One of the most exciting things about blogging is the actual journey and story behind many of the blogs we know and read today. Blogging has been around for over a decade now and it’s drastically changed the landscape of the internet, how people build businesses and brands, while also inspiring others around us as well.
The same can be said for Marcus, who was running his own indie record label and then found himself in the world of blogging — everything after that was history!
Learn more about Marcus and his blogging journey in this latest edition of Meet the Bloggers.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
Hi Zac, first of all thanks for having me as a guest here.
I first got into blogging about seven years ago when I was still working in the music industry. I was running an indie record label at the time and I heard that blogging was an effective way to build an audience for an artist. I became so fascinated by blogging and digital marketing that I shut my label down and spent three years learning as much as I could at a digital marketing agency.
These days, I run my own digital marketing studio called Venture Harbour, which owns a portfolio of online businesses, as well as offering consulting services.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
I have a few different blogs, but the main one has to be the Venture Harbour blog, which focuses on various aspects of digital marketing and growing online businesses. Despite there being no shortage of online marketing blogs, I find it’s a good way for me to think out loud, keep in touch with other marketers, and also drive leads to our consulting services.
The other blogs that I actively contribute to include a luxury lifestyle blog called Qosy, WhatisMyComfortZone.com, and most recently, BrokerNotes. They’re all very different which helps me keep an open mind and learn about new things.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
I’ve tested virtually every monetization method imaginable. In short, what works for one blog may not work for another.
On Venture Harbour, for example, the monetization is through lead generation. By helping people solve problems and learn about digital marketing, we occasionally receive leads that turn into paying customers.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
Blogging is a long-game. While there are cases of blogs reaching 7-figure audiences within 12 months, in my experience it’s almost always a multi-year adventure of peaks and plateaus. The plateaus can be frustrating to work through, but you just need to remember that providing you’re creating exceptional content and promoting it well, you’ll soon see another peak.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
While I don’t visit them daily, my favorite blogs are Sivers.org (Derek Sivers’ blog), ConversionXL (Peep Laja’s blog on conversion optimisation), and Food Matters (a great Australian blog on health & nutrition).
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
I’m sure most readers will be aware of the mainstream tools I use, so I’ll share a few less-known ones that I really like. The first is Sniply, which allows you to overlay a link back to your site when you share someone else’s content on social sites. The second is Buzzsumo, which is a really powerful tool for finding the most shared content on your competitor’s sites. The final tool is SiteLiner.com, which is a really good tool for checking on-site optimization issues.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Be very specific in choosing your niche. It’s extremely difficult nowadays to gain authority as a travel, yoga, or recipe blogger. If you want to build a successful blog out of those niches, you’ll probably need to choose a niche within a niche, like Vietnam travel, ashtanga yoga, or raw food dessert recipes.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
One of the most helpful concepts I’ve come across is the aggregation of marginal gains. This method helped Dave Brailsford coach the British cycling team to win the Tour De France. In essence, it suggests that if you make 100 decisions to improve some aspect about what you’re doing (blogging) by 1%, they will compound together to create exponential growth. When you create a blog, there are so many things you can work on (writing new content, SEO, design, social, email marketing) that it can be overwhelming. If you commit to improving at least one thing by 1% every day, you’ll set yourself on a good path for exponentially growing your traffic and revenue.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
Presuming that I’d already validated that the niche I was entering was profitable, I think I’d spend about $30 setting up a hosting account with a decent web hosting provider like Media Temple, and then the remaining $70 on a robust, fast, responsive and beautiful WordPress theme.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
My blog can be found at https://www.ventureharbour.
Thanks again to Marcus 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.