How To Start A Successful Blog: John Hunter’s Success Story

online success story

Please introduce yourself to the Successful Blogging team, John.

Hello, I am John Hunter and I am writing from Johor Bahru, Malaysia; out my window I look across the water to Singapore. I have lived in Malaysia for the last few years, and taking the opportunity to travel around SE Asia. I have published online since 1995 on topics of interest to me, including: management, photography, engineering, investing, software development and travel.

My website provides a review of the highlights of my professional life.

Thanks! Now, let’s get personal! What do you do for work and play?

I quit my normal job before moving to Malaysia; no more 5 days a week in office working for someone else. Now I work online, present management seminars, travel and keep up a collection of web sites and blogs. I published a book last year – Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability.

I am happy when hiking, eating great food, visiting amazing places (national parks, old temples, interesting cities), learning (about the various topics I write about on my blogs) and playing basketball.

Tell the Successful Blogging Team about your blogs.

I have quite a few blogs. Even when I started I had several; for different topics that interested me. Those original blogs remain my most popular, I have continually updated them for 10 years: Curious Cat Management Blog, Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog and Curious Cat Investing and Economics blog.

My most recent blog will quickly become one of my most popular, I think: Curious Cat Travel Destinations Blog. I have several blogs and web sites related to travel. I decided I needed a global travel blog to compliment the existing sites and blogs. I have added blogs over time as I find I can't find an appropriate blog to add posts that I want to write.

What are the three most popular posts ever on your blog?

I'll give one each from the first three blogs: Awesome Cat Camera (2007), Top 10 Countries for Manufacturing Production in 2010: China, USA, Japan, Germany… (2011). How to Get a New Management Strategy, Tool or Concept Adopted (2010). The science and engineering blog will occasionally have posts get huge traction (and it happens often repeatedly over the years for the same posts) so it probably has the top 10 most popular posts from my blogs.

How often do you update your blog?

I update blogs nearly daily. I schedule posts so even if I don't write every day posts will go live nearly that often. For my most popular blogs I will add a new post about weekly and less than once a month for some.

Where do most of your readers come from? Google search? Social media? Other sites?

Google search is still the top source but it doesn't account for most by itself (even all search together isn't 50%). Visitors from social media are growing and have been for a couple of years. Direct visitors account for a large number. Visitors from other sites are also significant. Also, many readers browse posts via RSS readers, I believe.

I’d love to hear more about your blogging successes so far. What kind of good things have come to you from blogging? Please tell us your blogging success story.

The two results I am most happy with are learning and connecting with others. I really have been surprised how much I have learned. The act of frequently writing about my interests makes me consider my thoughts much more fully. And I find myself looking for more information on topics, which I likely would have not done unless I were writing a blog post. And this has been very enjoyable and rewarding.

Finding a community of like-minded people to share ideas with and explore has been another great result. This has happened primarily with my management blog, the connections in other areas have been fairly weak (though a bit more in travel and it may be growing).

I believe blogging can be very valuable for building your network, though that is hard to quantify. I have had several business opportunities that likely would have been less likely without the blogs. At gatherings (largely of management and start-up/entrepreneurship) I am often introduced as the author of Curious Cat blogs, or I have people introduce themselves and say they have been a fan for a long time.

People really do connect to blogs that have a strong point of view. Many are reading your thoughts weekly, for years. That can create feeling of connection, and a real connection. I would encourage people to comment on blog, that can really increase that connection. And of course, meeting in person is a much richer dynamic, but that is limited to a much more limited number of people.

So, John, what do you think are the smart habits effective bloggers should develop?

I think writing about what you care about it important. That isn't really a habit but a guide to use.

Then I think smart habit are posting fairly often (say weekly or so) is good, though it isn't right for everybody. Just getting yourself to write and post is good. If you post frequently that lets you gain experience which is very worthwhile. But I think posting often is very difficult if you are not very interested in the topic you are writing about.

Another good habit is to read others blogs in your field and comment on them.

Where can people find out more about you? Is there anything else you’d like to share?

My personal site, johnhunter.com, has more information and links to my various sites and blogs. I also have a page to link to my various social sites: Twitter, Reddit, etc.. I recently added a RSS feed for all of my blogs in one feed.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi John and Sue Anne,

    Vibing heavily with your advice, to write about what you care about.

    Follow your passion. I love travel, and I love writing blog posts and eBooks, so I teach folks how to become pro blogging island hoppers. Perfect fit. Getting to that point took some clarity finding, and some soul searching, but it was well worth it.

    Hey, you’re a Malaysia guy so with your lifestyle and travel blogging view, you could probably appreciate blogging from paradise because you do blog from paradise 😉

    I do what makes me sing, blogging-wise and life-wise, and leave other stuff behind.

    Some bloggers try to force out posts but really, if this is the case, you’re doing it wrong. Trash your blog, and heck, trash your brand, if you don’t care much about it because you’re wasting your time. Focus instead on feeling amazing, and on writing about a topic you’re passionate about, and success will find you.

    Thanks so much guys.

    Tweeting through Triberr.

    Ryan

    • says

      You are so lucky that you discovered this secret to life so young, Ryan. “I do what makes me sing..and leave other stuff behind” is the best advice I’ve read in a long time!

      Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
      Sue

  2. says

    Thanks I agree. I see you have been many of the locations I have been and more importantly the places I plan on going to in a trial nomad setup. I might check with you on some logistics suggestion on the digital nomad process. There is lots of advice out there but still a few areas still seem a bit unclear to me. I posted about some of the questions I am trying to clear up (it wouldn’t let me put in the link – blog.curious-cat-travel.net/2014/09/going-nomad-in-se-asia/ )Enjoy yourself. It really is quite a nice setup a few of us have taken advantage of 🙂
    John Hunter recently posted…If You Visit Kuching Eat at Tribal StoveMy Profile

  3. says

    Fascinating to see all the other people here in SE Asia that do this. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bump into people like John on the streets one of these days 😀

    Thanks for the great interview Sue
    Dennis Seymour recently posted…Dos and Don’ts of Link BuildingMy Profile

    • says

      You are most welcome, Dennis. Let us know if you two meet up!

      Thanks for commenting,
      Sue

    • says

      It is great to see all the people doing great things in SE Asia. I am active in several hacker/startup groups in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. And I plan on checking in on local groups during my nomadic travels. I am not sure I am going to make it to Philippines in the next 6 months (which is where I am guessing you are based on the website).
      John Hunter recently posted…Chart of Global Wind Energy Capacity by Country 2005 to 2013My Profile

  4. says

    Hi Sue Anne,

    I found you on Nisha’s post where we were both listed among other bloggers.

    This is a great interview with John Hunter. I can see that John is living the life style of a successful blogger, going beyond blogging, and creating a fantastic life!

    John, the biggest take-away I have from this interview that resonates with me the most is when you talk about the good habits of blogging.

    Indeed, we must love what we write about, giving the best content we can for others. I also am a fan of comments. We need to answer each and every comment on our blog. And Reciprocation: When someone comments on our blog, a good habit is to go to theirs, leave the best comment we can and share it on social media. It is not only polite and ethical, but it is beneficial to the blogger.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have received readership on my blog just because I left a good comment on someone’s blog. People do read comment 🙂

    Thank you both for a wonderful post,

    -Donna
    donna merrill recently posted…List Building With Social MediaMy Profile

  5. says

    Thanks for your comment. When you write about things that interest you, you will be interested in the on-topic comments. And you will likely be interested in the blogs of those commenting. I definitely find blogs to follow and comment on from the comments left on my blogs.
    John Hunter recently posted…Floating Down River in Yangshuo, China on a Bamboo RaftMy Profile

  6. Jen says

    Great story — some days I feel like I want to quit my job and move overseas to blog. It seems like Malaysia would be a good place to do that with cheap cost of living. I like the idea of running several blogs for different interests. I often start blogs that have too many topics going on…

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