Facebook Pixel
Join our Facebook Community

ProBlogger Community Consulting 2.0

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of November 2007 Case Studies 0 Comments

Problogger-ConsultingWould you like your blog to be constructively critiqued by hundreds of ProBloggers (and aspiring ProBloggers)? Read on to find out how you could be the next recipient of a ProBlogger Community Consultation.

Last month I ran a little experiment here on ProBlogger – ProBlogger Community Blog Consulting. The idea was to see what would happen if together we helped a blogger improve their blog. The guinea pig first consultation was with a blog called Sourcebench which was the recipient of the ProBlogger community’s advice (84 reader comments plus my own summary of the comments and personal advice). Whether the advice was taken on board or fully implemented I’m not sure – but there were some immediate and significant benefits for the blog being reviewed.

  • For starters they got some great advice. The PB community is a wise bunch and there was some great advice and tips given.
  • Secondly they actually got a nice boost in traffic. Check out the spike on Alexa for an illustration of this (it’s a pity that they didn’t seem able to capitalize on it as it would have made a good little launching pad).
  • Thirdly I noticed a number of other blogs linking up to it in the days of the review.

The other benefit was for the wider ProBlogger community. I had numerous emails from readers thanking me for it as they learned a lot about how to improve their own blogs by watching the consulting going on.

At the time of this first consultation I said that we might do them more regularly. I had over 100 bloggers email me to ask if they could be the next blog reviewed.

Today I’m pleased to announce that in the month ahead we’re going to give it another go.

There will be 2 changes this time

1. Skellie has agreed to coordinate the project (she’ll select blogs, summarize the feedback and add some of her own thoughts). I’ll participate along with everyone else but Skellie will head it up.

2. There will be a charge for the blog which is the subject of the consultation (we’ll start this at $250 USD – paid up front). The reasons for this are numerous:

  • I want to be able to pay for Skellie’s time and I would like this project to pay for itself
  • it’ll help us to cut down the numbers of applications and help us to identify people who are serious about improving their blogs and who are willing to back it up (I know when I pay for something I tend to value it more).
  • it will enable us to offer the wider ProBlogger community an incentive to participate (there will be a prize for one person who gives advice).
  • it will be an interesting experiment into a new way of making money from blogs (and afterall, that’s what this blog is about).

So next week we’ll kick this off on Monday and announce the blog being consulted with. We’ll allow you all 4-5 days to get your advice and tips in and then late in the week Skellie will post the summary of the advice.

We’re looking for Blogs

Are you interested in being the subject for our next blog consultation? Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • A blogger who is serious about improving their blog
  • A blog with room to improve
  • A blogger who doesn’t mind getting constructive criticism. This will put your blog in the spotlight and you’ll hear both the positives and negatives of what people think about it
  • A blogger willing to hold off on making any changes on their blog for the week of the consultation (you can post, just not make big changes to your blog until the consultation is over)
  • A blogger willing to give us a little latitude while we experiment with this new project
  • A blogger willing to put $250 USD up to pay for the consultation

If you’re interested – please email me (darren AT problogger DOT net) with the subject line ‘CONSULTING’ as soon as possible. Please include the link to your blog.

PS: a little more on the fact that we’re charging for this.

I know that for some $250 will put this type of consulting out of your reach. However considering the large numbers of bloggers wanting to participate, my limited capacity to help everyone and my desire for this project to pay for itself I felt the need to charge. I don’t expect to become rich off this project – but do want it to be self sufficient.

Lastly – the price will probably vary from week to week as we see how things work (or don’t work). Depending upon the demand and how the experiment goes the price might come down – or it could go up. It’s a demand and supply thing and we’ll see where things end up.

update – a quick update. We’ve had 16 applications to participate already (after 7 hours). We’ll keep the application lines open though as we’ll be looking for blogs for future weeks.

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. I would be flabbergasted* if you were to choose my blog to critique. The reasons this would bless me are too many to list here, but suffice it to say that I would find the application (?) fee, and the experience could be profoundly life-changing for my kids and I. We are currently living in a Hud-supported (lower-poverty level) community, and I am in school to get us out a.s.a.p. Although it would be a sacrifice, I think the assistance here would be worth the initial ($$) investment.
    If more info would be apropos, I’d be happy to give you details.


    *also dumbfounded and several other really big words.

  2. I dislike the charging of $250. Is this a lot of money for the input you would receive? No, it’s probably a lot cheaper and more than likely better than receiving input from one person like some other overpriced consultation services.

    However, this is a community project. We get nothing out of this except the fact we helped someone out and potentially get the chance to be helped ourselves. We can also learn from what other sites are told and apply them to our own.

    When you add money into the equation, especially a rather large sum of $250, things change. You are making money off the community and giving nothing back to us in return. Yes, you’ve basically hired someone to do the summarization, which should take an hour or two at most to read through and take notes and another hour or so to write up the notes. The person you hired does absolutely nothing except format a post based on everything we write and he/she gets paid to do it. Why should we do this “community” activity if it’s only benefitting people that pay you money for our work?

    Also, the $250 is too much money. Your own polls show that the majority of people make little to nothing off their websites and that a huge chunk gets less than 100 visitors per day. This service, and let’s be up front, this is a paid service, not a community project, does not benefit and would be pointless for I’d wager at least 75% or more of your audience. I get between 600 and 1000 unique visitors and it’s growing slowly, but I would never consider using this service as I don’t think it would justify any minor gains I’d get from it.

    I feel the whole point of this “project” has strayed from what it set out to be and is now a service your site offers and does it off the backs of your own audience’s efforts. I’d recommend offering private consultations and consider displaying the results on the site if you wish to keep charging for these reviews as it’s become a slap in the face for the people participating.

    This view has nothing to do with having to pay. I do think the price is more than fair. But that doesn’t make it right. You want to charge? Do the job yourself. You want a community project / involvement? Stop charging money for work you don’t do. Any ape can copy and paste other people’s ideas.

  3. Kirk – I think I’ve already said most of this above but:

    1. sorry you won’t be participating.

    2. the $250 is expensive for some and that is unfortunate. However it is relatively cheap when you compare it to what consultants charge for this type of thing. I know of numerous blog consultants who charge $100 to $300 per hour for this type of consulting. The man hours that go into these projects would amount to this being very good value.

    3. The community gets nothing out of this? I think you answered your own question – the number of emails that I get from readers saying that they learned something through participating and watching these consulting projects would suggest to me that they are valuable for people who enter into it with the right spirit. Add to that that one person wins an iPod (in the last consult it was a 1 in 50 chance of winning which isn’t bad odds if you participate in a few of these) and there are both tangible and intangible benefits from participating.

    4. I’d add that one person who commented in one of our consults recently landed themselves a consulting gig with another blog as a result of their comment. In a sense some people are using these consults as a way to showcase their talents.

    5. Am I making money off this? Sure. After I pay Skellie a third, and pay for the ipod I make about $80. I use that money to pay for another guest post a week from Skellie – something that I would argue gives something back to the community as her posts are so amazing.

    6. You argue that Skellie does very little for her money – I’d disagree. She sorts through the applications to participate, liaises with the blogger (numerous emails involved). Writes an announcement post at the start of the week. Moderates the comments. Picks a winner. Notifies the winner. Arranges for the Prize to be sent. Reads every comment and picks out the themes, summarizes them in a sizable post and then analyses the site and adds her own thoughts. For all that she earns around $85. Personally I think that that is incredibly cheap.

    7. As I said – the $250 isn’t cheap for many – but considering that we’ve had 40-50 people apply who are willing to pay it an we’re only doing one of these per week I’d say that the law of demand and supply might suggest that it’s actually cheap compared with what people would be willing to pay. I’m sorry – but your arguments seem a little inconsistent when it comes to the money. In some parts of your comment you say it’s too expensive, in other parts you say that you think it’s probably cheap in comparison to private consultants and at the end you say that you think that the price is more than fair…..

    8. This is a site about making money from blogs. I make money from blogs and make no apologies for it. I’ve worked hard to build up a community/readership here and am experimenting with ways to not only deliver value to that community but also make a little money from it. This is an experiment in that. In some ways I don’t really see this as being that different from making money from a blog through advertising or affiliate marketing. You leverage your audience in those cases too. Every time someone leaves a comment on a blog that runs CPM ads you get another page view (and make money). Every page view you increase the chances of selling something with an aff link or can increase your prices on a sponsor banner. Ultimately it’s about leveraging traffic. My hope with this consulting project is that I not only am able to leverage the participation of readers but give something back (a prize and the wisdom of the crowd).

    9. Lastly – ultimately it’s up to the community to decide if they want to participate or not. No one who has left a comment was forced to do so – yet we’ve had many hundreds of people do so. No one is forced to pay the $250 – yet 50 or so bloggers are lined up to do so. I can only really go on these signals when I decide whether to keep doing it or not.

    I’m sorry that you won’t be participating any more, your comments have always been helpful. But ultimately it’s your choice to participate or not.

    We will no doubt change and tweak how these consults run in future and I appreciate the feedback – but wanted to feedback to you some of what was behind our decisions to run this as we have.

  4. I didn’t realize you could pay to be part of this community consulting thing Darren. I shall be dropping you an email this week. I definitely want to purchase if there is any spaces available. And i can make the payment as soon as we are ready to go, so watch out for my email. Will probably be tomorrow/Tuesday now.

    Woo Hoo. :):)

  5. Hey,

    Problogger.net is a community NOT a charity. people still have to get paid, people have to eat and pay for the roof over their heads. personally its a great idea and darren should have dont this ages ago.

    I just world say dont go for the auction angle – it will make more money but I think less interest overal ( and your street cred )

    off topic: Hows your new office coming along?

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…