Dave has been blogging for 2 years. He started with a travel blog acoupletravelers.com and later moved into the business niche creating SelfMadeBusinessman.com. Even though he operates a network of websites which all together bring in enough to support his lifestyle, he focuses much of his attention on acoupletravelers.com which is the most successful blog within his network.
Now, let’s get into the real in-depth questions…
Q1 – How long you have been blogging? (Possible Year)
I’ve been blogging for about two years. I started with my travel blog acoupletravelers.com and recently have added a business blog called SelfMadeBusinessman.com. I also have a network of sites that I run but they are not sites I blog on.
Q2 – What blog or site is your main source of income? So, what is the main focus of that blog?
My income comes from a variety of websites in the travel niche. I guess you would say ACoupleTravelers brings in the most.
Q3 – How much do you make online (average) from your blog a month?
I don’t make any money on SelfMadeBusinessman.com. I make a few grand a month on ACoupleTravelers.com. The other sites I run tend to bring in several grand as well. In my record month we made about $20k in profit, however, in the last few months business has been much slower.
Q4 – Starting out online can be very difficult and you’ll face many hurdles. What was the biggest challenge you faced when you started out? How did you overcome this hurdle and do you think if people are facing this problem today that they can still use the same strategy to overcome their challenge?
I think staying patient is difficult, but it’s necessary. There are few overnight success stories, and the ones that are usually involved months of planning and research to get them where they are. Working online is not like starting a job. You don’t start making X salary a year from day one as part of your contract.
There are no guarantees.
However, it can also entail explosive growth – that is the trade off. At the beginning of last year I was making $3k a month. By the end I was making nearly $20k. The first is not a great salary, the second a more than great salary. Nobody is going to make that leap in a traditional job. It takes patience to get there, and, depending on how you go about it, it can be quite easily lost.
Q5 – These days it’s very hard to find things to write about and create new content? What would you say is the best strategy you have used to create awesome content? What would you recommend new bloggers do if they suffer from writers block?
You have to research the topic that you are writing on. Nowadays there is a lot of the same cookie-cutter content that people have read many times before. 5 Ways To Build Your Twitter Traffic isn’t going to cut it. People want data. They want case studies. They want statistics. I try to bring that to each article
I write to make it fresh for the readers, such as in my recent post Advanced Twitter Strategies For Businesses.
Q6 – Experience and time does teach you many things. What do you wish you knew back then when starting out that you now know has helped your blog grow and become successful? If you can give us your Top 3-4 valuable lessons, that would be awesome.
I will give one lesson that I want everyone to take away and it is the most important lesson I have learned since I started working online two years ago: networking.
Entrepreneurs often have a go it alone attitude. They want all the fame, all the recognition, all the profit. They don’t want to share it with other people and therefore they shy away from networking and working on projects by themselves.
This is a mistake in my opinion.
My biggest advancements and successes always involve working with other people. Building a relationship is for life. When you build that relationship once you can leverage it with every new project you have. I just launched my websites Self Made Businessman and it is largely due to my networking from the last year that I was able to get it off the ground by having people promote it and invite me to guest post.
Q7 – There are many ways to monetize your blog some which have worked and some haven’t. How are you making money through your blog? What other strategies would you recommend to monetize your blog?
There is no one size fits all strategy for this. It depends on your niche, your audience, you’re preferences. If I could sum it up in three steps it would be the following.
1. Provide exception value to your audience for free.
2. Build their trust.
3. Come up with a service or product that fills a need in the market, make it exceptional, and market it to your audience and beyond.
This is what I try to do, in a nutshell.
Q8 – I know when I started blogging there were a handful of blogs I read on a daily basis? Do you have any mentors or blogs that you read on a daily basis that provide you with knowledge and guidance when you need it from day-to-day?
I don’t read anyone religiously but I do keep daily tabs on people. Matthew Woodward has been a huge help for me since I started blogging, and invited me to guest post recently. I also talk very frequently with Lewis from CloudIncome.
Q9 – There are several tools & plugins that can help you build momentum when people are on your blog, for example, social share plugins, SEO plugins and many others. What plugins do you think are essential in growing your blog? What Tools & Plugins do you think every blogger should have on their site?
In general you should try to keep plugins to a minimum but as you say there are some really nice ones. I try to get plugins that can fill multiple rolls when possible and am willing to pay a premium for it. Here are some of my favorites.
- Social locker (premium) for social promotion
- Next scripts SNAP for social promotion
- SEO Smart Links for interlinking
- WordPress SEO for SEO
- WP Touch Mobile for mobile
- Flare for social promotion
Q10 – Many people have often asked me about the shift in blogging from previous years (Negative or Positive). What is the main difference you have seen while blogging since you started? What do you think will be the change going forward and how can you save yourself from being effective from this change (Positive or Negative).
I have not been blogging long enough to really be able to say what things have changed in the last 5 – 10 years. Now that I am blogging more seriously on Self Made Businessman I do notice a few things though. Firstly, I think the general quality that people are producing is getting better and better. People know that they need to attract readers because while the audiences are growing I don’t think they are growing at the rate that the number of bloggers are. The articles I see written in the last year seem to me far superior than those of 2-3 years ago. This is partly because people know more and there is more data.
As a result I also feel people are giving away more for free than they used to, again, because they are trying to build loyal audiences. One person’s paid product is another man’s free product and it does seem like it will be difficult to make a living this way down the line if we shift to everything being free and quality online…
Q11 – I often hear bloggers talk about creating a brand online. What are your thoughts on creating a brand for yourself and what is the best way to brand yourself?
I am 100% in favor of creating a brand online. If you are working online on various projects, etc I think you should be creating a brand on the side. Yes it is a lot of work, but a brand is with you for life. It can weather any storm, any google upate, and invite a world of opportunities through connections that just working online will never do. Even people that don’t “need” a brand (because their other projects make them rich) often still have one because they understand the value of it.
Q12 – Much of the knowledge & motivation I’ve picked up is through other blogs and reading books. We discussed your favorite blogs in my previous question, however would you recommend any books that motivated you during tough times or provided you more insight into creating a successful blog?
I have written a post on my favorite business books. This does not apply specifically to blogs but the essentials around business apply if you are serious about your blog. My favorite last year is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.
Q13 – How important is writing high quality content in blog success? How often do you publish fresh new content on your blog? Is it weekly or monthly?
I publish fresh content twice a week though in the future I plan to dial that back to once a week as the blog grows and becomes more successful (hopefully). It is the most important thing but it is NOT the only thing. You have to take significant actions to promote your content and network it in the hands of influencers; people who have large audiences and can put eyes on your content.
Q14 – What are the Top 3 most effective link building techniques that you would recommend over your years of experience? You can include ways to generate traffic to your blog.
Honestly I am not a link builder in the SEO sense. Create attractive content and people will link to you naturally.
Q15 – In my eyes, you’ve been a pioneer in creating some of the best products, content and are a true blogging success story. Can you name some of the products that you’ve created which can help bloggers out? How can they be purchased?
Thanks, but most of what I have produced appeals to a very small niche and I am actually phasing out a lot of my old stuff because I am finding it is no longer relevant to the current market (this includes my blogging course and a blogging partnership platform that I ran).
Q16 – How can we get a hold of you: Please include email, social network profiles and Others
Check out my business blog at SelfMadeBusinessman.com.
That concludes our interview…
Thank you very much Dave for taking the time out of your busy schedule to provide us with your advice. I wish you nothing but success moving forward.
I hope that you enjoyed this addition of our interview series!
To learn more about other bloggers, visit our Bloggers Interview Series