Who has time to blog? 7 tips for busy bloggers

Does this sound familiar? You started your blog like you were on fire. Everything was new and exciting. Your passion for your topic was driving you, so the ideas and blog posts were just pouring out. Writing seemed effortless.

But life always has a way of catching up. Your 9-to-5 job got busier, it was exam season at college, or your friends and family just needed more attention. Suddenly, your blog got put aside, and it became harder and harder to find time to write posts and promote your site.

Should you just abandon your blog because it does not seem to fit into your already busy life? Or can you find a way to make it work with the help of best practices that have supported successful bloggers all over the world? We’d suggest the latter. This fourth installment of our ‘Better Blogging’ series is focused on helping you find time to blog.

(If you’ve missed our last post about finding fresh ideas for blog topics, check it out here.)

7 practical tips for busy bloggers

The truth is, you can fit anything into your life if you make it a big enough priority. The first thing to do when you are struggling with finding time to blog is to consciously decide that blogging is important to you. Remember why you started your blog in the first place. Only when you are certain that you want blogging to be a part of your life can the following tips really help you.

1. Be realistic about your time

Many bloggers set very high expectations for themselves. They ideally want to post five times a week, but then beat themselves up when they can’t reach this target. Our recommendation is to take a hard look at how much time you can realistically spend on blogging each week. Find a schedule that you’re comfortable with. It’s absolutely OK to post once a week or even once every two weeks if that’s a frequency that you can maintain without straining yourself. This will make a huge difference to your frame of mind.

2. Plan ahead

If you have to decide what exactly you’ll do every time you sit down to work on your blog, then you likely won’t be very productive. Proper planning is key when you have limited time. As a start, make a list of all the tasks that are involved in growing your blog. For example:

  • Coming up with ideas for blog posts
  • Writing the content
  • Finding pictures to accompany your posts
  • Publishing posts
  • Promoting your blog posts on social media
  • Responding to comments

Then, schedule these tasks into your calendar. You might plan some jobs for the same time each week or each month. Other tasks might be more ad hoc. The important thing is that you know what you will work on when. Additionally, you can implement an editorial calendar to keep track of your ideas and to lay out the next couple of weeks of blog topics.

3. Break up tasks into small chunks

Have you ever wanted to tackle an ambitious project, but the sheer size of the task made it seem insurmountable? Thinking of everything that needs to get done can be paralyzing. Our tip is to break up big jobs into bite-sized chunks that you can manage easily. Checking off each step as you move forward will give you a feeling of accomplishment and keep you motivated. You will be surprised how much you can get done by working through many small tasks consistently.

4. Find time everywhere

If you are waiting until you have a solid couple of hours of free time to write an entire blog post from start to finish, then you might never get it done. But, you can find small chunks of time here and there to move your blogging tasks forward. Sitting in traffic? Brainstorm some new topic ideas. Waiting at the doctor’s office? Write a quick outline for an article on your phone. There are more opportunities than you think in your daily life that you can turn into productive moments.

5. Don’t multitask – Focus!

You’ve finally found the time to sit down and get words on the page. But then your phone buzzes, a little icon announces that you have 12 unread emails, and the dirty dishes in the sink are calling your name. Sometimes it seems impossible to focus. However, switching between tasks constantly only makes you feel like you are being productive. In reality, you aren’t getting as much done as you think. The solution: Force yourself to work on one task at a time!

Here are some extra tips for sustaining focus while working:

  • Get chores and other distracting tasks out of the way.
  • Close all browser tabs and programs besides the one you need to write.
  • Turn off all notifications or go completely offline.
  • Write in fullscreen mode.
  • If you can’t focus at home, find a cafe or library where you can work in peace.

6. Automate or delegate tasks

If you are struggling to keep up with blogging tasks, then it’s time to assess what you could automate or delegate. There is an abundance of automation tools out there to make your life easier. For example, with social media management tools like Buffer or Hootsuite, you can schedule your social posts all at once in advance. Delegation is great for any tasks that you want off your plate or can’t wrap your head around, like the technical aspects of your blog. Engaging a virtual assistant could free up a lot of time.

7. Invite guest bloggers

Who said that you could only publish your own writing on your blog? Get a helping hand from other bloggers now and then. It has advantages for both of you when they contribute their work to your blog. The guest blogger will receive exposure to your audience and raise their profile. At the same time, you can keep up your content schedule when you are too busy to write.

The world needs you

With everything going on in your life, it can be so hard to find the time to write and grow a blog. But it pays off! Remember that you can make a real difference to people’s lives by sharing your unique experience and expertise. Your blog has the potential to help others and have a positive impact on the world. That’s why we believe it’s well worth dedicating time to blogging.

Selling .blog? Here’s why and how to do it

With over 1,200 new TLDs available for sale, registrars have more options than ever to satisfy the domain name needs of their customers. Instead of choosing a regular .com option, businesses and content creators can now be as specific as they wish when launching their online identity.

.blog is a TLD that’s growing in popularity. Maybe you are already actively selling .blog domains or are considering adding it to your portfolio. In either case, this article will explain how you can effectively position .blog to the right clients.

Understanding the landscape of new TLDs

Currently, almost 35 million new TLDs have been registered. Since ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved them in 2012, we are observing a steady growth in new TLD registrations proving that the demand for new domain extensions isn’t slowing down any time soon. This is excellent news for domain resellers and registrars.

However, not all new TLDs are on the same trajectory. While most new TLDs are used for legitimate purposes, some are not and instead utilized increasingly by professional spammers and malware operators for their malicious practices. This devalues certain TLDs and turns away customers who want to establish serious businesses.

In order to find the right TLDs to offer end users, we recommend you determine the quality of that TLD by looking at the following:

  • Usage rates: High usage rates indicate that most domains are used by their owner on unique, active sites.
  • Renewal rates: High renewal rates signify that the owner extends the contract for his or her domain name – a sign that the website is successful and thriving.
  • Lifetime value: High usage and renewal rates lead to high lifetime values of the domains. The more successful and active the sites, the better for registrars who can benefit from yearly renewals over a long period of time.
  • Abuse rates: Abuse means that a domain name is used by a spammer or malware operator to do harm. If a large number of domains with a certain TLD are used for such practices, the overall trust for the TLD deteriorates.

The benefits of .blog

So, where does .blog stand in the vast landscape of TLDs? We are proud to say that over 195,000 .blog domains  are registered today. Our new TLD is showing steady growth since its introduction to the public in November 2016.

What’s exciting is that over 60% of all .blog domains are unique sites with real people and businesses behind them, producing content, building communities, and sharing information with the world. And when their sites are successful, they certainly wouldn’t want to let them go. That’s why the renewal rate for .blog averages over 72%.

In addition to this, we’ve seen that 85% of .blog domains have a paid hosting plan associated with them. That’s a clear indication that customers who purchase .blog domains are also interested in other paid services, which increases the lifetime value of clients.

The solid growth, as well as high usage, renewal, and paid attachment rates, are proof for the high quality and great value that customers receive from .blog domains. This should yield strong revenue and longer-term customers with high customer satisfaction for domain resellers.

Selling .blog effectively

The main customers for .blog domains are – unsurprisingly – content creators and bloggers. We will explain where to find them and how to market to them.

Should you target new or existing content creators?

It is certainly possible to convert already successful bloggers to a .blog domain. Tim Ferriss’s tim.blog and Seth Godin’s seths.blog are great examples. We’ve also seen YouTube and Instagram influencers choose a .blog domain when they want to launch their own website. This is not the easiest customer to convert though as there are a multitude of steps to migrate a website to new domain as this process is often daunting for the average user.

What we have seen is the best conversion rates come from new content creators who are just starting out. They want to establish a fresh online identity and are often more open to trying out something new, particularly with a quality TLD that is globally recognized and is on brand.

Where to find customers for .blog

It isn’t always easy for domain resellers to identify aspiring content creators who would be a great fit for a .blog domain. What most new bloggers have in common, though, is that they spend a lot of time online to learn how to make their blog a success. They will consult already established blogs, Facebook groups, and any other online authorities that explain the topic of blogging. When you are active in these spaces, it’s very likely that you’ll reach the right audience.

In addition, you could further narrow your marketing efforts by targeting specific niches within the blogging space. If you wish to convert aspiring bloggers in the fashion niche, seek out authority websites in this space and partner with them to market your offers. Likewise, targeting specific geographic areas is also a good idea.

How to market to potential .blog customers

After you’ve identified where your target customers are spending the most time online, you can develop concrete steps to build their trust and convert them into paying clients. We have three tips for how you can achieve that.

  • Offer free content that helps aspiring bloggers get started. You could explain the main steps to launching a blog online and position your service as a done-for-you solution.
  • Build a landing page that caters to a niche audience of bloggers and markets .blog domains. Bobb.blog is a great example of such a page.
  • Bundle other services into your offering to make it more attractive, such as a Content Management System (like WordPress, Squarespace, or Weebly).

How to keep your .blog customers engaged and happy

The success of your customer’s websites is also in your interest. Happy clients are more likely to renew their domain registration and buy other services. You can build long-term relationships with your customers by continuously supporting and helping them to do better.

Why not send some valuable content their way? Our ‘Better Blogging’ series is the perfect source of information for hopeful bloggers. Whether they are still looking for reasons to start blogging or wonder which niche they should focus on, our articles provide practical tips and valuable insights. You can share our blog posts directly with your audience. They will thank you for it.

ICANN 67 – Cancun…what now?

This week, many members of the domain community would be focused on prepping for a slightly unusual Spring Break trip: ICANN 67 in sunny Cancún, Mexico (March 7th – 12th). We would be spending a little extra time with loved ones knowing we’d be away for a week. Some would even hit the tanning beds to avoid being scorched by the southern sun, while others might brush up on their Spanish and double-check their passports.

Alas, this is not the case. Instead the community is heads down, ploughing through another typical week in front of our computers. What happened? Due to public health concerns around COVID-19 (Coronavirus), ICANN made the difficult – and polemic – decision to cancel the in-person meeting. Instead, ICANN 67 will be the community’s first fully remote ICANN meeting.

With this growing global health threat – which some say is on the verge of becoming a pandemic – we are all relieved the international domain community puts the well-being of its constituents first in times like these. As important these industry events are to the health of the internet, people’s physical health is much more important. Face-to-face meetings have many benefits in business, but if we can’t get by using remote technology in times like these, then we’re probably in the wrong industry.

As we wait to see if any other events will be cancelled we will continue to plan ahead and remain optimistic that the healthcare community will continue its tireless work to contain, control, treat the infected, and hopefully eliminate COVID-19. In the meantime, we will be present and participating in the remote sessions, as the community works hard to put together an adapted schedule and agenda to adjust to the changes. We’re hopeful that we can continue to make progress on the many ongoing efforts within the ICANN community, even if we’re doing it from conference rooms across the world.

The best strategies for creating fresh ideas for your blog

Every blogger suffers from it eventually: the notorious writer’s block. You feel like you’ve run out of ideas forever. It seems like everything has been said before. And you just can’t think of anything good to write about. These are some scary thoughts when the success of your blog depends on new ideas and fresh content.

Whether you’re already with your back against the wall or you want to prevent writer’s block, this article is what you need. We’ll show you how to consistently churn out high-quality content without ever running out of ideas. This is the third part of our ‘Better Blogging’ series. If you’ve missed the last one about finding the right niche for your blog, check it out here.

The fundamentals of creating and capturing ideas

Successful bloggers who seem to create new content effortlessly have one thing in common: the right mindset. Their credo is that there are always more ideas. You will literally never run out because there are infinite ways to tell a story. This is something you can internalize, too.

When you pay attention, you will notice that topic ideas are all around you in real life. Just capture anything that draws your attention – on a notepad, in a quick voice memo, or even in the draft mode of your CMS (Content Management System on your website). The crucial step is to save ideas immediately because “trying to remember them” simply won’t work. Trust us on this one!

How you think about your ideas is important too. Focusing solely on what will earn you the most attention and likes is not a sustainable long-term strategy. Instead, always prioritize how you can help others with what you know.

The 3-part strategy to generating endless ideas

Whenever you feel stuck, these three idea-generating strategies and writing prompts are your way out. They are guaranteed to jumpstart your brain and spark new thoughts.

1. Solve problems

One of the best ways to help your audience is to answer their questions. Find out what people are struggling with and show up with your knowledge, expertise, and experience to solve their problems.

  • What are the top 10 questions everybody asks about your niche?
  • What mistakes do people constantly make?
  • What are the top five hurdles that someone has to overcome to succeed in your niche?

2. Explain your niche

What is obvious to you might be completely foreign to others. Don’t underestimate the basics. Talking about the fundamentals is extremely helpful for those who are newly interested. And when you share the inner workings of your niche, your readers will begin to remember you as the expert they trust.

  • What are the common misconceptions in your niche?
  • What are the biggest controversies in your niche right now?
  • Can you explain the most important terms in an easy to understand way?
  • What predictions do you have about the future of your niche?

3. Reveal your secrets

Sharing the thought processes, moments, and events behind what you do creates a strong bond with your audience. You will show up authentically and make it much easier for your readers to connect with you.

  • What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made, and what have you learned from them?
  • What do you wish you had known when you just started out?
  • What was the best investment you’ve made related to your niche?

Where to find ideas for blog topics

Not all ideas have to come from within you. Often, the best way to get new inspiration is by talking to others and spending some time researching online. Here’s where to look for new ideas.

Talk to people in real life

Never underestimate the power of a real conversation. Friends, colleagues, and experts in your niche can spark new insights. Especially talking to someone who doesn’t know anything about your niche can be eye-opening. You will discover what kind of questions and struggles absolute beginners have.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Get out there and talk to others to get some good insight on useful blog posts.

Tap into groups on social media

By now, there are groups on Facebook or LinkedIn for virtually everything. Find them, join them, and participate in the conversations. What questions are people asking? Problems that come up again and again will make for great blog post topics. (Not to mention that your posts can be great conversation starters to share in your groups!)

Check Quora, Pinterest, Twitter, and forums

These are the exact places people go to find answers to their burning questions. Start your search by entering your niche topic and see what comes up. You should quickly find a whole bunch of questions and issues that members of your niche are discussing.

Do keyword research

What do people on the internet want to know about your niche? Keyword research can help you answer this question. Leverage a tool like BuzzSumo to find out what content in your niche currently performs best. Or try AnswerThePublic to get heaps of prompts for your topic based on what people search for.

Follow other bloggers

Unless you are blogging in a hyper-specific niche, likely other bloggers are writing about the same topic as you are. Reading their blog posts can provide you with inspiration for new topics and different post types that you might not have explored yet.

It’s your turn

Before you go and start researching and capturing all of your new ideas, we want to leave you with two more snippets of advice: Whenever you are writing, find your unique angle to tell the story. Your viewpoint and experience are unlike anybody else’s. Let it shine through!

And remember that you don’t always have to come up with fresh ideas. You can also repurpose topics, for example, by turning them upside down. If you’ve written about ten ways to get more traffic to your blog, write about the ten ways that will turn away traffic.

Now, there’s only one thing left to do: Bookmark this page, so you can easily come back to it whenever you feel writer’s block creeping up. Happy blogging!

Why your blog needs a niche and how to find the right one

When you start to learn about blogging, you inevitably stumble across the word “niche” (and wonder if it’s pronounced neesh or nitch). You’ll hear that picking the right one is critical to increasing your chances of generating traffic, building a following, and eventually monetizing your blog. That finding the right niche is one of the essential steps on your way to becoming a successful blogger.

And now you’re contemplating what that means for you. What is a niche exactly? How can a niche help you, and what’s the best way to find one? That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss. In this second article of our ‘Better Blogging’ series (Check out the first part covering the 6 reasons to start a blog in 2020 in case you’ve missed it.), we’re going into the trenches with you. When you’re done reading, you’ll have a much better idea about what a niche can do for you and how to choose one.

What is a niche?

In simple terms, a niche is the central theme of your blog. It’s the overarching topic that you cover. So, instead of writing about several random topics, all of your articles focus on exploring different aspects of one single topic.

To give you an example: Sports is a very broad topic. If you’re interested in surfing, then that’s a niche within this general topic. To narrow it down further, you could blog about surfing in Hawaii.

Now, many bloggers fear that by choosing a narrow niche, they will limit the size of their audience. And that’s correct! Let’s look at why this is actually a good thing.

Why you should have a niche

When you target a broad audience, it’s more difficult for your blog to get traction. Your traffic and search engine rankings will likely fall below your expectations. That being said, there are successful multi-topic blogs out there that keep visitors hooked, such as Popsugar or Buzzfeed. However, as a new blog, it will be very tough to compete.

That’s why establishing your blog around a niche has many advantages for upcoming bloggers. This approach will help you…

  • Not burn out – Blogging needs to be sustainable for you. Imagine having to keep your blog up to date on multiple topics simultaneously all the time. A single niche is much easier to handle.
  • Grow an audience quicker – People search the internet to solve their problems. When your blog happens to address the specific challenges of your target audience, they’ll likely stick around, waiting to hear more.
  • Stand out as an expert in your niche – The deeper you dig into your niche, leaving no stone unturned, the more you’ll establish yourself as the go-to source of information.
  • Monetize your blog – It’s easier to develop a personal relationship and trust with a smaller, loyal audience. If you decide to launch products, they’ll be much more likely to buy.

How to find the right niche

At first, identifying the perfect niche for your blog can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are just too many options. Luckily, we have a guiding principle for you: Your ideal niche is where your interests, expertise, and monetization potential converge. Let’s look at each of these in detail:

What are you interested in?

Even though the advice to write about something you’re passionate about can sound very cliche, there’s truth in it. When you find a topic that you truly love, you’re more likely to put the necessary effort and time into your blog. You’re less likely to abandon it when you hit the first hurdle. And you won’t run out of ideas to write about that quickly.

Here are a few questions that can help you identify your interests:

  • What is your passion?
  • What do you do in your free time for fun?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What do you enjoy talking about?
  • What do you enjoy learning?

What do you know?

Many people shy away from starting a blog because they feel that they don’t know enough about a topic. They think that they’ll need to be experts to even attempt to help others. That’s not true, though! When you know the basics of a topic, you likely already know more than the majority of people. And if you’re genuinely interested in a topic, then learning more about it and building your expertise will feel natural. You can even write about any challenges that you encounter while learning and how you’re dealing with them.

To find out what you already know, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you good at?
  • Which topics do you know well?
  • In which areas do other people constantly ask for your help?
  • About which topics could you talk to your friends and even strangers for hours?

Does the niche have the potential for monetization?

Not all bloggers are looking to make money with their blogs. But, if you are eventually, then it’s time to ask yourself a tough question: Could any of the potential niches that you’ve identified be profitable?

To answer this question, let’s look into these three factors:

  • Audience size: Is there a large enough audience interested in this niche? Use a tool like Google Trends to find out how many people are searching for it. The graph will tell you whether the interest is increasing, stable, or declining. Picking a topic with a stable or rising interest means you can potentially drive traffic to your blog for many years ahead.
  • Current competition: Are there already established blogs in your niche? If you find several existing blogs that are thriving, then this is a good sign that this niche is profitable. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to figure out how to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
  • Monetization Options: Are businesses spending money on advertising in your niche? An easy way to discover this is to enter keywords related to your niche into Google. Look for paid ads on top of the search results. When brands are already investing in Adwords, then there’s the possibility for you to monetize your blog with AdSense ads. Of course, other monetization options like affiliate sales or your own products may also be viable options.

Selecting your niche

Choosing the perfect niche means finding the sweet spot between too broad and too narrow. Should your niche be too broad, you can get overshadowed by established, high authority sites. Is your niche too small and has no demand, you won’t make an impact.

Our advice is to invest sufficient time in researching several niches and then making a choice. Only once you’ve launched your blog and written your first posts, you’ll know if you’re getting traction. The good thing is that you can always pivot or start over if it doesn’t work out.

2020 SuperBowl commercials: These ads featured domain names

Sunday, 2 February 2020 was not only a highlight for Football fans, but also for marketers and businesses. While the Kansas City Chiefs beat the 49ers, millions of people in the stadium and in front of the TV were treated to brand-new ads by some of the world’s most successful companies.

Advertisers have used the popularity of the Super Bowl again and again to set new trends and standards that influence mainstream media. One trend immediately caught our attention: marketers put the domain name front and center in ads for online businesses – with resounding success. Squarespace’s 2017 Super Bowl ad featuring John Malkovich left viewers laughing with tears, and GoDaddy.com’s controversial ads regularly make waves.

We couldn’t wait to see if new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) would get any exposure this year. They didn’t, unfortunately. Still, we want to share our take on this year’s Super Bowl ads and what it means for the growth of new gTLDs. But first, let’s get quickly up to speed on the evolution of domain names.

New gTLDs are on the rise

Since ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved over 1,200 new gTLDs in 2012, users have a broad choice when creating their online identity. While the top three domain names by market share remain .com, .net, and .org, new gTLDs are growing in popularity.

Businesses and website owners are embracing new gTLDs as a way to express themselves and reach a new level of specificity that just wasn’t possible anymore with standard gTLDs. As of January 2020, there are almost 32 million registered new gTLD domains. The current top three are .icu, .top, and .xyz. Our own .blog has reached over 181,000 domains, growing steadily since its introduction in 2016.

2020 Super Bowl ads featuring domain names

Surprisingly, there weren’t too many commercials displaying the domain names during this year’s Super Bowl. And new gTLDs didn’t make it into any ad. But, we did manage to catch the few that showed their .com domains. Here are our favorites:

Squarespace – Winona in Winona 

In this ad, Stranger Things star Winona Ryder travels to her namesake, Winona, Minnesota, to build a website about the small town. It’s hard not to be charmed when she proudly exclaims: “It’s got pictures on it!” You can see the domain of the actual website WelcometoWinona.com prominently on screen before Squarespace’s tagline “A website makes it real” appears. Squarespace did an excellent job, again, at communicating that everybody can make a website about anything.

Progressive Insurance – Portabella’s 

If you are wondering whether you are watching a commercial for a restaurant chain or an insurance company, then you aren’t alone. The diners at Portabella’s seemed to recognize Progressive Insurance employees Flo and Jamie posing as waiter and waitress. The insurer actually registered the domain name Portabellas.com for its fictional restaurant. You can see the URL prominently marketed at the end of the commercial.

WeatherTech – Lucky Dog 

This ad didn’t only melt the hearts of animal lovers, but likely of anybody watching. WeatherTech dog Scout shares the story of how he survived cancer. And shows how everyone can make a difference to pets’ lives by donating via weathertech.com/donate. The URL is not only shown on screen for several seconds but is also mentioned by the narrator.

Avocados from Mexico – The Avocados from Mexico Shopping Network

If you are into avocados, then this spot is for you. Avocados from Mexico sells adorable accessories for avocado lovers via its shopping channel. You can see the domain name TheAvoNetwork.com multiple times during the ad, just below the price tags for products such as the Avo-Carrier, the Tortilla Chip Pool Float, and the Matching Travel Collection.

Mike Bloomberg – George

Also the presidential campaign of Mike Bloomberg couldn’t go without featuring his domain name mikebloomberg.com during his Super Bowl ad.

Discover – No annual fees 

Discover’s short and sweet ad ends with their domain name Discover.com shown on screen under their tagline.

New gTLDs mean new opportunities

Although new gTLDs are growing, we still have a way to go given the lack of usage in this year’s Super Bowl ads. However, we are confident that brands will soon realize the many opportunities that a non-.com domain name can provide. Here are just a few:

  • Exact messaging –  A .brand, .shop, or .car domain name doesn’t leave any room for interpretation, making it easier for potential new clients to grasp the nature of your business.
  • Easy to remember – When a fitting .com name is just not available or too expensive to acquire, many companies resort to longer domain names. But, by utilizing a new gTLD, brands can create much shorter, more memorable domains.
  • Enhanced brand awareness – Imagine if Turbotax were to establish the domain name turbo.tax. New gTLDs can be catchy, making it easy for customers to associate them with the brand.

We are excited to see how the adaptation of new gTLDs progresses this year and if new domain extensions will make their way into next year’s commercials. We believe they will!

6 Reasons Why You Should Start Blogging This Year

“Should I start a blog?” If this question is on your mind at the moment, then you are in the right place. At the beginning of the year, many people are thinking about their personal and professional goals. Some of you may be thinking of how blogging can help with these goals. Naturally, you might be skeptical about investing a significant amount of time into this new venture. Is it worth your time, considering that there are already over 500 million blogs out there? 

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Blogging is relevant more than ever, and it’s not too late to start a blog. 77% of all internet users read blogs regularly, and they are considered a trustworthy source of information online. Also, the blogging community is still growing, with 31.7 million bloggers expected to be active in 2020 in the U.S. alone. 

The question is: Will you be one of them? There are many reasons why this creative medium could be right for you. In this first part of our `Better Blogging` series, we’ll start with the top six reasons why you might want to start sharing your story.  

1. Express yourself

Blogging allows you to share your ideas, experiences, and expertise with the world. And the beauty is that you can tell your story just the way you want it to be told. It’s the perfect outlet for self-expression without limits for your creativity. Because your blog is entirely your own, you can communicate what you have to say in any form – not only writing. Artwork, photography, videos, music clips, and even a podcast can be part of your blog, too. 

2. Work on your self-development

Starting and growing a blog is a great challenge that will likely stretch your abilities and help you grow as a person. You’ll pick up some valuable web and marketing skills in addition to building the discipline to keep your blog going beyond that momentous first post. Besides, you’ll also develop your expertise in the field you’re writing about. Every time you work on a new post, you are forced to organize your thoughts and fill any gaps in your knowledge. Writing not only helps you to internalize what you’ve learned but also to refine your own ideas and opinions. 

3. Make the world a better place 

The most meaningful reason to blog is probably the ability to help others and have a positive impact on the world. By generously sharing your expertise and experiences, you can make a difference to the people who are looking for the answers that you already have. Your blog has the power to inspire, educate, and even change someone’s life. Showing others that there’s someone who is on the same journey as they are can provide a much-needed sense of belonging. And even though it may seem like everything has been said before, remember that your story and voice are unique. There’s an audience out there that will respond to the particular way you shed light on a certain topic or issue. 

4. Build authority 

A blog is a great platform to gain exposure in your industry by showcasing your knowledge and expertise. Think about it as a modern version of the printed business card. Regularly publishing relevant, informative content will eventually draw the attention of people in your profession and can earn you the status of an expert and thought-leader. When you strengthen your professional image with a blog, your career can get a powerful boost that opens up new opportunities.

5. Make new friends 

Blogging is much more than a solitary pursuit. It’s a way to connect with like-minded people from all over the world who are passionate about the same topic. You can build relationships with other bloggers in your field, have riveting discussions with your readers in the blog comments, and even organize meetups in real life. Your blog might open the door for new friendships, collaborations, and other opportunities. It’s a reassuring feeling to be part of this dynamic and supportive community. Often, we see people find a real sense of belonging here.  

6. Earn an income 

Becoming a self-employed blogger is still the number one reason for many to follow this road. And some bloggers have grown significant income streams from their blog. While blogging might only replace a full-time salary for some people, it can be an additional source of income for many. 

If you’re considering to monetize your blog, here are the most popular ways to make a profit:

  • Allow advertising on your site with banners or pay-per-click ads.
  • Include affiliate links to earn a commission for each sale that originated on your site.
  • Write sponsored posts reviewing a product or service in return for a fee.
  • Sell digital products such as ebooks and online courses.
  • Sell memberships to an inclusive area of your website.
  • Promote other offers, such as consulting and coaching.

Bonus: In all of these reasons to start a blog, it can’t be forgotten that blogging is the most important activity to create the strongest content marketing strategy to be found in organic online searches.

Will you start a blog this year?

It’s no secret that we at .blog are passionate about blogging. We believe that it’s much more than a rewarding hobby, which brings new opportunities and even unexpected benefits. Blogging is a way of owning your content and being heard, giving everyone a voice regardless of gender, income, politics, language, and location. No matter which of the six reasons becomes your cause, by starting a blog this year, you can play a part in realizing our vision of helping everyone to be heard. Together, we can make a difference.

Luckily, setting up a blog is easier than you might think. When you do get started, consider securing your .blog domain extension. It gives your online presence a quality home by making your URL memorable and relevant. And if you ever get stuck, you can rely on us for support, guidance, and fresh ideas. We are here with you for every step of this exciting journey. 

Happy blogging!

NamesCon is Almost Here!

Not only is it award season for the entertainment industry, it is also conference season for the domains industry with NamesCon, ICANN 67, and Cloudfest all lined up in the next few months.

This year NamesCon has decided to take the show out of the bright lights of Sin City and into the City of the Violet Crown, aka Austin, Texas.

Austin, the state capital, is a wonderful city full of energy, driven by 50K+ students at U of T…go Longhorns! In addition, it has USA’s only Formula 1 track, is the US capital of live music, has incredible weather (if you like the sun), and has become a hotbed of technology companies following the lead of Dell, and others in the tech space, who make their home there.

Oh, and we can’t forget the food – from Texas barbecue to fine dining, Austin has it covered, and then some. But topping all this are the people of Austin. Whether they are born there or not, Austinites are proud people and carry a southern charm with hospitality that stretches across the city from the moment you arrive until you depart.

Given this, it is not surprising Austin currently ranks as the best place to live in the US.

Like always, I am sure the wonderful people at NamesCon will put on a great show and having it in Austin will only help.

If you plan to be at NamesCon and would like to meet up to discuss .blog with us, please email welcome@my.blog and we’d be happy to set something up.

Our 2020 New Year’s Resolutions For .blog

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2020 already? We’re heading into the fourth year of .blog and we couldn’t be more excited about taking another step forward towards achieving our vision of helping bloggers “own” their content and being heard. We believe everyone and anyone with a story can tell it.

During the holiday season, we’ve contemplated how we could do better in the new year. What strategies would help us, our partners and bloggers worldwide grow in reach and impact? One idea from some of our discussions was to put together our own New Year’s resolutions for this space. Some tips to help guide us into 2020. 

The following six principles are not reserved for us at .blog, though. We’d love for them to be the framework that helps you strengthen and grow your blog in 2020 too. Without further ado, here are our six New Year’s resolutions:

1. Be consistent with publishing content

Right at the top of our list is one of the most important blogging best practices that gets easily overlooked in the shuffle of life. To grow a blog, we all need to show up consistently for our readers. This can be difficult sometimes. Unfortunately, we often see bloggers burn out, struggling to produce new content constantly. But, there’s another way. Here’s what we aim to do this year:

  • We’ll determine our posting frequency by considering how much time we can realistically dedicate to our blog. Then, we’ll stick to this schedule.
  • We’ll create an editorial calendar to keep track of our blogging schedule and ideas for posts. This will help us to structure our work and plan ahead.
  • We’ll also update, optimize, and republish any old content that could be useful again for our readers. We can bring posts back to life that used to perform well but need a bit of an update.

2. Focus on quality over quantity

Our attention is being pulled in a million directions every day – mostly to shallow content with an enticing headline that provides little to no insight, though. Many content creators focus on publishing quantity at the expense of quality. This is our and your opportunity to be different and stand out as a reliable source of valuable information. 

Audiences need more well-researched, thoughtfully-crafted, and highly engaging resources that help them solve their problems and live a better life. We can satisfy this demand by going deep with our content, digging into details that others won’t explore. This might mean publishing less often as it takes longer to produce a blog post of the highest quality – and that’s ok!

3. Get social and engage our community

While producing great content is undoubtedly important, we also want to make sure that our audience knows about our blog and engages with it. That’s why we plan to be more active on social media channels like Twitter. It’s hard to be on every platform so we aim to start with the ones that our target audiences already frequent. 

Social media is also a great place to learn more about our audience and gather fresh inspiration and content ideas. By joining conversations and sharing our knowledge, we can continue to build a community and learn from each other.

4. Test and experiment 

One of the things to love about having your own domain is the freedom to try out anything you want. We plan to experiment in the new year to find the best content and format for us and our audience. Here’s what we might explore:

  • Testing different lengths of our blog posts.
  • Trying new content types such as videos, podcasts, infographics, or webinars. 
  • Experimenting with clustering our content around certain themes.
  • Going deeper into a particular niche or branching out into new topics.

5. Improving our reader’s experience

The goal is to keep readers engaged. While great content definitely contributes to that, a smooth user experience can also help keep readers engaged on the website, share content they like and reduce the chance of them leaving quickly. Here’s what we plan to do:

  • Find and fix any broken links. 
  • Add social share links to all our articles
  • Properly tag and categorize articles so they are easy to find and related content is grouped together for readers
  • Add recommendations for further reading in the sidebar or below our posts. 

6. Believe in what we are doing

We have an important story to share and so do you. And even if it can seem like everything has been said before, no one can tell our story like we can. But that’s easier said than done. We realize that the everyday life of bloggers is not all smooth sailing and that we all might get discouraged sometimes. When this happens, we try to remember that there’s an audience waiting out there to hear what we have to say. They need us and our expertise. So, let’s take a stand together and commit to always keep going, support each other, and never lose sight of our goals.

What’s next? 

We wanted to share some of our own New Year’s resolutions as a North Star to hopefully inspire and guide your decisions and efforts in 2020. Blogging is an exciting journey, and we are here with you every step of the way. You can rely on us for support, guidance, and fresh ideas. To start the new year right, we want to dig deeper into a topic that’s on top of nearly every blogger’s mind. 

Many bloggers, maybe including you, have started blogging or thought about starting but struggle at times with different aspects. That’s why we are dedicating a special series of blog posts to help bloggers all over the world. You’ll learn how to identify your niche, find your voice, make time to write, grow your audience, and much more. So, look out for our “Better Blogging” series that’s coming soon. 

For all the ways we celebrate

On November 21st – the anniversary of .blog’s general launch to the public – we’re celebrating three years of bringing our favorite gTLD to the world. We love to use our anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we’re planning to go in the next year.

If we had to pick one word to describe .blog up until now, it would be quality. When we contemplate the past 365 days, the outstanding quality of the .blog TLD is what we’re most proud of.

We have been, and remain, very focused on .blog as a domain extension that garners high usage rates from its users. In other words, for each .blog domain that is registered, our primary goal is to see that domain used by its owner on a unique, active site. For .blog resellers, high usage rates often come with higher renewal rates – another data point strengthening the quality of .blog

Today, according to Pandalytics, over 60% of all .blog domains are unique sites. There are real people (or businesses!) behind the domains, producing content for readers, building communities, and sharing information around the world.

  • Some .blog domain owners are taking it to another level by creating online software that allows others to blog more easily, like micro.blog.
  • Others showcase their passions, like beardy.blog’s passion for, well, facial hair.
  • Others still share their expertise with the world, like califabrics.blog’s deep dives into fabric and sewing or homekit.blog’s information on the best products for your smart home.
  • sherpa.blog challenges readers to think critically with information on educational webinars and igem.blog talks about our favorite topic of all: how to blog.
  • Companies like fastmail.blog and amazonfiretv.blog use their domains to show off tips, tricks, and news for their customer bases.
  • And we can’t forget about popular blogs like tim.blog, seths.blog, and fs.blog, all of which are doing very well and growing with their .blog domains.

As we move into our fourth year of offering .blog to the world, our goal is simple: to continue to create a unique space for bloggers on the internet by providing a quality domain extension to the blogging community.