Cindy Buccieri: An interview on how to start a blog and grow it into a success – get the tips

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In this interview, we welcome Cindy Buccieri of CindyBuccieri.com to share her knowledge and thoughts on how to start a blog, choose a topic for the blog, get more blog traffic, create quality content and network with other bloggers (and entrepreneurs).Cindy Buccieri: An interview on how to start a blog and grow it into a success - get the tips

She also shares more, for example, how she grew her blog – how much effort she put into it before she made her first USD 100 from it and a lot more.

The first question?

1. Why did you get into blogging and decided to start your own blog?

In 2009, I had an inspirational idea to start an online magazine with helpful articles and tips for mothers like me.  I had a web design background and soon discovered that a blog would provide the best vehicle for me to share my thoughts, ideas and tips.

2. How long have you been blogging, on what topics – why? (share your story)

I started blogging in 2009.  My first blog, Busy Mom’s Tips, provided helpful articles for women and mothers on topics such as home decorating, saving money, and recipes.

A few months later, I started 3 additional blogs focusing on blogging tips, family vacations and working at home.  In 2012, my original blogging tips website transformed into Cindybuccieri.com.  Blogging is my passion.  I love writing posts and interacting with others in the blogging community.

In 2010, I started receiving a lot emails asking for blogging and website help.  I then started my business CB Virtual Services.

My company provides website design, social media, email marketing, blogging services and consulting.  I was also asked to speak and give workshops on a consistent basis.  I love working one-on-one with clients on how to write blog posts and get their business noticed online.

At my workshops, I was frequently asked to write a book about blogging.  Eight months later in 2013, I published “Blogging the Right Way: Learn How to Launch a Blog and Start Making Money”.  Blogging is my passion and I love sharing information, tips and training other bloggers and business owners.

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With the publication of my book, I also launched a Blog Talk Radio show where I share blogging tips and have guests on who are fellow bloggers.

3. How are things going so far? Have you been able to achieve the  goals you set out when you first started?

My goals haven’t changed too much from when I first started.  In the beginning, my goals were to provide interesting information and connect with other bloggers.

Now in addition to my original goals, my goals are to educate as many people as possible on how beneficial a blog can be for so many reasons.

A blog can be a way to make money online, increase sales for a business and provide a way for others to provide inspiration.  I want people to share my passion with me.

4. Here’s what most people ask themselves when their blogs still get little traffic: How do I get more? What do you tell such people? What can they learn from your story growing your site?

Blogging is a part of the new way of “relationship marketing” which means that you have to build connections with your target audience.

They also need to understand search engine optimization.  The three parts to effective SEO are to write high quality blog posts on a consistent basis, be active in social media and have high quality websites linking to you.

However, THE one most important key is to write high quality blog posts.  And these blog posts need to provide value to their audience.

It’s also extremely important that your blog focuses on one niche and that your blog posts are focused on topics related to this niche.  Blogs that cover a lot of different topics are harder to rank within search engines.

For those who use WordPress, I highly recommend they use the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.  This is a great tool to ensure that your blog post has the appropriate number of keywords and elements for effective SEO.

In my experience, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of commenting on niche related blogs and forums as well as being active in social media.  Again, these are all relationship building strategies.  In summary, keep your blog posts focused and stay active online.

5. How many hours do you spend blogging every week, today, a month ago, a year ago, and what are your reasons for spending that amount of time on your blog?

I spend approximately 10 hours per week on my Cindybuccieri.com blog.  This includes writing blog posts, posting to social media, commenting on blogs and forums, posting to article sites, interfacing with other bloggers, and preparing for my BlogTalkRadio show.

This amount of time has increased within the last few months as I restructured CB Virtual Services so that I could spend time educating, speaking, writing and training.  I devote at least 2 hours per day to my blog, radio show and increasing traffic.

This amount of time works out well for me at this time while I continue to perform website design, speaking engagements and attend local networking events.

6. What’s your definition of great content? How do you go about creating great content yourself?

To me great content is when you answer a reader’s question, solve their problem or give them that “ah ha” moment.  It’s all about their needs and not about pushing a product.  The post needs to be believable, authentic and include the writer’s personality.

I go about creating great content for myself by listening to my clients and readers.  Often times, I will get questions about a certain topic.  Or if I’m chatting with a client over the phone, they will express the areas they are having difficulty.

I will usually then write my next blog post to answer their question.  I believe that if one person has this question, then others probably do too.

I also review my Google Analytics results to see what people are searching for.  For example, I recently saw that people were searching for information on keyword density.  So, I will have an upcoming post on that topic.  I want to give my readers what they are looking for.

7. Networking is said to be a good thing. What have you done, or do today, to connect with other bloggers, leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners in your niche and other niches?

In my particular “blogging” niche, the three things that have been most effective are:

  • commenting on niche related blogs,
  • participating in “blog hops” and
  • participating in blogging related groups in LinkedIn.

I have met some great bloggers using these three tools.  And some of these people have agreed to be guests on my radio show and review my book.  I also make a lot of connections at my speaking events.

From my CB Virtual Services perspective, face-to-face local networking events have been the most effective.  However, at this point most of the clients I get are from referrals and word of mouth.

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As with both online and offline businesses, it’s all based on referrals and word of mouth.

8. What’s the one thing you’d spend most of your time doing if you started a new blog today? Where would your focus be? (do share your reasons please)

If I started a new blog today, I would spend most of my time writing great content.  Content is the heart of your blog.

It doesn’t matter if you have a hundred people coming to your site, if you have nothing of value for them when they get there.

So first, I would write great content and a lot of it.  However, before I could start writing I would need to do some keyword research so that I can understand what people are searching for.

It’s important to give the readers what they are looking for.

My focus would be on following your passion.  I believe that when you follow your heart and your passion, then the results are limitless.

Often times people choose topics that they don’t have an interest in only because there is a chance they can make money from it.

While this may be true short lived, they won’t be able to maintain it in the long run.  I have learned that it is so important to do the things you are passionate about whether it is a business idea or a blog.  You will be happier and more fulfilled in the long run.

9. What can one do to create a blog that says what’s been said over a thousand times differently and still manage to attract readers and get their content shared?

Regardless of the subject, everyone has their own opinion, thoughts and feelings about it.  And while the overall concept may be the same, nobody is going to say it the same way you do.

And you may say it in a way that the reader better understands or can relate to.  For example, there are a lot of people who write and speak about blogging.

However, because I am woman, a mother and a business owner I can provide a different perspective to the subject.

For this reason is why bloggers should choose a topic they are passionate about because their passion will show through in their posts.

10. People are obsessed with getting more traffic, money, comments, followers…Tell me, what should they really focus on when they start worrying over the numbers – for example how they only have a few followers and people come to their site after working really hard on their site for months?

The two numbers they should focus on are website visitors and conversions (i.e., money).

The number of comments and followers should be less of a concern because often times people are reluctant to be the first one to post a comment.

People are like sheep and they will follow if someone else posts a comment first but they don’t want to be the first.

And as far as followers, most people don’t want to have their email box bombarded with blog post updates.  That’s why I wouldn’t focus on comments or followers.

Your attention should be; How many people are coming to my site on a daily basis?  Where are they coming from? And Are they buying my products or clicking on my affiliate links?

By using Google Analytics, you can see where your visitors are coming from.

If you organic searches are low, then you will know that you need to work on keyword research and SEO strategies.

If you find that you have a lot of visitors on a daily basis but they aren’t converting, then you need to work on your sales page or affiliate posts.  For those who solely use Google Adsense, the more visitors you have results in more money earned through Adsense.

All sites whether they are only a few months old or have been around for years need to be evaluated on a weekly basis to see what’s going on with their traffic.  They basically need to test, evaluate, implement changes, test and evaluate again.

11. What’s your advice for someone who starts a blog because they simply want to make money online – and they think that blogging is the best way to achieve this goal?

For those who start a blog to simply make money online, my advice is that they need to balance free valuable content and resources with their products.

The reason is because starting a blog and making it successful takes time and dedication.  If they are only focused on making money, they will more than likely lose interest or give up before it starts to be fruitful.

Blogging is a great way to make money online but there needs to be a balance between providing value and making money.  Sites that are setup strictly to sell their products won’t be able to build relationships with readers.  These relationships will lead to referrals and repeat customers.

12. How much effort did you put in your blog before you made your first USD 100 from it – and how did you make the one hundred dollars?

With my first blog, I put a lot of effort into it because I was learning everything from scratch. I knew web design but I didn’t know anything about blogging and SEO.  I believe I made my first $100 after my blog was 3 months old.

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I made it through Google Adsense and Commission Junction, the affiliate marketing site.  Because it took me so long and a lot of trial and error to make my first $100 is one of the reasons why I wrote “Blogging the Right Way”.  I didn’t want others to spend as much time as I did getting their blog off the ground.

13. What steps did you take to go from someone that doesn’t make money blogging to someone who makes money blogging?

I spent a lot of time at the library and bookstores.  I read as many books on SEO and making money blogging as I could find.

Today, the SEO practices are quite different.  However, through my business acquaintances I have access to experts in the field who provide me with advice.

In the end, it took a lot of dedication.  I was determined to not give up until I figured it out.  I knew there were other bloggers online making money so I knew it was possible.

14. What are some non-blogging things you had to deal with in your life in order to keep growing your blog into what it has become today?

Time management is a big one.  With running a business and taking care of a home, a husband and children, and maintaining a successful blog, it can become extremely overwhelming.

The biggest thing I had to learn was boundaries and balance.  This meant that I needed to let my business clients know that I wasn’t available after 2 pm or on weekends.

It was also important that I had balance in my life.  Balance between time for my clients, time for my blogs, time for my family and time for myself.  Often times, people believe that they don’t have time to take time for themselves.

However, this time is essential to clearing your mind and being able to focus on your goals.  Now, I use time blocking to ensure that I spend my time effectively.  I schedule so much time for blog post writing, marketing, dealing with clients, answering emailing and returning phone calls.  It works out great!

 15. What is the best advice you received that has helped you stay with your blog and continue improving it? (If you remember where the advice came from, mention names please)

That’s an easy one.  Darren Rowse of Problogger.net.  His book was the first book I read on blogging and is what inspired me to start blogging and never give up.

His book and his blog posts are written in such a way that they are educational as well as inspiring.  I truly consider him my role model and mentor.  I also learned a lot from Rosalind Gardner on affiliate marketing.

16. Any ebooks, courses, products or services that you highly recommend other blog owners to get now?

Well, I recommend my book, “Blogging the Right Way: Learn how to Launch a Blog and Start Making Money” for those who are just starting out and wanting to learn all of the different way to make money and increase their blog traffic.

I also recommend Darren Rowse’s book, “Problogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income” as well as Rosalyn Gardner’s book, “The Super Affiliate Marketers Handbook”.

Much thanks to Cindy Buccieri for sharing her thoughts, tips and knowledge with us. Check out her site here.

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