Interviewing Collin Lahay from Mixed Market Arts
Brief Intro about yourself?
My name is Collin LaHay, and much like yourself, am quite a few years ahead of the curve in regards to age. I am 18 years old and have made my living completely online since the start of this year. I am an internet marketer at heart, and I blog at MixedMarketArts.com, although I may soon be moving to CollinLaHay.com. My blog is most known for my link building cookbook, which is dubbed as a “do it yourself link building campaign,” and has gained a lot of popularity on webmaster forums because it is completely free unlike most ebooks those readers are use to purchasing.
How did you get started?
My webmaster journey started back in high school when I created my first website (websiteredirect.com). It use to host an open source web proxy that we could use to get on myspace.com as well as video game sites while we were at school when the sites were normally restricted. I told a few people, they told a few people, and at one point the word had spread so fast that people in India were using it. To cover the cost of the bandwidth bill, I had put Google Adsense on it expecting it to make $5-10 that month, but actually it had made over $550 in the first 2 months. It was then that I had a “woah…” moment and saw the potential for anyone to make money on the internet
Do you run your blog under any “Media” type site? Like I run mine under the control of Gurilla.net
I am in the (long overdue) process of registering an LLC to use as an umbrella corporation with all of my projects under it, but right now no. Anything I put my name onto, I merely link back to my blog with until I register my own corporate identity. I am still trying to decide on a good name.
How long have you been blogging?
I started blogging November 7th, 2007.
Whats your strategy with your blog in general?
I have a lot of uses for my blog. I use it as a very powerful launching platform for websites I launch, and I also use it as a place to showcase my techniques for SEO and marketing, so that I can look back to the lists when I pick up a new link building client or have a new site to promote. I also use my blog as a way to network with other marketers. I have met all of my highest paying clients through my blog, and I don’t believe I would have been able to work with half of them if I had not had as many public case-studies as I did.
How do you get rss readers?
I provide value and give them a reason to want to read my content on a daily basis. I provide honest case studies that show techniques that work, as well as ones where I have lost money, thus saving my readers from making the same mistakes.
Do you give out freebies?
I sponsor a lot of blog contests, and all of my content is completely free. My link building cookbook alone could have been packaged into an ebook and sold 2000 times over to people on the webmaster forums, however I hate buying ebooks and would never be one to sell one that wasn’t worth the money, so I decided to give it away for free.
Whats your opinion about the importance of PR in a blog’s life?
I don’t look at PR a whole lot anymore. Last update, my blog was a PR5 and received very little search engine traffic, and now my blog receives over 25% of ALL the traffic it gets from Google alone. Since I do not sell text links, I do not care for pagerank. I will take traffic over a number any day of the week. My friend Richard from LinkBuildingBible.com has a PR0 homepage but ranks well for lots of good keywords, so PR is all a matter of interpretation and your own personal goals.
Do you consider the top100 list at 45n5.com as authoritative?
It depends on what you consider authoritative. It lists a lot of good blogs in this niche, and has sent me a lot of traffic (as well as spammers with sales pitches! *grin*). I could consider it flawed in the sense that doesn’t determine the best “make money online” blogs by how much they make money, but rather how popular they are. You can have the most popular site in the world and not make any money, or you can have a tiny niche site that just dominates, so in my opinion the best “make money” blogs should be determined by how much money they make.
Any thoughts on my post on Blogs are not the authority, the Bloggers are?
Well a blog and the blogger is ultimately the same thing. I could sell my blog and still make tons of money online, however that is not the reason I blog. I blog to share my knowledge and don’t plan on selling it. It is the same reason people read your blog, they want to know YOUR tips and thoughts. If you sell your blog, and start a new one, many of your dedicated readers would just switch their RSS feed. The person who bought your original domain would be the losing party in that deal. As you can tell, I am not a big believer in selling blogs, as I believe a blog and the blogger are one in the same.
Would you sell out your blog at some point?
Do you think people should sponsor wordpress themes?
It use to be a good way to build links, but Matt Cutts has said that WordPress links are being counted less and less, so I would only sponsor the theme if it was cheap and was to be well marketed.
What’s your take on sponsored reviews?
As long as the reviews follow the Google Webmaster Standards, I am a strong believer of them. You can showcase your website, blog, or product in front of tons of super targeted readers for a cheap price… you cannot get that in many offline markets.
What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
Value. If your blog doesn’t provide any value, then it isn’t worth reading.
Did Aweber play a vital role in your growth?
No, absolutely none. It wasn’t until last month when I was competing on the Top Affiliate Challenge did I even sign up to Aweber. I have, however, started sending out Aweber confirmations to my blog commentators for those that wish to get the tips and tricks that are exclusive and would be useless if the technique was published to 100% of my readers.
Did you ever consider selling links to those underground link sellers, you know, the ones that mail you and ask you to sell in-content links and pay per year.
Unfortunately yes. In my first month of blogging I sold a permanent link for like $20 and got my PR4 penalized to a PR2. I later nofollowed the link and got my pagerank back in two days (http://mixedmarketarts.com/2008/04/05/getting-your-pagerank-back-in-2-days/).
Did you ever get an offer of selling your blog out of the blue, if so how did you react to it?
Yes, I have had a few emails offering to acquire it. Some wanted it privately and one wanted it public. I told them all no, I do not plan to sell my blog.
What are your thoughts on my free wordpress themes here, be as blunt as you can.
They are all free… someone has to be pretty arrogant to complain about something that is given away for free. I didn’t even need to look at them to tell you that. Free is good!
Overall what do you think of Blueverse, once again be as blunt as offensive as you can.
To be completely honest, I thought your older theme from Unique Blog Designs blew the current one out of the water. The only thing I like about the new one is the featured 125×125′s at the top. I would reduce the amount of posts on the front page as you have a few posts with tons of big screenshots, and it makes it a long scroll to get through it. Aside from that, the content is good and I am a subscriber myself.
Any tips for my readers?
The “get rich quick with zero work” methodology is a elusive and not true. Hard work and dedication is required to make a lot of money online. The easiest way to make money is to provide value/content, promote that with backlinks, and work your way up the search engines organically. Nothing else has the potential to earn you that amount of traffic/revenue from free organic means… so stop wasting your time looking into web2.0 widgets and tricks and get down to business. Provide value/content, build links/SEO, and give the search engines time to consider you an authority. Check out my 3 steps to website marketing success .
My other tip is to just act. You and I (as well as many other bloggers) provide tons of information that can earn everyone that reads it money, but many just fail to act upon the techniques we provide. My tip is to dive head-first into what you want to do and never stop improving upon it.