Justin Germino has been blogging for over 10 years. He took his love tfor ech and gadgets and turned it into a profitable blog.
Revenue of $600/mo
Email list size of 34,900
Founded in 2008
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
My name is Justin Germino, and I started my blogging journey in 2008 as a way of sharing my love for tech, gadgets, and games while supplementing my day job.
I have run over 11 WordPress blogs in the past nine years, now, Dragon Blogger has become my primary blog. On average, the blog is bringing in $600 per month.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
Originally, I needed to bring in more income since I was working a full-time job, had two young kids, and I didn’t want to spend more time away from family than I had to; I wanted something that I could do from home.
I did research about different ways to make money online and even tried many things at first, but settled on blogging. Originally, my blog was a personal blog about anything and everything, but later on, I narrowed it down to technology and video games.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
The primary revenue model is an Amazon affiliate, Google AdSense, along with a few other affiliate programs through ShareASale. Basically, I share personal opinions/views about products, then offer coupons and earn income if somebody buys something through my affiliate link.
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
First, I make sure to use keyword tools to target high-search traffic patterns. After publishing the post, I share it on social, as well as other industry forums. Since I work with many brands, they’ll do a lot promotion on their own which drives traffic back to my site.
Back in the day, I had to create organic backlinks by writing guest posts for numerous other sites. I would guest post on about 10-12 different sites per month to establish myself as an expert. I also did a lot of pro-bono WordPress work for others to get word out there.
How have you grown your email list?
The biggest mistake I made was not starting a mailing list until 2013. I lost the first five years of possible growth. Today, I get massive traffic spikes and engagement rates from my newsletter. E-mail is still the largest traffic driver for me, outperforming social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
Though my mailing list was slow to grow at first, I started partnering with bigger brands to do product giveaways, greatly expanding my mailing by over 10,000 email subscribers in a year.
However, giveaways have been a gift and a curse since many people join the e-mail list to enter a giveaway, but don’t convert into long-term readers. Finding a balance between content and giveaways to keep people interested has been very hard with a blog that isn’t narrowly focused. This results in large subscribe/unsubscribe spikes.
Today, I use the mailing list to notify and encourage readers to join the latest giveaways and check out the latest videos on YouTube. Ultimately, I’m able to create greater engagement with my mailing list than with social media because I’m able to reach more people organically.
How you write great content that performs well?
In my field, writing how-to articles that solve problems or covering niche items that haven’t been released yet tend to drive the most traffic.
When writing about products/news/technology/video games, there will often be spikes when something is brand new, so making entertainment-related content that answers questions are critical, because people may have questions about those things for years to come. I wrote “How To Fix a Canon Multi-Function Printer Issue” article which was my #1 visited post for 4 years in a row with 10k plus views per month.
It’s also important to keep in mind to be entertaining, avoiding boring language while showing personality. It’s essential to put myself in the reader’s shoes. If I were looking for something what would I want out of this article? I write every article with this mentality.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Using the name “DragonBlogger” was a terrible idea in the long run. When I started, blogging was the cool thing to do, but today, the term “blogger” in the site’s title can hurt my professionalism. Big brands often think that the site’s name makes it sound unprofessional and unrelated to technology. If I could do it all again, I would have researched a better domain name and profile to match the niche.
I also made the mistake of tying my identity to the site; I am Dragon Blogger, so Justin Germino is known as Dragon Blogger. This means I cannot offload or sell the property if I wanted to.
As my day job became busier, my kids got older, and my family made the move to California, I had less time for blogging. I eventually had to hire a writing staff to help me out.'If I could do it all again, I would have researched a better domain name and profile to match the niche.'Click To Tweet
I also know I should have started producing video content and posting it to YouTube much earlier. Social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, etc. will be more effective at connecting with audiences than traditional blogs soon. My YouTube Channel gets 3x a number of views per month than my blog and hit 4.5 million channel views total last month.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Automation tools like Hootsuite that don’t only schedule posts but allow you to manage multiple social media profiles from a single location have been essential. Along with the advice, I found of Problogger and Copyblogger. I have also found a lot of people helped through the years such as Ms. Ileane from Ms. Ileane Speaks, Gail from Growmap.com, Kristi Hines from Kikolani, Nile Flores from blondish.net, and Kimberly Brink-Castleberry.
As far as learning, look at how other bloggers in your niche are doing things and try to find your own voice and keep asking yourself: “What makes you different?”
Think about it, why should someone should visit your site, read your article if someone else doing the same thing?
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
- Don’t use a free blogging platform.
- You should also choose an excellent domain name that matches what you want your site to be about, then make sure social media entities are available to tie to that name. If you buy a domain, but don’t have those handles on social media you have prevented yourself from using social media for brand recognition.
- I recommend always using media channels like YouTube or Instagram because a video is worth a thousand words.
- Start a mailing list within your first month; use something inexpensive but flexible. I have been using SendInBlue for the past 2 years because of their pricing paired with the convenience despite lacking features such as social media integration and RSS feed emails.
Where can we go to learn more?