Interview: Darren Rowse – Problogger – Community Builder

Today’s podcast interview is with Darren Rowse, the owner of the B5Media blog network. Darren’s blogs are at the top of the stack in their respective niches with a combined total of 500,000+ subscribers. If you are going to take advice from anyone about building community around blogging, Darren Rowse is the go to guy. I would venture to guess that 99.9% of you have visited one of Darren’s sites before…specifically With this kind of web presence, bloggers can learn a lot from Darren’s experience and his blogging.


Interview with Darren Rowse
Pro Community Builder

Robb: Hey guys, it’s Robb Sutton from On the phone today we’ve got Darren Rowse of,, and

Before we start, Darren, I just want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.

Darren: Not a problem, Robb. It’s nice to be speaking with you.

Robb: I guess we’ll go ahead and just jump right in here. In the beginning, why did you start blogging?

Darren: Well, it started about eight years ago now back in November of 2002. Really I started to blog because I saw another guy blogging on a topic that was really interesting to me. He was a guy in Prague, and a lot of the stuff that he was talking about was just stuff that I was interested in, so I was fascinated by what he was saying, but even more fascinated by how he was doing it with this blog thing. I think he was using a Blogspot blog, which is what I started on, and I just was fascinated by the way that that blog enabled him to have a voice and to really be able to draw a community from around the world around that voice. He had thousands of people reading his blog and interacting with the things that he was talking about, and then writing about those things on their own blogs. It was kind of this viral conversation anytime he said anything.

That appealed to me as someone who has always been interested in communication and building communities, so I started my own that same day, and that first blog really had no intention of being anything more than a bit of an experiment and perhaps a hobby. So I started my own first blog back in November of 2002, and really grew from there.

Robb: The rest is kind of history, isn’t it?

Darren: Yeah!

Robb: Those that know a little bit about your history know that you experimented with monetization methods of having multiple blogs all bringing in a little bit of income to combine into a larger amount. There are bloggers like Rob Brenwell who suggest that this method is the #1 way to make money online. Why did you stray away from this method of blogging, and what would you recommend to new bloggers when they’re looking to make some income online?

Darren: For me, that first personal blog that I started, I did that for a year. Then about a year after I started I then did my second blog, which is a photography blog. Because that was successful, I thought, “Hey, if I could have multiple blogs, I could make a lot more money doing this.” That first blog in the early days was making $10-20 per day, and I began to do the sums in my head. If I had ten of these blogs or 20 of these blogs, I could be making a full-time living, so I developed quite a few blogs. I had I think at one stage 25 or 30 blogs that I was posting to every day.

To post every day to a lot of those blogs, you have to be coming up with content somehow. For me it was looking at what other people were writing, taking a quote from them, adding a quick comment of my own to it, and then linking back to the source. That was all done manually. There are a lot of tools out there that will do that for you now automatically, but I guess there’s a couple reasons why I stopped.

Firstly, I just didn’t find it personally satisfying. Copying and pasting and adding a comment and a link – for me, that just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t want to sit there all day copying and pasting.

Robb: It’s kind of robotic.

Darren: Yeah, and I did even look at some of those automated tools, and I just didn’t feel that I was actually doing anything worthwhile. I wasn’t helping anyone with those blogs. I wasn’t building a community around those blogs. I was basically getting traffic from search engines, and people were coming and finding out that what I had written was crap [laughing] or that they could have found the same information somewhere else, and they never came back again.

I don’t know, you can make money that way, and obviously some people are, but personally where I’m at, I didn’t find it satisfying. I guess my goal was to actually create blogs that had a community around them, that helped me build my brand, that helped me build my profile, that would open up opportunities to do other things like write a book or speak at conferences and those types of things.

That was probably more aligned with my types of goals, and those types of blogs do not help you do that. I guess I changed my strategy to have one or two or three blogs that really provide useful content, that build a brand, and that help to build some authority.

What I’ve found is that whilst it takes awhile to get to that point where your blogs do those things, they’re much more profitable than the $20 that you might earn from three blogs that just basically are churning out content that other people have written. So for me it was partly about personal satisfaction, but it was also looking at my goals and taking a bigger picture look at things.

I guess the other thing I’d say is I also found with creating lots of those sort of aggregating blogs or automated content blogs that I was always at a risk of being kicked out of Google. Google doesn’t like that kind of content. They do sometimes rank it highly, but they’re always working to weed that kind of stuff out. What I found is that those sorts of blogs had their day, they did okay, and then Google would find them and then they’d be out and I’d have to start another one. I just really didn’t want to be in the business of constantly starting new blogs to stay a step ahead of Google. I actually wanted to work with the power of Google and create the kind of site they wanted to rank well.

That was why I did it. Other people would take different approaches with it. They don’t mind creating clutter on the web and going that way, but that’s just not where I’m at.

Robb: I’ve heard you mention several times that your blogging really hit full swing when your wife sat you down and told you that you had six months to make it work. What changed in your brain at that point in time that made blogging as a profession a reality?

Darren: What happened behind that story was that I’d been blogging for probably a year and a half, maybe two years, and every day after I’d been blogging I’d come out and tell her, “Hey, it’s growing. It’s now $50 a day instead of $40. I think next month we’ll hit $60.” I kind of kept pitching her this idea that one day I’d go full time. It was growing, but it was growing quite slowly, and I think she just got sick of hearing me talk about it. She said, “Let’s just do it. Work full time on it for six months. If you’re not at a point where you’re full time at the end of that six months, maybe it’s best to find something else.”

For me that deadline gave me a lot of incentive to get going, because I really wanted to do this full time. It helped me to become more focused, more disciplined, to be a bit more strategic, and to actually plan how I was going to achieve that. I kind of knew I’d get there one day, but I didn’t really have a plan on how I’d do that. So I guess what changed in my mind was just a different mindset that actually propelled me forward, and I put a lot more time into it for those few months.

It was probably about four months after that that I guess I went to about a full-time level and she said, “Yup, you’re a full-time blogger.” [laughing]

It kind of sounds like she calls the shots in our house. It was much more of a conversation than that, but I kind of really appreciated her giving me that deadline in a sense, or us setting that deadline together.

Robb: I think everyone’s probably had that conversation at one point in time in some form or fashion. [laughing]

Darren: Yeah, that’s right!

Robb: The last half of 2009 brought a lot of new products to your blogs – the redesign of Digital Photography School, your portrait book on DPS, 31 Days to a Better Blog on, and your membership site. You’ve really expanded your offerings on all your blogs. How much of the success during 2009 do you attribute to this expansion, and where do you see 2010 taking you in respect to information products and membership sites?

Darren: In 2009 I kind of had been watching the economy struggling, and kind of my prediction back in 2008 was that if it continued to decline, that the advertising revenue that blogs were able to generate would probably dry up or at least decrease. To some extent it has – perhaps for me not as much as I’d expected – so I began to think about how can I diversify my income streams and how can I build income streams that are not reliant upon what other people are willing to pay me for advertising.

I began to do a little bit more affiliate marketing at first. I started promoting other people’s products and taking a commission, but then also I started to work on my own products. They included the ebooks that you talked about and the membership site on ProBlogger.

So it was partly a year of diversification, and also testing what I kind of knew was true and what I’d been teaching anyway, that you can build your own products and sell them.

Yeah, last year was great. My income increased and my business became more profitable as a result of that. The advertising revenue actually remained fairly stable last year. It went down a little bit, particularly towards the end of the year, but with the extra stuff that I was doing, it was really great. Of course, it was a lot more work as well. [laughing]

Robb: Yeah, they don’t just make themselves, do they? [laughing]

Darren: Yeah, I know, those ebooks. They should, and I’m sure someone will come up with a product that automates ebooks and the content in them as well. I guess for me 2010 is to continue on that same course. I’ve got another four or five ebooks in production at the moment, most of them on the photography side.

Yesterday or the day before we launched Third Tribe, which is another membership site that I’m a part of with Brian Clark and Chris Brogan and Sonia Simone, so I’m kind of continuing to go down that path. It’s also going to be a year for me of consolidation a bit too. Last year I built so many new things and tried so many new things that I guess this year is about actually going back to some of those things that I built and continuing to improve them and add value to them, and to create more of a system for my business.

What I’ve got now is a great business, but it’s got lots of components. It’s sort of like a house that has many extensions on it and needs a little bit of order brought to it perhaps.

Robb: Yeah, to focus a little bit on efficiencies.

Darren: Yeah, and automation – not automation of creating content, but actually systems to help me to manage some of the things.

I’ve got a lot of customer service things from the ebooks. Every time you launch an ebook you’ve got people who struggle with paying or they don’t get the PDF or that type of thing, and that takes a lot of time. You can set systems up to help you through that, so that’s what this year is about, becoming more efficient.

Robb: The email inbox fill-up that happens normally during a launch period is pretty significant.

Darren: Yeah, it’s crazy. [laughing] Particularly when you’re launching something to several hundred thousand people. All it takes is a small percentage of them to have a question, and your day is gone.

Robb: Your week could be gone at that point. Since you already mentioned it, just this week you guys released the Third Tribe idea. Do you want to go into a little bit more detail about that and what you guys are actually doing?

Darren: Sure. Third Tribe is a collaboration between Brian Clark and Sonia Simone from CopyBlogger, Chris Brogan, and myself. It really emerged because we each had this sort of separate journey of struggling between what we perceived as being two different groups of people, two other tribes or two ideas that we’ve sort of grappled with.

On one side you’ve got the internet marketers who traditionally – and not all internet marketers are like this – are into hype and massive long sales pages that can be quite manipulative and hypey and that type of thing. Whilst there’s some really good lessons that you can learn from that group of people, I’ve never really felt completely comfortable with some of what they do.

Then on the other side you’ve got social media and bloggers and that kind of crowd who are into community, relationships, exploring different types of media, but traditionally haven’t really been great at converting that engagement into profit. I’m doing this partly for profit and partly because I want to build communities and I want to help people, so I’ve never really felt completely a part of that group either.

I guess I’ve strayed from one extreme to the other over the eight or so years, and I’ve dabbled in both sides of things. I’ve been trying to find my way in the middle. The more I talk to other bloggers, the more I discover that same story is true for them. Brian and Sonia and Chris have all grappled with that, and many other bloggers have as well.

I guess as we started to talk about it and discover that there were others like us and others with ideas about how to move forward through those two groups, we started to talk about creating a space and a community to 1) teach people about how to make money online without being obnoxious, and 2) how to engage with social media in a way that is transparent and ethical, but that also makes money.

That’s the idea behind the Third Tribe. I think we’ve been live just over 48 hours. We’ve had 1,000 or so people put their hands up and say, “I’m in that third tribe too and want to journey with you.”

So there’s teaching in the site, and there’s also community and a forum area where people can collaborate and share what they’re learning, and I guess share their struggles and frustrations with being in this third tribe area and trying to make sense of it.

Robb: I think you’re going to find there’s a lot more in that section than even care to admit it. Even I struggled in the beginning with, “Do I have to make a cheap-looking long sales page to actually sell products online?” because you see the really successful ones online kind of take that little manipulative approach. While they might not be lying right off the bat, it’s not exactly telling the full truth either. It’s a tough balancing act to follow.

Darren: It is, and it’s tempting to go there because you can actually make a lot of money, and some of those tactics do work, and there’s some really good tactics there as well. They’re not all bad. What can you take from that group, and what can you take from the social media learning that we’ve done over the last five or so years, and how can you put that together and take some of the lessons from the SEO crowd, who have a different approach again. Again, some of that is stuff that I like and some of it I’m not comfortable with either.

It’s about trying to find your way through it and learn from the different groups of people around us, and then create something new as well.

Robb: With a combined total of 500,000+ subscribers to your blogs, what would you say is the greatest attributing factor to gaining more subscribers?

Darren: It’s a bit of a slippery thing to define in some ways. I guess for me it’s largely about creating content that is useful to people, and giving people a sense of anticipation that there will be more of it.

Really no one subscribes to a page that they don’t think they’re going to get value out of in the future. Generally that’s based upon what they’ve just received from it. So if you can create some sort of sense of anticipation on your site, that there’s more coming, that you’re not just writing one good article, but you’ve written others and that there’s more coming, then generally people are more open to subscribing to that.

There’s other factors, of course, like if they see there’s lot of other people subscribed, there’s that element of social proof and they may be more willing to subscribe as well.

For me it really just comes down to being as useful as you can and helping people enhance their lives in some way. Generally people want to journey with that type of site that helps them.

Robb: Yeah, that constant consistency of delivering on that promise.

Darren: Yeah, and doing it over the long haul. People can go back in your archives and say, “Hey, this blog’s been around since 2004 and it’s still going. They’re not going anywhere. This is going to be here tomorrow as well, so it may be something that’s worthwhile if they can keep it going that long.”

Robb: You’ve seen a lot of success with forum sites over the past year with your integrated forum on DPS and a premium forum at Many bloggers look to a forum integration as a natural progression to increase conversation and stickiness to their blogs. Looking back, what was your greatest challenge in starting a new forum on your blog?

Darren: They’ve been great for me. I know with DPS particularly, the engagement there that we’ve had has been great. One of the cool things about forums is they attract a different type of person. Someone who reads your blog, not everyone will like that type of format, and others will prefer the forum, so it’s good in that way.

I guess the challenge is really about moderation, setting ground rules, and trying to set a culture in the forum that is positive rather than snarky. Forums can quite often descend into politics and snarkiness and fights and basically a mess. I’ve worked with my team, and my team has really done a lot of it to try and create a forum on DPS which is constructive, that’s welcoming, that’s inclusive, and that takes people forward in some practical way.

It is a challenge. We’ve got something like 85,000 members in that forum, and they all come with their own agenda and they’ve all come from a different culture and background. They’re all different generations, so there’s a lot of potential clash points there. It’s just about trying to set the type of interaction that you want, by doing that yourself.

I guess the other big challenge for a forum is getting it started. We actually didn’t start our forum until we’d already had a successful Flickr group, so we sort of started this Flickr group, and that was an easier thing for people to join. Once people were interacting there, we then invited some of those Flickr members to come over and start the forum in private, so that when people arrived on that forum there was already activity there. Some of those sorts of tactics can help you get going, but unless you’ve already gotten an established readership, it can be very difficult to get that forum going.

An empty forum where no one’s actually commenting is not a really great advert for someone else to join it, so you need to find a way to get it going at the start.

Robb: What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

Darren: There’s a lot. I just love the creative entrepreneurial kind of aspect of it. I love watching people use words, video, images, and mashing them together and creating something that makes me go, “Wow!” and that makes me think and that helps me improve my life. That sort of aspect of blogging is really great.

The community aspect of the interaction that you can have – not just between you and your readers, but watching your readers interact in comments is great. Just the fact that once you start doing it and build some authority, all kinds of opportunities open up to meet people and to further your entrepreneurial aspirations as well, which has been quite amazing for me.

To be chatting to you, to be chatting to people around the world and traveling to conferences and those types of things – it’s really fantastic to have those opportunities. I never would have had them without a blog.

Robb: What surprises me about it is it all started with a post on a website. It’s one of those things that just expands out and expands out. It’s really fun to watch.

Darren: That’s right, and you just never know what that next email that comes in from your blog will open up an opportunity to do.

Robb: As we look at pro blogging for the future, do you think that pro blogging is still an attainable reality for new bloggers?

Darren: I think blogging is easier and harder. [laughing] It’s easier in that the tools are just amazing at the moment, and the opportunities to engage with people, even as someone who’s got no experience. The tools and the technologies are there to give you a voice and to take that voice across the globe.

It’s easier on that front, and it’s harder on the front that there’s more clutter and there’s more people doing it and having that voice. So there’s a lot of voices and it’s hard to stand out from I guess what everyone else is doing.

I see bloggers all the time maybe not getting to the A-list immediately, but at least getting to a point where they’re engaging with readers and they’re growing and they’re making money.

So yeah, it’s still possible to do, but it’s definitely not something that’s overnight and it never has been.

Robb: What’s your best piece of advice for new bloggers?

Darren: It probably comes back to some of what I was talking about before. I think if you can solve a problem for someone, or if you can meet a need that they have, then you’re going to create a site that people will want to come back to and that they’re want to bring others to.

Not every site actually is a how-to site that helps you to solve a particular need by walking them through a tutorial, but pretty much every successful blog that you see out there does meet some kind of need in people – whether that be a need that we might think is worthwhile or not. Some of them are purely there to help people be entertained or to give people the latest gossip on something. I personally don’t want to fulfill those needs in myself, but some people do.

I guess that’s really what’s behind every blog, so it’s really about defining what is this blog going to help people to do. Once you’ve nailed that down, then you can begin to build content and the design and the brand that will help to communicate that to others, so that’s probably the starting point that I’d have.

Robb: What do you think your best piece of advice is for bloggers that might have a growing audience but have kind of hit like a plateau in their traffic or in their earning?

Darren: I think a lot of it is about knowing who you want to reach. What I’ve done over the last year or so particularly is to actually build some author profiles and to actually write up short documents of 300 words or something that actually describes the type of person that I want to reach. I even put a photo of that type of person in it and give them a name.

It sounds a bit silly in some ways, but actually having that profile and having defined that type of person that you want to reach then helps you to take it to the next step and identify where that type of person is already hanging out online and what type of problems that person would have, so that you can begin to write content for them.

Identify what things appeal to that type of person so that you might do some advertising using those sorts of images and colors and ideas. It’s about defining who you want to reach, and then starting to break out and find other sites and other places offline even that that person is hanging out, so that you can actually begin to interact with them in those spaces.

I’ve done that a number of times over the years in my blogs. I’ve redefined who I want to reach, and then go and find new places that they’re already hanging out. It’s always a great new source of traffic to go through that type of exercise.

Robb: That’s some really good advice. Blogging has changed a lot in the past couple years into more of a solid business model instead of just kind of throwing your thoughts online. As more corporations and companies look into blogging and other social media as a way to increase their business, how do you think this will affect the individual blogger looking to make his mark on the internet?

Darren: It certainly can be a bit more challenging. A lot of the big media companies now are getting smarter in the way that they’re producing content online. They’re ranking higher in Google and they’re doing better on Twitter and some of those sorts of sites.

Having said that, I think the fact that the newspapers in my city are now blogging, people now know what a blog is. There’s this greater awareness of it, so there’s opportunities there as well. Blogging and social media in some ways is a great leveling field. Whilst it is becoming more cluttered and competitive, you can still have that voice, as I was talking about before.

I just think bloggers who become overwhelmed by that kind of stuff and let themselves be paralyzed with it are going to be held back, but those of us who continue to think big and dream up new things are going to continue to grow. And there’s probably opportunities there with some of those larger players as well. I recently submitted a guest post to an Australian mainstream media site, and it was published. That brought me a whole new group of readers on that particular day.

A lot of those media companies are actually looking for content as well, so there’s an opportunity for us there not only to guest post on each other’s blogs, but to get a little bit of mainstream media coverage as well.

Robb: I’ve seen a lot, especially on my bike end, where big companies now are looking to individual bloggers or a group of bloggers to actually kind of promote their products and get their spread wider on the net as well. I think we’re going to see a lot more of that kind of partnership instead of working against each other.

Darren: That’s right. The other thing I guess is there’s a lot of companies now not only looking to build their own blogs, but they’re looking to acquire them. If you can build a site that serves a niche really well, then there’s an opportunity there to be bought and to make some money in that way, and then perhaps to be hired to continue to write it. There’s all kinds of opportunities out there.

Robb: You’ve seen a lot of success with TwiTip in the past year with the massive growth of Twitter. As we continue to throw out 140 character blasts, where do you see Twitter heading in the next calendar year?

Darren: It’s something that excites me and distresses me a little. [laughing] I was just writing this morning that retweet spam is sort of paralyzing me at the moment.

There’s all these people trying to manipulate Twitter in quite selfish ways. In some ways I don’t blame them. They’re business people and trying to make their ends meet, but it’s becoming increasingly challenging to use it well. I think we’ll see some incredible tools over the next few years that will help to combat some of those things, and will be useful to use as bloggers.

It looks like Twitter is starting to offer more things to businesses, and that looks like their monetization strategy, so hopefully there will be some exciting opportunities there for us bloggers to participate in that type of thing.

To be honest, I don’t really know where it’s going. It’s just something I’m kind of hanging onto for the ride and evaluating on a daily basis as to how I can use it better. What seems to be happening with lots of mediums at the moment is they’re converging together and we’re seeing blogs that don’t look like blogs anymore and that are incorporating the Twitter streams and video and all that type of stuff, so I guess there will be more and more of that sort of convergence.

Robb: If you have one information product or coaching program outside of your own that you would recommend, what would it be?

Darren: Personally I’m reading more books at the moment. It’s strange. I’ve kind of gone back to old-school learning and a lot of the people who were writing about copywriting over the years and quite a long way back. I’m reading a book by Robert Cialdini called Influence, which was written years ago, but it talks about why people are influenced and why people make decisions. It’s sort of psychology I guess in some ways, and it’s really fascinating.

In terms of products, I recently looked at Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula. It’s from the internet marketing kind of world that I was talking about before, but there is some good stuff in there as well. David Risley has got his Blog Masters Club coaching program, which is quite useful. It’s quite a long program, but it really walks you through a lot of the different things.

There’s a lot out there, and I guess it really comes down to whether you resonate with the person who’s doing the teaching. If you’re willing to put in the time, a lot of these programs would work well for you and help you take it forward.

Robb: I was talking to David actually about his this week, and he put a lot of modules into that program.

Darren: Yeah, it’s really content rich.

Robb: Outside of blogging, what’s your favorite thing to do away from the keyboard?

Darren: Probably read. That’s something I consistently do to relax. I’ll quite often duck off to the bedroom at 3:00 in the afternoon for half an hour and get out the Kindle or actually a paper book and just read a novel and sort of escape.

Apart from that it’s probably more family stuff. I’ve got two kids, 1 and 3 years of age, two boys, and jumping on the trampoline and teaching them how to wrestle and play with Thomas the Tank Engine and those sorts of things seem to be what my life is filled with when I’m not working.

Robb: Do you have a favorite food?

Darren: I’m very open to all kinds of foods. Probably the latest good meal I had was a Maltese meal, which was beautiful.

Robb: Favorite drink?

Darren: Coffee. I’m a latte man. [laughing]

Robb: [laughing] I think I drink enough coffee to support the whole industry. Who inspires you the most?

Darren: Probably my kids actually. I just think their fresh approach to life is constantly inspiring me, both in my personal life and even just to look at things in my business differently, so yeah, probably my kids.

Robb: What are you currently driving?

Darren: We have a Volkswagen Golf. That would be the car that I mainly drive. My wife drives a Honda CRV.

Robb: Canon or Nikon?

Darren: Canon. [laughing]

Robb: I’m Nikon, so that’s interesting.

Darren: Personally I recommend both. [laughing]

Robb: It’s kind of splitting hairs at that point when you get into those two.

Darren: Yeah, they both make great cameras. It would be suicide for me to actually go one way or the other in terms of the future of my own site. [laughing]

Robb: Once you get those lenses, you’re kind of married to the body.

Darren: Exactly, yeah.

Robb: If you were not blogging today, what would you be doing?

Darren: I don’t really know. My background is working in churches as a minister, which in some ways is actually quite similar to what I do today, in that communication was a big part of it, and preaching and building community was the other part of it, I guess.

I don’t know whether I’d still be doing that or not. Possibly, but it would be one of those types of things – community and communication. I don’t really know. That could apply to lots of different types of jobs, I guess.

Robb: What if anything would you do differently about your blogging if you had to do it all over again?

Darren: I don’t really know that I would do too much differently. The good thing is that pretty much every mistake I’ve made has actually had its flip side of something good about it.

Most of my mistakes have probably been around domain names and getting bad ones or not thinking about where the site will go ahead of time.

My first blog was on a It was to do with the church I’d started, and then I launched my first photography blog off the back of it. It ranked really well in Google Australia. [laughing]

Robb: The rest of the world, on the other hand… [laughing]

Darren: Exactly, but that Google Australia traffic was actually enough to live off initially. I don’t think it would have got to that point if I’d gone with a .com, because it would have been too much competition.

I look back on it and think, “Gee, that was a mistake. That was stupid for branding reasons and global traffic reasons and all that,” but at the same time it was a stepping stone to then be able to go global. I don’t know whether I would actually do it differently.

Robb: It’s kind of one of those things where you learn more from your mistakes sometimes than your successes. You don’t want to change that.

Darren: Exactly. Even having learned a lot of the mistakes, I still made them again. [laughing] I still ended up with with hyphens in it, a really bad domain for branding and to try to communicate to someone where your domain is, but for other reasons it worked really well.

Robb: I had to go through that same thing and actually move my largest one at the beginning of the month because the domain name just didn’t fit anymore. It was too hard to remember. It could be a headache down the road for sure.

What else can we expect to see from you in 2010?

Darren: The initial focus is really what’s already out there. Third Tribe is obviously just three days old, so it’s something that I will be continuing to plow a lot of work into in the short term.

Luckily there’s four of us who are running it, so we’re sharing the load, which is good in collaborating. It’s great too that we’re coming up with stuff that we would never have come up with individually.

Then we have a new ebook probably coming out on ProBlogger later in February, and then probably some more 31 Days ebooks later in the year on ProBlogger, then four or five other ebooks on DPS coming out throughout the year on a variety of topics.

It’ll be a busy year, and I’ll be at Blog World Expo in October and SXSW in March as well, so I’ve got a couple of trips to the States booked in as well.

Robb: Awesome. That’s about all I’ve got. Anything else you want to add before we wrap it up?

Darren: Not really. I’d love to connect with people. I’m @problogger on Twitter, and that’s probably the main place that I would interact with people and hang out.

Robb: Darren, thank you for the opportunity to do this interview and taking the time out of your day. I really appreciate it.

Darren: No problem. Thanks, Robb.

Darren’s Sites and Products

31 Days To Build A Better Blog
Problogger: Secrets For Blogging Your Way To A Six-Figure Income (Co-Authored w/Chris Garrett)
Premium Forum

The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography
Photo Nuts and Bolts

Related posts

Death To Sidebars – Getting rid of something that didn’t matter anyway…

Physical Product Sales on Blog Case Study: Live the Ride Wristbands

It’s time for a change…


Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny February 8, 2010 - 8:00 am
Wow! This is really great stuff. I'm coming back to this interview at lunch time so I can listen and learn from the master. I'm inspired to keep growing my blog. Thank you for doing this work with Darren. I will revisit this page often to get re-inspired!
Robb Sutton February 8, 2010 - 6:16 pm
It was blast to do Cheryl. One of those moments I'll remember for awhile.
John Paul Aguiar February 8, 2010 - 8:27 am
Robb great interview. Darren is awesome, and you def get the sense that he is here to help bloggers, be better bloggers. Nice to see that from possibly the top blogger in the world.
Robb Sutton February 8, 2010 - 6:17 pm
Thanks John. It was refreshing to have a down to Earth conversation about blogging. No egos...just talking about what we love.
Walt Goshert February 8, 2010 - 8:32 am
Thanks Robb and Darren, Wow... packed with great ideas. Darren, the idea of creating a reader profile, complete with picture makes so much sense. Even if you don't publish it, keeping this profile burned in mind has to help your writing and connecting with the type of reader you're trying to attract. Thanks, Walt
Robb Sutton February 8, 2010 - 6:18 pm
That is a lot of content in 36 minutes! That idea was one that stuck with me as well. I really like the idea of visualizing who you want subscribing to your blog.
Marc Winitz February 8, 2010 - 1:04 pm
Great to hear Darren's thoughts. Absolutely love the profile suggestion. Really good work here Rob.
adrienne February 8, 2010 - 6:03 pm
Great interview. I like that you included some personal questions. Thank you for posting a the interview. I was worried I'd miss out since the speakers on my laptop don't work.
Robb Sutton February 8, 2010 - 6:19 pm
Thanks Adrienne. All of the interviews will be transcribed. I like to provide both angles so everyone get soak up the content.
Ricardo Bueno February 9, 2010 - 9:13 am
Hey Robb, Just a quick note to let you know that I enjoyed the interview with Darren here! Always a pleasure to here his insights and I dig the way you directed the call (and especially like that you provided the transcription).
Debra Matthews February 9, 2010 - 10:22 am
Great interview Robb and great content from Darren as always. Darren's point about Blogs being bought/sold was really interesting to me [I am an internet business broker]. In the past they have not typically fared so well when it comes time to sell, simply because they were often so heavily associated with the author/owner. Darren rightly pointed out, that is changing though and we are seeing more of a market, provided the blog is set up right but especially when they are well monetized of course. Again, great information. Thanks.
HART (1-800-HART) February 9, 2010 - 11:02 am
I bet it took longer than 37 minutes to transcribe that :P // good job.
Robb Sutton February 10, 2010 - 9:45 am
Actually...I outsource my transcriptions to an incredible service that has 100% quality and fast turn around for a great price. (sound like a sales pitch enough!)
Owen Greaves February 9, 2010 - 11:05 am
Robb, That was a pleasant interview, I appreciate the time you took to craft good questions for Darren. These types of interviews and or content are what bring a person like me back again. Well done. Owen
Ms. Freeman@Baby Steps of an Internet Entrepreneur February 9, 2010 - 1:21 pm
I think this is the first actual interview I've heard where Darren is the subject. His transparency is genuine, not at all what I originally thought about him. Very useful subscriber tips...goes back to content is king, that along with consistency.
Harsh Athalye February 9, 2010 - 1:56 pm
One thing I like the most about Darren is that he is honest, he knows what he is talking about. He never tries to make money just by selling some crap How-To-make-money-in-10-steps product. That's is the real reason for his success as a blogger, to win the trust of readers. Great interview!
David Edwards February 9, 2010 - 5:41 pm
Awesome interview!, How do I publish an e-book?... Thanks David. ;]
Kirsty February 9, 2010 - 6:59 pm
Brilliant interview -thanks so much for posting. Going to have a gander around the rest of your site now, Rob :) Cheers again.
Robb Sutton February 10, 2010 - 9:48 am
Thanks Kristy! Check back in with me and let me know what you think!
Robert Love February 10, 2010 - 3:34 am
Great interview Rob, I found it via ProBlogger. It's obviously true that there's more competition, i.e. more blogs in each niche now but there's also more ways to market your blog now. I think you have to find ways to differentiate yourself from others so that you can stand out from the crowd. Great stuff.
Robb Sutton February 10, 2010 - 9:47 am
It's all about standing out from the noise! Differentiating yourself is the key to success.
Colby February 11, 2010 - 2:44 pm
Great interview Robb! I really enjoyed listening to it on my car ride to work. I'm not sure if you know this, but they just released a similar interview in the Third Tribe membership area with Brian Clark interviewing Darren Rowse. After listening to both interviews I got just as much out of yours with Darren as I did from the paid content in the Third Tribe. Great job!
Robb Sutton February 11, 2010 - 5:43 pm
Thanks Colby! I have two others recorded already with Michael Dunlop ( and David Risley ( and be on the lookout!
Bradford Werner February 15, 2010 - 4:09 pm
Thanks for the great interview. I love hear people's stories about their early days in blogging. I particularly like the "6 months or quit" ultimatum in the interview. I always feel like taking a big step forward, lucky though I blog about something that is directly connected to my job: performing/teaching classical guitar. Thanks again.
André J.C. Bor March 1, 2010 - 2:57 pm
Thanks for this interesting interview with Darren Rowse. A lot of things to think over and about... Greetings, André
The Niche Think Tank March 7, 2010 - 11:59 am
This was a great interview with Darren that I listened to at the gym. A good podcast should pump you up, make you laugh and keeop you motivated. this did all of those for me. great Job Robb!!!
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