Today we had the opportunity to Skype with Heidi Gollub – creator of Free Fun in Austin, a blog about just that – free events and opportunities for families to partake in. When she started the blog in 2010, the direction of the blog was slightly skewed. Gollub had planned for her blog to be that of the “extreme couponing” variety, although after a while she found that to be more boring than she had hoped for. With this, she transformed her blog into what it is today – a platform for parents to stay informed on local events. She said that her audience is around that of 200,000 viewers – most of them parents in the area.
“When you start a blog you may have one thing in mind, but sometimes it changes because of your interests and what your readers like to see,” said Gollub in reference to the evolution of her blog.
At first, she followed the footsteps of a blogger she thought to be successful, posting anywhere from 8-11 times per day – which has since decreased due to the incredible amount of time it takes to run her site. Although it is very time consuming, there hasn’t been one week in 5 years that Free Fun in Austin hasn’t seen new content via Gollub and her contributors. Currently Gollub has 4 contributors (which she pays to write for her site) that all have families of their own and write some of her more timeless pieces as well as the many giveaways her site does.
This year she has won “Best Local Blog”, and appears on the news weekly to discuss current events.
“I think the bottom line is to work really, really hard and have fun with it,” said Gollub.
In terms of monetization, Gollub uses Google Ad Sense in her sidebar, as well as giveaways and sponsored content — although she warns to us young bloggers not to accept every opportunity that comes our way early on. She recommends strategy should be used when promoting other things within your blog.
Some other tips Gollub had to offer:
– buy every domain name that sounds relatively close to yours for SEO and also competitive purposes
– make sure you are selective when using social media – not every platform is relevant to your site!
All in all, this stay-at-home mom of 5 has the right idea, if you love something it shows through very apparently!