Blogging has been an outlet for many blue collar workers and entrepreneurs to find new outlets and ways to expand their careers or even become their own boss. What starts out as a simple blog can grow into so much more when you put the time and effort into it. A perfect example of this can be seen through our “Meet the Bloggers” interview with Rob Cubbon.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
I’m pretty much unemployable. I used to bum around London doing freelance gigs as a print formatting dogsbody.
It just so happened that a friend at work advised me to set up WordPress on my new static HTML site. I did so just to keep him quiet more than anything else. This was 2005 and I’m eternally grateful to this person.
Even then, it took me another year to realize just how powerful blogging is to the individual. So it was mid-2006 when I realized my fledgeling blog was getting much more traffic than my static HTML portfolio pages were. The penny finally dropped. I continued to blog about specific areas of my industry and soon I started getting contacted for work that I could do at home.
I have been working from home for at least four or five years now running my own business doing web and graphic design for clients and earning passive income from the blog.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
The beauty of using my name as my domain means that I can change the focus of my blog as the years go by. I wouldn’t advise anyone to do this suddenly or regularly but I started off as a print graphic designer and moved into web design and so my focus of my blog has morphed with my interests.
I think it’s unreasonable for Google to assume that people are going to be interested in the same area for the whole of their life. Luckily, I’ve been able to move the blog subtly towards areas that interest me.
Now I’m trying to change from blogging about getting web design clients to blogging about how web and graphic designers can earn more passive income. This is what interests me at the moment.
The purpose of the blog has changed as well. Originally it was about getting graphic and web design clients to contact me. Now it’s more of a brand building exercise to increase my authority online.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
Every three months I inform my visitors on how much money I’ve made passively through the blog. I made over $7000 last year and this year it will be more.
Advertising (whether it’s AdSense, paid ads or ads on YouTube videos) has been extremely disappointing. I’ve made more money by being an affiliate of quality products such as premium WordPress plug-ins and themes and hosting packages.
However recently I’ve been much more successful with my products. Firstly I was selling e-books from my site. Now I am concentrating more on video courses through Udemy and other online learning platforms. I have also just branched out into Kindle books.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
To never underestimate the power of blogging. And to keep going.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
I don’t visit any blogs daily. But I am constantly reading blogs and always on the lookout for a great new material.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
No. Because there is no tool that is going to help you learn how to blog better than blogging will.
Never having blogged before is no excuse to not start blogging. The world’s greatest bloggers didn’t use any tools or services. They just started blogging. Then, once you’ve started, you will learn what works and what doesn’t work.
The only tool that has been useful for me has been Google Analytics. Google Analytics will show you which blog posts are being visited the most and, to a certain extent, what keywords visitors are using to find you. You should make your decisions about future content based on this indispensable information. Other than that, it’s obvious what works and what doesn’t work – you’ll get the most comments on the blog posts that resonate the most in the blogosphere.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
It’s really simple. You should blog about what you know about. Don’t blog about something you don’t have direct experience of. Some people fall into the trap of regurgitating advice from other experts. This advice may be correct but, if you don’t personally know it to be true, your words will be hollow and no one will trust your authority.
The problem is people don’t have the confidence in themselves to believe that they are an expert at something and have something to offer. I understand because I lack confidence myself.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Same as above. Don’t be seduced into rehashing other peoples opinions – it’s the road to ruin. Trust yourself, your experience and your advice. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Somebody disagreeing with you? That’s a good thing for a blogger, it means someone’s reading your stuff!
Keep on posting to your blog and keep on posting to the main social networks. It sounds like a lot of work but you’ll develop a way of doing it systematically.
Other than that my advice is: You can do it! You can be successful! Keep on going! Don’t give up! And, most importantly, make sure you enjoy it!
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
Getting a good, fast host is really important. So spend it on a host and don’t be afraid to move hosts if you’re not happy with the site’s speed or the host’s support.
I’m a Genesis fan so, if you can spare the money, you could spend $60 on the Genesis framework and use the Sample Child Theme.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
The best thing is to google “Rob Cubbon”.
Thanks again Rob 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.