The “Third Rail” of Internet Marketing And Blogging… That Few Tackle Head On

If I asked you what the #1 problem is for you when it comes to your blog or internet business, what would you say? Now, obviously everybody reading this will have their own answer. But, odds are, I can guess. :) I've been helping bloggers online for 4 years now - was a tech blogger for 10 years before that - so I have a pretty good feeling that I can peg it for a good majority of you. And that problem is...
Ever feel like this dude?

If I asked you what the #1 problem is for you when it comes to your blog or internet business, what would you say?

Now, obviously everybody reading this will have their own answer. But, odds are, I can guess. 🙂 I’ve been helping bloggers online for 4 years now – was a tech blogger for 10 years before that – so I have a pretty good feeling that I can peg it for a good majority of you.

And that problem is…

TECHNICAL STUFF

Under this category of “technical stuff”, we’ve got things like…

  • Setting up Wordpress
  • Customizing your theme
  • Finding plug-ins to do what the heck you want.
  • Installing and customizing opt-in forms, and connecting to mailing list providers
  • Dealing with technical stuff on landing pages, squeeze pages, membership sites

You get the idea.

What USUALLY Happens

Usually, this technical barrier gets “tackled” in one of a few ways…

First, a person will spend countless hours on Google trying to figure out WHAT THE F**K to do. 🙂 Did I capture the correct emotion there? 😉 And, the sites that come up in Google might solve the problem for you, but in many cases, they don’t. They give you a bunch of PHP code or something. Or worse yet, you’ve got a ton of different bloggers all recommending different things and it makes you want to blow your brains out.

Regarding customizing of a theme, for instance, you’re told that going with a framework like Thesis, Headway or Genesis is supposed to make your life easier. But, then, if you buy one of these, you quickly realize it isn’t NEARLY as easy as it was made out to be. To really make your site look pro, you STILL need to know HTML and CSS. And you feel like you’re back to square one, searching for a magic solution to your technical woes.

One could go two different routes with this do-it-yourself approach:

  1. Throw your hands up in frustration and take your daily dose of fukitol.
  2. Persevere and finally get things worked out, but then you realize it just took you months to build your site. And, everything has changed. It took way too long.

Then, you’ve got your second option which is… pay somebody to do it for you.

That’s what a lot of marketers will recommend to you. They seem to cleverly avoid the “technical stuff” and act like you’ll just pull a solution out of the ether one day so they don’t have to look like an idiot. Or they’ll tell you to just go pay somebody to fix it and spend your time working on things that are more important. Fiverr, they say.

Now, it isn’t as if they don’t have a point there, BUT….

[grin] We BOTH know that most people aren’t likely going to throw down money to hire a technical person. For some, cost is the big issue. For others, it is pride and not wanting to give in.

Besides, hiring somebody to do these things for you is more of a pain in the ass than people think. If you find that PERFECT person, it can go well. For most, it ends up being a lesson in communication breakdowns and pure frustration trying to deal with some designer to tweak some things on your blog.

Technical Stuff… The “Third Rail” of Internet Marketing And Blogging

In politics, the term “third rail” is often used to mean a topic that is “untouchable”, that nobody wants to deal with because it is toxic. In politics, something like social security would be the “third rail” because, no matter what you say about it, you lose voters.

In internet marketing and blogging, I think the technical stuff is the “third rail”.

It isn’t sexy. It is hard to communicate. It tends to make people yawn. It is a lot more exciting to try to launch some “make money” product or publish another list post.

But, under all that, it is the TECHNICAL STUFF which ends up being the barrier to entry.

In my 4 years working with other bloggers, it is the TECHNICAL stuff which people struggle with the most.

And… The Solution

Simply put, you’re a LOT better off in this business if you are at least somewhat self-sufficient when it comes to the technical aspect of this business.

If you’re dependent on others to do it for you, then you’re at a disadvantage. Even if one is fully able to afford a developer and believes in paying people to do what they’re good at, it is STILL a matter of confidence and security that you know how to do some of these things on your own.

And, if you don’t feel you’re in a position to go to a developer whenever you need something tweaked on your site, then it is even MORE clear. You don’t need to become an expert programmer, but you do need to know ENOUGH to get the job done.

What I’m Going To Be Doing – Starting Next Month

I’m in an interesting position compared to many others in this market.

  1. I have quite a bit of experience in web design, database and PHP programming. I used to do it on a paid basis, and at one point even programmed my own content management platform which rivaled Wordpress itself. The only reason I stopped was because… well, Wordpress got better faster and I didn’t have to do all the work anymore. 🙂
  2. I have a decade of experience as a technology blogger. Which means, communicating technology in simple-to-understand terms is something I’ve done quite a bit of.

I also see so many of you guys struggling with this.

And, so, I’m going to tackle the “third rail”.

To learn more about what I’ll be doing, click here to watch a short, 6-minute video which explains things.

 

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Responses

  1. It does seem that technical stuff is something which holds many bloggers back. I also think that the description about what actually happens once someone recognizes that they need help with the technical stuff is pretty accurate.

    Yet, it still seems to me that maybe there can be a middle ground between actually spending tons of time and effort to learn it all yourself and just hiring someone. There are a number of classes and training programs which can help a frustrated blogger get up speed in terms of using word press and more of the technical stuff. Most of them can even be viewed online.

  2.  Few people talk about the technical stuff.

    It is a struggle for many blog owners but there are a lot an individual can learn on their own – if they have the time and actually want to be able to handle some of the technical aspects of blogging on their own.

    Glad you touched on this.

  3. I’m in as usual David.

    This is what I have asked the Blogging God to grant me and here you are the Answer Angel.

    I am paying someone on ODesk to help me and what I want from your course is how to change it, tweak it and evolve over time.
    Looking forward to August 7th.

    Thank you for creating what I wanted by someone I trust you.

    William “Future Tech Geek” Holt

  4. Great stuff as Always David.. First time poster on your site here…
    My normal solution is asking : WTF happened.. Time to bend over and shell out WAY to much dough, once again..
    Lol!

    Thanks for all your insight, always enjoy it!

    1. You get the award for the day’s lamest comment. Congrats. Thanks for playing.

      Which technique will you be using? Fukitol? 😉

  5. YOUR right in saying that the ‘third rail’ in marketing and blogging is TECHNICAL STUFF.  Just like in my case, I’ve been reading a lot about Chrome Dev Tools for me to do some inside digging of my site. But I can’t find a very detailed manual that will help someone like me to do this stuff.
    So I guess you’re in the right track, David. 

  6. Hi David, This is really an awesome post, i can’t agree more. Theme customization is the most difficult task I’ve come across since i started blogging, I have also contacted some of the top bloggers for help but the kept referring me from one place to the other. Thanks for this insightful post. Will surely check on the course. Keep it up

    1. Most don’t want to get much into it because it is HARD to teach it. But, I’ll attempt it. 🙂 At least enough to get people going. The basics aren’t very hard.

  7. At last.  Now maybe you’ll learn to listen to your “mother.”  I asked you that ages ago.  Bravo.  Will be watching.  Have a great vacation.  Cabin-enforced anti-communication devices can be really healing and invigorating, especially with time for wife and/or family.  How many times do I have to say it, to you and others…”…a prophetess is without honor in her own home…lol.  Talk to you soon.  S.

    1. Well, hope it doesn’t seem bad, but I don’t plan to take those 2 weeks off in Georgia. 🙂 Work less, perhaps. But, I’ll still be working. I love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work.

    1. The joys of site ownership. 😉

      Took a quick look at your site. Notice a couple things:
      (1) The opt-in form is set to be static, which means it stays in place as you scroll. That’s kicking everything else around.
      (2) Your other 2 widgets don’t have any CSS on them to make them a fixed width and float to the right. If that was fixed, it puts those two widgets back into your sidebar. But, then still, the static placement of OptinSkin would make that opt-in form scroll right over top of your other widgets.

  8. Hi David, very much agree with all the above. What amazes me is how sites selling themes like Genesis and Woo, just to name a couple, fail to provide how to videos for their customers. You have to wade through thread after thread to find answers to every little problem you encounter. A few of these premium wordpress people provide basic videos which are the equivalent of those kinds of roads that give you signs for 2 miles then disappear, leaving you to guess the rest of the way. I look forward to your tips!

    1. Yeah, that’s the case with a lot of themes. In fact, OptimizePress is one of the only themes I’ve ever seen that came with a library of training videos on how to use it.

  9. Yea David I agree that you are better off when you know what to do yourself … it makes the process slower to begin with but at least you don’t have to rely on others if you become stuck! Just gonna have a look at what you have on offer regarding this 🙂 

  10. YES! Thank you David! I thought I was the only DIY blogger out there. It’s not a pride thing as much as self sufficiency. Later on I can hire someone but today I can’t afford to – both financially and strategically.

    1. Yep. For me, I actually enjoy doing it myself. I’ve hired others to do things before, but sometimes, you just want to get something done quick. And the extra legwork it takes to get somebody else to do is seems stupid when you just KNOW that it would take only a few minutes. 🙂

  11.  In the last year, I’ve noticed every web designer, PR firm and ad agency out there now advertises they’re WordPress experts.  Just do a #WordPress search in Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.  Lots more competition compared to just a year ago.  I’m still on the front page of Google for “WordPress programmer” but I recently had to lower my hourly rate, at least for the summer.  The barrier to entry is minimal, so it’s not that lucrative.  Now it’s more a “hygiene factor” and people just expect you do WordPress.  WordPress and PHP just replaced Word and Excel, another checkbox on the job application. 

    1. Well, a lot of companies which advertise that aren’t actually very good. And they just outsource it to another country, often.

      Also, why lower your rates? The business/marketer side of me kicks in when you say that. 🙂 I know some Wordpress guys who charge quite a bit, but they’re GOOD. They’re fast, and they work wonders. Instead of engaging in a race to the bottom and competing with outsourced rates, determine how you can provide more value and stand out, and keep your rates to something that gets you up in the morning.

  12. It’s a good idea Dave. I’ve thought about doing something similar since it’s the stuff that I’m good at. Guess I’ll abandon those plans now 😉 If you ever need some help with it let me know.

  13. Another excellent post David.
    Just called the local Walgreens to get a bottle of Fukitol and they didn’t know what I was talking about 😉
    I just gotta get me some! (Thanks for the chuckle)

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