Episode 67: Blogging
This week I interview Leslie Samuel about Blogging. Leslie Samuel is a former university professor and the creator of the Become A Blogger – a blog dedicated to the craft of professional blogging. He has a passion for education and has taken on the mission of “Changing The World One Blog At A Time”.
Blogging has changed your life, do you think this is still possible now?
Leslie definitely thinks it is still possible. You can use it to build a platform and that in itself brings opportunities. Leslie started a biology blog because he wanted to be a university professor but didn’t think that was possible so he started teaching on a blog. He ended up getting a professorship because of his blog.
How do people make money with blogging?
There are several ways that people make money from blogging:
- Creating study guides and books that you can sell.
- Providing a service like tutoring.
- You can also promote other people’s services and products and make money as an affiliate.
- You can have ads on your site.
How long should people realistically expect to blog before starting to see any results from their blogging?
The answer is “it depends”. It could make money immediately or it could take years. Most people don’t make money immediately. It depends on a lot of factors. If you have already have an audience before you start blogging then that helps.
For people who are looking to sell books, does it still make sense to start a blog, especially for fiction writers?
Are they looking for an audience? If the answer is yes then clearly it is useful as a way to get new readers. It can be an entertaining blog rather than an educational blog. If you are fiction writer you need to get people to buy your books. Blogging is a way to attract new people.
Why is it important to be consistent as a Blogger?
This is extremely important. If you blog on random days of the week and miss weeks then people may not keep following your blog. But if you are consistent then people will learn to expect to see your content and even start looking forward to it. With Leslie’s podcast when he has missed a week (like when he had a child) he’s seem a stark drop in downloads after he comes back.
On the wider issue of format, how do people know whether they should be blogging, podcasting or using video to communicate with their audience?
It’s a combination of personal choice and really understanding your audience. For example on his biology blog, Leslie made a lot of use of video as it was really hard to describe things in text. On the other hand, you need to consider your personal preference. If you don’t like sitting around talking then maybe podcasting is not the medium to choose. If you like writing then written articles might be a better route to go down.
Why do you recommend self-hosted WordPress installations for blogging?
Leslie says the issue with the free WordPress.com sites is that you are vulnerable to WordPress changing their terms and services and closing down your site. In terms of self-hosted sites, Leslie recommends running the WordPress software on your site because it has such a large community of developers available that if you want to do anything there is likely to be a plug-in for it.
In terms of blogging itself, what is the biggest thing you’ve seen change since you started blogging?
Social Media. While it was around when Leslie started, it wasn’t as dominant as it is now. While it can be noisy, you can use it to make connections with people that read your book. This helps to improve the relationships with your audience. There is a lot more competition, but also a lot more opportunities with collaboration.
How is the increased use of mobile phones affecting blogging?
It’s making huge changes. If you are reading on a small screen and your site is not mobile-friendly then you will lose readers. This is something you need to consider. There have also been things like Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP which make it easier for your website to be shown on mobile phones.
If people want to find out about you where can they find you?
Leslie recommends going to his coaching club bloggercoaching.com. You can sign up to his coaching club for free for 30 days and a live coaching call with Leslie and other perks, for those of you interested in starting up a blog. If you are interested in biology then his biology blog is at interactive-biology.com