We often see income reports from the ‘big’ bloggers showing how much they earn from their blog each month, which personally I LOVE to read (I’m quite nosey, hehe). But we rarely hear from the newer bloggers. Today I’m Interviewing Rachel Marie from Blogs & Budgets, to find out how she made her first affiliate sale in just ONE month of blogging!
A Little Bit About Blogs & Budgets
Blogs & Budgets was started in March 2017 as a way to help women live a life by design and create financial freedom. Rachel Marie, the blog’s founder, provides readers’ tips on how to earn more money and how to save money now to create a better future. After one month and only 1,000 views, Blogs & Budgets earned its first affiliate sale and Rachel explains how she made it happen!
Hi Rachel! It’s so great to have you here! Can you tell us what made you decide to start a blog?
I decided to start a blog because I wanted a creative outlet, and there’s always been a huge part of me that desires to live a life by design. In the past I have been involved in more than one multi-level marketing company and so far, it hasn’t given me the financial freedom I’ve craved. I bounced around several different ideas such as starting my own design company and ultimately landed on starting a blog. In a way, I want to use my blog as a means to help other women create financial freedom as well!
Why did you choose “Blogs & Budgets”?
There were so many different niche groups that I could’ve gone with. I actually did start a décor blog and a fitness apparel blog but I took both of them down within just a few weeks because I lost interest. It felt somewhat like I was being forced into a very small box and I could only write about those things.
I knew that my next blog had to be something that stuck. Throughout those few weeks though I spent so much time researching all about blogs. Everything from affiliate marketing to SEO and how to grow your followers. I researched it ALL. And what I realized what blogging itself was something that I was very interested in! I decided to blog about blogs but I also wanted to incorporate personal finance. This is because if I’m going to teach other women how to be their own boss then I also need to be teaching the importance of handling your money properly, living frugally and making the most of what you earn.
How long did it take for you to make your first affiliate sale?
I launched my blog the first week of March and made my first affiliate sale about a month later, the first week of April. At this point I still only have 6 blog posts and I get less than 1,000 views a month. I focused on providing value to my readers and the posts that were going to give me the best conversion rates.
How did you choose which affiliate program to use?
It’s a common misconception that you have to blog about blogs or create your own products and ebooks in order to earn money as a blogger. This is so false! When I started my décor blog I simply signed up for Amazon’s affiliate program and recommended décor items from their site. It was actually more difficult for me to decide which affiliates to partner with on Blogs & Budgets. I didn’t want to recommend anything that I wasn’t using myself. I saw a lot of bloggers who had affiliates for things like Tailwind or their email service but I only started using Tailwind and my email service is free so I crossed those off my list. In the end I went with my site host and I’ve done a few posts that have featured that affiliate!
How did you convert views to sales?
I mentioned before that I get less than 1,000 monthly views so it’s really important for me to make the most of those who do view my site. Early on I was posting a lot to Facebook groups but I actually found that it wasn’t very helpful. Yes, my views were increasing but those were people who already had blogs and they didn’t necessarily need the information that I was providing.
I started focusing on Pinterest and joined several group boards. In the past couple weeks, I’ve grown from about 400 followers to 450 so I think what I’m doing is working! I’ve focused on pinning multiple times to a blogging board of my own and I also pin my own blog posts to those group boards to get them in front of a larger audience. Many people make the mistake of pinning posts that aren’t their own to group boards. Some of these boards have rules that you can only repin a couple a day so don’t waste them on pins that aren’t your own!
I also started playing around with promoted pins. My daily budget is just $3 and I’ve experimented with a few different pins. I paid attention to things like impressions, saves and clicks and I also paid attention to which blog posts were actually leading to an affiliate sale. Once I realised which post was the best for conversion, I put my entire ad budget into that one pin and I’ve made more than I’ve spent so I would say it has been worth it! In the future, I believe I’ll play around more with increasing my budget and trying out some new pins as well. It’s definitely been a learning process!
What is the best tip you can give to new bloggers?
The best piece of advice I can give is to focus on one affiliate. I think many people try to do too many and it becomes overwhelming and your blog just turns into spam central. When you focus on one affiliate your blog will feel more cohesive and it’s easier to connect your posts. Your readers will enjoy it much more and they’ll probably stick around a lot longer to read related posts.
Once you’ve chose your one affiliate, I recommend writing up 2-3 blog posts about it. These should be posts that really provide value to your readers and aren’t just basically a commercial for that product or service. For example, you can do a “how-to” post and include your affiliate as part of the process. You can also have a list post and include your affiliate as one of the items. Additionally you could do a review or a comparison! The main idea here is that you don’t just say “Why You Need XYZ” and try to convince your readers to buy. Give them valuable information and they will decide to buy on their own.
That’s great advice, Rachel. Thanks so much for being so open with us today- it’s been so inspiring to hear your story!