How to Grow Your Blog, Make Money, and Succeed Online: An Interview with Lena Gott
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Today's work-at-home mom interview features Lena Gott, the blogger behind What Mommy Does. Lena is a mom to three little ones and has just recently published an ebook, How I Went from 17K to 350K+ Monthly Page Views in 9 Months (which we reviewed here). In today’s interview, she answers some follow up questions to the advice in her ebook.
Where do you come up with the inspiration for your printables, especially since you make them every week?
My printables are all things I am into at the moment. For a while, it was mainly to-do lists, then it was coloring pages and shapes for my kids, and lately it's monthly calendars. Sometimes I just get into Microsoft Word, Publisher, or even PicMonkey and play around as a creative outlet, and oftentimes a printable comes out of those sessions. (Like this Bursting Blossoms coloring page. It's just a simple coloring page full of icons in PicMonkey.) When I see something is popular, I try to come up with variations on the theme. That's how I got the inspiration for my Bible verse coloring pages. They're based on the bursting blossoms pattern.
Your ebook gives bloggers many, many suggestions for increasing their page views. If you had to choose one of those suggestions as the most important one, which would you choose and why?
Hands down it would be Step 1 - Narrowing Your Focus!
I love writing about a variety of topics, but I've found that topics I can write a lot about (quantity) and deep into the topic (quality) help people stick around to read more and convert affiliate sales. Writing a lot on a predetermined range of topics can help your blog page view and income-wise, so this is the why I made it the first step. A big part of what I teach in the ebook is turning every visitor into multiple page views by sending them around your site. When you can offer them several pieces of related content at once, you have the ability to engage the reader and keep them on your blog. I still sometimes publish on new topics just because it's fun (and you never know when you might hit upon a popular topic), but the bulk of my content is now centered around seven specific topics.
How should bloggers handle content that no longer fits with the more narrow focus you suggest bloggers develop?
I say keep it. Unless it's a post from your early blogging days that makes you cringe when you read it, I say don't delete it. You can leave it untouched and just don't use it going forward. I considered deleting content when I started this process, but I'm so glad I didn't - since then a couple of really old posts starting getting good page views. One on StumbleUpon and one on Pinterest.
What do you plan to do this year to continue to increase your page views?
Two things mainly. Overall, I want to increase my blog post catalog by 100%, so I want to double my content to around 800 blog posts with an emphasis on long form content. My best posts traffic and income-wise are my LONGEST posts (over 1000 words each, sometimes several thousand words). Every once in a while, a short post will do well for me, but it's the exception. However, I realize now that shorter posts are just fine for Facebook, so I have a secondary goal of testing shorter posts created specifically for a Facebook audience (tips & tricks videos with a short intro, shorter heartfelt posts, etc.). Different post styles and formats do well on different platforms, so I am trying to get better at recognizing the differences.
How has increasing your page views increased your potential to earn more money (in addition to increased affiliate sales)?
The best part about being able to create more page views is the ability to send more readers to your monetized content. Converting affiliate sales follows a very consistent conversion rate, at least for me. My posts monetized with Amazon links convert around 3%-5% (meaning, 3-5 out of every 100 people who click on my affiliate links will buy something) and most other offers convert around 1% on average for page views. Meaning for every 100 people who view an affiliate monetized post, only 1 takes an action.
My own ebook converts amazingly well - I haven't checked closely, but it seems about 20-25% of everyone who views the sales page ends up buying it. Knowing how few people actually complete an action that pays (signing up for a service, buying something, etc.), you can see that more eyeballs on your offers = more conversions. An increase in page views almost always results in more affiliate income, and it definitely results in more ad income, which is based on clicks or impressions per 1000 page views. This is a rather complicated thing to explain - I hope my answer isn't confusing! I plan on releasing a tutorial or ebook of some sort in 2016 that explains my monetization strategy in detail. I've learned it the hard way, but I don't think everyone needs to go through the same excruciating learning process!
What is one drawback of increasing your page views (if there is one)?
So far I only see one drawback. And it's not too bad. It's the unsolicited email. I didn't realize the volume of email that would come with 400,000 page views. I can barely keep up! It can be a little frustrating to sit down to what you love (write) yet realize you have 50 emails that need your attention (or deleting ha!). I do love hearing from my readers, though, so that's a good kind of email I now receive more of. It's nice to know you're helping someone else.
What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to Pinterest?
The biggest mistake I see people making is not thinking about keywords. The description box is the perfect place to mention all the keywords related to your blog post that already aren't in your title and meta description (because Pinterest already sees those). The right keywords can make a difference between a post that gets 5 page views a day or one that gets hundreds from Pinterest.
What, in your opinion, is the most under-utilized social media site for bringing traffic to blogs?
Probably Facebook. It's just so hard to understand! One of my goals for 2016 is to get more Facebook traffic.
If a blogger is a stay-at-home parent looking to bring in extra money, where do you suggest she focus her time—doing work for others or focusing on making her blog more profitable? Why?
It really just depends on how much money you need and how soon. If you don't need the money to live on currently, I would focus on building your own blog for the long term income potential. But if you need money now, working for others is a great way to earn extra money. There are lots of VAs who specialize in blogging content, and the demand is great for high quality blog posts, recipes, etc. A good content creator (especially if you can create good images) will never run out of work. I know some bloggers who do a combo of both. It's why I do sponsored content several times a month. It's nice to have something to work on that's guaranteed to earn you some extra money, and it can help you stay motivated over the long term when you can see immediate rewards for your effort.
Finally, if someone is looking to make money from her blog, how long would you recommend she continue to try before quitting?
That's a tough one. I worked on and off on my blog for 4.5 years before I started taking it seriously in late 2014. I was in the middle of having babies #2 and #3 and devoting myself to a blog was just not in me at the time. I had over 200 blog posts up when I started seriously focusing on earning money from it.
I am hesitant to put a timeframe on it because everyone has different availability. I would look at from a blog post count perspective. I find that 100 blog posts is a tipping point for many bloggers. It's a point where you're not a newbie and you have a good catalog of content to choose from. I would say that once you get to 100 blog posts and spend 6 months actively trying to earn extra money from your blog with that number of blog posts under your belt, if you are not making good progress, then that might be a time to reconsider blogging for income. I say this because I see many bloggers who quit too soon because they expect too much from 20-30 posts. Making a living from a blog takes a LOT of content and effort. Most bloggers I know who stick it out to 200, 300, 400 posts and more eventually find success.
You can learn more about what Lena does at What Mommy Does. You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, be sure to check out her amazing ebook How I Went from 17K to 350K+ Monthly Page Views in 9 Months, or buy it here >>>>>