Answering All of Your Blogging Questions + New Favorite Resource

Answering all of the questions nobody talks about for how to turn your blog into an actual full-time business to support your family.

Buckle up, y’all. This is a BIG one.

If you’re here for the DIY and decorating, skip on by me today because I’m pouring out ALLLLLLL of the answers to the bajillions of blogging questions out there.

Last week, I asked y’all on Instagram to hit me with all of your burning blogging questions, no matter how awkward they were to ask. Y’all didn’t hold back! So I’m diving into those in just a second with all of my totally transparent answers that no one really talks about.

(Some affiliate links are provided in this post. Full disclosure here.)

But today is SO exciting for me because it officially marks the launch of my friend Julie Blanner‘s blogging course The Business of Blogging. If you don’t already follow her, Julie is the mastermind behind JulieBlanner.com. (And if you love simple, classic decorating, recipes, and entertaining ideas, she’s your girl.)

I met her two years ago on a brand trip in Chicago (and truthfully I felt kind of star-struck), and she immediately became one of those friends who legitimately looks out for your well-being for no other reason than the fact that she has a giving heart.

She’s been blogging for 12 years and has catapulted her blog into a bonafide business while raising her three kids . I’ve learned so many lessons from her already about how to work smarter, not harder, and to achieve more work/life balance, so I’m thrilled to introduce so many of y’all to her wealth of knowledge if you’ve been wanting to start a blog or if you’re already a blogger but need some help.

The Business of Blogging is full of strategies to streamline your time, maximize revenue, negotiate contracts, work with brands, boost SEO, write better emails, determine your return-on-investment, and the list goes on.

And it’s all set up through resources including video, tutorials, spreadsheets, actionable tips, a planner, and all of the best tools to help you work smarter on your blog.

You can see all of the info about the course here. It launches today with a $50 discount and a bonus of a “25 Viral Titles” resource until the price goes up on Monday, October 28.

Because really, blogging can often make you feel like this…

Or maybe that’s just me. 😉

Okay, anyways, to answer all of the questions y’all sent to me on Instagram last week, I’ll dive in:

1. How much time per day do you spend working on the blog?

I treat it as I would any job’s working hours, starting at 9 am until 5 pm. Sometimes, I try to knock out as much as I can Monday-Thursday so that I can take Fridays off for a date day with Robert or take the kiddos somewhere fun for extra family time.

When I was a full-time teacher, I worked on it on weekends, during lunch, and after my then 2 year-old went to bed. It took up ALL of my free time, but when you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. 

2. How do you make a full-time income enough to support your family?

Honestly, a TON of hard work, dedication, consistency, sacrifice, and by the grace of God. The blog works a lot like an online magazine, but to get technical, there are four main ways most bloggers make an income: sponsored posts with brands, website ads, affiliate commission, and selling your own products/courses/books.

3. Which blogging platform did you start with?

I started out with a free Blogger site and then migrated to WordPress.org (with paid hosting) once I learned how to start monetizing and decided I wanted to grow it into something more than just a hobby.

4. Email lists! What to do once people subscribe to a specific segment?

I’m really not great at segmenting my lists either. I mainly have one email list that I send a newsletter to when I publish a new blog post. BUT I’m currently working on some changes with mine to hopefully improve it for everyone. I currently use ConvertKit but I’m about to make the switch to Flodesk.

5. How do you start?! I have no idea where to start!

YouTube is your best friend. Haha! I taught myself everything in the beginning by searching YouTube videos when there were really not any blogging courses out there. This How to Start a Blog: Step by Step for Beginners video is an excellent place to start.

I get it! It’s so overwhelming and paralyzing. I wish I had all of this info at my fingertips when I was just starting out. You can always start one for free on Blogger or WordPress.com and do a basic set-up using YouTube tutorials if you wanted a true DIY/free method, which is probably best when you’re just wanting to dabble with it for fun while you get used to it and later decide you want to invest more.

6. Increasing pageviews? No matter what I do, I can’t get them up.

This one’s tough! And I fight that one too. First remember, it’s not all about pageviews. (My pageviews haven’t increased in a year, but my income has because I’ve found ways to work smarter, with Julie’s guidance the past couple of years.) 

But this can also give you a boost: 

  • Be consistent – have a posting schedule and stick to it.
  • Content is king – share posts that will legitimately problem solve and help people (and keep in mind the topics that are “search-able” from a Google standpoint) 
  • Build your email list – Roughly 30% of my pageviews come from email subscribers. Take care of the followers you do have (don’t worry so much about chasing new followers). If you take care of people by being a well of helpful resources, they will take care of you. 
  • Vary your social media presence – “Have your eggs in multiple baskets” so to speak. When you feel comfortable and in a good routine with say Pinterest, then try out Instagram to add to your list of tasks to master, then Facebook. If once social media platform’s traffic plummets, you’ll have the others to still hold up your pageviews. 

7. Working with brands? How to pitch, develop relationships, and what they want in a blog?

That’s a BIG one that would be impossible to answer here, but Julie’s course answers those EXACT questions that I am still learning from too. She has this one nailed! I’m constantly in awe of her knowledge about how to work with brands. 

8. How long does it really take to make money from blogging? 

This one has a lot of factors involved, depending on your blog’s niche, how much content your creating, how you’re marketing your blog, what your skill set is, etc. But for my personal experience, I started out “in the red” my first year, started “breaking even” with my second year by reinvesting what I earned back into the blog or into project supplies, and officially started pulling in an income around my third year by matching my former teaching salary.

But that being said, don’t compare your journey to mine as everyone and every situation is different. All it takes is for one little factor about your blog to “click”, and the whole game could change for you.

9. How do you come up with topics and stay consistent?

I feel like if you’re really really passionate about your specific niche, this one will come kind of easily, which is why it’s so important to find the niche that most speaks to you.

But when I feel stuck or burned out, I’ll have a brainstorming session (often including a sit-down with Robert to discuss ideas) or I’ll ask my readers! In the past, I’ve sent out a reader survey through Google Forms to my email subscribers and in a blog post. And you can also ask your audience on Instagram (hence how I’m even writing this post right now).

10. How do you plan out and organize your content?

I like to use a site called Asana.com for planning out all of my post ideas. I rarely have more than a week’s worth of posts scheduled in the queue. But I typically try to at least have a loose plan for future posts a month ahead of time.

11. What brings in the most money for your blog? Ads, affiliates, sponsorships?

Of course, it varies for every blogger, but for me this year, it’s been 49% ads, 31% affiliates, 20% sponsorships.

12. Is it even worth starting a blog in 2019?

Absolutely!!! BUT I have to ask you this… are you starting a blog because you are truly completely passionate about something? Or are you starting it mainly for the income? Because I have to warn you it is not some kind of get-rich-quick scheme. How many jobs can you think of that require you to pay THEM for the first couple of years to keep your position at the company?

But if you absolutely live and breathe your passion and are authentic, it’s still totally worth starting. Advertising has shifted drastically in the last 5 years. (Truthfully, I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a TV commercial, can you?) Times are changing and brands/PR companies have increased their blogger/influencer budgets to a record breaking amount, with an even bigger blogger budget increase in 2020. There’s a seat at the table for everybody, and blogging isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

If you have any other questions, send them my way!

And if you want more help in taking your blog to the next level (and also to find that work/life balance so many of us crave), all of the info about The Business of Blogging course can be found here with the discount running until October 28.

If you want more blogging help, you can find all of my other blogging resources here.

Back to our regularly scheduled decorating & DIY later this week though because my brain hurts now. Ha!

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8 Comments

  1. You’ve inspired me to start what I wish I’d started about 8 years ago!! Is Julie’s course suitable for someone who hasn’t even begun yet? Or more for growing an existing blog? I just read your 2015 post on getting started….. is that still how you recommend starting?

  2. Love this post. I am just getting back into blogging after a brief hiatus and wanted to know your opinion about social media and it’s importance in the success of a blog. Can a blog survive with just create content or is being “socially active” a must in today’s world? Thanks

    1. I definitely think being “socially active” is a must. It’s typically how readers will find you in the first place before they become bonafide followers. Otherwise, you’re depending completely on Google to find your blog for people in searches and that’s putting all of your eggs in one basket. If you differentiate your traffic sources, you will grow more easily, and if one traffic source plummets, you’ll have the others to help.

  3. Thank you for this… I’ve had the dream of starting a blog for 5+ years, but have always found an excuse not to… might need to dust off that dream and try it!

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