The Art of Freelance Blogging with Kevin Muldoon

The Art of Freelance Blogging with Kevin Muldoon

kevin muldoonIn the first of our new interviews series we talk to our good friend Kevin Muldoon: uber-blogger, fellow WordPress junkie, and incorrigible digital nomad.

Kevin is the author of The Art of Freelance Blogging and The Ultimate Blogging Resource List, both essential reading for anyone who doesn’t want to live in a cubicle all their life…

How do you make money with WordPress?

I make money with WordPress in a number of ways. Since 2006, all of my websites have been built using the WordPress platform except from discussion forums. Therefore WordPress has been at the heart of my business for several years.

I have also been writing about the WordPress platform actively since 2007. First on BloggingTips, then on WP Mods, and now on my personal blog. I have written hundreds of articles about WordPress on other blogs too and I am hoping to release a book on the subject within the next month or so.

Without question, my introduction to WordPress completely changed the direction I was heading online. To this day it is a vital part of my online strategy.

What’s your top tip for a killer hidden resource most WP users probably haven’t heard of?

There are lots of WordPress plugins that I love. For me, VaultPress is the most important WordPress plugin, as it backs up my websites 24 hours a day and allows me to restore backups from any time. It has saved my ass more than once! I am sure that is a resource you have all heard of.

A great plugin you may not have heard of is Better WP Security. I have tested dozens of security plugins for WordPress, however that is arguably the most well rounded. It is free to download and with the recent rise of malware and virus attacks, I now install it on all of my WordPress websites.

What’s on your ‘not to do’ list for beginner bloggers?

I could talk all day about the mistakes that bloggers make when they first start. Many of these mistakes need to be made. Blogging is no different to any other skill. There is a learning curve involved and sometimes making mistakes is the best way to learn. however many mistakes can be avoided.

One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is focusing their attention on the wrong things. Instead of spending 20 hours writing high quality articles for their blog, new bloggers tend to spend an hour or so writing articles and 18 hours on forums, Twitter, commenting on other blogs etc. These types of things can have value in moderation, however too many new bloggers spend most of their time on things that add no value to their blog.

Unfortunately, many bloggers never get out of these bad habits, which is why they are never successful.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about working online that was counter-intuitive or not obvious?

When people first start working online, they are looking for instant results. Millions of people around the world have came up with a “unique” idea to make money online….only to lose interest after a few months because they were not rich.

Unless you have a huge bag of money to burn, it is going to take you a while to establish a new website. This is particularly true for blogs. Most bloggers leave their blogs to die after a few months because they did not see the returns they wanted.

The thing is, it can take several months of hard work to start seeing good returns. I have been reminded of this recently as I am looking to re-establish my personal blog (which I had simply used as a CV for a few years). In order to drive traffic to the blog I am aiming to deliver 5-7 good articles every week. It is pretty much a full time job, however within four weeks of doing this I was able to double my traffic and I am on target to double it again within the next four weeks.

That is what is necessary to establish a website. Seeing traffic creeping up slowly can put off a lot of people off. A beginner may take these small gains as an indication that the website is not going to be a success. You need to be stubborn and believe in yourself and continue to persevere despite not seeing results instantly. Later, you will reap the rewards. Every website reaches a point where things just start to snowball as traffic grows exponentially. Though you need to believe in yourself and work hard until you reach that point.

What would you do if you had to start again from scratch?

In the past, I have spread myself too thin by launching too many websites rather than focusing on one and making that a success. Back in 2000-2002 it was not uncommon for me to have over 50 websites of mine on my server. If I had to go back and give advice to myself I would say “Focus on one website and make it great”.

What is your biggest challenge or frustration right now? Let’s see if any of our readers can help you out!

I have many objectives for 2013, including releasing many more books and relaunching one or two websites I own, however the relaunch of KevinMuldoon.com is my main priority. I had originally used the domain for a blog in 2007 but it was never my main project. I used it as a place to post irrelevant ideas that were not suitable on any of my other blogs.

I relaunched on 30 November 2012, however this was during my backpacking trip around South America. I arrived back in Colombia at the end of March 2013 and since then I have been working on the blog full time.

It is a big challenge but I wouldn’t say I am frustrated with it. I have developed and sold two blogs over the last few years, so I know what is required of me to make it a success. If I had not owned blogs before, I may be feeling frustrated just now, as I would not know if or when the blog would be a success.

As I have been in this position many times before, I do not worry about that. I know that my blog will be generating a few thousand dollars per month within the next four months. I say this from experience, not arrogance. My Google Analytics accounts still shows the traffic growth from my previous blogs. This has proved to be quite useful as I can compare the growth of my personal blog over the last two months against the same two month period of my former blogs (if anything, it has highlighted the slow growth of my former blogs!).

What is your biggest opportunity right now? Let’s see if any of our readers can help make it happen!

Last year I launched the martial arts website MartialArtsVideos.com. I initially set it up as a site that automatically uploaded good martial arts YouTube videos. Sadly, due to me travelling for several months, the site was left on its own and has never been properly developed by me.

I am looking to rectify this and start developing it properly. It has around 50 thousand fans on Facebook, so it will be easy for me to establish a readership. My plan is to post high quality martial arts articles and videos every day. It will be a lot of hard work but I am excited at the chance to develop it properly as I love martial arts. I am planning on writing some articles myself however I will be bringing in good writers to help me publish content.

You’re not exactly a ‘website flipper’ but you do have a habit of selling high traffic blogs – any regrets?!

I have sold hundreds of small websites and several large ones, however I have no regrets in selling. I can look back and wonder how could it be if I kept this website or that website. If I had, I would probably be making more money online.

Though I think on most occasions I sold at the right time. I usually sold a website when I was completely bored of running it, when I thought I could not develop it further or when I needed the funds and time to develop my next project. So if I hadn’t sold a particular website, I probably would have not started the next website.

If I do have one regret, it is that I did not always invest my money wisely. I was never quick to throw my money away on whimsical objects. I’m not someone who really cares about having a top of the range car.

For example, when I sold BloggingTips for $60,000, most of that money was used as a deposit for my house. Whilst long term it was a good idea to get on the property ladder, I probably should have waited and invested the money back into another project so that I was not starting from scratch again.

What does your typical workday look like?

A typical day depends on where I am. I am currently living in Colombia. For several months me I travelled all around South America. Every day was different when I was on the road. When I am travelling so much, I try and do what I can, when I can. Then, I try and stop somewhere and work non-stop for at least a few days (e.g. 12-14 hour days).

Returning to Colombia has allowed me to work a more normal schedule. At the moment I am working most days, taking a break some days to go to the cinema or go out for dinner.

I will have a more relaxed schedule when I am back in Scotland in a month or so. I normally do at least an hour or so of martial arts or running every day. This breaks up the boredom of sitting at the computer. Then I try and go out for a bit at night, either seeing friends or just playing video games.

I am looking forward to relaxing more. At the moment, working long hours does not bother me too much. I feel like I should in a way, as I spent several months enjoying myself and working very little.

Which product or blog post of yours should someone start with first?

My book “The Art of Freelance Blogging” was released in March this year. That’s a great introduction to anyone who wants to blog for a living. However, if you just want to read more about me, feel free to read any of the articles on www.kevinmuldoon.com.