ProBlogger Podcast: Blog Tips to Help You Make Money Blogging

ProBlogger Podcast: Blog Tips to Help You Make Money Blogging
By Darren Rowse: Blogger, Speaker, Author and Online Entrepreneur
About this podcast
The ProBlogger Podcast is designed to help you build a better blog. With a mix of teaching, case studies and actionable challenges Darren Rowse will teach you to create compelling content, find readers for your blog, deepen the engagement you have with those readers and to make money through a variety of income streams so that you can sustain your blogging. Darren has been been blogging since 2002 and making a full time living from his blogs for over a decade. His blogs and are read by over 5 million readers per month. If you’re looking to take your blogs to the next level and make money online - this is the podcast for you.
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Darren Rowse

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Growing Your Blog’s Income In today’s episode, I want to talk about growing your blogging income, particularly when you’ve already started building some traffic and income streams on your blog. This one will be most relevant if you’re at an intermediate to more advanced level. If you’re just starting out you’ll learn things that may not be relevant for you today, but will be good to know going forward. Series on Growing Traffic to Your Blog: 2 Questions to Ask to Help You Find Readers for Your Blog 2 Types of Content that Help You to Find Readers for Your Blog Turn Surfers into Blog Readers by Building a Sticky Blog Find Readers for Your Blog Through Commenting and Relationships Grow Traffic to Your Blog Through Guest Posting and Creating Content for Other Blogs, Forums, Media and Events Podcast on Autoresponders: How to Drive Traffic and Profit in your Blogging with Autoresponders Check out our two courses – ProBlogger’s ultimate guide to start a blog and the soon to be released 31 Days to Build a better blog: Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog ProBlogger Pro – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Join our Facebook Group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there and welcome to episode 236 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind, a blog, podcast, events, job board, series of ebooks, and courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog and to build profit around your blog which is exactly what we’re talking today in today’s episode. You can learn more about ProBlogger at Also, check out our two new courses, How to Start a Blog course for those of you who are wanting to start a blog. You can get it at or 31 Days to Build a Better Blog which will be launching in March which is more relevant for those of you who’ve already got a blog whether it’s a relatively new one or you’re at that intermediate stage. You can find that at In today’s episode, I wanna talk to you about growing your blog’s income, particularly those of you who’ve already got a bit of a start with building some traffic and income streams to your blog. This episode will be much relevant for those of you are perhaps at more of an intermediate level, maybe more of an advanced level. You’ve got a start but you’re not satisfied with the level of your income. Those of you who are just starting out, you’re probably gonna hear some things that may not be relevant to you today but you might also find them useful to have in the back of your mind as you go forward. Today’s show notes and full transcript of the show are at Today’s show is inspired by a conversation I had this week with a blogger who had been blogging for a couple of years now. She built some traffic up to her blog. She’d already started to experiment with selling sponsored content on her blog. She was in sort of a style, fashion, beauty type niche and had been selling sponsored posts on the site but was not satisfied with the level that she was at. She’s been blogging for two or three years and when she started out had hoped she’d be full time by this point. Whilst she had some success so far with building the income on her blog, she came to me asking, “How do I double what I’m doing?” She really needed to double what she was doing to get to a full time level. On one hand, it was great, getting to a half time level with your blog is something that many bloggers dream of but she also had this thirst for more because she wanted to be able to give up other par- time work, children were going to school now and she had a little bit more time on her hands and so she wanted to really sink herself into her blogging, and to justify being able to do that full time rather than having to have a bitsy kind of life doing lots of different things. She came to me asking, “How do I double my income?” Now, it’s a tricky question and to answer it, I actually took her back to my own kind of tipping point of my own blog. Back in, I think it must have been 2004, I’ve been blogging for a couple of years by this point, and for the first year I didn’t even know you could make money from your blog. I hadn’t made any money and then the second year, I started to dabble with some Google AdSense ads on my blog, some Amazon affiliate income. Many of you have heard me tell the story before, I did not start spectacularly, I had a few dollars a day really in those first months or so. But it did gradually grow and I got to a similar point to the blogger that I had this conversation with this week where I was starting to see it as a part-time job. I began to have this dream that it could be a full time job. To cut the long story short, I realized I needed to really escalate the growth of my income. Because it was a very slow, steady growth, and it eventually was going to get to be a full time thing if it kept growing the way that it was, but it was gonna take me 10 years to get to that point. Vanessa and myself decided that really, if I wanted to be a full time blogger, I needed to escalate the growth of the income. We set ourselves a six month time limit to do it which perhaps is not the most realistic deadline saying, “I’m gonna be full time in six months,” isn’t something I would recommend every blogger do. But we kind of sensed that I really needed to have this deadline because I was treating it as a one-day thing. We set ourselves this deadline. The problem was to get to that deadline, I needed to not double my income, I needed to quadruple my income. I was a quarter time kind of blogger, if you like, at the time. I wanted to get to a full time level. Having that deadline really did help me to spur myself on. One of the things I actually said to tis blogger this week was, “Maybe you need some sort of a deadline.” In my case, we actually said that if I didn’t get to full time level in six months that I would go and get a real job, and that would kind of put a real halt on my blogging. Potentially, could have even had to give it up, that six month mark. I wouldn’t suggest you do that but at least having some sort of date in mind, some sort of a deadline in mind, can actually be helpful. It certainly helped me. It motivated me incredibly. Some of you heard me tell the story before, but the day I set that deadline was the day I started doing things I always knew I should do, but I had no real reason to do. Like ringing up an advertiser for the first time and saying, “Hey, will you advertise on my blog?” Thinking seriously about growing traffic and all the things I knew I could be doing and I should be doing, I actually had a reason to start doing them. That deadline really did help in that regard. Over the next six months, I worked really hard on the things that I knew should be doing. I got to the point after a few months, I think it was three or four months, where I did reached that full time level, things just took off as a result of me doing things I knew I should do. The first thing I encouraged this blogger to think about was, “What are the things you already know you should be doing that you’ve been putting off?” Most bloggers I talk to have this someday list, one day I’m going to do this, or one day I’m going to do that. I really wanna encourage you to look at your someday list and ask yourself, “What have I been putting off doing?” It’s such a powerful exercise to do, and to write out your someday list, and then to identify the things on that list, the things you already know you should be doing, identify those and start with those because you already probably know what you need to do to get to a full time level. I’m gonna suggest to you, five areas that will help you to grow your blogging income. I wanna encourage to just pause this podcast for a moment and to ask yourself this question, “What do I think I need to do?” Because I suspect, that as I go through this list, if you have paused and you’ve asked that question, you’re probably gonna already have the answer. Once you do it, go listen to the rest of the podcast. I also wanna encourage to listen to you because I suspect you already intuitively know what it is that you need to do. Some of you will remember I did a series of podcasts. I think it started back in episode 66 and then went for 10 more episodes over the next few weeks. It was called 10 Things That You Can Do Today That Will Payoff In Your Blog Forever. The whole idea of that series was to identify the things on our someday list and to do those things today, to bring those things forward. I suggested ten things in that series that will help to escalate the growth of your blog. Things that you can do today that are gonna payoff forever. I wanted to say right up front, for me, this is the key. This is the key to escalating the growth of your income in your blog, to take off of your someday list and start doing them today. I think it was episode 66 right up to I guess episode 77. You might wanna check out that. But as I think about the growth of my own blogging income back at that point, in 2004, but also eversince. Since 2004, I’ve been full time pretty much the whole time. My blogging income did dip for one short period after that where Google decided to deindex me from their search result but apart from six-week glitch where I felt out of Google’s result, I’ve been a full time blogger ever since 2004. My blogging income has gone up and down over that time. But there’s been these spikes or there’s been these periods where the blogging income has escalated really quickly. I think it was back in 2004 things really took off and I got to the full time. But 2008, it plateaued, it was steady, and then it took off again. What I’ve put together today for this podcast episode are five things that I can see over the last 15 or so years that have led to spiking my income and growth in my income. As I think about it, there’s five main things that have led to that type of growth. I wanna share them with you today. These are not tactical things, these are more general things, and then I’m gonna sort of dig into some tactical things as well. The first thing that almost always has led to growth in the income is spikes in traffic. I can see very clearly as I look at my earnings over the last 14, 15 years that there’s a correlation between an increase in traffic and an increase in income. It’s not always exactly correlated. Different types of traffic can lead to different increases in income. A spike in traffic from Google for me pays off really well when it comes to Google AdSense earnings. But it doesn’t necessarily lead to a massive increase in affiliate earnings, but other types of traffic do convert with affiliates. It’s not an exact science but in the general principle I will say if you can increase your traffic, you’re going to increase your income, at least potentially. This is a no-brainer in some ways. I know most of you kind of understand this. But one way that I grew my income back in 2004 when I went from part-time blogger to a full time blogger was to put a lot of effort into growing my traffic. I learned SEO in that period. I started to write content based upon the words that I felt people would be searching google for. I put a lot of effort into creating guest content for other blogs and participating in forums. Back then, there was no real social media, but today I will put more time into social media. These types of activities can drive more traffic to your site which can lead to an increase in your earnings. Another one that you might wanna try is advertising your blog, investing some money into driving some traffic. Maybe you wanna spend some more time on a new social network, maybe it’s time for you to really invest your learning into Pinterest. There’s a variety of different ways that you can grow traffic to your blog. I don’t wanna get into the nitty-gritty of growing traffic to your blog in this particular episode because I’ve covered it so many times in the past. I would encourage you, if traffic is the thing you know you need to grow and particularly if you’re a new blogger, this is probably the one that’s going to lead to the biggest growth for you in terms of income. You really need some traffic. Go back and listen to episode 33, 34, 35, 36, and 37. There’s five episodes there that I did as a series on growing traffic for your blog. I talk about the different types of content that can grow traffic. I talk about creating guest content in different places. I think I talk about using challenges to grow traffic. There’s five episodes there that will help you to think about how to grow traffic to your blog. Again, I don’t wanna promise if you double your traffic, you’re gonna double your income because it does depend upon where the traffic is coming from, and the type of traffic you could get. I remember there were times, way back in the day, where I got a lot of traffic in from a site like Digg which is similar to Reddit today. That really did not grow my income at all because it was the wrong type of traffic. It was teenage boys who were there to make fun of my content, some even went viral because it was funny but it didn’t really lead to an on-going growth to my income. Part of the process is to try and work out what type of traffic and what type of reader you’re going to get as well. But in general, if you’re gonna grow your traffic, you’re gonna grow your income. Again, that’s a bit of a no-brainer in some ways but it just has to be said. If you can grow your traffic, you’re gonna hopefully grow your income as well. So that’s number one, traffic. Number two, and this has happened time and time again for me, to grow your income, one of the ways that you can do that is to add a new income stream. One of the first times I learnt this was when I had been playing around with AdSense for a while. I think I was probably earning $30 or $40 a day from AdSense which I was pretty happy with. AdSense, for those of you who don’t know, is Google’s ad network. I was kind of managing along okay and then I began to realize other bloggers were using other ad networks as well as AdSense. Back in the day, there were some rules around what kind of ads you can have on your blog alongside the AdSense. You couldn’t have exactly the same types of ads. But there were these other ad networks beginning to emerge. One of them that caught my eye was Chitika which is still around today. You might wanna check that out. I’ll link to it in today’s show notes. It doesn’t work on every blog but back in the day, it was a different type of ad. They were image-based ads but they weren’t sort of like the banner ads that we see today. They actually featured little products. It didn’t break AdSense’s Terms of Service to run these Chitika ads alongside the AdSense ads, and so I decided I’m gonna experiment with Chitika. I didn’t replace AdSense, I actually added these new ad units onto my page. I remember doing it thinking maybe I’ll land a few extra dollars a day. I went to to bed the night after I did it, the reports took a little while to come in so I didn’t really know what impact it was going to have. I was a bit worried that maybe it would decrease my AdSense revenue. I woke up the next day and checked my reports and I couldn’t believe it because my AdSense had not gone down at all but my Chitika income was the same as my AdSense income. What I realized is that I doubled my income overnight. Now it took me a few days to work out this was actually true, because I thought I’ll give it a few days to work it out, but I doubled my income simply by adding a new couple of ad units onto my site. Adding this extra income stream obviously led to an increase in my overall income. This has happened time and time again for me. I wanna say right upfront you wanna be a bit careful about adding too much onto your site in terms of ads particularly because it can have a downward effect on your Google search rankings. Google doesn’t like it when you put too many ads on your site particularly if they’re really up or above the fold, and they can’t see any content vault. You wanna be a bit careful there, you don’t want to plaster yourself with ads. But there’s such a variety of ways that you can monetize your site. I saw this when I added Chitika. I saw this when I began to added a job board onto ProBlogger. I saw this when I started to create ebooks for my sites, when I started to create other products like courses. I started to promote affiliate products, other people’s courses and ebooks. There was a period on ProBlogger when I offered coaching services. There was a period where I did some freelance writing for other sites, that was another income stream. There’s all these different ways that you can explore adding a new income stream onto your site. This is probably one of the things I would encourage those of you who have one or two income streams on their site to begin to think about. Have a look at what other bloggers in your niche are doing. What are they doing to make money from their blogs? You might discover by looking around that they’re all using this one type of ad network, or you might discover that they’re all promoting this type of affiliate product, or you might discover that there’s an opportunity for you to set-up a membership area on your site where you charge a little bit of money per month for some premium content to your community area. Or maybe you could offer some coaching, or maybe you could set-up a mastermind group, or maybe you could set-up a Patreon account. This is where people donate money and you maybe give them some extra bonuses, maybe you could run a little event, maybe a meet-up in your area, or an online event. These are all different income streams that bloggers use at different times. Again, in today’s show notes, I’ll link to a money map that I created with 30 or 40 different ways that you can make money from blogging. For me, this was one of the ways that I went from part-time to full time, adding these new income streams into my blog. It wasn’t just a matter of doing this or increase my traffic, I actually focused on both of these things, and that had this compound effect as well. Maybe now is the time to begin to think about adding a new income stream to your blog. But for me, the most powerful one that I ever did is I doubled my income by adding Chitika but that went from $30 to $60 a day. It was significant at the time but it wasn’t huge. For me, the big one was when I began to do ebooks and I began to sell my own products. That’s a fairly serious investment of time to create a product of my own but it paid off. I’ve talked about that first experience on this podcast before – overnight earning $10,000 or $15,000 when I first launched my first ebook. Over that first week, making $70,000 from that ebook. That blew my mind but I have to say that was based upon the first thing I talked about, building the traffic. You’re not gonna have those massive results unless you also do number one. Again, the first one is traffic, second one was adding a new income stream, the third one is better execution of an existing income stream or better conversion, I guess you might wanna talk about. This really does apply to almost any income stream. What you are doing presently to earn income, you could possibly do it better. There’s probably some way that you can improve what you are doing. Again, this was another thing that I really focused on back in 2004. I had these AdSense ads on my site but gradually, over time, I began to learn that I could earn more from AdSense on my site, even with the same amount of traffic. I could get better at doing AdSense. For me, Adsense, it’s a about a number of things. How many ads do you have on the site? Where are they positioned on the site? What size ad units do you have? Back then, it was also the design of the ads because you can change the colors of the texts ads. There was a variety of things that I began to learn about AdSense that improved the conversion that I was getting from that. That increased my, to get a bit technical, the CPM, what I could earn per page view. If you’re running ads on your site, invest some time and energy, and maybe even some money to do a course on a how do you convert better with those ads. But the same principle applies no matter what the income stream you have. I saw this work for AdSense, I saw it work with Chitika. I also saw it work when I began to think about how do I increase my earnings with Amazon’s affiliate program. I learned that sticking widgets, Amazon affiliate widgets on my sidebar didn’t really convert very well but when I mentioned the product inside my blog posts and had little calls to action that specifically said, “Get the price on this product on Amazon,” that lead to an increase in conversions. I learned that creating bestseller lists of products worked really well. Again, I can link to that in today’s show notes, a previous episodes where I’ve talked about creating bestseller links. These things led to increased conversions for me with Amazon. The same is true for all of the different income streams. If you are selling an ebook, maybe you could convert better if you split test your sales page, run two different versions of the sales page, and there’s plenty of tools around that will enable you to do that. We talked in a few episodes ago that Thrive Architect as a tool that we’re using to create landing pages, that will allow you to split test different versions of a sales page. Test different headlines, test different pictures, test different calls to action, maybe you can increase the conversions that you’re getting on that particular page. If you’re monetizing with sponsors, the blogger I was talking to, she’d been selling sponsored posts on her site. One of the things I encourage her to think about is what else could she be offering those sponsors in addition to the sponsored posts. Maybe she could create a little bundle of things that they could do on her site. Maybe if they pay double the price, they could get some banner ads on the site or maybe they could get a mention in her newsletter, or maybe they could run a competition with her, maybe they could do a giveaway with her audience, these extra things on top of the sponsored content. This is one of the things that we’ve done over the years is begin to offer our sponsors extra stuff if they’re willing to upgrade what they’re spending with us. It maybe some mentions on social media, it maybe a competition we’ve done, all of these different types of things. We find particularly newsletter advertising works well with our advertisers as well. They’re getting better results because they’re not only buying a banner ad on our site but they’re being mentioned in these other places which reinforces their messaging. This allows us to charge more for the ads. What could you do to improve your conversions you’re already getting? Look at your current income streams and ask yourself, “How can I grow those income streams?” It’s not just about adding new ones but improving and optimizing the way that you’re currently earning an income. Another quick one that you could try if you are selling a product is to add an upsell. We did a test on this just last week. We had a launch on Digital Photography School. We had a course, 31 Days To Become A Better Photographer, makes sense to me and to some of you because we use that same sort of format on ProBlogger, 31 days. We had this course and we decided to add an upsell in the check out. The course was, I think, $49 for the course, and if you paid the extra $9, we give you an ebook. It’s just like a little upsell. It was converting okay. I think the first few days we made $700 from that upsell, and that was a nice little extra $700 that we would never have had. As I began to think about it, I was like, “$9 upsell on a $49 product, I wonder what would happen if we did an upsell of a bundle of our ebooks for a little bit more.” So we tried overnight one night, we tried an upsell of three ebooks for $19. We immediately saw that that converted at a higher rate plus it was earning more because it was a higher price. We immediately saw that that led to an upswing in people taking the upsell. I think by the end of the campaign, we’ve made close to $7000 from that particular upsell. It was converting at a high rate. These are all the little things that you can do and it’s just about tweaking, and testing, and trying new things. Similarly, you can do an upsell after a sale. You could, in the thank you email say, “Here’s another offer that you might wanna take. It’s a great companion to what you’ve already bought.” There’s a variety of different ways to do that. Tip number one was to grow your traffic. Put effort into that. That is going to set almost like a baseline, a foundation for the growth of your income. Adding a new income stream is number two which in conjunction with the traffic is great. Number three is better execution of what you’re already doing, better conversions, focusing upon those tweaks that will lead to growth. The fourth thing that you might wanna try, I’ve seen this work time and time again, is what I would call extra promotional activity. You could almost argue that this fits into number three as well, it’s better execution. But it’s where you do an extra burst of promotion of something. This particularly works if you are promoting one of your own products or if you’re an affiliate as well. For us, the best example I can give you is, I think, it was seven or eight years ago now on Digital Photography School. We started to do 12 Days of Christmas campaigns. Typically, we’re launching three or four products a year and we would see big spikes in income everytime we launch a new ebook, or a new course, or when we would promote an affiliate product of someone else. I kind of came out with this idea with one of my team members to do this intense burst of promotion of all our products at the end of the year and the lead up to Christmas. Most of you, by this time, seen 12 Days of Christmas campaigns, you possibly even run them yourself. For us, it was a matter of sending 12 emails in 12 days about each of our products, and some affiliate partners as well which is pretty intensive. It was a lot of work. It felt a bit risky because we’re doing a lot of promotion over a short period of time with our audience. I was worried about our list but it led to a massive spike in income as well. Our audience seemed to like it. They like this event that we put together. So we’ve run 12 Days of Christmas in different forms over the years, different times. This led to an increase in sales. I wasn’t really adding a new income stream, although I guess you could call that whole campaign a new income stream, but it was really just growing the sale of our products, and the sale of affiliate partners which we were already doing anyway. It wasn’t really tweaking or better execution of what were already doing, it was a new thing. It was this extra burst of promotion. There’s a variety of ways that you can do that. You can do a seasonal promotion. We just had Valentine’s Day. I saw some bloggers running specials on the products that they have or some affiliate stuff around that. Christmases are our ideal time for that Black Friday, Cyber Monday. We see all these different times of the year where it’s possible to do promotion. Maybe it’s a seasonal promotion. Maybe it’s just a flash sale. This is something we did a little bit more last year on Digital Photography School. We decided to just do these 24 hour sales on some of our products. They didn’t led to massive spikes but they did lead to increases in sales of our products. It’s just a matter of looking at your calendar for the year. You’ve probably got some big promotions that you’re doing but what goes in between them? What could you do? Something small, something targeted, something focused, that might lead to increase in sale. So a flash sale might be one way to do this. Maybe it’s about creating an autoresponder. Autoresponders are something that we’ve talked about numerous times over the years. I think back in episode 177, I talked about autoresponders. Autoresponders are basically a sequence of emails that you send your list. Maybe that’s something that’s been on your someday list. I know a lot of bloggers, that’s something that they wanna do. An autoresponder could be a sequence of emails that promote your old archives which drives more traffic to your site which can lead to higher income in terms of your AdSense or it might include some promotional emails as well. Maybe setting up a new autoresponder that takes your readers through some of your archives but also promote an affiliate product or one of your own products could be useful as well. There’s some bloggers who, in their autoresponder sequences, have partnership emails. This is where they do a deal with a sponsor to have an email in their autoresponder that promotes that sponsor. That’s another income stream that you might add, or if you’ve already got an autoresponder, and I know a lot of you do, when was the last time you added an email to that sequence? Maybe, one way that you can grow some income is simply to add one more email into your autoresponder sequence. Maybe it’s an email that promotes something you’ve got that does almost like a little sale to anyone getting that particular email. That’s something that’s worked really well for me over time as well because everyone getting that one email, anyone who’s at the end of your sequence who gets this extra email, they could potentially buy what you’re selling. But it’s also an ongoing income stream as well. There’s all the different things that you can do to promote what you do a little bit more, to drive more targeted traffic towards the thing that’s converting for you. I guess another one that you could do is potentially set-up and begin to learn about advertising your products as well. If you’ve got a product or an affiliate product, maybe another way that you can promote that more is to do some Facebook advertising or some Google advertising or something along those lines. Lastly, another way to promote what you’re doing more is to think about the user interface of your site and the design of your site. Maybe you’ve got this product in your shop or maybe you’ve got an affiliate product that you’re promoting but no one ever knows that you’re promoting that thing because you really haven’t updated your menu to include the fact that you’re promoting this thing. That might be another way that you might wanna try. We are redigging out our menus at the moment to be a little bit more focused on driving people to those type of activities as well. The last one that you might wanna think about there to get more people to those activities is to create a resources page. If you go to ProBlogger and you look in our menu, you’ll see resources there. On that page, we list our affiliate partners. The people we recommend for servers, and some of the tools that we use as well. That page drives affiliate income for us. Actually having a landing page that doesn’t just sell one thing but sells a variety of things can be useful as well. If you go to Smart Passive Income and look at Pat Flynn’s site, you’ll see that he has resource pages as well. He actually, on the front page of his site, promotes quite heavily some of his main partners as well. It really comes down to the design of your site, maybe you can actually promote what you’re doing better as well. The last thing that I wanna talk about, the fifth thing is one that, again it’s a bit of a no-brainer, but it is something that’s incredibly powerful and it can lead to increased income as well. That is to increase your prices or at least to change your prices because sometimes decreasing your prices can actually lead to more income as well which is a bit of strange one. But in most cases, I think considering increasing your prices can work as well. We’ve seen this a number of times over the years. Digital Photography School, we were selling our courses for a long time for about $29. We realized, one, a lot of our competitors were selling courses for $300 that were very similar to our courses. I guess having seen the value in our own courses, we put a lot of time and energy into creating them but we were underpricing them. We weren’t actually putting them forward at the value that they really had. As a result, some of our customers weren’t actually thinking that they were any good. I remember talking to some of our customers who were buying these $300 or $400 products from our competitors. I remember having conversation with one of them, I was like, “Why do you buy that product when ours is $30?” They were like, “I just thought their product was better.” And I was like, “Why?” And they were like, “Well, it’s $300.” There’s this perception there, there’s a lot of psychology behind that. I’m not saying that you all need to 10X your prices just because it’ll make people think they’re more valuable. You gotta price your product at a price that is actually reasonable and that does give value to your customers. But sometimes, I think, we underprice ourselves. If you’re like me maybe that’s you. At our events every year, people come up to us and say, “Your event’s too cheap. It’s amazing what you deliver at your events for $300 or $400. There are other people charging a lot more.” I have this internal battle going on. I wanna keep our event as affordable as possible so that people can come to it so it serves them, as many people as possible. But at the same time, I know that the value that we deliver is above and beyond the price that we charge for it. It’s a wrestle sometimes. If you’re like me, it’s probably something that you feel, but I wanna encourage you to think about increasing the prices if you’re selling something. Or, connected to this, add a premium level to your product. This is something we discovered last year at our event that when we added a mastermind day to our event, that there was a certain segment of audience who were willing to pay considerably more to get a more intimate experience, a more personal experience with myself, and my team, and the speakers. James Schramko, I think I heard him say once that there’s 10% of your audience who’s willing to pay 10x more than what you are charging for something that is at a higher level. I don’t know if it’s 10%, I don’t know if it’s 10x the value, but I found that to be true. There is always a segment of your audience is willing to pay more for something extra. One, they’ve got the budget, but two, they’ve got the demand. They want something extra, above what you’re doing. What could you add to what you currently sell that is at a premium price? Maybe it’s that more personal attention, maybe it’s extra content, maybe it’s more advanced, maybe it’s a mastermind group of some kind. Increasing your prices can significantly help. When we actually did increase the prices of our courses, eventually we did, we actually realized, and it’s a bit of a no brainer really, but you don’t need to sell as many courses to make the same amount of profit. If you can sell the same amount then you significantly your profit and your income level as well. The other thing worth mentioning is sometimes decreasing your price can actually lead to more sales as well. That’s a whole other podcast to talk about as well. But experimenting with that, you can split test your product pricing can actually be a really worthwhile thing to do to better optimize your conversions as well. There’s five things that you can do to grow the income of your blog; more traffic, a new income stream, better execution of an existing income stream to increase your conversions, extra promotional activity to really get more eyeballs on the thing that you’re doing which I guess is 3.5 really, I say those two things is quite connected, and then the last thing is to play around with your pricing, particularly considering adding a premium level pricing to what you do as well. As I’ve said all through this podcast, you don’t have to do any of these things in isolation. It’s actually probably the combination of two or three of these things that’s going to lead to the growth in your business. This is the reason that I went from a very part-time blogger to a full time blogger within a few months because I worked so hard on increasing my traffic. Over that six months, I increased my traffic significantly but I also added new income streams, and got better at what I was already doing. As a result of those three things that I focused on over those months, my income more than quadrupled over the six months. I went from being someone who dreamed of one day being a full time blogger to being a full time blogger, and actually growing the income beyond what I ever thought I would do from anything that I would ever do. I really wanna encourage you to do that. Again, pay attention to what you already know. You probably already know the answer. It may not be doing something completely new that you never thought of, it might actually just be learning SEO, or setting up that autoresponder, or sending some emails to your list, or creating a product. These are the things that you’ve probably already been dreaming of doing. I encourage you to put those things on your today list instead of keeping on dreaming of doing them one day. I hope this has been helpful to those of you who are listening. This is literally life-changing stuff. I went from, in 2004, from being part time to full time, my dreams came true because of the intense amount of action that I took over those six or so months. Your life can really change in many ways as a result of this burst of today action, just remember that, and keep at it. If we can serve you and encourage you in any way through that process, head over to our Facebook group and let us know the questions that you have. Let us know what you’ve decided to do so we can keep you a bit of accountable to that as well. Just search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and you’ll find our little group as well. Also, check out our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course which is coming out in March. I think it’s perfect alongside this particular podcast because a lot of the activities that we’ll be teaching in that 31 Days to Build a Better Blog are about increasing the traffic to your site as well. That certainly is gonna help you with that. and you can sign-up to be notified when that particular course goes live. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week in episode 237, I think it is. Thanks for listening. Chat next week. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 236: 5 Areas to Focus on to Grow Your Blogging Income appeared first on ProBlogger.
Feb. 12, 2018
How to Build Authority and Influence with Your Audience In today’s episode, I want to talk about building authority and influence. This topic came about from talking to a number of bloggers who’ve just completed our Start a Blog course. They’re starting from scratch (as we all did), and want not only to be found, but also to make an impression on those who arrive at their blog. How can you be seen as a trusted authority on your topic, and a credible source of information, people don’t yet know who you are? Getting traffic is one thing, but how do you build influence? In this episode, I want to share 13 things that I’ve noticed good influencers do to build authority and credibility with their audience. Resources for How to Build Authority, Influence and Trust When Nobody Knows Who You Are New Blog Honor Roll Facebook group Courses ProBlogger’s ultimate guide to start a blog 31 Days to Build a better blog Further Reading Demian Farmworth – CopyBlogger – 10 ways to build authority as an author Shane Snow – some writing he did on the level that great writers write at This Surprising Reading Level Analysis Will Change the Way You Write Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Hi there. Welcome to episode 235 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, to create content for that blog that’s going to change the world, that’s going to change your reader’s lives, to grow traffic to your blog, and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do at In particular, check out our brand new course How to Start a Blog, our ultimate guide to starting a blog. Check out our new course which is coming in the next few weeks, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which is perfect for new bloggers and intermediate bloggers who want to give their blog a kickstart. You can find our How to Start a Blog course at and 31 Days to Build a Better Blog at or just over on ProBlogger, look for the courses tab and you’ll find them all. In today’s episode, I want to talk about building authority and influence with your audience. This topic came up as I was talking to a number of the bloggers who just completed our Start a Blog course. We just graduated 103 bloggers. They’ve just started their brand new blogs. We posted links to all of them on our site. If you want to check them out, head over to ProBlogger. Today I’ll actually link to them in our show notes as well. These 103 bloggers, just like all bloggers starting out, they’re starting from scratch. They’ve got a number of challenges. One, they need to create content. Two, they need to build traffic. But also more important than building traffic, they need to actually build influence, they need to build authority, they need to build credibility. This is one of the things that a number of new bloggers have talked to me about in the last few weeks. They can see the traffic coming in but how do they actually become someone with authority on their topic? How do they become someone who is trusted as a credible source of information? How do you build this when the traffic that’s coming in has no idea who you are? It’s one thing to get traffic but how do you build influence? In this episode I want to share 13 things that I’ve noticed good influencers do to build this authority and credibility with their audience. You can find today’s show notes at Today we’re talking about how do you build authority, how do you build influence, how do you take this traffic from giving you their attention to actually beginning to feel connected to you on this deeper level and seeing you as someone to be trusted. There’s a number of different approaches to this. One of the old school way of thinking about this, I’ve seen many people build their business in this old school way, that school of thought would say gather as much knowledge as you can. Then show what you know, show what you’ve achieved. Be an expert, look the part. If you don’t know it all, fake it ‘til you make it. Be confident, promote yourself. This is the advice that I grew up seeing other people living out. This kind of approach works sometimes. But over the years, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of bloggers, a lot of podcasters who don’t take that kind of approach, this approach where you build your authority but telling everyone that you’re an authority, that’s the approach that I see a lot of bloggers are doing. Sometimes it does actually work but in most cases I don’t think it does today. I think things have changed. What I want to give you today is 13 things that I think you can do to help you to build some authority. We might call this the Authority 2.0. It’s a slightly different approach. It’s not just about telling everyone that you’ve got authority and they should trust you but it’s a deeper way. It’s perhaps a little bit slower in some ways but it’s actually more powerful, more sustainable. It’s hard to put your finger exactly on how someone builds authority so I can’t give you a definitive list of all the characteristics of these kinds of people. But in this episode, I want to share some of the common characteristics that I’ve noticed in meeting people who do have influence. They’re the people who I guess have had influence upon me. Really I guess one of the things I would say before I get into my list is that I would encourage you to think about who influences you and to do some analysis on why you think they influence you because really, that is the answer. If you do that analysis yourself, what individuals, what authors, what companies, what friends influence you? If you can unlock why they influence you, you’ll probably find the answer as well. That’s really how I’ve come up with this list. I will say I don’t know anyone who’s got all these 13 characteristics but let me have a go at describing some of what I’ve noticed about them. Number one, this is what I’ve noticed, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know. I’m not discounting the fact that you need to know something about your topic. I do believe that the more you know about your topic, the better position you’re going to be in to be seen as a credible, authoritative type of person. Talking about your topic, knowledge is important but if you want to be influential, if you want to actually be trusted, if you want to be seen as someone that people want to connect with, it’s probably just as important to be known as someone who’s generously sharing what they know. Let me say that again, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know. I’ve seen this time and time again. Sometimes the people who rise to the top of the niche don’t know the most but they share everything that they know. I think about my own situation, Digital Photography School, I’m not a professional photographer. A lot of people are surprised at that, “You’ve built this site with millions of readers, how did you do that? You must be a professional in photography. You must know a lot about photography.” The reality is I didn’t know a lot about photography, I knew enough to teach beginners. I shared everything I knew on that topic. I shared this one as number one because I want to be an encouragement to those of you who are struggling with impostor syndrome. This is something I see time and time again with bloggers starting out. They want to write on a topic but they’re not an expert in that topic yet so they discount themselves as being someone who should have a blog on that topic. You can be an intermediate level and write about that topic as long as you are transparent about what you know and what you don’t know and as long as you are aiming to teach people who are a bit behind you on that journey. That’s important. Be known not just as someone who knows a lot about what you’re writing about but as someone who shares everything that they know. That goes a long way as well. Not to discount that you need to know something, you can’t just bluff your way through it. It’s not just a fake it and make it approach, you do need to know something, you need to be a learner on your topic, you need to be growing in your knowledge. But it’s just as important to be known as someone who is generously sharing everything that they know. Number one, their authority isn’t just built upon what they know but how generously they share what they know. Number one, they don’t just talk about what they know but they also share what they don’t yet know. This comes into what I was just talking about, that transparency. The old school way of building authority is to just build yourself up to present yourself as the expert, as the guru. The reality is none of us know everything about our topic. We need to be clear with people that we have strengths and to promote those strengths but we also need to show people that there are areas that we don’t yet know and that we’re still learning about. That transparency about where your expertise ends and who you are best at serving, those types of things are really important. If you’ve been traveling with ProBlogger over the years, you know that I’m not the most technical blogger in the world. I, quite often, in my Facebook live say I don’t know the answer to that question about how servers or domains or those types of things. I know enough to teach a beginner but we’ll find the answer for you because it’s not an area of expertise for me. I’m putting people around me who can fill in those gaps. Don’t just talk about what you know, talk about what you don’t know. Whilst that might seem a little bit counterintuitive, it actually has a big impact upon your readers. They will trust you so much more because they see that you are willing to admit to a weakness or a deficiency in your knowledge in some way. It’s a very powerful thing. It’s a way of making a really deeper connection with people. Don’t just talk about what you know, talk about what you don’t yet know. Number three thing is that these people that I’m thinking of who influence me and that I see as authorities learn in public. They learn in public. This is all a part of that transparency. When people see you as someone who’s still learning on a topic, who’s still gathering knowledge, who admits that they don’t know everything, that has big impression. But when you learn in public and share the journey of your learning, that is something that people want to be a part of as well because they can relate to that. They’re on your blog because they want to learn about that topic. When they see you learning and sharing immediately what you’re learning, then that’s a powerful thing. Some of the things that you can do there to learn in public, I used to do interviews. I’ve used the example of Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner, one of the biggest social media blogs on the planet right now. He started out as someone who didn’t really know a lot about social media by doing interviews at conferences with social media experts. One of the reasons he did that was to learn from these people. He said, “I couldn’t get one-on-one coaching sessions with them all so I decided to interview them and record those interviews and then share those interviews.” It became a content creation strategy but it also was a learning strategy for him. It also built relationships with the people he was interviewing. He was learning in public. He was asking the questions he wanted the answers to. One, to gather his own knowledge and to improve the position that he was in but also to create content that he knew would be relatable to other people who’s in that same position. Interviews are a great way of doing this. Doing experiments in public can be really important as well. I’ve seen people like Pat Flynn do this over the years really well. He’s known for doing experiments in starting new blogs, starting new businesses in public. He doesn’t do them behind closed doors and then report what happened. He actually says, “Here’s what I’m doing. Watch me do it. I’m experimenting, I’m learning.” People can really relate to that. Talking about the failures as well as the success is really important. Asking lots of questions, this is one of the things I use to do on ProBlogger all the time, have blog posts that were me seeking information from my readers and me asking, “What would you do in this situation?” That again seems a bit counterintuitive, shouldn’t you as the expert be telling everyone what the answer is? No. People actually respect when you don’t know all the answers and when you are trying to find the answers for people. You will learn and as a result, you become more of an authority on your topic and more of an expert because you’ll be gathering these answers. Don’t pretend you know it all. Learn in public is a very powerful thing that you can do. Tied into this is my fourth point. They use case studies, both case studies of themselves and others. Talk about the experiments that you’ve done, report back on what you are learning and what you are doing. But also talk doing case studies of other people can be a powerful way for you to learn but also for you to build credibility particularly when you’re doing case studies of what you were doing with other people. Let me give you an example on ProBlogger. When I started ProBlogger, one of the things I did semi-regularly was to do case studies of how I would improve another blog. Sometimes these were blogs that hadn’t actually asked me to do this case study. It was just me seeing something and thinking I like the way they do this, this is what I would do to improve their blog and to actually write that type of post in a positive way. I never critiqued what they were doing. They were just suggestions and constructive things. Down the track, people began to ask me to critique their blog and to coach them. Instead of coaching them one-on-one in private, I would coach them in public. I’d write the little critiques of their blog, with their permission, in public. This became really useful in the type of content that my readers wanted. The post became very popular but they also showed that I knew what I was talking about. This is one of the things that I’ve learned over the years. When you can demonstrate your knowledge indirectly, that’s a very powerful thing. The old school way of building authority is to tell everyone what you know. But when you do this type of public coaching, in this case study, you’re demonstrating what you know. You’re actually showing people what you know by just doing it and by giving advice to someone else. People find that as a less confrontational way of building authority. Instead of telling people what you know, actually show them what you know in an indirect way, whether that be through a case study, whether that be through public learning or public coaching in some way. Number five is that they show vulnerability. This, really, I guess comes into this transparency that I was talking a little bit about earlier. They don’t just show their credentials and strengths but also their weaknesses in that way. That’s vulnerability. There’s been a lot written over the years about vulnerability. Brené Brown’s written some great stuff on that topic. It’s similar to that transparency one earlier but I really want to emphasize it here because there’s something about being vulnerable in public that people really do respect. It builds relatability and it also shows that you are a human being. One of the things I’ve noticed over the years about people who take this old school way of building their authority, telling everyone what they know is that they almost become superhuman. It’s almost like they become a bit robotic. Sometimes they come across as having it all so much together that they don’t actually relate to me. People like to see the frailties and the humanness in other people as well. Showing your vulnerability is important. As part of that, to show as much of your personality and your personal situation, your personal life as you feel comfortable to do. This doesn’t mean you need to be Instagramming your family life, you might want to have some boundaries around some of that. But people do appreciate when you are able to weave into your content the fact that you are a normal person. To show a little bit of yourself in that way can be powerful. Last year I think it was, I had one of my sons do the intro for this podcast. You wouldn’t believe how many people contacted me about that. Actually hearing one of my kids’ voices on the podcast made a big impression upon people. When I meet people in public, that’s the podcast episode that people tend to remember the most for some reason. They don’t even remember the content I had there but they remember the fact that I let my kid to be on my podcast. That was something that connected with many people, I guess who are parents as well. Allowing these little personality quirks, your personal situation but also your vulnerabilities into your podcast can really make a deep connection with people as well. The other thing I will say about this by way of a personal example is some of the podcasts where I’ve shared my failures and mistakes have been the most powerful. I did a podcast about my procrastination, my character trying to be a perfectionist and as a result procrastinating. That podcast, again, had a massive impact upon people. I did another podcast years ago now about my health situation, how I was gradually putting on weight and what I did about that. Those podcasts are slightly off topic in some ways but they actually had a massive impact and made a deeper connection with people. Share your vulnerability, share your personality – really important. Number six. People with authority, people with influence that I respect the most, they share their transformations and conversions. This is a massive part of them being seen as a credible source. They don’t just talk about the destination of where they’ve arrived but they talk about their origins and who they were when they started out. This inspires and it also makes them more relatable. If you think about it, if you were hiring a personal trainer, would you be more likely to hire a personal trainer who was born with chiseled abs, perfect genetics, and had no struggles in their health or would you prefer to go to someone who had really struggled with their nutrition and with exercise over the years but through trial and error has gotten to a point where they’re healthy? I personally would prefer someone who has had ups and downs over their life and who has come out the other end in a better place because I can relate to that type of person. I can’t relate to someone who always had chiseled abs and who’s got perfect genetics and who’s never struggled with their health. I prefer to go and see someone who has journeyed through it and can relate to the struggles that I’m having. The same is true with building authority in your particular topic. If you can demonstrate by telling your story about who you were and who you are now, you may have reached a point where things are really great but what were things like in the way to getting there? Actually sharing those stories is a very powerful thing. This taps into the transparency and the vulnerability. It’s amazing how many people on their about pages talk about their achievements and talk about where they are now but they don’t actually tell their story. I think your about page is a brilliant place for you to tell stories about your journey, about your transformations, about your conversions to the way that you’re living today. It’s not just about the destination but it’s about the journey. People are much more interested in the journey that you’ve had than the destination that you’re at now. Weave that into your about page. Weave that into your brand if you can. Weave that into the way you promote your blog, the taglines that you have, your content, you can be constantly telling those little stories. Pretty much every time I talk, I tell my stories of becoming a blogger. I talk about how I really had no credentials to be a blogger, I talk about how it took me three months to work out how to make text bold on my blog once I’ve started. This is I guess an entry credential in some ways, me talking about my weaknesses. But it illustrates the transformation to get from that to being a full-time blogger, to get from no readers to having millions of readers. That is something that people get inspired by all the time but they can also relate to that because they can relate to having those same challenges in the early days as well. Share your transformations, build your brand on those transformations that you’ve had. It’s a very powerful thing. Number seven thing, over halfway now. They tend to be positive, optimistic, and constructive in their outlook. I’m thinking here about people who I’m drawn to. Maybe it’s just partly my personality coming out here but I’m personally much more likely to be influenced by and see someone as an authority on their topic when they have this more positive, optimistic outlook. They’re not just interested in busting myths and tearing down and critiquing. They spend more time presenting solutions, solving problems, and pointing to a way forward. This isn’t to say that from time to time you can’t get negative with your blog. I think being negative, critiquing something, busting myths – these types of things can actually play a part in building authority. To show that side of yourself from time to time can be important. I think you don’t want to be known purely as a negative person. I know some people build their whole brand around critique. But most of the people I’ve seen attempt that don’t tend to last the journey or they tend to transition into a more positive person at some point because they realize that people come to them for their critique but they’re coming almost more for the entertainment of the critique and the snarkiness but they don’t actually see them as an authority on that topic. I think probably about ten years ago in the blogging about blogging space, there are a number of people who started blogs that were very negative, very snarky. They’re talking about the negative things that they were seeing other people were doing. They were having a go at people, they were tearing down, and they were calling them out. Their blogs became very popular. They got a lot of traffic but no one actually saw them as an authority on their topic, no one actually bought their products, no one actually saw them as an authority in their space. They weren’t actually putting forward a solution alongside their critique. Go there if you need to from time to time, bust myths, critique, that’s fine from time to time. But always do it with a solution, with an alternative, and you’re going to be in a much better position. They’re positive, they’re optimistic, they’re more constructive than being known for being negative. Number eight, they build a platform of giving and generosity before they promote. There’s definitely a time for asking. There’s definitely a time for selling what you do. But as I think about the people who I see as influencers and the people who I bought their products, the asking tends to be dwarfed by their giving and by their generosity. Survivors don’t be self-serving. Yes you need to win out of the scenario and this is a trap that some bloggers get into, it’s like just give, give, give and don’t actually get. You’ve got to get some balance in there on that. But you want to be known as generous before you ask. Blogs like Copyblogger. I’ve read Copyblogger for years. Brian Clarkson Simone generously gave amazing teaching. I read them for years and as a result of that, anytime they will release a product I was a buyer of that product based upon the generosity of what they’ve done. I wanted to reciprocate. The only reason I bought their products was because they were so generous. Build a platform of generosity, of giving before you ask or promote. Number nine, they show up, they deliver quality, they ship, they’re reliable. Authority isn’t just built on what you know but rather people knowing they can rely and depend upon you, people knowing that you have their back. Don’t be flaky. Don’t promise things that you don’t deliver upon. You want to be shipping, you want to be showing up. If you say that you were going to do a podcast every week, do a podcast every week. If you’d say you’re going to do a blog post every week, do a blog post every week. If you’re going to send an email newsletter every week, send that email newsletter every week. Do everything you can to show up. Not to say that you can’t take a break but forecast that break. Tell people the reason why you’re taking that break. It’s reliability. It’s being there for your reader and them feeling like you’re consistent and you’re going to continue to show up and you’re going to have their back. This builds credibility. When people know that you deliver a podcast every week or that you deliver articles every week and you deliver that newsletter, they begin to show up expecting that you’d be there as well. Be reliable in that way. Point number ten is to keep your messaging clear and simple. Did you notice how clearly and simply I said that? Keep your messaging clear and simple. Authority isn’t built upon making yourself look smart and lording your intelligence over those who follow you. Authority comes when you make your audience feel smart, when you facilitate them making discoveries, when their knowledge grows because of you. Again, let me think about this. It’s not about you looking smart, it’s about you making your readers feel smart. I love the quote from a guy called Adam Grant. He said, “Good communicators make themselves look smart. Great communicators make their audience feel smart.” Really important distinction there. The old school way of building authority is about look at me, look at all the things that I know, look at all the things that I can say, look at all the big words that I can use. That might make you look good but influence, trust is built upon people feeling that they are benefiting from the relationship and that they are getting smarter as a result of you. This needs to shine through in your content, the way you write your content. I’ve read a number of articles recently that talk about how to best communicate is actually write at a low level. They write at an 8th grade level rather than a university level. Actually writing in a way that your readers can understand the words, they don’t need to go away and look up words in dictionaries, they don’t need to guess the jargon you used – actually writing in a very clear way that makes your readers feel like they can understand what you’re saying is actually so powerful in building authority and credibility as well. It needs to shine through in the content that you use but also in the way you promote yourself as well. Don’t just make yourself look smart, make your readers look smart. Bring them into that in many ways that you can. Number 11 is one that I’m really passionate about. Great influencers use their influence for the benefit of those they influence. There are too many word influences in there but think about this. A lot of influencers use their influence to benefit them. “I want to be influential.” “Why do you want to be influential?” “I want to be influential because it’s going to get me a car, it’s going to get me a holiday, it’s going to get me money. It’s going to get me all this stuff. I’m going to get a lot out of being influential.” The reality is that that’s only going to get you so far. Great influencers use their influence for the benefit of other people. Use your influence for the benefit of other people. I see a lot of people trying to build authority and influence because of how their influence and authority will improve their lives. But I’m struck by the fact that many of the great influencers that I’ve met live very simply. They use their influence to benefit others. What can you do that’s going to improve the situation of your readers and make the world a better place in some way? I actually ask that question from time to time. You will discover ways to use your influence, as small as it may be, to benefit other people. Obviously, you can write content that’s going to solve your readers’ problems but what more could you do? What more could you do for your readers? For example, as I think about this for ProBlogger, what can I do to benefit you as an audience? One of the things that we’ve been realizing over the last year or so is that yeah, we can teach you how to blog but one of the needs that we see a lot of bloggers having is they want more traffic, particularly new bloggers. As you start your blog, you’ve got no traffic. One of the things we realized as we were doing this Start a Blog course that we launched recently is that we can actually help our students to get their first traffic. This is why we started International Start a Blog Day, which happened yesterday as I record this. We actually promoted the 103 blogs that started as a result of our course because we realized we could not only help these bloggers to start their blogs but we can actually give them a little bit of traffic. We’ve been promoting these blogs. I had an email this morning from someone who said, “Wow, I had 100 readers yesterday. I never thought I’d get 100 readers on the first day of my blog.” What could you do that could help your readers to have their dreams come true? What could you do to help your readers’ dreams come true? Don’t just use your influence to make your dreams come true. Find creative ways to make your readers’ dreams come true as well. I’ve got two more here. Point number 12, these influencers, these authoritative people that I respect don’t seek to be known, liked, and trusted. They show that they know, like, and trust their audience. I’ve spoken about this before. The quote by Bob Burg, “People do business with those that they know, like, and trust.” This is a very well-known quote. I believe it. People will want to do business with you when they know, like, and trust you. One of the ways that you speed up people knowing, liking, and trusting you is to actually do those things to them as well. I think this quote is a two-way thing. Don’t just try and be known, don’t just try and be liked, don’t just try and be trusted but actually display that you know your audience, that you like your audience, and that you trust your audience. Let’s just break that down a little bit. Do you know your audience? The more you know your audience, the better position you’re in to build authority with them. Do your research on who is reading your blog. Who are they? Their demographics. What are their needs? What are their dreams? When you know these things, you’re in a much better position to serve them and as a result they’re going to begin to realize that you actually know who they are. One of the best things that I get is emails from time to time from people saying, “I feel like that podcast was for me.” That is because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand who is my audience. I create content based upon knowing who they are having met many of them at our conferences and our events but also talking to them on Facebook lives and those types of things as well. The more you get to know your audience and show them that you know who they are, the more they’re going to want to know, like, and trust you as well. Know your audience. Know, like, and trust. Like your audience. Show warmth to your audience. Show your audience that you actually like them. Make your audience feel they are charismatic. A lot of bloggers they want to be charismatic themselves. Actually make your audience feel like you know them but you also like them. Spend time with them. Get on Facebook live and answer their questions. Hang out with them. Some of the most popular Facebook lives that I’ve done have been the ones where I’ve sat with a beer on a Friday afternoon and I’ve just said, “Let’s hang out.” We just chatted back and forth. We’ve asked questions of each other. We’ve hung out, we’ve had fun. Those are the types of things that, actually as I look back over the year, I’ve built relationships with my audience the most. Hang out with them. Show them that you like them. Lastly, show them that you trust them. This comes down to this vulnerability that I was talking about before. When you share something of yourself, you’re showing your audience that you trust them. By me sharing that I’ve got three boys and me sharing that I’ve just been on holidays and me sharing some of the mistakes that I’ve made and some of the insecurities that I have, that shows that I trust you as my audience. I wouldn’t share that type of stuff if I didn’t have some trust of you, if I didn’t like you. Don’t just try and be known, be liked, and be trusted. The way that you actually do that is to know who you’re speaking to, to like them and to show that you like them, and to trust them – very important. The last thing I’ll say about building influence and trust and authority is that it takes time. Most of the people that I see as influencers and authoritative type people and people that I see having credibility in the topics that they talk about, as I think about it and as reflecting on this week, they’ve all been around for a while. I’ve been following them for a while. It didn’t happen overnight. I look at someone like Chris Guillebeau. He’s been blogging for years, probably for a decade or so now. He’s someone that gradually over time I’ve come to know, like, and trust. He’s someone that overtime I’ve began to see has authority on certain areas. It’s because he’s done all of the things that I’ve just talked about. He’s been vulnerable, he’s put himself out there, he’s kept his messaging clear, he’s shown up, he’s delivered on his promises. All of these things I’ve just talked about, he’s done them but he’s done them time and time and time again over the years. It’s the accumulation of that that makes me think, “Yeah, he’s credible. I can trust him. He’s an authority.” That is key. I know that’s a little bit disheartening for those who just finished our Start a Blog course and you just started. But it’s the accumulation of the little things that you do over time that are going to lead to people knowing, liking, and trusting you, and people seeing you as an authority. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the accumulation of these things. It’s the longevity of you doing these things overtime that’s really going to count the most. Yes you can build little bits of influence early on but it’s going to exponentially grow the longer you show up and the more consistent you are with these things over time as well. I really hope that has been helpful to you. I hope it’s been clear and simple enough. As I thought through, I’m very aware that different people grow their authority and influence in different ways. I actually made a list of about 20 people that I see as authorities in their niches. As I looked at the list, I saw some of these characteristics but every time I look at a different person I’m like, “Yeah but they don’t quite fit with this one.” I want to emphasize again that those 13 things I’ve just talked about, these are different mix and play for each person. Take it as a put it out list, some of it will resonate with you, some of it you want to try, some of it you might not relate to as much but somewhere in the mix of all that I think are some answers. I’ve got some further reading for you today. I’ve got a few articles that I read in preparation for this podcast. There’s an article from Copyblogger Demian Farnworth, 10 Ways to Build Authority as an Author, which overlapped with a few of the things that I said. Then Shane Snow has a couple articles that I’ll link to and a couple articles he wrote about the level that writers write at. That touched on that, in keeping your messaging clear and simple. He’s written about some investigation that he’s done that talks about how writers that are most powerful in their communication tend to write at a lower level. He did some research into the level that great writers write at. He found about the 8th grade level was about the level that they were writing at, and that made them more relatable and easy to read. I’ll link to those in the show notes today as well as some further listening on the podcast as well. You can find today’s show notes over at Thanks so much for listening. If you’ve got a moment, I would love it if you would head over to the ProBlogger blog and check out our list of 103 bloggers who started their blogs. The reason that we do have that list public is that we want you to visit them. We would love it if you would encourage those bloggers. I know a lot of you have been blogging for years now. I want to encourage you just to remember what it was like that first week that you launched your blog. Wouldn’t it have made your day if someone had a shown up your blog and left a comment? Wouldn’t it have made your day if someone had shared your blog on their social media account? That would’ve been so encouraging for you. I really want to encourage you to head over to that list and find a blog that you can leave a comment on, maybe more than one. Find a blog that you resonate with that you could share on your social media account. Pass on a little bit of the traffic that you have. Use your influence to build and benefit other people as well. I really encourage you to do that. We love the fact that there’s all these new blogs out there, and excited that there’s a lot more coming as well. I think almost 2000 people have started the Start a Blog course already. We’ve seen 100 blogs launched. There’s quite a few coming up behind them in the coming months as well. Anything you can do to support those new bloggers would be fantastic. Thanks so much for listening today. I will link to the honor roll in the show notes as well, Chat with you next week. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 235: How to Build Authority, Influence and Trust When Nobody Knows Who You Are appeared first on ProBlogger.
Feb. 5, 2018
How to Relaunch a Dormant Blog In today’s episode, I want to answer a question I get regularly from listeners: How do you relaunch a blog that has died or become dormant? I want to talk you through two scenarios for relaunching a blog, and give you 11 things to consider during a relaunch. Before I get into today’s show though, a couple of things. Firstly, this week on 7th February we’ve got our first ever International Start a Blog Day. For those of you enrolled in our Start a Blog Course, keep working on your launch. And secondly, coming up in March we have our brand new course – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. This is a perfect course for anyone in their first month of blogging, anyone relaunching a blog, or anyone who is blogging and just wants to give their blog a bit of a kick start. It’s a brilliant month of learning, but more importantly doing small things every day to improve your blog. Whether you do the tasks daily or tackle the course slower, it’ll give your blog a boost. Register your interest in the course at and we’ll send you an email when it launches with a special early bird discount. Further Listening on How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging and Content Marketing When I Started A Blogger Shares How She Made $28,000 Using The 4 Stages of Warming Her Readers Up Join our Facebook group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Good morning and welcome to episode 234 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind, a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to start a great blog, to create great content on that blog that’s gonna change your reader’s lives, to find new readers for your blog, and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about what we do ProBlogger at You can also dig into previous episodes of the show and thousands of tutorials that we’ve published over the years. In today’s episode, episode 234, I wanna answer a question I get regularly from readers. How do you relaunch a blog that’s previously died or become dormant? I wanna talk you through two scenarios for relaunching your blog and give you 11 things to consider during the relaunch, 11 questions to ask yourself that will help you to relaunch with your best foot forward. Before I get into today’s show, I want to mention two things. Firstly, this week, on the 7th of February, we’ve got our first ever International Start a Blog Day. For those of you who have previously enrolled in our Start a Blog course, keep working on your launch and look out for emails from us of details on how to participate in that. If you already have a blog and you wanna check out some amazing new blogs, watch out on on the 7th of February and you’ll see a massive list of some amazing new blogs. If you follow us on our Facebook page,, I will also be featuring some of the new blogs on that day and some live videos. The other thing to mention is that coming up in March, we have a brand new course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which has previously been an ebook and a series of blog posts, and a series of podcasts as well. We’ve updated it all and we’ve put it together in a course format. For anyone who is in the first month of blogging, maybe you’ve just done that Start a Blog course or anyone who is relaunching a dormant blog, this would be perfect for you and anyone who’s been blogging for a while who just wants to give their blog a bit of a kickstart, maybe it’s that time of the year and you wanna get things going again, this is a brilliant course that’s really going to walk you through over a month or you can take it slow if you want to, some teaching, and more importantly doing some small things everyday to improve your blog. Time and time again, I hear from people who’ve done this course and they’ve stuck it out through to the end. Previously, they’ve done it as ebooks, they’ve said that it really has given them a boost. The most important thing is not the learning, it’s the doing, it’s the implementing the small things that we suggest everyday. If that sounds like it’s gonna float your boat and improve your blog, check out and you’ll be forwarded there to an outline of the course and also a place where you can register your interests and we’ll let you know when the course goes live. We’ll also send you a special early bird discount as well. If you are listening to this sometime in the future and it’s already live, you’ll already be able to sign up there at and get involved in that course. Today’s show notes are at and with all that said, I’m gonna get into today’s show. Last week, I was asked by a reader of ProBlogger for advice on how to relaunch their blog, which had become dormant for the last year. They’ve had 12 months off blogging. They’ve had to take a break from blogging, blogging had to take a backseat I guess, while other things in their life or their family took priority. They have some really good reasons for putting their blog on hold for that 12 months. But now things had settled down at home, they wanted to get back into blogging again. This is something that many of us bloggers have to deal with at different times. There’s been times where I’ve put my blogs on hold, not ProBlogger and Digital Photography School but I’ve had other blogs that have been on hold and one day, I may need to relaunch them. This is something I thought through numerous times for myself but also in talking other bloggers through as well. Maybe the reason your blog has become dormant is a family reason, or a health crisis that you just have to put things on hold for a while, maybe it’s because you’ve lost motivation or passion to keep the blog going, maybe you’ve become disillusioned, or distracted, maybe things just haven’t quite worked and so you’ve put things on hold for a period of time. No matter what the reason, many blogs tend to have this period where they at least slow down or become completely dormant. In today’s show, what I wanna do is give you some advice on bringing those old blogs back to life. The first thing that I wanna say, and really this is so important, is to assess the current state of play, to actually do some thinking about where things are at for you at the moment. Of course, there’s no one piece of advice that I can give you here, but I think really, if you do this first step of assessing the current state of play, assessing how you are and how your blog is, it’s going to help you to determine what to do next. What I wanna suggest you do is answer a few questions and these will all be in the transcript of today’s show. The first three questions are about you. The first question I want you to ask is why did the blog become dormant? Why did you stop blogging? Understanding this is gonna help you to guard against that thing happening again. Maybe it was you become disillusioned, maybe there’s health stuff going on. The answer doesn’t really matter but understanding why the blog became dormant is actually important because it’s gonna help you to guard against that happening again. The second question is what are your dreams and goals for the blog? I think it’s really important to go back to this because you probably started your blog with certain objectives, certain goals, certain dreams, certain things that you thought might happen but the reality is that it may have changed for you. What were your goals and dreams and what are they now? Actually getting back to your why is really important because it will shape what you do and you’ll probably find your why will be a little bit more realistic the second time. It possibly has evolved a bit. What is your dream? What is your goal for the blog? And thirdly, do you still want the blog to have the same topic or focus? You may just think this blog was great, I loved it, but life got in the way and I just wanna start again doing what I was doing. That’s fine, but maybe you wanna tweak things a little bit. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about pivoting your blog later but I think it’s really important to begin to ask those questions and you probably already got the answers to those in your mind. The second group of questions are about the blog itself. The questions that you might wanna consider, I’ve got five for you. How long has it been since the blog was active? That is going to determine how you’ll relaunch it. If it’s only been month, you can probably get back to blogging pretty quickly. But if it’s been 12 months, or it’s been two years, or five years. I talked to one blogger recently who had a blog five years ago and they wanna relaunch it. The strategies that you use are probably going to be different. If your blog has been dormant for five years, you’re probably gonna wanna do some redesign, you’re probably gonna wanna update archives, you might wanna completely change tech. But if it’s only been a month, you can probably get back to it a little bit faster. How long has it been since the blog was active? How much traffic does the blog still have? Actually, dig into your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t got a Google analytics account, install it, and work out if you still have any traffic. I was looking at one of my old blogs the other day and I realized it was still getting a thousand visitors a day and they were all coming in from Google. Is it getting traffic? Where is the traffic coming from? Is it coming in from the search engines? Is it coming in from social media? Is it coming in from other sites? Maybe you’ve got some links coming in from other sites as well. Do you have traffic? How much traffic? Where is the traffic coming from and where is it going to? This is really important. Do you have a post or a page on your blog that’s still performing really well? I talked to a lot of bloggers who have dormant blogs and they tell me that they’ve just got the one post in their archives that’s going really well. Understanding what that post is or what that page is can really help as you think about moving forward because that page might be a good starting place to do some analysis, to do some updating, and to think about the leveraging in someway. Think about the traffic but maybe you don’t have any traffic at all and so you can skip through that one, but digging into that is important. Social media is another thing to ask. Do you have social media accounts set up? How many followers are on those accounts? Where was the action previously for you in terms of social media? You can ask the same question about email subscribers. How many email subscribers does it have? Is it still getting fresh email subscribers or are they all very old, you know, years ago kind of subscribers? Understanding a little bit about the health of your social media and email subscribers is important. Are they warm? Have automated things been happening to keep those subscribers and followers warm and connected with you or are they completely cold? That’s going to shape your strategy for warming up your list again. I guess the last question to ask about your blog is if your blog topic or focus is changing. I’m getting to this a little bit more. Is the current domain still relevant? That’s just another question to ponder now. I’ll talk a little bit about that later. We’ve asked questions about you, we’ve asked questions about your blog, and it’s probably also worth doing a little bit of analysis on the niche that you’re in as well. Some questions about your niche. What’s the current state of play in the niche that you’re operating in? If it’s been a couple of years since you blogged, you might wanna do a bit of a dig around to find out what other people are doing in your niche. Who are the big players? Who are the big bloggers? Who are the big social media influencers? What are other bloggers mainly doing at the moment? Have they changed tech? Are they using different types of mediums? Are they all in podcasts now? Are they all on video? Where is the action happening for them in terms of social media? Doing some digging there can actually help you to work out where you should be doing things as well. Not that you wanna just copy what everyone else is doing, maybe you actually spot some gaps in what they’re not doing, some opportunities that you could do, but they also would give you some hints to where is the most logical place for you to be engaging in terms of social media. Are there any other emerging trends in the niche or industry that you could latch onto? In the photography space for example, over the last four, five years, we’ve seen the emergence of new types of cameras, of drone photography. If I was relaunching my photography blog today, one thing that I might do would be to have a blog that really focuses on the new types of cameras, the new types of technologies, drone photography for example, mobile phone photography because things have changed over the years. Understanding how your industry, your niche has changed is really important as well. Hopefully, in asking some of these questions about you, your blog, your niche, you begin to hopefully get a bit of an understanding for a few things about your relaunch. Hopefully, one of two scenarios is probably emerging. I wanna talk about these two scenarios. Most of the times, I see people relaunching, they end up doing one of two things. First scenario, maybe as you’re pondering these questions, you will realize that you were already on the right track with your blog and you just needed to get back to it. Your blog was doing well and maybe the reason you stopped was health reason, or an emergency, or something just interrupted you and it was relatively healthy and you just wanna get back to it. This is obviously the most easy scenario but there’s a few pieces of advice that I would really want to encourage you to consider if that’s you. You just wanna get back to blogging, well there’s a couple of things that I would like to encourage you to really focus upon.   Firstly, pay attention to the content you’ve already published that’s still working for you or that has worked in the past. One of the things that you can really shortcut the growth of your blog again is to really pay attention to that type of content. As I mentioned before, you possibly already got a post that is still getting traffic. I would be starting with those posts and maybe updating them, maybe republishing them. Put a new date on them as long as the URL doesn’t change. Put them back up as fresh content on your blog in someway. If it’s something that’s already working for you in someway, update it and leverage it to get some new subscribers.Write some follow up content on those topics. Repurpose it perhaps in a different medium. You might wanna take the written basic content and do a video, or an audio post, and really pay attention to those pieces of content that are already working. Also, think about are there ways that you could expand upon them. I guess, do similar types of things. If you’ve got a category that’s really working for you, maybe focus more upon that category because there’s obviously still interests in that category if it’s still getting traffic to it. Pay attention to your archives. Just don’t start writing new content all the time. Actually, I think one of the emerging trends I’ve noticed in a lot of bloggers recently is that they’re paying as much attention to their archives as they are to new content. Go into your relaunch maybe writing some new content but also updating your archives, maybe every second piece of content that you published, maybe you should be doing a new one and then updating something old and then a new one and then updating something old. The second thing I’d say is if you’re just getting back into blogging, you wanna pay attention to warming up your old followers, subscribers, and readers. If you have a dormant blog, you’re gonna have a cold reader, a cold email list, a cold social media following. They’re not as warm to you as they were in the past. They may still think highly of you, they might still remember you, but they might be a bit frustrated that you haven’t been updating, or they may be wondering if you are still alive, or if you are still healthy, or if you’re still interested in them and their topic. They may be feeling a bit abandoned. You may need to just think through how do you warm them up again? Maybe if it’s been a long absence, maybe you need to explain your absence, maybe this might be a time to do a video post that tells the story of your last 12 months. You may not wanna go into great detail if it’s been a health thing but maybe that actually helps to make connection with your audience. If you can tell your story, that sometimes can warm people up. Maybe, now is the good time to create something to give them as a gift. Maybe you’re going to create an opt in for your new email subscribers but you can send it to your old subscribers as well just to say thank you for sticking around. Maybe this would be a good time for you to launch with a series of content that’s gonna get your readers to do something, some sort of a challenge, or content event. These types of content actually are all about not just teaching your readers or not just informing them but actually engaging with them in someway, or maybe you wanna use live video, or more images, or something that’s a bit more personal in terms of the medium itself to warm up your readers in some way. I guess the key thing is if you just need to get back to blogging, you really just need to get back to blogging and you need to start creating content again. The best thing that you can do in relaunching your blog, particularly if it’s just picking up where you left off, is to be as useful as possible to your readers. That’s the first scenario. What I wanna do after I talk about the second scenario is give you 11 more things to think about that will be relevant for you if you’re in that first scenario as well. Hang in there. I’ve got some more that will be relevant for you as well, but is also relevant to people in the second scenario. First scenario, you’re just picking things back up where you left off. The second scenario is that maybe as you answer those questions that I went through earlier, as you assess the current state of play for your blog, maybe you’re realizing that you need to change direction. Maybe your blog became dormant because you lost the passion for your topic, maybe you stopped because the niche changed, the blog wasn’t working in some way. To just start up again in the same way that you ended it is probably gonna end up leading to the same kind of results. Maybe as you’re doing the assessment, you realize you need to change the way you approach a blog. You need to pivot in someway. The second scenario is about pivoting your blog. I think in most cases, a pivot is probably a good idea. These things were really firing in the past and you can just pick things up again and keep them firing. You’re probably gonna change it if you’ve had a break from blogging. You’re probably gonna find, if you’ve had a break from blogging, that you need to pivot in someway. There are four different ways that you might wanna consider pivoting your blog. Changing things up to hopefully get slightly different results from what you were doing in the past. Firstly, you might want to pivot your topic. Maybe you want to completely change your topic, or maybe you just wanna make some smaller evolutions and pivots in your topic. There are a few different ways of that you can do this. Firstly, you might just completely change it. Maybe you had a photography blog and you wanna start a blog about blogging. Maybe you had a fashion blog and you wanna do a blog about travel. They’re completely different topics, in which case you’re probably better off to start a new blog completely rather than relaunch it. Unless you had a domain that’s kind of relevant to both topics, you’re probably more thinking about a new blog and you might want to check out our Start a Blog course to do that. But in most cases, the pivot that people make is actually more of a tweak and there are a few ways that you can tweak your topic to bring you new life for your blog. Firstly, you might want to  narrow your topic. For example, and I’ve used this example in the past, Donna Moritz who we talked to in episode 117, narrowed her focus. She used to have a blog that was on all things social media that was not really that different to all the other blogs that were all things social media and so she decided to really focus her blog of the topic of visual content in social media. She talks about infographics, on how to create a visual content for social media. She very much narrowed her topic. As a result of that, she became known as one of the key people that had expertise in visual content for social media. Her narrowing her focus made her stand out from all the other social media blogs and so maybe, there’s a category in you old blog that should become your focus when you relaunch and then you can become the expert in that particular field. I remember when I was getting you to answer questions earlier, one of the questions was is there traffics still coming to your old blog? Do you have a category that still getting lots of traffic? Do you have a blog post that’s still getting lots of traffic? Maybe that could become your thing. That’s a hint as to how you might want to narrow your focus. The opposite of this is that maybe your previous topic was too narrow and you need to broaden it as well. I’ve seen bloggers do that quite well as well. They might have had just a blog that was about printers and they got bored with that topic and so maybe they want to broaden that out to other related technology type topics as well. A second way that you might wanna pivot is to change the perspective that you’re blogging from. Perhaps your topic is right, you’re still interested in that topic but maybe you wanna explore using a different voice, or maybe you want to change the intent of your content as well. I talked a little bit about voice in episode 213 so I’m not gonna go into great depth there but in that episode, I talked about this five voices that Jeff Goins talked about and he says that you can use these five voices for any topic really. You can be the professor who teaches. You can be the artist who brings out the beauty in their topic, that story tells. You can be the prophet who tells the cold, hard truth and busts myth. You can be the journalist who is curating and gathering ideas and putting them together in stories, or you could be the celebrity, the one that everyone wants to know your opinion, they wanna know what you think about a topic. There are five voices but really, you can come up to any voice of your own as well. You can be the companion who journeys with people around a topic, you can be the mentor, the entertainer, you can be the reviewer, the curator, the storyteller, the guide, the teacher, the thought leader. All of these are different voices and you may actually want to try and bring out couple of those into your blogging. You can dig more into that in episode 213, but this is one way that you might want to consider pivoting your blog. The other way to kind of think about this is to think about the perspective that you come from and the intent of your content. You might wanna tweak that, change that. Maybe your blog was about bringing your readers the latest news in a niche. Maybe you got a bit sick of that and maybe you could pivot to be more of an opinion blog. You’re still talking about them but you’re bringing your opinion into it. That’s a slightly different intent, that’s a slightly different voice that you bring to your blog. Maybe your blog previously was more of storytelling and you wanna bring in some more reviews. Maybe this is about completely changing your voice or maybe it’s just tweaking things as well. An example of this was my original photography blog which used to be a review blog. Back in the day, 2004, I had these camera review blogs. I was reviewing cameras. I got completely sick of it. I got burnt out. It wasn’t something I was passionate about and so I decided to pivot that blog and to start teaching people how to use their cameras. This was, for me, a big change. I changed my domain, I changed the older content and really that’s when Digital Photography School was born. For me, it was a big pivot. But you might just want to tweak your voice. Maybe it’s about adding in new types of posts to sit alongside of the old types of post. It’s really important to think this through before you relaunch your blog. A third way you might wanna consider pivoting is around the medium. Maybe you previously had a written blog, but you wanna launch it to explore using more video or maybe you wanna use audio or more visual content, or do more live shows. This could be a complete shift. You might change from having a written blog to having a podcast or a video blog or you might just wanna add the new medium into what you’re doing. Like we do on ProBlogger, every week we publish a blog post, a podcast, and a video. Maybe you just wanna change the mix of the mediums as well. The fourth and last way that I’ll talk about pivoting your blog is to change up the audience and to focus on serving a different type of demographic. This is something I’ve seen a number of bloggers do over the years with real success. I get it. Similar to narrowing your focus, instead of just having a blog that brought everyone in your topic, you might wanna focus in on being a topic blog for a certain demographic. Instead of just being a travel blogger and trying to write general travel advice, you might wanna reposition your blog to be a blog that has travel advice for retirees, or for families, or for single women, or for gay men. You can think about your topic for a particular audience and this makes your content much more useful for those individual types of people. It may sound a bit dangerous. You’re narrowing your potential audience down but it’s gonna make it more so much attractive to anyone who is from that kind of demographic and your content is going to be able to be more focused as well. It will probably impact your design, your  branding, and all of these things as well. There’s four ways that you might wanna pivot your blog, it’s the topic, the perspective or voice that you’re writing from, the mediums that you use, and potentially, the audience that you’re trying to attract. You may be wanting to just pivot in one of these areas or you may actually wanna pivot in a few. You might want to narrow your topic and narrow down to a particular demographic, and to change medium slightly and to use a different voice. Maybe you want to do all of those things, or maybe your pivot is just in a couple of this areas and in quite small ways. But I think it’s well worth considering. Particularly, if you’ve been blogging for a few years, you’ll probably find that things in your niche have changed quite a bit. For you to just go back to blogging in exactly the same way may not connect to its readers quite so much. One of the things that we all are aware of is the internet is changing a lot. We’re seeing a lot more video, we’re seeing a lot more visual content. Changing the medium can really work a bit and we’re also seeing more focused content, and more focused sites as well. I’ve noticed, over the last few years, people focusing in on serving narrow niches of demographics as well. There are a few things to consider as you relaunch your blog. Can you pivot things a little bit? You will also find as you pivot, sometimes that will give you a bit more passion for what you’re doing as well. You’re not just getting back to the same old thing you used to do, you actually got something new to learn and that can keep you fresh as well. Once you’ve worked out, if and how you’re gonna pivot, you’ll probably need to consider a few other factors. One of the biggest things you need to consider is whether you need to find a new domain or name for your blog. We’ve previously talked about domain names and how to choose good domain names and I’ll link to that particular episode in our show notes. But for some people, this pivoting that you’re going to do is going to mean you just have to change your domain. This is particularly if you are changing your topic completely, maybe you’re going from being a travel blogger to a fashion blogger and your old domain just doesn’t suit you at all. In that case, to keep that old domain is just gonna confuse your readers and it’s gonna confused your brand as well. Effectively, what you need to do if that’s the case is you’re almost starting a new blog and as I said before, that Start a Blog course the we’ve just released will be useful to you. But in many cases, the old domain you already have can work. Particularly if you’re only just changing the medium, or the audience, or the voice, or the topic in a slight way, or if your domain was a more of a general domain, or maybe it was your name,, I can change into any direction really I guess. That’s one of the advantages of having your name. Keeping the domain of course is good in some ways because it does help you with search engine optimization, any past links coming into your site is gonna help you to rank higher for the future as well. It may also be helpful because you’d be able to keep your previous social media accounts but I just wanna emphasize, if it’s going to cause too much confusion to keep that domain and change things up, sometimes it’s better just to have a clean break. That’s what I did with my photography site in the early days. The domain that I previously was using just wasn’t right and Digital Photography School was a much better name for this new blog so I bit the bullet and I change things up. It felt really scary to do that and it did mean I was starting from scratch a lot more but in the long run, it did really help me a lot. If you are changing domains, then you could keep that previous domain up as an archive of your  previous work and maybe have some links on it to what you’re newly doing or what you’re doing today. You might wanna even forward that previous domain to the new one. Anyone who arrives on that past one is gonna end up on your new site. Again, you probably wanna really think through the user experience that your readers are gonna have. If your old blog is on one topic and the new one is on a new one, it’s probably no sense in forwarding people from one to the new one because it’s just gonna annoy them, really.  It’s gonna be hard to bring those old readers across as well. Hopefully, you’ve worked out whether you’re doing a pivot or whether you’re just restarting what you’ve previously doing. No matter what the scenario you’re in of those two options or if it’s something in between even, there are still other things that you want to think about. What I wanna do is finish off this podcast with 11 other things that I’d be focusing my attention on as I was relaunching my blog. These are the 11 questions that you can ask, 11 things that I think you should be working on, particularly in those early days of doing that relaunch, before you do the relaunch, and in the first month or so as well. I will say up front that most of these things are actually included in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course as well and if you go and have a look at that, you’ll see a lot of these things are mentioned in the outline. First thing I’d be thinking about are your goals and objectives to your the blog going forward. Don’t just think about the topic, but what are you trying to achieve with the blog? What do you want it to lead to? Are you trying to build income? Are you trying to open up opportunities like landing a job or a book deal? Having this really thought through, what is it you are trying to achieve will help you in in so many ways. You will inform the content that you create the way you design your site the construction that have. What are those goals and objectives going forward? You don’t have to write a thesis on this but actually having them clear in your mind is really important. A second thing to consider is how will your blog change you readers’ lives? If you’ve been listening to my podcast for any time now, you’ve heard me talk about this time and time again. For me, it is the key to success for blogging, having a blog that is gonna change people’s lives. Having a dream for what you wanna achieve with your blog is one thing but what is your dream for your readers? What’s in it for your reader? Get laser focused on that. How are you gonna change your readers’ lives? This will come out in the content that you create in the way you design your site as well. This is a really important factor to consider. All of your content should really be focused upon bringing about this change in some way. Third thing to think about is to start generating ideas for content. This is pretty obvious. A blog without content is not a blog. Many bloggers, this is actually why the blog becomes dormant. It’s because they struggle to come up with new ideas. Before you get back into blogging, spend as much time as you can on generating ideas for content. Map out the next few weeks, the next few months, the next few years. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers recently mapping out a year of content ahead of time. This is particularly important if the reason your blog become dormant is because this was a struggle for you. If you know this is a struggle, put a lot of time into this, get some friends involved in it as well. Survey any past readers that you have to find out their questions. Dig into the archives. Look at what did well in the past. They can give you ideas as well. Speaking of those archives, number four thing that that I wanna encourage you to think about and I mentioned this at the top of the show, is to build your archives up and to build upon your archives. If you’re not changing domains and are simply starting your blog again with minor changes, you wanna think really carefully about your previous content. Do an audit of what you have in your archives and once you’ve done that, be ruthless about deleting anything that is not  serving your readers anymore or updating it. If you’ve got old posts that dated, taking your readers against the change you’re trying to bring about in their lives in some ways, delete them or update them in some way, or forward them to other articles that you’ve written. Pay attention particularly to any post that’s getting significant traffic. I would be identifying your top 10, maybe your top 20 or so posts that are still getting any traffic and make them more visually appealing, make them more scannable, optimize them for search engine optimization. Think about the calls to action that you have to get new subscribers. Think about could you do a follow up post? Could you add a link to further reading? Could you repurpose that content in someway? It’s really important. Those posts that are doing well already, leverage them. Update them. Make them even bigger, make them even better. It’s really important to focus upon that. That’s probably the number one thing I’ve been doing out of all the things that I’m mentioning here. That’s number four. Number five is think about the editorial calendar going forward. You’ve brainstormed the ideas but actually get those ideas into some kind of a calendar. When will you publish them? How often will you publish? What mediums will you use? You might wanna come up with a weekly format. Monday is gonna be a blog posts and it’s gonna be a tips article. Tuesday is going to be an audio post. Wednesdays might be a link post to someone else. Thursdays might be a review that you do. It really doesn’t matter whether you publish everyday but actually think about the types of posts that are you going to publish. Put topics alongside them in a calendar and suddenly, you’ve created yourself an editorial calendar. It’s so important to do that particularly if you struggled with keeping your blog going in the past because you had issues around planning. Number six is to do some analysis on where your readers are going to come from. If you’ve already got some readers coming in, do some analysis on where they’re already coming from. Also begin to think about how am I’m gonna grow my readership. That’s really important as you launch your blog, as you relaunch your blog to think about could you do some guest posting? Should you be interacting in forums or Facebook groups? How can I be useful in these places? What other influences in the niche do I wanna network with? Maybe it’s been a few years since your blog was active. Maybe you need to introduce yourself to some of the new players. Maybe you need to reestablish contact with some of your previous friends in that particular niche. What events will you attend? Doing some analysis on where your readers could come from and how you’re going to grow your readership is really important. Number seven point is kind of related to number six. Identify which social networks you’re going to focus your attention on. Things have probably changed in your space. We’ve had Snapchat come out. We’ve had Instagram come out. We’ve had all these different social networks come up perhaps since you previously were blogging. Do they present some new opportunities? Have people moved from one network to another in your particular niche? Identify the one or two that’s gonna be your primary focus. Make sure you’ve registered all the accounts that you need to. But then, come up with a little strategy of how you’re going to use those social networks going forward. Tip number eight is to start creating content. I would be focusing upon pillar content first. This is sort of that evergreen content that is going to be really, it’s what the rest of your blog is going to be built around. It’s your pillar content. It’s that evergreen content that you’re gonna refer to time and time again. It’s what you stand for. It’s your core teaching. On Digital Photography School, it’s my post around aperture, shutter speed, ISO, these key components of photography. As you relaunch your blog, go back and look at the previous pillar content but also are there new pieces of content that you need to write first. Think about that evergreen content because that evergreen content is the type of content that’s gonna payoff for years to come. Deliver as much big value as you can with your early posts. Tip number nine is to think about your list. If you’ve previously collected emails, how are you gonna warm that list up again? How often are you going to send emails? How are you going to use that list going forward? How are you going to get new emails as well? Again, there are plenty of content in our podcast archives on growing your list. We’ve got some more coming up for you in the next little while, but begin to put some thought into that in those early days. Number 10 thing to figure out is your blog design. Maybe it’s been a couple of years since you’ve been blogging. Things have changed in the blogging space. Blogs look different now to what they used to look like. Do you need to update it? Do you need to change that logo? Do you need to lay it out differently? Is your blog mobile friendly? It’s so important these days, most people are looking at your blog probably on their mobile phone. Is it viewable on a mobile phone? You may need to give things a refresh in that particular area. The last thing I’d encourage you to think about as you’re relaunching your blog is how are you going to use your time going forward? This, again, is one of the reasons that so many bloggers become dormant, is that the blogger is struggling with juggling life and their blog and all the things that come along with having a blog. Actually thinking about how much time do I have that I can give my blog and what am I going to spend that time on? We all have a limited amount of time and we are much more productive when we think ahead of time about how we are going to use that time. Make a list of what you need to do, and look at the available time that you’ve got, whether its one hour a week or whether that’s 40 hours a week and begin to prioritize the things that need to happen and plug them into a calendar. This is what I do. I have a weekly template. I know on Monday mornings that I’ll write content. On Tuesday mornings, I’ll record a podcast. I know when things are going to happen and as a result, I’m so much more productive. Even if you’ve only got two or three hours a week to do it, you can fit a lot in if you’re sensible and proactive about planning and arranging your time. Those are 11 things. That will be in today’s show notes as well. These are the kinds of things that I’d be thinking about if I was relaunching a blog. Ultimately though, the success of your relaunched blog is gonna be determined on what you do over the coming months and years. It’s the accumulation of the content that you create. It’s the accumulation of the value and usefulness that you deliver and the engagement that you have with your readers. Prioritize those things first. Content creation. Promoting your self, engaging with your reader. Creating value. They are so important. To help you with this process, we are in that final stages of putting together our brand new course that I mentioned at the top of the show. 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It really is designed to help bloggers to kickstart their blogs whether they are new blogs relaunching a blog, or established blogs. The course is launching in March. We’ll give you the dates in the coming weeks. As the name suggests, it’s a 31 days course that will give you 31 days of teaching but more importantly 31 things you can do to make your blog better. It’s all about helping you to think through the kind of things I just ran through. Things that will help you establish good habits and routines for your blog. Things that are gonna help you to build the asset of your blog’s archives to grow you readership and to turn those readers into true fans. I’m so excited about this new course because I know in the past, 31 days to Build a Better Blog is an ebook and as other series of content have helped tens of thousands of people and so I just know this course will help people as well. You can head over to to be signed up and notified when that course goes live. It’s a paid course but we’re keeping it as affordable as we can and if you register your interest now, we will be sending you an exclusive early bird discount in the coming weeks, in the lead up to that. Again, that’s I really hope this has helped. It’s been a long one today, I know and it’s been a lot to digest so you may wanna head over to the show notes and dig into the transcript that I’ve got there for you and some further listening that I’ve got for you as well. Today’s show notes are at and for the next little while, at least it will be on the front page of ProBlogger as well and at the top of your iTunes feed as well would be the podcast but you’ll be able to find the show notes there as well because I noticed the other day the show notes are appearing in iTunes if you click on the avatar, at least they do for me. I hope you found some value in today’s show. Do check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Register your interest for that and I can’t wait to set that one live in March for you as well. Thanks so much for listening today. Again, today’s show notes, Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week. You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at Tweet us @problogger. Find us at or search ProBlogger on iTunes. Before I go, I wanna give a big shout out and say thank you to Craig Hewitt and the team at PodcastMotor who’ve been editing all of our podcasts for sometime now. PodcastMotor have a great range of services for podcasters at all levels. They can help you to set up your podcast but also offer a couple of excellent services to help you to edit your shows and get them up with great show notes. Check them out at How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 234: How to Relaunch Your Blog After It Becomes Dormant appeared first on ProBlogger.
Jan. 29, 2018
The Tools We’re Using in 2018 to Get More Subscribers and Customers In today’s episode, I want to introduce you to a suite of WordPress plugin tools we’ve been using on our blogs for the past six months or so that we’re really excited about. Today’s show is brought to you by two brand new courses from ProBlogger. I’ve been talking about one of them – our Ultimate Guide to starting a blog – for the past month or so. It’s perfect for those people who want to get a blog launched with solid foundations. We’ve had more than 1000 people start the course already, and we’re now seeing many of them launch their blogs. We’ll be celebrating the launches on the 7th February with what we’re calling ProBlogger’s International Start a Blog day. To be included in that day simply register for the course by 31 January and launch your blog by 7th Feb. The second course we’ve developed that we’ll be launching in March isn’t just for new bloggers. It’s also for those of you who have been blogging for a while. It’s our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course. Long-time listeners will be familiar with that name. I originally ran 31DBB back in 2009 as a blog post series. Later it was turned into an eBook, which we’ve since updated. That eBook sold tens of thousands of copies. I also did a version of the series to launch this podcast. But now we’re giving it a complete overhaul and will be launching it as a course. I’ll give you more details of it in coming episodes. But it’s perfect both for new bloggers who have just set up a blog with our start a blog course, as well as more established bloggers who want to give their blog a real kick start. It’s really about developing good habits over an intentional month of blogging. This will be a paid course, although we’ve kept it as affordable as we can. And we’ll be launching it to anyone who preregisters their interest at a launch discount. Links and Resources on Tools We’re Using to Get More Subscribers and Customers in 2018 Facebook Group Thrive Episode on CoSchedule Courses Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren : Hi there and welcome to episode 233 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind A blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog, to get the blog started but also to grow it and to build profit around your blog as well. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at Now, today’s episode, I wanna introduce you to a suite of WordPress plugins, tools that we’ve been using on my blogs over the last six or so months and that we will be investing more and more time into using more of in the coming year ahead. We’re very excited about these particular tools. I brought my general manager, Laney Galligan, on to talk about those tools. I wanna talk about those in a minute but before I do, I do want to mention that today’s show is brought not by an external sponsor but by our brand new courses at ProBlogger and yes, you heard me right, courses. I’ve been talking about one of them now for about a month, our ultimate guide to starting a blog and it has been going so well. We’ve had over a thousand people start the course already. There’s another thousand or so who’ve already registered in addition to that who are yet to start the course. But what’s really exciting me is we’re starting now to see blogs launched as a result of this particular course. We’ve got a little Facebook group where we’re celebrating the launches of the new blogs. It is so exciting to see these brand new blogs coming out the other end of the course. Some are getting some great reviews of the course as well. Please head over to if you’re interested in that particular course starting a new blog. Now, I will say that you have a little bit of motivation to start your blog in the next couple of weeks because on the 7th of February, we have ProBloggers’ first ever international start a blog day. Sounds grand. It’s probably gonna be a little bit less grand than that but we wanna have this day on the 7th of February where we celebrate all the blogs that are launched as a result of the course. It already looks like there’s gonna be may be 100 or so of them. If you wanna be included in our international start a blog day and be listed on ProBlogger and hopefully get a few new readers, you need to register for the course by the end of January, 31st of January, and launch your blog by the 7th of February. That’s just to give you a little bit of extra motivation to get that blog you’re been thinking about launching up and ready. That’s the Start A Blog course. But we’ve also got this second course because we’ve been asked by so many people as we have been promoting this Start A Blog course. Is there a course for people who’ve already got a blog? The Start A Blog course is about getting a blog started. It’s not really relevant for those of you who already got a blog so I do have another course coming in March. We’ve actually already almost completed it. It’s going to be our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course. Longtime listeners will be familiar with that name, I originally ran 31 Days to Build a Better Blog in, I think, it was 2007 or 2009. I can’t remember. I always get those mixed up but I’ve done it as a series of blog posts which I updated two years after I did the first time. We then turned it into an ebook which I then updated in 2012. There’s two versions of the ebook. We sold that ebook to tens of thousands of people. I know many of you have done that particular ebook and you know that it’s relevant for new bloggers but also for those of you who’ve been around for a while. The whole idea of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is it’s got teaching but also practical things to do. That’s really what the both of these courses are about. They give you homework. They give you little exercises to do that take you a step closer to your goal. What we’ve done with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is we’ve taken all the blog post series, all the podcast, all of the ebook that I’ve done, and we’ve updated it all. We are launching our new version of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as a course. That will go live in March. If you are interested in taking that course, it’s a paid course, but we are keeping it a affordable as we can, we’re actually even launching it with a further discount as well for our people who pre-registered, just head over to and that will forward you to where you can register your interest in the course, and you’ll also be able to see a full outline of the course as well. You can find links to both of these courses as well as a transcript of today’s show and links to the tool that we’re talking about at our show notes at Thanks for listening to all that. I’m gonna get into the show today. I’ve got a little bit to say about the tools and then we’ll get into a bit of an interview that I did with Laney. Onto the topic of today’s episode, I wanna introduce you to the suite of tools, WordPress plugins, that we’ve been using on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School for the last six or so months now. We are so excited about them. The tools are from Thrive Themes. You might be familiar with Thrive Themes. They’re WordPress themes. They’re very good themes. We’ve recommended them in the past but over the last year or so, they’ve also been developing a series of nine or so plugins that are just fantastic. Everytime they add a new plugin, we get really excited at ProBlogger headquarters. I’m not gonna get through them all right now because we do so in the rest of the show but these are all plugins that are particularly relevant for anyone wanting to build a business around their blog. I hope you grow your email list so you convert your readers into subscribers. They’ll help you to then convert those subscribers into customers by helping you design landing pages and customize the look of your pages and blog posts as well. It’s very cool tools. The other thing I love about these tools and I do mention it in the show notes is that they’re incredibly affordable in comparison to some of the other tools that are out there. Some of the other tools that we’ve used in the past, we’ve actually switched from them to Thrive because one, they’re more affordable, and two, they work so intuitively. You can find all of these tool if you head to I do recommend as you listen to this show that you go and actually have a look because there are features listed there that we simply don’t have time to get into in today’s show. The last thing I will say before I get into the interview that I did with Laney earlier today is that I wanna really disclose upfront that I’m an affiliate for Thrive but we’re also a paying customer. They haven’t given us this for free. We pay for it. We get so much value out of it and as a result, I’m really comfortable promoting it as an affiliate. That link, does earn me a small commission if you make a purchase. It doesn’t cost you anything more but it helps me to keep producing this free podcasts. I do appreciate it if you find these tools suited to your needs, head over to and make a purchase as a result of clicking through on that link. It does help us to keep ProBlogger going. Okay, I’ve talked too much today already. I’m gonna now get into this interview I did with general manager of ProBlogger, Laney Galligan. I asked her to come on and talk to me about Thrive because she is a massive fan of it and has loads more hands on experience with it than I have, and so I thought she’d be perfect to talk about it. This is an interview I did with her earlier today. It goes or an hour so you may wanna make yourself comfortable but do open up that link as you listen, and you’d be able to follow through the nine or so plugins as we go through them. Thanks for listening and I’ll chat with you at the end of this chat that I had with Laney. Darren: Hi, Laney. How are you today? Laney: I’m pretty good, Darren. I’m pleased to have you back from holiday. Darren: It is good. I will be very happy when school holiday is finished but that’s a whole other story for today. We are Lego City all over our house at the moment. It’s been a bit crazy. But we wanna talk today about a suite of tools that we’ve been using on ProBlogger, Digital Photography School for last 12 months. I thought, rather than me talking about it, I’d get you in because as general of ProBlogger and Digital Photography School, you’ve got very hands on experience with setting up and using this tool from Thrive Themes. We had a conversation about another tool last year in episode 195 on CoSchedule. That was so popular I thought I’d get you back again to talk about Thrive Themes. Welcome back. Laney: Thank you very much. It’s good to be here. I like talking about these different tools because they make my life easier. It’s all good. Darren: You’re the queen of tools, I think. Laney: I think so. Darren: That could be interpreted two ways, but anyway, maybe if you can talk to us a little bit about Thrive, what is this tool, well, it’s a suite of tools, really. Maybe you can talk us through a little bit about what is Thrive Themes membership tools. Laney: Sure. I guess most people might be familiar with Thrive Themes themselves. They’re actual themes via WordPress site, and maybe also Thrive Leads is something that people have heard about before for opt-ins and email sign-ups. But really, it’s a suite of a number of different WordPress plugins. The company is very focused on conversion-based plugins. Solutions to help you really convert your audience and get them a good experience on your blog or on your website. They’ve developed a whole range of plugins, not a huge number, I think it’s about nine or so. You can use the plugins individually but you can also access all of them with a membership port which is what we do. There’s that nine plugins and then the membership so you can access all of them. Darren: We’ll probably focus most of our conversation on the plugins that we use but maybe before we dig in deep into those, maybe we should just run through the plugins in the suite which may peak some interest of our listeners. Laney: Yeah, sure. Because I do have plugins that help you design your blog, build landing pages, generate leads, increase conversions. The first one which is one that just upgraded recently is a drag and drop [00:10:56] called Thrive Architect and that enables you to create landing pages really intuitively. It’s one of my favorites, has changed my life when it comes to doing things on the fly for both sites. But also, allows you to add elements, really neat elements into your blog posts as well. It’s not just about landing pages. Darren: I love that it can be used in the blog post because you can really take a normal blog post and almost create a complete custom design for it. It’s amazing. Laney: You can, yeah. Thrive Leads is for all of your opt-ins and sign-up forms. It’s very, very clever. We’ll talk about that a bit more because that’s one of the second one that we’re using most often at the moment. Thrive Ovation, when I saw this one, I just thought that is super clever. It allows you to to collect testimonials from multiple sources. You can set-up a landing page with a form and say, “Look, could you please leave me a testimonial?” Or you can import comments that are made on social media. For example, Facebook or comments on your blog, and otherwise as well, you can get those really valuable testimonials and comments and things that are people are saying about you and pull them into a format which then allows you to just drag and drop it onto your landing page if you’re using something like Thrive Architect. You know when you’re doing a sales page and you’re just, “Ugh. I forgot I’ve gotta get a testimonial. Where do I find one? How do I make it look good? I don’t have the photo. What should I use?” Thrive Ovation actually helps you manage that whole process so that it makes it really easy to get those all important testimonials onto your landing pages. Darren: Very clever. Laney: It is specifically that. We’re in the process of setting it up at the moment for a couple of our courses both for ProBlogger and also for Digital Photography School as well. I can’t wait to see those in action. Darren: That’s sort of ultimatum there. Laney: Yeah. Ultimatum is again another really super clever solution from Thrive. It allows you to create countdown campaigns. If you’ve got, for example, a limited time offer, or sale, or special on, it’s the thing that you would normally see where a little countdown sort of pops up from the bottom of your site and says, “Hey, this special offer is available for x more days or hours,” so most people are sort of aware of the whole countdown timer thing. We use it obviously for our Christmas sale at the end of each year. We didn’t use this particular one because we had one coded already. But this does give you a lot more flexibility. You can do it for a specific time, official offer, but you can also do it, and this is where it gets really clever, for an individual. If somebody comes to your site and does something, you can then have an interaction with them, whether it might be they sign-up and then you send them to the landing page or thank you page, you can then actually offer them a personalized offer of some description. Whether it be like, “Hey, thanks for downloading our ultimate guide. We hope you find it useful. If you’d like to take the next step, here’s $10 off our next beginner book available to you for the next x amount of time.” It gives them a personalized countdown offer which is really, I guess, helping people to convert based on their idea of scarcity. But I like this because it is real scarcity. They come along and you’ve given them an opportunity to take advantage of an offer. You cannot crack that. It doesn’t reset and start again. It’s actually real scarcity. The plugin’s that clever, it knows if they reset their cookies or try to access it on a different device. It’s got a lock down feature on it. It is a true one-time offer for that countdown for that person. Darren: They’ll come back a couple of days later and if the countdown is finished, it’s finished. If it’s got a little bit to go, it picks up where it should pick up. It’s quite smart. Laney: Exactly right. Yes, it is. It’ll say, “Look, so you missed out. We’ll send you here instead,” or something along those lines as well. You’ve got all of that flexibility with that particular plugin. It’s quite clever. The Headline Optimizer is one that I haven’t really had much of a look at mainly because I just think, “Well, I’ll just use CoSchedule. It tells me a score for my headlines whether they are any good or not.” But this is one step up from that. It actually allows you to put in a multiple number of headlines for the same blog post. It’ll split test them all for you live. Depending on who comes to look at it, it’ll give them a different headline, and if they interact with that headline, it’ll know and it’ll count against your traffic. You’ll actually get actual engagement based results in your split testing rather than, “Oh, hey, this one were shared this number of times on social media sites so obviously the better result.” It doesn’t get skewed by with a one really big social media or account shares something for you. It’s actually based on the results of how they actually came to the site and interacted on your actual website. One that I’m actually interested in having a look at but there’s only so many things you can try out at once but it looks super clever from that perspective. Darren: I had a look before and some of the metrics it looks at is how long people stay on your sites, how far they scroll down the site, whether the click through on a call to action, it’s looking at all those metrics and then determining which version of the blog post with the different headlines wins, and it automatically selects the best ones which is pretty cool. There are sites like BuzzFeed have complicated tools that do these for them. This is a way of playing with that in a fairly affordable way. Laney: Absolutely. Some of these plugins, they’re like the BMW of plugins, that are very, very intelligent. Some of the engineering behind them, I think, is just so clever. Speaking of clever, the next one is Clever Widgets. This is something I remember I’m sure I’ve asked Mario before, I’m just like, “Mario, I wanna put this widget in this area but I only want it to show when people are looking at this category. How do we do that?” What I’m really asking for is conditional widgets. I only show it in this space on the side, or I’ll only put it in the sidebar, or this category, or for these pages, or whatever it might be. Clever Widgets, you just upload it and then whenever you go to your widget areas and you wanna drag something in, you can then have a separate option which is make this conditional and only show it here. Darren: On our Photography Blog, we could have a Photoshop course that we wanna advertise but only show it when people are looking at a Photoshop article, whether it’s based on categories or tags. Laney: Exactly. It operates on any of your widget areas, not just your sidebar, but if you’ve got an after content widget area or a banner, or however you want to do it, whatever your theme has, it’ll give you that option, only show it when this occurs. They have themes. Obviously, I mentioned that and people might be more familiar and that’s where the name originally came from, Thrive Themes. They have 10 conversion focused WordPress themes and again, they’re super sleek. They’re built for speed. They’re built for conversion. They have things built into them so you don’t have to have extra plugins to do things on the site. They’ve got really great templates for pages and just makes everything streamlined and really quick. I haven’t used them yet so I can’t talk about them to a great extent but I do love the fact that they use some of the same sort of editing styles that Thrive Architect uses as well. Obviously, they integrate perfectly with Thrive Architect, Thrive Leads, and all of the other widgets in Thrive as well to just make it really a smart website. Darren: They’ve got Quiz Builder. Laney: Quiz Builder, yeah. I can’t wait to have a play with this one. Quiz Builder is exactly that. It allows you to build a quiz. When you see, for example, on I guess, Facebook, they’ll just say, “What kind of such and such are you.” It’s that kind of thing. You can build a quiz and have people answer questions and then, obviously give them results at the end. Probably a really good one for helping people navigate around your site or around your content. For example, with photography, it could be what kind of photography I wish I start or what kind of photography course should I do, or with blogging as well. It’s like where are you at, are you just at the beginning, or are you just needing a bit of a [inaudible 00:20:12] of your old blog, are you ready to make some money, and those sorts of thing. You can use it for almost anything. You can include videos in it and then have, at the end of it, obviously, a customized pathway for your reader to take. You can build offers and all those sorts of things into it as well based on the answers that they give you. Darren: I think it’s really smart. You could just use this to get engagement from your readers. That, in itself, is a great thing because readers love taking quizzes and seeing their results and sharing their results, but I think, being able to build it into almost like the entry into a funnel, here’s some further reading for you, here’s a product that will be relevant for you, I think that makes a lot of sense. Laney: Yes. Absolutely. Then, Comments is a new one that they just brought out. It’s not really something that I had the chance to look at yet because it’s not high on our list of needs. The things that we need to work on but they’re just really working on just clever ways of making comments sort of more engaging, easier for people to have conversation with each other as well. They think of everything. They tease them out quite a lot. If you have a membership, you’ll see that there’s a couple of other things available within the membership port which they are not selling frontend. They really just give the members the chance to do that first. There’s a really cool one which helps you do some simple sort of content protected courses on your website. Darren: You know, even that Comments one, I think it’s really smart they’ve taken what you see or read, let’s say, in your comments, you can allow your readers to vote up someone else’s comment to write it, you can then feature that comment. Just the smart little things that you could probably hack together with other plugins but to be able to have them all into one sort of suite of tools is really smart. All of these, I think, you can buy standalone or then there’s the option there to get them all with the membership as well. We might talk about that process towards the end of this episode. Maybe, if we could just dive in to the plugins that we’re particularly using, Thrive Leads, I think was the first one you wanted to talk about. Laney: Yes. Thrive Leads, we’ve been using this probably more consistently for the last six months. I’ve started it off on Problogger first and we replaced all of the sign-ups on ProBlogger. That was quite a process. Thanks for passing that on to me. I am here. It should brought a lot of fun of going back through, I guess, 8000 posts worth of content on ProBlogger, trying to find all the little faces you had managed to scroll away a sign-up form. Darren: You’re welcome. Laney: Yeah. Which was previously done using Aweber forms. If anyone’s familiar with the process with their own email provider, you generally get given some card and you can put that card somewhere on your site and voila, you’ve got a sign-up box, and you just feel quite proud of yourself but please, please, if you’re gonna do that, keep a register of where you put all those things because it really does make it hard to go through and change and update. There are a number of different ways we use to try and find everything. We did a search in the database for the card, for the form card. I did searches for the words, sign-up, subscribe. We cheat to make sure we capture all the thank you pages. It is quite a process to go through and find all of those touch points and next to steep points where we send people to in order to replace them all with new card. Now, I have set-up a register to make future changes and updates a lot easier. Also, because you’re generally connecting like Thrive Leads, leads to your email service provider, that integration’s there, and sometimes it’s other integration, and then sometimes you’ll then passing them through workflows while adding tags as well. I actually write out that entire process now. We’ve got a record of how we’re using our different sign-up forms because now, we don’t generally just use one general sign-up form. We like to be able to customize what we’re offering people based on where they’ve come into our blog. There are a number of different types of sign-up form as well. They are all giving us different information about whatever he does there are most interested in. Darren: Thrive Leads will let you collect emails in a variety of different types of forms. We’ve got your traditional pop-up level [25:14], sticky ribbons which are the little strips that goes across the top, you can put forms inside content which we’ve been experimenting with quite a bit on Digital Photography School. Slide ins, the big overlays that fill-up the whole screen. I like the look of the one, I think it’s called the Content Lock where you can put content behind a sign-up so they can kind of see bits of the content but to unlock it, they have to give you their email address. It’s all the normal types of sign-up forms, and as with many of the other tools, you can AB test them as well which we’ve done a bit of. Do you wanna talk a little about that AB testing we’ve done? Laney: We have. Yeah, for sure. Not only do you have all the different types of forms, you can choose to show them in different ways. For example, you can have what they call a late group, and using late groups allow us to customize what we show our readers depending on the content that they’re viewing. For example, if they’re coming through onto podcast, podcast episodes, we show them different pop-ups, than if they would come in through somewhere else or if they’re coming into either a podcast episode or a blog post that is from Start A Blog category, we know that they’re beginners and we’ll show them something different to other parts of the site as well. Lead Groups allow you to do that really well. It just means that you’re not having to go and put card everywhere in your site, and actually just says, “Where do you want this and how?” and allows you to prioritize one group over another as well. That’s pretty cool. Then within those, you can then each of those groups of leads, when as a group it might be like, show them a scroll map series through but then later on do a pop-up or have something through the down on the page where they can also sign-up. You can start split testing any one of those forms. You can also, I haven’t seen this anywhere else, split test different forms against each other. Split test to see how a full scroll mesh sign-up form compares to an end-content sign-up form. That’s not something that I’ve seen before either. People are always saying, “Oh. Look, I hate those big scroll map thing but if you can show that they actually work and it looks better than something else, then it’s good to know that kind of thing rather than just saying, “Am I making people mad?” Well, you know what, it’s actually performing really, really well. We have done some AB testing on both ProBlogger and on DPS. On DPS, we restyled the way that we offer one of our opt-ins which are our killer ultimate guides, quite a comprehensive download that we offer for free if you subscribe, and it had a very ugly, plain looking opt-in form to be able to do that. I thought, “Well, we’ve got a nice new landing page. I’ll create a lovely new lead form to go with it.” But I said, “We’ll also recreate the old one as well.” We had a pretty versus ugly and ugly won. Really? Really? Darren: What’s the way? Laney: What’s the way? Ugly wins. Everytime. Well, actually ugly doesn’t win every single time but where it does, we’re able to destroy that so we can pick a winner. You can do that automatically. You can say, “Look, pick a winner automatically after it showed at least x number of times, and the conversion is better than such and such.” It can get granular with how you decide to do that or you can just do it manually and just check back in and go, “Yup. You know what, let’s just end this and pick this one as the winner.” You’ve got options with those. Another one that we did was for ProBlogger for one of our opt-ins there. It tested whether or not it just showed the sign-up form, a single-step sign-up process. The sign-up form popped-up and it asked for your email straight away versus saying, I guess a multi-step sign-up, which would be like, “Hey, this is what we’re offering. Are you interested in it?” People can just say yes or no. If they say yes then you show them the sign-up form. That’s actually been shown to increase conversions because it’s consistent to both what I’ve already told you this. If they are interested in that and then they go on to actually sign-up. For, I think, one or two of our opt-ins, they’re multi-step works better. The other one single-step works better. Sometimes it’s worth playing around with those just to see whether or not they just need that one little bit stick more rather than just like, “Ugh, another pop-up form,” and dismiss it. You’re actually asking them if it’s something they want or not rather than just putting that sign-up form right in their face. It’s been nice to see how that works as well. Darren: That’s great. It gives you so much control as to the types of sign-ups you have. I know a lot of people really struggle with anything that interrupts the flow of readers. Another one that they’ve got is what they call smart links. In an article, you can make a subscribe to our newsletter link rather than a form. It’s just a normal link and if they click the link then a form opens up as a result. You do get the pop-up but only when the person’s asked for it to pop-up. It’s perhaps a more polite way of doing it which is something that I’ve heard converts very well because anyone clicking that link has a high-intent of actually taking action of what you’re calling them to do. Laney: Yeah. Exactly right. The same concept for sure. That’s Thrive Leads and of course, we’ve talked about some of the other things that we’re looking at with Thrive Ovation and Ultimatum, everything like that. But Leads is something which also integrates into sales pages as well. With Thrive Architect, obviously they integrate really well with each other. If you’re creating a landing page, you can craft things like a lead generation box that you’ve already set up with Thrive Leads and pull it into the page and use different templates that you’ve already set-up as well. But we’ve mainly been using Leads and then Architect is to create all of our landing pages and make some of our blog post, particularly on ProBlogger, look way more snazzier. We’ve been able to introduce some really cool elements and visual elements like, pop-out boxes, and other tables which I really had to do otherwise, when you wanna style your blog post. It just gives you more ability to choose, I guess, color or fonts, and do other things that are over and above what your theme allows you to do. Just the way I’ve been up to just intuitively pick up how it works and create things on the fly really quickly. For example, I think it was when you needed a landing page for your FinCom keynote. Darren: Yup. Laney: You had an offer for people who came to your keynote. I was able to go to Thrive Leads, and check out all of the templates that they had, and just picked something, customized it, put it together, have a matching thank you page, and a delivery page for the download. It took no time at all and looked really good. Darren: There are a lot of landing page creators out there but I really haven’t seen anything that allows you to customize a blog post. This is something I think that more and more bloggers need to be doing. If you’ve got a special series coming up, why not create a custom sort of theme just for that series. Do something really special to make it stand out to your readers. You can do that so easily within Thrive Architect as well. You’ve come up with 10 top features. Before we talk about what you don’t like about it, let’s talks about the tops 10 things that you do like about, some of which you’ve touched on already. If you wanna take us through those. Laney: Yeah, sure. These first ones to do with more of the design and interesting functions. Thrive Architect editor works for creating your Thrive Leads forms, your sign-up forms as well as the landing pages, as well as the, like you just said, the blog post. It is drag and drop. It is super fast live editing. This is like nothing I’ve actually seen before. It is actually true live editing. If you click on the element on the page you’re basically seeing a preview of what you’re going to see and you’re just live editing it straight in. You just  click your cursor on and start doing stuff. You can drag and drop things around to move them. There’s no filling-out fields on the side, or any clicking refresh to see how it looks which is, I think, I’ve gotten quite excited about Leadpages when I first saw it. What else we love Drip who are associated with Leadpages. I just couldn’t persevere with Leadpages because it was just a little bit frustrating and slow. When I discovered Thrive Architect, well we actually started using it when it was Thrive Content builder, I just couldn’t believe how much easier it was to just either move and things were happening as I was, I could see what I was doing in live time which was really, really great. That would be my top thing, the fact that this drag and drop is just super quick and you’re just live editing as you go. My second top feature with the editing is it’s so easy to create margins and padding to position your elements. You would not believe how important this is to make it easy to get all your spacing right on your landing page. Previous software that I’ve used or previous plugins that I’ve used you kind of had to [00:35:07] a little bit by putting an extra layer or something like that in the near end. It wasn’t easy and you didn’t always get the result that you were looking for. With Thrive Architect that even improved the way that you do this. You can actually just go over to this little thing on your sidebar and just drag an arrow up or down to increase or decrease the number of pixels that you want in your margins, top, bottom, left or right. It actually, you see the effect live as you go. It’s not like, “Oh, I think, I wonder what 30 pixels would look like.” You type in 30 pixels in and you want to see what it looks like. You can actually just drag and move it around and it actually just shows you live. You can also enter the pixels as well. It’s just so easy to use. It uses that same kind of features with things like font size. It’s just a little thing that you can just grab and slide it back with some forwards and see things happen straight away, image sizes, same kind of stuff. It kind of puts it all there at your fingertips and makes you feel like you’re a bit of an architect and I think that’s brilliantly named just for that alone. Darren: Yeah. I’ve even used it which is saying something. I’m not a designer but I’ve found my way through it. I created a couple of pages, and was able to edit things that I think, when you were away last time, I was able to fix a few things up and change things when we were changing our deals over. It’s really so easy to do once you know which button to click to get into it. It’s so easy. Laney: Yeah. That was one of the big things. It open up the big factors on why I’ve said look, we really need to see this because it does make us less reliant on having to ask somebody, but for Mario, he’s created some really great custom themes and things for us for sales pages and stuff but you can’t just change it. It’s hardcoded. You have to fill out this field and do this and do that, and they all have to kind of look the same. Whereas if you wanted to just make changes on the fly or you just want to put an extra element in because that will actually really make sense for this particular product for example, you can’t do that as easily. But with Thrive Architect, anyone of us can do it which is great and like you said, even you can do it which is awesome. My job is done. That works really well. One of the things that does make it really effective and turn in anybody into a great designer is it’s templates. I started out saying how Thrive are very much conversion focused, they have a whole slate of templates that you can use for both your sign-up forms and your landing pages. It makes whipping something up super fast like the FinCom landing page and sign-up page, and the download page for example. They are actually families of templates so that when you are setting-up, I guess, a funnel, if you wanna call it that. We go from, “Here’s my sales page or my opt-in page. Here’s my sign-up form, now you’re on the thank you page, and then if you do this and click this, then you’ll go o a download page.” They have families of templates that are all on the same styles so that everything looks consistent. They’re already designed in a way they know convert really well. Also, all you have to do is, change an image, change the colors and the fonts to suit what your brand is, and it’s done. It’s really, really, really easy. That is my number three top ten favorite feature is those templates where [00:38:36] in gold. Darren: It does help you create something that’s more professional and consistent. There’s nothing worse than a [BT 00:38:42] experience for your readers. You want them to feel like they’re in something that all belongs together. It makes a lot of sense. Laney: Absolutely. Now, other than the templates themselves, there are actually different design elements that you can select and edit. One of my favorites is the different frames that you can select for say, inserting a video onto a sales page. I’ll put a link on our show notes. We have a sales page that we did last year for element of time promotion. All the videos are in at this top computer frame. It looks like they’re inside MAC. I looked at them and, “That’s really, really clever.” You can do so much with it and you can choose a different style of computer or you can put it on a laptop, or you can put it on a iPad, or something like that. Then you can change the size of it and just all these amazing things. They’re your Vimeo or YouTube video, you just put the URL link into your side bar and choose how you want it to look and bam, there it goes. Darren: So clean as well. I’m looking that page now and it’s a very easy read the way it’s all laid out. Laney: Yeah, for sure. Again, that was one of Luke’s first sales pages using Thrive Architect. He did an amazing job. It looks fabulous because it’s just so easy to use. Number five would be the content element template. You might create, for example, we created a call out box with your head in it as a little icon to just headers when you’re talking on a page for example, you’re giving a tip. Once you set that box up as an element you can actually save it as a template. If you’re creating another page or I’m doing a blog post, for example, I’m almost like, “Oh, I wanna call out here with a tip from Darren on it.” I can just go insert, and select tip box with Darren’s head, and pop it in, and there you go. You don’t have to recreate anything. You can save your own designs and elements as well or you can export and import entire pages, sign-up box designs, whatever you want, and use them again on different sales pages as well. Just being able to have that flexibility is awesome. Because you’re not having to recreate the wheel every time and it does mean you’d move more towards that sort of consistent feel for your brand. Darren: That’s so useful. I could see that in a blog post quite often you use different types of block quotes. A lot of design themes would have one style that you could create a variety of different ones for things different things or featuring different types of contents. That makes a lot of sense. Laney: We’ve done them before with some blog posts where we’re just like, “Do this. Don’t do this.” You kind of got your ticks and crosses on all those sorts of things. Any of those little things that you feel like you might use again because they’re useful, you can save as an element and insert it into whatever you’re doing. Number six, this is really, really, good and are so clever. It is super achieve actual true responsiveness for whatever you’re creating, whether it’s your sign-up boxes, or your landing pages, or your blog posts. You can then further customize them, so you get them looking exactly how you want them to look on tablets and mobile as well. You can hide elements. You can change spacing. You can swap border or elements. It kind of cascades down. It’ll say, “This is what it looks on desktop. This is what it will look like on a tablet. This is what it will look like on mobile.” You can really make sure that whatever it is that you’re trying to present, if doesn’t work on mobile, take that out, and it won’t impact the other views of your page or your sign-up box for example. You can also just toggle on whether you want your sign-up boxes to even show on mobile or not. Again, heaps of flexibility in terms of achieving I guess, the best viewing results for your readers depending on how they’re coming to you for content. Darren: That’s so good. This is what a lot of top-end publishers are doing on their sites at the moment. It’s showing different things to different devices really. To be able to do that is very powerful. Laney: Absolutely. You can even show – for example, if I’ve started changing our heading in the mobile responsive view, that heading will also change on the desktop because you’re making hard changes to the actual content that’s on there but if I change the amount of space after the heading, that would only apply to the mobile version for example. But then, something else you can do is when you’re creating the content in the desktop view, you can hide whole blocks of content and say, “Don’t show this n mobile,” or “Only show this on mobile,” for example. Again, heaps of flexibility in terms of what you show. Exactly what you show your readers. Darren: Four more things from your top ten. Laney: Yup. Four more things. These next three are more about, I guess, just the intelligence, and the way it integrates with the other things that we use. Number seven, I guess, I did touch on this already but the different ways that you can serve a lead form on your site – I talked about lead groups earlier, you can also choose to use short codes. Now, short codes, sometimes people just think, “Oh, no. What if we stop using thrive Leads, or Thrive Architect, or whatever.” You just kind of get left with the short codes everywhere, they don’t do that. They don’t leave your site littered with short codes just as on a side from this particular point. You will still get your content shown it just won’t be styled in the way that you styled it using the plugins. This is one good thing to know. But you can put short codes which would’ve made things a lot easier to remove with the Aweber forms because you could just turn off a short code and it won’t show anymore. That is one good thing about having short codes. If you’ve got something inserted with a short code and you decide like, “Right, we’re not gonna offer that anymore or we’re not going to use this sign-up form anymore.” You can actually turn it off from your dashboard rather than trying to go and remove all of the short codes. Another way is lightboxes. There are actually lightboxes automatically generated if you want to use them which is connected to your lead generation element that you might wanna drag into a landing page as well. There are multiple different ways that you can actually serve the lead form. It just gives you more control over how they’re viewed, where they’re viewed, and allows you to keep an eye on things like conversion rates, and all of that sort of thing from one dashboard as well. Again, love how that works. Number 8 is again, the split A/B testing, which talked about. I think I’ve given the examples already of what we did with the ultimate guides, and the pretty versus ugly. All of those things are great. I just think it’s great being able to have that level of granularity when you’re looking at, if we do this, will it actually be worthwhile for us. The split AB testing is pretty amazing and I love being really happy with it. Darren: There’s no point trying new things unless you can track how things are. How things work really. You don’t want to try the new pop-up, or the new take over our scroll map or any of these things unless you’re able to prove that they’re doing a better job than what you were doing previously. It’s such an important thing to actually use, I know a lot of the tools do have that type of testing, but so many people don’t use them. They just stick the pop-up up and then let it go. You could be constantly tweaking that to improve your results. Laney: Yeah. I think that’s certainly – when you get to a stage with your blogging and your content where you’ve established your content, you’ve established your audience, and you’re starting to maybe sell things or promote things, this is when you wanna start looking at these kinds of tools, because the difference, and a few percentage, and conversions, and things like that can make a big difference. It can move the needle and really help you move forward with the growth of your business. Having these intelligent types of tools available to you, just make it so much easier to make these decisions because it gives a lot people out there who are running their blog on their own. You really need to think about, “What’s the return on my end if I’m doing all these things?” You really wanna know if this is worthwhile or not. Again, I love the intelligence of fair solutions. Number nine is how easy it integrates. We integrate with Aweber still, with Digital Photography School via an API. It’s superfast. It’s like you’re connected to a Aweber and sync everything to this list, tick a box, do this afterwards, and add this tech if you want to. It’s just so simple. With ProBlogger we’ve been using Drips. We’re really trialling out Drip for the company on the ProBlogger website first. Drip is amazing and we’ll talk about that in another episode perhaps. But with Drip, we actually do it via an HTML form. We basically take the HTML form from the drip form that we generate via Drip. We then put that in and it still allows us to connect it that way, and say, “Yup, pass this tags back to drip.” Again, that’s pretty easy just not quite as seamless as an API. I’ll tell you why we don’t use the API with Drip, the bit I don’t like so much. Darren: Okay. It integrates with most of, if not all, I’m just looking at it now. You’ve got active campaign, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Convert Kit, GetResponse, they all sync with these tools. I’d be surprised if listeners were using an email service provider that it doesn’t integrate with. Laney: Absolutely. There really is no excuse to be putting the HTML code to generate forms directly in your content because remember, you’re gonna go and have to clean that up one day. Don’t do it. The tenth one is the tech knowledge at thrive. The documentation and the support are really good. There’s a comprehensive knowledge base with videos, walking you through pretty much everything, tutorials, there’s a forum. The one thing that I would say about the forum is just do your homework first. Most of the issues that I in there are user error. You can pretty much search the issue that you’re having, and you can find someone else who’s done the same thing wrong, and the answer from the team. It’s quite good. I’ve only had to use it a couple of times. There’s a Thrive University, so there’s actual little courses and things that you can go through. It’s not just about their products. It’s just about how to generate more leads and just general good marketing knowledge that they’ve put into the little university there. Some of those are exclusive to Thrive team members only but there are others that are not. My favorite are their emails. I reckon if they’re running a lead score on me, I would have the highest score ever, because I do open every single one of their emails, and I go to the link that they tell me to, because I find gold, nine times out of a team. I learn something useful pretty much every time. I look forward to the emails that they send. They put so much effort into the emails, and creating new video tutorials, and telling you how to improve things, how you can use that, even things like, “Hey, we created all these cool design elements. If you wanna use them this is how you get them and open them and save them and like customize them and save them into your own Thrive, so that you could use them on your pages.” I’m like, “Great, thank you very much.” They’re really focused on what they do and they do a great job of delivering it. Darren: The thing I love about them as someone who isn’t as hands-on as you, it’s just even the sales pages, you can see in the selling of their product, how much they care about it. They’re not into hype. They’re very matter-of-fact in the way that they talk, in the way they sell what they do, it’s very clear, all of the communication that I’ve ever seen is very clear. You don’t guess in what they mean. I don’t know. There’s something about this company that I just really respect the way that they present themselves. Laney: Yeah. It has something to do with the bald guy who’s just really friendly and matter-of-fact. Darren: Well, bald guys do tend to. Lane: I thought you might relate. But, Shane Melaugh is the main name behind Thrive Themes and he is just so sincere, and so straightforward, and very matter-of-fact. Like he said,  “There’s no hype. I just did deliver the goods,” which was fabulous. I’m saying all of it, there are some things that I don’t like as well. But, in saying all of it, there are some things that they lack as well. Darren: You better tell us those. Laney: I will tell you those. I mentioned earlier that we started out with Thrive Content Builder which was the previous iteration of the drag and drop editor. They have made amazing improvements to Thrive Architect but some of the old designs that I created didn’t migrate as seamlessly to the new architect as I would have liked. Here and there I sort of mocked up some few things and stuffed up some of my testimonials on an event sales page that we had, and I lost a bit of content, and I’m just like, “Damn.” There were some things that didn’t go quite as smoothly there. I could say there were a lot of frustrations about that but kudos to them. They’re really focused on the new functionality, and the new features, and I think those far outweigh a few nickels here and there. I guess it just would have been nice if they migrated over a bit more seamlessly. I mentioned drip before. Now this probably isn’t so much as Thrive issue, but if somebody unsubscribes to your own Drip, then you can’t reactivate them unless they actually re-subscribe via a drip form. That means you can’t use the API with Thrive because it doesn’t recognize the information being passed through as coming through a drip form which is why we have to use the HTML connection to do that. We just take the HTML code from the drip form, feed that into Thrive, and then drip goes, “Oh. yup. You’ve actually reactivated your subscription.” If we use the API and somebody says unsubscribe from one thing, which is actually unsubscribe them from everything, or we have indicated them as an inactive person, and actually unsubscribe them ourselves. They don’t re-subscribe so we’ll see them back in Drip and we’ll see that there’s been activity but they won’t actually be sent any broadcast emails, only transactional emails from Drip because technically, they’re still unsubscribed. There’s just a bit of a niggle, I’m hoping things will get better with that because API connections do make things just a lot quicker. It’s just a few more steps to do. It’s not hard at all. It would just be nicer to be able to do a quick, easy connection for those sorts of things. With Thrive Leads, I’ve had a few instances when I had been doing the AB testing where it looks like the impressions of a form in the AB test don’t look equitable. They’d be sending a lot more traffic to one than the other. That’s something that I really need to dig down and find out a bit more about. But the conversion numbers actually tell enough of a story to choose one anyway. The actual number of people who are converting on each form. But there’s just a few little glitches like that, that I would like to get to the bottom of. But generally it hasn’t hurt my being able to make decision on what’s working and what isn’t. It just seems a bit odd. I really wish that you could duplicate lead groups. When I said before that you might have a group of two or three pop-up forms that come up on a page at different times. If you’re wanting to prioritize some content or saving forms over another, you kind of have to duplicate those forms again if you want them to still show. But you can’t actually duplicate lead groups. You actually have to save everything as a template and recreate each form, and the group when you create a new lead group. I would just love it if you could just go duplicate. Get a new lead form and a new lead group. But I kind of understand why as well, because  you do you actually have to change the settings of how each of those forms show and lead will show as well. Darren: One big question, I know a lot of our beginner listeners are thinking about is the learning curve on this. I was talking to one blogger recently who signed-up for a similar tool to this one, I won’t say which one, and they ended up having to hire a consultant to set-up their landing pages using that tool which kind of defeats the purpose in my mind of having a tool like this but is there, would you say there’s much of a learning curve for this and do you need that technical kind of background to be able run it and put it all together. Laney: Look, I think it’s really easy. It is very intuitive. For example, Thrive Architect does just make you feel like an architect, like everything’s simple drag, drop, tweak here, there. You go directly to where you want something to be changed and you you can change it. The thing that took me the longest to grasp is how lead groups work and Thrive Leads. I wasn’t just quite sure about the whole set of hierarchy, and which one will suit first, and have to drag that to the top, and then you have to duplicate certain things if you want them to show on the next group. That was a little bit tricky for me to pick-up. But if I was actually patient enough to watch all of the videos in the first place, it’s all explained. Even if there are things that you’re not quite sure about, the videos are awesome, and like I said, Shane Melaugh is really clear in how he teaches you about how things work. Again, the knowledgebase is there as a backup as well. I guess, I don’t know if I wanna say – they don’t [00:58:09]. Just do your homework first. Read first. All of the information is there. They don’t sort of go out of their way to go, “Oh, I’m really sorry that you couldn’t figure out how to do that. This is how it works. This is what you need to do, go and do this.” Again, their manner is pretty matter-of-fact and that sort of stuff, but do you know what, it’s so straightforward. I haven’t found it that difficult at all, and like you said, you did it yourself. Darren: If I can, anyone can. Believe me. I guess the big question that a lot of people would be thinking about at this point is, it sounds great but what is this going to cost me? We’re kind of alluded to the fact that you’ve got the two options to either buy individual plugins one off, or or sign-up for the membership. Do you wanna run us through the model that they’ve got for pricing? Laney: Yeah, sure. You can buy each of the plugins as a license for your site. You can either do a single site license or if you’ve got more than one site that you wanna use on it, or you might have more than one installed for your blog, then you can get five license packs, 15 license packs as well. Then you can actually access all of the plugins through the membership. But individually, the plugins are priced differently. For example, Thrive Leads is $67 for a single site license, you get all the features that you need within that, and free updates, and a year of support. The only thing that you don’t get after a year is that support. If you want to continue your support, you can upgrade to a membership, or if you just buy one of their other products, then you get another year of support, the new product as well as the one that you have. That’s $67 for Thrive Leads. Thrive Architects, that’s also $67. Again, super value for all the things that you’re able to do with that. Ovation is cheaper, it’s just $39, to save you from diving into your emails and asking people for testimonials and copying and pasting into things, I think it’s amazing value of itself. Ultimate is a bit more expensive, it’s $97. But just when you think about that, realize that that’s actually a really conversion focused, helping to promote something, to get people to purchase something from you. Would you say that you would get your money back on that one pretty quickly or you can get everything. Most of them are around about that price, $39, $67, $97 or you can get everything for $19 per month with a Thrive membership. That works out to be $228 per year. You buy either on an annual basis or you buy it, I think you can do it quarterly. You can do it if you pay quarterly as well. You just pay a little bit more but obviously if you pay annually it works out at $19 a month which is $228 a year. All of these stuff including all of their things is pretty incredible. Darren: I think individually they grow prices as well. That maybe the starting point, for a lot of our listeners, I would suspect. $67 that’s a one-off and unlimited updates. A lot of the tools that I see around even just for Thrive Leads, the equivalent of that, you’d be paying a monthly fee forever to use it whereas $67 is pretty amazing. Laney: It is. It really is. I think even if you just wanna start playing around with one or two of their plugins, you can just buy them out one-off for such a low amount. If you just love it you can upgrade to a membership. Like I said, I’ve really enjoyed having access to the membership, just for all the different stuff that I’m learning as well through those emails and the knowledgebase, and just knowing that I’ve got access to Thrive University to make improvements to what we’re doing as well. I think it’s great. You can use, when you’ve got the membership, you can use on up to 25 of your sites, which some people might think, “Oh, that’s so many,” but for us, one site has multiple installs. Between Digital Photography School and ProBlogger, we have about a eight or nine different WordPress installs across a few different servers. It can add up pretty quickly. If you were to be paying for multiple licenses for different plugins and everything. It actually doesn’t take long before you think it’s so much cheaper to do the membership. Darren: I guess, this is the theme that is gonna pay for itself. You’re not needing to pay a designer. You’re reducing your developer cost. We’ve already seen it we’re calling our developer less because we’ve got, I’ve already created one landing pages. It has the potential to really increase the amount of email subscribers you get but with also the way you are able to convert them using a tool like Ultimatum is pretty amazing as well. Hopefully, you can see, our listeners the type of tools that this is and how it could be useful for you. If you wanna finish of Laney by just telling who do you think this is ideal for, is this for a real beginner or would you say this is more an intermediate advance tool? Who should be considering this sort of suite of tools Laney: I think, for a beginner, you might choose one or two of the things to have a play around it. I think that the Thrive things, to me, look pretty good. You might not get as much flexibility in terms of the different types of styles and all that sort of thing you might like and I know when you’re a new blogger, it’s very exciting to to choose a theme and they don’t give you much choice, but if you’re not confident in being able make changes to a theme, these are so user-friendly in terms of the drag and drop, and everything like that. Thrive Leads, I think, yes, just do it. As a beginner, I think it’s great because it just gives you that good basis to start with. You’re gonna keep your site nice and clean in case you’re not gonna be putting form card everywhere, and trying to remember where it all is. That one I want to recommend to anybody. If you’re at that level where, like I said earlier, you’ve establish your content, you’ve got a bit of idea of what your business model is gonna be, and you get into that sort of stage where every little improvement has a big impact, then it’s worth investing on these sorts of tools. I’m really excited about Ultimatum because once that’s cranking, it just has the potential for some really nice passive income as well, so that you’re not always relying on broadcast sales, and doing sort of big promotions to your email list. You can actually send somebody a targeted promotion based on what they’re interested in at the time that they’re interested in it. That’s a huge amount of customization available through a tool that costs $97. I think that there are solutions here is for people at all different levels depending on what you’re trying to do. They just make things a lot faster for you. You’re not having to invest to heavily and recreating a wheel with a developer. You’re not creating a hardcoded solution that has to be updated. You’ve got this kind of, like I said, thing that you’ve built that you have to keep moving along with the times. When these guys are so focused on giving, I guess, the best solution for any particular problem that you might be facing as a website or business owner. Just use their knowledge. Use their knowledge. They packaged it up at such an affordable price that in some case, it’s just silly not to. Darren: What a great endorsement. I’m sure if they could pull that testimonial in and then use it on their site, they would use their Ovation tool to do so, Laney. As far as I can see, it doesn’t have a podcast integration tool yet. Laney: Maybe, I’ll talk to them about that. Darren: I’m sure that it’ll come. Thanks so much for running us through that, Laney. If you are, as a listener, thinking about checking out Thrive, their suite of tools, head over to, and check them out. I’d also love to hear in our Facebook group whether you do pick it up and which of the tools you’re most excited about using as well. Thanks so much, Laney. We’ll have to get you back on to talk about Drip in the coming weeks, I think. Laney: It’s been my pleasure. I really enjoy researching a different solutions that are going to make a difference to both ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. I can save somebody from doing all of the research that I have done. It’s absolutely worth it. Darren: Great. Thanks so much, Laney. Laney: Cheers, Darren. Darren: Thanks so much to Laney for giving us that time today. I hope you found that interesting. Again, you can find today’s show notes over at where there are links to the tools and our courses as well. You’ll also find a full transcript as we do with all of our podcasts. A couple of things to mention. We did mention a episode there 195 where Laney and myself talked through using CoSchedule, another tool that has really revolutionized the way that we do our editorial calendar, and a lot of our planning. Particularly useful if you’ve got more than one person in your team and you’re trying to coordinate the editorial responsibilities. Also, check our our courses. Our Start A Blog course, Those of you wanting to do 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, Lastly, if you did wanna check out Thrive tools using our affiliate link, you can do that with Thanks so much for listening today. It’s been a long one. I hope you found it useful. I love to hear a little bit more about what you think about Thrive Themes and the tools that they have, you can do that either on the show notes today or in our Facebook group, if you’re already a part of that. If you’re not already a part of the Facebook group just do a search for ProBlogger Community on Facebook and you’ll find our very active group there. Thanks for listening. Chat with you next week in episode 234. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 233: Tools We’re Using to Get More Subscribers and Customers in 2018 appeared first on ProBlogger.
Jan. 9, 2018
Collaborative Blogging – One Blogger Shares How She Started a Blog with over 200 Collaborators Today’s episode is the last in our series where I handed the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. It was all part of our Start a Blog course, which launches tomorrow.  Today’s episode features blogger Chrissann Nickel from Women Who Live on Rocks. She shares her challenges and insights when it comes to collaboration, not listening to critiques, and working with multiple writers. Links and Resources for Collaborative Blogging – How One Blogger Started a Blog with Over 200 Collaborators Women Who Live on Rocks Blogger Chrissann Nickel Start a Blog Course Facebook Group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there, welcome to episode 232 of the ProBlogger podcast. This is the last to the series of blogger stories that we’ve been featuring since way back in 221, the 221st episode. It’s part of our Start a Blog course which launches tomorrow. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind – a blog, a podcast, event, job board, a series of ebooks, and tomorrow a course which we have designed to help you to start a blog, to grow your audience, and to make money from your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger at You can sign up for our brand new free course at As I said, this has been a part of a series of blogger stories that we’ve been running since episode 221. Really, this whole series has been about trying to inspire as many new bloggers as possible, and also helping those of you who are already on your journey to pick up some tips as well from other bloggers. You hear my voice every episode. We want to add in some other voices as part of this series. I’ve been loving the feedback that we’ve been getting as a result of this. We’ve featured tech bloggers, travel bloggers, recipe bloggers, nutrition bloggers, a voice coach, all kinds of bloggers over the last 10 or so episodes. Today we’ve got a really interesting one for you. It is Chrissann Nickel. Chrissann has a blog called, which I think is just a fascinating name. Women who live on rocks got me curious. Chrissann actually talks a little bit about the name of her blog and how it’s actually been one of the things she’s been most grateful for in starting this blog. Chrissann’s blog is a collaborative blog. It’s a little bit different from some of the others that we’ve been mentioning so far. She gives some tips on that and talks a little bit about a thing about your readers. I’m going to hand over to Chrissann now. Just a quick reminder, our Start a Blog course does launch tomorrow, the 10th of January 2018. If you’re listening after that time, you can join in any time on that course into the future. It’s really designed to help pre-bloggers to start their first blog. We’re going to talk you through the technicalities of how to set up a blog on your own domain, on your own servers in an affordable way. But we’re also going to help you make some good decisions about your blog and to think about how to build a profitable blog. Not just the technicalities of it but to make good decisions in the early days so that you set up a blog with good, strong foundations. Again, that course can be found at Please go up and sign up. It will launch tomorrow, the 10th of January. Over the next month or so we’ve got a whole lot of exciting things to share with you as part of that launch. I really can’t wait to see the hundreds, if not thousands of blogs that will come from that course. I’m going to hand over to Chrissann now who’s going to tell you a little bit about her blog, and I will sum things up at the end of this episode. Chrissann: Hi, my name is Chrissann Nickel. My blog is Women Who Live on Rocks. My blog is a collaboration of women writers sharing the quirks and eccentricities unique to life on a tropical island. The URL is I started my blog in February of 2013. I’ve been living in the Caribbean for over five years already at that point and have been dying to write about my experiences. However, after being the sole writer for another blog of mine for the past couple of years, I knew I didn’t want to do it alone this time. Additionally, I wanted my new blog to cover the full arc of the island women’s experience and not just be about me and my limited perspective. When I met a fellow writer friend who expressed interest in contributing when I told her about my idea, it gave me the push I needed to officially start Women Who Live on Rocks. My main objective in starting this site was to provide a humorous and realistic look into living on an island. It’s so much that’s written about island life is all about how it’s all paradise and sunsets. That’s partially true. There’s a whole other side to it that I felt needed to be shared. It was also my intention to begin using my blog as a space to grow a platform in the hopes of one day selling the idea to a book publisher. When I look back, I’m most grateful that I stuck to my vision and didn’t let others who didn’t fully understand and sway me away from what I knew was best creatively. One example of that was not listening to critiques on the name of my blog. Certain people thought the name, Women Who Live on Rocks, was too obscure and that I should just go with something simple and straightforward like Island Girl Blog. That just felt so boring to me. I wanted something with an air of fun and quirkiness to it. I decided that the right audience would find me. I’d help them do so in promoting it regardless of the name. Over the years I’ve had so many people compliment me on the name. It has become a recognizable brand on its own. I’m so glad that I didn’t go with what didn’t feel right to me. I’m really proud of my site’s unique name and concept now. I have made a few mistakes over the years. I think I probably wasted the most time by not streamlining the communication to my contributors early on. Now when people want to become a writer on the site, I have the parameters clearly listed on the website with the details on how to apply that includes everything I need. This saves me a ton of back and forth emailing that wasted a lot of my time and energy in the early years. I think my other main mistake has been not finding a way to monetize the site properly. It was never my goal to make money off the blog. The goal’s been more about getting it published, getting a publishing contract for the book. But now that it’s grown so large, it takes a ton of time and effort to maintain the flow of content and the technology behind it. I really wish it generated some income to help me maintain the website cost and gave me the ability to hire out certain responsibilities. Beyond that, so many amazing things have come from the blog that I would have never anticipated. I now have over 200 contributors to the site and tens of thousands who follow via email and social media. It has connected me with so many amazing women on islands around the world whom I would’ve never met otherwise. I also receive notes all the time from women telling me how this site has connected them with friends in real life and how it’s helped them in their transition to move to an island. That’s really rewarding for me. The blog has provided me with a platform to sell the island children’s book I wrote which would’ve been much harder to reach my target audience without it. I also hosted my first island writers retreat this year with 10 writers from the blog. It was an incredible bonding and learning experience that I hope to repeat again in the years to come. My number one tip for new bloggers is to always be thinking, “What’s in it for my reader?” Every step of the way this is essential to keep in mind from blog titles to topics you write about to the general perspective in which you write your post and pages on your website such as your about page, home page, etc. There’s so much competition for people’s attention on the internet these days that in order to catch their eye, it needs to appeal to them. People want to know how content pertains to them. They’re not interested in simply reading someone else’s journal entries. This is a mistake that I see a lot of new bloggers making. If your potential reader visits your site and thinks, “Why should I even care about this?” You’ll lose them just like that. I guess that’s about it. I just wanted to say thank you ProBlogger for all that you’ve taught me over the years. I contribute much of my success to your incredible guidance. I really appreciate the opportunity to apply for this. Thank you. Darren: That was Chrissann Nickel from Thanks so much for sharing your story. Thank you so much to the other bloggers who’ve been a part of this series as well. We have really enjoyed featuring some different voices on the blog. I will mention that we did have a blog post go up on ProBlogger in the last week or so as well which featured five brand new blogger stories as well. If you’ve enjoyed this series, head over to the ProBlogger blog. I’ll actually link to that post in the show notes from today as well. It actually features five unedited audio stories of five brand new bloggers as well. You might want to go and listen to that. I wanted to feature Chrissann’s story today for a number of reasons. Firstly because it’s a collaborative blog. I know some of you are thinking of starting blogs but you’re not sure if you want to be the only voice on your blog. Firstly, you might not feel like you’ve got enough to say on a topic and would want to include other perspectives as well. Maybe some of you also don’t have the confidence to start a blog but maybe doing it with someone else would be good as well. I wanted to feature this story today because you don’t have to start a single-voice blog. ProBlogger and Digital Photography School are multi-voice blogs. Whilst I certainly started off being the only voice in both of those blogs, they very quickly became collaborative voice blogs, particularly Digital Photography School where I don’t actually write almost any content anymore at all. Occasionally I’ll do a promotional post but apart from that I don’t really write anything at all. We have a team of about 40 writers now who contribute to that site. I wanted to include Chrissan’s story for those of you who are thinking about starting a collaborative blog, and also for those of you who maybe already have a blog and want to transition into a collaboration. Her advice there of really streamlining that process of bringing on new writers is important advice. I certainly wasted a lot of time and energy and probably confused my new writers by not having a streamlined process at all. Today if you apply to be a writer on Digital Photography School, we actually have a sequence of emails that introduces you to the site and orients you to what’s the voice that we want you to write with and some of the technicalities as well. We’ve really worked on streamlining that process. In doing so, we end up with writers who write the kind of content that we want. They tend to stick around longer as well because they are less frustrated by the process of becoming engaged with the site. They actually feel a part of it much more quickly. We have a Facebook group now for those writers. I would encourage you to really think through how to bring on writers into your site. I also love that whilst Chrissann makes it clear that she wishes that she’d monetize the site better and that’s probably still something that she needs to continue to work on, that she is mentioning some interesting monetization streams there, the children’s book and event for writers as well. This is something I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers starting to do over the last year, monetizing through events. I wanted to just point that one out for those of you who maybe already have a blog and are struggling to monetize. Maybe an event is a way that you can do that, a retreat, some sort of a personal experience for some of your readers. You will find that some of your readers are willing to pay for that type of experience. I just wanted to point that one out. The last reason that I wanted to feature Chrissann in this very last episode of this series is her takeaway tip and that is to ask what’s in it for your readers, such an important thing. It’s simple. It’s something you would’ve heard before, particularly if you’ve been listening to this podcast. But as we move into this Start a Blog course, I think it’s probably the most important question that you can be asking. As you prepare to launch a blog, as you look at the blog that you’ve already got, have this question at the front of your mind again and again, “What’s in it for your readers?” If you can be delivering benefits, if you can be enhancing the life of your readers, if you can be adding something of value into their lives, whether they be tips, whether that be stories, whether that be giving your readers a sense of belonging, whether that be giving them the latest news. If you’re enhancing the life of your reader, the listener of your podcast, the viewer of your videos, if you are enhancing people’s lives then they’ve got a reason to come back tomorrow. They’ve got a reason to stick around and dig deeper into your archives when they first show up. They’ve got a reason to share what you’re doing with other people. All of these things help you to grow your blog. You’re also going to find it a much more satisfying experience as well if you can see that you’re creating content that is changing the world, that’s making people’s lives better. It’s satisfying for you, and it will help to sustain you, and make it a more meaningful experience for you as well. It’ll also help you to write and create content with more passion. As we wrap this series up, I hope you’ve seen that all of the people that we’ve been featuring have been considering this question, “What’s in it for my readers? What’s in it for the listeners of the podcast that we’re creating as well?” Put that question front and center. Tomorrow, we do start the Start a Blog course. If you are thinking of starting a new blog, please go to and sign up to reserve your spot. If you’re listening to this after the 10th of January 2018, you’re welcome to head to that link as well and begin the course for yourself. We’re going to help you to make good decisions, help you to set up good foundations for a profitable blog down the track for you, Thanks so much to Chrissann for sharing her story. We do hope to feature more of the stories that were submitted over the coming months as well. We’ve had over 130 different stories submitted. We’ve used, so far, about 20 of them including the 5 that we included on the blog the other day. There’s a lot more still to share. If we haven’t featured your story yet, we will be featuring more in the coming weeks and months both on the blog and the podcast. Do stay tuned for that. We have had such a really positive experience with this series. It’s something that we’ll probably do again in the future. Maybe on some different topics as well because this has really been focused on that Start a Blog topic but maybe we’ll do some more on other topics down the track. The podcast will return to normal next week with some more teaching, with more of my voice. I look forward to chatting with you then in episode 233. Again, check out Start a Blog course, Today’s show notes at How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 232: Collaborative Blogging – How One Blogger Started a Blog with Over 200 Collaborators appeared first on ProBlogger.
Jan. 8, 2018
From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – A Tech Podcaster Tells His Story Today’s episode continues our series where I hand the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. Today’s blogger is Neil Hughes from Technology Blog Writer. Neil shares how he started out writing articles on LinkedIn, and talks about some of his struggles, accomplishments, and goals. Links and Resources for From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story Technology Blog Writer Blogger Neil Hughes Start a Blog Course Facebook Group PB121: 7 Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hi there and welcome to Episode 231 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the founder of – a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks and a course all designed to help you as a blogger to start an amazing blog, to grow that blog, the traffic to it, the content on it, and to make some money from it as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger over at In today’s episode, we’re continuing our little series of blogger stories which we are ending 2017 and starting 2018 with in the lead up to our Start a Blog course. My goal in 2018 is to see hundreds, if not thousands, of new blogs started. We’ve developed this great little course which you can find at It’s free and it will help you, all your friends, to start a blog. As part of the launch of this new course, we wanted to feature the stories of bloggers who had started blogging and to tell the stories of the opportunities that came from that. Also, to share some tips particularly for those starting out but also for those who are on the journey. Today I’ve got a tech blogger from the UK who is gonna share some of his tips. He’s actually used blogging, podcasting. He started out on LinkedIn. He’s got some expertise in that as well. He’s really built himself an amazing little business as a result of that, a business that has enabled him to leave his full time job and work for himself. He talks a little bit about imposter syndrome and pushing through that. He gives a brilliant tip that I wanna add some thoughts to at the end of his story as well. I’m gonna hand over now to Neil Hughes from Tech Blog Writer. You can find his blog at You can also find a link to that on today’s show notes at I’ll be back at the end of Neil’s story to wrap things up and tell you a little bit about tomorrow’s show too. Neil: My name is Neil Hughes. My blog, podcast, and everything that I do comes into the name Tech Blog Writer. My URL is predictably I’m hoping that you know what I do from the title there. That was the idea from the very beginning. My story really began in July 2014 when I published my very first post on the LinkedIn publishing platform. It was a simple post calling out gurus, ninjas and those self-proclaimed influences, you know the kind, the Instagram expert with 72 followers. The post was called The Rise of the Social Media Guru. This is where my tech blogging journey started. At the time, I didn’t have any objectives, any hopes, goals or dreams for the blog. I just wanted to share my insights having spent 20 years working in IT. I gotta be honest with you, I was originally scared about blogging on the LinkedIn publishing platform and crippled with that self-doubt and imposter syndrome that so many of us go through. I still, to this day, remember nervously hovering over the publish button full of fears and doubts. What would my professional colleagues, friends, and contacts say? This was my personal brand on a professional platform that everybody would say and judge but obviously, I did hit publish on that post. It was instantly picked up and promoted by LinkedIn themselves. It received thousands of views. More importantly for me, fantastic engagement. A year later, I had over a hundred tech articles against my name on LinkedIn that seemed to act as my own portfolio and cement me as a thought leader in the tech industry. What was also great about writing on the LinkedIn platform at the time was that they displayed all their sharing and viewing stats for everyone to see so everyone could look at all the articles you’re creating and how many views, how many likes, how many shares that you have. Suddenly I found myself with one million views and was voted the number two tech writer on the whole of LinkedIn. Quickly I started getting accolades from my way including being named one of the top nine influential tech leaders on LinkedIn by CIO Magazine. ZDNet included me on the list of you need to follow these 20 big thinkers right now alongside from million names which is Jack Dorsey from Twitter, Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg and Jeff Weiner to name a few. I still struggled with that pesky imposter syndrome. When I looked back at the mistakes that I made and I’d advise other people to avoid in their blogging journey, I would say that my biggest mistake was to unwittingly become too reliant on one platform. That platform was also somebody else’s playground. Essentially, I was just a guest there. Obviously looking back, I should’ve diversified my work much soon. My best advice to anyone who wanna be a blogger is that never have all your eggs in one basket and don’t rely on a game where you’re playing by somebody else’s rules and in their playground. Saying that, but I did make the most of so many great opportunities. My LinkedIn work suddenly catapulted me into the tech writing stratosphere. I now have columns in Inc. Magazine and The Next Web. Millions of article views no longer excite me, it was finding other ways to meaningfully engage with those million readers. I launched my own podcast around the same time that Darren launched his ProBlogger podcast. I still remember, on launch day, we were featured side by side on the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes. I tweeted Darren a pic which he immediately replied to. This is where things got really exciting. Fast forward two years, I’ve now performed over 400 interviews with the most significant tech leaders and startups in the world such as Adobe, Sony, Microsoft, IBM, writers and even TV chat show host, Wendy Williams and movie star William Shatner. I still have to pinch myself. This work has enabled me to leave my day job as an IT manager and setup my own business. I’m now living by my own rules and doing something that I love to do. I guess worth pointing out, for me it was never about the Neil Hughes show, it was about me sharing insights and my guest sharing insights. I’m then throwing it out there to all the people listening and reading and consuming my content and asking them to share their stories. This was always my biggest motivation because if we think about it, our ancestors thousands of years ago went from town to town exchanging stories around the campfire. We’re doing the exact same now but around virtual campfires. We’re tearing down geographical barriers and stereotypes by talking, working, and collaborating with each other. That’s what this recording is doing right now, isn’t it? My number one tip for any new blogger would be don’t get carried away with this age of instant gratification where everyone wants instant success, [inaudible 00:07:27] solution but it doesn’t exist. Do not believe anyone that offers you a shortcut. Remember, we all digest content differently. If you wrote two blog posts per week, you can also turn those two blog post into podcast and to videos too. After one year, you could realistically have 100 articles, 100 podcasts and 100 YouTube videos. If your audience likes to read, listen or view their content, you’ve got all bases covered. Most importantly of all, think of the SEO there because all of that content is against your name. That will cement you and your reputation as a thought leader within your industry. Think of the SEO on iTunes, on Spotify, on YouTube and your own personal blog as a hundred pieces of content that sits next to your name. However, most people will end up doing 5 to 10 pieces of content in the New Year and say this is a waste to time and give up by the time they hit February or March. It’s that grind of getting 2 of pieces of work against your name every week until you have a 100 or 300 if you repurpose your content. That’s where the value is. I think this is the only real secret to success. It is hard work. As Gary Vaynerchuk often says, “Don’t complain that you haven’t got a few hours to spend each week when you binge watching TV shows on Netflix.” My number one tip for new bloggers in 2018 is two blog posts per week every week. Two per week becomes eight per month and that becomes a hundred over a year. Along the way, don’t forget to build on your success and grab opportunities along the way. Just like a snowball rolling down a hill, your content and your portfolio will get bigger and bigger. That’s it for me. Guys, what are you waiting for? Darren: That was Neil Hughes from You can again find the links to Neil and his blog on today’s show notes at I loved Neil’s story today. I love today that we’re talking a little bit about a podcast as well because I think a podcast is essentially, whilst a lot of people would differentiate it from a blog because they would say a blog is a written content, a podcast is an audio content. In many regards, they’re a blog, they’re both a blog and they share many features, they’re both presented in chronological order with dates and usually with show notes and comments. I generally would say it is an alternative to a blogger and a nice addition to a blog. I love Neil’s story for a number of reasons. Firstly, he mentions the imposter syndrome there. I know many of you who are thinking about starting his blog in 2018 are probably wrestling with that right now. There are others of you who have already started your blog, this is a very common thing to wrestle with. You have fear, you have doubt about whether you really have the credibility to say what you’re saying on your blog, whether anyone is gonna listen to you. It’s something that we all face in different stages of our blogging and podcasting career. If you’re struggling with that, can I really encourage you at the end of this podcast to go and listen to Episode 121. In that episode, I gave you seven strategies for really dealing with imposter syndrome. It is something you need to push through. In that episode, I gave you some practical things that you can do to really push through that imposter syndrome. That’s Episode 121. I also love Neil’s story because he mentions there a mistake that many bloggers make and that is becoming too reliant upon a platform like LinkedIn. This really could be any platform at all that you don’t have complete control over. Neil mentions there that he really built his asset, he built his archive of articles on someone else’s playground. LinkedIn owns LinkedIn, LinkedIn ultimately controls the content that he put onto LinkedIn. With the algorithm changes that’s on their domain, ultimately what you’re doing by building on LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or any of these other places is building someone else’s asset. You put yourself at the mercy of other people. This is something a lot of bloggers who are starting out fall into the trap of. They see a tool like Medium or LinkedIn’s blogging tools or even Facebook and they’ll say, “I can just blog there.” There are certainly some advantages of using these types of tools because they can help you to get some exposure. If that’s all you do, if all your eggs are in that basket, you’re setting yourself up for trouble down the track and you put yourself at the mercy of their algorithms and their rules and there are limitations on what you can do. What Neil did in starting his own thing, in his case it was a podcast, in many other cases it’s a more traditional written blog, in other people’s cases a video blog. Setting something up of your own that you have control of on your own domain, on your own service is one of the best things that you can do. Certainly I’m not saying you shouldn’t be involved in these other platforms. I think LinkedIn is certainly a place that some of you should be working and building a presence but do it to build your own presence as well, drive people back to your own blog, your own podcast, your own email list and build the asset there. I think it’s great to do those things in conjunction. That’s what Neil is doing today. I also love Neil’s tip there of not getting carried away with instant gratification, there are no shortcuts in this. Do what he said, his great call to action there. Create two pieces of content every week, two blog posts every week and then repurpose those two blog posts into two audio files if you can or two videos. You have 100 articles by the end of the year if you do that. I think that’s a brilliant goal for a new blogger just starting out, 100 articles by the end of the year. As you get going, you might wanna then start repurposing and aim for 200 pieces of content with 100 articles and 100 podcasts or 100 videos as well. Start with those articles, start with the medium, I guess, that you’re most comfortable with. In most people’s cases, that does tend to be a written content but you might wanna start with a podcast as well and then learn how to repurpose those things. Ultimately, that grind of creating that content every week is going to pay off in the long term because you’re gonna end up with an asset. The asset will be, if you set up on your own blog, in your own home base, something that you control and gradually over time, that asset builds. Every one of those articles is a new doorway into your home base. It’s a new potential reader who you can get the email address of and you can build a relationship with. Over time, the more articles you’ve got, the more doorways you’ve got into your site. It doesn’t happen overnight, there’s no instant gratification here. This is something that does take time to build but it’s an incredibly powerful thing. It can open up opportunities for you in the ways that Neil has talked about in new relationships in building a business as well. Also, I love that he said that we all digest content differently. This idea of not just creating written content but also exploring some of these other mediums is a very powerful thing as well. I know many of you who are listening to this podcast today have already got blogs. Maybe 2018 is the year where you need to explore that idea of podcasting for the first time or maybe you do need to start creating some videos in some way as well. I hope that you’ve got some ideas and inspiration from that. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve already got this amazing archive, hopefully, of hundreds of articles that you’ve written. It’s not too hard to repurpose those in today’s other mediums. I encourage you to explore that in 2018. Again, today’s show notes are at You can find our Start a Blog course. We’re just two days away from launching that course now if you’re listening to this in the day that this episode goes live. You can find where you can signup to claim your spot in the course at If you’re listening after the 10th of January 2018, then that course is, hopefully, live now for you to go to as well. If you go to that URL, you’ll be at a signup and start that blog as well. As I’m recording this, over 1300 people signed up already for that course. There’s a whole group of people going through it together. We’re gonna have a Facebook group where you can begin to interact with one another, support one another, ask questions. We’re also going to help you to launch your blog as well. I’ve got some great things planned where we’re going to feature all the blogs that start as a result of this course over on ProBlogger and hopefully find you some new readers as well. Again, I can’t wait to get going with that course in the next couple of days. I hope you are finding some inspiration in this series. If you wanna listen to a few more stories of this series that we’ve been doing, every episode between 221 and 232 which will be tomorrow’s episode will be these blogger’s stories. Thanks for listening today. We’ll chat in the next few days. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 231: From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story appeared first on ProBlogger.
Jan. 5, 2018
How a Blog Helped Grow a Voice Coaching Business In our continuing series of blogger stories I’m handing the podcast over to you, our listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. This series started in episode 221, and is helping us launch our new (and completely free) ‘Start a Blog’ course that will go live on 10 January 2018. You can sign up to reserve your spot in the course at Today’s short and sweet episode comes from My Happy Voice blogger Vahn Petit, and even includes a bit of singing.. Links and Resources for How a Blog Helped Group My Voice Coaching Business My Happy Voice Blogger Vahn Petit 213: Blogging and Content Marketing: 10 Things To Know Start a Blog Course Facebook Group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hello, is it me you’re looking for? I promised you that there will be singing today and there’s gonna be more. I’m sorry about that. The singing that will come will be bit better than that. Hi! Welcome to Episode 230 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. A blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and soon to be an album, maybe not, all designed to help you to grow your blog and to build some profit around your blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger at In today’s episode, we’re continuing our series of blogger stories where I’m handing the podcast over to you as listeners and as readers of the blog, to tell your story, to share your tips, to talk about the mistakes you’ve made, and to talk about the opportunities that your blog has brought you. This series did start back in Episode 221. It’s all about trying to inspire as many bloggers as possible to start a blog in 2018 because we’ve got this free course going live on the 10th of January, just a few days away now. You can still sign up to reserve a spot in that course, it’s completely free. Go to My goal, it’s a big one, is to see thousands of new blogs started this year because of this course. If you are thinking of starting a blog, please go sign up. Please get that blog launched. In today’s episode, you’re going to hear from someone who is gonna sing to you. She’s gonna give you some amazing tips. It’s a sweet episode, it’s not too long. The blogger is Vahn Petit, who is a voice coach. She blogs at Love this episode, is lovely, and sweet, and has some great tips. I’m gonna come back at the end of the episode to share a few thoughts that I have on what Vahn shares with us. I’m gonna hand it over to her now. Vahn: Hello, Darren. Hello, ProBloggers. Hello, my name is Vahn Petit, I am a voice teacher and a vocal coach in modern music at I started my first blog in 2010. I just wanted a platform to share my journey as a vocal coach. At first, I was writing very short articles, very, very short articles with stories about what was happening in the studio, could be about a student having difficulties to sing a song and how we’re trying to fix it. I remember also I was posting each month a list of songs that had been studied with the links to some YouTube videos. I remember also I was sharing pictures and videos of the concerts of my students. I guess, at that time, I had several objectives. The main one was sharing stories and what was happening in the studio for my students so they could share the articles with their families. The second one was to find more students. I had a page with information about the singing one-to-one lessons, the group classes, and the workshops. I also was posting articles from time to time to attract people who wanted to take lessons. It went pretty well but probably because I started in 2010. I didn’t have that many competitors. I was ranking on Google’s first page without doing that much. That was really great. But then things started to change and my blog was kind of getting old. I had to renew, rebrand. Now, I have a brand new blog but I like the old one still. When I started my blog, it was not a big deal. Just me sharing my singing passion with friends, family, and students. I launched my blog with only one post. The about me page did not exist. I had no business plan but I’m so happy I did it that way and I did not wait for it to be perfect to launch it. I guess it’s a bit different nowadays because of the amount of blogs and online businesses. You probably need to have more than one post and several pages to launch. I’m really happy I did it that way. If I were to start a blog today, I think I would be the kind of person to postpone and postpone again. That was really great for me at that time. Being spontaneous helped me not postponing forever the launch of the blog. Mistakes, oops, I did it again. So many mistakes with my first blog and I’m still learning. The first mistake I can think about goes together with me launching my first blog with no content, just one article. I was doing things as it comes, as it goes. My blog had no visual identity, no consistency, no clear purpose for my readers. It was just me. Decided I wanted to write something that day and so I was writing. Maybe for three months there was nothing on the blog. Now it’s a bit different. For my new blog, I took a notebook and I wrote down everything from the colors I would be using, the different sizes for the images in the posts, the featured image, etc. The colors, the font, the font sizes. Everything is in my notebook. I go to it regularly when I don’t remember which color I’m using or which size or things to have a visual identity really strong. I’m much more consistent in the way I write, the voice I use. I remember you, Darren, speaking about the four voices we could choose. I think it was four. When we write, my voice is the professor artist, and it goes pretty well with being a vocal coach and a singer. The first mistake was the lack of visual identity, I think. The second mistake was I was so disorganized that I forgot to renew my domain name and my site went down for a whole week. I was using too many email addresses. I did receive a reminder to pay but I was not checking that email address anymore and the payment was not recurrent at that time. To get back my domain name, I had to pay around $200. Yes, $200. Don’t do it like me and try to be organized and write down the important things. Another mistake I can think about, I’m still struggling with that, is I am a learner. I love to learn and I get caught up in all the webinars hurricane. I registered in lots of webinars to learn about this and that. I ended up spending too much time doing that and not being able to even implement the tips I have learned plus I had no more time to create content for my blog. If you’re a learner, my advice is each time you find something you’d like to learn, register, learn, implement, and monitor what you’ve implemented. Don’t register in 7 or 10 courses or webinars. One at a time is the right thing to do, in my opinion. The good things that have happened to me since I started my blog is opportunities. I’m sure I wouldn’t have met that many interesting people and really professional singers and I’m even coaching The Voice singers and actors. That’s very, very interesting for me because it’s a different level of teaching. It’s not teaching anymore, it’s coaching. That’s why we say, “I’m a voice teacher but I’m also voice coach now.” I still love to teach the beginners and I love to coach the professionals. That is thanks to my blog, I think. My number one tip for new bloggers would be to take your readers on a journey, on your journey. That starts with stopping comparing yourself to others. It’s as if wanting to write a love song and being so depressed because there are already so many love songs. But hey, only you can write it your way, so don’t compare yourself to others. To take our readers on our journey, we have to be honest and be ourselves, to interact with them the most as we can, and to be consistent so they feel part of our story and they don’t feel let down ever. Blogging is a virtual thing but we’re only human after all. We’re only human after all. That was very, very nice to speak to you, bloggers. Thank you very much, Darren, for inviting us to share our story, our blogging story on ProBlogger podcast. Bye. Darren: Thanks so much for your story today, Vahn. You can find Vahn’s blog at over at A few things that I love about this particular episode apart from the singing and wonderful accent, just to mix things up a little bit. I love that Vahn uses her blog to grow her business, and again, this is another example of a different business model to what many of us start out blogging. Many of us start out thinking that we’re gonna make money from advertising or selling ebooks or virtual products. Blogs are very powerful at doing all of those things but they’re also a fantastic way to find new clients and grow your profile in an industry and that’s something that this story illustrates really nicely. I love the advice. Don’t wait for it to be perfect to launch. Whilst I’m a big believer in doing what you can before you launch your blog and setting up with good foundations, that is some great advice there. You can really have the intention of making it perfect before you launch to the point where you don’t actually launch anything at all. That’s something that we really wanna encourage you through this course that starts on the 10th of January to not just get the things right but to actually get it launched and to perfect it after it’s launched. It’s better to get it launched imperfect and to get things fixed up on the go afterwards than to wait until it’s perfect to launch. Because you’ll never actually launch it if that is your strategy. Yes, get it looking good. Yes, get some articles ready before you launch. But get it out there as well. Really good advice there also around some of the mistakes that Vahn made along her way as well. Not being consistent nor organized. I love the advice there particularly thinking about the visual identity of your blog. I guess what you’re trying to do there is put together some sort of a brand, a key that’s going to help you be consistent with that. I like the idea that she had this notebook that had all the colors that she’s gonna use. That’s something that I think a lot of bloggers could learn from whether you’re starting out, that’s something good to think through in the early days. But also for those of us who’ve been blogging for a while, it can end up having a very messy looking blog as well. Think through some of the, I guess, visuals and the brand that you wanna portray. Something that might be well worth doing at this time of the year, the start of the year. Maybe you could give your brand a refresh as you move into 2018. Also, I like that she mentioned there being consistent with her voice. She mentioned some teaching that I did on that particular topic, and if your ears picked up at that point of wanting to know what those four voices were, you can go back and listen to episode 213 where I talked about some teaching that I picked up from Jeff Goins where he talked about four different voices that almost any blogger could write in and the prophet is one of them. I actually suggested quite a few more. I think I came up with about 20 different voices. If you wanna learn a little bit more about voice and thinking about the voice that you have needs to be authentic with who you are but also thinking about your audience and what you are trying to help them with, go back and listen to episode 213 and you’ll pick up some thoughts there. It is quite a long episode, kind of halfway through it will get into that stuff on voices or you can just look at the transcript there as well. Another great point there is too much time learning, not enough time actioning. This is something I see a lot of bloggers falling into the traps of online entrepreneurs. There’s so much advice there on the topic of blogging. You could spend your whole life learning about blogging and not actually do any at all. This is something that I’m really aware of particularly as we’re creating courses and we’re creating content. You’ll know that we’ve pulled back on our content creation this year partly because we don’t want to feed the beast of those of you who are just learners and addicted to learning. We wanna create some teaching for you but we don’t want you to spend your whole life reading ProBlogger articles and listening to ProBlogger podcast. I love the fact that you are listening but if you’ve listened to more than five episodes today, maybe it’s time for you to write a blog post. That’s my advice for you today. Yes, to learn. Yes, pick up the latest trends but put plenty of time aside to implement and to monitor what you’re doing as your advice in that particular episode there. I just love the way that Vahn finished off her story today. Take your readers on your journey. Only you can write your story so own it, be yourself, don’t compare yourself to others, make your reader a part of your story. You’re a human being and so are they and the big thing that we love to do as humans is to connect with one another, to hear each others’ stories. Own your story, don’t try and be someone else. Don’t try and pretend and compare yourself and fall into that trap. Be yourself and take your readers on a journey. Thanks so much for sharing your story today, Vahn. I really do appreciate all the advice. Check out her blog at You can also find today’s show notes at where you’ll also find a link to our Start A Blog course. I’d love you to join us on our Start A Blog course. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, maybe to earn an income directly or maybe just to share your story or maybe to help build your business, whatever it is that is your intent, this course is designed to help you set up a blog with great foundations, to help you achieve your goals whatever they may be. You can find more details on how to join that course at As I mentioned yesterday, we’re gonna have a Facebook group that will help you to connect with others at that same point of the journey and hopefully we can all grow our blogs together as a result of that. Again, it’s Lastly, we’ve got two more episodes coming in this series of blogger stories. We’re gonna have a little break for the weekend now. That will give you an opportunity if you do wanna dig back into the last few episodes. This series started back in Episode 221. There’s plenty of stories there to dig into over the weekend but I’ve got two more coming for you next week before the Start A Blog course does launch. I look forward to chatting with you then. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 230: How a Blog Helped Grow My Voice Coaching Business appeared first on ProBlogger.
Jan. 4, 2018
2 Finance Bloggers Share their Tips for Taking Blogs from a Hobby to a Full Time Business Once again we’re handing the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. Since episode 221 we’ve been hearing from our listeners about their blogs as a lead up to our new (and completely free) ‘Start a Blog course’, which goes live on 10 January 2018. You can sign up to reserve  your spot in the course at Today we’re we’re featuring another two bloggers from the same niche. In this case, they’re both finance bloggers. I met both these guys for the first time at our SuccessIncubator event in 2017. In fact, they both spoke and did great sessions. Links and Resources for 2 Finance Bloggers Share their Tips for Building Blogs from Hobby to a Full Time Business Well Kept Wallet Blogger Deacon Hayes Wallet Hacks Blogger Jim Wang HARO – Help a Reporter Out Start a Blog Course Facebook Group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 229 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. A blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, and to build profit around that blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at In today’s episode, we’re continuing this series of blogger stories where we’re hearing from readers of ProBlogger and listeners of this podcast telling their stories of starting a blog and some of the opportunities that that blog has opened up for them. They’re also sharing some of their mistakes and tips for those of you who are starting out. But also you’ll hear today tips that I think are really relevant for those who are along the way with their blogging as well, particularly today, we’ve got a couple of tips that I think are particularly relevant for bloggers who’ve been around for a while, bloggers who maybe had been blogging maybe for a few years and things haven’t quite worked. Today is really relevant for both new bloggers and older bloggers as well. This series started back in episode 221. If you haven’t heard them, we’ve been pumping them out on a daily basis for the last week, there’s quite a few there now. We’re hearing from DIY bloggers, travel bloggers, recipe bloggers, nutritional bloggers, all kinds of bloggers. Today, we are hearing from two bloggers both from the same niche. They’re both finance bloggers and both of these guys who I met for the first time in 2017 in person, I met them at our Success Incubator event in Dallas. Both of these guys, a lot of fun, they both actually spoke at the event and did amazing sessions. There’s a lot of wisdom behind both the men. I do encourage you to check out their blogs. You can find today’s show notes with links to their blogs as well as a few things that they mention along the way over at and you can also leave a comment there. Remember, all of this is a part of our launch sequence for our new course for those of you who wanna start a blog. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, head over to I’m gonna come back between these stories to just make a few comments, throw out a few points, and then at the end I wanna tell you something new that I haven’t told you yet about the Start A Blog course, so stay tuned right to the end today. The first blogger I wanna introduce you to today is Deacon Hayes from He’s got an inspirational story. He’s gone from being a wood flooring salesperson to full time blogger over the last few years and has some really useful tips. As I mentioned at the top of the show, some of these are quite relevant for those of you who’ve been blogging for a while now. I’m gonna hand it over to Deacon. Deacon: Hi, my name is Deacon Hayes from where we help people save money, make money, and pay off debt. Back in 2009, my wife and I got married and we decided we’re gonna combine our finances. We did that. We realized we had $52,000 in debt which, for us, in our 20s, was a lot. This was outside of mortgage debt and we’re severely in the negative. We knew we need to put together a plan to pay it off in a short period of time. Hence, created as kind of a way to track our journey, hold us accountable, but also to help other people that were trying to pay off debt by giving tips on how to save money, make money, strategies to pay off debt. Originally, that was the idea. But we were able to pay off all of our debt in 18 months which was amazing. We set this goal, we hit it, and now I was like, “Wow, this would be so much more fun than selling wood flooring,” which is what I was doing at the time. Then, it led me on a journey to kinda figure out, “How could I make money with the blog?” Turned that into a full time job and that’s what I’ve done today. When I first started out, one of the things I was most grateful for was learning SEO, search engine optimization. Because initially when I started the blog, no one was reading it. I would tell my friends about it and it was It wasn’t a legit site but then I learned SEO, I put it on, started ranking for some really competitive keywords, getting traffic, and then figuring out how to monetize it. Really encourage people that start out to kind of learn those different ways to drive traffic early on so you’re not just writing content that doesn’t get read. I did make some mistakes along the way. One of the things was I would just write just to write, not with any kind of intent. I had an audience of five people or whatever, and I’m like, “I have to publish content.” There were short articles, they weren’t thorough. It just really didn’t do the job. Now, we write articles with purpose and don’t write just to write. I really encourage people that are starting out to do that. Along the way, we had a lot of cool opportunities, been featured on US News World Report, Yahoo Finance, and even my wife and I were on the homepage of CNN Money one day for our worst money mistake as newly weds or something. It wasn’t the most glorious thing but the tips were very helpful, I think, for people. That was just a good way to get exposure. We used HARO for that which is Help A Reporter Out and reach out to these different publications, share our story and we found that to be super helpful. Now, we get over 700,000 page views a month which is crazy. Because last year, we’re getting a fraction of that. Now the blog is not a hobby anymore. It’s a full fledged business, makes six-figures a year. It’s an awesome opportunity, never would have thought I would be at this place with it. One of the things that I really encourage people that are starting out to do is to really narrow down your focus. What do you wanna write about? When I first started, I had 40 different categories. I would just think of something, I categorize it, and then they just start adding up. Now, we have three. We kind of edge outside of that a little bit but really those three dictate the type of content that we write. You can’t be good at everything. You have to focus in on, “What are you really good at?” Like, “Well, I was good at figuring out how to save money, going through a budget line by line, and figuring out how to save the most money. I was really good at making money on the side, I’d go to garage sales and flip stuff online. I drive for pizza delivery.” There’s all these things that I was doing to basically help kind of move the needle forward. Those were the categories that we stuck with. I really encourage you if you start now to look for those categories that you’re really good at, that really could add value to your readers. Think about less is more. Don’t write just to write. Write with purpose. Darren: That was Deacon Hayes from Love that story and it’s one that I’ve heard echoed, I guess, in many stories over the years. I wanted to share it for a few reason today. Firstly, as we heard in yesterday’s episode from Joanna Penn, the power of search engine optimization. Deacon mentioned that he was grateful that he learned SEO. Actually, at our Success Incubator, he did a whole session on SEO. It was one of the main reasons that his blog went from a hobby, something that he did on the side, to becoming a full time thing. SEO really changed the trajectory of his business. Learning that is such a powerful thing. The mistakes that Deacon mentioned, he used to write just to write. He used to write short and non-thorough articles, and now, he writes with purpose. I really wanna hammer that home. Write with purpose, it’s such a powerful thing. Actually, every post you write has the potential to build your brand, to change the life of your reader, to make a connection with them. Every post you write has the potential to be shared by your readers as well and help you to grow your blog. None of those things is gonna happen if you just write just to write. If you’re just creating content because you wanna publish content, then it’s not actually gonna make any difference. In many ways, you’re wasting your time but if you’re writing with purpose, if you’re thinking about who is searching for the content that you’re writing, what questions they have, how you can change their life in some way, everytime you publish something, you’re going to publish something that can build your business and that is gonna make the world a better place in some way as well. That’s why Deacon’s blog is now 700,000 page views a month, that’s why he has a full time income, it’s because he writes with purpose. Deacon mentioned there HARO. I just wanna mention that again. I’ll link to it in the show notes today., this is a service that will hook you up with reporters, with journalists who are looking for people to quote in their articles. This is what got Deacon on the television, this is what got him featured in a variety of websites. It’s a great service. If you are looking to build your audience through mainstream media, you might wanna check that one out. The last thing I’ll just emphasize there is something that we’ve heard numerous times over this series already. I didn’t really intend for us to go down this path. I didn’t realize how many people are gonna say the same thing but narrow down your focus, narrow down your niche. He said he went from 40 categories to 3. I think that is really well worth saying. I think that this is a really good tip not only for new bloggers but for established bloggers as well. This is an advice that we’ve heard from our tech bloggers in Episode 222, we saw it in the Orlando dating ideas blogger that we had in 226, episode 226, and even Kris in the travel episode as well who said, “Think about who you’re not going to serve and be really intentional about just serving a narrow niche of people.” This is great advice. Really, if you have had a blog for a while now, I wanna encourage you to think about what categories do you have. What are you writing about that’s not getting the traction? Deacon’s advice there was to really think back about what you’re good at. Identify what you’re good at writing about, identify where you are adding the most value to your readers, and focus upon those topics. I’m sure Deacon goes slightly off topic from time to time but going from 40 to 3 categories to me is a really smart move. If you are starting a blog, really think about narrowing that focus down, becoming the expert in a smaller topic. Unless you’ve got a lot of time and energy on your hands, you’re probably going to find a lot more traction doing it that way. If you’ve been blogging for a while, great advice as well. As we go into 2018, what did you write about last year that really didn’t get the traction and that really didn’t add much value? Maybe you strip out some of those categories for a while and just focus on the things that are really getting the traction. Thank you so much, Deacon, for your story. I wanna move now to Jim Wang from Jim is another person that I met this year in Dallas and we actually rode mechanical bulls together. But that’s a whole other story. I’ll leave you to go for a hunt for the video evidence of that. I think you’ll find it in my Instagram account if you really are desperate but we had a great time in Dallas. Jim has got a great story, well, some similarities with Deacon’s story as well. He’s obviously a finance blogger too but I’ll hand it over to Jim and then I’ll wrap things up towards the end. Jim: Hi, my name is Jim Wang, I write Wallet Hacks, It’s a personal finance blog that I started about two years ago and I share the strategies I use to get ahead financially and in life. It’s actually the second blog that I started. I started one in 2004 called Bargaineering, also about personal finance and it grew to a point where I was able to sell it a bunch of years later for a significant sum. I started blogging back then not because I wanted to start a business but because I just had no idea how to manage my money. I started my first day of work, they handed me this employee manual, I had to make all these decisions about… I have to start at $401k, what do you wanna invest in, here are the fees, it was just a big mess. I thought to myself if I’m having trouble at this, maybe other people are. I’ve always loved the internet. 2004, blogs weren’t really a huge thing. They had only just started becoming popular and I thought to myself, “I can start a blog. It’d be a fun little hobby.” If nothing else, I can connect with other people and we can learn from each other in a way that was better than me just trying to read a manual or read things online not really knowing whether or not I was right or wrong. My friends, they weren’t really that interested in talking about it. As often as the case, people don’t talk about money in person. But on the internet, you can talk about anything. I thought I’d start a blog, and over time, it sort of grew in popularity. I learned that I was the only one writing about money. I started networking, and emailing, and instant messaging other bloggers. There were maybe around a dozen of us back then. Nowadays, personal finance blogging is huge, there are thousands of blogs out there. Back then, it was a much, much smaller community. We all knew each other, we shared ideas, it was really great. I just wanted to just learn more and it wasn’t to start a business. When I think back to it, what I’m always grateful for in starting the business is the fact that I started it. Back then, since blogging wasn’t as big, there weren’t a lot of blogs about blogging. Actually, ProBlogger was one of the ones that I read that really gave me the confidence to think, “Hey, you know what, there are people out there doing these things and making a little bit of money.” If I were to look back and think of some mistakes, it was that I treated it like a hobby for far too long. Started a blog, people started showing up, didn’t really feel like a business so I treated it like a hobby. I didn’t invest in the things that I should have, like investing in technology, investing in people, investing in tools, and all the other things that a business does in order to grow it bigger than a one-man operation. It wasn’t until a couple years into it that I started doing that. It really paid off dividends down the road. If I were to think back to mistakes, it’s really the investment aspect of it. There are a lot of good things that have happened as a result of starting a blog. First off is that I learned a lot about managing money because I write about it all the time. Our finances are relatively strong as a result of just being responsible. A blog also keeps you accountable to your readers, some who you know and are friends with you in person, some who are complete strangers but it’s all the same. You’re sharing your story and people will call you out if you’re inconsistent or if you’re faking it. That accountability is very honest and very good. The other good thing is that when I started the blog, I was working a corporate job full time. Now, I work for myself running Wallet Hacks and that’s in part because I start a business and it gave us the financial freedom to build or pursue the things that we want. That’s always floating out there for folks that are wanting to start business. If you reach success, that’s a good thing because that means you can focus more of your time and energy on this. A lot of folks will say, “Well, I start a blog. I don’t wanna make money. I don’t want it to be about money.” I would say stop thinking about it in those terms. It’s not about making money is bad, making money is a noble good. Think about it like this, if you’re doing this on the side and you really love what you’re doing and your readers really love what you’re doing but you’re not getting paid, you still have to work a job to pay the bills. If this project can earn you a living, that means you can spend more of your time and energy pursuing the things that you enjoy and the things that your readership wants you to pursue. Think about it in those terms and you might not be so worried about making money from your project. If I were to come up with a tip for new bloggers, it will be just to start. Just get into it, reach out to as many people as you can. You wanna find folks that are roughly at your level in terms of blog knowledge and maturity so that you guys can learn together and grow together, make some of the same mistakes. You wanna reach out to potential mentors that maybe, a year ahead of you, two years ahead of you, in terms of size and development. That way, they can point you in some of the good directions. I would avoid trying to reach out to superstars, in part because they may not remember what it’s like to grow a blog from 0 to 10 people a day to 100 people a day. They may not be current on what the trends are today to grow it to that size. You wanna kinda build a mastermind group or a little cohort of folks that you can just talk to who are just dealing with the same struggles that you are, that way, you can both commiserate, give each other confidence, and learn from the mistakes that each of you are making. Most importantly is don’t give up. I’ve seen so many blogs over the years, I’ve been doing this since 2004. I’ve seen hundreds of blogs that have started that I thought were really good but for whatever reason, they failed, they stopped. Life got in the way sometimes. They start a family, the hobby time that they had after work or before work that was once there is no longer there. Try to persevere, and if you do, you’ll look back and you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been able to accomplish. Thanks for letting me share my story with you and I hope you learned something from it. Bye. Darren: That was Jim Wang from Great voice for radio or for podcasting, Jim. Thanks for sharing your story. A few things there in Jim’s story. Again, some similarities, I guess, in terms of why he started blogging to Deacon. But I really wanna draw out what he was talking about with the mistakes that he made of treating it as a hobby for too long and not investing into the business as if it was a business. This really echoes from my story as well. For me, first couple of years of my blogging, it was a hobby, and I treated it maybe as a business one day but I didn’t actually treat it as a business today. Really for me I saw exactly the same thing when I started to treat my blog as a business and invested more time and started to invest a little bit of money into the business, it really did pay off for me. I wouldn’t suggest you invest tens of thousands of dollars from day one but begin to think about investing and getting serious about your business. It’s more of the intent and the amount of time, and the intentionality. Writing with purpose as we heard in Deacon’s story. That is part of the investment that you bring, but gradually over time being able to invest in the technology, getting some better tools, and people as well. This, again, is a great tip for those of you maybe who’ve been blogging for a couple of years now. Maybe not quite getting that traction. Maybe it’s time to begin to ramp things up in terms of some of the investment that you can do because, really for me, for Jim, and for many other bloggers, this is something that we’d look back on with, I guess, gratitude, that we did take those steps, that we pushed rather than just coasted. Also, just the advice of starting. It sounds like the most simple advice that you can give someone. But so many people need to hear that advice. Maybe you’ve been thinking about having that blog for a long time. This is the moment to really do that, to get started, make a commitment to do that. This is a great time to do it because we’ve got this opportunity of the course that’s gonna walk you through it. I do wanna, I guess, offer you an extra little opportunity for those of you who are thinking about starting a blog. Jim’s advice there is to get a cohort, to get a group of people around you, and to work with people at your own level. That’s a very powerful tip and many people try and reach out to the superstar blogger in their niche. That’s not always the best person to help you. Because, as Jim says, they are on a different level. But they are also getting pitched a lot of times everyday. They’re hearing from a lot of people who want their help. You’re much more likely to get help from people at your own level or people just ahead of you. As part of our Start A Blog course, we wanna give you an opportunity to get together with a cohort of people at the same level as you. We’re actually starting a Facebook group purely for people who are starting a blog. We’ve got a Facebook group for those of you who are already going. If you haven’t joined that already, just do a search on Facebook for ProBlogger Community. You’d find a cohort of, I think, we’re up over 10,000 bloggers now who are blogging already but we wanna start a smaller group just for people working through the Start A Blog course. If you sign up for the Start A Blog course which is completely free, just go to, we will send you some details. And as part of that, you’ll also get an invitation to the Start A Blog Facebook group as well. That will be a place where we can work through the course together, where you can ask questions, where you can interact with other bloggers at a similar level to you, and also you can make suggestions on how we can improve that course along the way as well. Because this is the first version of it, and we do want to continue to improve it and make it better, and better, and better. We already had, as I’m recording this in December, this is going live on the 4th or 5th I think of January. This is going on the 4th.. Even at two weeks before this episode goes live, we’ve already have almost 500 people sign up for the course. There’s gonna be a lot of people going through it together. The advantage of that is that we’re gonna be able to promote each other’s blogs. That’s what we want this group to be about as well. It’s not just about the learning together but we’re also gonna try and find some creative ways of promoting each other’s brand new blogs. We wanna help you not only to set up your blog, but we wanna help you to find some readers for that blog through this process. One of the ways that we’re gonna do that is through the Facebook group where you have opportunity to share your blog with the rest of the community and perhaps even begin to link to one another. Thanks for listening today. Thanks so much to Deacon, to Jim, for sharing your stories, very inspirational there. I hope those of you who are wanting to start a finance blog have appreciated that but also others of you as well. We’ve got three more stories coming up, one tomorrow, one on the 5th of January, we’re gonna hear from someone who’s got a completely different niche. I’ve never even knew that there was a blog on this particular topic, voice coaching. That blogger has an interesting story to tell, you’re actually gonna hear a little bit of singing in that episode as well. Next week, we’ve got two more bloggers as well. We’ve got another tech blogger story. Then we’re gonna hear from a blogger who is writing another slightly unusual topic. I didn’t know there were blogs about it but it’s a blog for women who live on islands. They’re the three upcoming episodes before we get this course launched. Again, if you wanna start back at the start of the series of bloggers stories, go back to to hear the first in the series and there’s been quite a few since. Thanks for listening today. Today’s show notes are at Thanks for listening, chat tomorrow. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 229: 2 Finance Bloggers Share their Tips for Building Blogs from Hobby to a Full Time Business appeared first on ProBlogger.
Jan. 3, 2018
Leaving Her Job to Create a Multi Six Figure Online Business – A Writing Blogger Tells Her Story We’re continuing our series of blogger stories, and handing the podcast over to you so you can tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. This series, which started with episode 221, is all part of the launch of our new (and completely free) ‘Start a Blog’ course, which goes live on 10 January 2018. You can sign up to reserve your spot in the course at In today’s episode we hear from Joanna Penn, who has done amazing things with her blog at Joanna blogs about fiction and non-fiction writing, independent publishing, and making a living from writing. And she’s built an amazing business around that topic. I first met Joanna at the very first ProBlogger conference in Melbourne back in 2010. Joanna is English, but at the time she was living in Brisbane, Australia. Blogging and podcasting has allowed Joanna to move on from a cubicle job she really didn’t like and build a business that not only brings in a multiple six-figure income each year, but has also provided many opportunities for her to travel and speak on the topic she covers. Joanna’s story is one of my favorites in this series, so settle in and enjoy. Links and Resources for From Crying in the Bathroom at Work to a Multi Six Figure Online Business The Creative Penn Blogger Joanna Penn Canva PB094: 5 Mistakes Bloggers Make with SEO and What To Do About Them 194: 5 SEO Tools for Bloggers 221: From 0 to 500,000 Page Views a Month – A DIY Blogger Shares Her Story Start a Blog Course Facebook Group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hey there, it’s Darren Rowse from ProBlogger here. Welcome to Episode 228 of the ProBlogger Podcast. ProBlogger is a blog, a podcast, an event, job board, series of ebooks, and a course all designed to help you to start an amazing blog that’s gonna change the world in some way, and hopefully change your life too by building a bit of profit for you. You can learn more about ProBlogger at In today’s episode, we’re continuing our series of blogger stories which I started back in Episode 221. Essentially, this series is all about handing the podcast over to listeners so that I can share their stories of starting blogs. We’ve heard some amazing stories so far, and today I’ve got a really great one, an inspiring one for you. As I said, this started back in Episode 221, go back and listen to those previous episodes. They’re all relatively short stories, and some of the episodes actually have two or three bloggers sharing their stories as well. This is all leading up to our Start A Blog course which launches on the 10th of January, 2018, which is all designed to really help you to start a blog, or someone you know to start a blog. We all know someone who should be blogging, and my hope is that you’ll share that course with them. You can find the course and sign-up where you can register to be part of it at Please do feel free to share that with others. It’s a completely free course. In today’s episode, we’re hearing from a blogger who has done something quite amazing with blog and podcasting since she started. She has a blog on the topic of fiction and non-fiction writing, covers independent publishing, and making a living with your writing and has built an amazing business on that particular topic. The blogger’s name is Joanna Penn from I know many of you are familiar with Joanna already, because she’s been hanging around ProBlogger for years now. In fact, I first met her at the very first ProBlogger Conference back in 2010, back in Melbourne. Joanna is English, but at that time she’s living in Brisbane, Australia. Blogging and podcasting has enabled Joanna to move from a cubicle job that she really didn’t like in a sort of a corporate environment to build a creative business that not only brings in a multiple six figure income a year, but has opened up amazing opportunities for her to travel, to speak, and to do what she loves, and have a creative life. Joanna’s story is one of my favorites in this series so I hope you enjoy it. You can find the show notes with the full transcript of the story as well as links that she mentions in the show notes at I’ll be back at the end of Joanna’s story to pull out a few of the things that I hear her saying just to hammer them home so that you come away with some action items. Joanna: Hi everyone. I’m Joanna Penn from I blog and podcast about writing fiction and non-fiction, independent publishing, book marketing, and making a living with your writing. I started my site,, in December 2008 as a way to share my journey and my lessons learned about writing and self-publishing my first book, as well as the ups and downs of marketing, something where nobody knows who you are. This was before the International Kindle, before print on demand, before we had the independent publishing ecosystem we have now. I also started a podcast in early 2009 as a way to learn from other people who were doing well, and also to meet other creatives. By sharing my lessons learned, I was able to meet other people going through the same experience and attract a community and friends overtime. I was also living in Brisbane, Australia at the time, and most of the self-publishing early birds where in America, so I was able to use my site and my podcast to meet a lot of Americans online. I was also a miserable cubicle slave at that time, implementing accounts payable into large corporates, one of a not very creative job, and I really wanted to find new friends who were writers and online entrepreneurs. My big goal was to leave my job and become a creative entrepreneur and make a living online that was location independent and be able to travel, and create, and live a much happier life. Looking back, I’m really grateful that I learned from professional bloggers and invested in education early, because otherwise you can make so many mistakes. I did make mistakes but I learned to avoid a lot of them by studying. I was living in Brisbane, as I mentioned, in Australia, and I learned from Yaro Starak at Entrepreneur’s Journey, and actually met him because he was living in Brisbane too at the time. I modeled my blog on his, and I even still have a successful author blueprint as my giveaway for email list building that I modeled on his, and followed his training course exactly. I also attended the first Problogger event in Melbourne, in 2010, where I met Darren and other people making a living online and it inspired me to follow that example. Setting up my site on WordPress and following search engine optimization design principles just has set me up so well. It’s meant that I haven’t had to do hugely horrible re-designs which I’ve seen other people go through because they set up on other platforms. Also, learning about headlines and doing audio and podcasting so early has all really helped my business scale. I definitely recommend investing in education so you can set things up right from the very beginning. In terms of mistakes, I actually made some mistakes before, which was my third blog. The first blog I set up was centered around my first book. I’m so tied to it, including the URL was actually the book title, that when I started writing other books, because now I have like 26 books, writing around one book was never going to last long enough. The second one was a niche that I then got really bored with. A really big tip is to choose a URL with the intent that this is going to last 5-10 years, maybe much longer. I’m just coming up myself on my 9 year anniversary. I can use basically for the rest of my life. I can pivot that into all different kinds of things. I also have a fiction site at Again, around my name, which means that won’t change. What do you see yourself doing in 5-10 years’ time? What won’t age too much along the way? What are you so excited about that you never run out of content for? The moment I have six months worth of content scheduled ahead of time, that’s how much I have still to share after nine years, and I’ve never, ever run out of content, I always have more ideas. This is so important. I found with those other two blogs I was just bored, and I didn’t want to write, and I didn’t want to podcast on these topics. Topics that last over 5-10 years, and what do you see yourself being known as, that’s really important too. Also, consider technology that my age, say for example, would probably now be obsolete. I don’t know what that site is, I just came up with that. Yes, those would be some mistakes that I made that I hope you can avoid. Some amazing things have happened since I started my site. At first, I ended up making money. In September 2011, I left my day job because I was making a few thousand a month from the blog, and with more time available I was able to write more and grow the site and write more books. My podcast also grew as audio became more popular and self-publishing as a niche went mainstream. Meaning, I got a lot more traffic from SEO based on the content I’ve been producing for years. In 2015, we started to make a six-figure income in pounds from the blog and my husband was able to leave his job. Now, nine years after starting it, we make a multi-six figure income from our business, all powered by My blog, my podcast, and the books I’ve written along the way, which I sell to the audience that I’ve attracted along the way. It really has been a massive change in0 my life. My life is now completely different. I was that miserable cubicle slave, crying in the toilets at work because of how much I hated my job. I really, really just didn’t know what I was doing with my life. Now, I travel the world for book research trips and professional speaking opportunities that come because of my platform as a blogger and podcaster. I have a creative lifestyle that I love and a community of friends and colleagues who are also creative entrepreneurs. I had a vision of this life back in 2008. It just feels kind of amazing. I’m now living that. But if you put your words out into the world consistently for years, amazing change can happen, and you can live that life that you design. It really is amazing. In terms of my number one tip for new bloggers, I would say that you can think big, and you need to decide what you want to be known as in 5-10 years time. What can you create that will lead to that outcome, because you have to know where you want to end up, and that will really help guide you and keep you going in the nitty gritty bits because there are nitty gritty bits when you are blogging. Secondly, I would say that learning how to write a good SEO optimized headline, and a really decent image. Those two things together will help your work be more shareable, and I use almost everyday to create shareable images, and it’s a free site, it’s amazing. Decide what you want to be known as and learn to write a good SEO optimized headline and make a good image. I definitely say that blogging for me was the beginning, the turning point of what changed my life. I am so happy that I started blogging, and so happy to be part of the blogging community, and I wish you well. Thanks to Darren, and the ProBlogger Team, and happy creating. Darren: That was Joanna Penn from I love the story, obviously an inspirational story. Someone going from working in a job that she didn’t really love to I guess having the freedom to be able to explore her own pathways and do something creative that she loves and to enable her partner to join her in that as well. A few things that really stood out to me in that, I love that tip that she gave about choosing a URL, and I guess a focus that’s not going to age. Something that’s gonna last you more than five years. That’s a fantastic question that she gave you there, what do you see yourself being known as in 5-10 years? That’s a great starting point in thinking about what your blog should be about, but it will also begin to give you hints as to the type of content you need to create. If you want to be known as an expert in a particular field, what type of content does an expert in a field need to create to take them to that point from someone who might be relatively unknown to being an expert, or obviously that will reveal the types of content you need to create. You need to create content that shows your expertise, you need to create some social proof, you need to create content that shows credibility, these types of things. Hopefully by identifying that end point, you can begin to fill-in some gaps in the short term that will take you to that place. Start with that question, brilliant question to start with, and those of you who are gonna take the Start A Blog course, that’s a question that I would encourage you to answer before the course starts. It’s gonna help you so much if you’ve got that end-point in mind. Then, what content can you begin to create that will take you to that place? There’s some really good question to be asking, whether you do the course or not. Even as an established blogger, that will hopefully give you a little bit more focus as well. Also, I like the idea that Joanna mentioned a number of times, just creating, it’s the nitty-gritty stuff, it’s the little things that you need to do that will end up taking you to that destination. We often hear the story of someone going from something that they don’t love, a job that they don’t love to a multiple six figure income, and we think that happens very quickly, it doesn’t. Joanna’s been at this now-I met her in 2010 towards the beginning of her journey, and she’d been going before that already. It’s the small actions that you take everyday and that she’s taken everyday that have actually taken her to that point. Also, I love the idea there of investing in education early, put the time into learning. She mentioned there being mentored by someone and actually putting the time into getting to know someone who can teach you and certainly that’s what we’re hoping that you will do with ProBlogger, but there’s plenty of other great bloggers out there in your niche that you should be investing the time into building those relationships. You will learn so much about blogging through those relationships. Invest the time into the reading and the learning that you can do, and there’s certainly some amazing resources out there, and much of them for free online as well. Put that time aside, it’s not gonna happen overnight. I really hope that you are inspired by Joanna’s story there, the tool she mentioned was Canva, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes today. Also, if you want to do some reading on search engine optimization, some listening on that, I’ll have some links in the show notes as well on that because that’s something Joanna did talk about. Really, I heard her mentioning a number of times, it was search engines that have been driving the traffic for her. This is one of the things that I think a lot of bloggers miss out on is they think the traffic’s gonna always come from social media. Traffic can come from social media, but time and time again I meet bloggers like Joanna and the key to their success isn’t social, it’s actually Google. I’m certainly not saying don’t put time into social, you need to do that, but also put time into learning the basics of search engine optimization and thinking very carefully about the headlines you use because they will help so much in SEO. I’ve got some further listening for you that I’ll include in the show notes today as well. The show notes can be found at Our Start A Blog Course can be found over at I’ll be back tomorrow with another blogger story. If you haven’t already listened, go back to Episode 221 and work through the six or so stories that we’ve got there. We’ve got bloggers who are DIY bloggers, we’ve got travel bloggers, we’ve got tech bloggers, a variety of different niches covered there so dig back in and look out for tomorrow’s episode as well. Thanks for listening, chat soon.   How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 228: From Crying in the Bathroom at Work to a Multi Six Figure Online Business – A Writing Blogger Shares Her Story appeared first on ProBlogger.
Jan. 2, 2018
3 Travel Bloggers Share Their Tips and Stories Once again I’m handing the podcast over to you, our listeners, to share your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. I started this series towards the end of last year with episode 221: From 0 to 500,000 Page Views a Month – A DIY Blogger Shares Her Story Today I’ve got three blogger stories for you. And like our ‘tech blogger’ episode 222, I’ve put together stories from three travel and tourism bloggers. Links and Resources for 3 Travel Bloggers Share their Stories and Tips Captivating Cappadocia Blogger Duke Dillard 14 Types of Stories You Can Tell On Your Blog Red Sweater MarsEdit 4 Travelletto Blogger Dianne Bortoletto Amateur Traveler Blogger Chris Christensen Start a Blog Course Facebook Group Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view Darren: Hi there, welcome to Episode 227 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the founder of – a blog, a podcast, event, job board, a series of ebooks, and a course all designed to help you to start an amazing blog, to create great content for the readers who come to it, find those readers, and to build a profit around that blog. You can learn more about ProBlogger over at In today’s episode we’re continuing our series of blogger stories where I’m handing the podcast over to you, podcast listeners and blogger readers, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs. We started this series back in episode 221. We’ve had six episodes since that time. They’ve all been from bloggers from different niches. In today’s episode, I’ve got three blogger stories for you. They’re all relatively short, one of them’s only 2 ½ minutes. Like in our tech bloggers episode last week, today’s three stories all come from bloggers from the travel or tourism space. I thought it would be nice to put them together because there are some similarities there. I know a lot of you do have the dream of becoming a travel blogger. I hope you find some ideas in today’s show. This is all part of our series of podcast all to help you to get inspired to start a blog. If you haven’t started a blog yet, we encourage you to join our Start a Blog course, which starts from the 10th of January. You can head over to and find out more about it. It’s completely free. There’s an opportunity there to put your email address in, and we’ll let you know when that course goes live on the 10th of January. More about that at the end of the show today. I want to hand over now to our three bloggers. I’m going to just jump in in between each of the stories just to pull out a few of the thoughts that I have about the stories, a few little tips, and a little bit of further listening for you today as well because I do mention some things that I find quite fascinating. Let me hand over to our first blogger now who is blogging American accent but living in Turkey and blogging about Cappadocia. Duke: Hi, my name is Duke Dillard. My blog is Captivating Cappadocia. It focuses on the amazing Cappadocia region of Turkey. The URL is Cappadocia is in the center of Turkey. It’s an ancient region mentioned a couple of times in the bible. We were living in Anchorage before. I just finished a master’s degree and then decided to move to Cappadocia. During my MBA, I have been researching blogging and started thinking about doing a blog for our visitors to Cappadocia. I thought it’d be a great way to meet lots of people and motivate me to get the most out of the area. We moved here in July 2011. I started the blog in September. I’ve been reading all I could and gathering resources. I had a name, and a logo, and tagline, and I’ve written a few posts. One weekend I got away, put it all together, setting up the host, getting a theme, setting the parameters, and plugins, all the technical stuff. I’ve been anxious about it but once I got to work, the site came together nicely. I didn’t have much money so I did it all myself. In the end I was happy for the learning experience. In doing research, I knew I couldn’t compete with the big travel sites like TripAdvisor and I tried to discern what advantages I would have as a resident. I also knew I wanted to spend time with other local residents and not tourists. As I thought about a niche, the idea came to me that what only I could offer would be the backstories of the Cappadocians who were serving the visitors. We write about hotels and restaurants and tourists and sites and activities, and have some list posts. But our bread and butter is telling the stories of the owners and managers and guides when you visit. How great is it to check into a small cave hotel already knowing the personal story of the owner who’s checking you in? How much easier is it to form friendships that can last a lifetime? One of my best friends here owns a small hotel. He’s traveled to Australia, New Zealand, and America himself, and stayed with people who stayed in his hotel. That’s the kind of place Cappadocia is. Our blog helps make that happen more often. Recognizing this niche gave the blog a real focus and for that I’m grateful. It has allowed me to meet tons of people. It has opened the doors all over the region. I’m also glad I built the website myself since I love to learn and enjoy the process. Understanding how a blog works and forcing myself to learn some basic coding gave me more confidence when things went wrong. I didn’t have to call or write someone and be at their mercy. But probably the most beneficial thing I did early on was connect with as many Turkey bloggers that I could find. There were a number of people around the country doing blogs about their regions similar to mine. I wrote to them and asked if they would go through Darren’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog book with me. “We could do it all together,” I said. I think five agreed. We spent the next month doing the daily activities and reporting to each other about them. It built camaraderie, encouraged all of us and really helped our blogs. Building that community early on was very powerful. But it didn’t save me from some early mistakes. Doing everything myself, man I messed up. I messed some things up sometimes. A few times I was making a change to the child theme and shut my whole site down. I made some changes, tried to open it on the browser, and got an error message. I freaked out, to say the least. Fortunately I was able to figure out what I did wrong but it was stressful for me. The biggest mistake I made, however, was not putting my domain and hostname in auto-renew on my credit card. I thought I had but one day I went over to my site and got nothing. After running through the house, my hair was on fire, scaring my wife. After that I logged into GoDaddy and thank God that there was a grace period. Paid the bill, set up auto-renew, and then made a reminder to double check whenever my credit card expired. I still, sometimes, log in and double check that auto-renew’s on just to be safe. Over all, the blog has been a huge boon. But it hasn’t made me financially rich but I have made a little money, made many friends, received lots of thanking emails from happy tourists, and I’ve enjoyed lots of free stuff in the region like hot air balloon rides, hotel stays, tours, meals, ATV rides, and on and on. Best thing to do in a tourist diary is to promote everyone and have no competitors. As I look back over the last six years of blogging, I’ve been blessed. Here’s my very practical tip to those thinking of blogging. I was thinking of saying something like find your passion or do what you love or don’t do it for the money but those sounded way too cliché for me. The most helpful and practical step I took was to get a program called Mars Edit, which only works on Macs but there are equivalents for Windows. It allows me to manage my blog from my desktop, even offline. Having a way to write, publish and archive on my computer without needing to be in WordPress is quite handy. If you’re considering starting a blog, I pray it brings you as much joy as mine has. Darren: That was Duke Dillard from, beautiful part of the world. Spent some time there with Vanessa, probably 10 or so years ago now or even further back from that. I have vivid memories of our hot air ballooning experience we had there, which I’m sure Duke Dillard have written about. I wanted to include Duke’s story today because it shows, I guess, some of the other opportunities that blogging can bring. We quite often talk about profitable blogging. Profitable blogging of course brings to mind money, which we certainly do some teaching about. But I love that this story, I guess, really illustrates the rewarding experience that it can be to have a blog that really is helping people. I particularly love in Duke’s story the idea of storytelling being such a big part of what he does. I’ve seen this time and time again used with great effect in blogs from all kinds of niches, where people really tell the stories not only of themselves but of different people. I love that Duke’s blog really tells the story of the owners, and the guides of that particular area. I can imagine going to that particular region having read Duke’s blog. It would really bring a lot of the experience there and have a massive impact. It would be the type of blog I will want to read again and again. If you want to learn a little bit more about storytelling, we’ve got a great episode back in episode 81 where I go through 14 types of stories that you can tell on your blog. I’ll link to that in today’s show notes. I also love the tip there from Duke of connecting with other bloggers in the niche. You could quite easily look at other Turkish travel bloggers as the competition. But Duke really has stumbled upon a very powerful thing, that is when you work and get to know other bloggers in your niche. The opportunities that come from that can be quite amazing. This is something I have experienced for myself. When I started ProBlogger, I began to reach out to other bloggers, pretty much anyone who’s writing on a similar topic. I would reach out and get to know them. Some people you connect with naturally and some people you don’t, but the ones that you connect with and the ones that you build a relationship can quite often become your collaborators. Many of the people that I reached out to in those early days or that reached out to me, we became friends, we’ve ended up being partners in many ways. I’ve promoted their blogs and their products an affiliate. They’ve promoted mine. Whilst you could see them as competition, actually everyone grows as a result of those relationships. I love the idea there of Duke joining with those other bloggers, and particularly doing something together. Doing the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog ebook is great. We’ve actually got another course coming up after the Start a Blog course that would be great to go through as a niche. I do encourage you to reach out whether that’s doing something at ProBlogger together or whether it’s just getting to know each other is a very powerful thing. To that tip there of checking your domain name that it’s on automatic renew, please double check that. I had exactly the same problem. My first blog I never renewed. I didn’t get it back, it’s gone now, unfortunately. Luckily it wasn’t a profit blog but I do grieve the loss of all that content. I’ll also include in the show notes today at a link to Mars Edit. It’s a tool that I love and use everyday as well. Okay, that was Duke’s story. Next I’m going to hand over to Dianne Bortoletto from Travelletto, who’s another Aussie blogger, a different accent again today. She’s going to tell you her story too. Dianne: Hello, my name is Dianne Bortoletto from Travelletto, is a blog about delicious travel adventures with a bit of an emphasis on Western Australia or in Perth where I live, Margaret River where I love, and Italy that I’m just obsessed with. I started the blog because I was living in Rome back in 2007. Yeah, it was more than 10 years ago. Blogging was pretty new back then. Not many people had a blog. I started it, I can’t believe it, on something called Microsoft Live, which is just horrible. But it’s a platform that doesn’t exist anymore. I started because the blog was a way of sharing my stories and adventures and things that had happened to me while living in Rome, without the need of sending lengthy emails with lots of attachments with photos and whatnot. That’s why I started the blog. I got such a big surprise when other people started reading the blog, people I didn’t know. They’re reading, they’re commenting. That was pretty cool. It was probably only about a year after Microsoft Live that I moved everything across to WordPress. That was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m grateful for WordPress. If you’re starting out blogging, don’t even consider anything else, WordPress is the way to go. It might take a little bit of time to learn it and get things set up. You can pay someone to do that for you. It’s not that complicated, a bit of trial and error. But nothing else compares. A mistake I would suggest bloggers avoid, all bloggers not just new bloggers, is never ever change your permalinks. I changed my permalinks by some bad advice. It wasn’t even advice, someone commented on a Facebook post that I shared on the ProBlogger Facebook page a couple of years ago. This person said, “Change your permalink. Take the date out of your permalink, Google doesn’t like it and penalizes you for it.” I was like, “Oh.” I went into the back end and changed my permalink to remove the date. It broke my blog. My traffic went from 130 visitors per day to 3. It’s taken a huge effect, a major effect to reverse that. I’ve had to pay someone to help me get things back on track and build the audience up again. It’s happening, almost there, but never change your permalinks. The good things that have happened since I started my blog is that my blog’s been discovered. Admittedly, I’m more of a hobby blogger. I don’t put in a huge amount of time or effort into my blog. I don’t really monetize my blog. I use my blog more as a marketing tool for what I do. My day job is public relations. But the good thing that’s happened since I started the blog is that my writing has been noticed. I’ve picked up some freelance writing jobs as a result to that. Now freelance writing is a new career stem if you like. It’s something that I love to do. I’m focusing a bit more of my efforts into building that side of my career. I filed for Broad Shape, they found me via my blog. I filed for I’ve got a regular writing gig with a magazine in Margaret River, that’s been going for two or three years now. There have been some good things that have happened. I’ve been invited to a few events. But like I said, I’m not positioning myself as an influencer. I’m not going to great lengths to build a huge following on social media or an audience. But still, there have been some good things that have happened since I started my blog. A tip I would give to new bloggers is to find your voice. Don’t try to be someone else. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Be you. Find that voice. Think about how you want to talk and communicate with your audience. What sort of language are you going to use? Will it be quite formal in structure? Is it going to be very chatty and informal? Find the things you’re passionate about. Write about those. Blog about those. I’m sure a million people say that passion is key. Blogging is a huge time investment, huge. It’s never a five-minute job to put a blog together. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying. It takes time. It’s a commitment. Be passionate about what you’re doing. If you don’t really care about what you’re writing about, no one’s really going to care enough to write it. Find your voice, find your passion, and blog about that. That’s all I’ve got. Thanks very much. Enjoy the blogging journey. I’m sure you’ll make friends along the way online, and then hopefully in real life. Thanks, bye. Darren: That was Dianne from I like Dianne’s story, partly because of the Aussie accent, of course love to support Aussie bloggers. But I love the idea of bringing together a blog about delicious travel adventures. I guess the first thing that stood out to me as I listened to her story is that really it’s bringing together of two other niches, we have travel bloggers and we have food bloggers. Dianne brought those together. That’s one way of making your blog stand out a little bit from all the other blogs in the niche. I’m sure there are a lot of other blogs out there that do write about Perth, where Dianne’s from, and Italy. But bringing together the food aspect of it is one way to just, I guess, add a little more flavor to what you’re doing. I’ve seen that used many times over. If you’re struggling and thinking about should I do this topic or that topic, is there a way you could bring them together in some way to make you more distinct? Her story there about changing the permalinks on a blog, that is something you definitely want to be careful about. If you’re starting a blog, this is a really good time to make that decision about your permalinks. I, too, would encourage you to not have dates in your permalinks if you are starting a blog. Set it up that way so that you just got the keywords that you’re trying to rank for. That’s something that we can talk about in the Start a Blog course. But if you do want to make that change, it is possible to do but just don’t make the change straight away. Do the research and really what you’re wanting to do is to redirect all the old links to the new ones. If you are getting the dates out of your permalinks, that’s fine. Just research how to do 301 redirects to get from the old ones to the new ones. Double check it and get someone else involved if you’re not confident in doing that. I also love Dianne’s story. This is something we’ve heard a number of times in this series of how blogs open up other opportunities. Whilst Dianne’s not making a lot of money as a blogger directly, she’s used her blog to open up opportunities for her other work in PR but also in writing services. This idea of using your blog to open up freelance writing opportunities is what I want to hammer home because this is a big stepping stone for many bloggers. This is probably more for those of you who already started your blog. But if you are looking for a new income stream for your blog and you’re in those early days, this is one that I see many people are using. That is almost their writing regime that then I would use to get other writing jobs and to get attention from other potential employees. They do that freelance writing, sometimes forever. In fact I’ve met a blogger recently who’s making over $100,000 a year from freelance writing work. He’s barely blogging anymore because he’s become so well-known in his niche. But often bloggers do use this freelance writing as a stepping stone to other full-time work from their blog. They might do some freelance writing to supplement the income while they’re also building up their traffic on their blog to get it to a point where it’s able to make a full-time living. Be open to that as you go along. Lastly, that advice from Dianne to find your voice, don’t be someone else. You’ve got to find your own, unique, distinct writing voice. That really comes through experimenting with different writing styles. But it also just comes with practice. You’ve got to be at this for a while to really feel comfortable with your voice. I really do encourage you to build up that archive of content, experiment with different styles of writing. Watch to see what connects well with your audience but also watch to see what gives you energy as a writer as well. Our last story today is a really short one, just goes for 2 ½ minutes. I’m just going to hand over to Chris to tell his story now. Chris: This is Chris Christensen from the Amateur Traveler Blog and podcast at I started the podcast in July of 2005. Within the first year of podcasting, ironically, I thought I was late getting into podcasting at the time. Then I started the blog a while later. One of the reasons I started the blog is, even today where my podcast numbers are over 100,000 downloads a month and my blog numbers are 45,000 page views a month, some people in my industry still just don’t get podcasting and blogging as easier to explain to them. I think what I hoped for was more travel. I hoped that somehow I’d be leveraged this into either more income for travel or more travel opportunities. The first is happening, although slowly in the second which is definitely happening in a big way. I have to say I’m most grateful actually that I started the podcast because even though that’s been harder to explain, it’s an area where I have been able to stand out, part because I started so much earlier. When people go to the Amateur Traveler, we talk about a destination a week. We’ve talked about just hundreds and hundreds, almost 600 different destinations by now because we started so long ago. The first mistake I made and the most obvious one, besides the name Amateur Traveler, was that when I started I thought I was going to be talking about my travels even though I was podcasting 48 weeks a year and traveling 4 weeks a year. That math just didn’t work. The show turned into an interview show and if it hadn’t, it would’ve stopped. One thing I would say is make sure you have content going forward. Make sure you have a plan for where you’re going to get ideas for more content because my plan just didn’t make sense. I mentioned it’s led to some interesting opportunities. It’s led to some strange opportunities. I got invited to the Obama White House for the Travel Bloggers Summit. I was invited to be paparazzi for the Pope with an official press pass in Jordan for a day. If you want to get a job with the foreign ministry of Thailand, you’d be required to listen to two episodes of Amateur Traveler and graded on your understanding of the English in them. On top of that, lots of trip invitations like, “Would you like to come on this cruise?” Or, “Would you like to come to the Yukon and land on a glacier?” Some amazing opportunities have come from the blog and podcast. In terms of a tip for new bloggers, I would say it’s probably as important to figure out who you are not for, who is not your audience, and just not worrying about doing content for that audience. In the travel space for instance, I just don’t talk about the fly and flop vacation, we’re talking about culturally deep kind of travel. That means we’re not the right podcast for some people, we’re not the right blog for some people, and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s as important to understand who is not your audience. Darren: That was Chris Christensen from The mistake he mentioned, I think, is well worth mentioning again. Make sure you have enough content going forward. I love the fact that he pivoted really quickly there when he realized that the schedule that he’d set himself and the type of content that he wanted to create just wasn’t possible. He was able to pivot there. But this really reminds me of that exercise that was recommended in yesterday’s podcast of really brainstorming those topics that you’re going to write about before you start your blog. You want to really do that work to work out whether you are able to sustain it. Such an important tip that was given yesterday and reinforced, I guess, today. I guess the other thing I’d say about that is as you’re blogging, and as you realize that maybe what you have thought isn’t quite working, it’s okay to pivot, it’s okay to make those changes. I love that Chris was able to do that too. That tip that he gave of working out who you’re not writing for is just as brilliant as well. This is something that a lot of bloggers do struggle with. We want to please everyone. We want a large audience. We want anyone to read our blog. But when you try to cater for everyone, you end up with very vague and diluted content. But when you work out that I’m just writing for this type of person and I’m not writing for that person, I’m not writing for the other person over there, I’m just writing for the one type of person, you’re able to really serve that one type of person so much better rather than trying to please everyone. This idea of really narrowing your focus to a certain type of content, to a certain topic can be a very powerful thing. You’ve heard this time and time again over this series, their blog is really taking off when they narrow their focus down and really just concentrate on serving a particular audience and not everyone. Such a powerful thing. Thanks so much to Chris, Dianne, and Duke for sharing their stories today. We’ve got five more episodes coming in this series over the coming week. I do encourage you to look out for those. Also if you are thinking of starting a blog, and all these blogs started by someone who didn’t have an audience, they didn’t really know what they’re doing, and they started out many years ago now. We designed this course to really shortcut that process and help you, as a blogger, to start a blog with good foundation. I encourage you to head over to Pop in your name and email address. We will reserve a spot for you in this course and let you know when it goes live on the 10th of January. Over the coming few weeks after that, we encourage you to consume the content. We’ve got seven modules there for you to work through. Once you’ve done that, we’re going to give you an opportunity to highlight your blog to our audience as well to let the world know what you started, and hopefully to help you find a few readers, and to celebrate all of the new blogs that start as a result of this. There are hundreds of people who have already signed up for that free course, Thanks for listening. Chat with you tomorrow with another story from an amazing blogger. How did you go with today’s episode? Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts. The post 227: 3 Travel Bloggers Share their Stories and Tips appeared first on ProBlogger.