This is a guest post by Stefan Nilsson. Visit his blog at www.stefannilsson.com
I had it all. Just a few weeks ago I was making $3000 a month by publishing one post a week until a simple mistake caught up with me resulting in me losing everything. More on the mistake later on and how you can avoid doing the same thing – but first I’ll share how I single-handedly went from nothing to making $3000 a month within a single year and how I’m certain that I’ll be able to do it all over again with my new blog on personal development.
This might seem like a wall of text for some of you but I highly recommend that you bookmark it so you can return later.
In this guest post you will find everything you need to know to succeed with making money online and some of the information might not seem interesting right now, but as you progress and reach a new level you’ll be able to use it in a whole new way. If nothing else, it will be a terrific reminder of how you can succeed by doing less.
Since it took me several days to write this and Sushant was kind enough to publish it I’m only asking you to take a minute and link back to Sushant. He has done a tremendous job inspiring us all and sharing amazing information on how to make your blog successful.
How I Built An Income Of $3000 A Month Within A Year…
First and foremost I had to find a niche to write about. It’s kind of cliché to say that you should write about something you really love but trust me – everything depends on it. I’ve created hundreds of blogs during the last five years on everything from chlamydia and file sharing to TV series and photography. I even created a shop selling condoms, and yes, one night stands will ask why you have thousands of condoms in your bedroom. Anyway, that’s another story.
The only thing these topics had in common was that I didn’t enjoy writing about it. Sure, I enjoy watching TV series, taking photos and having sex but you won’t necessarily love to write about something just because you find it interesting. Eventually, all the projects was either cancelled or sold and it took me two serious knee injuries, months of rehabilitation and overweight before I figured out that I really love to write about weight loss, body building, psychology and personal development.
Create your blog
When I finally had decided on a niche it was time to create my blog. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of post on how to do this and, truth to be told, it isn’t really such a big deal. Find yourself a host (Sushant recommends HostGator), install WordPress with a single click and then find a good-looking theme. On my blog I used Coraline with some simple changes such as removing the header and creating a new footer.
Enhance your blog with plugins
Then we have the plugins. Most of them are well-known or self-explanatory but it’s always interesting to see which plugins other people find useful. So, here’s my list:
Akismet, All in One SEO Pack, BackWPup, Broken Link Checker, Clean Archives Reloaded, Contact Form 7, GoCodes, Google Analyticator, Google XML Sitemaps, Limit Login Attempts, Newsletter Sign-Up, No Self Pings, Primary Feedburner, Redirection, Smart YouTube PRO, Subscribers Text Counter, Twitter Facebook Social Share and WP Super Cache. That’s about 18 plugins…
Create amazing content
Some people tend to have problem coming up with topics to write about. I my case, I had not only read an awful lot of books on the topic but also gained personal experience by actually losing weight. Thanks to this I could spend a sunny day, relaxing by the pool, creating a mind map over what I would consider to be one of the best books on the subject. Then I simply broke the chapters down to smaller bits and created one post on every main point.
In addition to this I subscribed to Sweden’s two most popular newspapers and used their content by creating posts with quotes and my thoughts, linking to their article. This will not only give you unique content, but also result in new readers if the blog or newspaper displays a list of posts linking to the article.
I believe in being a simple man (great song, btw); focusing on a few marketing methods that really works. My most successful method so far has been blog comments. The secret, which probably isn’t a secret, is that all, and I truly mean all, minor blog owners check their commenters by visiting their sites.
So, by commenting on a blog post you’re almost certain to get your site noticed by the author which sometimes even result in a post about your blog. To accomplish this I simply use Google Blogsearch to receive a notice every time someone writes about one of my keywords.
My second most successful marketing method is actually Twitter. This probably works a lot better on smaller markets, such as Sweden, where spam hasn’t overwhelmed the users yet. The idea is to create a search query with your keywords and get a notice every time someone post a tweet mentioning your keywords. Make sure you have specific keywords or you’ll be overwhelmed by unrelated tweets.
By doing so you have the possibility to find people searching for a specific product, to which you can reply with a polite and personal tweet, including an affiliate link or link to your blog. The main thing to remember is that you have to be personal and actually answer their question, otherwise they probably will mark you as spam. Also make sure you get paid high commission since a lot of your tweets will go unnoticed.
Finally, we have link building. I did all the regular methods (link directories, article directories, forums, etc) before deciding for one single method which made my site rank number one for several difficult keywords such as weight loss and lose weight. The method was blog comments.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about regular, nofollow, blog comments on new posts. Those are usually worthless when it comes to link building. I refer to blog comment on selected blog posts with a PR of 6 and above. Not domain PR but PR of the specific page. Think about what it would do for your rankings if you could build several, non spammed, PR6-9 links within a few minutes without risking the wrath of Google.
There’s a terrific software named ScrapeBox which you can use to harvest high PR blog posts with dofollow comments just by using some common footprints. I’m not going into details on how to do this since you can find some how to-posts by searching on Google for ScrapeBox + footprints. Just remember to leave high quality comments relating to the content. It might take a few minutes more than spam but it ensures that your comment will be approved and not marked as spam.
Making money with your blog
Finally we have the making money-part which is a big goal for most people. There’s no secret here – I used a combination of AdSense and affiliate programs. Your long-term goal should be to create your own products (books, plugins, real life tools, etc) since it gives you the best commission, but until then you can maximize your income by pushing for products you actually use.
Don’t recommend a bunch of e-books like everyone else, but focus on real life objects such as a bike, computer, insurance, camera, camera lens or anything else most people within your niche tend to use.
Take a few minutes to create a resources-page where you list all the products you recommend and link to it every time someone asks you a question. If someone asks you what kind of camera they should get, give them an answer (including an affiliate link) and link to your resources-page by telling them they will find a complete list of the equipment you recommend. Whatever the question is, you can always find an opening for your resources-page to be mentioned.
Speaking of questions, make sure you use a software like TextExpander and prewritten answers to be able to answer recurring questions within a few seconds. One regular week I used this software to answer 181 questions, containing 59 171 characters which saved me a total of 2,47 hours. Just make sure to include their name and make some small adjustments so it fits perfectly with their question.
What I’ll Do Differently When Rebuilding It Again
By now, you know how I made my blog successful and most of it can be summed up to succeeding by doing as little as possible. Instead of spending hours on learning new tools or finding new techniques, which I did in my past, I simply focused on doing a few things I knew would give results. There are, however, some things I’ll change and share below so you can learn from my decisions.
The blog will be about me
One of the major changes is that the blog will be more about me and actually include my name, Stefan Nilsson, in the domain. Instead of being just facts and figures, I’m going to publish posts on my exercise and experiences when I’m traveling the world, including Germany for 2-3 months this coming summer. People tend to care about the person behind the blog, like many cheer for Sushant’s success, not only the great content he delivers. By doing so you’ll get involved readers who tend to share your posts simply because they like you.
I’m going international
My other major change is that I’ll go international. My English is far from perfect but Sweden currently have 9 million inhabitants of which roughly 6 million are between the age of 18-70. At the same time there are estimated to be roughly 1 400 000 million people, including most Swedes, who are able to speak and understand English. Sure, it also means more competition but I’m certain my high quality content will get the attention it deserves and my English will improve as I write more.
I’m going to use less images
Don’t get me wrong – I love images and they do attract readers. Studies have shown that beautiful, half-naked women do so more than anything else. Unfortunately, I tended to get so caught up in styling the post that it actually took me longer to find and edit images than it took to write the content. Therefore I’ve decided to skip most of the images and only include those I really need. It will eventually change but I won’t go back to the old days and include 1-2 images in each and every post.
There might not be any comments
I love interacting with my readers and encourage everyone to keep in touch with theirs, but there’s a problem. As your blog grows you either have to monitor all your comments, which takes a lot of time, or people will eventually start abusing it. In the beginning there will be small stuff such as short one sentenced comments, just to get a link, and if you accept this behavior it will only get worse with pure spam and possibly even personal attacks if you’re slightly controversial.
This might change in the future, but for now I’ll spend my time writing new amazing content instead of monitoring the comments. Hopefully my readers will understand this and instead share the content on Twitter and Facebook or even mention my blog on their own site. To encourage this, I’ve been inspired by The Official Google Blog and included highly visible links to all posts mentioning my articles.
The idea is that short, encouraging, comments shall be converted to social shares and all questions will be redirected to mail.
There will be no link building
Another major change is that I won’t spend a minute building links. Sure, there’s a risk I won’t rank on Google and thereby only get a fraction of the visitors, but if I can get the word out about my blog I have faith people will freely link back to my posts. With the time saved I can answer more questions and create even better content.
More focus on my newsletter
This is a no-brainier. Instead of trying to get new visitors each day I’ll simply focus on converting those I get. It’s wiser to convert your readers to returning customers and ask them to recommend your products than to constantly try to convince new strangers to buy from you.
What Was The Mistake Then?
The mistake was to use a TV show as domain and I feel really stupid for doing it since I’ve warned people for several years from doing the same.
I bought the domain on a sale for $0.15 and never had any big goals for it until I posted a few articles which became really popular. My experience told me I had to change the name as soon as possible but I found a bunch of old .COM-sites using the same name, lulling me into a false sense of security, and thought it could do for now. Unfortunately Sweden works differently and I didn’t get a new domain in time before the company behind the show contacted me and told me to give up the domain or else…
I thought, screw them, and got into a magical “make it or die trying”-mode, working 24/7 with my new blog, knowing that my inspiration will be over in 2-3 weeks when it dawns on me what I’ve lost. Therefore I’ve got to make every day count.
This was the story about my rise and fall. The only thing I ask you now is to share this post with your friends so no one has to suffer the way I did and, once again, I want to thank Sushant for giving me the opportunity to promote my new blog.
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