Everyone finds their way into the world of blogging in one way or another. Some dive into the space to fuel the fire for their passions and what their hobbies are, while others start a blog with the end goal to make money. At the end of the day, blogging is what you want it to be and the more work you put in, the more you will get out of it. Another great thing about the world of blogging is that it’s a very tight niche and open community where others help new bloggers along the way, while also sharing their own blogging stories of how they got started. This is a similar story to Adam Connell’s, who accidently found himself in the world of blogging and is now featured in this latest Meet the Bloggers interview series.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
Hey, I’m Adam, I used to manage a marketing agency and I’m the founder of BloggingWizard.com.
I got into blogging by accident and it was something that I never thought I would ever do.
When I was at college, I started a non-profit record label to help promote my music and some friend’s music.
I started off trying to build a custom website in Dreamweaver; it was slow going and tedious.
After 2 different variations of the website, I decided to move to WordPress which made the process a lot easier. As I started to publish more and more releases, using the blogging element of WordPress made a lot of sense, so I changed things up and started blogging.
Within 6 months we had racked up over 100,000 downloads with a combination of blogging and other promotional tactics – this later turned into 2.5 million+ downloads.
A combination of the results I had with the record label and the inspiration from one of my university lecturers spurred me on to continue down this path.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
The focus of my blog is on blogging, it started off purely as an outlet to share what was working for me and my team at the marketing agency I used to run.
At the time my focus was more on SEO and there was (and still is) a lot of bad advice out there so I wanted to point people in the right direction.
Over the last year or so I shifted my focus towards more actionable blogging tactics – I noticed a lot of posts being published all about the kind of stuff bloggers should be doing but most of it wasn’t actionable and wouldn’t make much a difference to anyone.
There are plenty of great ideas but more often than not, it’s the implementation that people struggle with – that’s what I wanted to focus on helping other bloggers with.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
Right now I’m mostly monetizing by promoting affiliate products that solve key problems for bloggers.
Most of the products are ones I use myself or have used in the past.
I made the choice to hold off from offering services so I can focus more on producing more actionable content as well as working on courses and other products.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
There are a few different things:
Launch with a product ready to sell – I wish I had a product ready to sell before I launched my blog, it’s been on my list for a long time but because of other projects I have had to spend my time adding new content, rather than working on a product to sell.
Before launching a blog, it’s easy to underestimate how much time you will need to devote to it.
When I launched, I was also working 10-12 hours a day, 5 days a week managing a marketing agency. This left very little time to focus on the blog.
The downside is that I have lost out on almost 2 years of potential revenue but because of the work I’ve put on, I’m now in a position to focus on getting products rolled out.
Email should come before social media – There is a lot of hype around social media, and it’s understandable why. It’s a great promotional channel and it’s been an incredible tool for developing relationships with influential people.
But when I first started out, it seemed like all the social media guru’s thought you had to have like boxes, tweet widgets and every other social widget in your sidebar.
The truth is that you don’t.
And now having a large social media following isn’t as valuable as it once was.
Especially seeing how organic reach on Facebook has declined – now just reaching 5% of your followers can sometimes be a challenge.
Email isn’t as effective as it once was, but it’s still more effective at reaching your fans than social media.
It’s personal and it’s immediate.
By having my sidebar full of social media widgets I was just giving people an easy way of exiting my website – and when you think about it, you want to social media to drive traffic to your blog, not from it right?
Sure, you could send them over to Facebook to like your fan page, then you’ll have a 5% chance of them ever seeing your updates.
That’s why I have shifted my focus more towards email, although I still use social networks, I build my following mostly without the use of my blog. People can still find their way to my social accounts, but I now stick with basic social icons in my footer.
Done is better than perfect – I’m a perfectionist by nature, so I’m still working on this. But, I originally thought everything had to be perfect.
The reality is that while perfect would be awesome, it’s too easy to obsess over minor details. This slows down our progress.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
There aren’t 3 blogs that I visit every day, but I regularly visit:
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging? (search tools, keywords, content, social)
I use a lot of tools, but out of all of them, I find the following the most useful:
- SEMRush – Knowledge is power and knowing what keywords your competitors are ranking for is incredibly useful. SEMrush also has some other helpful features such as rank tracking, site auditing and more.
- LeadPages – I use LeadPages to create most of my landing pages, it’s easy to use and has some great features like LeadBoxes and asset delivery.
- OptinMonster – This has to be one of the most effective list building plugins available, it’s easy to use and allows you to add opt-in forms in all the important places on your blog.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
There are a few pieces of advice that come to mind:
- If you want to make money; make sure you have a good idea on how you’re going to make money – too many bloggers choose a niche only to find that they can’t make money.
- Have a goal and a plan for how you are going to get there. Consider which promotional channels will help you and which will be the most important to you – you need to prioritize them.
- Build your list from day one – whether you feel like the time isn’t right or not, start straight away otherwise you will be missing opportunities. And forget Feedburner, choose a proper email marketing tool like GetResponse or MailChimp.
- Start guest posting early on – identify the big sites in your niche (or related to your niche) and pitch them an idea for a post. Make sure it’s your best stuff though. If you pick the right sites you’ll get a huge head start and increase your visibility.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things – testing to find what works is a necessity, don’t just drop a tactic you’ve read about because you tried it once and it doesn’t work. Focus on figuring out why it doesn’t work and how you can make it work.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
The best advice I’ve found is simple but effective: Test to find what works.
Reading other people’s advice is all well and good; you could learn a thing or two. You could potentially be getting bad advice too (most blogging advice is wrong).
Ultimately it’s up to you to take the advice, apply it and get it to work.
Never be afraid to do your own experiments – you’ll learn a lot and it’ll give you an edge over other bloggers in your niche.
Remember that what works in one niche, doesn’t always work in another – test, tweak, refine, and repeat.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
I’d spend the money on two things:
- A premium WordPress theme that looks really smart and professional – design matters and better designs will raise eye-brows.
- Decent web hosting – if your web host is slow, your blog will crash and burn before it’s even got off the ground. Loading times are important.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you? (social/blog urls)
Or head over to BloggingWizard.com (that’s the best place to catch me).
Thanks again Adam 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.