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