Meet Katie:

motherhood lifestyle blogger, 18 months in, making $4000/month

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 write the blog, Joyful Messes, which is a motherhood lifestyle blog.

I started about a year and half ago, but I don’t think I really “got” the whole blogging thing til about 6 months in. I was putting energy into the wrong places, and not understanding how to build an audience. I focused on quality, emotional posts that were published in the Huffington Post, thinking that would bring me the traffic and exposure.

I blogged about the emotions of parenting, rather than offering helpful tips, tricks and problem-solving advice for the things I’ve experienced as a mom of three.

I was pregnant with my third when I started my blog, and there was one post that did really well. It was a post on swelling and pregnancy. Over time, I realized that my audience was pregnant, or newly postpartum mamas sharing my journey with me. That was a big turning point for me, which allowed me to focus on health and fitness for moms looking to lose the baby weight.

Over time, this lead me to my second blog and product,The Postpartum Cure (trademark pending). I LOVE heath and fitness, so I was ecstatic to realize, through analytical study of my traffic, that so many moms needed help in this area. I believe that is the key to the success of both my first and second blog. Understanding where you have expertise, and how to help people who need your skills and experience.

By learning who my audience is, I learned what information they needed, and what PRODUCTS they are buying. If you understand who your audience is, you can advise them on products and goods that you love, and will help them. This leads to successful affiliate income.

With that process, of intentional study, I am now making an average of $4,000 a month. I’ve recently launched my own product, which has taken me above that to over $5,000 this month, and I anticipate that to continue to grow. I have a small pdf on exactly where this money comes from, which is not from any blogging related affiliate income. I did start out with some blogging related posts, thinking that was the only way to monetize. Then I searched for other ways bloggers were monetizing without teaching others to blog, which helped me stay focused on my audience.

Q: Why do you think your blog is able to make money when so many others aren’t? What have you done differently?

A: I believe my blogs are doing well because I focus on my audience, not myself.

I also stay in my lane in terms of experience and expertise. I don’t create dinner recipes, or meals because I am not a recipe creator. I LOVE working out, health, fitness and nutrition, so I’ve stayed in my lane, then analyzed what people want in that niche. I offer actionable, helpful tips that I ACTUALLY USE. That makes the content real and authentic.

I also work hard to take high-quality, unique photos to make my blog stand out. There are a lot of stock photos out there, and I believe that your audience wants to know more about you personally. This also attracts brands. When you have high-quality lifestyle photos, brands want to be a part of that lifestyle, and they will pay you to do so! This brings in another income stream that is super fun, and pays very well.

I am also not afraid to invest in resources and products from other bloggers who are doing well.

At first, I was spending way too much time shuffling through free information. It is important to make investments in knowledge from bloggers who are where you want to go. Carly’s Pinteresting Strategies was the best investment I ever made. I did makes some affiliate sales in the beginning, when I did write some blogging posts, which covered the cost and brought in a profit, but most importantly, it gave me the technical expertise I needed to get my content in front of people. You can’t build an audience without getting in front of them. Don’t assume that bloggers created their product just to make money. That is one reason, but they also have valuable knowledge and experience to share, which is worth the investment.

Q: What was your biggest hurdle to earning an income with your blog… and how did you overcome it?

A: My biggest hurdle is realizing the SUPER SMALL commission rates through affiliate income. It all comes down to traffic, and that can be super daunting. I recently had an affiliate increase me from 5 to 10 percent commission rate, because my sales were good. But I was literally making less than a dollar per sale because the price of the product. When you think about the numbers, with thousands and thousands of people going to the blog post with that product, I make just a few dollars. Those stats in blogging are hard to accept, and you have to be super creative and innovative to find ways to make more money per user on your site.

Q: Can you share you best advice for how to make money with a blog? 

A: My best advice would be to study your audience. Figure out who they are, what information they want, and what they are already buying. Find out what their problems are, how you can help them, and be authentic with who you are. And, never stop trying new things. Never assume what is working now, will continue to work. Watch your audience behavior through analytics, and try to think ahead on what they are thinking about.

Here is a good example. I was finally at 100k page views last summer, when the summer ended and fall happened. I HAD NO FALL/HOLIDAY posts ready for my audience. My traffic dropped as low as 60k in just a couple months. WHOOPS! Thank goodness Adthrive didn’t kick me out, and I overcame with one of my HIGHEST traffic posts ever. But I was honestly stressed, and I had less sponsored posts at that time because I had no seasonal content to show them. Do your best to think about seasons and what your audience will be looking for down the road too!