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helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

LAST UPDATED: AUGUST 2016

professional-wedding-blogger

I’ve been getting many of questions lately about what exactly I do. I have to admit, telling people that I am a professional wedding blogger has gotten me some CRAZY looks from time to time, since many people still don’t seem to understand exactly what a blogger does. So I am joining some of my fellow wedding blogger friends in sharing a day-in-the-life of what exactly it is that I do around here! In all honesty, I hope it doesn’t bore you too much! It’s not just looking at pretty images and browsing Pinterest all day, contrary to popular belief! 🙂

When it comes to blogs, you’ll probably realize that there are millions of blogs out there, and many many many in the wedding world! There are several types of wedding blogs and I want to note the differences:

What are the different types of wedding blogs?

  • bride blogs: brides who are currently planning their wedding and sharing their experiences and adventures along the way. It serves as a personal diary for the bride, not generally for informational purposes. (BSB started this way!)
  • wedding vendor blogs: vendors who blog to promote and share their business and work. Their blog serves as a portfolio of sorts.
  • professional wedding blogs: they come in many sizes, shapes, styles, and focuses but they all have certain things in common: we make an income from our blogs, and thus we pay taxes, have quality standards and practices,  post consistently,  and adhere to a set of standards put in place by the FTC regarding sponsored content, not to mention a plethora of other unspoken/unwritten rules that exist in the blog world. The blog is the business.

 

 

Is this wedding blog your full time job?

Running BSB is now my primary career, but it took me quite a while to get here. I started the site in May of 2008 while planning my own budget savvy wedding, and it was 4.5 years before I felt like I could make this site my full time business. My background is in graphic design, so for a while I did quite a bit of freelance work in addition to BSB, but ultimately had to give it up as the site grew to take up more of my time.

 

 

What is a typical day like in the life of a wedding blogger?

There’s no such thing as typical for me these days. I’m not sure if my schedule would be enviable to most, but I am really committed to doing what I do- it’s all work that I am passionately interested in, so to me it’s totally worth it! I don’t have a ‘real’ schedule, but these are all things that I do or deal with on a daily or weekly basis. First of all, I host and manage my site on a WordPress platform. It’s a really robust Content Management System that allows for static websites or blogs. If you want to learn how to set up your own website or blog using WordPress, I’ve written a great tutorial on the subject. I also recommend BlueHost as a hosting platform to host your blog or website.

 

Administrative Blog Tasks

  • Brainstorm post ideas and create an editorial calendar
  • Proof and edit each post that goes up on the site. I spend time adding photos, choosing tags and categories, and optimizing the posts for SEO (search engine optimization).
  • Write blog posts of my own and create images to support them
  • Moderating comments and answering questions left by readers if necessary
  • Interacting on twitter / FB / pinterest – schedule social media shares for each post of the day.
  • reviewing wedding submissions sent through TwoBrightLights
  • Networking- reaching out to people/vendors/bloggers for partnerships and collaborations
  • Recruit, interview and train new bride bloggers and other guest contributors
  • Coordinate with advertisers, create partnerships, negotiate giveaways and other fun content for the site

 

Wedding Feature Posts

BSWOWs and wedding features typically take me a bit longer. I spend alot of time reviewing submissions, contacting the photographers or brides to get questionnaires filled out, reading and proofing the completed questionnaires, inputting the text into a blog post, formatting the text style, adding links. I download all the photos from a submission and storyboard them into a general overview of the day. I upload images to the post, add intro/favorite things from me at the top, then categorize the wedding by budget and location, add tags and descriptions for SEO and then schedule them for publication.  One wedding submission typically takes 5 or so hours to process on my end from reviewing the initial submission to scheduling and promoting the blog post. Whew! {Update, as of 2015 I’ve since brought in some help in the form of former bride blogger Abby who now oversees and coordinates all our real wedding submissions!}

 

emails

Emails, emails, + more emails

I filter all my emails through my Gmail account– and I mean ALL of them. Between my blog and personal email, I typically have somewhere around 200 emails each morning. I generally do a quick look over all the emails- delete the excess junk mail, and prioritize my inbox into what are the most important or needing the quickest response.

Generally I have to sort through lots of pitches, advertising inquiries, collaboration opportunities, consulting requests, etc. Emails filter in all day long, so this is something that I’m checking in on multiple time throughout the day, but I try to keep it down to a few times per day. Here’s an example of the kinds of things that enter my email inbox on a weekly basis:

  • people offering ‘guest post’ content on topics they aren’t really knowledgable about to try to boost their site’s SEO (I generally don’t respond to these unless they actually seem like they know what they’re talking about and/or I know them and trust their site, content and consistency.)
  • news alerts and blanket press releases from companies looking to get their products featured on BSB (usually for free.) I delete ALOT of these.
  • networking/consulting requests from wedding vendors and fellow bloggers
  • inquiries from companies who are interested in advertising with BSB to reach brides who would love their products (I check out each company to ensure that they are a true fit for the site because I only want to promote products and services that I feel are of real value to you, the readers. Trust me, I turn down LOTS of companies who aren’t really a fit.)
  • invitations to wedding industry events (getting lots of these with bridal market next month!!)
  • media opportunities and interview requests
  • emails with completed questionnaires for wedding features
  • occasional email submissions from photographers or brides who’d like their weddings featured on the site.

 

Technology + Site Updates

In 2013, I redesigned the entire site (utilizing my graphic design background) and my developer Taylor McRae executed my vision. I am getting ready to roll out some more site updates in the coming months that have fallen to the backburner but I couldn’t be more excited! Currently working on: updating the text spacing for easier readability, updating the look of certain pages on the site, concept and development for an easier navigation and layout for the site, general look + feel updates, etc. We use a site called Asana to communicate about the desired updates, the status of projects, etc.

 

collaborations

Collaborations + Partnerships

I’ve been working on some collaborations with different bloggers and companies that will benefit the content and features of BSB! Some of these include the FREE DIY Printables from Download & Print, the Blooms on a Budget Series with Maddy of Confetti Pop sponsored by Blooms by the Box, the new Money Mondays series from LearnVest, DIY tutorials with Elizabeth of Stockroom Vintage and Old Time Pottery, and some possible future features as a part of Martha Stewart’s blogger network.

 

Accounting + Admin Tasks

I enter in my expenses to keep up with where my money is going. Some expenses associated with running the blog are hosting fees, domain fees, event tickets, conference fees, paying my developer for work he does, design update fees, transportation to and from business related meetings, etc. Luckily computer software and hardware updates, craft supply purchases for DIY projects, and blog related lunch meetings are write-offs, too! I also prepare and send invoices to advertisers for sponsored posts and things of that nature.

 

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{from Joy Kelley – the designer of BSB!}

Monitoring Analytics + Financials

I typically check out my business overview once per day. These include BSB statistics, analytics, ad earnings, affiliate networks, etc to make sure everything is functioning properly and get a financial overview of how I’m tracking for the day, week, month, etc. I see what trends highly so that I can determine what the readers like best – I want to continue serving up content that you all like, so this helps me get an idea of what does well. I’ll be doing a reader survey soon to get some feedback from you guys as well!

 

Learning + Continuing Education

I attend various conferences, networking events and workshops each year and many of these have fees involved. I like to constantly learn about new technologies, practices, and ways to improve the blog and what we have to offer, so attending these conferences is huge for me. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet many other bloggers who I’ve befriended over the years. It helps to have friends who get it – they know what I do and what I’m going through because they do it too! In the past I’ve attended blogging conferences like BlissDom, networking events like Martha Stewart’s Dreamers Into Doers and the B-List, as well as personal development workshops like the Making Things Happen conference, Marie Forleo’s B-School, Alt Summit, Inspired Retreat and more.

 

How do you make money as a wedding blogger?

There are many different types of wedding blogs. From the big, general wedding sites to local-focused sites to the more niche-specific sites like BSB. Each type of wedding blog will likely have a slightly different business model, but this is how my business works.

Ad Networks

One of the ways I earn money is via Ad Networks. There are several positions on the site that earn us money based on traffic and clicks. This is a fairly traditional form of advertising, in which a third party network sells, manages, and hosts all ads on behalf of a large group of publishers. Publishers like me are then given a code to embed the ads on our websites, which are served by the network. So you might occasionally see some more generic, non-wedding related ads in our header or sidebar depending on your browsing history.

 

Direct sponsorships

Sometimes I have brands and businesses who want to advertise with me directly, rather than through a network. These companies are those that I have a direct relationship with. They can purchase banner ads in our sidebar or in our resource guide. Of course, we only choose to work with sponsors whose work / service / product we actually trust.

 

Affiliate Partners

Another area of income for us is affiliates. This is my favorite way to work with brands, because it feels more authentic and honest for me. We have a wide variety of affiliate partners that we work with at The Budget Savvy Bride, and I have personally vetted or tested them all. When we share links from our affiliate partners, if you click those links and make a purchase, we will earn a small commission from those links. Using our affiliate links to make purchases will *never* cost you more money. In most cases, it could save you money! Because we work with our affiliate partners to secure exclusive wedding deals for our readers because we rock like that. 😉 I often seek out affiliate relationships with partners whose work or products I absolutely adore, so you never have to worry about us recommending something we don’t actually believe in.

Interested in affiliate marketing? Read this page to learn more about how to get started with affiliate marketing.

 

Sponsored Content

Another fun and interesting way that we bring in revenue at The Budget Savvy Bride is by working with brands on sponsored content. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why should you trust anything we write about a brand if they are paying us to do so? I am here to tell you that I hold us to the highest standards of integrity when it comes to sponsored content and I have routinely turned down offers to work with brands I didn’t believe in or that weren’t a fit. Whenever I work with a brand to create sponsored content, I strive to do what I do with any other post on The Budget Savvy Bride: provide value, teach our readers something new, or introduce them to a new resource they didn’t know they were missing.

For example, many of our sponsored posts include products that help us to make a DIY project that will help to personalize your day, or gift to your bridesmaids to show your appreciation. We always put the reader first in our minds when creating any piece of sponsored content and we truly hope that none of our content comes across as a sleazy ad. Our posts here at The Budget Savvy Bride should accomplish one of these things: equip, inspire, empower, or inform the reader, and I truly believe that even our sponsored content accomplishes that goal!

 

Guest Writing / Contributions

In addition to writing on The Budget Savvy Bride, I also contribute to another few sites. I am the resident Weddings Expert for About.com, and I just joined the team at Oriental Trading Co. to start contributing some fun DIY wedding content for their site as well! These, as well as some others from time to time, bring in some additional income for me.

 

 

It’s a TON of work, but I love what I do.

This blog but it is more than just a job for me. I’ve spent over eight years working on BSB, and I didn’t start it with the intention of it turning into a business. Over the years, it’s grown and surpassed my wildest expectations, but I am not an overnight success story. I spent 4.5 years before I felt like I could leave my day job to consider blogging full time, and for a while I was supplementing my income with freelance design work. Only within the last year have I brought on any help to make things run smoother, but that has been so worth it!

Running this blog is not something I would’ve continued doing if I didn’t absolutely LOVE it. Some of you might remember (or if you’ve read the archives you’ll know) that I started this blog for fun, as a place to share my own wedding planning experiences. I had no idea that it would grow into what it is today, but I couldn’t be happier to be doing work that I enjoy and that helps others who are going through what I went through!

 

 

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{from Making Things Happen}

 

There are difficulties involved in being a blogger too… it took a very long time to get to where I am. I spent years building and maintaining the blog with little financial gain- that’s how you know I love what I do because I basically did it for peanuts for years! The income is definitely variable, so that is something that you have to plan for — luckily I’m pretty budget savvy! 😉  And then of course there’s the fact that many people just don’t get what I do no matter how hard I attempt to explain it. There are also a ton of blogs out there so it’s hard to keep yourself from getting caught up in ‘competition.’ As I said it has taken me years to get to where I am, and I’ve had to work to remain focused on my growth and comparing myself only to how far I’ve come!

But all of these hardships are worth it because this blog is mine. It’s a part of who I am and I’ve put my heart and soul into building it to where it is today. I *know* what it’s like to be a bride with a small budget with no flippin’ clue of how you’re realistically gonna make your dream wedding happen. Everything I do to work on this blog- every partnership I make, every post I schedule, every sponsor we choose to work with- these are all done because I truly believe that it will help you, the readers, in your goal to have a fabulous wedding. Much of the money I earn from the blog gets reinvested into building out new features, site updates, etc because I want to continue to grow the site and make it even more helpful for all of you!

 

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{image source}

Whew- if you’re still reading, I hope this little peek behind the curtain helps answer any questions you might have wondered about. If you ever have other questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me- I’m happy to share! If you’re a wedding blogger and interested in joining a community of other bloggers who are passionately interested in what they do, and in fostering relationships with other bloggers to help promote standards for our profession, please check out Aisle Society.

 

Want to start your own blog?

If you are interested in starting your own blog (be it wedding related or another focus) please check out this post on how to get hosting and start a wedding website or blog. I also offer consulting on the side from time to time and would love to help you get started!

 

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog, even if you didn’t make it through this beast of a post- because you’re allowing me to do what I love and for that I am truly grateful!

jessica-signature

 

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About Jessica

Jessica is the creator of The Budget Savvy Bride; she launched the site in May of 2008, shortly after becoming engaged. Jessica has been recognized as a budget wedding expert by various media outlets and continues to share realistic inspiration and actionable tips to help brides save money on their weddings. Google

Connect with Jessica
  • Love this! I’ve had my blog for years and I’m just now making a bit of money off it. Not enough to go full-time but enough to supplement our household income. Thanks for sharing!

  • I love that you clarified the distinction between a bride, blogger, a vendor blogger, and a professional blogger! Oh, and you NAILED IT with the admin work and emails 🙂

  • Pingback: Day In the Life of a Professional Wedding Blogger {Personal}()

  • LOVE this post! We sure do a lot, don’t we! Your collaborations are always my fav – keep up the good work!

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  • Sunaina Sharma

    true, even though I am a planner and not a blogger (at least so far!), I can relate its not an easy task especially to juggle with those emails in different inbox accounts.

  • Andi

    This information is great. I just started my own blog and I love writing about weddings. Eventually maybe I would like to make a little money off of blogging or writing about weddings. Any information to point me in the right direction to go towards that path? Great information on this page.

  • Thanks so much for this, I’m not sure whether I’m a Bride-blogger or hopeful Professional blogger yet, but I’ll work it out with a little help from reading great wedding blogs like yours xx

  • Tracy Chan

    Hi Jessica – my name is Tracy. Would like to understand how you handle “copyright” when you start your blog? For sure you’ll be referring to many brand name wedding items and vendors (e.g. Wedding dress, accessories etc etc) and will be using their photos. Since your blog do generate profit, what would be the appropriate treatment on top of giving credits to those copyright photos/video/links? Have been wondering about this – thank you so much for your answer.

    • Hi Tracy!

      Generally commercial brands and retailers are happy to have their products mentioned and featured on blogs as it leads to brand awareness and potential sales, but it’s always important to give a link / credit to the original source just to be safe.

      On BSB, real weddings / photography from those actual weddings are only used when submitted specifically to us by the photographer or bride, or if we reach out and ask permission to use them. Always credited, as well.

      Here’s a great resource for info about using online images under Fair Use:
      http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/copyright-fair-use-and-how-it-works-for-online-images/

      • Tracy Chan

        Thank you very much Jessica. This is indeed very useful. If you don’t mind, I would also like to understand – advertisement is probably a main source of income for a commercial blog? Given the fact that a blogger is already reporting and introducing products from the vendor in the blog, the vendors are already getting a “free advertising”. What would be the strategy or incentive to get vendors to pay for advertising on the blog? Thanks in advance for your great help!

        • I think that sales strategies vary from blog to blog. At BSB, we do not charge wedding vendors to advertise, as we often share ways for brides to do things themselves. Most of our sponsored content or ads come from larger brands or retailers that are available to our nationwide audience.

          Many other wedding blogs work directly with wedding vendors in order to showcase their work, and often do so by creating a vendor directory of recommended and vetted wedding professionals. I can’t personally speak to that strategy as it’s not something that I do. Feel free to email me if you have further questions! 🙂 jessica @ thebudgetsavvybride.com

  • Dreamy Wedding Daze

    This is so helpful Jessica! Thank you for sharing. I’m a bride-blogger and I’m really enjoying blogging about my own experiences but I have a lot to learn! Hayley x