Last year I went to the Financial Blogger Conference and met many wonderful bloggers and learnt a lot about blogging. I was fortunate to be able to spend some extra time with some of the bloggers outside the conference, one of whom was Avrom from Dividend Ninja, and he has recently launched his new blog The Web Ninja. Avrom has years of experience with website building, promotion and ownership.
The Web Ninja is a great site to help you get started on your blog, know which plug-ins to use, how to set it all up right and how to improve your site to grow it and make money from it. There are great posts like Top 10 WordPress Plug-Ins, which make things super easy for bloggers.
Today I have an interview with some great advice from Avrom.
“You have been working on websites for quite a few years now and obviously things have changed over time. On The Web Ninja you have 5 easy steps to get started, which is great. What would be top 5 tips for someone wanting to start their own site?”
Kylie, thanx a lot for the interview, and sharing my new site with your readers! I really appreciate it. That question sounds like a great post in itself.
First, I think you have to really enjoy writing and blogging for the love of it. If you are only in it for the money, then you may become quickly disappointed, and give up easily. Just building a new site, writing a few great articles, and throwing up some AdSense is not a road to a sideline income. Many people think this is how it’s done, and websites are an easy and quick way to make money. But as you know, it takes a lot of hard work to build a great website or blog.
Secondly, I think it’s a great idea to know what you are after. If you simply love writing about your topic and income is just a nice benefit, then no problem – enjoy! But if you have a business plan or concept behind what you want to achieve, then you are more likely to get there. You don’t necessarily need to know the details or specifics, but like any business, you should have an overall plan. For example are you a writer, and is your blog a showcase and media-kit for your work? Or are you simply building a site to monetize it with private advertising?
Third, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. It’s all been done before and there is a wealth of resources out there. For example, that post on the Top 10 WordPress Plugins you mentioned would be a big-time saver for the new blogger. 8 of those 10 plugins are free to download and can make your blogging life a lot easier. Likewise if I need detailed info on specific coding or php functions, I just Google it. I also subscribe to the top bloggers and follow what they do. Make use of other people’s knowledge – it’s all out there!
Fourth, write the best content you possibly can and keep the quality high – even if it means less content. Google is rewarding high quality content these days, and has indicated as such after the recent Penguin update. If you enjoy writing and write well, offering guest posts on high traffic blogs will also get you recognition sooner than later.
And finally and most importantly just stick with the plan, and don’t give up! Since I started the Dividend Ninja I saw some really nice blogs come and go. These guys and gals had some really great blogs with dynamite content, but they gave up after their first year. It’s only after that point you can really reap the benefits. And believe me I’ve even considered throwing in the towel a couple of times myself. Then a few days after an advertiser approached me for a 1K deal. SO never give up!
“What are the best 3 ways you have driven traffic to your sites?”
For some of the business sites I developed in my web design days, it was all about keywords – targeting the right search terms and building the site around those terms. And I’ve certainly seen that on the Dividend Ninja as well. Some of the highest traffic posts have solid dividend niche keywords. It’s not the main reason I write my posts, but it sure helps!
Although Google has changed the rules big-time with Panda and Penguin (this year) and always will be – it’s still a keyword game. Menu bar titles, blog post titles, pages on a specific keyword, and even blog posts focused on keyword strength can really help boost organic search traffic. For example, some of my top traffic posts are keyword targeted posts – such as “High Yield Canadian Stocks, Part-1”. This post alone has had over 13.5K page views, and is my top viewed post. But remember one crucial point, keywords also need good content!
Secondly, there are those out-of-the-blue opportunities you can’t predict. Some of the biggest traffic spikes on the Dividend Ninja came from unexpected press mentions such as the Globe and Mail. If you can get the attention from that kind of press, or get a mention from a top blogger, that can drive enormous traffic to your site. A couple of those will get you noticed, and it can build from there. Over the New Year’s weekend 2012, within a four day period, I ended up with extra 12.9K visitors from a Globe and Mail mention. Not to mention the 250+ email subscribers and 200+ twitter followers that joined that weekend as well. This was all from one article, because a young and wealthy investor recommended my blog.
One of my biggest traffic generators is through referrals. Referral traffic counts for 31.9% of my traffic since I started the Dividend Ninja, and mainly from the same five sites. These fellow dividend and finance bloggers are my true allies, and every time they mention or link a post of mine, I wholeheartedly appreciate it. Community is so important! Many of us recommend and link to each other in articles, posts, or weekly lineups. I don’t send my readers to poor quality links. My readers know if I recommend another blogger or specific article that it’s going to be worth their time to check out.
“In your opinion, is there a best time to start monetizing a site? Can you do it straight away, should you wait for a certain level of traffic or subscribers?”
Kylie, it’s a great question – because almost every new blogger starts with AdSense and other affiliate programs far too early. AdSense is a numbers game, and the cost-per-click revenue is so low. Without significant traffic and understanding how to place ads on your site, it’s a losing game.
The problem is most new bloggers start throwing up AdSense right away. They join affiliate programs like Commission Junction or Flex Offers without any traffic. They then place ads in completely the wrong locations (i.e. like the top sidebar or bottom of their page). Without any traffic, at least a few hundred visitors per day, you really can’t monetize your site effectively with these types of passive advertising methods.
However what you can do is start the early stages of monetizing that are so important and often overlooked by new bloggers. Getting RSS Readers (i.e. FeedBurner subscribers) and starting an email list with a service like Aweber, is far more beneficial than a few advertising clicks. That’s the kind of stuff I’m going to get into more step-by-step detail with on the Web Ninja. It’s really important stuff most bloggers don’t know how to do.
“What made you start The Web Ninja?”
Back in October 2011 after the Financial Bloggers Conference in Chicago (FinCon11), I came up with the idea of The Web Ninja. During the conference I met so many bloggers who were in need of basic WordPress tutorials, and who were making so little from AdSense, Amazon and other affiliate programs. When I met people making only a few dollars per month on AdSense, but with a few hundred daily visitors, it was pretty obvious people needed to know the basics.
I also ran a web design company for over six years. A lot of my day was spent on email marketing, project management, and website development. So I felt I had a lot of resources to share with readers. I really wanted to create a back-to-basics site to teach people the steps for setting up and marketing a site.
I also wanted to diversify my revenue streams. Over the nearly two years I’ve been running the Dividend Ninja, I’ve learned it’s pretty difficult to monetize an information blog. I really wanted to combine the income potential from affiliate marketing, with the back-to-basics approach of a tutorial site. I decided it would be pretty cool to promote the same products and ideas I used in my web company and to build up the Dividend Ninja.
“What are the top 3 benefits to those wanting to start a blog, or new to blogging, The Web ninja provides?”
Firstly and foremost, I want the new blogger to come to the Web Ninja, and find almost every question they have about starting a new blog answered. And I want to make it easy for them to find without getting lost in a sea of monthly archives. I want to keep it real, and make it something anyone can understand. The site is really new with only a few posts. But by the end of the year, I think the resource aspect to the site is going to be solid! I can hardly wait to see that unfold.
Second, there are a lot of free and paid tools out there, such as various WordPress plugins and software. I really want to show people which ones are the best ones to use, how to use them, and be able to show them real step-by-step examples. I want to show people how to use these tools to monetize their sites.
Third, I want people to know that if I’m endorsing a product or service: I’ve used it on my own sites, that it works, and that the developers and companies also stand behind it. So I want people to feel when they visit the Web Ninja, they can trust the recommendations and products I promote (yes I indicate affiliate links where they occur). That’s an important point. I really want to develop a relationship of trust with the Web Ninja readers as the site grows.
“Any last bits of advice, tips or suggestions for us?”
Sure, just do it! Kylie, thanks again.
If you want to start a blog and want some guidance on how to do it, the steps you need to take and how to make it successful, then check out The Web Ninja.