To Blog or Not to Blog…

Blogging

Blogging

that is the question.

Many people ask me “Do you have any advice about blogging? I don’t know where  to   start.”

Well, the best place to start is to answer the questions:

“What am I going to write about?”

“What am I passionate about?”

“What do I know about?”

“Who am I?”

Who are you?

To be a successful blogger you will need to be a self-starter, to think quickly, organize your thoughts and express them immediately. You will also need to be thick skinned because, believe it or not, there are going to be readers who will not like what you write and will disagree with the  opinions you express on your blog. You will also need to be consistent and blog regularly to establish a large readership of followers. This requires time, energy and will probably be unrewarding until you get some momentum and then things will take off and be very rewarding indeed.

What do you know about?

Expertise in any given topic gives you a great head start over your competition. Even obscure subjects will find an audience if you truly know a lot more than most people out there in the internet world. You will soon be seen as the one to go to and your blog readership will grow by leaps and bounds. You can easily do a quick search on Google to see what else is available on your topic on the internet and where there may be a gap you can fill in.

If you have a business, you can add a blog to your homepage and quickly capture an audience of people who are interested in what you have to say. Let’s say you sell paint, you could create a blog and video podcast showing  different painting techniques using the paint brand you sell. Your  expertise will be seen directly by website visitors who will be more likely to purchase paint from you because you can offer valuable advice as a free bonus.

In any case, you blog needs to have some type of specific topic to get any traction. A topic blog about watch collecting will succeed if you do lots of research to keep writing regularly. The more focused the better. You could talk about your 1980 quartz watch and then do a series on other quartz watches of the same year. You now have what is known as a niche.

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List Building

Sales Funnel

Sales Funnel

Hi, I’m back again!

This  last week has been busy learning the basics of list building, creating my first free product for distribution, preparing a sales letter, signing up to an Autoresponder, writing broadcast emails for subscribers and so much more.

List Building Components

The first step to success is of course having a loyal list of customers who like my products so much they want to buy them and tell all their friends about it so my list grows and grows. Problem is, how does one go about getting this list of customers in the first place?

Well, one way is to offer a free giveaway product with lots of useful information on a particular topic of interest to hoards of people who can’t wait to learn more about it especially if it’s free! Now what is better than free, I ask you? Not much! ;-)

So, I proceeded to put together a short document on how to make money with Private Label Rights (PLR) products. I researched the topic thoroughly, decided on the main points I wanted to cover, wrote down some bullets points, expanded each one until I had something I felt happy with and voila! One freebie to promote.

Now I needed a nice catchy title that could be translated into a unique domain name where I could place this document ready for promotion. Oh, and let’s not forget a cool cover to attract lots of interest in my audience. This is called branding.

Catchy title done! Making Money With PLR

Dot com domain available, yeah! Purchase done!

Now I needed a nice graphical image for the cover. I have a lot of skills but art and design is definitely not one of them. :-(

No need to panic, there are many options out there to get the work done by a third party for a reasonable price. Best known are www.fiverr.com, www.elance.com and www.odesk.com.

I personally think it best to spend a few dollars for a great visual result rather than try to save money and  end up with an unattractive representation of a product I spent time working on.

I contacted www.gfx-1.com, recommended by my coach Marc Milburn, telling them about my product and they very quickly came back with what I consider to be a very professional looking cover for my free giveaway product.

 Autoresponder

What, exactly, is an autoresponder?

It is a tool used to send emails to a specified list easily. It can be set up to send  emails on a predefined schedule so that for example if you want to send  3 consecutive emails about a product in the next week you can specify that the messages go out every 2 days after subscription.

It makes the whole business of staying in touch with a customer list much more manageable than by doing it by hand from an email account having to remember to send emails on a prearranged schedule to customers who have signed up on different days.

You can set up different lists for different products, write all the emails and the whole thing will work on automatic. Managing lists becomes really easy!

There are many free and paid choices but remember that free options are often very limited in what they offer so I recommend you do your homework before deciding on any particular option.

The most referred paid options are AWeber, Getresponse, iContact,  and MailChimp. However, Mailchimp does not allow links to be sent in the emails so before you go ahead and use it make sure that is not one feature that you will need in future.

Single or Double Opt-in?

I decided to use  double opt-in to ensure that anyone who signs up for the free report needs to confirm their email address before receiving the product. This is to avoid creating a list made up of fake or non-existent emails which will be of absolutely no use to me.

I prefer having a small confirmed list of members rather than a larger list which I really cannot trust to reflect actual members.

Once that decision had been made I created my opt-in form, wrote the “please confirm” and the follow up emails I was now ready for the next step, the list building machine!

HTML Here I Come

Now for the really fun part. ;-)

Only three more pages to go but they have to be in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and although I have worked with it before I am not overly fond of having to use it.

It basically requires me to program, an activity I have worked very hard to avoid because I get so frustrated with the tiny details.

However, I knew this day was coming and gritting my teeth I proceeded to write a capture page, a confirmation page and a download page for my mini site using a neat free tool called Kompozer which makes things much more efficient because it is WYSIWYG.

Minisite

Once these three pages were error free and completed to my satisfaction I needed to upload them to my new domain via FTP. I will not bore you with the mechanics of this step as it is not relevant here.

Once uploaded, I tested that everything was indeed where it was meant to be and after some minor adjustments to the web form, adding the download link for the free report I tested again to make sure everything worked as expected.

A few iterations later, it was ready to go!

Check it out here: makingmoneywithplr