Damian Rocks created Stars Like You after finding his passion for astrology and making it his full time profession. What started out as a way to bring in future clientele has turned in to a destination for any loyal star-gazer. His website is widely popular, with an average of 220,000 unique pageviews a month and Damian has revealed his secrets to running a successful site exclusively to us! Damian strives to help his readers reach their full potential, change their habits to gain their future goals, and focus on happiness. Read below to learn more about Damian and how the stars can help you in work, blogging, and life!
Tell us a little about yourself and your blog!
Hello fellow star-gazers! I’m a professional astrologer, coach and wellness consultant, originally from Australia but now traveling the world. People often ask me if astrology is actually a real job, and how I got into it? I remember being as young as 6 and asking the kids at my school for their birthdates so I could work out their Zodiac signs! I got my first astrology book about 14 and have been reading, reading, reading ever since. Around the age of 30, I decided to train as a professional astrologer and have never looked back.
The funny thing about life is that when you are on the right path, things happen quickly. Not long after I started training I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to obtain a Masters degree, majoring in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, from Bath Spa University, UK. I had the immense fortune of being able to combine my love of astrology with rigorous academic study, in the company of some of the world’s best astrologers. If you ever have the chance to spend some time in a room full of astrologers then best you have your wits about you, because these are some seriously intelligent people! It really taught me to think hard about what this thing called astrology is, and why it continues to fascinate people.
After graduating, I went back to Australia and stepped straight into a full time career. I’ve been really lucky, having scored some major firsts. In 2007, I started working at The Victoria Room, an iconic Sydney restaurant, hosting Dinner & Astrology nights. We welcomed guests from all over the world, some of whom would fly in for an unforgettable dining experience. Then, in 2014, I opened The Ninth House, Australia’s first holistic wellness centre – dedicated to Astrology, Ayurveda and Yoga. In 2017 I helped set up the world’s first astrology hotel, The Ultimo in Sydney, and then went on to work with Golden Door, Australia’s biggest health and wellness retreat as a consultant.
Now, I’ve got a Masters degree, Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy (Ayurvedic Medicine) and Diploma of Astrology under my belt, plus I’m a qualified coach, author and teacher. I’ve appeared on TV in Australia and been published in magazines such as Wellbeing Astrology, The Mountain Astrologer, Voyeur and here on astro.com. From time to time I also get the opportunity to speak at various conferences around the world. Astrology has worked out well for me!
What about your blog?
Throughout that time, Stars Like You has been very much a labour of love. The site got started in 2007, mostly as a way to advertise myself to potential clients. But over the years it has grown, and ventured down a number of different roads. It has also built up a pretty loyal fanbase. From the outset, I decided I wanted to provide quality information that could help people live a happier life, rather than entertain with predictions. So while I do have a monthly horoscope section, the purpose for Stars Like You is personal development, helping clients and visitors reach their full potential. Nowadays, the focus is on happiness. We publish great astrology articles, as well as well-researched pieces on nutrition, wellness and Ayurveda drawn from years of clinical experience. We run courses and workshops, plus have a fun travel section reviewing unique wellness experiences from around the world.
What’s the first thing I need to know about Astrology?
I think the first thing you should know is that astrology does not predict what will happen to you, and it doesn’t take away one iota of your freewill. All that astrology reveals are patterns which affect the foundations of your psyche and then what you do with that information is up to you. So there’s not a lot to be gained from grabbing your birth chart and asking “What will happen to me?” A much better question to ask would be “What can I learn about myself, or the people I know, to lead a happier life?” Astrology is great for revealing the underlying patterns which structure our perspectives and choices. From this comes knowledge, which is in turn the power to choose your own destiny.
How can knowing more about Astrology benefit me in work and life?
I have really come to think of astrology as tool for transformation. It can help you understand what the obstacles you face in life are about, and what you need to do to resolve them. Astrology helps you answer the question “why”? So, for example, let’ say you keep getting passed over for that promotion, despite the fact that you do the job very well? Astrology will show you why this happens to you, and importantly what you can do about it. We all have inner strengths as well as challenges, and astrology can help you recognize these and then work with then to transform your life.
How do I find my “Solar House”? Why is this important to know?
The reason you need to know your Solar House is that it makes up a huge part of who you are. Pretty much all of us know our Sun or Zodiac Sign, but in fact that is only a part of the full story. The house in which the Sun was placed at your birth (where it was in the sky) will greatly effect the qualities of your Sun sign.
A really simple way to think of it is like this- Your Sun Sign shows what motivates and drives you. Then its’ house position reveals where your skills are best applied. You’ve probably noticed that not all signs are alike? Well the house position accounts for much of this, making it an essential part of your total astrological profile. Your Solar House is based on the position of the Sun in the sky at the time of your birth. So it follows that to find your solar house, you need to know that time you were born.. though even an approximate time will do
What would I learn about in an “Astrology Consultation”?
I always tell my clients that sometimes the best outcome from an astrology consultation is when what I tell them is something they already knew! More often than not, we already know deep down inside ourselves what we want to do. Yet it can be incredible empowering to have a total stranger who doesn’t have any knowledge about you except for where the planets were when you were born tell you what you already know. Then it’s like holding up a fantastic mirror for you, helping to work out what’s important and why. And yes, sometimes there are jaw-droppers too, especially when we make an accurate prediction about an event or experience that comes to pass. But this is the icing on the cake if you like. Self-knowledge is the real take-home gift from a good consultation
Your blog focuses on Astrology and wellbeing. How does Astrology effect mental health and wellness?
As I’ve said, astrology is really a science of self-knowledge. There is nothing inherently mystical about it. The idea astrology puts forward is that the patterns which structure the cosmos also structure the psyche. So if you understand those patterns then you can make an informed statement about how they will probably manifest. A good example would be when the Moon and Mars are found very close to each other in the sky. Astrologers know this is a pattern which can signify impatience at best….. or a tendency to violence at worst. When you know what the patterns are which structure your psyche you will know why you react the way you do. What is more, most research tells us that mental wellness comes from living a fulfilled life. Astrology can really help you identify your talents or strengths so that you can find a sense of purpose. Psychological health comes from simply being who you are – learning from your mistakes and developing your skills in a way that benefits others as well as yourself
What kind of research do you do before writing an article?
Fortunately for me, because I have been studying astrology almost all my life, I don’t need to do much research before I wrote an article these days. However when I’m writing on a health or wellness topic, especially nutrition, I’ll make sure I fact-check everything and only cite articles that come from credible sources. As well know there is a lot of hype and misinformation online, so I make sure that when I publish something I give a well-evidenced perspective. Preparing a travel articles though is much more fun! I’m a big believer in speaking from experience, so I make sure I visit anywhere we recommend so I can tell my readers exactly what to expect and what they might need to avoid.
What 3 things does anyone starting a website need to know?
Stay in charge of your site and content – Don’t let someone build a site for you that you can’t manage yourself. It takes a long time (usually) to get to a financial reward for the work you do so, don’t waste countless dollars paying someone else to make minor tweaks. If you’re not tech savvy then try at least to become competent. The endless upgrading can really drag you down.
Be realistic about how much content you can create – Writing can be a very solitary experience and it’s important you don’t overcommit in terms of what you can actually deliver. What starts off as thrilling often loses it’s shine, and then your stuck feeding a beast that might end up taking more than it gives
Have fun – if you are not passionate about topic then you won’t feel inspired to write. This will come across to your audience. So make sure whatever you commit to will still be interesting to you when you’re three months (or even three years) down the track.
What would you do differently if you were starting your website today?
I would make sure I understood how the backend of my site worked and how to set up links, inbound sources and outbound links properly. The biggest hurdles for me have arisen when I’ve been given the wrong information from well-meaning people. This has in turn held me back from making simple improvements. I get intensely annoyed when a developer or site management company expects to charge top dollar for what is often as simple as hitting a button. However, the fault lies with me, for not knowing enough about what is in fact my own core business.
Which tools for your website have you found most useful?
Building my site on Worpdress using the Divi platform was a real game-changer for me. It gave me the power to make small changes, stay nimble and understand how plug-ins, themes and forms work. I have also found having a basic knowledge of Photoshop to be essential, making it easy to create images with added text. And of course, plugging into Analytics really helped me to understand who my audience is, and what they are interested in.
What recommendations do you have for driving traffic to your website?
The best recommendation I can make is to be authentic and become an authority. Nothing works like the power of referral, and this can happen even when you don’t know your referee. So if what you write strikes a chord with someone there is a good chance they will share it with someone else who feels the same. I don’t aim to be conversational, I aim to be authentic and trust that over time if what I have to say is interesting to others it will be shared
Also its important to become really clear and specific about who your niche is. That way everything you write refers back to itself and builds momentum. I’ve made so many mistakes in the past, and most have these have been around diluting the core message of my brand – getting distracted by tangents that in the end weren’t taking me anywhere.
Working with the best people is crucial. You want a team who really understand search engines. For years I had people telling me I was doing the wrong thing because visitors would hit my site, read one page then bounce. I couldn’t understand why they were telling me to chop up my content when all I could see was a big blank billboard with millions of people passing by and no-one realizing its value from a revenue perspective.
The nature of my site is to suit that kind of search and when your team understands this you can leverage it together. SheMedia are great like that, really taking the time to understand my business instead of just applying the latest SEO-101 tactics in an ad hoc way.
Also be really careful on how much you spend on marketing. It needs to be tactical and results-driven. No-one can get people’s eyes on your content like you can, so build your content strategy around the message you want to share and what your readers want to read, then base any marketing efforts off that, not the other way around.
Which social media platform do you prefer?
I like Instagram because its fun, but I don’t know how effective it is in driving traffic or revenue to my site. I’m actually really keen to learn more about Pinterest because it seems to be driven by users who are motivated by research. I see them as kindred spirits who are more concerned with getting great information than counting the number of likes!
How has partnering with the SHE Media Partner Network been beneficial?
I’ve only been with SHE Media a short while but already the benefits are clear. It’s so good working with a team of real professionals who care as much as I do about quality content and user experience. Writing can be lonely, and so having a team to bounce ideas off is invaluable. They have given me the knowledge I need to keep improving my site and I’m really excited to see where this all goes.
After all, the future is female I believe!
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