Hey there! Thanks for clicking on this post. My name is Kristen and I do not blog about blogging. I actually blog about gardening and food 99% of the time. Wait, don’t go!!!!!
If you clicked on this post, you’re probably like past-me. You have a blog, it’s doing alright, but you’d really like it to make you actual money to pay your bills, not just that $4 you made on Amazon Affiliates last month, or another free bag of chips in exchange for selling your soul on social media. (Please tell me it isnt’ just me!?)
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Is it possible to make money on your blog if you don’t blog about blogging?!?!
But you’re also tired of reading make-money-off-your-blog-now posts from people who blog about blogging, or have previous backgrounds in social media marketing. You’re starting to wonder, is it even possible for someone like me, who writes about parenting/home decor/classroom teaching/etc. to make money off my blog?
That’s why you should read this post to the end. As you’ll learn in my story below, I’m a musician and Mom who has no prior experience with blogging, social media, or anything even remotely related to this online world I now occupy. Everything I’ve learned I’ve learned by investing in online courses, and consistently working on my blog for no less than 2 hours a day 5 days a week. Because if there’s one advantage a musician has, we know how to practice!!
Anyway, I digress. . .
Have you seen Lena Gott’s new course, Adventures in SEO, floating around the Internet, and been wondering if it’s worth your hard earned money? I was part of the Beta group, and I want to share my story. It sounds overdramatic, but it actually changed my life.
But don’t believe me yet.
Here’s the story of my blog, and how I leveraged Adventures in SEO to make a near full time income off of my blog.
When Your Dream Job Isn’t Your Dream Job Anymore
All my life I wanted to be a singer. I took lessons, went to university, got two degrees in music, and started a successful voice and piano studio. I thought it was everything I ever wanted–until it wasn’t.
I had a two year old, was travelling 3 days a week, lead 3 choirs, was caregiving for my Grandma, and had a Husband who worked long hours and was away from home 2 out of every 3 weeks. I was living my dream, but I was burning out.
We were also starting to suspect that my Son had autism. He was having trouble with transitions, and our constantly changing schedules and students coming in and out of the house was not making anything better.
It all came to a head that November, when I had to take my Grandma to the hospital. Her health was in terrible shape and she needed to move to a nursing home. My Mom worked in the hospital I took my Grandma to, and mentioned that I had been sick for weeks and didn’t seem to be getting any better–could the doctor squeeze me in while we were there?
A few tests revealed I had mono.
It sounds terrible, but I was so thankful because it meant that I finally had an excuse to just rest.
While I was sick, I decided that I couldn’t be a full time music teacher anymore. I loved my job and my students, but neither I or my family could handle the pace of life.
So What Now?
But what would I do instead? I already knew from trying to find summer work that most employers don’t see the transferable skills a musician has in an office setting. There seemed to be no other choice than to go back to school–but I literally just finished school not that long ago and I didn’t want to stress our family out financially.
I searched around online for what my options might be, and decided that starting a blog was probably the most low-cost way to make money. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I also knew from a lifetime of practicing music that if you show up everyday and “do the thing” with intention, you will get better at it.
A Blog is Born
As anyone who has attempted to start a blog knows, the learning curve is steep–especially if you’re like me and don’t have any background in marketing or tech. During my son’s nap times I learned about the proper way to set up a blog, how to add widgets, and how to promote your blog on social media.
I wrote, I created, and took pictures. I had a modest but engaged following, but could not seem to crack 500 views a month. Sound familiar?
But How Do I Grow My Blog Traffic?
There’s a lot of information and courses out on the Internet and not all of them are good. It’s also really hard at this point to justify spending money on something that seems to have no immediate way of making you money. So despite signing up for every freebie known to bloggers on the internet, I still wasn’t quite ready to invest in myself or my blog.
So I started joining blogging share groups.
If you’ve every been part of a blogging sharing group, you know how it goes. Post your link. Go through eleventy-million other links, wash, rinse, and repeat. But I was determined that I would get my numbers up.
A Strategy is Born
And determined I was. I soon discovered that the best way to do well in sharing groups is to be one of the first 10 links per thread. This meant that, because of the time zone I live in, I had to wake up at 5:30 in the morning, groggily post my links, then go back to bed or work on writing content. Then, in the evening, I would spend 2 hours reciprocating.
Yes. Two hours.
My strategy was working, but it was not sustainable. Sure, my numbers were going up, but I was slowly niching into gardening, and most of the bloggers in my share group were either in parenting or Christian living niches. I tried to share most of the food and diy bloggers stuff, but I was ending up with a fake following of people who weren’t actually interested in what I was writing about.
(I’d also like to take a moment to say that share groups are not all bad. I met a lot of wonderful bloggers who I am still friends with online to this day. While I don’t recommend you spend as much time as I did in share groups, it is nice to join one or two just to meet people and get your beginner questions answered.)
Time to Start Treating My Blog Like a Business
In the middle of this share group strategy, I finally took the plunge and started investing in myself. I started by buying all of the courses by Melissa of Blog Clarity, who I had been following from the beginning. I devoured Pinning Perfect and took her and Anna’s words as Internet gospel.
It worked! Not immediately, but within six months I lucked out and had my first viral pin. I couldn’t believe my luck as my page views climbed to almost 200 000 in one month.
Of course, that kind of traffic didn’t last forever. But now, I had a niche, a direction, and more of a plan.
While I couldn’t sustain that level of crazy traffic, I was able to keep around 5000-60 000 views a month. Unfortunately, most of it was still fuelled by that one viral pin.
How Do I Keep Consistent Blog Traffic?
I was SO CLOSE to being able to have the kind of traffic that opened doors to serious money making online, but I had no idea how to re-create the level of success I had with my viral pin. It felt like a fluke, and I couldn’t apply for an ad network or tons of sponsorships until I felt like I was capable of re-creating that magic.
I had been following Lena Gott of What Mommy Does for about 6 months at this point. I came across her Traffic Transformation e-book and purchased it to help with my traffic consistency problem. It definitely helped, but it wasn’t life-changing for me, although I know it has been for others.
However, when she started emailing her list about a new program she was planning that harnessed the power of both Google and Pinterest, I knew that this was the course for me. I felt like I already had a decent handle on Pinterest, but I needed some of that Google traffic if my blog was ever going to have some long term staying power.
I was determined to throw myself into this course. I would read every module and I would do everything she said to do. This time, I would finally figure out how to keep the traffic coming without my viral pin or artificially inflated traffic from share groups.
My Experience With Adventures in SEO
So every week as the new modules were released, I watched the videos as I did my chores around the house, then took some time later that day to implement whatever was being taught in the modules. This is key–you need to immediately practice what you’ve been taught. Don’t read the whole course and then go back. Implement the strategies immediately, even if you don’t get them perfect the first try.
Lena is really good about setting the theory groundwork, then getting into the meat of the course in a logical way. Each of the modules is packed with useful information and handouts–there is no fluff in this course!! I found it easy to understand the lessons, and didn’t have to go back again to fully understand them.
One warning though, you will be tempted to quit the course after the Pinterest section. That section alone works so well in the short term, that you’ll want to stop right there. But don’t!! You really need the Google section to secure your success for the longterm.
My Adventures in SEO Results
Before one viral pin and the corresponding post I wrote to be it’s companion. After Adventures in SEO, I have a nice roster of around 50 posts that each get 100-500 views a week. It doesn’t seem like much, but those views all add up. I also learned how to update old posts in a way that actually gets them seen, so I don’t have to create as much new content if I don’t want to or I don’t have the time.
P.S. That’s one of the things I love about Adventures in SEO. The goal is not to get crazy virals–although I’ve had my share! The goal is to have a roster of blog posts that consistently get 100-300 views every week. These little wins build up over time to provide nice, consistent traffic that you can count on. Okay, back to my story. . .
In the height of my traffic season, I hit 120 000 views! Sure, the viral pin was still floating a lot of the traffic, but this time, all the other posts were bridging the gap.
I also was able to easily get 1000 shares on Pinterest with many of the new posts I wrote using Lena’s methods. Once post even hit 1K in six days!!!
Now, instead of my posts getting 100 shares or so mostly with the help of sharing groups, my posts were easily climbing to 1000 shares within a month and often sooner–no sharing groups required!!
I can’t even describe how good it feels to know that my posts actually get seen by the people who need them most. And since Lena shows us how to pick topics that people actually want to read, I don’t waste time writing things that people don’t care about. (Unless I really want to. I still write a garden update or two from time to time just because my existing audience likes it.)
A Few Disclaimers
Now, I need to insert a few disclaimers in the name of transparency. Because I don’t want to be that I-make-$10000-a-month-working-5-hours-a-week-on-my-blog-while-my-four-kids-crawl-all-over-me-person.
- The gardening niche is still fairly untapped, and I have an extra advantage in that I live in a geographical area where people are crazy about gardening and no one else is writing about it in the way that I am.
- I do not experience the same kind of wild success with my food posts. However, I can still expect 300-500 Pinterest shares in a short amount of time, which I think is amazing considering the high amount of competition.
- Lena teaches you how to find the best topics to write about with the most chance of going viral. It doesn’t work every single time, but I’d say it works 80% of the time for me.
- The more research I do on a post, the better results I tend to get. Don’t worry, Lena will show you how to research, and it doesn’t take much more than 10-20 minutes once you’ve done your niche research.
- My traffic is always highest from February to June. I get the most viral success during this time, but I have had a post go viral in January, and a few food posts go viral-for-food in August. My challenge this year will be to keep my views above 25 000 in Q4 so I can stay on Mediavine.
Update: Since I wrote this post the magic is still happening. It’s currently November (my slow season) and my traffic is down, but I’m still able to write enough viral posts and re-keyword my old ones that I haven’t been kicked off of Mediavine yet!!
Lena also just came out with a free video series that’s available until November 17th, 2018, SEO Lessons from 15 Million Page Views. Check it out here!!
What does this all mean?
Because I had finally cracked the way to keep my traffic consistently high, I applied to Mediavine with no hesitation. (For those of you who are very new to blogging, Mediavine is one of the bigger ad companies that a lot of bloggers aspire to qualify for.)
I couldn’t believe how much money I was making every month–some months almost enough to pay all our bills!
I never could have imagined when I was just an exhausted Mom and musician with a dream that I’d ever be able to support my family with mostly blogging work.
Are you ready to have a success story of your own?
Are you ready to quit wasting 3 hours a day on reciprocation groups?
Are you ready to stop spinning your wheels, wondering what to write to that people actually want to read?
Are you ready to stop relying on fickle social media sites for page views?
Are you ready to start getting noticed on Pinterest and start ranking on Google?
Are you ready to get enough traffic month after to month to finally leverage into actual money in your bank account?
You need to enrol in Adventures in SEO.
Because you can be the most talented blogger, photographer, and writer, but if no one can find your stuff, you can’t help the people you’re meant to help the most.
Once you join Adventures in SEO, you’ll also have access to the private Facebook group which is a literal gold mine. Any time you’re stuck with finding the right keywords to find the right people, this group will help you out.
However, Adventures in SEO is not for everyone. If you’re still in your first year of blogging and feel like you need to master the basics of Pinterest, then take Pinning Perfect and come back to Adventures in SEO in six months to a year.
You have nothing to lose. By joining the Free 5-day Traffic and Monetization Mini Challenge, you’ll start learning how to finally make money and get consistent page views. Plus, you’ll know if Lena’s teaching style is for you.
See you on the inside!
P.S. Still not convinced the cost of Adventures in SEO will be worth it? Once I got accepted to Mediavine, I made 3 times my investment in the course with my first cheque. No joke. You’ve got this!!