Welcome to our brand new Successful Blogger Interview Series!
First up is Zac Johnson, a long time veteran of online business. Zac runs the eponymous ZacJohnson.com, a well-regarded affiliate focused blog that promises to give you a look Inside the Secret Life of a Super-Affiliate. Zac boasts over 15,000 feed subscribers and daily traffic that often ranks him in the top 20,000 sites on the internet.
Seems to us that Zac might know a thing or two about building a blog… and a successful one at that. Here’s what he had to say.
Tell us about how you got started blogging. When and why did you start? What were your plans?
I first started making money online in the late 90’s but didn’t start blogging until 2007, nearly ten years after I started making money online. I was always into creating ad campaigns and web sites, but didn’t get into the whole blog scene until it started to really catch on.
The purpose of creating my blog at ZacJohnson.com was to start building a brand around myself while also helping others learn how to make money online. Since I had already been making money online for over 10 years now, I would have plenty to write about and felt it would be a useful resource for anyone looking to do the same.
When did things start to take off for you? Tell us about what happened.
When I first launched the blog I made sure to focus heavily on blog content and writing original stories that people could relate with. Once of the first things I did after writing a good amount of content was ordering a blog review through JohnChow.com, which gave me a bit of a boost.
Another thing I did was make sure that I created a brand and creative logo/site design that people would not only recognize, but also remember. Several years later and ZacJohnson.com is a very well known and established site, and the Zac Johnson toon logo is also one of the most recognized logos in the affiliate marketing blog space.
New bloggers are challenged by different things. Some people find the technical piece hard, while others are challenged by creating enough content or learning how to get traffic.
Early on, what did you find most difficult about publishing a blog?
The most difficult thing about STARTING a blog is writing content and knowing that really no one is going to read it. It takes time for blogs to get readership and noticed, so actually sticking with your plan until you build that following and readership is the tough part.
One of the biggest problems that bloggers have is that they simply don’t know why they are blogging or what to write about. You need to have a clear path and business model before even getting started.
Now that your blog is such a popular site, what are your challenges today?
Today it’s all about focusing on creating more unique and valuable content for the site while also focusing on growing my brand and traffic to the site. One of the best ways to do this is through guest blogging on other blogs in your same niche. Since I already have a nice following, not only does it bring in new potential readers for my site, but many other blogs are excited to see me offer quality content on their sites as well.
What advice would you give to a blogger who’s struggling to figure out how to gain a loyal audience and increase traffic?
It’s easy to get lost and discouraged in the world of blogging, which is why you need to spend a lot of time researching and looking at your options before you get started. To help bloggers in the beginning phases, and all the way to authority site status, I created a blog case study that walks anyone through the most basic and advanced stages of creating a blog.
Now that your blog is really rolling, do you have any daily tips, tricks or habits that can help give new bloggers a peak into a day in the life of Zac Johnson?
The exciting thing about working online and running your own business is that you never know what each day will hold. Of course you have an idea of what’s going on and things you need to accomplish, but with new emails, contacts and opportunities coming in at all times it can be quite exciting!
One of my best tips for affiliate marketers, site owners and blogs is to TAKE ACTION! It seems simple and maybe even stupid as an answer, but how many of you are continually trying to learn and not actually taking action? If you want to build an ad campaign, DO IT… if you want to make a blog, DO IT! The best way to learn is to start the process, going through the steps and learn from your own mistakes.
Thanks for the insights, Zac! Sometimes the simplest piece of advice is the most important. If anyone would like to ask Zac a specific question about his journey to building a successful blog, please do so in the comments.