By Holly Reisem Hanna
Today I’m going to share with you, two moms who are rocking it in the monetized blogging arena. Unlike other interviews, we’re going to dive deep into how these mom bloggers are really achieving success with their blogs. We’ll discuss traffic strategies, best monetization methods, and the question that’s on everyone’s mind, how much are these moms REALLY earning from their blogs?!
Let me introduce you to our mom bloggers, Mandy Rose from House of Rose Blog, and Meagan Paullin from Sunshine and Sippy Cups. We’ll start off by gathering a little bit of background information, and then we’ll get into the real nitty gritty of how these moms are earning big bucks from their blogs.
Mandy Rose’s Personal Story
I started blogging (March 2008) initially as a way to journal and document our lives as new parents. We had just had our first child and I thought it would be a great way to connect with other moms out there who were going through the same things as I was. I didn't blog much about home decor or DIY until I quit my full time job in November of 2011 to focus on my online presence.
During that time I realized that I had a passion for decorating, vlogging, and fashion! I began to expand my blog and write about more than just my family. I found a lot of decor blogs and became inspired by them to start blogging about the process of making our house, our forever home.
I began learning how to use my camera and how to edit pictures. I really feel like pretty pictures can make a world of difference in a blog. I also noticed that Pinterest was becoming my new best friend.
I attended my first blog conference in March 2012, and that's when my mentality on blogging and income completely changed. At that point I was not monetizing my blog at all. Yes, I had blogged for 4 years and earned not a single penny. After the conference, I made it my goal to take my blog to new levels.
In just over one short year I have been able to earn just as much as I was making at my full time job… By blogging. My new passion is to help people take their blog to the next level and I share tips and tutorials on how to do that on a site I have with my husband called DollarsandRoses.com.
Meagan Paullin’s Personal Story
I was really into couponing and learning to save more money, and followed a ton of frugal living blogs – I loved reading them, but never considered starting my own, since I am super tech challenged. Then I got hit with a big shock – My employer let me go, while I was still on paid maternity leave. It was so sudden, and I didn't know what to do. I was taking a full load of online college courses, and had a newborn baby to take care off, in one of the worst economies of my life.
At first I panicked. Then I jumped into action! I bought a couple of books on blogging basics, used my marketing and management experience to put together a business plan, and started my site (March 2011). I also started doing a lot of freelance writing, and other assorted online activities to help bring in extra income. My boyfriend was out of work too, I didn't qualify for unemployment, and it was kind of a “do or die” type of situation. I think that's really what pushed me to work so hard, and spend so many hours building my site and learning new skills – I had no choice, because bills had to get paid!
How Are You Growing Your Audience?
Mandy: I use a “be everywhere” strategy. There isn't one thing particularly that I am doing to grow my blog. It's more a combination of things. I utilize all forms of social media to promote and grow my brand, as well as Pinterest, YouTube, networking with other bloggers, and joining forums.
I think it's important to have a group of bloggers who can support each other. I have started a few different private Facebook groups (around 10 members in each) where we help each other by sharing, pinning, tweeting, etc each others content.
Meagan: I am a huge social media junkie, and love connecting with new people on my favorite platforms – and as a bonus, that helps drive new readers to my site. But my biggest goal is just to write good content – the type of posts that make people want to come back again, and give them a reason to share with their own friends.
What is Your Number One Source of Traffic?
Mandy: Definitely Pinterest! My Home Tour has been pinned nearly one million times and that has helped get lots of new eyes to my site.
Meagan: PINTEREST!!! Absolutely Pinterest – and it just grows month after month. That's really what led to the huge increase in income – I had one post go viral on Pinterest, that happened to have a lot of affiliate links in it. Once I saw the power of Pinterest traffic, I really focused on that a lot. I now have a few posts that consistently bring in thousands of page views! Plus, personally, it's just my favorite site to use.
What Types of Monetization Strategies Work Best For You?
Mandy: Affiliate networks and ad networks are my two main sources of income with House of Rose. I currently run 4 different ad networks. I like affiliate marketing too, but I am careful about what I promote. I only promote things that I would use or that I love.
Meagan: I do a lot of sponsored posts that come from networks that I'm a part of, and from great PR reps that I've built a relationship with over the past couple of years. But my number one income generator is affiliate marketing. So many women bloggers that I talk to struggle with this, and many of a really bad perception of it – like it's scammy or spammy. But when done right, it's helpful for your readers, is a complement to your great content posts, and can bring you a really significant income! I'm working on some ebooks to come out later this year, to help share some of the the things that I've learned along the way.
How Did You Take Your Blog to The Next Level?
Mandy: I started researching and reading up on how to grow my audience. It wasn't ever really about how can I make money, it was more about how can I grow my readership and share my passion and love for home decor with others. The way I used pictures completely changed how I blogged. Suddenly people kept coming back to see my home tour. I made sure the pictures were good quality, large in size, and something that was “pin worthy”. I also started doing video. I truly feel like video can take your blog to the next level, because it offers viewers a way to connect to you EVEN MORE than just through writing.
Meagan: Well, from the beginning this was a business for me. I told myself I had 6 months to see if this would work for me – if not, I had other plans to try. But I really wanted to be able to build something where I could work from home, to be there with my baby.
I set goals and steps to reach them, and was happily surprised to see that I had exceeded them all at 6 months. I still had savings left, so I set another 6 months of goals… And I exceeded them again! At that point, I really revamped my business plan – I invested in some services to help me manage my site, made bigger goals, and started looking for ways to branch out.
I now have my boyfriend working from home too as my assistant, bought 3 new domains that I'm working on getting set up, and am excited to finish up my ebooks. I consider this my career – I know that the web is an ever-changing place to work, so I want to diversify things enough that I can adapt to whatever changes happen over the years. But every day, I am blessed as can be to be doing something that I love so much and gives me the flexibility to work from home with my family!
How Much Does Your Blog Earn Annually?
Mandy: I currently earn around $3,200 per month. I look for that number to increase each month as my blog audience grows. Projected income for 2013 is $40,000 plus.
Meagan: The first 6 months I probably only earned about $5,000 total. Then things started steadily increasing… For the full year last year I earned slightly under $40,000 – and now this year, I've earned almost $100,000, which is mind boggling!
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.