If you want to be a successful blogger, they you are going to not only need to know how to write… but most likely enjoy it as well. Writers can do pretty well for themselves in the world of the internet and technology today! Everyone needs new content and well written content isn’t cheap. This is something that Ali knows all too well, and she tells her story in this latest installment of Meet the Bloggers.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
I’m Ali Luke, and I got interested in blogging in 2007, when I was working full time in IT. (I’d had a blog or two before then, but they were very much the “personal diary” type of blogs.) I launched my first “pro” style blog at the start of 2008, and started freelancing for much larger blogs too. After six months, I quit my day job to make a living blogging and to study a creative writing MA.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
My blog Aliventures is about the art, craft and business of writing. It took me a while to settle on this niche! My first blog was about healthy living for office workers, and my second was about success as a student. When I started blogging at Aliventures.com, I was focusing on personal development, but shifted to make the blog abotu writing instead.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
Mainly through products: ebooks (The Blogger’s Guides), and my teaching / community site, Writers’ Huddle. I’ve used a lot of different monetization methods in the past, though, and if you’d like to know a bit more about them, I’ve listed them all in How I Make My Living as an Online Writer (my most popular post).
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
I wish I’d known that you need to choose a niche you can see yourself learning and writing about for years and years to come, not one that reflects a passing interest or that you think is going to be easy to monetize.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
I read quite a few blogs, but my current must-reads are:
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
a) WordPress.org, which I use for all my websites.
b) Aweber, which I use for my email lists.
c) Buffer, which is great for scheduling social media updates in advance.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Figure out who you’re writing for, and if you can, focus on a single individual. You might want to have someone real in mind (perhaps a friend who you’re mentoring), or come up with an “avatar” to represent your audience.
Beyond that, take things a step at a time, and don’t be afraid of the technology. There are tons of tutorials on every aspect of blogging — including videos — and a lot of tasks that sound like they could be tricky, like using widgets, are really straightforward.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Build an email list by offering a free incentive. My subscription rate increased dramatically when I launched my first free ebook. And an email list is a brilliant way to reach people — I get much higher conversion rates from my email list than from my blog (and both of those beat social media hands-down).
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
I’d buy a .com domain name and a premium WordPress theme (I like Thesis from DIYThemes, but you might want something a bit more “out of the box” if you’re new to blogging).
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Thanks again Ali 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.