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How Can I Make ProBlogger More Useful for You?

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of July 2007 ProBlogger Site News 0 Comments

It’s time for a reader question – how can I make ProBlogger more useful for you?

Every 6 to 12 months I like to ask readers this question in an effort to keep improving the blog and making it more effective in helping to improve your blogging.

I don’t like to lead such discussions too deliberately – but find that the discussion is better if I give a few general questions to stimulate the conversation. So here are some areas you might like to comment on:

  • Topics – are there topics (specific or general) you’d like covered in the coming months? What are the main issues that you’re facing as a blogger at the moment? What would you like to learn about or grow most in for the remainder of the year?
  • Types of Posts – reader questions, tutorials, case studies, short tips, guest posts, tool reviews…. have your say about what you’d like most/least
  • Posting Frequency – too many posts, not enough, just right?
  • Design – we are just weeks from launching a complete redesign – so your comments and ideas would be helpful at this point
  • Blog Features – what would make your reader experience better?
  • Community – do you feel you connect well with other readers? Are there features that you’d like added to help connect more?
  • Services and Tools – what could ProBlogger offer you to help you improve your blog?
  • What Frustrates You about ProBlogger? What is Best about it?
  • Other Ideas and Feedback – anything goes, big or little.

The ‘Rules’ – Any feedback, suggestions, dreams or ideas that you have are welcome. While I can’t promise to respond to each comment or put every suggestion into place I make a commitment to you to read anything you have to say.

All that I ask in return is that you be honest, courteous and constructive with your feedback.

ProBlogger is a project that I pour a lot of time and effort into – as a result sometimes criticism can be a little difficult to hear – however I think it’s vital to take it all on board if this is to continue to be a valuable resource for bloggers wanting to improve their blogging.

So it’s over to you. Feel free to either leave your feedback in comments below or to share them privately with me via my Contact Page.

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. Tips on how to monetize your blog and advertise your blog would be most helpful. Beggining bloggers like me haven’t yet “lost our groove” but we’re still trying to figure out how to increase readership and make a little spending money while we blog.

    One Man. One Year. $100,000 online. How’s he doing it?

  2. “ProBlogger is a project that I pour a lot of time and effort into – as a result sometimes criticism can be a little difficult to hear – however I think it’s vital to take it all on board if this is to continue to be a valuable resource for bloggers wanting to improve their blogging.”

    I read your blog on a daily basis, and I find it very interesting, yet I found the above quote to be a “sympathy grabber” – you make MONEY from the site and lots of it which is a reward for your “time and effort”.

    Lastly, I think that you’re are doing everything perfectly with the site; you should keep on doing what you’re doing, but leave quotes like the above out.


  3. More posts about networking with other bloggers would be neat.

    Have you thought about doing forums on here?

    And, isn’t it about time to update your photo? Same one has been up for as long s I can remember…

  4. I love your current blog, but I wouldn’t mind the design being a bit wider. It would be nice to be able to communicate more with those that visit your site. I loved the top 5 contest! Do more of those :-) The only other thing that is a little hard for me is the size of the font, but I am 33 and I am aging…Not your fault at all!

  5. Don’t go changing. I’m a fan and definitely get a lot out of the way you are doing this. Content-wise, my own challenges right now are surrounding the monetizing bit, so anything else you have to say about the various ad vendors would be great. Otherwise, I say “stay the course.”

  6. I’m pretty new to the site, and I’m sure that it’s been covered before but if it hasn’t, here it goes…

    One thing I’ve been interested in is how this site gets all these readers! I mean, my site is still very small, and it seems in terms of readership, I pick up a few here and a few there. At this rate, it would be literally FOREVER until I got say 5% of your readership. I know this type of thing doesn’t happen overnight, but it still seems like such a unfathomable goal…

  7. Perhaps you can try to quantify a bit the time a blog takes to reach certain milestones in terms of popularity/readability. This is something I’d be interested in and I put it down as an idea – don’t know how hard it is to reach any kind of estimate.

    Also it might be a good idea to pick a blog (perhaps submitted by users or selected after some sort of competition) and do a detailed case-study type analysis about it. That can be done with the cooperation of its author (supply of stats etc) or simply at face value (e.g. say a few points about its design)

    My 2p

  8. I read regularly, and so I hesitate to niggle, especially when I’ve enjoyed and absorbed so many of your tips, but… (and I admit this is really picky) I really wish you’d learn to discern between “its” and “it’s”, a problem that has arisen in many of your previous posts (though not this one, admittedly). Yes, I’m a grammar pedant. The trouble is, if you are a grammar pedant, that sort of thing really gets in the way of reading a post.

  9. I would like to hear more about monetizing forums. There is not much information out there and it is pretty motivating to hear that people can make up to 10K a month on standalone forums.

    I also would like to hear about non-English supporting ad providers/affliate programs that are successful. (will chikita every support international?)

    I also would like to see the left hand column to be smaller. I would like to see the articles spread out on the page a little.


  10. Yes, forum would be nice
    you have so many useful post, more interesting discuss it in a forum. With smiley, choose font etc.

  11. two things I’d like to see more often:

    1. Types of Posts – Case studies
    Applying you’re blogging knowledge to specific blogs is more brain-stimulating for me.

    2. Blog Features – ‘Where do I start?’
    This site is no regular blog, and it can be overwhelming even to regular readers. You’re “key articles” on the top are no longer enough to easily navigate through all this info.

  12. two things I’d like to see more often:

    1. Types of Posts – Case studies
    Applying your blogging knowledge to specific blogs is more brain-stimulating.. at least for me.

    2. Blog Features – ‘Where do I start?’
    This site is no regular blog, and it can be overwhelming even to regular readers. You’re “key articles” on the top are no longer enough to easily navigate through all this info.

  13. More video! I think i saw you do one about a year ago, why did you stop?

  14. – blog directory with voting: a place where we can promote our blogs. something like: http://freeglobes.net/

    a forum would be great.

  15. More on making money blogging, short tips and blogging tools would be great (I mean really short, I tends to skip long posts here). Reading via feed so design ain’t important to me. A forum might be good too, I believe many readers would appreciate it.

    The only thing is for me is posts are too long. I normally scan my feeds after school everyday, and that’s when I’m really tired. I rarely finish reading completely a post here as they are too long and I would just, well, skip.

    Good luck Darren!

  16. I was thinking the other day about volunteering to make an online table of contents for your blog. It would be nice to have all of the info in Problogger in book form so that it can be studied like a book.

    So, perhaps some kind of table of contents would be nice. Perhaps I’ll put together a sample of what I’m talking about and let you know when it’s done.

    I think you should definitely consider making a Problogger book as it would probably sell like hotcakes! :)

  17. Darren, How about a Forum to build on the great community you already have? Seems like a natural progression.

  18. My own design aesthetic says less is more. Your blog is busy…but I liked the colors.

    A forum does sound like a good idea, so I’ll yay that one.

    My concern about the blogging community in general at this stage is that it must be changing because of the big money getting into it and you’ve been here from the beginning so surely you are witnessing changes? Keeping all of our readers ahead of the game would give us an advantage and would keep attracting more readers to your site. Since my blog is about keeping companies and certain people ahead of the trends in industry, it’s always an important focus for me.

    Lastly, and I guess I could have numbered these to be more list oriented but to the person requesting it’s vs its…this is common to blogging. I see the same mistake being made regardless of who is blogging. Highly well-regarded journalists with MSM make the same mistake. I think there are natural problems like this that occur in creating copy w/o editors all the time….and there may be something scientific to it where you could even come up with the most common typos made because of whatever (you can figure out the reasons too).


  19. I made a typo–third paragraph, 4th line, should read “your readers” and not our readers (maybe wishful thinking on my part?).

  20. This is the only blog that I read on a regular basis so I don’t have an ideas relative to that.

    One thing I would not want to see is a Darren Rowse ProBlogger forum. I think it would dilute what you are presenting here. Perhaps a readers forum would be ok, but it should be not be something where you (Darren) make a regular appearance and where someone else has the administrative responsibilities.

  21. Maybe give some love to other bloggers by posting links to our blogs. It’s all about traffic and your site could really help get our blogs going.

  22. It would be a huge timesaver for me if you add a stylesheet for printing.

    You have so much useful information on this site, but it’s just pain when I want to print them, because at the moment the whole site gets printed (including sidebar, advertisement, …). Since I really don’t need them on paper instead of just hitting the print button I have to mark the text, select printing from the context menu and then tell him to only print the marked text.

  23. I love it just the way it is.

    A new pic might be a good thing, sort of visual variety, maybe you could change your pic each month. I’d like that.

    My best suggestion would be to add an email discussion list for readers, not a forum though. I think a forum would pull readers away from commenting on your blog, but an email discussion list would provide instant feedback and information, plus discussion about any topic related to ProBlogger’s focus areas.

    As a long time email discussion list owner and manager I think they can’t be beat for instant communication among a large group of people, building community, and being downright useful.

  24. Agreed with commentor #1. Even giving the opportunity to network with you and other A-lister bloggers at chats, webinars, or more would be pretty cool!

  25. Design – I think that the site would benefit if the new design was expanded a little. This would give more space for the content to be displayed:) I think a latest posts area could be helpful too

    Posts – Case studies are fun, I’d also like to see more guides and tutorials as at the moment there seems to be more news and views about the blogosphere than tips


  26. I want to clarify something. I suggested forums but I did not mean starting a Problogger forum. What I mean is case studies, observations, and tips on MONETIZING from forums. I don’t think Problogger needs a forum :D

  27. Accidentally stumbling upon this site is what made me start blogging in the first place. I’m currently trying to find the right look and layout for my blog. I would like some updated info on content management systems, wordpress, and creating new blogs. Also an updated post on current blogger tools would be nice. Things change so fast. Thanks for everything.

  28. Don’t change a thing to your content. I love the lengths and frequency of your posts. I really appreciate the way you think and enjoy the topics you discuss.

    I do like case studies, but you give plenty of examples, so I’m not going to count that as a criticism. Case studies are hard to come by, I’d imagine.

    I can see why you might include some better navigational pages in your re-design effort. You’ve been writing so much for so long that it’s difficult to navigate the vast amounts of content in the site. I really like the current look and feel. The layout is great, too. Also, I like the picture of you (it’s almost like a logo at this point).

    Keep up the good work. I almost didn’t comment, but I saw the amount of criticism (all constructive, good job team) above, so I thought I’d put a good word to encourage you.

  29. Hi Darren,

    As you know I’ve been a huge fan since the days when your feed counter was in the low 200s! So I love ProBlogger.net just as it is.

    That said the one thing I’d love to see you write more about is productivity. How is it that you manage to product high volume AND high quality content (ON MORE THAN ONE SITE!!) month after month, year after year.

    That blows my mind constantly.

    It takes me at least 1.5 hours to produce what would be a mediocre post by yours standards, so I there is no way for me conceive of how you can produce 4.3 posts a day.

    I really think productivity is your secret weapon. It may be all natural talent, but I’d love to hear about any tips that you could share to improve workflow, and keep both quantity and quality high.

    Thanks a lot for an amazing resource,


  30. I’d like to see more case-study posts like silvino mentioned.

  31. I have an issue that has been on my mind for a while. Many bloggers post images on their sites… where do they take these pictures and what are the rules? I’m sure there are copyright issues, but I guess most bloggers don’t care. I’d like to know the hard truth. What pictures can we put on our blogs and how not to infringe copyright laws?


  32. Another vote for case studies

  33. Darron, how about more frequent group writing assignments? I received some great link love from you as well as others who linked to my post for the project.

    Keep up the great work!

  34. marquis says: 07/24/2007 at 4:35 am

    A forum would be a good idea. Other than that, I think the site is perfect. Keep up the good work.


  35. Darren,

    I have a couple of suggestions and a question of my own.

    1) The interface of your Website could really stand to be “uncluttered.” This is not a question of too much stuff in too little space, but rather a question of layout. When I first saw your site, the clutter chased me away. However, once I saw that you had 20K subscribers, I figured your information was worth paying attention to, so I started coming back! :)

    And your articles have always been good, Darren. That’s the most important thing.

    2) If I had as many readers as you do, I’d start a forum. But that’s the business person in me talking, not the reader.

    And now, my question for you:

    1) How do you make any sense of the answers you get to questions like this, knowing that only a tiny perfecentage of your readers will bother responding to it? Whenever I try asking my readers for feedback, I get 10 responses or so, which certainly can’t be representative of my entire user base, given that it’s such a small percentage.

    It always makes me wonder if asking questions like this is really the best way to gather feedback… Are there other ways?

  36. It seems that I’m the only one that would vote for fewer posts (just one per day!). You have such excellent advice, but I feel overwhelmed when I see 3-5 new posts when I open my reader.

    Do you have a section for top posts? The Top 20 in the box at the top on the left is old and I would love to see something that is dynamically updated. Top Posts show new readers what the “best of the best” is on a blog and it’s often where I start getting to know a blog.

    Content: I like your most recent series on Rediscover Your Blogging Groove, and, farther back, 31 Days to a Better Blog. Are you planning to write more posts like these that are designed to help us with the content of our blogs?

    Future content: Do you have any articles on time management for bloggers? Healthy attitudes for bloggers would be a good thing to talk about, too. You may already have articles similar to these, there’s a lot of archives to look through and I may have missed them!

    As to design, I’m favoring navigation on the right more than the left. That’s where the scroll bar is and it just seems easier to use.

    I am just starting to launch my own blog and I’ve learned so much from you. I really love the Lessons I’ve Learnt (again at the top in the box). Would there be any updates to that?

    Thanks for all your hard work! I would hope to have half the success that you do someday.

  37. more short tips and tool reviews could be good
    Thanks for all your work

  38. How about getting back to basics, your tag line is helping bloggers earn money. Let’s have some more of that.

  39. Chris says: 07/24/2007 at 5:32 am

    Organize your archives more. This blog is great if you have the background and it’s acting as a kind of daily magazine, but as a comprehensive resource for a new blogger, the huge pile of old posts is too hard to go through.

    One thing may be to simplify the layout of the archives. Have one long list of post titles, organized by topic, instead of a handful of posts with summaries per page.

  40. I’m throwing in a vote for a forum as well. :) Other than that I can’t think of much. I enjoy the information that’s been coming out, although the topics that have been of keen interest to me lately is “blog stickiness” (what makes readers come back) and traffic.

  41. Darren,

    I only discovered your blog a few days ago and read quite some articles. Maybe my suggestion is already covered: since I have a full-time job and I also recently started with an independent occupation as photographer, I wonder if it might be interesting if you cover some articles, share tips or recommend books about time management and self-discipline. It doesn’t have to become too psychological either, but you understand what I mean. Blogging (to me) is so time consuming and sometimes I don’t know where to start first when I come home.


  42. Michael Martin says: 07/24/2007 at 5:56 am

    A couple of things in the design could be changed I think; like the search bar. Why is it set to searching the web by default? And then when you do make the search, you’re reading bright orange text on white. That’s hard enough for a person with good eyesight to see, never mind someone with an impairment.

    The other thing that bugs me is when you do a series, and you have a series logo in the top left of the content, and an advert in the top right of it. You end up with a tiny little column of text between the two (It’s not really a problem. Just strange. :P )

    A forum is an interesting one; I think that if you wanted one, you would have the best forum on problogging, without doubt, (There are currently no established forums on the subject really, just some new ones. With ProBlogger’s readership behind the forum, you’d overtake them no problem. xD ), but a forum is a lot of work. You’re busy enough as it is I imagine, so you’d want to choose mods (Volunteers) etc. to help out, and even then, forums aren’t known for being profitable… (Users get used to the ad placements)

  43. Personally, and I emphasize that this is just my perspective and is likely not the view of others, I would love to see less from you. I mean this in the nicest possible way. I read a lot blog and lately I’ve come to realize I just wish everyone would talk less frequently and wait until they had something truly valuable to say. Note: I am as guilty as everyone else of writing too often. But the truth is, I really truly *want* to know what you have to say, but there’s not enough time to read it all. “Mark All As Read” is becoming more frequent.

    So for me, selfishly, it would be just awesome if I could get 1 kick ass, mind melting post per week, and nothing else.

  44. Hello this believe it or not is my first post to another Blog, I have built a blog using all the various tool available on blogspot and still learning and reading lots, like the website which links to it that was born out of research and lots of testing. My suggestion would be offering a ‘Rate my Blog’ I could do with some advice on how I can get other blogs to link back and where best to find them, at this moment in time the ‘submit your blog appears to be an endless pit of this and that site all promising to bend over backwards.

    Perhaps if you could offer a rate this as a one off to the site listed in this post that would be really helpful, i know that my posts could do with some work, but as I am working on behalf of my employees and their Marketing Head their is no problem in shifting the focus or altering the angle of the stories we want to tell, I only wish our membership would get more involved in telling the world what they know, the knowledge of this unique sector far exceeds my own.

    For the record we are a regional concern offering alternative businesses loans for people refused by the bank regardless of new or existing status, we even do some personal lending in the Birmingham and Warwickshire region delivering on the financial inclusion policy, so I guess some people would be interested to hear how this all works, we are really trying to set the standard for the West Midlands part public and private sector funded institutions.

    I really hope you could find some time to give us a fighting chance, now or in the near future.

    Thanks, have a great day

  45. I think it is on the way ,but get a wider theme :).

  46. ProBlogger would be a lot more useful if you gave us free laptops and iPods. :)

  47. As Serge and Jon said, I would love to hear your secrets about productivity, time management and self-discipline. This is something I need badly because, as you can see, the default Drupal homepage is been on my site too long…

  48. Subscribe to comments
    Threaded comments

    That would then encourage discussions between readers that are more meaningful and easier to follow.

  49. On the design one simple tip would be to make sure your H1 tag isn’t

    Written on July 24, 2007 by Darren Rowse

    If you want to go overboard on the design/seo, I am sure your team can pick up some tips from my WordPress SEO Masterclass for Blogs in Competitive Niches.

  50. I like silvino’s suggestion of providing case studies to help understand how to put what you write about into practice. I follow a weekly case study update at CourtneyTuttle.com, and it’s a fun learning lesson that really demonstrates how to implement some key concepts related to successful blogging. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more of this kind of thing!

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