by Derek Halpern · 31 comments

…ALWAYS up for debate.

And as the questions get more subjective, that statement becomes more true.

But there are people who close their minds to new ways of doing things once they believe they’ve found the “right answer.”

These same people are the ones who get smoked, while the smarter, more open-minded people pass them by with better solutions.

Now you’re likely wondering what does this have to do with blogging?\

The short answer is EVERYTHING.

When you’re building a blog, there are peopleโ€”you know, people like meโ€”who say they know the RIGHT way of doing things.

And they may.

But don’t let that discourage you from questioning the status quo with new, and better answers.

Because nowadays, the better answer always wins.

What say you?

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

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David Krug

The right answer certainly has changed over the years. In days past a squeeze page for a blogger was a big big no no. Now it’s acceptable practice.

Even site structure, and design has gone more minimalistic then a few years ago. You are bsolutely right. There is no right way. There’s just “better ways”.

But no one should be afraid to chart there own path!


Always be optimizing!

Tom Nunamaker

Very true about keeping an open mind. It took an open mind to try thesis a few years ago but the loyal thesis followers have to wonder if we are getting passed up by newer WP frameworks as thesis STILL hasn’t released 2.0.

I have to admit looking at a few other frameworks as I challenge the Thesis status quo myself.

Jon McCulloch

The moment you claim something is “the best”, you assume full and perfect knowledge.

Good luck with that, ‘cuz outside the realm of mathematics it’s all empirical anyway.

I highly recommend “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” by Kathryn Schulz.

Aaaaannnndddd… rather than bloggers, marketers, copywriters and others wasting time arguing about what works, they’d better spend their time *testing* what works.

I mean, Everyone Knows video increases response, right?

Except when it doesn’t, and actually trashes it. Exactly this happened on my wife’s blog. No, I’m not going to give you the URL. It’s rude.



Ara Kazanjian

This is as true as the laws of aerodynamics. You can choose to ignore them, but the laws don’t care. They’ll hurt you if you either are ignorant to them or ignore them.


I had a blog since waaaaaay back before it was even considered (or thought of) acceptable to be using a blog to sell anything – that’s what websites were for. Having a blog was more of a journaling and social/connecting thing. Today, blogs have replaced websites and it seems that all they do is sell. And change.

There is no such thing as one right answer to anything. And that includes life, relationships, how to raise your kids, religious affiliation, etc. etc. AND blogging and building an online business. It’s what works for you and your business (life, relationship, etc. etc.) and, I agree, if you are smart you always look for the “something better”…

Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Interesting but true.

Jacqueline Church

And when the only tool you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.

Some of us have to learn the hard way. There is both art and science behind any good site design.

Here’s a thoughtful piece I really enjoyed.

Chris Johnson

It’s audience dependent. What works for Social Triggers doesn’t work for Tech Crunch. They are targeting different audiences.

Doug Foster

It is one thing to have an opinion. It is another to be judgmental. Be careful. Be respectful. Be committed, but remain open.

Don Miller

Funny how the “right” answer keeps moving faster then me.


When you think you found the golden answer and not keep changing things up and trying new things on your site, and get complacent your in trouble. JMI great read, thanks Derek

Scott Klein

Reminds me of the old saying, “The mind is like a parachute; it works better when open as opposed to being closed.”

Mick Finch

If you are trying to generate revenue then your site might be centered arond doing whats best for you. If your site is about giving readers what they need then it might be centered around them.

Being opened-minded toward new ways to serve your readers and then implementing them is a win – win for you and your readers.

Chris Savage

ABT = Always Be Testing!

Donovan Owens

Be a Freethinking Renegade. Know the foundation of what works and then add some freakin’ personality to what you do… your own personality.

Thanks Derek.

Cathleen Campbell

What a wonderful concept to examine! The TRUTH is there are so very many ways – in fact, one study done by some very learned psychologist tested about 1000 subjects – giving them all the same tools, they found over 250 totally different ways to wash dishes and still have them meet the clean criteria.

In business, experts are always saying that this or that technique is the essential key to success and increased profits. The challenge, as we all know, is you can do all the “right” marketing, management and sales techniques and still…fail.

So what’s the real answer? Energy. It’s what lies within and all around us, and what we share back and forth. It’s not so much that you have to do a particular technique correctly, but rather that whatever you do has an attractive or harmonic vibrational frequency, attracting you and what you desire to live, create and enjoy together.

I’m currently building my new blog using the Thesis Theme…I love it! It certainly was the “right” decision – but it’s not about the software (which is fabulous!) it’s about the energy of everyone involved in the creation and service of this wonderful tool – thanks and congrats!

I’ll let you all know when my blog is ready – for now, check out my site for more info about energy, how it affects our experience of everything including how successful your blog will be…and best of all, how you can learn to harness the power of all your energies to create whatever you want…in Living Harmony!

Sean Davis

I always question. Derek, I’ve questioned you many times before, as I’m sure you remember. ๐Ÿ˜›

It’s always for the reason you have stated in this post. It’s hard for me to accept an answer, as I have read once before that knowledge and growth lies in the question itself.

I’ve found that to be true. I’ll have a seat on a quality answer here and there. But my eyes are always open for change.

Nice short post.

Dean Williams

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.โ€
โ€” Epictetus

Craig McBreen

Hi Derek,

I’m working on a post along these lines. Well, after I listened to your latest interview over at BlogcastFM and your discussion of a “thread of discontent” it really got me thinking. Well, actually two posts are in order. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, it’s about taking an idea and putting your own spin on it. I know, how original, huh? ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t disagree with you at all, but your thoughts on this encouraged me to drill a little deeper. I’m one of those lurkers who sponges up all this great info, so thanks for the tips and inspiration.

And yes, always question.

J S Gilbert

I was at a conference recently weher the promoter suggested the mindset not be “Your’e wrong” or “I disagree with you”, but instead should be “I see things differently than you do”.

As much as I could adhere to that strategy, I found myself better off.

I do believe in general principle that there is yet to be any device that allows for lying, deceit, misinformation, entitlement and ignorance than the internet.

Before one buries themselves in piles of accolades with a website, stop to consider who you REALLY are, the value proposition to those viewing your site, and how best you can underpromise and overdeliver.

For many, a one or two page site that invites the reader to get to know you better is all that’s needed.

Rob Dares

In this fast paced changing world, I think we all need to be testing and trying new things and remember that the “right answer” may only be the right answer for a short term. However, the basis of the “right answer” for website/blog success probably remains the same, helpful information that is presented in a readable format that helps people accomplish something they want to accomplish.
How we bloggers do that is the part that is always changing, or at least we need to be prepared to change.

Tiyo Kamtiyono

It deppends. There is one such thing that fit all we need on all the things we want to get it ‘right’. Because right itself deppending on how we see that.

Sean Mal

In many cases, the “Right Answer” doesn’t exist . ๐Ÿ™‚

Dave Doolin

Gonna be super blunt, Derek, sometimes I get the feeling you’re conflating correlation with causation.


But but but…

It’s just as wrong to dispute valid conclusions from less-than-valid reasoning:

Back to the salt mine…

Dave Doolin

Just to be clear: this is observation, not criticism. Teasing out causation from correlation can be *really* hard.

Leon Noone

G’Day Derek,
I’m far too old to believe that there’s “one right way.” But there are some ways that work a lot better than others. A bad pass is not always the fault of the receiver. But it’s a bloody good rule of thumb when teaching offence.

I ran an offline business for 30+ years before moving online. I have the feeling that a lot of web marketers think that business began in about 1995 and that whatever it is, they thought of it first.

Mark Twain said, “It aint what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for certain that just aint so.”

Now Derek, I know for a fact………..

Make sure you have fun

Best Wishes

Paul B. Taubman, II

How frequently is there truly just one, “RIGHT ANSWER”?

If there is just one right answer, the answer is probably going to be, “IT DEPENDS.”

Examine your situation, evaluation your options, pick one, and move forward. Just don’t sit there procrastinating while you get caught up with the paralysis of analysis.



There is no such thing as absolute right or absolute wrong. What is wrong for A is totally right for B. I believe in letting the experts and the old timers show me the framework of a blog, but I decide how the final product is going to look like.

Naveen | Expert Blog Tips

Such a thought provoking post. Specifically speaking to blogging, I think people like better answers more than just right answers.

For example, if someone asks me how to market their blog through twitter, I can just say that just create a twitter account and follow dozens of people in your niche, start tweeting. That’s actually correct answer. But what if I demonstrate few examples like how to phrase your tweets and how to integrate tweet buttons on your blog, this seems a better answer.

People love statistics and working examples.


I would say the “right way” is to learn to be independent, learn to experiment, try your own ideas and learn from what does work and what doesn’t.

But there is a lot to be said from learning from other’s experiences, especially when starting out. I think you need a certain level of knowledge before you can start pushing things forward.