Tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial path to career blogging.
I fell into being an entrepreneur. I started back blogging in September 2011 at the suggestion of a friend. Within 6 weeks I was asked to write for a website and they paid me. So that’s when I knew I needed to figure out how to turn this into a business. Months before I began blogging again, I spent the summer at the public library learning all about blogging and social media through books. Ironic I know, but some of the best tips I still use came from that research.
I’ve since been able to create ways to monetize my blog without placing ads on my sites.
What is your number one source of traffic?
For my blog, Women Are Gamechangers the number one traffic source is Google organic search.
For my blog, VernettaRFreeney.com my number one traffic source is direct link. Which is either through my blog subscribers, newsletter subscribers, or people sharing the link with others.
How are you growing your audience?
For Women Are Gamechangers the name itself grew my audience. Also I wrote relatable content for my readers. The interviews and guest posts are also geared towards the everyday woman. After great content, I shared online daily and attended many events letting others know about my blog. This brought interviews and guest posts for me on other blogs. This too helped to grow my audience.
For VernettaRFreeney.com a lot of my initial readers came over from WAGC. Unlike starting WAGC I had a plan for this blog before starting. I spoke at the Texas Conference for Women and have been interviewed for a few sites. I’m also writing for two major websites. So my plan for this blog is to drive traffic by being seen on much bigger websites. It’s much easier not having to build an audience from scratch like with WAGC.
What types of monetization strategies work best for you?
Everything for me has been trial and error.
I chose not to place ads on either of my blogs. So I’m not the best person to share about that. I know lots of bloggers start with ads to generate revenue.
I on the other hand remember when I was researching at the library that its best for bloggers to own what they sell on their blogs.
So I have done sponsored posts, wrote for other sites, covered events, written eBooks, have MP4s to sell, speak, consulted on social media, hosted my own social media conference and host a national tour.
I tried to be an affiliate for another product, but it didn’t work out for me.
I’m also working on more products around creating a tour. Again, all I do is something based on my blogs, so I keep the profit.
How did you take your blogging career to the next level?
A lot of strategy and hard work. Both Women Are Gamechangers and Fusion Tour (my national tour) are award-winning. That didn’t happen overnight. It may seem like it did.
I focused on creating relatable content on my blogs more than anything. I always try to write from my own point of view so my readers can see that I share from experience.
I also knew I wanted to turn this blog into a business when I was paid 6 weeks after starting it. For two years, I attended workshops, seminars, conferences, bootcamps and classes both in Texas and Georgia. I wanted to learn how to run a business. Most blogs have great content that’s never seen. The difference is some bloggers learn how to effectively market their blog while others think people will come to them because they wrote a blog post.
The most effective strategy I say that works for me is applying or pitching myself to speak, work with someone, win a Seed Grant, get interviews, etc. I let people know I’m here and would like my blog to be recognized. More bloggers need to know its okay to say my blog is important and I know what I offer is valuable. Therefore you and I should talk.
What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Find your online voice, know your audience and have goals for you blog. Find a way to set yourself a part and show what makes your blog unique. That’s key. Focus on sharing what you’re passionate about. Don’t start a blog to try to get page views on a genre that’s popular. You’ll lose interest and then have wasted time building something you no longer want to do.
One piece of advice I want to leave you with is not to compare your blog to anyone else’s blog. You don’t know how much time, energy, effort, money or sacrifices they made to get where they are.
Do something everyday to grow your blog. Write, share your content, network both online and offline, attend events, speak, host events, collaborate, etc. These are just ways you can grow your audience. Social media alone can’t grow your blog in a competitive, saturated blog space. Especially if you plan to monetize.
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?
I can’t say. I’m always working even in my sleep. I literally dream about my blogs and to-do lists. It’s never ending work.
Last year I traveled a lot. I traveled to several states hosting Fusion Tour (my national tour) and speaking.
Working for yourself there is no 9-5 clock out schedule. I work weekends when I host or attend events. I work late nights attending events or networking. I can stay up until 3am to write blog posts or do research. I work best from 11p-3a. The whole world is still and I can work in complete silence.
I work more now that when I was a teacher. But it doesn’t feel like work when I’m doing things I like to do. The majority of my time is working from home unless I leave for an event.
Connect with Vernetta R. Freeney and Women Are Gamechangers…
Blog URL: www.womenaregamechangers.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/vernetta.freeney
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