This was the first ebook that I ever paid for, and doing so was a pretty big deal for me. I’d always figured that whatever’s in any ebook, I can find for free elsewhere online. I mean, the trusted internet’s got it all, right? It’s especially interesting that I bought this particular ebook because a fair amount (but not all) of the information really is available for free here on ProBlogger.net as a 31-day series of posts. So why would you pay for something that’s already free?
Because 1) It’s got more up-to-date and better info than the above link, 2) The info in the book is in a different order to make the biggest difference in your blogging, and 3) it’s friggin awesome. Let that sink in a little bit and be put into perspective. I’m a not-quite-broke-but-still-very-cash-strapped, unemployed recent college grad (and I was still in school when I bought this) and I still shelled out $20 to buy this ebook. And I’m glad I did. That’s how good it is.
Here’s the nitty gritty of what you’ll find inside this ebook:
- 94 pages (but really with two pages on each page, making for 188 pages)
- The ebook is a 31-step action plan. There’s one task to do every day. Darren defines the test, tells you why you should be doing it, tells you how to do it, and gives you tons more tips and pointers.
- There is also a link to a dedicated forum post for each day’s task so you can see how other bloggers implemented the task and how they dealt with any difficulties they faced.
Let me just add here that even though the ebook is called “31 Days to Build a Better Blog,” you don’t necessarily have to do one thing every day for a month. You can do two or three a week, or do five in a day. There’s no reason your specific time frame can’t be more or less than a month.
I really, really liked this ebook and am glad I paid for it. Here’s why:
- I like how there’s an action for each day. It’s not just blogging theory. These are 31 useful ways to bake your blog better that you will actually see results from.
- This ebook covers pretty much every aspect of blogging, from planning to marketing to writing to interacting with your readers. No part of your blog will be neglected, and you’ll emerge after a month with a thoroughly well-rounded blog.
- This ebook is also a map that will help you navigate the crowded, narrow back roads that are the massive archives of problogger.net. I’ve been reading problogger.net for years, yet was pointed to posts I’d never read before.
- There are tons and tons of links to further reading on other blogs. These are posts that I never would have found and read otherwise. The result is that there is a lot more knowledge and a lot more words here than its already substantial 94 pages would indicate.
- The design of the ebook is fantastic. This ebook is worth buying just so you can see what a professionally-designed ebook looks like and what any ebook you write can aspire to.
- Even if you’re an experienced blogger, you’ll find a lot of useful information here to help you grow your blog. I plan on going through the ebook every once in a while to make sure I’m still doing what I should be doing.
Here are some of the topics covered that I found particularly useful:
- Effective ways to come up with new post ideas
- How to plan better
- How to get lasting traffic
- Why you should work with other bloggers
- How to find and solve a pressing problem with your blog
- Why opinions matter (And here’s a quote that I thought was awesome: “Expressing opinions on your blog is like adding seasoning to food.”)
- The best ways to comment on other people’s blogs
- How to make your readers “famous”
- How reading a magazine for an hour will make your blog better
- How and why to ask questions on your blog
- How and why you should help improve other blogs
- 17 stats you should monitor on your blog
Do not buy this ebook if
- You haven’t started blogging yet. You don’t need to have a lot there on your blog, but you do need to have a blog with at least a few posts on it. Having said that, I did go through the ebook before I started Blogging Bookshelf because there were several things I wanted to implement from the beginning.
- You don’t have the money. While this book will pay for itself in the long run, you won’t see an instant monetary return by implementing what you read.
- You’re not willing to put in from 15 minutes to an hour a day on the assigned task.
In short, buy this book. It will save you lots of time and effort in the long run. I’ve implemented these strategies and tasks in my blogs and have seen results. I found myself excited to see what the next day’s task would be, and I can’t think of higher praise to heap on a book like this.