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Last week, I talked about step one for improving as a problogger. I argued that it was a foundational step to believe that you could improve in any skill and natural talent was mostly a myth. If you are poor at a skill right now, you can become competent at it through practice and effort.
Today, let’s look at the next steps for improving as a problogger. These steps provide a blueprint for shoring up your weaknesses and becoming even better at your strengths.
Step 2: Learn.
As you seek to improve, you need a starting point. In this step, look for sources of expertise to guide you in your journey.
For example, let’s pretend you want to grow the search traffic of your blog. You could do several things to start the process of learning about SEO. You could buy an ebook, read blogs, watch a video course, or pick the brain of friend who’s good at SEO.
It’s not enough to learn from the initial information you come across. You need to find trustworthy sources. With all the misinformation on the web, you should do enough research to vet the credibility of your sources.
Avoid the sources who offer empty promises and guarantee quick results since improvement usually takes time. Don’t be like the bloggers who are always looking for the latest shortcut to online riches. While they are being scammed by the latest “guru”, you should be learning on a deep level from the real experts. The most credible sources will be realistic with the speed of improvement. They will place a premium on hard work because they know that becoming competent in the skill takes effort.
Once you’ve found some credible sources, start learning but don’t get stuck on this step. There are too many bloggers that do a lot of reading but barely put any of their knowledge into action. I used to be one of them. I used to spend most of my time reading about problogging instead of actually working on my blog. I learned a lot but I didn’t have time to implement my knowledge since I was spending so much time reading. Therefore, I removed all the problogging blogs from my RSS reader to encourage me to move from learning to doing. I made a list of useful things I learned and set out to apply them to my blog.
Step 3: Take action.
Once you have a solid grasp on a new concept, it’s time to try it out.
Let’s go back to the SEO example. You do some reading and discover that building links on authority sites is very effective. You find some suggestions on how to build these links and try them out.
At this point, it’s important not to expect too much from your efforts since you’re just starting out. You will probably fail a lot in the early stages but with each attempt, you’ll gain valuable experience and knowledge as long as you heed the next step.
Step 4: Evaluate.
In this step, take a look back at your efforts and evaluate them.
You will need some metrics to help you determine if your efforts are succeeding or not. It can also be helpful to set some realistic goals to motivate you.
There are many metrics you can look at depending on the skill you’re trying to improve. Here are some common metrics to consider:
- published guest posts
- search engine ranking
During the evaluation process, examine your successes and figure out why you were able to do well. Your aim should be to recreate your successes until the skill becomes second nature. That’s when you know you’ve achieved competency.
Of course, you will also learn from your failures but your successes will be much more informative. Within your successful efforts, you can find a blueprint for further success whereas failures just show you what not to do.
If you want a more accurate evaluation process, I recommended joining a reputable paid forum and getting personal feedback on your efforts from people who have more ability than you. It’s great to have access to experts that can tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Also, they can give you valuable ideas to consider that you may not think of.
You can try free forums if you don’t have money but this method has some risks. Free forums tend to have a much lower signal to noise ratio than paid forums. Also, the quality of information is usually much higher at paid forums.
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