This is an interview with Christine White of The Mostly Simple Life.
Hey, Christine. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hi there! I’m from Michigan and just moved to Colorado this year. I’ve been married for almost 10 years and we have the most adorable baby in the world — a Cockapoo pup named Mozzie.
I blog over at The Mostly Simple Life about helping women simplify the logistics of daily life (with things like budgeting, meal planning, organization, etc.) so that they have more time and energy for what matters most to them.
When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging at the beginning of 2016. I worked full time as a title clerk at a car dealership and was desperate for something creative to do.
I was also secretly hoping that my blog would make us some money someday. We were broke, broke, broke, and even $100 per month would have been such a blessing!
How long did it take you to make your first money blogging?
I started making some money after about six months! It was all affiliate income at the time.
How did you bring traffic to your blog in the first year?
Pinterest! I made a pin-able image for each of my blog posts from the very beginning and it helped me gain some pretty immediate traction with my blog traffic.
How many page views does The Mostly Simple Life get per month and what are your top traffic sources?
I get around 125,000 page views per month, give or take, depending on the time of year.
Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest. The next highest source is organic search. I’m working on increasing this right now by going through a course on SEO.
When did you start seeing potential in Pinterest as a way to increase your traffic and income?
I had loved using Pinterest personally for years before I started my blog, so I knew it was a great way to find blog content.
Right after I figured out how to use WordPress and create blog posts, I figured out how to make pins. I think it helped my traffic grow early on because I had a pin to go with every blog post I wrote.
What are the strategies that helped you reach over 1 million Pinterest page views?
Quality pins! This means nice images (I almost always use stock images for pins), catchy titles (I brainstorm a few titles for each pin), and pin descriptions that hit on keywords people are searching for.
When you’re on Pinterest, examine the pins that catch your eye.
What do their images look like? What words catch your attention and make you want to click through? What fonts and colors are they using?
When you take some time to examine why something catches your attention, you can apply some of the same aspects to your own pins.
At what point did you start treating your blog like a business and how did you do that exactly?
From the very start I commited to posting regularly on my blog. I would work every weekend to prep three posts for the coming week.
I only post once a week now, but I’ve never gone off of my commitment to post regularly.
The rest has been a gradual learning process. I am constantly working at doing more focused work — ignoring email, social media, and my phone for chunks of time so that I can work without distraction. It’s shocking how productive I can be when I focus!
I’m not good at being spontaneous, so I plan ahead in my business. That means I have to set aside planning time to plan when I’ll send certain emails, what blog posts I want to write, and how I handle upcoming promotions.
I’ve also learned that a good company invests in their employees. So I invest in my blogging education with quality courses that have helped me earn more.
How do you choose topics for your next blog posts?
I keep a running list of ideas based on things I read or stuff that comes up in my daily life.
I’m currently taking an SEO course that’s teaching me how to come up with blog topics a bit more strategically.
How much are you currently earning from your blog and in what ways?
I currently make more each month than I did working full time.
The bulk of my income comes from ad revenue because I get a decent amount of pageviews. The rest is divided between affiliate income and money I make from my own digital products.
Do you think bloggers can earn that much in every niche?
I’d say some niches are easier to monetize than others. But there are super successful bloggers in most niches as well as unprofitable ones too, so I’d say it’s all about how you go about things.
I write a lot about ways to save money, which is a difficult topic to monetize, so I think there’s room for success everywhere.
What’s your favorite blog monetization method and why?
Creating my own digital products! It used to scare me, but I’m starting to love it.
I like having complete control over the process, getting to use my creativity, and creating a launch plan. Plus, I get to keep almost all of the money I make from my own products. With something like affiliate marketing, you only earn a percentage.
Have you taken any online courses to learn more about blogging and online business?
Yes! It’s so important to invest in your blogging education. My favorite courses have been in affiliate marketing, Pinterest, and course creation.
How many hours do you spend on your blog per week?
My best guess is about 25 hours.
Any beginner tips for aspiring bloggers who want to earn enough online to replace their job?
Take action! I see far too many people wanting to do everything perfectly and they end up doing nothing. Be willing to mess up.
Even now for me, it’s all a learning process and nothing is ever perfect.
You can spend a lifetime learning and researching but it won’t ever equal any money until you take action.
What’s next for you and The Mostly Simple Life?
I’ve spent the last year working on a course that will launch in early 2020. It’s all about helping people spend less money on food while still eating well. I’m so excited to get it out into the world because I’ve had readers get amazing results with my strategies!
I also just launched my first set of printables and it was so much fun to make them. So now I’m itching to make more!