Hi advanced blogging gang,
Here are some of the links we’re going to use (or I’m going to talk about) during our advanced blogging course. You can always come back to this post later to revisit and reread anything you find particularly useful.
What have you learned from blogging?
Allison Tait is an Australian magazine editor and journalist turned blogger – her blog is called Life in a Pink Fibro because, well, she lives in a pink fibro house. Her helpful post 12 things I’ve learned in my first year of blogging may sound familiar to you, or may give you some ideas on how you can develop your blog.
What to write
A great way to organise your ideas and plan your blog posts – which helps to ensure you have a steady flow of posts, not a drought and flood situation – is to set up an editorial calendar and revise it regularly (weekly, monthly). Darren Rowse wrote a helpful and straightforward post about this: Developing an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog. (There’ll probably be quite a few links to Darren Rowse’s Problogger site today – why send you somewhere else when I can direct you straight to the best in the business?)
And another one from ProBlogger – Setting Personal and Professional Boundaries for Your Blog.
How to write
What does a reader see first? Usually the title (and that might be all they see on a feed reader or social media link). So, your title should be good. Check The Five Worst Ways to Title a Blog Post and try to improve your post titles.
The topic of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is now huge (there are entire careers available in it) but the second half of Darren Rowse’s Search Engine Optimisation for Blogs post is probably what’s most useful to you.
Correct spelling and grammar is also important. A major US online shop (Zappos) fixed up the grammar and spelling mistakes in all their customer reviews and had a huge increase in sales. (It was done via crowdsourcing – another interesting online invention!)
Getting and keeping readers
Using the Link Within widget is free and so effective. My blog page views increased by a third after I installed it and my statistics showed that nearly all of this increase was from Link Within clicks.
We will talk about “best of” posts and creating hubs of your work, and the example I’ll use (sorry for tooting my own horn) is the Country Guides from Not A Ballerina.
Building a community around your blog
The most important way to do this (IMHO) is to interact with similar blogs. They are not the competition – they are your friends! There is plenty of room in the world for more blogs similar to yours! If you don’t know any or can’t find them easily then start searching through Google’s Blog Search and start commenting on those you like. Importantly – comment in a genuine way, not with a two word comment hoping they’ll click on your link and see your blog.
Promoting your blog
Link-ups and blog hops I’ll mention:
The other links I’ll show you are:
There are numerous ways to improve and “fiddle” with your blog’s design. Graphic stuff can be cheaper than you’d think – have a look at Fiverr to see what people will do for $5! There are also lots of Australian bloggers who’ll do blog design work for lower budgets – like Melissa at Suger Coat It or Chelsea at Aqua Poppy.
You can learn some more details about ideal font types and sizes, colours, images and so on from this post on 16 rules for blogs or this one with 26 design tips – they’re both full of really useful ideas for designing your blog effectively.
I’m a firm believer in needing written goals to ensure you make good progress at a task, and I post about them at least annually on my blog (more often on some). If you’re looking for goals for your blog there is a huge list at the Blogging Bookshelf – 101 Different Blogging Goals – something for everyone!
If you are interested in creating a profitable blog and/or making a product (like an ebook) to sell from your blog, these references might be useful:
Blogs from today’s participants: