Introducing first of the interview series ‘Meet the bloggers Monday’ The interview series will be posted on my blog every Monday for the next upcoming weeks.
1. Can you tell us about yourself and your blog.
Hi, I’m Natalie and I blog at Plutonium Sox. Before you ask, the blog is named after my dogs! It’s a rather eclectic family blog with a strong focus on being outdoors, particularly over on my Instagram account. I live in Worcestershire with my husband, two girls age 4 and 6 and our dog Bubbles. When I’m not blogging or bothering the children, I enjoy open water swimming and running. I do the odd triathlon and this year I’m running the London Marathon, which was a bit of a shock after I ended up getting a ballot place.
2. What inspired you to start your blog?
I started my blog on the recommendation of a PR person when I was running a business for a friend. They said that blogging was a great way to promote a business. So, I wrote about the business on my very new blog and quickly realised it was a ridiculous idea. Eventually I stopped working with that company but continued the blog as a way to record family life. I moved towards doing some freelance writing and eventually, the blog took over as my main income stream.
3. How much time do you spend blogging?
Around five hours a day most weekdays and a bit of time at the weekends. This isn’t just on blogging though – it’s reading blogs, doing social media, writing blog posts, taking photos and predominantly procrastinating and deciding what I should be doing. Then I make lists, decide that everything on the list is too much like hard work and stare into space deciding what else I could do.
4. Would you encourage others to start their own blog?
No, I don’t think I would. These days, it seems most people start a blog to make money from it. Which is great because it really is an amazing way to earn a living and the opportunities we have from it have been incredible, not least the chance to work at home and make work fit around my family. However, the majority of people waste their time by starting a blog because they don’t get thousands of page views without hard work and they give up before reaching a point where they can make a career out of it. So all in all, I’m not sure I’d really recommend it unless you either have the time and energy to dedicate to making it a success, or you just do it to record family life like I did.
5. A lot of people think blogging is an easy way of making money online, do you have any tips for those people who are wanting to make money through blogging?
Ahh I sort of answered that above didn’t I? Sorry, I should have read the questions. Ultimately, the only way to make money blogging is to put in an awful lot of hard work. Engage on social media, read and comment on other blogs. Learn from your mistakes, take the best photos you can and work hard on search engine optimisation from the start. Most of all, I would suggest doing it at most as a second job to start with. You’re not immediately going to make money at it. When I was building up my blog, I was also a social media manager, copywriter and audiotypist. I was up until around 3am most days to find the time to fit in blogging as well, then I’d be up at 6am with the children. I could never have done it if I had been relying on blogging for an income at that point.
6. How do you motivate yourself to keep your blog up?
I keep reminding myself that if I don’t keep it up I’ll have to get a proper job. I’ll have to talk to people and wear makeup and smart clothes. That always puts me right off.
7. What do you think is the best social media strategy for driving more traffic to your blog?
Actually, I don’t think social media is the way to drive traffic. The majority of my traffic comes from organic search so I would personally suggest working on search engine optimisation over social media in terms of traffic.
8. What do you find to be the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
Chasing overdue payments. It is the bane of my life.
9. What is the biggest difference in your life post – blogging?
When I had my eldest daughter, I went back to work full time when she was 3 months old. It was awful and I lasted 6 weeks before I found a job I could do from home. Two years later when my youngest daughter came along I went freelance, at which point I was blogging but not earning from it. So, the biggest change for me has been working from home rather than blogging itself. I’ve arrived at the point where blogging was my main income source via doing several other jobs that involve working from home. I personally think that flexible, home working is an amazing opportunity for a parent whether that’s through blogging or other avenues.
10. In the future where do you hope your blog will take you?
In a couple of years, we intend to spend a year travelling around Europe in a camper van. I hope my blog will take me to explore lots of new places during that journey and that it will lead to even more travel related opportunities in the future.
You can find Natalie over at:Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlutoniumSoxInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/plutonium_soxFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/PlutoniumSox
Swimming the distance of the channel raising money for Aspire to help people with spinal cord injuries. If you’d like to donate, you can find my JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/natalie-ray-2018-channel-swim
Thank you to Natalie for taking her time in answering all of the interview questions. I hope you all enjoy reading her answers just as much as I have.