Book Review: Problogger
Secrets For Blogging Your Way To a Six-figure Income
Book Review by Chris Catania
Whether you’re looking to learn the ropes, or you’re a veteran blogger trying to grow your blogging into a profitable business, ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income is required reading and should be in your blogger toolbox at all times.
In its second edition, the book is co-authored by Darren Rowse (Problogger.net) and Chris Garret (AuthorityBlogger.com.) Together they’ve team up to pull together their collective wisdom and knowledge about how to go from “hobbyist to full-time blogger”.
As a blogger who’s been at it for about four years, I’ve followed and learned a lot from Rowse and Garret. And surprisingly, reading the book revealed many new things about them including how their blogging ambitions impacted their families early on and what initially motivated them to start blogging.
Right from the beginning they both explain how they got started. And just like on their blogs, they candidly and honestly share their successes and failures they’ve had along the way. Throughout the rest of the book they transform their story and learnings in to actionable tips and advice that are highlighted by call-to-action summaries so you can put their advice to work as you read.
The book can be read front to back or you can dive into specific chapters as needed. But if you’re a beginner, start to finish is probably a good plan. For example, starting with their story in the introduction will give you a good idea of how much mental and physical energy it takes to start and keep a blog running. The chapters “Blogging for Money” and “Blog Writing” keep it simple taking you through more sound Blog 101 advice including how to pick the right blog software, picking your blog niche, the craft of writing online, measuring in success, knowing when to implement advertising and how to network with other bloggers. And as a bonus, when you purchase the book you gain access to a support community via the exclusive Book Member Download Area.
Though a quick refresher of the blogging basics never hurts, intermediate and veteran bloggers who’ve been blogging for around 1-3 years will probably skim the first few chapters and get more out of the later ones like “Blog Income and Earning Strategies,” “Buying and Selling Blogs,” “Blog Promotion and Marketing” and “Secrets To Successful Blogs.” Those chapters cover more advanced blogging topics such as how to leverage SEO, forums, contests, commenting, blogger relationships and networking, guest blogging and email. Also mixed in case studies, anecdotes and tips from successful bloggers like the popular TechCruch, Robert Scoble of Scobleizer who explain why, if you want to make blogging of full-time gig, it’s important to be vulnerable, helpful, consistent in your writing, and be a connector in your niche.
Considering the impact of Facebook and Twitter on the blogosphere, “Social Media and Your Blog” is one of the most relevant chapters, because every blogger needs to know how to use social media to grow their community and audience. One of the other second edition updates is the final chapter “Taking Your Blog To The Next Level,” an extensive case study that covers Darren Rowse’s learnings since he launched his other highly successful blog Digital Photography School in 2006.
Like they do in that case study and throughout the entire book, Rowse and Garret pull no punches and plainly tell you that blogging is hard and not for the weak. And in doing so they concur that if you’re hoping to make a business out of blogging, it’s crucial to take time before you start to define your goals and stick to them for the long haul.
That said, it’s no mystery that if you want to make money blogging it important to understand that your success is based largely on what you publish, because, as they say, “content is king”.
What is great content? Well, in reading the book, and judging from my own experience, the content you publish must be entertaining, helpful, informative, timely, unique or a combination thereof.
But publishing great content isn’t enough, because, Rowse and Garret point out, you must also know how to market your blog, be a connector and be patient and consistent.
Despite the alluring promise implied in the title, one thing is clear. There really are no “secrets” that will turn your blogging into an instant money-maker. And the truth is that most bloggers won’t make a six-figure income from their efforts, only a few will.
But many bloggers are successfully make a living at from their efforts. And many businesses and brands are finding ways to use blogging to positively impact their bottom line, and make their existing business more human, engaging and profitable.
And if you’re seeking to achieve the same goals, then this book is one of the best resources available because it does give you the knowledge and tools necessary to build a solid foundation so you can make money and become a pro blogger.