I’ve personally known Tyler for many years now and got to meet with him in Las Vegas at BlogWorld a few years ago. Tyler has always been more of a site owner and affiliate marketer than a blogger, but his blog has done very well for his growth and personal brand. Lately Tyler has been seeing some amazing growth in his affiliate marketing tactics, while also sharing his recent success through his blog. All of this combined makes Tyler a perfect candidate for today’s blogger interview.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
My name is Tyler Cruz and I’m an internet entrepreneur, blogger, and affiliate marketer. I’ve been making a living online for around 9 years now and actually got started blogging after I had created a thread on a webmaster forum which became very popular, prompting a number of people to request that I start my own blog. I’ve been blogging ever since.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
My blog, TylerCruz.com, is all about my day-to-day operations as a web entrepreneur and someone who makes their living entirely from the Internet. You could classify it as an affiliate marketing or “make money online” blog, but mine differs from the rest in that it is a lot more personal. Instead of pushing more article-based posts, my posts are more revealing in that I share exactly how much I am earning online, my failures, my successes, and my day-to-day struggle.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
I monetize my blog through selling ad space privately (no networks) and affiliate-based referral links. I do not use any networks such as AdSense.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
How time consuming it’d be! Running a blog, properly at least, requires a massive amount of time!Sure, it may only take between 30-120 minutes to write a post, but then you have to consider that you need to post at least several times per week consistently, work on promotion, deal with updates and technical issues, advertisers, research, tools/services, etc. I’ve been blogging since October 2005, and am just 11 posts away from my 1,000th blog post. That is a lot of time I have dedicated to my blog.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
To be honest, I do not frequent other blogs often. I just don’t have the time. Years ago I did, but now I just have too much on my plate (something I am currently working on addressing).
A recent website that popped up that I use is an affiliate marketing blog aggregator called Affposts.com. It features quality blogs in the affiliate marketing niche, and I subscribe to it on Twitter and have it bookmarked on my Blackberry. I will then frequent the blogs there based on any subject titles that pique my interest (another reason why writing a good title is so important!).
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
Windows Live Writer – I actually don’t use WordPress to write, edit, or publish my blog posts. Instead, I use the free blogging editor software Windows Live Writer (made by Microsoft). I always find formatting posts within WordPress to be a real pain which is why I started using WLW. In addition, WLW has a plethora of features and tools including: built-in image cropping and watermarking, spell-checking, auto-linking, word count, and tabs for easy view switching. WLW also works with a number of different blogging platforms including WordPress, Blogger, Live Journal, and TypePad to name a few.
AWeber – I’m sure you’ve heard of it already, but AWeber is an e-mail list management service that allows you to collect e-mail addresses from your visitors.
Popup Domination – A web script that overlays a lightbox sign-up form over your website in order to encourage visitors to sign up to your mailing list.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Be sure that you can and are willing to do this long-term. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been blogging since October 2005, and am just 11 posts away from my 1,000th blog post.Are you serious about starting a blog? It’s a big commitment – you will not be able to leave your blog without new content for weeks on end, for example. The vast majority of people start blogs, but they lose interest and stop posting frequently, and the blog inevitably dies.
I don’t want to scare anyone from starting a blog, but you just need to realize that this is an ongoing thing that you’re entering, and you will need to post frequently and consistently if you want your blog to succeed.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Hmm… nothing really comes to mind other than the simple fact that if you post high quality content on a frequent and consistent basis, your blog will succeed. Don’t worry about driving traffic, upgrading to the latest plugins and add-on’s, and definitely don’t worry about monetizing your blog. That will all fall into place on its own easily enough if you have the content. Too many people focus on trying to monetize their blog and engaging in traffic exchanges and whatnot. Ignore all that stuff. Just focus on the content, and the rest will follow.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
$7 for a domain name, $7/month for hosting, and $86 for a custom logo (crowd sourced). I’d then find a free theme or make my own, incorporating and building the theme around my logo, using its colors to build my brand. The nice thing about blogging is that is requires virtually no overhead. The only commodity required is time.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Thanks again Tyler for taking the time to share your advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.