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How To Make Money Blogging: An Interview With Janine Huldie
When in Doubt, Learn from Those Who Have Made It
How many blogs are there in the online world? Easily tens of millions for sure. Anyone can start a blog. With sites like WordPress, any novice can have a blog up and running in a matter of a couple hours. However, not everyone can make money from blogging, and that is the subject we are going to explore today.
This writer has several blogs, but this writer makes no money from those blogs. That is why I turned to an expert, someone who has turned to blogging full-time and now makes a good supplementary income doing so. Her name is Janine Huldie and it has been my pleasure to know Janine for a couple years now. I have watched as she started her venture, and I have watched as that venture began to earn her an income.
What follows is an interview I recently conducted with Janine. Hopefully her insights will answer some questions you may have had about the blogging scene, and maybe serve as an incentive for you to give it a try.
1) I know you began by writing on the writer’s site HubPages. What made you decide to make the switch to blogging for income?
I actually found HubPages on a lark believe it or not. I had lost my position as a teacher back during my second pregnancy. I had never thought I wouldn’t go back to teaching, but once I was no longer pregnant and able to think about finding another teaching job, there were truly no full time positions available. My only real option was to leave my home 8 hours a day to substitute teach, which would pretty much pay for daycare for my two kids. I did indeed pay for daycare when I only had the one and had a full-time teacher pay coming in, but this didn’t seem right to me leaving my kids in the care of someone else and my only source of income would pay for daycare and daycare only. So, I took to looking online and having job alerts sent to me by Monster Jobs. For about 2-3 weeks, I kept getting these alerts and saw an ad for making money writing on a site, called HubPages. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but one day in late May of 2012, I clicked on the HubPages link in the Monster Job e-mail and ended up signing up.
At this point, I really didn’t know much about making money online or even much about HubPages. Like I said it was a complete lark. I always loved to write and excelled at it when I was in school years back myself, but other than papers and teacher lesson plans, I hadn’t written creatively in years. But I did begin to write on HubPages about my love of jewelry and charm collecting that I had gotten into over the last year after my husband bought me a charm bracelet for our last wedding anniversary. I had fun sharing my passion for this, but slowly, I not only began to branch out in my writing topics, but also got to know quite a few wonderful writers (many of whom I still keep in touch with and consider friends, especially Bill). One specific day, I remember trying to write an article on HubPages and having my not quite two year old, throw the most massive of tantrums.
I mean she would just not stop and will never forgot how I finally broke her down and this happened a few more times, before I thought I should write about this and share my experience on her tantrums and how I handled it on HubPages.
I did just that and loved how wonderful it felt to share a more personal side of myself and it was also well received that I began to realize I wanted to write more about my personal life and self, but didn’t know if I could do that on HubPages. It was then that I started to think about blogging and having seen a few others jump to this arena, I thought I could give it a try.
As for the money aspect of it, at first I was truly clueless and for the first few months, I just wrote my heart out and bared my soul, as well as my family’s.
Then little by little, I kept hearing you could indeed make money doing this. I was putting in long hours writing, sharing and commenting. That, I began to think it might be nice to still do blogging, but since I am treating as a job, monetary compensation would be an added bonus.
I know this sounds slightly wordy, but this is truly how I made the jump from teaching to unemployed to HubPages to blogging, then finally blogging for money.
And It Continues
2) Once the decision was made to generate income from blogging, what did you do? Take us through the initial phase as you set up your blog. How did you choose which site to work on?
When I first started to blog, I chose Blogger, because it was an extension of Google and many said it was an easy forum to write and set your layout with.
But very quickly, I saw some Wordpress blogs and just loved the look and feel much more so. So, I transferred over to wordpress.com (the free version) about a month in.
But I started to realize that although the look and feel was more professional, on Blogger you could make money with Adsense and other advertising. You didn’t own your content, but you still could make money. However, I didn’t want to go back to Blogger. Then, I started hearing about self-hosting in the form of wordpress.org (paying for hosting and utilizing Wordpress software).
I got all the information on all three and made the decision about 2 months into blogging to go with self-hosting on wordpress.org, because I wanted the option to monetize even if I didn’t do it immediately. I liked knowing I could also own my own content and not have to answer to anyone as to what I wrote or shared on my own site. Let’s face it Big Brother is always watching, but in this case not as much as if you were on the free sites, where they can censor you at any time.
3) How does blogging for money work? I know you work with advertisers; tell us how that works with regards to you making money from the advertising.
Making money was, of course, the next logical step for me. When I first started, I set up a section on my blog for advertisers, which were mostly other Bloggers that I had connected with in the beginning. Then, one day about five months in, I got my first sponsored post, where I wrote in my own voice, sharing the company’s product from being able to test drive the product. And little by little, I did more product/company reviews, where I got to review products, sometimes getting paid for these products and even got companies wanting me to share certain links for them writing my own articles including these links and getting paid.
I will say this, I do a lot of writing now on my site that I do indeed get compensated for, but always have final say as to what content I do share and publish. As for company/product shares, I try my best to share it not only in my own voice, but always give a real true-life story to lead into these posts, but also disclose when they are indeed sponsored.
4) I know there are writers out there who are interested but they don’t understand any of the particulars. What kind of initial cost was there for you?
As with all companies/or income made, you also have to figure in expenses. My initial expenses included paying for the hosting company fees. When you self-host a blog, you essentially are hosting your own site, but you purchase a domain name (mine is http://janinehuldie.com), which usually costs about $10-12 a year, but then you also have to pay the hosting company for the actual hosting services, which can cost roughly about $3.99 to !0.99 a month depending upon the hosting company you choose and the package you choose to host with them.
Some may not know how to set this up and may even need a third party to do this. If that is the case, you will be paying that person to help you from start to finish (setup and design, as well). I was lucky that for the most part after asking a few questions from another blogger that I was able to do most of this myself and now I have done this some many times myself for others, even creating a business out of this.
And More from Janine
5) I know you have a business that branched from this blogging, or I’m assuming it did. Tell us about your online business.
As I said in question #5, I did create a business out of helping other bloggers transferring or setting up new blogs. I learned so much setting up my own blog, then taking a design class (which I, believe it or not, won in an online giveaway on another blogger’s blog) and even constantly maintaining and refreshing my own design. That about a year into this, I decided to indeed branch out and start my own blogging setup/design company.
I pretty much help other bloggers who are now starting out or who are looking to leave one blog platform for another.
I do it all from the smallest coding-mixup job to largest with transfers, designs and setups completely.
I love being able to help others who are indeed in need and nothing makes me happier than seeing their vision come to life in my creations for them.
6) What words of advice would you give to any would-be blogger who is interested in making a supplementary income from blogging?
Biggest for those starting out is that you need to be patient and not expect to make money overnight. I have seen so many come and go in the last few years of doing this that if you don’t understand that this is a business just like any other venture that you would start that you cannot expect to make a ton of money from the onset or expect to grow you blog overnight. Trust me, you will see the rewards slowly but surely like a seed that you grow; if you water and feed it properly it will indeed grow and flourish; so, to, with your blogging business.
7) How important is networking in this venture?
Networking, networking, networking! This word is seriously key. I am constantly out there looking for leads and never truly resting. Don’t get me wrong I have slowly set limits and hours for myself in this, but still you have to be willing to put yourself out there and get to know others, as well as share and reciprocate for them. In blogging, it is truly a huge community and if you think you are going to make it by going along, you will drown even before you leave your cushy, little lifeboat. Trust me there is no “I” in the concept of Blogging and you will need to be willing to work well with others all over the globe in this field.
8) Is there anything else you would like to tell us about this blogging venue?
The one thing I would love to say is that everyone makes it blogging, but that isn’t so and like I said I have seen many come and go, even crash and burnout too quickly. So, pace yourself and like I said previously, have patience when you first start out; it will pay off in the end, I promise, if you do remember this.
9) Where can people go to find you and use your services?
If you are indeed looking to connect with me online, I still do check in on HubPages and my profile is http://janinehuldie.hubpages.com. You can read my blog at: http://janinehuldie.com and if you are a new blogger or one in need of any blog designs/setups/transfers or just simple coding needs, you can reach out to me at http://j9designs.net.
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Thank You so Very Much, Janine!
Like I said, when in doubt turn to the pros. I would like to thank Janine for taking the time to answer my questions so that we all can learn. I would encourage anyone interested in making money from blogging to get in touch with Janine. I have always found her to be very friendly, helpful and a true professional in this writing game.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”