Interview with Pauline Cabrera of TwelveSkip

Pauline CabreraYou may be familiar with Pauline Cabrera from her popular blog TwelveSkip. At TwelveSkip Pauline covers a variety of topics related to blogging, online business, and web design. She’s also a very active social media user with over 50,000 combined followers on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

TwelveSkip is one of my favorite blogs because of the helpful and practical content, and because it has a great, unique design that really stands out. I asked Pauline if she would be willing to answer a few questions for ProfitBlitz readers and she graciously agreed.

Pauline has a lot of knowledge and experience to share, and not just from her time working on TwelveSkip. When she was just a teenager she had a site for MySpace layouts that attracted around 250,000 visitors per day!

So now let’s move on to the interview and pick Pauline’s brain.

Connect with Pauline here: Blog | Google+ | Twitter | Facebook

Can you please tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started working online?

Everything was a hobby.

It all started with Myspace. I remember I was 15 at the time. The people who had cool layouts fascinated me. I was curious about how they did it, so I started reading tutorials and experimented myself. It got to the point where I became so addicted that I opened another Myspace account just for layout designs.

That account started to grow unexpectedly. I remember it had over 300,000 friends. Then one day, a major Myspace resource site asked me to work for him. He created a website for me where I would upload my Myspace layouts while he placed his ads on my website, then pay me around $300/week. It was crazy! I never thought I could earn online.

A few months later, one of my online buddies told me that if I created my own website, I would earn more. So I went for it.

And there you go. My website became one of the biggest Myspace layout resource sites.

Great things started to happen… and that’s when I discovered a lot of opportunities online.

At TwelveSkip you offer services for design and site maintenance. How do you feel the blog helps you to promote those services, and do you think offering services is a good monetization strategy that more bloggers should pursue?

TwelveSkip

Definitely. The blog helps a lot. I get most of my clients from it.

Honestly, offering services on my blog weren’t really part of the plan. I only wanted to earn off the ads, but I’ve been getting some inquiries and I felt that these could benefit me so I thought, why not?

If you can solve other people’s problems, then go for it. Your blog is where you can show off your skills and prove why they should hire you and thus, market your services. Aim to help people and provide value, then people will support you.

Just make sure that what you offer is relevant to your blog’s niche.

You have a large following at several different social networks. How do you manage to stay active at multiple social networks on top of everything else involved in running your business?

I’d say that using automation/auto-scheduling tools helps me to be more productive. They save me several hours a week. I currently use Hootsuite, FriendMe, IFTTT and Viraltag. I also get help from my virtual assistant on some social networks.

Do you have a particular social network that is your favorite right now?

I love them all! Well, my most favorite right now would have to be Google+ because a lot of people in my industry are active there and they actually interact with you. It’s where I also curate content the most. Next is Twitter, then Facebook.

What are the main methods/techniques that you use to build traffic for your sites and blogs?

I used to rely on SEO a lot until Google Panda and Penguin came. I had to change my technique.

Right now, I try to focus on small niches, and then…

  • I create content that my audience cares about in a consistent basis – I don’t want people to forget me!
  • I try to optimize every post for the search engines as well. I use SEO tools like SEMRush for finding keywords and Google Analytics to track what’s trending on my site.
  • I start promoting them across several social networks.
  • I also promote my content on some social sharing sites like Triberr and ViralContentBuzz. Plus, I manage a group on Facebook called “Awesome Bloggers”, it’s a group for bloggers where they can share each other’s content on social media.
  • I make every post shareable on social media by creating graphics, and by adding social sharing buttons.
  • I try to make time to network every week, either by starting a conversation, leaving comments on other people’s blog, or by simply sharing their content.

So my tips for you: Find your niche. Create strong content consistently to make people come back for more and, of course, make the search engines love you as well. Everyone loves fresh content. And oh, be everywhere!

At your blog you use a lot of unique graphics that really help your content to stand out, especially when shared via social media. Do you have any tips or resources to suggest for other bloggers who may not have your level of experience or skill with design?

Start with reading tutorials, play around, experiment, and then buy the right tools. Keep looking for inspiration. Do it consistently until you figure out what looks good and what doesn’t. That’s how I learned.

Pay attention to other people’s graphics; look at the details, the pictures they use, the colors, the spacing, elements, etc.

I currently use Photoshop CS4. I believe you can rent the latest version for around $10 a month. If you’d like to create a quick good-looking graphic, I recommend Canva. For inspirations, use Pinterest, Visual.ly or Google search.

If you have a budget, hire a designer to do it for you. I used to go on Odesk and Fiverr.

For someone who has a limited amount of time to work on their blog, how would you recommend that they allocate their time for writing new posts, using social media, promoting their posts, and networking?

Use a planner. Set goals, and organize your schedule. Focus on one thing at a time. Use tools to automate or schedule your social media posts if you can.

One of your successful websites was based on a trendy topic (at the time), MySpace. After that experience how do you feel about pursuing opportunities in industries that have a lot of potential but maybe only for a limited amount of time?

After the death of my first website, I was seriously on the verge of giving up! I had no clue of what my next move would be. I told myself, “Wow, everything is gone already?”

In fact, I had to work in a restaurant and at some agency (as a web designer) at the same time.

It was tough. I didn’t like my schedule. I didn’t like the pay. I was literally working around 40-50 hours a week and I wasn’t satisfied. That’s when I realized that working for other people wasn’t what I wanted.

I guess I got used to what I was earning from my first site, and I didn’t want anyone controlling my time (ha!). Plus, it was always my dream to have my own business.

While I was working for other people, I was still building websites but I wasn’t focused. During my spare time, I kept on experimenting, doing research and creating different kind of websites until one of them began to grow. That was when it started to feel like everything was on track again.

So when I started earning money, I built more sites and even hired people to help me. I also got into the blogging scene, and then TwelveSkip was born.

Do you have any plans for the future or upcoming projects that you’d like to share with us?

I’m working on two sites that offers WordPress themes for bloggers. One for women, the other one for both genders :-) Hopefully I get it done before the end of the year!

Connect with Pauline here: Blog | Google+ | Twitter | Facebook

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Comments

  1. says

    Hello Marc,

    I always get excited whenever I see or read an interview. It really is the best way to bring out the best of famous personalities to the world. Though the renowned bloggers are well known but asking some burning questions always helps. Any post with an interview not only helps new bloggers but also the experts too.

    Thank you Marc for this wonderful interview article. It really has helped me a lot. Have a good day friend.

    Regards,
    Sanjay……

    • says

      Hi Sanjay,
      Thanks for your feedback. I agree, interviews are a great way to get a little bit of insight from successful people. Pauline is a great example, and I’m that this interview helped you!

  2. says

    Hey Marc,

    I’ve never had the pleasure of conversing with Pauline, but I certainly know of her (and I believe I’ve linked to her at least once on Be A Better Blogger).

    Very neat to learn more about her (a hit MySpace resource site at 15!?) and how she goes about doing things at TwelveSkip. I liked the questions you asked — very informative.

    I’ll be Tweeting this one very shortly!

    Hope you have a great weekend, Marc. And Pauline, if you read this, hope you have a great weekend, too!

    • says

      Thanks for your comment Kevin. I know, at 15 I was more interested in playing video games than doing anything productive. Young entrepreneurs are definitely inspiring. I didn’t work full-time in my own business until I was 30 and when I look back at my 20’s I wonder how much farther along I would be if I had started earlier.

      You have a great weekend too!

  3. says

    Pauline is such a powerhouse, isn’t she, Mark?

    How did you get into blogging? Do you work elsewhere or just here? I’d love to get to know you better. It’s so fun to hear the stories of other bloggers.

    • says

      Hi Brittany,
      Thanks for your comment. Are you asking about me or Pauline? If you’re asking about me, I got started blogging in 2007 as a way to get traffic to a site where I offered web design services for small businesses. Things just kind of took off from there. At the moment I have 4 sites that take up the majority of my time, ProfitBlitz is just kind of a part-time thing for now because my other projects require the majority of my time.

  4. says

    Hi Marc,
    Its pretty interesting to see what Pauline Cabrera brings to the blogging community. I would say that she offers a lot and this is reflecting in her blog TwelveSkip.com. Before now, I never know her but after going through her thoughts in this interview and the tutorials on her blog I would love to build a relationship with her.

    My best takeaway in this interview is her response on tips to other bloggers

    Start with reading tutorials, play around, experiment, and then buy the right tools. Keep looking for inspiration. Do it consistently until you figure out what looks good and what doesn’t. That’s how I learned.

    A very inspiring Interview for newbie and experience bloggers!

    This post was found in kingged.com where it was shared and upvoted.

    • says

      Hi Sunday,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear that this interview introduced you to Pauline and TwelveSkip. It’s definitely a blog worth following.

  5. says

    Hey Mark,

    Top notch writing! I came across Pauline by accident few years back and she been blogging REALLY good!

    I learned a lot from her especially from her Awesome Bloggers group on Facebook.

    Thanks for sharing this and appreciate it!

    • says

      Reginald,
      Thanks for your feedback. That’s great that you have been able to get a lot out of Pauline’s Facebook group. I had never heard of the group before this interview, so I may have to check it out.

  6. says

    Hi Marc and Pauline,

    I see Pauline popping up here and there again and again. She runs a rocking Community on Google Plus and hey, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at. Well done.

    I dig her tool usage because I’ve personally experienced the difference between going manual and using tools. I can’t travel as much as I do without going the tool route.

    Whether I’m flying to Fiji or busing through Costa Rica tools like Hootsuite Pro help me automate while I’m on the road, or 16 time zones ahead of my target marketer in the Eastern US.As long as you engage frequently, chatting people up, feel free to use tools to get the job done. To have a life, you should automate some of the time.

    I also like her experimenting advice. I’m not a design guy but simply toying with layouts, or different post titles, or with different calls to action creates a secret sauce which promotes your success. Test, tweak and continually improve to rake in traffic and to expand your business.

    Love the interview. Pauline has awesome energy, and she’s a kind, generous person.

    Thanks for sharing Marc.

    Tweeting through Triberr.

    Ryan

    • says

      Hi Ryan,
      Thanks for your comment. Your description of Pauline is right on. I haven’t known her all that long, but she is very approachable and I’m sure that is a big part of her success at building a large following.

      Finding a system of automation that works for you is a great way to save time. Everyone’s approach is a little different. Hootsuite is the tool that I use the most myself.

  7. says

    Hi Marc Andre,

    Very nice and interesting interview of Pauline. No doubt she is the paragon of blogging. She really works very efficiently and diligently she really deserves for what she gets. I have visited her blog many times and found it very informative and helpful specially for the newbies.

    • says

      Muhammad,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad to hear that you have visited Pauline’s blog a number of times in the past. Like you said, it’s definitely an informative blog that I would recommend to others.

  8. says

    Hello Marc,

    This is my first time hearing Twelveskip to be honest with so I quickly rushed to her blog and to my outmost surprise, she has done and continues doing some great works there.

    Because a blog with 11k alexa is no joke at all. Thanks a lot for bringing us this lovely interview. I have learnt my lessons from it.

    Thanks and do have a great week.

  9. says

    Hi Marc,

    I have never came across Pauline and TwelveSkip before. I will stop there as soon as I’m finished this comment!

    Whenever I read about young entrepreneurs I get so inspired. My thinking was so far from having my own business at 15. Bring on the sports and video games!

    It’s always good to learn about other bloggers and their achievements. Pauline shares some valuable advice and offers some great tips to take our blogs to another level!

    I hope you had a great weekend Marc and Pauline!

    • says

      Hi Steven,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m with you, the young entrepreneur definitely didn’t describe me either.

      I think you’ll like what you see when you visit TwelveSkip.

  10. says

    Hi Marc,

    I just want to say thanks again. Hopefully my story will inspire people to never give up what makes them happy, no matter what obstacles come the way :)

    PS: I’m glad to have an online friend like you. Stay awesome!

  11. says

    Hi Admin
    It’s really Nice interview with Pauline Cabrera ! I must say, This Interview is really inspirational for young Blogger ! There are many Bloggers! Those are young & so crazy for Blogging but their do commit some mistakes in Blogging & Pauline Cabrera gave all question’s great answer ! So we all need to learn something from Pauline Cabrera !

  12. says

    I love reading blogger interviews as it always highlights new bloggers to follow, plus tells you a little bit more about the person and not just the blog!

    I have not followed Pauline before, but it sounds like she is really rocking it, and definitely someone to be keeping an eye on.

    It just goes to show what can be accomplished if you put your mind to it!

    • says

      Hi Catherine,
      I agree, I always enjoy reading interviews. It’s nice to get to know more about the person and to pick up some tips.

      Yes, Pauline is definitely someone to watch!

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