Learn From the Pros: How to Become a Successful Blogger
Using the proper tactics can earn you some big bucks
La Carmina (shown in photo) has seen her blog grow to 300,000 hits monthly.
Just create the best work that you can, and enjoy the process. The rest will flow from there.- La Carmina, travel and culture blogger
So, you want to share your thoughts with the world? Why not blog about it? According to a post on Optinmonster.com, more than 500 million blogs existed in 2019, and the number of bloggers in the US, alone, is projected to grow to 31.7 million in 2020. However, given these staggering statistics, it’s not surprising that many potential bloggers might feel discouraged by the mere thought of a new launch. Alas, is it still possible for web surfers to discover your blog among such a vast sea of content? We spoke with three seasoned and successful bloggers to gather, tips along with a few words of encouragement.
A Blog About Blogging
A lawyer and university lecturer based in Melbourne, Australia, Lucrezia Iapichino began her foray into blogging just 3 years ago. She got her start with lifestyle blogging, which was profitable from the get-go. “I now use the combination of my teaching, legal, and blogging experience to show new bloggers how to blog profitably and legally,” shares Iapichino. Along with her sister (who also has a background in law), Iapichino spearheads Blogging For New Bloggers, which is more than just a website with a blog that earns nearly 700,000 hits per month – it includes a school and a community, too.
In fact, the blog-turned-business now encompasses a very active Facebook group that hosts more than 27,000 members. “Our group has allowed us to reach a very large number of bloggers organically,” explains Iapichino. “Our offerings are constantly in front of thousands of bloggers without having to pay for ads or even the need to drive people to our website. This is crucial for our mission to educate new bloggers.” To illustrate, growing a large and engaged community also comes with added benefits for Iapichino – other bloggers, brands, and affiliate partners reach out for paid collaborations and opportunities.
For bloggers just starting out, Iapichino believes that continuing education is invaluable. “That’s what we do and are passionate about,” she says. “We show new bloggers how to start – and run – a successful blog, and how to protect it legally.” Although their resources mainly target newbies, the Iapichino sisters also cater to experienced bloggers seeking advancement through new and creative tactics. “These educational tools have the power to set them apart from the average blogger, and pave their way to 6-figure success.”
As for the profitability of Blogging For New Bloggers, the site receives different income streams. However, the revenue model is primarily based on affiliate marketing, online coursework, and providing legal templates. “We offer lots of amazing and incredibly valuable content,” Iapichino adds. “As a result, our conversion and repeat-purchase rates are outstandingly high.” On the low end, Iapichino believes bloggers can make around $3,000 a month. On the high end, she says she knows of bloggers making $500,000+ per month. “The sky’s the limit!” Iapichino exclaims.
A Blog, a Byline, a Brand
In 2007, La Carmina (a play on her first name, Carmen) set out to launch her first blog while attending law school at Yale University. “I felt drawn to writing and creative pursuits,” La Carmina explains. With basic web design experience – she started coding back in high school – she launched LaCarmina.com as an experiment. “I was curious about blogging and started mine solely as a hobby. I had no clue it would lead to my career today.”
From an indie blogging platform that no longer exists to a revamped WordPress venture, La Carmina has evolved her Japanese Gothic fashion and subculture blog into a platform to spotlight alternative travel worldwide, from covering robot art in Los Angeles to the drag queen scene in New Zealand. As her site grew in popularly, the doors continued to open for La Carmina. “I branched out to writing about more topics, especially travel, and received opportunities to see the world,” she shares. Impressively, the La Carmina blog now receives 300,000 hits per month. Today, La Carmina’s byline is an authority; she pens work outside of her blog for renowned media outlets like CNN and Business Insider and has made cameos on travel TV shows including Bizarre Foods and No Reservations.
So, how does La Carmina define success? She says “it’s hard to pinpoint,” but she believes it is an individual concept that depends on the circumstances. “For example, some people keep their day jobs and blog as a hobby; for them, having a bit of extra cash and a small readership could be considered a success,” La Carmina explains. “On the flip side, a professional blogger might make a strong 6 figures per year on paper, and appear to be successful. However, they may have considerable expenses, such as paying a full-time staff.” In the end, La Carmina’s advice is to run your site in a way that feels worthwhile to you, where you feel you’re receiving a decent return for your time, and that, in itself should be measured as a success.
A few of La Carmina’s tips to keep in your back pocket while blogging:
• Update your site and post regularly. A simple photo dump with a paragraph won’t do the trick. Do not stuff an article with keywords or unhelpful info, either.
• Strong photos are key. Invest in a good camera (she recommends the Sony A7 Mirrorless) and practice photography.
• Think about your reader’s experience, first and foremost. Only join an ad network if the assets benefit the visitor without compromising your vision.
• Write, publish, repeat. Practice your craft and don’t worry about monetization and engagement at the start.
“Just create the best work that you can, and enjoy the process,” encourages La Carmina. “The rest will flow from there.”
From Hobby Blog to Full-Time Job
With a background in social media marketing, when Jennifer Dombrowski first launched Luxe Adventure Traveler (which had a different name at the time) in 2009, she still had a full-time job at a university. At first, Dombrowski’s blog was a digital diary meant to keep friends and family updated on her travels. Then, a year into posting, she engaged with a group of travel bloggers that were blogging professionally, and she formulated a plan to pivot from hobby to business. “I started attending conferences and my background in social media marketing helped me to easily make that transition,” Dombrowski shares.
By 2012, the blog had a clear focus on combining luxury, soft adventure, and gastronomy, and in 2015, Dombrowski was able to leave her university job behind to focus on Luxe Adventure Traveler full-time. “I was at the point where I could no longer continue working at the university if I wanted to grow my business,” she says. “I had substantial growth in both traffic and brand collaborations once the site became my full-time career.” Today, Dombrowski is partnered up with her husband Tim, who contributes much of the photography and back-end administrative tasks that keep Luxe Adventure Traveler maintained and thriving. And, while the duo taps a tech team for the more complex work, they handle everything from business management to content creation. “Experiencing everything and confidently putting our stamp of approval on every restaurant, hotel, tour, destination, and product we recommend on our website is really important to us,” Dombrowski explains.
In terms of income, Dumbrowski (whose site gains 200,000 monthly hits), reports that the average travel blogger can earn from $5,000 to $7,000 per month. “With a diverse monetization plan, successful bloggers will have higher-earning months when working on brand campaigns, but a regular and steady, passive income from things like affiliate marketing and any products they sell.” For Dombrowski, affiliate marketing is an important part of the monetary equation, and she creates content for various stages of the buying cycle.
From the Luxe Adventure Traveler team, some top blogger tips include:
• Maintain the backend of your site. Check for broken links regularly and work on the site's speed. A site in its best-working condition is both trustworthy and has great SEO.
• Create “kick-butt” content! Fact check, research, and take pride in what you’re putting out there.
• Build a community. No matter how big or small your community is, your biggest fans are often your best customers. Even if they don’t buy from you, they usually share your content and help it reach prospective new customers.
“Travel blogging may look like the dream job and a 24/7 vacation, but successful bloggers are really only showing you about 20% of the job,” admits Dombrowski. “Yes, the destinations we get to visit and the things we get to experience are an absolute dream. But, the hard work comes behind the scenes – not only on the trip itself, but also at the desk as you edit photos, edit video, write, promote, and much more.”
I am a seasoned lifestyle storyteller and content marketing strategist. My main beats include food and beverage, wellness and nutrition, festivals and event production, music, travel, cannabis and small business.
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