This past week, Problogger released his newest ebook, “Problogger's Guide to Your First Week Blogging”— one obviously aimed at the brand new blogger looking to build a following and become a professional blogger. At IFB we have so many new fashion bloggers coming in each day that it made sense to talk about the products geared to them– and the pros and cons of the tips shared.
The book is designed as a week long workshop, with each day 5 tasks designed to build your blog. These tasks are designed to last between an hour and 90 minutes at most. With 1 week and 90 minutes a day, who doesn't have that sort of time and energy to commit to building their blog in a strong way? The workbook is set up to cover:
Day 1: Set solid foundations.
Day 2: Publish and build presence.
Day 3: Concentrate on content.
Day 4: Understand the blog as a product.
Day 5: Put yourself out there.
Day 6: Define and demonstrate quality.
Day 7: Strategize for success.
Why It's Great for New Bloggers
When I first began my site in 2007, it was still pretty early in “blogging as a career.” I knew that I wanted to use it as a platform to build up something great, but didn't know how to do that. My posting was erratic, as was my content. Like many new bloggers, I thought if I wrote and commented, the traffic would come.
Building a blog, especially one that you'll earn a full-time living off of, isn't so simple or easy. Without knowing how to set up your site in a strong way from the get-go, especially regarding things like titles and SEO, it's easy for your blog to get lost in the internet.
Some of the tasks that he encourages you do are:
- Figure out what your niche will be and who your market is. Whether you want to focus on eco-friendly fashion, budget fashion, runway editorials, beauty reviews– figure out what you want to write about and who is going to be interested in reading it.
- Find a blogging buddy– someone who may not be a blogger, but who you trust. They could be a good friend, a parent, a buddy from your writing circle– and you'll ask them to preview your posts prior to reading.
- Develop key practices for building content (such as creating an introduction post saying what readers can find and what to expect, a “My Story” page.
- Signing up for social media (Facebook and Twitter) and spending 15 minutes a day using it to promote the new posts you're writing, to interact with other bloggers, and promoting valuable resources through it.
- Using the work of others to create new content: finding inspiration in blog comments or using social media to research what questions your audience is asking.
When I was a beginning blogger, these ideas, writing in this structure, wouldn't have crossed my mind. But when you're trying to blog professionally, you need to know the basics before you can experiment. To be honest, I wish something like this had been around when I first started blogging; there are ways to express yourself, to write compelling content (that will satisfy you to write), that will also attract an interactive and engaged readership. I often see fashion bloggers who rebel against structure, against blog tips, and knowing is half the battle– the other half is choosing what works for you and your niche and being steadfast in your choices.
What Experienced Bloggers Can Gain
Darren mentions that this can be used for the blogger looking to launch their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th blog with a strong foundation. When reading this ebook, at times I thought, “Well, duh.” And after 4 years of blogging (and another 7 years on Livejournal), I should have a “Duh” reaction to some of the things I've read. Everything is laid out in a simple, solid format to have you thinking, focusing, planning, and doing very specific tasks to get you through that first week– not through 2 years of blogging.
Despite this product not being written and marketed to me, I found that some of the tips were useful:
- Creating posting checklist prior to publication: as a fashion blogger, it can become really easy to forget a catchy headline, a captivating image, affiliate links for products you're promoting, linking back to old posts, ending with a call to action & encouraging comments.
- Setting a posting rhythm: this can be great to reevaluate where you are in your blogging experience. If you've gotten Disenchanted With Blogging lately or looking to grow your blog, then thinking about the frequency of your posting can be a refreshing change.
- The importance of creating pillar posts and content series: Problogger defines pillar posts as “evergreen, timeless content of the kind people in your target audience will be likely to search for using search engines over the months and years to come.” Already Pretty is a fantastic example of creating pillar posts if you want examples!
- Creating a style guide for your site. Like any good writer, this is about making sure you're consistent in your blogging. Make sure you are consistently capitalizing the same types of words in your titles. Make sure you're using the same types of words (Problogger's examples were using “Ebooks” in some places and “e-books” in others, or having “Further Reading” at the end of one post and then links scattered throughout the body of a post in another). This seems so simple, but all of us are guilty of not remaining consistent in how we present our information.
One piece that was incredibly insightful to read, and I think is so important for bloggers at all levels was, “Be aware, though, that this should be a growing element of your blogging responsibilities: as your blog grows, your readership will grow, and so will the level of interaction you engage in. Accept this time commitment – and enjoy it!”
No matter how successful your blog becomes, remember to reply to comments, reply to emails, interact on Twitter. And as your site grows, your commitment to this will grow as well– but it's so important to keep up with it!
The Cost & Potential Downside
The Problogger's Guide to Your First Week Blogging is being launched at an introductory price of $9.99 (which will end early this week) and there's an awesome giveaway attached to it (2 buyers will win the Pro Plus Packages from the team at StudioPress). After that, the price will raise to $19.99.
At $9.99, the book is an absolute steal and deal– well worth the cost. At $19.99, I'm not sure if fashion bloggers– even those who want to go pro– would be willing to pay the price. When you're a new blogger, it's hard to invest financial resources into a project: you don't know whether you'll stick with it, whether it'll be something you'll enjoy. My suggestion in this situation is to find 2-3 other bloggers you're buddies with and split the cost. Problogger does say, “If you’re not satisfied with the ebook after 30 days, just let me know and I’ll refund your money—that’s how confident I am that this resource will make a valuable impact on your new blog’s first weeks.“.
Additionally, I will say– this workbook isn't for everyone. It really is designed for the new/young blogger. If you're looking for blogging tips, exercises, I'd suggest picking up one of his other workbooks. This one was written for the person interested in creating a fashion blog, who is starting their first one, or who is building a new site. If I were ready to start a second blog, this would be a useful tool for me to build it solidly from that first week. For many of us, this site may have come along too late. But that doesn't mean that we don't have our own tools available to us!
For more information on Problogger's other books, check out Why Fashion Bloggers Should Invest in Problogger and The Copywriting Scorecard [for Fashion Bloggers]. (Note– check back later this week, as Problogger will be announcing a deal on these two e-books & I'll be sure to announce it!)
Image by meowsk.