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Meet Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch.com and Docsketch.com

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Many entrepreneurs have dipped their toes into blogging but not many have gone far. A lot of factors may have played in failure. Perhaps the lack of courage, determination, persistence? There are also instances wherein a venture is progressing but suddenly plateaus in growth. This is often the result of complacency. Successful business owners can attest that facing challenges head-on have led them to great accomplishments and the total lack thereof can do more harm than good.

For Ruben Gamez, he didn’t even have to wait for the challenge to come. He got into blogging by getting out of his comfort zone and challenging himself. Today, he continues to excel as an entrepreneur by constantly finding ways on how to improve his tactic. Learn more about Ruben in this week’s episode of Meet the Bloggers.

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

Ruben Gamez

I started blogging as a marketing experiment and to prove to myself that I would be able to sell my first product. At the time I was working a full time job and had an idea for a software product, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to bring in enough traffic to make the idea viable.

By this point I had read enough about marketing to realize that blogging was a great way to bring in qualified traffic. I quickly did some keyword research and found a topic that I could write on, and published a post (one week later).

The goal was to see if I could actually bring in traffic, and how long it would take for that traffic to start coming in. After two weeks I started getting traffic to that post (through Google)! I was hooked on content marketing at that point.

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

Initially we started with a very narrow focus of writing about proposals for designers. That’s because at the time, our product was very niche and that was our target audience.

For example, one of the better performing posts we had at the time, was literally titled “How to Write a Web Design Proposal,” which still performs well for us. As you can imagine, there’s only so much of that type of content you can write for a specific niche.

I quickly realized that it was too narrow and eventually expanded to blogging about helping freelancers, agencies, and consultants land more clients.

We went in this direction after talking to enough customers and seeing what interests they had, and what type of content they liked.

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

We have an online software product called Docsketch. So the main way that we monetize our blog is by converting a portion of readers into customers.

It tends to be a longer process because instead of pushing visitors directly into a trial of our product, we work to get them into a drip campaign. From there we can better educate them and build trust. Eventually, some people give Docsketch a try and become customers.

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

Great question. I wish I knew enough to focus on the right type of content, and not pick topics by guessing what would appeal to our audience. Nowadays, we’re a lot better about picking our topics.

For example, one approach, is to start by focusing on a larger category and growing that through individual pieces of content. We’re actually doing that right now, with a “contract templates” section on our site: https://www.docsketch.com/contract-templates/

Based on researching what our target customer is looking for, we are expanding that page with individual pieces of content that can also bring in traffic (like a specific type of contract template). This helps in that you can slowly build authority in a very large category, and the individual contract templates will inherit that authority.

Another approach we take is using tools like Hotjar to run microsurveys so we can ask visitors that aren’t on our email list, what we should write about. We even do phone interviews with some of these visitors (and offer them an Amazon gift card for 15 minutes of their time).

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

Well, I’ll give two blogs because I’m having a tough time thinking of three.

My current favorites:

  1. The Sumo.com blog which focuses on growth stories (so good):
  2. The James Clear blog which focuses on personal improvement through fitness, psychology, and more.

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

  1. Hotjar for microsurveys, visitor recordings, etc
  2. Sumo.com for email collection of all types
  3. Moz for traffic, keywords, and more

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

Look at the top five blogs that you love to read, and deconstruct them. Work backwards. Why do you like them so much?

Don’t look at the specifics of how they’re doing things (images, content length, etc.), instead look at how their positioning hooks you, or how their topic choice gets you coming back. Look at the high level things that make a big difference.

From there, spend some time brainstorming how you can use some of what you’ve learned on your own blog. Then, spend lots of time researching, writing, and promoting 🙂

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

I think the best advice I’ve heard (and that I still try to internalize) came from Derek Halpern. Spend 20% of your time writing, and 80% promoting. That doesn’t mean write for 30 minutes and promote a weak piece of content. That means, that whatever time it takes to write a very high quality piece of content, spend 4x that long promoting it.

One interesting side effect is that you start looking at whether the topics you’re writing about are worth that type of promotion time.

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

I’d use part of it on Sumo.com tool to help me collect leads, the rest on hosting. After that, it’s really just my time on research, writing, and promoting.

The most valuable things that need to be done on a blog don’t cost money. They do involve you investing some time doing them though.

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

My personal twitter and our product.

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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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Blogging

How to View the Relationship Between Your Blog and Social Media

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Alonzo Pichardo says it best.

“Buy your own domain and hosting and make that your own main hub. Social media is a branch of the marketing tree. That’s all.”

He shared my video on Instagram. Video registered 3,926 views. Here it is:

Buy Your Domain and Hosting

I filmed the video because I spent 20 minutes clicking profile links of folks who Liked my updates. I found a few self-hosted WordPress blogs, read and commented on these blogs. Relationships established. But most Instagram users:

  • had no blog to speak of
  • linked to YouTube
  • linked to Facebook

For the heck of it, I spent a good 3 minutes looking for one user’s blog. I found an obituary (he was young and alive but shared a common name) and a collection of spammy “look up his information sites.” He claimed to be a blogger via his Instagram bio but he is no more a blogger than I am a werewolf.

Think about Alonzo’s advice; the blog is your main hub, or root, or base of your tree, and social media acts like branches. Offshoots, nothing more.

Big Mistake

Instagram owns Instagram. Instagram:

  • can kick that kid off of Instagram for 1 of a billion reasons, in a heartbeat
  • WILL change their algorithm, soon enough, forcing the kid to change his strategy, uprooting his online world
  • forces the kid to make his brand, Instagram’s brand

Not investing is a domain and hosting is about the biggest mistake you can make online because not owning your site hands your power, your decision making, your branding potential and your monetizing potential to someone else.

Social media is a branch. Spend most of your time daily working on your blog and networking with other bloggers who own their self-hosted, WordPress blogs. Unless they change their values or quit blogging, this is the most sound, intelligent approach to blogging.

Use social media for a little bit daily to:

  • tag bloggers you mention on your blog
  • help bloggers in groups related to your niche
  • share your blog posts
  • share other blogger’s blog posts

You are a blogger. Not an Instagrammer. You are a blogger. Not a Facebook-er. Spend most of your day on blogs. Not social media.

Marios Tofarides runs an authority blog on eBooks. Not in a billion years could he make his social media profiles look anything like his branded, self-hosted blog. Paula at Contented Traveler runs a first class travel blog. She could never re-create her blog’s branding, style and voice on social media. Sarah Arrow built a well known brand and thriving business by making her blog stand out, through creating, through connecting and through smart blog branding. Impossible to do this, through social media alone.

Pay Up to Play Up

I can mention your blog on Blogging From Paradise, a DA 47 blog read by many influencers.

I can mention your blog on Blogging Tips, a DA 48 blog read by many blogging influencers.

But I never link to free platform blogs because no influencer or experienced reader trusts information on free platforms. If you cannot invest $3 a month, you carry too much of a fear-lack-poverty conscious energy, that seasoned readers and top bloggers know to avoid.

I never link to a social media profile because….social media is not a blog!

Pay up to play up.

Invest in a domain and hosting. Move up in blogging circles. See social media as branches, using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as secondary or even tertiary means for helping people. Spend most of your time on your self-hosted, WordPress blog and networking on other self-hosted, WordPress blogs.

 

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Blogging

1 Failure Conscious Tendency That Makes Blogging Tougher

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Some bloggers cannot accept a good thing when they get it.

I have linked to tens of thousands of bloggers over my decade online. I love my friends. I take care of my friends.

99.999999% of bloggers are beyond grateful to get a backlink from an established, pro blogger like myself for many reasons:

  • Blogging From Paradise has a DA of 47; that’s some backlink juice!
  • Blogging Tips has an even higher DA; 48 I believe, meaning more backlink juice
  • you bond more deeply with me, and forming a deeper friendship allows me to open doors for you, via guest posts, more backlink mentions, interviews, prospering partnerships
  • greater blog traffic through exposure
  • greater blog profits through exposure
  • greater brand awareness through exposure, and also, your blog and brand aligns with Virgin, Forbes and Fox News, sites I have appeared on, creating greater trust

I could go on for 45 minutes. The list of benefits are endless. There are absolutely no downsides to being mentioned by me, on my blog or via guest post. Yet, some folks, because of their own fears, cannot accept these gifts freely and gratefully. Hey guys; I luv ya’s. This is not a rant, but a lesson in seeing good (versus fear/downside), expressing genuine gratitude and learning how to move up in blogging circles, by being fully grateful to receive the above gifts and by purging any fears or lack of gratitude you feel, when a world renowned blogger links to you.

Virtually all bloggers are grateful for receiving the above list of benefits. Donna Merrill is a blogging high roller and she responds to virtually all my tags and mentions. I would never expect her to do so because we are great friends, and she is so busy, but that is heart-filled blogging.

But a few bloggers clinging to deep fears have responded to my generous backlinks a few different ways:

  • some fear the linking structure is not neat and orderly
  • some fear they are not getting enough link juice via Google, and ask me to log into search console and make changes or whatever
  • some fear they are not getting enough links to a specific site or permalink, and ask me to edit the post, to change the link

All above motivators are fear, and fear is not real, so if you honor these fears and react-respond in the above fashion, you judge things or make a request from an illusory, untrue, false, totally not real energy of loss, lack, limitation.

That fear has 100% to do with you, and nothing to do with me. I will keep being generous with my blogging buddies, but I seek out loving buddies, not those weighed down a bit too heavy by fear, so fear-bloggers gotta go, along with their links, going forward.  Nothing personal, as I love and respect these folks. Just an energy thing.

We See the World as We See Ourselves

You see the world, you see other bloggers and you see their linking strategies as you see yourself.

If someone fears they won’t get enough traffic or clicks or Google juice through my linking strategy, that has nothing to do with the guy featured on billionaires’s blogs, and living his dream, circling the globe. That has to do 100% with you, your fear of loss, your fear of not enough, your trust issues, and other deep, fear based energies, begging to be unearthed and felt.

I am the mirror. You are the source. You are cause, and effect.

Picture break! Me during my trip to Fiji with my friend Olivia.

My dear friend Alonzo Pichardo sent me a Message months ago. He was deeply grateful I had linked to him 50 plus times on Blogging Tips alone. He is grateful! Does it surprise you that the guy runs a highly prospering business and leads a huge, loyal following?

David Boozer routinely sends me Messages sharing how grateful he is for my eBooks, courses, content and mentions, writing from the heart. More gratitude! Does it surprise you that one of his YouTube channels has registered millions of plays, alone?

Alonzo and David do not ask me to change links or put stuff into Google console or to change my linking style; they know a gift when they see it.

Vishwajeet Kumar feels incredibly grateful for each backlink I give to his helpful blogging resource, and expresses his gratitude on social media.

This is how you move higher in blogging circles, to see more success, versus moving lower, through fear-based lack of gratitude, and, losing link mentions.

Guys; see the blessing in a coveted backlink. Be grateful. See the good. Move up in the blog-0-sphere. Experience increased blogging success.

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Blogging

Connect to Get Connected

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Do you want to know how I became a connected travel blogger?

I patiently read posts from a brilliant group run by Mapping Megan, published genuine comments and promoted my fellow bloggers.

That is it. I put in serious work. I also published helpful content on my blog, too.

Bloggers mistakenly believe in “getting connected”. Like being connected is a passive act, that just happens. By luck, or by lame pitches.

Do you want to get connected enough where you get featured on world famous blogs? Invest in my Teachable course. I teach you how to do it without pitching anybody.

I created the course after bloggers emailed me asking if I can feature them on Forbes, or asking how much it costs to get a link on Forbes. All these bloggers made the critical error of believing asking someone for a favor or feature – quite a passive, lazy, mindless act – is how you “get connected.” If this were true, 30,000,000 bloggers would be featured on Forbes, Forbes’ reputation sinks into the sewer and nobody would want to get featured on Forbes anymore.

Do you see how foolish and silly strategies like asking people to get featured on world famous blogs waste your time? Like me asking the NY Knicks for a try out, after I only had skills good enough to be a junior college basketball player. Foolish.

Passive Versus Active

Getting connected is passive. Not gonna work.

You EARN connections by connecting yourself to human beings, and you connect yourself by featuring skilled bloggers on your blog, by mentioning them and sharing their content on social media and by expecting nothing in return. I mention Paula Pins the Planet because she’s a first class travel blogger. I connect myself to her. Friendship forms. I connect myself to Rhonda Albom by linking to her on my blog and by tweeting her posts. As more and more friendships form, blossom and grow, my friends:

  • promote me
  • endorse me
  • help me
  • inspire me
  • buy my eBooks
  • hire me

People then say, “Hey, Ryan is a connected blogger! He knows everybody.” Fools believe me being connected just….happened. Passively. Lost folks believe I am lucky to be connected. The blogging brain dead believe I began blogging from a connected, influential space, when I knew more cats than bloggers 10 years ago, a lost blogging soul who did not know what a blog, was.

I spent 10 years of my life connecting myself to bloggers by promoting them without asking for anything in return. I help skilled bloggers because skilled bloggers provide you with helpful resources. Naturally, this level of generosity and calm, cool detachment helped me pop up on the radar screen of high profile brands. Kinda happens, when an army of influential blogging buddies endorses you, promotes you and vouches for you.

Connecting yourself to successful bloggers requires:

  • generosity
  • detachment
  • patience
  • persistence
  • authenticity

You pay a specific tuition for being connected; helping influencers without giving thought to your own needs. Then, over months, then years, you become incredibly connected, powerful and influential, based on your generosity and willingness to shine the spotlight on other bloggers, like Moss Clement.  Peep his generosity.  This is how to get connected. Be a tireless supporter of other bloggers, like how David Boozer and Alonzo Pichardo do it. These guys are generous! David promoted me more than I promoted me. That’s saying something. Then, Alonzo and a bunch of folks found me through David, and these blogging pros generously promoted me. I keep promoting them too, returning the generosity these folks have shown me.

Do you want to know my secret for being hyper connected?

Take care of your friends!

Think little of your own needs. Friends will help take care of you.

Connect yourself to people. Promote them. Expect nothing. Be super connected.

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