Before I review The Blog Artist’s Handbook, I have a quick story to tell. It’s quite relevant.
Not too long ago, I was a writer/founder/tech guru for a site that was (kinda) up-and-coming. That site was called The Proper Villains. While I’ve since taken the site down, many of you might recognize the logo and my cartoon avatar.
Compare the cartoon avatar to…
Well, it probably isn’t much of a surprise to anyone – but that site completely tanked.
And that might even be a kind way of saying it.
The Proper Villains failed for a variety of reasons, but the one that stands out to me is that we just didn’t have a clear direction of where we wanted to take the blog. We wanted to make it the GQ of men’s self-improvement, but we didn’t have the path or direction to take it there.
What’s even funnier is that one of the other founders actually wrote a killer review of The Blog Artist’s Handbook by Victor Pride, and we then proceeded to not follow any of the advice that Victor laid out in his book. We had too many hands in the cookie jar, too many guys with a vision, and just not enough of the “it” factor.
Eventually, enough of us lost interest, the site fell off the map, and I eventually yanked it down while shaking my head. As I’ve now left the world of Corporate America behind and ventured into Internet business, I decided it was worth taking another look at The Blog Artist’s Handbook.
The book is a comprehensive guide that anyone could use to get a blog up and running in a matter of hours. It takes you all the way of buying a domain, to affiliate marketing, and Victor even provides insights into his extremely lengthy editing process; which is quite the labor of love.
The blog is primarily written in an actionable, take-charge tone. It steers clear of too many technical details, which will overwhelm most people when they are trying to get the ball rolling on their blog and/or business.
If you read Bold & Determined, the writing style is very similar.
Victor’s blog is pretty motivating in many facets of life.
As far as motivating you to get your butt into gear and blog, The Blog Artist’s Handbook does that throughout, while still providing a ton of great insight and actionable knowledge built on 5+ years of blogging experience. By the time you finish every chapter, you’ll be chomping at the bit to close the book and get to work on your blog.
This is very much a good thing.
While some of the information and chapters (Domain and Hosting comes to mind) are easily found via other sources on Google, the real gold is when Victor starts describing his writing and editing process.
The greatest wisdom distilled from The Blog Artist’s Handbook is that you are you.
You are your own brand, your own identity, and you have your own mission. If you choose to make that mission working for someone else, then you are selling yourself short. It doesn’t mean a blog is for everybody, but if you do decide that a successful web presence is what you want – focus on yourself.
You are your own greatest asset.
Victor does a great job of reminding you of this throughout – from giving tips on how to constantly be churning ideas throughout the day, and then putting words on to your pages that come from the heart.
While I agree with most of the points Victor brings up in the book, there are some things that I’d say are an essential part of blogging that aren’t covered.
READ: 33 Truths About Blogging
Times are a little bit different from when Bold & Determined launched in 2010. The Internet is now oversaturated with many, many blogs. It is no longer a secret. That doesn’t mean that it’s “too hard”, but it does mean that the barrier to entry is higher. I would love to see Victor get into a bit deeper of a discussion of more advanced tools – some of which have a somewhat higher price tag.
For example, I’ve done significantly better with my blog since I invested in some good SEO software (think ~$100) as opposed to relying on free and obsolete tools.
Victor’s advice about networking and building a brand is excellent. Those are things that simply cannot be skipped. However, in 2016, you need to find every edge you can get simply because the market is so competitive.
Perhaps we’ll see this in Volume 2.
I have over 500 posts, many of which are absolute garbage now that I look back on them.
Many of them would be far less garbage if I had owned this book from the start. While I’ve poured my heart onto the pages of This Is Trouble from the start, I would have saved myself a lot of pain and headaches had I taken the advice of this book in regards to branding and using yourself as the best advertising billboard.
While The Proper Villains failed as an experiment, the best way to learn is from mistakes. The Blog Artist’s Handbook has helped me realize some of those and move forward into building something even better.