Is it to signify professional behaviour, or is it about the profession of blogging?
The answer is both – but in my mind it’s more.
Here’s what the Pro in ProBlogger means to me
I’m Pro Bloggers – I love bloggers
As a 16-year-old I took a short course in public speaking.
This was an unusual move for me because I was a very shy kid who had a small group of friends. The idea of speaking in front of a room of people terrified me, but as I wanted to conquer that fear I took the class.
At the end of the course I had to stand up in front of a room of 60 or so people and talk for five minutes. I’d never felt such a rush of exhilaration and I saw people in the audience respond positively to my words and it triggered in me the beginning of a passion for communication.
I’ve explored many forms of communication over the years but when I stumbled across blogs for the first time in 2002 I knew I’d found something special. What other tool could amplify the voice of an ordinar guy like me around the world to millions of people?
I love blogging and I love bloggers and what they do day in and day out with their blogs. This blog is written by bloggers for bloggers and my hope is that it’ll help them to step closer to their potential.
It’s about the Profession of Blogging
For the first 18 or so months of my blogging, I didn’t consider the idea that it could be anything but a hobby. That changed through a series of events including starting a little digital camera review blog and stumbling across the brand new Google AdSense ad network.
To cut a long story short I began to experiment with making a little money from my blogs with the hope of covering my server costs and with the dream of one day being able to make enough money to get off dial-up internet and onto broadband.
Gradually I made enough to do both those things and the income grew into the equivalent of a part time income. At this point I created a category on my personal blog for ‘blog tips’ and began sharing what I was learning.
My income continued to grow until I reached a point in late 2004 where I realised I was going to have a full time income from blogging and that it had the potential to be my career or profession.
I began to search for other full time bloggers and found very few writing about their experience so decided to start a blog on my journey to ‘go pro’ as a blogger. ProBlogger.net was born and I imported all my previously written blog tips from my personal blog over to start it in September 2004.
I can’t lay claim to inventing the term as someone had already registered ProBlogger.com (which I later bought). They were not really using the domain (but seemed to have plans to develop a blogging platform) and as far as I know, I was the first person to use the term to describe someone making a living from blogging.
The early days of the blog were simply me sharing my journey of making a living from blogging. I wrote more general blog tips but the focus was always upon helping bloggers to sustain writing about their passions by building profitable blogs.
It’s about Positive Blogging
I’m a glass half full kind of guy (most of the time) and was brought up by parents who taught me to always look for the positives in situations I face, and in the people around me. Similarly, a phrase that was often heard in our house was ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’.
This has all rubbed off on me and the way that I blog and I’m a big believer in spending 99% of my time doing things that are constructive and positive rather than focusing upon negativity, controversy, or picking out the fault in others.
I’ve seen many blogs about blogging come and go over the years but have noticed one type of blog tips blog ‘go’ (or die) more often than others – that being the type that dwells of the negative more often than the positive.
A number of examples come to mind (that I won’t name) but all of which either focused upon critiquing the approach of others, causing division, stirring up controversy, and basically attempting to get traffic by causing trouble.
While in some cases the negative tactic worked in getting eyeballs, each of these blogs is inactive today, and conversations with several of the bloggers concerned revealed that they couldn’t sustain the negativity and ended up burning out.
They also reflected to me that because they blogged negatively that they drew around them negative readers, and while traffic often rose so did a brand that they didn’t really want to be associated with in the long term.
In my experience, a blogger sets the tone for their blog. If you blog with a negative stance you tend to create a culture of negativity that others pick up on and join in on.
This is why some blogs end with with a cesspool of negativity in their comments.
On the flip side if a blogger models constructive and positive blogging this can help with building a strong positive and constructive community of readers.
While there will may be times to call out bad behaviour, write a justified rant, or offer a critique, my hope for ProBlogger is that it is a place for positive and constructive advice that brings about lasting change for those who read it.
It’s about blogging Professionally
My hope with ProBlogger is that it is not only a blog that helps others to ‘Go Pro’ as bloggers, but that it inspires them to do so in a professional and ethical manner.
A few years ago at a business conference I met a small group of attendees at a networking session, and on mentioning what I did, one of the members of the group burst out with the statement “but all you bloggers are scammers and sleaze bags!”
I’ll never forget that moment and the anger that the gentleman spoke with.
After an awkward silence for a few seconds, he shared his story. It wasn’t a pleasant one.
Sadly he’d been ripped off by a blogger who claimed to be able to teach him how to make a fortune from blogging with his $3000 ‘program’. The program turned out to be a poorly curated collection of posts from ProBlogger and several other blogging tips blogs and the promised coaching and support never eventuated.
Unfortunately this is not an isolated story, and one of the difficult parts about blogging about making money blogging is that the unprofessional and unethical actions of a small few bloggers in this niche hurt the reputation of the rest of us.
ProBlogger has no $3000 programs and makes no promises of overnight riches from blogging. Making money from blogs generally takes a long term approach and a lot of good, old-fashioned hard work.
While the temptation to take short cuts through unethical ‘black hat’ behaviour exist, the reality is that doing so puts you at the risk of being caught out and having your reputation hurt.
My goal with ProBlogger is to create a site that helps bloggers to blog well about what they’re passionate about, to build business models around their blogs to help them sustain what they do, and to do it in a professional and ethical way.