"Sensible, solid, practical advice for anybody, marketing anything, to anyone. All delivered with a European twist."

How to Connect with your Audience

This is a guest post from Nathan Hangen, who arrived on the blogging scene with a bang, and whose work I always read. You’ll find a short biography and link to his site at the end of the post.

As I've gone through the rigors of growing a blog, I've learned a lesson or two about how to connect with my readers, both short and long term. The thing is, unless you spend time getting to know them, you probably don't know as much about your audience as you think you do. I thought I knew what my readers wanted, but after sending out post after post without getting any traction, I realized that my readers had a different view of my blog than I did. Now, this doesn't mean you need to abandon your own concepts about what you have to offer, but it does mean you need to spend some time getting to know your audience better so that you can give them what they want to hear.

Connections  read more »

How to Launch Your Own Product

Readers who are subscribed to my newsletter will know that I have been working on “The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter” for some time. Not subscribed? Please do so now, the form is to your right! I have decided that it’s a perfect opportunity to post about the process I have gone through, and to continue to post about how it all goes once the product is launched. We can all use it as a template, and learn from the inevitable mistakes.

BGT

Background  read more »

Mike's Life Posts of the Week 10th July 2009

Here are my favorite posts from around the web this week:

 

How do you let folks know what you do without pitching them

By Liz Strauss on Successful Blog

Good advice from Liz about pitching (or not!) about your business.

 

Talk about Transparency!

By Scott Monty on Scottmonty.com

Cracking video from Air New Zealand – I love it!

 

What are the odds that your blog or website will fail?

By Roman on How This Website Makes Money  read more »

What are your financial objectives for blogging in the next year? (Poll)

Proof that Content is the Most Important aspect of Blogging

I read Roman’s slightly depressing post today “Commenting on Problogger does not improve your blog.” In it he has spent some quite considerable time researching commentators on Darren’s blog from six months ago to see if their traffic has significantly increased. His figures prove that it hasn’t, so he asserts that “Commenting on Problogger……” well, you’ve read the title!

The problem is, I feel Roman has completely missed the point. Commenting on Problogger can help improve your blog and blog traffic, as can writing guest posts or being active in forums.

BUT ONLY IF YOU HAVE GOOD QUALITY AND A DECENT QUANTITY OF CONTENT ON YOUR OWN SITE

Time and time again, Darren and other A list bloggers remind us that content is the most important aspect of blogging. You can do all the other stuff, you can be the King of Twitter, but if your content sucks, you’ll never have huge traffic. I have two sets of proof for this statement:  read more »

Blog Master's Club

Welcome to the post I wasn’t going to write! I had no intention of promoting David Risley’s Blog Master’s Club, as I felt it clashed with my own Beginner’s Guide to Blogging. I was going to sign up for the course, and I am about to, but listening in on David’s live stream yesterday convinced me that Blog Master’s Club is potentially a great product for Mike’s Life readers, and also that it complements Beginner’s Guide to Blogging beautifully. You see, BBG takes people from nowhere, to the point where they have a blog, with an audience, and they are starting to think about monetization. David’s Blog Master’s Club picks up at exactly that point, and takes readers to the next stage. But let’s back pedal a moment.

I first came across David’s site about a year ago, and I immediately identified him as someone I could learn from and work with. I lapped up all the free content on his site, commented and asked questions, and in time he shared his email address with me, and was good enough to allow me to pick his brains from time to time on email and chat. He also allowed me to guest post and that brought a lot of new traffic to Mike’s Life. When David launched 3 day Money, I was an early customer and even made a video testimonial for the program.  read more »

What to look for in Hosting Plans

This is in response to a question from reader Chris, who is one of the Mike’s Life subscriber community. He asked “I’m about to set up my first blog, and I’ve found your site full of good advice, but I’m bewildered at all the different hosting options available, and would like some help.”

photo_5662_20090408

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Essentially, there are three different types of web hosting available:

Shared Hosting

This is where most people start. With shared hosting, your site or blog will be on a server with a number of other websites – you don’t get to choose, your host will decided where to put it. The biggest advantage of using shared hosting is price – plans are available from as little as $5 a month. The biggest disadvantage is that you have no control over the server’s resources – if another site on your server starts generating loads of traffic or server requests, your site will suffer and slow down. If that starts to happen, talk to your provider, who will usually be happy to move you to another server.  read more »

How to Give Your Email Subscribers Value

We’ve talked in the last couple of days about why you need email subscribers and how to get them. Now let’s talk about how to give them value – and notice I’ve said give them value, rather than get the most from them. By giving them value, they will stay subscribed and in turn, they will become your best customers, assuming you are hoping to monetize your blog.

Which provider?

There are several providers of email services out there. I’ve tried managing the list myself, which is free. And I’ve tried managing it through Constant Contact, who provide a free trial. I now use Aweber, and if you talk to most serious bloggers, you will find they do the same. They are simply the best set up for what we want to achieve. They will cost you $19 a month for up to 500 subscribers, but believe me, they are worth every penny. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll start off with a free provider and then transfer to Aweber either – you will lose a lot of subscribers in the switch over. I did, John Chow did, and many others have. You’re better off biting the bullet now and taking on the Aweber service, even if you’re just starting out with your blog.

photo_6176_20090504  read more »

How to get your blog readers to subscribe

In yesterday’s post Why do I need an email subscription list, we talked about how people’s levels of engagement increases when they subscribe first to your RSS feed, and then to the holy grail, your email subscriber list. Today we’re going to talk about how we encourage people to subscribe to your blog.

photo_5755_20090409

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Content

What you actually write on your blog is the single most important thing that results in people subscribing to it. If you can’t write compelling stuff and write it well, you may as well forget it now, or move into a niche where you can.  read more »

Why do I need an Email Subscription List?

We need to consider the levels of engagement of our readers to answer the question.

Occasional Readers

Crowd

These are people who stop by from time to time – when they think to do so, or if they see a Tweet about our blogs. They aren’t really engaged and they certainly aren’t part of our community.

RSS Readers

RSS Button  read more »