Award Interview with Justin Germino

BlogNet Awards is very pleased to announce our first blog interview with our winners of the BlogNet Awards Trophy.

In this edition, we were very fortunate to have a behind the scenes interview with Mr. Justin Germino, who has been a winner on BlogNet Awards a few times, with his latest being the February ’09 monthly blog award contest.

Justin Germino

Lets start with asking you to tell us a little about yourself, whatever you’d like to share from your personal life, and then tell us about your blogging: How long have you been blogging and what prompted you to start?

I have always been involved with computers and technology since I was a kid owning my first Commodore 64 at 5 years old. I have a knack for technology and my current day job is in the thick of IT Security Software and web based security products. I started blogging for the first time in June 2008 when I was looking for a second source of income, but I was always a writer at heart. I have written poetry privately for about 14 years and kept it all in a book sitting on my shelf. Once I started blogging I realized I enjoyed it so much I would be doing it whether I earned money from it or not.
How did you decide on the topics for your blogs (we know you have more than one – “who doesn’t? lol). Did you do any research, or did you just feel that these would be good topics to pursue?

I had help early on from Damien Riley who runs a few blogs including Postcards From The Funny Farm, he was my blog mentor so to speak. He had been blogging for 2 years already and had learned some of the do’s and don’ts and was willing to share this knowledge with me from the start. I learned to separate out your blogs into distinct focus genres, I dedicated one blog for my poetry, one for technology and entertainment, one for my personal diary, and one for the music production company I work for.
When I write topics I find articles or information that is interesting to me, I love to try new software and freeware and I especially enjoy writing to other bloggers and sharing what I have learned. I feel that any blogger, especially new ones can learn from my blogs, learn what SEO methods to try, social networks, blog income sources…etc. I will continue to enhance my technology blog with video demonstrations which only add and enhance the experience.

As far as your theme and any programming done to your blogs. Do you do your own work, and do you ever outsource?

I do all work for all of my blogs, I downloaded a free theme like most other bloggers, and customize it to the best of my ability. I am no PHP or CSS expert, but most things I can figure out with how-to tutorials and Google search. I also do all my own social networking, Entrecard, Twitter…etc. I currently spend between 15 and 20 hours per week working on my blog. I hope to eventually cut down to 10 hours per week in the future.

So many people struggle with “monitization” on their blogs, and seem to be afraid to even talk about it. What’s your strategy?

Try everything and see what works best for you, there are about eight really popular pay for blogging sites out there, and each person has different stories about the big 8. I have my favorites, and I have others that don’t work for me. Realistically put quality content on your blogs first, and then seek income sources later, you need to have a blog established for at least 90 days before you should be looking for earning income from your blog. Google Adsense is about the only thing you can put on your blog right away to earn a little bit.

People are afraid to talk about making money with their blogs for several reasons including if it isn’t the focus of their blog genre or topic it could be out of place, people don’t like to share information (remember there are hundreds of thousands of bloggers and very finite ways to make money), or just don’t enjoy talking about it.

Make sure your blog doesn’t look like a pure advertising blog, keep paid posts to a minimum to keep you happy and make you feel like you aren’t an all paid blog. I try to do no more than 1 sponsored review for every 5 or 6 posts. This isn’t the same as a post that makes you money for including a paid link, since you can write your own content and just include a paid link, you can include more of these in your blog without your blog looking like an advertising or paid content blog.

Who are your favorite two or three bloggers and why?

Ted Murphy – Love him or hate him, Ted Murphy is the CEO of iZEA and he is an eccentric marketer for various social networks and bloggers. I akin him to the Richard Branson for Blogging as he is focused on finding ways to bring advertisers to bloggers and vice versa through middle man sites such as SocialSpark and PayPerPost. His companies are creative and visionary and do take risks and chances, sometimes aggravating bloggers but at least they are trying new things and experimenting.

Chris Brogan - This is someone who is very much in the forefront of blogging and shares his advice, opinions and is someone to keep track of. Learn how he does things and you can emulate some of the practices which can benefit your own blogs. The ideal goal is to get to Chris Brogan level where you don’t have to do paid posts, advertisers come to you to purchase ads on your blog.

Damien Riley - Damien isn’t just a friend and blog associate, he writes some of the most honest and realistic posts on his blogs. His inspiration blog has very high quality content and all of his blogs are focused on promoting his writing, not distracting users with tons of flashy ads and distractions. He also branched out to five different categories including his own weekly podcast blog, personal blog and teaching blog showing that having many specific focused blogs is better than one blog that can’t find a niche market.

What advice would you give to new bloggers coming onto the scene?

Know your reasons for blogging and what you want from it before you start a blog, also decide what categories you will focus on in your blog and stick with this theme. If you want to eventually monetize your blog start with a self hosted wordpress blog from the start, where you have full access and control over every aspect of your blog code. Many paid sites won’t accept free blog hosting site blogs, and you may end up requiring a wordpress blog anyway.
Leverage social networks wherever you can and make blogger friends, learn from other peoples blogs, visit blog sites on BlogNetAwards and comment and visit other peoples blogs to learn what they do, how their blogs look and feel. You will see overall BlogNetAwards has much higher quality of blogs listed in their site than Entrecard or SocialSpark. These will have good blogs, but will also have many blogs that are of overall lower quality. You can tell a high quality blog from a low quality blog very quickly usually.
Thank you Justin for taking the time out of you busy schedule for giving us this blog interview.

If you know someone or are wanting to be interviewed, then please contact us at [email protected]