6 Questions New Bloggers Ask Me

by John Hoff on May 19, 2010

I’ve been blogging for around 3 years now (as of the time this article was written) and my venture has taken me for quite a spin.

And as any good experience does, I’ve been taught a lesson or two along the way and since my blog is mostly about growing from a beginner blogger to Internet marketer, I’ve been asked many questions over the years.

After thinking about it for awhile and also digging into my email / blog comment archives, I’ve noticed a few questions asked more than once by different bloggers, mostly newbies.

So I’d like to take a moment and do a Q&A session in hopes this article might help newer bloggers skip ahead in their learning curve so they can quickly forge ahead in their blogging endeavors. Realize, however, that every blog is different and what works for one person doesn’t always work for the next.

6 Blogger Questions and Answers

1. Should I go with a free blog or hosted blog?

This is probably one of the first questions bloggers are faced with when deciding to start a blog.

“Why pay money when I can get one for free?”

It makes me think of that song with the lyric, “The best things in life are free… (that’s, what I want)”.

However, as a blogger that’s not what you always want.

I wrote an article awhile back, called Start a Blog: Free or Paid? WordPress or Blogger?, where I talk about this question. If you really want a more in-depth look into this issue, check out that article.

The general answer, though, is to ask yourself “What is it I really want to do with my blog?”

Free blogs are good if you only care about your content and not much else. You could also toss in there that they’re good for those who are completely computer illiterate. But if you know even a little on how to get around on your computer and the Internet, that might not be a factor.

Hosted (paid) blogs are good if you’re looking to do more than just write articles online for the purpose of conversation. In my opinion, if you’re looking to make money from blogging and have total control over your blog’s design and options, then this is the option for you.

If you’re still unsure which to go with, I’d choose the hosted option if for no other reason than the fact that if you start with a free one and then one day realize you need a hosted blog (graduate up), you’re going to find yourself with a BIG mess in trying to figure out how to move your blog without losing search engine traction and blog subscribers.

Plus, web hosting for your blog is dirt cheap. If you can’t afford $6.95/mo. for something you’re going to spend many upon many hours working on, you need to rethink where you’re putting your money.

2. What’s the best way to secure my blog?

Buy WordPress Defender of course.

It’s impossible for me to tell someone with just one email how to secure their WordPress blog from attack. There’s more to it than simply installing plugins and keeping a strong password.

The best way to secure your blog is to first understand that you are a target–no matter what you blog about, and then take a little time and invest in learning what you need to do.

That is the best way to secure your blog… education and implementation!

3. Why is duplicate content such a big issue?

This might seem a bit complicated to understand at first, but I think with a simple analogy it will become crystal clear.

Let’s say you wrote an article called, “How I Met an Alien from Zibwaggy”.

You’d expect that Google would index your article in its search engine and most likely since there are literally NO other articles on the Web about this topic, you would be listed at the top of the search engine results.

But before you published your article, you had sent it to someone for a review and they liked it so much, they decided to steal your content and publish the article, word-for-word, on the their blog at the exact same time you published yours.

Who’s article should Google give original credit to?

Who’s should be listed first?

See the dilemma?

If you have duplicate content laying around all over the Web, it’s difficult for search engines to sift through it all and determine which article should be returned for that search. After all, who would use Google if for every search returned were duplicate copies of the same article.

You could have duplicate articles like this:

http://yourblog.com/how-i-met-an-alien

http://yourblog.com/archives/09/how-i-met-an-alien

http://yourblog.com/tags/space/how-i-met-an-alien

Google would not want to return all three of these to their users, just one. But which one is the right one to return?

The only way to be sure Google knows is if you tell it where to look and where not to look.

4. I want to start a blog to make money. What should I do first?

In this case, before you even start your blog you really need to take a close look at yourself.

Do you have that needed entrepreneurial spirit? Or are you just looking to make a little money without working too hard?

To make money online, you need to become a business minded person to some extent: study data, learn where to put money, how and where to advertise, etc. Trust me, it’s not easy at first (but it does get easier). Surround yourself in the beginning around people smarter than you and try to soak up everything they are doing and learn from them.

Above all, be humble. Realize that you don’t know everything, but then again, neither does anyone else. You rarely will make mistakes, instead you’ll simply be making progress.

Find your passion, discover the message you want to tell people, create a good story around it, and push yourself. And don’t forget that a good entrepreneur must first truly discover who they are.

5. Should I incorporate my blogging business?

If you sell something, I always advise to form either a LLC or corporation.

If you make money by selling other people’s stuff, I still always advise forming a LLC or corporation.

However…

Unless you have a TON of assets or if you’re just starting out and you’re not really making any money yet, then forming a business structure probably isn’t the first thing you need to do. If you’re looking for my technical answer then yes, it’s always wise to form a business structure to help provide asset protection.

But if you’re short on funds at the moment and you’re not a successful marketer and aren’t yet making any real income online, then I suppose… you … could… put it off for a bit.

Keep in mind this, though. I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep up with every small change that happens in what’s lawful and what’s not; what’s going to get you in trouble with the FTC and what doesn’t.

If you’re going to make money online or from other people, generally speaking forming a business structure is a wise thing to do.

6. What are 3 important SEO considerations I should make when first starting my blog?

Okay, I did reword this question and narrow it down to 3 comments because, well, if I didn’t then we could be here a long time talking about SEO considerations.

The first is platform. I’d recommend a self hosted WordPress blog for that.

Next is crawlability. You want clean URLs (no parameters like ? or = in it), no flash on your site, and limited amounts of scripting, like Javascript.

Then it is all about how you focus your blog. You want to focus the site on just a few key areas of your business. In other words, focus your blog on a specific topic so it gets ranked well for that specific topic.

I must admit, I’ve have fallen short on item number three in the list.

My blog is about growing as a blogger Internet marketer (in general). But back in the early days of my blogging career, I didn’t know a whole lot about WordPress; so my blog was about things I did know, like real estate investing and being an entrepreneur.

As a result, I’ve noticed Google is a little confused on what my blog is about. I’m still working on splitting up parts of my blog into other mini sites… it’s on the list!

To be completely honest, the best SEO strategy for my blog would be if my blog was all about, let’s say Blogging Tips (or some other narrowed down niche category). But my blog is meant to be a place that transforms someone into, well, basically me LOL.

Start out by not knowing anything about blogging and then growing into someone who has a blog and uses it and other things online to generate wealth.

So there you go, six questions bloggers ask me from time-to-time.

What kinds of questions have people asked you about starting a blog and what is your response?

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