Timo Kiander has been blogging since 2010 and is the founder of ProductiveSuperDad.com. Timo focuses on “productivity” and how bloggers can effectively manage their time more efficiently. Much of his knowledge comes from his experience blogging and applying what he’s learned from other top blogging gurus in his niche.
Now, let’s get into the real in-depth questions…
Q1 – How long you have been blogging? (Possible Year)
I have been blogging since 2010.
Q2 – What blog or site is your main source of income? So, what is the main focus of that blog?
Right now, Productive Superdad is my main focus, although I’m starting a Finnish time management blog very soon.
Both blogs are about productivity: Productive Superdad is about online business productivity, while the Finnish one, AjanhallintaVelho.com (time management wizard), is geared toward small-businesses and information workers.
Q3 – How much do you make online (average) from your blog a month?
I don’t make any money at all (except small royalties coming from Amazon when someone purchases my book).
I’ll start doing live events this months with my friend (related to stress and time management), coaching on Skype, and I’m also getting started with Kindle book publishing too.
I see that (at least) those three are going to generate the income for me in the future.
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 that the biggest hurdle was trying to do everything and see what sticks. This was definitely a strategy that didn’t work for me.
I also bought a lot of training programs which I never took action on. This was really a waste of time and money. Even though I believe in education, you have to be very careful so that it doesn’t turn into procrastination.
So my advice is this: Figure out where you really want to be in the next couple of years (what area you want to become an expert/authority in), and then pick a training program.
Then, don’t just read or watch or listen to it – take action immediately! Or if it’s not possible to take immediate action, define a date on your calendar when you are going to.
That’s the only way to get results.
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?
I think that it all comes down to knowing your domain: Know the industry or market you are writing about. Then, it’s all about educating yourself, testing new strategies and writing about your own experiences with them.
I know that when I started, I really had to brainstorm new topics on a weekly basis on what I was going to write. As I have learned more about my topic, those sessions are not needed anymore.
In other words, keep reading, writing and experimenting with new stuff, and eventually you’ll reach a state where new ideas come to you without effort.
For instance, when I’m working on my computer, all these ideas just come to me and I write them down.
Another great way to generate ideas is by exercising. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought of new topics to write about when I was exercising (running, cycling …).
Doing something physical keeps your brain ticking in the background and new ideas just come to you.
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 list is as follows:
- Know my strengths / vision
- Hire a coach / or buy a training program
- Take action
It’s of utmost importance to know where you are going, and what really helped me was to take a DISC test (the one I used was Tony Robbins’, and you have to sign-in to his list to get it. However, the test is free). With the assessment, I got so much valuable information about myself, and it helped me to realize my strengths. This in turn helped me to create my vision and what I wanted to do and become in the next couple of years. I’m still following this plan as we speak.
At some point I needed some external guidance, so I hired a coach who helped me to focus on the right things in my blogging. Although it cost me money, it was definitely the best investment I have made.
If the budget doesn’t allow personal coaching, find a training program that supports your vision, purchase it, study it and take immediate action!
With these three steps I have been able to get a solid start, and they will serve as a foundation for years to come.
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?
I’m not making money right now.
I have written a book, but the main purpose wasn’t to make money out of it. Rather, the purpose was to increase my authority and build my e-mail list. This spring is going to be exciting though: I’m already planning an event with my friend, which teaches local entrepreneurs how to manage time and stress. Later on, there might be coaching and speaking opportunities, so I’m looking forward to see how things turn out. I’m also getting more into Kindle publishing, so that should be another way to generate income.
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?
Well, the people/blogs I tend to follow are:
- Jon Morrow (http://www.boostblogtraffic.com/)
- Danny Iny (http://www.firepolemarketing.com/)
- Neil Patel (http://www.quicksprout.com/)
- Adam Connell (http://www.bloggingwizard.com/)
- Graham Allcott (http://www.thinkproductive.co.uk/)
- Buffer blog (http://blog.bufferapp.com/)
There are other people that I follow as well, but these ones came to mind first when you asked the question :).
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 would say that any plugin is a must have if it helps you to streamline your blogging processes and save you time.
For instance, I’m using ClickBump SEO for improving the SEO of my posts. It’s a simple tool which shows a checklist at the right-side of the post editor about your SEO score. The closer you reach 100 points in your post, the better.
I’m also about to experiment with a pop-up opt-in form in the next version of Productive Superdad. Now, I don’t have my own experience with pop-ups, but what I have heard is that they are indeed effective, even if not all people tend to like it. So, I’m giving this tool a try very soon.
I would also advise to install a good social sharing plugin (I’m using Digg Digg), Social Metrics to see what posts are the most successful in your blog, and WP Optimize for optimizing your WordPress performance.
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 think that a positive change has been the fact that you have to provide real value to your posts. Writing just simple list posts won’t do anymore.
When you are writing more detailed posts, you also learn more about your industry as you have to do more research. At the end of the day, this makes you a stronger expert and an authority in your market.
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 think it’s very important. Eventually, you want to become a go-to guy on your own topic, and building a brand helps in that aspect.
I think it’s a way to differentiate from others. I also think that this is what the successful traditional businesses have been doing, so we should definitely follow that path too.
I feel that the best way to brand yourself is to pick a niche you are focusing on and then become a go-to guy/gal there. This will take time, but it’s a long-term strategy and you’ll be associated with your topic more easily.
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?
Ok, so my bookshelf is full of personal development and productivity books, so I have to make my picks from there.
Anyway, here is my list:
- No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs (Dan Kennedy)
- Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management (Mark Forster)
- How to Be a Productivity Ninja (Graham Allcott)
- The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg)
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?
Sure, it’s very important. You want to add value and keep raising the bar all the time.
However, that itself is not enough. In order to get others to see the content, you have to actively promote the stuff too, and the best way (at least for me) has been by guest posting.
As I already mentioned, publishing just simple list posts is not enough. However, that is not to say that list posts are not valuable. Indeed, even that kind of post can be very valuable if it can help people to solve a problem.
I’m publishing content on a bi-weekly basis on my blog. I’m also sending out a newsletter e-mail to my list every 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.
Oh gosh … I’m not that good at building links. My main focus has been building my e-mail list, as I think that it matters the most. I think that a solid, responsive list is a must if you want to build a sustainable business in the future.
Anyway, my main preferred method is guest posting, and no, this not that type of guest posting that Matt Cutts was talking about :). In fact, it’s about creating posts which add value to the readers.
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?
Well, I can always refer to my book – Online Business Productivity– which you can actually download for free (as a PDF). You can also purchase it from Amazon as a Kindle version or as a printed book.
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 Timo 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