Interviewing Adnan from Blogtrepreneur
Brief Intro about yourself?
My name is Adnan and I’m 18 and from the UK. I’m a student hoping to start University very soon and love to find ways to make money – very much an entrepreneur in my own opinion! My biggest website to date, and one which is still growing is my entrepreneur blog www.blogtrepreneur.com. The site has over 1500 RSS subscribers and there are articles on entrepreneurship, business online, marketing and much much more!
How did you get started?
I got started blogging in February 2006 when I was looking at ways to make money online. As I was only 16 at the time, I wanted to find a way of making money from home and without me having to get a run of the mill job working in a supermarket. Blogging seemed like a great way to make money through advertising, and to show my entrepreneurial flair and to connect with like-minded people.
Do you run your blog under any “Media” type site? Like I run mine under the control of Gurilla.net
Nope. Blogtrepreneur is its own site and I havn’t formed a company or anything like that. It’s all very informal, and I don’t really have any plans to have a mother company of sorts.
How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging for over 2 and a half years now – in that times I’ve seen many ups and downs, and have experienced blogging burnout but also hitting the frontpage of Digg and other popular social bookmarking sites. All in all, it’s been an amazing experience and has taught me a lot about the internet in general.
Whats your strategy with your blog in general?
Unlike many people online, I’ve never really had a strategy with my blog. This could be seen as a significant negative point, however I’ve always been a type of person to deviate off plans, and so never bother to make strategies that I know I won’t stick to! I try to crank out fresh content on the blog (recently that’s been a little more tricky), and I forge good partnerships with other bloggers, because it’s interesting and fun!
How do you get rss readers?
Releasing fresh content on a weekly basis, and promoting my content through social bookmarking sites is a great way to get RSS readers. However, if you produce linkable content that people want to talk about, that’s an added bonus and really helps to speed up website growth.
Do you give out freebies?
All of the content on my blog is a freebie, but in terms of other products, no I don’t have any other freebies. Occassionally I hold contests where I giveaway a book, but my readers (hopefully) appreciate the fact that I don’t charge them to view my content. In the future, I would like to have some form of a membership site where I charge a monthly fee to have access to some resource, but at the moment with the limited time I have, that is simply not possible.
Whats your opinion about the importance of PR in a blog’s life?
I’m not sure whether you’re talking about PageRank or Marketing here! In terms of Pagerank, it always helps to have a site with a higher pagerank, and it can be easier to sell advertising as well. However recently with the latest trend of Google slaps (and I was also a victim of this), the significance of pagerank has diminished and people are turning to other metric to measure the importance of a blog.
I’ve never really focused too much on PR Marketing, simply because most of my growth is organic and happens through Word of Mouth and referrals. I suppose I am a bit active on social media sites like StumbleUpon, however this accounts for a small percentage of blog growth.
Do you consider the top100 list at 45n5.com as authoritative?
I think Mark’s Top100 list was purely a bit of fun and a good way of sorting and ranking blogs based purely on metrics. However, branding really isn’t accounted for. At the moment, Blogtrepreneur is fairly low down on the Top100 list (number 45 as of writing), however this is mainly due to the Pagerank slap – but I think it has a good name in the entrepreneurial blogosphere and is relatively well known, and this is not accounted for in the list. I do think the list was a great idea by Mark though, and Kudos to him for launching it.
Any thoughts on my post on Blogs are not the authority, the Bloggers are?
Sorry, I havn’t read the post yet.
Would you sell out your blog at some point?
I’ve already considered selling my blog, and have nearly gone through with it 2 times. However in both cases, things didn’t work out, but I learnt invaluable lessons from both rounds of selling the blog. At the moment, I just don’t have enough time to continue with the blog, and I would much rather it be in better hands and given the attention it deserves, so if any person reading this post is interested in owning a popular blog, please get in touch with me!
To be honest, I don’t have an extreme viewpoint on sponsored WordPress themes. There are advantages and disadvantages: for example, the theme producer can get some money for the work they have done by selling text links, the advertiser can get better SERP’s, but then again they are cheating search engines and could get faced with penalties if Google finds out.
All in all, it’s not very sustainable in the long term for the advertisers, and if I were a theme producer I could think of better ways to earn a living designing (eg. making a membership site for themes, making custom blog themes, etc).
What’s your take on sponsored reviews?
I currently offer sponsored reviews on my blog, and if done well, I believe they can be very good for all parties concerned. The bloggers get paid directly for their time, and they don’t have to always favour the company they review. The advertisers get to have targeted traffic browsing over their products or websites concerned, and the readers get to look at a company they may not have seen otherwise. Readers also have the chance to ignore the sponsored review and carry on looking at other posts.
I agree that sometimes there are problems concerning disclosures and bloggers writing always positive reviews of companies, but all in all, I am for sponsored reviews.
What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
A constant stream of fresh, quality content, and maybe a free resource along the way too! Answering to comments is also very attractive to a reader (I know I should take my own advice!) and it helps to cement a relationship with the reader.
Did Aweber play a vital role in your growth?
I am yet to use Aweber on my blog.
Do you think Pagerank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?
As mentioned previously, I don’t think Pagerank is VITAL to the well being of a blog. It may help to attract more revenue, however if you are producing great content and have a quality site, then Pagerank isn’t vital to success.
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.
Yes, I have considered selling to those advertisers. However after speaking with them multiple times through email, I realised that they are trying to do me out of a good deal, and their demands are too high for me.
Did you ever get an offer of selling your blog out of the blue, if so how did you react to it?
So far, I havn’t received any out right offers to purchase my blog – if I did, I would definitely consider the offer.
What are your thoughts on my free wordpress themes here, be as blunt as you can.
I havn’t looked at them properly, but passing over them quickly (and being as blunt as I can), I would say that they are all pretty simply and don’t really offer much style to the bloggers. I’m not sure whether it’s the colour schemes that need revamping, or whether you need to include more graphics to make the themes look prettier. Your own theme for BlueVerse is very nice though in my opinion.
Overall what do you think of blueverse, once again be as blunt as offensive as you can.
I havn’t really spent much time at Blueverse, but I realize that it is a high ranking blog.