Shellie Deringer started Simply Shellie in January 2009 to keep herself accountable to her $40 a week grocery challenge and to help others navigate the crazy world of coupons. Frugal living helped her family’s budget survive two babies, one recession, and countless emergency expenses. Read on to see how Shellie was able to make a career out of blogging full-time.
Tell us a little bit about your blogging journey.
My husband and I were saving for a trip to Africa. He didn’t want to use our regular savings account so we were saving additional money each month to pay for the trip. We were living frugally, but just weren’t saving enough. I started using grocery coupons to save a little more and it snowballed. I couldn’t believe how much I was paying for groceries and household goods when I could be paying so little!
I started the blog to share my journey and help others. Since my financial situation has changed and the economy has improved, I no longer share strictly coupon deals. I share ideas on how to live simply: Easy recipes, simple crafts, coupon deals, retail sales, and more.
What did you do before becoming an online publisher?
I was an accountant.
How are you growing your audience?
The social media landscape is constantly evolving. I try to focus on one thing and evaluate and rotate every six months. Right now I am focusing on building up my email list. I am working on a newsletter incentive to encourage people to sign up and am developing multiple newsletter options so people can subscribe to the blog elements they like best.
What is your number one source of traffic?
What types of monetization strategies work best for you?
Not putting all my eggs in one basket. At one point quite a bit of my income came from affiliate commissions. Then Texas tried to pass an affiliate nexus law and I realized how much of my revenue would be lost if I could no longer earn revenue that way. Since then I began to focus on having a diverse stream of income from ad networks, sponsored content, consulting, and affiliate revenue.
How were you able to start blogging full-time?
For me quitting my job was the big turning point. It allowed me more time to dedicate to blogging. I saw a steady increase in revenue after that which helped with income replacement. It also showed me that I could earn a full-time income from my blog if I was diligent and treated it as a business.
What advice would you give to a new blogger who wants to monetize their blog?
Be passionate about your subject. I have been blogging for nearly six years and have seen hundreds of bloggers start and stop. If you look at most successful bloggers, they are passionate about their craft. When you love what you are doing, you steadily gain followers and brands will take notice. If you start a blog with the sole purpose to earn money, you will burn out.
If you have a blog and want to monetize it, join Adsense. Slap up an ad in your sidebar. Join the Amazon affiliate program. Look at every single post as a way to monetize. If you are talking about your favorite children’s book, link to it on Amazon. If you are baking cupcakes, link to the Wilton frosting tip you used. If there is no possible way to link to an item that generates a commission, link to another post. “If you loved these cupcakes, try this cake I made too”. This keeps this on your page and increases the likelihood that they will click another revenue-generating link.
You’ve received some great press exposure on national media outlets — how were you able to do this?
Friends. Every news or media outlet opportunity that I have received is from another blogger passing on my name. I have been on local television because anchors reached out to other bloggers I knew who were not local. They knew me and recommended me. I have had coverage in National print publications for the same reason. The reporter may want multiple quotes for an article and another blogger recommends me. If the report likes what you submit, they will come back to you again and again. Make friends in the blogging community. You never know when those relationships will pay off.
As a mom of two young boys, how do you manage your family time and your blogging time?
I don’t sleep. I do the bulk of my work when my family is sleeping. I also have a fabulous mom and mother-in-law that help me whenever they can. I couldn’t do this without them or the support of my husband. It takes a village!
Thanks, Shellie for sharing your story of success!