005: Greg Go On How To Grow A Blog To Over 1.5 Million Visitors A Month

Greg Go Wisebread Founder

I’m excited to have Greg on the podcast in this episode because he runs one of the most popular personal finance and lifestyle blogs on the Internet. In fact, his blog generates more traffic in a few months than my blog does all year.

It’s really incredible what he’s been able to achieve and I really admire him for growing a blog to such a large size. As you can imagine, with that amount of traffic the revenue potential is extremely high. Listen to Greg’s story on how he started Wisebread.com from scratch and how he’s managed to grow it to where it is today. An amazing story!

What You’ll Learn

  • The best way to get juicy information out of Greg
  • The motivation behind creating WiseBread
  • How to select the right cofounders for your business
  • How long it took before Wisebread started making serious money
  • Was starting Wisebread a risky proposition?
  • The early strategies Greg used to gain traffic to the site
  • Wisebread’s content strategy
  • How Wisebread promotes and get exposure for their content
  • The most important marketing strategy to make a blog popular
  • How Wisebread SEO strategies have changed over time
  • Why relationships are everything
  • How Wisebread makes money
  • How Wisebread has its ad networks setup
  • A common mistake that new bloggers make
  • Advice for the new bloggers starting today

Mentioned In This Podcast

Greg’s Favorite Books

Transcript

MyWifeQuitHerJob’s transcripts are done by Outsource2Africa.com, an awesome transcription service that is half the price of other competing companies. Highly recommended!

Steve: You are listening to the mywifequitherjob podcast episode number five. Now before we begin, I just wanted to give a quick thank you shout out to my buddy Tom Drake who actually owns over a dozen blogs but likes to talk about selling online at createhype.com. Now I’ve known Tom for quite a while now and he is a great sounding board for ideas and online strategies and he’s also really helped me out a lot in terms of blogging, and for that I am very appreciative. Now on to the show.

Welcome to the mywifequitherjob podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suites your lifestyle, so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host, Steve Chou!

Steve: Welcome to another edition of the mywifequitherjob podcast. Today I have a very special guest on the show, Greg Go. Now Greg is a guy that I met at the financial blogging conference, the very first year that I went. And what was funny is we actually got to know each other while someone intoxicated. Now in actuality Greg was the one that was the one that was a little bit tipsy, and I kept feeding him drinks while I dumped mine in the cup next to me and oh did the information flow. Now incidentally this is where all the best conversations begin, at the bar late night, after all the conference session are over. Anyway so Greg and I chatted quite a bit over the weekend and then I later discovered that he ran wisebread one the premier finance blogs on the internet. Now seriously wisebread is the real deal and it gets about 1.5 million visits a month and you know if you do the math that’s about 50 thousands visits per day and that’s absolutely nuts. Anyways even while drunk Greg came across as an extremely intelligent guy and he really knew his stuff, and I’m really excited to have him on the show today to talk about his experiences in starting such an incredible blog. So welcome to the show Greg and how is everything going?

Greg: Good. Really happy to be on the show Steve, and you are right keeping drinks is the best way to get information out of me.

Steve: I hope you have popped a couple before this interview because that way we can go a little deeper than my other interviews.

Greg: I did. I took more shots so I’m ready to go.

Steve: [chuckles]. Right on, right on.

Greg: It is part of being fab.

Steve: [chuckles]. So, I always like to start up this interviews you know by asking you if you can just give a quick background story, and just give us the story about how wisebread got started from the beginning

Greg: Sure. So, Wisebread’s been around for seven years now. I started it with a couple of co-founders, Lynn and Will and right from the get go we wanted to create a site that would help twenty something’s with their finances because at that time we were in our late twenties and we thought you know in the last ten years if we had a source of information for how to better manage our money, how to better manage our first pay cheque that would have really been awesome.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: And unlike a lot of other blogs out there I think we started with three people, and that’s been something that’s unique in that sphere and something that I think really has provided for our success over the others.

Steve: So real quick you know I started my first business with my wife and you know we kind of crushed a lot because the division of duties weren’t clear set, so how does it work with three people a like how do you guys split up the duties.

Greg: Yeah. I hear that a lot about partnership sometimes crushing and it is not good to have partners. I think we were really lucky, we had complementally skills, but very similar goals. So we all wanted to change our careers from our day jobs before and luckily you know all three of us we have complementally skills, so it naturally kind of- just worked itself out. I’m the tech guy.

Steve: Okay

Greg: And Lynn is the one who keeps things running on time. She’s super organized and basically the president of the company and then Will is good with strategic thinking and marketing and so he is kind of our external staicing, genius.

Steve: Yeah I met Will at the conference too, super nice guy.

Greg: And I think we were lucky but for other people looking to start partnerships, looking for that complementally skill is private key to a successful partnership.

Steve: Yes. Did you guys actually start this while you were working full time? Or was it you guys…

Greg: Yeah.

Steve: Okay, oh okay.

Greg: So all three of us had full time big jobs and we found each other because we’ve been friends since high school.

Steve: Wow!

Greg: Will one day said you know I do not want to be a lawyer anymore. I want to build websites and I was logging for some site in common and so was Lynn and I think all three of us were not happy with our career paths. So we started Wisebread, we kept working on our day jobs for a couple of years and one by one we were able to quit our day jobs as wisebread crew.

Steve: Wow! Okay. So it took a couple of years for it to gain momentum so you took…

Greg: Absolutely. Right and even after we quit you know we didn’t have the revenue– personal revenue that matched our day jobs and even quitting two years after we started Wisebread, it was very scary for us personally. But we were seeing hard that besides who was going and we loved it and we were working for free and Wisebread would weigh more than half to doing at our day jobs and we knew that building websites or you know building some kind of web property was what we were meant to do. So it made quitting a little bit easier.

Steve: Wow! So, okay so you were not making as much as your day jobs but you saw the potential in yourself and that’s what kind of gave you the courage to quit?

Greg: Right. And the fact that you know after our day jobs, we would go home and work another eight hours…

Steve: Wow!

Greg: More or less free right on our site.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: And I think at that time the thinking was you know this is what we really want to do, not whatever we were doing at our day jobs.

Steve: That is pretty cool. So, just curious how much did you guys invest into this venture earlier on just to get started.

Greg: Totally bootstrapped. We actually didn’t put any money into it. We personally put in a couple of thousand dollars but we had less than $10,000 in cash at the beginning. So you know $3000 each. But what we invested into it is, you know that to our careers of sweat equity, where we weren’t getting paid, and to tell you the truth we were each working prime of all the hours on the side for free verses our day jobs.

Steve: So when did the revenue just kind of start trickling in was it, did you see any revenue in the first year or–?

Greg: Well there was some revenue. We started with, you know ad firms, and there were some revenue but wherever possible we would try to reinvest it back into the company.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: And for each of us we had saved some money personally.

Steve: Okay

Greg: So we were making business decisions about when it was time to pay ourselves verses reinvesting back in the company, and we would take into consideration our personal situation. So like can you guys feed yourself for another three months [chuckles]. We might want to spend this money on building up a site verses cashing out, so we were always looking at the long view and building up the company and not just taking a couple of hundred dollars out for ourselves.

Steve: Wow. Okay, so would you guys call yourselves kind of risky people I mean it’s– I’m pretty conservative, I don’t know if I could do that myself but did you guys feel completely comfortable with this or…?

Greg: That is a really good question. We do have different personalities too in terms of restorence. I am prime one of the more optimistic among the three, but I was really scared about quitting my job and at the time I talked to two people that helped me actually just pull the trigger.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: First I talked to my best friend at prime, and my fear was I’m I going to starve if I quit this job, and he told me you know you are not going to starve.

Steve: [chuckles]

Greg: Even if life would fail completely if I quit my job so this is where you want to do you know do it now before you have kids or family so that was really helpful. The other person I talked to the day I quit was my dad. And I thought my dad would be really conservative and advising against quitting a job but maybe it’s his own entrepreneurial spirit that he told me you know if this is what you really want to do, you are going to pull this trigger now like you’ll probably be fine.

Steve: That is surprising

Greg: Yeah! It is really surprising for my Asian father.

Steve: [chuckles] exactly.

Greg: But dad gave me the impetus that morning to go into my boss’s office and quit and I had these conversations you know within a couple of hours of each other, I stayed up all night that night before I quit. And it was super scary, but having a little money saved in the bank knowing that I can probably survive on the savings for say six months without a salary helped a little bit.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: And I’m going to tell you, you know all three of us didn’t quit at the same time. We staggered it out, as the site needed more work, and as our personal kind of day jobs worked themselves out. So Lynn quit first, I quit next six months later and then Will was the last to quit his day job.

Steve: Just curious do any of the members say have kids, or does Will have a family or did you guys did Lynn have a family?

Greg: So Will and I are bachelors though, then Lynn does have a family. She has a young son right now.

Steve: Okay.

Greg: But at the time, you know seven years ago we were all…

Steve: All single, right?

Greg: Lynn might have been married at the time. I don’t remember that, but you know we were in our late 20s and we definitely didn’t have kids yet.

Steve: Okay.

Greg: It was a little bit easier than say if we have to do it now.

Steve: Right, yeah, yeah. Well for her definitely it’ll be a lot harder I think.

Greg: Right and now we have you know mortgages and kids so it’s a whole different area.

Steve: [chuckles] All right, so , I just wanted to you know talk a little bit about what it takes to kind of build a blog up to your level of traffic now. You know for my blog I get a hundred k visits a month on a good month and Wisebread gets that amount in just two days so you know what are some of your early strategies to gain traffic to your site.

Greg: There was probably two key strategies for us; one of them internal on is external. So the internal strategy was that we didn’t depend on ourselves to write. The three owners did write in the beginning just because we couldn’t afford writers but right from the get go we knew we needed to bring in other experts and other voices. So that means you know Wisebread is a lifestyle blog and a finance blog so we covered things from investing in IRAs to travel and recipes, but it’s all not the same person writing all of this content. We have somebody who’s really interested in cooking writing the recipe content. We have someone who’s really passionate about travel writing the travel articles, so right from the get go we had multiple writers that’s the internal strategy .

Steve: So were you paying these writers in the beginning or were they writing for free?

Greg: They run for free for a red share.

Steve: I see. Okay.

Greg: We had to switch that up midway through and that’s [Inaudible] [00:12:54].

Steve: We’ll get into that business model probably later.

Greg: Okay.

Steve: But yeah go on, sorry.

Greg: The second thing, I think that was key for us was right from the beginning our external strategy was to try to get back links from top sites and it’s not just to gain Google or SEO rankings, but the idea was we wanted to get our content in front of other audiences and you know with wisebread having covering different topics travel, and investing and financial stuff we found an opportunity to get in front of the travel blogging crowd, or the financial bloggers audience so right from the get go, Will was out there you know pitching our content and telling other blogs about you know good articles we had. So promoting our content externally has always been a part of our strategy.

Steve: So can we go into a little more depth on that so would Will just kind of cold email these people or did he go to conferences and meet people, how did he pitch prospects?

Greg: In the beginning, we had no contacts. We, none of us were you know in the internet space so we didn’t have any relationships with other publishers. So they had to be cold emails and the key to doing cold emails is you actually have to promote epic content.

Steve: Right.

Greg: You can’t just keep spamming somebody with your run of the mail article but if we had something that was really good, then we would go ahead and contact life hacker or you know trying to contact some top travel bloggers.

Steve: So can you– no sorry go on.

Greg: I just compare over the years relationships have been really key either by developing email relationships you know once in every go at life hackers we’d noticed that okay Wisebread is not just spamming them with every single article that’s published, but you know we’re actually showing them good stuff. Then we could have all that’s more of a– more personal relationships with that article right and over the years as sale hailer has developed a sin cone, we’ve had more face to face contact with the people on the financial blogger sphere, and so if I had to sum it up in one word the key to external marketing is relationships.

Steve: Okay. So I’m just curious. Do you remember some of the early successes you had so you mentioned life hacker? Was that one of the first sites that you got a big link from or–?

Greg: Yeah, absolutely. And back in days I don’t know you know people listening now remember but dig was the part of the game so we would try to get on dig and the one time that we got on dig homepage it crushed the server.

Steve: [chuckles]

Greg: That was a big win. These days if we were trying to get traffic from social media it probably be in Facebook and probably Pinterest.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: And then they get wholly done. But I think that shows that work for us seven years ago or five years ago or even three years ago is done on what we’re doing today and I feel like every year we’ve had to adjust to the market place and come up with new tactics that fit the current environment.

Steve: Yes so let’s talk a little bit more about that, so how do you see things evolving or how they evolved since the beginning.

Greg: So you are asking how I see thing evolving.

Steve: Yes. So, how have things evolved since the beginning. You mentioned that every year you have new strategies that you have to come up with. So you know how has that changed, what is the strategy now verses in the past?

Greg: I think a few things haven’t changed. One is it’s still about relationships and whether we are talking about an internet business or you know twenty years ago in a brick and mortar business relationships still play a key part in trying to promote your own business .

Steve: Aha.

Greg: Finding complementary partners for example is something that has always worked.

Steve: Okay.

Greg: The other thing that I think hasn’t changed is that Google search results still have only ten slots right so even though Google changes their algorithm every year and tactics for works ranking well change all the time to restore only ten slots and the absolute best way to ranking Google is to have one of the top ten articles for that particular topic or you know search term on the internet. And the internet has millions of page views plus millions of domains so that’s not , that’s not an easy proposition, but the angle is still the same like you have to be one of the top ten.

Steve: Okay.

Greg: And I know it’s really clichy to say you know good content wins, but I think that’s still the case at least strategically.

Steve: Well it’s a combination right you have to get the content and you also have the relationships to actually promote your content trend.

Greg: Great, and the relationships are you know Google depends on recommendations like back links.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: Endorsements. Links are endorsements from sites and so you want to get these endorsements from sites bigger than you. I think a lot of mistakes people make when they start out is getting links from sites that are equal in size of them or smaller.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: Whereas you’ve to do the hard thing and the scary thing and try to get links from sites bigger than you and more trusted by Google. Right and so that’s a practical strategy that we’ve been trying to adhere to.

Steve: I see, I see but at the same time I’ve noticed a list of pin con that you’ve reached out and you really try to meet all the other smaller blogs than wisebread so is that part of your strategy as well or how does that fit in.

Greg: That’s a really good question. For that I don’t think that’s necessary– that’s as much about Google and SEO rankings as it is about you know building relationships within the community and before Thinkon, before Will started this we were, we felt like we were basically alone right against the world, but now that Shell has started Thinkon, it feels like we’re in a community among financial and frugal living bloggers and that’s been awesome.

Steve: Okay.

Greg: The other thing is you know we all remember what it was like in our first couple of years. So we made a lot of mistakes and it pains me to see new bloggers make the same mistakes when they don’t have to. So I really want to help people and you know avoid those easy mistakes.

Steve: Yeah. I remember you were on a couple of ten or so and they were all very informative so thanks.

Greg: Yeah. I hope, I hope… [Chuckles].

Steve: Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about the business model now so let’s rewind back to the first year and let’s talk about you know how you made money earlier on in and kind of how it evolved over time as you got bigger.

Greg: Well how we’ve made money hasn’t really changed since the beginning. So it’s all advertising.

Steve: Okay.

Greg: But if we were to break it down it has evolved a little bit so we started with ad firms, everybody starts with ad firms right. As we grew bigger we noticed that Federated Media was an ad network that was focused on helping good blogs you know sell advertising. So they’ve heard that they– only one blog that were getting a million page views some more you know like the bling blings.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: So six years ago but we were bold and we emailed them and surprisingly we got in even though we didn’t have a million page views at the time. So getting it to FM was a big win for us and we are still with FM and they still do the sales for our premier advertising.

Steve: So FM is a CPM ad network? Is that correct?

Greg: CPM and they also send us some custom campaigns sometimes so for example sometimes a brand will want to do more than just CPM display ads and they’ll want a sponsored post or a sponsored tweet, tweet chart or something like that. And so we’ll gain those referrals from FM and we’ll split the revenue with them.

Steve: Okay. And all of these FM ads pay a lot more than AdSense?

Greg: More, at least for Wisebread, the least price for FM ads is something like $10 CPM.

Steve: Okay.

Greg: Now I know a lot of financial blogs are probably getting more than that in their terms but since Wisebread is more of a lifestyle blog we actually get less than them.

Steve: [chuckles]

Greg: Financial blogs

Steve: Okay, yeah I was going to ask because on AdSense I think I get more than 10 on average and I was just curious I guess it really just depends on the nature of your content and how monetized board is for AdSense I guess.

Greg: So I don’t have the breakdown but I’m guessing that on our financial articles it’s you know over 10 but then on our recipe articles and our cargo articles its closer to five.

Steve: Okay. So just curious do you have a system in place where you know you kind of just shelf all these into a you know a slot and then it just picks which one is going to pay more you know in real time or is it just kind of win till noon?

Greg: That’s a really good question. That’s something we want to do use this year and I know that DFP, the websites for publishers will do that We’ll have AdSense compete with either running networks or your own ads for that spot, for that particular impression. So it’s something we want to look into.

Steve: Okay. So for like…

Greg: Yeah.

Steve: No go on, go on.

Greg: I was just going to say right now we don’t have ad networks competing against each other. We just– so our top few ads blogs you know that’s FM and premium advertising and then in the middle spots we might use some remnant networks and the bottom ad spots we’ll use AdSense as our final fall back.

Steve: Okay. And so do these ad networks, do they require specific areas on your blog for the placement.

Greg: FM is the only one that does, so we do have to have the top two spots dedicated two FM and that’s how they can sell the premium advertising.

Steve: I see.

Greg: But we found that most ad networks don’t have those requirements and they’re happy just to get any impressions you have.

Steve: That’s interesting actually so you could put these ads on like the bottom of your blog and it’ll be okay?

Greg: For the, yeah. For the remnant ad networks, yeah.

Steve: Okay. Interesting, interesting. Okay. So have you, are there revenue models that you have outside of just display advertising for Wisebread?

Greg: Yeah. We have a couple others. One is affiliate marketing.

Steve: So AdSense, sorry.

Greg: Amazons ads. So you mention a product and we can link to Amazon, then we do so that, that’s easy. Also some you know financial products cup 136E or some credit cards if we can get an affiliate for it that’s great. That’s actual revenue if we’re going to recommend that product anyway.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: The other one is direct sales. What we call direct sales, so sponsor campaigns like sponsored posts, sponsored tweets, maybe a sponsored sub-site hog.

Steve: What is that?

Greg: So for example if you go to wisebread.com/newgrads we have a hub for new college graduates and that is sponsored by SallieMae. So SallieMae pays us you know X amount of money and we write 10 articles on it and we will continue to write articles for it and the sub-site is supposed to help new graduates deal with their, their are student loans.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: And SallieMae gets to have their logo on there.

Steve. I see. So they kind of sponsor that entire section of your blog?

Greg: Correct. Right.

Steve: Okay. So did you approach them or did they approach you? How does that whole interaction work?

Greg: It’s both. You know any contact we can get with brands we will take. So it could either be through FM, or we cold emailed them, or they come to us you know we have an advertise link and people can contact those and we can turn them their ad or ad back. I think that’s how most contacts are initiated. Usually it’s through some kind of agency who’s looking to amplify some brand’s message and they might start with a Google search.

Steve: Right.

Greg: So for example let’s say an agency is representing Discoverhomeblogs and they search for home blogs or discover and they notice a Wisebread article. They may or may not know about Wisebread but they will see our advertise link.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: Download our ad backs and start the conversation there.

Steve: I see. So they find you through search in that example you just gave is that…

Greg: My guess is through search. We get inquiries through a bunch of different channels and once said it is just all search.

Steve: Okay.

Greg: It might be through hulls even, if we’ve done something for a particular brand maybe you know one DP sharing something with another DP or if you do a good job a lot of these campaigns are run through agencies and agencies are PR agencies, so the agency might have different clients. So if you do a good job with the agency and make the agency’s job easier next time they have a client that’s relevant to Wisebread you know they will think of Wisebread first.

Steve: I see, interesting. So really is all about you know having these relationships and referrals and that sort of thing, interesting.

Greg: Yeah. I think yeah, I think referrals are great and you know for these agencies it’s– they have job to do and they have to satisfy their client with whatever it’s easiest for them. So a lot of websites and a lot of bloggers I feel may get unnecessarily hard on brand and agencies to work with them. So actually our direct sales and sponsored campaign type stuff were super flexible. We found an ad back with four, five products that we were good at but every campaign is different and [chuckles] sometimes it’s a pain for us to enhance these campaigns because every agency and every client have different recommendations. But we try to say yes as much as possible and accommodate them as much as possible.

Steve: I would imagine these are more lucrative than your average deal rate and so it’s worth it on your end. You know if anything to build the relationships right.

Greg: Right and you know these are you know four or five figure campaigns, usually four figure campaigns. And yeah they are pretty lucrative but it’s still a lot of work.

Steve: Sure, I’m sure you’re right.

Greg: If we actually broke it down, you know for our sponsor campaigns, that’s where we spend the most effort verses say display ads, [Inaudible] [00:30:06] ads, that’s you know writing good content and trying to get more page views.

Steve: Yeah, so if you were to break down all of your revenue sources, how do they rank in terms of I guess you names, sponsored sources you name, you know display ads and then affiliate offers. How–what’s the break down you know and what are your priorities?

Greg: It’s almost exactly one third each.

Steve: Wow. Okay.

Greg: Yeah. So Will and Ashley Jacobs spend a lot of time you know dealing with clients and doing these sponsored campaigns. Lynn’s job is to produce good content everyday and that helps us increase the page we have from CKAM campaigns. And me as the tech guy I tend to be in charge of the affiliate stuff, but that’s also really dependant on editorial content, right. So I just had to plug in product links, whatever makes sense for whatever articles that Lynn publishes.

Steve: I see. So is that a manual process or is there some sort of automation that you have in place? I’m just curious how.

Greg: It’s all a bit of both. We use Skim Links.

Steve: Okay. Yeah

Greg: But we also try to manually insert links as much as possible because you know Skim Links takes a big percentage, and to give you another example is we can put in a non-Amazon link. That’s you know a better deal for the consumer, or we get a bigger card than we’ll try to do that. The baseline is if we’re going to recommend a product anyway we should try to get a commission off it.

Steve: Right, now that’s only makes sense and just for the benefit of the listeners, Skim Links is actually a service that will automatically pass your content and automatically insert affiliate links within your content so you get paid, but of course they take a cut of the proceeds.

Greg: A big cut.

Steve: Right [both chuckle].

Greg: So it might be Skim Links are for just a couple of days or a couple of weeks as we wait for– I’m thinking that sometimes we have to apply for an affiliate program. So while we’re waiting for approval, we’ll just use Skim Links.

Steve: Right. Okay. Yeah. That makes sense. So you mentioned you know at the same time you said it pains you to see some of the early bloggers, beginning bloggers make their mistakes, and I just wanted to ask you know what are some of the mistakes that you guys made earlier on, and you know just as a learning experience to some of my listeners.

Greg: The one thing I keep telling new bloggers is they need to be leader centric verses blogger centric or self centric, and I realized you know when you start a blog and that’s your uplift for the internet it’s really tempting to talk about your own issues or blog related problems, right. But the reader doesn’t care about that and so, what we really consciously done on Wisebread is to always think about what the reader cares about. So we might have tech problems or we might be switching ad networks or whatever it is, but we never talk about it on Wisebread because the Wisebread reader wants to know about how to save money or how to travel better, and maybe it’s because we have three of us that we can them in person [Chuckles]. So right we don’t have to depend on blog but one mistake I see far too often is new bloggers talking about WordPress plugins or other blog related issues that the reader doesn’t care about.

Steve: Interesting. I’ve actually made that mistake my fare share of times and because you know I have some problems with– I run an online store as you know and occasionally are technical problems and you know I just write about them and then my wife looks at them and says no one is going to read this, and I’m like no my readers all want to start online stores and then sure enough that article like no one makes any comments or anything.

Greg: But you know I think your situation is a little bit different because you are, also talking about how to create an ecommerce business so I think I am a little bit more okay with you.
Steve: Sometimes I go overboard on the technical stuff and that when my wife kind of slaps me and says you know you are going to make it a lot more high level.

Greg: Right so it’s good to have a partner well or a real friend or something.

Steve: I wouldn’t call her a partner she is more like a boss but yeah you know, whatever you’re right. [Chuckles] So any other recommendations for just people who are starting out blogging like, so, let’s take someone who wanted to start another Wisebread today, would they use some of the same strategies? What sort of tips would you give them? Is the multi-author route still a viable strategy?

Greg: Yeah. I still think that still a really good idea because we are able to use multiple authors we’ve got different perspectives on things we’re talking about. So I think that’s actually been a really big key of Wisebread’s success and for people starting new sites now, I would encourage them to have other voices on the blog too.

Steve: Interesting.

Greg: They don’t have to be freelance authors. They could be guest posts from other blogs. But just to be able to get some other voices on the blog, I think it really serves the audience. The other thing I would suggest for people starting a new blog today is the importance of relationships and with Thinkon you know existing nowadays and with Thinkon local meet ups happening around the country, I really encourage people to build relationships with other sites. Four years ago we didn’t have Thinkon, we wouldn’t have these local meet ups and Wisebread was very insular. We totally felt like it was us against the world, but there is a community now and I see so much awesome collaborations in the same core community and like new, awesome new products or projects getting started because of this kind of collaboration and I just want to add you know to your statement, it always helps to add a little alcohol to the mix [both chuckle]

Steve: Sure, yeah.

Greg: Like in our case you know it was really fun hanging out you know everyone loosens up a little bit at the bar afterwards.

Steve: Right.

Greg: Yeah, the first time you meet somebody, it’s a little awkward, I remember the first– the very first Thinkon in 2011, I was really intimidated by some of the big names you know I would make eye contact with JB and then look away [both chuckle] and I wasn’t even sure I could introduce myself and at that first Thinkon. I would look at Jim of Bargaineering and look away, but over the years I found that like other finance bloggers, they are actually really cool people, and now I’m not afraid to go up and talk to them.

Greg: Yeah. What I like about you Greg is that you are just like a regular guy, you are very approachable and you know the success of Wisebread clearly hasn’t gotten into your head you are very approachable so.

Greg: Yeah, thanks a lot.

Steve: Especially after you get a couple of drinks in meetings.

Greg: Yeah, yeah.

Steve: Well you know well we can conduct another interview you know about the other stuff that we talked about I think on bulge.

Greg: Yeah. All right, that’s funny.

Steve: You guys have any plans to put out any sort of book or product or start anything on your site?

Greg: We do talk about that and I think in the last couple of years in the blogger sphere people have been talking how to be more Google proof.

Steve: Aha.

Greg: Because 2013 was pretty brutal for people depending on SEO traffic. So kindle books, podcasts, some kind of course or product those are all good ideas for bloggers now. And as far as Wisebread is concerned we have talked about other things, I don’t know if we’re going to do anything this year but they are definitely on our minds.

Steve: That’s actually a good topic. How are you guys Google proofing your site?

Greg: Yeah. So we need to do a better job with email. We are considering you know podcasting or what we can do with Kindle or Wisebread publisher book four years ago and we might do another book. Other ways to Google proof ourselves is just to focus on socials and so instead of just relying on Google, we are looking for people to recommend Wisebread articles to their friends. So Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, those are all really important channels for us.

Steve: Okay, Interesting. So I don’t want to take up too much of your time Greg but I always like to end with two questions. You know was there a particular business book that influenced you in any way for you guys to take the- – to get the courage to start this and quit your jobs.

Greg: There was two books that actually was really good for me. One was ‘Founders at Work’. It’s a book about so called barleys, founders and like sleeker and some other startups and it was cool just to read about how they were normal people and the struggles that they had at the beginning and that was personally inspiring as the park third Wisebread. The other one is E-Myth, ‘E-Myth Revisited’ actually I think and that one was helpful because it talks about building systems so that you are not doing everything yourself. And what I like to tell new bloggers is you are going to think of yourself as a business owner not just as a writer. And so as a business owner you need to build in systems for tact, or publishing, or copy editing, or whatever it is and not solely depend on yourself.

Steve: That is a very good policy. I struggle with that myself because I am pre-anal and you know I like to figure things out myself but yeah excellent advice. And the second question I always ask is you know early on when you guys were starting Wisebread, were there online services that you used, that you couldn’t live without that you might still use today?

Greg: Analytics, that’s prime one that everybody uses. The other one we use is SiteMeter for public stats and the reason we use SiteMeter is because life hacker use them. And that was how they were you know projecting their public stats. So we were like if it’s good enough for life hacker, we can use it too and we’ve been using them for seven years.

Steve: Yeah, so SiteMeter it’s very unusual for people to put all their stats out wide in the open like that. What is the motivation for doing that?

Greg: Why hide it is our thinking and also if we’re going to try to sell sponsorship, advertisers want to have that data. So instead of hiding it behind you know an email request we might just put it out there.

Steve: Interesting. Okay. So it mainly applies for advertisers and that sort of thing?

Greg: Right.

Steve. Okay. Right Greg hey well thank you. I didn’t want to take too much of your time we had to win it a little bit over. Is there a place where people can get hold of you if they have questions?

Greg: Yeah. People having questions feel free to email me at greg@wisebread.com.

Steve: Okay. Great.

Greg: And also definitely talk to me at Thinkon so people who are listening and are not planning to go on Thinkon, they should register now.

Steve: Absolutely. And I will be at Thinkon. Greg and a whole bunch of other cool people are going to be at Thinkon and you know the best part of that conference is what happens after the sessions are over.

Greg: You are going to buy me some drinks, right Steve?

Steve: Absolutely, absolutely.

Greg: Okay [chuckles]

Steve: And will pour mine in a cup so at least I am fully coherent.

Greg: Make sure you bring your tape recorder.

Steve: Absolutely [chuckles]. Thanks Greg, thanks a lot.

Greg: All right, it’s cool man. Thank you.

Steve: Here is what I liked about Greg. His blog is extremely successful and he is still very humble and very down to earth and in fact I had no idea who he even was and the fact that he was big time until after we talked and someone else told me that he was the founder of Wisebread. Be sure to check out the show notes where you will find the sites and links mentioned in this episode and if you have a free minute, it would really help if you could subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. Also don’t forget to enter my free contest where I am giving away a life time membership for my profitable online store course and I’m also doing free consulting as well. For more information go to mywifequitherjob.com/podcast-launch. Once again that’s mywifequitherjob.com/podcast-launch, thanks for listening.

Thanks for listening to the, mywifequitherjob podcast where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com .

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3 thoughts on “005: Greg Go On How To Grow A Blog To Over 1.5 Million Visitors A Month”

  1. Jackie Bowers says:

    I really like listening to your talks! I listened to your podcast with Greg Go about how he and his partners started up their business. I really enjoyed it! I’ll be honest…I thought it was going to be boring and just talking technicalities, but I should have known better. I’ve listened to you quite a bit, and you’re usually not boring. You are actually kind of funny sometimes. Which is much better! In my opinion.
    Anyway, I did appreciate Greg’s tip to remember that the readers don’t want to know about my problems, they don’t care, that’s not why they are reading my blog! They are reading my blog to get something from it. Be it a good recipe, a great travel site, or recommendation. Or even to learn how to design a particular forum of jewelry! (Sorry! That’s my favorite! )
    I am still terrified! But I am closer to taking that first step you talk about Steve. I read your blogs. I look at everything you recommend. Yet….I still hesitate. Do you have others like me?
    I just can’t thank you enough for being here!! You are absolutely the BEST ANYWHERE TO MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO SUCCEED!!!

  2. Anant says:

    Hey Steve! Loved this ep 🙂 And you’re right, Greg is super humble and nice! Anyway, I found it really interesting that Wise Bread started out as a multi-author blog from the get-go. I understand they wrote for free…but do you have any thoughts on how a new blog can ‘recruit’ a team of writers to produce content for free?

    1. Steve C says:

      That is a good question. There are always people that you can find online who are looking to create a name for themselves. With Wisebread, Greg and his gang wrote all of the content by themselves until a certain point where they could recruit writers. Even then, they started out with a revenue sharing program so it wasn’t free.

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