Welcome to the Featured Blogger of the Week series! Each week, I’ll feature one blogger here who I have determined is successful. The hope here is to have you learn from the interviews and maybe see that even successful bloggers had to start from nothing.
Ok, we’re kicking off this featured blogger segment with a friend of mine who has an awesome blog to help people save money. Josie runs Southern Cali Saver as her main blog. There is a large niche in the blogging world of coupon/deal/frugal blogs, but there is really only a small handful who are on Josie’s level.
I actually got my blogging start in that niche and know how difficult and demanding it is to be successful there. The coupon/deal/frugal niche is VERY different from a lifestyle blog. Josie has to be one step ahead of grocery store deals and basically has to know about every single coupon in circulation. A typical day on her blog sees at least 5 new posts. She also offers some great posts with tips on frugal living and budgeting as well. She has built a very loyal following by being relentless in her search for the best grocery deals around and by letting readers into her life with personal little tidbits added to posts. Something that has been very helpful in connecting with her readers is her highly interactive Facebook Group associated with the blog.
Josie has the Southern California market for deal blogs cornered, which is NOT an easy feat! Basically, if there’s someone going grocery shopping in SoCal, they need to be looking at her blog first. And you know what? A LOT of people do check her blog first. Josie’s blog easily cracked the 5,000,000 pageview mark last year and will be pushing closer to 10 million in 2014! Yes, you read that right, 10 million pageviews. So let’s let her drop some knowledge on us about how to do it, shall we?
How did you choose your url? What does it mean to you?
My url didn’t take too much thought– I wanted the world to know that I was a couponer in Southern California and also didn’t want a url that was too long. So, southerncalisaver.com was born.
How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging for 4 years, however, I didn’t get serious about it until 3.5 years ago.
What is your main blog niche?
Coupons and deals. I also talk about living a frugal life on my blog.
Who designed your blog?
Currently, I have designs from Mortizfinedesigns.com and Pixelmedesigns featured on Southern Cali Saver.
How long did it take you to earn your first $100?
About 6 months after I got serious. So this was after having my blog for 1 year total 🙂
What is the best piece of advice you have received about blogging?
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket and don’t depend on social media to grow your blog. It may work but will be short lived. Just work hard and people will notice you.
What is one thing that you wish you knew about blogging before you started?
It’s not a “sit back and watch the benefits” type of thing. You must work hard at establishing a following.
What is the most recent “aha” moment you have had about your blog?
Creating lasting content.
What goals do you have for your blog?
My goals for 2014 are to create more evergreen content.
What concerns do you have, if any, about the future of your blog and its income?
I feel secure in knowing that I have a good relationship with my readers, that they will always be there as long as I blog. My income my fluctuates, but it often does that and I’ve grown used to it. My family doesn’t depend on my blogging income.
Do you do it all yourself of do you have a Virtual Assistant? How many hours does your VA work?
I have several VA’s. They work about 25 hours a week combined.
How many hours per week do you work on your blog?
About 40 hours.
Do you try to keep set hours for yourself or do you just work until the work is done?
I work until it is done.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a blog (any blog)?
Work hard and be true to yourself and don’t expect to make money right away.
What is your #1 revenue source?
Coupon print revenue and Adsense are pretty much tied.
What is your #1 traffic source?
Do you have another job, or is blogging your main source of income?
Does being a mom count? 🙂
(Zack here: YES, it does!)
How long did it take to start making an average of at least $1,000 per month from your blog?
About 2 years.
So, for anyone wanting to start a deal blog I suggest you take what Josie said seriously. Notice that from the answers above, over 65 hours of work goes into her blog every week. Are you ready to do that for several months before seeing any type of financial return? Josie did not crack the $1,000 per month income level on her blog for 2 years! You’ll see a common theme with these blogger features in the weeks to come, and that is that not really anyone started making a ton of money right out of the gate.
For Josie and people in her niche, creating evergreen content is huge. This is content that stands the test of time. So not a post about a Macy’s One-Day sale. Even fashion and beauty bloggers can take notice of this statement. If you find yourself always blogging about the latest fashion trend, you may not have the most lasting content. Of course staying on top of the trends is important, but if it’s the bulk of your content, what will people read when your posts are not “in season” anymore?
The best thing Josie said is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. It’s so easy to see AdSense being successful and just keep working on building that, while ignoring everything else. Diversification of your income is very, very important. Don’t settle for one income stream just because it is doing very well. Always think about diversification.
I’d like to thank Josie for her time in answering these questions. Be sure to visit Southern Cali Saver and see what a successful blog looks like! You might even find yourself saving some money!
Stay tuned next week for another awesome featured blog!