Book Review: ProBlogger

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My post with my book reviews in April this year was so well received that I decided to continue with this and write another review. probloggerbook.jpgI do not plan to limit myself to reviews of pure SEO and SEM/PPC related books and will cover books that are related to online marketing in a broader sense. The latest book that I got is about blogging. SEO elements are included in the book, which is not surprising, because SEO should be part of every online publishing project or campaign nowadays. You would not have done your homework well, if you would exclude it or only give it an after-thought.

I received last week my pre-ordered copy of the book “ProBlogger – Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Incomefrom Amazon.com. The book was written by two well known bloggers of the industry, Darren Rowse from Problogger.net and Chris Garrett, a freelance blogger and consultant.

The subtitle of the book raised an eye-brow; “secrets…” and “… to a Six-Figure Income” are phrases that I associate with get rich quick scams. I know that the “catchy” title was chosen for marketing purposes. They also clarified at the back of the book and very early on in the book itself that this book is not this type of book and explain what the reader should expect from the book. Okay, I will forgive them and hope that what they did is enough to avoid disappointment from buyers of the book who believed to learn a secret and maybe the holy grail of making money via a blog.

The 200 pages book appears to be thin and made me worry, considering the size of the subject it wanted to cover. The first glimpse at the Table of Contents that breaks down the book into 10 distinct chapters made me realize that the book is more like a reference and not really designed to read it from start to finish.

The subjects covered include everything important from start to finish, from the decision making, if a blog is something for you, the choice of the subject, the platform, design and configuration over the maintenance of the blog, outsourcing, marketing, promotion and monetization to the evaluation of the value of your blog and the process of selling it to somebody else.

Each segment is finished with a tip, a summary or an exercise for the reader.

Options and Choices are most of the time broken down and presented in easy to read list format. Screen shots are used to illustrate points made where needed or helpful and not just for the sake of adding an image. This did probably also reduce the overall length of the book. The decision to include or not include images is not a sign of inconsistency, but that somebody was actually looking at each image and asked if the image is needed or not and removed it, if the answer to the question was NO.

They list a bunch of tools and service, which is nice, but in some cases were the examples reduced to only one, which makes me wonder what the reason is for this limitation, personal preference?; Lack of information and knowledge? Or a possible advertising deal? I’d like to think that option 1 and 2 are the reason, but I would not exclude 3 as well (unfortunately). I am referring to examples that go beyond the WordPress affinity and preference, which is obvious throughout the book (I cannot blame them for that).

For example, the hosting of a stand-alone blog using WordPress; I believe that there is more than one good choice than the one mentioned in the book, yes, also for ones that offer a 1-click install feature.

I also missed the mentioning of hybrid solutions between hosted and self-hosted blogs.

TypePad.com for example allows the setup of a hosted blog under your own domain, which nullifies the disadvantage of a Generic URL vs. your own and to a large degree the ownership problem as a result of it too. I tested this feature once in the past and it worked out okay. I know also believe that Matt Cutts uses played around with this option for his blog. At least he used to use it in the past.

Blogger.com provides the feature to publish your blog via FTP to your own hosting provider. You manage your blog via the generic Blogger.com web interface, but the HTML pages, feeds etc. that make up your blog will be pushed to and served from your own website. My first blog, which is a personal blog, is using this option for almost 2 years now.

I read a bunch of chapters and paragraphs and skimmed the rest of the book. I did not read every single word, but I think that I did not have to in order to be able to determine if this book is useful and worth the $25 USD for it (or $27 CAD, shouldn’t this be reversed? hehe). I think that it is worth the money for individuals who are thinking about starting a personal or professional blog as well as for employees who are considering the creation of a company blog or already did launch one and need some help and ideas to get it going.

If you have a blog that is not working out the way you thought, this book might be able to help you to determine where your expectations were unrealistic and how to turn the rudder around and revive it again.

Cheers!
Carsten Cumbrowski

I have a number of resources to content management, publishing and blogging available at my site Cumbrowski.com. If you plan to take it to the next level and add an audio or video podcast to your blog, check out my podcasting guide for podcast creators and publishers.

Carsten Cumbrowski
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over... Read Full Bio
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