This is an outstanding interview, and features one of the top minds in internet business marketing. I caught up with Michael Dunlop, 21 year old entrepreneur from the UK, earning a comfortable 6 figures with his online businesses. This is a treat for all physical therapists, medical professionals, and just about anyone looking to succeed online. Enjoy!
Nitin C: Hi everyone this is Nitin Chhoda from http://www.nitin360.com. Welcome to the special interview with this unique individual, Michael Dunlop, from http://www.incomediary.com. Michael is just 20 years old, an entrepreneur and an internet marketer. He is making a full time living off of his blogs and has two businesses that generate revenue for him while he enjoys his lifestyle – interviewing some of the top names in the world including Mark Victor Hansen from Chicken Soup for the Soul and as Michael told me, he is going to go bike riding in about 45minutes. Michael is living the life that we all should have and we all want. There is a lot of stuff that we could learn from someone as talented, young and dynamic as Michael. Thank you for being on the call. How are you?
Michael: I am very good. Thank you for having me on this today. I actually have more than to make websites and quite a few, a lot of them must have been set and forget that you can build something over a week and then you set to make money for the rest of your life.
Nitin C: Ok, tell us a little bit of these websites.
Michael: The main one is that most entrepreneurial people now earn income at http://www.retireat21.com which basically teaches people how to make more money. We are introducing some of world’s top individuals such as the founder of Craigslist and the founder of WebPress. Within half an hour, I can collect great content, this lets me do what I like during the day. While working, I can still go out for a four-hour cycle through the woods and go over some hills and hopefully get into a town about six miles away called Arundel. I also usually go to a lake and ride a boat.
Nitin C: Sounds like fun Mike. So, if I am a medical professional, I can be a doctor, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a chiropractor and I want to start a blog. What is the first thing that I should do?
Michael: I think this is a great opportunity for a doctor to make a lot of money because a lot of people probably do not want to go to a doctor and ask questions about themselves and their health conditions. They may be embarrassed to talk about it or they may think that they do not really need to go for this or the like. So if I am a doctor, I would set up a blog which is very simple to do. If you do not know how to, I have a free course in my site which will show you steps on how set it up. You do not have to learn html or any coding and it will basically let you start blogging whenever you like.
If I was a doctor, I would be doing posts on questions people would usually ask. For example, I have a weird bump in a certain location; you can surely make a post on that issue. I think people coming to your clinics would ask you to do a post about it and consequently people will tend to search for Google and want to look into it before they actually ask their doctor because there are maybe some cure that they can find without even going to the doctor. And because of that, it could get you so much traffic. Once you get this traffic, we have to monetize it by telling them that before you can do anything for them, they to need to do or buy such and such and when they do, you are making an affiliate commission.
Nitin C: Right. I have actually talked to a lot of physical therapists, who want to setup a blog where they can create an income. You talked about a couple of blogs and websites, and I’m sure that a lot of readers want to know about these, where you put in between seven and ten days of effort and it became an automated business. How would you structure it and what advice can you give in setting up an automated internet business in quick time?
Michael: Basically, with the blogging software like WordPress, getting search engine recognition and traffic is quite easy. A good example is one of my sites, a web design website, that basically teaches people how to do websites and I have to design one myself and may decode it and etcetera. The funny thing about this is I do not know anything about web design myself or coding. And so I basically hired a guy and said ask if he can do a few articles about it, set it up in the blog and submit it to article directories. The one big thing that you need to get it right is this: “content is king”. You have to have the best content possible. Do not rush on blog posts. Do not think that you need to do 2 blog posts a day because competitors do one good post a week and that is fine. You just have to make sure that every post spots on, and as long as you can do that, you have the traffic you need. As you have the traffic, then you need to monetize it.
Nitin C: Right. The design website you are talking about is http://www.webdesigndev.com is that right?
Michael: Yes, that’s right.
Nitin C: It is a great website.
Michael: Actually, I have found out that I was making a thousand or 2000 bucks a month without me having to touch the site. I had it running for about a year now and I have not updated it. About two or three weeks ago, someone came forward and said “I have passion for this, would you like me to write for you? And you could give me a share of the profits.” Of course, I am not giving him the share of the website, but I am just giving him a share of more revenues that he makes me. This sounds good to me because if it does not work, I do not have to pay him. So he started on me, and my traffic has tripled in two weeks. And we are seeing between seven and ten thousand visitors a day and everything is going good. I mean you may want to find someone like with that passion. Passion is the key to success so you want to find someone who has the same passion as you. You cannot outsource passion. You have to have someone who has it.
Nitin C: And of course, when the article is on the blog, it has to be search engine optimized or edited. Bottom line it just has to be good quality content.
Michael: Yes that is right. Bottom line, good content is the key to draw traffic. But what I do with WebDesignDev.com, which I do not do with many of my other sites, is I needed to get lots of really good search engine rankings. For instance, the tutorial could be designing a florist website, but not many people are going to search that in Google. So I design a website in Photoshop and then did the number one Photoshop web design tutorial. Every tutorial was a short key phrase that someone is going to search in Google. And because of that, I could rank straight away above most of my competitors because I gave the exact search term in my website that people were trying to find, so that just made it so easy to get a lot of traffic.
Nitin C: Are you saying that the exact search term was in the title of the blog post or the video tutorial itself?
Michael: The exact blog post titles and URLs were the exact search term and they are really important. There are two differences in obtaining traffic, though. If you are doing a set to get a website, you may want to have a good search engine URLs but if you are doing income sites it is not so important to have an exact title and URLs. That is going to be difficult to search engines because you really want to have your regular readers would know something that is more interesting and more unique.
Nitin C: Right. So you can try to drive a lot of traffic by optimizing the title of the blog post with the keywords that your visitors are looking for and the way WordPress works it also optimizes the URL of the blog post. That is a great way to drive traffic almost immediately right?
Michael: Yes. You can also be doing that with your blog posts about questions that people could be asking you when they come to see you and name the title and URL of the post with the exact question. Then it will be in the top with three or four rankings ahead and become competitive.
Nitin C: When a blog has already lots of traffic and loyal visitors then it is less important to do that, correct?
Michael: Yes, it is less important because they will be coming every day. If every tutorials helps people learn how to design a website in Photoshop with a different point of view, then it would be so interesting because it would make them come to your site again and again, like 20 times over, to personalize each website they have made after awhile. However, at first, definitely search engine friendly URLs and titles are still very important.
Nitin C: I had people check on your website and I have a question from Michael who is a physical therapist in Idaho. He said that he has a blog but I do not think that he listed his blog here but he said 70% of his visitors have blog visitors and new visitors and he has a 69% bounce rate. Is that good or bad? And he said his website traffic has 2000 unique visitors a month.
Michael: I mean it is not going to solely depends on your niche and what you provide in your website. I think web blogging is really easy to get people to come back on a regular basis.
I am sure you know that we have this thing called RSS feed. Basically people signup the feed and prompt them every time you have a new post and that is something very useful to maintain traffic. I even promote that more than any advertisement or products because if you get them coming back then you can promote the second time they come. The first time they come, you have left some good in their head that they could sort out. You could do the opt-in for a newsletter or e-course.
Nitin C: What kind of an opt-in rate are you getting on some of your websites? Is that something you can share? Or give us an approximate idea.
Michael: It is something that I have to really make it clear to you right now. It is not how many people to get to sign on. I could get so easily thousands and thousands of signups. It is not important if they are not good people, not a buyer and do not take action. But on some of my lists I started one not too long ago I had about 2000 signups on that one but like I have said I have probably make a tens of thousands over or less but it is not really matter on the quantity but rather on the quality of the visitors.
Nitin C: That makes a lot of sense. I have noticed this when I first met you at the Continuity Summit in Connecticut a few weeks ago, you have mentioned that a physical therapy blog could talk stir some issues. You focused a lot on interviews on top 20 physical therapists and I think you did post the top female entrepreneurs. I think that is the way as you said to generate controversy and to create a buzz that gets you make traffic. Is that right?
Michael: Yes, that is right. It’s actually called “buzz ‘em off” by a couple of professionals. Basically, it is so easy to produce this type of content and this is some something you do not have to have. When you outsource tasks, they do not have passion. That is almost true to research. They are just saying that these are the bunch of rich people that people look into and you do not need to do anything else. They would find it pretty cool and they are going to share it to other people. I think they are interested on lists and because of the rich lists and top lists that I have done on my site; my traffic has gone up probably a 1000%. It has made me who I am in the internet. And because again, I get most of my readers in for the first time in the top lists, they tend to get interested on the lists to see the bouts. Then once they got to know me, see my face and get to see my e-course and interviews, they would really say “Oh, this guy knows his stuff and I’m going to stay around.”
Nitin C: And they think you hang out on with the movers and the shakers, which you do!
Michael: Yes, exactly. You got to get them in through the door and to do that you want to get them something interesting.
Nitin C: For someone who is already interviewed some movers and shakers, I will assume that it is less difficult to get bigger and better interviews, but for someone who is just starting out I don’t think it’s too hard to be able to email someone and hopefully get an interview with them. How would you recommend a beginner goes about getting an interview with a top gun or even someone like you?
Michael: I think this is how it is: basically, they are going to do the interview or they are not. It doesn’t matter how big or how small you are. The people who do the interviews are usually come in two types of people: really nice people who want to help you out or have a big ego and want to tell the world about how great they are.
It doesn’t matter how big your site is, I’d say maybe five percent of the people may refuse the interview, but most of them they will do it just because they’re great people. And so I wouldn’t worry about having a small site, just to email them and ask them to answer some questions. Actually here’s an example: I have Retireat21.com which is my big site for young entrepreneurs making money online. I interviewed this CEO of Zach Post and it is a huge billion-dollar company and it’s a big deal. And then one of my readers, who I’d say has a very small fraction of the traffic, with a very new blog and no following, he asks the same guy for an interview and he gets an interview with the same amount of passion and size answers as me!
Nitin C: That’s amazing.
Michael: That just shows they don’t really care. The guy who actually was the CEO is a very nice guy, he’s very giving, and I’m sure most people would’ve heard of him. You can probably see him in Twitter, he has hundreds of thousands of followers. Like I said, they are either kind into it or they’re not.
Nitin C: For someone who does set up a blog and who does succeed in driving traffic, what are the two or three ways that you would recommend that they start making money, as you said, to promote affiliate products? What about Google Ads or selling banner ads, any starter tips on how someone can start monetizing their website?
Michael: The most important thing about making money online is testing. So many people have been doing it wrong for so long. For example, I started making money online and then I decided to teach people to do the same. So I make a website a bit like Problogger.com, and I take the same structure, he got his 125×125 adverts and he has 4×16 headers, if it is working for him then it should work for me as well. Then I actually did the site and making a couple of thousands of dollars a month from it and think it is pretty cool. And then I changed my strategy, at that month it tripled the revenue with no difference in traffic and that is just because I changed how I was monetizing my sites. It so important not just to take what everyone else is doing and copies it but you need to test it yourself. You got to test everything until you find something that you can convert to make it better than what everyone else has.
There are still many things you can be doing and it depends if you want a job or the internet lifestyle, for example, Adsense lets you live a greater lifestyle because it let sets the code and it does not matter whether you are there or not. The good thing about Adsense is that if you get 50,000 visitors last month for instance, then you get 100,000 visitors this month, you will be rewarded for it. That is not case if you are selling it to probe advertiser who paid a $1000 last month and he will pay a $1000 next month.
Nitin C: What was the change that you made that allowed you to triple your income?
Michael: Yes, I guess I could share with you. Basically, I was just presuming that everyone have to do everything which nearly everyone does. They would just presume that website because they are already making money online and I want to take this to the next level. Like Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy, he was selling domains and was not really making much money at first. Obviously you know that GoDaddy is now the top domain seller of the world. He realized that everyone who is buying domain apparently needs hosting, so he started on that pretty well. Then he further realized that everyone who buys hosting would need websites, designs or something else. So he starts providing all those things that people needed. He took it and provides everything and that he could generate more money. He did not make much money on the domains but when he up sells into hosting, web designs and website builders, that where all the money is at. So what I did, I set up a free e-course to educate people.
To make money online, you are going to need a domain, hosting, design and script. When people buy those elements for making money online, I pickup an affiliate commission from Godaddy and that just took my website to the roof. There is something you should always apply to your business: be able to provide the needs because there will always be things that people need. And if you could provide all those needs, then you are going to make more money than just providing only one need.
Nitin C: So, the lesson for everybody who is listening is to provide several services. Do not just provide only one service and assume that people do not need any other services. Is that right?
Michael: Yes exactly. Always test everything. You have to presume everyone is not as clever as you are or does not know everything. You need to identify everybody needs even if it is weird because it would be an opportunity to monetize. You should be there in every step of the way and for sure there are so many possibilities to make more online.
Nitin C: Heading towards the end of the interview, I have one final question. I received a bunch of emails from people who checked your website and asked: Do they need to work with an SEO company or should they just focus on the things we have discussed in this call such as focusing on the content and let the buzz clear the back links? I have gathered that a lot of physical therapists and doctors get solicited by companies that say that they are going to do search engine optimization for them and a lot of them got lost along the way.
Michael: These companies are all trying to sell something that is quite much worthless in the in today’s market. Perhaps such things would be necessary when everything was pretty much new 10 years ago but right now you do not just need it. Basically, you just need great content and from there you will pick up all the search engine rankings and good links you need. If you could write good content, people would link you and that is more than search engine optimization like in a million years. There was this one guy to whom I sold a link to my website. Every link I sell is about $600 per year. It has about 10,000 pages on this website so it sort to adds up if they would buy a few links from me, but if they would do that by themselves, they are going to need to get a good search engine rankings and a thousand or a hundred links or so.
With my list of young top entrepreneurs, it got me around five or ten thousand people linking to it and it was even picked up by newspapers all around the world, Yahoo news, AOL news and other top PC sites. Now you see what a great content could do to your website.
It will give you all the links and search engine ranking that you need. Don’t try to copy that everyone has already done. For example, one of my niches is blogging. And if I do a blog post on “7 ways to make your blog sticky”, I could do that and may get some response, so as to the thousands other blogs.
But if I would post “10 ways to make my blog rock”, then that would be something new and interesting and you could get people to agree would tend to link you bank.
Once I’m done with it, maybe I could do another post “10 ways why blogging sucks” and then again you get the people relate to that and get another link from them. So that is my advice, keep away from those people emailing you because 99% of them would just like to get a quick buck and you will not get anything from them.
Nitin C: So, you do not work with any such companies but rather you focus on the quality of the content and let it do the rest.
Michael: Yes the content does it. I outsource most of my top lists. Some of them could get hundreds or even thousands at an instant. I paid $50 for each of them to be developed by an outsourcing company because like I said, it is just research. It is not an article teaching anything and there is no passion in it – just a plain research; it is a top list. The company that does it for me is TaskUs.com. Just mention that I recommend you to them so that they could work out a better price for you.
Nitin C: We are fortunate that Michael decided to share that with us. All you do is you pretty much focus on great content and write the blog posts yourself and these top lists are what you get outsourced. So those are all the things you do to create high quality traffic back to your site.
Michael: I honestly spend half an hour maximum a day. All my really good content is in my e-course. Normally when they get people on their list and they would promote them. What I do is I get people on my list and then give them amazing stuff for free. In this way I get to keep this people from unsubscribing because they want to stay for more free stuff. And by the time I am sending promotion, they are going to buy since they already felt that they were able to save up hundreds of dollars from that free stuff and would think that I have helped them so much and buying would be a good way to say thank you.
Nitin C: Exactly! You go to everybody with the giving hand.
Michael: Yes, it is very important. Do not try to milk everything when you are building your credibility. One more important thing is about leaving a legacy. This is very important because people would remember you and they will sing their praises for you to everyone. They would refer a lot people and would buy your products just because you are a nice guy.
Nitin C: Yes it is a nice feeling not just from a money-making point of you but it feels good because you are doing something good.
Michael: Yes, exactly.
Nitin C: Excellent. Mike, what are the areas that we can follow you at? I got a list of your websites such as IncomeDiary.com, Retireat21.com and you have mentioned that you are doing some other things. What other websites do you think that our readers can check or just to keep up with you and follow what you doing?
Michael: Yes, definitely. http://www.incomediary.com is my main website for any age. It is more on inspiring people and if you want to know my good stuff, you can get 7-days e-course. You can find interesting things that you really cannot find anywhere else. There is no promoting of products that you do not need and no advertisement or anything. There is also http://www.webdesigndev.com for web design help and Twitter if you want to follow my activities. I also got loads of flicker account with over 50,000 followers. So those are the main sites that you could keep in touch with me.
Nitin C: That was an outstanding interview. I am going to be on your list so that I could keep up with the great stuff that you are putting up. I want to thank you for your time and enjoy your back riding.
Michael: Thank you very much.
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