The 5 Biggest Obstacles (& Solutions!) to Getting Your Blog Started


blog consulting

Image Credit: Benjamin Belew

In my years of blog consulting with veterans, businesses, newbie and wannabe bloggers I have learned that there are generally five obstacles that most bloggers face when getting started.

In this article I will share those five obstacles AND the solutions to them.

Will Rogers was a cowboy, vaudeville performer and social commentator who lived in the late 19th to early 20th centuries.  Rogers is credited with having first said, “If you can do it, it ain’t bragging.”

I am not “horn tooting” here. Rather I want the reader to have confidence that what I have learned and share here comes not from theory, but from real world experience. I’ve helped more people create web sites than I can remember AND get in total real/relevant traffic that is approaching 100,000,000 page views (that’s right, 100 million)–primarily (80%+) from search engines. I ain’t bragging.

Obstacle #1 - Picking a Domain Name

I am genuinely surprised at the number of times that I have sat with small businesses to corporate clients who were paying me from $200-500/hr (really!) to discuss with them what domain name they should use.

I suppose it is natural to think that some names might be better than others and it is best to choose the most ideal name.

The simple truth – it really doesn’t matter what your domain name is. I have some very stupid names for some of my sites and they still have received anywhere from 1 – 30 million page views total depending on the topic.

Question: Why is that?

Answer: The domain name is not nearly as important as the title of your blog, your tagline, your choice of categories, the title you choose on individual posts and posting consistently relevant content to your blog. Get these latter points right and you can call your blog anything you want.

That being said, I do have some suggestions.

1. Choose something people can spell.

Americans are pretty much spelling challenged. If you were not born between 1954 and 1959, you probably are not that good at putting all your letters in a row correctly. From ’54-’59 Americans learned how to spell phonetically. I can spell things I have never heard or seen before (usually) and I can guess at the reading of most words. Yeah, I am old. I know it. My brother was born in ’53. He can’t spell to save his soul. My sister was born in ’60. Yup, can’t spell.

Not long ago GoDaddy invited me to their HQ for a tour and some priming. I’ll explain below. One of the things I learned was that the average length of a domain name is 8-9 characters. GoDaddy would know. They have sold some 53 million names.

Choose something that is as short as possible and that people can spell.

2. Use your own name.

I own BillBelew.com. It is not because I am vain. It is because it’s me. It was also the name of Elvis Presley’s costume designer. That Bill Belew died a few years ago. I got a LOT of visits from friends asking, “Bill, are you okay?” If you happen to have the name of somebody famous, good for you. Most don’t. For the most part, if you can’t think of a good domain name that hasn’t been used in 10 minutes or less, use your own name. Add your middle initial if you must. Add your title. First initial, last name. First name, last initial. That sort of thing. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of choosing something for your domain name and getting started. I will explain why in my session at NMX.

3. You can always change your domain name.

My son is a concert pianist who started getting pretty popular. People asked him if he had a web site. When he told them the name (it was an old fantasy character), the response was “Huh?!”

Repeat the name.

“Huh?”

He ended up buying the name BenjaminBelew.com and used a redirect to the old website domain name. Nobody knows the difference unless they check the URL box at the top AFTER they type in the domain name. Who does that? Curious? Take a look at www.benjaminbelew.com and see how it changes.

Obstacle #2 – Choosing good/reliable/cheap hosting

At least half the world’s population is shoppers.

Question: Where is the best place to get the most reliable hosting at the cheapest price?

Answer: Short of someone subsidizing the costs, the cheapest place to go is www.bm2hosting.com

(Full disclosure – I own this, but keep reading before you pass judgment on what may seem to be self promotion.)

I bought the rights to be a reseller for the world’s largest domain and hosting company. See above. I asked them, “What is the lowest possible price I can sell domains and hosting for without me having to dip into my own pocket to pay?” The prices offered at BM2Hosting are the lowest you will find anywhere. When people buy there, I do not make any money. Seriously, I pay a nominal sum annually to be able to resell these products so that my students and clients will not get bogged down searching for something better. There isn’t anything better.

  1. Nowhere more cheaply
  2. 24/7 support – great customer service
  3. Solid reputation

Obstacle #3 – Selecting Best Template

There is Blogger and WordPress and Typepad and Homemade.

Google’s chief of search engine findability and spam prevention recommends WordPress. He uses a WordPress template. And he says that WordPress templates are search engine friendly “out of the box.” And he has all of Google’s Blogger resources at his disposal! Use WordPress.

It has:

  1. More flexibility – If you can think of something you’d like to have/do at your blog, somebody has figured out a way to do it.
  2. More options – Too many! Don’t get bogged down.
  3. Ease of use – If you can write an email, you can use WordPress.
  4. Availability of help – There is a whole industry of worker bees helping people with their WordPress blogs. Don’t know who to ask? Ask me.

Question: Which WordPress template should you use?

Answer: If you can’t decide within 15 minutes of looking at the many FREE options that WordPress offers, choose the default template and go with it for now. The simple truth – in the beginning it doesn’t matter what your site looks like, nobody is coming anyway. What is important is getting started.

Choose a template, start writing and hit publish–often.

Obstacle #4 - Choosing What to Write About

Question: What is the single best way to get more traffic to your web site?

Answer: Write more.

It is absolutely fundamental that the more you write, that is, the more often you hit the publish button, the higher the probability of AND the more actual visits you will see. Nothing beats publishing more. Period. Unless it would be writing more and better, using good SEO principles. I will explain this at my session at NMX.

For now, I tell people to write about something that:

  1. They are interested in – Usually when people ask me what to write about, they mean to ask what the highest paying niches are. I know the answer. But, why would you want to write about something you don’t care about just so you can make more money?
  2. You can create an interest in – Write about your topic so much that people will think, “Hey, I’d better go see what all the fuss is all about.” A good, hard-working blogger really can create their own ‘celebrity’ status.
  3. Is timeless – This is stuff that is always on people’s “to-know” list. Five of these, four reasons for, How to… and so on.
  4. Is timely – What does what you know have to do with what is going on in the world around you? Make the connection.
  5. You have a lot to say about – I tell my clients they need to write about something they have 1,000 things to say about. Literally a thousand. Don’t have that much to say? You will be hard pressed to make money blogging, I think.

Obstacle #5 - It’s too much work

Making a living blogging is a lot of work. Getting good results (a LOT of traffic at your blog) from is a lot of work. Doing better business, getting more leads, more clients, more offers from your blog is a lot of work. But if you don’t want to work hard, I have solved that problem, too.

Write a big check (depends on your goals) and I will do it for you. And, if not me, there are people who will ghost blog for you. But it costs money.

There is no reason why you can’t get started blogging today. You can go from zero to hitting the publish button in about two hours.

The five biggest obstacles to getting started blogging are overcome

  1. Name – done
  2. Hosting – done
  3. Template – done
  4. Content – done
  5. Hard – done

What are you waiting for? Get started today.

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About Bill Belew

Bill Belew is a professional blogger and pays his Silicon Valley mortgage through revenue from traffic to his network of sites. Bill has taken 10 different and unrelated niche topics to more than 1,000,000 unique visitors each and more than 87 million views overall. He is a published author, speaker, and teaches blogging, SEO, and web traffic building to his network of nearly 4,000 Meetup members in San Francisco.

Comments

  1. Happy to have a part in this upcoming NMX Live in Vegas in ’13. Hope to see you all there.

  2. exetertraining says:

    Keep up the great work Bill!
     
    Mike
     
    Michael Haltman
    The Political Commentator
    New York, New York
    Twitter: @ThePoliticalCom
     

    •  @exetertraining  @ThePoliticalCom 
      Hey, Mike! I was just in NYC for 2 weeks last month. Emailed you but for some reason didn’t connect. Thanks for reading! 

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    “Being intelligent is not a felony, but most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.”
    by Lazarus Long.