Mostly Amélie is a travel and lifestyle blog that currently makes $800/mo. In this interview, Amélie dives deep into the mistakes and biggest learning lessons.
Revenue of $800/mo
Email list size of 500
Founded in 2014
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
My name is Amélie and I am the founder of the travel and lifestyle blog Mostly Amélie. Mostly Amélie is an inspirational blog focused on health-minded vegan travel and conscious living.
I have worked as a travel blogger and influencer for almost four years now. I originally bootstrapped the project in South East Asia with a good buffer of savings before the whole thing started making a small profit and I ran out of my savings.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
I’d say things happened totally backward for me. If I could go back in time and do things better and in a different order, I most definitely would! Originally, the blog was just a personal diary, like so many backpackers do. I just wanted to document my travel, without any professional blogging ambition behind it.
Eventually though, I started writing about veganism in far-flung destinations and started gaining some momentum and a readership. From then on, I decided to pursue blogging as an actual job, but several things were already done completely wrong by then, haha!
My background is in French Literature, Photography and Graphic Design. I’ve followed a few different paths in University, not really knowing what I wanted to do, and only with blogging did everything finally come full circle and my past study choices could finally be combined and make sense! You really gotta trust in the process sometimes!
I had a pretty comfortable life in Canada prior to all this, working as a graphic designer, but I wasn’t super happy. Now I am broke as hell, but I do what I love and that is all that matters. I wrote a whole blog post about how I afford a life of constant travel that is the single most read article on my blog!
What is the revenue model for the blog?
It took about a year and a half before Mostly Amélie became profitable. It was a very slow process. Before anyone can aspire to make money blogging, there has to be a readership, and people interested in your stories, and for that, there is really no shortcut. Write great content, build a community around your brand, be true to yourself and speak from the heart, this has been my recipe.
My blogging revenues right now resemble something like this:
- Sponsored / branded content 60%
- Affiliate marketing 10%
- Advertising (I use Google Adsense) 10%
- Social Media posts 10%
- Guest / Ghostwriting 10%
My monthly earning right now around $800, so it’s a pretty tight budget! I supplement with freelance digital PR, ghostwriting and social media work.
I knew absolutely nothing about blogging prior to getting started and I wish I had done my homework before. A lot of what I have learned has come from online communities, such as Facebook groups where bloggers share their experience. I’ve also attended lots of networking events.
As I previously said, I did things completely backward and never had a strategy per se to begin with. I have no earth-shattering blog hacking tips to share. I just wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and picked up a readership slowly as I went. I guess one thing of value I could say is that it’s important to stick to a niche when you start, otherwise your message is just too broad and diluted to reach any “sticky” audience so to speak.
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
Parts of my marketing strategy right now include recycling a small part of my income into advertising, optimizing my SEO with good keywords and guest writing for other publications. I also try to be as active as possible on social media as this is where a lot of my traffic comes from.
How have you grown the email list?
One thing I would do differently if I could go back in time is to push email marketing a lot more. We all know how much we’re at the mercy of social media’s constant algorithm changes and lack of transparency, and email marketing is the one tool that you have complete control over.
I’m a very hectic and disorganized person and I’m going to have to admit here that I have never sent out a newsletter in my four years of blogging, despite having grown an email list of over 500 subscribers. Stay tuned, all 500 of you, it’s coming! Thinking of starting a blog? Setting up a newsletter should be one of your top priorities!
How do you write great content that performs well?
There are different schools of thoughts when it comes to defining what “good content” should be for a blog. There are the die-hard SEO people that are all about keyword-optimization and playing by all of Google’s ever-changing rules. And there are the people who think: screw it, just write from your heart and the rest will follow. I like to think I am somewhere in-between these two.
I know my vegan food guides rank really well on Google, so I keep writing them using good keyword optimization and so forth, but I also like to write personal stories that don’t rank so well on Google, but that I know my loyal followers will enjoy reading.
For me it’s important to do both, otherwise blogging just become some weird robotized operation I don’t relate to at all. So beyond the vegan food guides, there is a whole narrative about my life as a travel blogger, with all the ups and downs, the heartbreak, the loss of a family member while abroad, the doubts, and everything in between. I think it’s important to be personable.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
I’ve had to migrate my URL at some point after I realized that blogging was going to be a job. Originally it was just a sub-folder of my graphic design portfolio site, but that didn’t really work. Mostly Amélie needed its own URL. So there was a lot of migrating work needing to be done on the back end, and then building back up my domain authority and traffic all over again. For sure, I would do this differently if I could go back in time.'One thing I would do differently if I could go back in time is to push email marketing a lot more.'Click To Tweet
Apart from that, the biggest challenge I face right now is growth! I am not yet at a place where I can afford to hire some help, yet the amount of work I need to do is often too much for me alone. I know at some point I will have to take the plunge to be able to continue to expand and grow, but it’s a scary step. So right now, it’s a lot of work that I do all on my own. I am certainly very busy!
Where can we go to learn more?