I recently had the opportunity to receive a free copy of a paperback book to review in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion –  Dana Sibilsky’s Tips to Successful and Profitable Blogging

I’m not a fast reader, sadly, because I get easily distracted by the 4,000 things happening around me. I had to force myself to sit down and make time to read it. Thankfully, it’s not a long book, and it’s broken down in easy to read and digest chunks which made it great for someone like me who likes to read and wants to read, but can’t concentrate. I have many, many books downloaded to my iPad and in “real” book form that are on my must read list.

Blogging Book Review v2

Dana takes the time to walk you through various aspects of successful and profitable blogging.

Identifying an Area of Expertise for Your Blog

My takeaway: Well, this is where I failed miserably. I just wanted to start blogging so I did. I didn’t really sit down and think of what I wanted to talk about specifically or narrow it down. I started out wanting to write about “what is my craft” knowing that everyone’s “craft” is different – cooking, sewing, baking, crochet, and more. I expanded a bit into writing about wonderful small businesses that I have had the pleasure of working with, and then I started sharing my favorite charities, and recipes! So, I still don’t have a narrow focus, but I kind of like it that way.  It keeps it exciting {for me} – and I hope that’s the case for my readers as well.

Developing a Unique Voice

My takeaway: In real life I love to be the “class clown” and laugh whenever possible. So, I do try to incorpate that sense of humor into everything I write to show that even when things aren’t great a little laughter can get you through!

Writing Skill Refinement

My takeaway: “No matter what you read, read it attentively. Pay close attention to every bit of punctuation and try to hear the music of the words when they are read aloud so that when you read your own work you are able to do so critically.”

If you are like me, sometimes it is hard to read your own words and be critical of them or see where you can do better. You wrote it, so it’s great, right?

Another take away about writing skill refinement is Dana’s bullet points of advice that can be used to help refine your writing and allow you to find strategies that work best for you.

  • Read often, and read attentively
  • Devote small blocks of time to practice each day (I write lots of things – not just my blog so I find lots of ways to practice writing for all audiences)
  • Take revising seriously, but don’t agonize over it (I often write something that I plan to publish on a later date which gives me the ability to write it, and then go back to it later and re-read it with a fresh set of eyes)
  • Welcome any and all feedback (I contributed to a book a while ago and it was hard for me to share with friends and family and ask for feedback on what is my personal story, but doing so helped me change some things to make it better.  You can grab a copy of The20Project on Amazon).

Choosing the Best Web Hosting and Writing Platform

My takeaway: Do your homework and research the options. Talk to other bloggers. Don’t just choose something on the fly. I worked with a friend who is a web designer and she helped lead me in the right direction. My host is BlueHost and I have been VERY happy with them.

Bluehost.com Web Hosting $3.95

Building an Audience

I struggle with this. I share my posts on Social Media and on my personal Facebook page, but I don’t want to spam people. I feel like I have good to great content, yet the readership and the high numbers aren’t there. So, I really need to follow Dana’s points:

  • Focus on the quality of the work you produce
  • Politely engage your audience on a regular basis
  • Build a “brand” (this is the hardest one to me)
  • Utilize social media to promote your work (I do this, but I feel like with so many other people and pages out there to follow I don’t get eyes on my stuff)
  • Write guest posts for other blogs (I’ve done this, but I need to be more proactive for sure!)
  • Accept freelance assignments whenever possible

The Importance of Positive Brand Development and Promotion

I still struggle with this.  I’m not really sure what my “brand” is, but I do try to do all I can to present my business in a positive light. I work to help others on behalf of my business. One of my original goals with starting a business (and even of dreaming of one when I was young) was to earn enough money to help those in need.

Additional Considerations Concerning the Use of Social Media

My takeaway: Promoting yourself as a professional blogger is important, and Dana offers these great tips:

  • Be active on a variety of social media platforms
  • Be cautious regarding what you post
  • Focus your activity on promoting your work
  • Understand social media’s unique language
  • Be polite and professional at all times

I think the point about being polite and professional is very important. I try to not engage anyone in a way that would create a problem or come across the wrong way, but it is so hard to ensure you never offend anyone. Tread lightly and always think before you speak or post something.

THINK before you speak

Determining the Best Strategy for Monetizing Your Blog

Not everyone writes a blog in an effort to earn an income, but if you do you will want a strategy. You will want to determine how you want to earn the income. For those who are readers of my blog, and don’t have your own blog…I do earn an income from my blog.  the banners and links you see at the bottom of my home page are affiliate partners, I often have other shops and blogs who might pay to advertise on my blog, and I have various links that earn money throughout my website and blog posts.  I try not to “push” it too much because I don’t want anyone to get turned off by it, but the different outlets I use to earn an income help me to provide giveaways on my blog and Facebook page, give to charity, and help others in need. As I mentioned above, that has been one of my goals for a long time. The more I make from those links and affiliate partners the more I can give back to my readers and customers and also help those in need! Each time you purchase through one of my links I am closer to meeting those goals!

You can learn more by following Dana on her personal blog | Createspace | website. And I shared a link to purchase the book in the opening paragraph.

Are you ready to take the next step with your blog? What blogging goals have you set for yourself?

This post contains affiliate links, and I may be compensated for any purchases made via that link. GeminiRed Creations disclosure policy.