Today, we would be interviewing Asif, the founder of Spell Out Marketing. He is unique and understands how the internet works.
Now, let’s get over to Asif…
Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
My name is Asif. I am a content marketer and blogger. I am a full-time professional, working in a digital marketing agency.
More than four years back, I launched ‘Spell Out Marketing.’ The primary intent behind the blog was to publish everything I learn first-hand about content marketing and SEO, in particular, from my job and personal projects.
‘Spell Out Marketing’ documents actionable insights and tips on what is working for me, as well as for the clients.
So, you won’t necessarily find the vanilla or “informational” articles on my blog. Instead, you will find useful and actionable posts around various digital marketing subjects that you can apply to achieve your conversion goals.
And this is one of the USPs of ‘Spell Out Marketing’ that I am quite proud of.
To know more about me, you check my About Me Page.
And to *really* know me, you can check out my Medium here. I daily blog; been at it for more than a year now.
Takeaway: You don’t necessarily need to be a full-time blogger before you succeed. You have seen how Asif strike a balance between his job and his blogging business.
What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Holistically speaking, a shift in the mindset from “how do I get more traffic to Spell Out Marketing” to “how do I help people get the most value” has been the most significant factor that really unlocked me more traffic.
Strategically speaking, there are a few things that have worked well for my blog…
One, creating matter-of-fact content that directly addresses people’s problems and delivers them solutions without wasting any time. I am not a fan of blindly creating long-form content because of this prevalent belief that Google loves that.
So, my content is all about (or at least strives for) bringing the most value in the shortest span. Respect people’s time and energy!
Second, an excellent internal link building game. Over the last year, I have focused a lot on building internal links. And this has positively influenced the bounce rate and session duration, which has helped my blog significantly in SEO.
There are various other things right from my email list to LinkedIn marketing.
So, there isn’t one “best strategy” that has worked well for my blog. It’s a cluster of things that have worked collectively and equally.
Takeaway: You need to shift your mindset from “getting traffic” to “Giving Value.” Plus, You should take proper care of your internal linking strategy.
What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
As someone who has a full-time job, making time to create content for my blog and be active on social media remains a challenge. But I love the process; I love the red eyes!
As for any specific “challenging moment,” I think it was likely between June and October in 2019. In June, Google rolled its Broad Core Algorithm Update, and it literally killed my ranking and organic traffic.
They released another update in October. And my blog’s ranking/traffic got back on track, and now it’s better than ever.
I even published a post around this.
But that was indeed a very distressing period. When you see no result even after you’re working very hard – it’s challenging to stay motivated and persist.
Takeaway: Google will keep rolling out new algorithms, even if it hit you hard, you would still scale through.
What are your best blogging tools?
I don’t rely on a lot of blogging tools.
Grammarly, Hootsuite, SEMrush, and Mailchimp get almost all my needs covered.
I do use/try various other tools. But they are usually experimental and not essential.
Takeaway: You don’t need hundreds or thousands of tools to succeed as a blogger; even a free tool can solve your need.
Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
Yaro Starak got to be up at the top here. Basically, he’s the first name I discovered in the blogging sphere back in 2012-2013. And I’ve been following him ever since.
I think his overall approach to building a sustainable blog with more focus on working smarter is quite impressive. Moreover, he’s one of the very few bloggers who is massively successful. And the way he has grown his personal brand over the years is an excellent example for the rest of us to learn from.
Other than Yaro, there’s Brian Dean of Backlinko. The ridiculous amount of high-quality content he has been consistently producing on his blog is what so many bloggers should do.
While Brian is more of an SEO expert, the way he has grown his small blog into being an authority site for marketers is another great example for the rest of us.
I even wrote a post on him; you can read: 13 Things We Can Learn from Backlinko’s Brian Dean to Dominate Google
Other than these two, there are various other names that I do refer from time to time to stay ahead with the right resources on content marketing and SEO. But they aren’t someone whose latest posts I anticipate.
How much time do you spend blogging?
As much as possible!
I have a full-time job that takes about 10-12 hours of my day. The remaining hours in the day, I work and sleep.
And I love it!
I genuinely love being a blogger, writing on digital marketing topics, talking to clients, talking to peers in the industry.
So, this whole thing doesn’t exactly feel like “work.” For that matter, what chilling with friends and watching Netflix is for others, working is for me – FUN!
I spend as much time in a day as possible working on my blog.
Takeaway: Your blog should be operated as a business, you should invest enough time as possible.
Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
If by “profession,” you mean do I do this full-time – then no. As I said, I do have a day job.
If by “just a hobby” you mean do I do this for pass time – then, again, NO. I do this because I love it.
Takeaway: who says you can’t mix business with pleasure? Asif loves what he is doing; that’s why everything was easy for him.
What is the best advice you can give to someone starting a blog today?
Don’t rush to monetize your blog. That’s the first thing I would say. Avoid spilling your blog with affiliate posts. Avoid promoting any product you come across. Avoid putting ads on your blog.
So many bloggers try to monetize their blogs from day #1. Go and look at their blog; it’s filled with affiliate products. This is a mistake beginner’s bloggers make.
If you’re looking to build a sustainable blog, you must first focus on building a brand and then find appropriate ways to generate income.
Like Gary Vaynerchuk says, “The person who holds their breath the longest, wins.” Meaning, as a blogger, provide as much value to the target audience for as long you can. And then when the time comes, ask for something in return. Do not chase the money from the get.
And, another advice: Please, please do not sign up for any premium blogging courses. 98 percent of them are completely useless and offer no real value for your money.
Takeaway: Don’t rush to monetize your blog, you should build your blog instead.
What Link building strategy has worked well for you?
Honestly, I have never proactively tried to build links for my blog.
My sole focus has always been on producing highly-valuable (and optimized) content and let it do its magic in its own way.
But like they say, no strategy is a strategy in itself. So, creating high-quality content has effortlessly gotten me many good backlinks from top sites, right from MailMunch to Neil Patel.
Turns out, link baiting is my link building strategy that has worked well for me.
But, of course, if I were to advise anyone who’s looking to build backlinks, guest blogging is the ultimate technique.
Takeaway: Link building is vital to grow your blog, but you should focus on quality content first.
Which of your blog posts would you recommend for our readers?
Almost all lol.
But if I am to point out a few, You should check:
- 68 Blogging Tips for Beginners and Pros
- An Ultimate Email Marketing Guide (Beginners + Advanced)
- A Complete SEO Checklist You Will Ever Need
- SEO Writing Guide to Create Content That Google Rewards
- 38 Most Common Content Marketing Mistakes You’re Making
I have put an enormous amount of time in creating these posts. I genuinely hope your readers find them helpful.
- 9 important pages for a blog
- How I speed up my website load Time
- How to write a killer blog post in 30 minutes
Thank you Asif for this wonderful interview. You have touched some essential points that are useful for anyone willing to succeed online.