The following is a Blab recording I did with Gina Horkey. In it, we talk a little bit about virtual assisting and a lot about blogging – specifically how to better monetize and repurpose existing content. Watch the video or catch the transcript below.
Gina: Hello, everybody. My name is Gina Horkey of Horkey HandBook. Today, I have with me, Angie Nelson, from The Work at Home Wife. If you have never met me before, I am a professional writer and virtual assistant, kind of making my transition into the products market as well. I have a couple of courses, “30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success” and another one to “Virtual Assistant Success” and then “The Course Course,” teaching you how to write and launch your own course. It comes out next month, which is exciting.
Angie, give us a little background about yourself.
Angie: Sure my name is Angie Nelson and I have been working at home since 2007. I started out as a virtual assistant and today I own theworkathomewife.com and that is primarily at I spend my time doing and what brings me my income and I help people find legitimate work-at-home jobs and home business ideas. I share a few blogging tips from time to time as well. That is how I spend my time.
Gina: Now, has that site been around since 2007, or when did you launch it?
Angie: I think I started blogging in 2008 as a way to kind of get business for my virtual assistant business. I found that most of the people that were following my blog were people who wanted to learn more about being a virtual assistant. The Work At Home Wife was launched in 2010, I believe.
Gina: Okay. You dabbled in a few different URLs or blogs before then and then you've had multiple since too?
Angie: Right. WordPress.com. Yeah.
Gina: Okay. Don't start there. Start with self-hosted.
Gina: If anybody has any questions as we are talking today, feel free to chat them in and we will try and address them. Otherwise, we are just mainly going to talk about blog monetization. That can go anywhere but specifically around re-purposing content.
I am curious. 2010 is when The Work At Home Wife was established. You have been growing it all of this time. Six years is a long time for a website. That is awesome, first of all. What were you doing then for promotion versus what are you doing now? I am assuming it is pretty drastically different?
Angie: Yeah. When I started blogging, Twitter and Facebook were literally just getting started. There was no Pinterest. There wasn't all of this social media. Blogs back then weren't even on Facebook. You were relying on searching engine optimization and getting out into forums and things like that. It is totally different.
One of the things that has been a big advantage to me is because back then, you had to rely on your email list. That is what you had. You didn't have people following you on social media. If anybody was going to come back to your blog, it was because they were on your email list.
Gina: Now, were they on an email list that they opted in or was it more of like that RSS feed?
Angie: I have always had an email list. Even back then, I started on AWeber and had an email list from almost day one.
Gina: I think that is really smart. I have to feel like you are a little unique in that area. I don't feel like when I was following blogs back then that they had an email list. They had the RSS thing and wasn't it like feedly or something like that was really popular, where you could see all of the feeds and the blogs that you followed?
Gina: I didn't get too many in my inbox back then.
Gina: That is exciting. We do have one question so far and it is, “Why is self-hosting so important?” To which, we can totally tackle that right now.
You had the experience of going from a non-self-hosted site. I always get them confused. There's WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Dot-org is self-hosted?
Angie: Right. Dot-com is just their free little thing over there and you are so limited in how you can even monetize that because WordPress.com has strict rules about what you can even do. That is why when I decided that this was something I wanted to do and make money, I immediately got off of there because you can't … When you start getting into affiliate marketing, the majority of the affiliate programs are not going to approve you if you are blogging on … If you have a Blogger.com address or a WordPress.com address. They want you to be self-hosted because it shows a little bit of your … What do I want to say? You are actually in it for the long run. If you are paying your $10 and $30 a year is how much you can get self-hosted for to start out. You are really limiting yourself if you are not getting self-hosted.
There is always that opportunity that somebody can come along and they can take your blog away. You don't own it.
Angie: If you find you have done something wrong, they can just delete it and that's it. You're done.
Gina: You are limited when it comes to plugins and that kinds of stuff too, right? You can't use the full spectrum.
If you are not tech-savvy, how do you work with self-hosting? I don't know about you, I have a tutorial on Horkey Handbook on getting a branded website set up within a week because of that question and because I was not tech savvy and I figured it out, which is good. You have to point stuff. There's the complete of small nuances that are hard at first, but then once you get into WordPress, then the backend is actually really user-friendly for the most part. You can YouTube. Otherwise …
Do you have a tutorial on the Work At Home Wife too, on setting up a site?
Angie: I think there's one on there, yes. It is not that difficult. If you are willing to get in there and start pushing buttons, you're fine. Your host is going to help you. If something goes wrong and you do something terribly wrong, they are going to help get it back up. Don't be afraid. It is not that difficult. Most of them today are just a one-click install. You get set up and click the button and you have your blog, so you are ready to go.
Gina: Yep. I think the biggest tip that I learned after the fact that made it a little bit more complicated or challenging is I didn't realize that most hosting companies will include your URL for free. Instead of going out and buying your URL from Name.com or HostGator, I don't know, whatever. You would buy it from the same place as your hosting provider and that saves you a step as well as having to redirect those things that I talked about.
Then, you can do a free theme. Just pick something that is basic and clean and you will be able to make changes and kind of have it come into your own over time. Don't worry about it being perfect, day one.
Gina: Horkey Handbook or The Work At Home Wife, neither one of them looks like they did, I imagine.
Angie: You still change things all the time. I know I do constantly.
Gina: Totally. How many blog posts do you have from the last five-and-a-half years?
Angie: I am going through them right now and I want to … There is well over 1,000.
Angie: That is something that I am working on right now.
Gina: How many new blog posts do you add per work or per month?
Angie: Right now, only two or three a week is where I'm at now. Things are a lot different there than they used to be. You wanted as much content as you could get and back then, 350-word posts was perfectly acceptable. Now, we are looking at striving for those great big resource posts. We are down to two or three a week now.
Gina: Okay. This is a personal question. Feel free to fire back any questions that you have for me too. Do you promote each one with a newsletter when it goes out? What is your promotion schedule like? You have a new post published and then what do you do?
Angie: I do a weekly newsletter. I don't just do an RSS feed for my newsletter. I round little things up to make it something that is not just about me. I will find things that they are interested in from other places and include them once a week is what I usually do.
Gina: Cool. I am kind of in this gray area or transitional period with my own because I posted once per work and then twice per week and right now we are at three times per week because we will do a guest post. Then, I have my own post and in the middle we have been doing these spotlights or interviews, which have been kind of fun. I have been promoting with the newsletter on both Tuesdays and Thursdays and then mentioning the other one. Then, you will talk about other things that are going on or personalize it in a different way. It is interesting to find out how people do things differently.
Gina: Like you know, if you don't tell people to read something, they don't always remember to come and find you and see what is new on the blog and that is one of the main reasons.
Angie: Exactly. I am pretty good about tracking all of that stuff so you can see a big jump on those days that the newsletter goes out of when those people are coming to your blog. They might not come all week. They are waiting for you. I am guilty of that too because you don't do … Then, oh, they got something going on. I better go over there.
Gina: Yeah. If I don't get certain things in my inbox, there is no way that I would remember to go read it.
Angie: Right. Exactly.
Gina: We have a question from Brenda. She wants to know what kinds of things that we do or have done as a virtual assistant to a blogger. I don't know. Do you have any virtual assistants on your team? Do you have people working and helping you with your website and blog?
Angie: I don't at this … I get help occasionally. I don't have someone that is permanent to me. I like to be in there and I like to know what is going on. I am kind of Type A that way but I need to know what is going on and how it is working and all of those things.
Gina: Have you ever served in that capacity as a VA to somebody else, to a blogger?
Gina: Okay. Can you tell us about your experience and what you used to do for them?
Angie: Sure. It is a huge, huge market right now for that because there are so many bloggers out there. It is massive the potential that you have there. You can be doing things as far as just scheduling posts and moderating comments or you can go over to things like social media management and making sure their pages are updated and that people are getting their questions answered. I have done emails, the weekly newsletters and optimizing older posts and doing everything. Everything that I do is something that somebody else can do. The potential is unlimited there.
Gina: Totally. I think that one of the great ways to position yourself if you are a VA and you are looking to get into that kind of work would be optimizing those old posts. Somebody like yourself, you have 1,000 posts, you are doing that on your own. Maybe you are not looking for help right now but there are probably a couple other Angies out there that maybe don't have the capacity or are focused on different things, and position yourself as somebody to go through them. It could be for formatting and editing because that has changed a lot over time.
We want to make sure that our posts are really readable and that they are using header tags. There's certain things like the Yoast SEO plugin and so maybe they didn't have that optimized with a meta tag or for keywords. Then, another really great opportunity is for affiliate links. You probably don't have a lot of affiliate links in your old posts although they might still be read. You can refresh a post, do a great new image. Put in some affiliate links. Optimize it for SEO and then start promoting that almost like new content. That is something that would be really valuable to, I think, a blogger that has a little bit of a budget.
Angie: Absolutely. Even going back through those posts and just something as small as making a Pinterest image because there was no Pinterest back then. That is something that one of the things that I am going back through right now is getting those images out there because they have never been promoted on Pinterest. Pinterest is a huge, huge traffic source right now. If you are not marketing your blog on Pinterest, you are crazy. That is a huge market right now if you can do graphic design and it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just getting images in there is it.
Gina: Mickey is my virtual assistant that does all of my images. I suck at graphic design. I know what I like and I know what looks good but we started working with this gal, Kristen, and she does all of our Pinterest marketing using Tailwind and she is fantastic at it. She has got me on a bunch of collaborative boards. I am getting a lot of traffic from it. She doesn't charge that much. She should raise her prices but Mickey then does the graphics for my blogs and she wrote a post for Horkey Handbook that is awesome as far as getting started and optimizing your photos with overlays and a couple of different tweaks. I will find that after I ask Angie a question and put it in the chat section in case anybody is interested.
If you have any other questions, feel free to chime in.
Otherwise, Angie, why don't you talk to us about re-purposing content? You said that you have been doing that a ton right now. We talked about going through and optimizing old posts. How are you re-purposing?
Angie: You can re-purpose in a lot of different ways. One way, we talked a little bit about email lists and that is something that is a huge priority for me regardless or whether it was six years ago or today. One thing that is going like gangbusters right now is the content upgrade.
Each individual post has something unique about it that maybe you can offer. I have a list that is like 101 ways to do something. There is no way that somebody is going to hop on that post and go through and do 101 things. Something as easy as that as turning that into a PDF and making that available that they can sign up for my email list and they are immediately going to get that list to take with them, has made a big difference. It may not be a huge difference, hundreds and thousands of people signing up for my list, but if five more people are getting on there a day, I'll take it for something as simple as turning that list into something that they can take with them.
Gina: Totally. For people that don't really know, content upgrades are specific typically to a post, a blog post. The best way that I have had it described to me that makes a lot of sense is let's say you are a food or a recipe blogger. The easiest way that you could do something is take that recipe and then turn it into a pretty little PDF that somebody can then print and it is on one page and then they can cook with it or whatever the case may be. In order for them to download that PDF, they have to opt into your newsletter list. If they are already on your newsletter list, it's okay. They don't get any more email from you or anything, which I think people don't always understand.
You are looking at a specific post and you are saying, “Okay. What would somebody want as they are reading this? What would make it more beneficial to them?” If it is a new reader on your website, then they're like, “Oh, I love this past. Oh, I can't get this download.” An extra tip, an extra something. That is why they put in their email and that is how they get to be a follower of yours hopefully.
Angie: Right. Let's see. Another thing is video is huge right now, whether it is Periscope or Facebook Live or YouTube or Blab, you are going to have a whole different set of people that are watching on video than are maybe reading your blog posts. Anything that is good meaty content is something that you should consider turning into a video of some form. That is a great way to re-purpose.
Gina: On the video note, I have been experimenting with Facebook Live. It piqued my interest. I have done Blab. Blab is the interview form or the more than one person form of Periscope. Periscope is where you are filming yourself live. Then, Facebook Live, I feel like is the Periscope for Facebook.
I did a little experiment because I was just under 1,000 Facebook page likes, right? It is not huge or anything but you can see now that your content isn't being promoted unless you really boost posts or pay to play. I did my first Facebook Live one the other day and I was in front of almost half of my people, which normally it is like 10 to 50, so really low percentage. That is a great way, I think, to mix it up. If you have a Facebook page and people aren't seeing a lot of your content is to do a Facebook Live post. Plus, I think it humanizes you. It is probably one or two minutes at the most and you are just being able to talk to them about something specific, so I agree.
Angie: Right. People are so sympathetic to how nervous you are. It is not something that you should be afraid of. People understand that you are scared to death the first couple times that you are doing it. A lot of those people are wanting to do it themselves, so don't be worried about how nervous you are, it is going to be so scary and you are going to screw it up because you are probably going to screw it up the first couple times. They don't care. They are just happy that you are on there, talking to them.
Gina: They don't see you the way that you see yourself. Like you are going to judge yourself more critically. I know I am a big giant dork and now everybody else knows it too but I figure that … This is the real “Gina,” so there you go.
Re-purposing content. We talked about content upgrades for blog posts. We have talked a little bit about video. You were moving onto something else and then I chimed in.
Angie: No, you're all right. Let me see here. There are going to be things that you find that could easily be turned into something bigger. I know you are getting into a lot of product creation and stuff right now. If there is something that really struck a nerve with your audience, consider how you can turn that into something bigger, whether it is an e-book or a course or turning it into a bigger free report that you can give away to new subscribers. Anything like that can re-purpose it or if you did a series. I know I have taken some categories that are on my blog that can easily be run together and sent those out in a way. There is a million different ways that you can get things re-purposed and that is a great way to get another income stream going too is if you can turn it into an e-book or a course or video tutorials or anything like that that you can charge for, even if it is a small amount, it is another passive income potential.
Gina: Now, I haven't done it myself but I have seen a couple of other people do it. I don't know how successful it has been but they have done like a paid content upgrade. Have you tried that before? Basically, doing the whole content upgrade approach but instead of it getting to be a newsletter subscriber, you are actually just asking for money.
Angie: I haven't done that. I know there's a lot of these places that do like the 30-day challenge things. They might have all 30 posts on there but they will turn that into an e-book as well and it is hugely successful because people don't want to sit there on your blog and read 30 posts.
Angie: Or like I said, people are not going to sit there and do 30 different things at one time. They will pay that $7 to take it with them and do it later.
Gina: Right. That, I think, and I think people are starting to value paid content a little bit more than free content because everybody is giving everything away for free and trying to give value in order to get readers and all of that good stuff.
Angie: Right. That mental switch too, where if you think it is valuable, they are going to see it as valuable too. We do it, we don't like to admit it but it's true. You can read that 10,000-word post and not think it is worth anything but when somebody starts charging for it, it kind of has more value to you.
Gina: Yeah. I just tried to pin that post. I don't know if you saw that up there. Angie has a blog page. It is a Blog Success Kit and when I scroll up, it always disappears. Theworkathomewife.com/gina. I tried to pin that because apparently it gives you that option here in the chat roll and then another box came up and that is what it is but then it is the wrong link because it is giving me an error. I think it's because there was a period at the end because it was like a sentence. I don't know what is going on there. Anyway, that is available for people if you are looking for some templates for income tracking as well as a couple other things.
Angie: Right. Tracking your affiliate programs and income and some stats, different things like that that you should be tracking. I am a stat junkie, so I like those things.
Gina: It is good to be a numbers girl, I think.
Can we dive into a little bit of talk around affiliate programs? Is that okay?
Gina: Okay. How long you have been doing affiliate marketing?
Angie: I would say that is one of the main reasons that I started The Work At Home Wife is because I wanted to dive into that. I was lucky in the first month that I had my blog, I made $50 because somebody got my hosting. That was the huge thing that kept me going there. Of course, it wasn't always that consistent and it won't be but you get lucky sometimes.
Gina: Yep. Like being an Amazon affiliate and you put a link to an e-book and somebody buys a bathtub?
Angie: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. Somebody bought a diamond ring or something last Christmas and I was like, “Holy smokes.”
Gina: That's awesome. You're an Amazon affiliate. You have a hosting that you are an affiliate for, those are both very common things. What other more favorable hosting relationships do you have?
Angie: The majority of my affiliate income comes from promoting courses and e-books and things like that. That is what my audience is looking for is information. For me, that is where a lot of my income comes from is those things. Where if you are blogging about things, DIY and crafting and things like that, you are going to be more of a products-based affiliate. Mine is the information side mostly.
Gina: Okay. Got you. Then, one of the things, I think, that scenes that's changed quite a bit probably from when you started your site too was advertising. Doing banner ads and that sort of thing. Did you ever tip your toe into that? If so, what made you change or is it a current strategy you use?
Angie: I have another blog that the entire income is just advertising. Banner ads and text ads. That is what that blog, that's all of the money it makes is just money from advertising. For my blog, personally, when somebody comes to me and says, “How can I get my stuff on your site?” I don't say, “Let's place a banner ad,” because I just don't care and it's not worth it to them when there are better options.
Gina: You're probably like me and you don't like to visit sites that have a whole bunch of advertising because it is kind of a turn-off but there are certain sites that are niche-specific that [inaudible 00:24:11]
What is your other site that you have it on that it works for? What type of niche is it in?
Angie: It is a direct sales site, so obviously that's … Another thing with my main site is only 25% of my people are coming in on desktop these days. 75% of my traffic is from mobile.
Gina: That's crazy.
Angie: My mobile site doesn't display side bars. I can't justify telling an advertiser to spend hundreds of dollars to place a banner ad on my site that nobody is going to see. I can't feel good about doing that to an advertiser. I have a few up there but they don't make a lot of money and it is not something that I really … It doesn't convert, so I don't much put a lot of time into that.
Gina: Totally. It makes sense. Yeah. Mobile is crazy these days as far as how that is changing.
Do you have one or two goals that you're working on this year? Is that something that you would share as far as growth for The Work At Home Wife?
Angie: Money is always big on my goal list. I want to get that up substantially because you don't know what it is going to be like 10 years down the road. I am one of those let's make it now kind of people. Money is a big one.
Just making sure that … Like I said, I am going back through all of my old content right now just to make sure that my site as clean and tight as it can be. There's a lot of stuff that is just junky old stuff that doesn't even make sense to today's readers.
Gina: Do you delete posts like that or hide them or something?
Angie: I have been deleting if it is not something that can be written-
Angie: To be relevant now, I delete, but that you've got to worry about redirects and all of that kind of junk. That is not something you want to just do without thinking about it.
Gina: Brenda is asking about information on getting started at Amazon. I think the easiest thing that you can do is Google “Amazon,” it is not affiliates. It is Amazon …
Gina: Say it … Associates.
Angie: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Gina: Okay. Then, you have to make sure that your state or country is one of the players, I guess, in their program. Minnesota is where I am. They were and they weren't and now they are again. You'll find that happens sometimes. It is based on every state at least here in the United States will have their own laws. That is the first step is making sure that your state qualifies. Then, you can apply to their program and get set up. Then, their backend is not super user-friendly in my opinion.
Gina: Amazon Associates, Brenda, is what you will want to Google. That is kind of low-hanging fruit to get started with. Being an affiliate for somebody. Their payout isn't huge. What is it, like 3? Maybe.
Angie: It is tiered. I think to start out it is like 4.5 and then as you get to 25 sales, you bump up to something. I am not even sure how much it goes up to. Maybe 9% or something like that depending on how many sales you go. Note: The standard advertising fee schedule is 4% to 8%.
Gina: The interesting thing is that somebody can come through your Amazon link and then they don't even buy the product that you are advertising or that you talk about in a post and they go and buy something else and you will still get credit for that, which is kind of fun.
As far as I always think the legal or compliance part of affiliate links is kind of interesting because it is ever-evolving. Do you know what the current rules or regulations are as far as disclosing affiliate links? Do you have a terms and conditions page on your website and that is where all of the information is so you don't have to disclose every single affiliate link you put in, or do you? How does that work from you?
Angie: I have it at the top of every post. It says, “This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through my links and make a purchase, I will get a commission.” I just have it there permanently because I know that if I don't put it in the affiliate link now, six months down the road, I might come back and do it then, so why not?
Gina: That is smart.
Angie: People don't really care. I don't think anybody is like, “I'm not clicking any of your links.” You know?
Angie: We're still making money. That really wasn't there when I started and we are still making money, so don't worry about disclosing. It is not that big of a deal. People will-
Gina: If somebody does get offended, then they are probably not going to stick around anyways. Bloggers have to make money if they are treating it as a career and that is one of the ways to monetize.