Meet Paul Shapiro of SearchWilderness.com

Blogging has always been a great way for online marketing experts and professionals to build a voice for themselves while also showing off their expertise and passions. The same holds true for Paul Shapiro, who is a professional SEO, but also covers all aspects of online marketing. Paul’s blog is also a perfect example of quality content with a minimalistic design approach, and also makes him the perfect choice for this latest edition of Meet the Bloggers.

1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?

Paul Shapiro I’m a professional SEO but I concern myself with all of digital marketing, blogging included.
I’m an SEO Director at Catalyst in Boston. I write on my blog, Search Wilderness, and run a Reddit SEO Community.
I started blogging, I believe in my senior year of college at Rutgers, just before starting to look for jobs. That was the original motivation behind my blogging, getting hired in a difficult economy. I will still recommend this as a must do for any recent or impending graduates. You need to find your way to stand out, blogging is one such way.

2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?

The focus of my blog is Digital Marketing, SEO, and Social Media; Specifically, Social-SEO, Technical SEO, and data analysis. It wasn’t always that way though. I originally started out writing about social media and technology, a much broader topic. As I advanced in my career, I started focusing my writing on it. I write where I have expertise, where my opinions are most valid, and where I can make the most impact.
It’s always been very important to myself that I think for myself and innovate and not rely too heavily on the thoughts of my predecessors. I try writing about digital marketing in new and exciting ways, discussing ideas and concepts that people haven’t addressed before. I’m constantly are on the prowl for new ideas. In fact, I keep an active Trello board (recommended tool) for ideas. I divide it into 4 categories: Ideas (I dump most into this category), Good Ideas (If an idea still seems good later on, I move it into this category), Done (for the ideas I ended up writing about), and Scrapped (where I throw away ideas that seemed good in the moment but didn’t live up to my standards).

3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?

I don’t try and monetize my blog at all. I have tried in the past, but after very little time spent, I decided it wasn’t for me. The goal of my blog isn’t to make money, directly. The goal of my blog is to increase my industry authority, to build my personal brand. Loading my site up with ads isn’t the way to do that. This also isn’t to say that I don’t make money from my blog. As more and more people know who I am and respect my opinion, I get business leads and I get industry recognition which leads to other paid opportunities and jobs.
I do collect email addresses for my newsletter, a new endeavor for me, but the goal is to just establish a more loyal following. I’m not using it to directly monetize my blog with silly affiliate links.
SearchWilderness

4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?

I gave this advice in a recent post of mine on OkDork about publishing on LinkedIn (http://okdork.com/2014/09/09/linkedin-publishing-success/), but it also applies to your personal blog. Spend 20% of your time writing and 80% promoting! It will get you the most bang for your buck!

5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?

So, I actually read other blogs, lots of blogs, like a mad man. I still actively use RSS. If you’re interested in the blogs I follow, I’ve make my Feedly OPML file available. You can import it into your RSS Reader of choice and read what I read 🙂
If RSS isn’t for you and you’re looking to stay current, check out /r/BigSEO, Inbound.org, GrowthHackers.com, and News.YCombinator.com. These sites do a pretty awesome job of aggregating the hottest reads.
If I was FORCED to do a top 3 (nor particular order): Moz.com, Backlinko.com, and either BlindFiveYearOld.com or Seo-Theory.com. There’s so much more that you really should be reading daily though and I wouldn’t confine myself to these.

6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?

This is tough. I actually use a lot of tools. I’ll do two-sets for this one.
Fist set: For content ideation, I’ve been using a combination of Faqfox.com, BuzzSumo.com, and WikiGrabber.com.
Miscellaneous second set:
I really dig Noah Kagan’s free Sumo.com tool set for collecting email addresses. For some reason, I just get a better conversion rate from it than some of the other similar services I’ve tried.
GetSidekick.com for any outreach you’re doing.
R-project.org, for data analysis.
Your readers are free to reach out to me further for any other suggestions. I have plenty.

7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?

Don’t fixate too much on your design or getting your blog set-up perfectly how you want it at first. It’s more important to just start and write. I’ve found, especially when talking to to others, that there is just this large mental barrier to overcome when getting started. It disappears once you’ve written your first post. Write that initial post and then tweak things.

8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?

Many people will tell you to blog regularly or on a particular schedule. I say that’s BS. Blog however often you want, but when you do, make it good. Quality will always trump quantity in today’s landscape.

9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?

After scoring some hosting and a domain name, write a couple pieces of some nice content using Brian Dean’s Skyscraper technique, and throw the rest into a giveaway or two in order to build your email list. Alternatively, you can put it towards developing a tool and hiring a developer on elance (if you can’t swing it yourself) and then promote it in conjunction with your blog.

10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?

I’m super easy to get a hold of. You can use the contact form on my blog to email me or via their social network of choice. I’m @fighto on Twitter (https://twitter.com/fighto). I’m big into Twitter.

Thanks again Paul 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.

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Disclosure: In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that the site owner is benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website. This is not to say that is the case with all content, as all publications on the site are original and written to provide value and references to our audience.

4 Comments

  1. Justin September 27, 2014
  2. Ryan Biddulph September 27, 2014
    • Paul Shapiro September 29, 2014
  3. I. C. Daniel October 4, 2014