Ever since the Internet was commercialized back in the 1990’s, it has become a powerful multi-functional tool. It has given easier access to intellectual resources and a more convenient medium for communication. Even the entire world’s workforce system has been completely altered, opening up dynamic employment possibilities and similar opportunities.
Blogging doesn’t require adherence to a specific list of qualifications, but it’s always an advantage to have an early start. You’ll be able to explore and experiment more, learning from mistakes and being able to enhance or gain new skills. In this week’s edition of Meet the Bloggers, we are fortunate enough to have with us Maddy Osman, who was introduced to blogging during her days at uni. She’s gone from writing content to sharing her expertise in digital marketing and now runs her own business. Read along to know more about her story and her tips for co-bloggers and bloggers to be.
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
My very first blogging activities date back to college, when I was asked to assist with content for the University of Iowa’s Student Life social media and blog. Outside of this job, my first paid blogging work was for Choose Chicago, Chicago’s tourism agency. These two blogging jobs demonstrated to me that I had some talent for online writing. At the same time, I was working on my own blogging project to test my skills with online marketing—UrbanCheapAss.com.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
I still have Urban Cheap Ass, but haven’t had much time to keep it updated. I’m torn between leaving it up and finding someone to take over it. At any rate, my main blog is connected with my business—The Blogsmith. My blog on my business website tackles issues of interest to my peers and my clients. For a generic topic overview, the blog explores digital marketing in terms of social media, content marketing, and SEO. Sometimes I even dive into website design and WordPress topics.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
Right now, the monetization strategy is people getting in touch and acting as leads for my services. My blog, and the blogs of clients I write for help to establish my authority and build trust in my abilities.
I’m also in the process of exploring more passive forms of income with a renewed focus on building my audience (as email subscribers). I’ve been testing various affiliate marketing products and strategies and am also working to build a course called “Teach Me How to WordPress”. The future is exciting, I just need to give it a more definitive direction.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
I wish I would’ve focused more on building my email subscribers for the start. They are a critical piece in making money with my passive income tactics.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
The latest articles from my favorite blogs are delivered to me via email, and I always have attention for:
- Seth Godin: Who shares insight into his brilliant mind through sometimes short, sometimes long musings that relate in some way to business and marketing.
- Neil Patel: Who takes the time to explore one subject per blog, in-depth. He breaks up text into readable chunks, complete with screenshots to illustrate his points. Brian Dean has a similar style that I appreciate and respect.
- Shopify: I’m creating a new ecommerce travel tank top business called Tanks that Get Around. Although I use Woocommerce, the advice on Shopify is so useful that I stay subscribed. so useful that I stay subscribed.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
- Trello: My go-to for planning content. I can brainstorm ideas in bulk for clients, selecting from them when pitching topics as needed. I also create individual boards for each client to document where each idea is at in terms of writing, editing, or when it’s published.
- Social Warfare: A WordPress plugin that provides social proof for each piece of content you create. It shows how many people have shared an article, and invites additional parties to share it to a wider audience.
- CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer: If your blog title sucks, no one will read the content you’ve worked so hard to create. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool is an easy way to scan and improve your proposed title to make sure your content has the best chance of success.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Don’t worry about design. Focus on getting enough content up to show that you’re dedicated and consistent, then start promoting your blog. I changed the design of my first blog (Urban Cheap Ass) multiple times in the first year, but even when it was “ugly”, it drove a lot of traffic and engagement. The design was just the cherry on top, helping me to look more professional for partnerships. My readers, however, were fine with my content either way.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
Think about “What’s in it for me” in terms of the reader. Some bloggers use their online soapbox to talk about themselves. You can do that, but make it relevant. Share a story that can help someone else, not giving you an opportunity to brag about some awesome brand partnership you’ve secured. If you can honestly say that a post provides value or answers pressing questions about your audience, then you have nothing to worry about.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
More than likely, the $100 would be consumed by registering a domain name ($11-15), and hosting for the year ($75+, depending on the package you choose). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as these are what I’d consider as the only “necessities”. You could use WordPress.com and use a subdomain (yourname.wordpress.com), but you’re better off starting with your own domain name, even though it’s an upfront investment in your blog.
Spending money on this initial blog setup will help you to see it as something worth investing your time in. Once money is tied to something, you’re more likely to take action on it. You honestly don’t need anything else at this point – you can use a free WordPress theme and plugins to create decent functionality out of the box. Later on, you can spiff it up with custom web design, premium plugins, and other shiny things.