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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 Seana Smith who is a Sydney Lifestyle blogger from Hello Sydney Kids.
1. Introduce yourself!
Hi there, I’m Seana Smith, a mum of four kids and the owner of Hello Sydney Kids. My children are growing up fast, two are adults and my twins are now 13… and I have so much more time to work!
2. Describe your blog(s)
Hello Sydney Kids came out of a book which was published first in 2001, Sydney For Under Fives. The first edition was published by Pan Macmillan and two subsequent editions were published by Jane Curry Publishing. That book is out of print now but lives on online, and it’s much better as an online entity as articles can so easily be updated, have maps and lots of photos. Much better than a book!
Hello Sydney Kids covers in depth hundreds of places in Sydney that are fabulous to visit with your kids. Also covered are family weekends away from Sydney, Australian family holidays and some overseas holiday ideas too. There’s also a guide to visiting Sydney with kids.
There are also some (older) recipes, and kids activities. And a new trampoline guide as trampolines have been my mothering saviour. We’ve had four trampolines over 20 years and have given all of them a huge workout – yes me too.
3. When did you start blogging and why did you start?
I started with my name as the URL in 2011 when I was promoting a couple of other books that had been published, one on autism and one on post natal depression. I was still running all over Sydney with my very active kids so I started taking photos and putting up the info from Sydney For Under Fives too.
4. What is the most rewarding part of blogging for you?
The freedom! I can work when I can and not when I cannot… School holidays are a time to find more useful info for others. It has tied in so well with being at home with the kids. My husband has worked away a lot and being a solo mum with no family in Australia was tricky. I also knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I’m unemployable now… hahahaha ….. but I work very well for myself.
Also I love the creativity with words, photos and some video too. I worked in TV pre-kids and do love a bit of video, but I also really enjoy taking photos of beautiful places and then editing them.
I’ve loved the travel opportunities we have enjoyed too. Myself and the kids have been to Club Med Bali, to Taiwan and to many places in Australia and I’ve done some press trips to Fiji and other places… It’s work but it’s not like real work!
I also really adore the constant learning. There’s still so much to learn and then new things happening all the time. It’s all very mentally stimulating.
5. What do you find the most challenging?
Nothing really… Well, I am really a content creator and have not been very business minded and haven’t worried too much about money. But I do need to earn money now so am learning those skills and enjoying that. But I’d always MUCH prefer to be out and about in new places taking photos.
Ummm… what else… Well, like many others, I can go off on tangents. There are two websites languishing because I just don’t have time to work on them. Of course, I should not have created them… but it was fun at the time. I am trying not to get distracted this year though.
6. How much did you earn in the last month and how?
$1500 advertising, $1200 sponsored post, $450 in affiliates … I also do freelance writing but that is separate to the blog.
7. What tips do you have for bloggers trying to monetise their blogs?
Niche and niche again and make sure the niche attracts traffic and that the main keyword is in your URL. And be persistent… and update as per Sharon’s advice, this has been GREAT for my site. I had over 1000 posts on my site at one point so plenty to be updated… as well as plenty to be got rid off.
8. How much traffic did your blog have in the last month and where does it come from?
April was 72,100 uniques… but it was school holidays. May will end up being about 50,000 uniques, I imagine. My traffic is quite seasonal with best periods being the summer and school holidays.
– Rest were referrals
9. What tasks do you do that have the biggest impact on your traffic?
Proper keyword research and not posting about places that have no-one searching for them, ie no more individual small playgrounds!!
Having a LOT of posts also brings in traffic… but I wouldn’t recommend it as a strategy, I wish I had done 300 posts that were better researched… too late!
10. What has helped you the most when it comes to getting search traffic?
Batching up lots of posts into a big list, e.g. 50 Best Playgrounds in Sydney, which is one of the highest traffic posts on the site, and people generally click through to a detailed post, so stay on site.
Being top on Google on a (very) few posts also really helps a lot, especially where there are few competing posts. I have found some places with fairly small search traffic but because my post is top of the Google search page, the traffic is significant.
11. What are your main goals for your blog?
To earn about $3000 profit a month and to do more sponsored travel. I would love to get so much better at affiliates and reduce and finally take off the advertising as it’s very annoying really… but that is not likely at this stage. Always good to have a goal though.
I also need some less seasonal posts and affiliate articles to keep my earnings constant throughout the year.
12. What are you doing to work towards your main goals? How do you work out where to prioritise your time?
Some new posts, more affiliate focus and more updates to old posts.
13. What three biggest tips/pieces of advice do you have for other bloggers?
- Persistence is key
- Never compare yourself to others, just run your own race
- Enjoy what you are writing about – then it’s fun and not work
14. Where can we find you online?
You can find Hello Sydney Kids here, and the Facebook page is here. Join my new Australia Travel Planning – For Families! Group here.
You can find more interviews with successful bloggers here and more posts about making money from blogging here. Seana is a Build Blog Freedom student, learn more about how you can join the program here!