Interviewing Michael Dunlop from Retire at 21
Brief Intro about yourself?
Retire At 21 founder Michael Dunlop has shown that being young, dyslexic and a college drop out is not the end of the world. Whilst many youngsters faced with these obstacles would have turned to drugs or crime, Michael merely saw them as challenges, and his drug of choice became Online Business.
How did you get started?
I was 14 years old running a young enterprise business, I asked our IT manager to create a website and he came back to us with a FreeWebs.com website and so I decided to build my own site. After working day and night using my free trial of Dreamweaver the website was ready and I won first prize at the awards night.
Do you run your blog under any “Media” type site? Like I run mine under the control of Gurilla.net
I have been looking to do this and would say its a good idea especially if you have a lot of related websites like myself, it helps to build your brand.
How long have you been blogging?
Around 2 years ago when I realized I would save a lot of money and time by using WordPress instead of custom building my own content management system.
How do you get rss readers?
A few things I do to increase my RSS Readership are:
- Offering Freebies
- Asking my readers to join my RSS
- Offering email sign up to RSS
- Newsletter + RSS, I decided on one of my sites to auto sign up everyone on my newsletter to my RSS and this increased my RSS readership by 500%!
Do you give out freebies?
We have done before and have had a great reaction, typically we receive our freebies for FREE. The effects of giving out freebies have been:
- Large increase in traffic
- Large increase in RSS readers due to asking them to join
- Increase in advertising sales due to increase in traffic
- Increase in brand awareness
- Increase in user participation (Blog Comments and Forum Posts).
Do you consider the top100 list at 45n5.com as authoritative?
I like the list and do use it daily as a mass RSS feed but do not feel the top 100 are in order, he has managed to do a great job, but it would be impossible to make it perfect.
Do you think people should sponsor wordpress themes?
Just looking at the effect you have had Ahson shows us we should, it helps build Pagerank, brand awareness and traffic.
What’s your take on sponsored reviews?
I love them! In fact I bought 10 reviews from some of the top make money online blogs and reviewed the results and did a post about it on my site – http://www.retireat21.com/blog/6-reasons-to-buy-reviews-for-advertising/
It has helped me build a very high awareness of my website, build traffic, PR and search engine rankings.
What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
Quality and consistency, I have noticed a big difference in my readers response when I post consistently. They tend to visit more often to check for updates and will comment and get involved. If you have no consistency they don’t seem to bother to comment or visit anywhere near as often.
Did Aweber play a vital role in your growth?
I do use Aweber and have managed to build several large lists, my new website for Web Design has built a list of 700 in just 2 months. I then can promote products and website updates to my list.
Do you think Pagerank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?
I personally don’t let it play a vital role in my blogs life but I do know most people let it play a vital role when viewing my site. It helps readers know how much of an authority your website is which then also helps people decide if to buy advertising.
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.
How could you consider it? You readers come first and if you mess them around they will leave. The price they pay was if you worked it out around $10 per link for life! Why not just sell a link via Text-Link-Ads for $50 a month?
Any tips for my readers?
So often I get emails from my readers saying they have been thinking about building a site for a year now and want my opinion on there idea and if they should do it. Don’t waist a year to email me build your site today!