Blogging Tips From Matt Smith At Online Income Teacher
I am very excited to bring you a new feature to Blogging Tips 101. Each Friday we will be interviewing a real life blogger. Friday’s Featured Blogger will be asking bloggers to share with us their blogging journey and tips to help you out!
Some of these bloggers are relatively new to blogging, whilst other’s have been doing it for a long time and have built a successful business and income from their blogs. One thing that is guaranteed is that each blogger has a passion and commitment to their blogs and each has a different story to tell.
One of the best ways for you to learn to develop your blog is to learn from other’s. This feature will provide you with tips and tricks from those currently undertaking the journey. Learn from their insights and use their knowledge to help build a blog you can be excited about! We have a great line up of bloggers and I can’t wait to share their journey with you.
I hope you join us each week and learn something new from each of these wonderful bloggers.
To kick off the feature, I am very pleased to introduce Matt Smith from ‘Online Income Teacher‘ and ‘Bizzebee‘. I met Matt through a blogging Facebook group. Matt is incredibly passionate about blogging and loves to help people ‘make money online’. He has a wealth of knowledge and I am very excited to be able to share some of that with you today!
Hi Catherine, thanks for inviting me on for this interview.
Well, my name is Matt Smith and I am a full time blogger and internet marketer living in the UK.
I run a number of sites, most notably ‘Online Income Teacher’ a site that teaches people about blogging online, and ‘Bizzebee’ a site that I run with a few other bloggers that focuses on small business getting online.
2. What made you get started in blogging?
Well, admittedly, I sort of fell into blogging really. It was never something that I had really thought about until I started.
I studied film and animation at University with visions of working in television. However, due to graduating at the height of the economic meltdown, jobs were very scarce in this industry (as they were for a lot of young people). I’d messed around with building websites whilst at Uni, so I decided to give it a go and see what happened for a few months. Well those few months turned out to be fantastic as I ended up building websites for some clients that I managed to find. I then decided to start my own “proper” blog (Online Income Teacher) and share what I had been learning about, and haven’t really looked back since.
3. How much time do you dedicate each day/week to your blogging? How do you keep track of what you’re doing?
That is a tough question to answer.
Blogging certainly isn’t like a regular 9-5 day job. All the responsibility is on you (or me in my case) to make sure it works, so you can end up putting in some ridiculous hours. I sometimes end up working through the night if I have a particular dead line that I want to hit, or a client needs something doing ASAP. Saying that, because you are effectively your own boss, you can be much more flexible with your working hours. I can go and meet friends for lunch or take the afternoon off if I choose, though I will obviously need to make that time up later.
I’m self-employed, so I would imagine that most other self-employed people have a similar experience, no matter what industry they work in. You have flexible hours, but you probably end up working more. I don’t mind that though as you get out what you put in.
4. If you could have told yourself ONE thing when you started blogging, what would it be?
“Get your butt into gear” would be one thing that I would like to tell a younger me just starting out in blogging.
I think I was fairly typical in the sense that when I first started blogging I didn’t exactly fully commit to it. I mean, I kind of knew what I was doing (up to a point) with building websites, but I hesitated getting stuck into the other things that go into running a blog that I wasn’t so sure about. Things like;
- Learning about SEO,
- Getting into social media marketing,
- Using Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools,
- Making sure that my site was running as quickly as possible,
- …and many more.
These sorts of things are incredibly important, but they are easy to put to one side when you are first starting out. I only wish I’d have got my act together sooner and learned/implemented these things sooner (especially SEO) as I’d probably be 6 months further ahead than I am now.
5. Do you make money from your blog? If so, what has been your most successful way of making money online?
Yes, I certainly do make money from my site. One of the things I absolutely love about running a site is that there are so many different ways to monetize a site. If I had to pick my most successful methods though, they would be;
- Affiliate marketing,
- Selling my blog/website building service,
Affiliate marketing is incredibly easy to get into, yet can be a bit trickier to get right. There are plenty of sites that allow you to sign up with them and start promoting their products. Where many people go wrong, however, is that they sign up to as many as possible and keep adding more and more to their site(s). It can be much more effective to select a few products (preferably that you use yourself) that you can then honestly promote to your readers.
I also offer to build websites for people via my site (as well as other website related services), so that helps bring in the money as well.
6. As well as blogging, do you have another full/part time job or parenting responsibilities? How do you juggle these demands?
Well I haven’t got any kids yet (too young for that yet, but definitely in the future), so I haven’t got that responsibility to worry about.
I suppose you could technically say that I have another job, in the fact that I build websites for clients. This is sort of separate from my “blogging” job, but the two kind of merge into one another really.
In terms of how I juggle them, my clients and their website’s always take priority. That can mean I don’t get to publish as many posts as I would have wanted to in a given week, but I always try to make time for that. After all, if I didn’t have my blog, I wouldn’t get most of my clients, so it is a bit of a balancing act.
7. What would you say is your favourite social media platform and why?
At the moment my favourite would have to be Google+. I really like the way that it functions, making it incredibly easy to share/comment/+1 posts that are listed from your circle of friends. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Twitter and I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, but Google+ seems tailor made for us bloggers to use.
8. What has been the biggest hurdle that you have come across in your blogging career to date? How did you overcome this?
Hmm, my biggest hurdle???
Well I guess that would be when my website went down for about a week 6-8 months after first launching. My web host actually took my website offline because it had several (quite serious) problems that was causing it to be slow, which therefore put a strain on their servers.
This goes back to me sticking my head in the sand and not learning about certain things sooner. At the time I had no idea how to fix the issues, so I was in a bit of a panic thinking that all my hard work would be lost. In hindsight, going offline was one of the best things that could have happened as it forced me to face up to things and “get my butt into gear” to fix it. I ended up completely revamping the site and fixing all the issues, as well as improving many other behind the scenes features. It certainly paid off as my site got reinstated and has grown ever since.
9. How do you drive traffic to your blog and grow your readership?
That is certainly a hard question to give a simple answer to.
There are many things that I do to try and drive traffic. In fact you could say everything I do, in one way or another, goes towards trying to build traffic.
Traffic can come from many different sources, such as;
- Social media,
- Social media campaigns,
- Running competitions,
- Networking with other bloggers,
- Commenting on other people’s sites,
- Getting involved on forums and bulletin boards,
- Guest blogging,
- Doing interviews (like this one hopefully!)
- … even something as simple as adding a link to the bottom of your emails.
By far THE BIGGEST source of traffic will always come from search engines and the only way to make the most of that is to learn about SEO. Only by learning about both on-page SEO & off-page SEO will you begin to understand, not only how the search engines work, but how you can tailor your content to reach as many people as possible. Blogging isn’t as simple as just writing, it is about getting your posts seen by as many people as possible.
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone reading this it would be to learn about SEO.
10. What is the most important piece of advice you could give to a new blogger?
Never give up!
It is far too easy to give up on blogging when you first start out. It can take a while to build up any kind of following online, which is why I see many people throwing in the towel because their site isn’t getting millions of hits after a couple of weeks. It took me about 6 weeks before I really started to notice my blog traffic increasing. Now my site gets hundreds of thousands of hits and that is only because I never gave up.
Absolutely anyone can get into blogging. All they need is a decent idea, a lot of hard work and the right attitude to see it through.
Do you have any other questions you would like to ask Matt? Please share with us below.
Would you like to be considered as one of our Friday’s Featured Blogger? Please complete the form below, and provide some information about you and your blog.
You will be contacted once your application has been considered.