Trials & Tribulations

A Battle With Blogging Consistency

When I launched this site in early July, I was like a volcano of information spewing forth, bottlenecked only by how much I could recollect and how fast I could put it into digital format. My posts aren’t that long so I was writing two or three a day for the first week and scheduling one a day. I knew long term daily posting wasn’t in the cards for me, but while I had them completed, I figured I’d get them out there. For six weeks straight I was staying three to four posts ahead of the next scheduled post.

Every time I recalled a program I tried or a business idea I had, I started a post and saved it in draft format. For every book I was done with, or domain name I had for sale, I also started and saved a new draft. I have about a hundred drafts waiting to be written, and I was being super consistent for a good month and a half. Then it happened. A fleeting thought, a domain name search, then a domain name purchase followed by a new website being started.

To give you an idea of how quickly I can veer off track, my last post here was on 8/12 (four days ago). If I had about three days worth of posts in the tank, the last post I wrote was probably around 8/9, which happens to be the same day I purchased that new domain name and have been preoccupied with for the last week.

The idea is so simple and I didn’t even think of what I would do to earn from the site. That’s a big problem of mine. I think up ideas for websites I would like to visit, but not necessarily ones that would make a ton of money. That’s not to say this one couldn’t earn, but I should have thought of all that before I ever pressed the buy button on the domain name.

This is how I know where my passion lies. I love the thrill of coming up with an idea and implementing it, but you typically don’t get rewarded that way. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t earn his billions selling to Viacom a year after Facebook launched. He made them building his site into a social media juggernaut over the next 10 years. I think I would have taken the first (10 million dollar) offer and moved on to the next idea. Gotta stick with your strengths, right?

OK, so back to this idea. Imagine you are meeting a specific celebrity and you can only ask them one question. What would it be? That’s it. I forget who I was specifically thinking about, but I remember thinking if I met this person, what would I ask him? For the hell of it I did a domain name search at Namecheap 1 for and bingo, it was available. Minutes later it was mine.

I would usually purchase a premium theme for any site I play around with, but I lucked out for this one. A theme I had been eyeing was part of a special the vendor was having that allowed previous customers to download it for free for a short time. Sweet. Free premium theme. I set this basic site up for super cheap because I was able to use almost all free plugins too. The only one I ponied up for was a grid displaying one for $30 because the free one I was familiar with had not been updated since 2012. Final tally was $40.68.

I love site ideas that cost more in time and energy than they do money. The most time consuming part of this one is building a cache of celebrities for people to post their questions. I started by posting a handful of celebs I like with the rest being selected from various lists found in web searches. Most polarizing celebrities in Hollywood. Famous douchebags. Most popular athletes.

Long way to go with this one, but I think it will be a fun site to build up. As you can see, this pattern is my modus operandi as all my other sites suffer while the new one gets first billing for awhile. The great thing about this site is I may go missing for awhile, but every absence is another post idea here too.

Now, if only I knew how to build website traffic…

  1. Namecheap affiliate link

Should your blog post include images?

Always? Sometimes? Never? I was researching what others thought and I couldn’t really find anyone saying not to use images. However, I did find a few sporadic posts about how vital images are, but none of them ranked very high in the search engines. I had to dig deep to find support in favor of blog images.

That either tells me there’s no compelling evidence to support either side, or I was using the wrong key words to search. Personally I like images in blog posts. I enjoy reading a blog if images are included in the right way. What’s the right way though? For me, it’s scarce but incisive. I don’t need there to be a picture for every action you describe or joke you tell like it’s a Family Guy cut away.

If you’re going to use images, make it compliment the point you’re trying to make in your post. I’m tired of seeing that stock photo of some guy in a suit smiling way too big at absolutely nothing. You know what I mean. If you’re writing about how black clothes are more slimming than colors, show a side by side comparison. If you’re talking about favorite ice cream flavors by age group, include a fancy little demographic pie chart. Otherwise, let it be.

Even though I enjoy pertinent images in blog posts, I’m trying something different here at All Start No Finish. I’m keeping things as textual as I can here. That doesn’t mean you won’t see the occasional image included from time to time, but finding images can be a pain in the ass too.

Acquiring images adds an unnecessary layer of time and stress to blog publishing. Sure, it can be worth it sometimes, but not every post needs a picture in my opinion. You either have to create it yourself, obtain permission from someone else, or pay for it. I’ve also heard the horror stories of authors paying for images from large sites only to have the authors come hunt them down still claiming infringement.

People come to your blog to read what you have to say. There are exceptions if you’re a photo or travel blogger and speak more through your images. Similar situation if you host a podcast on your site. You’ll speak more through video. If you’re a writer, you speak through text, and that should be your focus to get your point across.

If you find the ideal image that compliments your post perfectly, by all means include it. If you’re struggling to find the right image and spending more time searching than you did writing, you might be wise to just pass on the picture this time. Chances are it will not make that much of an impact to warrant wasting all that time.

Here’s something interesting. If you do include an image or two in each blog post, it may serve you well to add a catchy caption. I guess it’s natural for our eyes to move down when we view an image, so make that caption memorable or enticing. I’ve never done it myself. I only found this on SocialTriggers while doing some research and figured I’d pass it along for you to try.

How To Sabotage A Domain Sale

I’ve purchased a lot of domains over the years. Most of them have been directly from a registrar, but a handful of them were domain aftermarket sales at places like Sedo or Flippa. There’s one thing that has always irked me about certain listings. Make Offer.

I despise make offer listings. I have never purchased a domain from a make offer listing. I pass them by or filter them out of my searches entirely. If you cannot put a price on your domain, it tells me you either have no idea what it’s worth but you’re afraid you’ll take less than you should or you know exactly what it’s worth yet you’re still hoping for some doofus to come along and pay you more.

I once found myself communicating with a seller on Sedo about a domain for sale that included a listing price or best offer. I thought it was a great domain. It was a short four letter dotcom that was an acronym for a website idea that I had. I didn’t even bother with a best offer. I just offered to buy it at the asking price.

The seller took a couple weeks to respond which was annoying. In all that time I thought I was going to score a great domain name for a new site idea. When the seller finally replied, he informed me he’s already had offers higher than this price. OK, is this a sale or a make offer? I didn’t think domains for sale could have a listing price if it was not going to be honored.

I contemplated making a higher offer before reminding myself how I don’t want to reward people like this, so I deleted the domain from my watch list and let it go. This was a couple years ago. I just visited Sedo this morning and that same domain is still listed at that low price with bids in the double digits.

I suppose the seller gets around having to sell at his listing price because he includes a best offer option, which usually means he’ll accept less. In this case, he’s using the low price to attract people and get bids, but refusing to sell at his listing price or anything less. This might be an acceptable listing option on Sedo, but to me its unscrupulous behavior.

Getting back to the make offer chip on my shoulder. Here’s the thing. Not putting a price on your domain is simple greed. Maybe you’re unsure of the true value and you’re afraid to place a number on your domain because you think there’s a possibility you might earn more with an offer. Sound about right?

I would rather see an insane price and know right off the bat that I’m priced out of the market on a domain instead of dicking around back and forth with someone. You know what you’d accept. You know how I know? Because there’s certain offers you’d say no to, and others you’d accept. Decide on your lowest acceptable price and then adjust/add based on what it’s worth to you.

I have no idea what someone might value my domains at, but I also don’t care. The appraisal ranges could differ by hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but again, I don’t care. All of my domains for sale are listed with a price.

You might even call me greedy for the prices I ask, but that’s OK. I would disagree as I have reasons why I price them how I do, but at least you’ll always know immediately whether a domain I offer is in your price range or not.

There are no pie in the sky delusions about hitting the jackpot on a domain sale here. I see how many new tld’s are being introduced and I recognize all of the new options people have for purchasing new domains. If you really want to sell a domain, price it and let it go.

Author Of An Anonymous Blog

You may be realizing your failure is a product of your choices, and I’m no different. I’m a bit of a nonconformist. Sometimes I’m that way because I’ve given something considerable thought and come to a conclusion that I don’t agree with prevailing wisdom or tradition. (Like wakes. I don’t get it) Other times I feel like my nonconformity is a byproduct of not being comfortable in a situation.

Social media is a good example. I don’t have any personal accounts on any social media sites. I may have signed up and toyed with them for certain websites I’ve built, but most of those accounts suffered the same abandonment as the associated website. We’re getting to a point where not having a Facebook account is considered abnormal or suspicious. Pretty ridiculous, huh? I much prefer the Kristen Wiig approach to social media.

The real question is if you can remain a private person while still running a successful blog. Most blog authors I’ve read will say you need to be transparent and use your real name and a professional looking head shot. For some reason I have yet to discover, this makes me uneasy, but I’m working on it. I may have a solution in the works that will make everyone happy.  Hint

I guess I can see how using your real name and picture can help if that’s what you want to brand, but maybe I don’t want to be the brand. Maybe I’d prefer to brand the website name or some product or service I offer on it. Take GrammarGirl for example. I have no idea who is behind that pseudonym, and I don’t care, but I’ve searched for the nickname on countless occasions to find her site when I have questions on sentence structure. I’m not saying it’s bad advice to use your own name. I’m saying I don’t think it’s the only way.

There appears to be popular opinions on what to do to succeed in the blogging world. Whether or not you follow them is up to you. Frankly, if none of it bothers you, I would try and emulate all I could from the popular bloggers. There’s a reason manufactured boy bands do pretty well. They take a very formulaic approach. The same is likely true for blogging. Do what you see working for others.

As a bit of a blogging cowboy, I’ll read all the advice I can get my hands on and include as many parts as I can tolerate into my own website. My problem is I have my own hang ups about what I am willing to do or not. I’d rather blaze my own trail and hope I can still reach Sutter’s Mill in due time.

Life Goals For My Blog

I can almost foretell there will be people asking this question. A blog about failure? What’s his end game? My ultimate goal is like every other website I’ve ever launched, and that’s to share my thoughts, make some online connections with people, and earn money from it. Do I have a plan? Nope, not this time. I have tried so many different things unsuccessfully that I am no longer playing by the duplicitous rules of making money blogging. I’m doing what I want with this one, whether it ends up being an online diary for an audience of one, or something much bigger.

I’ve read a lot of tips on a ton of money making blogs from people claiming to make obscene amounts of money every month. The problem is for most of these tips, I can also find the polar opposite viewpoint on the same subject from another expert claiming to make a lot of money blogging. Perhaps there’s just too many facets to blogging to sum up any hard and fast rules for success. I mean, there’s a bunch of different ways to make money in real estate, but not every technique will work for every situation, right?

It could be that in addition to the multiple types of make money blogging angles, the market is changing, so some techniques just don’t work the same anymore. For example, if I do a search right now for how long my blog posts should be, I can find supporting articles for both long and short. Same thing for advertising on your blog. I’m tired of the tug of war. I’m sick of other bloggers telling everyone they’re being dumb and then having their ass kissed in the comments section. I’m writing my posts about what I want to write about and until I don’t feel like writing anymore, and that’s it.

It could also be I’m the sole problem too. A blogger making a ton of money from his site puffs out his digital chest and tells you how to do things whether he knows for sure or not. Fake it until you make it is fine for some, but not me. I don’t want to blow smoke up your butt. I’m not going to make you rich. You’ll have to figure that our for yourself. I have to do that too. What I believe this site may do for you is provide you with some decent ideas that you can take for yourself. If I suffer from idea overload and missing moxie or motivation to continue on, there has to be opposites of me who can take an idea and stick with it through thick and thin to make it a success, but who also suck at idea generation or lack ingenuity.

So what is my goal for this site? In the past I’ve picked a specific niche to target for each site, but because I have a vast pool of interests and a short attention span, I have a hard time sticking with writing about one topic for very long. This site will include a little bit of everything. Go ahead, try and label it.

The category names should sum it up for you. I’m going to share some thoughts I have on the books and programs I’ve purchased over the years, all of the website ideas I’ve come up with, and the creative stuff like limericks and movie script ideas I’ve started or yet to begin writing. I’m also going to include what I’ve learned along the way with most of that being stuff that didn’t work.

The ideas you can have for free, but if you want one of my domains I’ve purchased for a specific project, they won’t come cheap. I’m like one of those hoarders you see on America Pickers who is too attached to his junk to part with any of it. I usually price them at a number that I don’t think will sell, but I’ve been surprised before and had to say goodbye to one. It was a rather lackluster domain at a great price (for me), so I can’t complain, but more on that one here.

If you’re looking for someone claiming to be an authority on blogging to make money, or you need someone to tell you what to do, my sincere advice is to read elsewhere. There certainly doesn’t seem to be a shortage of people willing to impart their knowledge on the subject. On the flip side, if you’re looking for an idea for your next project, or just want to laugh at some of the stupid crap I’ve tried, stick around. There’s no shortage of that around here either.