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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 Susanne Queck who is a Food Blogger from Oma Kocht.
1. Introduce yourself!
Hello, my name is Susanne, 40 years old and I have been blogging for about 10 years. The last 3 years more seriously. Born and raised in Berlin, Germany, I have no children and currently live here and there.
I am a kind of serial freelancer and have only been employed once in my life as a project manager / media analyst for 3 years. I quit this job in January this year in order to do more multifaceted work, but above all to be independent again and to be able to travel. And that’s what I do.
2. Describe your blog(s)
I like variety, so I also run a variety of websites. Besides a wine blog, I have a travel blog for authentic travelling in Europe which is a bit abandoned lately. It is the next one on my list and will be revived.
Mainly, I currently concentrate on my food blog for original German cuisine, which I took over just a few months ago. The older lady who ran it couldn’t do it any longer.
I write in German and collect old recipes and kitchen tips from former times. The way of preparing food has changed a lot, and I want to keep the original character of the dishes with my recipes.
3. When did you start blogging and why did you start?
I set up my very first blog in 2008. It was on the free version of WordPress.com with my own purchased domain. Back then, blogging wasn’t such a big deal. I wanted to open an online shop, the niche had no real blogs on the German market back then.
So while I started setting up my shop (many months), I set up this blog with the aim of establishing it as an authority until the opening of the shop. Then I could use it as a stepping stone for the young shop. This calculation worked out.
However, 3 years later I had to close my shop. I learned a lot about content marketing and blogging. I started with SEO much later. I had no clue at that time.
So after closing the shop I gave up all my domains and regretted it later when I needed old domains for SEO reasons. Funnily enough, only a few years later I checked the metrics of the shop domain and saw that it had a DA of 39 and a good trust flow.
Today, it is offered for sale by a domain farm for a relatively large amount of money. That’s life. I learned from that.
Today, I only blog about topics I like, like food, drink and travel. It is my best way of paying for my life and fulfillment.
4. Why did you decide to buy an existing site and what did you look for when deciding to buy it?
I was not looking to buy a website.
I had my travel blog and wanted to set up a food blog myself from scratch. Then I read an ad in blogger classifieds that someone had to give up their blog and wanted to put it in good hands. I checked and the page had stable metrics, still a bit low, but promising, a lot of content, a clean backlink profile, ranked for a lot of keywords already, had a good, grown domain and concept of topic.
It was clear that not much SEO work had been done so far, so I expected good results in a short time. I felt that I could continue and relate to the topic immediately. In the end I listened to my gut feeling and negotiated a good price. I haven’t regretted it!
Since then, I keep my eyes open for a good opportunity to take over another page.
5. What is the most rewarding part of blogging for you?
It is pleasantly challenging, even if the many small steps sometimes feel too complex. But I would never want to trade it for a job in which I am only responsible for a certain part. I’m very interested in everything but I get bored quickly.
The work on my own website is perfect. I also like cooking and eating, so it’s easy 😀
6. What do you find the most challenging?
Time management and focusing on the essentials is sometimes easier said than done. I tried to set up a system where I do a certain job every day (something like: Monday marketing, Tuesday content writing …) but it didn’t work well for me.
Also since I am always online and theoretically always available, I have to switch off all devices sometimes to get things done.
I also tend to fall for the famous bling factor: my curiosity makes me want to follow the latest shiny thing and find out how it works. I try hard to avoid this.
Sometimes even successfully. Lol.
7. How much did you earn in the last month and how?
Directly through my food blog Oma Kocht: I earned around 350€ from advertising (Ezoic and Adsense, I forgot a piece of code from adsense that was still on the page), 350€ with sponsored posts and 10€ with affiliate marketing.
On top of this, I earned around 850€ as a freelance copywriter.
8. What tips do you have for bloggers trying to monetise their blogs?
Make sure you understand the topic you write about and take your readers seriously. Only then you will be able to grow. And try out what works for you. It’s hit and miss sometimes and that´s ok.
9. How much traffic did your blog have in the last month and where does it come from?
Last month I had 34,000 unique users coming mostly from Google and Bing (80%), some Pinterest and some Facebook.
10. What tasks do you do that have the biggest impact on your traffic?
When I took over the blog it was in a kind of neglected state and not up-to-date in lots of things. I had to sort out the design of the blog and fully optimise the technical side like changing server, implementing correct schema plus optimise and partly re-shoot the images.
I did not think about that before so I gave it a shot. I added background information to every recipe, stuffed in some keywords I already ranked for and optimised readability.
It took 2 months or so but then I saw the SERPs and impressions going up and up and still growing by the week. I was so happy when the effect finally kicked in! This way I practically doubled my traffic and it keeps growing by around 10,000 users a month (starting with 11,000 users in mid of June).
I am still optimising the rest of the recipes and creating new content by keywords and season.
11. What has helped you the most when it comes to getting search traffic?
The things mentioned above. Plus: In German, there are rarely any good courses or detailed information about how to blog successfully. So I was very happy when I found Sharon’s Facebook group and website.
Today, it is my number one source for questions about professional blogging.
12. What are your main goals for your blog?
Short term: I want to be able to live from it fully, covering my basic costs completely.
Mid term: Multiply my recent traffic/income by 10.
Longer term: Creating a cooking magazine (maybe even printed).
13. What are you doing to work towards your main goals? How do you work out where to prioritise your time?
I stopped working on other projects and keep the freelance copywriting short, so I can invest most of my time in building up this food blog. Also I keep my social time short and take some days to be “in the tunnel”. And, of course, I quit my job and made financial sacrifices.
Now that I’ve done that, I can’t help but move forward. Anything else would be stupid.
14. What three biggest tips/pieces of advice do you have for other bloggers?
- Just do it! Don’t be afraid.
- Follow your instincts, be it for cooperation or other business decisions. If something feels wrong, don’t do it! The only thing where you shouldn’t do so is with finding keywords. Statistics are king here!
- You don’t have to be able to know everything yourself and that’s completely ok. Find someone else for the things you don’t master.
15. Where can we find you online?