Problogger Event 2016: my next steps

Friday, October 7, 2016 Permalink

I’m a lover not a fighter. Okay, so that’s not true. I’m actually neither, but it sounded better than the first thing that popped into my head: I’m a dreamer not a doer. Or a planner not a follow-througher-er. In fact, my lack of follow-through is something I’ve talked about again and again. And again.

But I’ve spent a little bit of time contemplating how to improve my blog following my recent attendance at Problogger Event as (at the conference), we were encouraged to prioritise a couple of things and bloody well do them.

improve-my-blog

My list is growing but I’ll start with the basics:

Be more findable

SEO – or search engine optimisation involves a series of things you can do to ensure more new readers find your website. It’s about key words and terms you use when writing, tracking ‘how’ people find you, and considering what people are looking for. I broke my Google Analytics (which helps advise this) over a year ago and am yet to fix it. So… I need to start with that.

Affiliate marketing

This is an oft-discussed source of income. You’ll note that at the end of my book reviews (and in my side bar) I have links to Amazon or Booktopia. (Or iBooks.) This usually means I get a small percentage IF readers click on that link and buy stuff. I earned a mammoth $8.43 from Amazon in 2015, which I haven’t banked cos they sent a cheque and I couldn’t be bothered going into the bank to deposit it. I think I should be able to do better than this and – as there was an affiliate marketing session or two at Problogger that I didn’t attend – I need to listen and learn. ASAP.

A newsletter

For some reason I still don’t totally understand it seems it’s important to gather email addresses. Ostensibly it’s so you can send out an email newsletter every so often, but the list itself seems to be something I’m supposed to aspire to. I guess it’s getting more readers to your website – something you can do by directing them to articles via the newsletter. I kinda like the idea of a newsletter every couple of weeks, summarising what I’ve read and sharing stuff I’ve seen elsewhere on the internet, but I’m not sure it’s something readers want.

Vlogs / FB live reading recaps

I should mention podcasting doesn’t grab me for some reason. I know a lot of people listen to podcasts when driving or exercising but I think the medium better suits lengthy subjects or an interview style conversation – not just me droning on in my Aussie twang about some book I’ve read and not understood.

I’ve been vaguely contemplating video book reviews for some time. Vlogs if you like, but I really can’t imagine people having the time to sit and watch book reviews. Even if I was succinct and less rambling. On top of that, I’d miss writing.

But given the fact we heard that 81% of online content will be video by 2020 (at Problogger Event from Brian Fanzo) I’m wondering if I need to rethink this. Perhaps instead of individual reviews I could do a wrap-up weekly or fortnightly of what I’ve read. I already do this via weekly check-in on a Sunday but perhaps I could insert a couple of minutes of summary of my reading. Or… I could do a Facebook live session once a week or fortnight.

My biggest fear (of course) is that I’m not particularly eloquent, interesting or presentable. And I’m fat and speak with a weird lisp when speaking formally. So there’s that.

A book club

In our discussions at Problogger, Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit suggested I start an online / Facebook book club. I’ve seen a couple around and not sure how popular or engaging they are. She suggested we talk about a book or two a month in a Facebook group and even do Facebook Live Chats about it. I like the idea but it sounds a bit intense. Plus I’m not particularly good at analysing books if people are expecting I have answers to metaphorical books like The Schooldays of Jesus, The Natural Way of Things or The Chimes.

But I guess I could liaise with a book provider to get discounts for ‘members’ or give people enough notice to borrow books and view it as a bit of a project… or potentially a business idea. Somehow.

improve-my-blog

Freelancing

And of course I also want to pursue paid work on the writing front and SERIOUSLY need to stop bloody talking about pitching pieces to websites / online news / print sources and just freakin’ do it.

And that’s it. My #ToDo list to improve my blog. Not prioritised and definitely needing more thought. Any suggestions?

As it’s Friday I’m flogging my blog With Some Grace today.

46 Comments
  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    October 7, 2016

    Great list!
    You’re doing better than me by actually documenting your action list. I haven’t done that yet.
    Half the battle is committing to it. The actual doing is easy once we commit.

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      Well, as you know, I didn’t put my ideas down in writing there – except for one or two. Other than a couple of things I MUST do (re SEO etc) I’m a bit worried I won’t pursue others cos they’ll feel ‘too hard’ or I’m not sure there’ll be any interest.

      (Yes, that fear of failure again. And yet we most def heard from many successful people at Problogger, that failure is a form of course-correction!)

      • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
        October 16, 2016

        Best thing to do is remove the word “failure” from the vocabulary, There is actually no such thing as failure, It’s just a word. The reality is that no matter what, you’ll still achieve a result. It may not be the result you were hoping for, but it’s still a result. It’s still positive forward movement even if only to course correct.

  • Ingrid Ingrid
    October 7, 2016

    It’s good developing an actionable to do list at the end of a conference! Another reason why I really need to attend ProBlogger next year!

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      Ingrid, the notebook we received even included a place to record our actions…. And there’s been an ‘accountability’ Facebook group set up to help motivate us. And they’re also working through some of the sessions in a FB group so it’s inspiring some discussions. The affiliate marketing sessions are on my to-do list for this weekend though. I really need to better understand my options and opportunities. It’d be nice to at least make a couple of hundred dollars a year from it to pay for my website hosting and the like.

  • liznel
    October 7, 2016

    I’m like you Deb, more plan not do. And now I’m using my return to uni as an excuse – so might be picking your brain how to get myself going again

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      Your studies might take you in a whole new direction Liz… you’ll reinvent your online self.

  • Jan Wild
    October 7, 2016

    Do the newsletter, social media is way too unreliable for getting your message out there. You can do it!

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      I think a newsletter would be a doable start wouldn’t it Jan?

  • Vanessa
    October 7, 2016

    Email means that if your blog and/or social media died tomorrow, you can contact your readers. It’s important for that reason 🙂 It’s independent!
    Video – I started doing random whatever stuff on my personal blog just to force myself to get used to it. And it helped! I was being interviewed for my business this week and they said I was good on camera, avoided ums and all that stuff. I was really, really NOT comfortable but it’s surprising how comfortable I got and how quickly. Not doing it is worse than being uncomfortable the first few times. For me, anyway.
    With platform; FB live seems to be popular but didn’t Brian say that YouTube is the second biggest search engine (or something like that)? YouTube seems to have more staying power than a FB video.

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      Yes… I lose nothing by starting the email newsletter, or at least asking people to subscribe for the newsletter (wonder if I can use those who’ve subscribed to receive my blog posts by email…. I know there are limits re privacy and purpose etc…).

      As for the video thing, yes… I need to try one of them at least. One day…

  • Kat
    October 7, 2016

    This is such a great post. I’ve been thinking about some of these things lately and I can’t quite get my head around the newsletter. Do people actually sign up to them? And if they do, do they actually read them?
    The book club sounds like a great idea! I often think about joining one but then I realise I’d have to meet up with people IRL and actually speak to them.

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      I know there are a couple of online bookclubs Kat, and I know some involve a subscription: $x per year / month to receive x books. Even to get new-ish books cheaply it’d cost $15/book or so, and if you were to read 2/mth it adds up. Though… guess it equates to $1/day and if it’s a subscription by month you could only send it out if people are paid up etc…

      As for the newsletters, I get some and prefer those that haven’t just rehashed their blog posts, but provide something else. Unless of course you don’t read the blog often I guess it’d be useful.

  • nicolethebuilderswife
    October 7, 2016

    Love your list! Fantastic actionable outcomes. I must admit, I actioned a couple of my own post PB list and then got busy. Must move it to the top of the ‘to do list’ again. I really love the idea of the book club!

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      Yes, I just need to follow through now and not lose enthusiasm. There are probably one or two things I could do quickly.

  • toniazemek
    October 7, 2016

    Sounds like a good action plan, Deb. I totally agree re: SEO. I did Kate Toon’s online course last year and it was excellent. Like the sound of those video reviews too. Will eagerly follow your progress.

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      I wish I’d signed up for more stuff out of my comfort zone Tonia. My eyes usually glaze over when people talk SEO, affiliate marketing, email lists and so forth but I realised later they’re the exact things I should have gone to. At least I can listen to them now!

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths
    October 7, 2016

    Good luck with actioning this list. I have a very similar one – so much to do and follow through with!!!

    • Debbish
      October 7, 2016

      It’s difficult isn’t it Kirsty… finding the time / headspace to implement them!?

  • Jess
    October 7, 2016

    Great list! Some interesting ideas! You are such an entertaining book blogger I hope you can monetize your blog further.

    I am so much the same way – total day dreamer and I need to be more of an action person!

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2016

      You’ve recently set up your business Jess, so it sounds like you’re ‘getting sh*t done!’ 🙂

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    October 8, 2016

    High five lady! What an awesome list! I think a online book club would be ace. I also think a book podcast could be fun, especially if you interviewed some of your favourite people about their favourite books, you know like a literary version of Desert Island Discs. Personally, I’m not a fan of video, I’d much rather read or listen to my online material but maybe I’m just old fashioned. And yes to a newsletter! I think it would be a great way to wrap up what you’ve been reading – you do so much of it! And just for the record, I’m a sayer not a doer. I say I’m going to do it, but I never quite get around to it!

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2016

      I know Sammie, I’m the same. Great with the ideas…. but…. Although I’m determined to do ONE of those things this weekend. The email newsletter signup perhaps!

  • @ashleighsmeow
    October 8, 2016

    Good luck with your list! I like the idea of the book club! Newsletter is on my list too! I just need to figure out how to do it. I got so bamboozled with ideas at problogger last year I did nothing!

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2016

      I remember actioning ‘Join Google+’ about three yrs ago when I went, but can’t help think that was a waste of time!

  • Sanch @ Living my imperfect life
    October 8, 2016

    Those are some awesome plans! Like you, I need to get my act together with SEO, affiliate links and freelancing! I’m not big on vlogs and wouldn’t get into it but I love the idea of an on,une book club. ☺️

  • Janet Camilleri
    October 8, 2016

    If your Google Analytics isn’t working, try StatCounter. I have the free option (though you can pay for more data to be saved) and you can see the stats for that day, which you can’t with GA. I have been checking out the possibilities of affiliate marketing also – from what I can see Amazon sells just about everything in the US and not much except books here in Australia so I don’t know if they’re much use to me, to be honest.

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2016

      True… I added Amazon for overseas readers who can’t access Booktopia but I probably need to rethink that!

  • Jo
    October 9, 2016

    The problem with action lists begins when you document them- cos then you’ve got to do something about it lol. I have absolutely no idea where to start with SEO…

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2016

      No, I ‘think’ my Google Analytics is working (I checked it this morning) but there are a few stats that are kind of pititful. I must listen to some of those Problogger sessions as well!

  • kimbacaffeinate
    October 9, 2016

    Yes, encouraging followers to subscribe to your email is important. Other methods can fall by the wayside..this is true for all types of blogs as well as for authors.

    For SEO do you use Yoast for WordPress? It can help you achieve higher visibility for posts. Ugh, I have a Facebook Book club with 67 followers and only really a dozen who participate. I use Affiliate links and appreciate when folks use them, I also sell ads, and sponsor non-book review posts.

    This is a great post.

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2016

      Thanks Kimberly. I do need to be more enthusiastic about the newsletter and email subscription thing. I have ‘subscribe to posts by email’ as an option and have a meagre number of people who do (via spot in sidebar).

  • Maureen Beatrice
    October 9, 2016

    Sounds like you’ve got some great ideas. I love the idea of an online book club. Here in the Netherlands there aren’t many of them.. and I would love to be a part of an online one. If you’d do it.. I’ll sign up! :D:D
    A newsletter.. well.. I definitely need to do that too!!

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2016

      I’ll keep you in the loop Maureen!

  • Sherry Fundin
    October 9, 2016

    I guess the first thing I need to do is make a list of priorities. One thing I am doing now is blogging ahead so I can free up more time to work on my blog. I will start with that. Hmmm, now step 2…:-)
    sherry @ fundinmental</a

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2016

      Blog Ahead is a great initiative Sherry. So many Sunday Posts I’ve read have mentioned participating in the challenge in October!

  • Erin
    October 10, 2016

    I keep thinking about attending a Problogger, so most interested to read your list. and smiled to myself with some of your comments as they’re also mine regards some of the ‘must dos’ for blogging. Yep still can’t work out the email gathering myself.
    So pleased to have found you, another Aussie blogger who blogs about books. Actually an area I’m unaware of being covered is chat about Aussie books if you did decide to do podcast etc. Here’s a site for you, not only lots of book chats but book podcasts, a ‘literary matchmaking’ and they are about to launch an online book club, to give you an idea of how it can be done cause I haven’t a clue how they’re going to pull it off
    http://modernmrsdarcy.com/
    http://modernmrsdarcy.com/what-should-i-read-next/
    http://modernmrsdarcy.com/reading-in-community/

  • mamagrace71
    October 10, 2016

    I love Leanne’s idea for you to start an FB book club. I’d definitely join! And you know, I read your review of The Natural Way of Things on Kindle and ended up reading it thanks to your insights! There you go!

  • audiothing
    October 11, 2016

    Oh dear, sounds like an awful lot of work but I suppose it depends what you want to get out of it.
    Newsletters? I dislike them, since I discovered the blog reader Feedly, is it? I’ve unsubscribed from them
    Statcounter, I tried that, but there’s something about it not recording many UK stats, the reason sounded plausible but I forget what it is.
    Vlogs? Just can’t be bothered to watch and I’d walk on hot coals before doing it myself. I gave watching a fair go but there are a lot of show ponies out there padding out content. I do though, think it’s great for people who love horror, supernatural and all that popular stuff as they can have great fun with it. The books I’m interested in though just don’t seem to suit the vlog style, besides, I prefer to read!
    I love your blog because it’s not cookie cutter, it deserves to be read far and wide but I hope it doesn’t change too much

    • Debbish
      October 11, 2016

      Oh thanks fr that Bec. I don’t think my blog itself will change too much and I completely agree on the newsletter front. I unsubscribe from any which are really just resending blog posts as I use Feedly as well so read blog posts via that. I’d try to value-add a little I think and maybe link to some old blog posts or those of others.

I'd love to hear your thoughts