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Candy From The Blogging Mentor


Annabel at Stonehenge

Want the location independent lifestyle? Want to turn your blog into a business? Don’t go anywhere. Annabel is here to help you. Get to know her now.

Who: Annabel Candy

What: Successful Blogging and Get In The Hot Spot
          Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve lived in eight countries and I explored many more before moving to the Sunshine Coast in Australia. I was born in the UK and have British and New Zealand passports which is handy.

When I’m not writing, designing websites or reading look out for me power-walking at sunrise on Sunrise Beach (really!), hiking to a waterfall or stand up paddle-boarding with the family.
I started my
travel blog Get In the Hot Spot about two years ago and made just about every mistake possible but I persevered and it’s paying off now.

Although I usually combine business with pleasure I recently divided my budding blogging empire creating Successful Blogging to share my blogging tips.

2. What prompted you to start blogging?

I was a web copywriter in New Zealand but I never had to put my name to my writing. I never dared call myself a writer. But I wanted to write more and do more creative writing so I started blogging in 2006 and my first blog post boldly declared that I was going to: “overcome my fear of being read, my fear that my writing would be judged.”

I never wrote a blog post for three years.

I’m glad I gave it another go and stuck with it second time round. My writing has improved, I’m a more confident writer these days and a happier person.


The Candy Family at Mt Coolum

3. You are often sponsored when attending conferences, dinners etc. How do the sponsorships come about? Do you or the companies usually make the first approach?

I was recently sponsored to go to the Problogger conference in Melbourne but that was the first time it has happened. The company, The Tailor, a luxury travel agent contacted me after hearing about my blog and were keen to start working with me.

That’s probably quite unusual. I recommend bloggers seeking sponsorship decide what they want and then actively approach people to get it. I’ll be doing that to help line up some dream trips I’m planning.

4.  In your ebook, Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps, you talk about the bigger picture of blogging. How do you define this?

For me that’s keeping an eye on your goal , knowing exactly who your target readers or clients are and making sure you bear them in mind every time you update your blog. It’s so easy to get carried away with the details, confused by the technology or distracted by other social media outposts like Twitter or Facebook. If you’re clear about why you’re blogging and what you want to gain from it then you become more focused on the big picture and less distracted by the smaller, less important things.


Annabel at the beach

5. What do you think is the unique selling point for each of your blogs?

On any blog which is owned and operated by one person the USP is the blogger themselves. You are unique, your readers want to get to know you better and bloggers need to be aware of that and leverage it. It’s hard to find your voice at first and share personal stories but it’s crucial to blogging success. It gets easier the more you practice and the more positive feedback you get from your readers.

Successful Blogging is unique because it offers blogging tips for non-techies. It’s for writers and small business owners like me who aren’t that tech savvy. Even though I have an MA in Design for Interactive Media and 16 years experience in the field I’m not a techie so I know how confusing computers and the internet can be. I focus on providing only the essential information, demystifying blogging and motivating people to just get started. When you’ve been using the internet for ages you get used to it but we bloggers need to remember that ever y day there are thousands of brand new users just finding their way round.

Get In the Hot Spot combines my love of travel, writing and personal development. I’ve been lucky to achieve many of my life dreams and have decades of travel under my belt. Now I want my travel stories to leave people feeling inspired and motivated to set off on their own adventures.

6. Has the Start Here page made a significant impact on your blog’s bounce rate, number of pages viewed and other measures?

Oooh, that’s a great question Caylie. Being non-techie I don’t track that stuff but it is one of the most visited pages on Get In the Hot Spot. My background has always been user-friendly design and I noticed many blogs don’t have a clear navigation system. There may be a lot of great information but it’s often hard to find it on some blogs. That’s why I have clear categories on my blog and the start here page for new readers. It gives them an idea of the kind of stories they can find without overwhelming them.


Annabel in Antigua

7. You don’t have dates published on your posts. Why is that?

Because people don’t like reading old news and most of my posts are timeless classics.

8. Commenting on other blogs is essential for networking. Do you maintain a schedule for your commenting?

No. I’m not that disciplined but I do spend a lot of time reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. Often what they write will inspire me to come up with blog posts of my own but more importantly it’s a great way to network with other bloggers.


Annabel and Mucho Man

9. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned blogging?

I had my own web design business in New Zealand for 10 years and could never get a job unless I met the client face to face. I hid behind my corporate logo and never shared my personal story. But blogging has helped me get clients all over the world because my writing resonated with people. It built trust and made them want to work with me not because of my qualifications and work experience but because of the personal experiences I shared.

That’s a profound lesson and one I wish I’d learnt sooner about how important it is to be yourself, to not be ashamed of who you are but to embrace and celebrate your unique way of being. Most people don’t judge you for it. They love it.

10. What is your favourite blog (besides Get In The Hot Spot and Successful Blogging)?

I could never pick one favourite blog. To begin with I was inspired by big bloggers like Darren Rowse and Leo Babauta. I have huge respect Penelope Trunk who is an incredibly brave personal writer. She shares everything, makes it useful to hear readers and ignores her critics so I try to learn from that.

These days I read hundreds of blogs and also love reading blogs by bloggers I first met online and later in person including Nikki at Styling You, Caz at YTravel Blog and Jen at Everyday Bright.


Annabel and the Candy kids

11. In the spirit of Get In The Hot Spot which country do you want to visit next?

Oh, do I have to pick just one?! I’ll go for Tanzania. I haven’t been there before but I love African culture, music and textiles. We were lucky to spend 18 months in the jungles of Costa Rica surrounded by toucans, sloths and monkeys but now I’m keen to go on an African safari with the Candy kids. Fingers crossed!

Thank you Annabel for sharing your tips, knowledge and experience with Better Business, Better Life!

To contact Annabel follow her on Twitter at @bloggingmentor and @getinthehotspot.

Now it’s your turn. What has blogging done for you?

4 Responses to Candy From The Blogging Mentor

  1. Hi Caylie,

    Thanks so much for interviewing me and for putting this all together with the lovely pics. I feel as if I’d just got back from my hols after seeing this:)

    I do have a pretty jammy lifestyle but anyone can do it if you put your mind to it and are prepared to make a few sacrifices:)

    Wishing you all the best with everything you do and looking forward to watching you, your blog and your business grow and evolve:)

  2. THe best thing about blogging is that you meet all sorts of folk from all walks of life, just by sitting at your keyboard… everyday!!! Thanks for the fab interview and for the chance to get to Know Annabel Candy just a little better!!!

  3. Annabel, it was a pleasure and I’m so honoured to be getting to know you. You are definitely a mentor to me! Thank you!

    Se7en, thank you so much for your comment! What a lovely blog you have. I love the pictures of the kids on your ‘About Page’ and how you have a weekly blogging rhythm. Will definitely be checking out your blog further.

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