The Business of Blogging | A Look Behind the Scenes

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
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The business of blogging is an ever-evolving industry. I can hardly keep up with whether I’m called a blogger, influencer, or creator these days! People ask me all the time about the business of blogging and how I decided to start Empty Nest Blessed. There’s a lot of confusion out there about how it all works, how bloggers/influencers/creators get paid, and what the markers of success are in this industry.

My outfit above: Ellie Nap Dress | Pearl Embellished Jelly Sandals (Click HERE for other colors.) | Leopard Print Apple Watch Band | Tory Burch Pave Stud Earrings

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Today, I’m going to pull back the curtain and break it down for you. I’m going to take you behind the scenes of my little venture into empty-nester entrepreneurship and tell you how it all went down, how it’s evolved, and how important YOU are to my small business.

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The Business of Blogging: Type of Blogs

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are two very different types of blogs out there on the interwebs. You may have friends that are bloggers and share their thoughts and feelings about anything from politics and movies to faith and family. Then, there are the blogs like mine that are actually small businesses and are regulated by the FTC.

The Business of Blogging: How ENB Started

All my life, I’ve been involved in speaking, teaching, and encouraging other women, and Empty Nest Blessed really is an outgrowth of that. Around the time I became an empty nester, I noticed many of my peers struggling with the transition to the empty nest. When our nest emptied, I knew I wanted to challenge myself to live fully and purposefully as I entered this new season of life. So I started researching the blogs out there for empty nesters. I found that most of them were focused on the grief associated with the transition.

THML Tiered Dress | Yellow Block Heel Sandals | Pearl Drop Earrings

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It is a transition, to be surebut I was convinced that this next season of life could (and should) be one of growth, service to others, and, well, JOY. It occurred to me that maybe we all just needed some encouragement and, well, permission — to shift our focus from childrearing to other aspects of life and womanhood. So I purchased the domain name and then spent about 8 hours a day for the next two months trying to learn the technical aspects and to find my “voice.” It took a lot of courage to put myself out there (in both photos and words) and be vulnerable with you, but since we were on this journey together, I knew I had to be authentically myself and overcome those fears.

If I wanted to encourage, inspire, and bless other empty nesters, I knew I needed to be an example of everything I was encouraging other women to be by growing and learning in the empty nest years. Also (and this may sound weird), I really wanted my kids to be proud of me and how I was spending my time in this season of life. (If you want to read more, I wrote a blog post about how Empty Nest Blessed was born.)

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The Business of Blogging: How ENB Progressed

It was important to me to produce a high-quality blog with beautiful images and a warm and joyful aesthetic that you would want to visit and recommend to others. (Which is truly the kindest thing you can do for me!) I also wanted to be sure I had lots of evergreen content (content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for my followers over a long period of time) to support and encourage women struggling with the adjustment to the empty nest.

But I wanted to go even further than that! At Empty Nest Blessed, I wanted to talk about lots of topics that are relevant in the lives of empty nester women. So I decided on more of a wide-ranging “magazine” format than a format that just stuck with one topic — like fashion, for example.

Here’s what I cover. (Click on any highlighted topic to see more)

Although my fashion and beauty posts continue to be my most viewed, I will always continue to post about all of the topics above! (Along with the empty nest, of course!)

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Layered Ruffle Sleeve Top | White So-Slimming No-Stain Girlfriend Jeans | Block Heel Mules | Pearl Apple Watch Band | Pearl Drop Earrings

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The Business of Blogging: How ENB Became a Business

A few months into my blogging career, it became clear to me that I was going to need to be able to resource my readers and help them if they wanted to explore whatever I was talking about in greater detail. It wasn’t enough for me to recommend something — I needed to make it convenient for you to learn more or purchase what I was recommending if you wanted to do that. You may not have realized it until now, but when you come to EmptyNestBlessed.com and shop the links I share, it supports my business and enables me to continue doing this job I love so much. (Thank you for that, BTW!)

My blog is monetized in a few different ways. I know everyone wonders about it because one of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “How does it all work?” (Which is the polite way to ask, “How do you make money?” 🤣) I get it! If I wasn’t right here in the middle of it, it’s what I would be wondering about too!) So let me break it down for you.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate links are the pink links you see in the body of my posts or under images I share. They’re usually underneath photos of me in looks I’m sharing (as I’m doing throughout this post). I share most of my fashion looks on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, but I know some of you are not on those platforms, so I do try to share them here as often as I can. Sometimes the pink links link back to older posts or outside information on whatever I’m discussing (as the ones above, which link to my social media sites).

Amazon Pom Pom Sleeve Floral Embroidered Dress (Click HERE for other colors.) | Black Tory Burch Logo Apple Watch Band (ON SALE!) | Black & Gold Drop Earrings | Similar Black Sunglasses

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If they link to a product, I receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Likewise, if you click on certain types of images in the body of a post (called “widgets” in blogger speak), they will also connect to an affiliate link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it’s how I get paid. Basically, the commission is a reward from the brand for sharing the item with you. Financially speaking, they’re the “bread and butter” of my business!

Here are some examples of affiliate widgets:

  • Shop the Post – You can click on any image in the Shop the Post boxes you see throughout my posts to learn more about an item or to shop.
  • Clickable Collages – When I use collages in a post, they are clickable! Just tap or click on any of the items you see for more information or to shop. I always use these in my SO in the KNOW posts, as well as in some others. They’re an easy, user-friendly way to clearly check out items I reference in the post.
  • Boutiques – You’ll see these at the bottom of some of my posts, typically when I’m talking about a collection of similar items. I also use these for my gift guides. (Father’s Day Gift Guide coming soon!) You can tap or click on any image in the boutique for more information like available colors, possible sale prices, or if you just want to shop the item.

I usually source my affiliate links through one of two networks: LiketoKnow.it/LTK or Amazon Associates. These platforms act as the middleman between brands and bloggers. They provide affiliate URL links that identify that I was the source that referred you to a particular product. They track sales made via the links I share, and they essentially charge the brands, take a cut for themselves, and pay me my commission. In addition, each platform provides me with my own SHOP, where you can conveniently find info on anything you’ve seen here or on any of my social channels.

Collaborations

Collaborations are partnerships in which a company pays me a fee and (usually) gifts products in exchange for covering their products or brand. I will always disclose the partnership in italics at the very top of the post. The FTC requires this. Any opinion I share is my own, and I only share items that I truly love.

If a product or brand is not in keeping with the mission of Empty Nest Blessed, if it doesn’t fit my aesthetic, or my values, or if it is not right for our demographic, I always turn it down. As a result, I turn down 98% of the collaborations offered to me. (Yes, Bob did the math!🤣) To see a list of brands I’ve partnered with in the past, click HERE.

Many of my collaborations are only on social media. For example, I recently partnered with Easy Spirit on Instagram and Facebook for a fun post with their Wander Sandal. They’re an example of a great collaboration partner for Empty Nest Blessed because they make high-quality products that are aimed right at our demographic, and they offered me an exclusive long-term discount just for you all! (Take 20% off anything you order at Easy Spirit with the code ENB20!) That’s a win-win for everyone!

Advertising

If you’ve been following me for a while now, you may have noticed that when I rebranded and redesigned my website in January 2021, I removed the ads that were on my website. Many bloggers make more money from ads than from both collaborations and affiliate links combined! I just decided with my new website that I didn’t want to make money that way. I really just wanted ENB to be an ad-free space for you. (It doesn’t mean I won’t incorporate ads into my site in the future. I’m constantly evaluating that.) Let me know your thoughts on that in the comments, okay?

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Amazon Tiered Denim Dress (I’m 5’5″ and wearing my normal XS if you’re trying to evaluate length.) Click HERE for other colors. | Tory Burch Miller Flip Flops | Rattan Earrings | Straw Crossbody/Clutch Purse

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The Business of Blogging: The Markers of a “Successful” Blogging Business

Of course, there are lots of ways to measure “success!” The Empty Nest Blessed mission statement (to encourage, inspire, and bless empty nesters) always has been and always will be the main way I gauge my success. You should know that being a trusted source of information, recommendations, and encouragement for you will always be WAYYYY more important to me than any other type of success. That said, there are markers of “success” in my industry, just as there are in any industry.

Markers of a “Successful” Blog

Several statistics are used to determine how successful any web-based business is:

  1. Monthly Visitors – The more visitors (new and returning) that Empty Nest Blessed receives each day, the better. Each visitor only counts once a day, regardless of how many times they visit the website during a particular day.
  2. Monthly Page Views – The more pages a visitor looks at on my blog, the better. Of course, my latest content will always be the most popular, and that’s to be expected. If you remember something that I shared in a previous post, remember that you can always use the search bar at the top of the website to search for keywords. If you’re still unable to locate what you want, it could be that I shared it on another platform, like social media or something. Please know that you can always email me at [email protected] if you need help finding something I shared! 😁
  3. Blog Post Engagement – When you leave a comment on a blog post, it’s beneficial to me. It’s a statistic that shows you find my content helpful and relevant. I always answer every comment, and your feedback is such a blessing to me. It helps me know what content is resonating with you! Also, when you share my posts with others via email or social media (You can use the icons at the bottom of each post to do that.), it’s an indicator that you found the content helpful. Also, it might introduce new people to Empty Nest Blessed, and I’m always thankful for that!
  4. Email Subscriber ListMy email subscribers get the scoop that nobody else gets! I send out a new (very short) newsletter each time I publish a new post (2-3x per week). In addition to details and a link to the latest post, the email has info about past posts you might have missed and links to fun things like what’s currently in my Amazon cart, gift ideas, sales I’m shopping right now, or beauty products I’m loving at the moment. Also, my email subscribers get early access to my Holiday Gift Guides! If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up HERE.
  5. Google Rankings – Did you know that Empty Nest Blessed is actually the #1 Google ranked “Empty Nester Blog?” I’m also the #1 “Empty Nester Blogger!” (Big fish 🐟, small pond! 🤣) This means a lot, of course, but serving and resourcing you all will always mean WAY more to me.

Markers of “Successful” Social Media Accounts

Social media stats are important too! That means that when you save or share Empty Nest Blessed social media posts with your friends, when you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, or when you “like” and “follow” my Facebook page, I’m truly grateful!

Unfortunately, since all social media is run via algorithms, a bunch of computer programs determine what you like and don’t like (!), as well as determining what will end up in your Home Page Feed. So if you haven’t seen my latest posts on whatever social media platform you frequent, it could be that the algorithm 🙄😂 has determined that you don’t like my content! The best way to fix this is to click through on the links below and “like” and comment on my last couple of posts.

Thank you for supporting Empty Nest Blessed and for sharing it with your friends. It’s THE most important thing you can do to encourage me, let me know that you enjoy my content, and help my business! I spend a lot of time thinking and praying about how to bless and encourage you all, whether it’s with posts about how to strengthen your marriage, be a great parent to your adult kids, find just the right gift, keep up-to-date on the latest fashion trends, or figure out what skincare products I use, I want to provide info and resources that inspire you!

If you have any questions about the business of blogging, I would be happy to answer them. Please leave me a comment below! Know that I am truly grateful for each of you, and you mean so much to me. If there is ever a topic you would like me to write about, please reach out to me and let me know.

If you enjoyed this post, you may have a friend that would enjoy it too! Would you consider sharing it with others? Tap the icons at the bottom of the page where you see “Share This Post.” (You can also Pin the image below on your Pinterest page!)

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24 Comments

  1. Such a great blog pst Suzy! I KNEW it had to be a TON of work and I get it! You’re content is always so beautifully put together and the work BTS is evident!
    Thank you for continuing to do what you do!

  2. I find your posts very helpful and I love that you can tap anything in pink and be led to the website. Keep up the great work!

  3. Hi Suzy!
    I appreciate your posts! I am impressed by how bright and colorful everything is on your site. Putting it all together is no good easy job. How long did it take from where you started to where you began to notice success markers?
    Thank you,
    Diane

    1. Diane,

      Great question! It probably took 2-3 years! Actually, now, if you Google Empty Nester Influencer or Empty Nester Blog, ENB comes up FIRST! I’m completely astounded, and it was a huge moment for me when I realized that!

      xoxo
      Suzy

      1. That is so very exciting!! It is really difficult to rank first in Google! Congratulations! You are an inspiration that hard work pays off!!

  4. Suzy,
    Thank you for all your work. I can tell you really do your “homework” because your blog reads like I’m catching up with a friend. I appreciate the links and all the good gift ideas, but also never feel like your blog is just interested in making a sale. I appreciate that.
    Looking forward to all the summer wedding scoop!
    Best,
    Margie

    1. Margie,

      Your comment is music to my ears! Thank you so much! My heart is to serve and resource my followers, NOT to make a sale, and I’m so glad that shines through!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  5. Hi Suzy!

    I absolutely LOVE your blog! I’ve been an empty-nester since 2018 and have struggled since one of my “babies” is thousands of miles away from me. I appreciate all aspects of your blog and the topics you cover. I’ll be retiring from teaching middle school in 14 days and will have more time to keep up with your posts. THANK YOU for blessing me and so many others!

  6. Nancy,

    Well, you are just so kind! Thank you for that encouraging feedback! Truly, your comment brought tears to my eyes!

    CONGRATULATIONS on your retirement, Nancy! Wow ! Thank you for pouring into so many students over the years. I cannot imagine how many lives you’ve touched over the years. I know I join so many in thanking you for your service!

    I’m excited to see more of you around here!

    xoxo
    Suzy

  7. Suzy,
    That post was chuck full of information! It clarified some of the mysteries of the social media world. Thank you for sharing your journey and expertise.
    I mostly appreciate the posts on fashion and shopping because you do all the leg work and that part is challenging for me. Always good affordable suggestions.
    Keep doing what your doing,
    Robben

    1. Robben,

      I’m so glad you liked it, and it clarified some things for you! That was my goal!

      I’ll keep doing my best to do that legwork for you on shopping! My Father’s Day Gift Guide just went LIVE, and I’m sending it out to you all tomorrow, so hopefully, that will help not only with Father’s Day gifts but also with any upcoming Bdays, etc., for the men in your life!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  8. Suzy,
    I read every post! I respect your opinions and so appreciate all the research you do on various relevant topics for women in our stage of life. I consider you my personal shopper! Often I will be wearing something new and my daughters or daughter in-laws or friends will give me a compliment…and I’ll say, “Ya, Suzy told me about this!” Hahah. They all know exactly who I am talking about.
    P.S. I appreciate that you don’t have ads, but on the other hand, if hosting ads gives you more compensation for all your hard work, I support it. I’ll read your stuff either way.

    1. Kellie,

      Thank you! Your encouraging words mean so much to me! I would love to meet your daughters!!! I am so honored to be your personal shopper, sweet girl!

      Blessings to you!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  9. Suzy,
    This is a fantastic behind-the-scenes view of your project, thank you for being honest and open about the business. I have recently started a similar project as I will turn 55 in October, it is a newsletter/blog about all the challenges, opportunities, and issues we face as we turn 55. I’d love to collaborate in the future.
    Have a great day,
    Eric

  10. That was so informative! Thank you for sharing! I have enjoyed your blog for a long time and I have never been disappointed! Your blog is helpful and welcoming to readers! Press on!

  11. Here it is 2 weeks later, and I’m finally reading your post. I save them in a folder if there is something I want to read more carefully. I’m sure along with your children, many of your followers are also proud of your creativity.

  12. such good info! Thank you for sharing all of this. I love how clean and clear your posts are and I do appreciate the lack of ads! They are so messy and disruptive. Your site is one of my faves of course!

    1. Kellie,

      Thank you for your sweet comment! I’m so glad you enjoy ENB! Thanks for giving me the ad feedback! I agree!!!

      I’m so grateful you follow me and share ENB with others!

      xoxo
      Suzy

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