Over 18 million WordPress blogs were created in 2014, and today there may be 500 million blogs around the world.* (I’m not even counting Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter writers.) Blogs are ubiquitous because they’re so easy to start (less than five minutes) and WordPress will host them for free. If you’re hustling for advertising revenue or selling products then you can pay an adequate hosting company less than $75/year for basic servers and bandwidth.
The $100 startup is just getting cheaper. Finding readers and turning them into customers has never been easier. If When the eager hordes throng to your blog, then even rudimentary Google AdSense will generate enough revenue to buy more server space and bandwidth. Within 18 months, every blogger will know whether their hobby is a growing business.
You’ll still need time to attract a crowd of readers. (Unless you’re producing innovative new videos of the world’s cutest kittens.) Google and other search engines use site longevity as part of their ranking algorithms, and it still takes weeks for their Web crawlers to catch up with the backlog of new blogs. Experienced bloggers know that helping your audience to find you is only 20% content and 80% promotion. There are plenty of free tools to accelerate the process.
$75/year and 18 months. How tough could it be, even without kittens?
Nobody seems to track today’s blogger attrition, but a 2008 Technorati survey estimated that 95% of blogs had been abandoned. In my blogger niche of personal finance, anecdotal data indicates that “going dark” is 70% per year. If you stick around for two years, over 90% of your competition will give up. Yeah, I know– after over four years I’m in the top 1% of military personal finance blogs merely by attrition.
Why is this so hard?
Why are all these writers quitting?
The answer: content. You have to keep writing.
The “problems” are widely understood:
- Running out of topics… and inspiration.
- Writing the 200th post on saving for financial independence.
- Struggling with grammar and punctuation.
- Revising a “draft” post for the 12th time.
- Life is too busy to write.
- You can’t afford to buy quality writers– yet.
The answer was never “work harder”, and it’s not “focus” or “be more efficient” either. You may already have your butt planted in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard, but the words keep coming out wrong.
Luckily, bloggers are not the first to suffer from writer’s block. Journalists have dealt with this since the days of clay tablets and papyrus. They even have college degrees in writing interesting articles every day– on deadline.
Seek professional help: before it’s too late.
When you’re struggling to produce your next post, it’s tempting to throw money at freelancers and content farms. If you’ve reached that stage of spending then you’re ready to consider an alternative: buy your training and inspiration to improve your own writing. It doesn’t take a journalism degree, and it costs a lot less than buying quality content. It has a much higher return on investment, too.
Journalist Donna Freedman is ready to help with “Write A Blog People Will Read“. She created it from her 18 years of newspaper deadlines and her additional 12 years of professional writing. She was a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, and she started the “Smart Spending” and “Frugal Nation” blogs for MSN Money. These days she writes at Money Talks News while freelancing for other sites and magazines. She’s written many articles about writing, and won a bunch of awards. Now she’s distilled all those years of experience and collected her advice for you in one package.
The course is 12 modules of reading and short assignments (they’re cleverly disguised as your next blog post). (See what I’m doing here?) Buy it once and you’ll own it forever. Work on it at your own pace. Skip around to the parts that interest you, or drill straight through. Run it as many times as you want.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Make your point quickly, clearly and irresistibly
- Focus, then flow
- Find your voice (without being too annoying)
- Speak directly to readers
- Tell people why they should care
- Never run out of ideas
- Discover ways that even the busiest person can find time to write
- Avoid burnout
I’m financially independent and I can afford to buy blogger tools simply to try them out. I took the course to compare what I think I know with what professionals can teach. I started out nodding along with most of her topics, and then I was surprised when I suddenly started learning. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve “always known” some of it, of course, but now I have a framework for it. I’ve apparently soaked up some of it from other bloggers, too, especially the advice about “writers write” and avoiding burnout. I especially enjoyed my “Aha!” discoveries in the “Murdering your darlings” module (ruthlessly edit your drafts) and with interview techniques. I read only one or two lessons a day– about the time it takes me to enjoy a cup of coffee– but every unit has a gold nugget in it.
She shares this advice with her readers:
My editor at MSN Money told me bloggers have just 2.1 seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Sure, you can tease them over with effective SEO or a clickbait headline. But if you want readers to stick around, you need good writing. Powerful, intriguing, entertaining, impossible-to-ignore, all-around-swell writing.”
There are a few things that Ms. Freedman will NOT do in this course:
- no lectures about apostrophes
- no dictionary definitions
- no soliloquies on the Oxford comma or any other scoldings from the grammar police
- no quotes from Strunk & White.
She also must have spent the time and money to hire the copyeditor from hell. After 12 modules of reading I only found one typo. Again, this is professional advice from a professional journalist.
If you’re just starting your blog, then you don’t need Donna’s course. (There are plenty of free WordPress blogger resources to get you moving.) But if you’ve blogged for a few months and you’re burning out, or struggling to find the time to write, or wondering what else to try, then this is professional and affordable help.
It’s not merely a jumpstart: it has a return on investment. When I started earning AdSense revenue in 2012 I would’ve paid back the expense of Ms. Freedman’s lessons with my first month of traffic, and her advice would have returned over 20x that amount in the following year.
Get your discount here.
“Write A Blog People Will Read” retails for $147 but Ms. Freedman is offering a military discount for a very limited time. Up through 1 July 2015 you can claim your 40% discount with this link. (This is about what you’d pay for a typical year of hosting and domain name registration.) She also understands that servicemembers might be deployed and not able to access the site for a while. If you (or someone you know) is away from bandwidth then e-mail her (Contact [at] WriteABlogPeopleWillRead [dot] com) or contact her through the “Write A Blog People Will Read” site and ask: “I was deployed and couldn’t check e-mail. What kinda codes you got these days?”
By the way, Ms. Freedman has an affiliate program for “Write A Blog People Will Read”. First use that discount code in the last paragraph to test-drive the course for yourself. We’re not collecting any affiliate income from these links– the discount is all yours because we want you to get out there and write. But you can earn a little money along with her if you sign up for the affiliate program and tell your readers about her course.
“Now how do I format this post?!?”
Another free resource came across my e-mail this month: Brian Richardson’s free WordPress training videos over at VetLaunched.
These videos simply show you how to work through the WordPress mechanics. After you’ve read Ms. Freedman’s advice then you won’t lose your focus or flow while you’re trying to edit a link or insert an image. Take her course, then watch these free videos.
* [You’re right, I’m guessing. Blogger doesn’t report their numbers and WordPress is hard to track down. If you take the 75 million WordPress blogs that existed in early 2014 and believe the widely reported estimate that they’re powering 20% of the blogger world, that’s 375 million blogs. If you reduce that 20% estimate to 15%, or add in the growth since early 2014, then 500 million is close enough.]
Here’s that discount link for the course again. It expires 2 July 2015.
Beginner’s Guide To Part-Time Blogging For Money
Start Your Blog– Or Outsource It!
Update To “Just Write It”
“So Nords, Why Are You Still Blogging?”
Blogging Lessons Learned From Interviews (Plus A Great Benefit)