Do you want to create a blog that supports you? If you dream of making a living blogging, this is a must-read.
Here is part one of an exclusive interview I did with Greg Narayan, founder of Dear Blogger! It’s filled with hard-won insights gathered from Greg’s experience. If you want to create a blog that will make your dreams come true, you’ve come to the right place!
Frank: Greg, thanks so much for doing this.
Greg: Hey Frank! Thanks for the great questions, these totally sparked my thinking- let’s see what I can do for ya!
Frank: I’ve got lots of questions, so let’s get started!
First, how did you get started as a blogger?
My first blog ever was a WordPress.com blog about economic reflections from NYC in summer 2010.
I got tired of the limitations on WordPress.com and started a Blogger college advice blog called honestcollege.blogspot.com (note the migration) where we wrote about relationships, money saving, dorm life, Greek life and grades in summer-fall 2010. This college blog taught me how to get name brand sponsors and guest writers. I moved it to WordPress.org in spring 2012 at College Info Geeks suggestion in an adobe days conference. This was was of those life changing encounters and conversations, and soon noticed I was late to the party – every blogger at this conference used WordPress.org.
On WordPress.org I learned themes, plugins, SEO – and the rest is history. WordPress was a newer thing back then (5 years ago). Self-hosting was largely viewed as a difficult techie task and the best resources were a few blogs and books like “WordPress for Dummies”.
I was fielding lots of blog questions on my own from Honest College readers so after some thought I moved to blogging advice in September 2012, thought of a hundred or so domain names before landing on a decent one, and then with all my drive and passion landed guest posts in ProBlogger and Daily Blog Tips (on the same day, jaw dropped to the floor at my desk) to launch the current blogging operation as we know it.
How long it take to go pro?
Based on the above, exactly 2 years. But I had a day job too. Didn’t leave that until 2014. So more like 4 years, which despite what you may think, through blogging success and failure, were the most fun years of my adult life.
What strategies did you use to make your business big enough to support you?
Almost exclusively 100% guest posting. It’s the only method I know besides writing original content from life’s own rich experiences. Good guest blogging for other big blogs can mean the difference between thousands of visitors, email subs, and ultimately dollars earned someday, or not. I only hope I can give others that guest blogging opportunity now at Dear Blogger, Honest College, and at The WordPress Experience.
How to Expand Your Reach: Almost exclusively 100% guest posting. - Greg Narayan Click To Tweet
What would you do differently if you started from scratch again?
WordPress.org on day 1. Day 2 write guest posts. Sometime before the blog setup and writing, I’d find an idol or role model to look up to and ask questions – to use as a sounding board.
I first saw your work on the WordPress Experience. What a great help Cori was! How does that fit into your overall business strategy?
Cori and I help people through the free forums. It’s a lot of work – but nice for people to know we’re there. Just knowing you have a couple bloggers in your corner for fast help means so much to new bloggers who are a bit scared to make a blog.
Cori is very thorough and I think people really appreciate her unique insight and help (even if they were expecting me!) Her blog is going to be a major force in WordPress help – she’s fast with a pen (or keyboard) and that unique combination of WordPress designer and writer – so watching her build that has been really exciting and rewarding for me as more of a teacher role, even though I’m still building and figuring out more features of WordPress every day myself.
WordPress obviously is growing faster and faster and if we can help in a small way that’s great. The codex is just way too techie and I think WordPress loses users because of it. But there’s WordPress.com for beginners. So it’s actually quite a lovely time for anyone – beginner blogger or future web designer- to WordPress.
How can a blogger get organic traffic to his blog?
To get organic blog traffic you need links pointing to your blog. So you can either: 1. Create some massive viral piece of content; or 2. Guest post. You’d be amazed how fast Google notices links to your site – almost as if they were waiting for it – and rewards you with relevant traffic.
To get organic blog traffic you need links pointing to your blog. - Greg Narayan Click To Tweet
How much SEO does a blogger need to know to experience massive success?
None, learn as you go! Trial and error is good, for example I wrote about 20 posts, then saw which 1-2 were ranking in Google, then realized it was from good keywords in the titles, backlinks and other things I really had no idea were important – but then realized were quite essential after all.
Thanks so much to Frank for this honor, very excited to meet and help out a few people in the comments!
Stay tuned for part 2 of this interview!
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Thanks for visiting, and Happy Writing!
Until next time, check out this video. Greg’s latest work shows a combination of blogging and WordPress design. He gives the full breakdown right here!