Today I am excited to bring you Shanna from Because Shanna Said So! Shanna was on my radar because she is one of my wife’s favorite bloggers. Quickly upon looking at her site I could see that she’s got blogging down pat! Her answers to my questions below only confirmed that belief.
There are a lot of reasons why I consider Shanna a successful blogger. She has something that many bloggers covet – a link-up that gets over 150 submissions each week. Additionally, she regularly tops 50 comments on a post! Shanna has proven herself to be an expert in the field of personal style and she does an excellent job of sharing her style with others. Her blog has a real genuineness that I believe contributes greatly to her large following. You can really tell that she enjoys what she does, and that is a wonderful thing to see!
I also applaud Shanna for being “everywhere”, which I am a big fan of. She have been a Ruche featured blogger, has contributed to Women’s Health magazine and has been in Lucky Magazine. When it comes to exposure, she truly goes out and gets it! As she notes in the interview – nobody is going to do it for her, so she markets herself! And oh by the way, she also has over 10,000 followers between Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Not too shabby!
How long have you been blogging?
I started my blog a little over two years ago, December 20, 2011 to be exact.
What is your main blog niche?
I focus on personal style (outfit posts), affordable fashion trends, a dash of beauty tips and glimpse into my personal life.
Describe your blog in one sentence.
I am a simple girl, keeping it real, who enjoys sharing personal style that won’t break the bank.
How long did it take you to earn your first $100?
I am not 100% sure about this one, but at least six months…after I finally realized that I could actually make money with my blog. I was so clueless at first. I really just started Because Shanna Said So because I thought it would be fun. I had no idea that people actually made money blogging. True story.
What is the best piece of advice you have received about blogging?
It’s okay to say no. And of course the cliché of staying true to yourself and not becoming something you’re not. I think I have done a pretty good job with both.
What is one thing that you wish you knew about blogging before you started?
That there are super mean people out there that will try and knock you down. You have to have tough skin in this world. Also, that I could make money doing it. Oh, and that it takes a CRAZY amount of time to run a successful blog…hours every single day.
What is the most recent “aha” moment you have had about your blog?
That this is not going to last forever and to enjoy the moment and remind myself that blogging is not the end all, be all. It’s okay if I take a day off here and there. Life isn’t going to end and my readers aren’t going to forget about me just because I skipped one post.
You have very solid social media numbers (especially on Instagram and Twitter). What do you attribute to the large following?
Marketing the heck out of myself. I had to realize that if I was going to grow, nobody out there was going to make it happen for me. I had to put in the time and effort.
I followed up on the above question, asking for some elaboration about how she markets herself on social media, to which Shanna kindly provided!
Instagram – I use a bunch of hashtags when promoting a blog post. I have also hosted a few Instagram giveaways, however, I don’t recommend doing too many. People will follow you and as soon as the giveaway is over, you will lose many of them. Blog giveaways work better, in my opinion. If I am wearing a certain brand’s clothing item, I will be sure to tag them in hopes of them reposting my picture. Make your IG photos worth looking at by using photo apps to enhance the photos and tease your readers with sneak peek to upcoming posts.
Twitter – Any blog giveaway I do, I ask that people tweet about it. This helps in having many readers tweet with your handle. I also share other great posts that I come across and promote my post at least 3 times per day….tagging brands and companies when it relates.
Facebook – When I first started I asked my friends and family to “like” my page. Then I moved to requesting people to like my page when entering a giveaway. I now have moved on to paying for ad placement on FB. I just started that this month and have seen a tremendous amount of new likes because of it. I highly recommend this approach. It’s money well spent.
Pinterest – I am still trying to figure this one out. This is where I lack in my following. I do pin all my posts and try to pin original content when I can, but this is definitely a focus for me in 2014. It’s a huge traffic generator and I feel like I am missing a piece to the puzzle. If anyone has any recommendations, I am all ears.
You do a very successful link-up on Wednesdays. About how long have you been doing it and what advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own link-up?
Random Wednesday happened randomly, as silly as that sounds, over a year ago. Every Wednesday I started posting different topics about what was going on in my life. It had no rhyme or reason. My readers liked these posts, so I thought, why not start a link up to give other bloggers a day to write random thoughts and things about their life. I have a great mix of bloggers who come back every week. If you start a link up, I would make it one that can relate to many different genres of blogging…not just recipes, fashion or DIY…keep it a broad topic…you will get more people to participate this way.
What concerns do you have, if any, about the future of your blog and its income?
I never have been worried about the income part because honestly that is not the #1 reason that I blog. I blog to journal my life and to inspire other women and to be part of something pretty magical. I do have concerns about my age and worry that in a few years, I will be too old to blog about fashion…at least in my readers’ eyes. Style bloggers consist mostly of women in their early to mid 20’s….I am well passed those years.
Do you do it all yourself or do you have a Virtual Assistant? How many hours does your VA work?
I do everything myself. I never had an assistant and not sure I will ever be to the point where I will need or want one. This is my blog and I want to control 100% of my content and interactions.
How many hours per week do you work on your blog?
At least 40 hours, if not more. I think it’s just because I have chosen to put that amount of time into it. I don’t necessarily feel someone has to put that much time into a blog for it to be successful.
Do you try to keep set hours for yourself or do you just work until the work is done?
I work until it’s done, but since I stay home, I can do the majority of it during the day while my kids are at school. When they come home I focus on them and finish things up after they go to bed. I am a night owl.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a blog (any blog)?
If you want to make money and it be somewhat of a part-time or even full-time job then know that it takes time to grow. It will not happen overnight. You have to comment on lots of blogs to get your name out there. Be active on all social media channels. Take quality photos. Be genuine. Invest in a blog design, not a template. Be ready to work hard and to spend a little money along the way.
What is your #1 revenue source?
I am part of a few affiliate networks where I can monetize my blog, but the number one source of income has been my partnership with Glam Style. It’s mostly geared for style/beauty bloggers. I generate income from serving ads on my site as well as participating in campaigns that they offer their bloggers. I also have seen an increase in commission from RewardStyle.
What is your #1 traffic source?
I actually don’t mind sharing my top three traffic sources:
1. Bloglovin. If you don’t have your blog set up with this reader, do it now. It pretty much replaced Google Reader last summer.
3. Pinterest. Pin all of your posts. It’s 100% okay to pin yourself. You are not self absorbed!
Do you have another job, or is blogging your main source of income?
I blog full time with a part time income. I chose to leave my 9-5 marketing career over two years ago to stay home with my children. Blogging has helped a little with earning extra income, but I by no means make what I was making when I was working full time in the corporate world.
How long did it take you to start making what you are making now from your blog?
It took almost a year and a half to make what I am making now. I had to build up my following and trust with my readers.
All I can say is WOW! This interview is loaded with great answers!
I love that Shanna touched on the unfortunate truth that there are a lot of jerks out there who try and bring others down. It’s sad, but it is something almost all of us bloggers have to deal with from time to time. Also, once again, we have a blogger who did not make $100 until 6 months in, re-enforcing that it takes time.
My absolute favorite line from this is: “be ready to work hard and to spend a little money along the way” to the question about advice for people wanting to start a blog. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to pay $1,000/month to an SEO person or anything, but you can’t be afraid of the $33 for a year of PicMonkey Royale or other small expenses!
Another thing I loved was her line about how “life isn’t going to end…because I skipped one post”. I am always a proponent of taking a day off when you want! Shanna said it best, “life is not going to end” if you give yourself a break! You’ll come back more fresh. Blogger burnout is a dangerous thing, so take breaks if you need to in order to prevent it!
If anyone has any Pinterest tips for Shanna (or the rest of us!) feel free to leave them in the comments below!
As we do, let’s head over to Because Shanna Said So and show her some love for taking the time to drop some knowledge on us here today!