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Meet the Bloggers

Meet Richard Marriott of Clambr.com

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With over a billion sites on the internet, they are all unique in their own way. Blogging is one of the most exciting areas to be in right now because you can create content based on whatever you like. Some of the best blogs out there today are ones that walk through the steps and process of finding success. New people are finding out about the power of the internet for marketing, business and much more and a blog is a great way for them to share their stories, document their learning process and also building a brand for themselves in the process.

This is exactly what Richard Marriott of Clambr.com did with his own blog — reading everything he could on SEO, then starting a resource site of his own. All of this and more in the latest interview in the Meet the Bloggers series.

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

Richard MarriottI didn’t even know what blogging was until I stumbled across Quick Sprout in the summer of 2012. Up until then I’d never even thought about making money online and was happy to just order a “Gong Bao Chicken” and watch prank videos on YouTube after the daily 9 to 5 grind. But Quick Sprout opened my eyes to a world I’d never dreamed was possible – and I wanted in.
One year later – after reading literally every guide on blogging and SEO under the sun – I launched my first blog in March 2013. It’s called clambr.com and it’s all about clambering up Google!

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

My first few posts were a mixture of jokes and weird ramblings. I had no idea what I was doing. The blog was supposed to document my clamber to wealth online but instead I was talking about fish balls.
But then…after stumbling across a guide written by Brian Dean and Neil Patel I found focus. I decided to concentrate on SEO case studies and my first case study would be about making my blog appear out of nowhere by doing an expert roundup on link building tools.
Loads of legends got involved, including Zac (much appreciated mate!) and clambr suddenly got on the map.

After that I continued to focus around the SEO / link building side of things and recently launched a couple of videos revealing how I build links.

Clambr Blog

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

The blog makes the bulk of its money from affiliate links in a couple of expert roundup posts and link building tutorial videos.
In the roundups I asked dozens of expert bloggers to reveal their favourite tools for link building and blog promotion. The result was two lists withthe top tools for success (like this one):
Top link building tools
I then added my affiliate links into the list of top tools, ranked the posts on Google and now consistently make commissions when anyone finds those posts and buys those tools.
But…this is not how I intend to continue making money from the blog. VERY soon I will be working on building a heavily engaged email list (more info on that below) and promoting products through that with high quality training.
I’ve been building lists in other niches and have found emailing to be the most profitable way of piling up the casheesh!

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

I wish I’d built my blogs upside down. As in…I wish I’d created content beneath the surface first – that only subscribers have access to – rather than creating the content that attracts traffic to the blog first.
Let me explain…
If you wanted to open a pizza restaurant would it make business sense to send flyers around town advertising your restaurant before you’ve even built it? Before you have any actual pizzas to give your customers? NO!
Instead you build the restaurant first and have everything ready to go before your very first customer steps in the door. You build the business first – then attract the customers.
This may sound obvious but believe me – SO many blogs are guilty of not doing this – myself included. In fact I’m blushing as I type this because currently clambr.com has no engaged mailing list.
That’s right. I focussed on getting traffic through the doors first. On being the next best thing. And I’m paying for it. Because there’s no business behind the site. There’s no more iceberg beneath the tip!
Sure, I make a few sales from cold traffic, but it’s not a business – it’s more like a lemonade stand set up by a bunch of kids on a hot summer’s day.
Anyway, I had this big “A-Ha” moment a few months ago when I was scratching my head wondering why the HELL none of my sites were really banking much, despite my ability to get lots of organic traffic like this:
Traffic Since Rebrand
So what’s the solution?
Create all your “membership” content and your sequence of 30~ emails BEFORE you even launch. I’m talking ebooks, video tutorials, private training, whatever it is you want to sell. Do all this before you even begin designing your blog!
Then, the very day you launch, you can be pretty certain that if you can get people to sign up – you can start making money – rather than spending weeks or months on trying to attract people to an empty pizza restaurant with nothing to sell them except a few cups of lemonade outside.
Since having this big “A-Ha” moment, I launched my first highly targeted email list a couple of weeks ago on a niche site of mine. There’s this one post on the site that gets an average of 1,500 of visitors each day so I found out what their main pain was and created a mini-course around solving that pain (exclusive to subscribers) with a product recommendation to go one step further.
That one blog post generates around 120 confirmed subscribers per day now and an average of $150 per day in commissions…
You can probably guess how much that post was making before I implemented this right?
Yup, zero dollars and zero cents 😉
So it just goes to show the POWER of a highly targeted list.

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

Backlinko – Brian Dean inspired me to do my first ever expert roundup post, walked me through the whole link building process and then featuredthe results of my roundup as a case study on his blog. He’s a legend and I wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance.
Selfmadebusinessman.com – This is a relatively new and fast growing blog by Dave Schneider. I love it because Dave packs it full of case studies all about getting traffic to your blog and increasing conversions. It’s kind of like a case study within a case study.
MatthewWoodward.co.uk – Matt is a master when it comes to SEO and his video tutorials blow everyone else’s out the water. If you want to learn how to build a heavily engaged audience and make a ton of money in the process, he’s the guy to follow.

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

I use SEMRush to find out what keywords bring in my competitors the most traffic…
Ahrefs to crawl all the backlinks pointing to my competitors’ sites…
And BuzzStream to reach out to people linking to those sites and land links on the same pages.
I don’t use any tools for social media because I find emailing people directly and nudging them to share my stuff gets all the shares I need.

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

Choose a niche where you can constantly recommend new products. Don’t choose a niche where one product solves ALL their problems.
Stop thinking about how you’re going to make the most dazzling, amazing, blow your socks off epic blog out there. In fact don’t think about YOU at all. Just think about your customers.
Step into their shoes. Become your ideal customer.
Work out what your ideal customer REALLY wants. Get to the bottom of their pains, their desires and the barriers that are preventing them from getting to where they want to be.
This cannot be guessed. It requires digging.
Forums are a great place to start. Just dig, dig, dig until you have a clear picture of your target audience, because once you know what they’re struggling with and what they really want, they’ll eat up your copy like a shoal of hungry piranhas!
And then simply show them step by step how to get to what they want and you will have them.

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

Get good at emailing people – I mean REAL good.
It’s literally all you need to do to get all the shares and links you desire.
If you’re worried about p*ssing people off simply use an alias! I go under many names…including Elena, Bonnie, Damon and Klaus (all characters from the Vampire Diaries which I’m embarrassed to admit I used to watch).
Pretty lame right? 😉

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

It’s funny because I actually started out with only $100.
Spend $10 on a domain name, $6/pm on hosting, $60 on the Genesis Framework, $19/pm on an auto responder service like Aweber and the remaining $5 on an ice cold beer!

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

Head on over to clambr.com and follow me on Twitter @clambr.
Thanks again Richard 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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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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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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