I recently just finished reading the book, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.  I want to start off by saying I wouldn’t write a review on something that I didn’t truly believe in.  But there are so many great ideas in this book that I wanted to share some of my insights.

To start, this is the blueprint for starting and maintaining a successful blog.  It is jam packed with innovative ideas that will help you generate content, drive traffic, and increase your readership.  I don’t want to spoil the book, but I did want to highlight a few things that I found extremely valuable for anyone that writes, manages, or is looking to start their own blog.

Just to give you an idea of how the book is structured, it is meant to give you a roadmap to building a successful blog.  So the book gives you a mini homework assignment for each chapter, to get you in the habit of researching, writing, and promoting your content.

Creating a “Sneeze Page” for Your Blog

This concept was created by Darren in 2007.  The basic concept  is to create a page on your blog that sends users deep within your blog in all directions, highlighting a variety of posts.  The reason a sneeze page is so important for your blog is to promote your best content that has been created throughout the years.  Most of the time your best content goes unnoticed in an archive page.  This is a way you can promote your best work and get users engaged with your content.  Darren goes into much greater detail, however that is the main concept of the chapter.

Here is an example of a sneeze page on ProBlogger.

A System for Creating Quality Post Ideas

This unique system gives you a way to come up with ideas/topics to write about for your blog.  Start with one blog post idea that you have written about or are thinking about writing about.

For Example:

  • How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Content

Once you have the first topic, the idea is to play off that topic.  Brainstorm ideas that are extending the topic or compliment the topic.

For Example:

  • How to Use Facebook Fan Pages to Promote Your Content
  • Using Social Bookmarking Sites to Spread the Work About Your Content
  • How to Pull in Your RSS Feed into Linkedin to Promote Your Content

After you have generated a number of posts that play off your first idea, take it another step further and play off of the other ideas you generated.  You can take this process as far as you would like.  In the book he gives many other examples and ways you can generate great things to write about, but this was my favorite.

Take a Trip to the Mall

Huh?  I know I said the same thing when I was reading this chapter.  I said to myself, how can going to the mall help me grow my blog?  Well I thought this was the most unique strategy of the whole book.

The plan is to have no plan at all!  Just go there with a pen and a pad and just observe.  Start writing down things you notice, people you see, what people are doing, what people are buying, products that caught your attention, etc…  By doing this, certain things may spark ideas.  You may notice a unique way a retailers is promoting a product.  You may see lessons that can be applied to your blog.  You may see a new product that has an application online.

Finding a Blog Buddy

A felt that this was a great point that Darren makes, that is overlooked by a lot of people.  Having someone that is a “blogging buddy” can give you many advantages when building a better blog.

  • Gain feedback on posts before publishing them
  • You can help each other promote content
  • You can guest blog for each other
  • Bounce around ideas, new concepts, and industry gossip
  • Spread some link juice
  • Leverage each others readerships

These were only a few concepts that Darren talks about in his book.  For anyone who writes for a blog, currently manages their own blog, or is looking to start a blog, this is a MUST READ.

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