How did you get started in blogging and what is your blog about?
After I graduated college, I moved across the country from Chicago to Oklahoma to start my career. I had a lot of down time on my weekends and wanted to travel more, so I started looking up ways to make income on the internet. I came across an affiliate marketing course about building small websites and reviewing products for commissions. My fascination with blogging began when I realized I could actually earn a passive income for work I did months or even years ago. It’s a pretty strong concept when you think about it.
How did you choose the niche you’re in?
The affiliate marketing/make money niche made sense, because I wanted to document my journey in making an income online. I tried a few other niches to “diversify,” but it always difficult to stick with them because I would get bored eventually and stop writing. I found that I enjoy writing about topics in the make money/self help niche, so I stuck with it.
Describe the process of launching your blog/site and getting it off the ground.
If you have ever tried network marketing, there is a lot of perceived glamour in “the hustle.” No one has ever talked about the glamour behind blogging – and that is because there is none. Spending hours every week writing is not glamorous. It’s dull and boring. I didn’t always have that.
How long did it take before you starting making money?
I could tell you the first commission I ever made. It was a product called, “Traffic Ultimatum.” I had a separate site that I had built just to sell that one product. It was a $90 commission. When I saw that green bar in my Clickbank account, I got so excited, I just about fell out of my chair! It took around 3 years until I had my first $1,000 sale.
How do you monetize your blog/site?
I sell mostly affiliate marketing info products/courses, recommend tools I use, and use adsense to monetize the traffic that doesn’t buy anything else.
The real secret is just spending a lot of time reviewing and ranking for expensive products and/or launches. I write very long posts that dig down deep into the products so the potential customer has a clear idea of what to expect when you buy the product or course. If you can get high quality content onto page one when a launch opens, you are set!
I don’t make sales every day, but when I do, they are big commissions. I figured out it takes much less effort to earn one $1200 sale, than it does to earn 171 sales of a $7 product. Also, for a lot of high ticket launches, the vendor will have a cart open for a very short period of time, but they will also create a back door so they can make additional sales weeks or months after the product is closed. I have started to figure out where these back doors are and I create and rank additional content to draw attention to it. I actually found out about it by accidentally because I made a huge sale 6 months after the cart for one of the products had closed. I couldn’t figure out either why people kept viewing the order form through my dashboard when all my links led to a “sorry, closed” page. It really does amaze me the steps that some marketers take to make as many sales as possible.
A lot of bloggers/newbie marketers have this mindset that high ticket commissions are difficult to get, but you just have to elevate your way of thinking. Instead of offering some PLR (Private Label Rights) content as a bonus, you have to really up your game. I like to offer my services as one of the bonuses. I will help them analyze their competition and give them a plan of action to rank their site if they buy a $2500 course. I’d say that is a fair trade off, even if I am spending some of my resources, time, and/or money to fulfill my promise.
Currently how do you drive traffic to your blog/website?
The vast majority of traffic I get comes from organic traffic. The best skill any blogger can foster is how to rank well on the search engines. You will spend a lot of time writing, but making it visible on Google is hands-down the most valuable skill you can learn. I learned how to blog and rank websites at the same time, as I believe they go hand-in-hand.
I also do some social media on Facebook (Facebook Page posting, not sharing on profiles). I spend a lot of time creating videos for Youtube and post these videos in my blog posts for extra exposure. Youtube is a vast treasure trove for bloggers. Ranking videos will give you an additional stream of revenue/traffic once you have uploaded enough videos.
What strategies have you used to build your email list?
I generally like to use a lead magnet on my blog. I have tried PLR or MRR products, but you will get the best results if it is something you have produced from scratch. What I mean by that, is I generally create a report, or guide that gives my readers something they are looking for to “solve” their biggest problem(s). My current lead magnet is a comprehensive list of tools I use (both paid and free) to build my blog and rank my site.
How do you come up with content ideas?
I actually have a post on my blog about this very topic. I get ideas from a lot of places. Facebook newsfeed, emails from other affiliate marketers, problems I have encountered and solved (I figure if I have encountered a problem, someone else has or will come across it at some point), etc. I also find that when you are writing or shooting videos regularly, you will get more an more ideas by default. A few years ago, I took a “post 30 videos in 30 days” challenge. I found it easier and easier to shoot videos and come up with quick ideas as the challenge went on. So will you!
What obstacles have you had to overcome to start and grow your business?
They say nothing worth fighting for is easy, and they weren’t mistaken. I had so many obstacles along the way, it would take too long to discuss them all, but I can touch base on the main ones.
When I started my journey as an entrepreneur, I met a lot of resistance from friends and family. People told me I was must be getting scammed by someone or that I was just wasting my time and money. Once I started making money, they either didn’t believe it, or they would call me a scammer.
There was some fear in there too. Fear of failing… fear of losing money… fear of talking someone else into making a bad purchase decision and having them lose their money. Eventually, you have to take you emotions out of it. You are a conduit of information! Think about it: when you look up something on the internet and you read about a product, service, or idea… are you thinking, this guy is an idiot, he shouldn’t be saying anything? Probably not most of the time. People will look up to you if you speak with confidence and give them what they are searching for.
What mistakes did you make as you built your business?
When I started list building, a friend of mine used to say that whenever you pay for an ad, you are not only paying to get email subscribers, but also for information. If you learned something new or gathered critical information about your target audience, then that under performing ad did not lose you money. The road to success is often with the stones of failure. It’s not easy to walk that path, but someone has to do it!
Some of the common mistakes I made while starting out, were: thinking writing a post meant I would be making a ton of money tomorrow; writing not often enough; rushing through posts to save time; treating it more like a hobby than a business, and the list goes on. I learned that you have to remain consistent, create a lot of content, and always add more value than your competitors.
What mistakes have you seen other bloggers make?
Whenever I write a new review for a new product, I usually look at the blogs of the people I am trying to outrank. The quality (or lack thereof) is shocking. My reviews are generally 2,000 to 3,500 words long on average. I see so many posts that have fewer than 1,000 words. You don’t have to have a degree in English to be a good writer, but you should be able to use proper grammar and use spellcheck. No one will ever take you seriously (even if you get onto to page one of Google) if you can’t write professionally. If writing is not a strong suit for you, you can hire a writer and focus on the creative aspects/SEO part of the blog.
What are some of your favorite affiliate programs to promote?
My favorite affiliate programs are Clickbank and JVZoo. I do prefer selling the high ticket digital products, rather than cheap WSO’s or physical products from Amazon. It is way easier to turn out a huge profit faster that way. About 95%-99% of my income comes from affiliate marketing.
Which ad networks do you use?
I used to make decent money with Adsense when they allowed “smaller” Youtube channels to monetize their content. Last year, Google decided that Youtube creators with fewer than 1,000 subscribers weren’t able to monetize their content. Across my Youtube channels I manage, I have close to 700 subscribers, but not enough to qualify for revenue. My website generates Adsense revenue but it’s not much. It probably accounts for 1-5% of my overall income.
What tools do you use to help you run your business?
If anyone tells you blogging is cheap or free, they must not be running their blog seriously. Yes, there are cheap ways of doing it, but you are not going to see the best results and certainly not in a timely manner. I have included the tools below I use (most of them are paid services).
Serped.net – SEO Suite of tools. NOT cheap, but pays for itself when considering the time saved and all the data you can accumulate about your competition.
Long Tail Pro – Keyword research tool. Serped.net has a built in keyword research tool, but I just can’t cancel my Long Tail Pro membership. It’s one of my oldest paid subscriptions and I just love it. Keyword research is important and this tool give you everything you need in that department.
Aweber – Autoresponder service. If you are list building, you need an autoresponder to email all your subscribers. There are several solutions out there that you can use. I just happen to use Aweber, among others.
ClickMagick – Link tracker. I keep track of my campaigns using this link tracking service. It’s great also if you ever decide to do listbuilding with solo ads.
Ranking Factory – Link building software. My key to ranking Youtube videos quickly and effectively lies in this tool. It can also help you rank your website and individual pages. I don’t even use all the features of this tool and I am pleased with what it does for my SEO needs.
JustHost/HostGator – This one is pretty obvious, but I figured I would add it here anyway. Your websites need a home and a hosting account with cPanel is a great place to start. My advice to anyone looking for decent hosting: don’t use GoDaddy! They charge way too much for their hosting with fewer features than other, cheaper services. You can eventually upgrade to a VPS, but a website with SSL and a dedicated IP is pretty much a minimum requirement nowadays.
Screencast-o-matic – I create a lot of powerpoint presentations for my product reviews. I then do a screen capture of the presentations and narrate them myself. This tool is cheap and allows me edit my videos and upload them to Youtube without breaking a sweat. The subscription is like $15 for a year. Definitely the cheapest tool on this list.
There may be others, but these are the main ones.
Do you have any tips and tricks you used to help your blog/site to grow?
One of the most effective tricks I have learned is to create content and weave it around to create a lot of link juice that pushes your content through the serps. When you write blog post, copy and paste it into a Word document and share it to doc sharing sites (Academia.edu, Scribd, Screenshare), when you make a video, share it to Daily Motion, Vimeo, Youtube, etc. Embed your videos on Google Sites, your blog posts, Web 2.0, Pinterest, Facebook, Etc. Create Twitter moments and share all your content there with hashtags.
Take the audio from your videos and create Soundcloud files. Create a notepad with all the links you create and build links to those links… then build more links to those links. I think you can see the power of this strategy, even if it is a tad overwhelming and confusing. It. Is. Powerful!
Did you take a course to learn how to succeed in blogging?
I’ve taken many courses, but the first course I ever took that got me hooked was called, “Google Sniper” by George Brown. It’s still available through Clickbank but the sections on SEO aren’t as reliable nowadays as they were in 2009.
Was there an event you attended that change the trajectory of your business?
I went to a live event in Phoenix back in 2015. It was a network marketing even for a company called Vemma. I got to meet a lot of network marketing leaders including Eric Worre, Vincent Ortega Jr., and Bob Beckett. Being around others that were successful really proved to me that it was possible to earn a lot with internet marketing. They always say believing is seeing, but sometimes seeing it can go a long way as well.
Who has had the greatest impact on your decision to become an entrepreneur?
I always loved the idea of working for myself. I can’t really say I have ever really loved alarm clocks or worrying about job security. I can’t recall of there being a specific person that pushed me on the path to blogging. I have met numerous people along the way that have inspired me to continue trudging on, even when I wanted to give up.
Are there any books that you have read that have helped you on your journey as an entrepreneur?
It’s kind of cliche, but I would have to say the Four Hour Work Week. I also really enjoyed the Law of Success by Napoleon Hill.
Do you have any words of advice for people thinking of getting into blogging and build niche sites?
If you have ever tried network marketing, there is a lot of perceived glamour in “the hustle.” No one has ever talked about the glamour behind blogging – and that is because there is none. Spending hours every week writing is not glamorous. It’s dull and boring. I didn’t always have that mindset and it still gets me on my lazy days. Instead of being the hare that runs the race, it is better to be the tortoise that wins the race by being slow and steady.
What is the one thing every blogger/niche marketer needs to know above all else?
I had friends I met doing different programs who refused to build websites. Their number one concern was the technical aspects of blogging. Don’t get caught up in figuring out how to install WordPress or how to configure a plugin. They have made these steps as easy as clicking a few buttons now. The best thing you can do is start a blog today and stay consistent. The sooner you start, the better.
What would you like to leave us with?
As you embark on your journey of blogging, it really is all about the mindset. You can take blogging courses, attend webinars, and read emails from the gurus until the cows come home (I live in Wisconsin, so that doesn’t take too long here).
You might go months without making one sale, then suddenly make five in one week. I have no idea why this happens, but I can tell you this: it happens to ALL OF US. The more you write, the more arms you are extending out to your intended audience.
You will increase your chances of earning a more consistent income as you add more content. You must stay on course if you want to earn a full-time income and quit your job. Life gets busy, but your blog is a commitment. Commit to excellence and never waiver. You will see things happen quickly if you do just that.
How Can we learn more about you?
You can learn more about Jeremy at Freedomfromfailure.com.