*This post was originally posted to Kayla's Five Things (my lifestyle blog), but I migrated it here to share with you all.*
If you’re one of my sweet, sweet subscribers, you already know this, but I’m shouting it from the rooftops (today we call that ” sharing it online”). In a year and a half (when I switched to WordPress.org), K5T has gotten over 1 million page views!
I wanted to share a little bit about my journey to get there and how I’m feeling about the future of this little business of mine. The main reason I’m doing this is because I love to read the posts my fellow blogger babes make about this kind of stuff. There’s enough room on the internet for all of us, so if we can better help one another reach goals, I’m always down to contribute however I can.
Hopefully, you don’t find it annoying or braggy, though the latter is probably a little unavoidable since I got 34″ balloons...
Disclaimer: I don’t know everything about blogging. In fact, I barely know anything about blogging. I can’t remember exactly when I started. Though it was 4 or 5 years ago, I didn’t get serious about it until January of 2017. I didn’t make any money from it until June of 2017. I am simply sharing what’s worked for me.
I also just wanted an excuse to buy these balloons, because I highly doubt I’ll ever get to 1 million Instagram followers, and they’re just so pretty.
The first thing I want to say is that I consider my blog a business. I have had that mindset since I last January. I am not a “it’s just a passion of mine” kind of blogger. It is my passion, but I’m aiming to make my passion my business. I want to enrich peoples lives (with snarky comments and fab shoes), but I also want to make money doing so. I don’t see anything wrong with that and feel it has made me 110%. a better blogger. My content, my strategy, my time all comes from the idea that I want my blog to be my career.
Basically, I want to spend my life having more time with the people I love and spending my eight hours a day doing what I love. There’s nothing wrong with that, so don’t hate. It’s 2017 people. The internet offers limitless possibilities for every dream. We just have to embrace it and be proud to be in that industry.
Okay, here’s some limited “knowledge” coming your way…
Where I’ve Learned
Ever since I got serious and realized that I could make blogging my career, I have been seeking out information and info about the industry. It’s a relatively new career path (probably only in the last five or six years), but there are so many people weighing in on it. Most of them offer blog posts on it for free or require your email to send you info.
Fohr Card: If you’re in NYC and haven’t heard of Fohr Card, you’re really missing out! It’s an influencer marketing platform, but I believe they mostly work with really large influencers. I am signed up, but mainly just utilize their tools and classes. They have weekly “Drink With James” episodes on YouTube (shared on their Facebook as well) where James Nord, one of Fohr Card’s co-founders gives you no bullshit advice. Sometimes he has guests on the show, but mostly he’s just giving it to you straight which is really refreshing. Fohr Card also has monthly in person events called Fohr U’s where it’s “Drink With James” with an open bar and fellow bloggers. Can’t really beat that…
Melyssa Griffin: This is the blogger that taught me about Pinterest, aka my most important social media platform. She has several free posts and e-course. She also does a full (and slightly expensive) e-course on using Pinterest. It’s on my list of potential things to invest in soon, but for starting out on Pinterest, you can get a lot from her free content.
ProBlogger podcast: This is a podcast by Australian blogger, Darren Rowse. I have listened to nearly every episode they put out. It’s incredible helpful advice from a successful blogger. It’s also just real, tangible advice not lofty tips.
Useletter: This is a weekly newsletter sent out by Amy Lynn Andrews. I love it, because it updates me on what’s new in the tech world (everything from new platforms to IG updates to new tools she’s tried out and loved).
Fellow bloggers: I need to get better at this, but about 6 months or so again I started hosting events at my house or at a coffee shop (okay, once we did AYCD brunch and got nothing accomplished, but it was so fun). I invited bloggers I knew through events or engaging on Instagram and we sat down and chatted about the business. I learned so much from them and continue to every time we meet. I also have the occasional coffee with bloggers I’ve never met and learn from them. Finally, I learn so much just by stalking the big-time bloggers’ sites and seeing what I like and what I don’t like.
What I’ve Learned
I will say AGAIN, this is what I’ve learned and what works for me in my lifestyle niche.Take everything with a grain of salt, as different businesses need different business strategies. No many how many e-courses try to sell you on the fact that there’s one full-proof path to becoming a full-time blogger, I just don’t buy it.
Instagram following isn’t as important to me as it is for other people. The high numbers look good look for brands, but doesn’t necessarily translate to page views, nor does it often reflect the ability to get sales. It’s important for me to be on there and engaging with my community, but not a huge focus of mine.
You can have a full-time career as a blogger without being famous or having over 100K followers.
Creating content that’s helpful vs. inspirational has a better chance of making you money (how to post vs. outfit photos).
Your newsletter/email list is the only one that can’t be taken away from you. Instagram’s algorithm could go nutty again, a platform could just shut down and you’ll have lost that audience. That can’t happen with an Excel sheet of emails.
Set priorities and manage your time based on the goals you want to achieve:
I want newsletter subscribers (see why in the bullet above) –> create opt-ins and constantly remind people to subscribe (lol hint hint)
I want page views –> focus on Pinterest (see why in the bullet below)
Pinterest is a search engine for your target audience. Engaging there takes little time and effort, but can result in passive page views for months to come. This is where 85%-90% of my daily traffic comes from. A lot of posts from six months ago are getting hundreds of views a day.
Write evergreen posts that do well on Pinterest AND right posts on massive trends as soon as possible (especially in the fashion and beauty industries).
Creating something you can sell gives you a better chance at making money vs. waiting for people to seek you out (selling printable vs. sponsored posts).
Like.to.know.it didn’t work for me, so I dropped it. It’s not worth annoying my followers if they’re not interested in buying.
Shopstyle Collective works better for me, so I incorporated that into my Pinterest strategy and use it frequently.
Focus on your strengths and learn what your readers like from you, so you can give them more. I did a readers’ survey and learned they liked my sassy and informal writing style and they liked outfit posts. Give the people what they want! <– but also make sure you can create content that makes money so that all your content can be better.
You don’t have to go to events…
Some bloggers just want to use you for your contacts (even if you barely have any). That’s not cool. Find your tribe in the blogger community and don’t worry about the rest.
Photography can make or break your blog. Invest in that, whether it’s equipment or photographers.
Don’t wait around setting goals and making plans. Just do it. Fix it later. My friend Sam wrote a great blog post on this recently.
Never stop learning and honing your craft. That’s a lame way to say it, but you get the gist…
Anyone that read this whole thing is my hero. Regardless, I am forever grateful to my readers and community. You all make this extremely rewarding.