August 2019 Blogging Blastoff from Its A Lovely Life
August 2019 Blogging Blastoff from Its A Lovely Life
Finally — a step-by-step plan for building the blog of your dreams
Introducing an all-inclusive, proven roadmap for going from an “idea” … to building a blog that lets you control your income, choose your schedule, and help provide for your family — while enjoying more time with them
Best part: it’s the perfect way to build a blog EVEN IF …
- You have kids ( = endless cycle of school, sports, and activities!)
- You have a job (and you, ahem, don’t love it…)
- You only have 1-2 hours a night to focus on building a blog
You’ll read all about my plan just a bit further down this page … but let me introduce myself first!
Hi! My name’s Heather Delaney Reese, and I run the popular travel/lifestyle blog
It’s A Lovely Life.
(Well, to be more precise, I run it along with my husband Pete!)
For over 12 years now, we’ve made a VERY comfortable living from blogging. (In fact, this year, we’ve been bringing in $100,000 – $200,000 per MONTH — yes you read that right! And our income has been growing steadily.
Our monthly blogging income growth since 2017
But we’re not just bloggers: we’re blogging teachers too. Pete and I use our experience to teach over 115,000+ aspiring bloggers how to build the life of their dreams with a successful blog.
Today, I want to tell you about how I started from scratch, and built up a blog that lets me live my life how I want, and pays me to do it.
And then I want to show you how you can do the same — by giving you our tried-and-tested, step-by-step system for going from just a dream in your head … to building a successful, sustainable, and FUN blog of your own.
Some of this is stuff I have never shared publicly before … and I am SO excited about this!
But first … I want to give you an example of what it is that makes blogging so great … and what’s possible when you really apply yourself.
Ready? Okay, picture this …
A Day In The Life Of A Professional Blogger
It’s an average Tuesday. You wake up early, as the sunlight just starts to peer through the curtains.The first thing you do is grab your phone — and smile. Overnight, your blog made you a couple of affiliate sales — while you were asleep!
As you get dressed, you scroll through some of the new blog comments you’ve had. You’re feeling good, so you decide to head out for an early workout. It’s a good decision — you’re feeling great and it’s only 7am! You shower, make a cup of coffee, and start the wake-up and breakfast routine with your kids.
After dropping them off at school, you get home for your morning session on the blog. First up you decide to put the finishing touches on a new post you’re working on.
It’s one you’ve been planning in your head for a while, so you’re excited to work on it. As you sit there typing away on your laptop, you slip into ‘the zone’ — you’re feeling productive and busy, yet not stressed out. Just the way you like it!
A few hours slip by, and before you know it it’s lunch time. It’s nice out, so you eat outside (why not?), taking the time to read a few pages of that new book you’re into.
Feeling refreshed, you head back in for another session on the blog. After checking a few new comments that have come in, your phone buzzes with a new email — you’ve just been offered a new sponsored post opportunity! This is a brand you have been wanting to work with for ages — and now you’ll have the chance. Amazing!
Feeling energized, you finish off your afternoon session by working on an outline for an online course you’re planning to make. Your readers have been begging you to make one for some time, and many have said they’re going to be enrolling the second you launch it!
You check your watch; it’s 2:57pm. You have a kids baseball game that afternoon, so you decide to wind it up early, knowing you don’t have a boss to ask.
Once you’re home that evening, you have a nice dinner, and enjoy some leisurely, uninterrupted family time. And then, after the kids are in bed, you spend the evening making plans for tomorrow’s work.
As you wind down and get ready for bed, you smile — it’s been another good day. And best of all, you got to spend more time with your family … and you were in total control of your own schedule!
Okay, now be honest with me …
How did that sound? Pretty good, right?
Well… what if I told you that you could do that?
It’s true. When you have your own blog, days like this really happen!
But that’s not all. Because sure, a blog lets you enjoy these great “every day” experiences …
But they’re nothing compared to some of the awesome perks you can enjoy from being a blogger!
Here’s just some of the amazing stuff our blog has allowed us to do:
Meeting and working with Kelly Ripa and Motrin on an NYC shoot (all expenses paid for the whole family):
Private events at Disneyland and Disney World – New Attractions and Events:
A trip to the Justice headquarters to see their new clothing line and view a fashion show (all expenses paid for the whole family):
A video project with OxiClean, when an entire film crew came out to our house to shoot a video:
And on top of all the experiences, we’ve received some amazing products to feature … everything from laptops, drones, camera equipment, vacuums, appliances, a swingset, a year-long new vehicle loaner, and more!
And all of this has been 100% because of our blog!
But perhaps the best perk of all is the way it lets me live my life:
I call the shots about when I work.
I can decide whether to work hard for more income … or take it easy that month.
Most importantly, I can be there for my family all of the time … and I never have to miss a game, a school event, or stress about missing work when they are sick or need me. I am my own boss, and I get to decide everything about my business.
Now, you’re probably looking at my success, and thinking that there’s no way YOU could get to this level.
But that’s simply not true.
In fact, there is NOTHING special about what I did that someone else (like you) couldn’t do also.
But I want to prove it to you. So let me quickly show you how I got from where you are now … to where I am today.
How I Built A $30,000-Per-Month Blogging Business From Scratch
Most people think, “There’s no point in trying to start a blog now … it’d be too hard to succeed with so many other bloggers out there.”
But let me tell you something surprising:
When I started blogging in 2006, it was actually HARDER to succeed as a blogger than it is today!
See, nowadays you can start a blog in literally a few hours, for just a few dollars … and with social media, you can have your first traffic just as fast.
There’s also plenty of content online that can shortcut your way to success (like I’m about to show you a bit further down this article).
And the amount of readers and traffic you have access to has EXPLODED with the rise of social media platforms.
But when I started, it was not like that at all!
Blogging was really a fringe thing … and there weren’t that many people who were doing well at it.
It’s A Lovely Life (back then it was called ‘No Excuse Budget’) started out around 2006 as a little website where I shared tips on budgeting and saving money, in my spare time after work.
(Don’t laugh…this was cutting edge design for 2007! )
I didn’t really know how to make it into a business. All I really knew was that I had some goals for myself:
- I was burning out in our real estate business … and wanted to do something that I was passionate about instead.
- I wanted to have full control over my income, and work where and when I chose.
- I wanted to stop having so much “mom guilt” about how little time I was spending with my kids … and be able to enjoy life with them and watch them smile.
- And I knew my husband Pete was working hard at our business … and I really wanted to take some of the stress off him, and help provide for our family.
I had this vague dream that blogging could do all of that … but when I faced reality, it didn’t seem possible.
See, I knew I had some ideas I wanted to share, and I thought blogging would be a good way to do it.
But in the real world,
I kept running into the same problems:
- I’d work really hard on a blog post … and then get zero comments.
- I’d run into a technical problem, and spend hours trying to fix it … and even then I wouldn’t be able to solve it, and I’d feel frustrated that I wasted my time.
- I always felt like I had no time to work on my blog.
- When I tried to do things like reach out for guest posts or opportunities, I was afraid nobody would listen to me.
- And most of all, I had no idea how to monetize the blog — and turn all my hard work into an income that fairly rewarded me for my effort!
To be honest, I considered giving up many times.
But I stuck with it … and slowly, I started to see some successes here and there. Every now and then, I’d get accepted for a new post network … or I’d land a guest post … or I’d discover a new wayto bring in more followers from Pinterest.
And over time, I began to realize that there was a hidden secret to blogging which I’d been overlooking.
In fact, this secret held the key to possibly finally breaking through to that success I dreamed of …
The Three Keys To Blogging Success
Most people think that all you need is a topic you’re passionate about — like cooking, or budgeting — and voila! You can build a successful blog!
But my experience showed me it wasn’t like that at all.
When I’d just focused on creating good content, sure, I had good stuff to say — but there was nobody reading it, and I wasn’t making any money!
Instead, I discovered that, in reality, profitable blogs are built upon THREE critical parts:
(Doing what you do best)
(Getting your blog to work)
(Making money from it all)
I call these the “Three Keys to Blogging Success”.
Most people think that you only need to be good at the “creative” side to be successful — but that’s wrong.
I’ll be honest with you: Unless you are good at all three, you’ll find it very, very difficult to succeed as a blogger.
Thankfully, I’m here to help you! 🙂
So, let me explain each one quickly …
1. The “Creative” Part (Doing What You Do Best)
Like I said, this is the part everyone focuses on. It’s the thing you blog “about” — the thing you like and are good at.
Maybe you like cooking, or photography, or travel, or healthy living, and you think you could run a good blog on it.
I probably don’t really need to explain this one to you — generally the creative side is the part you’re already good at.
Instead, it’s the next two parts where it starts to get hard …
2. The “Technical” Part (Getting Your Blog To Work)
This is the frustrating part for most bloggers (myself included!).
Because let’s be real: when you have a bunch of blog post ideas and you just want to write … there’s nothing more frustrating than having to navigate through a bunch of technical hurdles. (e.g. How do I set up a blog? How do I publish posts? How do I use Facebook to get more readers? And so on.)
Often, there can be so much techy jargon to learn that you just feel lost.
Yet if you DON’T have a good grip on these things … you’re not going to have a blog there for anyone to read!
From years of experience, I can tell you just a small handful of the technical things you’ll need to take care of if you want to succeed with your blog:
- Domain names and web hosting.
- Picking and installing a WordPress theme.
- Choosing a font and color scheme.
- Formatting and publishing posts to your blog.
- Taking good photos for your blog.
- How to join affiliate networks.
- How to build products for your blog.
- Building an email list.
- The ins and outs of social media — Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.
- And that is a TINY fraction of what you need to know!
Many blogging resources throw you into the deep end here and either give you almost no guidance on how to do these things … or their instructions are so complex, it’s just too hard to follow them.
And then … it doesn’t end here!
Because if you want to make a living from your blog, the third “key” is probably the most crucial of all:
3. The “Business” Part (Making Money From It All)
Basically, this means: how are you going to make any money?
Lots of people think that if you just put some posts online, you’ll start making money. But that definitely isn’t true!
Anyone who has a blog knows that you can spend hours and hours on great content (and navigating your way past technical headaches) … and still end up with very little money to show for it.
So, under the ‘business’ umbrella, you have things like:
- How do you get traffic to your blog?
- How do you monetize your traffic when you get it?
- Do you need disclosures on your site?
- Should you hire a virtual assistant? And when?
- How much can you be earning?
- How do you negotiate a contract?
- When do you have to set up your blog as a business?
- At what point should you hire someone to do your taxes?
- What else can you sell, and how much should you charge?
- Again, that’s only a tiny handful of what you need to know … but you get the idea.
Remember, most blogging resources only really tackle one of the three parts of blogging (and often it’s the creative one, the easy part!).
And when you look at everything you have to know, it can feel overwhelming. Like it did for me.
So how are you supposed to master all three of the keys of successful blogging?
Well, I’ll tell you what I did: I spent years and years learning it all by trial and error … and making a LOT of mistakes along the way!!!
I mean, it’s not like I really had a choice. There just weren’t any resources out there on how to build a successful blog.
So, all those things I talked about above? Yep … I was basically forced to figure them all out myself!
Now here’s what you might be thinking … “Well it worked for you Heather, so maybe that’s what I should do too?”
No!!! Don’t do that.
In fact, there are three huge problems with this approach which almost derailed me completely … and they happen to be the reason that most bloggers never “make it” in blogging.
Run your eyes over these quickly, and then decide for yourself if you think that “figuring it out yourself” is worth it …
Why I Don’t Recommend Just
“Figuring It Out”
(Or, 3 Reasons Most Bloggers Fail)
1. It takes TIME and MONEY
This one’s obvious: figuring it all out on your own is expensive … and slow.
In my case, it took me over a decade to get to where I am now!
Besides, I could afford to do “trial and error” because Pete and I had enough money from our real estate business to support us (even though we had to work very hard for it).
But I’m guessing you don’t really want to spend over a decade building up your blog, spending a lot of money, and making a lot of mistakes like I did.
2. You don’t know what you don’t know
You might think that once you know how to write a post, get more traffic, and maybe run some ads, you’ll be set.
But in reality, I learned that there are so many things I never knew that I didn’t know:
- The difference between “nofollow” and “dofollow links” (and why it can endanger your entire blog)
- Why SEO is critically important for a profitable blog — and how to get it right
- What the five most popular income systems are on a blog (and when you should use each)
- Trademarks — and when you should consider one
- And (literally) hundreds more.
I don’t know about you, but I had no idea about any of that stuff when I started out … but I came to realize it was all very, very important!
And that’s the danger with figuring it out yourself: you just don’t know what you don’t know.
(Good news: I have an answer for every one of those things … info on where to find them is a little further down this post!)
3. You don’t know if you’re going to succeed
Finally, the reason that “going at it alone” is hard is that when you don’t have a plan, you can feel like you’re just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.
Like I said, when I started out, the blogging world wasn’t like it is now. There weren’t many successful bloggers. There wasn’t quality training on how to do it. And many of the revenue strategies we use now didn’t even exist back then!
In short, it was very demotivating, putting in all that work … and not knowing if it was going to pay off, or if I was even doing the right things.
Many of the people who started blogs at the same time as me — in fact, most people who start them even now — gave up for that reason.
Now when we started getting really successful, this really weighed on my mind.
I knew there were plenty of women like me who wanted to blog, but they had few people to look up to.
And I wanted to do something to help them.
So Pete and I decided to change our long-term policy … and started telling people how much we were making.
We’d initially been against publishing our earnings. It seemed like showing off.
But when I thought about what it felt like for me ten years ago, I would have loved to have something like that to aim for.
Also, I had personally been motivated in the past few years by seeing other blogs which shared their incomes.
So we started publishing “Blog Income Reports” on our blog, to show people how we were doing, and encourage other bloggers.
(This was our first income report that we published in March 2017)
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it would go down. Were our readers going to think our success was getting to our head, and we were bragging?
But we found something surprising:
People LOVED the income reports!
We started getting great comments like these:
In fact, I was surprised — there was a LOT more interest than I’d expected!
People began asking us more and more about how we’d done it.
And that’s when I realized something.
I had spent over a decade learning the ins and outs of blogging.
We were finally making a very comfortable living from what we were doing.
And … we had hundreds of eager women who were brimming with their own passions (like I was), and were ready to share them with the world — but they couldn’t master all those three keys of blogging success!
So I had an idea.
I turned to Pete one day and asked him:
“Why don’t we put everything we’ve learned into a course?”
I realized I had the chance to save other aspiring bloggers from having to figure it all out themselves like I did.
I could put all the best of what I’d learned into the course … and leave out all the mistakes and methods that didn’t work. So it’d be just one huge shortcut for anyone who wanted to build their own successful blog.
Unlike any other resource out there, it would cover ALL THREE of the keys of successful blogging:
Not just the creative part, and turning your talent into a blog, but also …
- The TECHNICAL part: navigating you through the haze of jargon and things you need to know how to do, so you can concentrate on just blogging.
- The BUSINESS part: the big questions that matter — like how to monetize, how to get more traffic, and avoiding many common blogger mistakes.
It would be designed for people in the same situation I was: busy women, with only 1-2 hours a night to work on it, and who had kids, a demanding job, or both.
It would give a step-by-step, actionable plan … complete with small assignments that would kick you into gear and almost force you to make progress.
And all taught from two bloggers who didn’t just “strike it rich” back in 2011 and then kick back … but who are doing well RIGHT NOW, and have been for years.
Well … I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you what we decided to do.
Pete and I got started right away on that course … and we spent months planning, designing, and polishing it off.
And I’m excited to say … we’re ready to share it with you.
Here’s just a taste of what you’ll discover when you take the course:
Day 1 — Laying the Foundations of Blogging Success
- The 6 characteristics of EVERY successful blog (miss one, and you’ll fail!)
- How long till you can quit your job to blog full-time?
- How much money can you make with a blog? (Yes, we get specific — with the exact amounts we earned at each step of our journey)
- 7 ways to monetize your blog — and how much each pays you
- And more …
More From Categories : Business & Marketing
- 1 August 2019 Blogging Blastoff from Its A Lovely Life
- 18.104.22.168 Finally — a step-by-step plan for building the blog of your dreams
- 22.214.171.124 Best part: it’s the perfect way to build a blog EVEN IF …
- 126.96.36.199 Hi! My name’s Heather Delaney Reese, and I run the popular travel/lifestyle blog It’s A Lovely Life.
- 188.8.131.52 A Day In The Life Of A Professional Blogger
- 184.108.40.206 Here’s just some of the amazing stuff our blog has allowed us to do:
- 220.127.116.11 How I Built A $30,000-Per-Month Blogging Business From Scratch
- 18.104.22.168 But in the real world, I kept running into the same problems:
- 22.214.171.124 The Three Keys To Blogging Success
- 126.96.36.199 1. Creative
- 188.8.131.52 (Doing what you do best)
- 184.108.40.206 2. Technical
- 220.127.116.11 (Getting your blog to work)
- 18.104.22.168 3. Business
- 22.214.171.124 (Making money from it all)
- 126.96.36.199 I call these the “Three Keys to Blogging Success”.
- 188.8.131.52 1. The “Creative” Part (Doing What You Do Best)
- 184.108.40.206 2. The “Technical” Part (Getting Your Blog To Work)
- 220.127.116.11 3. The “Business” Part (Making Money From It All)
- 18.104.22.168 Why I Don’t Recommend Just “Figuring It Out” (Or, 3 Reasons Most Bloggers Fail)
- 22.214.171.124 1. It takes TIME and MONEY
- 126.96.36.199 2. You don’t know what you don’t know
- 188.8.131.52 3. You don’t know if you’re going to succeed
- 184.108.40.206 People LOVED the income reports!
- 220.127.116.11 We started getting great comments like these:
- 18.104.22.168 “Why don’t we put everything we’ve learned into a course?”
- 22.214.171.124 Day 1 — Laying the Foundations of Blogging Success