Blogging is a medium where everyone starts out on the same level and playing field. Once you get started with a blog of your own, you can determine your own success and value, based on the time, work, and effort that you put into it. This is true not only with blogging, but pretty much anything in life.
In our latest edition of Meet the Bloggers, today we are going to talk with Christopher Jan Benitez, who has not only found success in the world of blogging, he’s also done quite well with his freelance blogging, outreach and content marketing business as well. Learn more about Christopher and how you can apply his best tips and working methods into your own blogging brand or online business.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
I started out as a journalist covering the lifestyle section 11 years ago. I only lasted a couple of months there before I became a content writer for an outsourcing company. From there, I learned how blogging is more than just an online journal. However, before becoming a blogger, I jumped from one writing job to another. I finally broke loose as freelance writer/blogger four years ago and never looked back.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
My blog underwent many changes before I settled on writing about freelance writer, blogging, and content marketing. The gig economy opened people’s eyes to the potential of freelancing. I want to share information that I know regarding this matter so they can leave their 9-5 jobs and carve a freelancing career. Since I am a writer, I want to share my experiences over the years so they can build a better writing career.
I also want to delve deep into blogging and content marketing because both tactics helped me acquire lots of clients over the years. Instead of sending out cold emails and applying to job boards, highly targeted clients come running to my site asking for my services. Therefore, I concocted an inbound marketing strategy using both tactics that allows me to generate clients without lifting a finger. I plan to share all these techniques once I delve deeper with my blog.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
I regularly get orders from my freelance writing services. I primarily offer content writing and ghost-writing. I normally write about digital marketing (SEO, content marketing, social media, email marketing, etc.). I use Media.net in the hopes of generating more income. However, my blog doesn’t attract enough traffic to profit from it.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
I wish I knew the exact formula of launching a sustainable blog when I was younger. I would have held off the parties I went to back in the day so I can put a couple of months’ work on setting up the blog and building the content so I can earn passive income from the ads I’ve installed in the blog. However, I’m happy with the road I’ve traveled and I don’t have any regrets with how my professional career turned out.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
I wouldn’t say that I visit blogs daily. But below are bloggers that I look up to when it comes to publishing great content for their audience:
- Adam Connell – Blogging Wizard contains the best blogging resources online. Every post they publish is a must-read.
- Harsh Agrawal – I love ShoutMeLoud because of the sheer volume of content you can read there.
- Jerry Low – Web Hosting Secret Revealed is more than just a site about web hosting. Jerry covers everything related to digital marketing to help readers build a killer website that they can be proud of.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
I have used so many tools over the years, but below are what I feel are must-use tools for all bloggers:
- LongTailPro – Keyword research is the foundation of great content. With LongTailPro, you can research for hundreds and thousands of keywords that are easy to rank to help increase your blog’s traffic.
- Buzzsumo – Brainstorming content ideas won’t be a pain in the ass if you use this tool. It helps you find the best content related to your topic to replicate. Buzzsumo lets you conduct influencer marketing and link building as well.
- Grammarly Premium – My favorite blogging tool of all! Helps cut down your writing errors and makes the editing process seamless.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
You need to love blogging if you want to make it work.
I know people will say how easy blogging is and, to some extent, they’re not wrong. But if you want to succeed as a blogger, you need to tirelessly work on improving every facet of your blog.
It starts with putting lots of hours before you will see the rewards of your efforts. Aside from your chosen topic, you need to get comfortable with digital marketing as a whole. You are no longer just a writer but also a marketer as well because you want to drive more traffic to your site. Optimizing your site for search engines and sharing your content on social media are just some of the things you need to learn along the way. These tasks will put you out of your comfort zone but are necessary ones if you want to achieve success.
When I started out, I didn’t love SEO, email marketing, and social media. Now, I am passionate about optimizing my content and finding better ways to distribute them on different channels. I appreciate what blogging can do for me and I want to cultivate my love for it further by continuously growing my blog and sharing my knowledge about it.
I wouldn’t say I am already a successful blogging – far from it, in fact. What I’m saying is that my love for blogging helped me live a better and fuller life.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
The best advice I got is to use the best tools from the very beginning. When I started out, I settled using Blogger.com, which I personally found limiting and difficult to customize, on one of my sites. I chose the platform because I didn’t have to pay for a web host to install WordPress. However, choosing Blogger.com was a short-sighted move – it didn’t allow me to take advantage of my blog the way WordPress can. Even though it may cost a bit more to set up WordPress, it was all worth it and I didn’t look back since then.
In fact, it doesn’t have to be WordPress. If you’re comfortable with Blogger.com, then use that instead by all means. My point is that, blogging isn’t worth doing if you don’t do it right.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
Here’s a generally rough idea on how I will use the money:
- Pay for domain and hosting – I’d go with Namecheap since it’s one of the most affordable in the market. I’m looking for spend $20 for both.
- Buy Genesis Framework – StudioPress’ flagship theme is SEO-friendly, lightweight, and customizable enough to help me create an efficient website. $60 for the theme.
I’ll save most of the money for now and figure out how to spend it after I’ve scaled my blog’s performance using Google Analytics and Search Console. Before getting there, below are other things that I will personally do.
- Keyword research – Find keywords with the most search volume on Google Keyword Planner. Use Ubersuggest to help me unearth more keyword ideas if Google KP isn’t enough.
- Write content using chosen keywords – Best to write 2,000-word articles to maximize chances of getting to rank for your keyword. Also observe the best on-page SEO practices to get more love from search engines. Regarding this task, I could probably delegate this to a writer moving forward, but I’d rather do this for now until I’ve established my blog in the market.
- Choose a basic theme – I will choose from the free WordPress themes available for download on the dashboard. I can tweak them by downloading plugins or customizing them if necessary.
- Promote content – Share content on sites where my target audience is.
After a month, once all the content is published, I can determine what else I need to buy using the balance. For example, what are the pages that generate the most traffic? I can promote them on social media using ads and allot a $10-20 budget for this month to promote them. How I spend the remaining money ultimately depends on the data of the blog’s progress.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Readers can reach to me on the following sites
Thanks again Christopher for taking the time to share her 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.