Review: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog

Overview

31 Days to Build a Better Blog is a 96 page ebook from Darren Rowse (the man who coined the term “ProBlogger” and who runs the blog of that name).

The price

$29.99 – pretty good for specialised, practical information

What’s included

The ebook is split into 31 short chapters, each with:

  • A teaching section on why this particular task matters
  • A specific task for you to do
  • Brief, bullet-pointed notes

You can opt in for occasional emails with extra tasks.

Darren also includes periodic free extras for owners of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog: in January 2010, he gave out three freebies:

  • A report “9 Things to Do to Get Your Blog On Track in The New Year” – essentially, 9 extra days for the ebook (though with less content per “day”).
  • A podcast interview with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits
  • A podcast interview with Neil Patel from Quicksprout, CrazyEgg and KissMetrics

(Note: these were only available for people who’d already bought 31 Days to Build a Better Blog or who bought it during the January promotion – but I’ve no doubt that Darren will continue releasing useful freebies in the future!)

Good stuff

This is an intensely practical workbook without fluff, and applicable to most sorts of blogs. You may find that one or two tasks aren’t right for you (you might be too new to blogging, or too far along) – but the vast majority are useful.

I was particularly struck by:

Professional Layout and Formatting

This ebook was produced in collaboration with SitePoint, and it’s one of the most professional ebooks I’ve seen. It’s easy to read, with a double-page layout that makes good use of the screen.

(It was fiddly to read on my netbook, however – you’ll want to read this on a full size laptop or a desktop.)

Obviously, the content is all excellent, but it’s nice to know that someone’s put serious effort and thought into making it easy to read.

Step-by-Step, Task-Oriented Approach

Many of the ebooks which I buy are information products: they tell me a lot, they may even teach me, but they don’t get me to actually do anything much.

This ebook is orientated around action. There’s a specific task to do each day, with plenty of tips, examples and extra resources where appropriate.

Bad stuff

Overall, I really enjoyed 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, and it’s actually one of my favourite purchases of recent months! I had a couple of minor reservations.

Task Timings

I found that some of the tasks were quite quick – perhaps 15 minutes or so – and others would take a couple of hours. This can make it quite hard to schedule them into your day, as (until you reach each section) you don’t know how long it’s likely to take. There’s no estimation of how long each might reasonably be expected to take, either.

Much Material Available Free

While the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is indeed a custom, nicely packaged ebook, quite a large percentage of the content was originally published on the ProBlogger blog, and is still available for free.

I personally think it’s worth paying for the extras and for the convenient ebook form (and the editing which has gone into the ebook), but if you’re really short of cash, you can still sign up to get emailed a free task each day. Buying the ebook, though, means you can more easily go at your own pace – you could do several tasks a day for a week, or do them over several months.

Verdict

The 31 Days to Build a Better Blog ebook is a very practical, hands-on guide to getting your blog into better shape.

I’ve used it to improve my blogging here on Aliventures, and I’ve been impressed by the results – especially on tasks where I was a bit dubious! If you’re blogging to promote your business or to make money from your blog itself, this is a very worthwhile investment.

Click here to check it out now.

Note: I’m a proud affiliate for ProBlogger’s products (and a regular guest poster there!) I’m very impressed by the quality of everything Darren produces.