Gnarly Parts and Accessories is an online seller of dirt bike parts. The company was founded in 1999 by Dave Chow, who happens to be my younger brother. Over the years, Dave has managed to grow Gnarly Parts from a business ran out of our dad’s garage into a business that grossed over $400,000 in 2008.
Today, Gnarly Parts is ran out of a Dave’s house in Chilliwack. Dave purchased the house last year as a fixer upper. The previous owner was building a 1,000 square foot addition but passed away before finishing. Dave turned that addition into the retail and warehouse area for Gnarly Parts. The commute from home to office is just down the hall.
While my brother is not a blogger, we can still learn many things from his online business and apply them to our blogging business.
Be Passionate About What You Do
Much of Gnarly Parts success stems from Dave’s passion for dirt bike riding. He’s out on the trails every weekend. He moved his family to Chilliwack so he wouldn’t have to drive so far to get to the trails. They’re practically in his backyard now. He races in and sponsors many dirt bike events. All Gnarly Parts employees are dirt bike enthusiasts and ride with the boss on weekends.
I have always said you should blog on a topic that you’re passionate about if you want to make it big as a blogger. If you’re not passionate about your topic, you won’t stick around long enough to see the fruits of your labor. As you can see, passion applies to all business and not just blogging. If you really love what you do, it will show through and people will want to do business with you.
Know Your Market Inside Out
This actually ties in with passion. If you’re passionate about your product (or topics), you will go through great lengths to learn everything there is to know about it. Dave reads all the trade mags, attends the dealer trade shows, knows the current standings in the world dirt bike championship, etc. Gnarly Parts is a success because Dave knows his market and his products inside out.
As a blogger, you need to know your topic inside out. One of the main reasons people will come to read your blog is because you know the stuff you’re blogging about. If you’re not passionate about your topics, you’re going to take short cuts in research and learning because it feels too much like work. If you don’t want your blog to feel like work, then pick a topic that you have a passion for and knowledge of.
Build The Relationship
Much of Gnarly Parts sales come from repeat customers and word of mouth. In business, relationship with the customers is extremely important. In blogging, relationship with your readers is just as important.
You will go a long way by thinking of your blog as a business and your readers as customers. The better your serve your customers, the more likely they will buy from you again and recommend you to their friends.
Too many blogger fall into the Google trap. They depend on Google for most of their traffic and write their posts to please the Google bot. The only problem is, a post written for the bot is almost unreadable for humans. Build that relationship with your readers and write for them, not Google.
Maximize Revenue From Your Traffic
The Gnarly Parts site gets about 2,000 page views per day. That’s not a lot of traffic. However, it’s targeted traffic. All the visitors are dirt bike enthusiasts and because of that, the site generates over $400,000 in sales.
Getting targeted traffic is great but it’s only half the battle. What’s more important is maximizing the revenue from that traffic. If Gnarly Parts was a blog running Google AdSense, those 2,000 page views would barely make $5 a day. As an online store selling its own products, it makes a ton more.
As a money making blogger, you should always try to maximize the revenue you’re getting per page view. Start thinking outside the box. Too many bloggers get stuck in the advertising trap because they think advertising is the only way a blog makes money. I’ve lost count on the number of blogs I’ve seen running Google AdSense and nothing else. And they wonder why they’re not making any money by blogging.
There are tons of methods for a blog to make money that are more effective than just advertising. Things like affiliate referrals and selling your own products can be far more lucrative than just running Google ads.