Darren: Hey there and welcome to Episode 272 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger, a site, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks, and courses all designed to help you start an amazing blog, to grow that blog, and to make some money from the process. You can find more about ProBlogger over at problogger.com. Today, we’re continuing this short series of podcasts with stories from bloggers in their first year of blogging.
Although stories have been gathered from participants of our Start a Blog course, which we are promoting at the moment, even though it’s a free course, we’re promoting it because, in the next few weeks, we have our International Start a Blog Day, which is being held on the 7th of February. Today, we’re celebrating new blogs and we’re launching a whole lot of blogs from students from our course, and we hope to send you a little bit of traffic as well to help that blog get off and running.
We’ll be highlighting some of those new blogs that have started our social media as well as on our blog as well. Each of the bloggers that are sharing in this series are sharing their story, just a really short story but also some tips that they’ve learned along the way. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, or you know someone who’s thinking about it, or you know someone who should start a blog, please head to problogger.com/start-a-blog.
You will find this free course that we’ve put together. It’s a seven-step course that walks you through everything you need to know to get involved in our International Start a Blog Day but also to get that blog up and running. Now, today’s story comes from Penny Wilson, an Aussie from lingomama.com. I’ll link to that in the show notes as well today. You can find those show notes at problogger.com/podcast/272. I’m just going to hand it over to Penny because she’s got a great story to tell, and I will come back at the end of her story just to wrap things up and to pull a few things out I like about what she says.
Penny: Hi, my name’s Penny. My blog is called Lingo Mama and I blog about language learning and language travel. The URL is lingomama.com. I started my blog in May 2018, and I really had a few reasons why I wanted to start. One of them was to get myself back into language learning and to give myself some accountability and discipline with my language learning. I have learned Chinese for a long time and also Vietnamese in the past and Japanese so my focus is really on Asian languages.
I’ve had a baby recently, and I really wanted to get back into my passion of language learning and share my love for language learning with my readers. The other premise, really, was about inspiring to people to learn a second language. I really think it’s an amazing challenge, and it’s such an amazing feeling when you are able to communicate in a second language even if it’s in quite a basic way. That was my other motivation as well.
I have really enjoyed blogging on my website. It’s been a huge learning curve. I think, particularly, the technical aspect of learning about how to manage a blog, resizing images, changing fonts and headings, managing all the ins and outs with the WordPress platform, that’s been a real challenge. Editing videos, of course, is another big one. One of the highlights for me, I think, has been, earlier in the year, I identified a handful of language bloggers who I really looked up to and thought were doing an amazing job.
The highlight for me has been able to connect with these three or four bloggers in various ways. One has interviewed me on an Instagram Live, which was fantastic. I have also interviewed one of these language bloggers for my website and a couple of these other website bloggers I’m involved with in an online mastermind session. I think, in just a short time or feels like a short time to me – six, seven or eight months – I’ve been able to connect with some of the more high-profile language bloggers. It is quite a small niche, but I’ve been really happy with that.
Content-wise, I haven’t struggled for ideas in terms of content. I’ve always got the ideas. I think, for me, the challenge is getting those ideas across in a way that’s interesting, entertaining, informative and actually adds value to people. That’s something that I’m continuing to learn how to do. I created a language learning interview series a few months ago, and that’s been really valuable because it has allowed me to connect with other language learners and interview them about their process of language learning, their challenges, ups and downs, but also when the interview is live and I’ve published it, it’s a way for me to attract new readers because the interviewees then share the interview that they were featured in. That’s been really valuable for me.
In terms of making money, it’s been a very slow burn, but I did install affiliate ads very early on in the past and have been somewhat happy, I guess, with the small amount of traffic that my website receives that I have been able to make some money off affiliate ads and referrals. I think it’s always a great thing to see that increasing and see how, if it does, have any parallels with the amount of web traffic you’re receiving or the types of content that you’re producing.
In terms of top tips for new bloggers, something that I really would want to get across to you is don’t stress too much about having the perfect post or the perfect images. It is a lot of work to create a blog post so you are doing well in just getting your content out there. Be very happy about that. Also, promote the content that you think is most useful to your readers as much as you can because that content is what is going to create your name and your brand and generate more readers for your website.
Also, listen to the feedback and the questions you receive from your readers, whether that’s directly on your blog post or via social media because this is what your readers are most interested in and probably what they want you to create more content on. That would be my top tips for new bloggers. Thank you.
Darren: Thanks so much for sharing your story, Penny, and I really do appreciate those bloggers who have put aside some time to share their stories with us today. It’s nice to be able to highlight some younger bloggers. Often in these types of podcasts, we highlight experts, and gurus, and people who have been blogging for 10 or 15 years, but it’s really nice to hear from those at the beginning of their journey, to hear the energy and excitement in their voices, to also hear a little bit about what their struggles have been, what their learning curves have been like but also hear their tips because what they are learning today as new bloggers is just as valid as what us told-timers are learning as well.
A few things I loved about what Penny shared: firstly, that she networks like crazy by the sounds of it and she has gotten to know others in her niche and has connected with them, even the higher-profile people in this small niche, and it’s been really worthwhile to connect with them. I love the idea of interviewing people. Even if those people that you’re interviewing aren’t the high-profile ones, they each have their own network. They each have their own story. They each have their own value to add to your blog but also, as Penny shared, they can send people to read your blog as well.
We’ve had numerous podcasts in the past about this particular technique, of interviewing others about their experience of what you are talking about. This is a brilliant way of building the traffic, to build your credibility, to build relationships with the people that you interview. I love that she’s connecting in this way with others in her niche but also through the online mastermind. That is just brilliant. Even if those other five people in the mastermind are all the same level as you, as you all grow, you have the potential to grow each other’s blogs.
It’s just a great strategy there in networking, the interviews. The last thing I loved about Penny’s strategy is to monetize first with affiliates’ promotions. As Penny said, she doesn’t have a massive amount of traffic, and so for her to create a product right now in the early days of her bog while she’s trying to build traffic, trying to get more content and new archives, may not be the best strategy, particularly if she’s juggling other things in her life like family and other things or other priorities.
To find someone else’s product to promote and to add a commission from is a great first step when it comes to monetization. To see that it’s converting already is a really good sign. Lots of valuable tips there. Lastly, she’s talked about not having to be perfect with her content. Great tip there. Get it out there. Get your content out there. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Yes, polish it. Yes, make it as good as it can be, but make sure you publish it and get that content out there.
Listen to the feedback of your readers, create useful content, and promote it as much as you can. Great tips there from Penny. I reckon this one’s worth re-listening to at some point as well. If you have a moment to share this with someone else maybe at the beginning of their journey, I would appreciate that as well. Get this podcast out there to others who are considering starting a blog. You can find the show notes and you can share it from problogger.com/podcast/272.
Thanks again, Penny. Check out her blog at Lingo Mama. I’ll link to that in the show notes with a full transcript of today’s show, and I will also find a few other podcasts to listen to that relate to some of the things as we talked about today or that will relate to interviewing people. We’ve definitely got a couple of podcasts there that I’ll link to in the show notes today and also affiliate marketing as a great first step. Thanks for listening. Tune in early next week, and we’ll have another blogger story for you.