Blogging Tips From Kevin Duncan At Be A Better Blogger

If you like to read blogs that have a bit of wit, then you must check out Kevin Duncan’s style from Be A Better Blogger.  Kevin has a gift for conveying a lot of useful information in a manner that is not only interesting but also highly entertaining.  He is certainly a blogger that knows his stuff, and I am delighted to have him here with us today on Friday’s Featured Blogger.  Please make him feel welcome and ask as many questions as you can think of!

Be A Better Blogger

1. Tell us about yourself and your blog at “Be A Better Blogger”

Kevin Duncan at Be A Better BloggerFirst off, I want to thank you, Catherine, for extending this invitation! I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of Marc, Steven, Ryan, Dawn, and all the other great bloggers you have featured.

My name is Kevin. As I like to say: I serve a great God, love a great wife, and create things that are sometimes great. I also fight crime by working for the Santa Barbara Police Department as a psychic detective.

(One of the above isn’t true. I will leave it to you to figure out which one.)

I’ve worked in web development for 13 years, with the last 9 years as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense. I’ve been blogging since 2005.

My blog, Be A Better Blogger, is where my background, education, and experience come together. Its goal is to help people become the best bloggers they can be.

2. What made you get started in blogging?

Well, boredom, to be honest.

Back in 2005, I worked as a teacher while I finished graduate school. I also coached the baseball team. In April, baseball season ended. In May, I graduated. A few weeks later, the school year ended.

Suddenly, I had lots of free time on my hands. So, on a whim, I started a blog.

At first, I chronicled my final days as a teacher and my hunt for a new job. After a few months, my topic changed. The blog stopped being about me and started being about entertaining  people.

For the next 7 years, I was a humor blogger. I wrote satire. I wrote humorous anecdotes. I wrote whatever made me laugh. Usually, other people laughed, too. Eventually, it dawned on me my time could be put to better use.I had a teaching background, but I wasn’t teaching anyone. I had years of web development experience, but beyond my day job I wasn’t doing anything with it.

I had a knack for telling stories in entertaining ways, but I was using this talent to do things like critique the “acting” abilities of Keanu Reeves and Nicolas Cage.That’s when I found my new purpose for blogging. It’s when I found my direction.

3. On average, how much time do you dedicate each day/week to your blogging? How do you keep track of what you are doing?

Good question!

There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, so there are 168 hours in a week. That means I work 168 hours on my blog each week. Wow. That seems like a high number. No wonder I’m so tired.

Okay, so I don’t really work 168 hours each week. It only feels like it sometimes! On average, I put in a solid 40 hours each week into some aspect of blogging (writing, reading, commenting, etc). But since these 40 hours are in addition to my regular full­time
job (see Question #7), I definitely stay busy.

I’m used to relying on my memory, but I need a better method for tracking my activities. Right now I keep a document on Google Drive with my weekly “to do” list. I’m able to access it from any computer, which is very handy.

4. If you could have told yourself ONE thing when you started blogging, what would it be?

Since I started blogging in May 2005, I would have told myself to buy as many stocks of “Apple” as possible. Take out a loan if necessary. Just buy all you can. Then, on September 17, 2012, sell all your stock. All of it!

Of course, your question probably refers to blogging advice, right?

The one thing I would tell myself is to figure out why you want to blog. What is your goal? What do you hope to get out of it?

I owned a successful humor blog, but it had no reason to exist. It was there simply to give me something to do. My interest in it inevitably waned, which caused its popularity to wane.

If I had figured out my “why” back in 2005, and I worked on achieving my goals in all the years since, the Lord only knows the success I could have achieved. I could have quit my day job years ago. I could be mentioned alongside the Darren Rowses and
Jon Morrows of the world. Heck, my wife and I could be living in Fiji next to Ryan Biddulph.

5. Do you make money from your blog? If so, what has been your most successful way of making money?

I do offer services (such as WordPress theme development, blog coaching and content writing), but I don’t actively advertise them.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been doing web development since 2001. I’ve also been designing custom WordPress themes since 2007. To date, it’s been my most popular service.I still take on the occasional client, but I try not to do anything to interfere with my blog’s two primary missions: building traffic and growing my email list. These two priorities will help me down the road when I begin writing eBooks and creating courses.

6. Do you have any other ways of making money online? What would you say has been your most successful approach?

I have one regular freelance writing job, but it only takes up 2 to 4 hours of my time every two weeks. I’ve found the ProBlogger Job Board (free) and Flex Jobs (not free) to be great resources whenever I feel the need to pick up another writing gig.

7. As well as blogging, do you have another full/part time job or parenting responsibilities?
How do you juggle these demands?

Oh, yes. As I mentioned earlier, I have a full­time job. Blogging is a “side job” I hope will one day replace my regular job.

My goal is to blog full time, work from home, and be able to spend more time with my wonderful wife. We don’t have kids yet, but we do have a “fixer up” home in need of lots of “fixing upping.”

As for how I juggle all these demands, I honestly don’t know!

8. What would you say is your favorite social media platform and why?

MySpace, for sure. It’s going to make a comeback, people. Mark my words!

I’m kidding, of course. I don’t really have a favorite social media platform, but to date I’ve definitely concentrated on Google+ more than any other. In May, I had a measly 22 followers on Google+. Four months later I’ve almost hit 7k. I hope to reach 10,000 by the end of the year.

Of course, despite my follower count, Google+ trails both Twitter and Facebook in referrals for me. For this reason, I’ve begun transitioning more to Twitter. I like how you can update several times a day without bothering anyone on Twitter. And I like how Twitter doesn’t care how many times you link to your blog. If you do that too much on Google Plus, they give you warnings. How crazy is that?

9. What has been the biggest hurdle that you have come across in your blogging career to date? How did you overcome this?

Lack of time is definitely my biggest hurdle. I have 48 hours of things to do each day, but only 24 hours to do them. Well, at least it feels like that sometimes.

I haven’t overcome this yet. And I won’t overcome it until one of two things happen: I quit blogging, or I quit my day job. Can you guess which one I’m working towards each day?

10. How do you drive traffic to your blog and grow your readership?

I’m a big believer in not putting all your eggs into one basket. It’s good advice with your financial investments, and it’s good advice with your blog traffic.

It’s cliche to say “don’t rely on Google,” but it’s true. If Google suddenly dropping your blog in search results means your blog will lose all its traffic, guess what? You’ve put all your eggs into Google’s basket.

Like many bloggers, I drive traffic by commenting on other blogs, and being active on social media. The tricky part is turning that traffic into regular readership.

My modest goal is to turn 1 out of every 10 visitors to Be A Better Blogger into a regular reader. That’s a 10% conversion rate. Ideally, this individual will subscribe to my mailing list. However, many of my most devoted readers (the ones who share my posts and comment on everything I write) aren’t subscribers.

When you think about it, these non­subscribing individuals are your biggest fans. Subscribers receive email reminders to keep coming back to your blog. These individuals are coming back again and again all on their own. No reminders necessary!

11.What is the most important piece of advice you could give to a new blogger?

I gave a detailed answer to this very question in an “expert” roundup post last week (my answer is #17 on the list). To summarize:
What I tell new bloggers is find your purpose for blogging.

There are many good reasons to get into blogging. There are many bad reasons to get into blogging. But the worst reason of all is a reason to which you aren’t committed.

If you don’t have a purpose, and you aren’t committed to that purpose, you have practically zero chance of succeeding as a blogger. Your blog will be abandoned or deleted, and Elton John will have to rewrite “Candle in the Wind” in its honor.

The second piece of advice I would give a new blogger is to read my blog and join my mailing list. :­)

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Kevin for sharing with us today.  If you would like to connect further with him, you can do so at his social media profiles.

Google + / Twitter / Facebook

Would you like to be considered for an interview at Friday’s Featured Blogger? 

Please complete the form below, and provide some information about yourself and your blog.

You will be contacted once your application has been considered.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

email

Written by

Catherine Holt is the founder of Blogging Tips 101. She has been an internet marketer since 2012. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google and Pinterest.

26 Responses to “Blogging Tips From Kevin Duncan At Be A Better Blogger”

written by Virtuo Rohit On 12 September 2014 Reply

Hey Catherine,

Awesome Post Indeed!

This time you came up interviewing Kevin Duncan of BeaBetterBlogger. To be honest, I was a little familiar with BeABetterBlogger before but I didn’t know much about Kevin. This Interview was one of its kind. The questions were full of excitement and Kevin answered them even well.

The Interview taught me a lot of things ( I am a newbie O’course). The question I liked the most in your interview was If you could have told yourself ONE thing when you started blogging, what would it be? The answer was great indeed.

I really got a whole lot of things to learn from this interviews and O’course Kevin.

Thank you so much Cath for coming up with this fabulous interview.

Cheers!

- Rohit

written by Catherine Holt On 12 September 2014 Reply

That’s awesome to hear that Kevin’s interview was so useful to you Rohit. He is definitely a blogger to follow and I would encourage you to pop over to his blog regularly too. I loved having him on the blog, and it’s awesome that he can share some of his tips with my readers too.

Have a great weekend Rohit :-)

written by Kevin Duncan On 13 September 2014 Reply

Hi Virtuo,

Glad you enjoyed the interview and got to know a bit more about me!

I tried my best to be as entertaining as possible with my responses (while still providing helpful info). Hopefully I succeeded.

Hope you have an awesome weekend, Virtuo.

- Kevin

written by Dawn @ Reveal Natural Health On 13 September 2014 Reply

Catherine,

I quickly became a fan of Kevin’s blogging style after reading a post of his that you had shared on Facebook. He even convinced me to sign up for his email list (which was his goal according to #5) by proving he was human in the way he responded to my comments on his blog.

I am so glad you interviewed him!

written by Catherine Holt On 14 September 2014 Reply

Fantastic Dawn. It’s great to hear that I have even able to introduce awesome bloggers to other people. Blogging is all about networking and engaging and I am always more than happy to share great content.

Hopefully you learnt a bit more about Kevin here too :-). Thanks for stopping by and have an Awesome weekend!

written by Kevin Duncan On 15 September 2014 Reply

Hi Dawn,

I’m glad to have you as a fan! And I’m thankful to Catherine for introducing me to you.

Appreciate the comment! Hope your week is off to a great start. :-)

- Kevin

written by Okto On 14 September 2014 Reply

Hi Kevin and Catherine,
Welcome here Kevin, and thak you Catherine to bring this wonderful interview here. I am part-time blogger too so I know how his feeling about running a blog while keeping 9 to 5 job. The tips to build audiences from Kevin above is great. If we are lacking of time to blog, focus on this aspect because your audiences will make the blog bigger than before. Thanks for the post. Wish you both have a great weekend.

written by Catherine Holt On 14 September 2014 Reply

Thanks Okto. It’s great to see successful bloggers who also manage to juggle working a 9-5 job. Kevin has shared some awesome tips to help others to do just that. If you are short of time, networking is something not to be skipped…you should consider cutting back elsewhere. Without the engagement, your blog just won’t thrive. Kevin certainly has some great results to show from his efforts in this area.

Thanks for leaving your feedback here, much appreciated :-)

written by Kevin Duncan On 16 September 2014 Reply

Hey Okto,

Thanks! I’m glad you liked the tips, and it’s good to know there are many other bloggers out there like me with full-time jobs.

Hope your week is off to a great start, Okto. Looking forward to seeing you at Be A Better Blogger again.

- Kevin

written by Andrew On 14 September 2014 Reply

Hey Catherine,

Great feature of Kevin. Always good to know these things about fellow bloggers. I agree with his point on the social media thing. You really should focus on the one that can create more engagement.

“Like many bloggers, I drive traffic by commenting on other blogs, and being active on social media. The tricky part is turning that traffic into regular readership.”

That truly is the tricky part, I fully agree.

- Andrew

written by Catherine Holt On 14 September 2014 Reply

Ah, turning traffic into regular readership is certainly not an easy task. Being consistent and living up to the expectations you set are a great way off starting this. People need to know that they can trust you and you will deliver what you promise. This can only happen over time.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your ideas here Andrew :-)

written by Kevin Duncan On 16 September 2014 Reply

Hey Andrew,

Good to see you here. Thanks for commenting!

If only the tricky part I mentioned wasn’t so tricky. Then blogging would be easy! :-)

Hope your week is off to a great start, my friend.

- Kevin

written by Ryan Biddulph On 14 September 2014 Reply

Hi Kevin and Catherine,

Wow, kudos to you Kevin for working a good 40 hour’s worth of time on your blog IN ADDITION TO your full time job. That’s something. Many full timers don’t work an hour or 2 a day, blogging-wise, so they don’t even hit 7 to 14 hours a week. Doubling up shows how serious you are about growing your blog and heck, your why reason ties right in.

Whether I’m coaching bloggers or writing posts or doing interviews or guest posts I hit on the WHY reason so many times. You spend 40 hours blogging while working 40 as a full timer because you know why you’re blogging, and that reason is strong enough to push you to succeed.

You either crave some form of freedom and expression more than you fear being uncomfortable, and succeed, or you allow your fear of doing uncomfortable stuff kill your desire to be free, and fail.

It’s all about what you most value.

Funny stuff as always ;)

Thanks so much guys.

Tweeting through Triberr.

Ryan

written by Catherine Holt On 16 September 2014 Reply

Absolutely Ryan. Kevin’s WHY is crystal clear and there is no way he would put in those hours if it wasn’t. You can certainly feel his passion in his blog and this passion will definitely take him places.

I was so pleased that Kevin agreed to being featured here, as he has SO much to share with others.

written by Kevin Duncan On 26 September 2014 Reply

Hey Ryan,

Thanks for commenting!

Yeah, counting weekends I’m putting a good 40 hours into blogging-related activities each week. It’s exhausting, but I know I need to do it. Paraphrasing what Dave Ramsay would say: “If I live like no one else, later I can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE.” The reward comes later. :-)

Thanks for kind words, Ryan. Appreciate you stopping by and leaving me your comment!

- Kevin

written by Nathan Ambrose On 15 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine.

I enjoyed that interview.

I saw Kevin’s blog for the first time last week, and like his style. I’m a big fan of writing in the words that one speaks, and I can tell that he does that.

I liked his comment about the non-subscribing fans being the most loyal. That’s how I look at it, soo I don’t even bother trying to collect email addresses. I know that goes against the advice that I see everywhere, but the comment that Kevein made will be proved to be correct in the long term.

Thanks for sharing the interview.

Nathan.

written by Catherine Holt On 15 September 2014 Reply

Glad that you enjoyed Kevin’s interview Nathan and it’s awesome that you found his blog too :-)

Its certainly an interesting point that Kevin made about his loyal fans being his non-subscribers. On the other hand however, your loyal fans can often be less likely to buy your products, whereas subscribers will….so I think it’s still worth maintaining that email list where possible! I guess that saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is good for review. You want to make sure that you are covering all the basis as different things will attract different readers and customers.

Thanks for sharing your ideas with us.

written by Kevin Duncan On 16 September 2014 Reply

Hey Nathan,

Glad you enjoyed it! Good to hear you discovered my blog a week ago and liked it. That’s always music to my ears. :-)

You’re definitely going against the advice of most! I do collect email addresses, but as I mentioned in the interview I’ve realized it’s not the end of the world if a regular reader doesn’t subscribe. I still want them to (would love them to), but I know if they keep coming back again and again without the aid of email reminders, it means they’ve following me in other ways. Maybe they’re following me closely on Twitter. Maybe they bookmarked me and check back every few days. Maybe they joined my RSS feed. Maybe they just have a great memory. However they’re doing it, I’m just glad they keep coming back.

Doesn’t mean I won’t keep continuing them to subscribe, of course. :-)

Hope you have a great week, Nathan! Thanks again for your comment.

- Kevin

written by Carol Amato On 16 September 2014 Reply

Hi Kevin and Catherine,

Awesome feature of Kevin – I think you made a great choice~! I learned a lot about him that I didn’t know, which is always cool when you feature someone as knowledgeable and likable as Kevin.

Yes, I couldn’t agree more – knowing the WHY of what you’re doing from the start will settle the foundation and prevent cracks and future problems.

Your honest and transparent answers are so refreshing, and I love the Q&A style of a featured blogger. Not knowing how you get it all done is exactly how I feel sometimes, but sheer determination is sometimes the reason! :-)

I didn’t know that about Google Plus…Linking too many times to blog causes a warning. Seems counterintuitive, but hey – each platform is definitely different.

That’s a great point about readers coming back over and over on their own and subscribers get a nudge. I’d rather have a subscriber any day, but I love my readers and enjoy interacting with them on a regular basis.

Thanks so much for sharing this great interview of Kevin from Be A Better Blogger – I enjoyed it, learned something new and will be sharing! :-)

Have a great Monday!
- Carol Amato

written by Catherine Holt On 16 September 2014 Reply

Thanks Carol. I think I made a great choice too. Wit and wisdom all rolled in together, it’s the prefect combination :-)

Kevin is really clear about his why, and that is one of the reasons (among many) for why he is so successful. He also has a clear direction, treats his readers well …. and of course has some great advice!

Thanks for popping over Carol and I’m really pleased you enjoyed this interview :-)

written by Kevin Duncan On 26 September 2014 Reply

Hi Carol,

Glad you enjoyed it! Appreciate the kind words. :-)

I like Catherine’s Q & A feature style, too. It’s different. And it allows the individual being featured to be as in-depth (or not) and serious (or not) as he/she desires from one question to the next. Haha.

Oh yes, Google Plus is bad about that. I was using it consistently for a solid month before I shared ANY of my own posts. I exclusively shared the work of others. Then, when Be A Better Blogger had a little bit of content under its belt, I began sharing my posts. I was sharing links to my posts twice a week. One week I shared a third link. After 3 weeks of doing that, Google Plus gave me a warning. And it wouldn’t let me link to my blog again for close to two weeks.

I tried the official help community, and even they agreed it made no sense. To get warned the way I did, a person usually has to post a LOT of links. I had posted maybe 7 total over a span of 3 weeks. Needless to say, I was irked.

I’d rather have a subscriber, too! Just finding the silver lining is all. Haha.

Glad you enjoyed it, Carol. And I’m so grateful to Catherine for featuring me.

Hope you both have great weekends!

- Kevin

written by Norbert On 16 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

That was a very interesting and enlightening interview. Kevin has a great sense of humor and I couldn’t help but smile while reading his responses.

I love his blog too. So much great advice worth reading.

I’m a first timer on your blog and I’ll surely be coming back to read more.

I can relate to Kevin on the lack of time. There’s only so much we can do in a day. But I think I can do with a little bit more planning on my side.

written by Catherine Holt On 16 September 2014 Reply

Welcome to the blog Norbert :-)

Ha ha…yes, Kevin certainly does have a great sense of humor and this is evident in each of the posts that he writes. Having fun whilst learning is definitely the way to go.

Ah, if we could only find more time. I think there would be more than just a few votes by bloggers to extend the hours in the day! But with some planning and effective time management you should be able to scrape back some extra time.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us today :-)

written by Kevin Duncan On 26 September 2014 Reply

Hi Norbert,

Glad you enjoyed it! I’m glad the interview made you smile. I did my best to be entertaining while I was (hopefully) being informative.

Awesome. Glad you love my blog! Cool to hear people say such things. :-)

Thank you for visiting Catherine’s site for the first time. I’m sure she appreciates it! Hope you have a great weekend, Norbert. Don’t be a stranger!

- Kevin

written by Brittany Bullen On 17 September 2014 Reply

Catherine and Kevin,

Hi guys! It’s always fun to see a couple of your favorites in the same place, isn’t it? I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Kevin a little better. I didn’t know you had a humor blog, that’s awesome! I’m curious to know whether you ever got any ad revenue from that one at least… it doesn’t surprise me that you did that, of course, because I love how you always manage to make blog posts about blogging funny, which is no easy feat, my friend!

How did you manage to rack up 7k Google Plus followers so quickly! Well done, sir!

Brittany

written by Kevin Duncan On 27 September 2014 Reply

Hi Brittany,

Thanks for commenting! Yep, I had a humor blog long before Be A Better Blogger came about. I never monetized it, which is a shame because it was quite popular at one time. Oh well. :-)

Glad you enjoy the bits of humor I toss into most of my posts! Honestly, it’s the only way I can write without boring myself to tears. Haha.

Regarding Google Plus, it was a slow go at first. The first 50 seemed to take forever. And the first 100 seemed to last even longer. But once I hit 500, then 1k, things snowballed relatively quickly. You know how money earns you money thanks to compound interest? Followers are kind of the same way. Once you HAVE followers on a platform, people start following you at a faster and faster clip. Now…I just need to do the same on Twitter (a platform I’ve ignored for too long)!

Hope you have an awesome weekend, Brittany! And Catherine, once again, thank you so much for this opportunity.

- Kevin

Leave a Comment