The 10-year​ Blogging Journey of Pennypinchinmom- Interview with Tracie Fobes

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I do 2 things to get motivated : reading  books and listening to experts in the field.

Ever since I started blogging I am always in touch with different bloggers through facebook or Instagram to seek guidelines or advice! In my opinion that’s a great way to learn more about blogging! We gather a ton of information when you involve in these kind of conversations. Which is why I decided to make all of them in an Interview- Posts!

I am going to Interview bloggers who inspire me and who love to share their success story with YOU, my readers!

As my first Interviewee I am honored to have Tracie Fobes, the blogger behind Pennypinchinmom.com

Tracie has been a blogger for 10 years. She has been kind enough to let me ask some questions about her blogging Journey, content planning, Traffic sources and her advice to new bloggers!

Let’s get started !

Hello Tracie, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Tracie Fobes and I live outside of Kansas City, MO with my husband and 3 kids. I started blogging in January 2009 and have seen my share of changes.

I started blogging, Pennypinchinmom.com by helping families learn how to budget, get out of debt, and save money. That blog helped me learn a lot.

I made a ton of mistakes. No one ever helped me. So, when I started learning everything I did about blogging, I wanted to help.

In the summer of 2016 I started traciefobes.com and am now helping teach others the business of blogging in an easy to follow way that just makes sense.  

Do you think every blogger should have a niche?

Everyone needs a niche. But I think people don’t really get what a niche means.

Your niche is about more than just what you blog about. It is your audience. Who is your person? What are their problems? What are you trying to do to help them?

Once you know who you want to reach and help, the articles you write will just make sense.

When do you think is the right time for bloggers to have their own products or services?

Once you have a bit of an audience then you can consider adding products. After all, without people to sell to you’ll have an empty store.

As far as services, you should be an expert
. That means you should not start trying to teach people how to blog after 6 months of blogging. Nope. You need a couple of years under your belt before you can really effectively help and teach someone.

What are your thoughts on having Facebook ads or Instagram shoutouts to gain followers? What strategies do you adopt to get visitors to your blog?

I used giveaways years ago to get people to follow me (and back then, we did not even have Instagram).

You want people to follow you because they love what you are doing, not for any artificial reason  – like a giveaway. You would be better served with 100 engaged followers than 1000 who never like or see what you post.

I continue to share my content everywhere I can – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

But, more than that I rely upon the thing that is much more consistent – SEO
. I think all too often bloggers think they can never rank and skip the importance of using this to get visitors.

How is your traffic in both sites? In your opinion what’s the best reliable traffic source for bloggers?

The traffic to Penny Pinchin Mom averages between 450-500k a month. And it is a close tie between both Pinterest and organic search. They make up around 70% of the traffic so around 35% comes from each.

Another 15 – 20% is Facebook and the rest is direct. As far as Tracie Fobes, I’m not really tracking that right now. That may sound odd, but I really “don’t care” about the traffic it gets. I use it to teach people and to promote my content. Once I get a few more things addressed, I will be circling back around and working on improving the SEO and traffic, but even then, I am not relying that much on it for the growth and income strategies I have in.

How do you plan your blog posts? Do you follow any specific strategy?

I start out by doing some keyword research to make sure that there is a chance to rank and to ensure I include the right keywords that will help me.

Then, I write the post and make sure to have the proper H2 and H3 tags. I include everything I feel needs to be included.

The last thing I do is scope out the competition to make sure I did not forget anything that they may have remembered. I do not copy them. But if they have one section I did not mention, I will add that and include the information necessary to help the reader.

I remember reading about the difficulties you had to face after a terrific start in your blogging career!  How did you motivate yourself to keep the blog up running? What is your advice to people who experience the same?

Amazon had cut my commissions and that meant my income dropped. I could have quit. But, I had some employees to think about but I also knew that this was on me. I had not set up a proper monetization strategy.

I had to figure out a few things and make some changes. It took some time but it taught me the important lesson to no not have all of my eggs in one basket.

I also learned that nothing worth having is easy.  If we all quit when it gets tough we’d never succeed at anything.  I feel that the struggles I felt molded me into the smart business woman I am today.

As a blogger, I often find it difficult to cope up with all my tasks. But you have two blogs, a Facebook group and your family! How do you manage all that?

My planner is how I keep it all together Honestly! I write down what I will work on each day. That means one site gets worked on one day and I don’t think about the other one.

I am very detailed as to what to do.  If I have to work on a course, for example, I will not say “work on course.”  It records videos for modules 2, 3 and 4. I am very detailed in what I have to do.

When the work that has to be done in each day is finished, I stop working. I then take care of the house. I never try to over schedule myself and if something comes up with the kids, I just know that is more important and work goes to the side.

I also have a VA who does a lot of things and can pretty much run one of my sites. That helps me immensely as I know she’s got that taken care of and just lets me know if there are issues.

As far as social media, I check in between projects. I start my day by responding and then I work. Then I pop in again and check. If my kids are outside playing at night or doing something themselves, I will be on social. But, I make sure to carve out family time.

I also never work on Friday – or do very little.  That is my “me day”. I take care of things around the house, run errands and just take time to breathe. I also do not work on the weekends. I may check in on social a little, but I try to unplug.

I find that when I take time away I am more focused.  When my schedule tells me what to do I also get that done because I have the energy to devote to it.

Finally, I am a very hyper-organized person. I can keep track of 20 things to do all at once and know how to set it up to get it all addressed. I don’t stress if something doesn’t get done. I know it will.

My family is #1 – always.  So if the blog has to wait, so be it.

Finally as a successful blogger with years of experience, what would you say are the best qualities of a successful blogger?

You have to listen to your person. There is a lot of noise and if you think jumping from person to person or course to course will give you the magic trick to be successful, you are mistaken.

Cut out the noise and find your person. They will be the one you follow and you use as your mentor.  Ask them questions.

Don’t quit. Don’t let little setbacks force you to give it up.

Don’t try to do something that is not a fit or natural (i.e. don’t talk about how to blog on your site if your readers don’t want to learn and if you don’t yet know what you are doing).

Don’t try to market something only because you see dollar signs.

Be yourself. Be genuine. Be honest.

Readers know when you are trying to use them to make money or if you don’t really care.

The most successful bloggers are those who don’t try to do what everyone else is doing and who stay true to themselves.

Thank You !

Let Tracie know your thoughts after reading this! As I mentioned she has a wonderful Facebook group where she anwsers all your questions.

Facebook group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/bloggereducationnetwork/

Her two blogs: https://traciefobes.com & https://www.pennypinchinmom.com

My take away from the interview:

1. What’s a niche?

I love Tracie’s definition of “Niche”. Niche is your audience. As a new blogger many of us struggle to come up with what to write about . So there is your answer.

2. The SEO

Again and again, I read about it everywhere! I completely agree with what Tracie said about having a consistent way such as SEO. As a newbie blogger, I struggle a lot about the early lessons of SEO. But I am sure it’s worth the effort!

3. Be yourself

I always believed there are three types of bloggers! One who are really passionate about blogging as a hobby, second the money-minded, third who listens to the audience and delivers content then makes a full time career out of it. Whichever category you are I truly believe we have to be ourselves! As Tracie righly said, ” Be yourself.  Be genuine. Be honest”.

4. The Planning

This is the key to be productive. I love the way Tracie handles everything so smoothly! You post something in FB she replies to you instantly! When you send her an email you get the reply back less than an hour! There is no doubt that she can do more than 100 things at a time! As newbie bloggers this is a great lesson to learn!

5. Not giving up

Another most important take away from her interview is about not giving up  “If we all quit when it gets tough we’d never succeed at anything.” I hope this can be an inspirational word for all of us.

I hope that if you are a blogger you get some inspiration to get done more!

Time For Your Action:

What’s your take away from the interview? Let me know in the comments! I have a blog post to recommend if you are a new blogger! Tracie has written a post about Making money through blogging. I find it really comprehensive! Give it a read!

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