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Meet the Bloggers

Meet Adam Connell of BloggingWizard.com

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Everyone finds their way into the world of blogging in one way or another. Some dive into the space to fuel the fire for their passions and what their hobbies are, while others start a blog with the end goal to make money. At the end of the day, blogging is what you want it to be and the more work you put in, the more you will get out of it. Another great thing about the world of blogging is that it’s a very tight niche and open community where others help new bloggers along the way, while also sharing their own blogging stories of how they got started. This is a similar story to Adam Connell’s, who accidently found himself in the world of blogging and is now featured in this latest Meet the Bloggers interview series.

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

Adam-Connell-Blogging-WizardHey, I’m Adam, I used to manage a marketing agency and I’m the founder of BloggingWizard.com.

I got into blogging by accident and it was something that I never thought I would ever do.

When I was at college, I started a non-profit record label to help promote my music and some friend’s music.

I started off trying to build a custom website in Dreamweaver; it was slow going and tedious.

After 2 different variations of the website, I decided to move to WordPress which made the process a lot easier. As I started to publish more and more releases, using the blogging element of WordPress made a lot of sense, so I changed things up and started blogging.

Within 6 months we had racked up over 100,000 downloads with a combination of blogging and other promotional tactics – this later turned into 2.5 million+ downloads.

A combination of the results I had with the record label and the inspiration from one of my university lecturers spurred me on to continue down this path.

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

The focus of my blog is on blogging, it started off purely as an outlet to share what was working for me and my team at the marketing agency I used to run.

At the time my focus was more on SEO and there was (and still is) a lot of bad advice out there so I wanted to point people in the right direction.

Over the last year or so I shifted my focus towards more actionable blogging tactics – I noticed a lot of posts being published all about the kind of stuff bloggers should be doing but most of it wasn’t actionable and wouldn’t make much a difference to anyone.

There are plenty of great ideas but more often than not, it’s the implementation that people struggle with – that’s what I wanted to focus on helping other bloggers with.

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

Right now I’m mostly monetizing by promoting affiliate products that solve key problems for bloggers.

Most of the products are ones I use myself or have used in the past.

I made the choice to hold off from offering services so I can focus more on producing more actionable content as well as working on courses and other products.

BloggingWizard

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

There are a few different things:

Launch with a product ready to sell – I wish I had a product ready to sell before I launched my blog, it’s been on my list for a long time but because of other projects I have had to spend my time adding new content, rather than working on a product to sell.

Before launching a blog, it’s easy to underestimate how much time you will need to devote to it.

When I launched, I was also working 10-12 hours a day, 5 days a week managing a marketing agency. This left very little time to focus on the blog.

The downside is that I have lost out on almost 2 years of potential revenue but because of the work I’ve put on, I’m now in a position to focus on getting products rolled out.

Email should come before social media – There is a lot of hype around social media, and it’s understandable why. It’s a great promotional channel and it’s been an incredible tool for developing relationships with influential people.

But when I first started out, it seemed like all the social media guru’s thought you had to have like boxes, tweet widgets and every other social widget in your sidebar.

The truth is that you don’t.

And now having a large social media following isn’t as valuable as it once was.

Especially seeing how organic reach on Facebook has declined – now just reaching 5% of your followers can sometimes be a challenge.

Email isn’t as effective as it once was, but it’s still more effective at reaching your fans than social media.

It’s personal and it’s immediate.

By having my sidebar full of social media widgets I was just giving people an easy way of exiting my website – and when you think about it, you want to social media to drive traffic to your blog, not from it right?

Sure, you could send them over to Facebook to like your fan page, then you’ll have a 5% chance of them ever seeing your updates.

That’s why I have shifted my focus more towards email, although I still use social networks, I build my following mostly without the use of my blog. People can still find their way to my social accounts, but I now stick with basic social icons in my footer.

Done is better than perfect – I’m a perfectionist by nature, so I’m still working on this. But, I originally thought everything had to be perfect.

The reality is that while perfect would be awesome, it’s too easy to obsess over minor details. This slows down our progress.

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

There aren’t 3 blogs that I visit every day, but I regularly visit:

6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging? (search tools, keywords, content, social)

I use a lot of tools, but out of all of them, I find the following the most useful:

  • SEMRush – Knowledge is power and knowing what keywords your competitors are ranking for is incredibly useful. SEMrush also has some other helpful features such as rank tracking, site auditing and more.
  • LeadPages – I use LeadPages to create most of my landing pages, it’s easy to use and has some great features like LeadBoxes and asset delivery.
  • OptinMonster – This has to be one of the most effective list building plugins available, it’s easy to use and allows you to add opt-in forms in all the important places on your blog.

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

There are a few pieces of advice that come to mind:

  • If you want to make money; make sure you have a good idea on how you’re going to make money – too many bloggers choose a niche only to find that they can’t make money.
  • Have a goal and a plan for how you are going to get there. Consider which promotional channels will help you and which will be the most important to you – you need to prioritize them.
  • Build your list from day one – whether you feel like the time isn’t right or not, start straight away otherwise you will be missing opportunities. And forget Feedburner, choose a proper email marketing tool like GetResponse or MailChimp.
  • Start guest posting early on – identify the big sites in your niche (or related to your niche) and pitch them an idea for a post. Make sure it’s your best stuff though. If you pick the right sites you’ll get a huge head start and increase your visibility.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things – testing to find what works is a necessity, don’t just drop a tactic you’ve read about because you tried it once and it doesn’t work. Focus on figuring out why it doesn’t work and how you can make it work.

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

The best advice I’ve found is simple but effective: Test to find what works.

Reading other people’s advice is all well and good; you could learn a thing or two. You could potentially be getting bad advice too (most blogging advice is wrong).

Ultimately it’s up to you to take the advice, apply it and get it to work.

Never be afraid to do your own experiments – you’ll learn a lot and it’ll give you an edge over other bloggers in your niche.

Remember that what works in one niche, doesn’t always work in another – test, tweak, refine, and repeat.

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

I’d spend the money on two things:

  • A premium WordPress theme that looks really smart and professional – design matters and better designs will raise eye-brows.
  • Decent web hosting – if your web host is slow, your blog will crash and burn before it’s even got off the ground. Loading times are important.

10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you? (social/blog urls)

You can find me over on Twitter or Google+.

Or head over to BloggingWizard.com (that’s the best place to catch me).

 

Thanks again Adam 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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Meet the Bloggers

Meet Karen D’Avino of KarenDavino.com

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Blogging is one of the most exciting ways to create content on the internet and engage with others around the world at the same time. In addition to creating your own content and building your own little spot on the internet, blogging can be quite a resourceful tool for educators, teachers, schools, and even principles or superintendents. As always, when profiling new bloggers and experts in our Meet the Bloggers series, we are looking to cater to all niche markets and areas of the internet.

With all of this in mind, today we have an exciting guest — Karen D’Avino, who is the superintendent of schools and has taken her expertise and talent for this industry to the internet while helping to provide others with the necessary resources and tools to further improve their schools as well.

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

My name is Karen D’Avino. I am an educator with over twenty years of experience in the New Jersey public schools. I most recently served as Superintendent of Schools in the Barnegat Township School District. As an educator always looking to remain abreast of current practices and striving for academic excellence for students and staff, I became engaged with educators online. I was selected to become part of the Compelled Tribe based on my contributions to education.

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

The focus of my blog is on educational improvement. My administrative career has been dedicated to the improvement of schools, education, and both student and teacher performance. The subjects on my blog range from dealing with adversity to behavior management skills.

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

While many other websites and blogs like to post advertisements on their site, I’m simply trying to create a platform where I can provide the best resources and tools possible. Through my personal blog at KarenDavino.com, you will find that my content is dedicated to in district support where parties interested can contact me for consulting work.

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

I began using the blogging portion of WordPress before I created my own webpage. My page is also on Word Press but I wish I knew more about building web pages prior to blogging. I also know more about SEO’s and how online searches work. I wish I knew more about that before I began blogging.

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

http://www.thecompellededucator.com/
https://allysonapsey.com/
https://fouroclockfaculty.com/

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

Most times I use blogging to provide educational support for a variety of challenges that may occur in schools. Through blogging, I have been able to address many topics of concern for teachers but mostly for administrators. I have addressed various funding challenges that school administrators might find in the day to day operations of schools. I have blogged about teaching and learning strategies to implement in the classroom and I have blogged about working with challenging students.

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

Blogging is something I just kind of fell into, but also something that has been quite beneficial and amazing in the process. My best advice for anyone looking to start a blog of their own, is to focus on their passion and see how they can provide value to others. Through my blog I have been able to share some great stories, my expertise, and also help others who are in the same educational environment as I am.

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

Creating content can be a challenge if you do not focus on a few topics. The internet has lots of information and deciding what your niche is will be important to gain and retain constant readers. I would also recommend that anyone in the education space focus some time on connecting with others in education and teacher forums or social groups online. With so many teachers already online, there are some amazing resources available when you put in the time and effort to find and connect with others.

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

I would research the content areas in education where there is a need for information and focus my energies on creating a blog, supportive website, and possible member services. Anyone can get started with a blog of their own, even if they are a teacher or working with a small budget. If you have the time and money, I would invest in a domain, hosting, and maybe a custom logo design or WordPress them to stand out from the crowd.

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

My blog can be found at http://karendavino.com/
You can also see one of my latest radio interviews here.
Also feel free to follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks again Karen D’Avino 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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Blogging

Meet Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch.com and Docsketch.com

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Many entrepreneurs have dipped their toes into blogging but not many have gone far. A lot of factors may have played in failure. Perhaps the lack of courage, determination, persistence? There are also instances wherein a venture is progressing but suddenly plateaus in growth. This is often the result of complacency. Successful business owners can attest that facing challenges head-on have led them to great accomplishments and the total lack thereof can do more harm than good.

For Ruben Gamez, he didn’t even have to wait for the challenge to come. He got into blogging by getting out of his comfort zone and challenging himself. Today, he continues to excel as an entrepreneur by constantly finding ways on how to improve his tactic. Learn more about Ruben in this week’s episode of Meet the Bloggers.

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

Ruben Gamez

I started blogging as a marketing experiment and to prove to myself that I would be able to sell my first product. At the time I was working a full time job and had an idea for a software product, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to bring in enough traffic to make the idea viable.

By this point I had read enough about marketing to realize that blogging was a great way to bring in qualified traffic. I quickly did some keyword research and found a topic that I could write on, and published a post (one week later).

The goal was to see if I could actually bring in traffic, and how long it would take for that traffic to start coming in. After two weeks I started getting traffic to that post (through Google)! I was hooked on content marketing at that point.

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

Initially we started with a very narrow focus of writing about proposals for designers. That’s because at the time, our product was very niche and that was our target audience.

For example, one of the better performing posts we had at the time, was literally titled “How to Write a Web Design Proposal,” which still performs well for us. As you can imagine, there’s only so much of that type of content you can write for a specific niche.

I quickly realized that it was too narrow and eventually expanded to blogging about helping freelancers, agencies, and consultants land more clients.

We went in this direction after talking to enough customers and seeing what interests they had, and what type of content they liked.

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

We have an online software product called Docsketch. So the main way that we monetize our blog is by converting a portion of readers into customers.

It tends to be a longer process because instead of pushing visitors directly into a trial of our product, we work to get them into a drip campaign. From there we can better educate them and build trust. Eventually, some people give Docsketch a try and become customers.

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

Great question. I wish I knew enough to focus on the right type of content, and not pick topics by guessing what would appeal to our audience. Nowadays, we’re a lot better about picking our topics.

For example, one approach, is to start by focusing on a larger category and growing that through individual pieces of content. We’re actually doing that right now, with a “contract templates” section on our site: https://www.docsketch.com/contract-templates/

Based on researching what our target customer is looking for, we are expanding that page with individual pieces of content that can also bring in traffic (like a specific type of contract template). This helps in that you can slowly build authority in a very large category, and the individual contract templates will inherit that authority.

Another approach we take is using tools like Hotjar to run microsurveys so we can ask visitors that aren’t on our email list, what we should write about. We even do phone interviews with some of these visitors (and offer them an Amazon gift card for 15 minutes of their time).

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

Well, I’ll give two blogs because I’m having a tough time thinking of three.

My current favorites:

  1. The Sumo.com blog which focuses on growth stories (so good):
  2. The James Clear blog which focuses on personal improvement through fitness, psychology, and more.

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

  1. Hotjar for microsurveys, visitor recordings, etc
  2. Sumo.com for email collection of all types
  3. Moz for traffic, keywords, and more

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

Look at the top five blogs that you love to read, and deconstruct them. Work backwards. Why do you like them so much?

Don’t look at the specifics of how they’re doing things (images, content length, etc.), instead look at how their positioning hooks you, or how their topic choice gets you coming back. Look at the high level things that make a big difference.

From there, spend some time brainstorming how you can use some of what you’ve learned on your own blog. Then, spend lots of time researching, writing, and promoting 🙂

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

I think the best advice I’ve heard (and that I still try to internalize) came from Derek Halpern. Spend 20% of your time writing, and 80% promoting. That doesn’t mean write for 30 minutes and promote a weak piece of content. That means, that whatever time it takes to write a very high quality piece of content, spend 4x that long promoting it.

One interesting side effect is that you start looking at whether the topics you’re writing about are worth that type of promotion time.

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

I’d use part of it on Sumo.com tool to help me collect leads, the rest on hosting. After that, it’s really just my time on research, writing, and promoting.

The most valuable things that need to be done on a blog don’t cost money. They do involve you investing some time doing them though.

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

My personal twitter and our product.

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Blogger

Meet Daniel Cowen-Rivers of TravelWeekli.com

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Blogging can lead you to many opportunities. All established bloggers now have been through the phase of being a new comers. They have experimented one way or another along the process. Trying different things out does help in determining your own style and strategy.

We’ve interviewed bloggers covering various niches in Meet the Bloggers. For this episode, we’d like to introduce Daniel Cowen-Rivers. He’s a budding travel blogger. Read on to know more about his journey across the globe and a

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

Daniel Cowen-Rivers

I am a budding travel blogger who travels the world and shares my experiences and travel expertise via social media and through my blog. I got into blogging as I wanted to share my traveling tips and photos with others to make them travel more before global warming destroys the world.

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

I chose traveling to share my love of seeing the world and different country’s way of living. I also wanted more people to find out about the world we live in.

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

AdSense. I have a few paid ads but not that many as I am still new to the game. I’ve started blogging since February of 2017.

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

I did not know about DA and SEO that I know now is very important in order to get sponsored post.

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

The blogs are:

  1. Backpack With Me
  2. Bradley Bow
  3. Hand Luggage Only

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

The three services that I recommended using to help your blog are:

  1. Yoast  A blog in called SEO by Yoast. This makes optimizing my blog post easier to rank higher on Google search.
  2. OneNote – I’m constantly making notes for future articles. As I always have random moments where I’m going by my day and I just randomly have an idea for a blog article. I always carry my phone to write the note in OneNote.
  3. MailMunch is a plugin for WordPress that comes with email subscription templates that you can place in certain parts of your blog and I made mine as a popup.

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

Pick a niche category that you want your blog to be about. As well as this, one of the most important advice I have is one that you need to know when starting out, is how to improve your SEO and DA.

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

Just keep blogging! After a few months, I only got a few readers per day and I’ve thought to quit then. However, I’ve read that it takes people years to get enough readers to be a full time blogger. Just keep blogging and don’t stop.

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

I would use the money to gain more Facebook likes on my Facebook page that in turn will convert readers for my blog. This will be done by advertising the page and blog on Facebook.

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

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