069R - How to Start a Blog

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0 - 125 Jonathan Mendonsa And you know one of the things that really crossed my mind is this idea of How to start a blog There's a couple of questions that you get when you tell someone that you're a podcaster or that you're a blogger and one of those questions is how do you make money blogging or how do you make money podcasting. And it's generally that the same types of answers that you would provide. But it really does require almost a reframing because this is a way that people people aren't aware of this It doesn't even cross their mind how money is being made on the Internet and it's valuable to realize that even if you never intend to start a blog I would like to make the case in this particular episode that starting a blog or rather a Web site is an incredibly valuable skill that everybody should consider as a hobby even if you never make a dollar from it. And I want to take hopefully a few minutes in this episode to as we alluded to in the intro Unpack the secrets of how to start a blog and kind of walk through what we figured out over the last year. And I say that with my air quotes I know you couldn't see that but I said that with my air quotes in hand because I think it is a little bit of a caricature that you know the person sets up a blog and then the very first article they write is how to write a blog. I think it's become kind of a theme or a meme on Twitter and there's actually a fire parody Twitter handle out there right now that pokes fun. And I think it's right to do that frankly I'll be honest with you. It was one of the first articles that I wrote when I started the website and then I realized, you know what maybe I should just focus on growing my blog, first or trying to understand the skillset a little bit better. I took it all down but I get the appeal. And you know you can understand why people may start with that especially when you understand some of the affiliate based income that is available. But getting away from that brad I thought maybe you would be valuable. You have three websites you have benefited greatly from being willing to explore this skill set. It's not something that you've got a degree. Nobody gave you permission to try this but you've benefited greatly from stretching yourself and trying to build a Web site online. Build a business online And I think there's real value here to have this conversation and kind of open up this door to maybe someone that's never considered it before.
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125 - 290 Brad Barrett Yeah I think you're right. I think we can kind of quickly just go through it. Most people don't know where to start. So I think that is really what we're trying to do here just give people OK here are the handful of things you would need at a very low cost. I think that's the biggest thing. The barrier to entry is so incredibly low in terms of dollars and cents. But for me at least it was this mental hurdle of just not knowing how to start. And for me since I've been doing this for five plus years it's second nature essentially to oh Go and get a domain name and Get hosting and Get WordPress installed. Right. Sounds easy I could say then one. One or two sentences essentially. But for someone who's never done that it's extraordinarily difficult with that. Again that mental hurdle really to take a step back. Jonathan you said and kind of being campy there about like unpacking and all the secrets I think the real key when you're creating a website is to try to solve a problem If someone came to me and asked me like oh how does one make money on the Internet. It's find that audience and it can be a tiny tiny little audience and doesn't need to be millions of people but find that audience connect with them be authentic and solve some problem or tell your story in a way. There is this problem and you've overcome it or you're overcoming it right while you're telling that story and then someone can follow along and realize Hey I have that same issue in my life I can overcome it too by listening to your advice or using these products that you've used etc. So for me it comes from a place of authenticity. it really is kind of ridiculous how many bloggers have created hey how to start a blog or how to create a successful blog when they don't have a successful blog frankly. they're just getting started. They have no experience or expertise there right. So again not to beat a dead horse but it's try to solve that problem. And yeah I mean Jonathan like you really are the perfect person to kind of explain from a real high level. Like okay you knew nothing essentially 14 months ago when we started choosefi. You knew absolutely nothing. And I would argue now you are an expert level at designing websites creating podcasts editing podcasts like you can do all of this stuff and it just self-taught in 14 months so yeah I mean there's really no better person to just kind of give somebody a high level of here's what you would do to get started.
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290 - 464 Jonathan Mendonsa And I want you to even take a step back and say let's talk about the why real quick. I think we use the word blog almost a little bit too quickly and just imagine this that people say there's so many more blogs now than there were five years so it's way more crowded. How much more crowded do you think it's going to be five years from now ten years from now 15 years from now. What we are seeing is the mass decentralization of information going from these coveted TV bureaus and major organizations to basically grassroots information people are now going to trusted influencers trusted people that have information in a very specific niche and they're trying to get that information from them. We don't want to be fed information from mainstream media any more. That's just across the board that's what you're seeing. That's why you're seeing people cutting the cord left and right and that's why you're seeing major companies buying the smaller websites because they want to have that more grassroots feel. This is the golden opportunity for the digital age. It is exploding right now and it's not just blogs it's not just a person telling their story. Every single business in the country there is an opportunity to 10x against your competitors if you can figure this out. This idea of a Web site. Take any local business plumbing electrician any particular handyman or service provider. The talent stack Brad that you've talked about earlier the person that can figure out how to tie a trade skill or practical local skill to a website have a solid website a solid ecosystem and a way to interact with a larger community than they could ever possibly reach by handing out individual business cards is going to break the game going into the next 10 years and that is why this is so important goes far beyond whether or not you are a writer and you have tons of words in your head that you want to get out and you're looking for a place to go. Imagine any single hobby that you want to do. I don't care what it is you want to teach people how to play golf. You want to do woodworking. You want to do bodybuilding Whatever it is take that hobby and realize that if you want to 10x it 20 x at this talent stack figuring out how to create an online presence right now in 2018 will change your future. 5 6 7 10 years from now If you can figure out the skill And you don't need to get permission from anybody you don't need to go into school and get a four year degree to solve this. You don't need to take out student loans. You can learn mosts stuff for free on YouTube and looking up different articles to answer specific questions. Honestly the biggest skill set that I learned over the last 14 months was how to ask a better question and then implement those ideas. This is incredibly powerful stuff and I'm incredibly passionate about it because I can start to see the threads and that's why even starting to blog even if it is just to tell your story because you don't have any good ideas right now quote unquote good ideas. You don't have a problem that you can solve is still valuable because learning how websites work can be translated from a blog to a business incredibly easily.
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464 - 471 Brad Barrett Jonathan you said in there you learned how to ask better questions. Who do you go to. Where do you go on the Internet. When you have these questions.
471 - 628 Jonathan Mendonsa Yes. Now there's a great part as part of this is you can start by going onto Google and just doing your basic searches that will give you that first level knowledge versus second level knowledge. I'll give you a somewhat of a good answer but you don't know what you don't know you don't know what the problems with that answer are. What I found very quickly is that getting involved in a community in any particular aspect or thing that I'm interested in is incredibly valuable it's a way to 10x yourself past maybe bad results the kind of pop up next to the top because they have been as they have SEO behind them or search engine optimization. Maybe they have money promoting them at the top of the field like just because it's an easy low hanging fruit answer doesn't mean it's the best answer. That is kind of what I mean by learning to ask a better question and getting closer to the result that will actually help you. And this is actually the perfect place to talk about affiliate marketing and what Michelle has done so well and honestly we're going to demo this for you. If you've been listening to this show for any period of time a large percentage of you trust Brad and my opinion that we have done the work that we're honest relatable guys that we're trying to give you the information that we understand and the most relatable way possible and that we're pretty transparent about what we're actually doing. And so if I were to tell you that 14 months ago I started with no understanding of how to build a website and then I started I made a ton of mistakes and I figured out those mistakes. And at the end of this 14 month period of time I have some products that I really benefited from and that have helped us 10x this business. You'll say well what are those. I could give you a list of those and if you implemented them now you've gotten closer to an answer that can actually benefit you. This is what affiliate marketing is and this is what it's like to solve the problem the problem is that it's hard to know how to go from zero to 100. It's hard to know how to really get started with information that will actually work and you're able to get this information from a relatable trusted resource that you have been able to use other information they provided you and it's benefited you. And so now you're are like What is that next thing that I can benefit from. I should point out that this can be used for good or evil. There are plenty of people that are trying to sell you reverse mortgages and gold investments and you can kind of point to those and that is the same thing. I mean you can go to different terrestrial radio shows you can go to they'll be selling you glucosamine supplements for your knees and bees honey as the all magic cure. And they sell massive amounts of it. That is the power of this type of marketing and so the goal is to find someone that is giving you regular good information and you can build on that trust that relationship that you've developed so that's just kind of my general thoughts both on why everybody should be considering a website or a blog. And then why affiliate marketing in particular is so powerful.
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628 - 705 Brad Barrett Yeah that makes sense and I think each person needs to figure out what information sources they trust. This is this is transcends websites certainly. It's kind of a societal issue. What information sources do you trust so I think things have to pass your own smell test. I guess so anyway long story short I agree with you Jonathan that I like to shortcut information when I can when I find those reliable sources. There are people like I am constantly talking about Tom bilyeau you from impact theory or Tim Ferriss obviously from the four hour workweek and the Tim ferris show and if those guys have vetted something I have a much higher likelihood of saying OK that's probably worth a shot. I don't need to do 100 hours of research. So I think there's a way to lean on other people's expertise. So I think that's just kind of a general strategy for life. But let's really get down to the nitty gritty here. You could talk for hours upon hours about all the little gadgets and gizmos that you use for the website and and it's made it into really a wonderful Web site that you've spent a ton of time on. But really for most people out there and they just want to get started. So like what are let's say the four or five things someone could do today to OK here's what you need to just to get the site up and running started and create it and get that first post out there.
705 - 877 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah I mean I think it's perfect Brad. It's actually painful for me to try to figure out how to condense 14 months worth of experiments into five bullet points but we'll give it a shot. Number one the brand name This is critical now doesn't matter so much if you're just experimenting with learning how to use WordPress. But if in any way shape or form you want to build a brand around this build a business around this and have this thing carry you into the future the brand name for your site is critical. And I'm going to give you some advice that I originally heard from Seth Godin which actually I implemented directly when I was coming up with chooseFI as a brand name. So keep that in mind. And basically his advice was there's two ways to approach it. You can think about exactly what you want to do so let's say you have a computer consulting business you can name your business exactly what you want it to be. so if it were available "computerconsulting.com and there are some immediate advantages there in that people know obviously exactly what your business is about. But it also kind of limits your options with growth. Your other approach is to take a completely random word and build an entire entity around it. So I'll give you a couple examples of that. Amazon when I said Amazon you did not think of a river in South America. You did not think about a jungle you thought about this a major entity which is changing the world and they built an entire brand around this word. When I say Apple you probably didn't think of a fruit. Obviously there is an incredible brand built around that and there's many many more examples. ChooseFI was a made up word. You know you stick two words together it's a made up word. But it did imply a certain message that we wanted to get across. So it was that nice balance. This is just kind of how you got to think about it. Now I'm pretty sure that every single single word in the English language is taken up like you just can't get repeat.com. It's just not going to be there. It doesn't matter what it is every single single word is locked down. But the good news is most two and three word combinations are still available. And this provides a lot of opportunities for you just to be a little bit creative with it don't rush into this. Think about a lot of different ideas. And the last thing I would say on that is it is very important and I know this sounds going to sound silly but it's very important to get the .com Daul get suckered into getting the. I don't know all the different options .Bz .US. .Net .org. .com is strong from a ranking perspective and as you get farther into the weeds you'll realize this. but if you build an incredible brand around a .net you will get to some point in time where you realize oh man this would be better if I had the .com and you're going to go look for the dot com above because you've built value around this domain. On another one you are going to find that it's very expensive to go back and get that .com address if you even can at that point. So if you're starting a brand from scratch get something that you can get with the .com.
877 - 920 Brad Barrett Yeah I agree. Another one that I kind of stick with is make it easy to spell people aren't great spellers generally. So don't put multiple vowels together and see how it looks written down. Also in one fell swoop. So if it's multiple words together just eyeball it and see what it looks like. I know that sounds silly but but I think it really does matter and just make it something that fairly easy to spell. So if you if you have multiple options you're going with my bias would always be go with the one that you can spell more easily. So that's just a tiny thing. Another thing is generally don't put dashes in there. And one of my old web sites I talked about added dropships site it was firewood-rack.net.
920 - 923 Jonathan Mendonsa you are violating all the rules Brad
923 - 1004 Brad Barrett Every single rule I bought the thing for like five hundred twelve dollars off of a site selling web site. So it's like I didn't come up in this myself but yet I was every violation possible. So it really is pretty easy. I know in the past I've used GoDaddy dot com to register the domain. There are a bunch of different options but it's pretty straightforward. The search engine there is good it usually costs somewhere around eight dollars to ten dollars a year for having that domain. Ultra low cost One little tip I would suggest, somehow There are people lurking watching what people are searching so I find that if I'm searching something that I absolutely love and I don't buy it then and come back in a couple of hours it's usually gone. I don't know how that works but if I'm very strongly considering buying something I only search for it at that point basically and then buy it almost immediately thereafter if it's available. So just a little tip maybe I'm being paranoid but I've seen it too many times to mess around with, so at eight dollars for that first year there is really no downside to even doing it even if you a couple of days later decide to hey I'm going to use a different domain name. So long story short I would definitely recommend a godaddys worked for me in the past. Less than ten dollars a year. And it's pretty straightforward.
1004 - 1276 Jonathan Mendonsa Now we're going to get into a little bit more stuff here but I want to point out that there are options for free websites. I don't really have anything against them but if I'm coaching someone on how to do this I would not direct someone toward a free Web site. The self hosted websites that you pay for it give you a lot more flexibility especially if you build a significant brand around it. I'm not saying you can't work. I know people that have very successful businesses including Alan Donnegan on free websites but my own personal bias is to having a self hosted Web site that gives me the ultimate flexibility with design with plugins with how I expand it out. Really you're only limited by your own creativity as opposed to maybe the infrastructure that the free plan or the free site like. And I'm thinking in particular of Weebly Wix, Squarespace you know these are a few and there are some others out there So if you really want to just do this and you want to do it for free they're out there. I'm not saying that I'm adamant against that but personally if I were coaching you on what to do I think there are significant benefits for having a self hosted site. So let there are some terms that are being thrown around there. What we just talked about is the idea of reserving this location on the Internet. So this address that everybody can find you. Now you have to have a place actually host it reserved space and host your site. And that's what I was just talking about with those free ones. But another one that's big out there like it right now if you were to go to Google and you were to type and how to start a blog you will have the entire first page will be covered with bluehost tutorials. I'll be honest with you I started on bluehost and as I got farther and farther and and in particular after Brad really started to help me with this we moved away from it For a couple of reasons that I'm going to discuss, well I guess I'm going to discuss now this is the right time. So one of the biggest things that I noticed was that there was just a significant lag time now. I spent hundreds of hours, that's probably a stretch 50 some odd hours trying to figure out how to speed up the site and get it completely optimized. I thought it was me I thought made my images were too big. I thought that maybe I wasn't optimized in every particular aspect and so I looked at all of these different tutorials and how I can speed it up but my site still took four and a half to six seconds to load. It was just it was criminal frankly. And Brad when he can come visit the site to see what I was doing was he is like what is going on. What is wrong with this. This shouldn't be this slow. And I was convinced it was me because you know everybody uses bluehost right so it must have been my problem. But I did eventually make the switch to a production site big scoots who were actually using now. And it immediately all my load times went down to like one to two seconds. And we pay so with bluehost I was getting it for like four bucks a month something like that with big scoots I'm paying twenty dollars a month and that's what chooseFI is hosted on right now and my load times are between one and two seconds. But I'll be honest with you. It's even more than that you know that is from the visitors perspective and the logic being that when someone comes to visit your site you only have maybe two to three seconds to capture their attention. If your site takes five seconds to load. They've already said bye bye and moved on. I mean I'm sorry. This is 2018 people are expecting fast load times. But the other aspect of this is the more insidious part is that over the last 14 months I have made literally hundreds of thousands of individual changes to chooseFI most of which have required some form of a save or an update. And what I found with bluehost is that every single time I press save I was having to wait three to four seconds in order for that update to make my next change. That is crazy as you're trying to get better and develop the skill set you do not want to be sitting there. What I found out after I researched it farther is that a lot of these people that had the bluehost they've moved on from bluehost to something else and bluehost is amazing to offer this incredibly low price of two to four hours a month. But their service has just gone in the tank over the last one to two years. And when I got inside the industry a little bit more and actually started to meet different people that were creating blogs I found that Probably if you're starting out the best entry level site out there that still has high quality and gives you the best of both worlds so low cost of entry point and fast load times siteground. And I think it's relatively competitive in between 4-8 dollars a month but you get much faster load times. And so this if I were starting on day one I would use site ground. So I reached out to them and actually ask Hey can I be an affiliate for your program. So I've got the link for them down in the bottom but this is what you uncover. And then honestly as soon as you're starting to make money with your site and as soon as you're viewing this as a legitimate form of income as soon as you can I would up the ante either get a higher/site ground and they have different tiers that they can level you into. or big scoots is amazing and Brad introduced me to this but my mind has been blown. And I will always be with big scoots.
1276 - 1346 Brad Barrett Yeah their customer service is just outlandishly good. So yeah I've been with them for a while. And just to clarify here so the domain name that you'd get a Go Daddy that's reserving your spot on the internet like Jonathan said. But then the hosting is just to actually store the data that makes up your Web site. So those are really the two fundamental pillars of just creating a website and having it exist in the world. So the data has to exist somewhere and it basically exists on the computers or the servers at these hosting companies right. So bluehost are big schools or Siteground or one of many many different other options that exist so just that's kind of conceptually how to think about this and that leads to the number of visitors that you can have per hour, the site's speed. As Jonathan said in great detail. So the more money that you spend basically the faster and more optimized the Websites going to work. But Jonathan to your point you can certainly have someone who is getting started and they wanted to do a bluehost hosting for four bucks a month just to kind of see if this works for them. Certainly not the worst thing in the world. But yeah they can pretty easily upgrade to something like site ground for just a few dollars more per month.
1346 - 1411 Jonathan Mendonsa Now once you have your site in place now you start to talk about what is it actually going to look like and this is where the words themes are page builders come into play. I use a combination of both. One of the things that it's very important to do especially if you're starting now is to differentiate yourself from the crowd. How are you going to break through the noise. So in some cases the podcast does that for us. In other cases like I have gone to town on making chooseFI as inviting as possible you know the word I guess behind the scenes will be "sticky" when you visit Do you want to hang out or do you want to get out of there as quick as possible because you can't figure out where anything is. Everything's disorganized. It's just it's not fun to hang on the site. And so you want to create I guess brad and I have started to use the word in our minds ecosystem. Is this a place where when you get there it's easy to find what you're looking for and you want to binge read all the content you want to read through it and I'll be honest with you. This is not something you get right on day one. This takes constant iteration and it took me I don't know I would say I'm still working on this will always be working on this Brad it was my last redesign that I think you finally checked off on and said yes this is the one.
1411 - 1422 Brad Barrett Yeah the new redesign of chooseFI.com. It's fantastic. Yeah I mean before that it was nice and I thought it certainly did the trick. But yeah this last one I think we'll have this for quite some time.
1422 - 1561 Jonathan Mendonsa So when you have siteground set up for your Hosting you are then going to install platform and I highly recommend WordPress for a million reasons which honestly it would take me a lot longer than this episode to go through. But this is a site that basically 30 percent of all the websites on the Internet are built on right now. A lot of the new Web sites are being built on this. It is constantly being iterated open source. It's just a fantastic platform to build your brand on. And once you have that in place you have to figure out you have to select a theme. There are tons of free themes that you can choose from as soon as you decide again that this is a production that this is going to be a form of income that this is something that you're serious about. You're probably going to want to end up getting a paid theme so something that's constantly being updated it's more secure it gives you more flexibility gives you more customization options. I use generate press that has been one that for me will almost allow it to get out of the way. It's very lightweight. It allows you to basically strip it away and then I actually use what's called a page builder I know again there's a lot of verbage coming at you but these are just ideas to plant seeds you can look into each one of these at some point when the time is right Generate press is the theme that chooseFI is built on. And then once I use generate press I carve away all the extra stuff and I go almost immediately to a page builder A Page builder allows you to build beautiful home pages without knowing how to code. I should state for the record I still to this point have no idea how to code. I think that's something that actually scares people away from building websites. But this is actually the best time you could ever possibly imagine to be considering building a website because you no longer need to have any ability to code whatsoever. It is incredible. And so the page builder that I use is Elementor. Guess what both of those do have affiliate programs and I will have a link in the Show notes I'm just showing you this is kind of how it works. I went to great links to figure out I just spent literally literally 20 30 40 hours researching different options and I made a selection. I'm incredibly happy about it. I want to tell everybody I know about how it worked and and obviously the results that she's if I had seen kind of speak for themselves and you're thinking wow OK well maybe I should go take a look at that. That is affiliate marketing this is what win-win relationships are all about. You're solving a problem the problem is how do I make this process of going from knowing nothing about Web sites to having something that is actively being able to become a business as quickly as possible. This is what it looks like.
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1561 - 1636 Brad Barrett And it's important to remember that you don't need to do that on day one. We're trying to keep this simple here. And what I would say is many successful sites like Carl from 1500 days had the default theme from WordPress on his site for years and probably got millions of page views in that time. So he spent zero dollars and zero cents on his theme. And now if you talk to him he would say Oh I always wanted to update it but it didn't happen because he was writing articles. He was creating content. He was telling his story. He was doing the important stuff. Eventually he's changed subsequently but that was years and years and years. So please don't get confused with these elementor or on page builder and light weight and getting out of the way and all of this stuff like that confuses me frankly. And I mean I vagary I guess in the grand scheme of things no what I'm doing here. But you just this is like a 30 second install. To get that that theme. So from your hosts most of them have one click WordPress installs and you will have that default theme right there. You could write your first article and publish it within minutes so it really it can be that easy. That's what's great about this.
1636 - 1896 Jonathan Mendonsa All right so once you get through all that and I apologize I kind of want to give you all the complexity at the same time make it simple. It's a very difficult line to to kind of tow the line on but the next piece of this would be and this is almost from day one lockdown down your social media accounts like for instance if I were to have waited on locking down the social media accounts for chooseFI until I was ready for each additional social media account it might not be there.someone might have grabbed it and companies just don't really give you recourse to go reclaim your stuff. It's a very difficult process to go through so soon as you have a brand name that you're excited about. See whether or not you can get that exact name on all of your different platforms. So like Facebook Facebook groups Twitter Instagram Pinterest YouTube you know I don't care you never have to use it. But the idea is that you really want to build a presence around this idea lock it down in all these different places that way you have the option later you don't want to have this massive brand go back and find out that someone has already grabbed it trying to swoop in on the traffic that you've collected. That's just a reality. So I just think that almost should be baked into your steps. And then the last thing I wanted to talk about is growing your list, your email list. Now what I love about Web sites and I'm almost going to refer to it as Web sites as opposed to a blog. is that the Web site is uniquely yours. So if you have a really large Facebook group you have a really large Pinterest following you have a really large YouTube following. You may think it's yours but it's not really yours you're benefiting from this other platform. If it were to go away all that information goes away there's people that invested heavily into vine which was like these 30 second videos you could do and then it just disappeared. And all of that traffic that you would engage just went along right along with it. The Web site is uniquely yours. People being able to come there and that's your way to connect people from one platform to another. So someone that finds you on YouTube can then come to your WordPress site someone that now on your website you can now connect to one of your other groups. It is the center of the universe that you're trying to build and the next piece of that is an email list. At the end of the day the email list is gonna always be the most effective way that you have to reach your audience. It's not that you have to use it every single day and you really shouldn't. Nobody wants to get multiple e-mails a week from you I'm sorry they're not that interested in what you have to say but you may be reaching out on a once a week or once a month basis that sort of thing to let them know what's going on in this little universe that you're creating is very valuable and you want to try to get something in place very very early on because .this is not something that you want to get ten years down the road when you actually have significant traffic and try to build. You always want to make some steps to get started early so there's a couple of providers which I'm really not going to go into detail the two that really come to mind are MailChimp which offers like free in the door up there like a thousand people and convert kit which is more of a production email system. We use convertkit I think it's like what does it 20 - 30 dollars a month. But it gives you way more flexibility with how people find your content and what content you send out to them. We can explain that in another time. Honestly this is kind of one of those feeler episodes to see is this something that's helpful that you're benefiting from. Let us know if you enjoy this type of content and we can carve some more out at another time. my point with that being you need to be considering what does it look like to start a list. There's one extra point that I can tie onto this and I'll let Brad explain. I know he's very familiar with that as well is this idea of a freemium when people come to your site. They may want to get on your list just to get your newsletter just to get updates. That's great. And I think that that is a good idea but I don't think it's always sufficient. I think that over time what we've seen is that in order to get someone to take action and sign up for your list you need to be providing some sort of value back. Otherwise there's no urgency. They can always do it another time and they never do. So most websites, across the board you can see a million different examples of this which actually should be encouraging because you don't need to have the perfect example you just need to come up with something. Is this idea of a freemium. Hey I will give you this free item, this free PDF, this free resource this free video this free tutorial and I'll send it to you by email if you sign up for the list. That is just a tried and true method and you can always get better with that in fact AB testing is something that's highly highly encouraged. But that is kind of how you pair this idea of building a list and then incentivizing someone that has enjoyed your content to check it out further.
1896 - 2005 Brad Barrett Yeah I mean Jonathan you explained it pretty well there so I'm not sure I need to do anything more. But I mean I guess like you said it's just adding value. Nobody is going to come to your website and just hand over their email address for no reason. You have to provide something of value whether it's insider information that you only talk about via e-mail or your personal story. we do the Choose FI vault and before that it used to be get access to our Facebook group by signing up for our e-mail. So you know you just provide something of value. And yeah that e-mail list is a great way to keep in touch with people. So I think it's definitely important. So yeah I mean if I could just summarize here from like the ultra ultra high level it's just I think you could do basically all of this in under an hour. If you really just want to get started So you go to go daddy You research a domain. You buy it. You go to one of those hosting companies that we talked about. You could do it ultra cheap for under four dollars a month at bluehost and you just link up your domain to that hosting really really easy to do. one click install from WordPress. Let's say for argument's sake you decided to leave just the default theme and then you head over to social media. You quickly sign up for each of the accounts and the name that you need that you want to reserve that's tied to your domain and you sign up for it and e-mail list software. I think like Jonathan said MailChimp is free it used to be up to 2000 people I'm not sure where it is now so it's going to take you a pretty long time to get up to 2000 e-mail addresses especially if you're just starting out. So if you wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible I think you could do this for maybe under 13 dollars let's say by my estimation eight bucks for the domain name four or five bucks for the hosting for the first month.
2005 - 2025 Jonathan Mendonsa The PoBox mailbox is sneaky to on the e-mails they're going to. You got to have got to list your address. I remember when I was setting up my e-mail address. It's a legal thing you have to put your address at the bottom of any sort of e-mail thing you have set up and I was like I don't really want to put my home address on the bottom of all these e-mails so the P.O. Box would be an extra thing with the emails.
2025 - 2123 Brad Barrett Yeah that's a good point. I think yeah a lot of people kind of gloss over that but I think a P.O. Box on my local post office was like 30 dollars a year. So let's say under three dollars a month if you want to do it that way. So we're up to maybe 40 dollars to get started if you wanted to do that P.O. box thing. So yeah I mean this is really pretty straightforward. And then of course like Jonathan said when you get serious about this it's still very inexpensive. I mean we use a great e-mail service provider and it's convert kit and they are fairly inexpensive in the grand scheme of things. Obviously as your list grows the price goes up. But at that point you probably have a thriving business that you can afford to pay a couple hundred bucks a year or whatever it may be for the email list. You can afford to buy Elementor and other themes that Jonathon's bought for chooseFI. it's tiny tiny money. It's just do you want to do that from day one? You may and I would not fault you at all. we did that for choose a buy because we had plans for it. We hoped that it could grow into a real site that brought value to people. So for us it made sense to invest just this tiny little bit of money and we're still talking probably under a hundred dollars or under 200 dollars. It's nothing major but I think that's kind of how you want to approach it so you can do it for as little as under 20 dollars or go all out. And I say that kind of jokingly for under maybe 200 bucks. So like Jonathan said I think this is a kind of tutorial that we can provide maybe on our Web site on a future podcast. If you guys think it's valuable or maybe on this new YouTube channel Jonathan then you're starting out right.
2123 - 2182 Jonathan Mendonsa ChooseFI.tv see I broke my own rule with the with the dot tv there but it's basically acting as a redirect. And if you get to chooseFI.TV it will take you to our YouTube channel where yeah I'll try to start posting some of these tutorials. Also if you check out the show links for today's episode I will put every single resource that we mentioned plus some others that we didn't and some of them Free and some of them are paid. But if you're interested in more information on any of those they will all be in the show notes for today's episode. And Brad you know this is why I enjoyed the episode with Michelle so much because this is practically what it looks like when you can solve problems that people are dealing with. When you can make it easier to find good authentic accurate information you can get everything you need in life by helping someone else get exactly what they want and then that is what Michelle has been doing for the last five or six years. And I think when it comes to how to make money blogging it's no surprise that she has truly crushed the game.
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2182 - 2456 Brad Barrett Yeah I mean I think that's the understatement of the century. She's she made a million and a half dollars last year. I mean that is just a mind spinning amount of money. And I think while we're talking about about growing blogs businesses of course everyone out there hearing this knows that is that type of success is extraordinarily difficult to reach. So I think that shouldn't necessarily be your goal. But I think you can take a lot of lessons from Michelle and she talked about having that consistency. Right so she's posted Monday and Wednesday basically since the inception of her blog for five plus years. So there is there's a lot of value to that and I think there's consistency with this podcast. Jonathan you and I. As opposed to taking like a Tim Ferriss type approach where I never know when the heck he's gonna put out a new show. But people know come Monday and Friday morning. You always have ChooseFI it just kind of gets into your routine. And I'm sure for Michelle's readers that gets into their routine on Monday and Wednesday. I think her getting two months ahead of time and not having to scramble and produce some subpar content really makes a difference. So I think those kind of things having that consistency. And of course that's not going to get you to a million dollars. But Laura and I my wife and I were talking about this yesterday like on our car ride home and we were saying like how many people I wonder how many blogs are out there that have been blogging for six plus years. Basically 100 posts per year twice a week on this schedule and don't have some degree of success. I don't have an answer for you obviously but I would be absolutely fascinated to find out what the answer to that is Like how many people are toiling away two times a week 52 weeks a year for six plus years and have not become successful on some level. I think it's probably pretty rare. So I think you just learn a ton of things even if it's from failure or missteps over that time and I'm sure Michelle had periods where it wasn't just up up up she talked about social media. And she tested a whole bunch of things and determined what was good for her business. So it sounds like Twitter isn't a real high value thing for her as far as growing her business but she says it does help her connect with other blog owners and companies and such so there is some value there but I suspect she doesn't spend a dozen hours a week on Twitter. But she found that out by testing right. So is was that a failure that she spent all that time on Twitter testing. No of course not. She learned what it's good for and now she does it in an efficient manner. So I think there's lots of things you can pick up over a five plus year blogging career that's going to help you get to some degree of success. And like I said on the podcast Michelle is really this unbelievably impressive outlier and she's done it through a lot of hard work. I know she says she's not analytical and I think that means she's just not sitting there poring over every single number and split testing everything to get it one half of one percent better. She's using her intuition and she's spending time where it makes sense resource wise. She determined very early that Pinterest was this real potential gold mine for her and that nobody had gone there because everybody says right that that elusive. They they said personal finance doesn't work on on Pinterest. Well Michelle proved otherwise because she gets a whole heck of a lot of traffic from Pinterest and I can guarantee you she's made a significant amount of money just because she said OK I disagree with that common thinking and I'm going to go for this and I'm going to spend some time and learn about it and see if it makes sense. And if she had put in 50 hours of research and time and realized OK I was wrong. Well again is that a failure. No it's not in my opinion because she made her best educated guess and she went with it. Obviously it worked out quite well for her wasn't a failure was a spectacular success. But that's how I approach business is everything doesn't have to be that purely analytical thing it's just use your intuition and test quickly and figure out if it makes sense for you. So I think there is there are a lot of takeaways from Michelle's story. For anyone out there looking to start a business
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2456 - 2578 Jonathan Mendonsa And Brad those tertiary skills are so valuable as well you know we had this we almost glossed right over that but just by the fact that you're willing to try this and to build the skill set every single business that succeeds going into the future will likely have to have some form of online presence. There are implications far beyond the owner of that site. There are all sorts of services that are needed to grow things. I am simply incapable of past a certain point. I have a certain amount of bandwidth and past that point there's just not much else I can add to chooseFI if we really want to grow it. We need to bring on team members to help us do this and that's what we did and so if you build the skill set if you have this blog even if it hasn't become a million dollar blog If you built the skill set and can demo that then becomes your resume. This what have you built concept is so valuable and it opens up doors for you that you would never have been able to imagine otherwise. Bobby Hoyt millennial money man. He has a course he teaches people to do Facebook advertising and so they basically help small businesses get their businesses in front of people on Facebook. Facebook has like 2 billion people on it on a regular basis and small businesses are trying to get that information in front of those individuals. That is a skill set that you could develop that you that you get into because you initially started by starting a blog Creating a courses. Obviously something teaching a skill set is obviously something being able to be a designer. Have a good visual eye. You take someone that has great content but they have a horrible interface it's just not fun. You go there you're hanging out. You see the content is good but frankly you just want to get away because it just doesn't look great. People that can come in with that visual element can add so much to that and there is room and the cool thing is all of these things that I just mentioned they do not tie you to any specific geographic location. And so I think the reason that this is so attractive to people in the FI community is what are you going to do. Post FI. While it could be nothing you could truly be retired you could truly not do anything. I suspect that for many people in their 30s and early 40s they're not going to be satisfied with that answer they're going to be looking for something. And this isn't what you have to do. But it could be a viable option.
smallbusiness

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