Veteran Blogger Chris Garrett on How to Build a Successful Blog
Today’s episode is #202 and in it I have my good friend and co-author of the ProBlogger book – Chris Garrett on the show to talk about the changes in blogging since we wrote the book.
Chris and I wrote the first edition of the book in 2008 and it went through 3 versions – the last one being 5 years ago in 2012 – so I thought it might be interesting to get Chris on to talk – among other things – about how we’d update the book if we were to do another version.
The book still holds up pretty well and continues to be available on Amazon but a lot has happened in 5 years!
Chris and I cover a lot of other ground too:
- Chris tells his story of starting blogging in 1996 and describes how he first monetized what he was doing – in many ways it was ‘content marketing’ years before anyone used that term.
- We talk about the two main reasons bloggers start blogging – because they want to express themselves and because they want to make money – and try to work out which is best
- We talk about the biggest challenges facing bloggers today
- We talk about staying motivated over the long haul with your blogging
- We talk about how to balance creating great content for your blog while also trying to develop products to sell
- And much more.
Today Chris has his own newish blog called Maker Hacks which we talk about in this episode but he is also the Chief Digital Officer at Rainmaker Digital – the company behind CopyBlogger and StudioPress (the most popular WP theme collection on the web today) so we also talk a little about that at the end of the episode too.
Links and Resources for Advice from a Veteran Blogger (Chris Garrett) on How to Build a Successful Blog
- Our Facebook Group
- Our Dallas Event
- Our Australian Event
- Chris’s Maker Hacks Blog
- StudioPress (affiliate link)
- ProBlogger Book on Amazon (affiliate link)
Darren: My name is Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger.com – a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of eBooks designed to help you as a blogger to grow your blog, to increase your audience, to write amazing content, and to build some profit around your blog.
You can learn more about ProBlogger and all that we do to help you as a blogger over at ProBlogger.com.
Now, today’s episode is number 202, and in it, I have my good friend and co-author of the ProBlogger book, Chris Garrett, on the show to talk about the changes in blogging since we wrote the ProBlogger book. Chris and I first wrote that book – the first edition of that book in 2008, so coming up on a 10-year anniversary. It’s gone through a few different versions. A third edition is currently up, but that was published in 2012, so it’s been five years since we wrote the last edition of the book. I thought it might be interesting to get Chris on to talk about, amongst other things, how we would update that book, if we were to do another version – not that we’re planning on doing that.
The book, I think, still holds up pretty well at its core, but there are some things that have obviously come about in the last five years, that we would add to that. If you’ve read that book in the past or if you want to read it, this is a good companion episode, I guess, for that. We cover a lot of other ground as well.
Chris tells his story of starting blogging in 1996 – not that it was called “blogging” back then, but essentially that’s what he was doing. He also talks about how effectively he monetized that blogging through what we would now call “content marketing,” years before that term was invented. We also talk about the main reasons that we see bloggers starting to blog, either because they want to express themselves very organically, as Chris and myself did, or because they want to make money. We try and work out which is the best alternative.
We talk about the challenges facing bloggers today. We talk about staying motivated over the long haul with your blogging, and we talk about the balance of getting great content out for your blog, whilst you’re also trying to do all those other things like trying to create a product to sell. We cover a lot of ground in this particular episode, so I do recommend you grab a cup of coffee or your favourite beverage and settle in for a conversation.
Chris has started a blog called Makerhacks, which we do talk about here as well, and he also works at Copyblogger, the company behind Copyblogger, the blog, but also StudioPress. We talk a little bit about that as well.
You can find all the transcript of today’s show, as well as a lot of links, which we will mention along the way, over on our show notes. Our show notes are at ProBlogger.com/podcast/202. There’s also some links there to our Facebook group, which Chris is a very active member of. There’s links there to our events that are coming up, our Ozzie events in the next two weeks (there’s still a handful of tickets for those), and our Dallas event later in the year, links to StudioPress and Chris’s other blog, as well as a link to our book, which you can find on Amazon. You can pick it up pretty cheap – a used copy of that. Head over to the show notes, as you listen at ProBlogger.com/podcast/202.
Okay, let’s get into today’s conversation.
Hey Chris how are you?
Chris: I’m good. It’s been a while since we’ve done one of this. It’s nice to hear your voice – that Aussie accent.
Darren: Yes. Well, you’ve got that Canadian accent.
Chris: I don’t think anybody would ever think that.
Darren: How long have you been in Canada now?
Chris: We’ve moved here 2010. I was born here, but you can’t tell from my accent, can you? I’m trying.
Darren: You’ll get there. You just got to put a couple of “aye.” Is that how they end sentences up there?
Chris: Yeah. [inaudible 0:04:03] apparently.
Darren: It was funny – the other day I came across some of your comments in the group, and I was like, “We haven’t chatted for a long time.” My mind went back, and I started to think about how long has it been since we chatted, but also how long since we wrote the ProBlogger book. Many of the listeners of our podcast probably don’t even know that I wrote a book because it was back in 2008 that we wrote the first version of the ProBlogger book. Then it was updated in 2010, I think, as the second edition, and then 2012 – that was all with Wiley.
It’s been five years since that last version was written, and in internet time, that’s like 50 years. I thought it might be good to jump back on today and chat a little bit about the current state of blogging because things have changed a lot. Also maybe we could do some hypothetical stuff – what we would include in the new Problogger book if there was to be one, not that I think there will.
But before we get into that, maybe just for those listeners who don’t know you, they’ve probably seen you interacting in our Facebook group, could you just give us a little bit of the story of how did you get back into blogging in days gone by?
Chris: I started out with the bulletin boards. I started online before the web really was in anybody’s public consciousness. I worked for a college straight out of school, when I was 15, which, for everybody who’s listening with kids, I don’t recommend. It’s cool when you’re 15. It worked for me.
My first, proper fulltime career job was working for a college. I worked for a hospital before then. Obviously it being an education institution, we got onto the internet pretty early, and it was my job to set us up on the internet as an ISP, so the local libraries, local school teachers could get connected. I had to get us this super fast broadband to make a big connection, and everybody could dial into us. Basically, all my colleagues took one step backwards, and I was volunteered – volun-told to do it. But it was brilliant. I loved it. I geeked out.
I was teaching HTML. Everybody had a personal website back then. You got a dial-up account and some space, and then later things like GSCTs came along, but everybody had a personal website. Around 1996, I really got into the online user groups and email discussion list. I’m a complete 100% nerd.
I created a site around Doctor Who and Red Dwarf, and all of this is like an online fanzine. I’d say that was my first blog because it was reverse chronological, and it had comments and a guest book. That was 1996. At the same time, I was on every programming discussion list I could find because getting answers for computer programming questions wasn’t easy. I would pay back, so I would answer everybody else’s. That’s how I started writing articles.
If I repeat myself too often, I would say, “Here’s the article. Ask me any questions you’d like.” Suddenly people started following me and really enjoying my articles and e-mailing me with questions. I started getting a little bit of a profile accidentally, but the really weird thing is, this is how my monetization started. First, I was invited to a site that did a share of advertising revenue, which I never anticipated. Steve Smith – he was called. Really cool guy. But then people started emailing me saying, “I want you to train our guys.”
I was like, “But I’ve given you all these free info. Is it incomplete? Other questions?”
They’re like, “No. It shows that you know what you are talking about. We’ll fly you. We’ll give you accommodation, and we’ll pay you, whatever it takes. Teach our guys these stuff,” and I was weirded out because I didn’t have a sales page. I didn’t set myself up as that. Then I was getting these freelance writing opportunities for print magazines. All I’d done was answer some questions on the internet.
You know me. I’m not the most confident or outgoing guy. If I had set out to do that – well, I wouldn’t have set out to do that. That’s just not in my personality. It landed in my lap in a way. Then I got an internet consulting job, a fulltime job at Internet Consultancy and then moved from that into the advertising and marketing space and then left in 2005 to join Performancing, which was a start-up that burnt very hot, very quickly. Yeah, that’s how I met Brian obviously.
Darren: It was around that time we started to come into contact. I’d been approached to write this book by Wiley, and I thought that was a joke, when I first got the email from Wiley saying, “Do you want to write a book?”
I’m like, “It’s one of my friends joking. Who would want me to write a book?” and then it dawned on me that it was true. I suddenly started to freak out because a book was so much bigger than anything I’d written before. I’d written a lot of blog posts, but I’d never written a book. So that’s when I freaked out and thought, “I need to find someone to write the other half.” That’s why we began to talk.
One of the things I’m always amazed about, by writing that book, was that we had not actually even spoken on Skype or on the phone or voice-to-voice until, I think, probably we were writing the last chapter or two. I do remember that we did get on Skype at one stage. It was a surreal experience to write something – such a big project together and not even really know each other, having never met.
Chris: Yeah. We only met after the book came along, which just blows people’s mind, because it’s like, “How did you collaborate?” Well, the internet.
Darren: We’ve got a few photos together. Most of them, there’s a woman between us, which is quite strange. I searched on Google Images the other day, and all these photos of people wanting a photo of the two of us, but we never really took one in the early days of the two of us. Anyway, the ProBlogger book came along around that time. Maybe just give us a quick fill-in of what’s happened since the ProBlogger book for you because Performancing was a company that you were involved with but you’ve moved on into other ventures as well.
Chris: Performancing lasted two years or something. As I said, it burned very brightly, but it didn’t have a long life. At the time, it was really a good idea. It was education, software, community. [Funny enough 0:11:28], the company I work for now does education, software, community. But in between, I was an internet consultant. I left that when it imploded, and I didn’t really want to go straight back into another start-up or anything. I’ve since advised start-ups, and you could call the company I work for now almost as an old start-up.
Now, I work for Copyblogger. I work for Rainmaker Digital as the parent company currently because we’ve got some things going on, and I’m the chief digital officer, which is perfect for me because it’s a combination of technology and marketing. I get to nerd out about content and marketing, but also the technical side and the under-the-hood stuff, so it’s awesome.
Darren: It’s an amazing company really. A lot of people from days gone by will remember Copyblogger starting just after ProBlogger started. We’re almost like brother-sister blogs or brother-brother blogs. Copyblogger, Brian Clark, really focused on copy and writing, but since then it’s grown into so much more than that. You get your WordPress themes there with StudioPress and the Genesis themes and so much more. We might tap into some of that towards the end of the podcast. But you also have your own blog, Maker Hacks.
Chris: It’s funny because I had a photography blog around the time that Digital Photography School was starting, and I sold it. At that time I thought, “I got quite a nice amount of money for that.” It was like a millionth of the size of Digital Photography School. It wasn’t even on the same planet. But I’ve always nerded out about things, as you mentioned before.
My business blog – I keep it alive, but it’s not really a passion for me anymore. I like 3D printing, electronics, building things. In the trade, they call it STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. I just like geeking out about electronics and [inaudible 0:13:53], 3D printing, laser cutting, and all these things. That’s my passion project, and it’s doing quite well even though I neglect it almost as much as my main blog.
Darren: We might come back to that one as well. One of the things I really do want to tap into is the changes that are going on in the blogosphere because you started in 1996, when “blogging” wasn’t really even a word. I don’t know when that first started to be used. I started in 2002. Quite late by comparison, but so much has changed since those times.
We both got into it fairly intuitively, fairly organically because we wanted to either play with the technology or we wanted to express ourselves, we wanted to connect with other people. It strikes me as one of the biggest changes today is that bloggers often get into blogging with a completely different intent. Many – not all – many start because they want to make money or they want to build a profile or they want to become an influencer. Do you have an opinion about which is the better pathway because some bloggers still do get into it very organically? There’s probably some advantages of that, but it probably takes a bit longer. Do you have any thoughts on the best pathway there?
Chris: I think the worst is when you start a blog about making money online and you haven’t made any money online. It’s like I can understand people wanting to do that. I can understand people wanting to blog about what they are learning about. I’m okay when people say, “I’m learning about this. Come along with me.” That’s what I did with photography. That’s what I’m doing with Maker Hacks. I’m okay with that. It’s when people try to position themselves as an expert before they make one cent. That’s a little bit dodgy to me.
Can you remember back when we were starting to build a profile and when Copyblogger started? Brian especially was out in the trench, being shot at by people who are like, “How dare you monetize?” and now it’s like people are, “I’m gonna start a blog because I want to make money.” I think that’s great in some ways, but during the promotion of our book, there was a – I can’t remember what the film was, but it was about somebody who started a cooking blog, and that really spiked our sales. I think that was a turning point, when people realised that this is a thing, that you could create a website and make money in your spare time, and that it was possible because there was some cynicism when we started to talk about monetization, as if it was not a real thing. One of our friends even got stopped at the border because he said his career was blogging.
Darren: Yes. That’s right. Some people said, “No, you can’t do it. It’s impossible. They are lying.” Some people said, “You have to be a dodgy kind of internet marketer to do it. You can’t do it ethically.” Others were like, “They’re just lucky.” That were the three big objections that I heard a lot of in those days.
Chris: I could definitely have understood anybody being cynical about it. I think it’s a healthy attitude. All through the book we say, “It’s hard work. It’s not going to happen straight away. It’s not going to happen for everybody.” But if I hadn’t had people contact me, wanting to send me money, I wouldn’t have believed it either.
Darren: It was a surprise to all of us, I think. You were surprised people wanted to fly you around. I was surprised when we’re approached to write a book, and when I made $7 dollars on my first day from AdSense.
Chris: When you were getting cameras to review because you had a photography site before Digital Photography School.
Darren: That’s right. I guess the advantage for us is that we weren’t trying to market from the start, so it came across as very generous, very natural perhaps. That’s one of the advantages of starting without the intent of marketing.
Chris: I did have some pushback though when I first created the digital product or mentioned selling any services. I did have some people saying, “You’ve sold out.” It doesn’t matter how many people – you say, “I do have to pay a mortgage.” What I realised in recent years is they were never gonna buy. Let them go. Let them unsubscribe, call you names. There is always somebody else to talk to that is a better fit, but at the time it hurt. It stung. Any criticism.
Back when I was doing the computer programming list, one guy who’s actually a friend now, told me [a new one 0:18:40] in an email about something I’d written, and it really hit me. My wife Claire had to talk me down and say, “Don’t give up. This is just one guy’s opinion. He might be famous in the community, but it’s one guy’s opinion. Stick with it.” And fortunately, I didn’t leave and decide to do something else, but that criticism – if anything it’s worse today, in terms of volume, but I think more understanding is available today. We all know what a troll is, whereas back then, I think it was all a bit fresh, a bit raw, or a bit new.
Darren: I remembered being stopped in my tracks numerous times by trolls. It would take my attention from the business for weeks, whereas now you get a troll comment, and you’re like, “Troll. Move on.” Maybe it’s because we’ve been at it longer, and it thickened our skin, but maybe it’s a different culture and people almost expect that it’s coming towards them.
One of the questions we got in the group from Jocelyn [Kate 0:19:49]. I found it quite interesting. She said, “What was the very beginning like?” We kinda touched on that, but she says, “I feel like every blogger I hear starts with his story on chapter 3, so I wanna know – did you work full time? Did you have parents, who are entrepreneurs? Is it in your blood? Or did you work from being everyday to hugely successful blog? How did you actually do that?” For you, was it in your blood?
Chris: No. As I said before, I don’t have the entrepreneurial personality even. I feel like I’ve got some of that now because it bubbled to the surface, but naturally, in my blood, I think the opposite of that. Because my dad was a fireman, and my mom cared for people with disabilities. It’s not like there’s any – I can’t think of how I would have acquired that genetically.
Then when you are nurtured in an environment of – my dad used to run into burning fires to save people, and my mom used to care for people that couldn’t care for themselves – making money isn’t really a conversation you have. If anything, I was raised afraid of money because the only arguments my parents ever had were of paying the bills. I don’t have that plenty mindset, that abundant mindset. It happened by accident for me, which is cool because I cannot empathize with other people who aren’t entrepreneurs. Whenever anybody says “hustle,” I get a cringe because that’s not how it worked for me at all.
Darren: I’m similar in some ways. My dad was a minister of a church. My mom was a nurse and the stayed at home for most of our schooling, to care for us and support Dad in the work that he was doing as well. I wasn’t taught to make money because there wasn’t much going around in our house.
I do think I had a creative spirit and an interest in communication from day one. Perhaps that was because I saw my dad getting up in front of people every week and speaking. Maybe that was there, but it didn’t come naturally. Selling is probably the biggest thing that I’ve struggled with, trying to work at how to sell. I kinda relate to what you said before. You really didn’t comfortable with that in many regards, and that’s something you need to learn to do. But I think being uncomfortable with it as well is an advantage because you see the objections that your readers might have as you are writing your sales copy. That can be an advantage, if it doesn’t stop you in your tracks.
Chris: Yeah. The confidence thing did – I was going to burn out when I was doing my consulting and selling courses and digital products and all of that stuff. We had the best financial year of all of the time I had my own business. We’d just moved to Canada. Everything was going great, and I sat down with my wife and like, “No, you’re going to burn out, Chris,” because every launch I did, I thought it was going to be the last and we wouldn’t be able to pay the bills. That lack of confidence, that sine wave-like confidence I have – it goes up and down. Not great for being a solo business, even though I had some help at that time, starting to get freelancers and contractors. I thought I was gonna fail any moment. That mindset of “It’s gonna be all taken away, and I can’t do this.”
That’s when Brian said, “Hey, we need some help.”
I was like, “Yeah. Okay.” I got an idea that I might be approached because I was invited to the company get-together in South by Southwest. I was like, “This is the environment I want to be in, where there are other people to support you.” I would have preferred to have kept my hand in, not full-time, but it’s been great having people around me. It’s because I don’t feel like I can do the selling, I can do everything else. I worked in marketing and advertising for a while, so I think that was my entrepreneurship training, but there’s something about selling personally, something that you created that is exciting and cool. It’s great – the rewards, but it’s also terrifying for people whose personality don’t naturally go to that.
Darren: I think some people are just better suited to working in other companies. Some people are better suited to having their own business, and I think for others it’s kind of a bit of both. I can relate to that. For me the way I’ll get around it is to bring other people onto my team to do the selling. I chime in, but it’s them who are doing that selling. For other people, the way they do it is to go and work for someone else in the team environment, where they can just do their part. I think there are different ways through that. What would you say the biggest three changes in blogging since we wrote the book?
Chris: I think since we wrote the book, I think the dominance of Facebook is huge, but I didn’t realize the culture change it would make. I mean when we were writing the different editions of the book, we could see changes like Digg was the king, and then all of a sudden, it was nothing. But the fact that people don’t share links as much – I didn’t expect. The focused people would absolutely move their blog from their own space that they owned to these other spaces like Medium and Facebook and YouTube – that surprised me because the idea of a home base is still crucial. Having an email list is still crucial, but so many people have this emphasis on social media, which means people aren’t sharing links, which means that the comments moved away.
One of the other biggest is the technology is so much more accessible now. I think it’s easier to start technologically. It’s easier to start if you have the right community mindset that we talked about earlier. That’s still a thing. I can see the resistance people have because I think, “Well, why would somebody listen to me when there are all these other people out there?”
Darren: Yeah. I think it’s the weight of content that’s being created is one of the biggest changes and challenges that’s come about. It does put off a lot of people. It’s probably the number one thing that stops bloggers as well. I’ve noticed over the last years, people just aren’t able to have their voice emerge through that noise.
Chris: So many more channels for their voice. The perfect example is podcasting and video and live streaming. You can actually get paid to be you on Instagram. People are managing to do that all the time. It’s an unfortunate side effect, where there are people chasing fame to the point where they actually injure themselves. The idea of being an influencer and being paid to have a lifestyle – if somebody just said that to us back in the early 2000s…
Darren: It’s interesting because we were very much – when we wrote the book, and probably for a good decade there, niches were king. Everyone had to choose a niche, and I still think that’s good advice for many bloggers. But we have seen this lifestyle – people want to know what your life is like, and that’s almost a return to personal blogging in many ways. It is now happening on Insta, Facebook, and other places as well.
Chris: It’s 24-7 instead of episodic, which it used to be. I follow some people on Instagram, and they’re literally updating their stuff hourly. That seems so invasive to me, but they love it.
Darren: I wonder if there will be a swing back to the niche in some of those platforms like it happened in blogging, whether people are gonna get fed up with the minutiae of life being shown. I’m not sure.
Chris: I don’t know.
Darren: Maybe it will; maybe it won’t.
Chris: I wonder if there’ll be a backlash against being so transparent as well, because that privacy thing – it’s something we worked out quite early on, and then now we’ve got an entire generation of content creators, who are letting it all out to the point where people know exactly where they are at all times. It seems a bit scary to me.
Darren: One of the questions I wanted to ask you was, if you were to rewrite the Problogger book today, what would you add or change? Maybe some of that is gonna come out of what we’ve just been talking about. The last edition was 2012; it’s been five years. Does anyone who’s read the book or is going to read the book – I think a lot of it still stands up today, but what would you change about it?
Chris: I think the core strategy will never change because it’s about generosity and attracting people who you can help and reach – who are interested in what you can share, but the tactics have changed quite a lot. We had quite a lot about SEO, but we didn’t really go into paid traffic. We certainly didn’t go into the full marketing automation funnels. We had some about email, but I don’t think we went really into the full tactics now that are quite common.
When I launched my ChrisG.com blog, after Performancing went away, it was kind of revolutionary to people I was giving a free eBook away. I did it with my feed and as well as e-mail, and people were like, “Whoa. This is new!” Now it’s kind of expected, right? I think video tactics, live streaming, Instagram, and all of that definitely would have to be in there, but at the same time, we probably wouldn’t emphasize things like AdSense maybe.
Darren: Yeah. I think it’d still be there. I had a look through it the other day at some of the monetization chapters. We had two pages on affiliate marketing. We had one page on selling e-resources, one page on eBooks and courses and that type of thing.
Chris: Let’s have a look at Digital Photography School now.
Darren: Since then, Digital Photography School – they’re our number one and two income streams, whereas when I wrote the book, AdSense was still number one. Monetization has shifted. I think we’d also be wanting to include subscription membership type of things. You’d also be wanting to probably do software as a service, at least a small mention, because there are more and more blogs, who are doing that type of thing as well. We’ve had a lot of content on advertising and influence marketing. We didn’t call it “influence marketing,” but it was how to get advertisers on your blog. But a lot if it was more about getting banner ads on your blog, whereas I think today…
Chris: It felt like we were a lot more cynical about sponsored posts and that sort of thing than we would be today.
Darren: Sponsored content, ambassadorships – those type of monetization has definitely – there’s been a big shift in that. Monetization has changed a fair bit, but at the core of it like you said, generosity – our main four pillars, that we called them, were great content, promoting your blog, building community and engagement, and monetization. They were the four things that we said that you need to do in order to have a profitable blog, and I think that still stacks up.
Chris: And especially now, it’s got to be great content. It’s got to be good enough that people don’t feel they’ve wasted 20 minutes of their life, and when you look at the clickbait, the rise of clickbait, that’s pretty much been in the last few years to toxic levels. It shows that good content is still desirable, but it has to fight against the noise of all these other stuff out there.
Darren: Definitely. I think it is still a decent read. It’s still available on Amazon. I saw it in the library the other day. I think we’re ranked 431,000th highest rated book on Amazon the other day. It’s still there. You can probably pick up a [inaudible 0:33:37] copy of it on Amazon as well, if you do want to check it out. A lot of it – it’s relevant, but obviously things have changed.
We had quite a few questions coming in the Facebook group, which I thought I’d throw at you and me as well. Neil Watson said, “I’ve often struggled with maintaining motivation for blogging right at the time when you know you should, as it’s close to reaching that critical point. What advice do you have to maintain the faith, while you wait for your income streams to develop.” I think what Neil is asking there – is when you’re waiting for things to grow in that first year – the first two years even – can be really tough. When you see some traction, you see readers starting to come, but no one’s buying your products yet or no one’s clicking your ads, or it hasn’t hit the tipping point. For some blogs, that can take a long time to do. Any advice that keep the motivation up?
Chris: One of the things that we’ve always said is it helps if you are passionate about the topic. Now that is not to say that you have to choose a topic that is something that you love and you’re passionate about, but one of the things that helps your motivation is if you would talk about this stuff anyway.
Like Maker Hacks, if you get me on the topic of what that’s about, it’s hard to shut me up. Obviously with blogging, we’ve had a great conversation that’s just flowed because we love talking about this stuff and we love teaching it. But if somebody said there was a lot of money to make in mole rat farming, I probably wouldn’t find the motivation to write about that so much. But then on the other side, I’m a people pleaser, so if I put a call out for questions and I get some questions back, I feel I have to answer those. If I’m in a Facebook group and somebody asks a question and nobody else has answered it and I can answer it, I feel compelled to answer it. Then once I started it, I might as well copy and paste it into a blog, right? By that, I mean blog post – a post in my blog. One of my irritations is when people say “I wrote a blog,” “You wrote a whole blog?” “No, no. It’s an article.”
Darren: I think for me, keeping the motivation up partly is about choosing the right topic. Choose a topic, not only that you have an interest in, but that you are growing in – you’re still discovering in. That’s for me, why I’ve stuck at ProBlogger for so long. It was 2004 when I started it. It’s been 13 years of writing about blogging and talking about blogging.
I think the reason that I’m still able to create content on it is that I’m still learning stuff. There’s still new things that I’m discovering, and so that gets me through the lean patches. Even on an established blog like ProBlogger, there’s months and months where we don’t have a massive amount of profit, so it’s not money that’s driving me. It’s a satisfaction in other ways.
I think the other part for me is actually map out the change and be really aware of the change you are trying to bring to other people. For me, I am a people pleaser as well. My goal in my life is to make the lives of the people around me better, and if I can see that I’m doing something to improve other people’s lives, that gives me a lot of personal satisfaction.
Chris: I’ve got a feedback folder in my Gmail, and it was something that Pace and Kyeli once mentioned at South by Southwest, I think. Because I talked about the negativity, and they said, “But don’t you get people thanking you and praising you?”
I was like, “Well, yeah, but who focuses on them?”
So they said, “Anytime somebody says something nice, put it in this folder so you can look through it.”
And it’s amazing the difference you do make to people. I’m not gonna mention any names, but over the years, there’ve been a lot of people, who have come back to me and said like, “Chris, if you hadn’t said this at this time, I don’t know what would have happened” or “The advice you gave me then has turned into how many figures now.” Occasionally people will say, “Did you hear so-and-so say on his webinar about you?” and that keeps me going as well because I like being behind the curtain, Wizard of Oz style. But it’s nice for people to show that what you do makes a difference. If you can make a difference and people are willing to tell you about that – incredibly motivating.
Darren: I think the other thing I’d say to Neil is you look at your stats and you see a number, just remind yourself constantly that the amount people, who are showing up on your blog is not just a number. It’s people; it’s human beings that have shown up on your blog. To me, that makes a massive difference. If 100 people look at my blog over a week, over a month, that’s pretty significant that 100 people have taken the time – human beings have taken the time to read something that you said. They may not leave a comment. They may not buy your product, but in some way, that is a valid thing that’s important. You may have just changed one of their lives in some way.
Chris: I think this other aspect that you – for the first thousand subscribers, you don’t really see that reward for the effort you put in. Then suddenly, the dam bursts. I’m gonna mix my analogies, but it’s like a flywheel. It takes effort to start, and then it’s got a life of its own. While cranking the old manual cars, where you’d have to crank it and crank it manually, and then suddenly the combustion engine would take over. It’s the same with blogs. There seems to be a threshold that you have to pass, and so many people give up before they get there.
One the memes that goes around – one of those quotes that somebody put my quote on is that people give up when it gets hard, but when it gets hard, it’s often just before you succeed. This just seems to be like a dam-burst moment for many blogs. You can’t time ahead of time when it’s going to be, but you can feel it after it’s happened.
Darren: Yeah. Keep working! You can do it. You can do it.
Chris: Yeah, compete against yesterday’s stats. Don’t compete against other people. Don’t think, “They’ve got 34,000 subscribers. I’ve only got 10.” It’s like being at the gym. Compete against you and not Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Darren: Yeah. That reminds me what I used to do. I used to look at my stats from last month and make my goal to be 10% higher next month. In some months, I went 20% or 30% higher. Some months, I went backwards, but I think if you can keep that trajectory moving forward, even 10-20% a month increase – over time, that’s an exponential growth. You extend that out for a year or two, and you’ll be amazed at where you could be if you keep that kind of small step-by-step growth up. Yeah, little goals can really help you get there.
Another question that came in from Emily. She says, “I’m having the same problem at the moment. Good subscriber base, highly engaged audience, who are ready and waiting for products to buy, and I’m struggling with the overwhelming task of not only continuing to blog regularly and increase my traffic, but also to put the products (the books and eBooks) together.”
I see this tension a lot. Bloggers who know they need to keep content coming, but they also want to create something to sell. And to create something to sell is gonna take them away from the blogging, which could then decrease their audience, which means they won’t have anyone to sell it to. So how do you get that balance right? You’ve gone through this. You’ve created products. I see you’re doing something at the moment on your current blog of putting a product together. Is it an eBook or a course that you’re putting together there?
Chris: Yeah, it’s a workshop. Eventually it’s gonna be three prices – the typical strategy of small, medium, and large, with the small being just the eBook. The way I did that is to use the fact that I’m a people-pleaser and the accountability of that. I pre-launched it and said, “Anybody that buys – pay what you want. Anybody that buys will get the full thing and gets to give feedback to me, steer the ship.” You almost get a bespoke product. You get the cheapest price it’ll ever be, but in return for your feedback.
There was no product. They paid for it. Told me that it was a thing that had legs, and so I had to then produce a product. I had to write thousands of words all of a sudden, and I had a deadline – self-imposed, but had all these people who paid money, who would then do a chargeback or a refund. I’m using Gumroad because it’s got a pay-what-you-want feature, so I had to deliver.
Darren: Yeah, so in many ways, you did your own little Kickstarter.
Chris: Yeah. But it tests the market as well, because if nobody put a dollar in, I’d had known that nobody was willing to. Because people tell you they want to buy a product, but until they actually get their hand in their wallet, they can change their mind. People buy with their mind, their brain before they buy with their credit card, so you can’t just say, “Hey! I’ve got a product now,” because that’s not gonna sell as well as – you have to do some sort of pre-launch. It’s got to involve people early on. “I think I’m gonna do this – about 80% decided what it’s gonna be, but tell me what you think,” and then you say, “Okay, I’ve done an early beta version of it. What do you think? You’re gonna get it for a low price.” Then incrementally improve it, which means it doesn’t have to be complete at the time you sell it. It’s a promise to improve, but then you don’t have to have created this whole thing in the hope that somebody would buy it. The worst thing you can do is create something, spend six months of your life on it, and then find nobody wants to buy it.
Darren: No one wants it. Another thing that I’ve seen some bloggers do with an eBook is release the first two or three chapters for sale first at a massively reduced price, and that is partly to get it done and not have to be overwhelmed by a massive project, but also partly it’s a proof of concept. If anyone buys those first few chapters, there’s a good chance that they’ll want the rest as well.
There are different ways to do that. I guess the other alternative is to write your eBook on your blog, which is what I did for my first two. Gave 90% of it away on the blog, but people then purchased the eBook because they wanted the extra stuff that I put in, but they also wanted it in a nice package – a logically, easy-to-read package, rather than having to go through all the different blog posts that were already on the blog. That may be another way to go about it, too.
Darren: Belinda asks, “I would love to hear your predictions for online, video classes and venue options for posting them. Kajabi, Teachable, Skillshare, Udemy.” Do you have any thoughts on that, in terms of – I guess, it’s courses, video content.
Chris: Yeah. I’ve got a huge bias against having my stuff on somebody else’s domain. Now, it’s a little bit hypocritical because I actually teach for the local university, and all of my stuff is on their domain. I don’t even own it. That said – when I do stuff outside of that, I don’t like having my name dot Kajabi or whatever, just because it’s that digital sharecropping thing. They can take it away from you. I also don’t like the ones, where there seems to be a sale every month to get something that was worth $90 for $15 or where you only get a share of people you signed up to the whole thing, whereas they give most of it away. So you get in crumbs of crumbs.
My preference is to use these other venues to generate leads, so I’m considering creating an Amazon Kindle book, not because I think it will make money, but because I think it’s a place that people search for things of this nature and that’ll generate leads for me and my courses that will be on my home base.
Like YouTube – I use that for lead generation. I don’t use it as my entire channel. It’s a place people search, so they can find me there. Then I’ll lead them back home. That’s what I try to do with everything.
These venues I think are great as a way of getting awareness to a place that you wouldn’t otherwise, like iTunes is obviously great to get awareness through podcasting, but don’t have your podcast as your entire online presence because they could easily take that away. If you had a [bogged feed 0:47:23], then you’ve lost your audience. You haven’t got an email list backed up. It’s gone. I have a podcast now that’s vanished from iTunes, and I need to work out why – The Mainframe that I did with Tony Clark. We had months’ worth of content on there, and you can’t find it now on iTunes. Fortunately, I’ve got other things for people to find me with.
That’s how I would look at it. I would have the content on your home base. I would charge people to have access to that, because the biggest assets that you’ve got are your list of leads and your list of customers, with the second being the most valuable.
Darren: That’s certainly what we’ve tried to do on Digital Photography School. We’ve actually hacked together our own way of delivering courses there, so we don’t use any real plugin there. There are certainly, since we’ve done that, there are other products now that do it in a way that you can all host on your own site. We’ve stayed clear of Udemy and Skillshare and those type of places. I think they can be a great way – if you don’t have any presence at all, that would be the other argument I guess for those type of places to host your product if you’ve got absolutely no traffic, and you want to put something out quickly. That may be an option, but ultimately, I’d be trying to get as many people over on to your own home base as well.
Chris: Yeah. I think one of the things that people think will be a benefit is that exposure, but there’s definitely 80-20 rule or even a 90-10 rule, that 10% have all the exposure. It’s like with Kickstarter, we hear about the ones that make a million dollars, but most Kickstarters – it’s people with an existing audience, who actually get a successful Kickstarter.
Darren: If you go over and look on Udemy, you do find that in many of the categories, the biggest seller courses are ones where they’ve driven a lot of traffic for their own platforms already, which – yeah, it looks tempting, but it doesn’t always work out.
Another question from Ash Roy. I think you were on Ash’s podcast. He says, in episode 6 of his podcast, early days for you – he said that you said something that he has quoted in almost every episode since. You said something to the effect of “Content marketing is a conversation that’s happening out there right now between a buyer and a seller. The only question is, ‘Do you, as a seller-marketer, want to be part of that conversation?’” He asked if you could talk a little bit more about that.
Chris: Well, I didn’t invent that concept because – I’m gonna show my age now with The Cluetrain Manifesto. Some people will have heard of that. Other people would be like, “What?” The Cluetrain Manifesto was a book which was available for free, and you could buy about the market being conversations and about how – there’s this discussion going on, whether you’re part of it or not and whether you interrupt it or if you’re welcomed into this conversation that is a different conversation in itself. But you have to be out there and creating content and answering the questions people have because they’re going to have their own questions and they’re gonna get answers, so you might as well be the one that gives them the answer.
There used to be this entire culture of keeping secrets, where the salesperson was the gatekeeper. That come to mind very strongly because my daughter’s at the age now – she needs a car, and we’ve been looking at car dealerships. Still, even though there’s so much online, they’ll not talk to you at a dealership without putting you in front of a salesperson, who’s gonna give you the hard-sell and all the upsells and the sales pitch. It’s like – do they realize that they’re competing against this low-pressure, low-salesy thing, where all the information’s already there. We just don’t know from you. Be helpful, and we will reward you.
Content marketing is all about that. Back when we started, there wasn’t content marketing. There wasn’t really a blog culture, but giving the information away and being rewarded for it has always existed. I think that’s what we’re becoming a culture of, where we look to the internet almost before we look to each other. I mean, how many times have you seen or done it yourself, you’ll go on to Twitter and ask a question. You’ll go to Facebook and ask a question. It starts a conversation, and it gives you the answer hopefully, but also you could Google and research. But we have a conversation instead. It’s almost like that’s the glue that holds people together now online versus going to Yellow Pages. I think the gatekeepers are going away, and the conversation’s moved online. You’re either part of it or you’re not gonna sell anymore.
Darren: Yeah. That’s so true. I found it fascinating when you told your story before about 1996 answering questions and writing articles, if you were asked the same question twice. I’m like, “You did content marketing back in 1996.”
Darren: That’s exactly what it was.
Chris: Without realizing it.
Darren: There was no name, but you invented it, Chris.
Chris: If I had that time again, I wouldn’t have used my name. The thing is, I think by not selling myself, I almost increased my authority with the people who wanted to buy because at no point was there a call-to-action, at no point was I saying even, “This way you could find me to buy services.” It was more, “If you’ve got questions, this is how to contact me.” Like you said, why they contacted you – the first time somebody asked me if I could coach them or teach them, it was a friend. I thought they were gonna break out laughing after a minute of conversation, and it took a few of those to realize that this was a thing, rather than a fluke. But I just carried on doing what I was doing. I did it in the inset of a page. At the time, there wasn’t just me writing articles; a lot of people did, but to be asked to write articles for print magazines because of something found online – that was really weird because I never thought of myself as a writer. I was just a nerd who happened to write.
Darren: You started Maker Hacks – when was that that it kicked off?
Chris: I bought the domain, and we actually did a webinar, you and I, about how to start in a new niche and how to research this. I did all the research, and then I had the imposter syndrome kick in. I got busy, and I made excuses. Then one day I was talking to my friend Ben. He works in the special effects industry, and we had a really nice conversation, just geeking out about this stuff. I was like, “Yeah, I think I actually am gonna write about this because I love it. If people insult me, so what?” so February last year, I started it properly.
My friend Rafael, who is also a colleague, helped tweak the design. We used the Rainmaker platform, and yeah, it’s been great. Even though I sparsely create content for it, it’s done really well, and the four pillars have all come back and come into play definitely.
Darren: What did you do in launching that blog that you haven’t done in the past, or you wouldn’t have done in a previous blog?
Chris: I did exactly what I did in the previous blog. Everybody would be shocked to hear I was in Facebook groups, and I was answering questions. Any question that came up a lot – I would write about it. So surprising. But there’s a lot of groups that if you’re helpful, they will allow you to drop a link. Now, I’m not saying spam Facebook group. Please, and it’s not my biggest traffic source at all. But as a way of getting insight into what people are being challenged with and the questions they have, you can’t beat social media. It’s a complaint delivery system.
You go into Twitter and you go to Facebook, and people say, “Why does this not work? How do I do this?” Then you write an article about it. It’s awesome. But yeah, search traffic is by far my biggest source of traffic.
Darren: You’ve only been going since February, wasn’t it? I think February last year, so it’s not an old blog. I noticed you posted a picture in the Facebook group yesterday or the day before about how search engine optimization isn’t dead because even a relatively new blog – you were getting decent SEO traffic.
Chris: Yeah. Google’s been very kind to me, but how did I get those links? I guest posted. I actually got paid to write a couple, which is even better because it’s guest posting but with compensation.
As we speak, I’ve had 14,728 Google visits this month, in the last 30 days. That’s just doing the stuff that we wrote about in the ProBlogger book. It’s not much different. You write good content. You tweak it a little bit so that search engines will know what you’re writing about, and then you get links to it. That’s the same we always taught in the book.
I think you do need the other pillars. It’s not just promotion. It’s the combination. It’s the sum of the parts combined give a bigger whole.
Darren: One of the things I notice you doing quite a bit is not only engaging in other people’s Facebook groups, but you seem to have your own for Maker Hacks as well. How important has that been? I guess, that taps into that community engagement pillar that we often talk about.
Chris: Yeah. One of the things I think that has been important about it is that group is almost a refuge from some of the other groups of people, because I have a zero tolerance for trolls. People get beaten up online a lot, especially people who may be a bit timid or English isn’t their first language. They get chewed up a little bit, so one of the things I like to do is just make sure that there are ground rules and everybody sticks to them. Everybody’s nice.
But one of the other parts of it is there’s some authority by gathering a community around you, even though I’m not the most knowledgeable of this topic. I mean, I’m in the same space as Adam Savage from MythBusters. I’m not gonna be the expert, but I can be somebody who is known to be generous and kind and approachable in the community. Having my own space to invite people to is part of that.
Darren: It’s interesting. This last week I’ve chatted with probably 10 or so fulltime bloggers, and each and every one of them have said Facebook groups have been their biggest source of engagement. They’ve moved a lot of their activities away from having a page, from linking groups, any other kind of group, into Facebook groups. That’s been the biggest thing this week for me, so I think it’s certainly a place to be aware of. But do you feel any danger in investing into someone else’s space because we’ve talked a number of times today about building your own home base?
Chris: Yeah, 100% there’s a danger because – well, there’s two dangers. One – all of my comments have moved to Facebook, because I’ve turned them off. Facebook owns my discussions now, so that’s both great and awful in equal measure.
We talked about trolls earlier. One of the things they will do is brigade and all get together to mark something as spam or as illegal or offensive. Things get taken down on YouTube. Channels get taken down. Facebook groups get taken out. The unfortunate side to my brand is “hacks,” and the word “hack” for some people means hacking. That means illegal activity to them, so I keep attracting people who don’t know what we’re talking about. They’ll come say, “Have you got a hack to break into Android? Or do you have a crack for Windows 10?” so I’ve got some questions now that people have to answer before they can join.
The amount of people say, “No, I will not follow the rules,” but they answer the other questions correctly. It’s like, “Do you really think I’m gonna allow you in when you say you’re not gonna follow the rules?”
But another danger which you might not really think of – it’s a first world problem, if you like. I’ve got over 6000 members in that group, but my email list is lagging behind. I haven’t even got 1000 email subscribers, which for an 18-month old site, that is terrible, but I’m used to growing my email lists a lot faster than that, especially with the stuff I’m giving away. So the danger is that people find the stuff already and don’t feel the need to sign up, and so am I hurting at the long term? I don’t know.
Darren: That’s interesting. In episode 196 of this podcast, we interviewed Nikki Parkinson. She talked about how she only allows people to join her Facebook group, if they sign up for her email list first, so the way you get an invitation is to sign up a form. You give your email address, and then she sends you a link to the group.
Chris: That’s interesting.
Darren: She said she’s grown her email list much faster that way, as a result of that.
Chris: While I don’t know that my group is growing, partly because Facebook keeps recommending it to people because they tell me. So I think my strategy right now is to get people from the group to my email, and I think I just have to show them a better argument for that.
Darren: Yeah, maybe some exclusive content there.
Chris: There is exclusive content, but it’s not something that appeals to everybody. One of the things about my niche is it’s not very niche-y because it’s such a broad thing. It’s making, so I’ve got woodworkers all the way through to robot builders.
Darren: You need a couple of groups.
Darren: One more question on Maker Hacks. You mentioned it before, but you’ve got your workbook or workshop or something that you’re building there – that product, and you’ve got your name-your-own-price at the moment with the beta. That made me a little bit curious. Is it working? Are people actually paying?
Chris: I mean, the lowest you can pay is a dollar. We know there’s a huge gulf between zero and a dollar. We’ve talked about it earlier. People say they want a thing, and then it works out that actually they really didn’t want the thing. They wanted it for free.
The nice thing about doing pay-what-you-want is people will actually tell you what it’s worth to them. There are some sneaky psychological tricks so you can frame it so people will pay more. I haven’t done any of those, but still people on average are paying about $10 to $15, with the highest being about $25 and the lowest being $1. But a whole bunch of people are at the $5 level. A whole bunch of people are at the $10 level. So that says to me that I’ve got something of some value, not necessarily like – it’s not going to make me wealthy, but I don’t need it. I’ve got a fulltime job. That’s nice.
I mean, the idea behind monetizing is partly – it’s a little petri dish. It’s like a science project. Part of it is to feed my habit with all the stuff that I’ve been spending money on. I do get review items now – really expensive ones, which is cool. But I started this by my own stuff, and most of it is buying my own stuff. It [forms 1:04:52] itself, but yeah, the crazy thing is people asking and valuing it before they get to actually see it because there’s no demo video or behind-the-scenes. All they have is a sales page, and it’s telling people somehow that it’s worth between $1 and $25 so that’s great.
Darren: That’s great. Do you think you would consider, when you have the final product, allowing people to continue to do that? Or will you go with a…
Chris: I wasn’t going to. I was going to do the small, medium, large thing, which is the marketer thing to do, but there’s a part of me that says, “I don’t actually need the money, and it’s nice to make it so accessible to people” Because it’s like if you can’t afford $1, then you can’t afford this as a hobby, because even the cheapest circuit board that people use with their little computers – even on eBay, they’re a couple of dollars. But it’s nice to make it accessible, especially to kids. I’ve been giving a lot of school teachers free access. If you’re a schoolteacher that’s listening and you’ve got an STEM, feel free to just email me with your school email address because my mission – it sounds cheesy – is to inspire a million makers.
Darren: That’s fine.
Chris: It’s out there now.
Darren: We did the same on our DPS. We often allow schools to reprint our stuff, and we wouldn’t allow that in other circumstances. But schools I think is a great way to – builds your brand as well. That’s not why we do it, but it certainly has a flow and impact as well.
Chris: Yeah. As I said, I don’t actually – while Brian’s not firing me, I don’t the income from it. I like the fact that it’s helping people get into making things. Part of it is I think we have a disposable culture. We’re moving away from the inquisitiveness of how does this work to just assuming it will work. There’s a lot of black boxes. I want to encourage people, especially young people, to take things apart, putting them back together again, but make new things. So anytime I can get a teacher on board, I think that’s a great thing.
Darren: That’s very cool. You mentioned Brian again, and it might be a good time just to talk a little bit about Rainmaker Digital. You mentioned your role as the chief digital officer. What does that mean?
Chris: Well, a few people joked it should be OCD instead of CDO. It’s a combination of marketing and technology, and as you know, marketing and technology is a thing that over the last 10 years has exploded. There’s so many tools, so many ways to automate things. The marketing role has expanded to have a lot of technology involved, so a lot of organizations now – either they have an IT person and a marketing person, and together they try to liaise. Or they have somebody who has an aspect of both, and that happens to be me.
I spent a good couple of years heading up development of the Rainmaker platform, but that’s moved to a new organization now. There’s a whole new company that’s running with Rainmaker as a platform, and so now I’m in charge of marketing, technology for what’s left and the marketing strategy of StudioPress and Copyblogger, which is awesome because I go back to being a teacher and doing DIY because Rainmaker platform – a lot of it was there and done for you, which is why [as a premium 1:08:43] suffered as a service. With StudioPress – it’s WordPress hosting on steroids, but you build your own site. You add your own plugins and things, so you can use what’s included. It’s complete flexibility, which means it costs less as well. We’ve got the StudioPress themes, and we’ve got the education. It’s awesome.
Darren: I think the StudioPress, for me – I’m really excited by how that has been developing. We’ve always had an affiliation, both as an affiliate but also as a user of Genesis themes and StudioPress themes over the years, but I was really excited to see some of that – developments. Must have been about 6-12 months ago now, you’ve kind of changed things up. Can you tell us a little bit about StudioPress and what it’s becoming, because we do get a lot of questions from our Facebook group about “Where should I host my site? How do I get SEO right? Which plugins should I install?” I think you’ve developed a solution here that is gonna be attractive to a lot of bloggers.
Chris: Yeah. With that full transparency we talked about earlier, I’m not a salesperson so this isn’t gonna be for everybody. It’s $27 a month, so that is out of the budget for people who are maybe having a personal website to keep their family up to date. You have to be making some money to be able to – but at the same time, it’s a fully managed and built-for-purpose hosting platform for WordPress, and especially the Genesis framework. It’s award-winning how fast it is. It’s rock solid. It takes all the worry away. You’re not gonna get hacked. Everything in the WordPress core is kept up-to-date for you.
The Genesis framework and your theme is kept up-to-date, so it allows you to focus on what you created the website for, which was creating content and serving your customers without worrying about “Is my website running? Is anybody hacking me? Is the malware…? Is it working for search engines?” because that is one of the things we talked about earlier. SEO is still a thing. Search engines are still sending the majority of the traffic, and if you don’t tap into that, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
We looked at what the pain was in hosting because we did Synthesis before. It’s not like we’re new to hosting, and we realised the WordPress community needs something where you can get up and running very quickly. You need the flexibility, but also you needed that protection so we’ve got something that’s super fast, flexible, and takes that pain away but gives you the reassurance that it’s gonna be there – it’s gonna be working.
One of the things we also found – and I don’t know if you remember this time because you’ve been having heavy duty hosting for quite a while – but that thing of being punished for success. You get that big link that day, where you get a spike of traffic, say from a social site or Digg or Reddit or a big blogger, and it takes your site down. You’re being punished for your success. That doesn’t happen with this because – don’t worry about bandwidth. Don’t worry about how many visitors you get. We’ll worry about that. You worry about creating your content and looking after your customers.
Darren: Ultimately for me, that’s who this is perfect for. It’s for those who wanted to just write and maybe promote and build engagement, but they don’t really have the skills or ability or experience to host, keep things secure, keep plugins up to date, all that back end. So yes, there’s a cost, but that’s what the cost goes towards. For a large percentage of our audience, I know that’s an attractive thing. I definitely wanted to mention it in this podcast, where we are an affiliate for it, so I’ll disclose that. You can find all the links for that, but you could also Google it and skip our affiliate link if you’re offended by that.
Chris: But I like to think as well that if anybody felt like they tried it and they didn’t quite find that it was everything we talked about – you know StudioPress. You know us. You get a refund. It’s not like – there’s no hard sell at any point in time.
There’s a lot of people, who are out there that are like making tens of thousands of dollars as a hosting affiliate, and they don’t actually have any knowledge or experience of what they’re promoting. They’re just promoting the one with the biggest affiliate payout, so I would just say if it sounds like something that would be helpful to you, try it out. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep it.
Darren: You pointed out earlier that amazing little graph of how many people are on the Genesis framework these days. I think it’s 16% of all WordPress theme users are now with Genesis, so it’s not an untested theme or platform. This is something that is the most common tool out there.
Anyway, this is not a sales podcast. I just really wanted to mention it because it’s something that we’ve used over the years. Our sites are hosted on Synthesis, which are the same service, so it’s something we genuinely believe in.
We’ve covered so much ground today. I thank you. We only got through half of the questions that were submitted, so we have to do this again at some point. Maybe we’ll focus in on a particular theme next time, but thanks so much for joining us today, Chris. Appreciate your time.
Chris: Always a pleasure. I’m gonna have to book another flight down to Australia. We need to catch up in person again.
Darren: I think we do. Maybe it could be at our Dallas event, or something like that later in the year.
Chris: That would be great.
Darren: Thank you so much for participating in the Facebook group. I have appreciated your answers. I know you have that need to answer questions, so I’ll take advantage of that for as long as you wanna keep answering.
Chris: I do nerdpslain. I’m sorry.
Darren: It’s totally fine. I know many of our group members are appreciating you there. Before we go, you can find Chris in the Facebook group, if you wanna touch base with him there, but where else can our listeners find you?
Chris: The Facebook group is probably the best place right now because you can guarantee I’m gonna be there every day, but makerhacks.com and chrisg.com are my websites. Obviously, you might see me on StudioPress or Copyblogger. I’m behind the scenes more and more, but we do webinars and stuff.
Darren: That’s right. Alright, thanks so much, Chris. Appreciate it.
Chris: Thank you.
Darren: Wow, I just re-listened to that conversation, and we did cover a lot of ground. As I mentioned at the top of the show, our show notes are at ProBlogger.com/podcast/202, where you can get a full transcript as well as all the links mentioned. Over on the show notes, I do link to Chris’s blog. You can also find that at Makerhacks.com. Also, I link on the show notes today with our affiliate link to StudioPress. If you like to give a little bit back to ProBlogger and you are looking for a solution to host your blog and keep it secure and rank well in SEOs, StudioPress is a great option, and we would appreciate if you would pick that up through our affiliate link on the show notes.
Lastly, there’s a link there to our book, which I looked on Amazon, and it’s $3 at the moment, if you buy a used copy of it. I think it’s $16, if you pick up a Kindle copy. It’s still available. As I said during the show, I think it’s still pretty relevant in the main, and with some of what you’ve heard today, hopefully you’ve got the full story.
Anyway, thanks for listening today. I do hope to connect with you next week in Episode 203, and if you’re in Australia, I’d love to see you at our Ozzie events as well. We do have a few tickets left for the Mastermind in Brisbane, the end of July. There are tickets for Day 1 of the Brisbane event, and in Melbourne, in the first week of August. If you are in Australia, you can get to Brisbane or Melbourne. Check out ProBlogger.com/events, and you’ll see all the details of how you can get to that event with a last-minute ticket.
Thanks for listening today. Chat with you next week.
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