Q: First, tell us a little about you and your blog income journey –
when did you start, what do you blog about, how much time do you put into it etc. I understand that you’re not blogging about blogging, so talking about your income in specific numbers is something you might not do – but IF you’re willing to share how much you earn on average in a month, we’d LOVE to know.
A: I’m known as The Flooring Girl, and I blog about flooring and home décor at TheFlooringGirl.com. I set up my blog in 2011 for my local business (I used to have a flooring store, so I set it up to drive local leads…and it did that very well generating 5 appointments/week for me.)
Thankfully, I learned SEO (Search Engine Optimization) early on, so I was able to rank very well in google and drive a lot of traffic. I knew SEO and blogging so well that everyone said I should start my own marketing company and teach others to blog or blog for them, but I was so busy with my business that I didn’t have time.
I had no idea that you could even monetize a blog a blog…until beginning of 2016. What a missed opportunity! So I tried to learn and do, but I was working 100+ hours a week, so that was hard. I was only making a few hundred dollars each month, but I also wasn’t taking it very seriously.
(AND NOW, DEBBIE HAS WRITTEN AN AMAZING BOOK ON HOW TO BUILD BACK LINKS FOR SEO – WITHOUT BLOGGER OUTREACH!! Check it out here!)
Then, December 2016, I took it seriously. I made a lifestyle change. It was a bit of a sink or swim situation as I am single, had a HUGE amount of debt and lived in a high cost of living area (and couldn’t move). So, I went full steam ahead on my blog, while working 2 part time jobs (one of them has been blogging for local business and teaching SEO).
It was a much longer process than I thought it would be. For most of 2017, I earned $1,500-$2,500. I would go into these times where everything would flatline for months, and I was very frustrated and very stressed, especially since I had no money and was teetering on a very bad place.
Then, after losing one of my part-time jobs (the company went out of business), I worked like crazy on my blog and lucked out. In November 2017, I earned around $3,100, then December $4,100, then Jan 2018 $4,400, Feb $6,300, March $6,600 and in April and May around $8,000. I think June may be a bit higher, but we’ll see.
Q: Why do you think your blog is able to make money when so many others aren’t? What have you done differently?
A: My biggest asset has been learning SEO early on. So, I always got a lot of traffic (i.e. over 100,000 pageviews/month) for years. Organic traffic is awesome, because it is the most passive type of traffic and the steadiest. And, the traffic is more valuable than social media traffic as it both converts better (so better for affiliate sales and products) and their time on page is longer, so you get a higher RPM on ad revenue.
I recently wrote this article on how I doubled my blog’s traffic and it explains how I did it. In April I got 175,000 pageviews and in May, despite a temporary glitch for 2-3 weeks, I got 195,000 pageviews and for June, it looks like I will have well over 250,000 pageviews.
The SEO has been so important for building a solid base for my blog. I know how to do both on-page and off-page optimization and know several little know white hat places to build backlinks. I’ve now started to offer 1 hour phone consultations for bloggers to teach them how to do SEO. And, for a couple of people they’ve been so happy that they then asked me to a bit of extra backlinking for them.
Q: What was your biggest hurdle to earning an income with your blog… and how did you overcome it?
A: Learning how to monetize. That has by far been my biggest challenge. It’s been especially hard as most flooring is not available or bought online and also, I was shut out of most places because I live in a Nexus pending state (New York). I was also super frustrated seeing all these other bloggers making money by teaching people how to make money online or how to blog, etc and that wasn’t the topic of my blog. While I’m great at SEO and teaching people how to blog, I just didn’t like blogging about that. It just wouldn’t keep my interest for long term. But, home décor…I love, love, love home décor.
I found Amazon to be the easiest place for affiliate marketing for my category and have now branched out a bit including places like RewardStyle. Also, and this wasn’t planned, but over the last few months, I’ve also started to offer local design consultations, and now many people across the country have asked me for phone consultations for flooring, stain colors/products, paint colors.
Almost all of my earnings from the blog come from affiliate marketing (95+% related to home décor) and ads + a bit of miscellaneous stuff). I have never done any sponsored posts, and when I do SEO/blogging work, that is on top of that number.
Q: Can you share you best advice for how to make money with a blog?
1. Write high quality epic posts from the beginning (2000+ words). This is a quality over quantity game.
2. Learn SEO from the beginning…or at least a few weeks later. This is your long term game.
3. Learn and excel at Pinterest. This is the easiest way to gain short term traffic. I love Carly’s ebook. It’s a game changer. It doesn’t matter if you manually pin or schedule…her strategies are dead on. And, Pinterest has made me a better blogger – better titles and tons of ideas for blog topics.
4. Write about what you enjoy and know about. And, find ways to monetize it. Don’t do the reverse. If you start with what you see other people making money with and it’s not related to your blog or your experience, you will fail…or at least waste lots of time.