It’s my pleasure to introduce Richard Marriott of Clambr.com whose blog has been creating a real buzz in social circles. He started blogging in 2013 but struggled for several months driving traffic to his blog until he published an epic post which changed everything. It was this expert roundup post “55 SEO Experts Reveal 3 Favorite Link Building Tools” which really made people pay attention to him. I continue to visit his blog regularly reading more of his epic content which includes case studies and interviewing the experts. When asked: What do you focus on when blogging? He stated “teaching internet marketers how to promote and rank their site”.
Now, let’s get into the real in-depth questions…
Q1 – How long you have been blogging? (Possible Year)
I started blogging in March 2013, but I didn’t really understand how to get traffic to a blog until July 2013. That’s when I did an expert roundup about Link Building Tools and everything changed.
Q2 – What blog or site is your main source of income? So, what is the main focus of that blog?
Clambr.com is currently my main source of income. The site is about finding the best ways to promote and rank your blog by interviewing experts and running SEO case studies. I’m going to be going in a new direction soon with a focus on ranking as fast as possible, so watch this space!
Q3 – How much do you make online (average) from your blog a month?
I’d rather not say, but the combined income of Clambr and my new niche site is enough for me to travel the world from a laptop. I’m going to be heading over Thailand way for the summer to get a tan 😉
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?
The biggest challenge for me was finding direction. I knew what I wanted to do but couldn’t decide on how I was going to do it. Starting out can be VERY overwhelming for a new blogger. Hell, I’ve only been in this game since July of 2013 really and still deal with the daily feeling of being overwhelmed. There are so many blogs and conflicting ways of doing things that it all can really get to you, but everything changed after I made the decision to only follow a couple of gurus and do things their way. Ignore all the other clutter, knuckle down and get to it.
This might be controversial but I highly recommend it. Find a small handful of gurus first to help you find your way. Once you start understanding things a little better you can start experimenting with other people’s techniques and letting more articles and RSS feeds into your life. But seriously, turning off all the noise can be quite therapeutic in terms of finding peace and direction with no distractions stopping you from achieving your goals.
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?
Ok so, I don’t write much. I go through writing sprees and then take a month or two off to just do manual grunt work like going on link building binges.
What I’ll advise is not forcing content. If you write just for the sake of writing it’ll be crap. But if you write when you’ve had a sudden epiphany or are inspired, everything you type will be gold.
Some of my best posts were written in under an hour and some of my worst took me 5 days.
If you’re seriously stuck for ideas use Brian Dean’s Skyscraper technique to outdo already successful content. With the Skyscraper technique you basically find something awesome and make it better. For example if someone write the 20 biggest mistakes newbie bloggers make, go on a hell bent mission to outdo that content by writing the 50 biggest mistakes.
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 wish I’d known that:
- Building up your social following is far, far, far, less important than building a little black book of contacts to reach out to. I used to think no one would ever take me seriously unless I had hundreds, if not thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook fans, but the fact is, that stuff doesn’t matter. What does matter is the behind the scenes stuff – the emails. That’s where the real power lies. And successful bloggers are where they are today because they got damn good at emailing first. The social followings come later.
- You’ve got to link out. When I first started out I didn’t really link out to anyone, let alone tell them I’d linked to them. This meant no one ever knew I’d actually posted anything. So make sure when you write an important post that you reference at least 5 bloggers’ articles and reach out to them, because these guys will help share your content.
- Success doesn’t happen overnight. When I first started out I was stupidly naïve. I even quit my day job before I’d made my first commission because I was so confident I’d become successful overnight. It actually took me a lot longer to start bringing in a stable income. I almost gave up when nothing happened after the first month or so, but basically you’ve got to be patient. If you do everything right then the money will come, just don’t expect to be receiving a Clickbank check for $10,000 after just 1 month of blogging.
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?
My main source of income on Clambr.com is from software / tools sales. I ran a couple of interviews back in 2013 about the best tools bloggers and SEOs recommend for link building and promoting a blog. The result was a list of tools backed up by dozens of expert testimonials.
I basically found a problem, which was a lack of unbiased advice on what tools newbie bloggers REALLY need and answered that problem with a solution – the most unbiased list of recommended tools out there.
The way to make money online is to simply do exactly this. Give people a solution to a common problem in the most epic way you can possibly imagine. Seek to help people before putting money in your pocket.
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 sure do. If I could only read one blog it would be Backlinko.com. Brian Dean is simply on another level and I owe the success of Clambr.com to his Skyscraper Technique and a whole bunch of his link building strategies that have helped both Clambr.com and my new niche site rank.
I’m also a die hard QuickSprout fan, love the podcasts on Content Champion, the blogging tips on BloggingWizard.com and the video tutorials & income reports to keep me motivated on MatthewWoodward.co.uk.
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?
These two are my all time favorites:
- Hybrid Connect for making your email capture forms look as beautiful as Olga Kurylenko.
- Flare bar for encouraging those all important social shares
Those are the only two that really jump out at me for adding the most value to my blog since installing them.
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).
The main shift I’ve seen is the smart bloggers are blogging less and spending more time on creating quality content and link building.
Also a lot of clever people are producing more video content, (again positive), because people’s attention spans are thinning by the day and you need something to keep people glued to the page. This also gives positive signals to Google (more time spent on page means the content must be good).
I think the general trend is good. At least in the blogging and SEO niches I’m affiliated with. Fact is if you jump outside this bubble of trends in producing better content you’ll notice a lot of other niches are still very stuck in their ways. People are still writing 500 word articles and churning out crappy posts with no value everyday, but hey, that’s good for us girls and guys in the know right? We can swoop in and DOMINATE!!!
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?
Creating a brand is indeed key. I can’t stress it enough. If your brand sucks then you’re doomed from the start. Let me give you an example of how I messed up BIG time with the brand name of my new secret niche site.
Basically we’ve gone into a VERY competitive and risqué niche so getting the brand right was key. We’re in a G-Rated niche so we had to be very careful about creating a name that wouldn’t stop people sharing the content, i.e. something people wouldn’t be embarrassed about popping up on their Facebook feeds.
Unfortunately we made the mistake of branding it wrong and this severely affected its reception when we launched on Dec 17 last year. I literally emailed thousands of people but the content barely got shared at all, simply because the brand name sucked.
Anyway, to cut a long story short we bit the bullet, re-branded last month, managed to not lose any SEO juice through the whole rebrand (thanks to some awesome advice from my mate Aaron Hawkins over at AaronHawkins.co.uk and since re-branding I have noticed a dramatic change in that I’m getting links on drip feed and people are sharing our content like crazy now!
So sure, brand name is very important and I’ve learned the hard way.
Also, one extra tip, don’t sacrifice a cool, memorable sounding name for a longer name like Howtogettothetopofgooglefast.com just for the sake of keywords. It’s just spammy and you’re never going to attract many links or shares because anyone receiving an email from someone representing a domain like that will click delete faster than you can say Matt Cutts.
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?
Yes there is one book I highly recommend. The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini. Here’s a cool quote from it:
“One of the most potent of the weapons of influence around us is the rule for reciprocation. The rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. If a woman does us a favour, we should do her one in return…by virtue of the reciprocity rule, then, we are obliged to the future repayment of favours, gifts, invitations, and the like.”
The lesson from this quote is simple: link out to others and they will in turn link to you.
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 very important and if I can’t think of anything cool to write I simply don’t write. The most important thing for me is adding value. If I can’t add value then I won’t write anything. When I have writer’s block I’ll just go out and either do grunt work like link building or use my creativity elsewhere to think of ideas for a new niche site, an app or some other random thing that can distract me from the burden of having to worry about publishing something new.
I try to publish once a month but if you visit Clambr.com now you’ll see I haven’t blogged in about 2 months.
It doesn’t bother me that there’s gaping voids between my content because I know that next time I do publish something it will be awesome and people will appreciate it.
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.
- Broken link building. This is by far the best possible method for getting high quality white hat links. I’ve recently been broken link building for my new niche site and in under a week I was able to take an article from page three on Google to page one position #8 from just 4 fixed broken links. This is for a highly competitive keyword with 8,100 searches on average per month!!! Broken link building ROCKS. Period.
- Making friends. Yeah this may not sound like a link building technique but the building strong relationships is paramount. That’s how you get the best links. I recently made friends with someone in my new niche and managed to land a permanent link on their site’s homepage just from a few back and forth friendly emails.
- Promoting your content like crazy. The main way I get links is by promoting my content like crazy. That means in the first few hours and days after a post goes live I email EVERYONE. Literally everyone and anyone I think might be interested. Seriously, don’t be scared about being labelled as a spammer because it works like magic. I basically use BuzzStream (voted the #1 link building tool here to find link prospects and manage my email outreach. I have an arsenal of proven link templates I fire off to get my content shared like crazy and land those all important backlinks.
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 for your kind words Rizvan! I have actually recently written a 5K word guide on how to create expert roundups that get results. If you want to learn my exact blueprint for creating SEO juiced up expert roundups using my proven 3 bullets formula then head on over to my expert roundups page to sign up and learn what it’s all about!
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 Richard 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