4 Blog Niches To Avoid At All Costs

I’ve spent some time talking about good blog niches that have a healthy profit potential built right in, but I haven’t yet discussed the top blog topics that new bloggers should avoid.

Don’t forget to repin this pin for good karma 😉

These are topics that might seem good on the surface – where “good” means “could make a decent amount of money” – but in reality they aren’t.

Here are four characteristics of negative/bad blog niches

1) Small Market Size

No eyeballs equals no money from ads, limited sales, small search volume, and a powerful negative trait I like to call “need to capture.” Need to Capture is a term I made up (because I didn’t know a better one and I’m good with the English) that essentially means – when a market is very small, a successful business must capture a huge percentage of that market in order to succeed.

When Need to Capture is high, even small amounts of disruptive competition can completely destroy your business. Note: Small market size, by itself, isn’t always bad. The market for vintage Rolexes is small, but lucrative if you can pull it off. It is, however, surely subject to the Need to Capture effect.

2) Low Market Value

Some markets just aren’t worth much money. Probably the first thing that pops into your head when you hear this is some kind of market focused on low income participants or low value products, but both of those things are wrong.

Low value markets are often low value either because they’re so big that each individual participant in the market is only worth a tiny amount of money (which means you need to be a juggernaut to capture enough eyeballs to turn a profit) or because the products associated with the market are difficult to assign a monetary or transactional cost.

3) Difficult To Monetize

The best example in the universe is Reddit.

Reddit is freaking huge, but it makes very little money. Big forum sites in Web 1.0 were also like this.

Both Reddit and the old-timey forum sites drive/drove insane amounts of traffic but can’t/couldn’t turn that traffic into dollars.

There are a lot of reasons for this, but it often comes down to the fact that people use sites like this in an informaational or recreational way, which means they’re not generally viewed as venues for conducting commercial transactions.

Now, if anyone ever manages to figure out a good micropayment system, these types of sites could turn into enormous revenue generators, but the internet has been waiting for twenty years for someone to figure out micropayments, and nobody has been able to pull it off

4) High Transactional Risk

These types of topics either have difficulty operating within the traditional, well understood financial structure that everyone is familiar and comfortable with, or they walk some kind of regulatory fine line between “yeah, that’s ok” and “what, shut it down!”

These topics are to be avoided at all times, without question.

Now... Here Are The Five Worst Blog Topics for New Bloggers (Or Any Bloggers, Really)

1) Super Specific or Outlandish Topics

Imagine that you created a brand new sandwich – Peanut Butter & Chili (Chili, the hearty tomato-based stew with beans, ground meat, and spices). This is gross, but your mom and best friend think it’s the bees’ knees.

They’re probably lying, but that’s not really the problem. In fact, they might not be lying – they may actually totally love your gross new sandwich.

But, you’re still going to run into a lot of problems trying to grow your PB&C idea into a global franchise of restaurants. Because most people are going to think that crap is wack any never give you any money.

The problem with outlandish or super specific topics is not necessarily that the niche is just outlandish or super specific, it’s that the market is so small.

While peanut butter and chili sandwiches might be super delicious (ewwww) to your mom and your bestie, it’s still going to be hard to open a food truck and convince a lot of people that’s the case.

There’s no market built into the product.

Without a built in market, you’re going to face the task of not only doing all the stuff that goes into launching a normal food truck, but also a whole different list of hard stuff you’ll have to do to find and build a market for your outlandish product. You have to recruit people to your weird new sandwich.

More ominously, what if it actually turns out that you’re right, and PB&C sandwiches are the next big thing?

Well, unless you have the capital to very quickly build out your food truck empire and establish a dominant presence in the market you’ve created, someone with more capital – and maybe more experience running food trucks – is going to swoop in with fifty food trucks and take over the market before you can get your other foot in the door.

Outlandish or hyper-specific topics can be done, but they’re risky from the outset and require a lot of resources to build out if you happen to get lucky and discover a new market. So, in the worst case, you’ll fail with an outlandish topic because you won’t find a market, and in the best case you’ll either have to raise/have a bunch of money to grow your business quickly or you’ll fail because someone who already has a bunch of money will swoop in the second they see an undercapitalized niche.

It’s sometimes hard to tell when a topic falls into this category vs when it’s actually a profitable sub-niche. For example, you could probably build a pretty solid business around certain models of vintage Rolex watches. The market is small, but the product is expensive and the people who comprise the market are very dedicated.

On the flip side, concentrating on baseball cards of players with the first name Paul who played from 1977-1983 is probably going to fail.

Likewise, a topic built around older Leica cameras could be a home run (dedicated fan base, expensive product, exclusive market) but first-generation 3MP digital cameras from HP is a bust.

2) Food

Man, I love food. I love learning about it, making it, eating it, sharing it with friends and family. Everything.

And so do a lot of other people. Well, kind of everyone, actually. I mean, we all have to eat, right?

There’s a huge market in the food niche. Maybe one of the biggest markets in the world. But the food niche is strange. Even though the market is big, super shareable (tweets, facebook likes, youtube subscribes, etc), and just plain interesting, it’s very hard to monetize.

It suffers from the Reddit problem, where participants in the market tend not to view it in a transactional way when they interact with it on the internet.

Try imagining yourself spending some time doing the food topic online. How would you do it? What types of content would you provide?

Coming up with those ideas is probably easy, but now switch gears and think, what kinds of revenue streams could you create around that content?

Crickets. Chirp, chirp.

See, the people you might have as an audience in this niche spend a lot of time watching videos, researching recipes, sharing things with friends (pinterest, anyone?), etc. They spend very little time buying food online, buying access to recipe collections, or subscribing to cheese clubs.

The major cash stream in this niche is going to be advertising, which pays peanuts until you have a big, big audience. Now, if you can get a big, big audience, and you have a quality product, then you may be able to attract tier-1 direct advertisers, which is big money.

Wait, what? What did that sentence mean?

I mean, if you have a lot of eyeballs – lots of followers on twitter/Facebook, an active and engaged user base on you blog, a bunch of youtube videos/subscribers, or things like that, then big, important companies like Williams Sonoma, Jura, and Sur la Table might actually be interested in paying you directly to put their ads in front of your audience. And those kinds of deals can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. But, obviously, you need a huge audience and a sophisticated way to prove it.

It can be done, but it will take a very large investment of time and money to get there.


3) Gambling, Adult, Spammy Garbage

3. Gambling, Adult, Spammy Garbage

There’s no money to be made in these dark side niches. It’s not productive for me to outline all the problems built in to these niches, but let’s just say that it’s a never-ending ball of headaches that isn’t worth the time. Just stay away. Please.

4) Tech

I bet this one surprises a lot of people, but it’s true. And it actually is kind of surprising, on the surface.

I mean, everyone interacts with tech every day. Everyone. So, the potential market is absolutely huge. Moreover, tech is perfectly suited to transactional experiences. Huh? People buy tech stuff. They buy phones. They buy xboxes and laptops and software. It’s a transactional topic – it has the idea of buying/selling built into it, and people are both are comfortable with that fact and ok with buying this product online.

It’s also very mainstream, so there aren’t a lot of transactional risks involved since credit card processors, banks, and PayPal all totally understand the idea of someone giving you money in exchange for you giving them an iPod.

Supply chains are also well established, regulated, and high quality.

So far, it seems like we have a winner on our hands. And, indeed, a lot of people try this one out. The problem, though, is that this market is captured. It’s controlled by a relatively small number of big, big players, and people prefer to do their business with those providers.

Of course you can, silly! Linus is one of the most trusted tech sources on the whole internet. Check out their youtube channel for hours of techy fun and weird Canadian humor.

In short, tech stuff is generally kind of expensive, and even though the topic is transactional, it requires a high level of reputation and trust to get someone to engage in a high value transaction with you.

It is time and labor intensive to build those kinds of relationships, so this topic is poorly suited to the blog ecosystem these days. I say “these days” because I think there was a time, maybe ten-ish years ago, when tech was probably a really good topic for a new blog. But, there are now too many big players that control the majority of the audience and too many small players competing for the crumbs that are left behind or the few remaining roads into the distribution channels that the big players have.

If this is a niche that interests you, you’re probably better off trying to set up some kind of storefront and dropshipping products. Then you can concentrate your time and energy on building your reputation as a good provider and building a customer base. But, as a blog topic, not so great.

I mean, yeah, you can start some kind of tech review blog and try to monetize it with Amazon affiliate links to products and a little bit of advertising, and it will probably make you a small amount of money. But, as a medium for a growing business, I think it’s a dead end. The business model has too low of a barrier to entry, it’s super hard to write authoritatively on the subject, and the search engine competition is like a gladiatorial life and death battle. (In English, it’s, like, hard and stuff).

In other words, while you can probably drive some Amazon sales you’ll have a hard time ranking well enough in search engines to drive a lot of traffic, you’ll have a hard time building a brand that people seek out independently, and you’ll have a hard time converting users of other platforms into users of your platform.

5) News

News is a curious topic. It’s a little unique because it suffers from an interesting combination of people’s problems and machine problems.

First, obviously, trying to start a blog that provides truly original journalism is probably as crazy as it comes. It’s like starting a TV network or a cable channel.

You’re going to need a ridiculous amount of infrastructure, talent, and awesome employees to get anything done. Plus, your competitors are going to be some of the biggest companies in the world. And, honestly, would you rather get News from CNN and the New York Times, or Bob’s Super News Channel? There’s a trust and name recognition problem right out of the gate.

But, you could possibly start a blog that was more of a news aggregator. Some kind of setup that pulls in popular or trending new items and puts them all in one place. I mean, News is kind of Facebook’s entire business model. Yeah, on the surface Facebook lets you post pictures of your cat, share racist and false political memes with your comrades, or make fun of Cindy’s new boyfriend (he’s a dirtbag, Cindy! omg).

But that’s not how Facebook makes money. Honest. Facebook makes no money off of your cats or badmouthing Cindy’s scumbag boyfriend. They make money off of your newsfeed. Or, rather, by inserting things into your newsfeed that their creepy Orwellian algorithms have identified you might respond to.

What I’ve just described is the “machine problem” of news as a blog topic. It’s easy. I mean, there’s a stupid WordPress widget that lets you insert news stories into your sidebar and have a newsfeed of your very own. Because it’s so easy, it has very little value.

 

I love it. freakingnews.com

The “people problem” of the news topic is that a lot of places are starting to make funny (funny bad, not funny haha) rules about aggregating news stories. All of the organizations that produce the news content have started arguing that news aggregation sites should be outlawed, since they’re profiting off of someone else’s work and investment.

They make these arguments primarily because they are jerks and don’t understand how the entire internet is supposed to function or that its proper functioning builds the importance of their brand.

But, whatever. The bottom line is that news is a bad topic for a blog because it’s too easy to find, too hard to add value, and might, someday soon, get you into actual legal hot water.

Conclusion

I’ve hesitated to publish a list like this, because anybody can look at it and find a reason to quit if they are looking for one. I also worried it would discourage beginners who have genuine talent but are just lacking a bit of confidence.

The truth is, many blogs succeed despite being guilty of nearly every warning sign, and some blogs that seem like surefire winners splutter and flop. No one really knows for certain until they work up the courage to give it a go.

So what should you do, if you’re worried you chose the wrong blog niche?

My advice is to think. Instead of picking a topic willy-nilly and hoping everything turns out for the best, do a little research using the warning signs above as guideposts, and ask yourself what it all means.

Becoming a popular blogger isn’t about luck any more than getting rich is about stumbling across a leprechaun in the forest with a pot of gold. The people who make it think strategically, map out a plan, and then work their butt off to make it happen.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but in each and every case you learn something. Even if you do end up scrapping your blog and starting over, you come out of it with a fresh perspective.

And if you think about it, that’s good news.

It means it doesn’t matter if your blog is a flop or not.

It means you don’t have to succeed the first time out of the gate.

It means your confusion is perfectly normal, and you’ll get through it.

So keep your chin up, do some thinking, work your butt off, and most of all, believe in yourself. If you’re determined, and you persevere, you will get there eventually.

And when you do, it’ll all be worth it.

How to Write a Blog Post in WordPress and Publish It

So you want to be a blogger. That’s awesome! But what if you’re new to this whole blogging business, and you don’t know the first thing about writing a blog post? Maybe you already have writing experience, or maybe not. All you know is that you have things to share with the rest of the world. In this article, we will help you get started by walking you through writing your first post and publishing it with WordPress.

Start With an Idea

As any experienced writer will tell you, writing is hard – especially getting started. But don’t be intimidated! All it takes to begin is an idea. If you’ve already got an idea, or even several, that’s great! If you don’t, this section will help you start brainstorming ideas of things to write about (and maybe inspire some more for those of you with ideas already).

First, you need to answer some questions. What is the purpose of your blog? Is it intended to be about anything and everything, or is it just filling a particular niche in the blogosphere? Identifying your goals for the blog will help you come up with post ideas.

Part of coming up with post ideas is having a reason for posting. Why are you writing the post? What are you intending this post to do, if anything? The reason could be as simple as “I’m posting just because I can”, but here are some more questions to get you thinking (which, by the way, could also relate to the purpose of the blog and not just the post):

  • Are you writing tutorials?
  • Sharing recipes?
  • Informing the masses about a cause or important topic?
  • Sharing your thoughts and opinions?
  • Providing expertise?
  • Updating friends and family about your life?

Whatever you decide to write, the important thing is that you’re writing about what you want to or what you care about. Writing for your blog isn’t the same as writing for hire – you can pick your topics without having to get them approved or reviewed by anyone. Maybe it’s a rant about a controversial issue. Maybe it’s advice or a tutorial that you wish someone had given you. Maybe you really enjoyed a meme, or recipe, or book, or movie. Maybe you’re just reblogging a post someone else wrote that you liked. You’re only limited by what you can come up with.

Writing Your Post

Writing Your Blog Post

There’s really no right or wrong way to write a blog post, but there is a basic process most writers follow: Brainstorm. Outline. Draft. Revise. Proofread. Publish.

After you have listed some ideas and chosen a topic, it can be helpful to plan out what you want to write. An outline serves as a guide for what your post will say. But not every post will require an outline, so don’t feel like you have to have one every time.

What if, outline or not, you just don’t know what to say? That’s okay. Just write. The act of getting words down on the page will get more words flowing, and before you know it you’ll have written several paragraphs, maybe even several pages. It doesn’t matter if what you’ve written is enough or too much or good or even publishable – this is only the first draft. (Granted, sometimes you can get it right on the first go – but don’t expect to!)

The next step is revision. As with outlining, this is not a step you must take every time; you can choose to simply publish your first draft as is. But depending on who your readers are and how professionally you’re presenting yourself, it may be beneficial to do at least one revision. You can look at what you have written, decide what’s important and change what’s incorrect or doesn’t make sense.

Proofreading is important. Autocorrect does a lot for you spelling wise, but it can’t check the context of the words you’re typing. So just remember to do a little proofreading to make sure you’ve used good English and don’t have any typos. If you want someone to look over your post for you before you write, grab a friend or colleague you trust.

WordPress Search Engine Optimization

Because your blog is on the internet it’s important to remember SEO as you’re writing your post. There is tons to learn about SEO (there are entire blogs dedicated to it, like Yoast and Moz), and we’re not going to be able to cover everything about WordPress post SEO in this post. But one of the most important SEO points to remember when writing your post is keywords.

Keywords are the focus of your post, and you’re probably going to use the same keywords over and over again as you write more posts for your blog. Search engines (like Google or Bing) will notice when you add content regularly and when the same words or short phrases keep popping up. This will help you rank in search results for those terms, making it easier for new readers to find you. To help with your post SEO, you might also consider a free plugin like Yoast SEO or All In One SEO that adds SEO options right on your post page.

You now have the basics of how to write a blog post. If you still want or need some writing help, there are plenty of other resources available. But for now we’ll move on to publishing your post.

Creating A Post In WordPress

Now, there are a couple of ways you can get your draft into WordPress to be published. The first, and easiest, is to write it right in WordPress. Simply log in to your site and add a new post, which you can do one of three ways:

  1. Click the plus sign icon in the header.
  2. From the WP Admin dashboard, go to Posts in the sidebar menu and click Add New.
  3. Also from the WP Admin dashboard, use the Quick Draft widget.

Three Ways To Add A WordPress Post

Whichever option you go with, click into the text editor box and start typing. If you aren’t publishing it right away – for example, if you have to stop in the middle of writing, or you want to revise it later – click the Save Draft button. This will save your draft so that you can go back to it later, even if you log out.

And don’t forget to SEO optimize your post title. Try to choose something catchy that people will want to click. You should also add in some keywords so that you’ll hopefully show up in search results.

save draft

The second way to add your draft to WordPress is to write your post in a word processing program and copy and paste it into the text editor in WordPress. This can be tricky because sometimes the formatting will change or cause problems when you copy and paste it, so if you want to go this route we recommend using a basic editor like Notepad or TextEdit.

Clear Post Formatting

If you really want to use Word or Pages, then just make sure to paste your content into the “text” tab when creating your WordPress post. If you forget, and paste your content in the “visual” tab you can use the “clear formatting” button to remove text formats (bold, italic, strikethrough) – but you will still have to click over to the text tab to look for any spans or tags.

Formatting Your Post

Once you’ve created your content, you can make it better by adding formatting. WordPress has tons of great options built into the post editor to help make your content more readable, both for actual human readers and for search engine bots. To see them all, click on the “toolbar toggle” to open up the kitchen sink.

Kitchen Sink Blog Post Formatting

The Basics

Some important options that you’re likely to use should be obvious from the button icons. Bold, italics, underline, bulleted and ordered lists should all be familiar. These are important tools to help increase the readability of your blog posts, and to emphasize your keywords for search engines.

Blog Post Formatting

Adding Links To Posts

When creating your post, you might want to add in links to related content. This is great! Linking out makes your content more valuable to your readers, plus search engines like it when you link to reputable sources. Just highlight the text you want to add a link to (called the anchor text) and click on the insert/edit link button. Make sure when inserting your links to check the box to open your link in a new window or tab, this way your readers will still stay on your site.

Blog Post Links Formatting

Another link tip is to add a title attribute in the “text” side of the editor (and if you don’t want to do this, or don’t know how, we’ve created a simple plugin that will automatically add title attributes for you). Link titles are important since they let readers know where you’re sending them, as well as for SEO since you can add a better description (with keywords) for your link as opposed to relying on the anchor text.

Adding Headings & Subheadings

You should add headings to pretty much every post you write. These might even be the same headings you used when originally outlining your post. Headings help your readers navigate your content and follow your flow of thoughts. For SEO, your heading structure tells search engines which content is the most important (so don’t forget those keywords).

Blog Post Headings Formatting

Just click on the dropdown box to select your headings. Typically your blog post title will be an Heading 1 (which uses the H1 formatting tag), meaning that it is the most important phrase on the page. After that you should use H2 headings for your main sections of content, followed by H3 subheadings below. You can keep going (H4, H5, H6) but unless you’re dealing with very detailed content it’s usually overkill, and after your H3 headings you can simply use bolded text instead.

Publishing Your Post

WordPress includes a few options for when you’re getting ready to publish your post. You can choose if you want your post to be public or password protected5, and whether you want to publish it immediately or schedule it to be automatically published at a future date and time. There’s also a button for previewing your post so you can see what it will look like live.

publish

WordPress Categories & Tags

You also have the option of adding categories and tags to your post, which we recommend doing before you publish. Categories are more broad, and should be the general topics that your blog covers. For example, here at WPExplorer our blog categories include WordPress Themes, Tips, Reviews, Giveaways and a few others. Tags are more specific, and should be very focused. If tags were added to this post they might be blogging, writing, beginner, blog SEO or something similar.

As you can see, categories and tags are very important for your website SEO, and once you have several posts you should add one or more category and tags to each one.  will help keep them organized for future reference, and help readers as they browse your posts.

categories_tags

WordPress Images

The very last option you might want to add is a featured image. You can insert all kinds of media into your WordPress post, but the featured image is selected using the option to the right of your content.

WordPress Featured Image

Featured images are a great tool since they will appear in image search results. When you upload a new image, remember to give your image a good, SEO ready title and alt text. The image title is more for accessibility, and will be used by screen readers while the alt text is what search engines will see.

Adding WordPress Featured Images

With all of these options set, you are finally ready to publish your post! Just click the Publish button, and you’re done. Click the button to take your post live, where people and search engines can find it!

Need To Make A Change?

If you ever feel the need to go back and change anything, or if you realize you’ve made a mistake, you can go back edit published posts at any time. You can do this from the “Your Stuff” widget on your dashboard, or from the “All Posts” screen.

Conclusion

Writing your first blog post can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Follow the tips in this article for how to write and publish a blog post on WordPress, and you’ll soon be blogging like a pro. What was it like writing your first post? How did you feel when you clicked Publish? Share your stories in the comments below!

11 Real Reasons Why Your Blog Is Not Succeeding

Sure, you want comments.

And subscribers, and shares, and likes.

But you don’t really care about any of these things. You want what they will eventually lead to …

Money.

Yes, traffic is good, and so is reader engagement. But if you’re reading this, chances are you’re running a blog with the intention of marketing a business and making some money.

Now, that could be a bit distressing, because most bloggers are broke.

Some bloggers don’t have traffic or reader engagement, and some bloggers have lots of both. But most bloggers aren’t making any money.

Here’s why …

The chain of conversion is everything

We tend to think of conversion as a single event, but it’s really more like a chain of events.

If you market a business online, several conversions need to take place:

  • A stranger has to convert into a lead by being exposed to your message for the first time (in the online world, we call this traffic)
  • A lead has to convert into a prospect by liking what you have to say (this is often done by opting in to your email subscriber list)
  • A prospect has to convert into a customer by buying something from you
  • A customer has to convert into a repeat customer by turning a single purchase into an ongoing buying relationship

This entire process is called the chain of conversion.

Does that sound like a tall order?

It should, because it is — for your blog to make money, you need not one, but many people to smoothly move through this entire process.

And if your blog is like most, then that probably isn’t happening.

Let’s explore all the reasons why that might be, and what you can do to fix it.

Problem #1: You’re a billboard in the desert

The most common problem that bloggers face is that strangers aren’t converting into leads.

In other words, there’s no traffic.

And if there’s no traffic, then it doesn’t matter how well-optimized the rest of your funnel is, because nobody is feeding through it.

So the first order of business is to get traffic flowing to your site. Here are some of the reasons why that might not be happening, and how you can fix it:

  1. Build it and they will come. Yes, content is king, but without an army of marketers, the king can get pretty lonely! The truth is that while epic content is critical, it won’t go viral all by itself without an existing audience to start the ball rolling by seeing and sharing. If you don’t have traffic, you have to go and get the word out about your content.
  2. You just tweet to your followers. If you’re Guy Kawasaki, then your marketing can consist of tweeting to your followers, and calling it a day. But for the rest of us (who don’t have 400,000 followers), you’ve got to get out there and promote. Build relationships with other bloggers, write guest posts, put viral campaigns together, and apply any other strategy for blog growth that you can think of — just get out there and do something!
  3. Marketing in the wrong place. We love to fall for the promises of magic strategies that will get us tons of traffic — the kind that showcase the success that somebody else had. The problem is that you aren’t going after their audience, and your audience may not hang out where theirs does. If you’re marketing in the wrong place, then your audience will never find you! Of course, to market in the right place, you have to know who your audience is …
  4. No clearly defined audience. Obviously, you can’t market to your audience if you don’t know who your audience is. It isn’t enough for you to have a general idea that you’re marketing to “bloggers” or “writers” or “stay at home moms” — you’ve got to get way more specific, to the point that you’ve created a profile of the ONE person that you’re targeting.
  5. Asking for the wrong action. If they haven’t heard of you, then don’t start by asking them to buy — it isn’t likely to happen. Remember that your goal with each piece of messaging is to get the audience to take the single next action. When you’re talking to strangers, the goal is for them to become leads (visit your site) and then prospects (opt in to your list). So don’t even mention whatever it is that you’ve got for sale.
  6. You don’t hook their interest. Yes, I’m talking about headlines. For your blog posts, for your ads, and for the teaser links to your content. They all need to hook your audience’s interest. And you happen to be reading the world’s best blog about copywriting. So go read all about headlines!

Problem #2: Selling ice to Inuits

The second problem is that you get traffic, but they all bounce — no subscribers, no customers, and you’re on a constant treadmill to generate more traffic.

In other words, leads aren’t converting into prospects.

Here’s why that might be happening, and what you can do about it:

  1. It’s all about you. Yes, that’s right — all of your posts are about your news, your products, your company. And you wonder why nobody signs up for more? Forget about your subject area, and think about your customers. What are their problems? What matters to them? That’s what you need to be writing about.
  2. Your content is “me too” content. If you’re just writing generic, bland content of the “6 tips everyone already knows about productivity” variety, or (gasp!) going so far as to actually spin articles, then the truth is that there’s no reason for people to come back to your site, because you haven’t impressed them yet. So pull out the stops and write some truly compelling content!
  3. You don’t draw them in. You get them to start reading your stuff, but their attention wanders, and pretty soon they’re gone forever. You need to draw them in and keep them going, section to section, until they reach the action that you want them to: subscribing!
  4. You don’t make it explicit. Yes, that’s right. If you want your visitors to opt in to your mailing list, then you have to say so, in so many words: “Sign up for my list to get all sorts of goodies. Do it now. Click here.” Put those words, or words like them, near your opt-in box, and make sure to include a call to action in your posts, too.
  5. You don’t optimize. No matter how good you are, and how well you’ve done everything else, there’s always room for improvement — and improvement is had by split-testing, split-testing, and then split-testing some more.

Problem #3: “Just the free sample, thanks”

Sometimes you’ve got traffic, and you’ve got subscribers — but you still aren’t making any money.

In chain of conversion terminology, prospects aren’t converting into customers.

This might not sound so bad (“at least they have the traffic and subscribers”), but without the money, you’re just sinking more and more work into what might be a dead-end project.

The good news is that when you’ve got an audience, you can usually find a way to make some money — let’s explore why they might not be buying, and what we can do to fix it:

  1. You’re selling what they need instead of what they want. As an expert in your field, you know exactly what the customer’s problem is. I don’t mean the symptoms, or the issue that they want to fix right now — I mean the real problem that lies deep down at the root of it all. The trouble is that they don’t know that, and so they aren’t looking for that solution. Start by selling what they want, and then you can deliver what they need along with it.
  2. It’s in the wrong format. Maybe they love what you’re offering, but they just don’t like the format. I mean, really, how many more e-books can someone buy? Try a different format — like audio, video, a virtual conference, live workshops, infographics — or something else entirely.
  3. The price isn’t right. Maybe your product is great, but the price doesn’t fit. You could be asking for way too much money, or you could be asking for way too little. Remember that not only does the price have to fit with the buyer’s budget, but it also has to communicate the right thing about how valuable your offering really is. So test different prices, and find the price that works best.
  4. You don’t ask for the sale. Yes, this comes back to being explicit. Don’t just have an “Add to Cart” link on your site — you’ve also got to tell people that you want them to buy your stuff. Tell them why they should do it, and what they’re going to get. And tell them when they should do it (right now!), which leads us to the matter of urgency …
  5. There’s no urgency. Why buy today when I can buy tomorrow, right? You need to give your audience a reason to take action now. Make sure the constraint is real — maybe you’re raising the price after a certain date. Maybe the first 50 people to sign up get a special bonus. Or maybe you’re closing your program on September 1 (hypothetically speaking, of course …).
  6. No social proof. Nobody wants to be the first one to arrive at a party — you want to know that other people are there, and having a good time. So who’s already bought your product or service? What was their experience like? Were they happy? Were they a lot like the person who is thinking about buying today?
  7. No guarantee. There’s something comforting about a money-back guarantee. It provides a safety net, and shows how much confidence the seller has in whatever is being offered. Most companies offer guarantees, to the point that it looks sketchy if you don’t. So you have to offer a guarantee. But don’t just offer a simple “if you’re not satisfied we’ll give you your money back” guarantee — go over the top. Give them 110% of their money back. Donate $100 to charity. Set it up so that it’s not just about satisfaction, but about results (we guarantee that you’ll add $1,000 to your bottom line in six months, or your money back).
  8. You don’t optimize (again). Yes, it applies here, too. If you want to make more sales, then there are a lot of things for you to split-test: your headlines, the placement, text and colors of your opt-in boxes, the style of your introduction, your product imagery, your trust seals and their placement on the site … and the list goes on.

Problem #4: Once is (apparently) enough

Okay, if you’ve made it to this point in the chain, then you’re probably doing all right — you’ve got traffic, you’ve got subscribers, and you’re even making sales.

But customers aren’t converting into repeat customers.

Which means that you’re always scrambling to find new customers, and to keep that wheel in motion. Wouldn’t you rather have the wheel sustain itself?

Here’s why your customers may not be buying from you again, and what you can do to change that:

  1. You don’t deliver. This is a HUGE problem; if you promise something, your customers sign up, and then you don’t deliver, then you are doing irreparable damage to your reputation and business. In the words of my marketing professor, “marketing is a promise that the organization has to keep” — and you should never, ever break a promise. This probably doesn’t apply to you, but if it does, stop reading this article, and fix it immediately!
  2. There’s nothing else to sell. This is a more common problem: you’ve worked so hard to build and sell your product, that by the time they’ve bought it, there’s nothing left to sell. This is worth taking the time to fix; think about what else they might benefit from — an easy add-on is some consulting to help them get the most out of what they’ve already bought. Remember that a customer who’s already spent money with you is 8 times more likely to buy from you again, and you’ve already spent the time and money to convert them the first time!
  3. You don’t communicate. This is sad to see, but easy to fix; you’ve got happy customers and more great stuff to sell to them, but you don’t communicate with them after that first purchase. This is terrible — you should be communicating with your customers on a regular basis, both to collect feedback about their experience, and to keep the lines of communication open so that you can sell to them again. An easy way to do this is to build follow-up directly into your product, for example with automated follow-up emails and surveys.
  4. You don’t ask for the sale (again). Yes, you’ve got to ask for the repeat sale, too — periodically reach out to your existing customers to see if there’s more that you can do for them, and have a specific offer ready if they do have a need.

Fixing your blog, one link at a time

Every blog has holes in its chain of conversion — and most have lots of them!

So where should you start making repairs?

The answer depends on whether you’ve already got a functioning funnel:

If you’ve already got traffic, opt-ins, and customers: Start at the end, and work your way backwards. First get more customers to buy again, then get more subscribers to buy from you, then get more website visitors to subscribe, and only then get more people to visit your website.

If you don’t have any of that stuff: Then start at the beginning — start by getting traffic to your site, and once you have traffic, work on getting them to opt-in, and then buy from you, and then buy from you again.

Now, a question: how long are you willing to wait before your blog starts delivering dollars to your bank account?

Having realistic expectations is important. If you try to run a marathon as though it were a sprint, you’ll end up exhausted on the side of the road. And if you try to run a sprint as though it were a marathon, you’ll finish dead last.

So what kind of race do you want your blog to be running?

If you’re willing for it to take 2-3 years to get your blog to where you want it to be, then a good strategy is to read business books for bloggers, along with the best blogs in the industry.

But if you want to see results sooner, then get some help. For example, you could click the link in my bio and read about our marketing training program, that just happens to be closing to the public on September 1.

What is a Blog? – The Definition of Blog, Blogging, and Blogger

Do you know what blogs are? If you don’t, then you’ve come to the right place. In the beginning, a blog was more of a personal diary that people shared online, and it goes back to 1994. In this online journal, you could talk about your daily life or share things you do. But, people saw an opportunity to communicate any information in a new way. So began the beautiful world of blogging.

What is a Blog?

Definition of blog

A blog (shortening of “weblog”) is an online journal or informational website displaying information in the reverse chronological order, with the latest posts appearing first. It is a platform where a writer or even a group of writers share their views on an individual subject.

What is the purpose of a blog?

There are many reasons to start a blog for personal use and only a handful of strong ones for business blogging. Blogging for business, projects, or anything else that might bring you money has a very straightforward purpose – to rank your website higher in Google SERPs, a.k.a. increase your visibility.

As a business, you rely on consumers to keep buying your products and services. As a new business, you rely on blogging to help you get to these consumers and grab their attention. Without blogging, your website would remain invisible, whereas running a blog makes you searchable and competitive.

So, the main purpose of a blog is to connect you to the relevant audience. Another one is to boost your traffic and send quality leads to your website.

The more frequent and better your blog posts are, the higher the chances for your website to get discovered and visited by your target audience. Which means, a blog is an effective lead generation tool. Add a great call to action (CTA), and it will convert your website traffic into high-quality leads. But a blog also allows you to showcase your authority and build a brand.

When you use your niche knowledge for creating informative and engaging posts, it builds trust with your audience. Great blogging makes your business looks more credible, which is especially important if your brand is still young and fairly unknown. It ensures presence and authority at the same time.

Blog structure

The appearance of blogs changed over time, and nowadays blogs include different items. But, most blogs include some standard features and structure. Here are common features that a typical blog will include:

  • Header with the menu or navigation bar
  • Main content area with highlighted or latest blog posts
  • Sidebar with social profiles, favorite content, or call-to-action
  • Footer with relevant links like a disclaimer, privacy policy, contact page, etc.

Basic blog structure

Feel free to use this template on your site

The above example is the basic structure of the blog. Each item has its own importance and helps visitors to navigate through your blog.

Blogs and websites

A majority of people still wonder whether there is any difference between a blog and a website. What is a blog and what is a website? It’s even more challenging to differentiate between the two today. Many companies are integrating blogs into their sites to perform the same function.

What differentiates blogs from websites?

Blogs need frequent updates. Good examples include a food blog sharing meal recipes or a company writing about their industry news.

Blogs promote perfect reader engagement. Readers get a chance to comment and voice their different concerns to the viewer. Static websites, on the other hand, consists of the content presented on static pages. Static website owners rarely update their pages. Blog owners update their site with new blog posts on a regular basis.

Key elements that identify a blog post from a static page include a publishing date, author reference, categories, and tags within a byline. While not all blog posts have all those byline elements, static website pages do not have any of these items. From a visitor perspective, the content on a static site will not change from one visit to the next. The content on a blog, yet, has the potential to offer something new each day, week, or month. Depending on the blog owner’s publishing schedule.

What is blogging?

In the early 2000s, blogging emerged in all different phases when several political blogs were born. Also, blogs with how-to manuals began to appear. Established institutions began to note the difference between journalism and blogging. The number of bloggers in the United States is set to reach 31.7 million users in 2020.

Definition of blogging

Blogging is the set of many skills that one needs to run and control a blog. Equipping web page with tools to make the process of writing, posting, linking, and sharing content easier on the internet.

Why is blogging so popular?

It’s important to mention that blogging grows with each passing day! Hence, to answer the question ‘what is blogging’ we need to look at the factors behind its rise.

In the early stages, blogs became mainstream, as news services began using them as tools for outreach and opinion forming. It became a new source of information.

Why is blogging so popular

Businesses saw a good way to improve the customer’s level of satisfaction. Through blogging, companies keep clients and customers up to date. The more people visit your blog, the more exposure and trust your brand gets.

Personal and niche bloggers, saw the potential to reach more people interested in specific topics. Through a blog, visitors can comment and interact with you or your brand which helps you create a network of loyal followers.

Did you know you could earn money through blogging? Once your blog gets enough attention and fans, you can look into ways of monetizing your blog. Through the blog, you can offer your services and sell products.

Who is a blogger?

In recent times, bloggers have become famous for various reasons. An alternative career or job to many, more people are choosing to join the ranks. So who are bloggers? These are individuals who love sharing parts of their lives with you. They post various topics from arts, home designs, carpentry, and finance articles. Bloggers are mobile and don’t need to be in one place. They live on the internet!

Definition of blogger

A blogger is someone who runs and controls a blog. He or she shares his or her opinion on different topics for a target audience.

Why are many people blogging today?

Would you want to have a blog of your own? Yes! Most people today are creating a blog for various reasons. Every human being has its story to tell. Hence, through the internet, bloggers can communicate to a larger group of people.

Why is blogging so popular? Blogs allow you to talk about any topics and express your opinion. You’ll find some bloggers writing on every activity that took place during the day. These may range from small issues such as waking up, to major issues like human rights and climate changes! Remember that as a blogger running your own blog, you need to rely on the topics that you love and strive to become one of the best blogs on the web.

Are bloggers getting paid?

Bloggers do earn money, but this is not a get-rich-quick kind of profession.

Before you can start monetizing your blog, you need to build both your Google SERPs ranking and your niche influence. And that takes plenty of time and quality content. Money-making opportunities won’t present themselves until you’ve gained some credibility in the field. So, get down to business.

Here’s how you can make good money as a top-ranked niche blogger:

  • Selling ad space on your blog privately or via Google AdSense.
  • Becoming an affiliate partner privately or through ad networks.
  • Selling your own digital products such as eBooks and tutorials.
  • Selling memberships for access to exclusive content or advice.
  • Using your blog as a content marketing tool for your business.

If you’re starting a blog as a way to market and boost your existing business, you probably won’t be selling ad space or memberships. But you can create and start offering exclusive digital products such as eBooks, guides, or online courses as a lead capturing tool in exchange for visitors’ email addresses. That way, you’ll nudge them one step further down your sales funnel.

Want to start a blog on your own?

Creating your own personal blog takes a few steps. First, you need to decide on a name for your blog also called a domain name, and choose the best blogging platform. We recommend going with the self-hosted platform. There are few choices when it comes to self-hosted platforms but the most popular is WordPress.org.

Then you need to choose a web hosting service and for new bloggers, we strongly recommend Bluehost, a company that powers over 2 million websites worldwide. You will get a Free domain name when you sign up with them and if you don’t like their services, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Step One

Click on this link and you will go to the “Exclusive Offer” page reserved for our fans. Once you get there click on “Get Started Now”.

Step One

Step Two

If this is your first hosting account ever, you should start with the basic plan, because you will need time to determine your needs and options. The basic plan has everything any beginner needs to set up a new blog. Consider other plans later when your blog takes off and your needs become greater.
step two

Step Three

Your domain name will play a vital role in the future development of your blog and this is why it is important to take your time and figure out a good domain name. Once you’ve done that, enter the name in the “new domain” column and choose your Top-Level Domain.
step three

Recommended tool:

Just type in the desired domain in this “new domain” box and BlueHost will show you whether it’s available or not. If not, it will provide you with a list of similar names for you to choose from.

Conclusion

We hope that you’ve learned something important when it comes to the world of blogging. If you’ve managed to start a blog then your next step is to work on your blog content in order to keep your future readers satisfied and engaged. Feel free to check out our extensive list of blogging resources which will help you run and grow your new blog.

Transfer a Free Blog to WordPress.org (Self-Hosted) in 6 Steps

Do you want to move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org? Many beginners often start with WordPress.com soon realize its limitations and want to switch to the self-hosted WordPress.org platform. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to properly move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.


Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Why Move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

WordPress.com allows anyone to start a blog by creating an account. However, beginners soon realize that there are a lot of limitations on their free WordPress.com blog like limited ability to monetize, can’t install plugins, third-party ads on your users, etc.

This is why users soon switch to the more powerful and popular self-hosted WordPress.org platform.

We recommend using WordPress.org, because it gives you complete ownership of your website and freedom to control all its features. 

That being said let’s take a look at how to properly migrate your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

Things You Need Before You Start

To start with self-hosted WordPress.org, you’ll need a WordPress hosting account and a domain name.

We recommend using Bluehost because they are one of the largest hosting companies in the world, and they an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

They are also offering WPBeginner users a free domain name and 60% discount on web hosting. Basically, you can get started for $2.75 / month (and this also includes free SSL).

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

If your WordPress site already has a custom domain name, then you will still need web hosting. Go ahead and signup with Bluehost and under the domain step, add your blog domain. We will show you how to keep the same domain while transferring from WordPress.com to WordPress.org without losing search rankings in the later steps.

Aside from the hosting account, you will of course need access to your WordPress.com account, so you can easily move all of your posts, pages, images, comments, and other data over to your self-hosted WordPress site.

Step 1: Exporting Data from WordPress.com

First you need to sign in to your WordPress.com account and go to your blog’s dashboard. From the left column, you will need to click on the WP Admin link to open your blog’s admin area.

Getting to admin area in WordPress.com

Next, you need to visit the Tools » Export page.

Export tool

Clicking on the Export tool will take you to a new page where you will be asked to choose between Free or Guided Transfer. You need to choose the free option by clicking on the ‘Start Export’ button.

Start export

On the next screen, you will be asked which data you want to export. Select “All Content” and press the Download Export File button.

Select all content to export

The exporter will now download an XML file in your computer. This file will have all of your posts, pages, images, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, navigation menus, and other information.

Step 2: Setting up WordPress

Now that you have exported your WordPress.com data, the next step is to set up a fresh WordPress install on your web hosting.

WordPress is very easy to install, and it only takes a few clicks. If you signed up with Bluehost like we mentioned above, then WordPress will be automatically installed for you.

Once you have installed WordPress, it is time to import your content into your new self-hosted WordPress website.

Step 3: Importing Content into Self Hosted WordPress Site

To import your old content from WordPress.com to your new WordPress.org site, you will need to login to your freshly installed WordPress website’s admin area. From here you need to visit the Tools » Import page and click on the ‘Install Now’ button below WordPress.

Install WordPress importer

WordPress will now install the WordPress importer for you. Once it’s done, you need to click on the ‘Run importer’ link to continue.

Run importer

It will take you to a screen where you will be asked to upload your WordPress.com XML file that you downloaded in step 1 of this tutorial.

Upload import file

Note: if your file size is larger than 2MB, then you have two options. One is to ask your web hosting company to increase that limit temporarily, so you can get on with the process. The other option would be to split your file by using a WXR file splitter.

When you start importing, you will have the option of assigning imported content to a current user or create a new user. You’ll also have the option of importing your old attachments. It is very important that you check this box, so your image files are imported properly.

Import options

Step 4: Importing Your Blogroll Links

If you had been using the Links feature on your WordPress.com blog to store blogroll or other links, then you need to follow these instructions to import them. Users who were not using this feature can skip to Step 5.

Blogroll links are exported in OPML format. It is an XML format which allows you to export and import your links and link categories. Your WordPress.com links have an OPML file located at an address like this:

http://example.wordpress.com/wp-links-opml.php

Replace example with your WordPress.com blog’s subdomain. If you are using a custom domain with your WordPress.com blog, then your OPML file can be accessed by visiting a URL like this:

http://www.example.com/wp-links-opml.php

Your OPML file will open in your browser window, and you need to save it to your desktop. Press CTRL+S (Command+S on Mac) to save the file on your computer.

Now that you have a backup of your WordPress.com links, the next step is to import them into WordPress. However, self hosted WordPress does not have a link manager enabled by default.

You will need to install and activate the Link Manager plugin. The plugin’s page says that it hasn’t been updated in last two years. That’s because it didn’t need updating, and you can confidently install this plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item in your WordPress admin bar labeled ‘Links’.

Links manager in WordPress

Your WordPress site is now capable of managing blogrolls, and you can safely import them. Visit Tools » Import and click on Blogroll to install the OPML importer.

Blogroll Importer

Upon installation, you will be redirected to the importer. Where you need to upload the OPML file you saved earlier and click on import OPML file button.

Importing an OPML file in WordPress

WordPress will now import your links and link categories from the OPML file. You will be able to see the progress and on completion you will see the success message.

Successful completion of blogroll link import

Step 5: Setting your WordPress.com blog to private

Now if you don’t want to redirect your old users to your new site, then this will be your final step.

You need to go to the Settings » Reading page on your WordPress.com blog’s admin area. Under the ‘Site Visibility’ section, select the last option “I would like my blog to be private, visible only to users I choose”.

Making a WordPress.com Blog Private

Attention: If you have been writing for some time, and you have a loyal audience, then it does not make sense to leave them hanging.

Furthermore, if your blog has been out there for a while, then chances are that it is indexed in Google and other search engines. You can keep all the search engine rankings and easily redirect your old users to your new blog by following Step 6 (highly recommended if your site is established).

Step 6: Redirecting Visitors and Preserving SEO

Redirecting users to new location with the 301 header is a standard solution to keep search rankings while moving a site from one location to another. Since you don’t have access to .htaccess on WordPress.com, you cannot make any changes by yourself to retain search engine rankings. However, WordPress.com offers a paid upgrade feature called, Site Redirect, which provides this functionality.

Simply go to WordPress.com blog’s dashboard and click on the Settings menu item. Under the ‘Site Address’ option, click on the ‘redirect’ link.

Site redirect link

On the next screen, you will be asked to provide the domain name where you want visitors to be redirected. Enter your new WordPress.org site’s domain name and click on the go button.

Note: Site redirect is a paid upgrade and costs $13 per year. It will add a 301 redirect which redirects your WordPress.com blog’s visitors and search engines to your new site.

Purchase site redirect from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Some of you will ask how long should I keep paying for this Offsite redirect feature? The answer is for as long as you want to. However, we personally think that 2 years would be enough time for your old users to memorize your new domain name.

If you are changing domains, then another thing you want to do is update all in-post URLs. If you ever inter-linked your posts, then those links have to be updated. 

If you had a custom domain on WordPress.com, then you don’t have to worry about anything. Simply change the DNS record to your host, and you will retain all the SEO benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We wrote the first version of this article in January 2013. Since then we’ve received tons of great questions. A lot of which we’ve answered via email or in comments, so we thought it would be nice to compile the popular ones at one place where everyone can see them.

What happens with my WordPress.com Subscribers?

Thankfully, WordPress.com allows you to migrate your subscribers with one condition. You must use their Jetpack plugin which adds the same subscriber functionality that you had at WordPress.com. Once you install and activate the Jetpack plugin, you would need to contact the WordPress.com team and ask them to migrate the subscribers for you. Our hope is that in the later versions of Jetpack, this will become easier and users will be able to do it themselves.

What are the costs of switching to WordPress.org?

WordPress is free. However, there are some minimal web hosting costs. 

I already paid WordPress.com, can I get a refund?

Yes, you can. If you recently purchased a custom domain or a paid plan from WordPress.com, then you can ask them for a full refund.

Note: Domain registrations can be canceled within 48 hours of registration. Plans and other purchases can be canceled within 30 days of purchasing.

Will my images break?

No they will not. When you transfer using the import file, all attached images are downloaded and the link is updated. However there is one caveat that we noticed. If your image URL starts with files.wordpress.com, then they will not be converted. If you notice that the image URL has not changed and still points to WordPress.com, then we recommend that you use import external images plugin, and it will take care of that.

I registered my domain through WordPress.com, can I still move?

Yes you can. WordPress believe in empowering users and giving them full control of their content. If you already have a domain name through WordPress.com, then all you need is a web hosting account. We recommend that you setup with Bluehost or any of these other WordPress hosting providers. During the signup phase, you will be asked do you have a domain or want to register a new one. Simply select the option that I have a domain name, and insert the domain that you registered at WordPress.com. Next thing you would have to do is change the nameservers to point to the hosting provider. We’re able to assist with this as part of our free setups service. You can also ask your web hosting provider for support.

Will my website go down when I switch?

If you do it correctly, then NO. The method we’ve suggested above will ensure that your website never goes down. 

We hope this article helped you properly move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. 

Free PDF Reveals How I Went From $0 To $10,000 Monthly Income Just Blogging As A Beginner

There have been people that have followed the method described in this PDF that have made more than $10,000 by the end of 90 days JUST BLOGGING WITH NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE.

ONLY DOWNLOAD IF YOU ARE COMMITTED TO MAKE $10,000 IN THE NEXT 90 DAYS BLOGGING

You’ll get the PDF instantly!