The Professional Blogger’s Blogging Checklist

Have you ever wondered what you needed to do to become a professional blogger?

First off, let me give you some questions to ponder:

  • Which blogs are you currently reading on a consistent basis?
  • How are these blogs helping you prepare to be a professional blogger?
  • Have you started creating an outline of what you might want to blog about?
  • Are you currently making consistent comments on the blogs you’re reading?

Yes, these questions might catch you a bit off guard, but if you plan to be a professional blogger, they are “recommendations” that I suggest you find answers to sooner than later.

I recently read a great blog post titled “ProBlogging – 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started“.

Here are some of the highlights:

10 Things To Know as a New Blogger

blogging-checklist1. Good design (and hosting) is crucial: I added the hosting part but I feel both are important. When I started MollerMarketing in 2006, I was using Blogger.com as my platform. This means my blog was http://mollermarketing.blogspot.com. I remember SPECIFICALLY what my mentor told me at that time – “…if you ever want me to comment on your blog or get any links to credible sites, get a hosted blog with your own domain name.”

So, I took his advice and got hosting and a domain name. What I DIDN’T do for about 2 years was get a nicely designed theme. I used a free version for quite some time and thought all was well.  However, as soon as I finally bucked up and took the advice to get a nicer looking theme, I saw a few things happen:

1. My subscribers increased

2. Comments increased

3. I was able to interview bigger names in my industry (and feel confident about it)

What you can get from all this? Get a hosted account and purchase a nice theme.

2. Narrow Your Niche: this was one of my favorite parts of the blog post. So much so, that I commented about it.  I said “…I always emphasize the importance of focus when starting an online business. As you focus in on a niche, you’ll realize that what seemed like a very specific topic actually is a lot bigger once you research it out.”

3. Comments Really Do Matter: Since reading this great blog post, I’ve been implementing this concept too. Here’s what the article says about commenting on other blogs:

I didn’t take this seriously at first. I thought that my content was special enough to get noticed on its own. Boy was I wrong! It wasn’t until a few months ago that I crafted a comment policy that has helped my traffic explode. I do it by subscribing by email to a dozen or so blogs in my niche so that I’m notified as soon as there is a new post. I try to comment right away and do my best to add something meaningful to the conversation. More importantly, I come back and reply to other comments in the discussion. Do this often enough and on enough blogs and you will start to get noticed. You can’t give commenting lip service either; it is something that needs to be done every day.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to MollerMarketing.com via email 🙂 and other blogs that you feel will help you build credibility in your industry.

4. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Your Knowledge: one of my biggest pet-peeves is when I’m working with a client that says that either a) they don’t know anything or b) they don’t have any hobbies. BULL CRAP! I mean, come on people.

…most people don’t know what you know and would to pay you to teach them.

Have you ever thought how much your knowledge about something could potentially make you?

5. When You Have a Blog, You are the Authority: Don’t be afraid to be an expert!

6. Consistency Counts: this was another point I commented on.

Consistency in blogging is also so crucial. There are only a handful of blogs I follow (Problogger obviously being one of them). The main reason I follow these blogs is because they are consistent and focused on specific topics.

7. Have a Plan: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! It’s about that simple. What are you going to do when you get hundreds of comments a day? What’s your strategy when a company wants to partner with you or buy your business? You don’t have to have a perfect plan but something is better than nothing.

8. Start Networking Early! If’s never too early to get your name out there. Even when you’re BRAND NEW, start telling people about your business, let them know what you’re doing and why. You have to break the ice.

If you really want to get your name out there, do some guest posting for other blogs that are already established.

You can’t necessarily go for the BIG BLOGS to guest post on as a new blogger, but shoot for some that you know get comments, have readers, and share your target audience. Again, you have to start somewhere.

9. Be Everywhere: Social networks, forums, other peoples blogs, comments, video, audio, pictures, live events – these are just a few places you can “BE” online (and offline) to connect with your audience.

10. Hustle: I’ve been listening to an audio book called “Lead the Field” by Earl Nightengale. One of the best things I’ve been reminded of is the Law of Cause and Effect: when I DO something, then and only then should I EXPECT something in return.

The hardest thing for me to deal with when working with clients is the fact that some think the internet breaks the laws of Cause and Effect. In other words, “I can just sit back, turn on a ‘cookie cutter’ type site, and VIOLA, I have millions to roll in…”

WAKE UP to reality people!

There is NO SUCH THING AS A TURN-KEY GET RICH QUICK opportunity out there.

They ALL take work, planning, and persistence if you plan to succeed.

Whewww…I’m getting heated up just typing this content 🙂

Having said all this, I’ve created a Blogging Checklist that was based on some tips from Darren Rowse. Put it to work and let me know what you think.

Moller Marketing’s Blogging Checklist

New Blogging To Do List Date Completed
Publish your first 10 Blog Posts
Link a new blog post to an older post on your site
Get your 1st comment from someone you don’t know
Get your 1st link from another blog
Build traffic to more than 20 visitors per day
Set up a Feedburner Email Subscription Account
Hit 20 RSS Subscribers
Get your blog indexed in Google
Set up a Google Adsense Account for your blog
Earn at least $1 per week on your blog via Adsense & other affiliates
Guest post on someone else’s blog
Have someone, not you or your family, share your blog in a social network (Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook, etc.)

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38 Replies to “The Professional Blogger’s Blogging Checklist”

  1. I would like to thanks for sharing a wonderful blogging checklist that is more useful for online marketing.

  2. Nate,

    Very straight forward advice. The fundamental mind shift is to stop taking knowledge by reading the web to sharing and contributing knowledge. Academics have been doing this for years. The web and blogging is the delivery mechanism for everyone. Your checklist helps to demystify blogging. I used think it was only really techie guys wh blog. I get it now, it is intimidating in the begining if your not a natural writer. I look forward to it myself.

    Cheers

    Tino

  3. Wow! Great advice. I am just getting a blog set up and what an opportune time to come across this info. I am definitely going to keep it in mind as I work my way through the process.

    I have been paying close attention to blogging advice from those who have already gone through all the trials and error. No point in reinventing the wheel. Thanks, Nate.

  4. Hi Nate,

    This is all so new to me. I find I am a bit overwhelmed. The 10 steps are a great place to start. I also love your passion when it comes to helping your students achieve success. I will use your Blogging Checklist to help with the success of my blog. Thanks for all your overflowing help. I know that what goes around comes around, but you have proven that to yourself countless times I am sure.

  5. Great stuff Nate,

    And just think I started following you and your blog because you and I are HUGE Yankee fans…;-) Who knew you would be able to share some great stuff on blogging. I have a newbie blogging client of mine that I am coaching and I am going to forward this post to her for required reading.

    Thanks again

    JB

  6. Hey Nate,

    Very good post for beginners, you seem to emphasize RSS Feeds alot and i’m curious why? Even though I have a Quadjillion RSS Subscribers (number exaggerated for effect) I haven’t made a dime off them (my main monetization technique is adsense).

    I can see good value for my visitors for RSS feeds but monetization wise it doesn’t seem to be much of a target.

  7. “I can just sit back, turn on a ‘cookie cutter’ type site, and VIOLA, I have millions to roll in…”

    I like it! Good call, Nate. A great checklist for beginners indeed.

    While I second the idea that “you are the authority on your blog and don’t be afraid to be an expert!”, on many occasions I’ve seen how many ‘misuse’ the opportunity and claim to be more than who they are.

    Yan

  8. Thanks for the checklist! The article and checklist have really helpful guidelines. And like some other commenters- it helps organize thoughts and strategies around starting and organizing a blog.
    Thanks!

  9. Great post Nate. I am feeling inspired to take action on one thing I know I can blog about–teaching kids the game of basketball. Thanks for introducing me to wordpress.org. I’ve set up two sites now–www.barbaraehardt.com for a City Council candidate, and now the new web site for Skyline H.S. Varsity BBall. Now I’m going to start a plan for blogging about teaching kids basketball. I LOVE the checklist. Thanks!

  10. I like the concept of checklist, blogging for me has always been a daunting task. Identifying topics, writing without sounding like a complete ass, responding to comments, tweets & FB wall posts, providing value to other blogs, the lists just goes on and on. A checklist is approachable and doable. And making sure that not leaving money on the table is something not to forget.

  11. Hey, Nate. You bring up some great points in this post. I can speak from experience that becoming involved in the conversation within the comments of existing and already popular blogs is essential to building rapport.

    When I launched my blog I spent a lot of time participating in the conversations already going on within respected industry blogs. That got my itty-bitty blog some much needed exposure. I don’t spend as much commenting anymore as I should and I can definitely tell a difference in traffic and lack of conversation on my blog.

    Participating in the online conversation isn’t something you should focus on only when you’re just starting out, but regularly as part of your overall online reputation management and networking strategies.

    1. Aly,

      Thanks for the comment! I agree 110% that commenting on other peoples blogs is NOT just something you do when you’re new to get your name out there; it’s something that should be part of a true online marketers day to day routine.

      To me, a good indicator of blog exposure and good commenting is when you start getting comments from people you don’t know who obviously found you via another blog or social network.

      I feel, as you get bigger in the blogosphere, you should be willing to share comments more on other blogs. This will lead to increased opportunity and growth. Again, the law of Cause and Effect!

      Thanks again for the comment and friendship.

      Nate

  12. Such a practical real world approach.

    I’m going to use the checklist in my training and tell the class that signing up for your list and learning to comment like this is a MUST DO.

    Love the idea of getting them to making a buck

  13. You make so many great points for new bloggers and for “old” bloggers who are looking to update their techniques. The only things I could add are; 1) quality content is queen (cuz women talk more ;o) and, 2) keywords are king. Use them both in conjunction with the other excellent points in this post and you’re sure to succeed to the max!

  14. I love your comments about Cause and Effect! It just amazes me how many people think they can build a blog or website and traffic will come. It takes lot of work to actively promote a site and build traffic. In about 10 minutes I’m scheduled to record a podcast (third in a series) about blogging, and we will be discussing a number of ways to promote a blog.

    1. Hope the podcast went well for you!

      It is funny how people think the money will just start coming. The tough thing is there are all these “gurus” out there that make it sound so easy.

      The things they don’t reveal are things like they worked at building a list for 2 years before they made much money at all, or it COST them $50K to make $75K in one month…

      Anyway, I could go on and on about that stuff 🙂

      Thanks for the comment! Would love to hear more from you in the future.

  15. Great list, Nate!

    Although I’m not the ‘newbie’ anymore, every bit of information helps and I for oe appreciate you sharing the wealth!

    All the best,
    -Rich

    1. Thanks for the comment Rich! Let me know how the list helps you take your blog to the next level. Guest post will be welcome if you can provide a detailed “case study” or something 🙂

      Talk soon!

  16. While Consistency is Important What About Building links to your Blog Posts. I see Many Blogs with Good Page Rank but they Do not Update Very Often

  17. Nice checklist Nate. I think your checklist is needed even for businesses that use a blog as a marketing/information resource, where the revenue is generated elsewhere, not just for those pursuing professional blogger status.

    Should be titled “Online Marketing 101.”

    1. Hey Michael,

      Blogging is for every business, that’s for sure. I wrote a guest post for ThouShallBlog.com where I talked about that in more detail – check it out.

      Thanks for the great comment.

    1. Hey Darren,

      Thanks so much for all you do for blogging, both for the newbies, the intermediates, and the pros.

      I’ve started the 31 day challenge with my wife and her blog about aerobics for moms; we’ll keep you posted on our progress. Working on the “Elevator Pitch” right now.

      Thanks for the comment and the RT!

      Nate
      @mollermarketing

  18. Damn. Where was this blog post years ago when I was starting out? Although the one upside to the School of hard knocks – lots of hot babes I met along the way…

    Seriously though Nate – really good points about blogging. I’d even say these belong in a “blogging best practices” list. Oh. Which I guess this is. nevermind. 🙂

    1. Alan!

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad the “school of hard knocks” was good to you LOL!

      These tips are things that have really helped me “grow my blog” to a level I never thought I’d get to. I’ve always loved to write and share ideas; blogging is one of the best means to do so and build industry awareness, credibility, and eventually financial return on all the hard work.

      Thanks for sharing these ideas with your friends 🙂