Tristan’s Note: I invited Keith Bloemendaal to write this guest post. To see my thoughts on Keith’s article, check out my comment below (it’s the first one).
As of starting this article, I haven’t written anything other than copy for a client in at least 6 weeks. There is a good reason for this, though I may not have even realized it till now. Or maybe I just didn’t care why. All I know is that once I quit blogging my income increased. PERIOD.
Before I start telling all the bloggers in the world to quit, let me give you some of my background.
Blogging For Business
In early 2008, I was convinced by a close family friend that blogging was what I should be doing to promote a business (a fence contracting business) where I was the sales manager. I took his advice and started a WordPress.com blog about the fence industry.
There would be no turning back from there.
Less than 6 months after I started that blog I found myself needing new employment due to downsizing within the company I worked for. I then decided to become that company’s competition. I also decided that the results I was getting from a free platform like WordPress.com warranted that I dedicate my entire advertising campaign on a website and search results.
My First Real Website
My first site cost me $1500 to have built, including domain and 2yrs of hosting. I also got a logo in that deal for my business that I used for print media like business cards, lettering on my truck, etc…
After that initial cost of $1500, I spent $300 dabbling with Adwords, and another couple hundred on some direct mailers to new home owners. By the time I realized that wasn’t working, I had taken over SERP’s for all my keywords thanks to blogging, social media, commenting, and link building.
I spent literally 16hrs a day in front of a computer writing, commenting, sharing, lather rinse repeat…. I did that for 3 months straight. I was nearing the breaking point. Family members were getting upset with me, I was doubting what I was doing, and it was not going as planned… Then the calls started coming in.
Before I knew it I was covered up with work, more than I could handle!
All Because Of Blogging!
At this point, I was the biggest believer in blogging. If you had a business you should be blogging. This was especially true if you were looking to gain local search rankings, since most local businesses weren’t (and still aren’t) blogging to promote there presence online (big mistake if you ask me).
So, because I blogged and used social media outlets to promote my offline business, I was able to have $50k – $60k per month in sales with $0 in advertising (other than domain, hosting, and initial design)! My profit from those sales was usually 25-30%. You do the math.
Unfortunately for me, the housing market came crashing down and I sold that business, albeit just in time as inevitably I would probably gone under after the complete housing crash.
After I sold it, I moved to the mountains and began a site developed to sell aluminum fence products to customers across the US. I had built a solid relationship with the manufacturer I was buying my aluminum fence products from, and decided to build a retail distributorship online.
The beauty of this deal was that my manufacturer agreed to drop ship directly to my customers! That meant I never had to touch one single product, I never had to deal with shipping, it was all included in my price.
I worked 3 solid months developing this site and creating content for the products, uploading images, product descriptions, press releases, etc.. SEO was a top priority for me because I had several keywords to tackle and they weren’t localized anymore, they were national. SEO became more important than design. Some might say that was a bad move, but I didn’t care if you thought my site was pretty, I just wanted you to buy. Besides, even though my site wasn’t pretty, it was way more functional than all my competition combined! (Yes my new site was built on WordPress too!)
After the first year with that site (I cleared $30k on that site alone), I got a nasty letter from an attorney saying I was infringing on his client’s trademark. I forwarded the letter to my attorney, and sure enough they had trademarked the name I was using as my domain. The letter stated I had to take down my site and turn over the domain to them. My attorney said all I needed to do was remove products from the domain.
I did that and filled it with AdSense. It still makes me money today and I haven’t done anything to the site in over a year.
My Writing Experiences
In my writing career (about 3.5 years), I have written mostly about the fence industry, blogging, social media, and online business tactics. At one time I owned a site called Hot Blog Tips (no longer online) that made me about $1k per month in affiliate and ebook sales (along with a little consulting). My fence sites have made me as much as $100k per year.
Unfortunately, the way the housing industry has changed, I can no longer make that income off my fence sites (though I do plan to rebuild a fence distributorship site this year), and “blogging about blogging” just doesn’t pay the bills.
Writing has provided me a ton of experience, I have made great connections and have followers that will go with me wherever I land. But I was frustrated and wandering around with my writing and my sites (I would build a new site every few months to write on). I was going nowhere.
Back Up and Punt
It was time to back up and punt. I was miserable both with my career and with my personal life (divorce, health, etc…).
I packed up with my girlfriend and moved from the mountains to the beach this year (I was born in sunny Florida, so I missed the beach tremendously). We came here with literally NOTHING but what would fit in our car. She had gotten a transfer with her job here, and we lived in a hotel until we found better living quarters (found a condo across the street from the ocean with ocean and harbor views… Yup, life SUX!).
I went back to work running a golf cart rental business, which required me to be there 7 days a week so I put in 75+ hours a week. On top of that, I started getting local businesses asking me to build websites, email templates, Facebook pages, etc. for them. On top of the referral business I was already getting from my days of blogging and making connections, I am building 3-4 sites a week.
Now I am making more money that I EVER did through blogging directly.
Just to be perfectly clear, I would have NEVER made it to where I am now without blogging day and night for several years. And, while I feel like I wasted a ton of time on it, I also see where it helped me grow and learn things like SEO, social media, netoworking, copywriting, etc.
Without blogging, I wouldn’t be where I am, no doubt about it. But since I quit blogging, I make more money. A lot more.
My advice to new bloggers…
- Find something that interests you to write about, something you actually have experience in.
- Don’t give up.
- Don’t be afraid to invest money in your online business (it IS a business).
- Surround yourself with like minded individuals that will hold you accountable for reaching your goals.
- Whatever you do, DON”T start a blog about blogging if you have never been successful blogging!
- Don’t automate ANYTHING! It takes hard work, dedication, and longevity to make it online, just like any other business.
- This is NOT a get rich quick industry, anyone who tells you different is LYING!
- Most important…. have fun!