If you're a beginner blogger and having trouble with page views, income, or establishing your blog and brand, you're going to love today's post.
Michelle from Making Sense of Cents (AKA my sister) answered several questions that I wish I had known when I started blogging.
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1. Could you tell us a little bit about how you started blogging?
My name is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I run the personal finance website Making Sense of Cents.
Around August of 2011, I started my blog with the aim of teaching people how to save money as well as journaling my personal finance journey after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles.
I became extremely interested in that website and my interest in blogging just grew from there.
This is interesting and hilarious because, before that same summer, I had no idea about what blogs were, that they could even make money or anything along those lines.
I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging.
It was all just a hobby and an outlet I then realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me, so now I am a full-time blogger.
I went full-time in October of 2013 and I haven’t looked back once.
Blogging has completely changed my life for the better and it’s something that I recommend everyone try if they are interested.
On my blog Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra money, challenging the money you are spending, reaching your dreams, traveling (me and my husband RV full-time), and more.
I created Making Sense of Cents almost six years ago, and since then, I have earned over $1,500,000 with my blog and around $979,000 in just 2016 alone.
2. What’s your top tip for getting page views?
There are many ways to improve your page views.
My top tip would be to spend 20% of your time creating the content and 80% of your time actually sharing and promoting it.
So many people (I used to do the same!) spend the majority of their time writing content and not nearly enough time actually sharing it with others and getting it out there.
While you may have the greatest article ever, if you don’t share it, then it will be hard for anyone to ever find it.
You will want to see what social media accounts are the best for your niche.
These may include Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
Helpful Blogging Tools:
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- Make Money Blogging
- How To Create A Successful Blog
- Pinterest Traffic Growth
- How I Went From 17k to 400k Page Views In 9 Months
3. What tip would you give to someone who wants to be successful with affiliate marketing?
I want everyone to know that you can make money through affiliate income on your blog, and you can do it in a non-salesy way.
So many people are afraid of affiliate marketing because of two reasons: 1) They don’t think they have a large enough platform; 2) They are afraid of being too “salesy.”
I have never had someone tell me that I’m salesy or pushy, and I’ve even had people ask me how I make money through affiliate marketing because they never see me try to sell things.
So, yes, it is possible to provide high-quality content for your readers without being pushy!
My very top tip would be to take Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
With this course, you can learn how I went from $0 in affiliate income to over $50,000 per month.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a step-by-step guide to creating and making money from your own successful affiliate marketing strategy.
This course explains all of the ins and outs, so you are never left wondering where to go next when creating and implementing your affiliate marketing strategy.
There are over 3,000 students and I have heard so many great reviews about this course.
4. Do you have tips on how to land sponsored posts?
My top tip would be to have a contact page on your website.
I do almost no outreach on my blog, yet I regularly earn anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000+ from my blog through sponsored posts each month.
This is almost entirely due to companies and advertisers finding me, and contacting me through my contact page.
On my contact page, I share all of the places that I’m featured on (such as Forbes), my website statistics such as page views, and more.
This simple page allows advertisers to easily contact me without too much work on their part.
While you may think this is obvious, surprisingly a lot of website owners and bloggers make it so difficult to find their contact information.
No one wants to have to hunt down your email address!
Plus, by publicly announcing that you accept advertising on your blog, advertisers don’t have to wonder if you do.
Take action now: Before we begin, get access to How To Send An Email Pitch To Land Sponsorships checklist. This quick checklist will help you stand out from other influencers and increase your brand sponsorships. 🙂
5. Have you made any blogging mistakes you’d like to share?
My biggest blogging mistake is that I waited years to start an email list, and then even longer to take it seriously.
I started my email list around 1.5 to 2 years ago.
And, I didn’t get serious about that actual email list until just a few months ago, when I switched to Convertkit.
I didn’t really use my email list because I didn’t really understand newsletters, and I also didn’t realize how having an email list could help me.
Due to that, I didn’t start trying to grow my email list until just this year.
Tip: Are you a blogger? If so, you’ll want to make sure you have email marketing set up from ASAP. Your email list is powerful and allows you to engage with your audience in a more intimate setting. You also have 100% power over your email list, unlike Pinterest and Facebook which can reduce your traffic at any moment. I’ve been using Convertkit for years and they even offer a free trial here.
I really wish I would have spent more time on my newsletter, but I’m glad I’ve learned from my mistake.
I recommend that all bloggers spend time growing their email list.
This is because your email list is all yours.
Unlike with social media websites like Pinterest and Facebook, your newsletter and email subscribers are all yours, and you have their undivided attention.
You don’t have to worry about some social media algorithm not showing your content to your readers, as they are your email subscribers so you aren’t fighting with anyone else to have them see your content.
And, I believe that email/newsletter is the best way to promote an affiliate product.
Your email subscribers signed up specifically to hear what YOU have to say, so you definitely have their attention.
Your email list, over any other strategy, will almost always lead to more sales.
This is because if someone is allowing you to show up in their email inbox whenever you want, then they probably trust what you have to say and enjoy listening to you.
Related article: How I Doubled My Page Views In 1 Month
6. What do you think makes you stand out from other blogs?
I think how personable my blog posts are and the fact that I take a ton of time to actually engage with my readers makes me stand out from other blogs.
It also helps that I RV so a lot of people know me as “the girl who RVs.” Haha!
I always make sure my blog posts aren’t boring.
If I wouldn’t want to read it, then no one else probably would want to read it either.
I like to choose topics that excite me and so that I can challenge the way people think about money and their life.
7. What’s the hardest part of blogging?
The hardest part of blogging is managing a good work-life balance along with it.
I absolutely love blogging, so it can be hard at times to actually stop working and focus on my actual life outside of blogging.
I used to easily work 70+ hours a week, and many, many times over 100 hours a week on my blog.
This is because I love blogging, and also because it is so easy to blog from wherever since all I need is my laptop and an internet connection.
8. How do you stay so productive?
I am always working ahead. I used to write blog posts the day before I would publish them, but now I am often 1-3 months ahead of content.
This helps me to focus on other things instead of creating content all the time.
I also stay productive by outsourcing the tasks that are repetitive and take up a lot of my time.
I have a virtual assistant, an editor, someone who manages the tech side of my business, and more.
By outsourcing these tasks, it saves me a lot of time and allows me to focus on tasks that actually need me to complete them.
Tip: Are you not seeing much traffic going to your blog? If so, check out Pinterest Traffic Avalanche, a comprehensive course that will help you reach your page views goals. The creators of the course get millions of page views and share all of their secrets in this course.
9. What piece of advice would you give to a beginner blogger who wants to become a full-time blogger?
My top piece of advice for a beginner blogger who wants to become a full-time blogger is to be ready to put a lot of hard work towards their blog.
Blogging isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work if you want to have a successful blog.
You will most likely have to put hours upon hours towards your blog in order to become a full-time blogger – be ready for it but it is definitely worth the time and hard work!
Some of the things you’ll have to do to become a full-time blogger include:
- Creating high-quality content.
- Learning how to promote your blog on social media.
- Understanding how to make money blogging.
- Learning more and more about blogging (the learning never stops as the blogging world is constantly changing).
- And much, much more.
I recommend carving out some time out of your schedule just for blogging so that you can fit in all of your blogging tasks into your life, all while still managing a good work-life balance.
10. What’s a common misconception people have about blogging?
That it’s easy! Or, that it’s too difficult.
Honestly, I’ve heard it all.
Some people think that I just sit in my pajamas all day and don’t actually do anything.
Others think that blogging is so overwhelming that they never start.
You won’t know what blogging is like unless you start a blog of your own.
Thankfully, starting a blog can be done for a relatively low price, so you can start and see if you like it for pretty cheap.
You can learn more about Michelle on her blog, Making Sense of Cents where she shares financial advice to help you gain financial freedom in your life.
Tips To Become A Blogger:
1) Choose a niche that already makes money (personal finance, health and fitness, travel, etc.) and subniche from there. This means go even deeper into a niche. Ex. Niche: Personal finance > Subniche: Personal finance for college students or personal finance for moms.
2) Take a comprehensive blogging course. My #1 recommendation for new bloggers who want to build a profitable blog is Blog With A Full-Time Job.
3) Learn and absorb as much information about blogging as possible. Pinterest is a gold mine for this. Type in “blogging tips” in Pinterest's search bar and hundreds of helpful articles will come up. You can check all of my popular blogging articles here.
4) Figure out what outlet you want to use for blogging. Do you want to have your own blog? Or do you want to create a YouTube channel? Find out where your audience is and go from there. If you don't know yet, don't sweat it. You'll learn as you go.
5) Create a blog with this easy tutorial.
🌸 What to read next: How Tiffany Became A Full-Time Blogger In Less Than 1 Year
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