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What does it take to make a living with your blog?

Reginald Chan is a 29-year old blogger, living in Malacca Malaysia.

He has been blogging since 2005.

For Reginald, blogging was love at first sight.

He will be the first one to tell you that 98% of bloggers never make $1000. I asked Reginald to share some of his blogging secrets.Check out the following interview to learn what it takes to be the 2% that earn a living from blogging.

Do you want to start making money as a blogger? Click here to find out how to start a blog.

Success Harbor: In 2005 you have started blogging. What were your expectations back then? Was blogging just an experiment, hobby, or did you know from the beginning that you wanted to turn it into a business?

Reginald Chan: At that time, I was just blogging everything under the sun. I didn’t know I loved blogging so much where I was doing 1 to 3 posts a day (on BlogSpot that time). I didn’t want to make money (I swear!) and what made me blogging was simply because I love the feeling of it. Yes, call me weird! I totally didn’t know that it would be one of my key passive income generation stream since 2009. Now, I am loving the relationship building more than the money to be honest.

Success Harbor: How did you start monetizing your blog?

Reginald Chan: Right after I started my Blogspot (first blog). I didn’t know what was Adsense until I get a prompt to ‘integrate’ it to my blog. I applied for it and was approved within a week. I made my first $1 within the first 3 months. That was when the ‘light bulb’ went off. I knew there was potential in it and so, I decided to put more effort into it.

Success Harbor: What were the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site when you started out?

Reginald Chan: Back then it was all Google. No Facebook, no Twitter. I was blogging for myself but somehow, it got into Google and I was ranking a lot! Of course, what’s SEO at that time J

Success Harbor: What are the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site today?

Reginald Chan: Social media traffic. I love it and I dig for it all the time. I learned that if we do moderate SEO and follow the guidelines pretty close, Google will pick us up pretty fast. So, that’s the least of my concern. At the same time, the search engine is forever changing. Keeping up with it is challenging. Social media, on the other hand, is like having 30-seconds to fame. Do it right and you may go viral. Better ROI but requires some serious and continuous tasks.

Success Harbor: Can you give us some examples of content marketing you are doing today?

Reginald Chan: I try to write good content by doing research. There are several techniques I use what I learn from my most popular articles. Here’s an example:

  1. Find a topic that is REALLY good and popular
  2. Understand why people are reading that piece
  3. Write something better than that
  4. Share it at the right time, right place

Success Harbor: How many different ways are you able to monetize your blog today?

Reginald Chan: Google Adsense is pretty much a good side income. Affiliate sales are great with like $100 to $300 per pop. I do have several advertisers who pay me well for ad banner slots. I am a strong believer that we need to monetize multiple ways but with a controllable number. Anything under 5 is good.

Success Harbor: How much traffic does your blog get in a month?

Reginald Chan: The Smart Internet Lifestyle Blog is new; 60 days sharp at this point of writing. I have around 250 to 400 visitors a day. On my other blogs, around 500 to 1,000 daily.

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Success Harbor: What is the role of social media in your business?

Reginald Chan: Social media is probably the second big thing after Google. I use it for brand recognition, relationship building and most importantly, traffic building. I use social media for interaction a lot. With more interaction, there are more relationships and at the end, more traffic and business opportunities.

Success Harbor: Can you give me some specifics in terms of using social media to drive traffic to your site?

Reginald Chan: Basically, my technique is all about visibility. I can’t be visible 24/7 and thus, having more social shares from specific people from different regions increase my visibility by quite a bit. Also, the important part is connecting with social media influencers. Imagine a single retweet or share could easily reach thousands of readers. That’s the real power of social media.

Success Harbor: Which one is your favorite social network and why?

Reginald Chan: This is tough. I’m very addicted to social media and if I have to choose one, I would say Twitter. 140 characters is a huge pump for me. Imagine cramping all the important things into them. Basically, I feel I’m able to connect with more influencers on Twitter compared to Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Oh yes, I love Twitter DM too!

Success Harbor: What do you use Twitter DM for? Can you give me a couple of examples?

Reginald Chan: I have over a dozen of them. Haha! My personal one is @Reginald_Chan and currently, I am actively using @MarketingTweaks. If you want to connect with me, @MarketingTweaks would be the preferred one.

Success Harbor: You have stated that 98% of bloggers don’t make $1000 a month. What do they need to do to start earning? What advice do you have for them?

Reginald Chan: For me, I believe it is all about focus and target. Blogging is really overrated. People love to hear that bloggers make over $1,000 a month and they think it is really easy. The truth is, it is totally the opposite. What they don’t hear is the hours and effort these bloggers put in to be successful. My personal advice is that blogging is a business, a damn lucrative one. However, if you are going into blogging just for the money, you have a high chance of not making it. Go into blogging if you really love it. Love the job, and it will be rewarding both financially and personally.

Success Harbor: What do you think bloggers should spend their time on to be successful?

Reginald Chan: Build relationships. You may write great stuff, do the best research etc. But if no one is sharing your article, you are in trouble. Relationship will create repeated traffic and loyal followers. Focus in building relationship above anything else.

Success Harbor: Where do you look to find popular topics?

Reginald Chan: I personally use several methods. On Twitter, I have specific lists and checking out these lists could provide some great ideas. For random writing/blogging, I would use Google Trends … or anything out of the blue 🙂

Success Harbor: How do you improve content, so it is better than what’s out there?

Reginald Chan: Research, research, and research. A good example is that you grab an article (damn good one) from authority sites. Next, check the comments to search for questions the readers might be asking. Collect some ‘data’ from it and do some keyword search. If I see some searches with those, I’ll improve on it. Alternatively, just create a blog post that provides, even more, details or tutorials based on that article.

Success Harbor: What makes your content better?

Reginald Chan: Well, I wouldn’t say my content is better but I always ask myself what my readers would want to find. If I’m able to provide such requirements for my readers, my content would be much better in their eyes.

Success Harbor: What is your process to determine what is the right time and right place to share content?

Reginald Chan: I use several tools and depending on platforms. For example, I am a huge fan of SocialBro and that gives me a good idea on when exactly my readers are online, maximum reach and even exposure level by the hour, day and week. Pretty cool. A good alternative would be Followerwonk by Moz and basic logic. For example, if you have readers from the West Coast, of course, you would want to share more of those contents during the time they are awake 🙂

Success Harbor: How are you finding advertisers for your site?

Reginald Chan: Tough question. I don’t find advertisers but they do come to me. Haha! Well, I would say the best would be honest and try to create a good branding. When you have branding and some influence level, it is much easier to get ‘connected’ with advertisers.

Success Harbor: What is your biggest win as an online entrepreneur?

Reginald Chan: My personal achievements would be working with companies who put their trust in me in business growth. It is always great to see companies contacting me asking to consult with them. That proves the quality of ‘brand’ that I have built.

Success Harbor: What is your biggest loss as an online entrepreneur?

Reginald Chan: Playing nice. I used to believe that slow and steady wins the race and yes, being nice. As I said, blogging is a business and it doesn’t mean that being good will always be a good choice. What I mean that this is business and therefore, consider it as your own business. Compete with others and give in a fair, good fight.

Success Harbor: What is your goal for the Smart Internet Lifestyle blog?

Reginald Chan: My main goal is to turn it into an information hub related to social media and online marketing. I want to share my experience with the rest of the world, hoping that they will succeed too. I am working really hard to achieve 1,000,000 views a month. Fingers crossed! Long road but definitely not something impossible!

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Say hi to Reginald at smartinternetlifestyle.com.