In todays interview we are going to be talking with Justin Germino from DragonBlogger.Com
Justin’s Biography: IT Manager by day who picked up blogging back in August 2008 and currently runs the popular technology blog Dragon Blogger Technology and Entertainment Portal. I enjoy sharing information about technology, tips, reviews and writing for the sake of writing.
1. Hi Justin, can you tell my readers and me more about yourself? What do you do in the world of online marketing for anyone who isn’t already familiar?
My name is Justin Germino, I am the owner of DragonBlogger.com which is a technology, gaming and entertainment blog that also features gadget giveaways whenever I can offer them. I also run seven other online WordPress blogs in various niches but Dragon Blogger is my flagship.
I have been in the online marketing/blogging space since August 2008 and have experimented with dozens of earning platforms from sponsored post opportunities, affiliate marketing, email marketing, social media marketing and more. I know how hard it is for bloggers to monetize and try to make a living or even earn part time, so I always tell people to start blogging because you have a passion for it or you will burn out long before you start making a profit from it.
2. When and where did you make your first dollar in Internet Marketing?
My early earnings came from doing sponsored posts and sponsored reviews of products, services like IZEA SocialSpark, PayPerPost and The Blog Frog (now Tap Influence) were a good way for bloggers to make money by partnering with brands. I have since diversified my income sources and included Amazon Affiliate marketing, some web hosting affiliate marketing and WordPress plugin affiliate marketing. I also sell my audiobook poetry but this is more of a hobby and barely makes anything. The key to Internet marketing is to make sure you have a quality product to either sell (you created and sell it) or one you believe in and are willing to stake your reputation on as an affiliate. I started off making $100 within my first 60 days of starting a blog, then grew to about $1000 per month average 3 years later, small for an online marketer, but not bad for a part time blogger who only spends about 20 hours per week on his sites.
3. What strategies are Evergreen and help generating revenue month after month despite what some big search does?
Amazon Affiliate is one that generally does well no matter the ebbs and flows of search engine traffic, AdSense has dropped by 66% since my site lost so much traffic from Google Search due to trends dropping and some algorithm changes. I still make a decent amount via sponsored reviews/posts which provide a few ways to earn a fair amount of income every month. I could more proactively sell affiliate products which you can earn without directly needing as much blog traffic but I don’t do this as actively as I could.
The best ways to earn are email marketing, building tight niche related lists and not spamming too frequently, as well as leveraging social media to engage and showcase what you are selling, but use it wisely and as a method to educate and garner interest and not directly try to keep selling to your social media followers.
4. What is your biggest online marketing challenge?
Because I have no niche specifically, technology, gaming, entertainment, giveaways, blogging, WordPress, it is hard to promote any single product without it only being of interest to a small percentage of my followers and then turning off the other followers/fans. I see this most with my newsletter, and unsubscribes will happen if I promote/mention something that doesn’t appeal to the people who follow for that reason. Giveaways are great, but they can lead to many followers only interested in the giveaways and not for what you are really all about, so they can be transient and come and go.
5. What are your top “must follow” Internet marketing blogs?
I do like BasicBlogTips.com, WeBlogBetter.com, Kikolani.com and Growmap.com as some of my favorites, I tend to find the big sites starting to have too much regurgitated high level content without much depth but you can still find good articles on the big sites too.
6. How do you communicate your trustworthiness?
I am all about honesty when I do reviews, I will test something before I am willing to become an affiliate, I never affiliate a product that I haven’t tried and tested myself. The exception is simple passive Amazon affiliate where I may do a news article about a product on Amazon and passively link to it in an affiliate banner. But generally I only promote what I would be willing to fight for myself, defend if someone attacks it and be able to make logical reasons to defend the products I promote. I only promote products I feel have value for their target audience, and I have been paid and sent products that cost hundreds of dollars only for me to give them a review that isn’t glowing, but I am always fair even when I find improvement areas or flaws in a product.
7. What is the biggest mistake I can avoid starting out in Internet Marketing?
Promoting something without understanding it, being fake is the biggest mistake you can make when starting out. Be professional, honest and show your expertise when you speak about something is important, don’t review or promote products you don’t have an intimidate understanding of, nothing is more false than not knowing how a product works, what it does or what it is about when you just create a blanket email or blog post promoting it yet can’t really answer any detailed questions about it.
Also start a mailing newsletter early, I waited 2 years before starting a mailing list and this was a missed opportunity, you could leverage the list even without actively promoting, use it as a newsletter and don’t ignore it, send at least 1 email per month to remind people they still participate.
8. How can we find out what you audience is really looking for?
Ask your audience what they are interested in, I went through many categories of topics on DragonBlogger before settling on the ones I did, I even covered poetry, polities, travel and general stuff early on before narrowing it down. Do some posts and share on social media, see what trends, see what engages conversation and focus more on the articles that create the engagement to help narrow your niche and focus. Remember to leave a reader feeling like you solved a problem, offered a solution or entertained them so that you are memorable and leave a lasting favorable impression. Even if they don’t buy something from you, if you solved a problem, helped them with an article or simply informed or entertained them, this can leave a lasting impression that makes them remember to come back to you and perhaps trust your recommendations and take a chance later.
9. What is next for Justin, What can we expecting this coming year?
YouTube content is my focus for 2014, I have brought in several more content creators and ramping up my Gaming and Entertainment content on YouTube with both Venoms Rant series by Brian Alford and the Gaming Let’s Play videos by Colby Morte. I now have more than 20k views per month on YouTube and nearly 4,500 subscribers. My YouTube Ad revenue earns nearly as much per month as my WordPress blog AdSense revenue now as well. I think ignoring media is a mistake, even if you are an affiliate marketer you need to make videos and talk, engage your audience, put a face to the name, put a personality to the affiliate marketer…etc.
10. What area of online marketing do you consider yourself an expert in?
None, I don’t consider myself an expert in any form of online marketing. I am a blogger, I don’t consider myself an expert marketer, I know affiliate marketers who earn 5x as much as I do with 1/3 the traffic, and I know others who don’t earn as much. My focus is on bringing quality and entertaining content to my audience, my goal to sell something is very secondary and only a means to help support and justify the time spent creating and publishing content. This means I am not really an online marketer, I provide content and entertainment, and try to earn passively from ad sales and Amazon Affiliate, the few times I actively affiliate market it is for WordPress plugins I believe in and use myself, or the same hosting provider I have used for over 3 years and still maintain because I think they do a good job. I consider myself an expert in doing product reviews, sponsored reviews, writing content and showcasing content for readers. But an actual marketer, I only dabble and my blogging/online activities only earn me slightly more than a minimum wage job if you compare dollar per hour spent and earned.
Thank you Justin for the interview! It’s greatly appreciated. Please feel free to leave a comment below. Make sure to stop at DragonBlogger.Com today to learn all about the latest Technology!
Thanks for taking the time and having the interest to Interview me, I would be happy to answer any questions readers may have for me.