From the desk of Victor Pride
Location: Nha Trang, Vietnam
Subj: Technical tools needed for an exciting pro blogging career
In the first installment of this series we looked at the mindset necessary to unlock the corporate shackles loosely placed around your hands and feet. Just like the Elephants who believe they aren’t strong enough to break through some rinkity third world shackles, most people believe there’s no way they can break free of the 9-5 jive and make money doing something out of the ordinary. Sour news friends: That’s absolutely true for most people. The majority won’t ever accomplish anything. BUT! since the readership of B&D is filled with risk takers there is a good chance a certain percentage of readers, the ones with an interest in blogging, will be able to accomplish something.
But why the heck would you want to become a pro blogger? The obvious reason anyone would want to become a pro blogger is the amount of freedom it gives you. Say goodbye to sitting in traffic at 8am, yelling at all the morons who can’t drive while sipping your McDonald’s orange juice and munching on a sausage biscuit with cheese, cursing God. I can’t even remember the last time I was stuck in traffic at 8am or 5pm. At 8am every morning I’m at my desk sipping coffee, at 5pm, well, no matter what I’m doing it isn’t sitting in traffic waiting to get home after a hard day of office gossiping.
Now, let’s look at the technical tools and rules you will need to start blogging.
Rule #1 – NO FREE DOMAINS AND NO FREE HOSTING!!!!
There are websites like wordpress.com (not to be confused with wordpress.org) and blogspot.com that will give you a free domain and free hosting. For example, if I did that my domain would be boldanddetermined.wordpress.com. This is what amateurs use. If you want to be a pro you need your own domain name and your own, NON-FREE hosting. When you use free hosting services this is what you are saying to the world: “I do not believe in my vision enough to invest $7 in a domain name and $7 a month to host it. Therefore, you should not believe in me either“. Anyone who cannot afford a $7 per month hosting plan does not have anything valuable to offer, and that’s the truth. Those free hosting sites will limit the advertising you can place or in some cases they do not allow you to place any advertising at all, and they go ahead and place their own advertising and make money off of your stupidity for using their “free” service.
Free sites are LIMITED in what you can do and you are at the mercy of their terms of service. Just say no to free hosting and take control of your website. Limits are for people who want them. When you have your own domain and your own private hosting you control everything and your options are limited only by your imagination. A dot com domain can be purchased for $10 or less (free with BADNET service) and a standard hosting plan costs $4-$7 per month and you can host unlimited sites. To want to be in the online world but not have your own hosting is sheer stupidity. Stay in the bush leagues if you want to write about nonsense but if you’re a serious man you just need to get a hosting plan, put it on auto pay and forget about it.
- Use BADNET to set up your domain and hosting and get some free goodies from Bold and Determined
NOTE: Bold and Determined now offers a free WordPress installation service and many other blogging goodies. See details and get your blog started today.
Make the right domain choice
Picking the right domain name is highly important. Your domain name is numero uno about your website. It has to be memorable if someone is going to remember to type it into their address bar and visit you again. A poor domain choice is the most easily fixed and the most widely made mistake new bloggers make. Your readers need to find you easily by typing your domain name into their address bar. If you pick the wrong domain they won’t find you. If you pick some silly name that is hard to spell or remember they will not find you. They’ll type the address in a few times, if they can’t find it they’ll Google it a few times. If they can’t find it that way they’ll never find you AND they’ll be mad at you for picking such a stupid domain name. Make it EASY for your readers to find you! Bold and determined dot com is an easy domain to remember, easy to read and easy to type. Even the dimwits who failed English class and Google “bold and determine” are still able to find the website.
The 5 rules of picking a proper domain name:
- It must be a dot com – a dot com is the default, everyone knows dot com and when you say website the first thing people will think is “.com”. No one defaults to dot org, dot net, or something cutesy like a dot me.
- It must be easy to read and easy to remember – if they can’t read it or remember it they won’t be able to come back.
- It must not be a free site like boldanddetermined.wordpress.com or boldanddetermined.blogspot.com – picking a free site says you do not value your own website enough to spend 7 dollars on a domain and 3 dollars per month on hosting.
- It must be easily spoken and it MUST make grammatical sense – for example no one would say determinedlybold.com, that would be a stupid domain name.
- It must not have any numbers (1,2,3, one, two, three) or dashes (-) – no one can remember that nonsense. No one can remember if the number is spelled or typed as a number, no one can remember where the damn dash is and no one is going to type that nonsense into their address bar. bold-and-determined.com would be one of the worst domains in history. Make it EASY! Several weeks back a snake oil salesman came to leave me a spam comment to try and get some traffic to his site. I followed his link and what I saw shocked me. He had the worst domain name I have ever seen and for a month I have remembered how stupid it was. It was called el3mentsofwellness.com. He stupidly replaced an “E” with a 3 and now it looks like gibberish unless you concentrate. If one were going to try and return to his site they would be lost trying to type in that nonsense.
WordPress is the greatest and best blogging platform in existence and it’s free.
Capture emails from day 1
Anyone who has ever worked in sales knows you need one very important thing to make money – leads. The blogging for profit model is similar to a sales job. If you don’t capture leads and if you don’t turn those leads into sales you don’t eat. In the online world email address’s are your leads and they are very important to your business. You need to capture the email’s of your readers right from the start so you can inform them of any news, products available, etc. You can also send them new posts via email so they don’t have to keep checking your site for updates or, even worse, forgetting about your site altogether. RSS is dead and email is the way you need to communicate with your readers. I use Mailchimp, which is free for up to 500 subscribers and will allow you time to build your email list and not spend any dough. They will database all of your subscribers and you can easily set up an automatic new post to email feature.
Make it look good
Got to look good. Looking good makes everything better and easier. Good looking people have an easier life than ugly people. Good looking blogs have better traffic than ugly blogs, even if the “insides” aren’t great. I’m white, tall, handsome and muscular and I can say without hesitation that on the inside I simply don’t care about most people. It doesn’t matter how great my “insides” are. Everyone can see me and they treat me well. Walking around Vietnam they treat me like I’m the second coming of Superman, like I’m on holiday away from the hustle and bustle of Krypton. If I were a fat, black midget with a heart of gold they would probably spit on me. Appearance makes all the difference in the world.
For my blogs I have been using the Genesis framework and I buy “child themes” from Studiopress and I have been extremely pleased with my purchases. They look phenomenal and there is no extra backend coding required. Currently I am using metro theme and it’s the first time I have never had to do any additional backend coding work on a theme I didn’t design, usually I spend hours tinkering with the code trying to get everything perfect.
Keep an eye on the numbers
You will want to know how many visitors are coming to your site and how they are getting to you. The easiest, simplest and free way to find out is to use Google Analytics. One look at analytics and I can see how many visitors have stopped by in any given day, week, month or year. I can see that I get over 5,000 unique visitors every day and on my busiest day I received over 36,000 unique visitors.
The cost of pro blogging
The cost of pro blogging, when you are just starting out, is minimal. It can be done for under $10 per month. Currently I pay over $300 per month but it took a couple of years before that cost was necessary. The real cost is time. If you are going to blog anyway, and spend all your time doing it, you may as well make some dough.
Cliff’s notes for the impatient
- Use BADNET to set up your domain and hosting plan.
- Install WordPress and the proper plugins (let BADNET install for you here)
- Install a good looking theme
- Open a free Mailchimp account to snag email’s
- Open a Google Analytics account
- Write the world’s greatest content.
Part 2 is over boys, part 3 available here.