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Meet Eric Gati of My4HrWorkWeek.com

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One of my favorite things about the blogging niche is that so many people get started with their own blog to document their process for starting their own business and maybe even leaving their job. This is something that Eric has done with his blog over at My 4 Hour Workweek. The site is loaded up with great content for anyone who is looking to start their own blog or business online, but also goes into detail on Eric’s earnings, his niche sites and many of the other resources and experiences he had in the world of online marketing. Yet another awesome addition in the meet the bloggers interview series.

1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?

Very briefly about me: I’m a 28 year old CPA who lives in Chicago, and I have a little over 4 years of experience working at an accounting firm.  I like what I do, but I’ve always felt that there was more I could be doing outside of work.

For me, blogging was initially inspired by the book “The 4-Hour Workweek”.  I knew I wanted to create some kind of income outside of my “9 to 5” job, and I wanted a blog to document my journey.

So, in 2009, My 4-Hour Workweek was born.  Although the blog has grown in popularity over the past few years (now hovering around 25,000-30,000 visits per month, with over 8,000 subscribers between RSS and my Aweber e-mail list), I’m still a regular guy with a regular job.  I mention this not as a point of pride, but more as a partial explanation for why I haven’t achieved the great success that many other bloggers have (who you have interviewed in this series).  As much as I hate to admit it, my job as a CPA still comes first.

In a way, one of my goals is to show people that you can have a very time consuming “day job” and still make some significant money online.

2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?

The focus of my blog is really about my journey to create sources of online income (preferably passive income).  You could call it an “internet marketing” blog, but it’s really much more than that – and I definitely don’t consider myself an internet marketing “expert” or “guru”.

I like to think that one day, if/when I “make it big”, someone else or I will be able to look back at all my posts and clearly see what led me to success, and more importantly, where I failed along the way.  I chose this niche because it allows me to discuss everything that I’m doing online to make money, all in one place.

3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?

Because I don’t sell ad space or use PPC ads like AdSense, my blog traffic is almost exclusively monetized using affiliate links.  My top income source is usually Commission Junction, where I earn affiliate income through hosting services, peer-to-peer lending, and other services/products offered through CJ (that are relevant to my readers).  Because my blog was not intended to be a source of my income online (it’s merely supposed to document my journey), I don’t aggressively try to monetize it.  However, it still happens to be the most lucrative part of my online business.

One of my recent successes was with this page that I was able to rank on page 1 of Google for the highly competitive phrase “make money online” for the past 6+ months.  The ranking fluctuates quite a bit, as you would imagine – at one point, I was ranked #2 on page 1, and currently, I’ve fallen to the second page (depending on where you look).  The crazy part is, I had no intention of ranking for that phrase, but nevertheless it turned out to be a great source of my blog’s income.

4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?

The importance of working hard and sticking with it despite slow growth initially.  It’s so easy to give up when you’re first starting out and not seeing results.  I know my first year of blogging was nearly wasted because I didn’t think anyone would ever read my writing.  If I would’ve put a little bit more effort in early on, and started many projects sooner, I probably would be a lot further ahead today.

5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?

1.  Smart Passive Income
2.  Quick Sprout
3.  Niche Pursuits

6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?

Because I know most bloggers use WordPress, here are 3 plugins that I find helpful:

1.  WordPress SEO by Joost – This is probably the only SEO plugin most blogger’s need, as it makes just about everything SEO-related easier for you.
2.  Tweet Old Post – A great way to give some love to your older blog posts automatically – I use this on a few of my blogs, and it works quite well.
3.  Sharebar – An attractive way to add sharing buttons (Tweet, “Like”, etc.) to your blog posts.

7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?

1.  Keep pushing forward.  As I mentioned above, it’s so easy to give up when you’re starting out.  Success (except in very rare occasions) doesn’t happen quickly.  And even those who appear to succeed quickly probably had many earlier failures that you just aren’t aware of.

2.  Work hard and be consistent.  This probably applies to many areas of life, but it’s especially true with blogging.  Fight the urge to be lazy – if you planned to blog three times a week, hold yourself to that schedule.  And as a side note, don’t sacrifice quality just to publish a blog post.  Once you’ve start putting out quality content with a level of consistency, you will find that your audience will return with consistency.

8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?

Build relationships – even though most of your online relationships are virtual, they can have a very real impact on your blog’s success.  You can build relationships by starting small and doing something as simple as leaving a comment on another blog in your niche.

Get to know people, and don’t immediately jump on the opportunity to ask for something.  Strong relationships are built on a two way street, and the best thing you can do is offer value without expecting anything in return.  Don’t worry, good things will come.

9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?

I would probably buy hosting, a domain, and good keyword research software (such as Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro).  You won’t know how to use it right away, but there is plenty of free information out there to show you how to use it.

I wouldn’t spend a dime on any eBooks or training courses (with a few exceptions) – again, there is a wealth of free information on the internet, and if you’re willing to invest your time, you can do most things without spending any money.

10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?

Blog: http://www.my4hrworkweek.com
Twitter: @My4HWW
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100898169973038258562

Thanks again Eric for taking the time to share your advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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A Blogger’s Guide to Broken Link Building

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The internet is broken (literally).

Millions – if not billions – of links get broken daily due to expired hosting, incorrect site migrations, and typing errors.

That’s not good news for the respective site owners.

For link builders, however, the broken links present huge opportunities.

In this article, you will learn how to leverage these opportunities in the form of broken link building.

I will show you the exact process of scouring the web for broken links that you can turn into a backlink to your site!

Why do broken link building?

Before we begin, you need to understand why broken link building is one of the best ways to build a formidable link profile for your site.

And here’s the answer:

It’s all about reciprocation.

If you do something nice for the site owner, there’s a good chance that s/he will return the favor in kind.

In this case, if you point out broken links on a site owner’s page, s/he could be more willing to link back to one of your pages as a way of thanking you.

This principle is well above other link building tactics where people demand links from sites without giving something in return.

Let’s put it this way:

If I don’t scratch your back, will you scratch mine?

(Answer: probably not)

And that’s the thing with broken link building. Both parties benefit from this tactic.

The site owner points to pages within the content that work. You gain a backlink for your effort.

It’s a win-win!

Now that we’ve discussed the why, let’s hop onto how you can proceed with your broken link building campaign.

Below are the exact steps that you should follow to properly pull off this tactic for your blog:

Find resource pages

Have you heard of resource pages?

You know, pages with lots of outbound links related to a specific topic?

Here’s an example of one:

resource page example

This page is a treasure trove for broken links!

The goal of resource pages is to provide visitors with information from third-party pages about a topic.

However, as the years go by, some of the sites no longer operate, which render their links broken.

And site owners don’t have the time to check each link on the page one by one and see if they work.

Therefore, consider this your job of helping them out.

By identifying the broken links, you can request to get one of your blog posts included in the page!

More importantly, site owners are more willing to link back to you on their resource pages. This is only assuming that the blog post you want a link from is relevant to the topic.

But first, we need to find resource pages related to your blog’s niche.

Hop on to Google and use the following search query:

[Niche] resource page

Replace [niche] with your actual niche.

From here, Google will return results of resource pages that you comb through. Click on each of the pages and keep the best ones in a spreadsheet.

Find broken links from pages

neil patel 404

Here’s an example of a broken page.

It’s a page on a blog or site informing you that the link you visited no longer exists.

Your goal, therefore, is to find 404 pages or broken links from resource pages!

Using the Chrome extension, Check My Links, helps find broken links.

It’s what you need for quickly checking pages for broken links.

Install it and it’ll appear as a small checked icon alongside your address bar. Clicking it automatically scans links in the page.

broken link using check my links

It gets highlighted in red if there’s a broken link, together with an error report at the text’s right side.

Using the same spreadsheet, keep the pages with broken links and remove the ones without.

Find the email of the site owner

The next step is to inform site owners about the broken link.

However, you can only do this if there is a contact page or an email address available on the site.

But what if they don’t have either?

Not to worry – there’s FindThatLead to the rescue!

It’s another Chrome extension that lets you find email addresses of people who own or work on the site.

By installing and clicking on its icon, you will see the different emails of people who are part of the organization.

Findthatlead

To help verify their emails, you must click on the check icon. It shows if it’s either GUESS or VALID. Filter out the guesses and keep the valid ones.

Inform site owner about the broken link

Once you have their emails, you need to craft a message informing them about the broken links.

Since you’ll be sending to as many site owners as possible, the process even becomes tedious and repetitive.

However, there’s a way you can automate the process to make the job easier for you.

Gmail’s Canned Response allows you to create an email template you can use for your broken link building campaign.

Therefore, instead of crafting new emails talking about the same thing, you can pull out the template and fill in the blanks for each new site owner!

gmail canned responses

In the email template, address the site owner by their first name. It’s the first step of personalizing your campaign.

Next, talk about how you came across their page. You were probably looking for resource pages to help you write a post about the topic they’re covering.

After that, point out the broken link on the page. It’s the very purpose of the email, after all.

Now, here’s the most important part:

Mention that your blog has a similar page that can replace the broken one.

In this part, don’t make it sound like you’re forcing your link to be included in the page. Just suggest your link to the site owner.

Give them the choice to either include your link or not. You have to trust them to make the best decision for their page.

Here are other tips on help you write the template:

  • Make your email short and sweet. Your recipient is more likely to read the entire email. It’ll also be easier for them to understand and follow your requests.
  • Be professional by maintaining the proper grammar and punctuation.
  • Follow up with another email once or twice if they don’t respond. But more than that, and you end up spamming someone.
  • Be polite and know that you’re just asking a favor. If they ignore your emails after multiple times of reaching out to them, move on to the next site.

Finally, review the results of the campaign with the template you’re using. If the response rate is low, maybe you need to tweak your template to generate better responses.

Conclusion

As you can see, broken link building is more about building relationships more than everything else.

Once you click “Send,” there’s nothing much you can do about it.

They may link to your site on their resource page. They may not.

However, as mentioned earlier, you need to trust people to do the right thing.

If you pull off your broken link building campaign flawless, they will link to your blog posts 100% of the time!

If you’re not confident in developing and implementing this campaign, you can ask agencies like SEOExplode that offers SEO services with years of experience in link building.

They will help guide you in the process of broken link building. This way, you can develop a link profile that will bolster your blog’s SEO performance.

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Beware Who You Trust for Advice

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Sometimes I ask questions on Quora.

I asked a question recently about shadow boxing while walking and if this practice burns calories.

Peep 2 answers.

 

I was a personal trainer and fitness nut for 20 years. I know shadow boxing does in fact burn calories and help you get more ripped because since doing it every single day during my walks, my arms are becoming as defined as ropes. True; shadow-boxing does not increase muscle mass. But the individual gave me a false, untrue answer because he fears what he looks like and cares about the opinions of others. He is not shadow boxing while walking or jogging because it is not effective; he fears people will look at him and believe he is a fruit loop, whatever that means.

Yikes.

Exhibit B.

 

This individual actually offers honest, truthful advice; shadow-boxing while walking burns more calories. If he ended it there, the advice would have been helpful. But he also fears criticism, aka, what people think about him, so his fears advise me not to do the extra calorie burning thing, because I would look like a Rocky wannabe jerk.

Yikes.

Two well-meaning guys who offer poor fitness advice because each guy deeply fears what people think about them. If I was not a fitness pro I’d have believed their inaccurate advice and would have cheated myself out of calorie burning. All because of the illusion of fear and its hold over most of humanity.

Blogging Advice

Before you trust blogging advice, check the source. Does the blogger:

  • radiate happiness?
  • radiate compassion?
  • exude success?
  • inspire you to succeed?
  • uplift bloggers?

If so, awesome. Trust the advice because you know the person offers advice from love, harmony and truth.

But if someone adds a fear-based element to the advice – like the fitness guys above who fear what people think about them and allowed their fears to become a projection on me – you know it’s bad advice because fear is not real, an illusion, and stepping into illusion moves you away from truth.

The Truth

If you burn more calories, you burn more fat and get ripped. This is truth. Shadow boxing while walking made me super ripped so the truth shines through. But if I stopped shadow-boxing while walking because I feared what people thought about me or what they’d say about me, I would step into the illusion of fear, away from truth, and would not be as ripped and cut as I am now.

Imagine if I listened to those 2 fear-fitness guys last month when I returned home? I’d look a lot more like Olive Oil and less like Bruce Lee.

Be careful about who you trust for blogging advice guys. Most people mean well – like the fitness dudes – but project their deep fears onto you and offer poor, or downright terrible, blogging advice. I have compassion for afraid bloggers but I won’t listen to their illusory advice.

One Such Example

Many top bloggers feel terror at losing email subscribers so offer advice based on the fear. Meanwhile, guys like me who have no such fear offer advice to help you bond deeply with your most rabid fans through email, exponentially increasing your success. Loss is impossible in a Universe of abundance.

Who do you think inspires you to live your dreams?

The blogger offering advice from the illusion of fear, pulling you away from truth, into smoke, mirrors, and appearances, not really there?

Or the blogger offering advice from truth and abundance.

Follow heart-centered bloggers.

Live your dreams.

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Do You Establish Work at Home Boundaries?

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Some people love attention.

I know a few who do their best to grab my attention. Phone calls, emails, cryptic Facebook Messages.

I ignore everything and every one outside of what I do in the moment since I set up work at home boundaries. I close the door and go into my office. No way I stop working for anything or anyone who starves for my attention. The house could burn down and I would scoot out at the last minute because work time is work time and I do nothing else save work during work time.

If you do not respect your time, people will not respect your time. If you give people your time whenever they want your time, for:

  • favors
  • gossip
  • small talk
  • chats
  • general BS

people will gladly ask for favors, engage in gossip, engage in small talk, chat you up and BS for hours, because you chose not to establish work at home boundaries.

100% of the time, if people appear to be using you or eating up your precious time, it is your fault. People treat you how you choose to treat yourself.

How a Happy and Successful Blogger Sets Up Work at Home Boundaries

Easy; I close the door, walk into the office and get to work. I do not leave the office until I complete my work. My phone? I turn it off. I check email rarely. I only check Messenger 2-3 times daily for 5 minutes at a clip.

I set up definite, clear, work at home boundaries to respect my time. People reflect my time-respecting back to me. Easy peasy.

If someone tries to grab my attention through Messenger, or the land line, or through email, or at the door, I completely ignore attempts made to grab my attention and time. Boundaries folks; you need to be clear and firm on your work at home boundaries to ensure everybody else respects your boundaries.

You Are Walking into a Word Office

Would a friend, family member or casual neighbor barge into your 9-5 job office asking for a favor? Would said folks barge into your 9-5 job office to spread the latest gossip? Nope. Then why allow said folks to barge into your work at home office to do similar things? Nope. Put up boundaries. Door closes. Enter office. You are busy. You are working. Even my 3 year old niece understands when Uncle Ryan goes to work in the home office. Everybody else can easily grasp this concept.

What About Impatient or Desperate Online Folks?

I completely ignore impatient, fear-filled, desperate folks who demand I answer Messenger or email requests in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or in 24 hours. I respect my time and completely ignore people who do not respect my time.

I built my blogging business almost completely on a passive income model so nothing I do online is time sensitive. I have answered most questions 1,000 to 10,000 times through my courses, eBooks, blog posts and videos. It is up to these awesome but unclear folks to find and use the answers I created, to improve their lives.

I am generous daily, publishing a blog post and/or video. Plus I published about 800 posts on Blogging Tips, and over 2,000 posts on Blogging From Paradise. It is on the impatient folks screaming for my attention to follow my blog posts, guest posts, videos, eBooks and courses because I answered their questions many times.

People treat you exactly how you teach them to treat you. I have posture so I set up work at home boundaries for offline and online folks.

Respect your time and work schedule and other folks will do the same.

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