I always enjoy reading other bloggers interviews and that’s the reason I came into blogging after getting inspired by top online entrepreneurs few months back.
This is the first of many interviews that we plan to publish on LearnBlogTips.
I asked Ileane Smith whether if she is interested to answer few questions on my blog, she agreed.
I really enjoyed asking few interesting questions to Ileane. Moreover I wanted to know her blogging secrets and interviews are one of the quickest ways to learn & observe the professional bloggers.
Here we go!
1. Can you introduce a little bit about yourself & your blog
I started blogging in 2009. It happened by mistake because my daughter called me up all excited and said “Mom I started a blog!” I was really happy for her and I thought it was the coolest thing. At the time I didn’t know how to subscribe to blogs via RSS feeds so I thought I was subscribing but it turned out I was really signing up for my own blog instead…My first blog was Ms. Ileane Speaks.
It’s a WordPress.com blog and even though I don’t write for it any more some of the posts still get traffic and it has a page rank of 2. I started my self-hosted WordPress blog – Basic Blog Tips back in 2010 and that is my primary blog. I also have one on Blogger and I just started a new microblog on Tumblr
2. What are your methods of promoting and what would you suggest to get more traffic?
I use several platforms to promote my content:
• Social Media – Twitter (I’m part of the team over at JustRetweet), Facebook (I use Post Planner to post on my page and in FB groups), Google+
• Blogging Communities and forums – BizSugar, Blog Engage, Blokube, Social Buzz Club, Website Babble
• YouTube videos
• Hosting guest authors
3. Why do you think most bloggers fail?
Most bloggers fail for a couple of reasons. First, they think that blogging is an easy way to make a quick buck but it really isn’t, and second they don’t have any clear goals. There is no passion for the topic they are blogging about and they end up losing interest.
4. Which premium plugin do you recommend for SEO (if someone knows nothing about SEO) – Market samurai, Keyword winner or something else?
I use and highly recommend SEOPressor. I also use Market Samurai but it’s not really a plugin and I only use it to track results. I rarely do any upfront keyword research when I write a blog post. I probably would get more traffic if I focused on it more. But I think it’s ironic that Google is making so many changes that no one knows what SEO really means anymore. The only thing that will most likely remain constant is the use of Google+ for local businesses. If you have a local business, claim your space on Google, set up a Google+ business page and do all you can to get your customers to give you ratings and reviews.
5. Which blogs do you read regularly?
I read as many of the blogs that I see on the networks that I mentioned earlier. I don’t use Google Reader to keep up with specific blogs. I know that’s not what most people do, but then again most people don’t belong to as many networks as I do. After I visit all of those communities, forums and networks, why would I need to check Google Reader? Besides, there is no time left :)
6. How much time do you spend on your blog daily?
It’s hard to say just how much time I spend on my blog because I pop in and out of it all day long. I will say that I spend more time responding to emails, interacting on Facebook, Twitter and so on. Overall I would have to say I spend at least 1 full day per week on my blog alone.
7. Few link building strategies to get a better PR
Using those networks I mentioned earlier are great for link building. Google+ and YouTube are a must for getting good links. Adding your blog’s url to the very first line of the descriptions of your YouTube videos is HUGE. Be sure to claim your blog on Technorati and use content curation tools like Scoop.it and Paper.li.
Another tip I have is do reviews of the tools and apps that you use. But don’t just do something run of the mill, make the review unique so that it gets the attention of the product owner. Perhaps they will end up linking to your review or sharing it on social networks.
A word of caution: when you do this, be subtle with your approach, don’t be annoying or try to force it. I will give you two examples of when this worked for me.
#1. I recorded a video for the Chrome extension called Diigo. The people from Diigo picked up on this (probably because they were monitoring their mentions with Google Alerts or something similar) and ended up posting my video on the download page in the Chrome Store! To this day it is one of my most popular videos on YouTube and I still get traffic and links coming back to my blog.
#2. I did a post about the difference between using the ow.ly and ht.ly link shorteners on HootSuite. Of course the folks at HootSuite saw this on Twitter, and added a link to it in one of their blog posts. This ended up being a key search term that sends my blog traffic and the funny thing is I wasn’t even trying to target these keywords. I simply wanted to tell people and let them know that they had a choice of which shortener they can use.
Rahul, I want you and your readers to see understand this about me: I like helping people so I will never get tried or bored with my blog because there is always something new to learn and share. People will be naturally attracted to you when they see that you are genuine, this is what is meant by the word “organic”. You don’t always need to shout it from the mountain tops.
It’s times like this – when a fellow blogger asks if they can interview you – that you can brag a little about your success.
8. What is the biggest blogging mistake you did along the way?
My biggest mistake is one that I am still making right now. I give away too much information for free. I plan to change that in the next couple of months…
9. What is the secret of your success, expressed in one word?
10. Can you give our readers the top 5 blogging tips?
- Read and comment on other blogs more than you do your own
- Connect with influencers by being helpful (not annoying) and find a good, trust-worthy mentor.
- Research your topic, spend money on some training if you must, but grow your expertise and never stop learning
- Have respect for your blog and your fellow bloggers, don’t publish content just to make a quick buck and on that note I’ll add this – get rid of all those flashing sidebar ads and Adsense units placed right after the blog title and before the content
- Don’t limit yourself! Expand your audience with videos, podcasts, presentations, interviews, etc. Don’t worry about getting it done perfectly – just do it!
Ileane’s blog BasicBlogTips recently featured with the top blogs like Problogger, Copyblogger, ViperChill etc which are listed in “Top 10 Blogs for Bloggers 2012” by A-list blogging bootcamps. Here’s the link.
Thanks Ileane for the interview.