It's easy to fall in love with style and beauty blogger Nikki Parkinson because she looks gorgeous. But what I love most about her is that she's a busy mum who works from home, updates her blog daily and has become one of Australia's first professional bloggers.
Nikki's dedication, work ethic and her fun writing style make her a great role model for new and not-so-new bloggers.
Nikki happens to live down the road from me on the Sunshine Coast in Australia so I've met her a few times and was thrilled when her blog Styling You won the first ever Australian Blogs competition in 2011. No one was more deserving than her.
Blogging Success Stories is an interview series to help you learn from the best, stay motivated and send you away with actionable blogging tips so I'm excited to be interviewing Nikki today. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I do.
Hi Nikki, thanks for joining us on Successful Blogging. Please introduce yourself first for those who might not know you yet:
Let's get personal! Where do you live? Do you have a family? What do you do for work and play?
I live on Queensland's Sunshine Coast with my husband and two of my kids. One has just left home for university - I'm still in denial about that! I'm a full-time blogger with a love of shopping, cooking and getting to the beach when Mother Nature is being kind.
So how long have you been blogging and how did you get into it?
I've been blogging almost five years. I accidentally stumbled into it when I asked a web developer to set me up a website I could update myself. The website was to market my new personal styling business. I'd been a journalist for 20 years prior to this so I knew I wanted to keep writing and sharing information.
Sounds like you found a good web designer there. So what's your blog about? Who reads it?
My blog offers real-world fashion, beauty and lifestyle advice for busy women aged 30 and over. My readers come to me because they're not finding that help in the magazines they used to love and buy.
So true and I know that because I'm one of them. How often do you update your blog and how many unique readers do you have each month?
I post on average seven posts a week between Monday and Friday. I've got 45,000 unique readers each month.
So all that hard work has paid off. Where do most of your readers come from?
After Google, Facebook is the biggest referrer of traffic to my blog, followed by Twitter with Pinterest hot on Twitter's heels.
I think originally your blog was designed to help sell your personal stylist services but now you've stopped that and are making a full-time income from blog advertising. Can you tell us a bit about that evolution? How long did it take?
I've officially been a full-time blogger for 18 months. I reached a point that the blog was bringing in the lion-share of consistent revenue and I realised I needed to devote the lion-share of my week to that. So it certainly wasn't overnight but that grew from my first sponsored post in November 2010.
That's great. What other good things have come to you from blogging?
Blogging has opened up some amazing friendships with other bloggers, who except for blogging I would not have met. It's made for a richer life.
I've got to travel with my work - whether that's a day trip to Sydney for an event, or a trip to The Hunter Valley to produce content for a travel company or a trip to New York to the world's biggest female blogging conference (BlogHer) - and that's something I never imagined I'd get the opportunity to do.
I was also thrilled to have my blog named Best Australian Blog by the Sydney Writers Centre in 2011.
You so deserved it. How exactly do you earn money from your blog?
The majority of my blog's income comes from sponsorships and ambassadorships coordinated through my agency, The Remarkables. I also earn a little from banner advertising, freelance writing and affiliate sales. I just launched my first product, an ebook called Unlock Your Style in 14 Days so that will be added to the income mix.
I just bought it and can't wait to read it. I love your blogging success story and am inspired by your professionalism and work output. Have you got any tips about those things?
If you want your blog to be a business, treat it like one even when it's not earning any money. Be consistent with your posting and consistently show up on the social media platforms where and when your readers are hanging out.
What's the best way to get new readers to a blog?
Be consistent (can I say this too often?!).
Become part of the blogging community - not just in your niche but in a lot of niches. Comment on and share other people's posts. Trust me, it comes back to you 10-fold.
Lol, I think we're getting the idea about the need to be consistent. What are your recommendations for other bloggers who want to monetize their blogs?
Build your readership and community through the tips above so that you have a platform from which to make money - however that monetization plan looks. I mentor quite a number of bloggers and one of them has blogged for less than six months and is selling some banner space and her own branded exercise gear to a small but loyal and engaged audience. She's making money from her blog - it might not equate to the hours she's putting in but it's a hell of a good start.
Please share your best blogging tip for new bloggers
Just do it. Jump in. If you love it then the time and energy required to build a blog will not feel like a burden.
Have you got any writing tips?
Find your own voice and writing style. Don't try to follow a formula. Create the formula that best works for you.
How about productivity tips?
My love of a conversation often leads me down the social media time vortex - let's just say some days are more productive than others! The newspaper girl in me loves a deadline and I tend to write the day or night before for the next day's post. A habit of a lifetime is difficult to break.
Oh I work better under the hammer too. Can you please share one last blogging tip?
I get a lot of commenters on my blog who tell me they appreciate that I reply to their comments. I know everyone has different time pressures but this is something I've prioritized from the very first time I received a comment.
I figure if someone takes time out of their day to talk to me then it's courteous to talk back - whether that's on the blog or on my social media networks. So my tip: don't just broadcast, get into the conversation. That's what sets blogging apart from mainstream media.
That's great advice. Where can people find out more about you? Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I've got a media page on my blog that highlights some of the interviews I've done.
Thank you so much Nikki for taking the time to answer these questions and share your blogging tips with the Successful Blogging team. We really appreciate that.
Do pop over to Styling You to see why Nikki's succeeded in turning blogging into a full-time business and why her blog is so popular. Thank you. I know she’ll love that. And I recommend you sign up for her weekly newsletter too if you’re a woman and you're even the slightest bit interested in looking good. I love it.
I also recommend Nikki's spanking new ebook Unlock Your Style in 14 Days. Reading Styling You has helped me break out of my usual clothing rut and feel more confident about what to wear so do check it out if that sounds good to you.
If you’d like to thank Nikki personally here’s a tweet you might like to share:
THANK YOU I @StylingYou for sharing your blogging tips in the interview.