Case Study – Blog Success Story


I've talked a lot about blogging, and how important a blog is for your business. So today I want to focus on a blog success story that shws what people can actually achieve in business with Blogging and Action.

No, it's not some fancy product I'm trying to sell you. All I'm trying to sell you on is “Blogging” AND “Action”. If you do one without the other, you MAY be successful with an online business – or you may not. Correct that – without Action you haven't a chance….

But if you combine the two words Blogging and Action, you multiply your chances of having a blog success story twenty-fold.

OK – you caught me, that's a made up statistic 🙂

I'm going to look at how Blogging and Action has helped TWO online businesses today. One of them is my own blog. This one you're reading! More importantly, the other one belongs to my great online friend Edward Thorpe, and his blog is about….

Living on The Far Side of 55

Edward's blog FarSideOf55.com is packed with lifestyle strategies and tips to “keep on living”…. with the focus on living in good health, of course.


And when I say “packed with”, I don't mean in the hypey-way that you may be encouraged to buy some Bright Shiny Object that's going to revolutionize your online business because it's “packed with” amazing one-click wonders.

Each of Edward's blog posts is genuinely FULL of topical news, health tips- and those “Candid Stories”:-)

In his inimitable style he publishes his own brand of solid information, research, laughs, common sense, healthy eating advice, strong opinions, and some reflections on life – often mixed all in one post! Goodness knows how he finds the time to research everything.

He has a natural writing talent and I love every post!

You can “meet” Edward here, on his About page. Quoting from it, to give you a flavor of his style:

How old am I, you may ask? Sorry, I’m too old to remember… I do recall December 13, 2013, marked 41 exciting years with my wife Treasa. (You’ll have to ask her just how excited she’s been.)

And here's one of his candid stories: How to Piss Off Your Doctor Mr MD

Why Is This A Successful Blog?

Let's qualify first, before someone does an in-depth analysis then comes along and says Edward's blog isn't (yet) in the top “n” earners for this niche… By successful (today), I mean on a well-deserved path to success.

As far as I can tell, Edward's blog only started in late May 2014. Come back in a few months and I expect great things in Edward's future. (No pressure….)

  • First and foremost, it's because Edward's targeted a niche audience he can identify with and speak directly to. I'm on the “far side of 55”, so the title grabbed me right away, and then as I dug deeper, I saw the relevance to his target audience (baby-boomers, “retired” and expecting to enjoy life, looking to live healthily, and with an interest in complementary therapy)
  • Having had my own health blogs, I also appreciate how much sheer hard work has gone into tracking down the information in the posts.
  • He KNOWS the challenges we're facing as we age gracefully, (or disgracefully!). Not to mention his dry humor and writing style….. He has built up a relationship so that readers really feel they know him and his lifestyle. I look forward to seeing what he and his wife Treasa and the rest of the gang have been up to – the successes AND the challenges! Checkout Camping With The Grandkids!
  • He's taken care of the basics of a successful blog: relevant domain name and a self-hosted WordPress blog, so he has control over his own site.
  • The writing style is distinctive and enjoyable. The grammar and spelling are good.
  • Edward has survived those first critical few months of starting an online business. The vast majority of internet start-ups  just quit after as little as three months.
  • he blog is monetized, but without being “in your face” and Edward's suggested products are hype-free; backed up by researched information and sensible cautions – see this post about Resveratrol
  • Because of the links to the sources of his research, there are lots of outgoing links to a variety of authority sources.
  • Edward is building a blog community, as I've encouraged in the past. He replies to comments on his blog and is also reaching out to other bloggers – no doubt appealing most to those, like myself, in his target audience. You can see on this post that his followers are increasing.
  • He is using CommentLuv Premium – a blogging community in itself, used by many successful bloggers
  • Because his posts contain multiple topics, I know that even if the headline topic doesn't “grab me” as relevant, I will read it anyway as there's sure to be something in there that will strike a chord. For example this post: Congress Being Asked To Rescue Social Security. Living in the UK, I'm afraid I have no interest in “Congress and Social Security” – but because I know Edward's blog, I was pretty sure there would be something else interesting for me. Sure enough, there were TWO items: 9 Home Improvements for Your Aging Parents  and Bedtime Habits That Put You To Sleep.
  • It's topical – here's a post with Thanksgiving Quotes that will stay evergreen.
  • eds-middionI like the “clean” look of the site, with the header and mission statement that immediately tells me what it's about and why I should read it.
  • The clear menu includes About and Contact options, with posts split into relevant groupings.
  • Edward includes videos that encourage people to stay longer on his site: eg Eating Less Could Slow The Aging Process and Prevent Memory Loss
  • Edward is using Google Analytics to track his site statistics and visitors.

Possible Additions To The Far Side Of 55

I hesitate to make (uninvited) suggestions to another blogger with a blog I like so much, and especially without having the benefit of knowing “from the inside” what Edward has already done on his blog. I don't read HTML code very well, so some of the points I'm suggesting, he may already have done!

But that won't stop me.

I think I can say that Edward and I are good online friends and if he thinks I've got it wrong, I'm sure he'll tell me with good humor. Hopefully fast enough that I can amend this post before too many more experienced bloggers see it 🙂

Here goes….

  • Having so many external articles etc, I hope Edward is using a plugin to check for broken links. I've found in the past that these links sometimes go off-line and become broken. So it's good to be alerted to them promptly, because Google doesn't like broken links! What I tend to do when this happens is – I first check the link manually, sometimes the site was just slow loading etc and it's NOT a broken link – but if it is, I adjust the link so that I still give credit to the main source.
  • Edward has great content for the search engines to find, and while I'm not one for doing a lot of SEO, I do like the free Yoast WordPress SEO plugin to give the search engines a helping hand.
  • Fashions come and go – WordPress tags “were” in, they may now be “out”. Personally I still use them “just in case”. Hopefully with judicious use of Tags, additional topics not mentioned in Edward's title can be highlighted too.
  • Because I enjoy this blog so much, I remember to go and hunt for Edward's posts. Other readers may not remember (heck we're “far side of 55”) … so I'd encourage Edward to add a sign-up form to make sure people come back by sending subscribers  link to each new post plus a list of the contents. He could add a simple fact sheet as a sign-up incentive and then follow the steps in a course I recommend: Copy and Paste Blueprint.
  • Also add an RSS button. (Damn! My own has disappeared…. quick hunt needed!)
  • I'd like to see a Search box to help me find posts more easily
  • Also a Site Map. HTML variety for humans, and the search engines like to have their own XML one. For the HTML one I use Simple Site Map because it lets me display my posts grouped by category. The XML site map comes as part of the Yoast plugin I mentioned earlier.
  • This content deserves to be shared repeatedly. I use the free plugin “Revive Old Post” to “Retweet Old Posts” and give them new life.
  • I'd add a PinIt button so that readers can easily add their favorite posts to Pinterest. Edward has some great images and while it probably wouldn't be a massive source of traffic, Pinners tend to like complementary health tips, so it could be another way to find new readers. I use the button that comes with the free plug-in “Digg Digg”, but there are plenty of other ways to do it.

By the time you get to read this post, Edward will have implemented some of these changes. He doesn't let grass grow under his feet – which is why he WILL be even more successful!

How My Business Benefited From Edward's Blog!

I mentioned earlier on that MY business has benefited from Edward's blog! Here's how:

  • Edward has joined my blogging community and we regularly comment on each others' posts, so I stand to get traffic from his site, and vice versa
  • He has reinvested his profits and purchased some of the products I have recommended in these pages – thanks 🙂
  • Best of all, he has been kind enough to say that I have helped him with his online journey – and that gave me such a confidence boost

Happily, it's not just Edward who is buying my products. Other sales are starting to come in too – sometimes from work I did quite a while ago and had forgotten about. (e.g. old blog posts and revenue from domain and hosting sales.)

What New Bloggers Can Learn From Edward

Quite simply Edward just shows what can be achieved by “Taking Action Blogging”. Remember – that's not a glitzy product…. The steps are:

  • Identify a niche market
  • Gather together your fans / readers – and interact with them
  • Understand what makes them happy and what problems they are having (lack of mobility, can't sleep, aches and pains)
  • Provide well researched and interesting solutions to those problems
  • Personalize your posts so that people feel they know you as a human being, not “just” a reporter
  • Spend a little money to learn from others. In addition to the course mentioned above, Edward bought this course about getting visitors to a blog
  • Most of all action / elbow grease – just get on and DO IT…
  • ….Regularly

Edward has done a great job and his blog is one of my favorites.

You might be thinking that Edward has years of experience with computers or a complementary therapy qualification that gave him a head start towards the success of his blog….

Not so. If you look at his About page you'll see his background includes:

  • U.S. Army helicopter crew during Vietnam conflict
  • Retired from General Motors at 46
  • Salesman: lots of different stuff – read the post!
  • Self-starter – owned a swimming pool service, office cleaning service, general building contractor and managed beach-side motels
  • Health challenges overcome by applying the topics he talks about
  • In general, family man with more life-experience than most of us will ever have

I don't see anything there that qualifies Edward to be a successful blogger, OTHER THAN:

  • Willingness to turn his hand to new challenges
  • Writing from the heart about his own life experiences and
  • Most of all – applying hard work and determination.

Finger-pxTHOSE are the qualities and actions will turn a new blogger into a successful blogger with their own blog success story.

So…. it could be YOU.

Please share

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

  • Hi Joy,

    You picked my blog as a success story? W-O-W! Totally unexpected honor.

    Hell, I’m just real grateful you even visit and comment, let alone like the thing…

    You singling out my blog for attention will go a long way to helping me continue on when those inevitable difficult days arrive. Thank you.

    And, a big ‘Thank You’ for the smart suggestions & additions for improving my blog. I really appreciate those, and welcome any more you’d share 😉

    Some of your ideas I’ve in the works. And some, like finding a manageable ‘RSS’ plugin, I’m having issues with.

    You’ve truly inspired me. Thank you, Joy…

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Edward,

      I’m glad you liked my thoughts and comments on your blog – I wouldn’t want to have overstepped the mark – even though we had “spoken” about it beforehand.

      Yes – I really DO like and genuinely look forward to your blog posts.

      We all get “those days” but having our online friends keeps us going.

      The RSS thing is causing me an issue too – perhaps some kind person will point us BOTH in the right direction!

      I’m pleased you’re on the way to implementing some of my suggestions and look forward to watching the continued growth of your readership and sales.

      Thanks for all your great research, which is “put over” in such an entertaining way.

      Good luck – and keep on keeping on!


  • Using another blog post as a content idea for your own is AWESOME. I give this as a suggestion to my clients that says they “don’t know what to write about.” Creating original content is important but expanding on an idea that’s been created is still beneficial. Plus it makes the original creator happy for the shoutout and back link.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Glad you think it worked as an idea for a post. I have so many ideas of what to write about it’s hard to find enough time in the week!

      Edward was pleased and has started implementing some of the suggestions.

      Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

  • Joan White says:

    Awesome post Joy. I loved it and I too am an avid reader of MrEd’s blog. Also being on the far side of 55. I am going to bookmark this post to come back to and implement the suggestions you had for Edward. Also, I thought I’d help out and posted the question for a good RSS feed in a Facebook group of marketers I belong to. I’ll get back to you with the recommendations for it maybe tomorrow.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Joan

      Glad you liked the post, and I suspect Mr Ed has lots more fans than he thinks he has. He always manages to come up with something really relevant!

      Thanks so much for offering to do some investigations on the RSS. It’s great that we can all help each other.

      Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

  • Wow just love this – you will have to join me on a webinar and do some blog critiques Joy
    You have given some great tips there – so pleased you are both in my group too.
    I agree Edwards writing style is great.
    We might be getting older but we still have loads to offer – keep on doing what you are doing Joy and MrEd – love ya both 🙂

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hey Sue – thanks for that, really means a lot to me that you liked the idea.

      Well – Edward and I have both learned a lot from being in your group. So you can pat yourself on the back too. I’ve been a bit low profile lately because of all the family problems, but it’s good to know you’re still there helping out when I can grab a few minutes to make some progress.

      Yep – still plenty of learning experiences to share with those who are ready to learn!

      Catch up soon, Joy

  • Adrienne says:

    Hey Joy,

    So Edward didn’t even know you were doing this for him. Wow, that’s kind of cool actually and it looks like he appreciates it.

    I’ve done this behind the scenes when I’ve called my prospects and asked them if I could help them with anything at that time. Some have asked me to look at their blogs which I would do right with them on the phone. I’ve helped a few totally revamp their blogs and they are getting so much more traffic now. Some can get you a headache you know.

    I just started to visit Edward’s blog and I like what I’ve seen so far. I can totally relate as well to being on the other side of 55 unfortunately so I enjoy connecting with people “our” age.

    I think you’ve done a great job here and sounds like Sue is interested in having you join her to help explain this to others. Great job Joy, well done my friend.

    Thanks for this case study and hope your week is going well.


    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      Edward and I are quite good online friends from Sue’s group. I’d asked his permission to “feature” his blog before I did it and he said that was fine go ahead, although I was a bit vague about what I was going to say – mainly because it sort of developed as it went along.

      I had planned only to say what I liked about it (because there’s nothing I dislike) and then I realized I could perhaps make some suggestions to him as a thank-you for giving me something to post about!

      When I first published it I contacted him right away and said if there was anything he wanted me to change I would do so. Luckily he was happy with what I’d written.

      It’s kind (brave!) of you to do that for people, but yes, I can imagine it could turn out to be a headache.

      I’m glad you’ve visited Edward’s blog, he always has something relevant to say for “our” age group.

      Sue’s group (another community I’m in, but not a blogging community) is another that has been really supportive to me. In fact it was in Sue’s group that I first “met” Edward. I’ll be writing more about Sue’s group when my eBook comes out.

      Thanks for dropping by and enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

  • Ron Killian says:

    Fantastic post Joy.

    I think it’s an awesome idea for content, and something you would probably never run out of case studies, always have new “content” in this case.

    Best yet it never hurts to have a fresh set of eyes. Think every one has things they could fix that they don’t realize or don’t notice.

    Sounds like I need to check out Edwards blog 🙂

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Ron,

      I’m glad you like the idea – well, there are certainly enough blogs “out there” to keep me busy for a long time.

      You’re right, no matter how many times you check things over yourself, a new pair of eyes will find something else you either didn’t know about or missed first time round. I’ve learned so much from looking at other people’s blogs.

      I think you’ll enjoy Edward’s blog – he somehow strikes just the right balance (well, for me anyway).

      Thanks for dropping by.



  • Jan Kearney says:

    I love Edward’s blog (and I am not over 55!) It’s his chatty style and the research he puts into his posts. It’s a blog I miss when I am busy and don’t visit!

    Your post demonstrates that blogging action brings benefits. Perfection isn’t required – you improve and tweak as you go on.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Jan

      You’re a spring chicken still, however I’m sure Edward’s blog will still be there waiting for you when you need it. And anyway, he has lots of general health info. Never too early to start thinking about the inevitable – even though in your case it’s YEARS away!

      You’re right – it’s action that matters, not perfection. I spend too much time tweaking – working on reducing that trait!

      I always go look for Edward’s blog because I like his style so much.

      Thanks for pinning too 🙂


  • James says:


    Edwards story shows the typical possibility of becoming successful by owning and running a blog.

    One of the things I have learnt ( anyway through painful experience) is that to become a blogging success, you need to be focused and concentrate on a particular niche.

    I have since adopted this approach and its yielding positive result for me.

    Thanks for sharing this, its a pure inspiring attribute/story.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi James

      Trying to have too many blogs was yet another of my mistakes (I’ve made them all!)

      Someone with their own interests at heart rather than mine, encouraged me to do that and I was running myself ragged, getting absolutely nowhere.

      I’ve had a big prune and most have gone, with a few more on their way out – but I’m not updating the defunct ones (other than WP updates), and it’s such a relief.

      And yes – things have been more successful for me too.

      Thanks for coming by to comment, Joy

  • Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Joy

    I really enjoyed this post. What I love about it is that I don’t know Edward but now you’ve recommended his blog, I’ll go and take a look. That’s the way to do things!

    Interesting and useful critique of his blog too Joy. I’m surprised you don’t do that for a living. Maybe that could be another way to monetise!

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Tim

      Glad you liked it, thanks – and I hope you’ll like Edward’s blog too.

      As for doing it for a living, I’d love to! At the moment I’m snowed down with work in “the day job”, which pays rather too well to dump, but when that’s settled down a bit I have some plans along those lines for 2015. Just looking at some options…. watch this space!

      Have a great weekend. Joy

  • Carol Amato says:

    Hey, Joy,

    I am all ears when you’re talking about a blog success story… 🙂

    What a very kind thing you did, Joy, and oh so interesting for all of us too. I’m not too far from 55, so I also enjoy connecting with folks in this age bracket.

    Edward lives near my old stomping grounds. I used to live in Pensacola for 21 years, which is just a couple hours from Panama City, and really enjoyed the Gulf Coast.

    You did a wonderful job helping, and you should make this a series, as you did such a thorough review/critique. I will have to visit his site and connect with Edward. Thanks so much for sharing.

    His attitude is awesome, and seems like a wonderful person.

    Take care,

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Carol,

      Glad you liked the post, and I really enjoyed writing it too. Yes, I’d like to do more of this type of thing and have some thoughts along those lines for 2015. (If only HALF of what I have planned for 2015 comes off it will be a great year!)

      I used to do software testing for a living in my dim and distant past, so I’m well used to looking at applications etc objectively – reminded me a bit of that. Although Edward’s blog is much more fun than the software I sued to test LOL. (Can you believe I once spent about 6months testing parcel label printing software for Royal Mail in the UK?)

      Hope you’ll enjoy Edward’s site as much as I do – I’m sure he’ll welcome you even though you’re not 55 🙂 Especially as you lived “near” him.

      Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.


  • Mi Muba says:

    Hi Joy

    Listening and reading success stories of every field is my favorite activity. So while reading the whole post I forgot everything around me and was fully engrossed into your wonderful narration.

    I observed most of they dynamic bloggers like Edward have a varied professional background and they produce great posts on the back of their knowledge of several fields and professions.

    Your suggestions for him to improve his blog are spot-on. He is creating awesome contents and with a little more focus at the technical aspect he can do more wonders because of the strong foundation of his blog.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this very informative post.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Mi Muba

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post – and most of all, that you liked Edward’s blog, and agree with my suggestions.

      You make a good point about his varied professional background. In addition to the life experiences we can ALL call upon, a variety of different careers just gives a richer source of experiences to share with his audience.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Joy

  • Matt Hayden says:

    It seems to me that the success of this blog is strongly related to how “nichey” it is. By that I mean it’s not just in a general niche, like health, but in an age-related sub-niche of that.

    I have built several small sites and found this this to be a good tactic, particularly for SEO.

    As well as age of readership, you can tailor your content to people in a certain geographic area, among other criteria.

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Matt,

      Yes I do agree about Edward finding his niche and that’s just one of the things that made me notice it. All that teaching about “Find your niche” really works!

      I did my own “health” blog but made it far to broad plus many other mistakes which led to me finally abandoning it.

      Good idea about tailoring geographically and I bet Edward will latch onto that one too and other sub-niches as his popularity and confidence increases.

      Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

  • Mark says:

    What a really cool and incredibly inspiring story Joy!

    And based on what you shared from his about page, I’d say he’s got more than enough varied real life experiences to make whatever subject he chose to focus on, well worth reading!

    Because it seems like he’s living an awfully rich and fulfilling life!

    And to be able to do it with his soul mate at his side!

    That’s truly awesome!Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • Joy Healey says:

      Hi Mark

      Although Edward has been kind enough to say I’ve helped him, he’s actually been a great inspiration to me because I’ve watched his blog just “flower” into a real blogging success story.

      I admire the way he seems to fit his business round his lifestyle and family too – obviously finding time for that very important side of life as well as such well-researched posts.

      Have a great weekend. Joy

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