One of the most exciting things about blogging is that you can literally run your business from anywhere and with just a few dollars in the process. Once you’ve created a blog, it’s up to you to put in the effort and create something special. That’s exactly why we are highlighting James Reynolds in this latest edition of Meet the Bloggers.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
A former semi-professional rugby player turned internet entrepreneur, I’m living and doing business in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I moved here almost 10 years ago to run a photography business and have stuck around since.
My current business is a search engine marketing company consisting of two agencies, SEO Sherpa and Click Jam. The two agencies provide organic search engine optimization services and Google Adwords management respectively. We currently have around 60 customers under management including the likes of HSBC bank, Nissan and Kotex.
I first got into blogging when I started my business back in 2010. I come from a family of creatives, my dad is an author, my mum is an art teacher and my sister is an English language graduate. I guess content creation has always been in my genes.
Having previously worked for a company that relied heavily on aggressive, offer driven outbound marketing, what appeals to me about blogging is that it enables you to market by actually selling less.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
My main blog is at veravo.com. I produce podcasts, infographics and blog posts mainly about website traffic techniques. Why? Because this is the discipline which benefits our business most. Our two agencies provide done-for-you traffic services.
If you were to ask me why I got into website traffic and SEO services, it would be because it’s binary. You either rank a client’s website on page one or you do not, you either hit 10,000 uniques a month or you do not. When I first started my consultancy we tried web design and social media and I hated those because the end result was always open to opinion.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
Through services. We have our SEO and PPC services promoted from a service page on the blog. Needless to say the number one referring site to our standalone agency websites is veravo.com.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
That it’s very difficult to build a substantial business doing affiliate marketing. As an affiliate you need large amounts of traffic and you never really own the customer. You can win life-long, high-value customers with far less traffic if you sell high priced services.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
I must admit I don’t spend much time on blogs other than my own because I want to be the person creating the content, not the one consuming it.
However, three blogs that I do enjoy and that consistently produce solid stuff are:
QuickSprout.com – Neil Patel
Backlinko.com – Brian Dean
CopyBlogger.com – Brian Clark
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
AHrefs – They recently added a tool to their suite called Content Explorer. I absolutely love Content Explorer because it allows you to quickly find the most shared and linked to content on your competitors websites and anywhere else on the web. Instead of guessing what content ‘might’ work, the tool enables you identify hot topics and formulas so you can produce content that’s far more likely to resonate with your audience and get shared.
Buffer – My favorite tool for Twitter management is Buffer. I love the simplicity of the tool and the feeds feature which streams content posted by my closest peers to their sites. I regularly share their own content, because by doing so they are likely to share mine.
Zapier – our content and social media posts are scheduled in a content calendar that lives inside a Google spreadsheet. Using a Buffer integration through Zapier, posts are created and scheduled inside Google Spreadsheets and post directly to social media when we need them to.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Post less, but better.
What I mean is blog less frequently, but when you do, make it the very best it can be. We are now in an era of content shock, where there is more content on the web than can be consumed. If you want your blog to stand out and get read, you need your content to be more in-depth and visually better than everything else in your market.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Content length matters.
The length of your content directly correlates to the likelihood of ranking in search engines and getting more shares via social media. Both users and the search engines perceive longer content to have more value.
Aim for blog posts of 1500 to 2500 words.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
I would spend $70 on the Genesis framework and a Premium WordPress theme and $29 on WP Engine hosting. Mistakes I see others making are trying to do bespoke design on a budget (good design doesn’t come cheap), and spoiling perfectly good themes by ‘customizing’ them.
I also watch many website owners scrimping over hosting by using $5 or $10 a month shared hosting plans. If you are serious about your business you want a hosting company that can protect your assets and give you the highest performance for your website. Slow load times are one of the biggest killers of search engine ranking and conversions.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Thanks again James 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.