Seven Great Questions on Blogging

By: Guest | July 25, 2011 | 

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.

  1. I would have started with a broader topic, since my first was narrow and after a year, I found myself out of ideas.
  2. I would have started on WordPress, rather than blogger.
  3. I would have made it a point to build more discipline up front in terms of how I schedule my time to write.
  4. I would have started out capturing email addresses with MailChimp right off the bat.
  5. 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:

  1. Social Media Explorer : Jason Falls is doing everything right from content to conversion and advertising.
  2. & 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.
  3. 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.

If you have more questions on blogging, you can always find me on Twitter and on Google +

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.

Nate Riggs’ firm Social Business Strategies helps companies identify, build, train and execute collaborative blogging strategies.

  • Blogging every day is crucial for me. I post content Monday through Friday and I also post social media content twice a week for an online marketing company. Only now can I say that I think my writing is good enough to send out submissions as guest posts. I actually don’t know how to go about getting guest posts, but know that I need to in order to keep growing.

    I also need to get on to a self-hosted WordPress site.I am not great with computers, so I will need help with that transition when it happens.

    Really good questions and answers. Gini is going to be confused now because this answer was sarcasm free.:)

  • CristerDelaCruz

    Thanks for this post, Nate. Great Q&A exchange – both for new and seasoned bloggers. I’m one that started on Blogger – but fortunately, because I wasn’t (and am not) a prolific blogger, I don’t have much to transition to WordPress. Had I read this before, I would have done that off the bat. I know a few of my personal friends who are considering blogging are thankful for your advice as well.

  • nateriggs

    @vargasl thank you 🙂

  • This interview was excellent for me personally because its stuff I struggled with when I started out and sometimes still do. I am lucky I started out with WordPress because blogger just looked like a “hot mess” to me, but your tips on writing were excellent.

    I loved the part where you mentioned that you have a book you keep with you everywhere. I started laughing because I do the same thing and I have scribbles of pages of stuff I see or hear. You brought up good key points that we all can use and the positive reminders needed to succeed personally. Great interview!

  • ginidietrich

    Nate, does your shirt say I Heart Gini Dietrich? It’s hard to read backwards.

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 Um, you just write to the blog’s author and say, “I’d love to guest blog for you on this topic.” And throw out a topic. In fact, I’d be willing to bet lisagerber will let you practice on her.

  • ginidietrich

    @CristerDelaCruz And if you want to move over what you have, I know someone who can help you.

  • ginidietrich

    @Sonia (Sunnnee) “hot mess” made me LOL!

  • ginidietrich

    @skypulsemedia He only got through seven

  • @ginidietrich I thought you would like that one! I am so serious about that. Sorry not a fan of blogger.

  • skypulsemedia

    @ginidietrich underachievement! sigh I will have to recruit Nate into my Slacker club!

  • DabneyPorte

    @PamMktgNut Pam! What is shaking? I had a dream last night…we were in our Jet.

  • nateriggs

    @livefyre Thanks for the RT. 🙂 Thinking about switching to you guys for comments soon… 🙂

  • nateriggs

    @ginidietrich If it looked like that, then yes. 🙂 Bonus points!

  • nateriggs

    @CristerDelaCruz Thanks for checking out the post. I started on WordPress when it was in the early days and then switched to blogger because at the time, it was a much easier to use CMS. The switch back wasn’t too bad, but if you do it, make sure to be friends with a developer, just in case. 🙂

  • HowieSPM

    @nateriggs @ginidietrich I thought it had a W for Washington maybe? Or Western? I need to get software and blow it up to be sure.

  • HowieSPM

    WordPress is really intimidating. @Shonali says it isn’t. But I start creating the blog format and I freeze. Funny I have no problem discussing potential solutions for real rocket scientists (I am not an engineer) yet I freeze over WordPress.

    Which is why I use Blogger. Plus its like using a Windows Computer vs Linux or Mac. Makes me a total retro renegade. Which is funny considering I fly a hyper-drive powered vehicle and mix space daiquiris on board.

  • skypulsemedia

    @ginidietrich so @nateriggs told me he will have tips 8 and 9 done by the morning.

  • @ginidietrich now that is seriously funny. one of the top five funniest things you’ve said. LOL!!!!

  • @ginidietrich @NancyD68 Gini speaks the truth. lisa at arment dietrich dot com.

  • @HowieSPM I’m flummoxed.

  • PamMktgNut

    @DabneyPorte oooh I like the sounds of that!! What’s shakin’ you ask? Too much for 140 that’s 4 sure;) luv ya social sistah! <3

  • InTweetjail

    @PamMktgNut Pam! lol…I of course have been tossed in twitter jail. Diva line soon?

  • OnlineBusinesVA

    Great post once again Nate. You always are on the edge of thinking outside the box and very clever. Thanks!

  • DemLaura33

    @afirmin hey sweety.. just woke has you nite/day been going :))-

  • ginidietrich

    @skypulsemedia He could add five more and do a @12most blog post

  • ginidietrich

    @HowieSPM @nateriggs Oh Howie…you’re no fun!

  • ginidietrich

    @Lisa Gerber @NancyD68 Um Lisa? That’s not your email address.

  • @ginidietrich @Lisa Gerber that is not her email? Then NO CAKE FOR HER!

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 @Lisa Gerber I’m going to eat her last cupcake. Just for you.

  • @ginidietrich @NancyD68 @Lisa Gerber Lmao! I was Commenting While Drinking (one glass of wine for crying out loud) wow, lightweight. Lgerber at armentdietrich dot com. And those are Patti’s cupcakes.

  • KDillabough

    @TomRedwine @ginidietrich Thanks Tom. Great post huh? Heading over your way now.

  • Blogs are always fueled by passion – if you want to write a blog, you will probably be able to figure out how to do it. Content remains the most important part of it, no matter what people say about the desperate cries for attention that we all put up on various social media sites. For ideas, think abut what you talk about with colleagues and friends every day – if it was interesting to them, it may be interesting to your audience. And the most important skill you can learn is how to edit your own writing – which takes practice and attention to detail.

    Having said that, it will still probably take you a long time to get to a solid readership. For me it was 4 years to 10k visitors a month. But that is not important – it’s your own development that matters – you’ll see it reflected in your audience.

    I have some general principles for improving your internet writing located here:

  • nateriggs

    @allisonreeceart thanks for the tweet on that one. 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @KDillabough Hi

  • spittk07

    @LewisPoretz how’s it going, boss?!?!?

  • JasonFalls

    Oh, p’shaw! Thanks, Nate. Honored you’d mention lil’ ole’ me.

  • KDillabough

    @ginidietrich Hi you too:) When are we gonna Skype? I’m lookin’ fwd to a dose of Gini

  • Totally align with a lot of this, especially blogging everyday to train your silly brain to be an awesome blogger.

  • @Sonia (Sunnnee) LOL A hot mess! Love your phrases, sis. Hope things are well.

  • @RyanCritchett LOL…I know when I went back to read it, I started laughing myself. I am doing well thanks. Still hot in the East?

  • @Sonia (Sunnnee) Haaa! Yep – Cooled down a bit over the last few days, but apparently coming back to ridiculously unbearable weather quite soon. Ahhh the summer. (in PA)

  • betone

    @carloz great post, thanks! @dmytrovoytko @waynemansfield @ginidietrich

  • Grit08


    Some great examples and pointers here for bloggers to improve. I think a key thing is not to create too much pressure trying to live up to the standards set by others. Learn from them but try to implement improvements consistently over time. The one thing to do every day is write, write, write every single day practice, improve and get better.


  • @wabbitoid absolutely agree, Erik. the goals need to be realistic as well, dependent on the amount of time invested in it, and the audience you are trying to reach.

  • TheAmyTucker

    @Genuine I shall share that on Google + because it is the awesome.

  • Love the tips you’re giving out! I’ve just recently started blogging as well and it’s already hard for me to think of ideas and write well. Sometimes I try too hard to write in a fancy way when writing naturally is better 🙂

    I was actually just on @NathLussier ‘s blog and she recommended using a speech recognition program so you can just talk and it’ll record what you say. I think writing can then come out much naturally and you get all your ideas down then edit it later. Here’s the link if you’re interested!

    Thanks again for the great tips Nate!

  • @StephRWong Thanks for the shout out Steph! And yes, these are great blogging tips. I’m a huge fan of writing daily, and guest blogging too. 🙂

  • @Lisa Gerber @HowieSPM WordPress is not intimidating at ALL. Dude – I’ve even written you a “how to”!

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