Okay. I admit it. I’m not the sharpest crayon in the internet/techno box. It’s not a fact I’m proud of, but I’m telling you so we’re both on the same page here and at least know where I’m coming from. It is the main reason why I decided to take a look at the book Blog Blazers. Right there on the cover it says: "40 Top Bloggers Share Their Secrets to Creating a High-Profile, High-Traffic and High-Profit Blog!". The key words for me are profile and traffic. And secrets. Secrets! Who doesn’t want to know the inside scoop on just about anything?
Researching the author whetted my appetite all the more. Stephane Grenier is a longtime builder and promoter of numerous web-logs; a seminar speaker about generating traffic to said blogs. He’s driven by his passion, as mentioned on the back cover of the book and echoed online, for helping maximize the power of blogs and web sites. In this relatively small tome, for all the information it contains, Stephane talks to the biggest, baddest bloggers around and gives us their greatest tips for being the best blogger you can be.
I’m an avid reader and this is a quick read. But in the long run, it took me over three months to go through thoroughly. I found that for me, it wasn’t enough just to read it. I needed to actually study the material for it to really sink in. In my case that meant dusting off some tried but true low tech gear (a highlighter and Post-it sticky flags) and coming up with a course of action.
Each chapter of Blog Blazers is an interview with a very successful blogger/business/advocate guru. The questions are basically the same for each one although perhaps worded or ordered up differently. They include what is the most common mistake new bloggers make: what was your most fruitful blog post ever and what turns you off most when visiting a blog.
My plan would be to take several chapters a week and follow the recommendations in each one. Sure, sounds a bit daunting even if they averaged out to four pages – all were jam packed with info. But in reality, mid-way through the third week, I found myself building a rhythm that worked for me. Coupling similar questions with sometimes the same answers in each interview was a big help.
Of all the pointers in the book, there was one I found to be the more interesting and most intensive of them all. Since this is blurbed on the back of the book, I’m not giving away classified data by telling you it’s: "What five blogs do you regularly read?" While some read the same blogs consistently, others like to mix it up and quite a few follow many more than five. Content feeders like RSS (read: Really Simple Syndication) are popular too. I was fascinated by the answers that included why each one was chosen. For the sake of using Blog Blazers as a study guide, I also followed the ones mentioned in each interview. That was the part that I found to be intense, as I was out of my comfort zone of favored reading materials. Happily, several advised selecting blogs that echo your own personal interests, which came in handy the closer I got towards the end of the book, especially in light of the fact that I’d reached a saturation point of unique blogs.
At this point, you might be scratching your head and wondering why, if I’ve gone through all these steps, haven’t you heard, read or seen my own personal blog yet? Did all the time and effort I spent lead to naught? Remember, I warned you at the start of my relatively infant state in this world. So I’m just barely taking baby steps. In regards to the highly esteemed panel put forth in Blog Blazers I haven't started to crawl. But I’m working on it and have already had an unintentional upside to having read this book. Around the same time I took this on, I also joined the world of micro-blogging via the social media site Twitter. Quite a few of the insights given in the book are applicable there as well. Indeed, as I became more familiar with names from the book like Stephane Grenier, Guy Kawasaki, Darren Rowse/ProBlogger and Mashable I found them on Twitter and made it a point to follow them there.
Even if you aren’t into the blogosphere scene and you’re ready to write off Blog Blazers as not being a book for you, it may have a place in your own library after all.