I recently asked on IG stories if you had any questions about blogging, and these are the first I’m answering in a blogger series over on my Youtube channel! I’m excited to have a conversation with y’all about blogging to see what video content you would be interested in for this series. I also hope to clarify any questions you have related to blogging! With anything else new, it can be a little overwhelming on where to start. My hope is this series will not only clarify some of the unknowns for you, but also give you that boost of confidence you need to launch your blog and start making money from it. So I’m kicking off my blogging Q&A: how do you make money blogging?
If you have any other questions, just write them in a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram, and I’ll answer them in future content. Be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel and hit the notification button, so you don’t miss any of my videos.
How Do You Make Money Blogging
Blogging Q&A: Something I didn’t expect with blogging?
To be honest, when I started my blog, I had no idea I would still be doing it years later. I was definitely uncomfortable putting myself out there and needed encouragement from my husband, Tim. I would probably guess I wouldn’t still be blogging if it wasn’t for him and all his help with my content! I also didn’t expect to be contacted from other brands and work with brands that I’ve always loved. I definitely didn’t start my blog with the intention to get free products, earn money or to make it my full-time job one day. I started it on a whim over Christmas break as a creative outlet for me during PT school.
Another thing I didn’t expect with blogging is the numbers on social media channels don’t determine the amount of money you can make. I can’t stress this enough. Someone who has over 100k followers or subscribers, could be making way less than someone who has 25k. The thing that matters most is your target audience, how engaged they are with your content, their loyalty to you and the quality of your content. Brands can see right through inauthentic accounts, and really notice who can deliver creative content that sells products.
Blogging Q&A: How did you grow your blog?
When asked this question, it was kind of hard for me to not compare myself to the growth I’ve seen from other bloggers. I’ve blogged for a long time now, so my growth doesn’t seem inspiring by any means to me. Especially when I see new bloggers grow to 100k on Instagram in like 6 months. That just seems unreal to me! Maybe it is unreal, maybe it’s authentic, but I’m trying to stay in my own lane here. I’ve had the most successful growth with my blog by switching up the content I’ve been sharing. Of course I love creating content around fashion. But I also incorporate content on more topics that I would be interested in hearing a voice from. My more successful posts have been tutorials, reviews and monthly-favorite types of posts.
Solving a problem when it comes to beauty, fashion or whatever else you enjoy sharing is generally the type of content that receives the most views. For instance, if someone has really straight hair and they’re searching for ways to create volume and curls, you could create a how-to video on how to do that. I think creating content that people are searching for will help you gain traffic and an audience. Having great content will get people to your blog but also keep them coming back!
Another way to continually grow your blog is to create consistent content. I know that sounds like an easy and obvious one, but it’s essential. I think it’s also important to let your audience know about how many times and/or what days you’re going to be posting throughout the week, so they know they can come back on those days to read and consumer your content. So if you like to post on Mondays and Thursdays, be sure your audience knows that. Be sure to also promote your blog content on all your social media channels and include a link to your website either in your social posts about your blog or at the link in your bio.
Besides creating content that people want to see, there are a few tools and platforms that can also help garner more traffic to your blog.
I recently started using a search engine optimization (SEO) consulting service to help me understand the ins and outs of SEO for blogs. Having a great SEO score for each of your blog posts is vitally important when it comes to ranking in a Google search. You know when you search for something on Google, and a list of websites pop up? Well, your goal is to rank on the first page of that list of websites if that person is searching for something you’ve written about in the past on your blog. Then, if they click on your blog post from that search, and enjoy the post you wrote, they’ll continue to come back to your website organically because they enjoy your content and find it useful to them.
If you don’t want to invest in an SEO consulting service yet, you can also download the Yoast SEO plugin. The only caveat to that is it’s only for WordPress sites. We’ll get to my love for WordPress sites a little later. Back to Yoast, it’s a free plugin you can download that helps rate your SEO score for each of your posts, and it shows you tips on how to improve your SEO. Plus it’s free!
I also think focusing on Pinterest during the last year has made a difference as well. I signed up for a free trial with Tailwind when I first started and noticed a BIG jump in my blog traffic. Pinterest is like a fine wine, it only gets better with age, and old content can stay relevant as long as people are pinning it. If you’re wondering what Tailwind is, it’s a pin scheduling tool where you can schedule out pins during your most popular times. It also offers pretty valuable analytics that you can dive into to see what content is working the best. If you sign up through my link, we both will get 1 free month.
Another great tool to gain more traffic to your blog is to create an email list. There are a few programs for creating an email list like MailChimp and Flodesk. Mailchimp is free up to a certain number of subscribers. I use Flodesk, and think it’s very user-friendly. It has a variety of templates you can use to create beautiful emails without having to spend hours designing your own. Plus Flodesk is very affordable. With an email, you can promote your blog posts to your subscribers where they can click a link to be directed to your blog posts. Having your email pop into your subscribers inbox is an effective way to get blog views because you’re not competing with SEO etc. Aside from promoting blog posts, you can also create special content for your email subscribers and promote that through your other social media channels. I created a pop-up box on my blog that asks if a reader would like to sign up for my email list with their email address, and I also have a box on a sidebar of my blog for those who wish to sign up too. It’s just another way to get in front of your target audience and build a loyal following.
Blogging Q&A: How do you manage/prepare new content for your blog?
I keep a running sticky note on my MacBook filled with topics I may want to cover. If not, I would completely forget some of the content ideas I’ve thought of. Sometimes, I even text myself a few thoughts about something or I write it down in my Google calendar if it’s a good idea to post around a certain time of year.
Before blogging was my full-time job, I could only shoot on the weekends. I would batch content and shoot photos for a few different blog posts. Tim used to take the photos of me with a little direction on what I’m wanting, then I’d edit them on Lightroom. Fast forward to now, and I use a tripod for my at-home pics. Thank you selftimer. 🙂 And I also use a professional photographer, Katie from KVC Photography, about once a month for professional photos. If you’re interested in seeing all the equipment I use for my blog, you can read this post here.
After I have the photos edited, I typically open a draft of the post that has already had a few bullet points I wanted to include, and I finish a rough draft of the post. I typically take a few days to make sure I’m happy with it, and I usually just post it the following day.
Blogging Q&A: How has your blog evolved over time?
I can think of a few ways my blog has changed throughout the years! I’m sure this question will have my older content getting a little more page-view love, haha. Makes me kinda cringe but you have to start somewhere.
My content has changed a bit throughout my years of blogging, but my typical style has remained the same. I used to post more fitness-related content and started a series called WOW: Workout Wednesdays, where I shared a new workout every Wednesday. This helped me stay consistent, and it was relatively quick and easy for me to put together during the middle of the school week. It’s now been years since I’ve even mentioned fitness on my blog.
Once I started trying out outfit posts, they all started from my iphone4 and Tim’s iphone5. I did very little editing on a website called Pixlr, which looking back was way more complicated than what I use now. I’d recommend using the Lightroom app for any editing you may need to do for your photos from your phone – it’s much more user-friendly. But for almost 2 years I blogged with only an iPhone, so don’t feel like you have to wait to start your blog until you can afford the best equipment. Phones have excellent cameras in them too.
I also used to do all the behind the scenes things by myself. But one I started making money from my blog, I was able to hire some help like a virtual assistant to help with day-to-day tasks.
Blogging Q&A: How do you make money blogging?
I will go into more detail in a later video, but there are different outlets you can use to monetize your blog. I used to get really stressed out when it came to contracting sponsored post, so I didn’t prioritize that as a way to make money in the early days. But sponsored content is the most lucrative form of income in the blogging industry. If you’re wondering what a sponsored post is, it’s basically where a brand and blogger set up a contract to share a product or service on their social channels. Every sponsorship will have different requirements depending on the payment and how many social channels the blogger will share it on. This type of work doesn’t necessarily mean the brand dictates what the blogger wants to say about it, but I know most of the brands want to approve the post before they go live.
I primarily make a side income from using affiliate links. That lets me have 100% say in what I share and don’t share here on my blog. I use LTK (LiketoKnowit) to monetize most of the links you click-through on my blog. If you buy after clicking my link, then I get a specific percentage back. The affiliate company also gets their cut of it, too. I usually make anywhere from .75 cents to $15 on purchases based on how much the order was and what the brand and affiliate company has contracted percentage wise. It’s a great way to make passive income long after you post a product.
Another way to make money blogging is to setup a Google adsense account. This is where you allow ads to be placed on your blog site. Relevant ads are placed where you want them to be seen on your blog, and then you earn money from allowing them to be there. You can also customize the ads to make sure they match the aesthetic of your website. Adsense determines which ads are placed on your site, but are targeted towards your content and audience. If you don’t like a specific ad on your site, there’s a blocking controls page under your account that allows you to remove a specific ad you don’t want.
As I’ve gained more experience as a blogger and found success in it, I realized that there was an opportunity to create an online course. If you want to learn more about my course, The Profitable Influencer, click here. So if you’ve found success in something, online courses are an excellent way to create another stream of income. It can be anything from blogging like me, to furniture DIY, how to build a certain business etc. Selling physical products like online courses, a template of some sort, or an online clothing boutique has endless opportunities. Your zone of genius may be your next profitable business idea!
Blogging Q&A: What would you do differently?
I wish I started on WordPress from the get-go or at least made the switch from Blogger sooner than I did. I switched to WordPress and purchased my domain name, and it felt so much more official. I also noticed a big jump in my page views, and I think the new space has pushed me to create better content.
I also wish I had kept all my social channels consistent in names. When starting out, I switched some of my personal accounts to my blog name and on some social channels, Strawberry Chic wasn’t available. I improvised with other additions like strawberrychicxo on my Instagram. I definitely regret that, because many brands reach out to me with that name or put it in contracts like StrawberryChicxo. Ugh. When I got married, I switched most of my social channels to xoAmandaJohn except for my blog Facebook and Instagram. It definitely still needs to be consistent throughout, but for now I don’t want to mess any of the links up.
Blogging Q&A: What advice do you have for new bloggers?
I definitely see this overlapping with a future post because this is one of my most asked questions from aspiring bloggers. Usually, the question starts with, “I’ve been thinking about starting a blog.” And usually, I always say to stop thinking about doing it and start blogging! The longer you think about the idea, the more time you’re wasting learning about blogging and figuring it out. I threw my blog together in a day, and it has evolved over time to something I’m proud of. It doesn’t have to have a grand launch and be exactly how you want before you even get your toes wet. Just start something, figure out what you like and don’t like, and once you’re proud of it start sharing it.
You want to be sure you’re creating a community first and then the money will follow. If you don’t have loyal followers, who love you as a person and your content, the money is going to be tough to earn. After all, you want your readers, followers, subscribers – all of them – to trust you and the content you’re creating. The number one piece of advice is to always, always be yourself and never steer off the path of who you are. A Facebook Group is a great way to create a sense of community with all of your followers. You can offer advice, ask questions, see what type of content they want to see in the Facebook Group. A Facebook Group seems more exclusive and can create lasting connections on that type of platform as opposed to other platforms because more than likely your target audience will join the Facebook Group.