Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time

Summary

The authors provide practical techniques to create, manage and promote successful business blogs. Tenacity, focus on true passions, flexibility, consistency and courage are described at the beginning of the book as some of the common traits of successful bloggers.

This books explains how blogging is a special kind of writing that needs to be differentiated from other types of writing. The authors highlight that everybody can blog, not only elite marketing people. This concept is even in the book title. Five useful skills that bloggers need are:

  1. Dreaming
  2. Storytelling
  3. Persuading
  4. Teaching
  5. Curation

One chapter is devoted to explain each of those skills as part of the art of blogging successfully. For the process of discovering personal blogging skills, the book provides some skills quiz forms. This means that bloggers can have a preference for one of the five kinds of writing listed above and it is necessary to adopt a preferred specific type of writing to focus on it and have that specialization where the blogger feels comfortable and strong.

Some of the business benefits of blogging described by the authors are:

  • Brand awareness
  • Direct sales
  • Indirect sales
  • Sales support
  • Research and development
  • Public relations
  • Crisis management
  • Search engine traffic

Despite the fact that as shown in the list above, the authors promote the powerful benefits of blogging, they mention that a common problem is to set unrealistic expectations. In other words, the benefits are real but seeing the positive results may take months of patience and consistent work sharing the right content.

One of the chapters follows an FAQ format where some of the most common questions about business blogging are answered in approximately three to five paragraphs each. The questions are:

  • Who "owns" the blog?
  • How do I measure the success of my blog?
  • How do I develop a content plan?
  • How often should we blog?
  • Do I write myself or outsource?
  • We're already busy-how do we find the time to blog?
  • What happens if we get negative comments?

The book explains that it is easy to overcomplicate blogging and that it is important to simplify processes and be pragmatic for example by using popular blog software such as WordPress if building a blogging tool from scratch would become a barrier that would prevent a company from starting to blog.

For attracting readers, the authors share the following practical easy ways to do it:

  1. Give away your best
  2. Add your blog to current marketing efforts
  3. Contribute to other publications
  4. Get active on your reader's social channels
  5. Use savvy, simple SEO
  6. Host guest bloggers
  7. Join and sponsor conversations (Twitter chats and forums)
  8. Reward your readers

Different ways to monetize a blog are explained in one of the chapters, showing a number of alternatives to "make a blog pay". The book also includes "a troubleshooting chapter" called "Rocks in the Road", where realistic scenarios are presented about situations and how to react when blogging is not working as planned or when different problems related to blogging arise.

Finally, the authors share some habits that are fundamental to make personal blogs successful. This book is filled with practical advice to become a successul blogger.

J: Just citing the book - M: My conversion from theory to practice (15) - CR: Created - LU: Last Updated. (YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS GMT).

J:

"FOCUS ON YOUR PASSIONS

Raman’s success flagged when he became disinterested in his original blog topic. By refocusing his energy on a topic that excited him, his passion and energy flowed through his words. Of course that is going to come through in his writing!

If you’re not passionate about your subject matter, you’re on a short road to failure. You need to focus on one general topic so your readers aren’t confused, but you can certainly work in lots of other hobbies and ideas. Both of us are eclectic people who enjoy sports, history, travel, art, and the outdoors. Although we typically write about business subjects on our blogs, we bring in all of these passions to help tell our stories and make a point." (Chapter 1).

M:

I have chosen one general topic for my blog: Books that I read and how I practice what I learn from those books. But there are millions of books and the fact that my blog is about books does not mean that it is sufficiently focused on a specific subset of topics. My solution was to rely on Safari Books Online as "my curator" so that I do not start reading all kinds of random books and go off-track on the kind of books that I want to read and write about. For example, I do not randomly start blogging about fashion, sports and politics. Safari Books Online offers books about technology and business, which means that by having this Safari subscription as my curator, I will not start rambling on about all kinds of books an topics, confusing my audience and signaling lack of focus about what I read, practice and write about. CR: 2019-01-19 15:24:27 LU: 2019-01-19 15:24:27 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1086650266475220992

J:

"Search engine traffic. Perhaps the most powerful benefit of blogs accrues to a company even if nobody reads the blog—search engine benefits. Google loves blogs because they are updated regularly with new information relevant to its search customers. HubSpot research noted that company websites with blogs get 55 percent more traffic than websites without blogs." (Chapter 10).

M:

My website was a resume and nothing more. My blog provides the much-needed extra content for my website and this is extremely healthy in terms of search engine traffic. CR: 2018-09-22 05:23:26 LU: 2018-09-22 05:23:26 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077207444730900480

J:

"Rigorous Tracking. Install tracking analytics on your blog before you go live. Google Analytics is free and can be installed with simple cut-and-paste instructions. Don’t allow your IT or agency to hold off on installing analytics. It’s the first and most important action you can take to ensure success." (Chapter 12).

M:

This is what I did and from the very beginning of the existence of my blog, I am well-informed about its performance and traffic. CR: 2018-09-23 02:38:00 LU: 2018-09-23 02:38:00 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077207964887457793

J:

"Your business blog should be integrated into your main website. This integration has important SEO benefits. In general, search engines value websites that have frequently updated and tightly targeted content. Your blog fits both of these criteria, and your main website will benefit from the integration. In addition, your blog will benefit from being part of an indexed website. This means that your blog posts will be listed and begin attracting search engine traffic faster." (Chapter 12).

M:

My blog is integrated into my main website, which is positive for SEO benefits. CR: 2018-12-30 03:07:11 LU: 2018-12-30 03:07:11 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077061480879718400

J:

"Start with promoting your blog on your website home page." (Chapter 12). "Make sure to include the address of your blog prominently on the homepage" (Chapter 14).

M:

The URL of my blog is on the homepage of my website as a link in a prominent position where it is highlighted in red, bold, underlined and using a big font-size. CR: 2018-09-17 14:15:25 LU: 2018-09-17 14:15:25 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077061480879718400

J:

"8. REWARD YOUR READERS

There are no shortcuts to building a community. You have to connect to one reader at a time. Once readers start coming onto your blog and commenting, find ways to reward them by leaving a return comment, visiting their blog, and looking for ways to encourage them to come back.

Success on the social web comes from many small interactions that lead to bigger interactions, which lead to relationships. A blog can be a very powerful part of this formula, providing opportunities for lots of these small interactions. It’s usually a small step between being a loyal blog reader and becoming a loyal customer." (Chapter 14).

M:

I started to leave return comments. CR: 2018-12-30 02:28:34 LU: 2018-12-30 02:28:34 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1079204379645878272

J:

"Promoting affiliate products is an effective way to start making money with a blog. There are a number of highly regarded affiliate brokers who make it easy to find relevant products to promote. Commission Junction, ShareASale, PepperJam, and ClickBank are the most popular places to start looking for suitable affiliate products." (Chapter 16).

M:

I signed up for a CJ publisher account, applied to the O'Reilly Affiliate Program and now I am running O'Reilly/Safari Online Books ads on my website. CR: 2019-01-13 14:38:28 LU: 2019-01-13 14:38:28 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1084461549924827136

J:

"Your blog is the personable and approachable extension of your brand." (Chapter 17).

M:

I added the section "I want to hear from you!" to each of my blog posts. I use it to create rapport and invite my visitors to write comments. One of the main objectives of implementing Disqus comments on my blog and creating the "I want to hear from you!" section is to make myself more personable and approachable to my online community. CR: 2018-09-19 10:43:53 LU: 2018-11-09 16:32:39 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077189941413728257

J:

"1. Are you proactively and systematically building your network, using some of the tools in this book? In particular, Twitter can help attract a relevant audience." (Chapter 17).

M:

Using Twitter is now one of my strategies to promote my website/blog. CR: 2018-12-31 10:13:57 LU: 2018-12-31 10:13:57 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1079773662604075009

J:

"Sharing

A sharing blog exists to share fascinating and specific information. The blog often has the same role as a scientist’s lab notebook—every observation and test result is recorded. The blogger gets a special thrill in being the first to share his or her work, ideas, and opinions." (Chapter 19).

M:

I am sharing my journey with books. I like this idea of thinking of my blog as "a scientis's lab notebook" where observations and test results are recorded. In my case, what I record is how I practice what I read. CR: 2018-12-30 02:47:01 LU: 2018-12-30 02:47:01 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1079208253752512523

J:

"Free users must use a web address that includes wordpress.com such as your-domain.wordpress.com. These WordPress-branded domains could confuse blog visitors and detract from your branding." (Chapter 19).

M:

My blog is coded by myself from scratch and it is hosted on my own domain that is consistent with my brand. CR: 2018-09-19 10:56:11 LU: 2018-09-19 10:56:11 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077190995807272960

J:

"Photos liven up your posts and add character to your blog." (Chapter 19).

M:

Since a text-only blog could be boring, I am using the covers of books as the pictures that I highlight in my blog entries. CR: 2018-09-19 11:07:27 LU: 2018-09-19 11:07:27 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077192105364279301

J:

"Commenting. WordPress and other blogging platforms have commenting systems built into the software. However, third-party software developers have created add-ons to expand the basic capability of the standard comment systems. Popular choices include Disqus" (Chapter 19).

M:

I am using Disqus to enable comments on my blog. CR: 2018-09-19 11:14:09 LU: 2018-09-19 11:14:09 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077193215055400960

J:

"HABIT 1: WRITE EVERY DAY" (Chapter 20).

M:

I accept the challenge! My blog is going to have more new content every day. CR: 2018-09-19 11:36:55 LU: 2018-09-19 21:14:22 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077195773455011840

J:

"HABIT 3: IGNITE CONVERSATION Blogging is a social medium. It works best when you can talk with your readers and draw from their experiences." (Chapter 20).

M:

I enabled comments on my blog to interact with my audience and created the "I want to hear from you!" section to explicitly invite my visitors to write comments. CR: 2018-09-19 11:44:38 LU: 2018-11-09 16:34:40 Permalink: https://twitter.com/jaimemontoyacom/status/1077197172108656641

I want to hear from you!

Have you read this book? What is your experience applying to your life what you have learned from it? Would you recommend this book? What do you think about my conversions from theory to practice that I am sharing here? Any ideas about things that I should apply to my life from the lessons found in this book? Please share your comments at the end of this page. This site is boring without your participation!

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