This is why we started International Start a Blog Day, which happened yesterday as I record this. We actually promoted the 103 blogs that started as a result of our course because we realized we could not only help these bloggers to start their blogs but we can actually give them a little bit of traffic. We’ve been promoting these blogs. I had an email this morning from someone who said, “Wow, I had 100 readers yesterday. I never thought I’d get 100 readers on the first day of my blog.” What could you do that could help your readers to have their dreams come true? What could you do to help your readers’ dreams come true? Don’t just use your influence to make your dreams come true. Find creative ways to make your readers’ dreams come true as well.

I’ve got two more here. Point number 12, these influencers, these authoritative people that I respect don’t seek to be known, liked, and trusted. They show that they know, like, and trust their audience. I’ve spoken about this before. The quote by Bob Burg, “People do business with those that they know, like, and trust.” This is a very well-known quote. I believe it. People will want to do business with you when they know, like, and trust you. One of the ways that you speed up people knowing, liking, and trusting you is to actually do those things to them as well. I think this quote is a two-way thing. Don’t just try and be known, don’t just try and be liked, don’t just try and be trusted but actually display that you know your audience, that you like your audience, and that you trust your audience. Let’s just break that down a little bit.

Do you know your audience? The more you know your audience, the better position you’re in to build authority with them. Do your research on who is reading your blog. Who are they? Their demographics. What are their needs? What are their dreams? When you know these things, you’re in a much better position to serve them and as a result they’re going to begin to realize that you actually know who they are. One of the best things that I get is emails from time to time from people saying, “I feel like that podcast was for me.” That is because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand who is my audience. I create content based upon knowing who they are having met many of them at our conferences and our events but also talking to them on Facebook lives and those types of things as well. The more you get to know your audience and show them that you know who they are, the more they’re going to want to know, like, and trust you as well. Know your audience. Know, like, and trust.

Like your audience. Show warmth to your audience. Show your audience that you actually like them. Make your audience feel they are charismatic. A lot of bloggers they want to be charismatic themselves. Actually make your audience feel like you know them but you also like them. Spend time with them. Get on Facebook live and answer their questions. Hang out with them. Some of the most popular Facebook lives that I’ve done have been the ones where I’ve sat with a beer on a Friday afternoon and I’ve just said, “Let’s hang out.” We just chatted back and forth. We’ve asked questions of each other. We’ve hung out, we’ve had fun. Those are the types of things that, actually as I look back over the year, I’ve built relationships with my audience the most. Hang out with them. Show them that you like them.

Lastly, show them that you trust them. This comes down to this vulnerability that I was talking about before. When you share something of yourself, you’re showing your audience that you trust them. By me sharing that I’ve got three boys and me sharing that I’ve just been on holidays and me sharing some of the mistakes that I’ve made and some of the insecurities that I have, that shows that I trust you as my audience. I wouldn’t share that type of stuff if I didn’t have some trust of you, if I didn’t like you. Don’t just try and be known, be liked, and be trusted. The way that you actually do that is to know who you’re speaking to, to like them and to show that you like them, and to trust them – very important.

The last thing I’ll say about building influence and trust and authority is that it takes time. Most of the people that I see as influencers and authoritative type people and people that I see having credibility in the topics that they talk about, as I think about it and as reflecting on this week, they’ve all been around for a while. I’ve been following them for a while. It didn’t happen overnight.

I look at someone like Chris Guillebeau. He’s been blogging for years, probably for a decade or so now. He’s someone that gradually over time I’ve come to know, like, and trust. He’s someone that overtime I’ve began to see has authority on certain areas. It’s because he’s done all of the things that I’ve just talked about. He’s been vulnerable, he’s put himself out there, he’s kept his messaging clear, he’s shown up, he’s delivered on his promises. All of these things I’ve just talked about, he’s done them but he’s done them time and time and time again over the years. It’s the accumulation of that that makes me think, “Yeah, he’s credible. I can trust him. He’s an authority.” That is key.

I know that’s a little bit disheartening for those who just finished our Start a Blog course and you just started. But it’s the accumulation of the little things that you do over time that are going to lead to people knowing, liking, and trusting you, and people seeing you as an authority. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the accumulation of these things. It’s the longevity of you doing these things overtime that’s really going to count the most. Yes you can build little bits of influence early on but it’s going to exponentially grow the longer you show up and the more consistent you are with these things over time as well.

I really hope that has been helpful to you. I hope it’s been clear and simple enough. As I thought through, I’m very aware that different people grow their authority and influence in different ways. I actually made a list of about 20 people that I see as authorities in their niches. As I looked at the list, I saw some of these characteristics but every time I look at a different person I’m like, “Yeah but they don’t quite fit with this one.”

I want to emphasize again that those 13 things I’ve just talked about, these are different mix and play for each person. Take it as a put it out list, some of it will resonate with you, some of it you want to try, some of it you might not relate to as much but somewhere in the mix of all that I think are some answers.

I’ve got some further reading for you today. I’ve got a few articles that I read in preparation for this podcast. There’s an article from Copyblogger Demian Farnworth, 10 Ways to Build Authority as an Author, which overlapped with a few of the things that I said. Then Shane Snow has a couple articles that I’ll link to and a couple articles he wrote about the level that writers write at. That touched on that, in keeping your messaging clear and simple. He’s written about some investigation that he’s done that talks about how writers that are most powerful in their communication tend to write at a lower level. He did some research into the level that great writers write at. He found about the 8th grade level was about the level that they were writing at, and that made them more relatable and easy to read. I’ll link to those in the show notes today as well as some further listening on the podcast as well.

You can find today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/235. Thanks so much for listening. If you’ve got a moment, I would love it if you would head over to the ProBlogger blog and check out our list of 103 bloggers who started their blogs. The reason that we do have that list public is that we want you to visit them. We would love it if you would encourage those bloggers.

I know a lot of you have been blogging for years now. I want to encourage you just to remember what it was like that first week that you launched your blog. Wouldn’t it have made your day if someone had a shown up your blog and left a comment? Wouldn’t it have made your day if someone had shared your blog on their social media account? That would’ve been so encouraging for you. I really want to encourage you to head over to that list and find a blog that you can leave a comment on, maybe more than one. Find a blog that you resonate with that you could share on your social media account. Pass on a little bit of the traffic that you have. Use your influence to build and benefit other people as well. I really encourage you to do that.

We love the fact that there’s all these new blogs out there, and excited that there’s a lot more coming as well. I think almost 2000 people have started the Start a Blog course already. We’ve seen 100 blogs launched. There’s quite a few coming up behind them in the coming months as well. Anything you can do to support those new bloggers would be fantastic.

Thanks so much for listening today. I will link to the honor roll in the show notes as well, problogger.com/podcast/235. Chat with you next week.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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International Start a Blog Day Class of 2018

International Start a Blog Day 2018

ProBlogger created International Start a Blog Day on February 7th to celebrate the achievements and the diversity of new bloggers around the world launching their blogs at the beginning of the year.

Please join us in supporting these new bloggers by checking out their sites, reading their stories, leaving them a comment and following them on social media. They have taken action – completed ProBlogger’s Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course and followed through on a commitment they’ve made to themselves and their future readership.

We’d also like to recognise the crop of pre-bloggers who are currently working through the course and taking steps to launch their blogs. We’ll be bringing you updates on them throughout the year.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

You can check out all the new bloggers below – enjoy scrolling through the entries! You can a also sort by Blog Topic to find some new blogging buddies in your niche. For more details about each blogger, click on the button to expand their entry.


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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.

Further Listening on How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant

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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.


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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.

      


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233: Tools We’re Using to Get More Subscribers and Customers in 2018

The Tools Were Using in 2018 to Get More Subscribers and Customers

In today’s episode, I want to introduce you to a suite of WordPress plugin tools we’ve been using on our blogs for the past six months or so that we’re really excited about.

Today’s show is brought to you by two brand new courses from ProBlogger.

I’ve been talking about one of them – our Ultimate Guide to starting a blog – for the past month or so. It’s perfect for those people who want to get a blog launched with solid foundations.

We’ve had more than 1000 people start the course already, and we’re now seeing many of them launch their blogs. We’ll be celebrating the launches on the 7th February with what we’re calling ProBlogger’s International Start a Blog day. To be included in that day simply register for the course by 31 January and launch your blog by 7th Feb.

The second course we’ve developed that we’ll be launching in March isn’t just for new bloggers. It’s also for those of you who have been blogging for a while. It’s our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course.

Long-time listeners will be familiar with that name. I originally ran 31DBB back in 2009 as a blog post series. Later it was turned into an eBook, which we’ve since updated. That eBook sold tens of thousands of copies. I also did a version of the series to launch this podcast.

But now we’re giving it a complete overhaul and will be launching it as a course.

I’ll give you more details of it in coming episodes. But it’s perfect both for new bloggers who have just set up a blog with our start a blog course, as well as more established bloggers who want to give their blog a real kick start.

It’s really about developing good habits over an intentional month of blogging.

This will be a paid course, although we’ve kept it as affordable as we can. And we’ll be launching it to anyone who preregisters their interest at a launch discount.

Links and Resources on Tools We’re Using to Get More Subscribers and Customers in 2018

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Darren : Hi there and welcome to episode 233 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 grow your blog, to get the blog started but also to grow it and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

Now, today’s episode, I wanna introduce you to a suite of WordPress plugins, tools that we’ve been using on my blogs over the last six or so months and that we will be investing more and more time into using more of in the coming year ahead. We’re very excited about these particular tools. I brought my general manager, Laney Galligan, on to talk about those tools.

I wanna talk about those in a minute but before I do, I do want to mention that today’s show is brought not by an external sponsor but by our brand new courses at ProBlogger and yes, you heard me right, courses. I’ve been talking about one of them now for about a month, our ultimate guide to starting a blog and it has been going so well. We’ve had over a thousand people start the course already. There’s another thousand or so who’ve already registered in addition to that who are yet to start the course.

But what’s really exciting me is we’re starting now to see blogs launched as a result of this particular course. We’ve got a little Facebook group where we’re celebrating the launches of the new blogs. It is so exciting to see these brand new blogs coming out the other end of the course. Some are getting some great reviews of the course as well. Please head over to problogger.com/startablog if you’re interested in that particular course starting a new blog.

Now, I will say that you have a little bit of motivation to start your blog in the next couple of weeks because on the 7th of February, we have ProBloggers’ first ever international start a blog day. Sounds grand. It’s probably gonna be a little bit less grand than that but we wanna have this day on the 7th of February where we celebrate all the blogs that are launched as a result of the course. It already looks like there’s gonna be may be 100 or so of them.

If you wanna be included in our international start a blog day and be listed on ProBlogger and hopefully get a few new readers, you need to register for the course by the end of January, 31st of January, and launch your blog by the 7th of February. That’s just to give you a little bit of extra motivation to get that blog you’re been thinking about launching up and ready. That’s the Start A Blog course.

But we’ve also got this second course because we’ve been asked by so many people as we have been promoting this Start A Blog course. Is there a course for people who’ve already got a blog? The Start A Blog course is about getting a blog started. It’s not really relevant for those of you who already got a blog so I do have another course coming in March. We’ve actually already almost completed it. It’s going to be our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course.

Longtime listeners will be familiar with that name, I originally ran 31 Days to Build a Better Blog in, I think, it was 2007 or 2009. I can’t remember. I always get those mixed up but I’ve done it as a series of blog posts which I updated two years after I did the first time. We then turned it into an ebook which I then updated in 2012. There’s two versions of the ebook. We sold that ebook to tens of thousands of people. I know many of you have done that particular ebook and you know that it’s relevant for new bloggers but also for those of you who’ve been around for a while.

The whole idea of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is it’s got teaching but also practical things to do. That’s really what the both of these courses are about. They give you homework. They give you little exercises to do that take you a step closer to your goal. What we’ve done with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is we’ve taken all the blog post series, all the podcast, all of the ebook that I’ve done, and we’ve updated it all. We are launching our new version of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as a course. That will go live in March.

If you are interested in taking that course, it’s a paid course, but we are keeping it a affordable as we can, we’re actually even launching it with a further discount as well for our people who pre-registered, just head over to problogger.com/31days and that will forward you to where you can register your interest in the course, and you’ll also be able to see a full outline of the course as well. You can find links to both of these courses as well as a transcript of today’s show and links to the tool that we’re talking about at our show notes at problogger.com/podcast/233.

Thanks for listening to all that. I’m gonna get into the show today. I’ve got a little bit to say about the tools and then we’ll get into a bit of an interview that I did with Laney.

Onto the topic of today’s episode, I wanna introduce you to the suite of tools, WordPress plugins, that we’ve been using on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School for the last six or so months now. We are so excited about them. The tools are from Thrive Themes. You might be familiar with Thrive Themes. They’re WordPress themes. They’re very good themes.

We’ve recommended them in the past but over the last year or so, they’ve also been developing a series of nine or so plugins that are just fantastic. Everytime they add a new plugin, we get really excited at ProBlogger headquarters. I’m not gonna get through them all right now because we do so in the rest of the show but these are all plugins that are particularly relevant for anyone wanting to build a business around their blog.

I hope you grow your email list so you convert your readers into subscribers. They’ll help you to then convert those subscribers into customers by helping you design landing pages and customize the look of your pages and blog posts as well. It’s very cool tools. The other thing I love about these tools and I do mention it in the show notes is that they’re incredibly affordable in comparison to some of the other tools that are out there. Some of the other tools that we’ve used in the past, we’ve actually switched from them to Thrive because one, they’re more affordable, and two, they work so intuitively.

You can find all of these tool if you head to problogger.com/thrive. I do recommend as you listen to this show that you go and actually have a look because there are features listed there that we simply don’t have time to get into in today’s show. The last thing I will say before I get into the interview that I did with Laney earlier today is that I wanna really disclose upfront that I’m an affiliate for Thrive but we’re also a paying customer. They haven’t given us this for free. We pay for it. We get so much value out of it and as a result, I’m really comfortable promoting it as an affiliate.

That link, problogger.com/thrive does earn me a small commission if you make a purchase. It doesn’t cost you anything more but it helps me to keep producing this free podcasts. I do appreciate it if you find these tools suited to your needs, head over to problogger.com/thrive and make a purchase as a result of clicking through on that link. It does help us to keep ProBlogger going.

Okay, I’ve talked too much today already. I’m gonna now get into this interview I did with general manager of ProBlogger, Laney Galligan. I asked her to come on and talk to me about Thrive because she is a massive fan of it and has loads more hands on experience with it than I have, and so I thought she’d be perfect to talk about it. This is an interview I did with her earlier today. It goes or an hour so you may wanna make yourself comfortable but do open up that link problogger.com/thrive as you listen, and you’d be able to follow through the nine or so plugins as we go through them. Thanks for listening and I’ll chat with you at the end of this chat that I had with Laney.

Darren: Hi, Laney. How are you today?

Laney: I’m pretty good, Darren. I’m pleased to have you back from holiday.

Darren: It is good. I will be very happy when school holiday is finished but that’s a whole other story for today. We are Lego City all over our house at the moment. It’s been a bit crazy. But we wanna talk today about a suite of tools that we’ve been using on ProBlogger, Digital Photography School for last 12 months.

I thought, rather than me talking about it, I’d get you in because as general of ProBlogger and Digital Photography School, you’ve got very hands on experience with setting up and using this tool from Thrive Themes. We had a conversation about another tool last year in episode 195 on CoSchedule. That was so popular I thought I’d get you back again to talk about Thrive Themes. Welcome back.

Laney: Thank you very much. It’s good to be here. I like talking about these different tools because they make my life easier. It’s all good.

Darren: You’re the queen of tools, I think.

Laney: I think so.

Darren: That could be interpreted two ways, but anyway, maybe if you can talk to us a little bit about Thrive, what is this tool, well, it’s a suite of tools, really. Maybe you can talk us through a little bit about what is Thrive Themes membership tools.

Laney: Sure. I guess most people might be familiar with Thrive Themes themselves. They’re actual themes via WordPress site, and maybe also Thrive Leads is something that people have heard about before for opt-ins and email sign-ups. But really, it’s a suite of a number of different WordPress plugins. The company is very focused on conversion-based plugins. Solutions to help you really convert your audience and get them a good experience on your blog or on your website. They’ve developed a whole range of plugins, not a huge number, I think it’s about nine or so. You can use the plugins individually but you can also access all of them with a membership port which is what we do. There’s that nine plugins and then the membership so you can access all of them.

Darren: We’ll probably focus most of our conversation on the plugins that we use but maybe before we dig in deep into those, maybe we should just run through the plugins in the suite which may peak some interest of our listeners.

Laney: Yeah, sure. Because I do have plugins that help you design your blog, build landing pages, generate leads, increase conversions. The first one which is one that just upgraded recently is a drag and drop [00:10:56] called Thrive Architect and that enables you to create landing pages really intuitively. It’s one of my favorites, has changed my life when it comes to doing things on the fly for both sites. But also, allows you to add elements, really neat elements into your blog posts as well. It’s not just about landing pages.

Darren: I love that it can be used in the blog post because you can really take a normal blog post and almost create a complete custom design for it. It’s amazing.

Laney: You can, yeah. Thrive Leads is for all of your opt-ins and sign-up forms. It’s very, very clever. We’ll talk about that a bit more because that’s one of the second one that we’re using most often at the moment. Thrive Ovation, when I saw this one, I just thought that is super clever. It allows you to to collect testimonials from multiple sources. You can set-up a landing page with a form and say, “Look, could you please leave me a testimonial?” Or you can import comments that are made on social media.

For example, Facebook or comments on your blog, and otherwise as well, you can get those really valuable testimonials and comments and things that are people are saying about you and pull them into a format which then allows you to just drag and drop it onto your landing page if you’re using something like Thrive Architect.

You know when you’re doing a sales page and you’re just, “Ugh. I forgot I’ve gotta get a testimonial. Where do I find one? How do I make it look good? I don’t have the photo. What should I use?” Thrive Ovation actually helps you manage that whole process so that it makes it really easy to get those all important testimonials onto your landing pages.

Darren: Very clever.

Laney: It is specifically that. We’re in the process of setting it up at the moment for a couple of our courses both for ProBlogger and also for Digital Photography School as well. I can’t wait to see those in action.

Darren: That’s sort of ultimatum there.

Laney: Yeah. Ultimatum is again another really super clever solution from Thrive. It allows you to create countdown campaigns. If you’ve got, for example, a limited time offer, or sale, or special on, it’s the thing that you would normally see where a little countdown sort of pops up from the bottom of your site and says, “Hey, this special offer is available for x more days or hours,” so most people are sort of aware of the whole countdown timer thing.

We use it obviously for our Christmas sale at the end of each year. We didn’t use this particular one because we had one coded already. But this does give you a lot more flexibility. You can do it for a specific time, official offer, but you can also do it, and this is where it gets really clever, for an individual. If somebody comes to your site and does something, you can then have an interaction with them, whether it might be they sign-up and then you send them to the landing page or thank you page, you can then actually offer them a personalized offer of some description. Whether it be like, “Hey, thanks for downloading our ultimate guide. We hope you find it useful. If you’d like to take the next step, here’s $ 10 off our next beginner book available to you for the next x amount of time.”

It gives them a personalized countdown offer which is really, I guess, helping people to convert based on their idea of scarcity. But I like this because it is real scarcity. They come along and you’ve given them an opportunity to take advantage of an offer. You cannot crack that. It doesn’t reset and start again. It’s actually real scarcity. The plugin’s that clever, it knows if they reset their cookies or try to access it on a different device. It’s got a lock down feature on it. It is a true one-time offer for that countdown for that person.

Darren: They’ll come back a couple of days later and if the countdown is finished, it’s finished. If it’s got a little bit to go, it picks up where it should pick up. It’s quite smart.

Laney: Exactly right. Yes, it is. It’ll say, “Look, so you missed out. We’ll send you here instead,” or something along those lines as well. You’ve got all of that flexibility with that particular plugin. It’s quite clever. The Headline Optimizer is one that I haven’t really had much of a look at mainly because I just think, “Well, I’ll just use CoSchedule. It tells me a score for my headlines whether they are any good or not.” But this is one step up from that.

It actually allows you to put in a multiple number of headlines for the same blog post. It’ll split test them all for you live. Depending on who comes to look at it, it’ll give them a different headline, and if they interact with that headline, it’ll know and it’ll count against your traffic. You’ll actually get actual engagement based results in your split testing rather than, “Oh, hey, this one were shared this number of times on social media sites so obviously the better result.”

It doesn’t get skewed by with a one really big social media or account shares something for you. It’s actually based on the results of how they actually came to the site and interacted on your actual website. One that I’m actually interested in having a look at but there’s only so many things you can try out at once but it looks super clever from that perspective.

Darren: I had a look before and some of the metrics it looks at is how long people stay on your sites, how far they scroll down the site, whether the click through on a call to action, it’s looking at all those metrics and then determining which version of the blog post with the different headlines wins, and it automatically selects the best ones which is pretty cool. There are sites like BuzzFeed have complicated tools that do these for them. This is a way of playing with that in a fairly affordable way.

Laney: Absolutely. Some of these plugins, they’re like the BMW of plugins, that are very, very intelligent. Some of the engineering behind them, I think, is just so clever. Speaking of clever, the next one is Clever Widgets. This is something I remember I’m sure I’ve asked Mario before, I’m just like, “Mario, I wanna put this widget in this area but I only want it to show when people are looking at this category. How do we do that?”

What I’m really asking for is conditional widgets. I only show it in this space on the side, or I’ll only put it in the sidebar, or this category, or for these pages, or whatever it might be. Clever Widgets, you just upload it and then whenever you go to your widget areas and you wanna drag something in, you can then have a separate option which is make this conditional and only show it here.

Darren: On our Photography Blog, we could have a Photoshop course that we wanna advertise but only show it when people are looking at a Photoshop article, whether it’s based on categories or tags.

Laney: Exactly. It operates on any of your widget areas, not just your sidebar, but if you’ve got an after content widget area or a banner, or however you want to do it, whatever your theme has, it’ll give you that option, only show it when this occurs. They have themes.

Obviously, I mentioned that and people might be more familiar and that’s where the name originally came from, Thrive Themes. They have 10 conversion focused WordPress themes and again, they’re super sleek. They’re built for speed. They’re built for conversion. They have things built into them so you don’t have to have extra plugins to do things on the site.

They’ve got really great templates for pages and just makes everything streamlined and really quick. I haven’t used them yet so I can’t talk about them to a great extent but I do love the fact that they use some of the same sort of editing styles that Thrive Architect uses as well. Obviously, they integrate perfectly with Thrive Architect, Thrive Leads, and all of the other widgets in Thrive as well to just make it really a smart website.

Darren: They’ve got Quiz Builder.

Laney: Quiz Builder, yeah. I can’t wait to have a play with this one. Quiz Builder is exactly that. It allows you to build a quiz. When you see, for example, on I guess, Facebook, they’ll just say, “What kind of such and such are you.” It’s that kind of thing. You can build a quiz and have people answer questions and then, obviously give them results at the end. Probably a really good one for helping people navigate around your site or around your content.

For example, with photography, it could be what kind of photography I wish I start or what kind of photography course should I do, or with blogging as well. It’s like where are you at, are you just at the beginning, or are you just needing a bit of a [inaudible 00:20:12] of your old blog, are you ready to make some money, and those sorts of thing.

You can use it for almost anything. You can include videos in it and then have, at the end of it, obviously, a customized pathway for your reader to take. You can build offers and all those sorts of things into it as well based on the answers that they give you.

Darren: I think it’s really smart. You could just use this to get engagement from your readers. That, in itself, is a great thing because readers love taking quizzes and seeing their results and sharing their results, but I think, being able to build it into almost like the entry into a funnel, here’s some further reading for you, here’s a product that will be relevant for you, I think that makes a lot of sense.

Laney: Yes. Absolutely. Then, Comments is a new one that they just brought out. It’s not really something that I had the chance to look at yet because it’s not high on our list of needs. The things that we need to work on but they’re just really working on just clever ways of making comments sort of more engaging, easier for people to have conversation with each other as well. They think of everything. They tease them out quite a lot.

If you have a membership, you’ll see that there’s a couple of other things available within the membership port which they are not selling frontend. They really just give the members the chance to do that first. There’s a really cool one which helps you do some simple sort of content protected courses on your website.

Darren: You know, even that Comments one, I think it’s really smart they’ve taken what you see or read, let’s say, in your comments, you can allow your readers to vote up someone else’s comment to write it, you can then feature that comment. Just the smart little things that you could probably hack together with other plugins but to be able to have them all into one sort of suite of tools is really smart.

All of these, I think, you can buy standalone or then there’s the option there to get them all with the membership as well. We might talk about that process towards the end of this episode. Maybe, if we could just dive in to the plugins that we’re particularly using, Thrive Leads, I think was the first one you wanted to talk about.

Laney: Yes. Thrive Leads, we’ve been using this probably more consistently for the last six months. I’ve started it off on Problogger first and we replaced all of the sign-ups on ProBlogger. That was quite a process. Thanks for passing that on to me. I am here. It should brought a lot of fun of going back through, I guess, 8000 posts worth of content on ProBlogger, trying to find all the little faces you had managed to scroll away a sign-up form.

Darren: You’re welcome.

Laney: Yeah. Which was previously done using Aweber forms. If anyone’s familiar with the process with their own email provider, you generally get given some card and you can put that card somewhere on your site and voila, you’ve got a sign-up box, and you just feel quite proud of yourself but please, please, if you’re gonna do that, keep a register of where you put all those things because it really does make it hard to go through and change and update.

There are a number of different ways we use to try and find everything. We did a search in the database for the card, for the form card. I did searches for the words, sign-up, subscribe. We cheat to make sure we capture all the thank you pages. It is quite a process to go through and find all of those touch points and next to steep points where we send people to in order to replace them all with new card. Now, I have set-up a register to make future changes and updates a lot easier.

Also, because you’re generally connecting like Thrive Leads, leads to your email service provider, that integration’s there, and sometimes it’s other integration, and then sometimes you’ll then passing them through workflows while adding tags as well. I actually write out that entire process now. We’ve got a record of how we’re using our different sign-up forms because now, we don’t generally just use one general sign-up form.

We like to be able to customize what we’re offering people based on where they’ve come into our blog. There are a number of different types of sign-up form as well. They are all giving us different information about whatever he does there are most interested in.

Darren: Thrive Leads will let you collect emails in a variety of different types of forms. We’ve got your traditional pop-up level [25:14], sticky ribbons which are the little strips that goes across the top, you can put forms inside content which we’ve been experimenting with quite a bit on Digital Photography School. Slide ins, the big overlays that fill-up the whole screen.

I like the look of the one, I think it’s called the Content Lock where you can put content behind a sign-up so they can kind of see bits of the content but to unlock it, they have to give you their email address. It’s all the normal types of sign-up forms, and as with many of the other tools, you can AB test them as well which we’ve done a bit of. Do you wanna talk a little about that AB testing we’ve done?

Laney: We have. Yeah, for sure. Not only do you have all the different types of forms, you can choose to show them in different ways. For example, you can have what they call a late group, and using late groups allow us to customize what we show our readers depending on the content that they’re viewing.

For example, if they’re coming through onto podcast, podcast episodes, we show them different pop-ups, than if they would come in through somewhere else or if they’re coming into either a podcast episode or a blog post that is from Start A Blog category, we know that they’re beginners and we’ll show them something different to other parts of the site as well.

Lead Groups allow you to do that really well. It just means that you’re not having to go and put card everywhere in your site, and actually just says, “Where do you want this and how?” and allows you to prioritize one group over another as well. That’s pretty cool. Then within those, you can then each of those groups of leads, when as a group it might be like, show them a scroll map series through but then later on do a pop-up or have something through the down on the page where they can also sign-up.

You can start split testing any one of those forms. You can also, I haven’t seen this anywhere else, split test different forms against each other. Split test to see how a full scroll mesh sign-up form compares to an end-content sign-up form. That’s not something that I’ve seen before either. People are always saying, “Oh. Look, I hate those big scroll map thing but if you can show that they actually work and it looks better than something else, then it’s good to know that kind of thing rather than just saying, “Am I making people mad?” Well, you know what, it’s actually performing really, really well.

We have done some AB testing on both ProBlogger and on DPS. On DPS, we restyled the way that we offer one of our opt-ins which are our killer ultimate guides, quite a comprehensive download that we offer for free if you subscribe, and it had a very ugly, plain looking opt-in form to be able to do that. I thought, “Well, we’ve got a nice new landing page. I’ll create a lovely new lead form to go with it.” But I said, “We’ll also recreate the old one as well.” We had a pretty versus ugly and ugly won. Really? Really?

Darren: What’s the way?

Laney: What’s the way? Ugly wins. Everytime. Well, actually ugly doesn’t win every single time but where it does, we’re able to destroy that so we can pick a winner. You can do that automatically. You can say, “Look, pick a winner automatically after it showed at least x number of times, and the conversion is better than such and such.” It can get granular with how you decide to do that or you can just do it manually and just check back in and go, “Yup. You know what, let’s just end this and pick this one as the winner.” You’ve got options with those.

Another one that we did was for ProBlogger for one of our opt-ins there. It tested whether or not it just showed the sign-up form, a single-step sign-up process. The sign-up form popped-up and it asked for your email straight away versus saying, I guess a multi-step sign-up, which would be like, “Hey, this is what we’re offering. Are you interested in it?” People can just say yes or no. If they say yes then you show them the sign-up form. That’s actually been shown to increase conversions because it’s consistent to both what I’ve already told you this. If they are interested in that and then they go on to actually sign-up. For, I think, one or two of our opt-ins, they’re multi-step works better.

The other one single-step works better. Sometimes it’s worth playing around with those just to see whether or not they just need that one little bit stick more rather than just like, “Ugh, another pop-up form,” and dismiss it. You’re actually asking them if it’s something they want or not rather than just putting that sign-up form right in their face. It’s been nice to see how that works as well.

Darren: That’s great. It gives you so much control as to the types of sign-ups you have. I know a lot of people really struggle with anything that interrupts the flow of readers. Another one that they’ve got is what they call smart links. In an article, you can make a subscribe to our newsletter link rather than a form. It’s just a normal link and if they click the link then a form opens up as a result.

You do get the pop-up but only when the person’s asked for it to pop-up. It’s perhaps a more polite way of doing it which is something that I’ve heard converts very well because anyone clicking that link has a high-intent of actually taking action of what you’re calling them to do.

Laney: Yeah. Exactly right. The same concept for sure. That’s Thrive Leads and of course, we’ve talked about some of the other things that we’re looking at with Thrive Ovation and Ultimatum, everything like that. But Leads is something which also integrates into sales pages as well.

With Thrive Architect, obviously they integrate really well with each other. If you’re creating a landing page, you can craft things like a lead generation box that you’ve already set up with Thrive Leads and pull it into the page and use different templates that you’ve already set-up as well.

But we’ve mainly been using Leads and then Architect is to create all of our landing pages and make some of our blog post, particularly on ProBlogger, look way more snazzier. We’ve been able to introduce some really cool elements and visual elements like, pop-out boxes, and other tables which I really had to do otherwise, when you wanna style your blog post.

It just gives you more ability to choose, I guess, color or fonts, and do other things that are over and above what your theme allows you to do. Just the way I’ve been up to just intuitively pick up how it works and create things on the fly really quickly. For example, I think it was when you needed a landing page for your FinCom keynote.

Darren: Yup.

Laney: You had an offer for people who came to your keynote. I was able to go to Thrive Leads, and check out all of the templates that they had, and just picked something, customized it, put it together, have a matching thank you page, and a delivery page for the download. It took no time at all and looked really good.

Darren: There are a lot of landing page creators out there but I really haven’t seen anything that allows you to customize a blog post. This is something I think that more and more bloggers need to be doing. If you’ve got a special series coming up, why not create a custom sort of theme just for that series. Do something really special to make it stand out to your readers. You can do that so easily within Thrive Architect as well.

You’ve come up with 10 top features. Before we talk about what you don’t like about it, let’s talks about the tops 10 things that you do like about, some of which you’ve touched on already. If you wanna take us through those.

Laney: Yeah, sure. These first ones to do with more of the design and interesting functions. Thrive Architect editor works for creating your Thrive Leads forms, your sign-up forms as well as the landing pages, as well as the, like you just said, the blog post. It is drag and drop. It is super fast live editing. This is like nothing I’ve actually seen before. It is actually true live editing.

If you click on the element on the page you’re basically seeing a preview of what you’re going to see and you’re just live editing it straight in. You just  click your cursor on and start doing stuff. You can drag and drop things around to move them. There’s no filling-out fields on the side, or any clicking refresh to see how it looks which is, I think, I’ve gotten quite excited about Leadpages when I first saw it. What else we love Drip who are associated with Leadpages. I just couldn’t persevere with Leadpages because it was just a little bit frustrating and slow.

When I discovered Thrive Architect, well we actually started using it when it was Thrive Content builder, I just couldn’t believe how much easier it was to just either move and things were happening as I was, I could see what I was doing in live time which was really, really great. That would be my top thing, the fact that this drag and drop is just super quick and you’re just live editing as you go.

My second top feature with the editing is it’s so easy to create margins and padding to position your elements. You would not believe how important this is to make it easy to get all your spacing right on your landing page. Previous software that I’ve used or previous plugins that I’ve used you kind of had to [00:35:07] a little bit by putting an extra layer or something like that in the near end. It wasn’t easy and you didn’t always get the result that you were looking for. With Thrive Architect that even improved the way that you do this.

You can actually just go over to this little thing on your sidebar and just drag an arrow up or down to increase or decrease the number of pixels that you want in your margins, top, bottom, left or right. It actually, you see the effect live as you go. It’s not like, “Oh, I think, I wonder what 30 pixels would look like.” You type in 30 pixels in and you want to see what it looks like. You can actually just drag and move it around and it actually just shows you live.

You can also enter the pixels as well. It’s just so easy to use. It uses that same kind of features with things like font size. It’s just a little thing that you can just grab and slide it back with some forwards and see things happen straight away, image sizes, same kind of stuff. It kind of puts it all there at your fingertips and makes you feel like you’re a bit of an architect and I think that’s brilliantly named just for that alone.

Darren: Yeah. I’ve even used it which is saying something. I’m not a designer but I’ve found my way through it. I created a couple of pages, and was able to edit things that I think, when you were away last time, I was able to fix a few things up and change things when we were changing our deals over. It’s really so easy to do once you know which button to click to get into it. It’s so easy.

Laney: Yeah. That was one of the big things. It open up the big factors on why I’ve said look, we really need to see this because it does make us less reliant on having to ask somebody, but for Mario, he’s created some really great custom themes and things for us for sales pages and stuff but you can’t just change it. It’s hardcoded. You have to fill out this field and do this and do that, and they all have to kind of look the same.

Whereas if you wanted to just make changes on the fly or you just want to put an extra element in because that will actually really make sense for this particular product for example, you can’t do that as easily. But with Thrive Architect, anyone of us can do it which is great and like you said, even you can do it which is awesome. My job is done. That works really well.

One of the things that does make it really effective and turn in anybody into a great designer is it’s templates. I started out saying how Thrive are very much conversion focused, they have a whole slate of templates that you can use for both your sign-up forms and your landing pages. It makes whipping something up super fast like the FinCom landing page and sign-up page, and the download page for example.

They are actually families of templates so that when you are setting-up, I guess, a funnel, if you wanna call it that. We go from, “Here’s my sales page or my opt-in page. Here’s my sign-up form, now you’re on the thank you page, and then if you do this and click this, then you’ll go o a download page.” They have families of templates that are all on the same styles so that everything looks consistent. They’re already designed in a way they know convert really well.

Also, all you have to do is, change an image, change the colors and the fonts to suit what your brand is, and it’s done. It’s really, really, really easy. That is my number three top ten favorite feature is those templates where [00:38:36] in gold.

Darren: It does help you create something that’s more professional and consistent. There’s nothing worse than a [BT 00:38:42] experience for your readers. You want them to feel like they’re in something that all belongs together. It makes a lot of sense.

Laney: Absolutely. Now, other than the templates themselves, there are actually different design elements that you can select and edit. One of my favorites is the different frames that you can select for say, inserting a video onto a sales page. I’ll put a link on our show notes. We have a sales page that we did last year for element of time promotion. All the videos are in at this top computer frame. It looks like they’re inside MAC. I looked at them and, “That’s really, really clever.”

You can do so much with it and you can choose a different style of computer or you can put it on a laptop, or you can put it on a iPad, or something like that. Then you can change the size of it and just all these amazing things. They’re your Vimeo or YouTube video, you just put the URL link into your side bar and choose how you want it to look and bam, there it goes.

Darren: So clean as well. I’m looking that page now and it’s a very easy read the way it’s all laid out.

Laney: Yeah, for sure. Again, that was one of Luke’s first sales pages using Thrive Architect. He did an amazing job. It looks fabulous because it’s just so easy to use. Number five would be the content element template. You might create, for example, we created a call out box with your head in it as a little icon to just headers when you’re talking on a page for example, you’re giving a tip. Once you set that box up as an element you can actually save it as a template.

If you’re creating another page or I’m doing a blog post, for example, I’m almost like, “Oh, I wanna call out here with a tip from Darren on it.” I can just go insert, and select tip box with Darren’s head, and pop it in, and there you go. You don’t have to recreate anything. You can save your own designs and elements as well or you can export and import entire pages, sign-up box designs, whatever you want, and use them again on different sales pages as well.

Just being able to have that flexibility is awesome. Because you’re not having to recreate the wheel every time and it does mean you’d move more towards that sort of consistent feel for your brand.

Darren: That’s so useful. I could see that in a blog post quite often you use different types of block quotes. A lot of design themes would have one style that you could create a variety of different ones for things different things or featuring different types of contents. That makes a lot of sense.

Laney: We’ve done them before with some blog posts where we’re just like, “Do this. Don’t do this.” You kind of got your ticks and crosses on all those sorts of things. Any of those little things that you feel like you might use again because they’re useful, you can save as an element and insert it into whatever you’re doing.

Number six, this is really, really, good and are so clever. It is super achieve actual true responsiveness for whatever you’re creating, whether it’s your sign-up boxes, or your landing pages, or your blog posts. You can then further customize them, so you get them looking exactly how you want them to look on tablets and mobile as well. You can hide elements. You can change spacing. You can swap border or elements. It kind of cascades down. It’ll say, “This is what it looks on desktop. This is what it will look like on a tablet. This is what it will look like on mobile.”

You can really make sure that whatever it is that you’re trying to present, if doesn’t work on mobile, take that out, and it won’t impact the other views of your page or your sign-up box for example. You can also just toggle on whether you want your sign-up boxes to even show on mobile or not. Again, heaps of flexibility in terms of achieving I guess, the best viewing results for your readers depending on how they’re coming to you for content.

Darren: That’s so good. This is what a lot of top-end publishers are doing on their sites at the moment. It’s showing different things to different devices really. To be able to do that is very powerful.

Laney: Absolutely. You can even show – for example, if I’ve started changing our heading in the mobile responsive view, that heading will also change on the desktop because you’re making hard changes to the actual content that’s on there but if I change the amount of space after the heading, that would only apply to the mobile version for example.

But then, something else you can do is when you’re creating the content in the desktop view, you can hide whole blocks of content and say, “Don’t show this n mobile,” or “Only show this on mobile,” for example. Again, heaps of flexibility in terms of what you show. Exactly what you show your readers.

Darren: Four more things from your top ten.

Laney: Yup. Four more things. These next three are more about, I guess, just the intelligence, and the way it integrates with the other things that we use. Number seven, I guess, I did touch on this already but the different ways that you can serve a lead form on your site – I talked about lead groups earlier, you can also choose to use short codes. Now, short codes, sometimes people just think, “Oh, no. What if we stop using thrive Leads, or Thrive Architect, or whatever.” You just kind of get left with the short codes everywhere, they don’t do that.

They don’t leave your site littered with short codes just as on a side from this particular point. You will still get your content shown it just won’t be styled in the way that you styled it using the plugins. This is one good thing to know. But you can put short codes which would’ve made things a lot easier to remove with the Aweber forms because you could just turn off a short code and it won’t show anymore.

That is one good thing about having short codes. If you’ve got something inserted with a short code and you decide like, “Right, we’re not gonna offer that anymore or we’re not going to use this sign-up form anymore.” You can actually turn it off from your dashboard rather than trying to go and remove all of the short codes.

Another way is lightboxes. There are actually lightboxes automatically generated if you want to use them which is connected to your lead generation element that you might wanna drag into a landing page as well. There are multiple different ways that you can actually serve the lead form. It just gives you more control over how they’re viewed, where they’re viewed, and allows you to keep an eye on things like conversion rates, and all of that sort of thing from one dashboard as well. Again, love how that works.

Number 8 is again, the split A/B testing, which talked about. I think I’ve given the examples already of what we did with the ultimate guides, and the pretty versus ugly. All of those things are great. I just think it’s great being able to have that level of granularity when you’re looking at, if we do this, will it actually be worthwhile for us. The split AB testing is pretty amazing and I love being really happy with it.

Darren: There’s no point trying new things unless you can track how things are. How things work really. You don’t want to try the new pop-up, or the new take over our scroll map or any of these things unless you’re able to prove that they’re doing a better job than what you were doing previously.

It’s such an important thing to actually use, I know a lot of the tools do have that type of testing, but so many people don’t use them. They just stick the pop-up up and then let it go. You could be constantly tweaking that to improve your results.

Laney: Yeah. I think that’s certainly – when you get to a stage with your blogging and your content where you’ve established your content, you’ve established your audience, and you’re starting to maybe sell things or promote things, this is when you wanna start looking at these kinds of tools, because the difference, and a few percentage, and conversions, and things like that can make a big difference.

It can move the needle and really help you move forward with the growth of your business. Having these intelligent types of tools available to you, just make it so much easier to make these decisions because it gives a lot people out there who are running their blog on their own. You really need to think about, “What’s the return on my end if I’m doing all these things?” You really wanna know if this is worthwhile or not. Again, I love the intelligence of fair solutions.

Number nine is how easy it integrates. We integrate with Aweber still, with Digital Photography School via an API. It’s superfast. It’s like you’re connected to a Aweber and sync everything to this list, tick a box, do this afterwards, and add this tech if you want to. It’s just so simple.

With ProBlogger we’ve been using Drips. We’re really trialling out Drip for the company on the ProBlogger website first. Drip is amazing and we’ll talk about that in another episode perhaps. But with Drip, we actually do it via an HTML form. We basically take the HTML form from the drip form that we generate via Drip. We then put that in and it still allows us to connect it that way, and say, “Yup, pass this tags back to drip.” Again, that’s pretty easy just not quite as seamless as an API. I’ll tell you why we don’t use the API with Drip, the bit I don’t like so much.

Darren: Okay. It integrates with most of, if not all, I’m just looking at it now. You’ve got active campaign, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Convert Kit, GetResponse, they all sync with these tools. I’d be surprised if listeners were using an email service provider that it doesn’t integrate with.

Laney: Absolutely. There really is no excuse to be putting the HTML code to generate forms directly in your content because remember, you’re gonna go and have to clean that up one day. Don’t do it. The tenth one is the tech knowledge at thrive. The documentation and the support are really good. There’s a comprehensive knowledge base with videos, walking you through pretty much everything, tutorials, there’s a forum.

The one thing that I would say about the forum is just do your homework first. Most of the issues that I in there are user error. You can pretty much search the issue that you’re having, and you can find someone else who’s done the same thing wrong, and the answer from the team. It’s quite good. I’ve only had to use it a couple of times.

There’s a Thrive University, so there’s actual little courses and things that you can go through. It’s not just about their products. It’s just about how to generate more leads and just general good marketing knowledge that they’ve put into the little university there. Some of those are exclusive to Thrive team members only but there are others that are not.

My favorite are their emails. I reckon if they’re running a lead score on me, I would have the highest score ever, because I do open every single one of their emails, and I go to the link that they tell me to, because I find gold, nine times out of a team. I learn something useful pretty much every time. I look forward to the emails that they send.

They put so much effort into the emails, and creating new video tutorials, and telling you how to improve things, how you can use that, even things like, “Hey, we created all these cool design elements. If you wanna use them this is how you get them and open them and save them and like customize them and save them into your own Thrive, so that you could use them on your pages.” I’m like, “Great, thank you very much.” They’re really focused on what they do and they do a great job of delivering it.

Darren: The thing I love about them as someone who isn’t as hands-on as you, it’s just even the sales pages, you can see in the selling of their product, how much they care about it. They’re not into hype. They’re very matter-of-fact in the way that they talk, in the way they sell what they do, it’s very clear, all of the communication that I’ve ever seen is very clear. You don’t guess in what they mean. I don’t know. There’s something about this company that I just really respect the way that they present themselves.

Laney: Yeah. It has something to do with the bald guy who’s just really friendly and matter-of-fact.

Darren: Well, bald guys do tend to.

Lane: I thought you might relate. But, Shane Melaugh is the main name behind Thrive Themes and he is just so sincere, and so straightforward, and very matter-of-fact. Like he said,  “There’s no hype. I just did deliver the goods,” which was fabulous. I’m saying all of it, there are some things that I don’t like as well. But, in saying all of it, there are some things that they lack as well.

Darren: You better tell us those.

Laney: I will tell you those. I mentioned earlier that we started out with Thrive Content Builder which was the previous iteration of the drag and drop editor. They have made amazing improvements to Thrive Architect but some of the old designs that I created didn’t migrate as seamlessly to the new architect as I would have liked.

Here and there I sort of mocked up some few things and stuffed up some of my testimonials on an event sales page that we had, and I lost a bit of content, and I’m just like, “Damn.” There were some things that didn’t go quite as smoothly there. I could say there were a lot of frustrations about that but kudos to them.

They’re really focused on the new functionality, and the new features, and I think those far outweigh a few nickels here and there. I guess it just would have been nice if they migrated over a bit more seamlessly.

I mentioned drip before. Now this probably isn’t so much as Thrive issue, but if somebody unsubscribes to your own Drip, then you can’t reactivate them unless they actually re-subscribe via a drip form. That means you can’t use the API with Thrive because it doesn’t recognize the information being passed through as coming through a drip form which is why we have to use the HTML connection to do that.

We just take the HTML code from the drip form, feed that into Thrive, and then drip goes, “Oh. yup. You’ve actually reactivated your subscription.” If we use the API and somebody says unsubscribe from one thing, which is actually unsubscribe them from everything, or we have indicated them as an inactive person, and actually unsubscribe them ourselves.

They don’t re-subscribe so we’ll see them back in Drip and we’ll see that there’s been activity but they won’t actually be sent any broadcast emails, only transactional emails from Drip because technically, they’re still unsubscribed. There’s just a bit of a niggle, I’m hoping things will get better with that because API connections do make things just a lot quicker.

It’s just a few more steps to do. It’s not hard at all. It would just be nicer to be able to do a quick, easy connection for those sorts of things. With Thrive Leads, I’ve had a few instances when I had been doing the AB testing where it looks like the impressions of a form in the AB test don’t look equitable. They’d be sending a lot more traffic to one than the other.

That’s something that I really need to dig down and find out a bit more about. But the conversion numbers actually tell enough of a story to choose one anyway. The actual number of people who are converting on each form. But there’s just a few little glitches like that, that I would like to get to the bottom of. But generally it hasn’t hurt my being able to make decision on what’s working and what isn’t. It just seems a bit odd. I really wish that you could duplicate lead groups.

When I said before that you might have a group of two or three pop-up forms that come up on a page at different times. If you’re wanting to prioritize some content or saving forms over another, you kind of have to duplicate those forms again if you want them to still show. But you can’t actually duplicate lead groups.

You actually have to save everything as a template and recreate each form, and the group when you create a new lead group. I would just love it if you could just go duplicate. Get a new lead form and a new lead group. But I kind of understand why as well, because  you do you actually have to change the settings of how each of those forms show and lead will show as well.

Darren: One big question, I know a lot of our beginner listeners are thinking about is the learning curve on this. I was talking to one blogger recently who signed-up for a similar tool to this one, I won’t say which one, and they ended up having to hire a consultant to set-up their landing pages using that tool which kind of defeats the purpose in my mind of having a tool like this but is there, would you say there’s much of a learning curve for this and do you need that technical kind of background to be able run it and put it all together.

Laney: Look, I think it’s really easy. It is very intuitive. For example, Thrive Architect does just make you feel like an architect, like everything’s simple drag, drop, tweak here, there. You go directly to where you want something to be changed and you you can change it. The thing that took me the longest to grasp is how lead groups work and Thrive Leads.

I wasn’t just quite sure about the whole set of hierarchy, and which one will suit first, and have to drag that to the top, and then you have to duplicate certain things if you want them to show on the next group. That was a little bit tricky for me to pick-up. But if I was actually patient enough to watch all of the videos in the first place, it’s all explained. Even if there are things that you’re not quite sure about, the videos are awesome, and like I said, Shane Melaugh is really clear in how he teaches you about how things work.

Again, the knowledgebase is there as a backup as well. I guess, I don’t know if I wanna say – they don’t [00:58:09]. Just do your homework first. Read first. All of the information is there. They don’t sort of go out of their way to go, “Oh, I’m really sorry that you couldn’t figure out how to do that. This is how it works. This is what you need to do, go and do this.” Again, their manner is pretty matter-of-fact and that sort of stuff, but do you know what, it’s so straightforward. I haven’t found it that difficult at all, and like you said, you did it yourself.

Darren: If I can, anyone can. Believe me. I guess the big question that a lot of people would be thinking about at this point is, it sounds great but what is this going to cost me? We’re kind of alluded to the fact that you’ve got the two options to either buy individual plugins one off, or or sign-up for the membership. Do you wanna run us through the model that they’ve got for pricing?

Laney: Yeah, sure. You can buy each of the plugins as a license for your site. You can either do a single site license or if you’ve got more than one site that you wanna use on it, or you might have more than one installed for your blog, then you can get five license packs, 15 license packs as well. Then you can actually access all of the plugins through the membership.

But individually, the plugins are priced differently. For example, Thrive Leads is $ 67 for a single site license, you get all the features that you need within that, and free updates, and a year of support. The only thing that you don’t get after a year is that support. If you want to continue your support, you can upgrade to a membership, or if you just buy one of their other products, then you get another year of support, the new product as well as the one that you have. That’s $ 67 for Thrive Leads. Thrive Architects, that’s also $ 67.

Again, super value for all the things that you’re able to do with that. Ovation is cheaper, it’s just $ 39, to save you from diving into your emails and asking people for testimonials and copying and pasting into things, I think it’s amazing value of itself. Ultimate is a bit more expensive, it’s $ 97. But just when you think about that, realize that that’s actually a really conversion focused, helping to promote something, to get people to purchase something from you. Would you say that you would get your money back on that one pretty quickly or you can get everything.

Most of them are around about that price, $ 39, $ 67, $ 97 or you can get everything for $ 19 per month with a Thrive membership. That works out to be $ 228 per year. You buy either on an annual basis or you buy it, I think you can do it quarterly. You can do it if you pay quarterly as well. You just pay a little bit more but obviously if you pay annually it works out at $ 19 a month which is $ 228 a year. All of these stuff including all of their things is pretty incredible.

Darren: I think individually they grow prices as well. That maybe the starting point, for a lot of our listeners, I would suspect. $ 67 that’s a one-off and unlimited updates. A lot of the tools that I see around even just for Thrive Leads, the equivalent of that, you’d be paying a monthly fee forever to use it whereas $ 67 is pretty amazing.

Laney: It is. It really is. I think even if you just wanna start playing around with one or two of their plugins, you can just buy them out one-off for such a low amount. If you just love it you can upgrade to a membership. Like I said, I’ve really enjoyed having access to the membership, just for all the different stuff that I’m learning as well through those emails and the knowledgebase, and just knowing that I’ve got access to Thrive University to make improvements to what we’re doing as well. I think it’s great.

You can use, when you’ve got the membership, you can use on up to 25 of your sites, which some people might think, “Oh, that’s so many,” but for us, one site has multiple installs. Between Digital Photography School and ProBlogger, we have about a eight or nine different WordPress installs across a few different servers. It can add up pretty quickly. If you were to be paying for multiple licenses for different plugins and everything. It actually doesn’t take long before you think it’s so much cheaper to do the membership.

Darren: I guess, this is the theme that is gonna pay for itself. You’re not needing to pay a designer. You’re reducing your developer cost. We’ve already seen it we’re calling our developer less because we’ve got, I’ve already created one landing pages. It has the potential to really increase the amount of email subscribers you get but with also the way you are able to convert them using a tool like Ultimatum is pretty amazing as well.

Hopefully, you can see, our listeners the type of tools that this is and how it could be useful for you. If you wanna finish of Laney by just telling who do you think this is ideal for, is this for a real beginner or would you say this is more an intermediate advance tool? Who should be considering this sort of suite of tools

Laney: I think, for a beginner, you might choose one or two of the things to have a play around it. I think that the Thrive things, to me, look pretty good. You might not get as much flexibility in terms of the different types of styles and all that sort of thing you might like and I know when you’re a new blogger, it’s very exciting to to choose a theme and they don’t give you much choice, but if you’re not confident in being able make changes to a theme, these are so user-friendly in terms of the drag and drop, and everything like that.

Thrive Leads, I think, yes, just do it. As a beginner, I think it’s great because it just gives you that good basis to start with. You’re gonna keep your site nice and clean in case you’re not gonna be putting form card everywhere, and trying to remember where it all is. That one I want to recommend to anybody. If you’re at that level where, like I said earlier, you’ve establish your content, you’ve got a bit of idea of what your business model is gonna be, and you get into that sort of stage where every little improvement has a big impact, then it’s worth investing on these sorts of tools.

I’m really excited about Ultimatum because once that’s cranking, it just has the potential for some really nice passive income as well, so that you’re not always relying on broadcast sales, and doing sort of big promotions to your email list. You can actually send somebody a targeted promotion based on what they’re interested in at the time that they’re interested in it. That’s a huge amount of customization available through a tool that costs $ 97. I think that there are solutions here is for people at all different levels depending on what you’re trying to do.

They just make things a lot faster for you. You’re not having to invest to heavily and recreating a wheel with a developer. You’re not creating a hardcoded solution that has to be updated. You’ve got this kind of, like I said, thing that you’ve built that you have to keep moving along with the times. When these guys are so focused on giving, I guess, the best solution for any particular problem that you might be facing as a website or business owner. Just use their knowledge. Use their knowledge. They packaged it up at such an affordable price that in some case, it’s just silly not to.

Darren: What a great endorsement. I’m sure if they could pull that testimonial in and then use it on their site, they would use their Ovation tool to do so, Laney. As far as I can see, it doesn’t have a podcast integration tool yet.

Laney: Maybe, I’ll talk to them about that.

Darren: I’m sure that it’ll come. Thanks so much for running us through that, Laney. If you are, as a listener, thinking about checking out Thrive, their suite of tools, head over to problogger.com/thrive, and check them out. I’d also love to hear in our Facebook group whether you do pick it up and which of the tools you’re most excited about using as well. Thanks so much, Laney. We’ll have to get you back on to talk about Drip in the coming weeks, I think.

Laney: It’s been my pleasure. I really enjoy researching a different solutions that are going to make a difference to both ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. I can save somebody from doing all of the research that I have done. It’s absolutely worth it.

Darren: Great. Thanks so much, Laney.

Laney: Cheers, Darren.

Darren: Thanks so much to Laney for giving us that time today. I hope you found that interesting. Again, you can find today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/233 where there are links to the tools and our courses as well. You’ll also find a full transcript as we do with all of our podcasts.

A couple of things to mention. We did mention a episode there 195 where Laney and myself talked through using CoSchedule, another tool that has really revolutionized the way that we do our editorial calendar, and a lot of our planning. Particularly useful if you’ve got more than one person in your team and you’re trying to coordinate the editorial responsibilities.

Also, check our our courses. Our Start A Blog course, problogger.com/startablog. Those of you wanting to do 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, problogger.com/31days. Lastly, if you did wanna check out Thrive tools using our affiliate link, you can do that with problogger.com/thrive.

Thanks so much for listening today. It’s been a long one. I hope you found it useful. I love to hear a little bit more about what you think about Thrive Themes and the tools that they have, you can do that either on the show notes today or in our Facebook group, if you’re already a part of that. If you’re not already a part of the Facebook group just do a search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and you’ll find our very active group there. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week in episode 234.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The Difference Between Pages and Posts (and Making the Most of Each)

Written by ProBlogger Expert Ali Luke

When you think of a blog, you probably think of the posts. You might go to the site to read the latest ones (often on the home page), or they might go straight to your inbox. And if you follow the blogger on social media, you may well see them posting links to their latest posts.

But posts aren’t the only type of content you need to create as a blogger.

Whatever blogging system you use, you’ll have two different ways to publish new content: as blog posts or as blog pages.

Understanding Posts and Pages

On a blog, articles (or news, stories, etc) are published as posts. These appear in reverse chronological order, with the newest posts at the top of the list or (in a grid layout) on the top left of the screen.

Blog posts normally have a timestamp showing when they were published. And readers who have subscribed for updates by RSS or email will get these new posts automatically.

But blog pages are a little different. They are what’s known as “static” content. That doesn’t mean they never change (you can always update a page),. But they won’t be superseded by new pages the way blog posts might.

For instance, you might have blog posts for “2015 roundup”, “2016 roundup” and “2017 roundup” all available in your archives. But would you have multiple pages for “contact details 2015”, “contact details 2016” and so on? Of course not. You’d just update your one Contact page.

Pages are used for content such as:

  • Information about you and your blog
  • A “start here” list of posts
  • Sales information about your products
  • Terms and conditions / privacy policy

Key pages are normally linked to in the top navigation.

Pages don’t have a timestamp, and don’t go out to readers through RSS/email. You can allow comments on pages, but most bloggers don’t as it rarely makes sense.

Using Posts and Pages Effectively

To get the most out of your blog, and to make it a great experience for your readers, you’ll want to make good use of the different attributes of posts and pages.

Here are some key ones to think about:

Posts

Categories: Posts must have a category. This helps organise your blog, especially if you use categories as a navigation option or let readers filter your  post archiveby category.

Make sure you set a category for each new post, or it’ll default to “uncategorized”. You can also rename this default category to something that would make sense for many of your posts. For example, if you write about parenting, your default category might be “kids” or “tips”.

Tags: You may want to use tags to help further organize your pages. They can be a good alternative to having loads of categories, and can help readers navigate your site. But don’t just duplicate your categories as tags. Yoast SEO has some good information on how to use categories and tags as effectively as possible for search engines.

Pages

Password protection: While you can password-protect a post, bloggers rarely use this option. Pages are more commonly password-protected, and can be a quick and easy way to provide some of your readers with exclusive content. For instance, my newsletter subscribers have access to a mini-library of ebooks on this password protected page.[a][b][c]

“Parent” pages: A page can be a “parent” to other pages. For example, you could have a general “Products” page, and pages for your three different products under it. When you set up the three product pages, you can select “Products” as their parent page.

Depending on your blogging platform and theme, “Products” may appear in your navigation menu with a drop-down showing the three products pages beneath. (You can also set this up manually, arranging the menu however you like, in Appearance → Menus in WordPress.)

The URLs for the pages will include the parent’s permalink (e.g. www.nameofblog.com/products/firstproduct).

Hopefully this has clarified the difference between posts and pages. If you’ve never created a page for your blog before, why not try one now? Log in to your blog’s dashboard and create a new page (it’ll be a very similar interface to creating a post). An “About” page is a great one to start with, and you can find some tips on crafting a great one here.

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Seven Types of Product You Could Sell From Your Blog

7 types of product you could sell from your blog

It took me nearly seven years of blogging to create my first products: two ebooks, one for ProBlogger and one of Digital Photography School. They made me a total of over $ 160,000 in 2009 alone and changed my business.

Back in 2014, I wrote about the experience … and how it nearly never happened:

My big issue was a severe lack of time. Between juggling two growing blogs and a growing family (we had just had our first child), I wasn’t sure how I’d ever write an eBook. I also had a long long list of other excuses to put it off.

I’d never written, designed, marketed a product of my own before… I didn’t have a shopping cart system… I didn’t know if my readers would buy…

In short – the dream of creating and selling an eBook of my own stayed in my head for two years until 2009. Ironically by that point I’d become even busier (we’d just had our second son and my blogs had continued to grow) but I knew if I didn’t bite the bullet and do it that I never would.

Does any of that sound familiar to you? Perhaps you’re blogging alongside a busy day job, or you’ve got young children at home, and the whole idea of creating a product seems very daunting.

You’re definitely not alone. But creating your own product – even a small, simple one – can bring in money much faster than affiliate sales or advertising: after all, your audience trust you and if they like your writing, they’ll want more from you.

In this post, I’ll take you through seven different types of product you could create. Some of these require more time and initial investment: others, you could plausibly create in a weekend.

But First … What is a “Product”?

What exactly do I mean by a “product”? It could be something virtual (like software or an ebook) or something physical (like a t-shirt or a paperback book).

A product might involve an element of ongoing commitment from you, but it isn’t only about the hours you put in – so I won’t be covering freelancing, virtual assistant roles, or other services here.

Seven Types of Product You Could Sell from Your Blog … Which One is Right For You?

The seven types of product I’m going to run through in this post are:

  1. Ebooks: these might be positioned as “guides” or even self-study courses. Essentially, they’re written downloadables, probably in .pdf, .mobi and/or .epub format.
  2. Printables: these are designed to be printed out! They might be planners, cheat sheets, party invites, worksheets … anything that someone might buy to print and (probably) fill in.
  3. Digital subscriptions: these are normally delivered by email, and are often relatively cheap compared with some other products (making them attractive to first-time buyers).
  4. Online courses: these could be text, audio and/or video, although video is increasingly becoming the “default” expectation.
  5. Membership of a private website or group: this might be a membership site that you host yourself, or something as simple as a closed Facebook group.
  6. Software or a phone app: unless you’re a developer, this probably isn’t the product you’ll go for first … but it could be a very lucrative one to try later on.
  7. Physical products: these could be almost anything from books to t-shirts to one-off pieces of art. Unless you’ve already got a business selling them, though, they aren’t the best products to begin with.

Let’s take a look at each of those in more detail. I’ll be giving examples for each one, so you can see how different bloggers are using these different types of product.

#1: Ebooks: Are They Right for You?

The first two products I created, back in 2009, were both ebooks: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (since updated) and The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography (now superseded by a range of portrait photography books)

That was almost a decade ago, which is a long time in the ebook world. Amazon had only recently launched the Kindle, and the first iPad didn’t appear for another year.

These days, there are a lot more ebooks out there, but don’t let that put you off. A well-positioned ebook can still be a great starter product. If you’re really pushed for time, you might want to compile some of your best blog posts into an ebook (that’s what I did with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog), then edit them and add some extra material.

Example: Deacon Hayes’ You Can Retire Early!

You Can Retire Early Deacon Hayes

Although many bloggers still sell ebooks via their own platforms, charging premium prices for specialised information, it may be a better fit for your audience if you sell your ebook through Amazon and/or other large e-retailers.

If your ebook has a (potentially) large audience, if they’re unlikely to pay more than $ 9.99 for it, and/or if they’re a bit wary about buying online, selling through a well-established ebook retailer could be the way to go.

This is what Deacon does with his ebook You Can Retire Early! – it’s sold through Amazon, but to make it a great deal and to capture his readers’ email addresses, he offers a free course for readers who email him their receipt.

If you’d like to see more examples of ebooks, we now have 23 ebooks on Digital Photography School.

#2: Printables

Printables are becoming increasingly popular. They differ from ebooks because they’re designed to be printed and used/displayed – and they’re unlikely to contain a lot of text.

Printables could be almost anything:

  • Planner pages
  • Party invites
  • Pieces of art
  • Greetings cards
  • Kids’ activities
  • Calendars
  • Gift tags
  • Adult colouring sheets

… whatever you can think of, and whatever suits your blog and audience.

Unless you’re skilled at design, you may need to hire a professional designer to create high-quality printables for you … though it depends what you’re creating.

Example: Chelsea Lee Smith’ “Printable Pack”

Chelsea Lee Smith printables

Many of Chelsea’s printables are available for free on her blog, but this pack adds five exclusive ones … and brings everything together in one place. Most of her printables are simple and straightforward (which could be a bonus to readers not wanting to spend a fortune on ink!) She’s priced the whole pack at $ 4.99, making it an appealing purchase for busy parents.

#3: Digital Subscriptions

A digital subscription is information or a resource that you send out to subscribers on a regular basis. Depending on what exactly it is, they might be paying anything from a couple of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars each month.

Delivering the subscription could be as simple as adding paying members to an email list (which you can do through linking PayPal with your email provider). You won’t need to create all the content up front – though you’ll want to get ahead so that you always provide your customers with their resources on time.

Depending on the type of subscription, you could either provide all subscribers with all the same content in order (e.g. they start with week 1, then week 2, and so on) – or you could send out a weekly or monthly email to everyone at the same time, so they get the same content whether they’ve been with you for a day or a year.

Example: $ 5 Meal Plan, by Erin Chase  

Erin Chase 5 dollar meal plan

Erin’s product solve a problem that many parents have: how do you get a tasty meal on the table each night, quickly and cheaply … without spending hours every week writing a complicated meal plan?

This weekly subscription costs $ 5/month, with a 14 day free trial. Like Chelsea’s printables, above, it’s priced at a point where it’s an attractive offer for busy families. We recently had Erin on the ProBlogger podcast where you can hear more about how she started blogging and went from zero to a six-figure income in two years.

#4: Online Courses

An online course can take quite a bit of time to put together, and some bloggers feel daunted by the technology involved.

At its simplest, an online course might be essentially the same sort of content as an ebook, only split into “lessons” or “chapters” rather than modules. Many courses will include additional features, though, like:

  • Video content: courses that are based around videos normally have transcripts or at least summaries to help your students who prefer not to watch video or who want a recap to refer to.
  • Audio interviews: if you don’t have the tools to create high-quality video, audio can be a good alternative (and some students prefer it to, as they can listen while commuting or exercising).
  • Quizzes: depending on what you’re teaching, it may be helpful for students to test their knowledge at the end of each lesson or module.
  • Interaction: you might choose to offer feedback to students, or you might have a closed Facebook group for students to join, where they can talk with one another and with you.
  • Certification: this is more appropriate for some topics than others … but offering students some sort of certification at the end of the course can be helpful.

Example: ProBlogger’s New Courses

ProBlogger Courses Example

At ProBlogger we’ve just gone through this process to launch our first ever course. We decided on the self-hosted route and use Learndash as our Learning Management System. You don’t necessarily have to host your course on your own site, though – there are plenty of online platforms like Teachable and Udemy that you can provide your course through instead.

Learndash (partnered with the Buddyboss-friendly Social Learner theme) allows us to offer all of the above features with our courses. Whilst our first course is free, we will be using the same platform to sell our first paid course, an update of my popular eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog in March.

For our free Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course, we are running a beta version in conjunction with our first ProBlogger International Start a Blog day on the 7th of February, so as part of the beta we’re also trialling a Facebook group. It is common for bloggers running courses to run a group for communication in conjunction with a course, but beware the amount of time and attention this requires.

We’re closing registrations to the course on the 31st of January, and after we implement suggestions from the beta group, we’ll open it up again as an evergreen course (ie people can start it at any time as a self-guided group) as well as again in the new year for the next International Start a Blog Day.

#5: Membership of a Private Website or Group

For quite a few years now, “membership sites” have been popular. These are essentially closed websites where people have to pay and sign up (almost always for a monthly fee) in order to view the content.

The content might be text-based, or (more often) it could involve audio or video. Sites might offer monthly “seminars” or “workshops”, or regular courses that members can take part in.

On a smaller scale, some bloggers offer Facebook sites with paid membership: this can be a quick and easy way to set up your product, though it’s worth remembering that if you were banned from Facebook, you’d no longer have access to your group!

Example: Copyblogger’s “Authority”

Copyblogger’s membership site Authority focuses on the community elements as well as the teaching materials provided. It’s a fairly high-end community site aimed at professional copywriters, small business owners, and so on, and also gives members the opportunity for expert coaching, in addition to peer support.

Like most membership sites, it has a monthly subscription ($ 55/month) – but there’s also the option to purchase a year’s membership for $ 550.

#6: Software or a Phone App

This is unlikely to be an option for your first product, unless you’re a developer … but creating a piece of software or a phone app could potentially be very lucrative.

There are a lot of options here, and your software/app might be anything from a business tool to something that relates to your readers’ hobby. You might have a one-time price, especially if it’s a relatively simple tool … or you might be pricing on a monthly basis (the “Software as a Service” or SaaS model, where you host the software for customers to login to).

Example: Fat Mum Slim’s Little Moments App

little moments app fat mum slim

Long-time blogger Chantelle Ellem created her fun photo editing app on the back of her viral Instagram hashtag challenge #photoaday. When she released Little Moments in 2014 it went to number one in Australia, and number seven in the USA. It was picked as the App Store’s best app for 2014 and has been Editor’s Choice {selected by the App Store worldwide}.

Whilst it’s a free app, it has in-app purchases where you can purchase packs of designs to use in the editor – either per pack or an offer to unlock everything and get all the packs.

Little Moments in-app purchases

Chantelle shares some insights here about creating the app, including being prepared for the feedback from customers and creating a community around your app.

#7: Physical Products

Finally, even though blogging life revolves around the online world … there’s nothing stopping you creating an offline, physical product. This could be almost anything you can imagine: bloggers have created board games, comic books, merchandise, artworks, and far more.

Physical products need to be created, stored and shipped, all of which will take time (and money) – so this probably won’t be the first product you’ll want to experiment with. You can sell directly from your own blog, or you can use an appropriate online marketplace: Etsy for handmade goods, for instance, or Amazon or eBay for almost any product.

Example: Kirsten and Co’s Skin Boss

Kirsten Smith Skin Boss

Personal and lifestyle blogger Kirsten Smith recently developed and launched Skin Boss, a range of facial oils in response to an issue she was experiencing with her skin. You can read the backstory here on why and how it was developed. When you create something in response to a real need and have a strong connection with your readers and other bloggers, it’s an excellent platform for the success of a new product. Kirsten has able to reach out to her network of blogging friends to get media coverage for her new product.

 

I know there’s a lot to take in here! All bloggers, however fancy and complex their products are now, started somewhere – often with an ebook, printables, or a simple online course.

Even if you’re pressed for time, could you set aside 15 minutes a day or maybe block out a weekend in order to create your first product?

It might just change your life.

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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.

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