Like many of you, I was reading Problogger even before I started blogging.

Darren Rowse has become one of the biggest names in blogging and continues to attract readers by the thousands. As a professional blogger, he’s done it all, including co-authoring a book titled: ProBlogger: Secrets Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.

With that being said, it’s an honor to have Darren be part of my A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series. We begin with an answer that undoubtedly explains why he and Problogger have been so successful.

Let’s get started:

I Asked

You’ve been blogging since 2002, have gained enormous success and notoriety, and boast a subscriber count of 50900+. What techniques worked best to increase the readership of your blog?

Darren Answered

There are so many things that come together to increase readership – let me list a few:

• Engaging, unique and useful content – without writing something useful your blog will never attract anyone.
• Building a sense of anticipation – people will subscribe to a blog that they feel will give them something useful information in the future.
• Community – building something that people have a sense of belonging to is very powerful.
• Blogging with Emotion and Opinion – most blogs just repeat what everyone else is writing about but when you add opinion and emotion to your writing people will be drawn in and stimulated to add their own opinion.
• Prolific writing over the long term – blogs take time to build up.

Reflecting On The Answer

Thank you Darren for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your answer.

As Darren stated, it’s not just one thing that helps to increase our readership, but a combination of factors.

Todays Assignment

Based on Darren’s answer, will what he said affect how you blog in the future?

Or do you feel you’re on the right path?


Photo Credit: Darren Rowse/Problogger

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Look Who's Talking
  1. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. Welcome back; missed you! Hope you had a relaxing holiday.

    You are starting the week off on a high note. Darren’s blog is filled to the rim with useful information. After reading his answers to your question, I feel I’m on the right track. My blog is still a baby but I’m enjoying watching things develop and looking forward to continuing for a long time.

    Davina´s last blog post..Thanks, It Means The World To Me

  2. Welcome back Barbara!

    Firstly, I should disclose that Darren Rowse has an icon status in the blogosphere regardless of whether some xyz bloggers make more money than him or not. He never comes up with junk post, most of the posts are carefully crafted with a lot of unique info.

    Now, I wouldn’t mind if I can take my blog to problogger level :) but I have a reasonably successful profile in the software industry and that is my first love. However, if things improve dramatically, I might give even more importance to blogging.

    The following are the issues that I am facing right now:
    – Building a community: I am not entirely into social media/networking community building mode yet
    – Perhaps, I should increase the frequency (to something like 5 per week as against 3) of my posts while keeping the numbere of good big posts the same. You can get more frequent visits and more RSS readers only if you have like 1 post per day or so.

    Cheers,
    Ajith

    Ajith Edassery´s last blog post..Compete.com – Traffic and site analytics solution

  3. Dave FowlerNo Gravatar says:

    Welcome back Barbara,

    It’s a pleasure to read what Darren has to say. I get the impression that he genuinely wants to help people to blog better (just like you).

    I’m still overwhelmed by the experience of blogging. It would be tough enough as it is but I’m trying to juggle blogging with being a stay at home dad.

    The prospect of taking even more on, like social networking, scares me. Honestly it does. Where would I find the time needed for that.

    I feel that what I’m putting out is a little contrived and I feel somewhat conficted at the moment as I struggle with the early days of blogging and finding my voice, so I’m just trying to relax into it and have some fun.

    The rest will come.

    I’ll get there, I’m sure :)

    Dave Fowler´s last blog post..The Hundred Square

  4. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    Let me echo the sentiments of your other commenters and say welcome back! :-)

    I have learned a great deal about the art of blogging from reading problogger.

    Darren is a master of the medium and the scope of his expertise has provided me with much useful information over the past few months.

    Once again, I personally like the advice that building a passionate community around a blog is a key factor in gaining readers.

    When a blog has evangelists supporting it both online and off, the effects of positive word-of-mouth can only be of benefit.

    When faced with so many out there, it’s good to get a personal recommendation from someone that a blog is worth subscribing to.

  5. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    Welcome back Barbara, I missed you. Hope you had a relaxing time and I know you were blogging without a blog on napkins, writing down ideas for future blog posts :)

    Now on to your question: I don’t think I will be changing much of how the way I write on my blog…I just try to remember to be myself….I can’t fake writing, if i have something useful to share it will be because I have used or done it and that emotion or genuineness should come through in my writing. I hope the anticipation is always there on my blog, it certainly is for me, I never know what I will blog about and I don’t think anyone else does either, so it’s nice to keep us all guessing. I could work on building a larger community by reaching out to other bloggers through other means…like I joined twitter and that’s about all the social networking i can do besides the ones I’m already on.

    Good to have you back.

    Natural´s last blog post..Down In the Dumps: Write this Way

  6. I think I could be in the right path, but walking in baby steps. There are things that are hard to know, as if my posts are truly engaging or not. I try them to be.

    As for prolific I am straining myself to my limits right now. I cope thanks to scheduling and batching. That is I have posts written -or drafted- weeks in advance.

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..A story of two pencils (Life: use it or lose it)

  7. Eric HammNo Gravatar says:

    I won’t necessarily change what I’ve been doing as much as it confirmed what I’ve been finding out over the months. There’s no doubt that most bloggers just regurgitate information and that by adding unique info as well as emotion and opinion you will be engaging your audience much more effectively. And creating something that your readers can anticipate and therefore not want to miss a single future post is more great advice.

    It’s great that you’ve been able to share Darren’s time with us. He’s an amazingly nice guy who is a success as a person AS WELL as a blogger.

    Eric Hamm´s last blog post..Simplicity: Get Rid Of Crap Week!

  8. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    It’s good to see you back, but it was also good to see you take a break. We should all take the time to do so.

    I think I need to keep doing what I am doing with my blog. I am going to be putting up some useful content related to hip-hop and the radio show. I know that some of my readers aren’t that interested in my music posts so I won’t switch my focus. Besides, there are enough music blogs out there already.

    I like that my blog doesn’t have a singular focus. I’ve found some readers. It’s not huge but I don’t want to lose them.

    Chase March´s last blog post..Twice as Much Work

  9. *I hope you had a rejuvenating vacation*

    I think CreateaBalance.com is on the right track. There is a lot of room to grow, expand, and learn, but here are some of my current celebrations…

    – I work hard to develop content around my core framework for practicing life balance.
    – I love my online community and look forward to watching it grow.
    – I write with emotion and opinion.
    – I consciously developed a writing practice to strengthen my writing ability.

    I like what Darren said about building a sense of anticipation. I’m working on that one too. :)

    Stacey / CreateaBalance´s last blog post..How To Embrace a Money Recess

  10. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    What a nice surprise! To see Darren being featured here! I’m wondering if “Blogging with Emotion and Opinion” may turn some readers off. Wouldn’t becoming emotional in your post also invite charged-up comments that are opposed to what your own opinion is?

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Can The Artist See The Big Picture?

  11. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Darren is one of a kind and I’ve learned a lot from him. When I purged my feedreader of blogging “experts” Darren’s blog is one that I kept because he is certainly an expert…, plus he’s always nice about it.

    The thing he said that resonated with me is to not blog what everyone else is blogging about, but rather to blog with your own emotion and opinion.

    Mike Goad´s last blog post..To Market — To Market

  12. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    Darren is pretty amazing! He is spot on about adding emotion and opinion of your own. I put myself “out there” when I blog…and find I get more comments when I am raw and honest. People want to read something interesting. Also, it’s how you differentiate form everyone else.

    Caroline´s last blog post..Why I really love autumn…

  13. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I think the one thing I’m not doing well, but am poised to be able to do, is building anticipation. I’m doing series, but I’m not building them up. I could certainly do that better.

    Another thing I’ve seen Darren as well as some other successful bloggers do is post a retrospective, so readers can see at a glance some of the interrelated posts. Such as, all of my travel arrangements posts, or my receptionist tips posts (which are my most popular posts, they get more search engine love than all my other posts put together).

    I actually have a lot of opinion in my posts, but they tend to come out more as facts *laughs*. What can I say, I’m very sure of my opinions.

  14. I think I’m pretty much on the right path. :)

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Women Who Say No To Photoshopping

  15. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – hope you had a good break. Like you – I visited Problogger before I knew what a blog was. The only thing I haven’t got quite right yet is creating anticipation through series posts.

    Darren blogged about it a few months ago. And I tried it but the trouble is with me and series posts, I tend to get bored with the topic and want to write something else instead. So sometimes I don’t finish the whole series and when I do – the gaps I leave are too long.

  16. I love what Darren had to say, so succinctly.

    I think he’s right on with each and every point. Brilliant how he elucidated such value in such a short summary.

    The point that stands out the most is this:

    Engaging, unique and useful content – without writing something useful your blog will never attract anyone.

    And this:

    Blogging with Emotion and Opinion – most blogs just repeat what everyone else is writing about but when you add opinion and emotion to your writing people will be drawn in and stimulated to add their own opinion.

    Bamboo Forest´s last blog post..7 Paths to Excessive Wealth

  17. Besides ProBlogger, don’t forget that he has an additional 139,000 subscribers at Digital Photography School!

    Hunter Nuttall´s last blog post..MBTI Trial Week 1: Extraversion (Recap)

  18. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi All – I’m back. Thanks again for the well wishes.

    Hi Davina – Yes, Darren’s blog is a great resource for bloggers. Digging through his archives is a wonderful way to find many hidden treasures. He definitely practices what he preaches.

    Hi Ajith – You’re right. Darren makes sure each of his posts hold value and unique information.

    Hi Dave – You’ve got the right attitude. Blogging is about having fun and enjoying what we write about. It’s when we put additional pressure on ourselves that problems can arise. Like you, I know I can’t do it all, so I do what I can, the best I can.

    Hi Scott – Well said. Darren is a master of the medium. It’s such an honor to have someone like him in our midst, from which to learn.

    Hi Natural – You do have the anticipation part down for your blog. Like you said, not many of us really know what we’re going to write about next, so it makes it exciting not only for our readers, but for us, as blog authors.

    Hi Miguel – Taking baby steps is a great idea. It’s a good way to learn and feel comfortable with each phase of blogging before taking on more.

    Hi Eric – That’s right. We all just regurgitate information. It’s in the process of putting it into our own words that we create a blog that others enjoy visiting.

    Hi Chase – Having diversity in your blog works well for you. Although each post of ours won’t appeal to everyone, in general if someone likes our writing, they’ll keep coming back.

    Hi Stacey – I hear you. We all have room to grow, expand and learn. It’s when we think we know it all, our writing begins to suffer.

    Hi Evelyn – With regard to writing with emotion and opinion, I think that goes back to, “it’s not what we say, it’s how we say it”. Although some bloggers love creating confrontation, I think we can open up our comment section to a spirited discussion without having it get out of control.

    Hi Mike – Yes, Darren is one of a kind, isn’t he? Although many claim to be experts, he is definitely one, and his willingness to share makes his blog a “must read”.

    Hi Caroline – You’ve nailed it. When we do put ourselves “out there” and write raw and honest words, it resonates with many.

    Hi Jodith – Building anticipation does take a knack. It reminds me of when I read a mystery. I’m always anxious to turn the page and see what happens next.

    Hi Vered – Yes, I agree, you are on the right path. :)

    Hi Catherine – I know exactly what you mean about getting bored with a topic. If we’re writing a series, it’s easy to neglect the next installment and change our focus to that which we’re dying to share.

    Hi Bamboo – Yes. Darren answered the question brilliantly? His answer is short, to the point, and brimming with value.

    Hi Hunter – You’re right. Digital Photography School is another one of his many endeavors. 139,000 subscribers? Amazing!

  19. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I have found that as long as your content is as Darren states, your blog will be read by many. It does take a long time but
    they will come. I have also found that being truthful is a must!

    Linda´s last blog post..Weekend To Do List!

  20. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: I love Darren’s blog, thank you for this interview. My blog posts are a little impersonal–I provide information I’ve gathered from conducting research–although I do let my personality shine through whenever I can, especially in the comments section. Now I’m thinking that maybe in the conclusion of each of my posts I could add something personal about how I’m applying these concepts in my life.

    Marelisa´s last blog post..14 Tips to Stay Young

  21. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    ” Blogs take time to build up” I will take this to heart.

    chris´s last blog post..My Back

  22. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi there Barbara – do we get to see the holiday snaps? :-)

    I’m glad I read ProBlogger for a while before I started my blog (I had to physically restrain myself from starting my blog for a while because I had another writing project I had to attend to first – but I couldn’t help peeking at Darren’s blog). I didn’t realise for a little while he lives in the same city as me – I was oblivious to the accent, and assumed he was in the US!

    Robin´s last blog post..Why We Want To Live

  23. Hello Barbara – welcome back!

    Lots of interesting thoughts from Darren and in the comments so far. You got some info from him I hadn’t heard before, which was great.

    I see so many diferent kinds of blogs that are successful. There are some whose success makes perfect sense, and others I don’t really understand.

    One thing for sure – and Darren is a very good example – it takes a lot of hard work!

    Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..Our Adoption Story, Part 1

  24. Hi Barbara –

    Well, I certainly hope my blog is going in the right direction but . . . only time will tell, right? As Darren says above “blogs take time to build up.”

    And I have the same problem as Cath – I try to write a series about a particular topic and find myself bored with it before I’ve done the whole series I originally intended. Same with schedules – I tried posting on a schedule and that just didn’t work well, either.

    I’m glad you’re back and I hope your vacation was great! Honestly, though, I didn’t even realize you were gone! (SORRY!!) I’ve been so busy, my poor RSS had 1,000’s of unread posts – just haven’t had the time for much. But I’m catching up! And yours is the first one I read! 😉

    ~ Annie

    Annie Anderson´s last blog post..Review: Keen Shoes

  25. MayaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    You have been missed!

    You really got me thinking on this one …
    While I am mentally aware of what I need to do, I am giving all of it some time …I am trying to figure out that happy meeting point for my readers and me. I am certainly feeling more comfortable being open on my blog, which I think is a good thing (i hope!)

    Maya´s last blog post..The key to happiness and balance is right with you, just learn to use it – Part 2 of the thinkmaya framework

  26. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Linda – I agree, truthfulness rules. If we steer our readers in the wrong direction, our credibility can quickly be lost.

    Hi Marelisa – That’s a great idea to add something personal to the conclusion of your blog posts. Sharing with others how the information has helped us, gives our readers a better idea of who we are.

    Hi Chris – No truer words were spoken. Blogs do take time to build.

    Hi Robin – Unfortunately I don’t have too many holiday snapshots. If I have any worth sharing, I will. :)

    That’s pretty cool that you and Darren live in the same city, and to think you thought he lived in the US.

    Hi Vintage Mommy – Yes, Darren provided a fabulous answer. I like the fact it’s basic yet very helpful information.

    Hi Annie – LOL. I hear you and know what it’s like when the RSS reader full of posts to read with a limited amount of time to read them.

    I agree, the series we start can get sidetracked. The commitment they take is often underestimated.

    Hi Maya – You’re right. It does take time to reach that happy medium. Based on my experience, it seemed to happen naturally.

  27. Hi Barbara!
    Well, we might feel like we’re on “the right path” but truth-be-told, there’s always room for improvement!
    Writing great content is what will initially attract increased readership. But you need to establish an immediate sense of community in order for that readership to stay and build over time. Without people engaging, there’s just no point, don’t you think? I think Darren gets that (heck, I”m sure he gets it). He gives to his community and it thrives because he’s there with them, engaging and being present. He might not respond to “every” comment, but he’s there, eliciting discussion from all of his community members. It’s a thriving community and it’s because he engages and gives to his members. (Kinda like you Barbara).

    Ricardo Bueno´s last blog post..5 Things That’ll Ruin Your Blog

  28. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ricardo – Oh yes, I agree. All of us always have room for improvement. Just like in life, we never stop learning.

    With regard to community. Although some blogs can survive and grow without it, having that engagement with our readers is what drives us on. Just like for you, it’s the community that forms that makes blogging such a joy. Our readers/commenters can inspire us in ways that are indescribable.

  29. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Welcome back Barbara!

    I think the key for me is – am I sharing emotion in my writing? I try to, and sometime I know I do that, but other times I’m not sure that’s coming across. So, I will be working on that.

    Thanks Barbara, and Darren!

    Lance´s last blog post..Life’s A Balancing Act

  30. Hi Barbara,

    You were right when you said I might have been reading Darren before I ever started Blogging. I was! He was one of the reasons I thought blogging sounded so exciting. I think he made it look so easy. Hahahaha! One of things I like about darren’s style is that he is unique to himself. He doesn’t follow the crowd, he is a leader. I thought about that when I started blogging too. I wanted my place to be unique and have its own flaver and I got that thought from reading Darren first.

    Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s last blog post..My Dog Missed the Memo

  31. Hi Barbara,

    Good show you interviewing the giants of the industry. We all appreciate it. I love the brevity in Darren’s response.

    I’m doing very well on all of his points except being prolific. In 13 months of blogging I’ve only averaged about 1.5 posts weekly. I’m aware of that and plan on getting it up to two a week and then we’ll see. I’m feeling good though about my unique voice and community-building.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Finding Your Path to a Successful Business Startup

  32. RitaNo Gravatar says:

    Barb,

    There must be something wrong with my computer…this is the third time I left what I believed was a thoutful respsome to your blog, yet my commetns keep going to blog Putgartory. Are you aware of what coud posslby be wrong with my laptop?

    Rita

  33. Hi,

    First I have to say that hadn’t even heard of Darren before I started blogging. I respect his work and appreciate his articles but when I read then I feel inadequate – like I don’t do anything right. I know that’s my own insecurities but …

    I find that emotional and opinionated really does help – some of my most popular articles have been when I added something personal to them – I’m trying to that more.

    Thanks for the interview!

    Kim Woodbridge´s last blog post..Writing: First Article at Environmental Graffiti

  34. Dr. CasonNo Gravatar says:

    I think I have to keep reminding myself that things take time. Life goes on and the blog is still there. Waiting patiently. Tapping her fingers.

    I’ve tried to be a self help blog, then a medical blog, then photos. It still hasn’t come all together. And now that clinic is busier it’s even hard to answer the people who visit and go visit other people. I have stopped worrying about how to grow my blog but just hang on to the people I have!

    :) welcome back!

    Dr. Cason´s last blog post..Bali Cooking School

  35. I’d agree about inserting emotion and add that it’s a key part of building community. I get most attached to blogs in which the writer opens about their problems and their happiness.

    And as a writer, each time I post something that’s from the gut (instead of the brain), I appreciate each and every comment so much more. It happened to me on Saturday, and opening up made me excited about writing again.

    (And dude—nice job scoring an interview with Darren!)

    Sara at On Simplicity´s last blog post..Weekly Links: Stinky Couch Edition

  36. Hello Barbara. Congrats on hooking up and interviewing Darren, that’s pretty cool.

    I try to keep much of those things he mentioned in mind while I write. One thing I saw him say once in another interview was the first thing he subconsciously asks himself when arriving on a new site or blog is, “What does this person want me to do?”

    Click here / Read this / Sign up for that / download, etc.

    I think that’s great advice that everyone should keep in mind when designing their site.

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz´s last blog post..eVentureBiz Web Hosting Services Ad Feedback

  37. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Lance – I agree, at times it is hard to share emotion. But then again, some subjects aren’t conducive to it.

    Hi Wendi – You’re right. Darren does make blogging look easy. It’s not until we get further into it when we realize it’s time consuming and sometimes far from easy.

    Hi Tom – That was what I noticed, too. Darren is great at using brevity and using each word to it’s fullest. I feel so honored that he took time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions which will be posted over the next few weeks.

    Hi Rita – I hope you get your computer fixed soon. Unfortunately I’m technologically challenged so I don’t know what to tell you.

    Hi Kim – Yes, adding those personal touches do make blog posts more popular. Readers seem to want to read more about what’s “in our heads”.

    Hi Dr. Cason – Don’t worry. Your blog will “come together”. It does take time and lots of patience.

    Hi Sara – Thank you. I find that interesting how writing one post from the gut has motivated you to write more. Isn’t that a great feeling?

    Hi John – Thank you. I agree. When someone lands on our blogs, we need to guide them into “doing something”, and hopefully not click off.

  38. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Welcome back Barbara and I hope you had a good re-creation while away.
    I am working my way through the Problogger book and feel that I am on the right track. I thought Darren’s list was very concise and that was refreshing to think about.

    Patience is not one of my virtues, knowing that about myself, I still think I am going about this in the right manner and form. I think my writing is better and certainly shorter! over the last 6 months, and my subscriber’s list just gradually grows…

    I am concerned that with the economic problems right now people are afraid to buy things…and so I am still not making an income, even with some very good advice from the books and other bloggers…Thank you Vered, Cath and Barbara, Liz and Darren.

    I think not being technically skilled is a hindrance that I am not getting better at or fast enough – when frustrated I write or read and don’t stick to finding the solution.

    Thanks for the post today, just what I needed to read.

    Patricia´s last blog post..American Ingenuity – or Crisis Intervention to Discover Success

  39. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Patricia- Yes, Darren’s answer was very concise, to the point and filled with a lot of value.

    You do bring up a good point. With the current economy, people may not be buying as much so online sales will probably see a decrease. In time, that should turn around. That’s where we all have to have patience.

  40. […] Read other answers in the A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series. A.S.K. Darren Rowse of Problogger – How Do We Increase Our Readership A.S.K. Andy Bailey – What Was The Inspiration Behind The CommentLuv Plugin A.S.K. Liz Strauss – How […]

  41. I read someplace that whenever you write something, you should ask yourself: “so what”

    Once you can’t ask “so what” question, then you’ll know that you explained the topic you were writing about.

    Congrats on hooking up and interviewing Darren, that’s pretty cool btw :)

    Quality massage tables´s last blog post..Shampoo bowls and Shampoo units

  42. We’re already experiencing a slight decrease in online sales, but we’re providing fresh content anyways.

    Being technical is not essential for increasing your blog readership, all it takes is to write regularly on your blog and to be unique and you’ll definitely gain readership after time.

    cheers!

    cheap salon equipment´s last blog post..Salon Equipment Packages

  43. You have shared some vital information with your A.S.K. series.
    As a newish blogger, I thank you!

    Karen