#031: My Advice to Beginning Bloggers [Podcast]

As a result of my book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, and my speaking, I get a lot of e-mail about blogging. People want to know what I advise about getting started. In this episode of the podcast, I answer this question.

Typed Text on a Retro Typewriter - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Petegar, Image #14310362

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Petegar

In my book, I share a social media framework. It consists of three parts:

  1. Home base. This is a place in cyberspace that you own and control. For most people, this will be a blog. It could also be a podcast or a video podcast. It is a place where you have 100 percent control of the design and the content—in other words, the branding and the message.
  2. Embassies. These are places in cyberspace you don’t own and control, but where you have a presence. Examples would include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc. Don’t confuse these with a home base. You don’t want to use these as the primary means of delivering your content to the marketplace.
  3. Outposts. These are places in cyberspace you monitor using a tool like Google Alerts.

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So, for most people wanting to build a platform, a blog will be their homebase. It is the foundation of everything else they do.

But how do you get started? You can launch a successful blog by taking eight steps.

  1. Determine your blog’s focus. For example:
    • My blog is about intentional leadership.
    • My friend, John Saddington, has a blog about entrepreneurship and startups.
    • My daughter, Mary Crimmins, has a blog about fresh, seasonal, and local food.
    • My friends at Gap International have a blog about exceptional business performance and growth.

    Before determining your focus, answer these two questions:

    • Can you generate high-quality content with this focus on a regular basis. By “regular” I mean at least once a week. (This is the minimum standard.)
    • Will your content attract a loyal and growing audience?
  2. Select a service. There are scores of options—WordPress, TypePad, Blogger—but I only recommend WordPress. However, it comes in two flavors:

    To decide which one, answer these questions:

    • What is your ultimate goal? Is this just a hobby or will this be the basis of your personal or professional platform? If the former, choose WordPress.com. If the latter, choose WordPress.org.
    • How much control do you want? Self-hosted WordPress provides an unlimited number of themes and plugins. Hosted WordPress provides a more limited set of options.
    • What is your level of technical proficiency? If you are technologically challenged, choose WordPress.com. If you are a bit of a power-user, choose WordPress.org. Note: You don’t have to be a Geek or a programmer.

    If in doubt, start with WordPress.com. You can always upgrade later.

  3. Set up your blog. If you are going the self-hosted route, watch my screencast, “How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less.”

    Then select a theme. With WordPress, you can select from thousands of pre-designed themes and then adjust the details. Chose from one of the major theme providers: WooThemes.com, ElegantThemes.com, StudioPress, or StandardTheme. I am also developing a premium WordPress theme called GetNoticed!, that will be available in a few months.

    Remember: a blog is never really done. It is a work in process. Don’t get stuck here. “Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.”

  4. Write your first post. If you haven’t done a lot of writing, this may prove to be the most difficult part. Keep your posts short if you don’t have a lot of experience. (I recommend less than five hundred words.) Develop momentum. Get the hang of it. Stick to what you know. And you most certainly know more than you think you know!

    If you don’t know where else to start, begin with a “Welcome to My Blog” post. Tell your prospective readers why you have started your blog and what kinds of things you intend to write about. Here’s an example of mine: “Welcome to My New Blog.”

  5. Consider using an off-line blogging client. An off-line blogging client is like a word processor for blogging. It enables you to write when you’re not online and then upload your post when you connect to the Internet. You can also schedule posts to run on a specific day and time, which is a very useful function when your schedule is tight or you’d like to take a vacation.

    The most popular are Windows Live Writer and BlogJet (for Windows) and MarsEdit (for Mac). I use MarsEdit daily and love it.

  6. Add the bells and whistles. With WordPress there are thousands of plugins available that extend the functionality of your blog.

    For example, you can incorporate third-party services like MailChimp, AWeber, FeedBlitz, or FeedBurner. These enable your readers to subscribe to your site and even receive an e-mail whenever you post a new entry. You can add a list of your most popular posts. You can add advertising or announcements.

    Warning: Don’t go over-board. The more plugins you add, the more you will slow down your site. This could have a direct, adverse impact on your traffic. People don’t have much patience for sites that load slowly.

  7. Publicize your blog. Obviously, tell your friends and business associates. Put your blog address everywhere. Utilize social media and optimize your posts for SEO. Also, you might want to read chapter 35 in Platform, where I explain how to generate more blog traffic.
  8. Write regularly. This is the best advice I could give you for building readership. If people like what you write, they will come back. If there’s nothing new to read, they will eventually lose interest.

    So the more regularly you post, the more your readership will grow. I suggest you schedule time to write. It won’t happen on its own.

The most important advice I can tell you is just start. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You know enough to move forward. Take the next step.

Listener Questions

  1. Calum Henderson asked, “In terms of design, what is the #1 principle for a blogger on a budget?”
  2. Carl Prude asked, “Do you recommend importing an existing email list to MailChimp?” and “How frequently should I post new blog updates to social media networks?”
  3. Christopher Scott asked, “How much should I expect to spend on my blog and how do I determine when to spend more?”
  4. Duke Dillard asked, “What advice do you have for turning a hobby blog into a blog that makes money? How do you handle those readers who might be offended by the change?”
  5. Jacqui Wilson asked, “Is there a social media tool you can use to disseminate a blog update to multiple social media outlets all at once?” and “What other outlets do you suggest a blogger use besides social media?”
  6. Micki Vandeloo asked, “How can I increase the number of blog comments I receive?”
  7. Mike Mobley asked, “When does a blogger start advertising and is that always necessary?”
  8. Sunil Raheja asked, “How can you keep blogging a pleasure rather than a chore?”
  9. Todd Liles asked, “What is the best theme for beginning bloggers?”

Special Announcements

  1. I created My Tools page in response to the numerous questions I get every week about what hardware, software, and other tools I use to do specific tasks. It is a comprehensive resource page with links to all my tools. If nothing else, it might just stimulate your thinking process.
  2. My next podcast will be on the topic of “Creating a Personal Life Plan.” If you have a question about this topic—and want a chance to get on the show—leave me a voicemail message. This is a terrific way to cross-promote YOUR blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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If you have an idea for a podcast you would like to see or a question about an upcoming episode, e-mail me.

Also, if you enjoyed the show, please rate it on iTunes and write a brief review. That would help tremendously in getting the word out! Thanks.

Question: What advice do you have for beginning bloggers or what other questions do you have? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to a self-hosted WordPress blog? It’s easier than you think! Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it, step-by-step. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • JeremiahZeiset

    Michael, I really appreciate that you clearly point out a blog needs quality content in order to succeed. I meet many authors who have heard that every successful author needs to blog – and so they start a blog,  having no idea of the work that goes into having a SUCCESSFUL blog.

    Nothing is worth doing halfheartedly, and we frequently tell our authors that they need to choose several promotional methods which they will enjoy – and if they follow through and do those things well, it will produce results. It’s better to have an active facebook page you enjoy than it is having a blog that you do only because it’s the thing you think you need to do.

    Thank-you Michael, for doing a great blog. I know how much work it is, and I enjoy your insights very much

    Jeremiah Zeiset

    LIFE SENTENCE Publishing 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jeremiah. I appreciate your encouragement.

  • Me

    The podcast doesn’t appear to be showing up in my feed.  It looks this one doesn’t have the podcast tag in the post

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You are right. I have fixed that. Thanks!

  • http://www.brandongilliland.com/ Brandon Gilliland

    This was an awesome podcast-probably one of the ones that really interested me.

    I recently switched my blog, http://www.brandongilliland.com, to a self-hosted platform about 6 months ago. It was a great decision, but I have experienced a slight traffic decline. It is starting to pick back up, but I had more pageviews with wordpress.com.

    What amount of pageviews should a 6 month old blog be getting per day?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your encouragement.

      I honestly don’t know what to tell you. The time you have been blogging is the least important variable. The relevance of your headlines, quality of your posts, and how you are promoting it are far more important.

      • http://www.brandongilliland.com/ Brandon Gilliland

        Gotcha!

        I have been really trying to promote it. I haven’t seen too many benefits yet, but I am starting to see small amounts through Twitter. The blog has received 5 new email subscribers in the past two weeks just from Twitter. Many have been trying to get me on Google+, so I set up a profile today. I’m still figuring it out.
        Do you receive a significant amount of traffic from Google+?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          No, I don’t. It is probably not worth the effort for me. However, bloggers in the tech space report a significant amount of traffic from Google+. By far, Facebook sends me the most traffic.

          • prophetsandpopstars

            I’m finding that by simply adding my posts to StumbleUpon, my traffic and time on site has tripled. It isn’t driving up comments…haven’t gotten that figured out yet, but the StumbleUpon has been a great find. 

          • Jim Martin

            Michael, very interesting regarding Facebook and traffic.  You may have mentioned this before but this is the first time I notice this.  Does this in some way correlate with your decision to post directly to FB as opposed to using Hootsuite for this?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            Yes, I think so. It does make a difference!

  • http://elisafreschi.blogspot.com/ elisa freschi

    Thanks for generously sharing. I have seen many of my (friends and) colleagues start a blog and quit it or just post once in months. To aspiring bloggers I would recommend to start co-blogging in a team, until they know they have enough experience and content to have their own blog. Co-blogging is also an encouraging experience, because one gets comments, at least from the other co-bloggers, and a way to expand one’s audience.

    (Personally, I like the team beyond “The Philosophers’ Cocoon” or “Practical Ethics”.)

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’ve not familiar with co-blogging. Are you referring to guest-posting on other sites?

  • http://trillionsmall.tumblr.com/ Trillion Small

    Hello Michael,

    This was tremendously helpful for me, as I am a beginner blogger. I have been following and starting to read your materials and I was stuck in the beginning with the question of “which wordpress option is best for me?”. You answered that question for me and now I am excited to move forward. Thank you for this post.

    One question I did have is this, “Should I use the domain that I purchased from GoDaddy and keep my website with them plus have a wordpress blog page or should I just use my wordpress blog as my webpage also as you have done?”

    I have read one of your former blogs about wordpress but I am still unsure of where I should go next with my domain (I haven’t created a webpage for it yet, I just bought the domain name). 

    Thank you for any suggestions. I value your knowledge. 

    Thank you,

    Trillion Small

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I would have just a blog. You likely don’t need a website in addition to that. Instead, point your domain to your blog. You can do this with both hosted and self-hosted WordPress. Thanks.

      • http://trillionsmall.tumblr.com/ Trillion Small

        Awesome. Thank you so much! 

    • http://www.brandongilliland.com/ Brandon Gilliland

       It doesn’t matter who you purchased your domain through. You can still use that with the popular hosting services.

      Once you purchase hosting, you can install wordpress and go from there. Mr. Hyatt actually has a video on how to set up a self-hosted wordpress blog.

      • http://trillionsmall.tumblr.com/ Trillion Small

        Yes, I have that blog saved so I will sit down and get busy now that I know which to do. Thanks for your response. 

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Trillion, I don’t want to speak on behalf of Michael but I think it depends on what your objective is for the domain. I have friends who solely use WordPress (which has a high degree of functionality) and use that channel to generate a high-five-figure or even six-figure income. 

      I have several godaddy domains that I direct toward my single blog. If you have a blog where you sell products, you can still use WordPress with a backend shoppingcart. Personally, I don’t think the godaddy hosting/web site adds much.

      • http://trillionsmall.tumblr.com/ Trillion Small

        Hello TorConstantino, thank you for your response. I want my website (or blog page) to be a place that I can begin to build a strong foundation for myself as a speaker and author. I want it to be a place that people can go to to learn about my speaking topics, how to book me, my products, to receive encouraging words, etc…  (Similar basically to what Michael’s website here provides)

        I can do all of this just using either a web page or a blog page. I ust was wondering what the best for myself would be. I think I have a clearer idea of what I want to do now.

  • http://www.beforethecross.com/ Mike Mobley

    Thanks Michael for taking the time to help answer my question and others, appreciate it and appreciate you!

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Thanks for this post, Michael.  I gained a few new insights for my blog: http://danerickson.net 

  • http://www.dianeyuhas.com/ Diane Yuhas

    I have been blogging  for several years, but have little traffic and few subscribers. I’ve posted irregularly, only once or twice a month, with content that has been too broad and too much about me. I feel confident writing about every day life and faith because that is what I know best, but I’m having a hard time taking this and turning it into a blog that meets other people’s needs and isn’t just about me. Suggestions?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This probably sounds self-serving, but I recommend my book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. It really does contain all my best thinking on this topic. Thanks.

      • http://www.dianeyuhas.com/ Diane Yuhas

        I’m happily ordering it right now.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

           Diane,
          You will love it!

      • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

        It’s not self-serving when it’s right and the recommendation is AWESOME.

        OK, it still sort of is but you should feel a little less guilty. :)

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Diane, you and I have crossed paths over on a couple of Facebook blogging forums – I can tell you that my blog and blogging took off after I read Michael’s book “Platform.” You won’t be disappointed!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Tor. I appreciate that!

      • http://www.dianeyuhas.com/ Diane Yuhas

        I downloaded the kindle edition & have read Part 1. It’s fantastic! I especially appreciated the idea of asking what would make a really cool blog (with a great lobby), the kind I would come back to again and again. I immediately jotted down 28 things and my brain is still churning. Now I’m about to ask the same question about the main theme of my blog. Thanks, Michael! And thank you, Tor, for remembering me. 

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Michael, thank you for this excellent post. I particularly appreciate the list of resources! I also agree that it is important to determine your blog’s focus. However, I am wondering if over time that focus can change and if it does change, what is the best way to deal with it? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it definitely can change. Mine has changed several times. Sometimes it required re-branding. Other times (for less significant changes), I just added a category.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I agree with Michael. Yes, it does change. More often than not, the change is more a result of self-discovery and understanding, as you begin to get a solid grasp on what your market needs and what you uniquely have to offer to meet that need. Blogs evolve, never arrive.

  • Danhamann

    Michael, I needed this little push to get back in the blogging game. I just finished reading your book Platform and I loved it. As a marketing and media guy I have spent all my time working for my clients and ignoring my own blog and social media. You can’t give what you don’t have. I took your advise and I am writing 4 posts a week and loving it. It is now the thing I look forward to doing every week…ok for the past 3 weeks. The thing that has surprised me the most is all the new ideas for my business that have come out of writing the blog posts. Thanks

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Dan, I completely agree about the benefits of blogging. As a relative newbie to blogging (I’ve been posting five days a week since last November) my writing and thinking have become clearer. Not only do I have better blogging ideas, but I have better ideas for my day job as well!

    • Jim Martin

      Dan, I have been blogging for a number of years.  To this day, what you are describing continues to be my experience as well.  Writing these posts have helped to clarify my thinking as well as discover new ideas.

  • http://www.ericdingler.com/ Eric Dingler

    Michael, another great post.

    My question is in regards to the theme.  

    I’m building my blog now.  Collecting all the information, content and elements for pages such as my future speaker page and other pages.  I’m currently writing blog post to determine a realistic weekly schedule.  Also working on building my embassies and the other elements of my Platform.  We’ve set a launch deadline of January 4th.

    When I launch; how big of a difference starting out will the theme make?  I’m not asking in regards to appearance. But in regards to SEO as well as how it looks and adjust to multiple platforms including smartphones and tablets.  

    The only issue I’m currently having is selecting a theme.  I can’t decide between a free theme or buying a theme.  

    Do all plugins available through WordPress work on all themes…is this another issue to consider when selecting a theme?  

    Thank you

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      With the rise in popularity of mobile devices, you really need a theme that is “responsive,” i.e., adjusts to the size of the device. This is the value of a premium theme and is worth paying for in my opinion. Plugins will work with most themes, but there are some exceptions. I don’t know of a way to tell other than by trial and error. Well-written themes and plugins should play well together. Thanks.

      • http://www.ericdingler.com/ Eric Dingler

        Thank you.  Greatly Appreciated.  

  • http://starkravingcatholic.blogspot.com/ Gerald McGrane

    Michael,

    Thank you very much for this podcast. I know you personally endorse WordPress and given the freedom and options I can see why.  Other than the lack of control, is there anything wrong with using Google’s Blogger? Am I hurting myself in terms of visibility and credibility by not using WordPress?  Thanks for your time.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      There’s nothing wrong with it per se. If it meets your needs, use it.

  • Theguestposter

    Hi Michael,

    Your MarsEdit link is broken, it is missing the slashes.

    Great advice btw.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for catching that. It’s all fixed now.

  • http://dsargentblog.us/ Darin Sargent

    Michael,

    Thanks for all you do.  I appreciate the direction you give on many fronts but especially when it comes to blogging.  I have a quick question:  I am the pastor of a church plus I have a motivational speaking business I run also.  Is it best to have two blogs, one for the pastoral side of my life and one for the motivational or should I stick to one blog and incorporate both into it?  Thanks again for doing such a great job.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      If at all possible, I recommend avoiding two blogs unless you think the markets are so different that there is not much overlap. It is really challenging to keep up with two. One is hard enough!

      • http://dsargentblog.us/ Darin Sargent

        Thanks Michael.  That is what I thought but I wanted to talk to the master ninja and get his advice :-)

  • http://woodliffglobal.com/ Kathy Woodliff

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks so much for helping those of us who are beginning bloggers.  I really appreciate your practical advise.  Your book Platform is a phenomenal resource!  I also visited your “Inside My Toolbox” which is extremely helpful as well.  I’m thankful for your generosity in helping those of us who are not as far along on the path.

    Kathy Woodliff
    woodliffglobal.com

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      No doubt Kathy – I’ve learned a ton from modeling what Michael does. He’s so generous at sharing what he’s learned, which helps us newbies avoid the pitfalls and mistakes – enabling us to go farther, faster.

    • Jim Martin

      Kathy, I have found his book helpful as well.  I have been blogging for a number of years now.  I wish I had Michael’s book in the beginning.  Would have saved me some headaches!  It is such a helpful resource.

  • Tracey L. Moore

    This was very informative. I was wondering what a good Pod Cast would be like because I was consideing trying to do one myself. Not only was the blogging information helpful, but you set the example of what it takes to put on an effective pod cast.  Thanks for sharing your expertise.
    Tracey L. Moore
    (Author of the upcoming book entitled, Oasis For My Soul: Poems and Inspirational Writings for Spiritual and Personal Growth)

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Tracey, I completely agree with you regarding Michael’s podcast – it is extremely well done. In conversations I’ve had with Michael, I know that he works very hard at making each cast the best it can be – he spends a full day (or more) researching and preparing.

      I used to be in talk radio and the rule of thumb for a professional radio talk show producer was that it usually took 3-to-4 times worth of show prep (research) for the actual time you intended to speak.

      So if you have a 10 minute podcast or talk show, you should expect to spend no less than 30 to 40 minutes in show prep and research.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Great insight, Tor. Glad to know the approximate parameters for that kind of prep/research work.

  • http://www.toddstocker.com/ Todd Stocker

    After I purchased your book “Platform” and actually did something with the information, my blog traffic increased 100% over the prior year.  (see image)  The numbers aren’t huge, but I’m in it for the long haul.  Thanks Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for sharing that, Todd. Very exciting!

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Question: Michael, I’m trying to gain more traffic and commenters on my blog.  I’ve announced a contest and will add details next week.  My idea is to give a few books away to the top commenters.  I don’t have many regular commenters and I hope the contest will bring in a few new readers and commenters.  I’ve already started posting the coming contest of Facebook and Twitter.  Do you think this is a good idea?  Do you have any other ideas for bringing in new readers and getting people active in commenting?  Thanks, dan 

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Hi Dan, my blog launched last November and had an Alexa ranking of 28+ million (that’s not very good) – however in the past 11 months it’s moved up to lower than 260,000. I attribute that trend toward intentional guest posting. 

      During that time, I’ve written more than 50+ unique guest posts targeting specific blogs (e.g. Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, ProBlogger…etc.).

      To me, that’s the single best way to introduce your writing to new readers.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        Wow!  Congratulations on your fast rise in the rankings.  I’ve had my blog for about 18 months, but didn’t start trying to build an audience until my book release in April of this year.  I’ve done a few guest posts, mostly on friends and acquaintances blogs.  I know that’s a great way to increase traffic.  For me it’s a time issue.  I’m a single parent and work full-time as a college instructor.  Plus, as a creative writer, poetry song, fiction, etc., I fear that too much effort in guest posting will take away from the limited time I have to write more creative works.  It’s a conundrum.  

        Question: Do you submit your posts directly to the blogs you’re interested in posting with, or do you use a depository type of site?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I do think it’s a good idea. I used it myself for more than a year. The only downside—and why I eventually quit—is that you get some people gaming the system. They post simple replies (e.g., “Great comment!”) or comments that don’t really add value to the community. But, until that happened, it worked great.
      I talk about generating more traffic and comments in my book, Platform. Thanks.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        Thanks for taking the time to reply, Michael.  I thought of the two-word comment issue and am planning on addressing that in a post of official contest rules early next week.  I think I’m going to give away a-book-a-month for now and the top commenter must post a minimum of ten comments that add something meaningful to the discussion.  It’s worth a try.  I still need to get your book.  I think I’ll add it to my Nook on my next trip to Starbucks.  Thanks, dan

  • http://twitter.com/Keith_LaskeyGrp Keith Laskey

    Thank you for the incredibly helpful information Michael.  I’m looking forward to your WordPress theme.  I have been looking for some advice on which WordPress to choose (org vs. com) .  I finally have an understanding.  Also, I can’t wait for the next episode in which you will be discussing a Life Plan.  Your ebook was already a bit of a life changer.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas.

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  • Rachel Kim

    Hi guys!  I am a frequent reader but first time poster.  You guys just plain rock!!!! 

    I am working on launching a video blog and followed Michael’s video (using bluehost and word press) – have my site set up but I am having a really hard time figuring out the best way to do videos…. 75% or more of my content will be videos and the main format I will use.  Considering I already have a self hosted wordpress.org site . . ..any suggestions or places I can go to learn?

    Thank you so much!!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind words, Rachel. You might find my post, “How to Record a Video Interview in Eight Steps,” helpful.

      • Rachel Kim

        Perfect!  Thank you so much for everything!  I am so grateful for all of your help in saving my brain energy for my content! 

  • CJ

    Hello fellow bloggers. I have just started my new blog http://www.cjfritsch.com, which I launched last week. A huge thanks to Michael Hyatt in providing exceptional content on making those process easier! My question is, on average, how long does it take for a blog to see traffic growth? I post 1 to 2 times per week. Right now my blog is primarily viewed by family and friends only. I would just like a metric so I can gauge if my blog is succeeding or failing. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

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  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    I get this question a lot. Usually, I advise using your name. Projects come and go, but your name and your personal brand will endure.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I finally bought you book, Michael and will be reading it after I finish Joe Pote’s book on divorce.  I do have another question for you or any who might respond:

    On my own blog, I’ve struggled to create a narrow focus of content because of my own love of variety and my unusual variety of life experiences. (e.g. a cult, loss of a child, dealing with divorce due to extreme OCD, single parent, etc.)  
    I’m creative.  I write poetry, songs, and fiction.  I’m an ammeter photographer and like art and design.

    On the other hand, I’m educated, a college communication teacher and I understand concepts of public speaking, writing, and professionalism.

    As a child victim of a cult, I’ve dealt with extreme measures and struggles and I’m writing a series of books about the healing process from that life event.

    At first my blog was just a creative outlet, but when I wrote my first book, I wanted to build a platform and took the advice of many bloggers, including yours, and tried to create a narrow focus (writing, writing as therapy) and started producing articles that others could hopefully find helpful.  But over the past eight months I’ve discovered a few things: 

    1. There’s only so much I can say about the topic and then I simply wind up regurgitating the same info in different ways.  It gets boring.

    2. I’m really more of a creative person and the poetry, prose and other works keep slipping back into my blog.  I see my blog as more of a showcase of my work.  

    So here’s my question: do you think a blog that’s made up of predominantly creative works can gain the same sort of traffic and successes as the traditional blog?  If so, do you have any blog examples you could offer?  Are there different strategies in promoting creative blogs?  Perhaps these issues are addressed in your book, but I was just looking for some quick input.

    Thanks in advance.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I don’t know, Dan. It’s a good question. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting.

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        Michael, thanks for your reply.  I think it’s another variety of blog that might require different strategies than the traditional model of blog.  

        I have always liked to experiment, but my concern is that if I change and experiment too much I’ll risk losing the small amount of traffic I’ve already generated.  

        Another concept I’m considering is to “feature” photography from up-and-coming photographers rather than using stock photos.  It could be a beneficial relationship for both parties.  I’m in the process of discussing that idea with a former  student and professional music photographer presently.
         

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          The challenge on the photography will be relevance and the time investment. Even using stock photography, it takes me longer than I wish. But … you never know.

          • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

            Yes, I agree.  I’ve posted less photos than I’d like because of the time element.  

  • http://twitter.com/landrewchalmers Andrew Chalmers

    Thanks for this post! It really has helped me get some new ideas not only for my personal hobby blog http://andrewchalmers.wordpress.com/ but also some great ideas for the ministry that I work for. We have a training program called Emerging Leaders Program available for people involved in the Teen Challenge ministry all over the world and I think a blog would be another great way for us to get informative content out to those currently participating in our leadership training curriculum. 

  • Pingback: I like to run | Jon Penland

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    A wealth of knowledge here and thank you for the reminder to blog regularly.  You mentioned most of this in your book, but hearing it condensed even more was nice.
    Thank you Michael.

    K, bye

  • http://toomanymeds.com/ Alex Barker

    Thank you so much Michael for this podcast! It answers many questions I have as a beginner. 
    You gave me the extra push to start a scheduled posting. I was feeling down about my blog because I wasn’t making time for it. I was discouraged about the millions of things I didn’t know. 

    My only suggestion is this: Move to the area I live and become my mentor/best bud. Just kidding! Joking aside, I would love getting to know you if I lived in Tennessee :) 

    I appreciate so much of what you do, please continue being awesome. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Alex!

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    Thanks for the explanation, Elisa.

    • http://elisafreschi.blogspot.com/ elisa freschi

       thanks to you and sorry for having started with “not at all” (it sounds harsh and I did not mean it in this way). Do you have any experience (either as reader or as writer) with group-blogging, so described?

  • Hharner

    Hi Michael, I haven’t even started a blog yet, so I’m really uneducated about this topic. My question is why do I want to pay for a self hosted site when I can have a free blog through wordpress? Is there a catch, and is nothing truly free?

    Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      A self-hosted site gives you far more options. You can customize it by installing any theme you want, adding plugins that give you additional functionality, etc. With hosted WordPress, they severely limit you on this.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/ Nikole Hahn

    I would add to this, “Write two weeks worth of blogs ahead of time that way when life gets busy you are ahead of schedule and able to blog at a more leisurely pace. Also, this allows you to re-read what you wrote in case it’s a blog you don’t want the public reading or in case of embarrassing typos.” 

  • http://www.andrewbarnett.id.au/ Andrew Barnett

    I listened to this podcast over the weekend, and it has got me thinking about starting my blog from scratch.  I already have a personal blog but don’t post to it regularly enough, or think it is worth using as a basis for relaunching my blog.  

    I do agree that the basis of blog should be a certain niche, but of all the blogging attempts I have made, none of the niches have stuck long enough for me to build any momentum.  

    Where does/did everyone find their inspiration for the niche they write in?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The best way to find it is just start—and adjust as necessary. You will eventually settle into your groove.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Yes, that would be a great strategy.

  • Jaredcdoran85

    Hey, this is Jared. I took your advice and started a blog at  jareddoran.wordpress.com This is very exciting and I’m looking forward to listening to more of your insights

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Jared,
      Congrats on the new blog! I went and checked it out and loved the fact that you were talking about COFFEE and Coffee shops! One of my favorite topics. Anyway, now that you are moving along keep up your momentum and do something small for your blog most days… formatting, promotion, —and of course—compelling content!
      keep it going Jared!

  • http://www.janiscox.com/ Janis Cox

    Hi,

    Recently I upgraded my wordpress blog to 3.5. Since then 2 issues have occurred. I no longer have media pictures in the insert media – just small little dots and scheduled posts don’t work.

     I can’t seem to get an answer from the forum on WordPress. I wondered if you had any suggestions.

    I took off all my pluggins – but that didn’t affect the results. I use Twenty Ten Theme but tried others – same problem. Very frustrating.

    Hoping you have some advice.
    Blessings,
    Janis

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am not sure. This might be a permissions problem. I would contact tech support for your hosting company.

  • cdbking

    I just found you…I am working with my life coach trainer to develop a log and you have just taken all the fear out of it. I now know that I can do this and am excited about it! I will soak up every word, printed and spoken, that you utter. Thank you for being there and doing the initial work for me, so that I can jump in and get going!

  • http://twitter.com/JBend8 Jason Bender

    Feel like I’m late to the party here on this posts as the latest comment was two weeks ago, but just wanted thank you for the insight!  Just started a blog about a week ago as a way to publicly hold myself accountable to studying this year to be a better husband.  Searched your archives for help for beginner bloggers and got some great help from this article! Thanks again!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Jason,
      Sounds like a great site—what’s the URL?

      • http://twitter.com/JBend8 Jason Bender

        jbend8.wordpress.com

  • http://twitter.com/MarcieFAtkins Marcie F Atkins

    I’m a little late listening to this great podcast, but something that might help Sunil is planning out your posts in advance. I actually have post series folders set up in Scrivener. For each idea, I put it in a folder for a future post. Then when I feel like I have enough posts, I put them on my blog calendar (I have mine set up in Google calendars–a different color than my personal calendar). I always work a couple of weeks ahead. I don’t have the stress of “I have to post tomorrow and I have no idea what to post about.” Thanks, Michael for your fabulous podcasts. I’ve enjoyed listening to them when I’m in the car or working out. Your topics have been very timely for me lately.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Excellent advice, Marcie. I use Scrivener for writing books and have been thinking about this for blog posts too.

  • Lisa Killough

    Michael. I am just beginning the process of starting a blog. My husband and I recently discovered your podcasts and we are hooked. We try to stay current and listen to older podcasts as time allows…which is why you are getting this question now.

    When I write a blog about my family, how much care do I need to take to maintain the privacy of my children?

    Thanks for your help!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I treat my children like I would anyone else. I don’t tell stories about them without their permission. I also don’t usually mention them by name. If I do, I get their permission.
      Hope that helps.

  • http://www.zaiqa.com/ lukman ahsan

    No words to describe this kind of professional work sir i get the best ideas from here now i`m try to successful blog run in future…

  • http://freegovernmentcellphoneguide.com/ Pamela Wilson-Lipscomb

    This is the one year anniversary of starting my first WordPress blogs. I had always used Blogger.com in the past. It is quite a learning process, and basically I had to do everything you listed. I am still learning, and feel It was the best decision I have made!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Congratulations on your 1st anniversary, Pamela!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great. Congratulations.