Hey, New or Hobby Blogger!
Do you get frustrated when you’re learning new blogging skills? You think it’s because you don’t know anything but think again. Maybe the instructions are as clear as mud. Learn what you can do instead of getting frustrated.
Communication Causes Landing Page Frustration
Landing page frustration can leave a new blogger dead in their blogging tracks. Check the communication skills of the landing page provider.
#landingpage #email campaigns
This post is a redesign of a ranting article I wrote February 16, 2016, when I first started on the pro blogging journey with Always Write.
On impulse, I took a free class on email lists from Kirsten Oliphant which I blogged about on this site earlier.
Marketing experts said, “Before you ever do an email campaign, you MUST have a landing page.”
Woah! Don’t panic! Do hobby bloggers need email campaigns?
The answer is no. But might they?
Of course, if you have a new recipe, travel post to a hidden gem, information for non-profit groups. Any tidbit of information that you want to make sure that your readers see, email campaigns are a great way to go. We do one for our church each month, but I don’t think it has a landing page because the subscriber number stays the same.
However, those who write posts about marketing campaigns assume that hobby and new bloggers have a landing page or know they need one.
What is a Landing Page?
Heck, I didn’t know what a landing page was. I knew landing, and I knew page but put them together, and I didn’t have a clue.
So that you know, a landing page is NOT necessarily a static page on your blog like a home page. A landing page is probably a disconnected page (or multiple pages) that float on another cloud that doesn’t belong to the blogger, probably hovering over Colorado in some raunchy building in the sky.
Pretty much, it’s an opportunity for readers to sign up for your newsletter or products.
How to Learn about Landing Pages
When I want to learn something new, I often turn to Google and click on a video. In February of 2016, I had the funniest experience with misunderstanding during a video and conversation with the kind podcaster afterward that I had to write about it instead of creating a landing page.
Unfortunately, that blog post disappeared when I got frustrated with the last line and saved it. Apparently, the clouds in cyberspace are just for rain. My communication foibles were so ridiculous that I recreated it for you. I hope the humor of the situation remained.
1. Video Tutorials Are Excellent Learning Tools
Normally I love video tutorials because it is almost like being with the expert.
I watched Landing pages 101 twice. After watching the video above from Landing Pages 102. when Oli Gardner said to try it, I took him at his word. That’s when the fun began. Oli started his video out with a blank screen on which he typed his Landing Page Title. That looked easy. I’ve typed titles in text boxes before, haven’t you? I went to Unbounce and opened up an account. I typed in the title of my page, and then I was lost. The screen Oli used to create his masterpiece landing page did not come up for me. After creating my page, I got this.
That looked easy. I’ve typed titles in text boxes before, haven’t you?
I went to Unbounce and opened up an account. I typed in the title of my page, and then I was lost. The screen Oli used to create his masterpiece landing page did not come up for me. After creating my page, I got this.
The same screen Oli used to create his masterpiece landing page did not come up for me. After creating my page, I got this.
Do you see a toolbar for writing text anywhere? There’s a link that says edit notes in tiny blue letters, but I didn’t want to change my notes. I didn’t have any notes. There’s a box that says edit in the middle of the page, but it didn’t register because as far as I knew I didn’t have any variants, first, second or third.
So I tweeted Oli. If you are a logophile, this conversation may make sense, but if you are like me Who was on First and What wasn’t.
2. Ask the Expert Questions When You Don’t Understand
The good news is that today you can communicate with just about anyone. I found Oli’s Twitter handle. WARNING: if you put out a post explaining how to do something, and people don’t understand it, they can ask you about it.
The following conversation is Oli chatting to a complete greenhorn about creating a landing page.
Marsha Ingrao to Oli Gardner
@oligardner Just watched video pt 2. Tried to start landing pg. Couldn’t get 2 1st base.
OK, I thought modestly, I have a master’s degree, been blogging for four years, learned WordPress, Blogger, Wild Apricot, Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator, etc. Easily, I should have been able to master creating a landing page without spending time and money on a class. Landing page frustration set in when I couldn’t find the screen to compose my page. It looked so simple in the video. So I wrote back.
@oligardner Simple question – how to access the screen you used to compose. Put in text box or page?
@MarshaIngrao I’m not sure what you mean re: access the screen. Can you elaborate?
I looked over at my computer guru husband and asked, “What you call the page where you write your post or compose something like a landing page?
“A screen I suppose,” he answered.
I threw up my arms in frustration. I started to tweet back then I decided to send Oli a screen shot. Screen shots on my Mac save as a TIFF, and so when I tried to save it to my Google Pictures to send him a link, it wouldn’t save.
So I opened the picture in Photoshop and saved it as a JPEG, uploaded it to Google Picasa, and sent him the link. I heard somewhere it is better to post pictures things online than from your computer. Below was Oli’s response when I sent him the picture I had worked for 10 minutes to create just for him.
@MarshaIngrao link is broken
His answer baffled me. What did he mean by link? Was he solving my problem, or could he not see my screenshot? If he solved my dilemma then what link was I missing? I sent him another tweet with the picture embedded.
@MarshaIngrao I see the image now. Click the edit button to access the page builder. Do you want to add text or a text box for a form?
I do not cuss as a rule, but I wanted to. I wondered how I was so out of touch. Was I creating a form on this page? For the life of me, I did not see any buttons that would give me either text or a text box. I did not see an edit box. My husband came back over and pointed right to it on my computer, but since it was in the First Variant line, I did not even see it. I pressed it, and this screen popped up. One point for Vince. Zero for Marsha.
Do you see any toolbar yet? I do not! At least I have a blank screen. That is helpful.
@oligardner The title first, then the form to sign up for the book.
@MarshaIngrao If you double click on the title it will open the text editor. If you double click the form, it will open the form editor.
Now my frustration level went through the roof looking for a cloud to punch. I double clicked on the title and went right back to the first horrible screen shot with variants right in the middle of the page. Is safe to be around when variants are on the loose? When I double clicked on the blank page, guess what I got? Not even a blink.
@oligardner I think we are using vocabulary to mean different things. Dbl clk on title gave me a screen shot page. Dbl click on form = nothing
Now I think even Oli was getting frustrated. I was ready to give up landing pages for a while.
@oligardner Thanks for trying to help. I thought with much blogging experience it would be easy to pick up. Didn’t connect variant 2 edit btn.
@MarshaIngrao Can you send me a screenshot of inside the page builder so I can see your page?
I sent him the picture you saw above of the blank page. Not too exciting. So I emailed poor Oli.
@MarshaIngrao Yes, I watched your video and thought I’d try it. Thanks for being so responsive. I would have given up hours ago. It seems like it shouldn’t be so difficult. Just the word variant in the same box as edit made me overlook the word edit entirely. But I’m on the page now, and the page is blank.
@oligardner Ahh, you started with a blank template, which means you have to add “Page Sections” to the page (drag and drop them from the left toolbar). However, it’ll be much easier to get started with a full template. If you start again to create a landing page, you can choose one of the 100 templates. That will give you a page with all of the elements on there so you can edit them, delete them, move them around etc.”
Oli was not a good salesperson. He should have put the learning back on my shoulders and sent me some new links to longer articles or a series of short articles explaining more about landing pages. Clearly, Marsha in 2016 was not ready for this conversation. Then he could have followed up in a few days to see how I was doing. By that time I would have cooled down.
I was lucky. I had a patient web designer who designed me a page on WordPress to do the same thing. After experimenting with Mail Chimp, I finally understood more about landing pages and created several. I never went back to Unbounce.
My takeaway from this exchange as an information provider
- If you write instructions, guidebooks, or courses for a living, keep in mind all the meanings of words and how they change when you speak technology. Don’t assume that ANYONE knows anything.
- Have additional articles or videos you can send the novice.
- Refer to different versions of the same products you are teaching, and alert viewers of changes.
- Be sensitive to learner needs and levels of understanding.
My takeaway from this exchange as a learner
- If you approach blogging as an experiment and a hobby. you need to try new things and keep up to date with blogging technology. If you get frustrated, put the new learning on the back burner for a while, and ask someone else you trust. I lived by this article by Hack the Entrepreneur eighteen months ago when I started getting serious about Always Write.
- There is so much information available. To learn what which products you might need, and which are the best, take classes from experts. Feedly.com is a great place to find experts on any topic.
- Read blogs by the experts in your hobby fields and in the field of blogging.
- Taking classes is helpful, but again lack of vocabulary may slow down your learning.
- Know how you might use a new product. Keep your goals in mind as you experiment. Some of the products on the market are not necessary for hobby bloggers. Some might make your life lots easier.
- If you are serious about blogging, even as a hobby blogger, I recommend these courses because I’ve taken them, not because I’m an affiliate.
- Chris Brogan’s Owner Unlimited Package. Here is a link to his landing page for that product. You buy in for a low dollar amount each month and have access to their catalog of materials. I have a podcast interview coming up with him in September 2017 on Always Write.
- Jon Morrow’s training, Serious Bloggers Only. His landing page is a home page to that blog. Like Chris’s Owner Unlimited, you buy in for a low dollar amount each month and have access to their catalog of materials. You can use them at your own rate, and you get access to a Facebook group as well.
- I also like Jeff Goins, Intentional Blogging. I get tons of impressions when I share a post on My 500 Words or Intentional Blogging Course. You can’t post on the latter unless you take this course.
- I like Alex Groove’s newsletter. The link takes you to a post, and you can click on the yellow box, which is called an Opt-in. That takes you to his landing page.
Summary to End Landing Page Frustration
- Today I use the Mail Chimp signup page as my landing pages. But that’s another lesson.
- Take tips from known experts. I’ve listed four of the best for bloggers and writers.
- Watch videos, but don’t waste your time, if the video doesn’t match what you see on your screen. Find another video – quickly!
- Subscribe to experts’ newsletters and check out their landing pages. Copy ideas from the ones you like.
- This is Always Write’s Landing Page to sign up for my newsletter.
Check out these additional titles for this post.
Vote on your favorites. You are welcome to use or adapt them if you want, just let me know how they do.