This is an interview I’ve tried to get for awhile and ecstatic that Jeremy put aside his valuable time to answer these questions for me. Shoemoney.com was the first affiliate marketing blog that I read years back and the picture of him holding the $132,994.97 Adsense check was circulated thousands of times on the internet.Jeremy Schoemaker has been blogging ever since 2003 and uses his blog as an outlet to discuss affiliate marketing strategies and what he’s done. He provides people with a breakdown of what works well and what doesn’t work as he stated: “I just put it out there in the hopes that my experiences can help other people”.
He’s spent the past two years creating the PAR program which is an enterprise level email-marketing platform which he originally created for his Shoemoney.com newsletter follow-up sequence. This is generating a bulk of his income as well as affiliate commissions through several networks.
Now, let’s get into the real in-depth questions…
Q1 – How long you have been blogging? (Possible Year)
I have been blogging for over a decade now. I started the Shoemoney blog in 2003.
Q2 – What blog or site is your main source of income? So, what is the main focus of that blog?
The PAR Program is my number one focus right now. I’ve spent the past two years building it from the ground up. Recently we just finished raising capital for the company so we can take it to the next level and keep growing the company. The PAR Program is an enterprise level email-marketing platform that I originally created to use myself for my newsletter and the Shoemoney blog. Then my friends and other businesses were like that’s awesome, I want that. You should turn that into a company, so I did. We have a wide range of clients from baby supplies, health supplements, monthly pet boxes and e-cigarettes. The bulk of my income is generated from that.
The Shoemoney blog I use it as an outlet to talk about what is going on with me professionally. I am very well known on the affiliate marketing scene and readers can find tons of resources on the site to help them get started with affiliate marketing or further themselves in the industry. I just talk about what I’ve done and what works well and doesn’t work. I don’t pull any punches; I just put it out there in the hopes that my experiences can help other people.
Q3 – How much do you make online (average) from your blog a month?
That’s a loaded question; it varies from month to month. With my focus being more on the PAR Program, I’m just not as concerned with what the blog pulls in. I put out good content for my audience and the advertisers flock to be a part of it.
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?
It is going to vary by person. Sticking with it when it isn’t easy I think is where a lot of people get stuck. I’ve had great success and some of it may have been by luck but the bulk of my success is because I’m determined. When times get tough, you gotta remind yourself why you’re doing this.
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?
Find some sites that relate to what you want to write about and get on their newsletters. I’m not saying to copy them but it will help you get some ideas as to what is going out there. Also there are going to be 100 stories out there on anything newsworthy, you don’t have refuse to write about it just because someone else all ready has. Put YOUR spin on it. A lot of people read me because they like that I’m a no-bullshit person. That’s what I’m known as: the guy who just lays it out. Find a style that works for you and don’t be worried if it takes time to evolve into something you’re happy with.
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.
My experience is going to be different than most people. I had to hit rock bottom before I was ready to get my shit together and decide to do something. When I was 28, I was 420 pounds, $50k in debt, chain smoking 2 packs a day and crashing with friends. I had to hit my rock bottom before reality set in that I needed to do something to change my life. It’s hard to say what’s be the most valuable lessons are as I’ve learned so many.
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?
Pretty much all the money from my blog comes from advertising. I have marketplace ads priced on the lower end of things so pretty much anyone can afford them and then for people needing more exposure I have a variety of banner ads. I also offer consultations at hourly rate of $500 an hour and recently I started doing stuff on Clarity.fm where people can set an appointment to do a call with me and they only pay per minute. I still do speaking engagements, too, which brings in some money.
I would recommend getting solid content going and then selling ad space on the blog. Your readers are going to come to your site to get educated or be entertained, so give them that content. Advertisers just want to know that you have the traffic to deliver them results.
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 read so much stuff, it’s insane. Off the top of my head, I can say that I regularly read my guest bloggers Taewoo Kim and David Melamed. Some other great affiliate guys to follow are John Chow, Missy Ward, Shawn Collins, Matthew Woodward and Zac Johnson. I know I’m missing some for sure, but I would say check those guys out.
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?
I use Word Press and have like a hundred plugins, a lot of which I developed in-house to use on my blog. When I set up blogs for people I always make sure they have these three plugins: W3 Total Cache, Simple Google Sitemap XML and All in One SEO Pack.
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).
There are a lot more blogs out there now than there were ten years ago. Anyone can be blogger but there is a lot of shit out there that isn’t worth anything. It’s hard to say where blogs are going to go. What I can say is that they’re not going away, like ever. As for myself, I just write my experience down and hope people take something from it to help them. I’m just primarily focused on building my new company PAR Program. I’m not worried about my blog being absorbed by the rest of the internet.
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?
It is just all in how you present yourself. A brand is just an image. How do you want people to see you? I’ve got the Shoemoney logo on all kinds of stuff and people know it. They associate that symbol with me and for visual marketing purposes that’s great. But building a brand is all about what people know or think they know about you/your blog/your company.
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?
Yea, read my book: The Shoemoney Story, Nothing’s Changed But My Change. My book really walks people through what I had to go through to get where I am. It’s an Amazon.com best-seller. I’m reading stuff all the time though. I’m a big fan of anything by Seth Godin. As cliché as it sounds, always keep reading and learning.
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?
It’s HUGE. You can have fluff pieces here and there, but readers aren’t going to come back with that. You have to have a solid foundation of good content. If you’re stalling, look at getting some guest bloggers to submit stuff once in awhile. I have new content on the blog five days a week.
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.
I always have an F Google approach. When you create good content that people find of value then they naturally want to link to it. Some people will say, “well sure you have so many readers it’s easy for you”. But the truth is the first 2 years I had my blog hardly anybody ever read it. It took many many years. But over the course of a decade the blog has a lot of links because I created content that people felt was worth linking to.
I never have a link building strategy in mind. People think I am some wizard cause some of my properties rank for some very competitive keywords but I honestly don’t. I’ve just always focused on making good content and/or services and the SEO/link side has taken care of itself.
I have found that in doing that you never have an SEO point of failure. One of my sites one time was completely out of Google for 30 days cause it had a hack that I didn’t discover until someone alerted me the site was completely out of Google. I did not see a drastic decrease in traffic or sales.
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?
Most of the products I’ve created (The Shoemoney System, The Shoe in Money System) are geared towards affiliate marketing rather than just bloggers. They’re available at www.shoemoneysystem.com
Q16 – How can we get a hold of you: Please include email, social network profiles and Others.
That Concludes Our Interview…
Thank you very much Jeremy 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