With over a billion sites on the internet, they are all unique in their own way. Blogging is one of the most exciting areas to be in right now because you can create content based on whatever you like. Some of the best blogs out there today are ones that walk through the steps and process of finding success. New people are finding out about the power of the internet for marketing, business and much more and a blog is a great way for them to share their stories, document their learning process and also building a brand for themselves in the process.

This is exactly what Richard Marriott of Clambr.com did with his own blog — reading everything he could on SEO, then starting a resource site of his own. All of this and more in the latest interview in the Meet the Bloggers series.

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

Richard MarriottI didn’t even know what blogging was until I stumbled across Quick Sprout in the summer of 2012. Up until then I’d never even thought about making money online and was happy to just order a “Gong Bao Chicken” and watch prank videos on YouTube after the daily 9 to 5 grind. But Quick Sprout opened my eyes to a world I’d never dreamed was possible – and I wanted in.
One year later – after reading literally every guide on blogging and SEO under the sun – I launched my first blog in March 2013. It’s called clambr.com and it’s all about clambering up Google!

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

My first few posts were a mixture of jokes and weird ramblings. I had no idea what I was doing. The blog was supposed to document my clamber to wealth online but instead I was talking about fish balls.
But then…after stumbling across a guide written by Brian Dean and Neil Patel I found focus. I decided to concentrate on SEO case studies and my first case study would be about making my blog appear out of nowhere by doing an expert roundup on link building tools.
Loads of legends got involved, including Zac (much appreciated mate!) and clambr suddenly got on the map.

After that I continued to focus around the SEO / link building side of things and recently launched a couple of videos revealing how I build links.

Clambr Blog

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

The blog makes the bulk of its money from affiliate links in a couple of expert roundup posts and link building tutorial videos.
In the roundups I asked dozens of expert bloggers to reveal their favourite tools for link building and blog promotion. The result was two lists withthe top tools for success (like this one):
Top link building tools
I then added my affiliate links into the list of top tools, ranked the posts on Google and now consistently make commissions when anyone finds those posts and buys those tools.
But…this is not how I intend to continue making money from the blog. VERY soon I will be working on building a heavily engaged email list (more info on that below) and promoting products through that with high quality training.
I’ve been building lists in other niches and have found emailing to be the most profitable way of piling up the casheesh!

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

I wish I’d built my blogs upside down. As in…I wish I’d created content beneath the surface first – that only subscribers have access to – rather than creating the content that attracts traffic to the blog first.
Let me explain…
If you wanted to open a pizza restaurant would it make business sense to send flyers around town advertising your restaurant before you’ve even built it? Before you have any actual pizzas to give your customers? NO!
Instead you build the restaurant first and have everything ready to go before your very first customer steps in the door. You build the business first – then attract the customers.
This may sound obvious but believe me – SO many blogs are guilty of not doing this – myself included. In fact I’m blushing as I type this because currently clambr.com has no engaged mailing list.
That’s right. I focussed on getting traffic through the doors first. On being the next best thing. And I’m paying for it. Because there’s no business behind the site. There’s no more iceberg beneath the tip!
Sure, I make a few sales from cold traffic, but it’s not a business – it’s more like a lemonade stand set up by a bunch of kids on a hot summer’s day.
Anyway, I had this big “A-Ha” moment a few months ago when I was scratching my head wondering why the HELL none of my sites were really banking much, despite my ability to get lots of organic traffic like this:
Traffic Since Rebrand
So what’s the solution?
Create all your “membership” content and your sequence of 30~ emails BEFORE you even launch. I’m talking ebooks, video tutorials, private training, whatever it is you want to sell. Do all this before you even begin designing your blog!
Then, the very day you launch, you can be pretty certain that if you can get people to sign up – you can start making money – rather than spending weeks or months on trying to attract people to an empty pizza restaurant with nothing to sell them except a few cups of lemonade outside.
Since having this big “A-Ha” moment, I launched my first highly targeted email list a couple of weeks ago on a niche site of mine. There’s this one post on the site that gets an average of 1,500 of visitors each day so I found out what their main pain was and created a mini-course around solving that pain (exclusive to subscribers) with a product recommendation to go one step further.
That one blog post generates around 120 confirmed subscribers per day now and an average of $150 per day in commissions…
You can probably guess how much that post was making before I implemented this right?
Yup, zero dollars and zero cents 😉
So it just goes to show the POWER of a highly targeted list.

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

Backlinko – Brian Dean inspired me to do my first ever expert roundup post, walked me through the whole link building process and then featuredthe results of my roundup as a case study on his blog. He’s a legend and I wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance.
Selfmadebusinessman.com – This is a relatively new and fast growing blog by Dave Schneider. I love it because Dave packs it full of case studies all about getting traffic to your blog and increasing conversions. It’s kind of like a case study within a case study.
MatthewWoodward.co.uk – Matt is a master when it comes to SEO and his video tutorials blow everyone else’s out the water. If you want to learn how to build a heavily engaged audience and make a ton of money in the process, he’s the guy to follow.

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

I use SEMRush to find out what keywords bring in my competitors the most traffic…
Ahrefs to crawl all the backlinks pointing to my competitors’ sites…
And BuzzStream to reach out to people linking to those sites and land links on the same pages.
I don’t use any tools for social media because I find emailing people directly and nudging them to share my stuff gets all the shares I need.

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

Choose a niche where you can constantly recommend new products. Don’t choose a niche where one product solves ALL their problems.
Stop thinking about how you’re going to make the most dazzling, amazing, blow your socks off epic blog out there. In fact don’t think about YOU at all. Just think about your customers.
Step into their shoes. Become your ideal customer.
Work out what your ideal customer REALLY wants. Get to the bottom of their pains, their desires and the barriers that are preventing them from getting to where they want to be.
This cannot be guessed. It requires digging.
Forums are a great place to start. Just dig, dig, dig until you have a clear picture of your target audience, because once you know what they’re struggling with and what they really want, they’ll eat up your copy like a shoal of hungry piranhas!
And then simply show them step by step how to get to what they want and you will have them.

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

Get good at emailing people – I mean REAL good.
It’s literally all you need to do to get all the shares and links you desire.
If you’re worried about p*ssing people off simply use an alias! I go under many names…including Elena, Bonnie, Damon and Klaus (all characters from the Vampire Diaries which I’m embarrassed to admit I used to watch).
Pretty lame right? 😉

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

It’s funny because I actually started out with only $100.
Spend $10 on a domain name, $6/pm on hosting, $60 on the Genesis Framework, $19/pm on an auto responder service like Aweber and the remaining $5 on an ice cold beer!

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

Head on over to clambr.com and follow me on Twitter @clambr.
Thanks again Richard 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.