Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Learn to Blog: Three Books Show You How (Part 1 of 3)

Blogging is becoming increasingly important—and profitable--on the internet landscape, where anyone can publish anything, anytime. Successful bloggers even get book deals!

If you want to be part of the blogging revolution, get on board with these three hallmarks of successful blogging: Learn to write well (and regularly), hook readers and shape a story (or post).

In addition to the Fitness Writer blog you're reading, I also blog at Fitness Test Drive. And I'm now steering my freelancing services toward blogging on magazine websites and helping corporate clients thrive in the increasingly competitive blogosphere.

To that end, I agreed to review three books on blogging for the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), of which I'm a member.

The three blogging books I reviewed dole out much of the same advice:
  • blog often,
  • make it about the conversation,
  • build your posts around authenticity, and
  • encourage and respond to commenters.

However, each title tackles blogging from a different angle. Here's my take on Problogger, with two more reviews to come.

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to A Six-Figure Income. By Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett, John Wiley and Sons, 2008, 220 pages, $24.99.

Problogger is a useful resource for blogging newbies who want to learn the nuts and bolts of getting started. For example, the authors cover which blogging software to choose (they favor self-hosted Wordpress, no big surprise), how to write effective blog titles and how to measure--and boost--a blog’s success. This book even includes html code for customizing a blog template.

What about the promise of a six-figure income? Realistically, I’m not sure how many “secrets” in this book would lead to a six-figure revenue stream for most bloggers. But the book covers how to monetize your blog through direct and indirect means, such as selling advertising space and freelance blogging.

Plus, if you’re serious about making money, you can join a blogging network or sell your blog (I had no idea you could “flip” blogs like people “flip” houses!).

Problogger is the kind of resource you want on your desk as you muddle through setting up a blog for the first time or stare at your computer screen wondering what to blog about (reading the section on 20 types of blog posts can help).

Up next: My reviews of The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging and Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.