Here’s our second female blogger interview! I’m very happy to have had the chance to interview Michelle from MakingSenseofCents.com. She started blogging in August 2011 and started freelancing full-time in October of 2013 focusing her attention on personal finance. Her blog covers such topics like life, travel, career and budgeting. She’s doing very well pushing in approx $13,000/mo from her website and other side projects.
Now, let’s get into the real in-depth questions…
Q1 – How long you have been blogging? (Possible Year)
I have been blogging since August of 2011. I started freelancing online full-time in October of 2013.
Q2 – What blog or site is your main source of income? So, what is the main focus of that blog?
My main blog is Making Sense of Cents. The main focus of that website is personal finance.
Q3 – How much do you make online (average) from your blog a month?
I make around $13,000 a month altogether from all of my websites and all of my services.
Q4 – Starting out online can be very difficult and you’ll face many hurdles. What was the biggest challenge you faced when you started out? How did you overcome this hurdle and do you think if people are facing this problem today that they can still use the same strategy to overcome their challenge?
My main problem was finding enough topics to write about. I write mainly about personal finance, and you can only guess that there are only so many things to say. Now, I have a note pad where I write down all possible topic ideas. Whenever I think of a new topic, I write it down immediately. I now have over 100 topic ideas so I will not run out any time in the near future.
Q5 – These days it’s very hard to find things to write about and create new content? What would you say is the best strategy you have used to create awesome content? What would you recommend new bloggers do if they suffer from writers block?
My best strategy would be to always try to schedule your content ahead of time. I know of a writer who always writes a year ahead of time. While that might be a little excessive, it is helpful because she always has at least a year’s worth of content to rely on.
Q6 – Experience and time does teach you many things. What do you wish you knew back then when starting out that you now know has helped your blog grow and become successful? If you can give us your Top 3-4 valuable lessons, that would be awesome.
One of my biggest mistakes when I first started out was starting my blog on Blogger. I highly recommend that a person starts their blog on WordPress (I detailed the many reasons in my WordPress Versus Blogger post), or at least switch to WordPress as soon as they can.
Q7 – There are many ways to monetize your blog some which have worked and some haven’t. How are you making money through your blog? What other strategies would you recommend to monetize your blog?
Yes, there are several ways to make money with a blog. I make money through my blog through affiliate income and advertising mainly. I would really like to one day have my main income be affiliate income though, as it can be very passive.
Q8 – I know when I started blogging there were a handful of blogs I read on a daily basis? Do you have any mentors or blogs that you read on a daily basis that provide you with knowledge and guidance when you need it from day-to-day?
Q9 – There are several tools & plugins that can help you build momentum when people are on your blog, for example, social share plugins, SEO plugins and many others. What plugins do you think are essential in growing your blog? What Tools & Plugins do you think every blogger should have on their site?
I like Anti-spam (helps control spammy comments), CommentLuv (allows those who comment to share their articles as well), Limit Login Attempts (helps prevent people from hacking your websites), nrelated Related Content (lets readers see related content), Pretty Link (this makes affiliate links look nicer), and many, many, more.
Q10 – Many people have often asked me about the shift in blogging from previous years (Negative or Positive). What is the main difference you have seen while blogging since you started? What do you think will be the change going forward and how can you save yourself from being effective from this change (Positive or Negative).
Sorry, I will have to skip this question. I haven’t really seen a change, maybe it’s because I haven’t been around long enough.
Q11 – I often hear bloggers talk about creating a brand online. What are your thoughts on creating a brand for yourself and what is the best way to brand yourself?
I think creating a brand for yourself is a great thing to do. I am still working on this, but I have seen others create amazing brands which I think helps them grow their business even further.
Q12 – Much of the knowledge & motivation I’ve picked up is through other blogs and reading books. We discussed your favorite blogs in my previous question, however would you recommend any books that motivated you during tough times or provided you more insight into creating a successful blog?
Sorry, I will have to skip this question. I haven’t really read any blogging books (mostly learned as I have went or I have emailed bloggers for direct help).
Q13 – How important is writing high quality content in blog success? How often do you publish fresh new content on your blog? Is it weekly or monthly?
Writing high-quality content is VERY important when it comes to becoming a successful blogger. No one wants to read low-quality content that is just a waste of their time. They want to read something that will help them out or is interesting and entertaining.
I publish fresh content on my website anywhere from 3 to 5 times each week.
Q14 – What are the Top 3 most effective link building techniques that you would recommend over your years of experience? You can include ways to generate traffic to your blog.
Sorry, I will have to skip this question. I don’t really do anything for link building. I prefer everything to be natural.
Q15 – In my eyes, you’ve been a pioneer in creating some of the best products, content and are a true blogging success story. Can you name some of the products that you’ve created which can help bloggers out? How can they be purchased?
I don’t have any products, but I do sell services. I am a social media manager, website manager, and staff writer. You can find out more on my Hire Me page
Q16 – How can we get a hold of you: Please include email, social network profiles and Others.
That Concludes Our Interview…
Thank you very much Michelle for taking the time out of your busy schedule to provide us with your advice. I wish you nothing but success moving forward.
I hope that you enjoyed this addition of our interview series!
To learn more about other bloggers, visit our Bloggers Interview Series