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Each month, we share the story of a member of the DNW community that is making money from blogging. These stories share the blogger’s journey and tips about exactly how they make money and get traffic to their blogs. I hope you find these interviews inspiring and helpful in your own journey. This month, we are featuring Kathy Marris who is a Lifestyle Blogger from 50 Shades of Age.
1. Introduce yourself!
Hi, my name is Kathy Marris and I’m a 62 year old who has been blogging at www.50shadesofage.com for the past 6 years. I’m married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of NSW. I enjoy living life to the fullest and love to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Some of my interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! I do work part-time as a freelance writer but my real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
I commenced the blog as a platform to encourage and inspire women of my age. After reaching that milestone age of 50, with kids leaving the nest and feeling unemployable, I felt a big void in her life. It was with this in mind that I decided to start up 50 Shades Of Age – a website where I could reach out to my sisters and tell them that their lives could be so much more.
It has always been my desire is to be the voice for the new-age 50/60 something year olds to empower and motivate them to travel and see the world!
2. Describe your blog(s)
My niche is mainly travel and lifestyle with a little health and beauty advice thrown in. Since becoming empty nesters my husband and I started to travel extensively, both overseas and within Australia.
In 2014, we travelled right around Australia in our 4WD and caravan. This opened my eyes to the beauty of our country and compelled me to write extensively about Australia. I have a full itinerary of our travels on the blog, aptly titled “Travel Around Australia in 185 Days” that is in 10 separate parts.
This trip also started my interest in photography and since then I’ve undertaken a few photography courses to improve my skills. I enjoy taking beautiful photos and displaying them on my blog. I feel that people are very visual and get more benefit out of seeing rather reading about travel destinations.
3. When did you start blogging and why did you start?
I commenced my blog at the end of 2012 when I was in my mid fifties. It was actually out of boredom initially. I was working in a job I didn’t enjoy and feeling very despondent since my kids left home.
I had the idea to start up a blog to try to inspire myself and others to start living their lives, despite their age. I had no idea it would be so successful and now, 6 years on, I still like to think that I’m inspiring people my age to get out and enjoy their lives.
4. What is the most rewarding part of blogging for you?
Definitely the wonderful feedback I get from my readers. The social interaction that I’ve achieved has been amazing and I’ve made so many new friends from blogging. It’s been incredibly therapeutic.
It has also has brought out my creative side that I’ve always had but seldom used. I do enjoy creating good content and editing and enhancing photos for my blog.
5. What do you find the most challenging?
Without a doubt ever-changing technology is my biggest challenge. It’s difficult to keep abreast all the new players out there and trying to make sense of it all. I find I get totally overwhelmed at times and wonder whether I’m in over my head!
However, I’ve made it this far without too many big issues or problems and although I’m not getting the readership I used to, I feel that this is a sign of the times.
6. How much did you earn in the last month and how?
I earned approximately $500 in sponsored posts and links in the past month. I’m rather lazy with pursuing paid work and, although I have several affiliate links, I’ve earned very little from them. I realise that I need to work smarter to make these work for me, but I simply haven’t had the time to do this to date.
At the end of 2014, I was fortunate to obtain a part time position as a Social Media and Communications Assistant for a Hotel Marketing & Sales company. An acquaintance of mine noticed that I was a blogger via my Facebook page and approached me to come and work for her company writing content for hotel websites, creating blog posts and social media promotion for numerous hotels in Australia and one in New Zealand. This has generated an income of approximately $2,000 per month and I am able to work remotely from home with flexible hours.
7. What tips do you have for bloggers trying to monetise their blogs?
I think it’s extremely difficult to monetise your blog unless you have thousands of followers and great stats. It’s extremely competitive and difficult to get sponsored post work. I get at least 2 to 3 emails a day asking for sponsored posts on my website but few are willing to pay my fee.
My tip would be to work hard at getting a good following and on your SEO and then seek sponsored posts and/or affiliate links in your field. You need to be confident about the level of exposure you can offer your clients, how to sell your blog and don’t compromise on price.
8. How much traffic did your blog have in the last month and where does it come from?
I had a blogging break for 3 months recently and my readership dropped considerably. In the past month, I’ve had just over 10,500 visits to my blog. These have originated mostly from Google, secondly directly from my URL and thirdly from Facebook.
9. What tasks do you do that have the biggest impact on your traffic?
If I create good keywords that rank high on Google, I tend to generate more traffic to that particular blog post. I’ve also found that creative headings also have a big impact. For example, my highest ranking post is titled “25 Inspirational Quotes for the Over 50s”.
I’ve also had success with sharing my Australian travel blog posts on Facebook group pages. But you need to ensure that the Facebook group page audience will be interested in reading about the particular subject matter of your post. For example, if I write about a caravan trip, I share the post to a Caravan Facebook group page.
10. What has helped you the most when it comes to getting search traffic?
Keywords for sure. They do make a difference. You need to think about what you would type into a search engine if you yourself were asking a particular question or looking for information. For example, if I wrote a post about a weekend I spent in Brisbane I would most likely include key words such as “things to do in Brisbane” or “Brisbane attractions”.
11. What are your main goals for your blog?
At present I’m focusing on quality over quantity and trying to produce good content that my readers will find of interest. I’m also trying to rebuild my readership after having a short break. After I retire from my part-time job I intend looking at ways to monetise my blog, particularly with affiliate marketing.
12. What are you doing to work towards your main goals? How do you work out where to prioritise your time?
Gosh, I really try to not beat myself up about this as it does my head in at times! I have not done much at all in the past 12 months towards my main goals. It’s purely a time issue for me and the fact that my blog has mostly been a hobby for me rather than a money earner.
However, I do still think that there is room for improvement and I do need to utilise my time more wisely. I need a good timetable so that I can monitor my time more effectively and not get sidetracked by responding to emails or commenting on social media.
13. What three biggest tips/pieces of advice do you have for other bloggers?
- Focus on one goal at a time or otherwise it’s too overwhelming. Success doesn’t happen overnight so take it slowly one step at a time.
- Be creative with good visual content and with eye-catching titles.
- Always be yourself and speak (write) with your own voice.
14. Where can we find you online?