Epi 81 How to Grow a Blog in 10 Minutes a Day

How to Grow a Blog in 10 Minutes a Day

Episode 81 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of This Episode:  Blogging is a great way to stand out among the competition, but it can be a little intimidating and overwhelming, not to mention just trying to find the time! Join Rachel as she sits with Suzi Whitform from Start a Mom Blog as they discuss how to grow a blog in only 10 minutes a day. 

What you will learn:

  • 2 tips that Suzi would have told herself when she first started blogging
  • what the different types of blogs are and how you can monetize them
  • what the best long-term way to monetize a blog is
  • how to use testimonials on your blog
  • and more!

Expand To Read Episode Transcripts

Rachel Brenke: Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of the Business Bites podcast, quick business bites for the busy entrepreneur. This is episode 81, and I am joined with Suzi Whitford. We’re going to be talking about something you guys know that I absolutely love doing and really encourage, and that is blogging. We are going to talk about how to grow a blog in just 10 minutes a day since we’re all so busy. Suzi, thank you for coming on.

Suzi Whitford: Thank you so much for having me, Rachel. It’s an honor.

Rachel Brenke: Oh, I’m excited. I absolutely love your stuff. Your tips are going to be great. These entrepreneurs need you, but before we dig into the tips that are really going to get them going, can you tell us a little bit about your background and your personal path to entrepreneurship?

Suzi Whitford: Sure, of course. I started off as an industrial engineer in college, kind of followed in my dad’s footsteps of becoming an engineer, did that for a couple years in corporate, worked for amazing companies like GE Healthcare and Walt Disney World-

Rachel Brenke: Ooh!

Suzi Whitford: … but then met my amazing husband, had a little family, and then my heart was torn. I didn’t feel like I could go back to work and then be at home, and I was just very confused as a new mom. So I decided to stay at home with my daughter, but then that confusion kept going on, like I still want to use my talents. I still have this passion and this drive, and I am a mom but I’m also more than just this. So that’s kind of where becoming an entrepreneur started, was I was at home changing diapers and I wanted to help support the family, so instead of my husband carrying all the burden on his shoulders, I started dabbling in different types of things. I started trading stocks, which was highly unsuccessful-

Rachel Brenke: [crosstalk 00:01:42]. Maybe not so [inaudible 00:01:45] losing the money, but-

Suzi Whitford: Right, right, right. I tried to time the market, did not win. Started selling things on Etsy and doing little peg dolls and so on, and then finally, I realized that I have this experience of creating websites, that’s kind of what I did back in college. I was a teaching assistant for coding class, so I turned back to blogging, and I’m like, “Well, I can create websites. I can help moms start websites.”

So I started my own blog. It was purely a lifestyle blog based on Catholic parenting, and it started generating some money, and then my friends started asking me, “Okay, how are you doing this? What is a blog?” They had these normal questions and I started inviting them over, so I had my neighbors come over and I would help them on their little laptops start their own blogs, because I feel it’s so valuable for moms to share their voice and not just be stuck in the four walls with a little baby, and that’s kind of where that passion grew, was to help other moms get their voices online and share their passions with the world.

Rachel Brenke: I love how contemplative and revolutionary changing diapers can be, because [inaudible 00:02:49] is very similar. Yeah, it’s just funny, you have these grand moments when you’re in the middle of changing a blowout diaper, right?

Suzi Whitford: Right? Yeah, you’re like, “Ooh, I have a fantastic idea right now.”

Rachel Brenke: You know what’s funny is, did you guys pick up on that? She mentioned that she started with a niched blog, and I talk about that a lot in past episodes, about how you can take an industry such as blogging, that is very general, and very make it your own and cut through all of the madness and the loudness that’s out there. Of course, your story’s like mine, people start asking, “Well, how are you doing it?” and here we are. That’s crazy, I love your path. I think that’s absolutely awesome to see that you’ve gone from corporate, had this revolutionary diaper changing moment and then now you’re helping other moms, which I feel like is also part of my own niche with what I’m doing, to grow blogs.

Before we dig a little bit more, I want to know some about the six blog types, but before we get to that, let’s share one … well, one or two tips of what you learned in that first blog of yours. What would you tell yourself now, or what would you change?

Suzi Whitford: Golly, what I’d tell myself now and what I tell my new moms when they’re just starting out is go ahead and blog about what you’re passionate about. Blog about … You don’t have to have this perfect niche or this perfect idea. It’s more valuable to kind of put yourself out there and start learning how the whole process works and challenging yourself that you can do this, and then you’ll find your perfect voice and the perfect way to shoot videos or do Facebook lives or write blog posts. But in the beginning, go ahead and follow your passion, because it might just turn into something beautiful.

One of my students, she’s actually a mom, she’s in Finland, so she created this super niche blog about helping people speak Finnish, right, and learning about the Finnish culture. Recently, she launched an online course and she made $7000 in one week just by focusing on the small niche of teaching Finnish. So it’s okay to follow your passion and fall in love with something and then share it with the world.

Rachel Brenke: You know, and that’s one of the things that I have found to be part of my downfall is censoring myself too much. I try to use the guiding line of who is my avatar that I’m talking to and what is my unique selling proposition, and those are really good two major points to run through all your ideas and stuff through, but it’s interesting that when I go off the rails sometimes and I just post from my gut and from how I feel, then those posts always seem to get the most traction and people love. Those are the blogs that have the highest analytics or the Instagram post that has the most shares.

So yes, I love that you say that, because I have a tendency to over, I guess censor’s not the word, but over-filter out what I want to put out there. So I love that, and it’s interesting because in the beginning, I was just putting out whatever I wanted, [inaudible 00:06:00], and you touched on it, you don’t necessarily know what niche you want to be or who you’re talking to. That is a great way to find out who is attracted to what, and then you can narrow it down later.

Suzi Whitford: Exactly. I’d rather have my moms in my audience start than just sit on the sidelines and never kind of take that step and jump in and create something.

Rachel Brenke: Yeah, done is better than perfect, and that definitely … I still battle that. I battle that all the time, even when it comes to the imagery. I might have a really good lesson I want to share for the day and then I get so tripped up over the fact that I don’t have the perfect image, and it’s like, “Really? Does it even matter?”

Suzi Whitford: Right?

Rachel Brenke: At the end of the day, it really doesn’t. Do you think that’s your hardest lesson you learned? Or do you have something else?

Suzi Whitford: Gosh, the hardest lesson is staying consistent. It really is. It’s waking up every day and working on a blog and a business in the beginning when you can’t see five years down the road or where it’s going to be. You know in your heart it’s going to be successful, but it takes that every day waking up and working on it a little bit, even if it’s just creating one blog post or one Pinterest image, or doing a five-minute Facebook live. It’s just staying consistently engaged with your audience and helping them and putting yourself out there, and that’s the hardest part for me.

Rachel Brenke: Yeah, and I think it’s interesting that as I’ve grown in business, you would think I would get better at that, I’ve become more anxiety-ridden over everything that needs to be done, to the point of paralysis, and so what you’re saying is so true that I’m even like over a decade into this and I still have to tell myself, “Even if you only get your social media stuff done today, that’s better than nothing. Even if you only get your podcast episodes recorded today, that’s a whole quarter that’s done, though,” and so it’s little bites, and I hate to use the adage of eat the elephant one bit at a time, but that’s business, and this elephant never ends.

Suzi Whitford: Yeah, that is so true. That is so true. I wake up every morning, I’m like, “Whoa, my to-do list just got longer,” and I’ve been doing this for so many years, but that’s a good thing too, right? There’s always work to do.

Rachel Brenke: Yes, for sure. So share with us, and I don’t want to give too much away because I know you have on your blog it talks about discovering your perfect blog type, but what are some successful blog types out there that maybe the listeners … Because they’re probably, if they’re not even blogging yet or they’re going, “Oh my gosh, I don’t even know where to start.” There’s different types, kind of give them some insight into the different types that are available.

Suzi Whitford: Sure, sure. There’s multiple different types of blogs and then also different ways that you can monetize it. Depending on where you are, what type of blog you can build, to either support an existing business or to build the blog into a business, so you can go either way. Lots of my moms start with lifestyle blogs. It’s kind of blogging about everything, sharing what’s working in your life, building that community and sharing products and services that work for you. A way to monetize that is through either ads that you can put on your blog, sponsored posts where other companies either send you free product or they pay you to talk about one of their items, or affiliates, which is if you don’t have your own product to sell, a fantastic way to make money with a blog is by signing up to be an affiliate for another product.

Rachel Brenke: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and I’m kind of like the complete reverse of that actually, and some of our listeners kind of are the same way. I don’t really call myself a blogger, even though I blog, because my main income isn’t from my blog, [inaudible 00:09:31] much like what you just said. Mine is more of a freemium resource that sells my own products and services.

So you guys, if you’re listening and you’re going, “Well, I have a really good product idea,” well, you can blog and you don’t necessarily have to monetize the blog in a typical blogger way. Or on the other side, like Suzi said, maybe you don’t have a product or service, you can sell other people’s stuff through affiliates. You’ve got Amazon, there’s individuals like myself, that I have affiliate programs that people can promote my stuff. There’s all sorts of ways to monetize the blog out there.

Suzi, what has been for you the best monetization strategy? Has it been through affiliates? Has it been through paid article placement?

Suzi Whitford: Yeah, definitely. Like you mentioned, your blog can be a traffic source to your existing business, which is your blog becomes kind of your authority builder and your freemium service. I love how you put that, and it builds your credibility on the product that you’re selling. For that case, my best way to monetize a blog, in the beginning when you’re just starting out, I would recommend signing up to be an affiliate for a product that you love. It’s the quickest and easiest way.

But the best and the most long-term way to monetize a blog is to use it as a credibility builder, an audience builder, and then to funnel those readers that actually love and digest all your stuff into a product that you create. It could be an online course, an e-book, a membership site, some kind of coaching program, but take that audience building blog that you have and then create an online product where the profit margins are fantastic because you don’t have anything that you have to actually inventory and ship out. So online courses, e-books, membership sites have been fantastic for monetizing a blog.

Rachel Brenke: And you know, one thing I want to say here, because I start feeling a bit of the overwhelm and thinking how many bloggers there are out there, like this isn’t something new. There’s tons of millions of bloggers that are all trying to monetize. But guys, if you just build it, you put yourself into it, you’re authentic, I know that word’s overused but it’s true, and you sell a story and it’s very specific on you or your connection, you don’t necessarily have to share all about yourself, but creating a connection, that is a logical foundation for you to be able to reach out to these people to start building monetization.

And my tip, I guess, for monetization, especially in the first few months … Well, a few tips. Don’t think all of a sudden you’re going to come out the gate, if you’re affiliating for other people, that you’re all of a sudden going to be making thousands of dollars. It’s not going to happen. I would make the goal, especially if you don’t have an audience, right? You’re still building your audience. Actually, you’re never done building your audience, you’re forever going to do that. Sorry, bad news.

But for me, I know in the beginning when I was monetizing, I was doing … and I still build blogs and this is the same steps that I take is I do a lot of Amazon affiliating. It’s not that big of a percentage, but my goal when I’m building a new blog, just to cover the cost. So I’m not even trying to necessarily make an income or turn right away. I’m just trying to cover that hosting and that domain to start.

Suzi Whitford: Exactly. I love that. Like you said, you’re never done building that audience, but I know, I can’t remember the person who said this, but there’s this rule of having a thousand people, a thousand loyal followers, and if each one of those thousand loyal followers give you $100, you’ll be making a full-time income with your blog. You’ll be making $100,000. Right? So you only need to serve and really care about a thousand people and really help them, change their lives, and then in turn, they’re going to change yours.

Rachel Brenke: You know, and this is kind of more like a soapbox moment for me here, but I think this is also why, because I’m very aggressive in qualifying my audience. I’m very … I polarize, I hate the word polarizing kind of a negative connotation, but I want to have qualified followers. Right? I don’t want to be wasting money and I don’t want to have numbers boosted simply to attract potential sponsors or brands and things like that. So if you’re sitting there going, “I just can’t grow my numbers,” or it’s really slow, that’s okay. That’s quality. You can dig into other analytics to share with people the quality amount, so like you were just talking about, if you have just a thousand people and they all do $100 each, I would rather that than 1.1 million where only a fraction spend five bucks. Right?

Suzi Whitford: Right.

Rachel Brenke: You know, and the numbers were probably really bad, but you guys get what I’m saying is we don’t want to just have these inflated numbers, and social media … social media numbers can be can authority, but I think they’re kind of an illusory authority sometimes, and so we’d really dig into, when you’re blogging, demonstrating your value, and if you have a smaller audience … Maybe I should throw that tip to you. If they have a smaller audience, they’re still building or they just want to have a small audience, how can they leverage that, especially in these 10 minutes a day? What is something easy that they can do to leverage those small numbers?

Suzi Whitford: Golly. Having success stories, taking your small audience and really helping them one-on-one and having them send you testimonials. You’re really engaging with them through one-on-one emails. If your audience is small, you can still do that. When they send you those testimonials, and even if they just tell you something like, “Your blog is super helpful. You helped me on this specific problem,” take those amazing words that they let you know, and put that on your blog as testimonials about how amazing your advice is, and kind of build up your credibility.

So different ways that you can build your blog in 10 minutes a day is create one or two pin images and manually pin them to Pinterest. I’m finding more and more that manually pinning new content to Pinterest really brings in traffic, and it can take you about five minutes to create a pin image and put it manually on Pinterest. Another way is to do maybe a five-minute Facebook live or Instagram story. That’s another way where your audience sees you, they know you’re a real person, they see you kind of stumble over words and mess up, and they relate to you. Writing a quick email to your audience is another quick action that you can do to keep engagement and keep them warm.

Rachel Brenke: I love that because, and this goes back to what you shared earlier in the episode, I will not do video because I’m like, “Oh, the lighting’s not perfect. My hair’s not done. My eyebrows need plucked.” People don’t care about that. They’re probably working anyways and just listening to you. They’re probably not even actually watching the video. And that’s another thing, and maybe I need to listen to what I preach, is that in this day and age, quality production is good, but social media allows for the unprofessional quality, just more of the everyday quality I guess is what I want to call it. People are more forgiving for that. They’re not expecting a five-star lighting setup with a supersonic camera. Right? It’s all about this five, 10-minute. So you just encouraged me. I’m going to commit to doing five-minute lives.

Suzi Whitford: Good!

Rachel Brenke: It doesn’t have to be an hour. I love it! Now I just got something out of this. Woo hoo!

Suzi Whitford: I love it! You can talk about your new podcast or mention a new product, and another tip that I heard from somebody, the more times you actually touch base with your audience or the more little Facebook lives you do or little emails, the more times you can promote without sounding sales-y. Right?

Rachel Brenke: Right. Yup. Yup, yup. And that’s actually a really good point, is that … and you guys have probably heard this out there, you want to have the majority of what you put out to be valuable and not just promotional. The value and education that you put out is going to sell. So like example we’re talking about, monetizing with affiliate programs. Maybe you do Amazon or somebody’s book or something. Instead of just talking solely about the book, maybe talk about how that book that you read, the lessons you learned from it, how it impacted you personally. Putting a story around it is going to sell a product way more than just a product review, like a true review-

Suzi Whitford: Oh, definitely.

Rachel Brenke: … like make it more … You understand what I’m saying? Make it more like a story connection.

Suzi Whitford: Yeah, show them the before and after and people will buy it.

Rachel Brenke: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. For sure. All right, so real quick, do you have any other tips for them on what else they can do under 10 minutes per day to grow their blog? We have the Facebook live, the Instagram stories, getting your face in front of them … Oh, the testimonials, that was a great one, getting people out of your audience. Anything else you can think of to throw at them?

Suzi Whitford: Golly, even just a quick Facebook post. It’s so easy to create any kind of piece of content on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and just keep base and put a little bit of traffic into your blog. Sometimes those pinned images don’t take off and sometimes they do, and you never really know. Just by creating more content really helps. Another way to keep engaged with your audience in, say, five minutes a day, is maybe share something about your life. In my weekly broadcast emails, I share a quick picture with my audience and I let them know, “Hey, this is what we did for Easter,” or “I had a really rough time with the kids at mass,” and they love that. They love seeing that I’m a real person, and they’ll love that from you, as well. Especially if you’re building a blog which is kind of centered around you and your brand, people do want to see that you’re a real person, that you make mistakes, too, and then they’ll more easily relate to you.

Rachel Brenke: Yes. Yes, for sure, and you know, this all circles back around to the tip that you had earlier about consistency. I’m a huge proponent of batch processing, batch working on like these things you’re talking about creating for Pinterest. It may take me more than 10 minutes, right, but if I can get a whole quarter’s worth of stuff done and scheduled in an hour, then I can free up time to do the 10-minute Facebook lives to keep that authentic and real familial connective with my audience and it allows me to be able to free up for those 10 minutes per day.

Well Suzi, thank you so much for these great tips. Guys, please jump over to rachelbrenke.com/epi81. I’m going to link all of Suzi’s stuff there. I also want you to get onto her blog. There is a you can discover your perfect blog type and it goes through the six super successful blog types. You can find out which one is best for you. Do this, even if you already have an existing blog that’s gangbusters or you’ve already committed to one type. Check it out, see what other alternate perspectives are out there, what Suzi can provide for you. Maybe it can fine-tune what you’re doing, maybe it can be an added income stream in the future. And Suzi, thank you again for coming. I really appreciate you taking the time, I know you’re busy. You’ve been seen in Forbes and HuffPost, ConvertKit and all these other great websites, so I’m honored to have had you on the podcast.

Again guys, if you have any questions or anything else, please feel free to reach out. You can also jump into the Business Bites Facebook group. I’ll be sharing all sorts of goodies, including the links to this episode in there and you can see the show notes as well as clicking over to Suzi’s blog to find your perfect blog type. Happy blogging.

Featured Guest & Resources

Suzi Whitford is a former Industrial Engineer who left the corporate world to raise her little tribe of children. She spends her free time helping moms build their blogs and applies her corporate knowledge of Lean Six Sigma to simplify the blogging process. She has helped over 45,000 moms start and grow their blogs and many of her students are making $2,000 – $20,000 per month with their own blogs. Over the past five years, along with the help of her amazing husband, they have grown their family by three and paid off all of their debt before the age of 30. Suzi aims to help other moms gain the confidence to use their talents and grow successful businesses online.

Fun fact:  I just completed my first Whole30 (don’t need to mention it, just proud of doing it!)

You can find Suzi here:

Ready to start your blog?  Go here for a free download.

About the author

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

I hope you are enjoying the Business Bites Podcast.

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