Blogging Tips From Marc Andre At ProfitBlitz
Today’s Friday’s Featured Blogger interview comes from Marc Andre at ProfitBlitz. Marc is a full time blogger who makes an income from his multiple websites. His most recent site ProfitBlitz has been one that I have been following and is a fantastic source for blogging advice.
Marc has been in the blogging world for the past 7 years, and has some valuable tips to share with you today.
1. Tell us about yourself and your blog
I got started with blogging about 7 years ago and have been working online full-time, mostly blogging, for about 5 ½ years now. When I got started I didn’t know anything about blogging, but after a few months of reading a lot of articles and tutorials and appliying what I was learning, my blog started to take off pretty quickly.
Over the last several years I’ve had a number of different websites and blogs and I’ve sold some of them when I was ready to move on to a new project. With my current sites most of my income is from selling digital products and serving a few on-going clients with writing and website maintenance.
Earlier this year I launched ProfitBlitz, which is a blog where I post articles about internet marketing and blogging. It’s a part-time project at this point, with my income coming mostly from my other sites.
In the past I’ve had sites that were monetized with ad sales, AdSense, affiliate programs, and members-only content. I’ve had blogs/sites in industries like design, photography, and travel.
On a personal note, I live in Pennsylvanis (U.S.) with my wife and our one-year-old daughter. Working from home is a lot different now than it was before having a kid, but it’s really nice to have flexibility in my schedule and I probably get to spend more time with my family than most people in more traditional jobs.
2. What made you get started in blogging?
When I first got started blogging I was starting a part-time business in web design and looking to find clients. I had a full-time job and was just looking to make a little extra money and learn more about web design. In order to get traffic I decided to write some articles, post them at my site, and hopefully be able to attract search visitors to those articles.
I didn’t really even know what a blog was, but I installed WordPress and started learning. Within a few months I had learned a lot, and traffic started to flow. About a year and a half later I was making enough from client work and from blog revenue (mostly ad sales) that I was able to leave my job and go full-time.
3. How much time do you dedicate each day/week to your blogging? How do you keep track of what your doing?
It’s hard to say, because blogging isn’t directly involved in everything I do, but it does impact all aspects of my business. For example, a lot of my time is spent on creating products to sell at my sites, marketing those products, and providing customer service. None of that is directly blogging, but I use blogs to draw traffic and promote those products, so to me it is all related.
Overall, I probably spend 50 hours per week on my online business, sometimes more. I’d guess that I probably spend 10-20 hours per week working on posts for my own blogs. Some weeks I spend the majority of my time on blog posts for clients, and other weeks I don’t do any client work at all.
I keep track of my work and stay on task with a to-do list. I make a new list for each week, and then I break it down for each day as well. I also have a big picture list of things I want to accomplish with each of my sites, and then break that down by listing the steps I need to take in order to accomplish those things. The most urgent and important items make it onto my weekly to-do list.
4. If you could have told yourself ONE thing when you started blogging, what would it be?
I guess the biggest thing would be to build an email list. At that time everyone was saying that RSS was going to replace the need for email subscriptions and for several years there were very few bloggers that were building email lists. Building a list takes time, so if I would have started right away instead of focusing on RSS subscribers I would have had a nice head start.
I made plenty of other mistakes, but I think making mistakes and experimenting is a great way to learn.
5. Do you make money from your blog? If so, what has been your most successful way of making money?
Yes, I make a full-time living from my blogs/sites. The first few years of blogging my income came from ad sales and client services (design, writing, marketing). The past few years the majority of my income has been from selling products and membership. Affiliate programs have been a pretty good source of income as well, but that hasn’t been my main focus.
6. As well as blogging, do you have another full/part time job or parenting responsibilities? How do you juggle these demands?
I have no other jobs. I do have parenting responsibilities, but my wife left her job once our daughter was born. She takes care of our daughter during the day when I’m working, so I don’t have a hard time juggling those responsibilities.
The hardest thing for me is that there are never enough hours in the day to get done with the things I want to do. I always have to force myself to stay focused and resist the temptation to start new websites and projects before I can handle them. There are always ideas and other things fighting for time and attention, but over the years I’ve seen (in my own work and from observing other people) that having focus is necessary. Spreading yourself thin by trying to have too many different sites or projects will mean that you can’t grow any of them to the best of your ability.
7. What would you say is your favourite social media platform and why?
It’s probably not very common for a man, but I would say Pinterest is my favorite social network right now. I have sites in the photography and travel industries and Pinterest is great not just for marketing, but also for finding articles and resources related to photography and travel. I like that Pinterest is mostly visual because I can quickly scan and I don’t have to spend hours on the site.
8. What has been the biggest hurdle that you have come across in your blogging career to date? How did you overcome this?
I’d say my biggest hurdle was making the jump from part-time to full-time. I had a full-time job that I didn’t want to give up until I was confident I could make just as much money from my own business. Building a successful business part-time takes a lot of discipline. I worked 40 hours a week at my job and probably about 30 hours a week on my own business. That lasted about a year and a half before I was able to make the jump.
For me the key to making it work was really treating it like a business. I didn’t view it as a hobby that I would do whenever I felt like it. I basically had set hours (the evenings and weekends) that I worked every week, and over time my income grew. I was also really fortunate to have a wife who was very supportive and understanding.
9. How do you drive traffic to your blog and grow your readership?
My traffic strategies have changed a lot over the years. When I first got started I used guest blogging and social media. At that time most social media traffic was coming from Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Delicious. Twitter and Facebook weren’t factors.
Today I still use guest blogging, but I don’t do a lot of guest posts because of time limitations. I try to focus on building an audience of repeat visitors, and I do that through building an email list and publishing the best content that I can so visitors will want to come back.
I don’t really focus on traffic numbers very much any more. When I made most of my income from advertising, traffic levels were critical. But with monetization methods like selling products, membership, and providing client services, your traffic levels don’t necessarilly dictate how much money you make. When I started focusing on revenue and profit more than traffic I saw my income increase significantly.
10. What is the most important piece of advice you could give to a new blogger?
I’ve had a lot of friends and people that I’ve known over the years who gave up on their blogs, and most of them had unrealistic expectations about how much work it would take in order to make money.
If you’re willing to put in the work before you see the financial rewards, you’ll be in a good position to make money down the road.
Once you have an established blog there are a lot of different ways to make money from it, but most people don’t have the patience to make it to that point.
Do you have any other questions you would like to ask Marc? Please share at the end of this post.
If you would like to connect further with Marc, you can do so at his social media profiles.
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