Today’s guest post is by Nate Riggs. It is a long one; to address all the unanswered questions from last week’s webinar. We designed it so you can skim through any questions that are helpful to you.
Late last week, I was jazzed to have the opportunity to lead a Spin Sucks Pro webinar on the Art of Blogging (as opposed to the science and data of blogging). We discussed how we style our content on the screen to help your readers.
This topic is so important to me, that I’m writing an entire book about it that’s due out early next year.
The webinar was an outline of one of the style chapters that will be published along with 20-30 other blog post styles that you can use as a framework. This will allow you to expand, experiment, and add variety to your blogging discipline.
If you’re interested in learning what we discussed during the webinar, you can buy it on-demand by clicking here.
Seven Questions on Blogging
Q1: I currently don’t have a blog, but am seriously thinking about it. What’s your basic advice for beginners?
- A1: Before you take any actions, spend some time brainstorming and mind mapping your content ideas. Think about your audience and who you want to read your blog. Consider what’s in it for them and what entices them to come back and visit you. After you’ve found your anchor point, start writing as much as you can, knowing that it won’t be perfect. Your blog will never be perfect, but lots of practice will pay big dividends.
Q2: What are the top five things you would do differently if you were starting your blog all over again?
A2: Great question.
- I would have started with a broader topic, since my first was narrow and after a year, I found myself out of ideas.
- I would have started on WordPress, rather than blogger.
- I would have made it a point to build more discipline up front in terms of how I schedule my time to write.
- I would have started out capturing email addresses with MailChimp right off the bat.
- I would have developed more consistent weekly column-esque content earlier on.
Q3: Can you give us three examples of excellent business blogs?
A3: Sure can… If by business you mean blogs that make money well, then here are three:
- Social Media Explorer : Jason Falls is doing everything right from content to conversion and advertising.
- Problogger.net & DigitalPhotographySchool.com: Darren is doing everything right to the 10th degree, both of these are example of how you can transition a single author blog to a collaborative approach and make blogging a business in itself.
- Social Media Examiner: Michael Steltzner has, in less than two years, turned SME into one of the most popular blogs on the web and a profit machine.
Q4: What are the best methods for tracking?
- A4: The answer to that totally depends on your business objectives. Do you want to have people land on specific pages? Do you want them to help spread your content across social media? There are lots of things you can do. For me though, it’s a combination and the balance of traffic from different sources, social shares, time on specific pages and comments first, then conversions on my contact forms and sponsor banners.
Q5: Can you discuss more about Google+, in terms of referring traffic?
- A5: Don’t get me started on Google+. We might be here all day. It’s fascinating and as of last week is currently in my top five referral sources with limited interaction on the network. I do a lot of lurking inside of Google +. That said, here are some posts I’ve written on Google + (more down in the related posts widget) to help you get started. Here’s one over at CMI as well.
Q6: What do you suggest a new blogger do to improve their writing skills?
- A6: Most people hate this answer, but it’s pretty clear-cut. Blog every single day. Keep a personal journal and guest post on others’ blogs as often as possible. Write more than you ever thought you would write. With blogging, there’s a learning curve until you are able to find your voice. The more often you practice, the faster you get though that curve.
Q7: As a new blogger and someone with only a few years of experience in my field, sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what to write about on my blog. Do you have suggestions?
- A7: Don’t feel alone in that. Even experienced bloggers hit occasional dead spots and loss of ideas. With practice, you start to learn how to bounce back faster. I keep a little playbook, which is simply a sketchbook that I carry with me. During conversations with people I meet, I’ve gotten in the habit of taking notes when something they say leads me to a potential idea. If you don’t write it down at that moment, you may lose it as you go about your day. Stay vigilant on your creative muses.
And, if you’d like to sign up for updates on my new blogging styles book, leave me your email address here. I promise to always respect your privacy and not be a douchebag spammer.