What You Can Learn From the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Course
From a blog post series to an eBook and now a course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog has certainly evolved. And in doing so it has helped many people. Today’s episode is based on information about the course.
I created the course, which is a combination of repurposed teaching from places on ProBlogger and the blog post series, to:
offer teaching that inspired action
help people develop good habits
give them a variety of things to try.
The goal is to give you 31 modules that each contain teaching, a challenge, and further reading using a combination of videos, audio files, printable worksheets and links.
There’s also a private Facebook group just for the students in the course to share what they’re doing and interact with each other on their journey.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Who is it for? Those who already have a blog; beginners to advanced bloggers; and groups.
Does it have to be done daily? No, it can be done at your own pace.
How much work is it? It varies depending on the stage you’re at; it usually takes 1–5 hours a week.
Tips for Taking the Course:
Regularity is key
We’re extending the Early Bird price of $49 until the end of June. When it turns midnight (Pacific time) on June 30, the price goes up to $99. So if you’re interested, sign up now.
Links and Resources for I Guarantee This Will Improve Your Blog:
Join our Facebook group
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Hi there and welcome to episode 253 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you to start an amazing blog that will hopefully change the world, change the lives of your readers, but also change your life as well both through the blogging experience which can bring you a lot of joy and ideas. Help you to develop your ideas, but also hopefully will become a profitable thing as well, that’s what we teach over at problogger.com.
Today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/253 that’s number 253. In this week’s episode, I want to touch base with you about our 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course, which I have mentioned a few times in passing over the last month or so. I’ve been talking about how it was coming and then last week, I mentioned that it was live and I had a number of you give me feedback that you needed a little bit more time to make a purchase.
A couple of things I want to let you know, firstly we’re going to extend the early bird discount a little bit until the end of the month but I also wanted to answer some of the questions today that we’ve had about the course and also talk a little bit about the backstory of the course as well. I want to talk today about why I first came out with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, how it has evolved, and particularly this last step in the evolution to bring it into a course rather than an ebook.
I want to talk a little bit about why I think this format has helped so many people. I hope you find that interesting for those of you who want to build a course, or a product as well. We’re going to talk about what’s in it, who it’s best suited for, and I want to answer some of those frequently asked questions about who it is for, how much work is involved, and then also want to give you a few tips on taking this course as well. For those of you who’ve already purchased and there’s quite a few of you who are already enrolled in the course as well.
If you’ve been wondering about whether this course is right for you, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, or if you’re just interested in the back story, and journey of creating a product like this, I hope you find this week’s episode useful to you. It is worth mentioning we are extending this early bird bonus until the end of June, so midnight Pacific Time, on 30th of June this year 2018, the price will go up from $49 US to $99 US.
You’ve got a 50% discount to get in early, and there’s one little condition on that, we do want your feedback on that. We’re sort of considering you as early bids as well so we want to gather as much information as we can from you on how we can improve that course. We’ve already been improving it from our early testers but we like to hear from you as well. If you do want that early access through the course, make sure you head to problogger.com/31days. It will also be linked in the show notes.
The reason we are extending the price is for two reasons, really. One, to allow those of you who need a little bit of time to get that money together. I know a $49 now for some of you isn’t that much money but for others of you, it is a big deal, and you need that little bit of late time to grab that together, so we wanted to extend that to make it as accessible as possible, and also we’ve had a few server upgrades going on at the moment. There have been a few brief periods over last the week because our resources area has been down and we got a few emails from people saying that you’ve been trying to access it. We just want to make sure everyone gets access to that by the 30th of June. Let’s get into today’s show.
The first question that I have had from a number of people is about the journey of 31 days. I know some of you are familiar with where 31 Days to Build a Better Blog came from. It really came from, I think it was back 2007 or 2006 even, where I came up with this idea for a 31-day blog post series. The reasons that I first ran that first series is that, I noticed that the things that really improved a blog, and the things that I’ve noticed in the journeys of other full time bloggers that I’ve met was that the secrets really were around, people were taking small consistent actions over time.
In fact, the small consistent actions that they were doing, writing a new blog post, responding to comments, these basic things were actually more important than almost anything else. It was really habit forming, that was the big thing that I noticed that really escalated the growth of a blog. Setting up routines, getting into the flow of creating content, getting into the flow of interacting with your audience, having an editorial calendar, and experimenting with different types of content. What I realized is that while still a lot of people were coming to ProBlogger, looking for the secret sauce, or the secret technique, those things can be interesting, and they can be fun, but what really was growing blogs was the small consistent actions, and habit forming, and doing was more important than knowing.
A lot of people came looking for the secrets of making money blogging at ProBlogger, but really, what I learned in the early days of ProBlogger was that, what seem to help bloggers the most was when I challenge them to take action rather than just to gain knowledge. I wanted to create this 31-day blog post series that was a little bit of teaching every day, a little bit of knowledge sharing, but was more based around challenging readers to take action.
I came up with this idea, by the end of the month I want you to have taken 31 actions. I did this blog post series and it went viral. It went crazy, bloggers from around the world, thousands and thousands of them took this challenge that I put out there over a month. By the end of the month, I was getting feedback from readers saying, “My traffic doubled this month.” Or “I’ve had more comments this month than I’ve ever had before.” Suddenly, I know what I’m doing with my blog. I’ve got a vision for my blog and I started getting these feedbacks from people that they really saw a lot of benefit from the learning but more importantly the doing.
I ran this series of blog post three times over a number of years, and every time I did this series, I updated it, I added more depth, I tweaked the challenges because over the years, blogging has changed and some of the things in that first challenge really didn’t relate three years later when I did it again. I tweaked it every year, and in the last year, I think it was 2009 or 2010, I turned it into an ebook, and that was based upon readers saying, “Hey, we know it’s all on the blog already for free, but we want it in the one kind of place where we can keep coming back to it. We want to be able to print it out, we want to be able to keep coming back to it, and doing it again, and again.” Because it was actually a 31-day process that you could do more than once.
I turned it into an ebook, not really sure whether anyone would buy the ebook, but very quickly found once I released it that it was a very popular product, and we sold tens of thousands of copies of that ebook in the year or so after I launched it. I updated it again in 2012 because as I said, things were changing in the blogosphere, and some of the challenges were becoming a little bit dated, so I came up with seven new challenges for the second edition.
Late last year, we realized, well 2012 when we did the second edition was quite a long time ago, six years have passed and again, things have been changing, and this product, this ebook needed to be updated again, and we began to ask ourselves, should we do it as an ebook? Should we do it as a course, or in some other format? We kind of landed on the idea all modernizing it, updating it, both in terms of the challenges. There are some new challenges in this one if you’ve taken it before, but also in terms of the delivery method.
I realized that a lot of people were benefiting from the podcast that I’ve been doing, and a lot of people preferred hearing and viewing content teaching. My team and I begin to put together this new version of 31-days to build a better blog as a course. The course is a combination of a number of things, some of it is repurposed, you all have had little bits of it on that the podcast in the past. There’s some references and further reading to blog articles as well, there are some printable worksheets that we’ve put together for it. the idea is still the same, every day or every module I should say, you’ll get a bit of teaching, and then most importantly, you’ll get a challenge to go away and do, and you also get a little bit of further reading as well, and to actually share what you’re doing in our Facebook group as well.
This has involved since the early versions of the ebook, some of the challenges are still the same activity but we’ve added depth, we’ve added some further reading, we’ve added some more suggestions, so it is a deep and different experience to those of you who have had the ebook before. Every module, you get a video presentation and you can also download that as an audio file if you prefer just to listen while you’re out on your walk, you get printable worksheets, and also some links to some further reading, and some for that listening as well. There’s also a private Facebook group just for course students where you can share what you’re doing, and interact with other students on the journey.
A few other commonly asked questions that we have been getting about this, the number one is who is it for? ProBlogger listeners span the whole breath of experience. we’ve got people listening to this podcast right now who have not even started a blog, we’ve got others who have started a blog in the first month, and then others who three or four years in, and then others who listen to this who are 10, 12, 15 years in the blogging as well. So who is this course designed for?
We’ve actually designed it for a number of groups, probably not everyone in that spectrum. Particularly those who are just starting out, so those of you who have a blog, and I need to emphasize that if you haven’t yet got a blog, this course isn’t for you. I would highly recommend you go back and start out, start a blog course, which is a free course that you can also find on ProBlogger. This course, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is much better for those of you who have just started a blog, that’s one of the groups that I think it’s ideal for. If you’ve done the start a blog course, this is designed almost to take you on your next steps.
We kind of almost toyed with the idea of calling this your first 31 days of blogging. We didn’t do that because I think it also is relevant for those of you who are a bit further along the journey as well. If you’re just starting out, this is a great course to follow on. It’s a good companion course if you like to start a blog course. Number two group that this is ideal for is anyone who’s got an intermediate kind of level of blogging but maybe your blog needs a kick start in some way. I can relate to this, it’s been periods in my own blogging even in the last few years where I’ve kind of just needed a burst of something to really kick start the blog again.
I spoke with one blogger this morning who is loving doing the course. She’s been blogging now for four or five years, but her bloggers hit a plateau. It grew and grew, she’s a full time blogger but it’s just been slowing, and whining a little bit, and she realized that some of that was because of her, some of that was because she was a bit bored with blogging. She needed this kind of little injection of energy. She found 31 days as a good way to give her a framework I guess to be more intentional about her blog.
I also spoke with another blogger who is using 31 Days to Build a Better Blog to re-launch her blog. Her blog has been dormant for a couple of months because she’s had some other stuff going on in her life, and so she is using this course to help her kind of get it back up and going again, and to refocus it in some ways. I do know a few advanced bloggers who also have used the ebook version of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as something to I guess give him that little injection of energy every now and again to give them a little bit of inspiration. The way we’ve designed this is that you can take it as 31 days in 31 days if you like and I’ll talk about the frequency of how you need to take it in a moment.
You can also come back to it again, and again, and one of the things I found really interesting, I was actually at a conference late last year, at a theme con and someone came out and said, “You know, I do 31 Days to Build a Better Blog every year.” And I was like, why do you do it every year? And they bought it in 2009, they’re doing the first version every year, and he said, that it was just something that he does every October, and October is the month that he does it, and he works through it and he’s found it really helpful to kind of just ask himself the questions around the daily challenges, and once he doesn’t learn a lot from it, the challenge of doing something in each of these 31 areas has been enough for him.
It may be useful for those of you who are more at that advanced end, but we have designed it more for beginner bloggers and intermediate bloggers particularly, and that’s who we’ve seen getting the most value out of it. The other thing I mentioned is that it is also ideal for bloggers who want to do it together, there is a group, a very small group of fashion bloggers, we’re going through it together right now, I’ve had an email from one of those this morning. It’s just a little Facebook group of five fashion bloggers, and they’ve all enrolled in the course together. That’s something that I’ve seen in the past that has worked quite well, bloggers within a niche doing it together, or even bloggers outside of a niche.
There’s a couple of Facebook groups around who have taken the ebook version together in the past. That’s one of the things I actually have noticed, and we’ll talk about this in a moment, when you do this together, when you have that accountability, it can really help to accentuate the good things that come out of it in some ways. The second most common question that I get asked is, does it have to be done daily? Absolutely not. Whilst we’ve certainly called it 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, that was because the first blog post series was rolled out on a daily basis.
We’ve actually designed this course version to be taken at your own pace. We actually ran this course with about 100 beta testers a few months ago, and we’ve surveyed them, and most of the responses that came back is that they took it, or they’re expecting to take it over two to three months. So it seems like the average is that people are working through a module every two to three days instead of a daily basis. That’s possibly because we’ve added a little bit more depth into this version of the course. Also, we’ve all got plenty of other things going on in our lives, and really to take this course, you need to put aside a little bit of time for learning, to listen to, and watch the video presentation, and work on the worksheets, but then you also need to put aside a little bit of time for doing the activity, and some of the activities do take a little bit more time than others.
Which leads me to the third question I get asked is, how much work does it take? Let me just say though, I do know bloggers who have taken this course faster than 31 days. If you do have a lot of time in your hands at the moment, maybe you are having a mid semester break at college, or university, or maybe you’ve got a couple weeks of work, you probably could do the whole lot in a couple of weeks if you really pushed hard, but most people do seem to be taking it at a slower pace. I know a number of people who are even doing it one module per week, and they got a list of to do after 31 weeks.
That next question, how much work is it? That’s an interesting one, there’s no one answer to this. We’ve designed the module so that you can consume each module in terms of the teaching of the module in less than an hour, some of them are less than that, some of them are kind of pushed right up to the A mark. As I mentioned a few times, you’re not going to get a lot of benefit out of this course if you just do the learning parts of it, you really need to turn that into action.
Every day, we do give you a challenge, and in a couple of days, we give you a couple of things to do as well. This will vary a bit, depending on the day. Some of the days take a little bit more work than others, some of the days, you probably could do in an hour, so the learning might be half an hour, the doing might be another hour. Some of the days, you might actually need to put aside a few hours as well. It will also vary a little bit as to whether you’re a beginner blogger or a more intermediate blogger because some of the things you’ll find, if you’re an intermediate blogger, you might have already done some of the challenges, and so, you may be able to use that day more to evaluate how you’re going.
For example, day 19 is about email newsletters, and so, for those of you just starting out, the challenge is to start an email newsletter. You’re going to have a bit of work to do, we’ll give you some tips on things to think about in doing that. Now, if you’ve already got a newsletter, you don’t need to do some of that work, but you could use that day to evaluate how your newsletter has already gone. that might take less time, so it will vary from person to person, most of those who are already doing the course, again, we survey them, and most of them are saying they’re spending between one and five hours a week on the course.
Again, it’s designed for you to take at your own pace. If you don’t have five hours a week, you could just slow the pace down a little bit and work through it, and move on to the next module when you are finished. We do have some emails that will go out during the process just to prompt you to keep moving for the course, we want to keep people moving through because we know the people who get the most value are the ones who complete it but really, you are able to take this completely at your own pace.
Lastly, I want to just give you a few tips for those of you who are thinking about doing the course, those of you who are already signed up, the number one thing that I found in talking to a lot of students of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is the people who do get to the end, the people who do get the most benefit are the people who seem to send a scheduled time to do it. I’ve been guilty of this, I’ve signed up for courses, I’ve taken ebooks, and I think to myself, well, I’m going to do that course one day when I get time, and I know that when I take that attitude with any kind of teaching, whether that be a formal learning qualification at a university or something else, like an ebook, or a course online, I don’t tend to move through it. I don’t tend to finish it unless I’ve scheduled time for it.
I would highly recommend that you put in your diary a little bit of time every day, or a limited time every week, depending on your schedule but actually, put aside time to do it. Like I say, don’t just put aside time to learn, put aside time to do, that’s really important. The second thing I’ve noticed is that the people who seem to get the most out of this have accountability. Whether you are going to use our Facebook group for that, there’s a private Facebook group, or whether you’re going to take a buddy through the course, or do it as a group, or whether you’ve just got an offline friend who knows nothing about blogging who you ask to keep you accountable, I really encourage you to find some way of keeping accountable to keep you moving through this course, and to keep you taking action, and that’s the most important thing again and again.
Which leads me to the last tip, the people who get the most out of this really do take action, the temptation is just to listen, just to learn, and then to put the doing aside for one day. As we all know, one day tends not to happen, and it leads to regret later on. Schedule time to learn, but also schedule time to do, and that’s really important.
The last thing I will say is that we do have a 60-day guarantee on this product. We always have had guarantees, money back guarantees on all of our products. Personally, I would much rather have you as a happy, ongoing reader or listener, than having your $49—$49 will be great, that helps me to sustain ProBlogger to keep the podcast running, to pay my team, and fund my life and my children’s life as well.
I much prefer to have an ongoing relationship with you as a listener, as a reader, than having your $49. Feel free to take advantage of that guarantee, to enroll, start interacting with the course, find out whether it’s for you or not, if it’s not quite for you, contact our support team and they will arrange a full refund for you, no questions asked.
Do feel free to take advantage of that, and lastly, I really would love your feedback on how we can improve it if you’ve already taken the course, let our team know, just send our team an email via our contact form, or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how we can improve that course as well.
Lastly, remember the early bird price is $49 US, that’s 50% off, but that will go up on the 1st of July midnight, on the 30th of June. Again, go to problogger.com/31days for the link and more information on what’s included.
I hope that answers all your questions, if you do have more questions on 31 days, any aspect of it, please shoot our team an email, email@example.com or you can shoot us an email via social media or in our Facebook group as well. thank you for listening today, we look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 254, and I look forward to seeing some of you in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Facebook group as well. Thanks for listening, chat next week.
You’ve been listening to ProBlogger. If you’d like to comment on any of today’s topics or subscribe to the series, find us at problogger.com/podcast. Tweet us @problogger. Find us at facebook.com/problogger or search ProBlogger on iTunes.
This episode of the ProBlogger podcast was edited by the team at PodcastMotor who offer a great range of services including helping you to setup and launch your podcast as well as ongoing editing and production of the podcast that you produce. You can check them out at podcastmotor.com.
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