This interview was published first on Fortune51.com. But since I am trying to focus more of my activities here, i decided to move this post too. I hope you flow with the idea.
The easiest way to succeed in life is to ride on the back of those who have succeeded. Today we bring you an interview with a successful blogger, Don Caprio.
This guy works full-time as a blogger and earns full time income blogging. He lives in Nigeria, in Osun State for that matter. But thanks to the Internet which is not a respecter of your location.
Who is Don Caprio?
Don Caprio is the chief blogger and editor at www.doncaprio.com. He lives and writes from Nigeria and has become an authority in the blogging community, in such niches as, blogging tips, tech, mobile and hacks.
Our smart check about Don Caprio’s blog returned the following:
Alexa Rank: 18,000
Twitter followers: 10,400
Facebook fans: 7,700
Page Rank: 3
Average Monthly Visitors: 19,000
Sites linking back to the blog: 2,270
RSS Subscribers: 2,363
All of these stats were gotten naturally, no buying of fans or followers or anything. In fact, no pop ups to ask for your subscription or liking or following of any sort.
So you’ll agree with me this blogger knows his shirt in the game.
In this interview, he shares with us his failures, lessons and how you can fast track your own success too. Use the comment section to tell us something learned.
Hello Mr Caprio, Good evening.
Don Caprio: Good evening
Thank you for accepting to do this interview with us. We truly appreciate it.
Don Caprio: The pleasure is all mine bro.
Okay, let’s begin this way. Introduce yourself and let everyone know a little bit about where you’re from and say a few words about how you got started in the online world?
Don Caprio: My name is Wale Adekile but I’m known to most people as Don Caprio. I am a tech blogger and a web designer from Nigeria. I started my first blog in 2009 and I built my first site way back in 2004 with 20megsfree.
What actually motivated you to start a blog and what were you thinking you wanted to achieve with the blog when you started?
Don Caprio: When I started, all I had in my mind was making money. That was actually what got me into blogging: Making money. That was what got me started. But then, as time went on, I realized that I actually loved writing and sharing what I know. That was what kept me going. It wasn’t what got me started though.
You said your first intention was to make money when you started. So what changed? Were you making the money the moment you started?
Don Caprio: Money wasn’t coming. It was the flair I had for writing and sharing what I know that really got me going. Even when the money came, it took like a whole year and all I got was like $100.
You made $100 in one year? Did I hear you correctly?
Don Caprio: Yea. It was even less than $100 actually. It was a little lesser
Wow! So what came to your mind after you saw all you could make for one year of work was $100
Don Caprio: It actually came out as a motivation you know. It was when I realized that this blogging thing is actually real. But then it’s almost crazy. It was damn crazy working for a whole year and making $100.
When I got that check, I got really motivated. It actually pushed me to work harder. That was when I realized I could actually make money in this blogging thing if I worked right and harder. So it was a motivation for me.
You’re saying that instead of getting discouraged and calling it quit, you actually got motivated?
Don Caprio: Yes
So what happened next? Are there things you eventually started doing that you weren’t doing before?
Don Caprio: Yea. Actually, there were some things I changed. After that first year, I realized that the niche I was writing on was somehow scanty. The niche wasn’t working. In that first year I was writing on online security, how to hide your IP, how to secure your pc, and so on. That was the only thing I focused on. I was getting targeted traffic from countries with heavy internet censorship..
I actually got tired of writing about those things. That was when I decided to start another blog. That was when I started doncaprio.com, I realized that with that blog I could talk about anything. I could talk about technology, I could talk about mobile phones, I could talk about anything. When I started that new blog, after some time I realized I could not manage two blogs at the same time and had to do away with the first blog I created, I deleted it and focused just on the new one.
What informed your choice of domain name, www.doncaprio.com?
Don Caprio: That name has always been my nick name. I think it was in year 2000. It was a nickname I gave myself that time. All my friends call me Don Caprio and because all the domain names I searched for was already taken, I was like, hey, let me use my name
Internet Marketers always talk about keyword rich name, why did you decide to just use your nick name as a domain name instead of a keyword-optimized domain name?
Don Caprio: No.No No. I think you know mashable.com. There is nothing like keyword there. You know Jonchow, too? Check Jonchow. He has no key word anything in that domain name. There are many others as well. And these guys are just like me.
I mean, its okay to choose a domain name that contains your keyword and all that but it’s not what really determines success or not. I don’t believe it actually affects you.
You’re saying that anybody can pick any name and brand it into a keyword
Don Caprio: That’s what I’m saying. You can turn your own name into a keyword and make it popular in the blogosphere, provided you have something to say and you keep saying it with force.
Thanks for that Great tip. Can you tell us what your worst experience in blogging was?
Don Caprio: (Laughs). My worst experience…. I have had many bad experiences and challenges. But the biggest has always been traffic. Other than traffic I can’t say there is any issue that I can actually call my biggest challenge. I can say that the worse issue I faced was getting traffic.
Traffic seems to be the issue for all webmasters and bloggers. Were there specific things you did that actually started getting you traffic?
Don Caprio: Yes. There were specific things I did. What I did was search engine optimization. You know search engines are actually responsible for the largesse of the traffic. I did some kind of search engine optimization. 70% of my traffic comes from the search engines. It actually works. That was the only thing I know I actually did.
When it comes to search engine optimization, there are many issues and stuff that comes up. What basic search engine optimization suggestions would you give to bloggers?
Don Caprio: These days, link building only plays the 2nd role in search engine optimization. The basic key to ranking high on search is keyword-rich quality content.
Let’s talk about income. How is it going right now?
Don Caprio: At the moment, it’s manageable. Though I am yet reach my target. But it’s paying the bills, it’s going well.
When you say manageable, what do you mean?
Don Caprio: (Laughs). Actually I don’t like disclosing my income. When it comes to my traffic and income, I don’t actually like to disclose figures. But I’m earning.
I’ve come across blogs where the owners give their earning figures on a month to month basis. Why are you not disclosing yours? Is it one of your traffic secrets?
Don Caprio: (Laughs louder). It’s not part of my traffic secrets. It’s just a personal thing.
Ok. Let’s move away from income. Are you blogging full-time or part-time?
Don Caprio: Right now, it’s full time. When I started it was part-time. But now, it’s full time.
You mean you blog full time now?
Don Caprio: Yea. I have an office where I go every morning. I design websites, blog, do stuff online and go home in the evening. It’s full time now.
Wow! For it to be a full time, it must be paying. That’s nice.
Don Caprio: Thanks. I take that as a compliment.
Specifically, tell us your 3 biggest mistakes that you wouldn’t want your followers to make
Don Caprio: The first mistake was choosing the wrong niche. That wasted my time for a while but I believe it was part of gaining experience anyway. The second mistake was blogging with the wrong purpose. When you sole motive is to make money blogging and nothing else, you make a lot of mistakes. The third was not paying attention to search engine optimization.
What 3 specific lessons would you like to pass on to upcoming bloggers?
Don Caprio: The first lesson is never to focus too much on making money alone as that will definitely make you quit in no time.
Secondly, creating quality content and gaining followers should be any sensible blogger’s ultimate goal because that is what’s gonna sustain you in the long run.
Lastly, it takes more than writing daily and working hard to survive in blogging, you’ve gotta be smart and study what your competitors are doing to rank higher than you. To beat them, you’ve got to do more.
Wow! Those are great tips. I wish we could continue. But we’ll stop here. Thanks for your time and looking forward to other interviews
Don Caprio: You’re welcome, always!
Editor’s Note: Here are Don Caprio’s Success Factors
1. Do it because you love it. Not because of the money – More on this here
2. Let failure motivate you find a way to do it better
3. Your domain name doesn’t matter, but its okay if its .com – Read how to chose a domain here
4. Build backlinks for your site and work on your traffic – Read about cheap sources of website traffic here
5. Quality content is key.
6. Fold your sleeves and get to work and give yourself at least four years before you worry about quitting.