Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately?

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week / ProBlogger.net

Hello and welcome to yes another weekend roundup read! WordPress tells me this is number 41: what a lot of ground we’ve covered this year!

Plenty of these articles made me ponder the state of affairs (and my blog) more than they did teach me how to blog better – but I think some re-evaluation from time to time is a good thing. No point flogging a dead horse, as they say!

I hope they help you similarly reflect on where you are and where you’re going.

Social Media is Not a Strategy | Art +  Marketing

Gosh this one made me think. We do get told that we all start on social media with zero – but is that truly the case for every marketer? And what about influence > numbers?

Why You Should Produce Less Blog Content | Ragan

In the days where everyone is feeling stretched too far, this is welcome advice. So is repurposing your content. But what I was most interested in were the stats that people are reading fewer blog posts (and consuming more social media) – this has felt the case for a long time but was wondering what the data was to back that up.

What are your thoughts?

The 30 Commandments of Working For Yourself | The Middle Finger Project

I love Ash. She does not muck around! Some of the things she said bluntly in this piece were so what I needed to hear.

Creating a Course That Works: Episode one | Sam Nordberg

If you’re considering creating a course for your audience as part of your income strategy, Sam has just launched the first in a series of videos to help you start with your best foot forward.

Looking for the Trick | Seth’s Blog

Can’t agree with this more! Wise, wise words.

Getting Out of the Way: How to Invite Growth, Engagement, and Collaboration in Others | Work Like Humans

Collaborating can be amazing for blogs and small businesses just starting out or who want to take their online presence to the next level. This is some great advice for helping you make the most of working with others.

Publishers Tweak Their Approach to Facebook Live | Ad Age

So many publishers, digital and otherwise, jumped on the Facebook Live wagon as it was new, and Facebook was promoting it heavily in timelines. Well we’re a few months in now, and it appears changes are being made to keep up with both demand and ability to create.

Is Facebook Live still working for you?

Did Your Google Ranking Change Overnight? | Mumbrella

New Google Algorithm Penguin 4.0 is here – find out what it means for you!

Google Algorithm Update: Targeting Pesky Mobile Popups | Milk It Academy

And of course with the update comes this info that I know worried a lot of my blogger friends. Will it have an impact on you if you have a pop up installed on your site?

What caught your eye this week?

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PB152: Challenge – Create a Piece of Embedded Content for Your Blog

Embedded Content Challenge

Today, I want to give you a challenge to create a certain type of content. This is in the vein of our blogging groove challenge which we did about six weeks ago.

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I’ve just returned from the ProBlogger Event, and I am inspired. I received a lot of listener feedback about how the podcast has helped listeners and how the challenge series have had a positive impact on listeners.

I hope to do one challenge a month. Instead of completing the content in 24 hours, I would like to give you seven days to complete the challenge.

The new challenge is to create a piece of content that features embeddable content. Then share it on our facebook challenge group.  

Further Resources 



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Hey there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 152 of the ProBlogger podcast where today I want to issue you with a challenge to create a certain type of piece of content in the vein of our Blogging Groove Challenge which we did about six weeks ago.

Before I tell you about today’s challenge which I know many of you are looking forward to and have been asking for, I want to just let you know that the ProBlogger event just finished in the last few days. I’m just back from it, I’m feeling both excited and exhausted. Most of my team are as well, but mainly excited and mainly inspired. I’m probably going to do an episode in the coming weeks on some of the themes of the event because there were quite a few themes that many of the speakers really referred to without us really coordinating those messages at all.

Today, I want to just mention one thing that I noticed. One of the most common things I heard at the event this year was about this podcast. We did have quite a few tracks on podcasting at the event this year. I was amazed how many listeners of this podcast there are. I see the stats everyday and I know that we’ve had close to 1.6 million downloads over the years but it’s kind of nice to hear the voices of people who listen to the podcast because you hear mine everyday. It was really nice. Quite a few people told me they actually came to the event because they found ProBlogger through the podcast and that was really nice to hear. I often wondered how do people come to ProBlogger and was the podcast bringing new readers in. I knew it was reaching existing readers, so it was nice to see some new readers coming in. People typing into iTunes search terms and using iTunes as a search engine, that was a nice reminder to me. Also, people who found me through interviews that I’ve done on other people’s podcast. That was interesting to me.

Quite a few people told me about certain episodes that have brought about real change in their blogging. One of the things I did notice was that many people told me that it was the series of challenges that we’ve run that really have had a big impact. The most recent one, the Blogging Groove Challenge that we did back in Episode 137 forward. It was quite a few of you who really benefitted from that.

One of the old series that we did, in fact the first series that I did back in the first episodes, 31 Days to Build A Better Blog, was something that quite a few people said that they’ve been going back to and doing again and again. I thought it might be worth just mentioning that early series that I did on this particular podcast because I know many of you have not started working your way backwards and through the episodes, the most recent ones. Right at the beginning of the podcast, I did do 31 episodes in 31 days and was all about issuing challenges. They weren’t just content related challenges like the Blogging Groove Challenge, some of them were challenges to find readers, to build community on your blog, and to think strategically about your blog as well. If you did miss those episodes, it’s there, you can do it anytime, just go back to the start of our episodes in iTunes, if you listen in iTunes or any of the other podcast players. Or, you can go over to problogger.com/podcast/31days. There, I have outlined the full series, you can actually listen to them all on that particular page, I’ve got a playlist there for you.

I just wanted to mention that because I know many of you are newer listeners and may have not seen that we’ve done that 31 day challenge. Thanks for listening, thanks to those of you who were at the event and came up and told me about where you listen to me. I had someone who said that they trained for a marathon while listening to me the whole way which I just wish I got some benefit out of that myself because out of the exercise you did, I had other people telling me about the fact that they listen to me with their kids in their cars, listen to me at the gym, listen to me in the shower, in bed falling asleep at night, all kinds of stories which always amuses me.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I’m going to give you a challenge now so stay tuned. It’s been about six weeks since we’ve finished the Blogging Groove Series which if you missed it was a week long series of daily challenges where I issued you with a challenge everyday to write a certain type of content and then to come and share it in our Facebook group which is called the ProBlogger Challenge Group if you want to search for it on Facebook. It’s a private group so you need to apply to join and I will approve your joining of that within a day usually.

I wanted to continue the challenge because we’ve got over 1700 of you in that group now and probably the most common thing I’m asked by people in it is when is the next challenge. I probably won’t do them daily, I know I won’t do them daily. They probably won’t even be weekly but I do want to do at least one challenge every month. One of the things I want to change up this time is instead of you having to do your piece of content within 24 hours, I want to give you seven days to complete the challenge. You don’t have to really rush it, hopefully it will let you create a piece of thoughtful content, craft that piece of content to really serve your readers.

For those of you who didn’t do the Blogging Groove Challenge, I nominate the type of post and you go away and choose a topic and create that content that’s going to be relevant to your readers, and then you go to the ProBlogger Challenge Group and then you share your piece of content. That way, you’re not only creating a good piece of content but you are hopefully getting a few visitors to it as well. We really do encourage you to visit what other people in that group are producing, comment, like, share if it’s relevant to your audience.

The challenge of today is to create a piece of content that features embeddable content on it. Embeddable content is what we want you to put in your blog post today. There’s a few different ways that you can tackle this and I want to give you a little bit of a background. I have done a podcast in the past on this particular topic. If you do want to dig deeper into the topic, I will link to that in the show notes. The reason I want to issue this challenge today is that as I was preparing for one of the talks that I was doing at ProBlogger Event, it was a talk I gave on finding readers for your blog. I did some analysis of the most shared pieces of content on Digital Photography School.

One of the things I noticed as I did that analysis was that over the last 12 months, some of the most shared pieces of content that we have published were actually posts where we embedded some curated pieces of content. These are pieces of content that other people had created but had made available to embed. We took the embed code, put it onto our site, gave the people credit, and those were some of our most popular pieces of content.

One example that I’ll give you was a piece of content, a post that we published back in April. It was called How to Cut Out the Subject from the Background in Photoshop. It was a Photoshop type post. You don’t really need to understand the post except to say that you can go and look at it. It was a relatively simple post, it was only 232 words long. Darlene, our editor, posted it in April this year. She basically, as you look at that post, you’ll see that she had a couple of introductory paragraphs introducing the topic of using Photoshop to cut out a subject from its background. Then, there’s a video which illustrates how to do it. After the video, there’s a little bit more content written expanding upon some of the ideas in the video and linking to some further reading on our site which I think is really important. I’ll talk about that in a moment. After that, there’s a second video which illustrates how to do it. Someone else’s video.

Both of the videos in this piece of content were produced by different people and they were nothing to do with Digital Photography School, my site. None of my team created them, we just found them on YouTube or Darlene found them on YouTube after probably identifying the topic she wanted to do a post about and then she went hunting on YouTube for useful videos on that topic. She ended the post with a couple of questions to our readers to get them commenting.

It’s a very simple post, it’s a short post. The vast majority of the post is really content that other people have created. This might seem a little bit lazy but it turns out that this is the third most shared piece of content that we’ve produced over the last 12 months on Digital Photography School. There are plenty of other posts in our archives that have done similar type of things. We do this type of post once a week. We do 14 posts a week, one of them is always a video that we found on YouTube.

The vast majority of YouTube videos allow you to embed posts on your blog. Some video creators don’t allow it but everyone else does. The reason that they allow it to be embedded on any blog or any other site is that it gets them more views to their video. It helps them to grow their profile and it can even grow their revenue if they’re running ads on the videos.

The reason I like to do it is that it’s a relatively easy piece of content to produce. If the videos are good videos like the ones that I’ve just mentioned, it actually benefits our readers as well. We get a lot of our readers saying thanks for finding that video, would’ve never found it, would’ve never learned this without this. The other reason I like video is that it appeals to a different type of reader. We don’t tend to produce our own videos, most of our content is written content. It gets a different type of content in front of your readers. It’s a win for the video producer, it’s a win for you as a blogger, and it’s a win for your readers. I like win, win, win kind of scenarios.

In our case, we’re looking for videos that are educational, that are actionable content, and that help our readers improve some aspect of their photography. That is not every blogger. You may try and find content, might be video, might be something else that taps into the style of blog that you have. There’s plenty of videos out there that are more inspirational for example, if you’re more of an inspirational blog. There’s plenty of videos out there that tell stories. If you’re a storytelling blog, there’s plenty of videos that are entertaining, more newsworthy, more opinion related. I guess it’s about trying to match the video or the content that you’re going to embed into your piece of content with the style of blog that you have.

As we’re looking at videos, I’m going to get onto some other types of content that you might embed as well. We try and always find a quality piece of content. We’re always looking for videos that are not overly promotional. We do want the video creator to get some benefit out of it as well, they put in the work to create the video. Sometimes, YouTube videos can be so full of ads and self promotion, big long intros, more about something else than the actual topic. We tend to avoid those types of videos. We’re trying to find videos that are really actionable, that aren’t too self promotional, and that don’t contain big calls to action to buy stuff, that type of thing.

The reason that we do that is that even though we want the video creator to get some benefit out of it, if they’re too salesy, that comes off on our brand as well. Sometimes, our readers think we’re being salesy if there’s too much sales sort of stuff in the video. Just be a little bit careful about what you do embed. You want it to align with your brand is what I’m saying there.

YouTube is of course a very good place to find embeddable content. Most of the videos there are embeddable. Other video sites also like Vimeo might be worth looking at to find pieces of content, you often get a slightly different style of video there. Video isn’t the only type of content that you might want to embed. In fact, there are many things that you can do in today’s challenge. You may even want to include a few types of embeddable content in your post.

Back in Episode 97, I talk quite extensively about embeddable content. You might want to go back and listen to that particular episode after this one if you’re struggling, you want some more ideas. As I mentioned in that episode, there are 17 types of content that you might want to embed on your blog. I’ll go through that list really quickly in a moment.

Just a couple of benefits of using this type of content. Firstly, it can, if you choose good content to embed, increase the usefulness of your site, it can appeal to different learning styles and personality types if you choose a different style of content. It shows your readers that you’re willing not only to promote yourself but someone else in your industry and that you’re connected, you can almost borrow some of the influence of other people if you choose a video from someone who is quite well known. That can rub off on you in some ways. It can add different voices and opinions and experiences to your blog, different perspectives which I think is really great.

One of the big benefits is that it increases the amount of time that people are on your site. If you have a three or four or five minute video, your readers are sitting on your site for that five whole minutes. That gets them looking around your site as they’re watching the video, it just keeps people on your site that little bit longer. One of the side benefits of that is that it can help with search engine optimization as well. The longer time on page is a signal to Google to rank your site higher. It’s also one of the factors in Facebook as well. If you get people visiting from a Facebook link to your site and they’re staying on your site for a long time, that’s a signal to Facebook that they’re engaged. Time and page can be quite good.

There’s a few different types of embeddable content that you might want to consider today. Video is perhaps the most common one but you could also use slides from SlideShare and go have a look there for content that relates to your niche. There’s usually some pretty good content. You can embed Facebook updates that you’ve done or that someone else has done, you can even embed tweets. One of the techniques that I’ve used in the past is to ask a question on Twitter and then to take the answers of my readers and embed those answers into content which can be quite useful or shoot some influences in your niche and tweets saying hey, I’ve got this question, could you answer it? And then embed the responses from those influencers.

You can embed audio files, you can embed cartoons using sites like Andertoons. You can embed live streaming replays. If you do a Facebook Live, you can take that video and embed it on your site. You can embed Instagram pictures, you can embed slideshows of pictures from photo sharing sites like Flickr. You can embed infographics, bookmarks from Pinterest, Google Maps or Google Earth. You can embed polls and quizzes from sites like Quizzer, mind maps from Mindmeister, google docs, podcasts, a variety of different podcast players and animated gifs from Giphy.

They’re just some of the types of content that you could be embedding into your site today. The key is to make it useful, to ensure the quality is high.

The other thing I’ll mention, you’ll notice this in the post that I mentioned earlier, that Photoshop post, one of our most shared pieces of content. We link in that post, even though it’s a very short post, number times to other posts on our site. The post I mentioned is quite short and it could be the type of content that people would bounce away from quite quickly. Linking deeper into your site drives people into your archives which gets them sticking around longer and more likely to subscribe to your blog. Do consider trying to not only get people to watch that video or listen to that audio or look at the infographic that you’re doing but also because that content could sometimes be a little bit fluffier, try and direct them to a deeper piece of content that relates to it.

Let me give you another example of a post where we did this. It was one titled Nine Composition Techniques To Use To Improve Your Photography. Again, I’ll link to it in today’s show notes. In this one, we feature a fantastic video that very quickly goes through nine different composition techniques. Underneath the video, I put a screenshot from each of the nine techniques. This is a screenshot from the video for each of those techniques. Then, I point to a tutorial relevant to that technique in our archives. People watch the video, it’s quite short, it’s very good, high quality video. It doesn’t really go into great depth into how to do the nine techniques. Underneath it, we give people the tutorial. We’ve already written, we’ve got thousands of posts to draw on. That gets them deeper into our site. That post did really well for us, I think it was the combination of a really good video and then breaking it down and providing more meaty content that went down really well with our readers. It did very well for us.

This brings me to my next point. The first video that I talked about, the photoshop one, we had two videos and then just 235 words. You might be thinking that’s just too short, that’s not meaty enough. There’s nothing to stop you from writing a really long piece of content of your own and then using a video almost like an example or just another short perspective. You can use embeddable content either as 100% of your blog post and the main feature or you can use it as a secondary example in your posts.

Let me give you another example. It’s a tutorial called Review Of Light Painting Brushes, Tools For Creativity which sounds a little bit obscure but it’s a review of a product that we did. It also has some tips in it. It’s 1400 words long and it’s all about how to do light painting which is a technique in photography. It features a product that you can use as well. Our writer writes some really useful content, reviews the product, also gives some tips on how to use the product. The post itself I think is 1400 words long. As you scroll down, you’ll see that there are a couple of video examples that he’s found to show what he’s talking about.

The videos aren’t the main point of the post, they’re just there if you want to learn a little bit more about one of the things that he’s talked about. One of the videos is from the product creator that we’re reviewing and another one is just almost like a tangential kind of thing, a little example that he’s included to show a technique. The embeddable stuff doesn’t have to be the main feature of the post. I know some people don’t like this type of post because it just seems a bit lazy. You can really write a very meaty post that has embeddable content.

I judged a competition earlier this year, it was a blogging competition on the best social media blogs. One of the things I noticed was that the best blogs, the blogs that won not just from my judging but other people’s as well, were blogs that regularly used embeddable content. The embeddable content was often just an example or was just a tweak that someone had gone and found, just a little extra thing. It just makes the content a little bit more interesting. It breaks up the written word and it shows your readers that you’ve gone to that little bit extra effort to find something that’s going to be useful to them.

Last thing I’ll say about embeddable content is that you probably don’t want to go overboard with it. This type of post where we feature a video, we only do it once out of every 14 posts. Generally, our posts would only usually have a couple of pieces of embeddable content in them. I have seen posts that work really well with lots of embeddable content, might have some tweaks, videos, infographics, but you can go overboard there. It can end up looking a bit cluttered and confusing. Just be aware of that.

That’s the challenge. Over the next few days—I’ll give you a week—I want you to create a new piece of content for your blog that features embeddable content in it. It could be video, it could be slideshare, it could be any of those different types of content that I mentioned before. It could be someone else’s content that you embed or could even be something that you’ve created yourself in the past or specifically for this. You may actually want to go and create a video that you then insert into your blog post if you really want to take things to the next level. It doesn’t have to be someone else’s content.

Once you created your piece of content and published it, publish it on your blog and then come to our Facebook Group. It’s the ProBlogger challenge group. If you do a search on Facebook, you’ll find us. Ask to join it if you haven’t already. Once you have joined that, once you’ve published your piece of content, come in and just share the link. There will be a thread where I call you to share these types of piece of content and just add a link there. Once you’ve added it, you’ll find that hopefully people will come and visit it from other bloggers in the challenge group. I encourage you just to check out some of the other posts that people are sharing, to like what they’re doing, encourage them, you might want to leave a comment on their post, you might want to even share if you think it’s relevant for your particular audience.

The key with these challenges is that it’s about creating a piece of content that perhaps you wouldn’t have published before, maybe a new style of post that might become a regular part of your schedule but it’s also I guess to get to know each other as bloggers as well and to encourage each other and maybe help each other find a little bit extra traffic.

I look forward to seeing your embeddable pieces of content. I just created one for this challenge and I will share it in the Facebook group as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what you create. Can’t wait to see your posts and I’ll chat with you in a few days time in the next episode of the ProBlogger podcast.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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PB153: How I Diversified My Blogging Income and Became a Full Time Blogger

My Blogging Income Streams

Today, I’m going to talk about my income streams. In episode 150 I talked about how I make money blogging and broke it down by percentages.

Today I want to follow that episode up with the context. People may think that my report seems big and unattainable. People also have a tendency to compare themselves which isn’t a fair comparison because it is just a snapshot at the end of a journey.

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In today’s episode, I am going to walk you through the last 13 years of my life, and through the timeline of how I have added income streams over that time.

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Update: I’ve continued this mini series of posts with one more in episode 154 in which I talk more about how to grow your blogging income further.

In Today’s Episode How I Diversified My Blogging Income and Became a Full Time Blogger

Note: you can listen to this episode here on iTunes (look for episode PB153).

  • November 2002 – I get an email from a friend that says, check out this blog. I liked what I saw, and I began blogging. I had no idea that you could make money from blogging. I just did it because I enjoyed it.
    • I spent a whole year learning about blogging.
    • I wrote a lot of content and got better as a writer.
    • I built traffic to my site.
    • I built engagement with my readership.
  • Years 2 and 3 – I started experimenting with monetizing. I built a second blog where I reviewed digital cameras. The reason I began experimenting with monetizing was that my blogs were costing me money and taking up a lot of time.
    • Google AdSense – Text based ads that I started putting on my blog. I was earning a few cents a day.
    • Amazon Associates Program – Link to products on Amazon and I earned a few cents a week. I was mostly linking to books.
    • I learned that if I was going to make more than a few cents a day, I needed to grow my traffic.
    • Optimizing income streams. Optimized AdSense – more ads, change size, change position and colors. Better placements and calls to action with Amazon affiliate ads.
    • With those 2 income streams, my income became close to full time. Now, I’m going to talk about ProBlogger and Digital Photography School
  • Years 4 and 5 – I added a few more income streams.
    • Direct ad sales – Advertisers were targeted my site. I knew Google took a cut, so I reached out directly to advertisers. $ 20 a month on first one.
    • Other affiliate programs
    • Promoted eBooks and products for other blogs
    • Added other advertising networks. Yahoo and Chitika At first, I thought it would decease my AdSense, but it held study.
    • Light bulb moment – my income will increase with adding income streams
    • ProBlogger Book Published by Wiley
    • ProBlogger – 6 Figure Blogging Course
  • Years 6 and 7 – I added 3 more income streams
    • Paid speaking
    • Experiment with some consulting – Blog Coaching – didn’t really suit my personality
    • Adding in the ProBlogger Job Board – small income at first, it has grown over the years and it gets 4 – 7 new jobs a day
  • Years 7 through 11 – I really focused on building products.
    • First one was an eBook – For Digital Photography School – It took me 4 months and I had to learn about shopping carts and everything else involved. It sold $ 70,000 in the first 11 days. This was a culmination of years of building engagement and putting it all together.
    • Launched an eBook on ProBlogger
    • A brand new income stream in a few months. Having my own products opened my eyes to a whole new world. We have since launched 35 eBooks.
    • A membership site on ProBlogger – a closed community with webinars etc. Not a lot of engagement, and I didn’t feel like I was contributing a lot of value. May tweak this idea in the future.
    • 2007 – First ProBlogger Event – These have a lot of expenses, but they are an income streams.
    • Printables on Digital Photography School
  • Years 12 and 13 – The last two years.
    • Extending the idea of eBooks and creating products
    • Courses on photography
    • Lightroom Presets

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Most of these income streams started out as little experiments. Some of them have taken off and grown and others have not. I hope this has been helpful for you and gives you some ideas for your monetization strategy.

Further Resources on How I Diversified My Blogging Income and Became a Full Time Blogger




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Hey there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger and welcome to Episode 153 of the ProBlogger Podcast where today I want to talk a little bit more about my income streams. Back in Episode 150, I outlined in some kind of an income report how I make my money blogging. I talked about the first half of 2016 and where the income came from. I broke it down not in terms of total numbers of how much money I earned but in terms of percentages.

I talked about how 46% of my income or my profit from that particular time came from affiliate commissions, 31% came from product sales, ebooks, presents, and those types of things. 8% came from AdSense, 6% from sponsorship, 5% from a job board, and 3% from our event, and then another 1% from other miscellaneous things. You can listen in a lot more detail to that income report.

I want to follow that particular episode up because one of the things that I’m really aware of as you get that snapshot of my income streams today. One of the things you don’t get when you get that snapshot is the context for it and how it came to be. I think that’s personally more useful to hear about. Hopefully, it will help those of you who feel a bit overwhelmed by that. Every time I do get that graph out and that chart out that I shared back in Episode 150 in the show notes there, I do get people going whoa, that just seems so big, so unattainable. How could I ever possibly get to that point where I’ve got all those different income streams?

The other thing that I do notice when I share this type of report and when I see other bloggers talking about their figures is that sometimes people feel like they just are comparing themselves. It’s very easy to do. I know I do it when I see other people income reports. It’s not really fair to compare yourself to other people because what you’re comparing yourself to is just a snapshot at the end of their journey or along their journey. I think it’s more useful to hear about how things came to be.

In today’s episode, what I want to do is just talk you through the last 13 years of my life which might sound like it’s going to be a long episode, it won’t. I just want to walk you through the timeline of how I added income streams in over that time. I’ve done this a few times in talks, this is what people actually find more helpful than just hearing the snapshot. I hope that those of you who are interested in how to get that point of a full time income from your blogs might find it useful to hear about the journey.

Let’s walk back in time to 2002. It’s 2002, November, I’m sitting at a desk of one of the part time jobs that I had. I was also doing some study on the side. I get an email from a friend saying check out this blog. Many of you heard the extended version of this story, I’m not going to go through it completely but I ended up on this blog and see something there that I want to do. I decided that day I was going to start a blog. For the next year, I blogged on that blog. I began to experiment with a few other little blogs on the side but for the first year of my blogging I had no idea you could make money blogging and I had no idea that’s what I would end up doing. I just blogged because I enjoyed blogging.

I’m doing a bit of an income timeline here and so it could be very easy to skip over this first year but I actually think it was really important, it was an important year for me. It was a foundational year. The income that followed, some of it came because I spent a whole year not making money from my blogs and focusing upon other things.

Firstly, I learned a lot in this year. I spent a year learning about blogging, learning about the tools, culture, how to communicate, learning was one of the big things that I invested a lot of time into there without even really thinking about it, it just happened. Secondly, I wrote a lot of content in that time. I got hopefully a bit better as a writer but I also built up an archive of content which began to get indexed in Google and that drove some traffic. That’s the other thing I worked on for that year, I worked on building the traffic to my site. Lastly, I worked on building engagement with my community and with my readership.

None of these things I really was that intentional about. I didn’t say I need to learn about blogging or I need to drive traffic and instinctively happened. For that first year, I think I built some really great foundations to then monetize my blogs. I shared this because I think bloggers starting today should be investing significant amounts of time into those activities as well. Learning about blogging, understanding how to use the tools, understanding how to use your voice, those types of things. Building up an archives of content, driving traffic to your blog, beginning to grow your readership, and deepening the engagement that you have with your readers.

It’s not to say that you can’t monetize from day one, you can. I actually think it’s probably good for you to put a little bit of time into monetizing early but I think it’s much better for you to spend the bulk of your time really investing into those four areas; learning, content, traffic, and community. That was year one, no income. I didn’t even know you could.

It was in years two and three where I began to experiment with making a little bit of money on my blogs. It was around this time that I started a second blog, it was a blog where I reviewed digital cameras. It no longer exists today because I or someone else let the domain slip. It was something I’d been transitioning away anyway by the time that domain disappeared.

Years two and three, I began to experiment with monetizing my blogs. The reason I started to monetize was that my blogs were starting to cost me money. I had service, domains, that were taking up a lot of time, taking me away from the other work that I was doing. I began to look around to see was there a way I could cover my costs in blogging.

I discovered this advertising network that existed called AdSense. AdSense is Google’s ad network. You would’ve seen their ads almost everyday of your life over the last few years because they are everywhere, all over the internet. Many times, you don’t actually know who’s serving the ads but you’ve seen the ads. They started out back in 2002, a lot of them were text based ads. They were pretty ugly, you could change the colors of them but that’s about all. You could have different sizes. I started to put these ads on my blog. From day one, they started to earn me a little bit of income. By little, I mean a few cents a day. That wasn’t enough to buy coffee but it did drive a little bit of income into my blog.

It was around the same time I started to experiment with Amazon’s Affiliate Program or the Amazon Associates Program as it’s known. This is where you link to a product on Amazon with a special link and you earn a commission if someone buys that product based upon your link. Again, the income in the early days from Amazon was literally a few cents every week. It wasn’t even everyday. I was linking particularly to books which was what Amazon was all about back then, still is largely but they’ve got so many more products today. I was earning 4% or 5% commissions on these $ 10 books. You can say it wasn’t much but it was the start. I learned so much by experimenting with these two income streams.

I also learned that if I was going to ever make more than a few cents a day, I needed to do a few things. Firstly, I needed to get more traffic to my site. Both of these income streams and all the others I’m going to mention will go up if you grow your traffic to your site. This is something I did years two and three. I really worked hard on growing my traffic. I now had a bit more incentive to do that. It didn’t just make me feel good to know that people were viewing my site, I could see it was directly impacting how much money I was able to make. That helped me to grow towards a part time income.

The other thing I worked really hard on on those two years was optimizing how I was using these income streams. AdSense was something that I gradually over time learned. You could do things to impact how much you earned. You could, one, put more ads on your site. I think you can have three on each page. You could change the size of the ads, there were new ad unit sizes coming in. You could change the position of the ads, you could put them high up on the page, you can put them underneath your blog post, there were different positions and they each would help you to earn different amounts. You could back then particularly change the design of your ads as well, change the colors of the text ads that appeared. You can’t do that so much anymore but there are plenty ways that you can optimize that income stream.

Same with Amazon Affiliate Links, I learned how to call people to buy those products better, experiment with different places on my site to promote the products as well. Years two and three were a big learning time for me as well, I still can really put a lot of effort into creating lots of content, driving traffic, building community, but I also increasingly put a little bit more of my time into working with these different income streams.

That was the beginning for me. With those two income streams, I got close to getting to a full time level. It was around that time that I started ProBlogger. From now on, I’m now just going to start talking about income streams that were both on my photography blog but also ProBlogger.

Year four and five, this is where I began to build on AdSense and Amazon by adding a few more income streams. There was actually five in these two years.

The first one was direct ad sales. I realized that advertisers were now beginning to target my site. I could see the same advertisers appearing on my site all the time. I knew that Google AdSense was taking a cut of all those ad revenues. I began to reach out directly to some advertisers to see whether they wanted just to work with me directly on my site. We’re not talking big bucks here, don’t think I was earning tens of thousands of dollars from these sponsorships that I was selling on my site.

The first one, I earned $ 20 a month. That was a camera store here in Australia that decided to advertise on my site. It was small amounts and I sold the advertising on a monthly basis. You would buy a certain type of ad in a certain position on my site for a monthly fee. I would charge more for a banner ad in a prime position and I would charge less for a sidebar ad in a less seen position. It started small as did all of these income streams but it gradually grew as my traffic grew and as I was able to send more people to these advertisers.

I also began to experiment with some other affiliate programs around this time. I began to see other blogs creating ebooks of their own and so I joined some of their affiliate programs and began to promote their ebooks and their products. That did okay for me in the early days, I learned a lot by doing it. I also added in other advertising networks, it was around this time Yahoo! had a publishing network, an ad network, and another one that I came across called Chitika. They’re still around today, they’ve changed quite a bit since the early days. I added Chitika ads onto my site alongside my AdSense ads.

At first, I thought it would decrease my AdSense ads. Turns out, it didn’t. My AdSense stayed steady but I added this whole new income stream. Really, that was a lightbulb moment for me as I realized that one of the fastest ways that I could increase my overall income was to just add a second income stream alongside my previous ones. It didn’t quite double my income overnight but it came close to doing it. That was a really exciting day. It was as I said a lightbulb moment and I began to think really strongly about how can I add some new income streams as well.

It was around that time I got approached by Wiley, the publisher in the US, to write the ProBlogger book. That was another small income stream that was added there. That only really came about because I’ve been blogging on ProBlogger for a couple of years and I’ve grown a profile on that particular topic of blogging. That approach came out of the blue.

Also for a little while there on ProBlogger there, we had a course which I ran with another blogger called Andy Wibbels. We ran a course, I think it was called Six Figure Blogging back in the day. It’s no longer in existence but that was my first experiment of having my own product. It’s something that I am really glad I did but I felt a bit out of my debt within those early days as well. There was certainly no software around to help you run courses like there are today. It was a big commitment to get that up and running at that time.

In years six and seven, I added three more income streams on top of some of the ones that I already mentioned. Firstly, I started to do some speaking and get paid for it. This is another one of those ones that came to me, I remember the first time being asked to speak at a conference. I was about to say yeah sure when the person said what’s your fee? I was like oh, you’re going to pay me to speak at a conference? Suddenly again, another income stream opened up. It’s something I haven’t done a lot of. I get asked a lot but being here in Melbourne, Australia, it’s hard to travel around the world to speak at these conferences. I say no more often than not but it’s something I really do enjoy.

Alongside that, I also began to experiment with some consulting, particularly off the back of ProBlogger. This is where I would do blog coaching. It was a service that I started back then. I didn’t do a lot of it, I very quickly discovered it wasn’t really for me, it wasn’t something I felt like I could add a lot of value to. I knew a lot about blogging but I didn’t feel that it really suited my style, my personality, and I realized I could probably have a bigger impact by creating lots of content for lots of people. That’s what I’ve done by later on creating some of the products I’ve created.

The last one in years six and seven was adding in a job board. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s at jobs.problogger.net. This is where people looking to hire bloggers pay $ 50 to get their ad in front of bloggers for 30 days. At first, that was a very small income stream, it was maybe two or three jobs per week on the job board, a few of my friends I used to give freebies to just to get a few more jobs on there. Gradually, over the years, it’s grown quite a bit. Now, it’s two or three jobs a day. Some days, four or five, or six or seven jobs. That’s a fairly passive income stream, it’s probably the most passive income stream that I have.

Years seven through to ten was a time where I really focused a lot of attention on building products and different types of products. The first one was an ebook and it was by this stage I started Digital Photography School which was kind of an evolution of my first photography blog and it was more of a how to take photos type blog. I put off doing an ebook on there even though I knew I probably should do one, I put it off for a couple of years by this point and eventually decided I’ve got to get my act into gear and I started to put aside 15, 20 minutes per day to create my first ebook.

I was a busy person so I basically got up early every morning and took a lot of the content that was already on the site, a lot of the posts that I’ve written personally about the topic of portraiture, how to take good photos of people which I knew was a popular topic in our audience. I compiled those together, I got them edited, I found a designer who would design the book for me. I learned about shopping carts and how to get a sales page up and all these things that I felt like I was completely out of my depth with and I launched this ebook. It took me about four months to get it together.

I was worried that no one was going to buy it because a lot of the content was already on the site and I was really upfront with my readers about it. I probably undersold it, I kind of said you may or you may not want it, I didn’t really sell it very well but it sold a ridiculous amount of copies. We sold $ 70,000 worth of copies in the first 11 days. That sounds like a lot of income overnight and it was. A lot of that came in literally in the first 24 hours, it was a wild 24 hours let me tell you.

As I reflected on it, it really came about because I’ve invested all these years of building my audience, we had fairly significant traffic by this point. I built engagement with that audience, they trusted us, they liked what we’re doing. It was the perfect time to launch this product. Then, launched a product and ebook over on ProBlogger, very similar story, repurposed content, 31 Days To Build A Better Blog. It was a series of blog posts that I’ve written, launched it again and it outsold even the first one.

Suddenly, literally within a few months, I had this brand new income stream. It was another of those moments where the income pretty much doubled within a few months because up until that point, I’ve been relying so much upon advertising and affiliate marketing. Suddenly, to have my own products opened my eyes to this whole new world. That’s what I then spent quite a few of the next few years working on, really those first two ebooks worked so well that I was like let’s do more ebooks. We’ve since that time launched I think 35 other things on a broad range of topics on both ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. Ebooks became a very big focus for me, almost too big a focus. It closed me off a little bit to some of the other products that we’ve since launched. It became a bit of an obsession to be launching four or five ebooks every year.

Another income stream that I had going for a little while in this period was also a membership site over on ProBlogger. This is where people were paying a monthly fee to get access to some premium content in the form of webinars, closed private communities, plugins that we developed as well. That membership site was quite profitable but it wasn’t the most satisfying site for me to run because I didn’t see a lot of engagement there. We had a lot of people sign up and I didn’t quite know why they signed up to be honest.

Like I said, it was profitable, we’re making good money, but I didn’t feel like I was really contributing a lot of value. I decided to close that down and to rethink that model. Out of that came this podcast which doesn’t make a lot of money but on the flip side it feels like it’s having more of an impact upon people. For me, it’s not just about the money, it’s actually about what impact do you have. We may revisit the membership idea and tweak that in the future but for now that’s an income stream that didn’t work out for us.

It was also in these years, I think it was 2007, I ran the first ProBlogger event. The first three, four years of that event it didn’t make any profit. I didn’t really try to, it was something that was more of a labor of love. Unfortunately, running events that have 400 or 500 come to them get quite expensive so it got a bit risky to run it so I started to build some income streams around that as well now. It’s not a big income earner or profit earner because there’s a lot of expenses but it’s certainly a new income stream that I developed in that time as well.

Then, there were printables. Printables really could be anything really but they’re things that you sell for your readers to print. I guess in some ways, they’re like an ebook but for us on Digital Photography School they’re some our posing guides where we got someone to do some hand drawings of different poses for taking portraits of people so you could print them out and take them on location with you and show your subjects, “Hey, pose like this.” They did quite well for us as well.

The last two years, years 12 and 13, have been extending the idea of the ebooks and creating some more products of our own. These were courses, I’ve done three courses now on different aspects of photography particularly and Adobe Lightroom presets, little plugins that you can put into that software to help process images in a click.

There are the different income streams, most of which I mentioned in Episode 150 but I hope it is a little bit useful for you to hear them presented more as a timeline rather than a snapshot. Most of these income streams actually started out as little experiments as little hunchers, little let’s see what happens if I add this, let’s see what happens if I invest a bit of time to create that. Some of them worked really well, some of them have not worked at all. Some of them have been slow burners like the job board, even AdSense, just a few cents a day, gradually grew 10% this month, 10% that month, and gradually added up over time.

I hope it’s been helpful for you to hear that story presented in that way. Hopefully, it gives you some ideas of some of the income streams that maybe you can be adding into your own blog as well. As I’ve said previously, there are plenty of other different types of income streams that you can add to your blog as well. I would love to hear your own timeline, and you could just do it in a simple bullet list, year, what income stream you added, I would love to see that because I think I’ll find it fascinating to see how bloggers grow their income streams as well. If you like to do that, I’d love to see it.

You may just get an email from me because I’d love to do some more podcasts interviewing people to hear about these stories as well. If there’s some interesting responses there, maybe you can become a guest on the ProBlogger podcast.

The next thing I’ll say is that I’m going to do a follow up to this episode in the next episode, Episode 154. Those of you who are listening to this just the day it goes live, you’ve only got a couple of days to wait. Those of you listening to it a week or so later, it’s probably live so you can go and listen to that straight away.

In the next episode, I really want to give you a few observations of things that I’ve learned about adding income streams particularly. I want to suggest three ways to grow your income, I want to talk about some of the foundations that you should build before you grow income, I want to talk about the idea of experimenting with income streams and I’ll also give you some hints as to how to work out which income streams to try first. If that sounds interesting, subscribe to this podcast over in iTunes. While you’re there, leave us a review, I’d love to hear what you think. Or, subscribe to the ProBlogger Plus newsletter which will be linked to in today’s show notes as well.

Thanks for listening today and I’ll chat with you in a few days with some more on this topic of adding income streams to your blog.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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PB154: How to Grow Your Blogging Income

Grow Your Blogging Income

Today, I am going to continue on from episode 153 where I outlined a timeline of how I added different income streams over time. 

I felt like there was a little more I could say about diversifying your income in that way and growing your income.

A photo by Gustavo Quepón. unsplash.com/photos/pF_2lrjWiJE

I think there are some principles that you can pull out of the story. I hope that you find these observations and words of encouragement helpful.

Further Resources on How to Grow Your Blogging Income




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Hey there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 154 of the ProBlogger Podcast where today I want to continue on from the last episode, 153, where I outlined the timeline of how I added different income streams over time. I felt like there was a little bit more I could say about diversifying your income in that way and growing your income because I think whilst hearing a story, I think there are some principles that we can pull out of this story. I hope that you find these observations and words of encouragement helpful for you.

Let me get into a few thoughts on that story I have told you. Let’s start off by talking about three ways that you can grow your blogging income. You will have heard in that story three things that I’ve done over time to grow my income. The first one, probably the most obvious one in that particular story, was that I diversified my income streams. I did this right from the start, I had AdSense and Amazon Affiliate Program. One earned me a dollar a day, one earned me a few cents a day. It wasn’t really that spectacular a story, I have to admit.

Along the way, you heard me tell how I added a second ad network. That was a really important moment for me where I added Chitika on top of my AdSense earnings. That almost doubled my income over night. That was a really important moment, it was an exciting day. The same thing happened when I moved from just having advertising and affiliate promotions as the bulk of my income and then started to create ebooks. Within a couple of months, I again doubled my income streams. That was a little bit more spectacular than just going from a few cents a day to a dollar a day.

Diversifying your income streams is something that I think a lot of bloggers who have been blogging for a while, most of them are really focusing in on one or two income streams. Maybe there is a way that you can exponentially grow your income in a relatively short time because you’ve done a lot of that hard work already of building your audience up. If you’ve got an audience, if you’ve got engagement, that is perhaps a bit of a shortcut. It’s still going to take you a lot of work but it’s definitely something to consider.

A couple other things that you can do to grow your income in addition to diversifying your income streams. Firstly, and these aren’t rocket science but these are things that you need to be working on all the time. Grow your traffic, you heard me talk about that first year where I didn’t have any income streams, that was a year where I put time into growing my archives of content, building traffic, and deepening engagement with my readers.

Growing traffic is something that’s really important. I realized very early on, literally within a day or two, that I could double my AdSense income by doubling my traffic. You can’t always double your traffic and that doesn’t always translate over because different types of traffic convert for different types of income streams at different rates. The principle applies through all the income streams that I outlined in the last podcast, all of them will grow up if you are able to increase the amount of traffic that you have and also the quality of traffic that you have as well. By quality, I’m talking there about getting the right type of readers to your blog and getting engaged readers to your blog. Work on growing traffic to your blog.

This is something that generally for most bloggers takes time, it’s usually a gradual thing but it’s something you should be always focusing your attention on. That’s why I do so many podcasts on the topic of growing traffic to your blog. Traffic alone is not the only way to increase your income, the other thing that I found really does help a lot is increasing the conversions. The conversions mean different things for the different income streams but converting that traffic into the income, there are things that you can do to optimize that along the way. It’s different for the different income streams. I thought it might be worthwhile to just briefly touch on each of the different income streams that I’ve mentioned or some of them at least.

Advertising networks, that was my first one. Google AdSense, Chitika. I realized very early on that more ads would lead to an increased amount of income. You don’t want to go overboard with that, I think AdSense has a limit, three or four ads per page. Different ad networks have different limits on how many ads you can have. If you have too many ads on a page, Google also penalizes you from a search engine optimization point of view as well. Don’t have too many ads, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with ads. But certainly rather than just having one ad, try a second ad. You will increase your income that way.

Also, different positions of ads work differently. AdSense for example, if you have your ads above the fold in the top half of your site, if you try putting an ad that floats in your sidebar and follows your reader down the page so they’re always seeing it, that can have an impact as well. Different positions of ads definitely will convert at different rates. Different sized ads, some ads, there are more advertisers targeting those sites. 300×250 pixel sized ad is one of the most popular ones. We find our 728×90, the ones across the top of our blogs, the header type blogs, they work quite well for us as well. Experiment with different sizes of ads.

There’s all kinds of different technologies, even within AdSense. They now have traditional banner ads but they also have ads for mobile, responsive ads. Whatever ad network you’re using, if you’re using one, optimize it, learn about the different options that they have. Keep abreast of the new things that are happening and the new techniques that can be used because this is one way that you can significantly increase your income over time.

Again, you have to have the traffic there for AdSense to work. If you’ve got the traffic, if you’ve got high volumes of traffic, you can actually see quite remarkable leaps in income from optimizing the way you do your advertising.

Affiliate marketing, again there’s ways that you can optimize your affiliate marketing. One of the most simple ways is to think about where you’re promoting your affiliate links. In the early days of my own blogging, I had my affiliate links in the sidebar and they converted every now and then. But certainly when I began to write reviews of books and I put the affiliate links inside my content, I saw significant increases in the commissions that I was earning.

Later on when I developed an email list, sending out emails that were promoting affiliate products, particularly ebooks and courses where it was a high commission, that again is a way that you can optimize your earnings there. Different calls to action, you over time learn how your readers work and what type of products work for them as well. Always be thinking about how can I increase the conversions.

If you’re selling products, there’s lots of different ways that you can optimize that whole process. Changing and testing out landing pages or sales pages. We recently ran a test to different versions of the same sales page for one of our products. We had a Lightroom course that we did, a course that we’re selling on Digital Photography School. We ran one version of the sales page which we sent 50% of our traffic to, and then we ran alongside it the other half of our traffic from our email to a different sales page. They both had exactly the same copy on it but they were designed different; one was a lot cleaner, one had different positioning of the buttons, and some different calls to action on it.

It turns out that there was a 30.4% difference between those two sales pages. This is another way that you can be optimizing the conversions of your site there. The same can be said for when you’re selling services on your site as well.

There’s three different ways that you can increase your income, these are three different areas that I would be encouraging you to think about as you look to grow your income on your blog. Firstly, traffic, it should always be your goal to be increasing traffic to your blog. Don’t become obsessed with it. You don’t need millions of readers, but grow your traffic and grow the quality of your traffic, find the right reader and work on getting them engaged and getting them hooked into your site. Work on the conversions, work on optimizing your income streams or whatever they may be, and then also think about diversifying your income. There’s three things that come out of that story that I told you a couple episodes ago.

A couple other things that I want to mention, firstly you will have heard me in that episode talk about that first year where I had no income streams and the reason I had no income streams was that I didn’t know you could have an income stream and that’s certainly the story of some bloggers. If you do know there’s some income streams, I really want to encourage you to resist the temptation to monetize too early or to put too much time into monetizing early. Really work a lot in those first few years of your blog on the other things that I talked about; learning how to blog better, creating great content, building traffic, and building community.

When I started Digital Photography School back in 2006 it was, I spent the first two years really not monetizing that site very much. Yep, I had some AdSense ads on there, yep I occasionally linked to Amazon, but I did very little active monetization of that site. I kind of had those things there but I was more focused on the other things I just mentioned, creating great content, driving traffic, because I knew that if I really spent that time investing into those foundational things that I’d be so much more effective at growing an income later.

Another thing that I want to say out of that story I shared was that most of the income streams I talked about there started as really small, uncertain experiments. All of them started small in some way or another. Yes, some of them had more spectacular starts like the first ebook I had which I mentioned sold $ 70,000, but that was still a very small nervous experient. It was repurposed content, it was me not quite knowing how it was going to go, so only spending a little bit on design. It was me signing up for shopping cart that cost $ 5 a month, E-Junkie.

I could’ve put a lot more time, a lot more energy, a lot more effort into that income stream but I am a bit risk averse and decided to bootstrap it and to see what would happen. I’m so glad I did because I could’ve spent years developing that product and then find it didn’t work. I’d rather spend a few months developing that product, get it out there, learn a lot and then see what happens. Small experiments are totally okay. You’re much more likely to take action on a small step than a big perfect product which will never actually happen, you can’t develop a perfect product, it’s just impossible. Small experiments.

In each case, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I want to be clear on that. A lot of times, you hear full time bloggers talking as if they know all the answers. I had no idea, those first ebooks I didn’t know whether they would work, I didn’t know whether anyone would buy them, I didn’t even know whether my readers would get angry, some of them buying something that was already on the site. That’s why I undersold it and I over-explained it in my first product. I had no idea whether they would work, I didn’t really understand the whole process but I did it anyway. That’s the important thing, taking action on these things.

Another thing I really want to point out from the story is that everything I did, almost one thing led to another. It’s very easy to say monetize your blog with courses but I only did courses because I did ebooks. I only did ebooks because I did affiliate marketing of other people’s ebooks. I only did affiliate marketing of other people’s ebooks because I started doing affiliate marketing on Amazon. You can kind of see, yes I ended up here, but I only ended up doing what I’m doing today because I started with some of these other things. Treat this as an evolutionary process.

The same could be said for selling ads directly to advertisers. I’ve done some big campaigns with advertisers over the years but they only came about because I rang a camera store a few years ago and organized a $ 20 on my site. I only did that because I stuck some AdSense ads on my site. I hope you can see here that there’s a progression. You don’t have to just jump straight to the end result. Learn by doing little things. As well as those little things bringing you income, you’re going to learn a lot. It’s the learning that’s as much the gold of all this as the actual income that you bring in as well.

The last thing I want to touch on is I really want to talk to those of you who are wondering which income stream to try. This may be those of you who are just starting out and you want to add your first income stream, or maybe it’s those of you who have had some income streams on your site but hasn’t really worked and you want to find one that’s better suited for your blog.

One of the things I would encourage you to do if that’s you and you’re trying to work out which income stream, I want you to really try and put yourself in the shoes of your readers and try and get in touch with their intent and ask yourself the question why are your readers on your site? Why are they there? Try and get in touch with their intent, what are they doing there? Are they there looking for information, are they there looking to learn something, are they there because they want community? Are they there because they’re researching something and are in the process of buying something? Are they there because they want to be entertained?

The reason I really think it’s important to dig into the intent of your reader is that different reader intents lend themselves to different types of monetization. I learned this the hard way. My first digital photography blog, which doesn’t exist today, was a digital camera review blog. It was one where I reviewed cameras, I talked about new cameras that were being released, and I aggregated reviews that other people were writing around the web. You could come and find a particular model and then go and easily be able to find out what other people are saying about it.

The reader intent of that first blog was that my readers were on my site to research a purchase of a digital camera. They were there trying to work out whether they should buy the Canon or the Sony. They were there trying to work out whether they should buy the A70 or the A90 camera. They were there basically in a research mode. What worked really well on that site was affiliate marketing where I’d link to camera stores or Amazon where they could then buy the product. They’re researching it, we give them a recommendation one way or the other, we tell them which camera is right for what type of person, and then they are like okay, I’m going to buy that camera. There’s a link to where I can buy it. A high percentage of them bought those cameras. Affiliate marketing worked really well.

Advertising also worked well, both ad networks but also working directly with advertisers because advertisers who sold digital cameras wanted to have their brands and wanted to have their stores in front of our readers at the time they’re buying a product. The reader intent really worked well for affiliate and for advertising, particularly around gear and cameras.

What didn’t work well on that first photography blog was us promoting products like ebooks on how to use cameras. Even though they were still about photography, people were not there looking for that type of information. They were there making a decision about buying a product. Ebooks did not work at all on that particular blog. I tried quite a few them out, let me tell you.

Later on, I started Digital Photography School. Digital Photography School how to use cameras and the intent of our readers on Digital Photography School to this day is they want to learn how to use cameras. Any kind of information product, our own or an affiliate’s, works well. So does software or some sort of prop that’s going to help them improve the end result of their photos, that’s what our readers are there looking for. Some of them have a secondary intent as well, some of them are actually looking to improve their photos by upgrading their camera gear as well.

Affiliate links and advertisers looking to sell gear kind of work on our side with some of our readers. Your blog might have major intent, they’re there looking to learn but then they might have a secondary kind of intent as well. Other income streams may work as secondary income streams as well. Get in touch with the intent of your readers and that may give you a hint as to what income stream might be useful to your readers.

The last thing I’ll say particularly if you’re in the early days and you’re trying to work out what income stream might work for you, one of the quickest things you can do is to look at other blogs in your niche and particularly other blogs that have similar reader intents to you. Look around, see what other blogs are using, what ad networks are they using. You can often tell if an ad is from an ad network, there’s often a tiny little icon in the corner of the banner ad which will tell you which ad network it is.

Check out what ad networks they’re using, what sponsors are they directly working with. These might be people that you can directly reach out to as well. What affiliate products are they promoting, what products of their own do they have? You could become an affiliate for those products or you could develop something similar as well. Look at what they’re doing, what services are they offering as well would be another one. Check out what others in your niche are doing, it’s just an easy way to work out what income streams might be worth investigating as well.

I hope you found that useful. I look forward to chatting with you in the next couple of days, I hope you’re doing well. Let me know in the comments on the show notes if you’ve got any questions. If you wouldn’t mind popping over to iTunes and leaving a review, that would be greatly appreciated as well. Chat with you soon, bye!

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PB155: 5 Tips from Full Time Bloggers

The 5 Top Tips from Full Time Bloggers

Today, I want to give you some advice. It’s not advice from me. It’s advice from about 50 full-time bloggers that I surveyed about two years ago. 

problogger_155

I was testing a survey software, and I sent the survey to some bloggers that I knew. I asked all of them one simple question

What is the number one tip you would give a new blogger who is just starting out and dreaming of becoming a full-time blogger?

In Today’s Episode 5 Tips from Full Time Bloggers

Listen to this epsiode in the player above or here on iTunes (look for episode 155).

  • Just be you. Speak in your own voice.
  • Consistency
  • Be persistent
  • Give it a go
  • Do something meaningful.

Further Resources 5 Tips from Full Time Bloggers

 




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Hi there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger here. Welcome to Episode 155 of the ProBlogger Podcast. Almost forgot what we’re up to there. Today, I want to give you some advice. It’s not advice from me, it’s advice from around 50 full time bloggers that I surveyed about two years ago.

It’s about two years ago I was testing out a new piece of software for surveys. Whilst I haven’t gone on to use this software anymore, I did do one survey using it and it was a survey that I did send out to full time bloggers that I knew. I asked them a simple question, one question. Quite a few of them answered.

The question was this, “What’s the top piece of advice, what’s the number one tip you would give a new blogger just starting out who had dreamed of becoming a full time blogger?” I thought when I sent this out that I would get all kinds of strategic advice, that I would get really practical, actionable advice. You know what came in? It really surprised me.

I sent it out to 50 bloggers and almost all of them came back to me with five responses, five common answers. That’s what I want to share with you today, these five things that I think are great things for us to all hear as bloggers, whether we’re just starting out or whether we’re well on the road to becoming full time or whether we’re even full time. These are five great reminders that I hope will help to keep you on course towards reaching your dreams for your blog, whatever that might be.

The first theme that I came up with as I looked at this 50 was to be you, just be you. In fact, this is what one person wrote. “Just be you. Speak in your own voice, and don’t try to be anyone else. Swim in your own lane.”

Another person simply said, “Be yourself.”

A third person said, “Keep it real.”

A fourth person said, “Find your authentic voice.”

Someone else said, “My best tip is to write about what you love and have experience in. Honesty comes out in your writing.”

Another person said, “Only write about what you’re passionate about, your own unique experiences.”

An eighth person said, “Don’t copy, find your own voice and use that. Remember, cover bands don’t change the world.”

Two more on this theme, “If you are passionate about something, let that shine through in every aspect of your blog. Don’t be so caught up in watching stats, gaining followers, and forget why you began blogging in the first place. Be authentic and make those connections organically because those are the people who will stick with you over your journey as you go through your ups and downs, and it will be a rollercoaster,” they said.

One more person said, “Write about something that you are genuinely interested in. In a crowded space, the best way to stand out is to be you. There’s no one like you. Your story, your opinion, your voice, your humor, they’re all unique. Tap into that.”

I love that advice, be you. It gets said a lot and sometimes it takes us a little while to work out who we are. I do think, as I look at successful bloggers, that that last person was completely right. The way to stand out is very often to find out who you are and to let that come out in your voice. It takes some time but I think it’s really important to tap into that.

That was the most common theme of the 50 responses that I had. A second one that came up time and time again, this is actually the reason that I am doing this podcast because I noticed this theme first. The theme was consistency. People used the word consistency 12 times out of the 50. Someone wrote, “People like consistency.”

Another person said, “Be consistent and be yourself.” There’s the other theme as well.

Someone else said, “Be regular with your writing. It really helps to keep the momentum going for both you as the writer and for your readers.”

“Blogging is never about one post, it’s your body of work that you’ll be known for,” said someone else.

“Keep going, keep talking, keep taking consistent action no matter how small. You’ll be amazed in a year when you look back at how far you’ve come.”

Someone else said, “Be consistent with the content you deliver. Be genuine in what you write about and how you deliver your message. If you do those things, then the money and business side naturally starts to flow.”

“Consistency, keep going and stay true to your voice and the info you want to provide.”

Consistency came up time and time again. This is one of the messages that I’ve preached many times at ProBlogger. It is the accumulation of what you do, it’s the accumulation of the tweets, the blog posts, the videos, all of the messages that you have. That’s what makes a blog epic. It’s not an one blog post.

Sometimes, you do have a break out post but really those posts are just part of the jigsaw puzzle of what you’re building. Consistency is so important.

The third theme is kind of similar, it’s persistency, not consistency. I think they really do go together. Here’s what a few people said.

Firstly, “It takes time to build a good blog.” That was the number one tip of one person.

“Beware, it’s going to be a lot of work,” says another.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” says the third.

“Keep going, it can take time to grow.”

“Keep going and keep learning,” says another person. This keep going thing comes up again and again.

“Keep going. If you feel like quitting, reconnect with your why and keep going.”

The last person says, “Persist for you, not the numbers.” This is a big theme in what I do teach people who want to make money from blogging. It’s going to take time, it’s going to take persistence, and it’s going to take that consistency, that was the other thing.

Two more themes that came up numerous times, not quite so many times but these did come up enough that I noticed the recurring-ness of them. The fourth one is give it a go. Those were four words that came up many times in the responses.

One person simply wrote, “Jump in and give it a go.”

A second person said, “My biggest tip is to just start. So many people want to start a blog. They worry about how they won’t be good enough or they compare themselves to established bloggers. If you don’t start, you can never build it. Don’t ever worry because it will never be perfect no matter when you start so just start now.”

The third person said, “If you haven’t started, start, stick at it.”

This consistency came up in that last one again but the theme of starting out is really important. Ultimately, this is the thing, the only thing that I can find that all successful bloggers have in common. The only thing that every single one of them have done is start, ultimately.

All of the full time bloggers that I’ve ever met, all of the successful bloggers I’ve ever met have found their own path, they found their own distinct way forward. There’s certainly some similarities but every single one of them has started. They all started with nothing, they all started when they didn’t have a post on their blog. They all started when they didn’t have a reader, the only person who knew about their blog was them. They all started at the same point.

This is one of the things that I talked about at the ProBlogger event, there were many times as I look back over the last 14 years where I started something and I had nothing but I started. The first time I started my email list, I had no one subscribed to it. Then, I subscribed myself, then I subscribed my dad, then I subscribed my wife. I forced subscribers. When I first hit that first email, I only had 17 subscribers. I asked myself is this really worth it? Is it really worth it to send an email, to spend an hour sending an email to 17 people? The reality was that it probably wasn’t worth it in that first 17 because no one clicked any of the links in that first email. The next week when I sent it to 30 people, a couple of people did. The next week, I sent it to 45 people and a few more did.

Years later, now I have 700,000 people subscribed to that email list which sounds mind boggling, it amazes me that that many people are subscribed. Now every week, we’re able to drive lots of traffic. You know what? It all started by me starting this thing and then subscribing my dad and my wife to it. I started it. Starting is just so important, whether it’s starting your blog or starting that email list or starting something else that you know you need to do.

The fifth theme that I want to just briefly touch about, this came up in a few people was to do something meaningful. Here’s what three people said. “Reach the heart of your readers because the more hearts you touch, the more the numbers will start to follow.”

The second person said, “Do something meaningful to you and your readers. If it means something to you, you’ll be able to get through the tough times. If you do something meaningful to others, you’ll do something that people will want to connect with and share.”

One last person said, “Know your why. Know why you’re blogging, write it down, wave it in the air to anyone who tries to tell you that you should be doing something else. You might blog to make money, to draw up business, to help others, to connect with others, to simply be creative. Figuring out your motivation for blogging will help to prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by all the things you could or should be doing with your blog.”

I love that last one, know your why. I think for me knowing your why really will shake the direction you go and it will help you to make wise choices about what to do.

There you go, there’s five pieces of advice from full time bloggers that I’ve forgotten I even had sitting there on my hard drive and in this piece of software. The five pieces of advice, again, were consistency, be consistent, be you, be persistent, give it a go, and do something meaningful.

I’d love to know what you think. Are you a full time blogger? What advice would you give beginner bloggers? Are you a part time blogger? What advice would you give? Are you a new blogger who hasn’t got any readers yet? What advice would you give your readers? I’d love to hear your advice on today’s show notes.

Looking for something else to listen to? I might just have something for you that will give you almost 70 hours of listening, great advice from full time bloggers that gets a little more strategic than what you have just heard. I think the five things that those full time bloggers gave as advice were really good but sometimes we need something a bit more practical and actionable.

ProBlogger Event, Virtual Ticket is now available for you to purchase. We’ve uploaded 70 sessions worth of advice from full time bloggers from this year’s event and last year’s event. You’re going to hear some great advice from people like Jedah Sellner from Simple Green Smoothies who talked about Instagram but also gave some great entrepreneurial advice.

You’ll also hear from Dan Norris from WP Curve who gave a fantastic keynote on how to think like an entrepreneur.

We’ve got a great keynote from Emily Watnick who talked about how to build a blog when you have multiple passions and interests, how can you combine them together? That’s a very common question I get asked a lot, “How do I blog if I haven’t got a niche?”

We’ve also got sessions on YouTube, very strategic sessions. We’ve got sessions on Instagram, we’ve got sessions on Facebook Advertising, Facebook organic, sessions on podcasting, copywriting, all types of sessions.

If you want to head over to problogger.com/virtualticket, you’ll be able to see a full rundown of what is included in that particular ticket and you’ll also get access to a little private Facebook group that we have running for just those who attended the live event and virtual ticket holders. Just a few hundred people in there, we’ll be able to give you a little bit more personal attention, you’ll be able to participate in some of the things that we’ve got going on in that group.

Once again, head over to problogger.com/virtualticket to pick up yours today.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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Why a Powerful Brand Image Is Crucial for Successful Blogging (And 6 Ways You Can Build One)

This is a guest contribution from Jawad Khan.

Do you have a mentor, or have you ever tried looking for one?

If yes, you’d know that credibility, apart from the right expertise, is the number one quality a mentor should possess.

A person doesn’t deserve to mentor you (or anyone) if he isn’t dependable and changes views like clothes.

In other words a successful mentor needs to have a brand image that epitomizes trust, expertise and consistency.

A Powerful Brand Image Is Crucial for Successful Blogging

Successful blogging is a lot like mentoring.

Ideally, your blog readers should look up to you for advice and direction. You should be the expert that helps them solve their biggest problems and overcome the most complex mental blocks.

But that will only happen when you intentionally work on building your brand image.

Just think about it.

Why would someone purchase your coaching program or your “Epic Guide to Freelancing” or “30 Day Affiliate Marketing Course” when a million other people are selling similar products?

It’s your brand image and how you’re perceived by your readers that does the selling for you.

When people trust you, they buy from you even when your competitors have better products.

Branding is also important from an SEO perspective.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-5-19-07-pm

Source: SEObook

Brands not only rank higher in search results, they’re much likelier to avoid a Google penalty even when they’ve violated its guidelines.

Not sure how to brand your blog? Let me help me break it down for you.

1. Share Your Brand’s Story and List Your Core Values

Powerful brands have powerful stories. They serve a clear purpose and do business for a reason. A brand’s story allows it to connect with its audience and help them own the brand’s experiences.

If you think your blog doesn’t have a story, think harder.

What motivates you to blog every day? What purpose are you serving? What change are you trying to make?

Most of us have a good reason for doing what we do. You just need to think harder to find it.

Darren’s keynote at the World Domination Summit is a pretty good example of a powerful story.

darren

When you have a powerful story and purpose behind your blog, it also makes it easier for you to identify your brand’s core values.

For example, some of you core values as an affiliate marketing blogger can be

  • To find the best and most useful products for my audience that can help them succeed.
  • To only endorse and promote products that I have tried myself and have full confidence in.
  • To be empathetic towards my readers, understand their needs and help them solve their problems

Many bloggers list down their core values by creating a blogging manifesto. You can even come up with a catchy brand slogan, based on your values, using this free slogan generator.

Listing down your core values and sharing them with your audience helps you build trust and immediately connect with your ideal readers.

2. Choose a Brandable Domain Name and Invest Your Blog’s Design

If you’re still looking for exact keyword match domains (EMDs), you need a change of mindset.

I can understand if you choose an EMD for a micro niche site, but if you’re thinking long-term, and want to create a blog that people remember, treat your blog’s URL as a brand name.

A brandable URL not only gives you a unique identity, while clearly representing your core offer, but also makes your brand name easier to remember.

ProBlogger, the brand name, is a great example. The same goes for Backlinko, QuickSprout, Smart Blogger and many others. They’re all very popular blogs with branded URLs. If you’re looking for ideas, you can use this business name generator by Freshbooks or visit a branded domain marketplace to find niche domain ideas.

The other aspect of a strong online brand image includes an eye-catching logo, which represents the mood of your brand, and a website design that is not only pleasing to the eye but also makes it easier for your readers to focus on your content and the actions that you want them to take.

You need to be precise about the colors you choose for both these aspects of your brand, especially the logo.

problogger

Source: The Business of Color [infographic by 99Designs]

Once again, the new clean design of ProBlogger is a pretty good example. It’s clutter free and makes the content more prominent with an easy to read font.

CopyBlogger, with lots of empty spaces, is another example of a clean design that makes reading easy.

problogger-2

You can find high quality and responsive WordPress themes on ThemeForest (recommended by Darren) or, if you like to do things yourself, follow this mammoth step by step guide for setting up a WordPress blog.

3. Solve Problems With High Quality Long-Form Content

Long vs. short posts, quantity vs. quality, users vs. Google – these are all never ending debates.

But I’ll make this easy for you.

To become an authority in your niche and establish a powerful brand image, you need to create content that solves problems of your audience so comprehensively that they become life-long fans and always seek your advice when they’re stuck.

Can you create such comprehensive content in 200 words? Can you give them step by step directions and solve their problem in 500 words?

If no, what’s the point of creating short content when it doesn’t establish you as an expert?

Don’t tell me about Seth Godin and a few other celebrity bloggers. You’re not in the same league yet and your short content won’t have the same impact, please accept that fact.

The other reason why you need to create longer content is search engine traffic. More than 75% of users click the first three results on a search page. And you’re much likelier to land a spot in the first 3 search results if you create longer content.

problogger-3

Source: Vive Health

As you can see, the average length of the top search results is well over 2000 words.

So when your objective is brand building, focus on creating detailed and in-depth content that solves problems of your readers. Don’t blog about your products all time, focus on your customers. You can do that no matter what industry you’re in.

Here’s a really good example of a conventional business blog focusing on the problems of its ideal customers. This is the kind of content that builds your image as an expert brand.

Here’s another good example of a business blog providing solutions to its readers. Most people visit coupon sites because they’re looking to save money and find discounts. So this particular site created a several thousand word guide to help its readers.

problogger-5

Source: Crowd Savers

eCommerce giants, Shopify have taken this to a completely different level. Instead of creating content only about their product, they regularly publish detailed eCommerce case studies, how-to articles and step by step guidelines that help their customers succeed in their businesses. They’ve even created an eCommerce encyclopedia for small businesses with in-depth articles and resources for their customers.

In short, when you create content that solves the problems of your audience, you eventually become their go-to source for everything related to your industry.

4. Add Snapshots, Data References and Infographics To Your Blog Posts

Publishing 2000+ word blog posts is great. But when you’re putting so much effort in creating blog content, why not make it truly epic by backing your arguments with data references and explaining your tips with snapshots.

Doing this will not only add more weight to your content, but will also make it look better than your competitors. Most bloggers take the easy route by just telling people what to do.

By using snapshots, you can raise the bar and show your audience exactly how to do something.

You can use Evernote Web Clipper, a free browser extension for Windows and Mac, to quickly create snapshots and add annotations to explain your points.

problogger-6

Images and snapshots immediately make your content more consumable and keep the readers engaged.

In fact, visual content is so useful for branding, that I strongly recommend making infographics a key part of your content strategy.

This has two advantages.

Infographics are not only among the most frequently shared content types, which results in more traffic and backlinks, but also help you stand out from your competition and strengthen your brand image.

There are dozens of free tools like Canva and Visme that can be used to create infographics. As an added resource, keep these infographic design tips in mind.

However, if you really want your content to stand out, try making short screencasts, webinars and explainer videos a part of your content strategy as well. It’s much easier to create video content because of the different screencast tools and explainer video apps like PowToon.

problogger-7

Source: Content Marketing Institute

A joint study by MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute found that 66% marketers consider webinars and videos the most effective forms of content for branding and lead generation.

In short, your content becomes much more powerful when you don’t just tell readers what to do, you show them how it’s done using visual content.

5. Feature in Other High Authority Publications to Borrow Credibility

Guest blogging may not be the best SEO strategy anymore, but it’s still one of the most effective ways to build your brand image by borrowing credibility from other authority publications.

When people see your name on websites like The Huffington Post, The New York Times or CopyBlogger and Hubspot (for marketers) they immediately start considering you someone worthy of their attention.

Forget guest blogging for backlinks. Brand building is the real benefit of featuring on other authority sites.

You’ll see this in action on almost every influencer’s website.

problogger-8

Simply identify the top blogs and publications in your niche, and contact them with a well-researched guest post. Most blogs and websites would be happy to publish your piece as long as it follows their editorial guidelines and offers quality information.

6. Start a Facebook Group and Host Facebook Live Sessions

There are hundreds of social networks on the web with billions of combined users. But Facebook is still by far the most effective platform to build your audience from the scratch.

Facebook Groups in particular are engagement powerhouses that can be leveraged for community building and lead generation.

problogger-9

If you’re looking to strengthen your brand image and connect with your target audience, I strongly recommend starting a Facebook group of your own.

Promote your group using Facebook ads and try building a community around your brand. Engage with them regularly, share your knowledge and answer their questions.

In addition, start weekly Facebook Live sessions on different topics and invite people to ask questions. Give them live demonstration of your expertise.

For example, if you’re a copywriter, perform live copy audits of different websites. If you’re a designer, offer live design critique and share your feedback with your audience.

This strategy not only boosts engagement with your audience but also turns them into brand advocates and word of mouth marketers for you.

Wrapping Up

It doesn’t matter if you’re an affiliate marketer, a business coach or a product seller, the strength of your brand image will always have a direct impact on your sales and revenue numbers. The stronger the brand, the better the results. Which is why branding should be one of your primary concerns while starting a new blog or online business.

How much time and money have you invested in building your brand image?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog Writing My Destiny, Twitter, and Google+.

The post Why a Powerful Brand Image Is Crucial for Successful Blogging (And 6 Ways You Can Build One) appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


ProBlogger

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why a Powerful Brand Image Is Crucial for Successful Blogging (And 6 Ways You Can Build One)

This is a guest contribution from Jawad Khan.

Do you have a mentor, or have you ever tried looking for one?

If yes, you’d know that credibility, apart from the right expertise, is the number one quality a mentor should possess.

A person doesn’t deserve to mentor you (or anyone) if he isn’t dependable and changes views like clothes.

In other words a successful mentor needs to have a brand image that epitomizes trust, expertise and consistency.

A Powerful Brand Image Is Crucial for Successful Blogging

Successful blogging is a lot like mentoring.

Ideally, your blog readers should look up to you for advice and direction. You should be the expert that helps them solve their biggest problems and overcome the most complex mental blocks.

But that will only happen when you intentionally work on building your brand image.

Just think about it.

Why would someone purchase your coaching program or your “Epic Guide to Freelancing” or “30 Day Affiliate Marketing Course” when a million other people are selling similar products?

It’s your brand image and how you’re perceived by your readers that does the selling for you.

When people trust you, they buy from you even when your competitors have better products.

Branding is also important from an SEO perspective.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-5-19-07-pm

Source: SEObook

Brands not only rank higher in search results, they’re much likelier to avoid a Google penalty even when they’ve violated its guidelines.

Not sure how to brand your blog? Let me help me break it down for you.

1. Share Your Brand’s Story and List Your Core Values

Powerful brands have powerful stories. They serve a clear purpose and do business for a reason. A brand’s story allows it to connect with its audience and help them own the brand’s experiences.

If you think your blog doesn’t have a story, think harder.

What motivates you to blog every day? What purpose are you serving? What change are you trying to make?

Most of us have a good reason for doing what we do. You just need to think harder to find it.

Darren’s keynote at the World Domination Summit is a pretty good example of a powerful story.

darren

When you have a powerful story and purpose behind your blog, it also makes it easier for you to identify your brand’s core values.

For example, some of you core values as an affiliate marketing blogger can be

  • To find the best and most useful products for my audience that can help them succeed.
  • To only endorse and promote products that I have tried myself and have full confidence in.
  • To be empathetic towards my readers, understand their needs and help them solve their problems

Many bloggers list down their core values by creating a blogging manifesto. You can even come up with a catchy brand slogan, based on your values, using this free slogan generator.

Listing down your core values and sharing them with your audience helps you build trust and immediately connect with your ideal readers.

2. Choose a Brandable Domain Name and Invest Your Blog’s Design

If you’re still looking for exact keyword match domains (EMDs), you need a change of mindset.

I can understand if you choose an EMD for a micro niche site, but if you’re thinking long-term, and want to create a blog that people remember, treat your blog’s URL as a brand name.

A brandable URL not only gives you a unique identity, while clearly representing your core offer, but also makes your brand name easier to remember.

ProBlogger, the brand name, is a great example. The same goes for Backlinko, QuickSprout, Smart Blogger and many others. They’re all very popular blogs with branded URLs. If you’re looking for ideas, you can use this business name generator by Freshbooks or visit a branded domain marketplace to find niche domain ideas.

The other aspect of a strong online brand image includes an eye-catching logo, which represents the mood of your brand, and a website design that is not only pleasing to the eye but also makes it easier for your readers to focus on your content and the actions that you want them to take.

You need to be precise about the colors you choose for both these aspects of your brand, especially the logo.

problogger

Source: The Business of Color [infographic by 99Designs]

Once again, the new clean design of ProBlogger is a pretty good example. It’s clutter free and makes the content more prominent with an easy to read font.

CopyBlogger, with lots of empty spaces, is another example of a clean design that makes reading easy.

problogger-2

You can find high quality and responsive WordPress themes on ThemeForest (recommended by Darren) or, if you like to do things yourself, follow this mammoth step by step guide for setting up a WordPress blog.

3. Solve Problems With High Quality Long-Form Content

Long vs. short posts, quantity vs. quality, users vs. Google – these are all never ending debates.

But I’ll make this easy for you.

To become an authority in your niche and establish a powerful brand image, you need to create content that solves problems of your audience so comprehensively that they become life-long fans and always seek your advice when they’re stuck.

Can you create such comprehensive content in 200 words? Can you give them step by step directions and solve their problem in 500 words?

If no, what’s the point of creating short content when it doesn’t establish you as an expert?

Don’t tell me about Seth Godin and a few other celebrity bloggers. You’re not in the same league yet and your short content won’t have the same impact, please accept that fact.

The other reason why you need to create longer content is search engine traffic. More than 75% of users click the first three results on a search page. And you’re much likelier to land a spot in the first 3 search results if you create longer content.

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As you can see, the average length of the top search results is well over 2000 words.

So when your objective is brand building, focus on creating detailed and in-depth content that solves problems of your readers. Don’t blog about your products all time, focus on your customers. You can do that no matter what industry you’re in.

Here’s a really good example of a conventional business blog focusing on the problems of its ideal customers. This is the kind of content that builds your image as an expert brand.

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Source: Vive Health

Here’s another good example of a business blog providing solutions to its readers. Most people visit coupon sites because they’re looking to save money and find discounts. So this particular site created a several thousand word guide to help its readers.

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Source: Crowd Savers

eCommerce giants, Shopify have taken this to a completely different level. Instead of creating content only about their product, they regularly publish detailed eCommerce case studies, how-to articles and step by step guidelines that help their customers succeed in their businesses. They’ve even created an eCommerce encyclopedia for small businesses with in-depth articles and resources for their customers.

In short, when you create content that solves the problems of your audience, you eventually become their go-to source for everything related to your industry.

4. Add Snapshots, Data References and Infographics To Your Blog Posts

Publishing 2000+ word blog posts is great. But when you’re putting so much effort in creating blog content, why not make it truly epic by backing your arguments with data references and explaining your tips with snapshots.

Doing this will not only add more weight to your content, but will also make it look better than your competitors. Most bloggers take the easy route by just telling people what to do.

By using snapshots, you can raise the bar and show your audience exactly how to do something.

You can use Evernote Web Clipper, a free browser extension for Windows and Mac, to quickly create snapshots and add annotations to explain your points.

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Images and snapshots immediately make your content more consumable and keep the readers engaged.

In fact, visual content is so useful for branding, that I strongly recommend making infographics a key part of your content strategy.

This has two advantages.

Infographics are not only among the most frequently shared content types, which results in more traffic and backlinks, but also help you stand out from your competition and strengthen your brand image.

There are dozens of free tools like Canva and Visme that can be used to create infographics. As an added resource, keep these infographic design tips in mind.

However, if you really want your content to stand out, try making short screencasts, webinars and explainer videos a part of your content strategy as well. It’s much easier to create video content because of the different screencast tools and explainer video apps like PowToon.

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Source: Content Marketing Institute

A joint study by MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute found that 66% marketers consider webinars and videos the most effective forms of content for branding and lead generation.

In short, your content becomes much more powerful when you don’t just tell readers what to do, you show them how it’s done using visual content.

5. Feature in Other High Authority Publications to Borrow Credibility

Guest blogging may not be the best SEO strategy anymore, but it’s still one of the most effective ways to build your brand image by borrowing credibility from other authority publications.

When people see your name on websites like The Huffington Post, The New York Times or CopyBlogger and Hubspot (for marketers) they immediately start considering you someone worthy of their attention.

Forget guest blogging for backlinks. Brand building is the real benefit of featuring on other authority sites.

You’ll see this in action on almost every influencer’s website.

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Simply identify the top blogs and publications in your niche, and contact them with a well-researched guest post. Most blogs and websites would be happy to publish your piece as long as it follows their editorial guidelines and offers quality information.

An alternate approach, which I’ve found useful, is to connect with influential bloggers, who write for different authority sites, on Get Reviewed and ask them to feature your brand in their articles. This might cost you a few dollars but it would save you from the hassle of writing and pitching guest posts.

6. Start a Facebook Group and Host Facebook Live Sessions

There are hundreds of social networks on the web with billions of combined users. But Facebook is still by far the most effective platform to build your audience from the scratch.

Facebook Groups in particular are engagement powerhouses that can be leveraged for community building and lead generation.

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If you’re looking to strengthen your brand image and connect with your target audience, I strongly recommend starting a Facebook group of your own.

Promote your group using Facebook ads and try building a community around your brand. Engage with them regularly, share your knowledge and answer their questions.

In addition, start weekly Facebook Live sessions on different topics and invite people to ask questions. Give them live demonstration of your expertise.

For example, if you’re a copywriter, perform live copy audits of different websites. If you’re a designer, offer live design critique and share your feedback with your audience.

This strategy not only boosts engagement with your audience but also turns them into brand advocates and word of mouth marketers for you.

Wrapping Up

It doesn’t matter if you’re an affiliate marketer, a business coach or a product seller, the strength of your brand image will always have a direct impact on your sales and revenue numbers. The stronger the brand, the better the results. Which is why branding should be one of your primary concerns while starting a new blog or online business.

How much time and money have you invested in building your brand image?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blogWriting My Destiny, Twitter, and Google+.

The post Why a Powerful Brand Image Is Crucial for Successful Blogging (And 6 Ways You Can Build One) appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


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5 Chrome Apps I Can’t Live Without

photo-1461773518188-b3e86f98242fAs a blogger and social media strategist, there are a few things I absolutely would not be caught dead without.

I have to keep on top of a ton of tasks in all my roles, and the faster and more efficiently I can get these done, the better! Having important tools only a click away makes all the difference in the world – hence why I love keeping my Chrome toolbar stocked with things I need every day.

The current state of my toolbar:

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Ok so there’s more than five, but some tools I can live without!

5 Chrome Apps I Can’t Live Without

1. Buzzsumo

Ever since Twitter icons the world over stopped showing the tweet count of every post, it’s been harder to see who has tweeted your content, and when. This isn’t what you want when you’re in charge of social media strategy and having to compile reports (or even if you just want to keep track, thank the tweeters, etc)!

Fortunately the Buzzsumo Chrome extension is a handy tool to see exactly what you want – It still shows tweet counts, and who were the sharers. It also gives you a great social media overview without having to open and log into the Buzzsumo site.

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Buzzsumo is a godsend for analysis on what content performs best and where.

One of the things I’ve noticed though, is that she share count isn’t totally accurate if you’ve recently removed the dates from your URLs. This can be super useful for SEO purposes, but it does then skew your Buzzsumo data as it only counts the shares of your new URL, not the old.

As you can see, one of my most popular posts on Veggie Mama looks like hardly anyone cared at all!

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Whereas the share reality is far different:

 

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However, it is a great tool for quickly checking the success of yours and others’ posts – particularly if you curate content for social media channels (or roundups posts, like I do here).

And, of course, you can still manually search for shares (although it’s obviously a bit more involved).

2. CoSchedule

I use CoSchedule multiple times a day, so I’m usually always logged in and the site open in a tab.

However, if I’m casually reading on a weekend or haven’t got it open for some reason, I can quickly share or schedule an interesting post for my audience, right from that post with the CoSchedule app on the Chrome toolbar.

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You simply click on the icon and this page will pop up, allowing you to personalise your message and set a time for it to go live.

3. RSS Feed Reader

Part of my duties both at ProBlogger, as a blogger, and managing the social media for other small businesses is curating content to go out on social media. It’s also imperative that I keep up-to-date with current news and trends in the online world to help keep up my skills and knowledge in my industry.

Enter the old-school RSS feed reader, totally available from my toolbar!

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I have mine set to feed me the most popular and shared content across three platforms (I will be expanding this): Tech, vegetarian news, and blogging, according to share counts from Buzzsumo.

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At the click of a button I can see what is the most popular content across all three niches, ready for me to share with our audience, or to help me stay abreast of current online affairs.

4. Ahalogy (or other Pinterest scheduler)

I love the easily-pinned images found on blogs and websites the world over, but I don’t always want to pin that content right away.

If I’m hoping to schedule something to pin later (particularly if I’ve gone on a bit of a Pinning spree), I use my current Pinterest scheduler, which is Ahalogy. I have also used Tailwind and found that toolbar app useful also.

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I love using a scheduling app that puts your pin in your current queue, or allows you to manually set a scheduled time.

5. The Great Suspender

As I’m sure you can imagine, I have many tabs open and on the go at any one time – keeping track of everything all the time is a massive job that can easily suck your data and your battery dry.

Enter The Great Suspender, available from the Chrome Web Store!

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After a certain amount of time, your computer will suspend any tabs that haven’t been used, but will unsuspend immediately you reload the page. You can also whitelist your favourite pages so they will always stay open.

It can often shut off when you might not want it to – for example, if you’re downloading something or listening to music or the radio on a webplayer, so be warned!

Also, you will be prompted to save your work or stay on a page if the suspender attempts to suspend a tab before you’ve saved what you were working on. Yay!

Special Mentions

I do use these apps often, and find them invaluable, but would still survive if they weren’t on my daily toolbar!

Clip to Evernote

Having said all that, I’ve used the article clipper on Evernote a whole bunch this last week – it helps me keep my posts-to-read-for-later in their appropriate folders, and also makes it easier for me to send information to shared folders for my clients (or my podcast co-host) to read.

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You can clip any part of the article or send the entire thing to your Evernote. I’ve found it particularly useful when the post I’m reading doesn’t have an email option and I can’t email it to my relevant folder.

It’s saved me a lot of time and effort!

Simple Pomodoro

Simple Pomodoro is also a great app to have when you struggle to stay focused or find it hard to get through your to-do list without being distracted.

The app is based on the Pomodoro technique, which advises you to work for 20 minutes, then take a break, to help keep you on task.

The 5 Chrome Apps I Can't Live Without - as a blogger and social media strategies, these tools make my life so much easier | ProBlogger.net

You can set yourself a timer very quickly, and personalise the timeframe – I always do the 20 minute pomodoro, but you can also choose 5, 10, 15 or multiple minutes.

So these are the tools I have on hand to be the best blogger and social media manager I can be! I hope they’re helpful to you too – do you have favourite toolbar apps you just can’t live without? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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PB154: How to Grow Your Blogging Income

Grow Your Blogging Income

Today, I am going to continue on from episode 153 where I outlined a timeline of how I added different income streams over time. 

I felt like there was a little more I could say about diversifying your income in that way and growing your income.

A photo by Gustavo Quepón. unsplash.com/photos/pF_2lrjWiJE

I think there are some principles that you can pull out of the story. I hope that you find these observations and words of encouragement helpful.

Further Resources on How to Grow Your Blogging Income




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Hey there, it’s Darren from ProBlogger. Welcome to Episode 154 of the ProBlogger Podcast where today I want to continue on from the last episode, 153, where I outlined the timeline of how I added different income streams over time. I felt like there was a little bit more I could say about diversifying your income in that way and growing your income because I think whilst hearing a story, I think there are some principles that we can pull out of this story. I hope that you find these observations and words of encouragement helpful for you.

Let me get into a few thoughts on that story I have told you. Let’s start off by talking about three ways that you can grow your blogging income. You will have heard in that story three things that I’ve done over time to grow my income. The first one, probably the most obvious one in that particular story, was that I diversified my income streams. I did this right from the start, I had AdSense and Amazon Affiliate Program. One earned me a dollar a day, one earned me a few cents a day. It wasn’t really that spectacular a story, I have to admit.

Along the way, you heard me tell how I added a second ad network. That was a really important moment for me where I added Chitika on top of my AdSense earnings. That almost doubled my income over night. That was a really important moment, it was an exciting day. The same thing happened when I moved from just having advertising and affiliate promotions as the bulk of my income and then started to create ebooks. Within a couple of months, I again doubled my income streams. That was a little bit more spectacular than just going from a few cents a day to a dollar a day.

Diversifying your income streams is something that I think a lot of bloggers who have been blogging for a while, most of them are really focusing in on one or two income streams. Maybe there is a way that you can exponentially grow your income in a relatively short time because you’ve done a lot of that hard work already of building your audience up. If you’ve got an audience, if you’ve got engagement, that is perhaps a bit of a shortcut. It’s still going to take you a lot of work but it’s definitely something to consider.

A couple other things that you can do to grow your income in addition to diversifying your income streams. Firstly, and these aren’t rocket science but these are things that you need to be working on all the time. Grow your traffic, you heard me talk about that first year where I didn’t have any income streams, that was a year where I put time into growing my archives of content, building traffic, and deepening engagement with my readers.

Growing traffic is something that’s really important. I realized very early on, literally within a day or two, that I could double my AdSense income by doubling my traffic. You can’t always double your traffic and that doesn’t always translate over because different types of traffic convert for different types of income streams at different rates. The principle applies through all the income streams that I outlined in the last podcast, all of them will grow up if you are able to increase the amount of traffic that you have and also the quality of traffic that you have as well. By quality, I’m talking there about getting the right type of readers to your blog and getting engaged readers to your blog. Work on growing traffic to your blog.

This is something that generally for most bloggers takes time, it’s usually a gradual thing but it’s something you should be always focusing your attention on. That’s why I do so many podcasts on the topic of growing traffic to your blog. Traffic alone is not the only way to increase your income, the other thing that I found really does help a lot is increasing the conversions. The conversions mean different things for the different income streams but converting that traffic into the income, there are things that you can do to optimize that along the way. It’s different for the different income streams. I thought it might be worthwhile to just briefly touch on each of the different income streams that I’ve mentioned or some of them at least.

Advertising networks, that was my first one. Google AdSense, Chitika. I realized very early on that more ads would lead to an increased amount of income. You don’t want to go overboard with that, I think AdSense has a limit, three or four ads per page. Different ad networks have different limits on how many ads you can have. If you have too many ads on a page, Google also penalizes you from a search engine optimization point of view as well. Don’t have too many ads, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with ads. But certainly rather than just having one ad, try a second ad. You will increase your income that way.

Also, different positions of ads work differently. AdSense for example, if you have your ads above the fold in the top half of your site, if you try putting an ad that floats in your sidebar and follows your reader down the page so they’re always seeing it, that can have an impact as well. Different positions of ads definitely will convert at different rates. Different sized ads, some ads, there are more advertisers targeting those sites. 300×250 pixel sized ad is one of the most popular ones. We find our 728×90, the ones across the top of our blogs, the header type blogs, they work quite well for us as well. Experiment with different sizes of ads.

There’s all kinds of different technologies, even within AdSense. They now have traditional banner ads but they also have ads for mobile, responsive ads. Whatever ad network you’re using, if you’re using one, optimize it, learn about the different options that they have. Keep abreast of the new things that are happening and the new techniques that can be used because this is one way that you can significantly increase your income over time.

Again, you have to have the traffic there for AdSense to work. If you’ve got the traffic, if you’ve got high volumes of traffic, you can actually see quite remarkable leaps in income from optimizing the way you do your advertising.

Affiliate marketing, again there’s ways that you can optimize your affiliate marketing. One of the most simple ways is to think about where you’re promoting your affiliate links. In the early days of my own blogging, I had my affiliate links in the sidebar and they converted every now and then. But certainly when I began to write reviews of books and I put the affiliate links inside my content, I saw significant increases in the commissions that I was earning.

Later on when I developed an email list, sending out emails that were promoting affiliate products, particularly ebooks and courses where it was a high commission, that again is a way that you can optimize your earnings there. Different calls to action, you over time learn how your readers work and what type of products work for them as well. Always be thinking about how can I increase the conversions.

If you’re selling products, there’s lots of different ways that you can optimize that whole process. Changing and testing out landing pages or sales pages. We recently ran a test to different versions of the same sales page for one of our products. We had a Lightroom course that we did, a course that we’re selling on Digital Photography School. We ran one version of the sales page which we sent 50% of our traffic to, and then we ran alongside it the other half of our traffic from our email to a different sales page. They both had exactly the same copy on it but they were designed different; one was a lot cleaner, one had different positioning of the buttons, and some different calls to action on it.

It turns out that there was a 30.4% difference between those two sales pages. This is another way that you can be optimizing the conversions of your site there. The same can be said for when you’re selling services on your site as well.

There’s three different ways that you can increase your income, these are three different areas that I would be encouraging you to think about as you look to grow your income on your blog. Firstly, traffic, it should always be your goal to be increasing traffic to your blog. Don’t become obsessed with it. You don’t need millions of readers, but grow your traffic and grow the quality of your traffic, find the right reader and work on getting them engaged and getting them hooked into your site. Work on the conversions, work on optimizing your income streams or whatever they may be, and then also think about diversifying your income. There’s three things that come out of that story that I told you a couple episodes ago.

A couple other things that I want to mention, firstly you will have heard me in that episode talk about that first year where I had no income streams and the reason I had no income streams was that I didn’t know you could have an income stream and that’s certainly the story of some bloggers. If you do know there’s some income streams, I really want to encourage you to resist the temptation to monetize too early or to put too much time into monetizing early. Really work a lot in those first few years of your blog on the other things that I talked about; learning how to blog better, creating great content, building traffic, and building community.

When I started Digital Photography School back in 2006 it was, I spent the first two years really not monetizing that site very much. Yep, I had some AdSense ads on there, yep I occasionally linked to Amazon, but I did very little active monetization of that site. I kind of had those things there but I was more focused on the other things I just mentioned, creating great content, driving traffic, because I knew that if I really spent that time investing into those foundational things that I’d be so much more effective at growing an income later.

Another thing that I want to say out of that story I shared was that most of the income streams I talked about there started as really small, uncertain experiments. All of them started small in some way or another. Yes, some of them had more spectacular starts like the first ebook I had which I mentioned sold $ 70,000, but that was still a very small nervous experient. It was repurposed content, it was me not quite knowing how it was going to go, so only spending a little bit on design. It was me signing up for shopping cart that cost $ 5 a month, E-Junkie.

I could’ve put a lot more time, a lot more energy, a lot more effort into that income stream but I am a bit risk averse and decided to bootstrap it and to see what would happen. I’m so glad I did because I could’ve spent years developing that product and then find it didn’t work. I’d rather spend a few months developing that product, get it out there, learn a lot and then see what happens. Small experiments are totally okay. You’re much more likely to take action on a small step than a big perfect product which will never actually happen, you can’t develop a perfect product, it’s just impossible. Small experiments.

In each case, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I want to be clear on that. A lot of times, you hear full time bloggers talking as if they know all the answers. I had no idea, those first ebooks I didn’t know whether they would work, I didn’t know whether anyone would buy them, I didn’t even know whether my readers would get angry, some of them buying something that was already on the site. That’s why I undersold it and I over-explained it in my first product. I had no idea whether they would work, I didn’t really understand the whole process but I did it anyway. That’s the important thing, taking action on these things.

Another thing I really want to point out from the story is that everything I did, almost one thing led to another. It’s very easy to say monetize your blog with courses but I only did courses because I did ebooks. I only did ebooks because I did affiliate marketing of other people’s ebooks. I only did affiliate marketing of other people’s ebooks because I started doing affiliate marketing on Amazon. You can kind of see, yes I ended up here, but I only ended up doing what I’m doing today because I started with some of these other things. Treat this as an evolutionary process.

The same could be said for selling ads directly to advertisers. I’ve done some big campaigns with advertisers over the years but they only came about because I rang a camera store a few years ago and organized a $ 20 on my site. I only did that because I stuck some AdSense ads on my site. I hope you can see here that there’s a progression. You don’t have to just jump straight to the end result. Learn by doing little things. As well as those little things bringing you income, you’re going to learn a lot. It’s the learning that’s as much the gold of all this as the actual income that you bring in as well.

The last thing I want to touch on is I really want to talk to those of you who are wondering which income stream to try. This may be those of you who are just starting out and you want to add your first income stream, or maybe it’s those of you who have had some income streams on your site but hasn’t really worked and you want to find one that’s better suited for your blog.

One of the things I would encourage you to do if that’s you and you’re trying to work out which income stream, I want you to really try and put yourself in the shoes of your readers and try and get in touch with their intent and ask yourself the question why are your readers on your site? Why are they there? Try and get in touch with their intent, what are they doing there? Are they there looking for information, are they there looking to learn something, are they there because they want community? Are they there because they’re researching something and are in the process of buying something? Are they there because they want to be entertained?

The reason I really think it’s important to dig into the intent of your reader is that different reader intents lend themselves to different types of monetization. I learned this the hard way. My first digital photography blog, which doesn’t exist today, was a digital camera review blog. It was one where I reviewed cameras, I talked about new cameras that were being released, and I aggregated reviews that other people were writing around the web. You could come and find a particular model and then go and easily be able to find out what other people are saying about it.

The reader intent of that first blog was that my readers were on my site to research a purchase of a digital camera. They were there trying to work out whether they should buy the Canon or the Sony. They were there trying to work out whether they should buy the A70 or the A90 camera. They were there basically in a research mode. What worked really well on that site was affiliate marketing where I’d link to camera stores or Amazon where they could then buy the product. They’re researching it, we give them a recommendation one way or the other, we tell them which camera is right for what type of person, and then they are like okay, I’m going to buy that camera. There’s a link to where I can buy it. A high percentage of them bought those cameras. Affiliate marketing worked really well.

Advertising also worked well, both ad networks but also working directly with advertisers because advertisers who sold digital cameras wanted to have their brands and wanted to have their stores in front of our readers at the time they’re buying a product. The reader intent really worked well for affiliate and for advertising, particularly around gear and cameras.

What didn’t work well on that first photography blog was us promoting products like ebooks on how to use cameras. Even though they were still about photography, people were not there looking for that type of information. They were there making a decision about buying a product. Ebooks did not work at all on that particular blog. I tried quite a few them out, let me tell you.

Later on, I started Digital Photography School. Digital Photography School how to use cameras and the intent of our readers on Digital Photography School to this day is they want to learn how to use cameras. Any kind of information product, our own or an affiliate’s, works well. So does software or some sort of prop that’s going to help them improve the end result of their photos, that’s what our readers are there looking for. Some of them have a secondary intent as well, some of them are actually looking to improve their photos by upgrading their camera gear as well.

Affiliate links and advertisers looking to sell gear kind of work on our side with some of our readers. Your blog might have major intent, they’re there looking to learn but then they might have a secondary kind of intent as well. Other income streams may work as secondary income streams as well. Get in touch with the intent of your readers and that may give you a hint as to what income stream might be useful to your readers.

The last thing I’ll say particularly if you’re in the early days and you’re trying to work out what income stream might work for you, one of the quickest things you can do is to look at other blogs in your niche and particularly other blogs that have similar reader intents to you. Look around, see what other blogs are using, what ad networks are they using. You can often tell if an ad is from an ad network, there’s often a tiny little icon in the corner of the banner ad which will tell you which ad network it is.

Check out what ad networks they’re using, what sponsors are they directly working with. These might be people that you can directly reach out to as well. What affiliate products are they promoting, what products of their own do they have? You could become an affiliate for those products or you could develop something similar as well. Look at what they’re doing, what services are they offering as well would be another one. Check out what others in your niche are doing, it’s just an easy way to work out what income streams might be worth investigating as well.

I hope you found that useful. I look forward to chatting with you in the next couple of days, I hope you’re doing well. Let me know in the comments on the show notes if you’ve got any questions. If you wouldn’t mind popping over to iTunes and leaving a review, that would be greatly appreciated as well. Chat with you soon, bye!

How did you go with today’s episode?

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5 Chrome Apps I Can’t Live Without

photo-1461773518188-b3e86f98242fAs a blogger and social media strategist, there are a few things I absolutely would not be caught dead without.

I have to keep on top of a ton of tasks in all my roles, and the faster and more efficiently I can get these done, the better! Having important tools only a click away makes all the difference in the world – hence why I love keeping my Chrome toolbar stocked with things I need every day.

The current state of my toolbar:

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-10-11-38-am

Ok so there’s more than five, but some tools I can live without!

5 Chrome Apps I Can’t Live Without

1. Buzzsumo

Ever since Twitter icons the world over stopped showing the tweet count of every post, it’s been harder to see who has tweeted your content, and when. This isn’t what you want when you’re in charge of social media strategy and having to compile reports (or even if you just want to keep track, thank the tweeters, etc)!

Fortunately the Buzzsumo Chrome extension is a handy tool to see exactly what you want – It still shows tweet counts, and who were the sharers. It also gives you a great social media overview without having to open and log into the Buzzsumo site.

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Buzzsumo is a godsend for analysis on what content performs best and where.

One of the things I’ve noticed though, is that she share count isn’t totally accurate if you’ve recently removed the dates from your URLs. This can be super useful for SEO purposes, but it does then skew your Buzzsumo data as it only counts the shares of your new URL, not the old.

As you can see, one of my most popular posts on Veggie Mama looks like hardly anyone cared at all!

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Whereas the share reality is far different:

 

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However, it is a great tool for quickly checking the success of yours and others’ posts – particularly if you curate content for social media channels (or roundups posts, like I do here).

And, of course, you can still manually search for shares (although it’s obviously a bit more involved).

2. CoSchedule

I use CoSchedule multiple times a day, so I’m usually always logged in and the site open in a tab.

However, if I’m casually reading on a weekend or haven’t got it open for some reason, I can quickly share or schedule an interesting post for my audience, right from that post with the CoSchedule app on the Chrome toolbar.

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You simply click on the icon and this page will pop up, allowing you to personalise your message and set a time for it to go live.

3. RSS Feed Reader

Part of my duties both at ProBlogger, as a blogger, and managing the social media for other small businesses is curating content to go out on social media. It’s also imperative that I keep up-to-date with current news and trends in the online world to help keep up my skills and knowledge in my industry.

Enter the old-school RSS feed reader, totally available from my toolbar!

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I have mine set to feed me the most popular and shared content across three platforms (I will be expanding this): Tech, vegetarian news, and blogging, according to share counts from Buzzsumo.

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At the click of a button I can see what is the most popular content across all three niches, ready for me to share with our audience, or to help me stay abreast of current online affairs.

4. Ahalogy (or other Pinterest scheduler)

I love the easily-pinned images found on blogs and websites the world over, but I don’t always want to pin that content right away.

If I’m hoping to schedule something to pin later (particularly if I’ve gone on a bit of a Pinning spree), I use my current Pinterest scheduler, which is Ahalogy. I have also used Tailwind and found that toolbar app useful also.

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I love using a scheduling app that puts your pin in your current queue, or allows you to manually set a scheduled time.

5. The Great Suspender

As I’m sure you can imagine, I have many tabs open and on the go at any one time – keeping track of everything all the time is a massive job that can easily suck your data and your battery dry.

Enter The Great Suspender, available from the Chrome Web Store!

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After a certain amount of time, your computer will suspend any tabs that haven’t been used, but will unsuspend immediately you reload the page. You can also whitelist your favourite pages so they will always stay open.

It can often shut off when you might not want it to – for example, if you’re downloading something or listening to music or the radio on a webplayer, so be warned!

Also, you will be prompted to save your work or stay on a page if the suspender attempts to suspend a tab before you’ve saved what you were working on. Yay!

Special Mentions

I do use these apps often, and find them invaluable, but would still survive if they weren’t on my daily toolbar!

Clip to Evernote

Having said all that, I’ve used the article clipper on Evernote a whole bunch this last week – it helps me keep my posts-to-read-for-later in their appropriate folders, and also makes it easier for me to send information to shared folders for my clients (or my podcast co-host) to read.

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You can clip any part of the article or send the entire thing to your Evernote. I’ve found it particularly useful when the post I’m reading doesn’t have an email option and I can’t email it to my relevant folder.

It’s saved me a lot of time and effort!

Simple Pomodoro

Simple Pomodoro is also a great app to have when you struggle to stay focused or find it hard to get through your to-do list without being distracted.

The app is based on the Pomodoro technique, which advises you to work for 20 minutes, then take a break, to help keep you on task.

The 5 Chrome Apps I Can't Live Without - as a blogger and social media strategies, these tools make my life so much easier | ProBlogger.net

You can set yourself a timer very quickly, and personalise the timeframe – I always do the 20 minute pomodoro, but you can also choose 5, 10, 15 or multiple minutes.

So these are the tools I have on hand to be the best blogger and social media manager I can be! I hope they’re helpful to you too – do you have favourite toolbar apps you just can’t live without? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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