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, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Hmm. How is that fair? I really encourage you not to do this since the input is from the readers. Are you going to give some of the money back to the commenters?

    I thought that the whole point of this was so that you wouldn’t be spending your valuable time reviewing blogs….

    I am sorry, but this is a big turn off for me. This goes against what the purpose of this was in the first place.

    Please reconsider. Just think of the traffic you will gain when people realize that you have intelligent people reviewing their blog.

    After all, this is a community, right?!

  2. One more thing I would like to recommend for your blog.


    Don’t resize images using HTML, it really chunks up the image.

  3. Nice concept! and much cheaper than getting a review at John Chow. I will be trying to get one of these when i get a chance.

  4. I don’t see why it’s a problem to charge. I was going to say you sound overly guilty about putting an upfront fee on this, but given the first comment isn’t happy about the fee, I suppose you needed to justify it a bit.

    Well, I still think it’s a good idea. You’ve got the visitors, the committment, the willingness to make it happen well, and so on. To get what would almost certainly be valuable help from yourselves and the other readers to this blog, it would be money well spent…so long as the advice was taken seriously. And having spent $250, I’m sure most people would take note of at least some suggestions.

    Quick question…Would the advice be based on design, content, scope, or all three?

  5. @Shane.

    It will take Skellie time to compound feedback. Her time is worth something. (Administration). Add in the fact that there’s free traffic and voila. It’s worth the $250.

  6. Sure thing. Its just my 2 cents.

  7. The price is right, as you said if you value your blog you will pay for it no matter what. And you get exactly what you want+ backlink of pr6.

    I would like to enter this review but my monthly advertising, blog budget has exceeded

    Good post Darren, hope this will help you also with your donation thingy!

  8. Looking forward to the next site to be reviewed. Found the last one very useful and interesting.

    Alas, $250 is too steep (even though, I know that it would be money well spent) for me at this time.

    Good look to who ever gets chosen.

  9. $250 really is not that bad. Think of the exposure you will get in the blogosphere. Honestly, there are going to be quite a bit of views to your site.

  10. Well Darren,

    This is certainly a good thing that you will be consulting for aspiring bloggers around the globe. This will help generate a quite a lot of traffic to their sites as well as they will also be highlighted since you will be consulting those blogs.

    But, the consultation fees as you have also underscored, is quite high for bloggers like me and may be quite many other bloggers too.

    Anyway, best of luck to the those who will be getting very valuable consultation from you as well as your other team member too.


  11. Where do i sign up! Great idea, will help a lot of people!

  12. It seems like a fair price, my only concern is that by charging, and by charging 250 (it’s not cheap), you’re unlikely to attract the sort of bloggers who really need it. i.e. the ones who are struggling, and who’s blogs don’t generate enough income to justify it.

    I would have thought that when you started the original idea one of the aims would have been to help out blogs who are struggling. If they’re struggling, they probably can’t afford the 250.

    The other thing I would say is this. It’s all very well to say that it’s worth the 250 because you get exposure, advice, links etc. but to then say that Skellie deserves to get paid for running it, regardless of the fact that she gets the same as the site being reviewed (apart from the advice, of course), seems a tad contradictory.

  13. I think its a good idea to charge… it makes it have a greater value to the blogger. I do agree that its a lot of money… but if it works out it should pay for itself.

  14. The work involved in collating and managing this project studies merits a charge I’m afraid, and cheap at that (works out at £125 where I’m from).

    If anyone has serious intentions of ‘making it’ as a blogger then this is a great offer of high value and should be seen as an investment, particularly if these case studies are packaged up in to a series on ProBlogger, not to mention all the other advantages.

    In that sense, exercises like this act as natural selection: helping people who are serious and the price helps determine who’s serious and who’s not.

  15. Bruce Houghton says: 11/30/2007 at 2:39 am

    I’d love to be considered, but its not clear to me where to sign up. $250 seems a fair price. Can anyone guide me?

    If chosen (and Darren agrees) I’ll add 10 free CD’s from artists I represent to the and an ad on my web site to sweeten the prize pot.

    Might I suggest that the blogger is also allowed to ask the “community” a couple of questions that he;s been having about his own site as well to seeks specific feedback.

  16. Oops. I forgot to list my web site – Hypebot.com


  17. Great idea, something I would like to take advantage of down the road.

    Maybe as this gets going, you can start a scholarship type thing where you find worthy blogs who need the help, but just can’t afford it.

    Personally, I would be happy to pay the $250, seems like a fair price for a unique service.

  18. Given the educated feedback of this community, the traffic boost, the backlinks, and the overall boost in exposure, $250 is a very reasonable fee for this service.

    If you break down the benefits, it is down right cheap.

    1. Consulting from an educated cross section of the blog industry; some reviewers are professionals who charge for such consultations.
    2. Mass exposure.
    3. One-way backlink from a high traffic, high trust site.
    4. Numerous backlinks from other sites promoting the event, many of which one-way.
    5. Traffic that is actively consuming every aspect of your site: some of which are possible return visitors.

    To achieve the overall benefits of a review on this site by traditional means would far exceed the $250 price tag.

    I like the idea and I am eager to see how this experiment works out. This could very well be a cost-effective alternative to traditional consulting for some people.

  19. Darren, I like the idea a lot and got a lot of use out of the last one. I’ve emailed you and would love for my blog to be selected.

    As for the fee, I look at it like this: If you can’t (or won’t) invest money in your blog, then chances are you’re not ready for this type of help yet.

  20. Excellent idea. I’m seriously tempted. I would have thought supply and demand would be likely to push price up rather than down

  21. Make sure you nofollow all the links if it’s a paid review.

  22. I don’t know. It will be interesting to see if this thing works. I think it is a difficult project because you can give advice but the content is not depending on the consultants and with no quality content, the improvement is limited.

    And, for me, $250 is expensive for an experiment.

  23. Very awesome idea.

    I know I might be interested in this 3-4 months down the road (when I hopefully have time to do something bloggy)

  24. Ok, ok. But I bet anyone that it won’t receive as much feedback as the first post.

    Raise your hand if you will participate on the comment side…..

  25. I understand your reasons for charging, but I won’t be commenting. Once this changes from a community effort to a work for hire, I don’t want to waste my time with it unless I’m getting paid too…

  26. I think this is a great idea. I hope you will do follow-ups too. I’d love to see how the SourceBench blog evolved after the review and if it helped him meet his goals.

  27. Shane – as I said in the post. Part of the money goes to Skellie to pay for her time and part of the money goes towards a prize for one person who participates. I will also probably take a cut of it – but the majority will go to Skellie and a reader.

    Simon – i hear your concern and will keep an eye on things. Obviously we don’t want perfect blogs – but want blogs that need some help. This will be part of the ongoing challenge to get the price right.

    Bruce – it is in the third last paragraph:

    “If you’re interested – please email me (darren AT problogger DOT net) with the subject line ‘CONSULTING’ as soon as possible.

    Michael Moncur – understand what you’re saying and we’re attempting to share some of the income with those who participate by offering a prize. I guess we’ll see if that is enough for people to participate.

  28. it could be a nice publicity investment for a new blog. is a win/win situation. people get exposure and Darren get the dough.

    don’t expect for huge amount of traffic though, it won’t happen. I participated in the birthday bash contest, and the link to my blog was there on top of all the participants list, and If I got 15 hits, that was a lot.

    so, the aim should be to get constructive critiques about your blog design, and to get link juice from people that link to your blog including the link you get from here. that I think helped my blog to score a PR4 on Google in just 2 months. if you have a make money online blog, a link from here is priceless.

  29. If my blog is not picked I will most likely still participate. I think I will learn alot either way.

  30. Thanks for opening this community consulting door, Darren. Just emailed my entry. Looking forward to following the results and seeing what works best when implemented.

  31. Ben Cook – Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather a blog succeed on merit as opposed to advertising budget. By charging for something like this you are essentially perpetuating already successful blogs (and by association people). It’s like charging kids to go to school.

  32. @ Simon: I have to disagree with your logic. Yes, not every person can afford to pay $250 for something, but that’s what the consultation is worth. It’s like saying: “A ticket to a talk by Seth Godin shouldn’t be $1,000 because not everyone can afford that.” Things are worth what they’re worth — individuals can choose to buy or not. This is a blog about making money online — it seems a strange place to criticize someone for innovating in how that is done.

    (I should also point out that I won’t be getting a link back to my blog from the review posts and will be doing a lot of work behind the scenes as well as summarizing and adding to the review. I think it’s unfair to suggest someone shouldn’t be paid when you’re not privy to the terms of the work.)

  33. Anyone not willing (or unable) to pay the $250 isn’t a candidate for this anyway. Better yet, let’s have an auction for the next review. I’ll be the first bidder: $500.

  34. Great idea. And I was interested. Until I realized that since this is a “paid” endeavor, Google could view this as “pay for play.” After getting spanked from a PageRank 5 to a ZERO – I warn folks to be careful.

    I hope it works out well for all involved!

  35. If you ever do a free month where you help non-profits, I’d love to toss the AIDG blog into the ring.

  36. @Darren – I understand the logic behind this and I hope you didn’t take my comments too harshly. Sometimes I just like to play devil’s advocate. ;)

    Good luck everyone.

  37. no problem Shane.

    Tim – I did consider the auction approach (and it might be fun to try it) but didn’t want it to be just about the money. While we do want this to be self sustainable we’ll be choosing one of the blogs that has applied (we’re up to over 20 now) that not only is willing to pay but which we think will benefit from it.

    Simon – didn’t see your post earlier – sorry. As Skellie points out – she’s not getting a link back out of it and having done it last time around I know how much work it is. Her job involves selecting the blog, liasing with the blogger under review, posting the announcement post, summarizing all of the comments and main themes from readers (last time there were close to 100 of them) and then adding her own advice. Last time around it took me hours to do it. Knowing how hard Skellie works I suspect she’ll do more work than I did on it and I would like to see her rewarded for that time and energy.

  38. Wow

    Thats great news. Too bad its beyond reach for smaller blogs like us. Here are two cent worth suggestions (each one cent)

    Problogger can make it usd 10 for some kind of limited review. That way there will be atleast 25 times more applications and the effort involved will be limited.

    Second thing is we for our part, will check every blogger who has commented and send them our review. If everybody does the same, then the commentator gets the review for free. Ofcourse it wont have all the features which Darren is providing but still its free….right?

  39. Great idea. I won’t participate ’cause sadly, I can’t spare the $250. Living the starving student lifestyle.

  40. The price of $250 will be well worth it with the authority, expertise and capacity that Skellie and Darren are carrying.

    To add to the worthiness, you will get traffic although the consultation might have negative criticisms. The next thing after you have paid for it should be how to leverage on the huge amount of traffic and probably an upgrade of your hosting package? :-)

    I would love to pay for the the consultation but I am not able to pay for that like some other people (just a 17 years old student).

  41. $250 are definitely not for much beginner i think..

  42. I imagine this could be quite popular, but I can understand the hesitation of the smaller sites to throw out that much money.

    How about this idea? Charge a little bit more, and put the extra in a pool that could be used for a small site lottery?

    I’ve already sent email wishing to sign up for the $250, but wouldn’t mind a bit if it were $275 and the other $25 went into a pool like that.

  43. Another load of bunk from a convicted web-marketer. Seems like Darren is clutching at straws to keep the money coming in. What a load of bunk.

  44. what’s bunk?

    Like I’ve said above – the money largely goes to readers and skellie. I might pull a few dollars in on it but it’ll be very little in comparison to what I earn. My hope is that any money I earn I’ll be able to use to either run a competition or two pay a guest author or two.

  45. I wish i could participate or get the consulting but I live in South Africa and blogging full time dont make me enough to spare $250. I do blog full time though. Just dont make $15000 like some people do on the poll. I wish.

  46. We have to remember that this is a choice we have; it’s not a requirement to being a successful blogger. If you can’t afford to pay $250, then you don’t sign up. To me it’s as simple as that. Those of us who read ProBlogger and similar blogs regularly will continue to learn from Darren and Skellie, and even through the comments of others.

    Even through the consulting and critique of someone else’s blog, you wiill surely learn something that you can apply to your blog, perhaps enough to increase the money your blog earns so you can put that cash toward this consulting idea.

    Also, what happened to the old fashioned “saving up for something” if you really want it? Nobody said you had to sign up for this; it’s an option.

    I find the sarcastic comments rather unnecessary—you can respectfully disagree/disapprove of the idea and offer constructive criticism of course, but the fact that they have 20 people signed up means that it’ll probably go ahead anyway.

  47. Here are my two cents on the fashion-incubator website:

    Do something with the header. It’s very plain and just blends into the background.

    How about a logo to help brand your site?

    A picture of you would be nice. Personalize it. It will help you to establish a relationship with your readers and create a sense of community.

  48. I wouldn’t expect any sustainable traffic from the problog audience because we’re not a tech or a blogging site. I wouldn’t think any specialized blog would, so we wouldn’t be in it for traffic.

    But we might be in line soon for a review. I’ve received free reviews that helped a little, but you get what you pay for.

  49. My suggestion to increase traffic is
    Change the Jingle to The Husband and the Donkey

  50. I’ll review your blog for free.

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…