I was so excited when I found Courtney’s photography blog! She is making a killing with it and helping thousands of other moms learn the skills of taking gorgeous pictures. She’s also a mom, a former elementary teacher, runs a successful blog and shares below that with consistent work, you can do it too!
How to Make Money with a Photography Blog
In the spring of 2009, after the birth of my second daughter, I started to realize I wanted to learn more about photography. I thought all I needed was a nice DSLR and I could take great photos…boy was I wrong.
I started to read everything I could. In January of 2010 I started a Project 365 where you take a photo everyday for a year. We were living in Japan at the time and I loved being able to share a little bit of our everyday life with family and friends.
Next thing I knew, my friends noticed that my photos had improved and started asking me for advice. I found myself answering multiple emails a day when it dawned on me. Maybe, just maybe, I could start a blog and be a blogger.
As a former elementary teacher, I love teaching. It fills my soul. I was obsessed with photography so the thought of being able to combine the two with the possibility of making money off of it almost seemed too good to be true.
How to Begin to Make Money with a Photography Blog and What Worked
I believe I made a few dollars here and there the second year. Mainly small ad space I sold myself or a featured spot in my newsletter.
However, it was in my third year, December 2013 when I actually made real money. That was when I launched my first ebook.
Early into starting my blog I researched how to create a successful blog. I remember reading that it took about 3 years to make money from your site. I knew it would be a couple of years with hard work but then it would be worth it.
So don’t get discouraged if you aren’t making money yet. You will get there.
How to Get Traffic to a Photography Blog
My number source of traffic is Google. Next up is Pinterest and Facebook. I spent the first few years of my site working hard on my SEO. However, I think it’s time to focus on that again.
Number One Focus for a Photography Blog
Growing my list has been my number one focus for many years. I realize the importance of an email list and how it directly increases my income.
Right now I get people onto my list with:
- My homepage is only an optin page
- FB ads to my evergreen webinar
- Welcome mat by Sumo me but about to switch to Optin Monster
- Content upgrade on a few high traffic posts
- Joint venture webinars where I partner with other people to do my webinar to their audience
Quick Tip from Suzi: These are the tips for beginners on how I grew my email list to over 20,000 in a year. And if you need help mastering Convertkit, the email service I use, you can check out List by Number.
What to Write in Your Welcome Series Emails
I try to send at least one to two value add emails a week. These are pitch free emails where I have one call to action. Typically a link to one blog post. I try not to pitch something more than once a month.
I have an onboarding process, that offers them a flash sale for an ebook on the confirmation page. Then welcome email with two downloadable freebies. Then the next email is asking them to join my webinar with a follow up email if they don’t. Then two more emails showcasing some of my best work.
I am planning on adding a 60 day nurture sequence to people who join my list and don’t buy my course through my webinar. This will be well written high value emails. I may link to blog posts with affiliate links or to a resource page with affiliate links.
It’s important that I am constantly adding value to my community and not just asking for a purchase each time I sent out an email.
Best Ways to Make Money with a Photography Blog
Main income stream is my ecourse and ebook. This makes up about 75% of my income. I sell my course through an evergreen webinar as well as live webinars. I use my email list to invite people to my evergreen webinar two days after they join. I plan to ask my list every 6 weeks to join one of my live webinars where I pitch my ecourse. I also use my list to do a followup email series for those who don’t buy on the webinar.
Great Tip: I also team up with other photographers to pitch their product to my list through a joint venture webinar which makes up about 25% of my income. We host a free webinar where they teach something to my audience and then they pitch their product at the end and we split the money. I also follow this up with an email follow up series.
My course took me about 9 months to create. Way too long. I did everything backwards. My audience had been asking me about a beginner photography course. So I decided to make the most amazing course ever. I hired a designer to create a custom site, hired a videographer to film high quality videos, a copy editor for the PDFs and the list goes on. I ended up spending as much as I made the first time I launched my ecourse. That was a huge gamble and mistake on my part.
I should have started smaller and tested to see if the course would sell. Luckily for me, it did sell.
Quick Tip from Suzi: You could create an ebook first before you invest time and money into creating a course. This will help validate your idea and bring in an income so you can take your product to the next level in time.
However, moving forward I will always do a product validation plan to make sure that what I create is not only something my readers want but will purchase. By this I mean, create a beta group and ask people to pay a discounted rate for the product. Then create it and ask for feedback from the beta group as they go through the course. Use their insights to figure out the copy for the sales page as well as different bonuses you can offer.
What If You’re Just Not Successful…. yet?
Don’t get discouraged if you see others having “success” and you feel stuck. I put success in quotes because what may look like a success may actually be them drowning in work.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Focus on adding value. Make sure you add 80% value and only 20% selling. You want to be seen as an authority in your field which you will do if you share everything you know. By focusing on content marketing, you will not only add value to your community but I don’t doubt you will increase your bottom line.
Know what you are making and spending. I just recently started tracking how much I make each day by which products in an Google doc. I know exactly how much I have brought in that day, week and month. I am also currently reading the book Profit First to really figure out how to watch my finances. Most small businesses fail their first couple of years. This book teaches how to be profitable from day one.
Quick Tip from Suzi: Here are my income reports for Start a Mom Blog if you’re curious. Thank you so much Courtney for sharing your amazing tips and success on creating a profitable photography blog! I’m so happy to feature you!
Courtney Slazinik is the force behind Click it Up a Notch®, a Huffington Post Top 5 Blogs for momtographers. She teaches 50,000 photographers each week through her thriving email community.
A former teacher who got into photography to capture her beautiful family, she is eager to share what she’s learned over the past 8 years & open the door to photography for other moms.