By Holly Reisem Hanna
I hear it over and over again — bloggers can't make good money. While I obviously disagree with that statement, I decided to prove the naysayers wrong by featuring some women who are earning big bucks through their blogging activities.
The really great thing about blogging is there isn't one right way to do it. How bloggers make their money and grow their business varies tremendously, as you'll see in this case study.
Let me introduce you to our rock star bloggers, Miranda Marquit, publisher of PlantingMoneySeeds.com and Lisa Weber, publisher of CelebrityBabyScoop.com. Not only are these women sharing how much they make — but they are dishing the dirt on how they do it.
Lisa Weber's story:
I started CelebrityBabyScoop.com in September 2006 as a hobby. After the first year, I realized that I would be able to monetize the blog because there was such an interest in the content that I was producing. Most readers who found the blog became addicted and would return daily, which resulted in a community feel.
Miranda Marquit's story:
I am a freelance writer and professional blogger. I wanted to do something that would allow me to work from home, so I got a Master’s degree in Journalism and began offering my services online. I thought that I would make a little extra to pay rent or to help out a little bit while my husband finished school. However, before I knew it, I was the primary breadwinner, and my husband’s income was our supplementary income. I realized that I had a “real” business on my hands and my husband and I formed an LLC.
How are you growing your audience?
Lisa: We continue to grow our audience by producing excellent content. The site wouldn't be what it is today without our dedicated staff, as they give the site a voice and a certain feel that our readers have come to love and expect.
Miranda: Word of mouth and social media have been the most successful for me. I built up a reputation, and clients referred me. Additionally, participating in social media has been successful. My profile on LinkedIn has led to clients, as have my tweets. Additionally, my participation in niche social bookmarking sites and networking efforts at niche conferences have helped. Focusing on a niche (finance in my case) has allowed me to become an expert on writing about finance, and making connections on social media and through word of mouth has been a big help to my business.
What is your number one source of traffic?
Lisa: Our number one source of traffic is returning visitors, followed by Google and then social media.
Miranda: My main source of traffic to my own blogs is search, and Twitter and Facebook provide some traffic, but I haven't aggressively pursued traffic for my own blogs, since I have so much client work.
What types of monetization strategies work best for you?
Lisa: The monetization strategy that has worked the best for us is traditional banner advertising. We use Federated Media for above the fold ads and Google Adsense for ads below the fold.
Miranda: As a result of the fact that most of my income is from client work, I'm not really into monetization. I have some ads on my personal finance blog, an Amazon carousel on one of my blogs, and sales of my book through my freelance writing blog – which helps provide some income. But I don't think about monetization at all. In fact, I have a business partner for my blogs, and he handles the backend and the monetization and we split the profits. I haven't ever had to think about monetization.
How did you take your business to the next level?
Lisa: It took two years until CelebrityBabyScoop.com made a profit, and then I had to convince my husband to let me quit my stable nursing job so that I could focus on the blog full-time. When I took that leap of faith, the blog jumped to the next level and I was able to hire Jenny Schafer, our senior editor, to help me write all the stories. Now we have a staff of writers, along with a marketing professional.
Miranda: I think providing professional work in a timely manner is key. In my niche, I have a reputation for consistent, professional work, and that matters. When you build up that kind of reputation, the clients start coming to you – you don’t have to go out and find gigs.
How much does your business earn annually?
Lisa: Our blog earns $300,000 each year.
Miranda: I’ve made between $95,000 and $120,000 a year for the last few years, depending on gigs I have.
What advice would you give to a new blogger who wants to monetize their blog?
Lisa: My advice is to focus on a niche that interests you and create good content. Also, make sure to network with other bloggers and use social media to drive traffic to your site.
Miranda: Stick with it. Sometimes we give up too easily. It’s not easy to be your own boss, so you need to work through the difficulties and stick with it. Also, look for something you like doing, since when you’re an entrepreneur, there’s no “boss” forcing you to get your work done. So it’s easier to motivate yourself if you’re actually doing something you enjoy.
Wow, thanks ladies for sharing your stories with us, and congratulations on all of your success! Do you want to learn more about becoming a monetized blogger? Find out how to here.