Publisher Interview: John N. of ESI Money

John and wife standing together outside

We hate to brag, but it’s true: Our Mediavine publishers are pretty awesome!

They are not only hard working and never give up, but they often share tips and advice, using their expertise to help others learn and grow.

Our Publisher Interview series focuses on sharing success stories of how our MVPs started their blogs, increased site traffic, grew their audiences after joining, plus the ways Mediavine has helped shape their businesses and personal lives for the better.

We have already shared so many motivating success stories from publishers, like Practical Wanderlust and Brandon Gaille, just to name a couple of our over 6,600 and constantly growing list of publishers.

Join us on this wealth of knowledge journey, as we share our interview with John N. of the site ESI Money, a blog that helps people increase their net worth and achieve financial independence in three simple steps.

We are happy to have John on the blog, so please say hello and learn about how his goals of becoming financially independent, so he could have the freedom to do what he wants, has helped him create a path to success and income stability!

John Nardini of ESI Money blog and his wife hiking

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your everyday life.

My name is John and I write at ESI Money. I’m 56 years old, retired at 52, have a wife and two kids (23 and 21) and live in Colorado Springs. Before retirement I worked as a marketing executive for various companies during my 28-year career.

These days I spend my time doing whatever I like — which is the best benefit of being retired (in my opinion)!

How did you get started blogging?

I started my first money blog in 2005 back when blogging was new. It was a way to drive traffic to my company’s ice cream website (of all things). I still have that site, but in 2013 I had some close friends find out that I was the author, which killed my ability to share private financial information.

So I started ESI Money, a totally unrelated site, where I could share what I wanted.

In the past 14 years I have generated around $1 million in revenue from blogging, so it’s been very good to me.

ESI Money site logo

How long have you been a Mediavine publisher? How did you first hear about us? What drew you to Mediavine as a partner for display advertising?

I’m coming up on my third anniversary with Mediavine. I first heard about Mediavine after doing some research into premium display advertising companies. My site traffic was growing, I wanted better RPMs than what Adsense was giving me and somehow I stumbled upon Mediavine.

I applied, put the ads on my site and the rest is history. It’s been a wonderful way to monetize my site, and the readers easily accept it.

Describe your experience with Mediavine. What do you love about working with us?

The Facebook group is always so responsive. I don’t know if everyone there went to some high end customer service school or what, but whenever I have a question or need something, the staff responds both quickly and accurately to help me out.

Honestly, it feels like I’ve joined something more like a family than simply an ad relationship.

How has your Mediavine ad revenue changed your life for the better?

My Mediavine ad revenue has helped me spend even more in retirement than I would have otherwise, without having to dip into my investments.

I’m sure my kids will really appreciate this when they inherit our assets, since there will be 20+ years of extra growth tacked on to the end of them.

John Nardini of ESI Money blog outside of pizzeria while traveling

How do you think the blogging industry has changed since you started your website?

The blogging world is a lot more competitive and sophisticated than it was in 2005. Back in the day you could write a post off the top of your head and have a pretty good chance of ranking for it on Google. Those days are long gone.

Funny backstory… I once wrote a post full of affiliate links (during the days when credit card affiliates were wild and free) that ranked #1 on Google for a year for the term “best cash back credit cards.” You can imagine the money that was made off of that post! Those were the days!

What are the best and worst parts of blogging for you?

The best part of blogging is interacting with my readers and hearing their amazing stories. I have learned as much from them as they have from me, and I’m thankful to have become friends with so many of my readers.

The worst are the trolls (of course), especially any time I get any large mainstream media they seem to come out of the woodwork. It got so bad that I wrote a post just for the internet trolls so I can link to it whenever they show up and start commenting.

What has been your biggest success as an influencer?

I think my biggest success has been the coverage I’ve generated with much larger sites. My work has been featured on Business Insider, Marketwatch, CNBC and many other respected mainstream outlets.

Who are your FAVORITE bloggers. Who inspires you? Why do you like them?

My personal favorite blogger is Financial Samurai. He consistently has great posts with a contrarian view about money and life. He makes me think as he challenges conventional wisdom, which is something refreshing within the money circles these days.

What are the most popular 3 posts on your blog?

The three posts on my site that generate the most interest are:

  • Millionaire Interviews — The stories are not only packed with financial truth-bombs, but are also very compelling. Despite the fact that the core principles are the same, everyone’s way of applying them and their story is truly unique and interesting.
  • Retirement Interviews — This is a new series that gives a glimpse of what it’s like to plan for retirement, do it and live in it. Retirement is such an unknown for so many. This series will help demystify it by sharing stories from those who have lived it.
  • Three Steps to Financial Independence  — This is actually an ebook that people get when subscribing to my site. It’s a great overview of the ESI philosophy and how to use it to become financially independent.Cayman Islands 7 mile beach at sunset

What are your 3 personal favorite posts on your blog?

Haha! Great question as my personal favorites tend to run a bit different than average.

  • If You Want What I Have You Have to Do What I’ve Done — This one was for all the complainers out there — those people who say they want to grow their wealth and yet do not take one bit of action to do so. I had it with them leaving woe-is-me comments on my site, so I wrote this post. It’s a bit snarky, but I think it gets the point across.
  • Is Retiring on a Cruise Ship an Affordable Option? — I’m still fascinated by this idea and if my wife was game I would certainly try it out for a year or so. Alas she has given me the “it’s never going to happen” pronouncement, so I just have to dream.
  • Retirement Years are Like Reverse Dog Years — This is a post about how great retirement is because time slows down and you get so much more enjoyment out of life than you do when you’re working.

What tools and resources do you use to manage your blog? What could you not live without? Why?

Some of my favorite tools and resources are, WordPress (of course), Get Response (email provider) and Buffer (social media sharing).

I like to keep it pretty simple, so my list is rather short. Out of these three, WordPress is the only one I couldn’t live without, especially since the others have suitable replacements.

What is your biggest traffic source? What strategies have you used to make that your top traffic source?

My biggest traffic source for ESI Money is my email list. I have a pop up that offers my free ebook on financial independence to every visitor who subscribes. It’s been very successful, especially when a much larger site runs a post of mine and links back.

Subscribers then get an email reminder with an excerpt of each post I write. These go out roughly 30 minutes after the post goes live.

Do you have any advice for bloggers on how to grow their traffic?

I think the biggest traffic drivers are:

  1. Writing great content several times a week for a few years. If you do, Google will eventually find you and send traffic your way.
  2. Set up a way to capture email addresses as I have noted above.
  3. Write guest posts. They generate both links and traffic, and build up over time. My goal has been two per month now for several years.

Anything else you’d like to add to help other bloggers grow?

I get this question a lot (in various forms), so I wrote an entire series on starting a blog. Now when someone has a question I simply provide them the link to my post.

John Nardini of ESI Money blog and his wife on 7 Mile Beach in Grand Cayman

Just for FUN!

What’s the one thing on any restaurant menu you MUST order?

Easy answer, anything with bacon!

What actor would play you in a movie based on your life and career?

I would like to say George Clooney but Seth Rogen is probably more accurate.

Name something on your bucket list.

Going to the Baths in Virgin Gorda. I’ve been to many Caribbean islands, but have always wanted to see these.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited and why?

Currently Grand Cayman because it is very relaxing and beautiful. I’ve written about our trip there if you want more details about this destination. BTW, my extra Mediavine money makes this trip with my family easily affordable each year, so thanks goes out to them for this!!!

What’s your favorite quote?

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” MLK

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