Today’s guest is Adam Connell from Blogging Wizard. Adam has had a number of accomplishments in business, but one that sticks out to me is the fact that he was able to create a blog in the super-competitive niche of “blogging” and really create a space for himself while also working a full-time job.
In this interview, we talk about how he got started, and then we dive into his tips for the best ways to take your site’s traffic to the next level. (One of Adam’s traffic growth suggestions is something I had never heard about before.)
Adam, I’m a big fan of Blogging Wizard, and I really enjoy how you’ve taken your professional experience as marketing manager and merged it with your passion for blogging and produced great content. Where did you get the idea to start Blogging Wizard, and how has it evolved over the years?
Thanks, Eric! I started Blogging Wizard a couple of years ago, and I had three aims:
- Create a blog around a topic area that I have experience in and that I enjoyed writing about.
- Choose a topic area in which I could potentially make the site pay for itself.
- Create a platform that I could use to test out various marketing tactics on a nonexistent budget.
Years ago when I first started getting into blogging, I had a steep learning curve. There’s a lot I wish I had known early, and a lot of bloggers 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 six days a week as an operations manager. So I was limited in the time I could put into the site. After that, Blogging Wizard was going so well that I decided to scale down my hours at work and put a lot more time into the site. I worked on upgrading the site and scaling up the amount of content.
My aim is to create an in-depth resource for bloggers who are just starting out, so I can teach them what I wish I knew years ago.
And you’ve been fairly successful, right?
The past few years have been incredible. I built a five-figure-per-month business off the back of a few blog posts and writing for authoritative niche blogs while putting around 10 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.
I also built a small gaming blog to 15,000 visits per month within two months with no link building. In addition, several hugely successful blog posts were published on Blogging Wizard, one of which was a group interview that generated thousands of social shares.
The path to success usually doesn’t come without obstacles. What do you consider to be your biggest failure with respect to your blog, and what did you learn from it?
The biggest obstacles have been technical in nature. Ensuring that I have the right tools at hand 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.
Part of the challenge is knowing when to say something is out of our league and we need to outsource it.
One of the greatest challenges when trying to grow a blog is getting traffic. It’s easy enough 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 be challenging. What are your top strategies for a relatively unknown blog to grow traffic?
First, 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 1 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: 32 Smart Ways to Drive 3x More Traffic to Your Blog.
Second, use Triberr. This is one of the key tools that has helped me get on the map. The platform is full of “tribes” of bloggers, and tribes are broken down by topic area so just add your RSS feed and apply to join some tribes. Then 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 principle — share other people’s stuff, and chances are they’ll share your stuff.
A quick tip: When you’re asking to be promoted to a full member in a tribe, be aware that 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:
- Creating magnetic content takes time. Just maintaining a blog can be time consuming. Don’t underestimate the time involved, but if you pick the right niche, it’s well worthwhile.
- 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 “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.
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, you’re not going to get very far.
Three more pieces of advice:
- Figure out the biggest problems your audience faces, and solve them in the most awesome way possible.
- Be compelling and break the mold.
- Read more, learn more, and become more successful.
What are your favorite online resources?
As far as resources go, I find the best 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. We can’t give away all of our secrets.
As for tools, there are a few that I rely on:
- GetResponse: Aweber got left behind (and hacked, too, a while back). GetResponse just does so much more — and it’s easier.
- Evernote: I get ideas about blog posts and other ventures at all hours of the day. I use Evernote to keep my ideas synchronized.
- Dropbox: I work from multiple locations, and Dropbox is the easiest way to keep all my key files together.
- Skype: Some of my sites have a large team of contributors, and Skype lets me keep in touch easily.
- SurveyMonkey: A while back, I started surveying everyone who signed up to my mailing list. SurveyMonkey makes this easy.
- Hootsuite: Managing social media accounts can be time consuming. Hootsuite saves me time.