YEAR TWO: BLOGGING FOR A CAREER

February 12, 2014

Blogging is one of my favorite things to talk about. Once people start hearing through the grapevine that you are a full-time blogger, lots of old acquaintances pop out of the woodwork to ask for blogging advice. I’m not complaining, because I love it! I also can’t get enough of when some of my favorite bloggers do a “blogging for a career” post because I can hear how they do things, get ideas, and sharpen my skills.

YEAR TWO from Rachel Schultz

Income Sources

“Is doing your blog something you make money from?” Yes, I hear that question LOTS. It might be the most frequent question among people I meet. Yes, I make money from sharing my stuff on the internets, and it has become a completely viable full-time income.

Our blog began as our wedding website. (Yeah, people make those now.) My very first post was sharing our save the date in February 2012. From there, it morphed and expanded. I started sharing crafts I was doing for our wedding, and eventually recipes I was trying in my tiny kitchen. (My kitchen is still tiny.)

Save the Date by Rachel Schultz
Five months later, in July 2012, my site had picked up a significant amount of traffic. A friend told me I should start monetizing, but doing this had not been on my radar in the least. I signed up with a small agency (more on that here.) Early on, I was only making several hundred dollars a month. That was fine because I was still finishing up my degree and wouldn’t have been working full-time anyway, but looking back I could’ve been making way more.

The biggest area of learning for me has been how to take traffic levels and turn them into the most possible amount of income. If you’re like me and have an entrepreneurial spirit, this is a treat. But, it’s also very overwhelming! I did not know anyone else in my position that I could ask about these things, so I had many months of trial, error, and improving. I think that part will go on forever, actually.

Where I’ve currently landed is diversifying my income between three agencies. Every month has fluctuations in traffic and pay rates, so having a variety of sources is a wise thing to do. The three agencies I am currently signed with are BlogHer, sovrn, and Google Adsense. BlogHer and sovrn pay a CPM (rate for every 1,000 pageviews), while Google Adsense pays per actual click on an ad. (For more specifics on this, and start up blogging information, I suggest last year’s post.)

At this time last year, I was only working with sovrn. Since expanding and diversifying my income sources, I’ve had a 855% profit increase. That is a lot to handle! My bookkeeping and income taxes as a small business got way more complicated, and it was time for us to hire an accountant. Working with her has been a great relief and the advice she gave paid for her fees (and more) instantly.  I think I’m one of the few people in the world who really love having to meet with their accountant!

Blogging for a Career from Rachel Schultz

Traffic

In the story I mentioned above, I remember having 70,000 pageviews on July 14, 2012 and thinking, “um, WHEN did this happen?” An important question to many bloggers is: how can I generate more traffic?

I’d first like to say that going “viral” is a fickle beast. I found this article perfect for addressing that roller coaster. Sometimes I get too focused on making another recipe that will be a huge hit. I’m only thinking about those 10 big traffic makers I shared yesterday! I look at it like this – in football a running back will sometimes have a really big rush for 80 yards. Those are important; those are necessary for someone being a great running back. BUT, that person will also have lots of little rushes that go into their stats too. In reality, they have some of both, long and short runs which combined make great numbers.

My three most popular recipes were 14%, 12%, and 8% of my traffic last year. But, all the posts not in the top 10 (the “little” ones) combined were 40%! I could not function on the same level without them. That is what keeps me going every day and to feel a sense of accomplishment for every post I make. Even if it’s not a home run, a lot of base hits still score a lot of points. (Why am I doing so many sports analogies?)

The most encouraging thing for me when thinking about traffic is not comparing month to month, but rather, year to year. It is outrageous how predictable the cycles of my blog’s traffic are. Every Sunday is the highest. Every Friday is the lowest, almost with out fail, ever. I’d lose my mind if every Sunday/Monday I celebrated and every Thursday/Friday I was depressed and questioning why I even blog.

Months also follow patterns. January is huge. December is terrible. I don’t know why. This is the important reason I don’t compare month to month. This November was bigger than last November, so that is a success I keep in mind when faced with the huge slump in December.

General Blogging Tips

  1. COMMIT! Post often, but however often it is, be consistent.
  2. Don’t apologize for “not posting in forever” or “being MIA on here.” When that’s the whole first paragraph of the first post on someone’s page, I leave. Dive right in with purposeful content and people will forget all about your little hiatus.
  3. Experiment with new features and ideas. Give yourself freedom to fail! (I’m doing this with the big announcement on Friday.)
  4. Work to have excellent photography! Also, make all the images on your blog the same width, and that should be the width of your body column. (Not doing this is one of my peeves).
  5. Read other blogs. (How could you NOT?) Make friends!

EVERYTHING ELSE FROM THIS WEEK
Monday: A Day in the Life
Tuesday: Your & My Favorite Posts of Year Two
Wednesday: How I Blog as a Career
Thursday: Ask Rach Q&A
Friday: A Big Announcement!

My New Cookbook


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Comments

  • Lade'

    Reading this truly inspired me, I’ve been praying and asking GOD to show me a sign in hopes that my work will not go in vain and I stumble upon your website. My eyes are wide open like the characters from the early 90’s cartoons. Thank you very much this! I will definitely give your recipes a try on my end and give your credit! Hopefully we can be friends. Thanks for your patience and time.

  • sally

    Rachel – I am currently taking a blogging class online and we just started to create a blog. Your articles have been very helpful and I am going to recommend that my instructor read them over and perhaps incorporate them into our lessons. It was suggested by our instructor that we visit blogs and I hit on a great one when I found you. By the way, I found you through the chicken and rice soup recipe. Have made it twice this year and it’s so yummy. Thanks.

    • Rachel Schultz

      thank you sally!

  • If there’s anyone I would trust to tell me about the ins and outs of career blogging, it’s definitely you! You make it look so fun and worthwhile. I’m a long time lurker of yours (and first time commentor and just-starting-out blogger) and you definitely deserve the success you have! I’m not looking to make money off of anything of mine right now, but I do appreciate reading these kinds of posts – they remind me to take blogging seriously and really love it.

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks for commenting, Sam! And for your kinds words. So happy to have you as a reader :)

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