Zac Johnson Interview – Super Affiliate Blogger Reveals All!

Blogging is a great way to Make Money Online but according to Affiliate Blogger Zac Johnson, a Blog can do much more than Generate a Six-Figure Income…

…By this he means that merely having a blog can open so many doorways to some great opportunities and life-changing business ventures! If you have thought about starting a blog for yourself or for your business once before then this is a ‘must read’ for you.

Today I am interviewing affiliate blogger and internet marketer Zac Johnson from ZacJohnson.com. As a kid Zac was always interested in advertising and seemed to have that entrepreneurial fire in him from a very young age. From as early as fourth grade Zac was hustling the kids in his school to make some extra cash but when he reached high school he discovered the internet!

When he initially got started on the internet Zac started to play with affiliate networks – like many of us, he couldn’t believe that you could get paid for sending some traffic to a website.

Eventually Zac became a ‘merchant’ with his own affiliate programs spread across Commission Junction, WebSponsors, ShareaSale, DirectLeads, FineClicks and a few others.

As you will discover in this interview his blog was created to build his personal brand in an attempt to gather new contacts and seek out potential partnerships – which it certainly did! ZacJohnson.com is a great resource for the budding internet marketer and Zac gives a fantastic interview below while highlighting that continuous determination will eventually have its rewards – Enjoy!

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Zac Johnson Interview

1) Obviously many people will know who you are and about your online presence but for those who don’t know, could you please take the time to tell our readers and subscribers about yourself and how you have got to where you are today?

I’ve been making money online for nearly 15 years now and first started while I was a freshman in high school. It’s always been a passion of mine to be an entrepreneur and to have my own business. Even before the internet came around, I was always thinking up new ways to make money and would sell cans of soda during lunch at school, instead of carrying books in my backpack. Long story short… I’m just your average guy who loves marketing, helping other people make money and living life to the fullest.

2) Zac many people will know you from your very successful blog ZacJohnson.com but just from reading your ‘about’ section it is very clear that your blog is a relatively new revenue stream for you compared to the amount of time you have been doing business on the Internet. What were you doing before your blog?

The blog has just exploded over the past few years and it’s really been awesome for new contacts and building a brand around my name. The income from the site just continued to grow with the site. Everyone says “do what you love and the money will come later”, and that was the case with this blog.

It wasn’t ’til almost a year after starting the blog that I placed advertising on the site, and now it continually generates a decent amount of revenue each month. However, better than any money generated from the site…

“…it’s great to hear from my daily readers and random emails from people all over the world and how it’s helped them start making money online.”

3) You are widely known as an affiliate marketer and there is clearly an element of affiliate marketing within blogging but how did you come across blogging in the first place? What made you want to start your blog?

I truly wish I got into blogging earlier than I did, but I’m thankful I finally took the action to go live with the blog. Two of my biggest inspirations for starting a blog were Jim Kukral and John Chow. Jim Kukral, a good friend of mine for nearly a decade now, always told me I should start a blog and just get my name out there and spread my knowledge and things I’ve seen and done over the years.

My other inspiration and motivation towards creating my own blog, was John Chow. The whole John Chow thing is really funny because I personally had no idea who he was, and just that he ran these awesome case studies every month and that he was making five figures a month just from blogging. I would tell my friends and family about John Chow and how much his blog was growing and generating money each month… then skip a year or two later and we are the best of friends. I actually launched my blog off a review post on JohnChow.com…and the rest is history!

Zac Johnson and John Chow amongst many other pro bloggers at the Blog World Expo in 2007

4) Having a successful blog that brings in a lot of money means that you have tried and tested many monetisation techniques and chosen the most successful ways to make money with your blog. In your opinion which is the best form of blog monetisation? Affiliate commissions? Advertising? CPC Ads?

In all honestly, I have done very little promotion for the blog. It’s very hard to monetize traffic when you aren’t selling any products or services. The best way to make money from a blog (in my particular case), is to build an honest brand, get a heavy flow of traffic and daily readers, then let the sponsors and ad networks to start spending money to advertise on the blog.

“In the internet / affiliate marketing area, it’s a bit easier to make money simply because this is super targeted traffic and very high producers on conversions and actual money values.”

You would not be able to see this same effect if you were building up a sports or craft blog. It’s all about testing and finding what works best in your niche… but more importantly, not starting a blog and expecting to make money in no time.

5) When you first started your blog had you any idea that it would become quite so successful? – Was your ultimate goal to make money from blogging or was it just something you intended to do on the side while making your money through affiliate commissions?

When I first started the blog, I really wanted to have it out there to start building more contacts and share my stories and case studies with others. It’s become an awesome collection of my past events, case studies and a fun way to look back at what’s been going on. The ultimate goal for the blog… just to keep growing and building new contacts.

“Internet marketing will always be my bread and butter, but the contacts and new business relationships made through the blog is never ending, and priceless.”

6) Clearly when you first start out you have to get yourself out there and start establishing a name for yourself in order to become successful – what do you think is the best way that you can generate traffic to your blog?

It’s all about branding. I don’t think my blog would have had the success it had if I didn’t create that Zac toon with the crown. It’s all about making your name of company recognizable and in the minds of your readers and customers. Nearly just as important, is your content.

Zac’s infamous ‘toon’ header at ZacJohnson.com – a great way to establish your presence and build a brand

I’ve earned millions of dollars online over the years and I wanted to provide a few case studies and posts about how this was done, these are always my most read and commented on posts. Make sure to produce content that is original and that others want to share.

7) A frequently asked question amongst newbie bloggers is; how often shall I post? Through experience do you think it is beneficial to post everyday or do you take a tactical approach when posting on your blog?

I know guys that post once or twice and day, then I know others that are posting once or twice a month… yet they are both super successful. I would love to post every day, but if I start posting just for the sake of posting, that’s not good for the blog or your readers.

“Only post when you have something good to write about, there is no secret sauce for how often to post.”

8) Many bloggers come across writers block and I am pretty sure you experience it from time to time – how do you tackle those days when you’re feeling a little uninspired to write a blog post? Are there ways you can force yourself out of such writers block?

Writer’s block sucks and it happens to the best of us… but as I mentioned in the previous question, I don’t blog every day… and sometimes I go a few days without posting. New topics come to mind when I visit other new web sites, see what new advertisements are popping up on big news sites, watch tv commercials or even just thinking back at different ways I’ve run campaigns over the years. It’s easy to think you are completely out of blog post ideas at one moment, then the next day you might think of a few different ideas for posts.

9) Correct me if I’m wrong but affiliate marketing is something that is done so very wrong by so many people out there when they first start out. The reason for this is probably that it has to be one of the easiest ways to sell a product without actually having one. One of my pet hates is people who are constantly Tweeting their affiliate links with auto-tweet software – is there a correct way to promote your affiliate links with Twitter or would you encourage people to stay away from it completely?

Affiliate marketing is a very interesting industry, and there is also very little regulation on what you can and can’t do. If there is a way to make money, people are going to find ways to exploit it, but these methods will only last for so long.

“I’ve always focused on legitimate ways to promote offers and make money.”

Building web sites, wanted services and brands is always the best way to go, especially for a longterm plan.

Zac holding up one of his many six-figure commission checks!

10) Similar to the last question I see affiliate marketing as an art that needs to be studied and perfected if you are to succeed with such a method of making money online – as I am sure you will agree there is an element of trial and error with most methods of Internet Marketing. What advice would you give to someone who is intending on starting out with affiliate marketing? – Niche websites? Blogs? Forums? – and is it as simple as they say?

It’s easy to see people blogging and posting articles about how much money they made, but at the same time, for every successful person, there is probably another 100 or even 1000 who have failed with affiliate marketing. It’s a huge game of testing and really pushing yourself to the limits to understand what works and what doesn’t.

A blog is an easy way to get started for someone to understand and play the game without having to spend much money upfront. PPC marketing and media buying is the way to go if you want to make some quick money, but it will also cost you a nice amount at the same time.

11) As a budding Internet Marketer with the enthusiasm to succeed online I read many books to help me with my success and inspiration – do you have any books to recommend that have helped you with your online success?

In all honesty, I’m not a book reader. I much prefer case studies and short guides that are usually available online. I’ve never had the attention span for a long 100+ page book, but if you give me a PDF on how someone is building niche web sites and make six figures a year, I can breeze through that in an hour or two. No recommendations at the moment…

12) It is a well known fact that in order to be a success in your chosen field it is always good to find someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve and model them – basing your own decisions on their tips and advice, like a mentor. Who was your mentor when you started out online or when you set up your blog?

My father has always been there for me, through out my whole life and my business life. When I wasn’t old enough to rent a car, he would drive and still comes to many conferences and events with me.

“To this day I still talk with my dad all the time on business decisions and what’s new in the internet business world.”

Internet marketing mentors… I have about three very close friends that I met in the last 90s and still talk to them today. At the time I first met them, they didn’t have to take a few minutes to talk with “this kid” that had a few questions and wanted to succeed, but they were nice enough to take the time. More than a decade later, we are all still the best of friends. This is another reason why I love having ZacJohnson.com and try to respond to all emails I get, and never brush anyone aside at a conference or event.

“I love to see other people succeed.”

13) Anyone who visits your blog will see that the design is fantastic and that there is a real sense of branding. Do you think branding and design is important when starting up a blog and do you think it can determine a blogs success?

Branding and design is very important to me. I’ve always opted to spend a lot of money on having a great site design and memorable domain name or logo. ZacJohnson.com is no exception! If you are just starting out, it will be very tough to put out these type of expenses, so you should focus on content first.

14) Building a list is clearly something that is very crucial to get right and to start from the very beginning when starting out online – from your experience what is the best way to build a list for both email subscriptions and how exactly do you grow your RSS subscribers?

One of the major reasons why I would have liked to have started my blog earlier, is that I missed out on grabbing so many potential subscribers to the blog.

“Easily the best way to bring in new mailing lists and rss subscribers, is through incentivization.

I personally offer a free download of my “Six Figure Affiliate Marketing” ebook. Other ideas for incentivization are interviews, theme downloads, case studies and other freebies of interest.

15) Finally, I will be asking this question to all of our guests…If you lost your products, your database, your online business and your contacts today, meaning you had to start from scratch all over again, what would you do tomorrow to get you back on the path to wealth and success?

If I know what I still know, and don’t have any available funds for ad spending… I would focus on building a blog and going through the process again. Even if I had to start making money online without spending any money on advertising (like I originally did while I was in high school), I would still be building up a blog and following in the process. Through the blog I would bring in new contacts, establish business relationships and eventually even revenue. It sounds easier than it is, but it’s better than saying to get a loan then running a bunch of media buys… which also works :P.

So there you have it, some great tips from a successful six-figure blogger. From reading this it is very evident that blogging is certainly no ‘get rich quick’ scheme and that if you are to succeed in building a profitable blog, you must first put in some hard work in building your brand and establishing yourself as an authority figure within your niche.

I hope this interview has inspired many of you to start a blog and remember, if your not quite sure how to go about starting your own blog then head on over to our ‘Start Making Money Online’ page where we compare the industries leading tools (hosting, blogging, design etc.) and ensure that you get the best deal.

Once you have got your blog up and running then download our FREE eBook and 6 week eCourse here to start making some money – this eCourse is worth over $100 but today it’s yours for free and it will teach you everything you need to know about starting your very own online business.

Good luck and great success!

Luke Etheridge
Business Development & Partnerships

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