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Blog Blazers Paperback – November 7, 2008
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
About the Author
Stephane Grenier is the nationally known founder and CEO of LandlordMax Software Inc., a longtime builder and promoter of numerous blogs (including his own, FollowSteph.com), a seminar speaker for Website Promotion and Traffic Generation , and the author of the critically acclaimed ebook, How to Generate Traffic to Your Website. His passion for helping businesspeople maximize the power of their blogs and web sites is the driving force behind Blog Blazers: compiling the proven best practices of the most successful bloggers in the world.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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What's fascinating is how many of them cited the same bloggers and similar ideas about what makes a blog work, and what "success" means in terms of blogging. It's not just about money; most of them said that their blogs aren't huge moneymakers, but nevertheless led to book deals, speaking gigs, and other accomplishments they wouldn't have gotten without their blogs. As David Armano of Logic + Emotion says, "Influence s the most important way I can think to gauge a blog. It's not easy to measure influence, but popularity has something to do with it. The broader a blog's reach, the more influence it has. The more people a blog influences, the more successful it is. It's not about size--you can influence people in niche groups."
While many of the bloggers here are from the tech field, there are others like Asha Dornfest of Parent Hacks, Jessamyn West of Librarian.net, Manolo Blahnik of Manolo's Shoe BlogPamela Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation, Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist, who offer some other perspectives.
The cumulative effect of reading this book was, for me, an urge to get out there and simply blog more, and to read some of these bloggers' posts. I found that much of what I have been doing on my group blog Cupcakes Take the Cake ([...]) is already in keeping with what these bloggers suggest, but there are many things I can fine tune. This is a good book for both beginning bloggers as well as those who've been doing it a while but are looking to move to the next level, whether that means a book deal, advertising, or simply gaining a wider readership.
Predictably, the responses to the set of questions reflected the different interests, values, objectives, and concerns of the respondents. (Grenier is to be commended on respecting and preserving those differences.) However, there were several areas in which there was a substantial consensus of agreement. For example, the Web sites most frequently recommended to new bloggers include
Daily Blog Tips
How to Change the World (Guy Kawasaki)
Joel on SoftwareProBlogger
Seth Godin's Typepad
Think Simple. Be Decisive
Which books to read? Several of those interviewed indicated that they read more books about writing and marketing than books about blogging. Others recommended that new bloggers read books most relevant to their specific interests. I thoroughly agree with J.D. Roth's recommendations of William Zinnser's On Writing Well, Stephen King's On Writing, and William Strunk and E.B. White's The Elements of Style. With regard to marketing a blog, I agree with others interviewed who strongly recommend Godin's books (especially Purple Cow, The Big Moo, The Dip, and especially Tribes) as well as Marty Neumeier's The Brand Gap and Zag.
Most of those interviewed have invested more hours than dollars in their blogs and few have earned a living from it. Opinions vary as to how to measure a blog's success; several suggest that it should be calculated relative to a blogger's goals for it. Most agreed that new bloggers should allow at least six months, and in most instances 12-18 months, for a blog to achieve its goals, whatever they may be. With regard to what makes a blog successful, responses also vary. Some think it is traffic, others influence, still others a loyal and appreciative readership, and only a few revenue. Here are a few selections of advice that caught my eye:
"If you are new to blogging and want an idea to spread make sure you get community feedback early on such that market leaders in your industry have a vested interest in talking about your blog." Aaron Wall
"Everything I know about blogging is in this slideshow ([...]) David Darmano
"A new blogger should start by reading at least one hundred other blogs for a month. After that, if you still think you have something new to say, then start writing." Eric Sink
"You should write selfishly, to satisfy only yourself, or you'll burn out instantly. But all writing is meant to be read. The true metric for success for any kind of writing is how many people are reading [it]. All other success factors derive from that." Jeff Atwood
"The best blog posts are usually the ones that are short and sweet. So when writing content make sure to remove the fluff and just get down to the meat of the content." Neil Patel
"A blog post is a product. It fills a need in the market, it has competitors, and the prospective customers for the product have virtually infinite choices among other products. Make sure that your blog post provides something of value which they can't get anywhere else, and they will have no choice but to fill that need from you." Patrick McKenzie
"I don't think people should look at blogging as a money making venture. Very few people make money off a blog. But blogging opens tons of doors - via networking, especially, because bloggers have access to people they would not otherwise get access to. Blogging is a great way to build a career if you know what you want from your career." Penelope Trunk
"Use lists. Be topical...write posts that need to be read right now. Learn enough to become the expert in your field. Break news. Be timeless...write posts that will be readable in a year. Be among the first with a great blog on your topic, then encourage others to blog on the same topic. Share your expertise generously so people recognize it and depend on you. Announce news. Write short, pithy posts. Write stuff that people want to read and share." Seth Godin
"Try to write something you'd like to read from a stranger. The key is `from a stranger.' This means no writing about your dog or cat. Write about what other people care about. Give them something of value. Share your knowledge in a way that benefits others." Stephane Grenier
In addition to the books previously cited, here are some others sources worth checking out: Debbie Weil's The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right, Robert W. Bly's Blog Schmog: The Truth About What Blogs Can (and Can't) Do for Your Business, Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett's ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, and Michael A. Banks's Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers.