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Get a Real Blog – Instructional Videos Review

Get-A-Real-Blog-VideosI get a lot of emails from PreBloggers and NewBloggers who want to set up a WordPress Blog on their own domain and hosting but don’t know how to do it. It’s a common question and one I’ve been looking for resources on to point people to.

Over the last few days I’ve been watching a series of blogs by Jon Symons called RealBlogVideos (aff) that he’s put together to help new WordPress.org users set up their blogs – I suspect quite a few readers will find them useful (note: not everyone will – so read on and I’ll tell you who they’re for and who they are not for).

Jon makes his living from blogging on blogs like Art of Money and is a regular here at ProBlogger.

The videos cost $15 (US) to buy but for that you get 5 main videos and 3 bonus ones (a total of 162 minutes of instruction).

The main videos are on :

  • Find Keywords for Your Topic & Domain Name Research
  • Register a Domain Name
  • Sign up for and Configure a Hosting Account
  • Install a WordPress Blog, Add a Theme and Do the First Post
  • Configure Your Blog for Security & Do a Backup

Bonus Videos

  • Blogging Copy & Paste Tip
  • How To Install WordPress Manually
  • How To Install WordPress On Dreamhost

What are the videos like?

You can see from Jon’s sales page a sample of one of the videos that will give you an idea of what you’ll be buying. Here’s a few comments:

  • Production Quality – the production of these videos is not super high. There were a number of times I wished Jon had done some more editing but other times where I appreciated the rawness of them as it showed me how a real person’s workflow is.
  • Usability – Jon is pretty good at putting technical things into a language that most people will be able to follow.
  • Usefulness – depending upon your level of expertise (see below) – these videos are quite helpful and useful on the topics you see above. If I’d been given these videos two years ago I would have lapped them up as I’m a visual person and find reading these types of more technical instructions more difficult to follow. Seeing someone else do it is how I learn best.
  • Value for Money – I think $15 for two and a half hours of tuition is worthwhile. If you don’t agree once you’ve seen them Jon does offer a 100% guarantee.

So who are these videos for?
I’ve mentioned above that they are not for everyone but that they will be helpful for some readers.

New bloggers who have never had a blog will find them useful as will bloggers who have been using a hosted blog service (like Blogger.com, TypePad, WordPress.com) who want to get their own domain and hosting to give themselves complete control over their blogs.

Who are they Not for?
Bloggers who are confident at setting up a WP blog, registering for a domain, organizing hosting etc will not learn a lot from these videos. Having said this – I actually did learn a few things about it even though I’d set up a few WP blogs now (keep in mind that the technical side of blogging is not my strength).

These are not advanced videos and they don’t coontain unique or exclusive information (it’s all floating around the web already in different forms) but they are helpful if you’re at the beginning of your blogging journey. If you’re at that point you can buy them via RealBlogVideos.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ian says:

    It should also be noted that all this information can be found for free on the Internet. There are many free guides and tutorials out there that show you how to do all the same stuff.

    Now whether it is worth your time to dig them up is another matter.

  2. Derek says:

    Thanks for the review of the videos. While I am relatively new to blogging, I am quite comfortable with the technical side of things and was able to install WordPress without any problems.

    For those looking for free tutorials, check out the one from Cre8d Design (who is the designer behind this site) as a good starting point.

  3. Rachel C says:

    Here’s a free screencast I did of installing WordPress 2.0 manually:

    http://www.cre8d-design.com/blog/2006/01/19/how-to-install-wordpress-20/

    I am going to redo this shortly with audio.

  4. I had the exact idea to do this a couple of weeks ago – always the way. Several of my own web design clients have mentioned that they would have paid for this kind of video if it was available, so I’m sure there is a market out there.

    I find the sales page for the videos fairly visually unbalanced though, I think some more work there could help sales.

  5. Scott Howard says:

    Free stuff is great and definately try to take advantage of all the cool plugins. This Problogger has been more help to me than any other source out there up to this point. Happy blogging.

  6. feedbuzzard says:

    Eric Giguere has an excellent series on setting up an AdSense friendly Worpress blog. I recommend it-

    http://www.memwg.com/blog/adsense/The-AdSense-ready-WordPress-Blog-Part-1.html

  7. stuart says:

    The recent spate of video howtos ignores the fact that many people, around the world, do not have access to reliable high-speed internet.

    In the least, having a transcript of sorts to accompany the video is a very good idea.

    That’s why I keep coming back to problogger – text is fast, easy to understand is often far more instructive than a video, and most importantly doesn’t take 30 minutes to download to watch — I could have taught myself in that time ;-)

  8. Rachel C says:

    It’s a good point Stuart – and it comes back to learning style. Some people learn much better by seeing – rather than by reading. The number (!) of emails I’ve had from people who are so grateful for the visual guide to installing WordPress is astounding – and yet it’s just following the same instructions written on the WordPress site.

  9. Darren Rowse says:

    I agree with Rachel.

    In fact despite having read numberous tutorials on how to set up WP it was Rachel’s video that ended up being the one that was most helpful – even without an audio!

    I guess that’s why I was attracted to Jon’s videos. Even though they were not perhaps the most professional quality they were a real blogger setting up a blog before my eyes – something I couldn’t get in a text based tutorial. When I first started blogging paying $15 for the privledge of that would have been a real bargain.

    But like Rachel says – it’s a learning style thing. Some of us are visual, some of us comprehend better with text etc.

  10. prlinkbiz says:

    I know Jon – he is a great guy, who saw a need and filled it! Some of his content is original, you cannot dig it up elsewhere for free.

  11. Lara says:

    I just cannot support people who charge you to learn how to use free programs.

    For one thing, you can ask any wordpress question you want at the forums, and be answered by people who have been using the software since it’s inception. And they will answer you, for free.

    I’m sure, in fact, that I can find the answers to these video topics in this “pack” of videos:

    The main videos are on :

    * Find Keywords for Your Topic & Domain Name Research (wordtracker.com and godaddy.com)

    * Register a Domain Name
    (godaddy.com – help with this: http://tutorials.epilogue.net/tutorials/how-to-register-a-domain-name)

    * Sign up for and Configure a Hosting Account
    (this is self explanatory for crying out loud… worst case, pick up the phone and call the company – if it’s a good company (and you can ask on the WP forums for opinions) it won’t take long at all for someone to pick up the phone)

    * Install a WordPress Blog, Add a Theme and Do the First Post
    (the installation takes less than 20 minutes for a first timer when they follow the outline here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Getting_Started_with_WordPress#Installation and to troubleshoot, here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Getting_Started_with_WordPress#Installation_Troubleshooting_and_Help
    worst case scenario, there are a group of highly experienced WP volunteer support people who will install it for you and write a test post for you for free: http://install4free.wordpress.com
    after that, it’s recommended that EVERYONE using wordpress go here for help: http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page)

    * Configure Your Blog for Security & Do a Backup
    (The default install comes with a wp-db-backup plugin. Again, with instructions right there in YOUR site. Security issues (chmod/permissions) are addressed here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Changing_File_Permissions)

    Bonus Videos

    * Blogging Copy & Paste Tip
    (This one’s been addressed a thousand times in the forum… a)don’t do it, or b) copy and paste into notepad (and only notepad or another plain-text editor if you’re sure you have one) first, and then copy from notepad into the wordpress editor. C+P from anything else into the editor adds extraneous tags that will screw up your layout.)

    * How To Install WordPress Manually
    (Not sure how this is different from the other one above, except unless this guy’s promoting affiliate links to a hosting company that uses fantastico to do the install for you… either way, the info’s there.)

    * How To Install WordPress On Dreamhost
    (Here’s just one of many solutions I’ve found, for free, online: http://www.wombatnation.com/misc/installWordPressDreamHost.html)

    This took me about 5 minutes to find. A less experienced user, might take them 20 minutes to find. Either way, it’s free. And wordpress is open source software… free.

    Sorry, I guess I’m just really against people who exploit others out of money… even if it’s just $15.

  12. Nils says:

    If you have problems installing wordpress, you really need to learn some basics of the technology you are using. Paying for videos won’t do you any good.

  13. Lowell says:

    Another great resource is Guido Stiehle’s Wordress tutorial videos at

    http://www.easywebtutorials.com/tutorials/index.php

    Best free ones I’ve ever seen.

    Lowell

  14. As a novice blogger, I can see the value in these videos.
    All of the points that these things can be found for free are true, but not always easy to find and not all packaged together in one visual source for learning.
    The same “exploitation” argument could be made for a lot of things. How many of you have paid for piano lessons? All of that info can be found for free too.
    We all have personal a personal bias and an affinity for things that we do well or often. Just as Darren instructed, these vidoes are a good tool for novice bloggers.

  15. Ian says:

    Jon may very well be a good guy. And I applaud his initiative to sell a product. However, I doubt his uniqueness of content in his videos. Sure it may contain some unique things because we’re all going to do some things a little differently.

    But the main content is going to be the same. And that same content can be found for free by searching. I would say it would take an inexperienced user longer than 20 minutes to find what they need.

    Users may have to look at more than 1 tutorial on a topic. I know I have had to do so in the past. 2-3 hours of searching would not be unreasonable for total search time.

    I haven’t looked at his product, nor do I plan to. I don’t pay for things that I can find for free. Of course there are people out there who are willing to pay. Not everyone is a cheap SOB like I am.

  16. Abe says:

    I’ve actually started doing flash video tutorials on the basics of FTP, cPanel and installing Worpress, importing from other blogs and migrating from other webhosts. I haven’t completed them yet but I was hoping to give it out for free.

    Would Darren be as nice to feature my videos as well even if I can’t offer any affiliates? In the first place the videos will be free.

  17. prlinkbiz says:

    Hey Laura- much of business is about creating a system or actually doing the work for people that many times they could do themselves, but choose not to. That’s not exploiting- that’s business. For someone just getting started in blogging, the service that Jon provides is a great value and help. Welcome to business.

  18. Lara says:

    Hey prlinkbiz – Part of being a good business person is to remember the name of the person you’re talking to also. It’s LARA, not Laura.

    “Much of business is creating a system or actually doing the work for people that many times they could do themselves, but choose not to.”

    You’re right. And the videos mentioned in this post have nothing to do with your statement… The creator of the videos made them for the sole purpose of making money off of information – not by doing the installs for them.

    I’ve even found some FREE videos that give the same advice:

    http://www.likomaisland.com/_storage/likoma/videos/20060810-wp-overview.htm

    and tutorials by the same person:

    http://www.likoma.com/tutorials/

    see? http://wordpress.org/support/topic/83047?replies=2

    I’m sorry, but there’s no convincing me that charging people on how to learn to use free software is anything but an exploit of others’ lack of awareness.

    For $15 he should install the software and my theme of choice FOR them. Although, there’s already a group of people who do that for free too, as I mentioned earlier.

  19. Jake says:

    Lara,

    So what your saying is that books exploit people because they charge for information that can most likely be found for free on the Internet?

    Hmm… how much of your search engine marketing insight can be found on the Internet for free?

    -J

  20. Freda says:

    What I find ironic is that on a blog like Problogger which is about making money from blogging that we find people that seem so anti people making money from their blogs.

    I don’t have an issue with knocking somebody who is producing crap resources and charging for them, but if their resource is useful (and it is, I’ve bought the videos and found them very helpful despite having read a lot of the free stuff others have recommended above) then I don’t have an issue with them charging for it.

    While I have searched a lot of sites looking for information on how to start a blog I thought the $15 I spent on these videos was well spent. I saw someone register a domain, organise hosting, install WP and cutomize it before my eyes.

    I’ve read a lot of the tutorials others have talked about but it only ‘clicked’ for me when I saw the videos.

    While I don’t have anything against people having principles of keeping everything free I don’t have a problem with paying someone to show me how to do something either. We do that every day when we buy newspapers (you can get the information for free online), when we buy books on lots of topics (you can get the information for free online or from friends of friends) etc.

    I also think it a little ironic that some of the people critiquing these videos charge money for SEO, marketing and other online services. All of these things you can find great information for online for free but all of these things can also be paid for. The benefits of paying for them is that you get the benefit of another person’s experience, you get the benefits of that other person having researched a field and collated information etc – very similar to what you get when you pay to see someone show you how to set up a site if you don’t know how to do it.

    I guess different people have different needs and will be willing and able to see them met in different ways. The rest of us need to be open minded enough to see that our way is not the only way.

  21. Lara says:

    Jake – Much like prlinkbiz said up there…

    I don’t charge for information – I charge people to do the work for them. Just like I don’t charge people to tell them how to install wordpress. I charge them to do it for them.

    Sure, anyone who’s spent 10 years (and by no means is that exhaustive – I keep making a living at what I do because I keep learning as things change and improve) doing the research, learning, and gaining the practical experience I have can do just as good a job as I do. Some might do even better. But the people who hire me have other careers, and don’t have the time to devote to knowing the business the way I do. That’s why I have no qualms about making a business of what I do. I’m being paid to complete tasks that would take someone else ten years to know how to do the way I do.

    WordPress doesn’t take 10 years to learn. It doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to just do the install (for first timers, that is), and while even I am still learning things about wordpress, the culmination of that learning wouldn’t take up even 20 or 30 hours I think. And I do a pretty good job of it, to the point that I give out free advice on how to use it to others on the wordpress support forums. And if I don’t have the answer when they ask, I find it, and hand it to them.

    And as for the comparison to books – I’m not saying that there’s not a need for these videos, any more than I’d say there’s not a need for books. What I’m saying is that charging $15 to help people use FREE software is, in my opinion, just wrong. Especially when they can easily get all the same information (in many forms, including manuals, support forums, and other videos) for free.

    Think of it this way: It’s like someone coming up to you on the street and asking you where a certain restaurant is. You tell them that you’ll walk them there for $15. They agree, thinking they’ve found a great tour guide. And you turn them around to show them that they were standing in front of the place all along.

    It’s just not right.

    And with that – I’ve really said all I’m going to say on the matter.
    Sorry for hijacking your blog, Darren… my only intention was to show your readers free places to get the same info.

  22. markinjapan says:

    I am the mark in japan testimonial customer mentioned on Jon’s sales page, not yet in his affiliate program and have no business relationship with Jon.

    I am new to blogging and appreciated the video nature of the training.
    Yes, it is done in “raw and uncut style”, but quite watchable and understandable.

    I agree with the poster who mentioned a written transcript would be useful – maybe Jon should have that task outsourced and then upsell it together with the video for $25? $35?

    Whoops! Still reading? ;-)

    As part of an ongoing marketing education I am prepared to spend some affordable money each month on info products and services from people I trust and like.

    I actually paid less than $15 for this one because I regularly read and enjoy Jon’s http://artofmoney.org blog, signed up for his email newsletter and got a pre-launch price for the video product.

    The money back (ClickBank) guarantee was a bonus but Jon had already built up a degree of trust with me from his blogging persona and via some email conversations.
    ‘Relationship marketing’ anyone?

    Same thing with Guido from easywebtutorials.com.

    I like his open and friendly style too and after being on his list for a while and getting some f-r-e-e stuff via blog updates and articles, ended up buying the CD-rom of his html and blogging tutorials and some other freebie s/w and templates.

    An absolute steal at $9.95. – even though most/all of the info is available (in some format) for f-r-e-e on the Net. But not (in the limited time I have available to find what I believe to be trustable info sources) using his own words and style.

    regards

    mark

  23. prlinkbiz says:

    Lara- I do apologize for mispelling your name.

  24. Jon says:

    Hi Lara,

    I just wanted to point out a couple examples of other businesses similar to mine.

    One would be Red Hat Linux. They are a 100 million dollar company that provides support services based on the free Linux operating system.

    And when I went to college to learn computer programming all the “information” that I was taught was available for free on the web.

    What I was paying for was the organization of the content and the experience of the teachers.

    There are plenty of off line night school courses now teaching essentially the same thing as my videos: “How to set up a blog.”

    Someone with your technical skills, who can compile a vast list of resources in 5 minutes, is not the person who the product is aimed at. I have installed WordPress for many friends and online acquaintances and I realized that even if I did steer them towards the free online resources they still wanted someone to either do it for them or hold their hand and walk them through the entire process step by step.

    I do appreciate all of the opinions that were expressed and even though it was uncomfortable for me to hear, it will make my company and online products better in the long run.

    Thanks again to Darren for the review.

    Jon Symons

  25. Darren Rowse says:

    No need to apologise Lara – I’m all for finding a range of resources, free, paid, whatever – as long as it’s quality information.

    I guess I would just echo what others have said that different people will have different needs and abilities and that means some will be willing to pay for something that they feel is a little beyond them. I know I would have in my early days – it’s just the kind of guy that I am.

    I’d also use free stuff too – but presenting people with a range of options is good (something I’ve also done over the last year or so). Happy to have had this debate here – it’s not an unusual one actually. It seems every time I talk about different ways of making money from blogging (which is what Jon’s doing here creating an information product) that there is a diversity of opinions about whether it’s legitimate or not.

  26. Jake says:

    Lara,

    Your making it sound as if he has created some sort of blog monopoly where people dont have a choice. The fact is people do have a choice to buy his product or they can spend hours to attain the same level of knowledge… Get a grip, it’s $15 bucks!

    Plus if people feel the education wasn’t worth it they have eight weeks for the money back guarantee.

    -J

  27. Sergi says:

    Its simple basic information..but its well done the video and he is doing correct selling if he believe have a market.Dig for information is for who have time to do it.i like the videos.more than reading manuals.is a personal preference.its just my opinion. :)

  28. I guess different people have different needs and will be willing and able to see them met in different ways. Some people learn much better by seeing – rather than by reading.

  29. I guess I would just echo what others have said that different people will have different needs and abilities and that means some will be willing to pay for something that they feel is a little beyond them.

  30. So what your saying is that books exploit people because they charge for information that can most likely be found for free on the Internet?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Another more personal example, was when Problogger reviewed my Real Blog Videos. In the comments, some people took me to task for trying to exploit people by charging for what should be free information. [...]

  2. [...] Thanks to a great endorsement from Darren, I have sold about 70 copies of the videos with only 1 return and very few requests for support. Considering that my efforts to promote the product beyond the launch week have been zero, I think that is pretty good as it continues to consistently sell a few copies each week. [...]