The new Blogody landing page: sharing the thoughts that went into building it

The all-new Blogody landing page has finally been released and set live. This insight article uncovers the thoughts that went into building it and shares some of my views on the future of independent publishing.

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It’s been more than a month since I wrote an insight article for this news blog. Time for an update on what I have been working on lately. The most visible change to Blogody has been the all-new landing page, but I also thought about future directions.

If you read some of my earlier posts, you know that I am following the ship early, ship fast paradigm. This allows me to improve on the feedback I am getting and also helps me stay motivated. A particularly good example is the Blogody landing page — I started out extremely basic — knowing that it had to be improved from the ground up. This day has finally arrived and I would like to uncover the thoughts that went into building it.

The new landing page

I see a lot of landing pages that mostly show long lists of features. Although it is important to communicate core features as early as possible, I think it’s similarly important to tell the reasons why the service was built in the first place. The landing page should cover what you can achieve with the platform and how it will help you achieve it.

Every useful product needs to solve a real problem or challenge. While many of the competitors identified “monetizing blogs” as the biggest challenge, I don’t think it is. Before you can make money from blogging, you need a sizable amount of recurring readers: That’s the biggest challenge!

I know from many users that not everyone wants to make money from blogging. Some do, but others just want to share their thoughts with the world. Regardless of intent: everyone wants to get seen and recognized.

Audience building is a common goal and the biggest challenge all bloggers face.

The strong focus on audience building is Blogody’s north star, and it will serve as a strong guide for future improvements.

Traditional and independent publishing

The role of traditional publishers has always been to take care of marketing, thereby providing authors a readership in exchange for compensation and content rights. The editorial process helps in ensuring high-quality content. It is a selection process to secure publisher reputation and sales. This can be beneficial for both writers and publishers, but there are numerous conflicts of interest, the most obvious ones being pressure on deadlines, imposed content changes, and low compensation.

The strict rules of the editorial process and inflexible publisher guidelines hinder lots of great writing and are often slow to adapt to new developments and trends. That’s why the internet and social media have pressured traditional publishers. Many creators now see a chance to self-market their blogs thereby establishing a more direct relationship with their readers. From a writer’s perspective, independent publishing can be seen as a liberation from publisher restrictions and a path to higher income.

The big challenge

The new possibilities for independent publishing are exciting but they come with new obstacles: How to ensure high-quality content without editorial feedback and how to build and grow an audience from scratch? As the quality of your writing will directly impact your ability to grow an audience, I have combined these challenges into one.

Audience building is the biggest challenge for independent bloggers and that’s where Blogody can give you a significant advantage over the competition. The newsletter generation and member features are just two of many more tools that will allow you to effectively grow a list of subscribed readers you can directly communicate with.

When I glance at the competition, for example at Substack or Ghost, they promise writers to monetize their blog through gated content and paywalls.

What they don’t tell you: this only works for the very few people that bring their audience with them.

It’s no secret that Substack attracts famous writers with paid advances similar to traditional publishing companies. If you already have an audience — be it through previous media recognition, a blog, or a successful newsletter — making money from it is easy: through affiliate links, sponsorships, guest posts, direct sales, ads, or even gated content. This is a no-brainer.

By facing the real challenge head-on, Blogody is in a better position to help overcome it for independent publishers of all kinds: creators, influencers, and startup businesses.

The big promise

If audience building was a cakewalk, then it wouldn’t be something worth writing about. It is in every true challenge that you can find true opportunity. Blogody makes audience building easy: that’s the promise!

The above self-description is another way to put it: Blogody combines the best minimalist writer experience with an obsessive focus on building your audience — without needing to play by the rules of social media.

The road to success

You won’t believe me if I don’t show you the promised land. You can read thousands of articles about blogging success, but in the end, it boils down to three essential steps:

  1. create high-quality content (in a niche)

  2. make sure it can be found through online search

  3. give readers ways to directly interact with you

Repeat!

My vision is to make this process as seamless as possible for you, without sacrificing your content rights, ownership, or by taking cuts from your revenue.

Start with the writing

Many bloggers that I have been following don’t fail because of mediocre writing — most fail due to a lack of focus and consistency. As an open-source creator of a popular free blogging front-end, I’ve seen too many talented bloggers getting distracted by the technical aspects of installing, tweaking, improving, and maintaining blog sites. Some people go a great length to save one dollar per month on blog hosting, just to spend hundreds of hours in making it happen.

I truly believe that distraction is the biggest enemy of producing great content. Of course, writing will always remain an art that can be improved upon, but you can only improve if you consistently produce. Blogody has been designed for distraction-free writing, thereby removing a widely underrated obstacle to success.

There is so much more that we can do to help authors in the creation process. I expect that artificial intelligence (AI) is going to play a big role in assisting writers to improve in form, language, tone, and other aspects of their writing. AI will take the role of a traditional editor with an added benefit: you can define the rules yourself.

Publish with your own domain

As an independent blogger, you need to stand out, which means you ultimately need to create your own brand. This is only possible if you can create your distinct space on the internet, your own domain. A big motivation to create Blogody was to give you the room to create that space. A space where you own your content, your audience, and your brand.

Other blogging platforms do exactly the opposite. Take Medium and dev. to as an example: it’s also easy to get started on these platforms, but you are helping them to grow their brand. They act like traditional publishers with the only difference of taking out the editorial process. That’s why you cannot connect your own domain, that’s why you cannot get independent analytics and that’s why they don’t disclose the revenue they make with your articles. It’s a business model that works for them but doesn’t give independent creators the freedom they had hoped for.

Blogody wants you to succeed with your own brand, both in building and popularizing it. Once you connect your own domain, many optimizations work in the background to make your content easily discoverable by search engines: by making keywords from your tags, by making rich meta descriptions from your titles, excerpts, and feature images. Speed has also become an important factor for search engines and reader engagement and that’s why we use the latest web technology to make your sites blazing fast.

Organic growth takes some time, however, if you frequently and consistently produce quality content, you’ll see more and more readers stopping by. You now need to turn casual readers and lurkers into subscribers.

Turn readers into your audience

When you publish your posts with Blogody, all your articles will show a subscription button from day one. The goal is to make it super easy for your web readers to sign up for newsletter subscriptions.

I’ve also made it extremely simple to send your posts in the form of an email to your subscribers. No need to painstakingly copy articles to another email service. Blogody even handles reputation management for you and adequately reacts to bounces and unsubscribes.

You can decide if you want to publish an article online, as a newsletter, or in both channels. That way you can make your subscribers feel special: just send them an article a day before you publish it on the web, so they get it earlier than anyone else.

If you grow your email list that way, it becomes an invaluable asset for your blog. Unlike Google search or social media, it is the only distribution channel that you can fully control yourself.

Wrapping up

This article is the first in a series of “insights” articles, that give you a look behind the scenes. There is more on the landing page for you to explore: a section about key differences to other platforms, an image collection of published articles, and much more.

Blogody is still in the early stage and I have many more ideas to make content creation and audience building easier, more productive, better sharable, and overall more fun. Be part of the independent creator community and don’t forget to send me your views and ideas, so we can shape it together.

Independent publishing is rising in popularity and I am convinced that emerging technical advances can give creators the tools that were previously exclusive to traditional publishers. The sharing economy, global access and distribution, artificial intelligence and virtual communities will play a role in making it happen.

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