Having Confidence With Blogging
Whether you have a static website or work as an affiliate promoting things on Amazon, it’s good to have a blog where you can begin to build a following.
A blog isn’t where you slap up sterile articles. It’s where a personality is created and fans and followers are attracted. But this kind of content intimidates many people.
When you launch a blog, there are many fears that try to keep you from being productive. Technical tasks, knowing what to blog about, and attracting an audience to the point where they’ll interact with you and spread the word seems impossible!
Blogging doesn’t have to be intimidating, but it does need to be intimate. You have to learn how to build a strong bond with your readers because that will determine whether or not it succeeds.
Blogging Seems So Simple, Yet It’s Hard for So Many
Terrifying. That’s how blogging can be described by many would-be marketers. They have no problem setting up an article on an article directory, or a static website with some fundamental information.
But ask them to launch a blog with their viewpoint and they get this deer in the headlights look like you’d just asked them to jump out of an airplane without a parachute.
Blogging is one of the easiest business models to pursue online. But if you believe that it consists of sterile writing where you’re just a URL and not a name, then you have it all wrong.
A blog is a place where you are the host and you’re inviting people to a party a party of your ideas, your opinions, and your insights.
When you become a blogger, you really have to embrace the fact that you’ll be sharing yourself with your audience.
Many people come to me asking for advice about why they’re not making money online. I ask them to send me their site(s) so I can have a look and inevitably, one big problem shows up there’s no reason for the consumer to trust them.
The blogger thinks, ‘Well I took the time to research all the details about this product and I shared it with them!’ But it’s about as much fun as reading a nutrition label on the back of a food product!
People don’t want to know what the ingredients are. They want to know if you had fun making the dish, if it was easy or hard or took a lot of time. They like to hear you say how incredible it was, or how it was so awful you had to immediately toss it into the garbage disposal.
They like to be entertained and that doesn’t mean you have to write like a stand up comedian. It just means you have to be a real person sharing real information and that includes EMOTIONS and OPINIONS.
I encourage you to do something just as a test run one day. Go onto an Internet Marketing forum and look at the signature files of people who post about failing and not getting anywhere.
Take a peek at their websites and see what you notice. Nine times out of ten you’ll see sterile content. The facts might be there, but the reader has fallen asleep (AKA: clicked out) before the call to action because you didn’t give them a true human response reason to stick around.
I just did this looked in a forum and found someone asking about a big decline in traffic. I peeked at their sig file link and when I followed it, I found a blog that had lots of content that talked about a variety of tools.
Now the site owner used the word ‘I’ but that was about it. She probably thinks this is equivalent to personalizing her blog. But she shared absolutely no opinions or personality, just flat stale facts. Like, ‘I installed this plugin Friday.’
Okay. Nice fact. Boring, but okay. How about talking about why you got it what influenced you was there some sort of frustration you were hoping it would cut down on?
She says it took 3 hours. Okay why? Was that about right? Too long? Short? Not one indication for the reader to know whether or not this is a good or bad thing.
A better, more personalized version of this might have been something like this:
‘I installed the plugin on Friday after hearing from my friend Paula that it cut down on her spam by about 90%. I hate spammers they come on here acting like they’re your friend and sometimes sneak by the filters, making me waste time cleaning them up. The install took 3 hours which annoyed me because it said it was easy to install, and it infringed on my Walking Dead Tivo Time! But I’m glad I pushed through because since I installed it, I haven’t had one phony spam message get through!’
You see, it’s more than fact it’s letting the reader know my emotional state at that time. It lets them smile because they KNOW what it’s like when you’re working on a technical task and the clock says it’s time for their favorite TV show but they HAVE to finish up. No, they may not be Walking Dead fans but that doesn’t matter. And if they are? All the better for you, then!
Getting Past Your Fear of a Blog’s Technical Set Up Steps
Setting up a blog is so simple. This isn’t going to walk you through the steps it’s about confidence, not how to do the steps. Some people I know use only free platforms for blogging including WordPress or Blogger.
They do it because those free platforms walk you through it with big easy STEP ONE pages and arrows to go to STEP TWO.
No one wants to think about it. They don’t want to get stuck. But really, what’s so terrible about getting stuck? It’s not the end of the world. All you do it get UNstuck, right?
The first thing you do is go to Google or your favorite search engine and look up ‘How to set up a WordPress blog.’ If you need help buying a domain first, then Google ‘How to buy a domain.’
Just about everything you need to know is out there for free you just have to know how to search for it. Don’t just type in ‘WordPress blog’ because you might get all kinds of things from pages selling themes to detailed explanations on plugins.
This is where you lose confidence in your ability when the overwhelm strikes. My recommendation is that you don’t sit there thinking you’ll be ‘blogging in 30 minutes.’
Sure, I can set up a blog with a brand new domain, have graphics up and content going in 30 minutes but I wasn’t always at that point. You have to give yourself time to learn systems, time to research how to do things, and time to get stuck and unstuck with help.
I see so many people who freak out because they got stuck at 9 PM trying to do something and then no one answered their email by bedtime, so they would HAVE to return to it the next day.
This is a business model it’s not a microwave quickie you’re implementing. You want to do it right, so carve out some time.
Research in steps. If you don’t know how to set up your blog in Hostgator, then set aside an hour or two to get on live chat with Hostgator support to have them walk you through it – or to look up the steps and implement them slowly and carefully.
Understand that you WILL get stuck sometimes on technical tasks and it DOES take people a little while to respond. You can post specific questions in forums and tell them you’re stuck and need help.
There are SO many wonderful people who will hold your hand and help. Just say something like this:
‘Hi everyone! I’m implementing my first blog on WordPress and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get my new header installed on my theme. Here’s what I’ve done so far (insert steps you tried) and it’s giving me this error (tell whatever is happening that’s not right). Can anyone tell me where I’ve gone wrong? Thanks ahead of time!’
It’s that simple.
And if you worry that everyone’s pointing fingers and laughing at you for being stupid, trust me they’re not. This isn’t grade school. Everyone one of us has been there and they love helping people who are appreciative of their advanced knowledge.
Worst-case scenario you screw something up and the blog explodes into a million pieces. Well guess what? All you have to do is delete and reinstall. Amazing, right?
Nothing is going to explode I was kidding but even if you do something technical that’s a mess, it can be fixed! You’ll find some people who will log into your system for you (be careful to change your password after) and do the quick fix if it’s easier and faster than explaining to you.
You’ll find others who will make you a video tutorial. And I know for a fact that Hostgator is excellent at being nice when you call or online chat with them and tell them you feel stupid. They don’t get annoyed it’s their job and they’re really superb about helping.
Why Are You Afraid That No One Will Listen to You?
Fear of not having any traffic (other than robot visitors) is one reason why some people don’t blog. Okay, so I guess you think you’ll have more visitors without a blog? Makes no sense.
Worst-case scenario again you create a blog and no one visits to hear what you have to say. Okay. So what? So you change course, find out what you’re doing wrong, fix it!
I think part of the reason people worry is because they feel like if they put all this effort into setting up a blog and creating content it will be time wasted if no one comes to the site and converts into sales.
That’s why Internet Marketing is not for desperate people. If money is an issue where you’re hurting, then blogging should be a side item for you as you work as a service provider taking care of tasks for other marketers who are so busy and profitable already that they need help getting stuff done.
Sitting there believing you’ll have a profitable blog up in 2 weeks to the point it can support your family is a long shot. It verges on foolish, but not impossible. It’s better to be smart about building your online business.
First of all, it takes a little time to get a blog ranking really well across the board. You can get crawled and indexed by search engines quickly but a new site isn’t boosted to the top of the pile on day 1.
So visitors aren’t going to be flocking to your site in droves right away. You have to get the ball rolling. You have to socialize your site. Here are some easy ways to do that:
1. Tweet your blog entries. Each one, not the main blog URL.
2. Google Plus each blog entry. It’s owned by Google it’s a good idea.
3. If applicable, put the blog entry on Pinterest especially if it is about a tangible item and make sure you have a picture on the blog.
4. Ask for interaction. At the end of your blog posts, pose a question! People love to give their $0.02. When others come to your blog and see conversations, it makes them want to join in. If there’s nothing, they may not want to be the first to comment.
How will you know if you’re getting real visitors to your site? Well comments are one way to determine whether or not people are landing on your blog and are interested in what you have to say.
But they’re not the only way. There are many lurkers on websites who visit regularly but never comment. You might see someone who says they’ve lurked for two YEARS and finally decided to comment on your blog.
I’m one of those people. I go on many different blogs and read quickly and leave and don’t comment often. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to add. I simply nodded my head in agreement or thought to myself that it was good, and left.
You can also look in your traffic stats to see what keyword phrases your site is being found for. Look at how long visitors are staying on your site are they there reading for a bit or clicking away like lightening? That might be a clue that you’re not engaging them with enough personality.
Use a variety of media formats to gain a following. Everybody has preferences. Some people like video. Some like text. Some like a combination. Some prefer audio files. You need to become comfortable with all forms of media files and start putting them out there.
See which ones get you the biggest response. Sometimes it might depend on the person creating the content. Maybe you’re a great person on video but your writing isn’t very good. Then do more video. Or vice versa.
The best way to think about having an audience is this: If no one’s coming, then you shouldn’t be embarrassed because no one’s there watching anyway. And if they are coming repeatedly, then you’re doing something right and should be proud of yourself. So there’s no humiliation either way.
Just do it.
Finding Topics to Blog About Is Easy
It’s sometimes intimidating for people to know what they want to blog about. So let’s scratch that excuse off your list. I’m going to show you a random example niche and how you could find topics to blog about.
Let’s choose a big niche topic like weight loss. Here are my ideas on how to find topics to blog about:
1. Your story. If weight loss is an issue for you, whether you’re currently struggling or succeeded long ago, you want to share it with your readers.
2. Stories of people you know no names mentioned. Maybe you don’t have a problem, but your sister does and you want to help her and people like her. You can talk about other people’s stories without identifying them.
3. Solutions to common problems. Brainstorm a list of common problems for the niche. For weight issues, maybe a common problem is eating too much fast food so your blog entry about this would be to teach the reader how to stay away from drive throughs and start being a brown bagger.
4. A discussion of unusual problems. Maybe there are issues not so common to a niche but something that some of them DO suffer from. For example, maybe there’s an overweight person whose spouse is ANGRY at them for trying to lose weight. Maybe a man who likes his wife overweight but she wants to pursue health. It happens! Blog about it.
5. Blog about how this issue affects both genders, all age groups, and maybe people in geographic locations.
6. Look at magazines on the topic (Barnes and Noble carries many that aren’t found in grocery stores) and Writer’s Market books have publications listed for hundreds of trade magazines you might be able to get ideas from.
7. Invest in books on your topic and go through each chapter, making a blog post about the topic. That doesn’t mean you type what the author said onto your blog! You can simply say, ‘I was reading this weight loss book (maybe even link to it with your affiliate link) and it advised that people run for an hour each day. I have a different take on that especially for overweight people suffering knee issues.’
8. Do a search on your TV guide for shows about your topic. Watch the news or look on news sites that have categories like technology, relationships, health and more.
9. Use Google search tabs to get ideas. Let me show you a few ways I use this.
This is from the Google Images tab. It would spur me to create a blog about the online sites that let you enter your start weight, current weight and goal weight and how this can help motivate you into continuing with your workout and nutrition regimen.
Then I might go to the next tab – Google Maps. You wonder how that might help, right? Well look at this image on the right of what pops up.
This would give me the idea for a blog post on whether or not I believe hypnosis works for weight loss!
There were more gastric surgery, colonics, and acupuncture all ideas for blog entries in this niche!
If I click on the Shopping tab in Google search, then I see tons of books I could review another great idea for a blog entry. Read a chapter a day and do a review on it. Link to it with an affiliate link, give YOUR opinion about what the author says, too.
Click on the More tab and you get more great resources for your niche. Videos let you see many topics that give you fodder for blog posts. I instantly see videos on weight gain and sleep apnea, weight and menopause, and more!
Click on the Blogs option and see what other bloggers are talking about. Your blog post can be a response to another blogger pro or con! Link to them and discuss.
The Discussions tab is going to take you to forum discussions on the topic. I immediately see a post about a little girl calling herself fat. Blog post idea! Another on overweight women and infertility blog idea!
Another tab is called Recipes. I could find recipes to discuss or something that might generate an idea of my own to discuss. For instance, I see an entry on overweight individuals with diabetes needing help on what to fix for breakfast.
I click on Applications and see a ton of Apps for your tech gadgets that you could discuss. Download them, play with them and talk about them on your blog. Ask others if THEY have used them. Make recommendations on what to use and what to avoid.
Even clicking on Patents shows me a couple of blog topic ideas birth control and weight gain and another on what makes a person’s weight be deemed ‘normal.’
10. Use keyword tools. They offer a flood of ideas. Start with a broad word or phrase. Then take one of the more specific ones and enter it again to see what comes up.
So for my example, I might type ‘weight loss’ into Google’s free keyword tool. I get some immediate ideas from the original listing: hCG, quick weight loss, supplements, and camps.
If I click on another one healthy weight loss I see more details that offer me some new blog ideas: healthy smoothie recipes for weight loss, healthy snacks for weight loss, and healthy weight loss per week.
So never use the excuse that you have nothing to blog about. There are ideas everywhere. You just have to go looking. Make a quick 30-day plan. Just jot down a little title or keyword phrase you don’t have to do a big outline and waste time during your research phase.
Using Feedback to Bolster Your Confidence
As you get going as you begin to get a feel for what your audience is responding to you can use that to feel more confident in what you’re planning for upcoming posts.
It’s okay to get excited the first time you have someone comment. It’s something to be proud of!
And even if you have a hater come along don’t let it make you crumble. Let it empower you to either change something (if they’re right) or feel good that you were personable enough to cause a reaction from someone.
Understand also that many spam comments appear real and they’ll either say something like, ‘This is the best article on weight loss I’ve read in a long time!’ or, ‘I can’t believe you just wrote that this is horrible of you to say.’
You may not see a link in the actual comment so you approve it and respond to the person posting it.
In reality, it’s nothing more than a spammer wanting you to approve his or her comment because they have linked their name to their website when they filled out the comment form and it asked for their website URL.
I tell you this because one woman came to me in tears because people were either loving or hating her blog entries. She let me log in and every one of them was spam. She had been approving and responding to them, even apologizing to the spammers for them ‘hating’ her blog post.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of it’s a learning curve for all of us.