I’ve had a lot of good feedback on the interviews with Professional Bloggers that I’ve been running lately so I’ll keep the ball going with this week’s one – this time I’m featuring a blogger I’ve admired a lot recently Jon Gales. Jon is one of the youngest Pro Bloggers that I’ve come across (only 20) but runs one of the best examples of a professional blog that I’ve seen – Mobile Tracker (a blog on all things Mobile Phone). Jon was featured last year in an article at Fortune which revealed that back then he was already earning more than $5,000 per month from Adsense. Looking at his traffic levels since that time you can expect that this is a figure that has continued to rise.
Here is what Jon had to say.
ProBlogger – Jon, thanks for chatting with us, can you briefly tell us a little about yourself? Give us a quick sketch of your life.
Jon – I’m young (I’ll be 20 in a few days), on a break from college, and having a blast publishing online. There’s something about writing for an audience that excites me.
ProBlogger – How and when did you first discover and enter into blogging? Do you have or have you had involvement in other blogs or websites other than Mobile Tracker?
Jon – Back in the days where the cool kids were using Blogger (I just checked my Blogger account and I’ve been a member since June 2001). For a while I ran a weblog on software I wrote and it was hosted on my home computer. Those were the days. In fact, MobileTracker was hosted on the same server for a few weeks before I realized it might actually be popular.
I’ve had involvement in a number of websites, namely MacMerc.com. I don’t do as much at MacMerc as I did in the past, but I still step in
for larger events (MacWorld keynotes for instance). The most popular thing I wrote there was that you could tip Pepsi bottles and see if they were winners in the iTunes contest. It blew up and was featured everywhere from Reuters to CNN.
ProBlogger – How and when did you start Mobile Tracker? Did you start it for commercial reasons or because of your interest in Mobile phones
Jon – As I mentioned before, it was on my home computer! I used MovableType after I moved it to a real host. I liked mobile phones, but I thought I could make a few bucks from Amazon Associates. This was back in the start of 2003 (the first MovableType post is in Feb 2003), about 2 years ago.
ProBlogger – What do you see as the potential for blogging? Why do you personally do it? What advantages and disadvantages do you see in it in comparison to other formats of websites.
Jon – Having an influential site on a topic you enjoy is extremely fulfilling. Not only do you get to communicate with other experts in your field, but you start to learn a lot more. There’s a fine line between a “blog” and another type of site, so it’s hard to say what the differences would be. I just update a lot and use a tool that helps me out!
ProBlogger – What is the main method of monetisation at Mobile Tracker? I see you use Adsense what do you like and dislike about it as a tool?
Jon – AdSense is currently the top money maker, but I have someone selling standard ads for me now as well. Hopefully they will both be about even in the near future. I don’t have any big complaints with AdSense, but I want to see my eggs in a few baskets. Minor annoyances with AdSense: takes a while to get the money and no direct deposit.
ProBlogger – What has been the best thing about your blogging experience? What has been the hardest or worse thing
Jon – I get mobile phones for review! Every time I get one I forget about the late nights and just geek out. I love it!
The hardest times are when news is just plain slow. Traffic usually follows.
ProBlogger – What advice would you give someone just starting out with blogging that would like to earn an income from it?
Jon – Don’t quit your day job. It will take a while (if ever) before you can make your income from a website. Every time I walk by the park I see people playing basketball, but there are only a few people that make their profession basketball (though a lot that want to). It’s not
impossible, nor as exclusive as the NBA, but it’s not a cake walk.
ProBlogger – What is your favourite blogging tool or service?
Jon – Currently it’s MovableType, but I’m a PHP hacker at heart so I like me some WordPress!
ProBlogger – How much time do you spend each day blogging?
Jon – It really depends. Some days when news is slow I search for a long time and still come up empty. So can you count 2 hours and no posts? Other days it’s fast an furious and I’ll look at the clock and I missed a meal. Last night I went to bed past 4AM.
Besides the writing I try and confirm facts, research rumors, get new phones for review and a bunch of other stuff.
ProBlogger – What are your favourite 5 blogs (daily reads)?
Jon – Since a lot of the same blogs always end up in this list, I’m going to list my favorites that not everyone knows about. I subscribe to about 50 sites in Bloglines.
That’s a good non-related mix. Most of my subscriptions have something to do with news or phones.
ProBlogger – Who do you see as the Customer of Mobile Tracker? Is it your reader, advertisers, search engines, sites you link to?
Jon – I don’t really see a customer. I see two sets of readers, the repeat readers and the searchers. Both are looking for different things, and I hope they find them. Advertisers are there because of the readers, so readers are the top priority.
ProBlogger – What are your hopes and dreams for your blogging? Where would you like to see it take you?
Jon – I want to hire someone in the near future for the news so I can focus on reviews. From there we’ll see :).
ProBlogger – What do you think will be the main changes/advances/challenges to blogging in the next 18 months.
Jon – Competitors. Engadget rose pretty quickly and that will happen again. We’ll also see some more sites sell to media companies. I hope to secure some large advertisers and take the site to a whole new level in terms of content and traffic. It’s going to be fun!