secrets from 10 successful bloggers

Revealed:Amazing and useful secrets from 10 successful bloggers 2

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6. Niall Doherty from Disrupting the Rabblement ($3,500/mo)

Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

I’m Niall Doherty, a 35-year-old, born-and-raised Irishman who hasn’t lived in Ireland for a decade. I quit my last “real job” seven years ago and have been working online, joining other bloggers and traveling the world ever since, including one 44-month circumnavigation of the globe without flying.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

I started the blog in 2009 as a hobby, while still working a 9-to-5 office job. It was a way to clarify and share my thoughts and experiments related to personal development.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

The blog was actually a great lead gen for my freelance web development business, even though I never really wrote anything related to that. But people would like an article I wrote about not watching the news, for example, then read on my about page that I was a freelance web developer and reach out to me if they needed help building a website.

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

My 44-month journey around the world without flying also helped keep readers engaged. They were curious to see if I would keep going and how I would get from A to B. If I had to point to one thing I wish I’d done earlier, it would be starting a mailing list. But overall, I’ve never been very intentional about building my traffic.

How have you grown your email list?

Probably the best thing I’ve done to grow my list is to offer access to my monthly finance reports to subscribers. It’s rare online that someone reports all their income and expenses, in fine detail, and I’ve been doing that for seven years now. That gets people curious and they often subscribe to my list just to get a peek at my numbers.

Here’s a quick overview of what I’ve done to get that article ranked higher in Google:

  • I did some keyword research on ahrefs to see how many people were actually typing those keywords into Google each month, to make sure it was worth my while trying to rank higher.
  • I looked through dozens of other articles that rank for those keywords, making note of the most helpful advice.
  • Based on that research, I completely rewrote my article, turning it from a 500-word piece into a 9000-word behemoth and making it what I believe to be the absolute best article online for people who hate their jobs. I made sure to link to lots of other bloggers and resources in the article, and embed a bunch of related videos.
  • I then reached out to everyone I linked to in the article and asked if they could share it, if it was relevant and helpful to their audience.
  • I also reached out to a bunch of sites that linked to my competitors for those keywords and ask if they’d consider linking to my article as well.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

Starting over, I’d be much more intentional about my choice of content. I was blogging about whatever came to mind for years, and that was fine, but it didn’t help me build my audience or serve people as well as I could have.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Two habits have also helped me quite a bit. 

One was publishing twice a week religiously for about three years when I started out. My content wasn’t all that great, but just forcing myself to push publish regularly and stick to a schedule was good training.

The second habit was recording and publishing a “talking-head” video to go along with each article I produced. That helped me develop a personal brand and many readers reported feeling like they knew me and could trust me on account of the videos.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

Don’t get into it just for the money, and be willing to put in at least six months of hard graft before you start seeing results.

Also, be intentional about your content. Do keyword research, find low-hanging fruit, and try hard to create the best content possible on whatever topic you decide to focus on.

Read also: One Extraordinary Approach To Profit Online 2018

7. Randa Derkson from The Bewitchin’ Kitchen ($3,500/mo)

Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

Hi! I’m Randa Derkson, and I’m the woman behind the blog The Bewitchin’ Kitchen. My blog is about bringing people together, like you would at a kitchen table. Whether that’s discussing our newest travels, our health goals, or just to enjoy each others company over some delicious food. You’ll find a lot of recipes, but I also share health and fitness stories (and tips) plus travel advice.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

The Bewitchin’ Kitchen started in 2009 by me being bored. That’s simply it, I had no exciting epiphany or motivation, I just wanted to share recipes to my friends. I was home, pregnant, making no money and wanted some outside communication (I recently moved to a new town and was lonely). I had no idea that I could make a full time career by being a blogger.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

I make an income from ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, courses, and eBooks. It all started with small sponsored posts, and a small ad network. This year I decided to focus on affiliates and passive income. With the passive income in mind, my partner and I have launched Click Start Clubto help bloggers grow with their photography, videos, and to improve their blog as well.

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

I put most of my efforts into Pinterest, SEO, and building an email list. I don’t write too many email newsletters (yet) but that is something I plan on changing for 2018. I don’t do too many guest posts anymore, but I do welcome other bloggers to include my recipes in roundups for themselves and their clients, and that is a great way to get some link juice back to my site.

How have you grown your email list?

Right now my blog’s email list is close to 7000. I’ve been working on growing my list with freemium offers. I have a recipe binder and meal planner, meal plans, a travel checklist, free recipe book, and more. I try to have a free offer (opt in) for all my blog topics (recipes, health, travel) and have the readers segmented by using ConvertKit. I do have an RSS feed for those who want all my emails, but I’m working on cutting that off and writing more personal emails to everyone.

How you write great content that performs well?

Usually, I’m inspired in the most random places, so I always have my phone on me so I can jot down ideas on my Notes or Wunderlist app.

I then bullet point the post out in a draft and expand those bullet points into sentences. I don’t have much of a process, I just let it happen and what comes out, comes out.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

One of my mistakes was to think I had to be everywhere. I had to write EVERY kind of recipes, blog about parenting, blog about design. I was expanding myself so wide that I was exhausted. I experienced blogger burn out and I was confusing my readers. It wasn’t until recently that I have decided to focus on three topics (the three topics that I love): food, health, travel. It’s so freeing to say no to opportunities, and trust me it seems that the more I say no, the more opportunities that match what I stand for show up in my inbox.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Speaking with other bloggers on social media, email and utilizing Facebook groups is a great way to join together and brain storm ideas for improvements and education.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

Start with SEO. Learn it, and start implementing right away. The earlier you start, the better your results will be down the road. Think of it as a snowball rolling down a hill, it starts small but it gained momentum and size as it carries on.

Read also: Top 10 Tips On How To Write/Compose For Your Clients 2017

8. Ron Stefanski from OneHourProfessor ($8,000/mo)

Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

My name is Ron Stefanski and I run the blog OneHourProfessor.com (OHP). I’ve been working at this online business thing for about two and a half years. I worked in Corporate America for 13 years prior to making the leap into online business.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

I came up with the idea for this blog because of my students at the colleges I teach at. Long story short, near the end of the course they would always ask where they could learn more and I’d point them to outside sources.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

Because I now own a portfolio of websites, my income comes from various sources. That said, the good thing is that 95% of them are considered passive income, so I’m able to take a day off whenever I’d like and not be impacted. My primary income comes from display ads (Google Adsense) and the secondary income I make comes from Affiliate marketing. I also have some consulting agreements from time to time and make money selling courses on Udemy and my website itself, but my primary goal is to make a bunch of websites that, in aggregate, make me over $10,000 in passive income monthly.

Walk us through some strategies you have used to build up the traffic?

In terms of getting that ever-elusive initial traffic, it’s all about creating QUALITY content and then getting backlinks. I know, it sounds cliché, but this has worked for me across my entire portfolio of websites and continues to work with each new website I launch.

How have you grown your email list?

If you’re looking to grow your email list, it’s a pretty simple problem to solve in my opinion. Create content – get traffic – have an opt in that’s interesting to them.  The opt in “hook” doesn’t have to be a full course or an ebook, it can be as simple as a one-page document that helps them understand one specific topic. I actually advise that you make the opt in something quick and easy to digest that will deliver a lot of value. If you make it too much, people won’t read/review it and the value is lost.

How do you write great content that performs well?

Well, I typically don’t. Aside from the OHP website, I outsource all of my content to writers that I hire.  I do this because it’s simply not feasible for me to write all of my own content and frankly, I wouldn’t want to.

That being said, I definitely have a very specific process I follow and make writers follow to accomplish these goals.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

I’d say that my single biggest problem in my website portfolio is trying to understand the best monetization strategy for each website. Getting traffic isn’t always that difficult for me, but monetizing the websites correctly is. Truth is, Google Adsense is usually one of the lowest forms of monetization out there, so there is a lot of room to grow.  But growing to that next level and trying to find the right strategy is difficult.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I’m not a big reader mainly because it takes a lot of time. That said, I am obsessive about listening to Podcasts and I usually do this on 2x speed. For me, podcasts have absolutely been my saving grace. I exercise 6 to 7 days a week and during these workouts, time is wasted.  I do not like wasting time…..so I spend it listening to podcasts and exercising. Doing this allows me to exercise my body and mind at the same time, which I think is an amazing concept.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out? 

I have two pieces of advice for those that are looking to start.

First, make sure that you understand this is not a short-term thing. It’s not uncommon to have to wait 6-12 months before you see ANY income come from a new website. Even then, the income you make at that time is likely to be very small. One of the things you absolutely must have when you start this journey is patience and consistency.

Second, share your content and get links!  The thing that amazes me when it comes to bloggers is that they’re happy writing 2-4 hours to create an epic piece of content, but then they won’t spend more than 20 minutes sharing it. As I see it, one of the most important things you can do is share your content and get people to see it.

Read also: Amazing And Useful Secrets From 10 Successful Bloggers For Free (Part 1)

9. Suzi Scheler from Cruelty-Free Kitty ($16,000/mo)

Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

Hi! My name is Suzi Scheler and I built an online business so I can have more freedom and be location-independent. My main blog right now is a beauty blog against animal testing. It’s different from most beauty blogs out there because I research the brands and only feature those that fit the cruelty-free criteria.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

Before I started this journey, I was a freelance translator. I loved being able to work from anywhere in the world, but I wasn’t doing something creative and challenging enough.

After learning about the possibilities of blogging and making a living online, I quickly got the idea of starting a cruelty-free beauty blog. I already had some knowledge on the topic, and at that time, it was just starting to become more popular. That’s what told me to go for it.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

My favourite way to monetize is through affiliate links. This is because these links can be included organically (unlike ads) and I can choose who and what to link to. In the very beginning, I added affiliate links throughout my blog using Amazon Associates, Linkshare, and ShareASale. I still use these networks today and a decent portion of my income comes from Amazon, but I also moved to Reward Style.

Walk us through some strategies you have used to build up the traffic?

In the beginning, I did a lot of small things that added up. I contributed to discussions on forums, answered people’s questions anywhere I could, promoted my site, and participated in Twitter chats. This helped spread the word about my blog, which is necessary if you’re not getting any initial traffic.

How have you grown your email list?

The placement of my opt-in forms also had a big impact on my opt-in rate. For example, very few people use the opt-in form in my sidebar. I place my opt-ins at the end of every post right before the comment section. These forms not only stand out more, but they also target visitors who are already interested in my content since they’ve reached the end of the post.

How do you write great content?

Writing doesn’t come easy to me and I feel as though I still haven’t found my “voice” after 3 years of blogging. Nevertheless, I write from the heart and speak my mind on my blog, which I’ve gotten positive feedback for. I also keep the style simple, casual, and friendly. I want my articles to be easy to read and accessible to everyone.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

My biggest challenge to overcome is very personal, and it’s the fear of putting myself out there. When I first started my blog, I treated it like a magazine. I was behind the scenes.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I was very inspired by Pat Flynn. Shortly after I started blogging, I listened to his Ask Pat podcast, which is a daily podcast about having an online business. He answers questions from his listeners and touches on topics ranging from marketing to SEO, and this is a podcast I recommend to all beginners because of how accessible it is.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

I see a lot of new bloggers trying to emulate successful bloggers and their blogs. While you can learn a lot from successful bloggers, I don’t think this approach works. The key is to differentiate yourself and do something new, exciting, and original. That’s what those successful bloggers did, and it worked for them at that point in time. Since they’ve already done it, it’s no longer new and original and it no longer works as well as it did for them years ago.

Read also: 6 Ways To Make Your Content Shareable

10. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents ($100,000/mo)

Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

Hello! My name is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I run the personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents. I have three finance-related college degrees and I used to be a financial analyst before I left that to become a full-time blogger.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

Around August of 2011, I started Making Sense of Cents with the hope of helping people learn how to save money as well as openly talking about my personal finance journey after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. I became extremely interested in that website and my interest in blogging just grew from there. This is interesting and hilarious because before that same summer, I had no idea about what blogs were, that they could even make money, or anything along those lines.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

I earn an income through my blogging business in many different ways, as you can see in my business income reports. The various income areas include affiliate marketing (discussed more below), course sales of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, sponsored partnerships, and display advertising.

Walk us through some strategies you have used to build up the traffic?

I really don’t spend that much time on promotion, even though I know that I should. There are some things that I do though that include:

  • Accepting all interviews. If someone wants to interview me, I use it as practice to get outside of my “box,” to reach a new audience, and more. I accept all interviews (like this one!), podcasts, webinars, roundups, and more. There have only been a handful of interviews that I have turned down in the past 6+ years of blogging, and that has almost always been due to me not being an expert in whatever the person wants to interview me on, so instead of wasting anyone’s time by trying to pretend I am something that I am not, I just turn them down. For example, I recently turned down an interview that was full of tax questions, and that’s because I’m not a tax expert so I am not sure why someone would want to interview me on that subject, haha!
  • Creating social media graphics for every piece of content on Making Sense of Cents. I always make sure to include a Facebook-friendly image and a Pinterest-friendly image within each article. Pinterest is very important when it comes to social media, and is applicable for almost every single blog niche out there, whether you are male or female. Many people like to disregard Pinterest because they are male or they don’t think their niche is a good fit – I am primarily a finance blogger and I used to always hear that finance topics would not do well on Pinterest. That is completely incorrect and Pinterest has regularly been a top referral for a few years now for Making Sense of Cents.
  • Creating high-quality content. Content is king! I always make sure my content is personable, includes actionable tips, is interesting, and more. The content on Making Sense of Cents is always at least 1,000 words, and usually anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words.
  • Engaging with readers on all social media accounts, such as replying to comments on Facebook, replying to comments on blog posts, and more. Engaging with your readers is very important, yet so many people skip this step and that is a huge mistake. Your readers want to hear from YOU!
  • Emailing my newsletter subscribers whenever a new article is live on Making Sense of Cents.

How have you grown your email list?

I didn’t start focusing on my email list until around the spring of 2016, and that was a huge mistake of mine. When I was getting ready to launch Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, I decided to start focusing on growing my email list, creating sequences, regularly emailing my readers, and more.

My very top tip for anyone who has a platform, website, etc, is to start your email list immediately.

How do you write great content that performs well?

I work on content usually about 1-3 months ahead of time. I always like to be ahead in content so that I don’t have to rush to complete an article. This way, everything is always top quality.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

I’ve made tons of blogging mistakes! These mistakes include:

  • Managing a bad work-life balance. If I had to start over, I would outsource as much as I can, instead of trying to do everything myself. I wasted a lot of time doing this because I spent time that I should have left to the experts (such as when dealing with tech problems on my blog).
  • Spending too much time creating content instead of promoting it. As I discussed above, I need to spend more time promoting my content instead of spending an almost equal amount of time creating it.
  • Not starting an email list. This was discussed above. I wish I would have started my email list right from the very beginning.
  • Starting my blog on Blogger. Sadly, I started my blog on Blogger and this led to Google deleting my blog for absolutely no reason (I eventually got it back after a lot of begging), lack of control, it not being professional, and more. I should have started on WordPress right from the very beginning.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

My best piece of advice that I’d give a new blogger is that I recommend networking as much as you can. One big blogging mistake that I’ve noticed many other bloggers make is not making the effort to network. Networking is so important as a blogger. You should see others in the blogging world as your colleagues and friends, not your enemies or competition.

Thank you very much for your time feel free to drop your comment in case any.

This interview is carried out by Siimon Sander of blogprofits

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