As someone who maintains a blog, I am looking for ways to improve my blog and I thought what better way to find improvement tips than from folks who make money at it. I was right. In ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income*, there are a wealth of tips for putting together a better blog.
When I first purchased this book, I read half of it and put it back on the shelf. I set it aside because I read what I felt I needed at the time. With my move to Jamestown, I needed some books to read and I decided to finish this book. Rather than start where I left off, I decided to start from the beginning. I am glad I started a fresh read of this book, and more importantly, I am glad I finished it.
When the authors, Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett, wrote this book, they drew from a deep well of experience. If you are interested in starting a blog or try to make money with a blog, you can learn a great deal from their lessons. As I develop a blog to support Technology-Enhanced Instruction for Jamestown Community College, I am leveraging what I have learned in this book. More importantly, I am applying the lessons early in the site’s development.
This book is the second edition. From what I understand, there is now a third edition. The second edition spans 220 pages organized in 11 chapters. Here is a list of the chapters:
- Blogging for Money
- Niche Blogging
- Setting Up Your Blog
- Blog Writing
- Blog Income and Earning Strategies
- Buying and Selling Blogs
- Blog Promotion and Marketing
- Social Media and Your Blog
- Secrets of Successful Blogs
- Creating Something Worthwhile
- Taking Your Blog to the Next Level: A Case Study
When I started to read this book, I was never interested in making money from my blog. Well, that is not necessarily true because I am recommending books through the Amazon Affiliate program. Instead, I was looking for ways to improve what I was doing, an activity that I have come to enjoy. As I read the book, I discovered gems of insight in each chapter even when the chapter focused on the income aspects of blogging. This was a very relaxing read. As the authors presented their information, they did it through a lot of storytelling. They told their story.
In the very beginning, the authors pointed out that there were blogs everywhere and we just may not realize it. They noted that blogs provided useful content on a regular basis, individuals could subscribe to that content, and they could also comment on the content. This is what made blogs different.
Rowse and Garrett highlighted different ways that you could make money with your blog from direct advertising to consulting gigs. The key to making money from your blog or simply writing a better blog was to focus on your audience. If you are offering ads, it should address your audience’s needs. If you are writing reviews, it should address your audience’s needs. They also stressed that you needed a niche. You could not simply write about everything, no one would follow you. This I believe is my problem. I am writing about my journey in learning but I am not necessarily writing for a specific audience and my topics seem to be everywhere. However, with the Technology-Enhanced Instruction blog, our focus is the Jamestown Community College faculty with a focus on technologies and methods for improved instruction.
Rowse and Garrett also wrote about how to measure the success of a blog. In addition to writing about the different metrics and strategies, they also shared tools to help make this job easier. The authors peppered exercises and ProBlogger Blog Tips throughout the book. The exercises provided activities to help think about the lessons learned and the ProBlogger Blog Tips provided external resources to explore. Following their guidance, one of the first things I did when setting up the Technology-Enhanced Instruction blog was to incorporate Google Analytics.
Setting up a Blog
If you are just starting out and are wondering what blog site to use and whether it should be hosted or not, then this book will be invaluable to you. The authors explored the pros and cons of different options. Additionally, they walk you through the set up process along with key items to focus on.
“For a blog to be successful, your content needs to be useful and unique to your readers” (Rowse & Garrett, 2010, p. 70).
That simple statement speaks volumes. A successful blog has to serve a purpose for your audience. But there is more; they offered a number of tips to make the blog more readable. This is an area where I need to devote more attention. As they talked about blog writing, they addressed titles, blog length, blog frequency, post types, series posts, and interactivity. On my first read, this is where I stopped reading. If the book stopped right there, I would have certainly gotten my money’s worth. The second half of the book had more treasures to share.
The next two chapters focused specifically on making money from your blog. They explored various methods for income in depth to include advertising, affiliate programs, donations, classified, subscriptions, freelancing blogging, consulting, speaking, etc. They discussed how to approach the idea of advertising from creating and selling space to looking for advertisers. One topic that did not occur to me was the buying and selling of blogs. Apparently, like real estate, you can sell your blog if it is successful or purchase an already established blog. Who knew?
I was very interested in the next two chapters because they addressed getting the word out about your blog. As the authors noted, “A blog is not going to make you much money if nobody reads it” (Rowse & Garrett, 2010, p. 141). This is definitely applicable to many of the endeavors I am involved with. A couple of the recommendations made are to include fresh content along with “evergreen” material. This evergreen material is content that is always relevant. They also recommend being active in the blogoshere by commenting on others’ blogs with useful content. This book provides useful guidance for increasing SEO rankings. Basically, it is about providing content that is useful to others as well as remaining active on the Web. While the authors addressed social media, I was hoping they provided more guidance. Looking at the abstract for the third edition, it looks like the authors filled this gap.
While am confident that you will improve the success of your blog by following these authors’ guidance and tips, the authors also analyzed other blogs to see what made them successful. The lessons learned gravitated around the age of the blog, posting frequency, and use of social media. It is important to understand your reason for blogging; what is your niche? and who is your audience? Be new and unique. Be first. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to share.
I am glad I took the time to finish this book. I personally learned a lot. For my blogging friends, I think you will benefit from what you find between the covers. If you are new to blogging, I think this book will help you get started on the right foot. If I were to start this blog again, I would certainly do some things differently.
* In the spirit of full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, which means that if you purchase this item through my link I will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.
Plus, when you order through my link, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. 🙂 Thank you, in advance for your support!