So, let’s just say, years ago, when I learned about the SEO, IM, MMO industry (search engine optimization, internet marketing, make money online — all closely tied industries), I’ve seen a lot happen over the last few years. There are certain people that have left a lasting impression and one of those people, undoubtedly, is Ramsay Taplin, who set of sparks of mystery and curiousity all over the web under the alias, The Blog Tyrant. [PS. You won’t find anything scandalous here regarding the Blog Tyrant but you will find the method behind his madness and how he got to where he is. Hey, I got you here, right? 😉 ]
[Above image pulled from BlogTyrant.com].
For a while there (and still!), I was, along with hundreds of other readers, mesmerized by his articles, each one crafted masterfully, keeping my attention for the entirety of the read (and believe me, keeping me glued to something for more than 1.5 minutes? Call it a miracle!)
Anyways, it is my absolute pleasure to present this interview, with The Blog Tyrant, aka Ramsay, the blogger who is truly amazing at what he does. Not sure? Be sure to check out the links provided in the article. Thanks for making time for this interview, Ramsay!
Let us begin!
1. Ramsey, so I must begin this interview question with an extremely important question: can you PLEASE teach me how to say, “I’m a sexy lady, mate!” in an Australian accent? This could take minutes or hours…
Nobody in Australia says that. 😉
[Editor’s Note: Aw, no fun there Ramsay 😉 ]
2. Let’s get to the serious stuff now, Blog Tyrant 😛 So, how, when, where did you come up with the idea of Blog Tyrant? Did you have any intuition that it would work out oh-so-grandly for you?
Initially I registered BlogTyrant.com because I wanted to create an online marketplace for everything to do with blogging – buying articles, hiring writers, selling blogs, etc. I wrote a few articles to start populating the site with content and one of them hit the front page of Delicious and I got over 11,000 visitors in the blog’s first month. I decided to just run with it because it seemed like people were enjoying what I was writing. So it hasn’t gone to plan at all!
3. Tell us: what does a typical Blog Tyrant article brainstorming session looks like? How many hours does it take from idea, to headline, to execution?
In a way, every article is the product of years of mucking around online. Even back in high school I was creating websites and by college I had sold one for five figures. I always try to write about things that I’ve tried myself – keep it really practical. Each article is different but they usually take me between two days and a week to write – especially if they end up being a big 5,000+ word monster!
I always try to make sure every post fits into an overall blogging strategy, so in that way I brainstorm topics that will help people solve problems within the niche that I’m targeting. First I research the keywords to make sure they have traffic, then I’ll write a title out 15 or 20 times to include those keywords and make it catchy. Finally, I sit down and write out a big post making sure to keep it as useful as possible and including as many resources as I can.
4. Did the plan you set out for BT go as you charted? Was it slower/faster than you anticipated? Can you share any exhilarating moments from this journey?
It’s been a wild ride! I really didn’t expect it to ever become this successful, and that’s been a bit scary at times.
The most exhilarating moment was the day I revealed my identity after two years of anonymous blogging. It was the first ever guest post on ViperChill and received hundreds of comments and emails from long time readers. I remember being so nervous before we hit publish!
Honestly though, the best thing about the journey is the people. I’ve made a lot of friends and I feel really humbled when someone emails me to say how much their blog has helped them. I recently received a comment from a reader who had terminal cancer and told me that Blog Tyrant had inspired him to write more as something to leave behind for his kids. That, to me, is the most incredible reward.
5. What do you identify yourself as best: marketer? SEO guy? Social media expert? Please explain why… and how you’ve used that angle to grow BT or your other blogs.
As bloggers, we wear so many hats. I have to be a content writer, SEO expert, server technician, graphic designer, accountant, etc. all in one day!
I spend most of my time writing content, so I think I would have to consider myself a writer first. But that writing comes from tinkering around with online marketing ideas so maybe the marketing comes first? And then when it comes down to it, most of my money from from good SEO practices.
I think one thing to remember is that all bloggers should be good business owners – and that means finding people to help you share the load. Hiring other writers, coders, server admins, etc. is vital if you want to really make it.
6. Let’s talk about your first “successful” blog. What niche was it in? Did you have any specific criteria before you entered that niche? How long before this blog generated you any income? Did you have any moments where you thought you may as well give up? Please feel free to share the income generated from it.
My first successful blog was in the fitness niche. It started as a place for me to just document my own ideas about training as I was heavily into bodybuilding and martial arts at the time.
It started making a decent income (for a college student) after a few months by relying mostly on Adsense. Unfortunately I didn’t know anything about growing a mailing list or any long term strategies.
There were times where I wanted to give up on it, but I think the thing that kept me going was that I loved the topic so much. If you hate what you blog about, it can make it so hard. I ended up selling that blog for five figures and dropping out of college to focus more closely on my online business.
7. Most marketers don’t talk about their failed attempts. Your turn, haha. How many failed projects did you have until you hit your first successful blog?
Oh I talk about my failures all the time! I regularly share them on my blog and my podcast is called Blog Tyrant XPeriments because I wanted to share those mistakes and ideas. Failures are so important – it’s how you learn, come up with new ideas and refine existing ideas. I’ve had dozens of failed blogs and websites – it’s no big deal. You just learn and try again.
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8. Please don’t think you’re being… immodest: why do you think you have seen great success as a blogger versus thousands of others who attempted the very same thing at the same time you did? Money? Resources? Brains, ideas, angles, execution?
It’s a mix of a lot of factors, I think. I’ve spent a lot of time doing it and have learned what to emphasize and what to ignore. Honestly speaking, my stuff isn’t anywhere near the best stuff out there. Not by a long shot. But I focus on promotion and community building and, as a result, I’ve had some luck getting known.
The most common thing I notice about successful entrepreneurs is that they are always curious. They want to know how to get that bounce rate down or conversion rate up. They research and tweak and get excited at projects and new ideas. That curiosity is really important to find.
9. What would you say is that “top one thing” that a blog/blogger MUST have to increase their chances of succeeding/being heard/breaking out?
I really think the most important thing for any brand, blog or business is to be distinctive. I first learned this idea from a book called How Brands Grow and it has really changed how I think about my business. You need to stand out from the crowd and be memorable, and that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be original.
I think the best step is to think about how you can help people solve a very specific problem that they have. Figure out a way to do that genuinely and then make sure the content through which you solve those problems is presented in a different way to everyone else in that niche.
10. What does your daily work schedule look like? Can we have a picture of your home office?
My schedule changes a lot depending on what projects I have going. Usually I start work at about 10am at a nearby cafe just brainstorming ideas and writing content. I then stop at around 4pm and go to training and relax before jumping back on and finishing off around midnight. I’m in Australia so sometimes I need to be awake when America is awake because that is when most of the world’s traffic is active. Most of the time I prefer to work somewhere without a lot of clutter and with this little guy.
11. Do you have any kind words for people starting off in blogging?
I think it is really important to remember that blogging is supposed to be fun. As long as you are enjoying it and trying to help people I think it can be a really rewarding past time and has so many benefits.
If you are thinking about blogging to make money or to help grow and existing business then please make sure you get started the right way with your own domain name, web host and a platform like WordPress. That gives you amazing flexibility, power and complete control over your asset. And then just make sure you are providing a lot of value in a very distinctive way.