Amélie Gagné of Mostly Amélie

6 hours ago in Interviews

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?

Head over to my blog or connect via Instagram or Facebook.

How To Start a Blog (Step-by-Step Guide)

16 hours ago in Blog

Starting a blog is a great way to share your ideas, expertise and make a living online. This step-by-step guide will teach you how to start a blog in less than 30 minutes.

The 7 steps we will cover:

  1. Decide what to blog about
  2. Choose your blogging platform
  3. Sign up with the web host
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Choose a theme/template for your site
  6. Plugins & customizations
  7. Get traffic and monetize your Blog

Before we jump in, why should you start a blog?

There’s a lot of reasons, but here are a few popular ones.

  • Make a living online. You DON’T have to create the next Google or Facebook to make money — people across the world have started profitable blogs, ranging from management consulting to toilet training cats. Most bloggers make money through ads, selling courses, affiliate links and sponsorships. You don’t need to make money to enjoy blogging. Whether you make $50/year or $50,000/year, it’s nice to have a hobby that actually pays you back.
  • You’ll inspire others. Blogging is a tool that not only will change your life but changes the life of the people that read your blog. To this day, I get emails from readers who tell me that that the reason why they started blogging was because of one of my blog posts. Inspiring others is a wonderful feeling.
  • It’ll serve as a personal journal. In many ways, blogging serves the same purpose in many ways as a personal journal. Your blog becomes a place of reflection as well as a digital record of your life that can be never destroyed or stolen. My blog serves an important part of my personal journey.

Step 1: Decide What to Blog About

Number one tip is to blog about something you enjoy. Ask yourself, what are you passionate about? Is it cooking? Is it online marketing? Is it running? Being a mom? If you choose a topic that you care about, you’ll have more fun, and you’ll resonate better with the readers.

Don’t limit yourself to think that a certain topic isn’t “good enough”. If you care about a topic, I guarantee, there are others in the world, who are as passionate about it as you are. For inspiration, here’s Q&A with a blogger who blogs about shaving, and makes $2,500/mo from it.

2. Choose Your Blogging Platform

Building a mobile-friendly and functional blog starts with choosing a blogging platform. WordPress powers 25% of the World Wide Web, and when it comes to the world’s top million sites, WordPress platform is selected half the time.

This blog also runs on WordPress. Why?

Because WordPress is user-friendly, free, and powerful. Honestly, I’ve worked with a lot of platforms, and it’s flexible and easy to work on.

It also has thousands of themes make your site look top-quality. The only thing you have to worry about is getting a domain name and web hosting.

3. Sign Up With The Web Host 

Web hosting is a service that keeps your site accessible to everyone. Choosing a good host is important because many bad hosts overuse servers to cut costs, which potentially leads to your site being down.

I highly recommend BlueHost as your host, because:

  1. They have one-click WordPress install option
  2. They are officaily recommended by WordPress since 2005
  3. You’ll get quality hosting for just $3.95/mo + they’ll also give you a free domain

Bluehost is one of the most trusted web hosting companies, powering millions of websites. In fact, they started in 1996 (even before Google).

Typically, a domain name costs $12,99/year and web hosting around $7.99 /month. Thankfully, we’ve partnered up with BlueHost, who gives our reader’s a free domain and 60% off on web hosting.

Disclosure: Because I’ve used Bluehost and found their hosting great, all links to Bluehost are referral links. I’ll earn a commission if you make a purchase and you’ll get a discounted price. This is how I keep BlogProfits up and running.

Now, go to and click on the “Get started now” button. Use this link to get a FREE domain, too.

On the next screen, you’ll be able to choose your plan. Basic and plus plans are most popular. Next, you’ll be able to choose a domain name.

If you are trying to decide on the domain name, try to choose something that is easy to type and pronounce.

If your preferred “.com” is taken, there’s a few things you can do:

Once you choose your domain name, you’ll add your account information and complete the process. I highly recommend going with the 36-month plan, since it’ best value.

  • Try a different domain extension. If the “.com” is registered, feel free to go with “.co”; “.net” or “.org”. This site is called instead of
  • Add small words.Try adding words like “my” or “the”.
  • Add dashes between words.

On this screen, I recommend unchecking the extras, since you can always get them later if needed.

Once ready, you’ll get an confirmation email with all of your details that you’ll be able to log-in to your web hosting control panel (cPanel).

Step 4: Install WordPress

Once you log-in to your cPanel you’ll see a lot of icons, which most of them you’ll never end up using. Scroll down to the website section and click on the WordPress icon.

Once the WordPress is finished installing, it will show you a screen with your WordPress login URL and password. You’ll be able to log-in to your dashboard at

Step 5: Choose a Theme/Template for your site

At this point, your site looks very basic, and similar to everyone else. Customizing the look and feel of the blog is one of the most fun parts of starting a site.

You can change your theme by going to your WordPress dashboard and on the right side clicking on Appearance » Themes.

You’ll see thousands of free themes from the dashboard. If you want to go for a different look, I highly recommend heading over to ThemeForest, where you’ll find a HUGE collection of themes at varying costs.

If you are just starting off, I’d honestly spend some time going through the free themes, since you’ll be able to find some amazing gems.

Once you’ve find a theme you like simply click “Install” followed by “Activate”.

Step 5. Creating Your First Blog Post

To create your first blog post, head over to the left side and click on the Posts » Add New in your dashboard.

Once you’re ready to publish, just hit the “Publish” button.

Step 6. Plugins & Customizations

There are 45,000+ WordPress plugins available that allow you add extra functionality to your site. You can easily add features like contact forms, galleries, sliders, etc.

You can add plugins by going to Plugins » Add New in your dashboard.

Here are 3 plugins that are crucial:

  • Yoast SEO for WordPress: If you want to make your site more SEO friendly, this plugin takes care of title tags, meta descriptions and more.
  • Google Analytics: With this handy plugin, you’ll be able to track your visitors/traffic by connecting with your Google Analytics account
  • Contact Form 7: Set up pretty contact forms, so people will be able to fill a contact form without having to log into their own email provider.

That’s just tip of the iceberg!

7. Get Traffic and Monetize Your Blog

Some bloggers make insane amounts of money directly from their blogs. Some people monetize their blogs through Google Adsense, others sell courses and some are just earning passive revenue through affiliate links.

If you want to build a successful blog, it starts with great content that provides value to the reader. Make your content scannable with headings, short paragraphs, and high-quality images. Make it a habit to write every day and stick to a writing schedule, where you publish a blog post constantly.

For now, here are some tips to get started promoting your blog:

  • Set up an opt-in to collect email addresses of your visitors
  • Answer questions on Quora and link back to your blog
  • Post and promote on relevant subreddits
  • Write guest posts for other blogs
  • Leverage SEO
  • Republish your content on bigger sites

There are a lot of marketing tactics, but the key is to pick a few that work well, and practice them constantly.

Next Steps To Take:

  1. Head over to BlueHost and get your blog setup (you even get a free domain)
  2. Spend some time choosing a theme and getting the look you want
  3. Write your first blog post (it could be a post about introducing yourself to the readers and topics you are planning to cover on your blog.

Brok Webb of Full Time Job From Home

2 weeks ago in Interviews

Brok Webb of Full Time Job From Home blog helps people find ways to make money from home.

Revenue of $16,000/mo

Email list size of 13,400

Founded in 2013


Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

My name is Brok, and I run a blog called Full-Time Job From Home that I started in December of 2013 to help others find ways to make money from home.

My site includes information on ways to earn extra income, make money blogging, and where to find work from home jobs.

In January 2018, I had my highest earning month ever $13,841.39.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

The main reason I started Full-Time Job From Home was that I ran into a few online scams. I lost money and didn’t get paid what I earned from a few sites, so I felt like others must be getting scammed too!

During my search for ways to make money online, I came across a training course that taught you how to build websites and make legitimate money with them.

I knew that I had experience getting scammed, so a blog about avoiding online scams and finding legitimate opportunities was a perfect niche for me!

What is the revenue model for the blog?

My blog makes money with affiliate marketing, ad revenue, and a few sponsored posts here and there. My primary source of income is affiliate marketing, specifically CPA offers for free sites/apps. 

It took me about three months to make a legitimate affiliate sale on my website. I earned a few cents here and there from Adsense before, but I made an $8 affiliate sale in my third month of blogging. Within a year I was making around $1,000. By the end of 2016 I was making around $4,000-$5,000, and since November 2017 I’ve made over $10,000 a month with my blog!

My advice when it comes to monetizing your blog is to focus on affiliate marketing. A lot of blogs focus on ad revenue, but I’ve found affiliate marketing to be more lucrative by a long shot!

Ad Revenue is based on traffic and page views, meaning you need more traffic to earn more with ads. With affiliate marketing this is not always the case. Adding new affiliate links to a page that’s already receiving traffic can cause an immediate bump in income, without receiving more traffic!

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

The training course that I originally took to learn how to start a blog is called Wealthy AffiliateTheir training focuses on SEO and receiving free traffic from Google aka Organic Search Traffic.

For that reason, from the beginning, most of my focus has been on targeting low competition keywords and writing SEO optimized reviews and posts.

It’s not as easy as posting on social media when it comes to receiving your first blog visit, but the benefit of getting ranked well in Google is long-term traffic.

Similar to how quickly I made my first sale, I started to receive a few visits a day in my second month of blogging. From there it just continued to snowball until I had several pages ranking well in Google. One day last month I received over 11,609 visitors from organic search.

I just checked Google Analytics today, and 593 of the 700 posts on my blog have brought in organic search traffic over the last week, so as you can see, my blog ranks pretty well!

Other than organic search, I started using Pinterest in 2014; it fits my niche very well. The whole key to Pinterest is group boards. It lets you post to a bigger audience then you have so it’s an easy way to drive a lot of traffic to your site.

I also use Facebook, but I’ve been so successful on Pinterest that I don’t focus much on Facebook.

My advice to new bloggers is to focus on ranking well in Google. A lot of bloggers shy away from it because of the scary term SEO, but it’s relatively easy to understand. Target low competition keywords in your posts, and you’ll be set up with a solid foundation to receive organic search traffic down the road. You need to remember that you’re building an online business. Long-term success is what you’re looking for, and you can do that by ranking well in search engines!

How have you grown the email list?

At this time my email list is about 13,400. I’ve grown my list by offering a free bonus. It’s how to make $10 online today. If they subscribe, I send them the link to the post where I explain how it can be done.

'Your free bonus needs to get them to enter their email, and it needs to provide enough value that they continue to read your emails.'Click To Tweet

I’ve found that lightbox opt-ins work best. Yes, they are annoying, but they convert much better than an opt-in on the sidebar or below a post.

I recommend using a lightbox that shows after a minute or two and when someone goes to exit the page.

When a new email subscriber signs up, they will get an email each day for a week talking about a new way to earn money from home.

After the seven days of daily emails, they will receive my weekly newsletter plus any emails I send out about special offers, sales, and jobs hiring now.

My advice on growing a list is simple. You must provide a bonus that provides value. Your free bonus needs to get them to enter their email, and it needs to provide enough value that they continue to read your emails.

A bonus that gets an email subscriber and not a long-term reader isn’t worth much.

How do you write great content that performs well?

Let me start off by saying, I don’t like writing, but when covering topics I’m passionate about, for example making money, I get by and can get inspired enough to put out a lot of content!

My process for writing is very simple. I have a template I follow for reviews and list posts, which makes up about 99% of my blog posts.

'Your whole focus at the beginning should be creating new content and getting more visitors to your site.'Click To Tweet

In my niche, most of the time writing is researching the site and then giving your opinion on it, so I won’t bore you with details on that.

One thing that sets my blog apart from a lot of the blogs in my niche is keyword research and targeting keywords throughout my blog posts, specifically in the headings.

It comes back to SEO and setting yourself up to rank well in Google. Make sure you’re using keywords throughout your posts, but don’t forget, your #1 priority is informing your reader.

Find a style that works for you and stick with it. The truth is the process of creating content is rinse and repeat in most cases. Find out what works for you and keep at it.

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?

By far the biggest challenge I’ve had while blogging is I don’t really like to write lol. I’ve become very efficient at it over the last 5 years, but it’s not something I would do for fun in my free time. This causes me to go through spurts where I don’t do much work on my site because I don’t feel like writing. Which leads me to what I’d do differently.

If I had to start over the one thing that I’d change is not putting money back into my business sooner. I’ve been making a decent income ($4,000+ Month) for three years now and not until a few months ago was I spending more than $400 to keep my site going.

Over the last few months, I’ve really invested money into hiring writers and freelancers in the areas that I’m not that great at.

If you want to grow your blog into a huge full-time income, don’t be afraid to invest in others. It turns out there’s a lot of people out there that are better at parts of your business than you!

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I’ve taken several courses over the last 5 years just to get new opinions on the process of blogging, but I always come back to the core of my blogging knowledge which I learned at Wealthy Affiliate.

I also use several paid blogging tools such as Thrive Themes/Plugins, Aweber, BoardBooster, Tailwind, etc.

If you find a tool that is helpful, pay for it. As your business grows, the time saved is well worth the money.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

If you have no experience and don’t know how to start a blog, I’d recommend checking out the course I mentioned earlier, Wealthy Affiliate. If you already have a blog going, you can still learn a lot from the course so you might want to check it out either way.

With that being said, once you understand how blogging works, it’s a simple process of rinse and repeat.

Most of your time when starting out should be producing new content. As a new blog, you need content to drive traffic to your site, gain the trust of your reader, and build authority in your niche.

A lot of new bloggers get caught up with what theme to use or making their blog look exactly how they want. The truth is, it doesn’t matter that much or at all in the beginning.

Your whole focus at the beginning should be creating new content and getting more visitors to your site.

Keep in mind that blogging for an income does not happen overnight, a few days, or for some even a few months. No blogger has ever failed to make money they just gave up before they did!

Where can we go to learn more?

Connect with me on Full Time Job From Home blog; Pinterest or Facebook.

Annette White of Bucket List Journey

2 weeks ago in Interviews

Annette White is the person behind Bucket List Journey, a blog about documenting her journey on checking the world off her bucket list, one adventure at a time. Even though she works on the blog part-time, it brings in $4,500/mo in revenue.

Revenue of $4,500/mo

Email list size of 4,200

Founded in 2009


Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

Hello! I’m Annette, I’m the creator of the award-winning travel and lifestyle blog, Bucket List Journey which began in 2009. I’m also the author of the book Bucket List Adventures and co-owner of the restaurant Sugo Trattoria.

The mission of my blog is to give every person in the world the tools and inspiration to live their bucket list — one checkmark at a time. My readers come from all over the world and typically are people who want to step out of their comfort zone, travel the world and/or live their bucket list.

I currently make around $4,500 per month running my blog part-time. There is no doubt that I could earn more if I went to full-time, but I also have a restaurant to run!

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

Initially, I was simply looking for a place to record my ever-growing bucket list and its progress. The pieces of scrap paper and random Internet files were getting out of control, so I decided to condense my dozens of notes into a blog. As time went on, the blog changed from being just a practical list-keeping spot to being a place for readers to get inspiration for their own bucket lists.

I went to college for a Communications degree, but really had little training in writing or blogging (though I’ve always loved bucket lists!). Luckily, I am a great researching and was able to find most of what I know now online.

I come from a long line of restaurateurs and, to no one’s surprise, in 1998 followed in the family footsteps by buying a little deli. Since there have been two more restaurant ventures and when I started Bucket List Journey I was the co-owner of my current restaurant Sugo Trattoria, a Michelin recommended Italian eatery located in my hometown of Petaluma, California. Throughout my food career, there was also something else tugging at my heart: the desire to travel the world and have new experiences. In 2009 I began to follow this passion by vowing to never let fear make my decisions for me and to start living my bucket list. One blog, 50 countries and a book later, I have successfully created a second career surrounded by everything I adore.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

As they say, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, so there are a few ways I earn money from the blog. About 50% comes from an ad network who places advertising on my blog, the rest is split up between brand partnerships, affiliates and sponsored content.

It was fairly recently that I started to go full-force with monetizing my blog, within the last 3 years. Before that, I make a few bucks here and there from Amazon and a couple sponsored posts. Now I concentrate on choosing great affiliate programs and creating content surrounding them. Also, a huge focus is keeping my blog numbers up (and consistently growing) so that I can earn more from my ad network.

One of my biggest mistakes I made when I began blogging was to not treat it like a business. If you plan on turning your blog into a career, you need to treat it like one. Also, you need to invest in your business. It would be hard to be in the place I am now without having spent some money on blogging guides, freelancers, marketing, etc.

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

Today, I’m getting around 250,000 unique visitors per month to the blog. In the beginning, I concentrated on commenting on blogs in my niche, networking with others, social media and an occasional guest post. This all grew my blog numbers very slowly.

Today, things have changed a bit. Currently, most of my efforts go into performing proper SEO on all my posts so that they rank in Google (and this is where most of my traffic comes from). By creating great content with information that people need, and then using SEO techniques, my blog numbers have grown continuously. Also, if it is possible, I never turn down the opportunity to do an interview—it doesn’t matter the size of the website’s audience. It’s not only a great way for people to learn more about you, but it also gives you a link back to your site and can be promoted on your social media channels to show authority.

My advice for aspiring bloggers would be to put your efforts into one or two efforts at a time. Master those techniques and then move onto another. Sometimes when you are trying to do it all, your efforts won’t be focused enough to get the return that you want.

How have you grown the email list?

My email list has just over 4,000 subscribers and, in all honesty, I do not put enough effort into growing or maintaining the list. There is a signup on the sidebar of my website, which brings a few subscribers per day, but my goal this year is to create a “freebie” ebook or guide to boost more new signups.

My newsletter is sent out monthly(ish). In it, I try to include a more personalized message and exclusive content so that my readers can feel more connected to me.

How do you write great content that performs well?

At this point, I have learned what style articles do well on my site and try to stick within those guidelines. Since my niche under the travel umbrella is bucket lists, most of my posts try to stay within the listicle format.

The posts that do the best for me are typically the ones that are destination bucket lists. Choosing what exactly to write about depends on my current clients, destinations that I’ve recently visited, inspirational content and/or keywords that will have a better chance of ranking.

My process is to pick a topic, find the appropriate keywords, write up an outline, add my personal notes to it and then send it to my freelance writers for extra research and cleaning up. Once they return it to me, I will add more personalized information, and set it up in WordPress with photos and proper formatting.

'If you are not truly passionate about your topic, not only will readers see right through your articles, it will be tortuous every time you sit down at the computer to create a new post.'Click To Tweet

The biggest lesson that I have learned about writing content that performs well is to stay consistent and fill the needs of your reader. Most people come to blogs for information, so your post must answer their questions.

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?

There have been so many mistakes and lessons learned along the blogging path. For example, when I first started I named my blog “”. What the heck does that even mean? And who knows how to spell it? It took a couple years of people asking me to repeat the name and learning that having the term ‘bucket list’ in my URL would be beneficial before finally changing it. It was tricky, but I noticed an almost immediate jump in traffic once I did.

Also, in the beginning, I was so excited that anyone would want to work with me that I accepted partnerships with companies that were not in my niche or did not align with my brand. It would be like my Italian restaurant having a burrito on the menu!

One other thing that stands out is that I would always analyze the techniques of bloggers who were uber-successful, but this became very discouraging because I never thought I could possibly catch up to their level. Instead, I began to pick blogs that were only a step or two above me, this made it seem more feasible to reach their status, which kept me motivated.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Making a few close blogger friends, ones who will honestly share their struggles, techniques and triumphs, has been incredibly helpful. With that said, I have learned a little something from just about every blogger I have met.

It was also extremely beneficial to build myself as an authority in my field. I’ve done much of this through interviews, campaigns, commercials and collaboration posts. Plus, it has helped partnering with companies who are recognizable to my readers instead of ones who are up-and-coming (not to say some of those aren’t great too!).

One of the best blogging habits I have is to make a TODO list every day. Even on the days where it’s hard to find the time, I put some tiny goal on it. This helps me to stay on track and keep moving forward. I am one of those people who really doesn’t believe too much in luck, I think that the success of my blog has been earned by hard work, determination, passion and persistence.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

There are a million bloggers out there (literally!) and a significant chunk of them focus on travel, so in order to stand out amongst the crowd pick a sub-niche under the travel blogging realm. This could mean specializing in a particular country or solely on family adventure or luxury destinations.

Whatever you choose, make sure you know you’re going to absolutely love writing about it. Maintaining a successful blog takes dedication and many hours of work per week. If you are not truly passionate about your topic, not only will readers see right through your articles, it will be tortuous every time you sit down at the computer to create a new post.

Also, read as much as you can in the beginning and throughout your blogging career. At least once a month I Google something like “how to have a successful blog” and read all the newest articles. You’ll start to see a lot of the information overlapping and that’s what you should focus on.

Where can we go to learn more?

Head over to my blog, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Eric Lass of ShuckaBuck

2 weeks ago in Interviews

In this interview, Eric Lass from ShuckaBuck talks about the importance of focus and why most people fail with their projects. Find out how he went from 0 to $10,000/mo!

Revenue of $10,000/mo

Email list size of 2,500

Founded in 2008


Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

My name is Eric and I run ShuckaBuck. The people who read it are interested in learning how to start a business (specifically a merch business) and build from it so one day they can quit the 9 to 5.

I started my blog in 2008, which at that time was all about online poker. But when the U.S. government shut that down for us, it was pretty much game over for me.

But I actually started about 60 different niche websites and all of them were affiliate-based as far as monetization goes. So I was doing search engine optimization (SEO) for all these different sites and niches from 2008 until about 2012. When Google did some algorithm updates and all my sites tanked, I pretty much gave up on doing SEO.

From about 2012 until now I’ve been working on a number of things. Specifically, I started playing around with paid advertising – Google and Facebook. I realized I could get email subscribers for less than $0.20 each using Facebook, so I dove into building an email for fiction readers.

This was about the time that the Kindle device started taking off, and I knew a lot of these ebooks were free for a limited number of days. I actually dabbled in creating ebooks before I started this site, so I knew how it all worked as an author. The sites grew to about 60,000 subscribers before I sold both of them in 2014 for $40,000.

From there I went into e-commerce, mainly selling on Amazon via their Fulfillment by Amazon program. I invested about $3,000 into inventory, but it didn’t sell as fast as I thought and basically wasted an entire year and all my savings before calling it quits.

While I was running the Kindle book recommendation websites, I ran into what is called “Print on Demand” products. You could upload an image and put it on t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, etc. So I used my Facebook ad experience and started selling t-shirts and hoodies on these sites. To date, I’ve made well into the 6 figures doing this.

I also run a small ad agency where I generate leads and new clients for small businesses. I figured with my ad skills it was well worth my time to manage ad campaigns for other people.

Between all my businesses, I make 5 figures a month.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

My motivation came from within – I was utterly bored and depressed with my day job(s) after graduating from college in 2006. I’ve always run some sort of “business” per say and always knew that I didn’t want to work for someone else.

For example, while attending college, I sold a small ebook on eBay for $10 a pop that taught people how to get things like gaming systems and gift cards for free. You use “freebie” sites and get referrals to sign up for advertiser offers (that were either free to join, or very little money). Once you had so many referrals, you’d get to pick your “prize”. And the way I got my referrals was through that ebook, that I sold for $10…it paid for beer money.

After college, I worked for 3 different companies in 4 years. I managed a retail store, I worked for a fortune 500 finance company (now out of business – the bailouts of 2008), and then worked part-time for a while for and

At all these jobs, I hated my life. So my motivation to start came from being depressed and wanting to be happy.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

The revenue from my blog by selling products and services, just like any other business.

I teach people how to use Facebook ads to generate leads and sales. I have 2 main products that I sell:

  1. The 20K Blueprint – A “mini video course” on how to get started selling print on demand products
  2. The ShuckaBuck Academy – My ongoing video training on how to start a business using print on demand and up to date marketing tactics and tips

I also offer 1-on-1 consulting for local businesses and individuals looking to grow their business using Social Media and digital advertising. 

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

I use 2 strategies to get traffic to my blog: Facebook Ads and Youtube.

Like I’ve said, I’m out of the SEO game for now, but I’m sure some of the traffic I get comes from Google. But for the most part I create videos on youtube and ad on Facebook.

Facebook ads work because you can see the data almost immediately when it comes in. So I can set up an ad targeting people who are interested in marketing or online business, get them to sign up for a free offer (usually free video training) and then send them emails over time to have them get to know who I am and how I can help them.

Youtube is awesome. You can still get traffic for free there just by uploading videos that actually help people. My best video is one where I go through how I made $20,000 in 8 weeks selling t-shirts – it gets about 500 views every day, even 2 years later.

How have you grown the email list?

Similar to the last question: Facebook ads and Youtube.

My email list is only about 2,500 people as I write this, but I do have another 1,000 people subscribed to my messenger list, over 1,500 people in my Facebook group, another 2,000 like my Facebook page and over 9,000 Youtube subscribers.

The type of content I produce and share are all about marketing and running an online business focusing on Facebook Ads and print on demand.

My advice for new people starting from scratch is to just put out content. Document what you’re doing and how you do it and show your results – good or bad.

If you’re running an eCommerce business, talk about things inside your niche (think “how to train your dog” type stuff). It doesn’t have to be youtube, you can start a podcast or write long-form posts on Instagram, Facebook, and your own blog.

If you have a budget, definitely promote your best content (video or written) on Facebook. You can spend $5 a day and have good results from it.

How do you write great content that performs well?

The only content I actually write is what I post on Instagram and Facebook. Those posts are 200 to 400 words long and they do get some decent engagement, especially on Instagram.

That content is mostly inspirational and lesson based. Lessons on what I’ve learned in 10 years of doing business online.

The other content I produce is video. What I do there is document. I talk about what I do and how I do it. I get video ideas from the questions I get in the comments of the videos and I also watch other people in my space and see what they’re doing and what’s working for them to get inspiration from.

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?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is coming up with a strategy that works and sticking to it. Yes, I’ve had “mini failures” like trying a new Facebook Ad strategy or trying a different type of post on social media or a new traffic strategy. But the biggest thing is to actually fail.

'Choose something you enjoy. If you like skateboarding, start taking videos and writing content around skateboarding. If you enjoy painting, start making content around that.'Click To Tweet

Failure is a big part of the business because you not only need to know what doesn’t work, but you have to learn from those mistakes and if you stick to it long enough it will work out.

If I had to start over, I probably wouldn’t do anything particularly different. If I could go back in time and tell my 2008 self what to do, it would be FOCUS.

The biggest mistakes I’ve made in the last 10 years is focusing on too many things. If you’re working on 9 projects or 3 projects, none of them will ever amount to anything spectacular…if they work out at all.

The other big mistake I’ve made is focusing on the wrong thing. What’s the wrong thing? Thinking transactional rather than trying to create content, products, and services that will help people.

'If I had to start over, I probably wouldn’t do anything particularly different. If I could go back in time and tell my 2008 self what to do, it would be FOCUS.'Click To Tweet

If your sole purpose is to make money, then you’ll never make it. If your purpose is to help people, the money will come. I wholeheartedly believe that.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

There are tons of tools and software out there to make life easier, of course. For instance, I use HootSuite to schedule my Instagram posts. That way, I take an hour a week and schedule them out. Same for Facebook.

I also use software programs like Photoshop, email marketing services like Aweber, messenger bot programs like Manychat.

All these tools work, if you work. There’s no “secret tool” that will generate visitors, leads, and sales for you. You will always have to put in the work to make that happen.

With that said, partnerships are a powerful thing. The clothing brand FUBU got its break by using what we call now “Influencer Marketing”. The powerful marketing in the history of the world has always been word of mouth. If someone you know, or follow online and trust, recommends something to you-you’re always going to immediately trust that.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

My suggestion is simple. Choose something you enjoy. If you like skateboarding, start taking videos and writing content around skateboarding. If you enjoy painting, start making content around that.

That’s the easy part. You’re making content around something you enjoy.

The hard part is getting people to watch/listen/read/follow you. And that’s where marketing comes in.

If you have a budget, use Facebook Ads to get more eyeballs on your content. I always suggest, especially right now, that everyone uses Instagram. It’s extremely easy to create a following for free by just posting cool images/videos and using hashtags.

Pinterest, Stumbleupon, and Reddit are also good platforms to post your stuff. And if it works in your niche, start a podcast. Voice and audio are going to be big in the coming years.

And don’t forget to reach out to others in your space and create some partnerships (you share their stuff, they share yours).

Where can we go to learn more?

Read my blog, or connect with me via Youtube, Instagram or Facebook. Thanks for having me on for the interview, if anyone has any questions they can reach me at any of the links above!

Lotus Young of Mommy to Max

3 weeks ago in Interviews

Lotus runs Mommy to Max blog, where she personal stories that come with motherhood, extensive guides and honest product reviews.

Revenue of $5,000/mo

Email list size of 250

Founded in 2014


Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

Hi! My name is Lotus and I run Mommy to Max blog.

I live in New York with my husband and my two children – Max (4 years old) and Alexa (2 years old). I started as a baby product review blog, featuring unique, high-quality products that I use and love. Over time, I also published a few guides on topics that I researched extensively (e.g., non-toxic play mats, non-toxic toys, organic formulas, etc.) which have become some of my most popular posts. Of course, I also enjoy sharing the personal stories that come with motherhood.

My audience is likely comprised of thoughtful parents who put a lot of care into parenting. Who will go online to research baby products. Who value quality baby products over cost. And who strive to make the best possible choices for their children, given their circumstances. Basically, I write to people who are probably a lot like me.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

I have always been a research junkie. But, after I became a mom, this trait went into overdrive. I spent countless hours researching every single baby product I intended to buy. I would read articles, forums, Amazon reviews, blog reviews – basically every resource I could find – to determine which items were the “best.” A lot of the products that appealed to me were not the more mainstream products but, oftentimes, were lesser known.

During this time, I also uncovered a lot of baby product review blogs that I felt were written without care and merely for the affiliate links or because it was a sponsored post. I wanted to be able to share the great products that I came across and feature them using a genuine voice. I vowed that I would never write a review for the sake of making money and every single product I review are items I’ve personally used.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

My main revenue model is through affiliate links.

Amazon is a favorite because of the sheer variety of products that they sell. However, since I’ve started with them, they have cut the commission percentage a couple of times. As a result, I don’t think it’s a good idea to rely solely on Amazon.

I also work closely with several companies where I am a direct affiliate. And this is where I put my entrepreneur hat on: A few of my product guides have put me in a position where I am a top influencer for that product. Once my ability to produce sales is established with a company, I have often been able to negotiate better commissions with the company.

I started my blog back in October 2014. The first month I reported my income, in December 2014, I made $26.46. Now, I’m proud to say, that it averages $5,000/mo.

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

Most of my traffic is organic, from search engines.

I’ve found that by simply writing high-quality, thorough posts, I have been able to achieve high search engine rankings. Initially, it was a happy coincidence that I featured unique products or topics that were not previously mentioned by many bloggers. (There is something to be said about first-comer advantage.) Now, I consciously try to focus my guides and reviews on products that aren’t prominently featured elsewhere.

I’ve also tried to grow my traffic through Pinterest and I’ll still pin the occasional post. But it’s important to recognize your weaknesses and I’m neither good at creating Pinterest graphics nor pinning on a schedule (even though I tried Tailwind) so now I just focus on writing a great quality posts.

How have you grown the email list?

My e-mail subscriber list is paltry, at ~250 subscribers. E-mail subscribers aren’t something I’ve put a lot of focus into. Over time, it’s grown organically via a sidebar widget and through giveaways.

Subscribers are sent an e-mail every time I publish a post. I’ve found that subscribers that come via giveaways often unsubscribe after awhile so it’s not really the best way to achieve readers who genuinely care about your content.

How do you write great content that performs well?

I believe that my posts do well because I write in my natural voice but I also try to be as informative and detailed as possible. I like to use headlines that I would type into a Google search bar. My favorite superlative is “best” when I feature a product because that’s something I would naturally search for.

My review/product guide posts take a significant amount of time to write. As an example, my product guide posts typically take 3-5 full days of research, planning, writing, and editing. Even after I publish my post, I will still spend many additional hours to make sure the information is up to date.

'Don’t write something for the sake of making money. If you write about something well enough, the money will come naturally.'Click To Tweet

Some of my top posts have been updated over a hundred times. None of my reviews are final and I will often go back to edit them based on new information.

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?

My biggest challenge is probably coming up with content to write about. I didn’t start my blog with the intention of making money so I never write posts just for the sake of it. My posts come when I feel a need to share something. Be it a great product or a personal story.

I have had an incredible amount of people tell me that they purchased products based off of my recommendations. So it is very important to me that I am selective about what I review. As such, there’s really only so many products that I’ve personally used that I can write about it.

I didn’t have any expectations when I started my blog so I can honestly say that I am happy with where I am today and I wouldn’t do anything differently.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

Figure out what your niche is. Early on, I knew my niche is well-informed parents who are looking for high-quality baby products while being mindful of toxicity issues. It’s a very specific niche but it describes me to a T and is something I have been able to blog about for the past three years.

Focus on quality over quantity. I think my blog is an excellent example of how you can make a solid affiliate income, even without a ton of traffic or e-mail subscribers.

Don’t write something for the sake of making money. If you write about something well enough, the money will come naturally.

Finally, don’t start blogging expecting to make any money at all. It takes time, effort, and dedication and it is certainly not easy money.

Where can we go to learn more?

Head over to Mommy to Max blog!

Monica Stott of The Travel Hack

3 weeks ago in Interviews

In this interview, Monica Stott shares her journey as a travel blogger. Find out how she is make a full-time living working just a few days a week.

Revenue of $10,400/mo

Email list size of 4,500

Founded in 2011


Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

I’m Monica and I run a travel blog called The Travel Hack. It all started in 2009 when I went backpacking around Asia and Australia for two years and I set up the blog to document my journey and to share with friends and family and local community. I also wanted to be a journalist so I thought a blog would be a great portfolio of written work for when I came to apply for jobs.

My blog is about traveling with a focus on traveling with children, weekend breaks and lots of travel tips to make traveling cheaper and easier. My main audience is females who travel as part of a couple and squeeze in as many holidays as they can between a busy work schedule and hectic social life. They read it for inspiration for their next weekend break. I am also growing an audience of young families looking for advice on traveling with babies and toddlers – as I now have young children myself.

I currently make around £90,000 ($125,000) a year through my blog and this is through working just two days per week! I was earning more but decided to cut back on the hours I work while my children are young and over the past three years this has led to a decline in my income but I’m OK with that!

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

I really started blogging because I wanted to work in journalism and while I was at university I interned with my local newspaper. The paper’s website had a section with blogs from people in the local community. There was a blog by a local teacher, a local shop owner, a mum, a counselor and me, a local girl who went backpacking. It was a great experience to hone my writing skills and write for a wider audience.

Since then I went onto further education to study for a journalism qualification and worked as an editorial assistant on a travel website. I then moved into social media marketing and digital marketing as a whole which really helped my blog.

When it was time to blog full time, I had a lot of relevant experience to help me and a lot of industry contacts.

I didn’t initially begin blogging to make money. Back in 2009, there weren’t many people making much money through blogs so I didn’t even know it was an option.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

My revenue model changes every few years but I currently try to have as many income streams as possible.

It began with sponsored posts in around 2011 and around 2013 I wrote for a lot of other blogs and websites. In around 2014 I started working on more brand partnerships and collaborations and I started being paid to attend press trips abroad.

In 2015 I launched an e-course called The Blogger Course about how to turn your blog into a full-time career. In 2016 I really focused on affiliate income and spent a lot of time working on blog posts that could lead to affiliate sales. In 2017 I worked with a luggage company to launch my own suitcase. And now in 2018, I’ve finally started using display adverts.

My income is now made up of all of the above; sponsored posts, brand partnerships, paid press trips, my e-course, suitcase sales and display ads.

All of my income comes directly from the blog. My main tip for aspiring entrepreneurs would be to spend a year focusing on one thing at a time. Don’t try and do everything at once. Make sure you’ve cracked one thing before you move onto something new. It does take a long time but 4-5 years down the line you will be doing well. 

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

The blog is currently getting around 2 million annual pageviews.

I try to be very organic when it comes to building traffic and I write long, detailed and informative blog posts. I want each post I write to be useful. If it’s useful I don’t need to do any SEO games as quality content always does well. I write the content I want to read. So if I’m going on holiday to Barcelona, I’ll make a note of the questions I want answers. I want to know what to do and where to stay and what to eat and how to stay safe and the cheapest way to get there. I’ll think about all these questions I had and answer them on my blog.

I write two styles of articles. The first is informative content I know will perform well in Google searches. Things like ‘What to do in Barcelona’ or ‘The best budget hotels in Barcelona’. These are posts that help people have better holidays.

My second style of the blog post is the more informal and personal post which show my personality and keep regular readers coming back so it’ll be things like, ‘My first impressions from Barcelona’. I think the balance between useful content and a friendly, likable personality is what keeps readers.

SEO is my main traffic source. This is followed by Pinterest and then Facebook.

How have you grown the email list?

My newsletter is for engagement more than sales or to drive traffic.

My email list is pretty small with 4,500 subscribers. I don’t massively push my newsletter, I just have a subscription box at the end of every blog post. This means that it’s only people really interested in my content who sign up. My list is small but very engaged and I often have 60% open rate.

In the past, I had done competitions to get people to sign up to my newsletter where people could win GoPros or luggage. But these subscribers weren’t ‘real’ followers and didn’t open subsequent emails so I stopped this.

I send out a personal and chatty newsletter every two weeks. It’s more of a personal update to my most loyal followers and I get hundreds of replies from people just saying hello or asking travel questions.

How do you write great content that performs well?

Coming from a journalism background, I write a lot! And I write very quickly so I can easily sit down and write a blog post in an hour or two. I write about what I know best – which is travel and the destinations I’ve recently visited – so the words come easily. I write the way I talk which is quite casual but people tell me they like my friendly and informal style because it feels like a friend giving them travel tips.

I often use my newsletter to ask my readers what they’d like to read about and they send me lots of questions and suggestions which makes great blog content. I often think that if someone has taken the time to email me and ask me something, they’ve probably tried to Google it and have been unable to find the answers – so these questions are like gold dust!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that people like blog posts that are easy to read. Things like listicles perform really well or posts that are broken up with clear headers and different sections. It makes it easier to read and understand and many people will skim through and get the highlights.

But most of all, you have to write about what you’re passionate about. Passion shines through in writing and that’s what people keep coming back for. 

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?

My biggest challenge at the minute is doing everything alone. I don’t have time to do everything and I struggle during press trips to take all the photos, make videos, share everything on social media, interview people, take notes, do research, keep up with admin and eventually write everything up. It’s a lot of work to do alone and I’d love to have someone work with me.

'It’s hard to not get distracted by what everyone else is doing but try not to copy and do your own thing.'Click To Tweet

The main thing I’ve learned is that you can’t do everything and it’s better to invest in people who can do the things you can’t do. If you’re not very good at design, then hire a designer. If you’re not a photographer, work with one. If you hate the admin side of things, hire a VA. Like any other business, you should employ people to do the jobs you can’t.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The main thing that’s been helpful for me is networking with other bloggers and making friends with bloggers. Some of my best friends today are bloggers and I love being able to chat with them and share ideas and discuss campaigns they’re working on, how much they’re charging and what they’re doing. It’s so helpful to have this support network and lovely to have people to bounce ideas around with.

I’d recommend any new bloggers to go to as many networking events as they possibly can and to meet as many bloggers and industry contacts as they can. It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know! Once you’ve worked with a few brands, things really start to snowball.

When I first started blogging properly, I’d just moved to London and I didn’t know many people. I was also on a very low salary so didn’t have much money. I ended up going to lots of networking events because they were a fun and free way to meet new people, have some drinks and some food and have a good night out! I went to about 2-3 networking events a week and this is really what helped my blog in the early days.

I also just recommend being nice. Most of the campaigns I work on come through referrals where people have recommended me because I’ve done a good job in the past. Work really hard on every project you work on because you don’t know what it could lead to.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

My number one tip is to be yourself. It’s hard to not get distracted by what everyone else is doing but try not to copy and do your own thing. There are lots of trends and fads within the blogosphere but they come and go. The only thing that really remains consistent is your personality and your style so let this shine through and don’t try to do what everyone else is doing.

A great resource for anyone who wants to really make money from their blog is my e-course, The Blogger Course which also has a really friendly and supportive Facebook group.

Where can we go to learn more?

The Travel Hack blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Will Tang of Going Awesome Places

3 weeks ago in Interviews

William Tang runs Going Awesome Places, a travel blog that makes 3,000/mo. Find out how he resdiscovered his passion and true calling after studying electrical engineering and working as a consultant for years.

Revenue of $3,000/mo

Email list size of 3,800

Founded in 2012


Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

My name is William Tang and I’m the travel blogger behind Going Awesome Places. I studied electrical engineering in university and worked as a consultant for a number of years but travel has always been my true calling.

My passion for travel started when I was young as my parents were always keen on planning road trips in Canada and the US, and also taking those infamous Chinese tour buses.

Things really stuck when I went on exchange in 3rd year to Lund, Sweden where a group of us backpacked all around Europe. There was no turning back after that.

Going Awesome Places is a travel blog that is all about my travels but I focus in on helping inspire others to go to the awesome places I’ve been to and at the same time help readers plan their own trips through all the knowledge that I gain while on the road.

Currently, I’m working on the blog full time and while it’s hard to say what I’m going to make the next month, on average, I’d say I’m making around $3000 a month.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

Honestly, what you’ll find with a lot of bloggers out there is that you never start it for the express intention to make money out of it. For me, it was something that I thought would be kind of a fun thing to do while travelling after I quit my job back in 2012.

A friend had suggested to me before heading off that I should start a blog. I didn’t think about it too much but the idea stuck with me so much that by the end of the day, I had purchased a domain, got hosting, and set up something basic on WordPress.

During my 4 year jaunt around Asia, I very much used the blog as a diary for my day to day stories. I really just wanted to keep my friends and family up to date.

It wasn’t until I came back and started to pay attention to the analytics when I realized that random people were coming to my site. That’s ultimately what gave me the drive to continue with this pet project.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

Making money blogging is HARD. It’s hard because:

  1. The industry is constantly changing
  2. The influencer part of digital marketing isn’t always well understood or at least
  3. Brands aren’t necessarily willing to pay
  4. In travel, we face the big challenge of competing against other bloggers that are willing to work for free
  5. There’s no single path to success

So how do you make it all work? For me, it’s been really a journey of experimentation and diversification. As I kind of eluded earlier, you really have no guaranteed paycheck with this job and you know that when you sign up for this. With that, you have to get really creative with how you make your money and know that you can’t put all your eggs in one basket.

If you take a look at some of my old income reports on Travel Blog Breakthrough, you’ll see that I’m really all over the place. To summarize, you’re looking at driving in revenue from areas such as:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Freelance writing
  • Sponsored Posts (link game)
  • Sponsored Campaigns (working with brands, Twitter Chats, etc.)
  • Advertising (i.e. Google Analytics)

If you’re looking to start a travel blog, the advice I’d give is to first and foremost focus on the content first. None of this monetization stuff works if you don’t have a reason for people to come back to your blog. Focus on building your brand and as voodoo as this may sound, opportunities will come to you.

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

Taking a lot of inspiration from the startup world, building up traffic at the beginning was very much about growth hacking strategies.

There was this new and wonderful world of social media out there and so through automation tools like Tweepi, the follow-unfollow game, and sharing groups, I managed to grow a decent sized following that would also click on my links to my articles that I shared. That’s how a lot of the early traffic came from.

The other true part of the success for the blog came by accident and that’s where SEO comes in. I had kind of read about it here and there but I was never the kind of person to do all the serious things like keyword searches or anything like that. What I did take away from it though was how I could format my posts in a way that would be optimized.

I learned how to leverage headers the right way and meta descriptions to include as many relevant words as possible. It was about also thinking about article ideas that ultimately were what people were searching for.

All of this SEO-ing I was doing must’ve done something because over time there were a bunch of articles that started doing really well organically. That’s when the traffic started to lift off. When I look at those 10 posts that have done really well, it’s really been about answering people’s key questions which are “what should I see/do” and “how do I plan a trip to XYZ”.

For someone new, I’d give a few pieces of advice:

  • Don’t obsess over the analytics.
  • Again, focus on content
  • Think SEO from the start. It’s a shift in mentality that really does have to start early.
  • Leverage multiple channels to drive traffic to your site. To name a few, think social media, forums, and guest writing

How have you grown the email list?

I suck at this. Only in this past year have I truly made traction on building my e-mail list.

The key is honestly two parts:

  1. Get in your reader’s face about signing up because people are lazy
  2. Offer something free that people want

It sounded easy and I knew this from the early beginnings but I was always too lazy to implement it. It wasn’t until I did my latest redesign of Going Awesome Places when I told myself that I needed to make this work. That’s when I subscribed to Optin Monster and Ninja Forms. This is also when I started creating resources for travelers to some of my most visited pages. This is also when I recognized that people cared about deals and so I gave them a reason to sign up.

How do you write great content that performs well? 

I think about articles that have performed well for me and it comes down to these “keys to success”:

  • Write content that people are searching for – This is the SEO mentality that you have to take to heart. Think to yourself “If I wanted to go to place X, what would I type in Google?”
  • Share that content on social media – Pinterest is by far the next great source of traffic. Learn how to leverage it.
  • Give people a reason to come back – This is where your mailing list comes into play

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’m not sure if I could do THAT much different if I started all over again mainly because this whole journey has been a learning process.

'Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away, continuously hone your craft, don’t be afraid to try new things, ask for help, and carve your own path.'Click To Tweet

I’m an Engineer by trade and so the tech part of it was easy to pick up but writing, social media, pitching, and all of that was brand new to me. I’ve made a TON of mistakes along the way and there’s still a lot for me to learn but it’s really about not being afraid to fail.

If I were to start all over, I’d do a few things differently:

  1. I would have put more thought into how I could properly build a mailing list and invest in the right tools to do it
  2. Start thinking about affiliate marketing strategies earlier and how I could better from a passive income perspective
  3. Perhaps it was too ambitious to start Travel Blog Breakthrough when I should’ve just focused on the travel blog.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

As ironic as it sounds, blogging can be a lonely venture. As much as travel bloggers make it look like we’re constantly on the road, the reality is that we’re behind a computer more often than not. It’s easy to feel like you’re alone on an island.

That’s where networking, local travel events, and conferences come into play. Not only is it a great way to make connections with others that are doing the same thing as you, it’s also a great way to build contacts in the industry that may help you land a gig in the future.

Local organizations like Travel Massive have been instrumental for me in terms of making local friends in the community that have helped me throughout this journey. It’s also been a source of work as well as there are many members from tourism boards, destinations, travel brands, agencies, and PR that I’ve been able to link with over the years.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

Don’t expect instant success. I think a lot of bloggers get involved thinking that it’ll be easy to make money in no time but the reality of it is that it’s a long-term investment that requires serious focus and determination.

Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away, continuously hone your craft, don’t be afraid to try new things, ask for help, and carve your own path.

Where can we go to learn more?

Head over to my blog, Facebook, Instagram, TwitterYoutube or Pinterest.

Sean Si of SEO Hacker

1 month ago in Interviews

SEO Hacker is a blog about SEO tips, advice, as well as the latest and most effective strategies in the industry. In this interview you’ll learn how Sean Si has mastered SEO.

Revenue of $2,650/mo

Email list size of 5,800

Founded in 2010


Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

I’m Sean Si, the founder of SEO Hacker. My blog is about SEO in general. We cover SEO tips and advice, SEO tool reviews, SEO news, and discuss the latest and most effective strategies in the industry. Our goal is to provide the users with the tools and information to help them know more about how SEO works.

Before starting SEO Hacker, I studied at De La Salle University in Manila, graduating with a degree in ICTM.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

It all started when I discovered the word of SEO during my days as an OJT student in a company in Manila. The company gave me work related to SEO, which I had no idea about at that time, until I did that one fateful search, “What is SEO”. From then on, I learned the ins and outs of SEO and implemented it on my personal blog first. Later on, I established as a knowledge-based blog where I wrote everything that I learned about SEO

From then on, it went upward, with my blog becoming one of the top sources for SEO related topics, and my company is the best SEO company in the country. Sometimes, all it takes in one fateful moment to find your passion. Starting the SEO Hacker blog is one of the most pivotal moments in my life.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

Our revenue in the blog is generated through advertisements, promotions, and various affiliates. These methods are similar to what other bloggers do to earn on their site and is a stable model in which we can rely on. Gaining revenue for a blog is always tough when starting out, but once you keep churning out content, the increasing traffic would help you gain more revenue.

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

One of the first things I did for my blog was to improve my writing style and create SEO-related content that everyone would find useful. One of the things that I focus on is to attract users into viewing my articles. I do this by crafting compelling titles to capture their attention and creating the proper tags to make it optimized for the search engines and make it rank higher in the results page.

We also do some guest posting on our blog, which helps more users go to our site. I also post my articles on social media, which is one of the most effective platforms to help your website gain more traffic. With the number of people using social media daily, it is one of the most effective ways to gain more subscribers to increase your email list. Twitter and Facebook are two platforms that a lot of people use and with millions of people logged in every day.

How have you grown the email list?

Slowly but surely, traffic to my blog increased, and I could not let such an opportunity pass me by. I used pop-ups or call-to-actions inside my articles to invite my readers to subscribe to our email list. Eventually, the number of subscribers in the email list grew, and the only challenge left was to retain their subscription.

One way that I have been able to retain all my subscribers and alert them whenever I have a new blog post is through the use of effective tools such as Pushcrew, which helps me send my blog posts to our subscribers regularly. This helped me get thousands of subscribers within a few months and is one of the reasons my blog gets a lot of visibility. The SEO Hacker blog provides people with the best SEO news, guides, and tips available, and we make sure that they get the information as quickly as possible.

My advice for people wanting to grow their email list is by letting your content work for you first, and then add a subscription tool to make sure that you get a sustainable platform of delivering your content. It also helps to do interact with people familiar with the industry, as they can recommend your blog to more users, and form a partnership that can help your brand grow.

How do you write great content that performs well?

Writing great content means doing your homework on the subject, as you would be lost if you write about a topic that you are not familiar with. It all starts with thorough research, as I always look for relevant SEO news and updates, the latest tools, and some of the best tips and advice that make SEO work better for everyone. Finding your writing voice is the next step, as you have to sound professional, composed, and intelligent.

Learning how SEO works is a never-ending process, as Google always finds ways to improve their search process, which means having to change up our strategies and methods. Research keeps you at the top of your game and ensures that you are creating quality content worth reading. For a more detailed guide on our content strategy, take a look at our blog post.

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?

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges back then are implementing these new techniques and practices in the beginning, since a lot of it was a trial and error process. This helped me learn more about how SEO works and got me ready for all the changes and updates that have happened through the years. If I had to start over, I think I would not change anything, as this helped me arrive at where my blog and company is today.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Meeting my first client was fateful at that time, as I was just going on vacation with my family. This client helped me get a good start, which led to the company gaining more well-known clients over the past few years. This eventually became one of the most pivotal decisions in my life, next to starting out with my blog.

'My advice is to find your niche and stand out from the rest of the field.'Click To Tweet

I also make it a habit to read a good amount of business and growth books each year to bolster my knowledge and expand my skill set. This is also done by members of our team, which helped them gain valuable knowledge that proved to be useful in our line of work. I also made it a point to eliminate as many distractions as possible and focus on the work at hand, as time is gold, and wasting it on anything not related to work means losing some momentum that could have been used to move forward.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

My advice is to find your niche and stand out from the rest of the field. Never underestimate the power of compelling content, because that will always attract people to your website.

It is always best to lay down the foundations for your blog before starting over and investing your time to do that will get you up and running. When writing an article, let people you trust read them before posting, as they can give valuable insights on how you can improve your writing style and grammar.

Making mistakes is a part of the process and is always a learning experience that helps us grow into better people. Common mistakes include grammatical and factual errors that can be remedied over a period of time, which is why double or triple-checking your work would make sure that everything is sound and done properly.

Where can we go to learn more?

You can visit the SEO Hacker Blog, where I post some of the most helpful SEO articles twice a week. You can also reach me through my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts if you want to contact me personally and ask questions about SEO. If you are looking for our SEO Services, you can visit our company website.

Jacob Fu and Esther JuLee of Local Adventurer

1 month ago in Interviews

Local Adventurer blog is about encouraging travelers to explore their hometowns and nearby spots. Find out how Jacob and Esther have been holding eachother accountable and built a massively succesful blog.

Revenue of $10,500/mo

Email list size of 7,500

Founded in 2015


Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?

Hi, my name is Jacob. My wife and I co-founded Local Adventurer one of the top travel blogs in the world. Before blogging, I worked a corporate job for 5 years, helped Esther build her wedding photography business, and co-created and ran a YouTube channel for a couple of years.

We are currently based in NYC, but move to a new city every year to write about the area. We also travel internationally a few times a year. We’ve found that most of our readership is within the states. People who are looking to for city and National Park guides, and who want to challenge themselves to try something new.

We’ve been doing this full time as couple since 2015, and last year we earned over $125,000.

What motivated you to get started with the blog?

Esther started the blog as a hobby. She was looking for a new creative outlet after leaving her wedding photography business behind, and decided to start editing and sharing our travels. She began to grow an organic following and when she realized people were doing this for a living, she started to treat it like a business.

At the time, I was working on building my YouTube channel with my brother. It kept me busy but I could see that the blog started to gain traction.

The idea of Local Adventurer was hatched when we moved out west and regretted not exploring more of Atlanta, the hometown we had lived in for most our lives. We got too comfortable and took where we lived for granted, and the more people we met, we realized many people felt the same way too. It’s easy to go through life and get jaded and see things as common, but with Local Adventurer, we set off to practice finding adventure in our every day and seeing things with fresh eyes.

As she continued to grow the blog, she found a great balance of inspirational yet informative posts. Her expertise in photography created beautiful imagery and she paired that with thorough information to enable readers to find the same spots.

What is the revenue model for the blog?

We currently have 3 main revenue sources. 50% of our income comes from sponsored content. That includes blog posts, videos, and social media. 25% of our income comes from affiliate sales and the remaining 25% comes from ads.

The first few years of the blog, we didn’t make that much. We did some sponsored content and generated a decent amount of revenue from affiliate sales. When I came on board, I focused on building the brand relationships and reaching out to other companies we wanted to work with.

For anyone looking to get into the travel blogging, my first question is always “Are you sure?” Despite the fact that our social media makes it look like we’re on a constant vacation, we spend a lot of time in front of our computers and building the business itself. You have to treat it like a job if that’s what you want it to be. I’m working on putting down my thoughts and processes into an e-course that we’ll hopefully launch later this year. 

What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?

When we initially started, we didn’t focus on traffic numbers, and just made sure we were creating good content. As we saw what type of posts resonated with our audience, we continued to build that type of content.

We now get 50% of our traffic from organic searches and another 50% from Pinterest, so we try to stay focused on that. Esther spends a lot of time making sure each post is optimized and curating content for her Pinterest.

We still work on our other social media platforms, but they don’t drive nearly as many views. Essentially, you have to find where you audience is connecting with you the most and where you traffic is coming from.

How have you grown the email list?  

We know that email list are extremely powerful tools, but we definitely have neglected growing out list (I know! Shame on us!). We plan on relaunching our newsletter this year.

Our email list currently has about 7,500 subscribers and we want to make sure we’re creating good, exclusive content for them. Right now, we continue to grow the list through some locked content on the blog (i.e. free downloads).

How do you write great content that performs well?

We’ve found that specific types of post do really well on our site, for example bucket list type posts. We always use those as a starting point in any city, then create more unique content for each location.

'Neither of us are great writers, but we’ve found a groove and consistent voice that works for us.'Click To Tweet

The other type of content that works well for us is outdoor, bucket-list type hikes. With these posts we make sure to marry the beautiful imagery with actual information. We definitely share our experiences at different locations, but we always take the stance of spinning it so that it’s useful to the reader.

Neither of us are great writers, but we’ve found a groove and consistent voice that works for us.

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?

Early on, we were eager to take on any sponsored content. We made the mistake of working with some brands that we didn’t necessarily identify with and really regret it. It’s always tempting to take money, but focus on your long term brand and goals.

If you hope to run a travel blog full time, you also need to treat it like a business. Know what skills your good at, and work on filling in the gaps. We’re lucky to have very different skillsets. Esther is an amazing creative and I have a business background.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Find other blogs that are roughly your size. You’ll go through similar struggles and can workshop through them together. We always love talking shop with other blogs that are our size. We learn a lot from each other and even learn to grow different revenue streams.

What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?

When starting out, don’t be afraid to try different things. It took us a while to find our voice and what our niche was. Once you do that, you’ll have less opportunity to venture outside of that.

'Find other blogs that are roughly your size. You’ll go through similar struggles and can workshop through them together.'Click To Tweet

Also, give yourself a schedule and stick to it. We used to set weekly goals for ourselves to keep each other accountable.

Where can we go to learn more?

Head over to Local Adventurer or Instagram.

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