Launch a Blog or Website
So in this segment, we're gonna talk about steps three, four, and five. And these are probably the more technical pieces, not super technical, but this is where a lot of people get stuck. When I started kind of creating this 12-step process, it was based on phone call after phone call with a struggling writer and clients that I was working with, students, of course, and just friends of mine. And each of these 12 steps became, like, major hangup places for people. And so, we kind of learn two things. One, people typically think they're a few steps farther than they area. And the rule here is you can't skip a step. So as we look at the big roadmap and you go, well, I'm at, you know, step nine, but I haven't launched a book yet, or launched a blog yet, then you're not at step nine, you're at step three. You may have done some stuff, you know, ahead of where you're at, but you need to go back and you need to finish step three. So who here has a blog or a website right now for their writing...
? Okay, well, most of you guys. Those of you watching online, go ahead and post your link, you know, you can share your blog, let us know if you've got a blog or website. If you don't, that's fine, but this is an important step. One of the things I was talking about earlier, sharing all of those case studies, is what did a lot of these people have in common? You know, I would say here's this person's story, they were an entrepreneur, they were a working writer, you know, they were a thought leader. What did they all have? They all had websites, they all launched a website, they built an email list, and they started sharing their work with the world. And so that's what we're gonna talk about in this segment. How do we create the technical pieces that we need? And a lot of writers that I meet go, well, I don't need a blog, like, I'm on Facebook. We want a blog, we want a website that we own so that we own the attention with our audience, for the same reason we're gonna focus on building email lists, Facebook is great, Twitter's fine, but this is where you're going to have the most meaningful connection with your readers and this is the way that you're going to make money, sell products, and actually get paid to do this thing. So let's talk about blogging real quick. We're gonna talk about how to launch a blog, what to write on your blog, and then, ultimately, how to start building an email list including the kind of content that we wanna deliver to our readers, now that we understand what we have to say and who it's for. Okay, so real quick on blogging, whether or not you have a blog, this stuff will pertain to you. First of all, you need to pick an easy domain. I recommend your first and last name .com or some combination of two easy-to-spell words. So if you have a hard to spell last name, you know, you might wanna do your first name and your middle name. You might want to do your last name, like I did, Goins, and writer or writes .com, goinswriter.com. I did that 'cause I couldn't get jeffgoins.com and those are two, you know, fairly easy words to spell. I like pretty much no more than two or three short words at a .com domain. .me, .co, .live, .rocks, you know, in the future, I'm sure that these will be very, very commonplace domain names. If you can get a .com today, it's still kind of the gold standard, so I highly recommend that. But, like, it doesn't have to be, I mean, literally, I've seen domain names where it's like, you know, jenniferannmariejohnsonwritesfiction.com. Maybe just jenniferjohnson is fine, you know? Like, that's okay. So, yeah, it doesn't, it just needs to be you or it needs to be the topic that you're writing about. So first, you wanna get a domain name. You wanna use a reliable host. I recommend Bluehost, I've got a link here, for those of you who don't have a good hosting company, I've got a link for you that'll save you some money. And you need to get a good theme, not great, not amazing, just a good WordPress theme, I recommend. That allows you to share your message in an uncluttered way. And so the toolbox is basically Bluehost, that's one of the biggest domain hosting sites in the world, WordPress, self-hosted WordPress, and I recommend, every year, WordPress comes out with a free, very simple, easy-to-use theme, and it's named whatever the year is, so 2016 theme, 2017 theme, 2018, whatever is the newest theme from WordPress, get that to start with, very easy to use. And if you need any help with that, you can go to this link, goinswriter.com/bluehost, and you'll get it for, like, $3 a month instead of $8 a month. So that's kind of blogging setup 101. If you do sign up for the course, you will get a tutorial on that where we walk you through step by step on how to do that. But I wanna talk about launching a blog now, 'cause this is something that I think people really get hung up with. I'll talk to students of mine, friends of mine, writers, and they'll go, you know, "I'm just waiting "to launch my blog." And I'm like "What do you mean you're waiting "to launch your blog?" "Well, you know, I'm still working it. "It's been, you know, six, eight, 12 months." That's not how this works, it's not how it should work. So when are you ready to launch a blog, I'm gonna tell you. You need to have three things, okay? First, you need to have a website. I just showed you how to get a website. It'll take eight minutes if you follow that tutorial. So you need a website, okay? Most of you have a website. Those of you who don't, go home tonight and get yourself a website. And you have an About page on your website. This is important. People need to go to your website and know, like, that this is a thing, right? What's on an About page? Three things. A welcome, hey, everybody, I'm Jeff. I like to write about stuff. You know, maybe your worldviews are on there, right? Then there needs to be a promise. Every week, I'm gonna send you one new article based on, you know, my thoughts on writing, creativity, and making a difference. And then the third thing you need to have on your About page is a call to action. So if you wanna get on my email list so you don't miss a thing, go ahead and sign up here. I would argue that that's a pretty good progression to put on your About page, who you are and what you do, what they can expect from you, how often you're gonna blog or email them or whatever, then some sort of call to action. And it could be a hard call to action, like go buy my book or something. I think it's better to just get them on your email list so you can stay in touch with them. Okay, so that's the second thing you need, you need an About page. Are we good? Third thing you need, you need to have published one blog post. That's it. Not a hundred, not 10, not 20, just one. There needs to be something about you, there needs to be an actual website that they can visit, and then there needs to be one sample of your writing that they can read. If you have done these things, it is time to launch your blog. Don't get too hung up, 'cause you know what happens when you launch your blog? Almost everything that happened the day before you launched your blog. (class laughs) But now you have something that you can promote and you can start to grow. And the longer to wait to launch your blog 'cause you're trying to get it perfect, you're trying to get the design just right, the masthead doesn't look the way you want 'cause you're an artist, the more you're delaying the hard part, which is building and growing the audience. So launch your blog, this is an important step. It can take a day or it can take six months and I would really encourage you to make it take a day. And if you have a long domain name or something, I would shorten that up. I would try to get everything right. And so whether or not you've done stuff before today or not, you want a short domain name, you want a good host, self-hosted WordPress, I think it's the most reliable way to blog today, and just, these are just tools, okay? And I don't want you spending days and weeks and months obsessing about the tools when the point of the tool is that you pick it up and you start using it.