Wednesday, May 11, 2011

“7 Habits of Professional Bloggers” plus 1 more

“7 Habits of Professional Bloggers” plus 1 more

Link to ProBlogger Blog Tips

7 Habits of Professional Bloggers

Posted: 10 May 2011 12:06 PM PDT

This guest post is by Ali Luke of Aliventures.

Your blog isn't growing as fast as you'd hoped.

You're working hard—and trying to follow all the advice which you've read online—but you're not seeing the traffic or subscriber levels that you'd like, and you're not making quit-your-day-job levels of money. Actually, you're not making much money at all.

Professional blogging isn't a get-rich-quick scheme—and I'm sure you've discovered that for yourself. But although building a successful, income-producing blog might take a bit longer than you wanted, it's far from impossible.

In fact, it's just a case of slowly but surely improving your game. These are seven habits which top bloggers share. Are you missing any of them?

1. Learning

Being willing to learn, consistently, is crucial to success in today's fast-moving world—but that's especially true in blogging, where technological changes mean that last year's top sites are this year's has-beens.

As I've met more and more great bloggers, I've been struck how much they invest in learning. They go to conferences, they read ebooks and take ecourses, and they make sure they keep improving their skills in the two areas which matter most: being able to write well and being adept with technology.

First step

Become a regular reader of great blogging and writing related blogs. My top three are:

Take it further

Buy an ebook or take an ecourse that'll help you take your blogging further. A great one to start with is 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, because it combines solid theory with practical exercises, and it covers a wide range of beginner-friendly topics.

2. Sustainability

Your blogging needs to be sustainable. While you might not be making much money to start with, you should aim to make enough to invest in some learning materials—and to cover your hosting, domain name registration, and other blogging expenses.

You also need to make sure that you're being realistic about the time you can spend on your blog. Sure, you might have the energy to write all weekend when you first start out—but will you be able to do that month after month? An awful lot of would-be probloggers give up after a few weeks because their blogging schedule just wasn't sustainable.

First step

If your hosting and other expenses mean that your blog's currently running at a loss, find one simple way to monetize it. That might mean finding a great affiliate product to recommend, installing a donation button, or putting up Google AdSense.

Take it further

Plan out major purchases—like ecourses or conference tickets—in advance. Look for ways to cover the costs from your blogging income, rather than out of your own pocket. The first time I went to South by South West, I released an ebook which paid for the cost of my trip (you can read how I did it here on ProBlogger).

3. Consistency

Can you imagine reading a post like this on ProBlogger?

Sorry guys, I know I haven't updated in a month, I've just been really busy…

Of course not. In fact, if even a couple of days went by without a ProBlogger update, I bet Darren would be inundated with emails from worried readers asking what was wrong. Professional bloggers post consistently—whether that means once a week or three times a day.

Posting consistently shows that you take your blog seriously. It gets readers into the habit of coming back to read new posts—and it gets you into the habit of writing regularly.

First step

Decide on a sensible, sustainable posting schedule. It's fine if that means one post a week—readers would rather have one great post every week than seven rushed posts one week then nothing for a month.

Take it further

Write posts ahead of time, so that you've got some "banked" for busy periods. You can schedule a post to publish in the future using WordPress, so your posts can keep going up consistently even if you're jetting off on holiday.

4. Self-discipline

The sun's shining outside. There's a show I want to watch. And I really should do the dishes…

It's all too easy to think up excuses to leave your desk and your blog. Even if you love writing, you probably find it hard to sit down and stay focused while you're working on a post. I write for a living and I still find it challenging!

That's why self-discipline is so important for professional bloggers. You need to be able to work on your blog without checking Twitter every two minutes, and without getting distracted by everything else that's going on around you.

Self-discipline doesn't just mean sitting down and working, though. It also means knowing when to stop working. That might mean being self-disciplined enough not to check your emails during dinner, or not obsessing over Google Analytics.

First step

Next time you sit down to write a post, close your internet browser first. Don't open it up again until you've been writing for at least 30 minutes.

Take it further

Find ways to bolster your self-discipline by changing your environment:

  • Take your laptop to a coffee shop that doesn't have wi-fi.
  • Get up earlier so you can blog before work, rather than struggling to have motivation to blog when you get home.
  • Block websites which you find yourself accessing too often.

5. Integrity

This might seem like an odd habit to include on the list, but I think integrity is extremely important for professional bloggers. The best bloggers I know are people who I put a lot of trust in. I buy their products—and I'm confident that these will be worth my money. I buy products which they recommend—and I know that the blogger isn't just hyping something in order to get a few dollars in commission.

I can't tell you what integrity means for you and your blog. But I suggest that you give it some thought. It's very easy to lose readers' trust—and once you've lost it, they won't be coming back. Worse, they might warn other people to steer clear of you.

First step

Make sure you always disclose affiliate links. This isn't just to help readers trust you—it's also a legal requirement if you live in America.

Take it further

Think through any moral grey areas carefully. For instance, would you run a sponsored post on your blog—and if so, would you disclose its status? Would you promote a product which you hadn't tried out yourself—and if so, would you make that clear to your readers?

6. Courtesy

I've seen a few train-wreck situations in my time in the blogosphere, where comment threads have got out of hand, or where two bloggers have attacked one another in their posts. It's never a pretty sight, and it always gives me a dim view of the people in question.

So courtesy is a vital habit. That means responding politely and pleasantly to people—even if they've said something which makes you angry. If your blog is still small, courtesy might also mean replying to all your comments. If your blog is too big to do that, courtesy might prompt you to explain on your "About" page that you can't reply to everyone but that you do value their comments.

First step

If you're ever tempted to post a blazing angry comment, stop. Walk away for a while—at least an hour if you can.

Take it further

Consider having a comments policy which encourages (or requires) all your blog's readers to interact respectfully. That doesn't mean that everyone has to agree—but they have to avoid using aggressive language or posting personal attacks. Remember that many readers may read the comments, even if they never post one.

7. Growth

Finally, professional bloggers don't stay in the middle of their cozy comfort zone. If they did, they'd never have got far. They keep on growing—stretching themselves, trying new things, bringing in new readers, and launching new products.

Growth isn't always easy. There'll be plenty of times in your blogging journey where you're nervous about taking the next step. Perhaps you've never sent out a guest post, because you're worried about being rejected. Or perhaps you've not made a start on that ebook you've got planned, because you know it'll be a lot of work.

But every single problogger had to write their first guest post, launch their first product and go to their first conference. I'm sure they were all nervous—there's nothing wrong with that—but what matters is that they did it anyway. And that's how they, and their blogs, grew.

First step

Try something which challenges you: maybe emailing a blogger who you admire, or sending out your first guest post.

Take it further

Keep looking for new ways to grow. That might mean trying a joint venture, taking an ecourse, going to a conference, writing an ebook, hiring a personal assistant … or almost anything. It'll probably feel scary the first time you do it, but it'll quickly get easier.

So—which of these seven habits could you work on today? And if you think I've missed out a vital habit, add an eighth (or more!) in the comments.

Ali Luke has just released a (totally free) mini-ebook, Ten Powerful Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Stronger. It’s packed with great advice, clear examples and quick exercises to get you to take action. Click here to grab your copy now.

Post from: ProBlogger Blog Tips

7 Habits of Professional Bloggers

ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging [50% Off This Week]

Posted: 10 May 2011 06:00 AM PDT

probloggers first week of blogging.jpg In 2002 I published my first ever blog post. I don’t remember too much about what I wrote in it, but I still vividly remember the feelings and questions I had as I hit Publish.

  • Who’s going to read this?
  • How will they find it?
  • What will their reaction be?
  • What do I do now?

In the hours that followed hitting Publish, I quickly realized that writing my first post was only a small part of what I really needed to do if I wanted my blog to be successful—but knowing that left me feeling quite confused.

Over the coming weeks and months I gradually worked out some of what to do, stumbling upon ways of growing my audience, developing content ideas, and thinking more strategically about growing my blog.

Since that time I’ve launched around 30 blogs, and each time I’ve faced that “What do I do now?” question with a little more confidence as I’ve learned more and more strategies for starting a blog.

ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging

Today I’m pleased to announce a brand new resource for those starting a blog. A resource that’s designed to guide you through a variety of activities to kick-start your new blog. It’s an ebook called ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging.

You can read more about the ebook here and learn about our launch week special and bonus. But, in short, it’s written for bloggers who are either starting their first-ever blog, or bloggers wanting to start their second, third, or even fourth blogs with a solid foundation.

Broken down into seven chapters (one for each day—but you can do it over a few weeks if you want to space it out more), it provides daily activities that will help you to:

  • Learn foundational brainstorming techniques.
  • Create a content plan—and content, of course!
  • Build a social media presence.
  • Create practical quality assurance tools.
  • Set up a publishing process.
  • Master the components of a blog post.
  • Develop your blog's ongoing strategy.

Not Just Theory but a Practical Guide with Simple Steps to Take

The book has 7 chapters/days but is further broken down into 32 achievable activities to DO to get your blog started on the right foot. This eBook is high on practical suggestions – it’s all really about taking action which is the number 1 thing you’ll need to do to get your blog moving forward.

Each day has its own focus, but by the end, you’ll have not only written some great posts (and come up with ideas for many more), you’ll have also begun to promote your blog and think about its long term strategy.

Launch Week Special (and the Chance to Win $850 Worth of WordPress Themes)

To celebrate the launch of this brand new ebook, we’re releasing it this week at the special discount price of just $9.99 USD. It’ll normally sell for $19.99 USD, but I wanted to make sure it was as accessible as possible at launch. I don’t intend to repeat this price.

I’ve also approached the team at Studio Press, who make some amazing WordPress blog themes (like the one I use here at ProBlogger), and they’ve agreed to give us two of their Pro Plus Packages to give away to two people who buy this ebook.

That package gives you access to every single WordPress theme that StudioPress has developed (all 37 of them), free of charge. The package of themes sells for $249 but by themselves the themes are worth over $850. To be in the running to win one of these packages, you simply need to pick up this ebook before 17 May, when we’ll draw a winner.

So if you’re thinking of starting your first blog, or you’re planning to start another one, grab your copy of ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging today, here or check out more information on what’s included here.

50% off - FWB_2.jpeg

Post from: ProBlogger Blog Tips

ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging [50% Off This Week]


Post a Comment