Better Blogging Through Experimentation and Creativity

This post is guest-blogged by Collis Ta’eed from NorthxEast, a blog about blogging.

One of the things that I learnt from John Chow more than from any other blogger has been the value of creativity and experimentation in building a blog. Since there are so many other bloggers out there all vying for the same set of mindshare – or perhaps I should say feedreader-share – you need to stand out.

If you look over John’s history as a blogger you’ll see numerous examples of the type of out of the box thinking that is probably why you read this blog today, things like:

  • John was the first to buy Google Ads that paid homage to other bloggers
  • John was the first to institute a review link-back scheme
  • John tried out a scheme to pay for the no-follow to be removed from comments
  • John always tries out new monetization strategies

Now consider your own blog, and ask yourself what conventions have you broken? What new ideas have you tried out? What about your blog sets it apart from other blogs?

Being creative and experimental with your blog means you have a greater chance of hitting on something great. Sure, lots of ideas will amount to not much, but who cares? When you do come to something that is a big success, no-one will remember the things you tried which didn’t work. Besides it’s much more exciting to be trying new things all the time.

There are in fact plenty of ways that you can break the mould. Here are a few places that you could think about experimenting with:

  • What topics your write about.

    You don’t need to change your niche to change the topics you write about. Experiment with different angles at the same content, be argumentative, be objective, analyse it or rant about it.

  • What style of post you write.

    If you are always writing posts that are just a collection of thoughts, try writing a review, a follow-up, a link-bait list, put up some photos, there are heaps of ideas to try. Here’s a list of post ideas – ihelpyoublog

  • How you format your blog.

    Look for an interesting WordPress theme, or commission a designer to do something a little different with how you blog looks. Try out different things until you find something that suits you and your content.

  • What monetization techniques you use.

    This is one of John’s favourite pearls of wisdom and it really is good advice. If you just stick to Adsense you’ll never know if there is something better out there. Experiment with a variety of strategies to find the combination that works with your blog.

  • How you promote and market yourself.

    Marketing and promotion of blogs isn’t exactly an envelope that has been pushed very far. Thinking outside the box on this one can pay huge dividends. Try to think of ideas that can go viral, that produce specific results, that buck trends and go against the norm. Sure you should still try for some regular advertising or social media marketing, but be creative and go from a different angle.

If you learn just one thing from John’s blog, it should be that creative spirit to try new things. The dividends you reap when you hit on something successful will be huge and since blogging doesn’t involve that much risk, there really is no reason not to try.


39 thoughts on “Better Blogging Through Experimentation and Creativity”

  1. Awesome article! I think that being creative is the key. It’s all about thinking outside of the box!

    1. RobMalon says:

      …And doing so in a unique way 😉
      Its my favorite equasion:
      idea + idea + idea + idea = Something new and unique.

    2. Stockshaker says:

      Congratulations … for pointing out the obvious.

      It’s one to pave new ideas, which many follow (John has clearly done that, how many of you bloggers have already started to copy the link-bait?)

      But its another to be writing an article about being creative. Clearly, this article is NOT creative, because a creative person finds ways to top what has already been done, NOT comment how someone else has already done it.

      Please, John, please monitor your guest bloggers. We don’t need this place to turn into just another blog.

      1. Marc says:

        I wouldn’t say it’s that bad. While it’s not a terribly creative entry, it’s well thought out and well written. These are some of the nice base level articles that new people will go to in order to figure things out.

  2. Great post Collis! Good to see you here at John Chow! Taking a new slant on a familiar topic is an excellent way to make the ordinary extraordinary.

  3. Dan says:

    Nice post. Don’t just think outside the box, rip the box apart, color it with magic markers, and tape it back together again and see what you’ve got. Or, toss the whole box thing and use one of those sturdy 5-gallon buckets. Buy one of those utility belts for it, and you can customize it to best suit your needs. Why limit ourselves to thinking in or outside of boxes when there are other containers out there as well?

    1. Marc says:

      While I think the suggestion itself is great, it’s always easier said than done. I’ve done a few things that were unorthodox when I did them, but in terms of flipping blogging on its ear, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

  4. Great blog, thanks John for allowing this post. great stuff!

    I need to get a bit more creative on my blog, adsense is all I have right now….I have a backyard skiing blog, so maybe some skiing ads? Being a new blogger, I am not sure where to go…

    1. Freebies says:

      Agreed, this was a great post! Thanks 🙂

  5. Very true. For some people just blogging is a new experience. If you follow someone else’s formula too closely, you’ll have nothing new to offer others. Always try going off the beaten path. You might strike a new one.

    One Man. One Year. $100,000 online. Old Idea. Better Execution.
    http://www.oneyeargoal.com

  6. HAHAHAH! – Well said Dan! Agreed! :mrgreen:

  7. Buxr.com says:

    Ah yes.. This is a great guest post indeed.

    I think one of John’s greatest assets is that he has no fear. Most of us have varying degrees of creativity, but we are usually afraid to express it because of fear of failure or success.

    1. Marc says:

      I’m with you non that one. For most, once we latch on to a formula that earns a bit, it’s hard to let that go. John tinkers with no fear. It’s great.

  8. simon says:

    Creative and experimental ❗ ❗

  9. Rhys says:

    Point #3.

    I try looking unique, and think I have managed it. Have you noticed how many bloggers have copied the theme of this blog? It’s a lot!

  10. Rhys says:

    Oh, and #1. Was he the first? I thought it was that eMonetized dude?

    1. Rhys says:

      The first to post personalized google ads, that’s what I meant by first :).

      1. Freebies says:

        Good question, I’m not sure if he was the first or not. Either way, I think he might have been the first to do it on a highly effective level?

  11. Jenny says:

    Great tips Collis!

  12. BrittMalka says:

    Bravo, Collis! You are right! John’s creativity is an inspiration for all of us.

  13. Deron says:

    Great article! Creativity is key, that’s for sure. The trick is, to not be afraid to be creative. A lot of people are creative and have loads of ideas, but they get it in their head the idea is not good thus it never turns into action.

  14. Collis says:

    Thanks guys! and thanks John, believe it or not this was the very first blog I ever subscribed to, so it’s pretty neat seeing a post I wrote up here!

  15. Collis says:

    Yikes, I just realised there’s a link missing, you see where it says “ihelpyoublog”, that’s meant to link to – http://www.ihelpyoublog.com/20070316-101-great-posting-ideas-that-will-make-your-blog-sizzle

    I’ll send an email to John, to ask him if he could fix it up. Damn me for not proofreading properly! 😯

  16. Creativity is the key to blogging. Would posting some Michael Jackson videos help? Just kidding!
    I always try to emphasize quality over quantity, though…

  17. Suzie Cheel says:

    How refreshing to read Collis. There are so many people out there knocking those bloggers who choose not to only focus on one niche.
    As a recent blogger who has been implementing John’s wonderful tips from his free book.
    i think it is great for us readers that he is adventurous
    I love the inclusion of personal stuff,it makes you feel like you know the writer.

  18. David says:

    😆

    Great find!!!

    I strongly believe bringing in new ideas or being innovative on blog could make yourself different from others or stand out from the crowd but somtimes it doesn’t PAY OFF so soon….

  19. Mybloggo says:

    Awesome article!I accept what Collis Ta’eed say………

  20. nomoney says:

    my blog is so bad that i couldn’t even make 1$. :mrgreen:

    http://make-money-online-articles.blogspot.com

    1. Marc says:

      That’s not much in earnings for someone who’s writing about making money online…

  21. I agree – this was a great post! I disagree with the one person early on who commented that this guest post was bad because it merely pointed out what John does and didn’t offer anything new. I read John’s posts all the time, but this guest post got me thinking more about new ideas and strategies more than some of John’s posts. If an article makes you think – especially if it make you think about taking action…..it was a good article!

    1. Stockshaker says:

      I had posted that comment, but my name got removed or something because I don’t have a URI.

      To comment on your comment, about my comment – an article should make you want to take action (as you had mentioned), but it’s not mind-breaking news to point out the obvious.

      Please do not take this the wrong way, but to be very blunt: if you need to be told that you need to be creative, then really, you are already at the disadvantage of being uncreative. Because a creative person is already thinking of way to “beat the pack”.

      If I told you the sky is blue – are you going to pat me on the back? Because that is what you are doing by applauding this post.

  22. Great post! I will be sure to visit your blog in the near future!

  23. Debo Hobo says:

    Great post, very inforamtive

  24. Debo Hobo says:

    I like this post because the information is useful and relavent.

  25. Eric says:

    If you never fail – you ain’t trying hard enough!

  26. Nathan Roe says:

    Great post! I realize I am running my blog very blandly(if that is a word) I need to mix it up a little

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