The launch of the AdSense Profits Course is getting closer (February 14), and I have two more interviews with past students lined up for you. Today’s interview is with Simon Ng.
Simon blogs at SimonBlog.com. As you might have guesses it started out as a personal blog, but after a while Simon started focused on the iPhone, and today his blog is one of the most popular in this niche.
Another interesting fact is that Simon is not located in the US, and yet he’s making a nice living thanks to his site, proving that you really can do this from anywhere around the world.
1. When and why did you start your blog?
I started simonblog.com in June, 2007. At that time, I just wanted to learn about blogging, WordPress and AdSense. So I registered the domain and started my personal blog. At the very beginning, I had no idea what to write. I only published a few short posts related to my personal life. Rather, I focused on testing out different WordPress themes and plugins.
2. When did you decide to focus on the iPhone?
I bought the original iPhone in October, 2007. You might know that the first generation of iPhone was not sold globally. You had to jailbreak it and use special software to unlock so that it could be paired with any SIM card. I bought one through a local store in Hong Kong. The iPhone was already unlocked and it worked pretty well with my carrier. I loved the iPhone but after five days, the iPhone hung with an iTunes error shown up. That really scared me up. As a tech guy, I started researching solution to fix the problem. It took me a few hours to bring my iPhone back to normal. I wrote up a detailed post sharing my experience and how the problem got fixed. It turned out the post received quite a lot of feedbacks. From that time onward, I occasionally wrote articles about jailbreaking and iPhone hack. One year later, my blog was devoted to iPhone covering jailbreak tips, hacks, news and app review.
3. Were you planning to make money with the blog when you started it?
Yes, absolutely. Like many bloggers, I hoped to earn some side income from the blog. But honestly, I had no idea how I could make money from it, other than putting up AdSense on the blog.
4. When did you decided you should monetize it, and how did the first few months go?
As I mentioned, one of the reasons I started blogging is to learn about AdSense. I would like to know how easy it can be integrated with WordPress and to see I could really earn a few bucks. So right after I put up a few posts, I implemented AdSense on my blog. Without a good traffic, the initial result was, of course, disappointing. I earned two dollars for the first month. My site’s traffic sucked at that time. I got 10-30 visits per day when the blog was first launched.
I thought there should be something to do with the AdSense. I tried out different ad position and adjusted the theme layout. Obviously it didn’t help. I still got a few cents each day.
Finally I decided to devote my time writing up useful guides and tips about iPhone. Since Apple released iPhone 3G in July 2008, the blog traffic kept increasing. People started searching for guide about jailbreaking and unlocking. Luckily, some of my blog posts ranked pretty high in Google and received decent traffic. After that, I regularly earned the AdSense minimum every month.
5. How did you promote the website, and what strategies worked well to increase your traffic in the past?
I do not promote my website using Adwords or other types of ads. From my experience, the best way to promote the blog is to keep writing good content regularly. People love good content and Google loves it too. As I put up more useful articles on my blog, the traffic keeps increasing.
I have to highlight the word “regularly”. Even when I first decided to focus my blog on iPhone, I didn’t write regularly. Sometimes, I put up daily article for a whole week. But when I was busy with my day job, the blog was not updated for over three months.
I came across an article on problogger.net. Don’t ask me for the link (I already forgot it) but the key message is that you have to publish article regularly. It can be daily or weekly. Having a regular publishing schedule, your reader knows when you’ll have fresh content. Most importantly, Google prefers websites with consistent update frequency.
Since then, I wrote a daily post. Even I was on vacation, I prepared the posts in advance and scheduled the posts. This “Write Regularly” strategy did work for me. The traffic improves gradually.
6. How did your earnings change after you joined the course?
I was already making over a thousand dollars when I joined the course, so I had some experience with AdSense and was curious to see if the course could help even someone relatively experienced like me. It turns out that it can, as my earnings jumped by around $200 monthly after the course, so my investment paid out pretty fast.
7. What concepts and strategies you learned in the course that you liked the most?
The best part is Daniel’s personal advice. In the first week of the course, he personally reviewed my site and offered detailed suggestions. I’ve optimized my blog title and it turned out the traffic improved indeed.
Honestly, I wasn’t new to AdSense and the optimization techniques as I mentioned above. But I still learn some thing new from Daniel such as his own technique for split testing, link building and keyword research. These techniques can help you improve both site traffic and revenue.
8. What tips do you have for those who want to get started with AdSense?
Tip #1: Don’t focus too much on AdSense optimization when you first start your blog. Focus on the content! Over time, as you build up your audience and traffic, it’s easy to receive a monthly check from Google.
Tip #2: Find a niche that you truly love. Remember you have to write regularly if you’re serious in making money from blogging. It’s very difficult to create good content if you’re not passionate about the topic.
9. What plans do you have for your blog, and how much do you expect to reach in terms of earnings?
I want to add more content (e.g. iPhone development). I also want to add a forum to the blog.
I think the blog might potentially earn several thousands dollars a month when the site traffic keeps improving.
The AdSense Profits Course re-opens on February 14. Stay tuned if you want to join!
Want to start making some money with your website? Join my OnlineProfits.com training program today, it’s free!
Original Post: AdSense Profits Interview: SimonBlog.com
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