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What's Your Biggest Blogging Tip? (Here's One of Ours)

31dbbb2  What is your biggest blogging tip? Tell us in the comments below and you might win more tips than you'll know what to do with!


We asked the ultimate problogger, Darren Rowse of Problogger.net for one of his juiciest blogging tips. He's co-author of the book Problogger: Secrets to a Six Figure Income and has just released a workbook with 31 exercises for bloggers to help them improve their blogs, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Here's an excerpt from the workbook:


Ever Run Out of Things to Write About on Your Blog?

If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. One of the biggest challenges facing bloggers with blogs that have been around for longer than a few months is to come up with fresh content on a regular basis.

The key with this process is not to put yourself under pressure to come up with completely new and out-of-the-blue ideas for every post you write. Instead, this process taps into what you’ve recently written on your blog and helps you to identify ways to extend those ideas.

The beauty of this is that you actually end up building a sense of momentum on your blog, where your posts build upon and relate to what you’ve previously written rather than just writing a collection of posts that fail to grow in any one direction. Here’s the mind mapping method that I’ve used:

The Setup

Grab a whiteboard, piece of paper, notebook, tablet pc or anything else to write on (there are also various mind mapping tools and software options out there, but I find a pen and paper can work just fine) and draw five circles across the middle of the page. In each circle write the titles of the last five posts on your blog (if you want to do this more comprehensively go back further and do it with more posts).

Extend Your Previous Posts

Now take each post in turn and spend a few minutes brainstorming ways that the post could be extended. Most posts that you write will be able to in any number of ways including:

  • Picking up a question or idea that a reader asked in the comments on that post
  • Exploring the opposite point of view from the post 
  • Taking a news post and writing an opinion piece about it
  • Taking a theoretical type post and writing a piece that helps people to "DO" it
  • Expanding upon ideas glossed over in passing in the previous post
  • The list could go on. Really it’s about finding ways to take ideas in a previous post and expanding upon them.

For each idea draw a line out from the circle, draw a square (or use a different color) and write the idea inside it.

The key at this point is to let yourself be as creative and outside-the-box as you want.

Any idea is allowed at this point. Let me take an older post of mine (Why You Should Use AdSense on Your Blog) and show you how it might work:

Darren-post-image-1

At this point I have seven potential new posts to write that extend upon my original one. Coming up with them took me two to three minutes, but if I were doing this seriously I’d give it more time and come up with 20 or so posts.

These ideas are logical next steps for readers wanting to explore this topic, some of them based upon actual questions by readers. Do this with the other four posts you’ve written and you’ll have plenty of ideas for new posts to cover in the coming week or two.

Darren-post-image-2

Extend Further

You might want to stop this exercise at this point if you feel you have enough topics to keep you going. However, while you’re in a brainstorming frame of mind, why not take it a step further and think about how you might extend the topics you’ve come up with. The beauty of thinking forward even further is that you could quickly come up with a further 10 or so posts and be able to map out the next few weeks of blogging.


This is just one day in Darren's workbook which is packed full of tips and techniques to help you build a better blog - along with forums for you to report your progress and build your blog with the other readers of the book. Click here to learn more about 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Win a copy of Darren's book!

Write your top blogging tip in the comments below. Several lucky commenters will get free copies of Darren's workbook, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog!

Updated June 9: Thanks everyone who participated! I emailed the winners of the workbook. You guys rock!

Comments

A Twitter User

My tip is to write posts whenever the inspiration comes to you. You may end up writing 7 in one day, so save them for days when you're less inspired!

Christopher Ming Ryan

Thanks for posting this helpful excerpt. I wrote a post recently on how I get inspired when I get stuck.

It's right here on my typepad powered blog, The Way We Watch, entitled 11 Posts From Around The Web To Motivate Your Blogging http://bitly.com/44Xbv

Take Root Publishing

Loved this and have been saving all of Darren's emails on 31 days to a better blog. I told him he is the only person who has their own 'inbox' in my mac mail!

loved the graphic organizer used above. I have always used those for writing period with my students. So is great to see it moved over into blogging! I see where that 'mind mapping' can lead you to writing a great 'series' on your blog. Which of course if its a good one, your readers will keep coming back for more!

There is soooo much to write about. If you have a focused blog on something your totally fascinated with that helps. But otherwise, I think well thought out Categories on a variety of topics help as well. (AND help your readers!) You can look at them and mindmap each one.

Would LOVE to have his book!

Noelle
http://www.TakeRootandWrite.com/
http://www.twitter.com/TakeRoot

MichelleP

My tip is take a topic that everyone has written to death or is doing the blog rounds and tip it on it's head. Instead of doing ten reasons why you should use Stumbleupon for example, look at ten reasons why not (which could easily be ten other social bookmarking sites to use...

Tipper

My tip: Visit blogs that are similar too yours, leave thoughtful comments-and usually folks wiil follow you back to your blog. Hopefully they will enjoy your blog and become a regular visitor which will increase your traffic.

ann kent

I just stumbled upon a little tip over the last few days. I am presently trying the method on my blog. I find that I like to write long, very detailed posts with lots of links. Just recently, I realized that I could effectively break these long posts up into a series of smaller posts. In each post, I try to refer to the upcoming, related posts to give the reader reason to return the next day!

Jennifer

I try to blog at least 3x/wk. -- and after blogging about the same topic for over two years AND writing a whole book about it, I'm always looking for tips like this.

My own suggestion?

See if you can identify any particular blocks or areas INSIDE YOURSELF that you're reluctant to explore. There's probably a little gold mine of material there, just waiting to be uncovered.

For instance, in writing about improving relationships between moms and stepmoms, I secretly found myself grumbling about all the bitching and moaning out there in the land of certain stepmom blogs. Once I finally decided: Okay, fine, let's see what all this is REALLY about -- I was inspired to learn more about the nuances of conflict and how it's generated; plus, I discovered some really cool things about conflict resolution that were previously unknown to me.

Now I understand my audience's concerns so much better and feel newly motivated to keep on writing.

CathyCapasso

I find it very helpful to use a tape recorder during the day. If I am driving or can't make notes when a blog idea hits, the tape recorder let's me make a verbal note that I can refer to later. This has made blogging so much easier. I even find that some ideas, once spoken, take on a life of there own and new posts just flow from there. Hearing the idea played back alleviates, for me, the "where do I start when all I am looking at is a blank screen and I stress over what to say." I combine this with pictures. They say a picture says a thousand words so I use pictures to start the words flowing and enhance my blog posts. It always helps to be passionate about your subject.

AARON AND GEORGIE HAPPYTIME

my top tip is...
Always blog about something YOU care about because if your passionate about a subject it will show and inspire others to jump on your band wagon.

Kate

I'm a beginner at blogging (and thus, would LOVE a copy of the workbook!), but here's my tip:

Write it down!!

Carry a notebook everywhere and, whenever you think of a post idea or something you need to do, write it down. Really simple, but it's saved me a lot of time. :)

Denise Wakeman

Here's my tip: use social networking sites to extend the reach of your blog, drive more traffic and build your audience. Twitter is now driving about 30-40% of the traffic to my blog.

Here's a post on how to set up Twitterfeed for your blog:
http://www.buildabetterblog.com/2008/11/twitter-helps-y.html

Blog on!
@DeniseWakeman

A Twitter User

I think people enjoy humor and authenticity--since I also enjoy humor and authenticity,
I make an effort to write with that in mind. A few well-crafted paragraphs that let readers into your
life and that bring some joy or hope into their day...that's what I aim for.

Visuals--photographs or video--are great to sprinkle in whenever possible!

Peace!
christa wells

Rob Jones

Write, write and write some more. Post what is meaningful and relevant. Momentum will build and readers will keep coming back.

Nav

My blogging tip is too use images in your blog posts. With Typepad blogs you can even create a link from the images to an external URL. People love to "click" on things, why not to something that you want them to visit!

Andy

Yes - good one! Round-ups are a great idea when your brain is spent.
Do some research, summarize and pick out the nuggets.

Andy

+1 +1 the number strategy for cultivating your blog - not very
sexy/fashionable - but it simply works.

Andy

Nothing grabs the eye like a big juicy image. Often I think people
make their logo/brand the 'big deal' of the design. I think you have
to focus the eye on the content. Thanks for the tip!

Andy

Authenticity and vulnerability always get me the most comments. We
face down so much committee-created writing every day in print, TV and
online that an honest human voice wakes us up.

Andy

Yup - I find great writing when I write from my dis-satisfaction with the things around me (or the things inside my brain). Good one - thanks!

Nav

Andy, I agree- some bloggers go crazy and use their logo design everywhere. I feel that your image should go with your blog post and have something to do with the content you are blogging about- nj

Karin at Tennis IDENTITY

Be as succinct as possible. Most people don't have time to read long posts.

Account Deleted

I think my best tip would be networking with other bloggers. Writing and writing alone and not caring about those who read your blog and those who take time to leave comments, is really just like saying, "All I care is myself." And that's not good. Writing alone is just writing for yourself and that's not good in generating traffic to your blog. If no one reads your blog, then is that successful blogging?
You've got to visit other people's blogs and leave comments, network with those who leave you comments, visit their blogs, link them up and ask for backlinks. Be honest yet creative. Success in blogging is in your readers not on your ability to write.
Because if you don't, your blog is just like any other blog out there.

apgwoz

Sort of contrasting Tennisidentity's comment, long posts are OK, but you have to get the readers attention within the first paragraph. Use good, descriptive titles, and a catchy opening paragraph.

Amy @Feasibly Fit Mom

In line with @I Love-Hate, I've found outbound links to other bloggers in the same niche are effective in reaching out, creating link love and have even opened the door for some guest posts.

By the way, I think the 31 Days series by Darren was incredibly info-rich and helpful; I still can't believe it was free.

Andy

Hey Cathy - you won a copy of Darren's workbook - didn't see your email in your profile. Can you email me directly at awibbels at sixapart dot com?

Andy

Thanks everyone who participated! I emailed the winners of the workbook. You guys rock!

Account Deleted

try to be updated with the recent happenings and events and then gather informations, compile all those informations and then blog it ^^.. to all bloggers out there, i am very much open to exchange links ^^ happy blogging to all and more power!

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