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A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Successful Blogs

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of May 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Duck FeetAfter my recent post on the pressures of blogging I had some great feedback from PreBloggers (those thinking of starting up) thanking me and those who commented for giving a more realistic view of blogging.

One of the pictures that comes to mind of my own experience of blogging is that it can look to the outsider like blogging is a rather effortless endeavor – like a swan or ducks gliding gracefully across a lake. However under the surface we all know that swans and ducks do anything but glide – they paddle furiously.

My experience of blogging is that it’s anything but a gracious glide – however when I chat to some readers I get the impression that they think I lie in bed in the mornings – quickly write a post over a cup of coffee and a piece of toast – and then don’t look at the blog again until the next day.

So as a service to PreBloggers I thought it might be a worthwhile thing to compile a list of the tasks that bloggers do busily ‘under the surface’ that their readers are not aware of.

Let me kick off the list with a few – but I’d love to hear other suggestions in comments:

  • Posting Posts
  • Researching Posts
  • Moderating Spam Comments
  • Dealing with Comment Trolls
  • Responding to Comments
  • Responding to Emails from Readers
  • Following what others blogs in the niche write
  • Following what mainstream media is writing on the niche
  • Commenting on other blogs
  • Administering Servers
  • Renewing Domain Names
  • Marketing/Branding the blog
  • Chasing up spam blogs stealing content
  • Promoting posts to other relevant bloggers
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Blog Design
  • Monitoring Blog Stats and Metrics
  • Testing monetization strategies
  • Administering payments, banking cheques, invoicing advertisers
  • Networking with other bloggers via IM or email

OK – I got a little carried away and kicked us off with a few more than a few – however I’d love to see what readers add to the list in comments below!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Yep, all that. And I’d add just a few others.

    -panicking over what you’re going to post about next week, next month, next year…

    -generating post ideas for the next week, next month, next year

    -trying to figure out how all that monetization crap works (if you’re new to monetization, which I am)

    -reading a gazillion feeds a day to keep on top of your niche

    -going out in the world (or if you write about Second Life like I do, going into the world) so you can actually have something to write about!

  2. Great post Darren, I think everything on that list is well deserved of being there.

    For me I would add in:

    Learning to be as productive on my new macbook as I was on xp (just got it last Thursday) and getting my photoshop/webdesign and blogging workflow up to speed with my XP workflow is a task in itself.

  3. Another great post Darren, it’s easy to see why you’re the blogger others trying to be pros are modelling themselves after.

    I can identify with the revising/editing comments for sure. You wouldn’t believe how many posts don’t get published on my blog every day. I go at them like a ball of fire, and like an earlier poster said, decide it’s just not happening. I do save them though, and if the same thing sstrikes me again I’ll atttempt to rework what I started on when I was originally motivated rather than start over. It generally works best that way, for me at least.

    The toughest part for me is the networking aspect, not that I struggle with networking itself. With a (demanding) full time job and trying to get out atleast a post every day, preferrably multiples, I push back that aspect, when I should be reading other blogs in the niche I’m sort of settling into. I need to make myself get out and read the blogs, comment, participate in forums related to it, and get moving. I can’t expect people to find me by my magical mind control powers.

  4. How about finding some personal time or try not to alienate your friends, family, employer or pets. Blogging is addictive, so finding some balance is pretty important.

  5. Ok, how about responding to PR requests and newspaper reporters.

    Also, going to the post office to pick up product samples.

    Then taking time to try out sample products for reviewing.

  6. Since I’m not making a living from my blog, most of my time is eaten up with research. And by that, I mean getting ideas for posts and finding timely news to write about that deals with my blog subject. I’m sure as my blog grows, however, my time will get eaten up with more “administrative” tasks.

  7. Add to the list:

    Read ProBlogger and other blogs about blogging to make sure you’re doing everything you should be doing. :)

  8. There are probably even more things. Having a blog is definitely going to take a lot of time.

  9. As a new blogger, it takes me considerable time to figure out how to do what I am suppose to do. That’s why I read ProBlogger. Also, I sometimes have to check in a search engine what the meaning of some of the simple terms mean, in bloggereze!

  10. Let’s see..

    “Networking with other bloggers via IM or email” caught my eye.. Started to say expand it to include developing one’s blogroll, but then that hedges towards the linking that gets sites knocked to the bottom of (SEO) lists.. Soo..

    How about a new one:

    * Developing and maintaining a current, tasty blogroll..

    The secondary, topic-specific task list would include something along the lines of:

    * Developing a seamless integration into “mainstream” blogging..

    Not quite how I want it to read, but the words, grin, escape these fingertips just now..

  11. I am a preblogger. I have been researching, reading posts, commenting on post, brainstorming post ideas, blog subjects and catagories and much more before I’ve even started blogging. It gets you in the mindset. I think it is good to get in practice of these habits before you even begin. Thanks for the list!!

  12. I enjoy reading your posts tremendously, Darren! I’m just a beginner in the blogging world, and, I do hope to eventually make it pay. However, I must admit that I would do it even if it never paid. I love blogging!

  13. To keep writing a single blog on single content is bit tougher .

  14. It’s sometimes hard to know where the line is, between “research” and “distraction.”

    If I find myself typing in a 7 paragraph comment on someone’s blog, I try to post a reaction on my blog instead, with a link to theirs. This feels like research.

    Other times, I start out looking for a piece of clipart to go with a post, and 45 minutes later I’m surfing Amazon or ordering printer paper from Staples…

    All the best,

  15. An important one: Have high speed internet!

    I just moved back ‘home’ and away from my cable internet, which is not available out in the boonies. Now that I’m on dial-up, the amount of time that I can spend commenting and networking is cut drastically.

    I love living here and I don’t want to move, but if you are trying to become a professional blogger, you might want to think about access issues if you want to go rural!

  16. It could really take up a huge part of your day. My wife usually has to remind me to get up because I tend to get too focused on everything else I need to do. Being a new blogger, the majority of my time is spent on trying to get more readers, regular visitors, and forming relationships with other bloggers.

  17. What takes me the most time is not positn entries but marketing.

  18. What’s a comment troll?

  19. I didn’t expect to spend so much time keeping up with the technology of blogging. Everything from subscriber options and sources (feeds, mailing lists, subscriber issues, ISP blocks, blog listing/promotion sites) to plug-ins. Seems every time I respond to a new variable, more cross my desk.

    Great post.


  20. If I’m writing an actual feature post an not just a “quicky” then I spend about 2 hours writing the content, proofing, editing, researching, etc.

    I spend time reading some of my favorite blogs (ProBlogger of course) and looking for new ideas for marketing my blog and getting it “out there” so to speak. Then I also look more into my niche which is more technology oriented which could come from magazines, internet sites, blogs, etc.

    I also try to spend time responding to comments, though I’m sure it doesn’t take as much time as Darren. :)

    I’m also working on some Freebie giveaway projects to put up on my site to give some value add for my readers, so that takes up another hour or two.

    And of course all of this is “part time” while I’m doing a full-time job and some other part-time contracting. So when do I sleep you ask. Well… I’ll sleep when I die. lol

  21. Hello,

    This is indeed a very good post. But how important it is to create a blog ring? Rather how one can create it?


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