How to Start a Blog in 2019 and Make $1000/Month: A 6-Step Free Guide for Beginner Bloggers

This is an interview with Tiffany Griffin from Beautiful Dawn Designs.

1. Hey, Tiffany. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

Thank you for having me, Lidiya!

My name is Tiffany, and I run the blog Beautiful Dawn Designs, where I help women entrepreneurs grow their blog and online business.

On my website, you will find articles on inspiration, starting and growing a blog, and making money online. Additionally, I provide free and premium resources to make the entrepreneurial journey easier.

2. How did you start designing for a living, and why WordPress themes?

I actually got my start designing on Myspace. Shout out to anyone who remembers Myspace. Back then, people paid me to create Myspace layouts and other graphics for them. It was amazing. 

I guess making my way over to the WordPress platform was a natural progression.

After graduating from college, I soon realized that I didn’t want to work for anyone (I hate being told what to do), so I decided to see if I could make a living selling my designs.

Within the first year, I was able to hit the $20,000 mark, which was good money for me back then. Once I hit that point, I never looked back. I knew I wanted to run my own business.

3. What made you start blogging and how did you choose your niche?

I started blogging because I needed a way to increase the traffic to my website. My ultimate goal was to sell more WordPress themes, so I began by writing WordPress tutorials.

Over time, I started learning more and more about blogging, and so I thought it would be helpful if I shared the things that helped me grow my blog. That’s how I started blogging about blogging.

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4. How did you grow your traffic in your first year of blogging?

In my first year of blogging, my focus was on creating new content.

I barely had any posts on my blog, and I knew that if I wanted to increase my traffic, I needed to have more content. So during the first year or so, I published three blog posts a week without fail.

Along with writing more content, I made sure to create Pinterest graphics for each of my blog posts and pin those images to Pinterest. I would manually pin my pins to all of the relevant boards that I owned, as well as the group boards I was a part of.

I also focused a lot on SEO early on. So a good portion of my traffic was coming from Google in the first year. 

Read also: How Kristin Larsen Earned $100K in Her First Full Year of Blogging

5. How do you make your pins go viral?

How to Easily Get 100K Pinterest Views in 1 Month: 8 Pinterest Tips for Bloggers
Stock Photo from Denys Prykhodov @ Shutterstock

I actually have an ebook where I share what I do to make my content go viral

Of course, no formula will guarantee the success of your blog posts. However, after publishing articles that have received hundreds of thousands of social media shares, I believe that I’ve learned the secret to creating content that has a better chance of going viral.

When it comes to Pinterest, there are a few factors that play into a pin going viral.

For starters, your blog post must be helpful.

No one cares about what you did over the weekend (sorry). People want solutions to their problems. They want to know what the best items are to buy in bulk or hacks for saving money at the grocery store. So to start, make sure you’re writing helpful content.

Another tip is to entice people to click on your pins.

I recommend using bright colors to make your pin stand out. Also, use legible text (avoid using difficult to read script fonts), and use headlines that include trigger words.

Trigger words will elicit an emotional response from people. It will make them want to click on your pin.

Trigger words are words like:

  • Must-have
  • Overwhelmed
  • No one talks about
  • Jaw-dropping

Read also: How I Increased My Pinterest Traffic by 778% in 2 Months

6. What are your top SEO tips for bloggers?

My top SEO tips are to use the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin isn’t required for good SEO, but I’ve found it to be so helpful in ensuring your content is SEO friendly.

I also recommend doing keyword research. There’s no point in working hard to rank for a keyword that people aren’t even searching for.

I have a helpful article on SEO for Beginners for anyone who wants to learn how to make their blogs posts search engine optimized.

7. How did you first make money with your blog?

As you know, I started off selling feminine WordPress themes. However, if I were only to count the income that I’ve made as a direct result of blogging, I’m pretty sure that affiliate marketing was the first money that I made with my blog.

Read also: How to Make Money Blogging: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Monetizing Your Blog and Becoming Your Own Boss

8. What are your current income streams and which one is your favorite?

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My current income streams are my products (WordPress themes, courses, ebooks, and printables), ads, and affiliate marketing.

I would say that my favorite income stream would be my products. It’s a great feeling to be rewarded financially for your hard work. 

I have to say that I also really enjoy making money via ads. Let’s be honest here. I get to make money off of the content that’s already sitting on my blog. It can’t get any more passive than that! 

9. How much are you earning now on a monthly basis and how has your income changed over the years?

I’ve never shared my monthly income on my blog, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I have shared that I currently earn over $2,000 a month in affiliate income alone, which I’m really grateful for.

Over the years, I have watched my income steadily increase. I’ve dedicated a lot of time, and I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point. It’s a great feeling to see those sacrifices pay off.

10. What’s your experience with making money from sponsored posts?

I haven’t done very many sponsored posts on my blog. I do plan on incorporating more sponsored content in the future, though.

I think that sponsored posts are a great way to make money with your blog

The thing I like about sponsored content is that you don’t have to have a ton of traffic to make money this way.

All of my sponsored content is the result of a brand contacting me directly. However, there are a lot of sponsored post networks out there that will connect you with brands. Some popular ones are Social Fabric, Izea, and Webfluential.

When it comes to setting your prices for sponsored posts, I know that people usually want someone to tell them what they should charge, but really, it all depends on the individual. Because there’s so much to take into consideration, right?

You have to account for your reader engagement, how many social media followers you have, how long it takes you to write a blog post, your total number of email subscribers, and the cost of writing the blog post (if you had to purchase materials).

Someone once gave me the advice that if the number makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable, that’s what you should be charging.

So if you have a number in mind that makes you feel a bit uneasy, go with that number! Besides, they can’t do anything but tell you yes or no. If they say yes, that’s great. If they say no, you can negotiate a different price.

11. What are some big mistakes you see new bloggers make?

Writing personal content is one of the biggest mistakes I see new bloggers make.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing posts about your life if you’re blogging for your own enjoyment. However, if it’s your goal to turn blogging into a full-time career, you have to make sure that the majority of your content is helpful to your readers.

Another mistake I see new bloggers make is expecting their blog to take off overnight.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. However, I’m telling you right now that this isn’t going to happen.

Growing a successful blog takes time. It can take a year, or even a few years before you see the kind of growth you’re hoping for.

Be patient, stay consistent, and you’ll find success. As Babe Ruth once said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

12. How many hours do you spend on your blog and business weekly?

This number has really changed over the past year or so.  Because most of the income that I earn is passive income, I put in a lot of work upfront so that I don’t have to work so hard from day to day.

Currently, I would probably say that I spend around 10-15 hours on my blog and business weekly.

If I’m working on a new project, I’ll work longer hours (upwards of 8 hours a day), but this is pretty much my schedule nowadays.

Read also: 5 Ideas for Your First Passive Income Stream as a Blogger

13. How do you organize your time as a full-time blogger?

I don’t. Haha! I used to be a lot more organized, and I’m working on getting back to that place. 

14. What are some challenges you had to overcome when starting and growing an online business?

Increasing my traffic was a BIG challenge for me. In the beginning, every problem that I faced took me back to the fact that I needed to increase my traffic.

If I wanted to increase my income, I needed to increase my traffic. If I wanted to grow my email list, I needed to increase my traffic. 

It was tough. But eventually, by being consistent with my efforts, I was able to see my traffic grow more and more every month.

15. Where can people find you?

You can find me over on my website, Beautiful Dawn Designs. And if you’d like chat, feel free to join my Facebook group, The Blogging Blueprint Community. I’d love to have you! 

Do you struggle with increasing your blog traffic and income? Check out the story of Tiffany of BeautifulDawnDesigns who uses Pinterest and blogs smart: #bloggingtips #makemoneyblogging #affiliatemarketingtips #femalebloggers #blogtraffic #blogtraffictips #moneymakingideas