We’re back with another edition of Behind the Blog. This edition is featuring Erin E Flynn. Erin is a web developer and consultant based near Aspen, Colorado. She blogs at her self titled website Erin E Flynn and gives business advice for web designers. I have been a reader of Erin’s blog for a long time now, and I always find her posts so interesting and valuable.
Erin’s tips have helped me a lot in my transition into full time freelancing, and I learn something new every time I visit her blog. You can tell when reading Erin’s content that she puts a lot of time and effort into writing her content for her readers, and providing valuable information that will really help them. Erin has also been a featured writer on The Freedom to Freelance Project, the blog of another one of our featured bloggers on Behind the Blog, Leah Kalamakis.
Erin also runs a community called The Unstoppable Design and Dev Crew for designers and developers. Signing up for the crew subscribes you to Erin’s newsletter – which provides valuable content (beyond her regular blog content) on a consistent basis. There is also an Unstoppable Design and Dev Crew Facebook group for designers and developers to come together to learn and collaborate. Here are a few fun facts about Erin and her answers to some key blogging questions.
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Cats or dogs: Cats
WordPress or blogger or Squarespace: WordPress
Summer or Winter: Autumn
Pen or keyboard: Pen
Sweet or savoury: Savory
Morning or night: Night
Serif or sans: Sans
Indoors or out: Outdoors
Apple or Android: Android
What inspired you to start your blog?
What obstacles did you face in the beginning?
I’ve been blogging in some form since 1999. The biggest obstacle back then was just being online–we didn’t have CMS like we do now that allowed you to easily post without coding.This blog iteration started when I started my business, in 2012. The biggest obstacle was figuring out what to blog about and how to reach my audience. It took a few years and finding the right groove.
How did you come up with your blog name?
What’s the meaning behind it?
I am SUPER original and used my name for my blog and business name. So nothing super exciting there. I’ve tried a few different and more creative names over the years and always felt I outgrew them. Sticking with my name has been easier.
What is your daily blogging routine and how do you stay productive?
How many hours a week do you spend on your blog?
I only post once a week on my blog. Although things have been sporadic this past year (I ended up moving, renovating a house, and moving again) I try my best to stick to that schedule. Each post takes about an hour to write, but depending on the topic I may spend a few hours researching first. This coming year I’ll be doing a lot more video blogging, so I’m expecting my editing time to go up a lot, but I’m looking forward to it!
Are you the only one who works on your blog or do you have help?
If yes, how long were you working alone before you brought on help?
It’s just me!
Was there a blog or blogger you looked up to when starting out?
How did they inspire you and your blog/brand?
I didn’t have a specific role model or anything when I started (blogging has seriously just been something I’ve grown up doing), but Sarah of xoSarah
and Katie of Designer Guidebook
and I started our businesses around the same time, so it’s been fun to see where we’ve all taken our businesses and diverged from each other as we’ve grown (we all used to offer just web design!).
Are there any blogs you read regularly?
Why do you like them?
I’m a big fan of By Regina
, and Paul Jarvis
. These entrepreneurs are constantly putting out killer content and aren’t afraid to tell the truth and cut the fluff. I find it really refreshing and always learn something new.
What do you wish someone had told you on your first day of blogging?
What advice would you give someone else on their first day?
Figure out who you are before trying to blog for other people. I made the mistake of trying to please others, and blogging became a drag. You have to WANT to write on your blog or it’ll suck your creativity.
If you had $1000 to start from scratch today what would you spend the money on?
What have you spent money on that wasn’t worth the investment?
I’d get my current setup: WordPress
on a great host (I like LiquidWeb
they also have managed WP hosting
), a premium theme (StudioPress
), and ConvertKit
to grow my list.
I spent waaay too much money on courses over the years. Just START. Figure out what works for you and how you want to reach your audience. A course might have good ideas, but you have to find what works for you. Forcing yourself to follow someone else’s posting plan can drive you nuts. Start posting, then tweak as needed.
What’s the one thing you’ve done that has increased your traffic the most?
What have you wasted time on with the least reward?
Pinterest is my biggest source of traffic. I’ve been recently learning about Pinterest marketing, but even before that, Pinterest has been a huge source for me. So making images really pinnable and attractive is key!
I have never had luck with Facebook. I’ve tried for years, everything from my personal news feed to a page, to ads, and nada. I’ve wasted a lot of time and money on FB and just can’t make it convert well.
When did you realize your blog was a success?
What was the turning point?
I’ve hit minor “successes” throughout the past 16 years with my blogging journey, including a few “viral” posts and thousands of followers (mostly back in my LiveJournal days). But I’d say the thing that really made me feel successful was the first time I got an email from someone thanking me for sharing information and telling me they found my posts useful and went through all my archives reading everything. To know that someone found that much value in what I share felt incredible. I don’t need a million followers, I just need to help a few people. If I can do that, I consider my blog a success.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Erin for participating in my Behind the Blog series and for inspiring me everyday with her amazing content. Don’t forget to visit her website, and if you’re a designer or developer – sign up for her community and join her Facebook group.
What other questions would you like to see posed on Behind the Blog? I’m always open for suggestion!
This post contains affiliate links. By clicking through and making a purchase Erin receives a small commission, because who doesn’t love a little extra income here and there, right?