Each week I am publishing an interview from the book Blog Blazers (in alphabetical order) which can be purchased on Amazon here. The interviews were all done in 2008 and the full list of bloggers interviewed can be found by clicking here.
This week the interview is with Ben Casnocha of My Startup Life (now called The Start-Up of You)
My Startup Life
Ben is one of the younger bloggers in this book, being only 20 years of age. However don’t think his age has anything do to with lack of world experience. By the age of 14 he had already founded his second company, Comcate.
Unlike most other high school students who skip school to have fun, Ben was sneaking away from school for early morning flights to visit prospective clients. This is all the while captaining his high school basketball team and editing the school newspaper!
He has also been featured on CNN Headline News, TechTV, and profiled in the SF Weekly . He has spoken at Stanford University and many other business forums.
Above this, Ben has also written the book “My Start-up Life” which is full of specific and actionable advice for any and all entrepreneurs.
Steph: What makes a blog successful according to you? Is it traffic, reach, revenue, etc.?
Ben: For me, it’s influence. I want my ideas to spread.
Steph: When did you decide you finally reached success with your blog?
Ben: When people told me I changed their opinion on something. That’s influence.
Steph: How long does it take to become a successful blogger?
Ben: Depends. It takes several months to get in the groove and attract an audience.
Steph: Who do you think are the most successful bloggers on the internet today?
Steph: Which five blogs do you regularly read?
Steph: What is your most successful blog post ever?
Ben: I wrote a popular post on “What Society Overcomplicates” – I argued that parenting and writing are two examples of things which are really really hard – but simple. And that society tends to overcomplicate both these tasks.
Steph: What’s your biggest tip on writing a successful blog post?
Ben: Be brief, be interesting, be personal.
Steph: How important do you think are the headlines of your blog articles?
Ben: Imported but overrated. Actual content is more important.
Steph: Do you spend any money and time on marketing?
Ben: Not really.
Steph: What are your main methods of marketing your blog?
Ben: Word of mouth, commenting on other blogs.
Steph: Which marketing tactic has surprised you the most in terms of its effectiveness?
Ben: How powerful a link from a popular blog can be.
Steph: What are your quick and short five best tips for blogging?
- Be it on for the long term
- Write for yourself as much as for others
- Be personal
- Write well
- Have fun
Steph: What is the most common pitfall new bloggers generally fall into?
Ben: Give up after a couple weeks since they feel no one is reading it. It takes time!
Steph: What repels you the most from a blog (animations, in your face advertising, etc.)?
Ben: Posts which say, “I haven’t posted in 10 minutes and received 20 emails about whether I was still alive. Yes, I’m still alive, just really busy!” If you’re too busy to post, then don’t post. Just don’t talk about how busy you are.
Steph: Do you make any direct money from your blog through advertising, product placements, etc.?
Ben: Some off advertising.
Steph: Do you find you get more from direct monetization of your blog or from opportunities that come because of the existence of your blog?
Ben: Definitely related opportunities. By a HUGE factor. Most of the monetization is indirect.
Steph: What’s your most interesting story related to your blog and blogging experience?
Ben: I traveled through 20 countries overseas and in many big cities stayed with readers of my blog. Stayed in their house, that is. A wonderful experience.
Steph: What’s the one biggest opportunity that came to you because of your blog?
Ben: The platform I have because of my blog probably helped convince a publisher to offer me a contract to write my book My Start-Up Life.
Steph: Thank you Ben for your time in taking this interview.