Court Tuttle is a vastly experienced blogger who has been working online for many years. He started his former blog CourtneyTuttle.com around the same time I launched this blog. Whilst this blog was a side project for me at the time, Court developed made his blog highly successful.
Within a year his blog had over 3,000 RSS subscribers, with many of his posts generating hundreds of comments. He later turned his attention to his membership website The Keyword Academy. The course teaches practical techniques for making a profitable website online.
Court was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for all of you. I hope you enjoy the interview.
For those who don’t know you, can you briefly explain who you are and what you do.
The best way I can describe myself is…I’m just one of those guys who gets really obsessed with how stuff works. I got obsessed with how Google works – I wanted to know how they ranked pages and pretty much dedicated seven years to figuring that out.
My main goal with that is using what I know to make my websites profitable. I also share with people the ideas that have worked for me.
How did you get started working online?
I actually got started by getting a job at a firm that did marketing consulting for people who were trying to start online businesses. They taught me the basics of how getting search traffic worked and like I said before, I became very obsessed with that.
While I still had that job, I was setting up all kinds of different websites as experiments and some of those experiments turned into great money makers. Eventually I ditched the job and focused on my own projects.
The Keyword Academy was a big project for you. Can you tell us more about what the course is and what it offers members.
The Keyword Academy is a place where I teach people about the keyword strategies that I originally developed for myself. In a nutshell, I teach people how to select keywords to use on their websites and blogs, integrate them, and then move up in Google for them.
You are well known for being an expert on SEO. How did you start getting involved in that subject?
That job definitely gave me a great start with SEO. But, at this point I would attribute most of my success to testing. Lots of people have ideas about SEO but reading ideas doesn’t cut it for me. I have to test those ideas and see how they work.
I have done case study after case study and that’s how I really learned SEO. I’ve published some of those case studies on pretty big blogs. One of them was the #1 post on the SEOMoz (now Moz) main blog for a while.
SEO has changed a lot over the two years. How have these changes affected big companies, small businesses and bloggers?
The changes in the SEO universe have really affected the people who don’t want to create awesome content. I have friends who were making $20,000+ with their blogs and sites that didn’t have solid content. Unfortunately those sites lost traction in Google and that income went away.
Everyone else has gained traffic throughout that process. I believe 100% that SEO is easier than it has ever been for that reason. Legitimate sites and blogs have all of the advantages now.
What three tips would you give to people who want to rank their website higher in search engines?
1. Create premium content
Everybody says this but in my opinion, most people don’t know what this really means. To kill with SEO, you want to create content that could be sold and then give it away for free.
There are tricks that make the perceived value of your content a LOT bigger. For example, I created a premium blog post that showed people my methods for setting up and establishing profitable blogs. I spent almost 50 hours on that post and when I published it, it barely made a splash. People didn’t like it.
For a while I couldn’t figure it out but eventually, I decided to split the lesson up into nine pages. I created a custom menu with buttons that help people to navigate through the lesson. When I made that change, people started responding in an entirely different way. They started using it, sharing it, and linking to it. You can see the improved format at www.theblogbuilders.com/how-to-start-a-blog/ if you want to take a look.
2. Make friends in your industry.
I’m an introvert and I’m anti-social. But this matters a LOT. You have to get to know people! I made some pretty big breakthroughs with this after going to a few blogging conferences.You need allies who are willing to share and link to your work and you need to take care of those allies.
3. Guest post.
After having allies, this is the best way to get links that provide a lot of value. Guest posting isn’t as easy as it used to be because a lot more people are trying to do it. I would check out PostRunner and My Blog Guest. I co-founded PostRunner but sold it – I’m no longer associated with it! I still use it to find guest post opportunities.
You are also an established blogger. What blogs have you developed in the past?
The biggest blog I’ve ever had was CourtneyTuttle.com. It peaked out at 30,000 subscribers and helped me to launch The Keyword Academy. I eventually shut it down. I’m always setting up new blogs and niche sites and honestly, I lost the passion for what I was doing there.
My The Blog Builderstp://www.theblogbuilders.com/” title=”The Blog Builders”>The Blog Builders. I launched it in December 2012 with a lot of the content I had on CourtneyTuttle.com back in the day. I only post about once a month, but my stuff gets shared a lot. This month my net revenue is going to be at least $15k on that blog.
In your opinion, what is the biggest thing that holds people back from becoming successful as a blogger?
Lack of work ethic. It takes a lot of work to make great things happen. You have to RELENTLESSLY work to make your blog better. I have now spent over 150 hours on my how to start a blog lesson on The Blog Builders. One lesson: 150 hours.
From what I’ve seen, there just aren’t that many people out there who have the patience to create ultra-premium resources. The ones who do get noticed eventually.
You just have to keep working to make everything better. Can you use better pictures? Can you use more personality? Can you become better with writing copy? Can you create a better blog design? Can you get better at selling products? Can you make your own product? You have to obsess over that stuff and WORK.
Can you tell us more about your website Blog Builders?
Yeah, so The Blog Builders was created to be a premium resource and support for people who are trying to learn to blog. I have been able to establish multiple successful blogs and sites and The Blog Builders is where I share the techniques I use. I don’t post often there. When I do, I make sure it’s worth something.
I run a free live chat on most of my premium lessons. If people have trouble, they can ask me directly, right then. I’m not on 100% of the time, but I’m on a LOT. It’s one of my tricks for creating premium value and people eat it up. I love helping them out.
What does the future hold for you and your websites? Any big projects in the pipeline?
I’m getting into creating smaller sites that are the ultimate resource on a very small niche topic. I have gotten really into affiliate marketing with that type of site. I believe that if my resource is good enough and provides the right solutions, it will be very profitable.
I’ve started testing those sites for conversions with PPC. It’s really opened my eyes to a lot of mistakes I was making before with my sites. I start with PPC and work until I can make a profit with it – that’s when I know my conversion is right. I then work on SEO and rely on people sharing my site until I have a new revenue stream from that. That’s what the future looks like for me – that and sharing what I’m up to on The Keyword Academy and on The Blog Builders!
I see a lot of WORK in my future. I believe that success is earned. I have no intention of trying to get out of work at some point – I love making things happen.