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Professional Blogger

Professional Blogger
Name:NunesMagician
Location:Seattle, WA
Gender:M
Age:33
I am the creator and writer of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, a blog dedicated to Syracuse University sports, which gets over 500K pageviews/month and has been featured on ESPN.com, SI.com, Deadspin.com and others. I am also an Adjunct Professor for Syracuse University on the topic of blogging (seriously!). I currently live based on income generated from my blogs as well as books, magazines and related writing jobs. For more, visit...
Find me online: My website
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Q
I've started a couple of blogs recently, and my followings are still relatively small. If I want to start monetizing by blogs, do you recommend using Google AdSense, or are there other revenue drivers you'd recommend instead?
A

I would actually recommend becoming an Amazon Affiliate and building banners and links through that. You can control the specifics of everything offered and really target your audience so they see things they're interested in. Plus, its easy to control, easy to keep track of profits and they do a good job of paying. Google AdSense is fine but I've run into (and heard of) issues with them denying payments for shady reasons.

Q
How long did it take you from the time you started blogging to reach an income level that alleviated the need for a day-job?
A

I started my initial blog in 2006 and I stopped working a day job in 2010. Even then, it required a lot of extra work to maintain but it was great to be able to get to that point.

Q
What are your favorite blogs (other than your own)?
A

My all-time favorite blog is Videogum.com. Snarky, funny and about topics I'm interested in. Other daily stops of mine include FilmDrunk for my movies info, io9.com for my sci-fi/nerdy info, Gawker for news o'the day, Daily What when I want a laugh or to find an interesting video, FourFour for funny and insightful commentary. I know I'm biased but I think most of the sports blogs on SBNation.com are all really informative and worthwhile as well.

Q
Well, not to be overly blunt, but how many hours do you work in a typical week and how much money are you making? And do you see this as about average for a successful blogger who sticks with it, and what's the expected range for this profession?
A

I spend a lot of time on my blogs. Not just writing them but maintaining the look and feel, monitoring comments and social media, etc. Direct income (advertising, affiliate programs) earn me a few hundred a month, not much. Where I make most of my money is on indirect income. I wrote a book that's available for purchase. I've edited a year magazine about Syracuse basketball that's for sale. I host classes on Professional Blogging and starting your own sports blog. And I have a few other things in the works that all stem from my blogs. I think the more you put into growing your blog and maintaining the community around it, the more financial possibilities will open up around it.

Q
I have a technology blog and was wondering what the best, most efficient methods for getting more exposure and promoting your blog to the internet masses. Besides providing great content, how do you generate more page views and repeat readership?
A

First and foremost, get familiar with SEO strategies. Knowing the best ways to write a headline, set up a URL and write keywords into your posts can make or break your search engine traffic. Second, start linking up. Search engines see links to your site from larger sites as a cross-reference that you're site is worthwhile. Ask like-minded blogs to link you but don't be offended if they ignore you/say no. Third, get on social media. If everything you write doesn't go on Twitter & Facebook, you're missing out (and keep an eye on Google Plus). Fourth, identify "Blog Carnivals" and blogs that do linkposts and submit your best stuff to them. Not everything, pick your spots. Finally, encourage discussion & comments. Readers need the okay from you that its safe to share their thoughts. Ask for their ...More

Q
How did you deal with competition when you started your blog? I have a blog that gets moderate traffic, but I have two major competitors that have caused me to stagnate a bit.
A

Fill in the gaps. What stories aren't being covered by your competitors that you can capitalize on? Are they posting 3 times a day? You should post 5 or 6. Create linkposts that link to your competitors but position yourself as the "source" from which all news flows. Maintain the friendship, there's value in sticking together and cross-linking. But just always think about what's not being done and how you can become the "expert" on it.

Q
As an Amazon affiliate, how much commission do you earn when someone makes a purchase through your links? I'd been led to believe that you have to have a REALLY widely-read blog for retail affiliate links to generate any real income.
A

You don't get too much for an individual sale. Depending on the type of product and the way the user ends up buying it, you're looking at between 1-5% usually. You're right, the more traffic you have, the more money you'll make. But you can up the odds by really finding targeted banners and links. I write a Syracuse blog so all my Amazon banners are Syracuse-related products. And anytime I write about a random movie or book, I create an affiliate link to it. It's funny, the more you do it the more you'll find that people buy the most random stuff through your links. Because they wanted to go to Amazon to buy something but kept forgetting to go, but you gave them the reminder. The more you post links and integrate them not only into your blog but also your social media, the more sales you'll ...More

Q
Do you have any tips for getting more reader comments on my blog?
A

The first thing is to let readers know it's okay to comment. It sounds silly but people often subconsciously wait until they've been invited to comment on blogs. That means asking people what they think and basically telling them outright to comment. End posts with "Do you agree?" or "What do you think?" Create polls that encourage discussion. Ask questions on Twitter and Facebook that feed back to your blog. And when people finally do comment, engage them. Answer their questions and let them know you're paying attention. Keep the discussion going in the comments.

Q
What kind of day job(s) did you work while building your blogger livelihood? I'm having trouble figuring out what day job will let me earn enough to sustain myself without killing all of my creative energy when I get home at night.
A

Good question. I'm not sure what a "good" day job would be for a blogger. I suppose don't do what I do...have a 9-to-5 in which you're required to be working all day. Otherwise, you're missing out on the critical hours to hit your audience and probably wasting your companies' time and resources when blogging when you should be working (I know from experience...). If you can find a job in online media in any form, that might be a great way to learn the tricks of the trade and be in the online space. The more time you spend there, the better you'll be at knowing how things work once your blog takes off.

It might sound weird but a job that has you writing all day might not be beneficial to your blogging. You'll be burnt out by the time it comes to write for yourself.

Q
You mentioned your sources of indirect income (e.g. selling books, classes, etc). What if I DON'T have some ancillary "thing" to sell, and I just want to write prolifically in a blog or two? Am I a complete idiot to hope that I can make a sustainable income on that alone?
A

Well, not a complete idiot... ; )

The truth is, with a massive readership comes revenue. The only bloggers I know of that make money on ads and affiliate programs alone are those who get millions of pageviews a month. And even then, they're usually also selling stuff.

The only other ways to start making money are to join a network, who will bring in ad revenues/sponsorships, or to build up your community to the point where you can attract sponsorships on your own.

Safe expectations are that you'll be able to pay your electric bill every month with blog earnings. As you get bigger, those expectations will as well.

Q
Do you get overt negativity or personal attacks in your comments? Did it take you a while to build up an emotional shield to that kind of anonymous nerd-rage?
A

Yeah, it's an unfortunate effect of writing on the Internet that you will attract trolls and negative people from time to time. The thing you have to remember at all times is that it's not about you. When someone anonymously comments about how much you suck or how the topic you wrote about is dumb, that's about them and their issues. They're just taking out their anger/boredom/depression on you and your article. It's not about you, so try not to take it personal.

Sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming when you get a bunch of negative comments so its also good to remember that only 1% of all readers will actually take the time to comment. So even though you've got three negative comments, there's probably hundreds of readers who would disagree.

The key to avoiding negative comments
...More

Q
Hey, What do you recommend for someone that can not do Amazon? The state I live in is one blocked. Any other rev streams you would recommend?
A

I recommend checking out Commission Junction (http://www.cj.com/). They give you access to tons of different site affiliate programs. This way, you can emulate the kind of products that you could have offers on Amazon and really find partners that are perfect for your site and audience.

Q
What social media elements (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) do you consider to be must haves on any blog?
A

I saw a stat not too long ago that basically said 80-90% of most blog social media traffic comes from Facebook and Twitter. If you do nothing else, that should be your baseline (just make sure your pages aren't just linkdumps, add personality to both). Depending on how much time you have and what your topic is, you can branch out from there. Google Plus won't do much for traffic but it will make your blog come up first in Google searchs that people in your circle make, so that's worthwhile. A Tumblr and Pinterest feed can come in handy for pushing traffic as well but require more time for every post you make.

Q
How many pageviews a month would you say is "good" for an up and coming blogger?
A

Well, less than the amount of pageviews, I'd say its more important to look at the growth over three months, six months, a year, etc. If you're getting 100 pageviews a day today, what are you doing to get up to 300/day and then 500/day and so on? Use these benchmarks as a way to measure whats working for you and what's not. And if you're not happy with the page views or they're plateauing, do things like adding a social media tool, sending links out and other traffic-growers and see what effect they have.

Q
Just read the book "Social Media Is Bullshit", which debunks the idea that social media is helpful for growing a business, and that it really only helps celebrities and large companies that are already entrenched. Do you agree with that?
A

I haven't read the book but I'm intrigued, I'll check that out. My personal opinion is that social media can't make or break a business but...it certainly can't hurt. If you've got an amazing product, social media is going to help spread the word about that product a whole lot faster than if you didn't use social media. BUT...if you have a crappy product, no amount of social media will do anything to change that. Social media is a tool, not an answer.

Q
Is blogging journalism?
A

Well...it can be. Most of the time it probably isn't. The generally-accepted idea of blogging is that you take information culled elsewhere and put your own spin on it, but you didn't actually create that information. However I know there are bloggers out there who do investigate, break stories and have their own sources. For those people, there's no difference between them and a reporter at a newspaper. Of course, they have to work harder to be considered credible.

Q
I currently run a blog on tumblr that has taken off more than I originally expected. So much so that I want to launch it into a real part-time job. If I just buy a domain now, is it difficult to transfer to having a domain & my own webhosting later?
A

I would say that its not difficult in general but, if you're like me and not savvy about anything more complex than HTML, you'll want to get help from a designer who can walk you through it or do it for you.

Q
Do you think the daddy-blog space has the potential for explosive growth just like the mommy-blog space 5 years ago?
Q
Is it socially isolating to be a blogger sitting in front of a computer all day? Have you ever worked a traditional "office" job, and is there ANYthing you miss about it?
Q
How Much do you make blogging?
Q
I want to start a blog about business tips for young professionals on; leadership, negotiation skills, marketing, sales and entrepeneurship covering bizbooks in 10 usefull tips. My only concern is that the topic is too wid. What's do you think?