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Is it possible to make money blogging even in 2019? This is a question many bloggers have asked me.
For one thing, they believe that the blogging space is over-saturated and that there’s too much to learn to really make this work for them.
It’s true that not everyone who blogs will end up making a huge profit.
However, it is still possible to make a full-time income from your blog, if you have the mindset and the dedication to make it work.
That’s why I decided to speak with someone who’s actually doing it and who is someone many people in my audience can relate to: Stay-at-home mom of two kids, Saranaya Ramanathan, who blogs over at OneFineWallet.com
This post contains Referral/Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on any of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete disclosure policy here.
I first came across Saranya in a Facebook group and we connected on (what else?) blogging 🙂
After that, I watched as she slowly and steadily grew her blog to something incredible and sustainable.
She’s one of the most down-to-earth bloggers I know and I’ve learnt so much from observing her growth trajectory.
I was delighted when she agreed to answer these questions for my blog and I’m honoured to host her in this space. Thank you, Saranya!
Interview with Saranya Ramanathan of One Fine Wallet
Question: Hi Saranya and welcome to my blog. Can you tell me how long you’ve been blogging at One Fine Wallet?
Answer: Hi Shailaja, I started this blog in March 2018. The idea of a blog hit me in early 2017 just after I became a stay-at-home mom to two little girls.
I was researching baby recipes on Google when I stumbled upon many mom bloggers that were making money with their blog. That’s when I thought – why not me?
Question: What gave you the idea to pick this niche for your blog?
Answer: As a stay at home mom (SAHM) I had been searching the internet for flexible online jobs that I could do during my kids’ nap time -from proofreading, virtual assisting and even blogging.
I was surprised at how many legit online work opportunities there were available.
Loaded with the information I researched for myself, I felt well-versed writing on it.
If you are serious to blog for an income, choose a topic that interests you. There’s always a way to monetize any blog you start.
Question: How much do you make from your blog and what are the sources of your income?
Answer: I make roughly $5,000 a month from ad revenue and affiliate marketing.
Question: You average around 250,000 page views a month. That’s amazing! How long did it take you to reach that number?
Answer: Roughly a year, and I attribute most of the success to my blog theme, pin design and a friendly yet professional writing style.
If you have a professional-looking blog, it speaks a lot about how genuine the site is, resulting in returning readers and affiliate sales.
Question: What was the ONE thing that you focused on to grow your blog at different stages?
Answer: When I first started blogging I never believed I could make affiliate sales. So I diverted my attention to blog traffic so I could at least make some ad income.
Over time I learned that affiliate marketing is very doable and one can make enough money with little traffic.
While I do make money on ads, I’ve shifted focus to affiliate marketing. Two easy ways to increase your affiliate income is with a review post and writing a good conclusion.
A review post talks about just one product and you are giving so much information that you might end up convincing the reader to buy it.
With your conclusion, you need to give a last overview of the product and how your readers can get hold of it. Conclusions work well for affiliate conversions.
*Shailaja’s note: You should absolutely read this post by Saranya on 3 Great Ad Networks that are better than Google AdSense
Question: What tools would you recommend for a blogger that you personally consider crucial to your success?
Answer: I’m a big Pinterest fan and I can’t do without Tailwind.
Apart from hosting that’s the only other blog resource I pay for each year.
And it saves me so much time. I schedule pins out 2 weeks in advance and don’t have to worry about pin promotion – at least for a couple of weeks 🙂
Recommended reading: How Tailwind Brings Daily Traffic to my Blog
Question: How much time do you spend on your blog on a daily basis?
Answer: In my first 6 months blogging I worked longer hours – about 5-6 hours a day.
Now I only do 2 hours on most days. It’s important to keep in mind that I do outsource writing blog posts to freelancers once in a while.
I also use Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling – both of which save me some time.
Question: What courses or e-books did you invest in to grow as a blogger? What would you personally recommend to someone on a tight budget?
Answer: My best advice is to choose one book on Pinterest and one on SEO.
They are any blogger’s two best friends.
With Pinterest, I saw early results (in terms of traffic) on my then 2-month-old blog. I did use Tailwind right at the start to help automate my pinning.
There are many good Pinterest e-books around. The one I used to learn the ins and outs of Pinterest is the e-book by Megan Johnson, Pinterest Ninja.
She makes Pinterest sound so easy and I would highly recommend her for any new or intermediate blogger.
As for SEO, I always look up to Mike Pearson and Debbie Gartner’s resources. They are two bloggers that teach SEO in a way that’s not overwhelming.
These are the two platforms that can bring in the most traffic.
Pinterest is an easy way to get traffic on a new blog, while SEO requires more work but can bring in long term results.
Question: How do you steer clear of shiny object syndrome? (Running after every course/freebie/webinar that you see online)
Answer: This was a tough one because I was one of them that was ready to buy the next best deal in blog land – be it educational or service-based.
Nowadays, I read product reviews and would only buy something that is highly recommended by other bloggers that have seen (and show) results using it.
Question: What, in your opinion, is the best use of social media and how have you leveraged it in the past two years?
Answer: I hope I don’t sound like a broken record. But yes it’s Pinterest.
If you are a brand new blogger, begin from day one. Open up personal boards and start pinning other people’s content to fill them up, and later slowly introduce your pins.
*Shailaja’s note: While Pinterest is more a search engine than a social media platform, Google Analytics tracks traffic from Pinterest under ‘Social’ parameters.
Question: What are some things you believe bloggers should NOT do if they want to scale and monetize their blog?
Answer: Not to take part in Facebook share threads. I am embarrassed to say I used to participate in them as a new blogger.
It was more of an addiction and was happy with the shares I was receiving.
But unfortunately, what I didn’t realise then, was that other bloggers in these Facebook threads were sharing my pins in wrong boards confusing Pinterest.
That’s right, if someone shares your chocolate cake pin on their home decor board, you are making it hard for Pinterest to understand if your pin is related to food or home decor.
If you do regularly take part in these share threads, try and slowly wean yourself off this habit. You will find better results sharing it on your own Pinterest boards.
*Shailaja’s note: This is also true of Facebook comment threads, by the way. They can be pretty time consuming with very little ROI. You can do them once in a while, but focus more on activities that will generate income for your blog.
Question: If you had to give a blogger a profitable blog strategy, what are the 3 top tips you would give them?
1. Write on topics that are already trending on Google. Use Google Trends to find out.
2. Create seasonal posts that are popular and publish them one month in advance so they have time to start ranking on Google and Pinterest.
3. Finally, never be afraid to hit publish. You can always come back and fix it later.
Thank you so much, Saranya, for being so authentic and honest in your answers. It’s been a pleasure having you on the blog and I wish more and more success for you and One Fine Wallet.
Click here to pin this to your board on Pinterest on how to make money as a blogger.
About Saranya Ramanathan
Saranya is a personal finance blogger at One Fine Wallet, who writes on ways to make and save money from home. As a busy mom to two little girls, she strongly believes it’s never too early to start budgeting, nor is it too late to make career choices. She enjoys trying out new side hustles with blogging being on top of the list. Making a full time income as a blogger is not impossible – even in 2019!