In the first episode of the Lo Cost Marketing podcast I interview online entrepreneur Jonathon Knepper from BlogBuildr.
We talk about his background online, the mistakes he has made along the way, advice for people just getting started and we also talk about his new project BlogBuildr.
@JonKnep is from Philadelphia, USA and has been marketing online since about 2001. His first involvement online came via forums as back then there was not much else online to choose from. He then moved on to different project management roles and building teams of writers while helping their businesses become more efficient online.
As far as making mistakes online goes, Jonathon says that like most people he wished that he had got started a lot earlier than he did. A lot of people would like to get started and think about it, but never actually get around to taking action and making it happen.
Another classic mistake that he recalls was when he got started was that he got someone else to design and set up his site. Because at that stage he was not familiar with domains and hosting he opted to allow this person to have complete control over his site, including his name as the domain name – JonathonKnepper.com.
Jonathon says “The passwords and my login information were lost and it’s been hard connecting and touching base with the guy that set it up years later”. Not being in control of your website is something that everybody should avoid, and in any case it is not that hard to do it yourself anyway.
I then asked Jonathon about some advice for those people that are just getting started online and his response was to simply TAKE ACTION, as well as learning new skills. Quite often people that don’t have much experience online will get stuck in learning mode and never get around to actually applying what they have learnt.
Jonathon says “I’m not against education, I love podcasts, reading great blogs, learning and I’ll never stop. But you have to be able to manage it. There’s a lot of information out there which you can use, or even just learn the basics and start with that. There’s a lot of ways to do things and experiment online that don’t cost a ton of money either.
So, I think the biggest thing people can do when they get started is to try to put together basic plans to figure out what it is you like to work on.Think about what your passions are and how can you connect with people, and build an audience. How can you find people that are interested in what you’re about?
Work on that and from there find great information. Don’t just worry about reading, reading, reading. Read something and take a break before you read the next article. See if there’s a way you can take actionable steps on what you’ve read. But more than anything just find out what your unfair advantage is and USE IT.”
I then ask Jonathon what he is currently doing – “Yeah, I do some consulting for people which has been a lot of fun. One of the projects that I am really loving, and that I am also super excited about, is the work I have been doing with with @EmilieWapnick of PuttyLike.com.
Earlier this year, she launched a paid membership site and if you’re not familiar with that, it is basically like a forum or a discussion board that’s private, and that people pay a monthly fee (a recurring monthly amount) for people to be part of and participate on.
It’s been a lot of fun. And like I’ve mentioned earlier, my first introduction to the Web was forums and discussion boards and stuff like that, and honestly the best part has been getting connected with the community aspect on the web again. But it’s just been incredible because she has a great, great, great community.
She has done a wonderful job of finding people who absolutely love what she’s about, what she talks about, and really can connect with it.
Basically, her site is about lifestyle design, but for people with multiple interests. And inside are just a mix of people at all different levels. People who you can say have made it, people who haven’t, and people who are just getting started. It is a socially credible way to stay connected with this lifecycle that is, Internet marketing, and where you are on it. So, it’s been super fun.
Also, I recently launched BlogBuilder, which is essentially a blog set-up service with a little more than that.
I guess the gist of it is to help people really set up sites. And the main people that are going to use it would be individuals who want to set up personal blogs, but maybe don’t know how. And also, for people who are looking maybe to just outsource or start with affiliate sites.
I set up BlogBuilder to help people get their websites online essentially. So, it’s been really interesting. But I wanted to boil it down so that, more or less, anyone can afford a website. I went for a long time really wishing I had a blog, but could not afford it.
I’d look on Google and use whatever I could to try to find web services and could only find web design for 3, 4, 5, 6 hundred dollars for a basic site, and it was way out of my budget. So what I did was create 3 packages that aren’t that expensive and that run along the lines of roughly starting at $100 to finishing at $400, with the goal to create websites for people that aren’t that design intensive.”
I then ask Jonathon what his favourite marketing strategies are.
Jonathon says “I guess what it boils down to is just trying to find out where people are and reaching them. Like I mentioned earlier, content and research has always been at the top of it for me and it’s something that I love to do. And I guess what it comes down to is just finding your personal strengths.
For me, again, if something is so frustrating and tedious and time-consuming for you then you’re really not going to make any progress when you’re using the same approach for marketing.
So, when it comes to me, I like to write for the most part. Like everybody else, sometimes I hate it, but I enjoy writing, I enjoy connecting with people like this and I enjoy research. So, if you could put content, production and research together, you can have a lot of terms in marketing. And that’s my favorite approach.
Personally from some examples I have had, I found that the links within articles and blog posts and stuff like that have converted much better than static cyber ads or traditional banner ads. And not only that, they convert better and they also get more clicks because people are more interested.”
I then ask Jonathan what plans he has for the future.
“I’d like to possibly roll-out a few additional services and education for how to do stuff that people sometimes don’t have the time to do, or just maybe don’t feel comfortable. So, a couple of additional services to help people set-up logos and things like that, or some coaching with people directly one-on-one with whatever they’re working on.
I’ve also been working on an E-book that’s geared towards helping people leverage a Resume or Portfolio site to find freelance or full-time jobs online”
To find out more about Jonathon’s project Blogbuildr and the services that he offers head over to http://locostmarketing.com/blogbuildr