Brian Belfitt (Bet you didn’t know that was his last name!) is the founder of Blog Engage one of the premiere social networks for bloggers on the web. He recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer some interview questions for info carnivore.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Background, where you live, what motivates you? What inspires you?
“My name is Brian Belfitt, I’m 30 years of age and live in Northern Ontario. I’m a graduate of Canadore College 3 Year Business Administration Marketing. I enjoy a challenge in life as well as in my career. Opportunity inspires me, the chance of success in everything we do in life motivates me to continue on my path and push harder to succeed.”
How did you come up with the concept for Blog Engage and how long has it been around?
“Blog Engage has been around now for almost three years. I would like to say I had this amazing and great idea but in all honesty I lucked into coming up with the idea. This wasn’t my first website; I had others but it was however the first website that required a community. When I first started Blog Engage I didn’t even know what a blog was. It wasn’t until after I started the Blog Engage community that I myself started blogging. I knew if I was to earn the respect of my fellow blogger I would have to join in the fun and create a few myself.”
What is the best piece of blogging advice you could offer someone?
“Don’t give up on your goals or dreams because of what other people say. Overcome the fear of blogging and engage with other bloggers. Once you believe in yourself the rest will fall into place. Be consistent and dedicated to what you believe in. Take constructive criticism and try to improve your blogging habits every day.”
The recent Blog Engage Blogging Contest, tell us a little about this experience.
“We had two Guest Blogging contests to date with a total of 2200 USD in Cash given away. We don’t mess around when it comes to our contests. I don’t like non cash prizes so I don’t offer anything but cold chard cash for our members. Our sponsors are key to our success and make it happen with cash sponsorships. We’ve had such a great turn out with over 30 unique articles from 30 different bloggers.
Keep an ear open for our year long blogging contest. It starts ASAP and has cash prizes of 3000 USD. First place will be awarded 1000 USD which in my opinion is one of the greatest blogging contests on the net. All our members are welcomed to join you simply have to start blogging on our community blog for your chance to win.”
How did you go about finding the sponsors, and encouraging them to get involved?
“Well the sponsors were referred to me from a great friend over Gerald. He’s the reason I got into contact with the majority of these sponsors and I thank him so much for the help. I have also gotten a lot of sponsors from the members at Blog Engage and I also thank them for everything they have given us.”
Now that the first contest is over, how do you think you can remain unbiased as a judge in future contests?
“So far I’m the only judge and this is for both the first and second contest. I like doing it this way; it’s fast and easy. I thought it would had been a lot of work but it’s really not. A few hours on each weekend leading up to the contest gives me ample time to review the articles and determine the winners.”
As the owner of a social network for bloggers you find yourself in a unique position with a view over a portion of the blogosphere, since you likely see many bloggers start and drop off, what do you think is the number one mentality or roadblock that causes bloggers to give up?
“If I was to pick the main issue it would be the lack of money that people make compared to what they thought they were going to make. I’m sure many people get into blogging to create a second stream of income into their home. The sudden realization that it’s not as easy as we make it out to be creates a negative effect and they simply stop blogging.
I also think many people don’t see the creativity aspect of blogging. Coming up with unique and interesting things to blog about is not easy and many people under estimate this reality. Blogging is hard and if you don’t have some writing creativity there’s a good chance you’re going to fail.”
What is your next goal for Blog Engage? What does the future hold?
“Right now I’m going to focus on our community blog and try to get more people guest blogging and joining our contest. This year for 2011 were going to be giving away more than 6000 USD in contests so there’s no reason people shouldn’t be joining us and blogging. I want to focus on building the community aspect of our website. I want bloggers to engage with one another and more importantly build on their relationships.
One of the greatest advantages about blog engage is you get to meet sincere bloggers like you and me that want to help one another and aren’t simply there to promote their selves. You see a lot of this greedy behavior in the blogosphere and little or none of this happens at Blog Engage. The reality of it is Blog Engage is a community of real people, real bloggers that have families, kids and jobs.
I’m also looking into launching the Google Adsense Sharing Program. We’ve had some issues in the past and Google banned the site from displaying ads. From what I learned we had some members clicking their own ads on a regular basis and unfortunately this ruined it for all of us.
Thanks for the interview Dan it’s greatly appreciated. Best of luck to you on your blogs and thanks for being such a dedicated member of our community.”
Join Blog Engage
If you’re not yet a member of Blog Engage then I highly encourage you to join. I believe in 2011 Blog Engage can easily emerge as the premiere voting network for bloggers. Also, be sure you are following Brian on twitter.