Note (7/10/14): This interview was originally published on 3/19/14. This week, we’re going to feature some of my favorite interviews that were published when The Daily Interview was brand new, that many of you may have missed. As I’m busy packing and getting ready to move to a new home later this month, I’ve decided to take another week off from posting new interviews. Don’t worry though – we’ll be back with new interviews starting next Monday. In the mean time, enjoy this one!
Today guest is Adam Connell from Blogging Wizard. Adam’s had several great accomplishments online, but one that really sticks out to me is the fact he was able to create a blog in December of 2012 (in the super competitive niche of “blogging”) and really create a space for himself, all while working a full-time job.
In this interview, we talk about his background and how he got started with his blog, and then we dive into some really awesome tips about some of the best ways to take your site’s traffic to the next level.
(One of Adam’s traffic growth suggestions is something I hadn’t even heard about before.)
Enjoy the interview!
Adam, I’m a big fan of Blogging Wizard, and really enjoy how you’ve taken your professional experience as Marketing Manager and merged it with your passion for blogging and producing great content. Tell us a bit about your journey – where did you get the idea to start Blogging Wizard, and how has it evolved over the years?
Thanks, Eric! Blogging Wizard is still quite a new blog in comparison to the majority of blogs out there.
I started it in December 2012 and I had three aims:
#1 – Create a blog around a topic area that I have experience in and that I enjoyed writing about
#2 – A topic area where I could potentially make the site pay for itself
#3 – Create a platform that I could use to test out various marketing tactics on a none existent budget
Years ago when I first started getting into blogging I had a very steep learning curve and there was a lot that I wish I had known early on and also a lot of bloggers that had been around for a while in the ‘blogging’ niche didn’t seem to be experimenting with new tactics so I wanted to change that.
For the first year of Blogging Wizard, I was working 6 days a week as an Operations Manager at UK Linkology. So for that year I was limited as to how much time I could put into the site. Towards the end of 2013, Blogging Wizard was going so well that I decided to scale down my hours at work and put a lot more time into Blogging Wizard. Throughout January, I worked on upgrading the site and scaling up the amount of content on the site.
My aim is now to create an extremely in-depth resource for bloggers that are starting out, so I can teach them what I wish I knew years ago.
What has been your greatest success (or successes) so far with your blog (or any other online ventures you’ve been involved with)?
The last few years have been incredible; here are a few things that have stood out:
* Built a 5-figure/month business off the back of a few blog posts and writing for authoritative niche blogs while putting about 10 or so hours of my time into the marketing each month. All of this was accomplished within around 5 months. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to keep all of it.
* Built a small gaming blog to 15K/month visits within 2 months with no link building.
* Several hugely successful blog posts published on Blogging Wizard, one of which was a group interview that received over 7,000 visits. 3,500 were in the first week, it generated over 700+ G+1’s, over 1,200+ Tweets and earned links from the Hootsuite blog and Social Media Examiner. See a full list of shares that it received here: http://sharetally.co/7233/.
The path to success usually doesn’t come without obstacles – what do you consider to be your biggest failure with respect to your blog or business, and what did you learn from it?
The biggest obstacles that I have faced have been technical in nature. And ensuring that I have the right tools to help me can be very time consuming.
But this is all part of the learning experience and I like to turn challenges into learning experiences. That’s why I’m at the point that I am today, because there haven’t been many occasions where I’ve not been able to accomplish something. If there’s something that I haven’t been able to do because of a knowledge gap, I learn how to do it.
Our minds are powerful and there’s nothing that we can’t accomplish if we put our minds to it. Although there is a cut-off point because we can’t do everything; it’s just not possible.
Part of the challenge is knowing when to say that something is out of our league and we need to outsource something.
One of the greatest challenges people run into when trying to grow a blog is getting traffic. It’s somewhat easy to build a blog and get it in front of a small audience (50-100 visits per day), but taking it to the next level can often be very challenging.
Because you are an expert on this subject, I have to ask you: What are your top 1-2 strategies that are working today, for a relatively unknown blog to grow its traffic to that next level?
#1 – Tap into the audience of niche influencers: there’s a growing marketing trend known as ‘influencer marketing’. The idea is that you discover who your target audience is and then figure out who exactly influences them. Then you market your content directly to those influencers.
This is the underlying strategy behind the group interview post that I mentioned earlier. It allows you to go from square one with no audience and no traffic to getting shares from influencers and a great boost in traffic.
I wrote a detailed explanation of how this works here.
#2 – Use Triberr: one of the key tools that has helped me to get on the map is Triberr. It’s helped me get more social shares and more traffic. The platform is full of tribes of bloggers, tribes are broken down into topic area so just add your blog RSS feed and apply to join some tribes & ask to be promoted to a full member.
When you’re a full member, everyone else in the tribe (including followers) will get the option to share your content from their tribal feed. It’s worth noting that the platform works on the reciprocity principal – share other peoples stuff and chances are they’ll share your stuff.
A quick tip: when asking to be promoted to full members in tribes, tribe owners like to see that you already share content from the tribe as a follower. There’s also a premium version of Triberr that allows you to create more of your own tribes and gives you access to your own automatic tribe. The idea is that your followers join the automatic tribe and then they’ll share your content automatically. You can join my automatic tribe here.
For someone who is just starting out creating a blog, what advice would you offer? In other words, what do you wish someone told you about when you first started?
There are two main things:
#1 – Creating magnetic content that people want to share and link to takes time and just maintaining a blog can be quite time consuming. Don’t underestimate the time involved but I’d also like to point out, if you pick the right niche, it’s well worthwhile.
#2 – Traffic doesn’t mean anything if your blog sucks. People make judgments on your blog’s layout and design very quickly. If your blog is full of lots of badges saying which insignificant blog directories you’re a member of, then it will look a mess.
The same goes for advertising; the fact that you’re an Ezine Articles ‘Expert Author’ – being listed as an expert on a site with NO editorial guidelines that nobody really reads doesn’t mean anything. I never did this but a lot of bloggers I used to look up to did. I’m glad I didn’t follow the example.
Conversions come before traffic, although you’ve got to know what you’re blogging for and what your end goals are. If your blog isn’t converting, more traffic isn’t going to help all that much. That needs to be communicated through your blog, and if it isn’t, then you’re not going to get very far.
Let’s take a look at blogging in a competitive niche: If you had to take your best advice or inspirational thought and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
Figure out the biggest problems your audience face & solve it in the most awesome way possible. [Click here to tweet this]
Be compelling and break the mold. [Click here to tweet this]
Read more, learn more, and become more successful. [Click here to tweet this]
What are your favorite online resources?
As far as resources go, I find the best resources can often be other bloggers within your niche. Networking is important and the majority of great tactics are often those that people don’t talk about. After all, we can’t giveaway all of our secrets although there’s some who would debate the idea of ‘giving away the farm’.
As for tools, there are a few that I rely on:
- Get Response: Aweber got left behind (and hacked recently too, ouch!) and while I still think they’re a great group of people with a solid platform, Get Response just does so much more – and is easier too.
- Evernote: I get ideas about blog posts and other ventures at all hours of the day, I use Evernote to keep my ideas synchronised.
- Dropbox: I work from multiple locations; Dropbox is the easiest way to keep all of my key files together.
- Colourschemedesigner.com: I have been putting together plans for several new blogs and also setup blogs for clients. A decent colour scheme is important and this tool makes it easy.
- Skype: I run various sites and some of them have a large team of contributors, this allows me to keep in touch easily.
- Survey Monkey: One new thing that I started in 2014 was surveying everyone that signed up to my mailing list. Survey Monkey makes this incredibly easy.
- Hootsuite: Managing various social media accounts can be time consuming, Hootsuite helps me save time.
Finally, where can people find you online?
You can sign up here to get access to my free guide where I share 9 core concepts that will help you to finally create a profitable blog. In the future I do have plans to start offering blog review services and a ‘done for you’ setup service to help bloggers that want to save themselves some time, boost conversions and get access to my expertise.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Adam!
Do you have any comments about this interview? Leave them below!
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