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The post 265: How One Blogger Grew His Traffic Tenfold Without Producing New Content appeared first on ProBlogger.

One Blogger’s Experience of Growing Traffic Without Producing New Content

If you’ve been blogging for a while you’ll relate to Todd Tresidder’s story in this episode of our Blogger Breakthroughs series.

A blog that’s been around for a year or more ends up looking messy, and gives readers an inconsistent user experience. Content is old and repeated. Links are broken. Content comes in different styles and voices. Graphics look dated.

A blog can become a house with many extensions that hasn’t been architecturally designed with any clear thought or plan.

So what should you do? Scrap the blog completely? Or is it worth giving it a major overhaul? That can take time – sometimes years – but the rewards come quickly.

What Todd did:
  • New code base
  • New theme
  • New redesign
  • New internal linking
  • New navigation structure
  • Deleted junk, irrelevant and out-of-date content
  • Redirected deleted content to other posts
  • Rewrote, combined and updated remaining content
  • Branded image and social media policy

Todd stopped creating new content and started updating old content instead. And Google started rewarding his efforts.

It’s not about more content. It’s about better content. Quality is the new SEO.

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Darren: Hey, there. Welcome to episode 265 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger, a blog that is designed to help you start and grow a successful, profitable blog.

Now, today you’re going to hear from Todd Tresidder who has a remarkable story to share with you. I first came across Todd a number of years ago now at a conference. In fact, I heard about him before I met him. I kept bumping into bloggers who said, “You’ve got to talk to Todd. You’ve got to hear his story about how he completely updated his whole blog, which had been around for years, and gave it a real overhaul that just drove so much traffic and good things.”

Today, Todd is going to share his story of how he did that. He grew his traffic tenfold without producing hardly any new content on his blog. In fact, he deleted content on his blog and he’s going to talk to you about how he did that.

I think you’re going to love today’s episode, particularly if you’ve been blogging for a couple of years. This is one that is particularly relevant for anyone who’s got an archive of content already. This is something that you can do. It’s not going to be something that you can do quickly. It’s a big job but it can have amazing benefits for your blog.

So, hold on. This story doesn’t go too long but it is one that I’m sure you’ll get some real value out and you’ll probably have some questions. We may have to get Todd back on the podcast to answer them. So, hold on. Here’s Todd Tresidder.

Todd: Hi. This is Todd Tresidder from Reno, Nevada, United States. My site is called Financial Mentor and you can find it at https://financialmentor.com. I teach advanced investment strategy and advanced retirement planning to build wealth. It’s an educational site that offers books, courses, the Financial Mentor Podcast, and one of the largest collections of free financial calculators anywhere on the internet.

I started Financial Mentor back in 1998, basically prehistoric times for the internet. Back then, all I had was a brochure where static website, built-in frames that modelled every mistake you shouldn’t do building a website. It was a showcase for worst web practices. Then I started using WordPress to run the site around 2008, which is where this breakthrough story I’m going to share with you picks up.

I quickly ran into a problem building the site in WordPress. It’s going to sound all too familiar to anyone who has been blogging for a couple of years or more. You start your site by writing your first blog post, then you write another, and another, and another, in a linear fashion until your site starts to take form. I followed the same linear build-as-you-go process, but also got sidetracked into detours as my business plans and goals changed over the years. Plus, I had no training on how to do this right.

I learned everything on the fly by doing and by picking up tips and tricks here and there. What I did was the equivalent of the guy with no previous construction experience suddenly deciding he’s going to build a house by picking up a board and driving a nail into it.

In my case, it was even worse because I was building the first room board by board. Then when my goals changed, I would start hammering away on the next room, and so on. The result was a hodgepodge mess of a site that had a little of this and a little of that but lack a clear focus and delivered an inconsistent user experience.

My writing style changed dramatically over the years, but none of the old posts have been updated to reflect my new writing style. I had no consistent publishing plans, so posts had widely varying topics and quality. There’s no consistent in internal linking. I had legacy problems like inline HTML because coding standards hadn’t been established when I started. There’s no proper use of social media or images because Pinterest and other outlets didn’t exist back then. The list of problems went on and on and on.

I realized I had a serious problem when every time I hatched a new plan to take the business to the next level, I would think, “Yeah, but I need to fix X and Y, and three other things before I can implement that strategy.” The site was so broken that I literally couldn’t build on it anymore. I either needed to scrap the business entirely or had to completely overhaul my site from top to bottom, set everything work right and provide a solid content marketing platform that I could build on.

I was actually leaning towards scrapping the entire business because reworking the entire site from top to bottom seemed overwhelming. But eventually, I figured out a step-by-step logical process to get it done one chunk at a time over a period of a couple of years, so I decided to go for it.

Now, before I explain exactly what that process was, please keep in mind that back then, content audits were unknown thing like they are today. Nobody was doing them or talking about them. I totally fumbled into this simply because my site was way more broken then most, so I had to get it fixed.

What I since learned is anyone who’s been building their site for two or more years faces the same situation I faced. The degree of the problem varies from site to site but we all confront this issue because their sites evolved naturally over the years that we develop them. It’s no different than writing a book. You start with chapter one and you write the book, page by page until it’s done. No author would ever publish that first draft because it has to go through several rounds of edits before the manuscript delivers a tight, cohesive reading experience.

Well, it’s the same exact thing with your website. You built it article by article, except most people never go back and edit it to create a tight, cohesive visitor experience. Instead, their published site is the equivalent of a first draft for a book.

My site audit checklist included the following; a new code base, new theme, new site redesign, upgraded internal linking, new navigation structure. I deleted a third of my content that was junkie, out of date, or irrelevant to the brand. I rewrote, edited, and combined what content remained to improve the quality. I then created a brand and image policy and social media promotion policy, and the list goes on and on.

When the audit was done, the site was entirely new, but with old articles. I literally stopped producing new content for years so I could dedicate all that writing time to improving the quality of what was already there. The counter-intuitive result was that the site grew faster than it ever had before.

Surprisingly, Google rewarded this effort almost immediately. It took exactly one week. However, that one week was harrowing because the first thing I did was delete and 301 redirected about a third of my post that were low quality. Google responded the very next day by practically removing my site from the search engine. For example, keywords that I’ve ranked on page one for years got pushed back to page 12. I was completely freaking out because I thought I’ve done the right thing but Google clearly wasn’t happy.

I held my breath for exactly one week as the loss of rankings and traffic continued. Then suddenly, everything reversed again and my rankings were better than they’d ever been. Keywords where I’d ranked on page two or three for years were suddenly on page one and keywords where I was on the bottom half of page one were now on the top half.

It was a huge change and this was just in the first few weeks with just the first step of deleting and redirecting junk content. But the content audit process I outlined was much more involved so the whole thing took me roughly two years to complete. During that time, my traffic to the site tripled with almost no new content added. In fact, the amount of my content was reduced by 30%. It was all about quality improvement, not quantity of content. Fast-forward to today and my traffic has grown roughly 10X with very few additions to content, but continual improvements to quality.

This nearly 10X breakthrough growth in traffic, while simultaneously reducing the amount of my content by a third, taught me a valuable lesson–quality is the new SEO. Growing your site is not about more. It’s about better. Google has always stated they want to return the highest quality result for any search query and they get smarter every year figuring out exactly how to do that. Don’t try to game the search engines and don’t be a slave to producing new content. Instead, align what you produce with what the search engines want to deliver. If you focused first on quality above all else, Google will figure it out and eventually they’ll reward you.

Darren: Wow. Thank you so much, Todd, for sharing your story today. You can find Todd’s site at financialmentor.com. It is a great site to have look around. He’s put a lot of work into not only the content audit that he talked about and the design of his site, but also you pick up a lot of tips just by looking at how he’s calling his rate is to action, how he’s getting them to subscribe to his newsletter and lots of other things as well. Lots of good tips just by looking over at that particular site.

There’s so much in this particular story that we could pull out now. I particularly related to the first part of Todd’s story and I’m sure many of you have related to that feeling of looking at your site after a couple of years of blogging and thinking, “My goodness, it’s a mess.” Content that’s dated, links and code that might be broken, plugins that kind of have broken, different styles of writing, different voices, different mediums, dated-looking content, the graphics that you’re using may outdated. Categories that perhaps you don’t even blog about anymore or content that’s replicated in different topics, different points in different posts, and inconsistencies with design and quality.

I’m describing my own sites here as I’ve looked at them over the years. We’ve done a lot of work over the last couple of years to do similar types of things as Todd. Although for us, it’s still a work in progress. I guess one of the things that I want to encourage you with a few can relate to that story is that it is a massive job to fix it, but it’s the type of thing that you need to just break down and do bit, by bit, by bit. You’re not going to do this overnight. There are parts of it that maybe you’ll do overnight like deleting old content and redirecting as Todd did, but for most of us, this is an ongoing process.

One of the things that I’ve notice amongst a lot of bloggers is that they’re spending a lot of time now updating their archives, spending as much time updating their archives as they do writing new content. Now, if you are in the early days of your blog, you probably want to spend a lot of time creating your archives, creating new content. But as soon as you hit that one, two, three-year mark of a blog, you also need to be paying regular attention to your archives. At that point, you might just want to pull back a little on how much new content you’re creating and start to pay more attention to those archives. If you were publishing five posts a week, for example, I would encourage you maybe post three new posts a week and do two old ones. Go back and update those as well.

Now, Todd gave a lot of new information very quickly there on what he did to fix his site. I just want to go through that list of things that he said again. I’ve written them down. You better find them in the transcript of today’s show in the show notes, which are at problogger.com/podcast/265, but here are the things that he listed off very quickly.

He said he rewrote his code base. There will probably be more important for those of you who maybe have changed platforms along the way but it’s some that you might want to seek the advice of a web developer or designer. He added a new theme, a new redesign. He did a new internal linking kind of setup. He went through old links and fixed some old links and really thought about how to, I guess, link and how his readers could navigate his site. He thought about a new navigation structure. This is so important for bloggers. You have a lot of categories in your archives that you maybe no longer write on any more or maybe you’ve chosen words to name those categories that aren’t really clickable. You might want to rethink your menu and navigation.

He deleted a third of his content; junkie, irrelevant, out-of-date content. This is something I know a lot of bloggers are going to be really nervous about doing because we’ve got in their minds that more is more. But as he said, quality is more. If you’ve got junky, out-of-date content, you need to either update it or you need to delete it and redirect it. That’s an important step there. Don’t just delete your old post. You want to work out how to redirect that with a 301 redirect. There’s plenty of good advice around the web on how to do that. There’s some plugins that can help you with that as well. But a 301 redirect tells Google that that post is no longer there, but you want to point anyone coming to that old page to a new page and that can help with your search engine optimization.

He rewrote, combined, and updated on the content that remained. This is probably the part that took two years. You heard him say that this whole process took two years. He would have gone through all that old content and updated it. He would have combined two post together, deleted one of them, and 301 redirected the one he deleted and overall improved the quality of the content.

This is what I’m saying a lot of bloggers spending a lot of time on there saying, “How can I write the best post ever on this topic?” that may have been written about 10 times before. How can you combine all of that information and create a new article that is the highest quality possible? This is what Google is rewarding. Then just having that one post on your site that is the go-to place, rather than having the same kind of article written and rewritten over and over again. He also did a branded image and social media policy. That’s certainly an important thing that consistency in your images and the calls to action to share is really important as well.

They’re the main things that Todd mentioned that he worked through. He also stopped creating new content at least for a year or so. He said that he has created a little bit of new content but from what I see, he’s probably spent more time on that old content. That’s because he’s been blogging since 1998 I think he said. He’s got a lot of content there and he’s able to do that for many of you.

You might want to be having one post, new post a week or maybe two new post a week to get some new stuff up there but also working on the old stuff. I would suspect, and I don’t know this for sure because he didn’t mention it that he would have been resharing that old content as he updated it. Again, once he did a complete rewrite of old content, I’m sure it would have been shared to his readers and they would have seen new content coming up because it was new to them, but in his mind, it was updated content.

Let me just re-emphasize what he said. “Quality is the new SEO.” it’s such an important thing. “It’s not about more, it’s about better.” These are Todd’s words; I’m quoting him here. He said, “Don’t be a slave to producing new content.” Now, again this really depends upon the stage of blogging that you’re at. If you’re in those first year or two, you do need to produce new content. But once you go and get past that, your site is going to suffer in terms of quality and ranking in Google if you don’t pay attention to quality as well.

I encourage you to spend some time in your archives this week. I do have a previous podcast that was recorded on a similar topic to this. It was episode 238. I told my story there about treating your archives as an asset. Talked about how your archives are depreciating over time and gave you some strategies on how to do some of what Todd talked about as well. If this is something you do want to dig into more, I do encourage you to go back to episode 238—not that long ago—and have a listen to that episode as well, it’ll give you some practical things that you can do. I wish you well in your updating of your content in your content audit.

If you got any questions for Todd or for me on this, I would love it if you would head over to our show notes today. As I mentioned at the top of this show, I think this is probably a topic we need to kind of dig even deeper into. We need to get Todd back on to do more an interview-style podcast. I haven’t asked him that yet, but if you’ve got any questions you would like me to ask Todd, I would love it if you would leave a comment on our show notes. That’s probably the best place to do it. The show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/265. I will collate those questions together and attempt to get Todd to answer them in some way or another, whether that be an interview or me. I’ll just ask him to leave some comments on that show notes as well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today and the breakthrough story. We’ve got a few more in this series still to come and then we’ll get back into a more regular style of ProBlogger podcast. I hope you’re enjoying the series so far. I look forward to chatting with you next week.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 264: How One Blogger Builds Engagement and Makes a Difference with Online Community Events appeared first on ProBlogger.

How One Blogger is Using Online Events to Build Engagement and Make a Difference

We continue our Blogger Breakthroughs series with a story from Trixi Symonds, whose Coloured Buttons blog teaches kids how to sew. She also created Sew a Softie Day.

Trixi started her blog in 2009 to post kids craft projects. After a few years, she started posting more hand-sewn, well-designed and simple projects that kids could do.

She soon discovered that kids love to sew. They feel empowered when they can make their own bag, cushion or soft toy. So Trixi decided to teach kids all over the world to sew.

The goal behind Sew a Softie Day was to have a day where people all over the world would teach a friend, neighbor, or anyone how to sew a simple softie (a soft toy).

July 16, 2016 became Sew a Softie Day. And Trixi knew she had to promote it. She contacted anyone and everyone for help – bloggers, friends, influencers and magazines. People were happy to help.

Sew a Softie Day was so successful that it turned into Sew a Softie Month in July 2018. Each day, bloggers post a simple-to-sew softie tutorial. And kid ambassadors from around the world have taught a friend how to sew or held a Sew a Softie party.

Anything you can do to get your readers to participate, gather together, and work on something collectively can be very powerful.

A day or event gives your readers focus and purpose. It creates anticipation and excitement. It’s something you could do for any number of topics.

If you need help promoting a day or event, ask for help. You’ll be amazed and overwhelmed with the positive response.

Asking for help is such a valuable but hard lesson for many of us to learn. It might take you out of your comfort zone. But put yourself out there and network. You never know what will happen. You could make a real difference in the lives of your readers.

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Darren: Hey, there! Welcome to episode 264 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind problogger.com which is all about helping you start a great blog that’s going to change the world in some way, that’s going to make the lives of your readers better, but also be profitable for you. You can learn more about ProBlogger and all we do particularly our courses and ebooks over at problogger.com.

Today, we’re continuing our series of blogger breakthrough stories with a story of Trixi Symonds, a fellow Aussie who I think has been to some of our events, at least she’s networked with a number of people who have because she comes highly recommended. She has a great little blog called Coloured Buttons. You can find it at colouredbuttons.com. She’s also got another really interesting project which she’s going to tell us about in today’s story called Sew a Softie.

Now, Trixi teaches kids how to sew. That’s what her Coloured Buttons blog is about. It’s got a lot of amazing tutorials that help people to do that, but she started this day, Sew a Softie Day. Now, I had to actually look up what a softie was. A softie is a soft toy and she teaches kids how to make their own softie. She started this day to have kids around the world join in on this project. She’s going to tell us the story about why she started that and how it’s gone for her.

I wanted to feature this today because it’s not directly a way to monetize your blog, although you could possibly monetize this type of thing, but it is something that makes a difference in the lives of your readers. It’s something that I think people will grab ahold of. It’s also the type of thing that could build engagement with your readers as well. While Trixi doesn’t monetize, necessarily, she is using it to make a difference and build her blog a little larger as well. I think it could be applied in many different ways, in many different niches.

I’m going to let Trixi tell the story of her day. You can find the transcription of her story at problogger.com/podcast/264. I’ll come back at the end just to bring out a few thoughts that stand out to me from Trixi’s story. Here’s Trixi.

Trixi: Hi. My name is Trixi Symonds. I live in Sydney, Australia. My blog is Coloured Buttons. You can find me at www.colouredbuttons.com and that’s coloured spelled with a U because I’m an Aussie and it’s how we spell coloured in Australia.

I started my blog in 2009 and I was posting kids craft projects. At the time, I was teaching after school craft classes and I thought this would be a really nice way to share my projects with people all over the world. I was never really interested in monetizing my blog and it still isn’t the focus of my blog.

After a few years, I changed the direction of my blog slightly. I started posting more hand sewn projects that kids could do. I noticed there was a gap in the market for well-designed, simple projects. I could also see how much the kids in my classes loved sewing. I think they just feel empowered when they realize they could sew and make their own bag or cushion or soft toy, so I thought, “This will be just a great direction to go into.” and at the same time I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could teach kids all over the world to sew?” But I have absolutely no idea how I can do that.

That’s when my breakthrough came through, and that was Uppercase Magazine had a call out for submissions for the 2016 calendar. They just asked if you wanted to submit some sort of graphic for any day of the year, so I thought, “Okay, this is my chance.” I got one of my daughters design a little logo for me. I decided I would call my day, Sew a Softie Day.

The idea was on that day, people all over the world would teach a friend or a neighbor or anyone really to sew a simple softie. The graphic was submitted and accepted. July 16 in 2016 became Sew a Softie Day. Then I sort of realized, “Okay, I’ve got to promote my Sew a Softie Day, but how am I going to do this?” I asked a few blogger friends who were happy to help promote the day. But I realized I just needed something a little bit more, so I decided I would just contact anyone, any blogger or influencer, or magazine, or anyone who’s really connected with kids or craft or sewing and see what would happen.

I sent out emails to magazines, and like I said, to bloggers and influencers, and was quite overwhelmed by the response. It was all so positive and so amazing. People were just so happy to help. I had interviews and articles posted in magazines like Homespun, Handmade, Casa Creativa, Simply Sewing. I had companies like Aurifil and National Nonwovens who were also happy to promote the event and give me supplies or prices for the event.

July 16, in that year, was Sew a Softie Day. This year, 2018, Sew a Softie Day is actually changed to Sew a Softie Month. The whole of July was Sew a Softie Month. We have bloggers each day of the month posting a simple to sew softie tutorial. Also, had over 30 kid ambassadors all over the world who taught a friend how to Sew a Softie or held a Sew a Softie party, and looking forward to 2019 to see how Sew a Softie develops and changes.

My tip is, if you have something that you want to promote or do, just ask anyone and just email. Just ask. The worst they can say is no or not reply. I sent out a lot of emails. I actually didn’t send out group emails. I sent out individual emails to different people and magazines. I actually tried to look at the person’s blog and see if there was some sort of connection, some reason why they might want to join in to Sew a Softie and promote Sew a Softie. I always was really, really polite and I gave them a way, I said, “Look, I understand if you can’t join in or it’s not good for you to promote, that’s fine.” But as I said, the positive response was so overwhelming, was so lovely.

Now, I know that if I wanted to do something, I’m always happy just to ask absolutely anybody. That’s my advice to you is just ask anybody and just see how you go. Take a big breath and just do it.

Darren: Thanks so much for sharing your story, Trixi. I do appreciate it. I love the fact that you’re using your blog for something that’s beyond monetizing. You’re actually doing something that you’re passionate about and something that’s making a bit of a difference in the world as well. That’s something we could all be doing with our blogs.

Now, a few of the things that stand out in Trixi’s story for me is, I guess the idea here that she’s created something for people to participate in. It’s getting her readers and their families active, working together in something bigger than themselves. This is something that I’ve seen a number of times in many, many cases that have been a tipping point for bloggers to grow their blogs and to find a new purpose for their blogs, I guess, in different ways.

It’s this idea of a day or an event at which the readers do something together. This can be done in many different ways. Of course, we talked about challenges on the ProBlogger podcast before. I’ll link an episode that we did on that topic in the show notes today. But anything you can do to get your readers participating and gathering together, working on something collectively, even if they’re working on individual things at the same time, it can be very powerful thing. We certainly saw this was true early of this year when we had Start A Blog day. I think it was in February, we did that.

In the month before that, we gathered new bloggers or bloggers who wanted to start to get a blog together in a Facebook group, to walk them through a course of starting a blog. Having an actual day, having an actual event was a really powerful thing. It gave a focus and it gave a purpose for it. It created anticipation and excitement amongst our readers. I think this is something that you could really do in any number of topics. Whether it would it be a how-to topic or something else.

Vanessa, my wife, has done daily style challenges with her readers over the years. This has been a week-long challenge where everyday for a week she’s nominated a color or a texture for her readers to go away and where, and then photograph themselves, and post them on Instagram with a hashtag.

These types of events, whether it’s a day, a week, a month, are really powerful ways of engaging with your readers, getting them active, getting them participating, getting them feeling like they are not the only one reading your blog–very powerful thing. It builds community and it can make a difference particularly if you are doing a challenge like Trixi’s way. She’s actually teaching kids a new skill which is a powerful thing.

The second thing I love about what Trixi says here is to ask. Such a powerful lesson, and it’s a hard lesson for many of us to learn. To actually pitch, to actually put out idea in front of another person and ask them to support is something that takes us out of our comfort zone–is something that doesn’t come naturally for me. But over the years, I’ve seen, time and time again, where I’ve asked, I’ve pitched, I’ve put an idea forward for others, and it’s amazing how many people will say, yes, they will support. Particularly if it’s something that you’re asking it’s going to have a benefit for them and your readers as well. So, ask, put yourself out there, network, and you never know what will happen as a result of that.

Lastly, do something with your blog that makes a difference. Really, this is the thing that I talk about a lot is, make a difference in your readers lives, change their life in some way, is satisfying for you but it’s also something that people will grab ahold of. They will support, they’ll share with other people, and they’ll keep coming back to as well.

Thanks again, Trixi for sharing your story. You can find Trixi’s project at colouredbuttons.com and sewasoftie.com. Really, beautifully designed sites, really practical. I love digging around on them today. You can find today’s show notes also at problogger.com/podcast/264 where I’ll also put some links to further listening and reading on running challenges for your blog, if you want to learn a little bit more about those. Thanks for listening, chat with you next week.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 264: How One Blogger Builds Engagement and Makes a Difference with Online Community Events appeared first on ProBlogger.

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The post 263: How Mim Blogged Vulnerably to Grow a Six-Figure Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

How One Blogger’s Vulnerability Resulted in Growing Her Blog

In this episode of our Blogging Breakthroughs series we feature Mim Jenkinson and her blog Love From Mim.

Mim started blogging for one reason, but ended up blogging for a different reason altogether.

On her blog Mim shares tips on how she stays organized as a busy mom and juggles time for work, home, and herself.

But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she used her blog to share her story. It became a kind of therapeutic outlet for her, and made her feel better.

And by showing her vulnerability she also grew her audience.

Remember: readers are interested in your content because of you and the topic you’re writing about.

Mim now earns a six-figure income through multiple streams from her blog.

She shares a few tips to help take your blog to the next level and monetize it:
  • If you want it to be a job, treat it like one
  • Set goals
  • Create a structure
  • Plan each week
  • Work hard and be professional

Mim stays true to herself and remains ethical when it comes to her blog. She is also brand ambassador and generous with other bloggers by sharing and working together.

She finds blogging joyful, and has found her identity through it. She enjoys sharing things to help others.

“I love my job,” she says. “There aren’t enough hours in the day for all the ideas I have.”

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Hello there and welcome to Episode 263 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, events, job board, series of e-books and courses all designed to help you have a profitable blog.

Now, today, we’re continuing our series on blogger breakthroughs, where we’ve got listeners of the podcast pitching their stories to us to share with you. We’ve chosen a few of them from many that were submitted in to share with you.

We tried to choose a variety of bloggers from different parts of the world with different accents, with different niches and different experiences of blogging. Today, we’ve got Mim Jenkinson who has a blog called Love from Mim at lovefrommim.com. Now, Mim started out blogging for one reason and ended up blogging for another. I’ll let her share that transition of her blog. She’s got a story that I’m sure many of you will relate to but also find quite inspiring as well. It’s got some real little nuggets in there, golden nuggets of advice that I want to pull out at the end so stay tuned until the end of her story. Again, you could check out her blog at lovefrommim.com and you can check out today’s show notes where I will have links to her blog and also a full transcription of her story at problogger.com/podcast/263. Now, here’s Mim.

Creating great content, finding an audience, building engagement, monetizing your blog. This is ProBlogger.

Mim: I’m Mim Jenkinson and my blog is Love from Mim. You can find ir at lovefrommim.com. I started blogging in 2013 in June and my blog is about how I stay organized as a busy mom of two small kids and how I work from home. I’d like to share my tips on how I try to stay organized and how I juggle my family time, work time and time for myself as well. Before my breakthrough, my blog was just a hobby blog so I would share everything about my life as a mom, a little bit about the kids and the things that we use to love the products and services, the things we got up to, and I made a small income occasionally from selling a few sponsored posts, but very small.

In November 2015, I was actually diagnosed with breast cancer and I just started quite a well-paid job in consulting so I had to leave that because the particular chemo and radiation regime that I started was quite a tough one and there was just no possible way I could continue to work. What I did was use my blog as an outlet so I shared the journey of my breast cancer diagnosis from the day after I was diagnosed and then I started to treat it like therapy, really, sharing everything I was going through.

It became a diary and it made me feel better to share my story and to connect with other women and, really, to get so much support from my audience, which grew quite quickly around that time. I got up every day, sat at my desk and I worked from 8:00 until 4:00 on my blog. Mainly, it was sharing my story but also writing articles that I’ve done so before about my life as a mom. I wrote about my cancer, wrote about myself and my family. I had already worked with a few brands on sponsored content before, as I said, but then I started to proactively pitch to them.

I had an idea for an article and thought of a brand that would be aligned with it. I contacted them to see if they’ll be interested in sponsoring it and, because of the personal nature of my posts, I think the amount I shared and the feedback I got from other brands appealed to new brands and most of them said yes. As my audience grew, I was able to charge more for sponsored campaigns as well and, soon, it became more lucrative as well as having this outlet as therapy also became a much bigger earner.

You can imagine the medical bills that we had a time, and it really helped. My income increased month from month and then, as my treatment ended, I didn’t want to go back to working for somebody else. I was just really enjoying the freedom and flexibility and just the opportunity that blogging and being a professional blogger had given to me. I spoke with my husband and I set myself a challenge that if I could earn as much as I was earning before when I was working for somebody else in three to six months that I would continue to blog full-time as my full-time job.

Then, of course, pitching became a much bigger part of my time and I really, really love pitching. I’ve come from a background in sales and marketing and events and I just find pitching really easy and fun. Mainly, with blogging, I pitch over email but I really do love to speak to people in person and present, also to speak to brands on the phone. Pitching was successful for me and I’m now earning six figures and the income’s made up of sponsored work, affiliate marketing, consulting as a content creator and also as just a marketing consultant, generally.

I used to work with a few brands. I now only work with one because the income that I’m making on my own blog is sufficient enough for me to make the majority of my working time in the week. Now, life as a professional blogger is really busy but it’s so joyful. I’ve really found my identity and I feel like I know now what I’m supposed to be doing. Although I really enjoyed my career and the jobs that I’ve had before, nothing compares to this. I find such a lot of joy in writing and my blog is still a real outlet for me so I still share really personal things about my life, not so much about the kids now.

Now, it’s more about me so I’ll share the journey with breast cancer, still, nearly three years on, the mental health struggles that I have, how I worked from home as well and how I do that, how I set up my day, how I plan my week, how I make an income. I like to really share things to help other people who might be interested in doing a similar thing themselves. I know how hard it is when you’re working in a full-time or even a part time job but you’re very reliant on that income so I know how hard it is when you really want to start your own business but you’re not sure how to start or you’re nervous about if it’s going to be successful or not and that dip in income, which there generally is a dip for most people while they’re ramping up things and starting their own business.

I left my job and there’s not enough hours in a day for all of the ideas I have. I’m having to work myself on setting some more identifiable goals and prioritizing because, every day–and I’m sure most bloggers will relate to this–every day and every night, so many ideas come into my head and it feels like an amazing idea that’s going to be super successful or rewarding and you want to do everything, but we just don’t have the time to do everything, unfortunately.

My next goal is to be in a position where I will let go of some of my control and actually hire a VA to help me because I know that will free up my time to be much more creative and to bring to fruition some of these other ideas that I’m having. I have a couple of tips to anyone else who’s looking to take their blog to the next level and monetize it. Perhaps you’re monetizing a little bit now or you never have done before, but what I would say is if you want your blog to be your job, then treat it like one even before you’ve earned anything at all.

Turn up to work, set goals, create a structure, plan your week and work hard and be professional. I always did that from the beginning, from the day that I wanted to start earning. Even before I had earned anything, I acted as if it was my business. My next tip would be to always stay very true to yourself and to stay ethical. I work on so many sponsored campaigns and I feel so accountable when a brand invests their time and money into collaborating with me. Don’t just take your brand’s money and run; be very clear on the deliverables they’re looking for in the campaign and be sure that you can give them a return on their investment.

Be as sure as you can. It might not always happen and you can learn from them, and there have been a couple of occasions where the outcome of a sponsored campaign I’ve worked on hasn’t delivered the results that I thought it would. You learn from that. You learn to know what your audience relates to, what they want, what they’re really going to buy into and what they won’t. You obviously do more or deliver more of what they want and less of what they don’t, obviously.

I work with a few brands now but numerous times a year so I’m lucky enough to be a brand ambassador for some really amazing Australian brands. The brands I work with, they know me and they trust me as much as I do them as well. I’m trying to continue to earn from my blog but I really work with brands who I absolutely love, trust and can wholeheartedly recommend to the people who follow me into my audience and leadership. I think that that comes through because the brands I work with, I’m so happy to rave about because they have changed my life in many ways with the products and services they offer.

I think it’s very easy to spot fake notions when you’re talking about brands, products and services. It’s very easy for your readers to see whether you truly do rate and recommend them or not so be ethical. I always knew that I wanted to work for myself and I’ve always been really entrepreneurial. I’m so delighted that I found my dream job. For years and years, I knew that I would be my own boss one day. I just didn’t know how that was going to look or turn out but life as a professional blogger can be a bit lonely and isolating. I’m sure some of you will relate to that as well.

To make the most of the amazing blogging community that’s out there–and it took some time for me to actually realize there was such a huge community out there, especially for moms who blog like me. Go to events, network, find blogging buddies, find mentors, go to the ProBlogger events. They’re amazing, just completely life-changing and transformational for me and my blog. Share ideas, share wins and challenges and be really generous as well with your time and with the things that you’ve learned.

I’ve tried to be really generous with my advice and I recommend that you do so as well. When you can, share your time. Help other bloggers. They’re not your competition; they’re your peers and they’re your potential clients and that’s the way that I see the blogging community. Yes, they might be doing things that you want to do but you can do similar things. Put your own spin on it because your readers are interested in your content because of you. It took me a little while to work that out truly and I still struggle now with imposter syndrome and with comparison.

I still struggle with those two things but I’m really trying to make a big effort not to because I have readers who turn up to see me and to read about me and my opinion on things. Have some confidence. Be yourself. Thank you so much to Darren and ProBlogger for letting me on the show today. I’ve been a huge fan of ProBlogger for so many years and I’m just so delighted to be a part of it as well. Thank you very much to the team for your generosity and continuing to share all the wonderful tips and advice that you do because, as I’ve said before, it’s completely changed my blog, especially where monetization is concerned so thank you.

Darren: You’re listening to ProBlogger.

Thanks so much to Mim for sharing her story today. I really did appreciate it, and there were a few things that really jumped out at me in her story. Firstly, the power of vulnerability has been of a bit of theme of this podcast of late, and we’ve heard a number of bloggers in this series talk about different aspects of this. I talked about my own vulnerability in a post recently a few episodes ago as well, and it’s something that continues to be something that I thought a lot about of late.

It’s not something that comes easy sometimes, getting out there and sharing your story, sharing about issues of health or mental health, all those types of things, but it is a very powerful thing. It connects with your readers. It’s something that gets noticed. It’s something that rallies the support of others and gets engagement as well. Now, you want to do it authentically, of course, but it’s certainly something to consider as you create content.

The second thing on a completely different topic that jumped out–it’s almost in passing. Mim said that she had multiple income streams. This is something I really do want to emphasize for bloggers who are looking to make that leap from part-time income into full-time income. Almost every blogger that I’ve talked to who’s made that list has done so by having not just one income stream but multiple income streams. Mim talked about having sponsored content that she does sponsored posts but also affiliate marketing, doing some commission work, consulting, marketing consulting and also content consulting.

There’s three or four different income streams there as well. If you are right at that point of wanting to make that leap, one way that you can grow your income is to add a new income stream rather than just get more traffic or charge more for your content. Then, the last thing–and, again, this is just something that Mim mentioned in passing but I really want to emphasize. Right at the end of her story, she talked about imposter syndrome and feeling like everyone’s already blogged about everything there is to say on your topic and other people blog perhaps better than you.

This is something that a lot of bloggers do struggle with, but I really love the advice that she gave there. Your readers are interested in your content because of you, not just the topic, and this is something that’s really important to grasp. People don’t want just another blog about whatever their topic is; they want you. They want to know what you think about your topic. They want to hear your story as it relates to that particular topic. If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, please be encouraged.

The people who are following you want more of you and so they wouldn’t really even mind what you talk about half the time as long as you are being authentic, as long as you’re being true and bringing your personality to the topic and your experience to the topic as well. I hope Mim’s story has been encouraging to you. You can check out more from Mim at lovefrommim.com, and I’ll link to that in today’s show notes which you can find at problogger.com/podcast/263.

Before I go this week, I’ll let you know about two other episodes that do relate to a couple of things that I just spoke about: firstly, 121 where I give you seven strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome for those of you who are grappling with that one; and Episode 236 which has five areas to focus on if you do want to grow your blogging income. One of those things is adding new income streams into your blog as well, as well as four other things that you might want to consider if you are at that phase of making that leap into full-time income.

Again, that was Episode 121 for imposter syndrome and 236 for growing your blog’s income. Again, I’ll link to them in today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/263.

You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast, tweet us @problogger, find us at facebook.com/problogger, or search ProBlogger on iTunes.

This episode of the ProBlogger podcast was edited by the team at Podcast Motor who offer a great range of services, including helping you to set up and launch your podcast as well as ongoing editing and production of the podcast that you produced. You can check them out at podcastmotor.com.

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The post 263: How Mim Blogged Vulnerably to Grow a Six-Figure Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

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The post 262: How Carolyn Started a Directory to Attract Readers to Her Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

How One Blogger Created a Directory that Attracts Readers

We continue our Blogging Breakthroughs series with Carolyn Edlund, whose Artsy Shark blog focuses on the business of art.

Carolyn shares the story of how she created a directory to attract readers to her blog instead of having to chase after them. It revolutionized her blog, and helped her build a successful business around it.

Carolyn understands the importance of building strong business relationships and creating win-win situations through collaboration.

Her directory identifies places artists can sell their art online. It also provides solid business information and helps artists gain exposure.

To attract readers for your blog, ask yourself:
  • What do your readers want?
  • What problem can you solve for your readers?
  • What issue can you help your readers overcome?

Based on tips from Carolyn, what kind of magnet do you plan on creating to draw readers to your blog?

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Darren: Hi there, friends! Welcome to episode 262 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog podcast, events, series of ebooks, and courses, all to help you start an amazing blog that’s going to change the world in some way, make people’s lives better, but also hopefully be profitable for you. You can learn more about ProBlogger and all that we do at problogger.com.

Now this week, I’m actually in Orlando. As this episode goes live, I will be at our Success Incubator Event, and I know some of you will be at that event, I’m looking forward to seeing some of you. And while I’m away, we’re continuing our blogger breakthrough series of content, where we’re featuring stories from listeners of this podcast, and we’re talking about their breakthrough moments.

Now, today’s listener is Carolyn Edlund, who has a great blog called Artsy Shark. You can find it at arstyshark.com. Her blog is about the business of art, and she’s going to tell us a story today that I think will be interesting to many of you. It’s a way of drawing readers into your blog that’s going to stop you from having to chase your readers, but hopefully attract them to your blog, and this has revolutionized her blog and has helped her to build a really successful business around the blog that she has.

You can find show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/262, where you’ll find links to Carolyn’s blog, and also the directory that she’s about to talk about as well, and a book that she mentions, too. At the end of her story, I’ll come back and pull out a few of the golden nuggets that I heard her share, okay? Now, over to Carolyn.

Carolyn: My name is Carolyn Edlund, and I’m the founder of Artsy Shark, which is the blog about the business of art. Before I ever became a blogger, I was a self-employed artist for more than twenty years, with a successful production studio, and subsequently, I was a sales representative for an art publishing company. I had a lot of experience marketing and selling art, and I also led a business networking group where I learned a lot about the importance of building strong business relationships and creating win-win situations where both parties can benefit by collaborating with each other.

I got into blogging sheerly by accident back in 2009, after I took a free course held at a local community college. At that time, I had no idea what I was doing, and I wasn’t quite sure what would happen. I got started by writing some business articles for my blog, based on my experience on marketing and selling. And then, I stumbled on a book called Inbound Marketing, that was written by HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. That book explained how online businesses could attract readers, and attract customers by offering really useful content that would act as a magnet for website traffic.

I also found ProBlogger at that time, where I could see Darren Rowse uses a lot of these strategies and that they really work. So I decided straight away, I needed a way to offer real value to my potential readers, and I also started publishing individual artist features. These are portfolio articles that allowed visual artists to tell their story in their own words and share their artwork with the world.

To this day, I publish artist features regularly on my blog. It’s worked really well because the truth is that, although artists do want to learn how to market and sell their work, what they would really like is to have someone else do it for them. So my business model was built on providing solid business information, but also taking action to help artists gain exposure through my own site. As a blogger, I’m a member of the press, and people love press. I run a call for artists several times every year, attracting submissions from artists all over the world who’d like to be featured on my site, and this has allowed me to publish a blog that presents an amazing variety of art, as well as art business information, and of course, they go hand in hand.

Now, the breakthrough that really exploded my blog traffic happened in 2013. I realized that artists were looking for information on how to sell their art online, but they weren’t sure how or where to do this. And that allowed me to create another magnet on my website to draw traffic. I spent several months researching and compiling a directory of my website of hundreds of places where artists can sell their work online with full descriptions and lengths and so forth, which is a super useful directory, and it’s completely free to use. That directory is a magnet that draws tons of traffic through search, bringing artists who want to learn to market and sell right to my website, which helps them market and sell.

I’ve been able to build a really thriving business using this model by offering e-courses on the business of art, personalized business consulting for artists, and speaking at in-person professional development training events, in collaboration with the Clark Hulings’ Fund for Visual Artists, which is a business partnership that I developed through my network. One of the things that I love best about this method, is that it attracts readers rather than chasing them. From my experience working as a salesperson, I know how challenging it can be to prospect for customers, seeking their attention, trying to get their interest, continuously following up. And by turning that around, and creating magnets for customers, you can pull them in without all of that chase. I’ve been really inspired by seeing how ProBlogger uses this model successfully, and I’m really honored that I’ve been invited to share my story with you here.

Darren: Thanks so much, Carolyn, for sharing your story. You can check out Carolyn’s blog at artsyshark.com, and I have, in today’s show notes, links to the directory that she talks about, and also the inbound marketing book, which I have heard from many of you as ProBlogger listeners have enjoyed that book as well. Couple of things that I love about this story, firstly, that Carolyn is practicing something that I’ve preached many times over about giving your readers exposure on your site, and making your readers famous, actually helping your readers to get profile.

This is something that we’ve done on ProBlogger many times. In fact, this whole series really is about showcasing the listeners of this podcast. I love doing this because it helps your listener, your reader to achieve their goals. And many of your readers will be wanting to showcase what they do in some way, but also enables you, particularly if you do it smartly, to achieve your goals, as well. My goal at ProBlogger is to teach people how to blog better, and so my hope is that by sharing these stories, you’re getting ideas, as well as us serving the person who is actually creating the content as well.

And so, featuring your readers in these creative ways can be really useful. On digital photography school, we allow our readers to post their pictures in comments, and we actually use their comments and pictures from time to time in content, as well. So all of these things can be really great ways of helping your readers to get their profile, but creating really useful content as well.

I also loved the idea of creating magnets on your site, things that will draw and attract readers to your site, rather than you having to go out there and chase readers down. It’s a great concept, and I guess some questions around that, you know, what are your readers wanting? What are they trying to achieve? What problems do they have? How can you help them in some way, by overcoming a need that they have, you know. Creating a directory that is going to solve those problems is one way of doing that. And I’ve seen a number of bloggers create directories for their readers that have done really well.

Now, I don’t know if Carolyn actually charges people to be in her directory, but I have seen bloggers do that, as well. Like, put this directory up, their readers cannot access at all, but I might sell, you know, featured listings, or just charge people to being their directory as well. That might be a creative way of monetizing your blog as well, but even if it’s free, for those to be in it, and those to be reading it, it’s creating a way of drawing people into your site.

In some ways, on ProBlogger, having a job board has been a similar kind of magnet. We know that when people are searching for writing jobs or blogger jobs, that we come up in the search results as a result of having a job board. And some of those people come back across into the rest of ProBlogger. For some of our readers, that’s their first ever experience of ProBlogger, and they get on our list, and they become buyers of our courses, and attending our events, and those types of things as well. How to start a blog course is a magnet, it’s something that we know people are searching the internet “How do I start a blog?” and sometimes we’re on the end of their search results as well. What are people searching for that you can help them with, that is going to attract them into your blog, that is going to solve a problem for them but also get their attention, and hopefully, get them into a process of a relationship with you as well.

Great tips there from Carolyn. Again, check out her blog at artsyshark,com, you can check out some of the artist features that she does, and also you’ll find a link on our show notes today directly into her online directory. So you can check that out and see what it’s like. It’s actually not that hard to create, it’s essentially just a page on her site where she’s created a list of places that people can sell their art. Not that hard, it’s not something that you would need to put a massive amount of investment into, apart from the time to get those resources. Hopefully that provides you with some inspiration today, I’m expecting lots of you to have directories by the end of next week, of those types of things, and if you do, leave us a comment in our Facebook group or in the comments of these show notes as well, today, and I’d love to check out what you do as a result of hearing this story.

Thanks for listening, and check out the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/262 and I’ll chat with you next week when I’ll be, I think, almost back from Orlando. I’ll be back on the day after this podcast goes live, but we’ll have another story for you next week from another one of our listeners that I’m really looking forward to sharing with you.

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The post 261: Breakthroughs that Grew My Blog from 30 Readers a Day to Profitable in Less Than 2 Years appeared first on ProBlogger.

Three Breakthrough Tips That Helped a Blogger Become Profitable

Here’s another episode from our Blogging Breakthroughs series, which features bloggers’ stories about breakthroughs in traffic, income, and other aspects of blogging.

About two years ago, after a career in Air Traffic Control and dealing with health issues, Michele Robson decided to start a blog about luxury travel on a budget called Turning Left for Less.

Michele had some writing experience, but didn’t really understand blogging. Her blog started out slowly, but has now reached a point where she earns a liveable income.

Michele shares three breakthrough tips that helped her grow her luxury travel blog from just a few readers a day to where it’s at today.

  1. Post every day
  2. Befriend a blogger you admire and have them become your mentor
  3. Be first to market and review products and services

Michele has built credibility, and industry leaders are now coming to her. She no longer needs to chase them for information.

As bloggers, we all start with very few readers and doubts about whether to continue. Just think of Michele’s story, follow her three tips, and don’t give up.

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Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 261 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger. A blog, podcast, events, courses, ebooks, and lots more that helps bloggers to start blogs, to grow their blogs, and to build profit around their blogs. You can find more about what we do over at problogger.com.

Now, today, we continue our series of blogger breakthrough episodes, where we’re hearing from listeners of the podcast about how they’ve grown their blogs, particularly focusing upon their breakthrough moments, the things that have helped them to do what I’ve just said, grow their blogs, start their blogs and to build profit around their blogs.

Today’s story is one that I love. It’s from Michele Robson, who has a blog called Turning Left for Less, and the tagline of her blog is Champagne Travel on Prosecco Budget, which will give you the indication of what it’s about. It’s about luxury travel on a budget. It’s something that I think is a great topic, but also the story that Michele tells is really worth listening to as well. I’m sure a lot of people will relate to her story, as well.

After a long career in one particular industry, air traffic control, and a tough time with health, Michele decided to start a blog. She only started less than two years ago, I think it was November 2016, so not long at it, but in that time she’s, despite not really having any experience in blogging, she’s been able to build her blog where she’s now earned enough to survive on the income from her blog, which is a great story. She’s gone from literally having a very few readers to having a significant readership as well, and really doing some amazing things. In her story today, she shares three breakthrough moments that helped her to grow from just a few readers a day to the point that she’s at today.

I’m going to let Michele share her story, but I will come back at the end of her story, and just share a few of the things that I appreciated from what she shared, and give you a little bit more further listening on a couple of things she talks about as well. You can find a link to Michele’s to blog turningleftforless.com at our show notes which are at problogger.com/podcast/261 as well as a full transcription of today’s show. I’ll talk to you in a moment after Michele shares her story.

Michele: Hi, my name’s Michele Robson and I’m from the UK. I run the blog Turning Left for Less. You can find the blog at www.turningleftforless.com. I started the blog in November 2016 after having had a kidney transplant. I had been working for 23 years in air traffic control and decided that the transplant was a way to do something different and actually write about what I really love. The blog is all about luxury travel for less, which is something I’ve always been passionate about. I like to travel in style, but I like to spend as little as possible, as everybody does, so I share my tips with my readers on how to travel for less.

When I first started the blog, I literally knew nothing about blogging at all. I didn’t know how to use WordPress. I think pretty much all I knew was how to write an article. I’d written articles before in my previous job as part of newsletters, so I was quite confident with the writing side of it. But in terms of actually building a blog, it was very difficult. I remember setting it up and it took me something like two weeks just to work out how to center my logo, because there was virtually nothing online that seemed to work. I spent hours and hours, eventually I did it, and it was worthwhile, but it was very steep learning curve to start off with.

I’m not particularly technically-minded, and to have to learn all the background WordPress stuff, and things like SEO, and obviously making readable articles, and social media, it was very difficult. I remember the first time I started to think, “Oh, am I actually going to carry on with this?” I’d only been going just over a month, but it was over the Christmas period, so of course it’s very quiet for blogs. I was getting something like 20 views a day, some days I used to think, “God, I’ve got more friends than that.” It was really difficult to keep going when you see such low viewing figures.

What I decided to do, which was my kind of breakthrough moment, was to post every day. My competition does that. I had always wanted to ideally not do that because of the amount of work it takes, but I decided in the end, if you can’t beat them, join them. It was definitely worthwhile, me giving it a go and I could always stop, if I wanted to. I guess that was one of three things that really helped me have a breakthrough.

One of the things I really recommend that worked for me, is if you have somebody whose blog you admire, try and befriend them. Try and get them to be your mentor, and that’s what I did. There’s a blogger called God Save the Points, Gilbert Ott is his name, and I’ve always been fan of his blog. Though we blog slightly differently, we’re in the same sort of genre, and I really liked the look of his blog and I could see he was doing well. He was really successful. I mean, nowadays, he has about a million views a month, which is pretty good after three and a half years.

I was part of the same group as him on Facebook, so I messaged him. He knew who I was from the group, and I said how much I admired him, and I would really be grateful if he would be able to give me some tips. I offered to buy him lunch, which obviously did the trick in terms of him then wanting to meet up. I took him somewhere very nice and plied him with drink and a very nice meal, and he basically told me everything he knew about how he had got to where he was. Since then we’ve become good friends, and he has always been very supportive, and helped me every step of the way.

I also have another friend who blogs in a different sphere, but had a lot of experience in the same sort of area I’m in. Again, I basically took him out, pumped him for information, and again, he’s always been very supportive, and he’s introduced me to other bloggers that are very well known. I think, for me, get yourself a support network and people who are mentors, because you can’t do it all by yourself. It can be quite lonely sometimes blogging, so having that support around you is really important.

The other things that I did that I think are still useful was about making sure that I was first to market, as it was, with certain things. In there, I blog about business class travel, first class travel, and if I notice a new product coming out, say for example, I talk about British Airways a lot because that’s what most of my readers are interested in. As soon British Airways announced they’re going to launch something, whether it’s a new meal service, a new seat, anything like that, I make sure I’m the first one that actually reviews it. I will drop everything and buy a flight and get on it as quickly as I can. That was one of my other major breakthroughs because I wrote a very complimentary review, which was deserved, by British Airways, when they introduced their new food, and the company actually picked it up.

I was still very unknown at that point, I’d only been going under a year, been going about 10 months, and they actually put my blog article on their website, and they promoted it through Twitter, and with a lot of their social media, pilots that post on there and a lot of them have like tens of thousands of followers, and that made a huge difference for me. It definitely got me a lot of views to the website, and that was the first time it really started to pick up for me, and started getting some really good traffic. Nowadays, I’m getting about a hundred and fifty thousand views a month after, not quite two years, which I’m pretty happy with, really.

After my breakthrough, obviously I’m now getting very good views. I’m actually getting people approaching me, which is great companies approaching me to work with them, which is really good that I don’t actually have to chase it. I know I feel that I can kind of set my terms because I have that credibility. I’m being approached by industry people, like Runway Girl, to do interviews with them, which is really good. Again, it’s about credibility.

The other thing that is different now is I’m making a regular income. I’d always done the blog full-time from the very start, but I am now actually at the point where the income is livable. Just, it’s still not a lot, but it’s enough to be able to survive on. That has taken quite a while and an awful lot of work in terms of affiliate links and advertising.

I guess my tip would be for, to achieve a similar breakthrough is really just finding that person that’s going to be your mentor, that will help you, because there I’ve found there’s so much online, so much information it’s really difficult to pick out which bits you need to know. For example, for me, keywords, a lot of people concentrate on keywords, but in the niche I operate actually I don’t need to bother about it a lot of the time because there is very little competition for many things.

Actually, I don’t bother with that a lot of the time, whereas I could have wasted hours and hours and paying for keyword tools. For me, actually I don’t need it, I’ve done alright without it. I think that is quite important, to make sure you understand your niche, and what is going to work for you rather than just trying to follow the generic advice that you find. You need that extra tip from people that know, not just the basics, you need the really sort of fine detail of your area to get it to working, and get it to the point you want it to be quickly, which I think, for me, I’ve achieved my target for what I wanted for you, too, already now without even getting to that point. It’s been very useful, for me, it’s made a huge difference.

Darren: Thanks so much to Michele for sharing her story. I have really appreciated hearing the different accents, the different voices, the different experiences of those who are sharing in this particular series. I am really enjoying seeing the feedback from many of our listeners as well on this.

As I said at the top of this show, I love this story. I’m sure many of us can relate to that feeling of frustration in the early days of getting the blog up, without much experience in blogging, that frustration of realizing that you’ve got more friends than you’ve got readers, which can be a bit confounding because you wonder why your friends aren’t reading your blog as well, sometimes. But those early days are tough.

I guess, one of the reasons why I’m loving this series is that it reminds us that we all do start in that same place. We all do start with very few readers, doubts about whether we should continue, and frustrations in the technicalities of setting up a blog, and so I appreciate Michele sharing her story of that. I love the breakthrough moments that she’s picked out as well. As I look back over my own breakthrough moments, there are many things that we could talk about, and so, there’s just so many things that I’m sure Michele could have shared, but the three that she shared today will be helpful.

The first one being: posting everyday helped her blog to grow. Now, I find this an interesting one because it’s something that I have taught in the past, but something that I don’t think is right for every blogger, but certainly seems to be the case that it was right for Michele. One of the good things about increasing your posting frequency is that you are increasing the amount of doorways into your blog. If you’re only posting once a week, that’s 52 doorways into your blog a year. If you’re posting every day, that’s 365 doorways into your blog. That’s doorways in from search engines, from social media, from the potential of other bloggers linking to you, and people coming in from your RSS feed. The amount of posts that you do is one way that you can increase your traffic to your blog. But it needs to be only done if you have the capacity to really do that, and you need to really think about your resources, the time you have, and your topic as well, so there’s a variety of things you want to consider in making that decision.

What I want to do today is share with you, in the show notes, a couple of things that you can read and listen to on this very topic of frequency of posting. There’s a blog post that Ali Luke wrote on ProBlogger not too long ago, which I’ll link to in this show notes, where she talks about the different options you’ve got for frequency. Also, there’s a podcast, I think it was episode—it might have been episode 250, just going to check that for you, yup—which is about how to create more content for your blog in an easy way. Not every post you need to write needs to be a long, detailed post.

In episode 250, I talked about nine types of content that you can create for your blog that aren’t too hard to create. Nine pieces of content that you can add to your existing content without too much work, of course, keeping in mind that you wanted to keep it high quality as well.

Posting every day, I think, is a great tip. I would probably advise that you don’t have to be daily, you might actually choose to be more than daily. You might want to be two or three times a day. The actual frequency isn’t the key, the key is thinking about how you can increase the frequency a little bit, particularly in the early days of your blog, when you may not have many posts in your archives.

The main breakthrough that I loved in what Michele shared today is the idea of befriending other bloggers, finding mentors. One of the things I do notice many bloggers, when they start out, is that they see other bloggers in their niche sometimes as their competitors. I understand why that might be.

In business, we’d see other people doing what we’re doing as competitors, and we don’t tend to reach out to them and have relationships with them. But in the blogging space, there’s plenty of good reasons to be interacting with, befriending, and working with, collaborating with other people who are in your niche.

Michele really tells the story beautifully there, of two bloggers that she reached out to, who have become friends, who’ve become collaborators, who have linked to her, who she supported as well, who’ve introduced her to other people in the industry. This is such a powerful thing. I’ve seen time and time again, where bloggers have moved past that idea of competitorship, or competing with others in their niche, and instead, working with them and befriending them, and that has helped so many bloggers, and it certainly helped me, particularly in the early days of ProBlogger. Twere other people who were blogging about blogging in those early days.

In the year or so that I started, there were other people who started, Copyblogger was a great example of this. We helped each other to grow. We ended up doing quite different things, but there was overlap in our audience, and that is such an important thing. If you’re alright, I would befriend other bloggers in your niche, this is really important. If you were I, I would find a mentor, even if it’s just a one-off mentoring session, like Michele described, over a meal. That can be a very powerful thing as well.

And then her last breakthrough was really, I thought, was great as well. Particularly if you are blogging about anything that’s to do with news, or product, as Michele is. Being first to market, being early in writing about something newsworthy in your industry is a great thing, it signals to your readers that you are first, that you are up with the latest, but it also gets on the radar of other people in your industry. Whether that be other bloggers who might link to you, or as in the case with Michele, other people in the industry like the people you’re reviewing the products of.

Being first, being early, being positive, being constructive about the things that are happening in your industry will get you on the radar of others, and that then opens up all kinds of opportunities. When people see you writing about those sorts of topics, you’ll get invited to the press launches. You will sometimes have opportunity to work with brands in a paid capacity as well, to become an ambassador. So really important to do that, and Michele’s obviously worked that very well. Networking, being open to collaboration is a very powerful thing. I do encourage you to take those things on board, particularly if you’re in those sorts of industries where you can write about news, and what’s going on in your industry. It can be a very powerful thing.

Thanks so much, Michele, again, for sharing. You can find Michele’s blog at turningleftforless.com. You can find a link to her blog in our show notes today, but also a link to those episodes that I talked about earlier, particularly episode 250, where I talk about tons of content that you can create that doesn’t take too much work. I think I called it Killer Filler Content, although it’s not really filler content, because it can actually be really valuable for your readers as well.

Again today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/261 is a full transcription there. Also dig back over the last few episodes as well, where we’ve got, I think we’re up to six other blogger breakthrough stories now. There are other variety of different topics as well, so it’s well worth digging back into those. Thanks for listening, chat with you next week in episode 262.

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The post 261: Breakthroughs that Grew My Blog from 30 Readers a Day to Profitable in Less Than 2 Years appeared first on ProBlogger.

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