Connect with us

Meet the Bloggers

Meet Gill Andrews of GillAndrews.com

Published

on

Like many new things, I believe blogging is something any of you must try first at least once. It’s such a great medium whether be it for personal branding, documentation, sharing of ideas, giving out advice, or unleashing creativity.

Others may have considered professional blogging as an option for a while before acting on it, but for our guest Gill Andrews of this week’s Meet the Bloggers, she was led to this path unintentionally. Her first blog attempt was merely for personal use. Now, she’s able to help others as a web consultant and content creator. Read along to know more about Gill’s story and what led her to a rewarding and successful career.

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

Gill Andrews

Hi there from Germany. I’m Gill, a content creator and a web consultant, and I stumbled into blogging by pure accident.

A few years ago, I started a personal blog with no purpose or direction. But when one of my posts accidentally took off on Reddit, I got to feel the adrenaline of 3000 visitors a day and decided to take this seriously.

I started reading about what makes a blog successful and trying things out on my own website and the websites of my blogger friends. Suddenly, I realized that I enjoyed giving people advice on improving their websites more than just blogging.

After yet another friend hired me to help her, I decided it was time and launched my current website Gillandrews.com.

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

I blog for solopreneurs and small business owners who know their website can do better but don’t know how to make it happen.

They feel stuck because they are overwhelmed by the amount of the information they see online, or because they follow every tip they find but still don’t see the results.

Contrary to the popular advice to pick a niche as narrow as possible, my niche is rather wide. I blog about everything a small business owner who runs her website herself cares about: Web design, user experience, SEO and copywriting.

The reason for that is that the world has enough great web designers, SEO experts and social media consultants. But what the world lacks – what I saw my blogger and business owner friends lacking – is someone who can see the big picture and guide them through this maze.

You can think of me as a family doctor for your website. You come to me with general complaints, like “I don’t get enough clients through my website”. I look at your body (aka website) as a whole and uncover specific problems that I either fix myself (strategy and content creation) or refer you to a specialist (an SEO consultant or a web designer, for example).

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

My website is a typical case of attracting clients through content marketing.

I’m an introvert. I don’t like writing cold emails or (God forbid!) calling strangers on the phone.

But I like writing, sharing my knowledge and talking to people one-on-one. So, I write blog posts that lead my clients to me, impress them with my expertise and let them be the first one to take that awkward step of contacting a stranger.

The emails I usually get started with “Hi Gill. I like your content. I have this problem with my website. Can you help?”. Or they ask straight for a website review – my flagship service.

After I review their website, I often get to consult them on optimizing their website for better user experience or to write new web copy.

So, if you ever had doubts about content marketing, I’m a living proof that it works.

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

When I started my first blog, it was just for fun. There was no pressure of earning money, and I’ve spent the first 2 years educating myself and trying things out. So, when I launched my current website I already had a plan and was lucky to do many things right from the beginning.

One thing I wish I learned sooner, though, is this:

There are things that matter. And there are things that matter only to you. You need to be able to tell them apart to make progress.

For example, creating a successful blog post is much more than just writing and hitting “publish”. It’s a complicated process with many steps, and if you are a one-person business, you won’t be able to do all of them perfectly.

Good news is that you don’t have to do everything perfectly for your efforts to pay off. You just need to do your best with the things that matter.

For example, if you are creating a blog post that is supposed to bring you organic traffic, here are the things that matter and the ones that don’t.

Things that matter:

  • Targeting a keyword that fits your content strategy and for what you have a chance to rank
  • An enticing headline so that people even consider reading your content
  • A killer opening to grab their attention from the very first sentence
  • Headings, subheadings and proper formatting to make your post easier to skim and read, and for your content to appear trustworthy
  • Unique idea, research, or added value – something that will make reading your post worth people’s time
  • Clear call to action with links that work
  • Good user experience on mobile devices
  • Enticing meta title and meta description that match the searcher’s intent (otherwise, people won’t click on your link in SERP even if your post ranks well).

Things that don’t matter:

  • Whether your headings are center-aligned or left-aligned
  • Whether your post is 1000 or 4000 words
  • Number of images in the post
  • Whether your featured image is just good or the best image one could possibly find
  • The captions under the images
  • Whether it’s the funniest GIF ever (or whether you have a GIF at all)
  • Color scheme for social sharing buttons (unless it’s neon-green; then please don’t)
  • Whether you have “tweet this” blockquotes, etc.

The same goes for everything you do for your website. If you spend too much time on minor things, you’ll cut the wrong corners and sabotage your own efforts.

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

  • EnchantingMarketing.com, for ultra-specific advice on writing better and emotional support if I’m having a “bad writing day”. It’s also the only blog I visit to read the comments. Henneke has built a wonderful community around her website, and there are often interesting conversations going on in the comment section.
  • ConversionXL.com, for learning about optimizing websites for better user experience and conversion. Peep’s articles are always worth my time, and in the early days I even used to take notes while reading them. If you want to understand how your visitors see and interact with your website, read ConversionXL.
  • SearchEngineJournal.com. They tweet a lot, and I live on Twitter. So I end up on their blog at least once a day to catch up with SEO news that I know I can trust.

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

  • Buffer, for auto-scheduling my tweets: I love their interface. It must have been designed by content marketers, as it lets you do the things you want to do with ease. I use Buffer in combination with Bulkbuffer, a free online tool that allows you to upload an Excel file with your tweets and put them in the Buffer queue. As I schedule all my tweets for the week at once, this saves a lot of time.
  • KWFinder, for keyword research as an affordable alternative to the expensive enterprise tools. I’m happy with the keywords I uncover with the help of KWFinder, as every post I’ve written so far performed in search the way I expected.
  • Excel, to do things I need to do without using any additional tools: The more different tools you have, the more distracted you are. If you know your way around Excel, you can save yourself a couple of extra tools, extra bucks and extra hours.

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

Many things, actually. To name everything will make this article into a book, so here’s one thing that I think is the most important.

First, I’d like you to know that it’s hard. To make your website successful requires planning, lots of work and patience.

In the beginning, there is rarely instant gratification, and you’ll often feel that you’ve just spent 3 days writing your new blog post for no one. You’ll think about giving up at least once a month.

But the good news is that consistently showing up and doing the work pays off.

Here’s how to make it pay off faster:

Make a plan and stick to it for at least 6 months, ignoring anything that may be a distraction.

For example, this could be your plan:

  1. Define your target audience.
  2. Answer this question: “If someone has been reading my blog for 2 months, how did it make their life easier?” This would be your blog focus.
  3. Keeping in mind #1 and #2, do keyword research and select 3 general topics to focus on for the next 6 months.
  4. Do more keyword research to uncover questions your target audience wants answers for. Pick as many keywords as you can that fit the topics you selected in #3. Organize them in smaller groups related by subtopic. This would be the foundation of your content strategy.
  5. Start creating blog posts targeting the keywords you uncovered in #4. Make sure to provide value or a unique angle, and not just repeat someone else’s ideas.
  6. Create an effective lead magnet to grow your list with a dedicated landing page that is optimized for search. In the long run, it will ensure a steady growth of your email list.
  7. Send out an email newsletter once a week and try to stick to your schedule no matter what. If you don’t have a new blog post to share that week, send your subscribers a smaller tip that you don’t publish on your blog. This will help you earn their loyalty and trust.
  8. Be serious about one social network and invest time and effort to interact beyond sharing your content. Connect with your peers, as among them you’ll find your first fans who will comment on your blog posts, share your content and link to you from their websites.
  9. Pitch two guest posts a month.

After 6 months, evaluate your strategy. Make a new plan for the next 6 months. Repeat.

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

As it’s important to me that every post ranks as high as possible, I found this advice from Andy Crestodina invaluable:

First, you should either aim for your post to rank on page #1, or don’t write it at all.

Second, you have a chance to rank on page #1 for a certain keyword if your domain authority (DA) is between the highest and the lowest DA of the domains that are already ranking for the keyword you are targeting.

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

You mean after I buy a domain and sign up for an email marketing software?

I would start a pay-per-click campaign to get enough traffic to optimize my lead magnet landing page for conversions.

When you have a page with a lead magnet that ranks in search you get a constant flow of subscribers with no additional effort. The better this page is optimized for conversions, the faster your list will grow.

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

You can always get in touch with me through my website GillAndrews.com. I’m also very active on Twitter. I don’t use LinkedIn much, but if this is the network you prefer, you can find me on LinkedIn as well.

I don’t have a Facebook account (just wanted to mention that to show other bloggers who are frustrated with Facebook but don’t dare to quit that it also works without it).

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

Continue Reading

Meet the Bloggers

Meet Karen D’Avino of KarenDavino.com

Published

on

Blogging is one of the most exciting ways to create content on the internet and engage with others around the world at the same time. In addition to creating your own content and building your own little spot on the internet, blogging can be quite a resourceful tool for educators, teachers, schools, and even principles or superintendents. As always, when profiling new bloggers and experts in our Meet the Bloggers series, we are looking to cater to all niche markets and areas of the internet.

With all of this in mind, today we have an exciting guest — Karen D’Avino, who is the superintendent of schools and has taken her expertise and talent for this industry to the internet while helping to provide others with the necessary resources and tools to further improve their schools as well.

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

My name is Karen D’Avino. I am an educator with over twenty years of experience in the New Jersey public schools. I most recently served as Superintendent of Schools in the Barnegat Township School District. As an educator always looking to remain abreast of current practices and striving for academic excellence for students and staff, I became engaged with educators online. I was selected to become part of the Compelled Tribe based on my contributions to education.

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

The focus of my blog is on educational improvement. My administrative career has been dedicated to the improvement of schools, education, and both student and teacher performance. The subjects on my blog range from dealing with adversity to behavior management skills.

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

While many other websites and blogs like to post advertisements on their site, I’m simply trying to create a platform where I can provide the best resources and tools possible. Through my personal blog at KarenDavino.com, you will find that my content is dedicated to in district support where parties interested can contact me for consulting work.

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

I began using the blogging portion of WordPress before I created my own webpage. My page is also on Word Press but I wish I knew more about building web pages prior to blogging. I also know more about SEO’s and how online searches work. I wish I knew more about that before I began blogging.

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

http://www.thecompellededucator.com/
https://allysonapsey.com/
https://fouroclockfaculty.com/

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

Most times I use blogging to provide educational support for a variety of challenges that may occur in schools. Through blogging, I have been able to address many topics of concern for teachers but mostly for administrators. I have addressed various funding challenges that school administrators might find in the day to day operations of schools. I have blogged about teaching and learning strategies to implement in the classroom and I have blogged about working with challenging students.

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

Blogging is something I just kind of fell into, but also something that has been quite beneficial and amazing in the process. My best advice for anyone looking to start a blog of their own, is to focus on their passion and see how they can provide value to others. Through my blog I have been able to share some great stories, my expertise, and also help others who are in the same educational environment as I am.

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

Creating content can be a challenge if you do not focus on a few topics. The internet has lots of information and deciding what your niche is will be important to gain and retain constant readers. I would also recommend that anyone in the education space focus some time on connecting with others in education and teacher forums or social groups online. With so many teachers already online, there are some amazing resources available when you put in the time and effort to find and connect with others.

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

I would research the content areas in education where there is a need for information and focus my energies on creating a blog, supportive website, and possible member services. Anyone can get started with a blog of their own, even if they are a teacher or working with a small budget. If you have the time and money, I would invest in a domain, hosting, and maybe a custom logo design or WordPress them to stand out from the crowd.

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

My blog can be found at http://karendavino.com/
You can also see one of my latest radio interviews here.
Also feel free to follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks again Karen D’Avino 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.

Continue Reading

Blogging

Meet Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch.com and Docsketch.com

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Blogger

Meet Daniel Cowen-Rivers of TravelWeekli.com

Published

on

Blogging can lead you to many opportunities. All established bloggers now have been through the phase of being a new comers. They have experimented one way or another along the process. Trying different things out does help in determining your own style and strategy.

We’ve interviewed bloggers covering various niches in Meet the Bloggers. For this episode, we’d like to introduce Daniel Cowen-Rivers. He’s a budding travel blogger. Read on to know more about his journey across the globe and a

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

Daniel Cowen-Rivers

I am a budding travel blogger who travels the world and shares my experiences and travel expertise via social media and through my blog. I got into blogging as I wanted to share my traveling tips and photos with others to make them travel more before global warming destroys the world.

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

I chose traveling to share my love of seeing the world and different country’s way of living. I also wanted more people to find out about the world we live in.

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

AdSense. I have a few paid ads but not that many as I am still new to the game. I’ve started blogging since February of 2017.

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

I did not know about DA and SEO that I know now is very important in order to get sponsored post.

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

The blogs are:

  1. Backpack With Me
  2. Bradley Bow
  3. Hand Luggage Only

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

The three services that I recommended using to help your blog are:

  1. Yoast  A blog in called SEO by Yoast. This makes optimizing my blog post easier to rank higher on Google search.
  2. OneNote – I’m constantly making notes for future articles. As I always have random moments where I’m going by my day and I just randomly have an idea for a blog article. I always carry my phone to write the note in OneNote.
  3. MailMunch is a plugin for WordPress that comes with email subscription templates that you can place in certain parts of your blog and I made mine as a popup.

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

Pick a niche category that you want your blog to be about. As well as this, one of the most important advice I have is one that you need to know when starting out, is how to improve your SEO and DA.

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

Just keep blogging! After a few months, I only got a few readers per day and I’ve thought to quit then. However, I’ve read that it takes people years to get enough readers to be a full time blogger. Just keep blogging and don’t stop.

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

I would use the money to gain more Facebook likes on my Facebook page that in turn will convert readers for my blog. This will be done by advertising the page and blog on Facebook.

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

Continue Reading










Trending