How a Blogger Found the Right Plan and Business Idea
Today our series of stories from new bloggers continues with Stefano Caioni, a web developer and photographer.
Stefano’s blog offers guidance on various aspects of photography including focus modes, settings and equipment reviews.
Using his tech experience, Stefano wrote all the code for his blog himself. But he soon discovered how fun it was to build and write content for it, even though it had no traffic.
Then Stefano decided to migrate his existing content to WordPress to benefit from its SEO and security functionalities.
But he was inconsistent with posting content, didn’t have a specific strategy or business idea in mind, and ran out of topics.
He almost gave up on it.
Then he came across ProBlogger.com. He started writing more consistently, this time with a plan and business idea in place.
His blog lets him share his passion for photography by writing useful posts that inspire others and offer them value. He’s met many photographers who’ve inspired him as well.
He never dreamed of making money from his blog or building a business around it. But traffic continues to grow, and he monetizes his blog through Amazon affiliate links.
Blogging isn’t dead. The number of internet users increases every day. Fresh and updated content is needed to fulfill the growing demand for information. So start a blog.
Links and Resources for How Stefano Changed Blogging Platforms and Started Blogging with a Plan:
- Stefano Caioni’s Photography
- Stefano Caioni’s Blog
- Interview: Lauren Bath Olympus Visionary
- International Start a Blog Day
- Podcast Motor
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Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 274 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the founder of problogger.com, a site for bloggers and prebloggers, designed to help you to start a great blog, and to monetize that blog.
Today, we are continuing our series of podcast with stories from new bloggers, people in their first year of blogging. All these are short stories from participants from our Start A Blog course and we’re sharing them in the hope that they will inspire you or someone you know to start a blog, as part of our International Start A Blog Day on the seventh of February, which is fast approaching. There’s still time to participate if you would like to start a blog, either for that date or afterwards. We have a course that will walk you through exactly how to start a blog using a WordPress platform. That course is completely free to participate in and you can find it at problogger.com/startablog.
Today’s story comes from Stefano Caioni from stefanocaioni.com and I’ve got a link to that in the show notes today. He is a photographer. He is a web developer, actually, who is a photographer as well and his blog is about photography, which grabbed my attention. But I also wanted to share this story today because it is a little bit different than some of the others.
Stefano actually came to blogging with a bit of a tech background, which is different to many people. We’ve had others in this series who came with no technology kind of background whatsoever. Stefano has created a beautiful-looking blog with that background but he has some interesting reflections upon that journey which I will come back to at the end of his story, too, just pulled apart just a little bit. Here’s Stefano. Enjoy his story.
Stefano: Hi. This is Stefano Caioni, a landscape and outdoor photographer, living in Sydney, Australia. My website is called Stefano Caioni Photography and you can find it at www.stefanocaioni.com. I’m Italian as you can hear from my strong accent. Sorry for that.
I write gear reviews on Micro Four Thirds cameras, drones, lenses, and camera equipment such as bags, filters, and tripods. I write tips on how to get better landscape photos. I also share my outdoor adventures and tips on how to organize photography travels.
I’m a web developer by profession and I started my blog as a personal coding exercise a little over a year ago in May 2017. In fact, the first version of my blog wasn’t built on WordPress but I wrote the code of the entire blog from scratch. The HTML, the CSS, the backend, everything. It had basic functionalities such as writing posts, with text and images, a rudimental search, and comments. I started writing articles and my website started to take form. What I’d soon realized while I was writing my first posts is that it was so much fun and I enjoyed creating content even though it had no traffic at all.
I then decided to migrate my existing content over to WordPress for two reasons. One is because I could benefit from its SEO, from all the plugins available, and security functionalities. Second, because I didn’t have time to maintain the codebase of the entire website and I wanted to focus on writing content and share my adventures.
My initial idea was to only write about photography adventures and my travels. I was creating one very short article each month just for fun again. But article after article, I soon ran out of topics since I have a full-time job and I don’t travel that much. I got bored and wrote a first review of my own camera. From there, from fact, that would be the only gear review for an entire year. I wrote some short tutorials on how to get better landscape photography and I was being very inconsistent again. I didn’t have a strategy or a real business idea in mind. After a year of starting my blog, I was about to give up. I stopped uploading new content for a few months.
I then came across the ProBlogger podcast, started consuming content online, and eventually subscribed to problogger.com, which helped me a lot starting writing again, this time with a plan and with a business idea in mind. Currently, I’m in the middle of a personal challenge, which is writing an article a day for 30 days, to have a bit more content, and build the habit of writing on a consistent basis. I started monetizing my website with Amazon affiliate links.
When I started out stefanocaioni.com, I had no particular dreams of making money with it or to build a business around it, but now that I see some traffic coming through, I really hope that in 2019 it will keep growing and this website can become a source of passive income. I also plan of start creating video content to give something more to my readers.
I think that this year of blogging has been a bit of self-discovery. It made me realize not only then my passion for photography is greater than I thought, but also that writing useful content and helping other people getting inspired and gaining benefit from what I create is really awesome. Looking backwards, what’s really fun is that as a professional web developer, I’ve always been reluctant in using content management systems such as WordPress because I wanted to build everything myself. But now, I totally changed my mind and I want to build a business on top it because it’s so easy to use.
In this first year of blogging I obtained some small but amazing things. I was able to meet several professional photographers that have build an amazing online presence and I was able to interview one of them, Lauren Bath, which is a pretty popular name on Instagram and also an ambassador for Olympus cameras. She has an Instagram, almost half a million followers. I’m pretty proud of myself for being able to do an interview with her. The interview is obviously on my website, www.stefanocaioni.com. I hope I can interview other amazing photographers in 2019, to share their experiences, and inspire more and more people.
What I want to share with new bloggers is that blogging is not something that’s part of the past as many think and as I thought, too, before starting. Don’t hesitate and think that there are already millions of blogs out there because the number of internet users keeps growing everyday. Today, like never before, with 3.5 billion internet users. More fresh and updated content is needed to fulfill the growing need of information. The internet needs our content, so start a blog. Don’t be afraid.
Darren: Thanks so much, Stefano, for sharing your story today. I love the accent, I love the story, and I love particularly that someone from a tech kind of background, someone who was able to create his own blog using his own coding skills, actually ended up on WordPress, which is the platform that we recommend in our Start A Blog course.
He talks his story about the benefits of doing so. It is easier to maintain, it has some search engine optimization benefits, which allows you to rank a little bit higher in Google when people search Google more naturally. It has an amazing array of plugins available that can help you to add functionality to your site. It is more secure than coding your own unless you’re an amazing coder. It also gives you more control, I guess, than some of the other platforms as well, particularly when you install it on your own domain and your own servers.
All of that sounds really tough but you don’t need a tech background like Stefano to install the blog on your own domain and servers. Our course walks you through step-by-step that process. If you do want to be a part of that and start a blog, check out problogger.com/startablog. You do need to invest a little bit, not into the course itself, that’s free, but into your hosting and domains. But it isn’t the most expensive exercise in the world and it’s one most people can afford to do.
I also like Stefano’s story because he kind of started his blog twice, I guess. He started once where it kind of was a bit haphazard and his topic was quite narrow. He stopped for a while and then relaunched it essentially with a plan and a business idea in mind. I love that idea as well.
Starting with a plan is actually really important. That’s again, something that we cover in the teaching on ProBlogger as well. We believe that starting with a goal in mind is important, not just starting with kind of wide goals and not really knowing what to expect but actually starting with good foundations is an important thing.
I really love the idea of setting yourself a challenge. His challenge, if you heard it, was to write an article everyday for 30 days. Now, that may not be realistic for everyone but even three articles a week or one article a week, having that kind of a deadline in mind, to get your archives fuller, to have more content on there, every piece of content you write is a new doorway into your blog. It’s a new thing that could end up on the end of a Google search from someone or social media search. So building up your archives in the early days is important and also gets you into the habit of of writing content. Even if you don’t publish something everyday, writing something everyday or writing part of an article everyday is a really good, healthy writing habit to get into if you can.
Lastly, his kind of last message there that blogging isn’t part of the past, blogging isn’t dead, it’s not something for those of us who started in the early 2000s. It’s actually something that is worth investing time into today. Starting today, opportunities open up and Stefano’s opportunity is to meet people and to interview people are just some of the opportunities that can come to bloggers.
Monetization, of course, is part of it as well. That takes a little bit of time and you’ve got to get the foundations right first. You shouldn’t get into blogging expecting you’re going to be rich overnight. Money could come down the track but there’s a lot of joy to be had in creating content, connecting with the readers, and also opening up your networks as well.
Again, the internet needs our content. It was Stefano’s words and I truly believe in that as well. Your story, your experience, your voice is unique. There are so many blogs out there but your perspective is unique and I think the world needs to hear it as well.
If you are inspired to start a blog, check out our course at problogger.com/startablog. I challenge you to get it up and running. If you can be a part of our International Start A Blog Day on the seventh of February, then that’s fantastic. If it takes a little longer for you to get your blog up and running as it has many others who’ve gone through the course, that’s totally fine as well. We’d love to hear about your new blog and to celebrate it with you, and maybe next year to feature your story in our ProBlogger series.
Thanks so much, Stefano, for sharing your story today. You can find a link to his beautiful blog in our show notes today, as well as a full transcription of his story. You can find the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/274. Tune-in in the next day or two and we’ve got one more story in this series to come. Then we’ll be getting back into some different kind of podcast over the coming weeks and months. Thanks for listening. Chat soon.
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