Today, we are going to Interview Blogger Ali Luke of Aliventures.com. She has been blogging since 2009. She writes books as well, her blog is about freelancing, blogging, fiction, and self-publishing. Let’s get some blogging tips from Ali and know more about her..
1. Please tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
I’m Ali Luke, and I blog at Aliventures about “mastering the art, craft, and business of writing”. I’ve been blogging there since 2009, and I write about quite a range of types of writing — freelancing, blogging, fiction, and self-publishing.
2. Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
I’m not sure it was as linear as that! I’ve done lots of different things over the past 10 years (which was when I quit my day job) — some worked well for me, some didn’t really pan out.
I began, right at the start of 2008, by sending a guest post to a blog that later hired me as a freelancer. I was lucky enough to repeat the process with another blog … and after that, I started seeking out paid blogging opportunities. Six months later, I quit my day job to blog alongside studying part-time for a masters in creative writing.
Since then, I’ve published four premium ebooks (The Blogger’s Guides), three novels (the Lycopolis trilogy), a bunch of self-study seminars, and plenty more! For a while, I offered one-to-one coaching for writers: I loved doing that, but it was hard to schedule in around my kids (my daughter was born in March 2013 and my son in December 2014).
3. What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Guest posting worked really well for me in the first two-three years of my blog. It’s been difficult to keep up with guest posting since having my kids — my focus has been on my freelance, paid, posts instead — so these days, most of my traffic comes from search engines. That’s the advantage of having a big blog archive dating back a few years, I suppose!
4. Please tell us some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
I’m a good writer. I feel a bit uncomfortable writing that … but I think it’s important that, as writers, we acknowledge what we’re good at! I’ve been writing professionally as a freelancer since 2008, and I was published by Wiley in their “For Dummies” series in 2012 (with Publishing E-Books For Dummies).
I’m also fairly good with techy things, and I pick stuff up quickly: I worked in tech support/software testing for a small IT company before striking out as a freelance writer. My technical background has been a huge help as I’ve got to grips with different tools like WordPress and Aweber.
5. How active are you on a weekly basis? How often do you communicate with your followers?
This varies a lot for me depending on the week…! I try to publish a blog post every Monday and send out a short newsletter every Thursday. Depending on the demands of family life, and on my freelancing schedule, that sometimes varies a bit! I used to post more regularly on Facebook and Twitter than I do now, and I’m planning to make more time for them as I love interacting with my readers — and with fellow bloggers.
6. What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
Write posts that readers genuinely want to read. It’s as simple (and as hard!) as that. Your posts might be useful, inspiring or entertaining — or even all three! There’s no “right” way to blog, but you do want to write the best posts you can.
7. What was your greatest failure in blogging and what did you learn from that?
My first two blogs failed in a sense: I gave them up after a few months. One brought in quite a bit of advertising income over the years, though, long after I’d stopped blogging there — and I eventually sold it. I learnt a huge amount about how to blog and how to build an audience, though — so the time definitely wasn’t wasted.
8. Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
I’ll limit myself to just a few — but there are so many wonderful bloggers out there who I’ve learnt from over the years.
Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing — I “met” him very early on in my blogging journey, and have always been impressed by his thoughtful, helpful writing, and his kindness and openness.
Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz — again, I came across Naomi in my very early days, and a live seminar she ran way back in 2009 (I think) was instrumental in me shifting my blog’s direction. She gives great marketing advice, and she’s always entertaining.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger — I read ProBlogger avidly before I launched my very first blog (at the end of 2007!) I’ve been a fan of the blog, and Darren, ever since. He’s a truly lovely guy (I’ve met him a few times at conferences). I write for ProBlogger most months, as their “subject matter expert” on content.
K.M. Weiland of Helping Writers Become Authors — one of my blog readers recommended K.M.’s blog to me back in 2012. She gives awesome, in-depth advice on fiction writing, and takes a realistic but positive approach to writing as a career.
Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn — Jo got on my radar back in 2012 too, when she was launching her novel Pentecost (now Stones of Blood). Since then, she’s published dozens of books (fiction and non-fiction) and become a big name in the world of self-publishing. She has a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm, which shines through in her podcast.
9. How much time do you spend blogging?
It varies a lot! For my own blog, I probably spend about 1 – 2 hours per week writing a blog post, 30 minutes or so writing the newsletter, and another 30 minutes or so on comments and emails. But some weeks it’s much less and some weeks it’s much more. I also freelance for other blogs, and that takes up a fair amount of my writing time.
10. A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
I’m sure there must be easier ways…! It took me 11 months to get my first cheque from Google Adsense, back in 2008: almost all the money I made that year came not through my own blog but through my paid freelancing for other people’s blogs.
I’d definitely suggest that if you want to make money online reasonably quickly, you need to sell something — it could be a service (like freelancing) or a product (digital or physical). It takes a long time to build up a blog that’s big enough to make money through advertising or affiliate income alone.
11. What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
Guest posting has always worked well for me: I enjoy doing it, and it’s a great way to get my writing in front of a fresh audience. I’ve also built up good links with other bloggers over the years — through sharing their posts, commenting on their blogs, getting to know them on Twitter / at conferences, etc. But I’m definitely not a marketer or networker by nature, so basically, I just try to enjoy myself with blogging and help other people out along the way.
12. What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
The very best thing for me is when someone emails and says, “That was just what I needed to read today.” Knowing that my words have touched someone, and perhaps made their day just a little bit better, means so much to me. Every time I get an email like that, I feel amazed by how easy it is to publish my words online and have them reach readers all around the world. In the busy day-to-day of blogging, it’s easy to lose sight of what a wonderful tool we have and what a great time we live in for writers.
Thanks again Ali Luke for taking the time to share your tips and story with the Blogger Meet community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are getting success online, be sure to keep reading through our blogger interview series.