If you need advice on getting started with a blog, you can find a wealth of tutorials on the web detailing the technical side of the process. When you need to set up a domain, choose a web host, or install WordPress, the internet has you covered! But while those provide useful starting information, they cover only part of the journey toward setting up your blog for success. We asked AGhosted client and coupon blogger, Denise Caggiano, to share how she found her place in the blogosphere.
Seven years ago, Denise noticed that her grocery bills were skyrocketing. She was spending hundreds of dollars on multiple grocery store runs in a given week. At the time, she had four growing boys playing sports, and eating constantly. She knew it was time to find creative ways to save money on those necessary grocery runs.
Denise was no stranger to using coupons. She grew up with coupon-savvy role models — her mother and grandmothers — and was ready to go from casual couponing to mastering how to change the bottom line. She started in earnest by finding and following several coupon experts in order to learn the ropes.
Before long, Denise started to see up to 60 percent savings on her grocery and household bills! When friends and family learned how much she was saving at local stores, they wanted to know how they could start saving. So in 2009, Denise started Coupons for Your Family.
Find your niche
Early on, Denise chose to specialize in providing local deals and coupon matchups for grocery stores, like Tops Friendly Markets and Wegmans. She was already interested in these offers, as were her friends and family, and her focus made it easy to get started. She quickly found out she and her friends weren’t alone.
By posting the content she found useful, Denise discovered she was filling a niche that other coupon blogs had missed. She could set her blog apart from other coupon blogs, and find her ideal readers.
“There are hundreds of coupon bloggers out there,” she said. “My best advice is to have a niche store to cover that others aren’t covering. Many of my readers ask for advice on where and what to buy, and religiously follow the deals that I post daily!”
She added that choosing which deals to post and are right for your readers isn’t always straightforward. “Their needs might change as their families change. So you’ll gain some followers and lose some over time,” she said.
Create good content
Running a coupon blog requires a lot of energy, as the sheer volume of deals available can overwhelm even the savviest couponer. What’s more, a growing community can bring the responsibility to respond to questions from that community throughout the day. This can make it tricky to figure out which deals or coupons to post, so Denise recommends looking at which posts garner the most interest. “I’m continually trying to narrow down which posts get the most engagement,” Denise shared, “so that readers come back to my blog first.”
In addition, many coupon or deals posts can become outdated quickly. That’s why Denise stresses the importance of varying the type of content you post, even when your niche focus is to share time-sensitive coupons and deals.
“Add content beyond deals and that content can live on the site forever,” Denise said. “Start incorporating lifestyle content, such as recipes, to promote your deals.”
Socialize and share your content
Denise began attending blogging conferences to meet and network with other coupon bloggers — a decision she said, “was crucial for [her] blog’s success.” Denise needed a successful way to get her content out to coupon communities, and networking helped with that. She is a contributor, and administrator, of several Facebook Groups with other coupon bloggers. In these groups, they share the responsibility of posting coupons or offers, responding to questions or comments, and building the communities. Group members are highly engaged, which helps Denise get her content in front of her ideal readers.
Find a web partner
As her coupon blog grew, Denise occasionally experienced growing pains in managing her site. She had a lack of familiarity with HTML coding and wasn’t always sure how to troubleshoot issues with WordPress. She discovered that dealing with those issues herself meant she spent time away from blogging and building her site content. “I work a full-time job and run our household. Whenever my site had issues, I could not quickly share deals or content my readers were looking for,” she shared.
In 2013, Denise moved her site to Agathon Group WordPress hosting. She had previously had major issues with site security that were causing her site to crash or run slow. Our team at Agathon Group went to work debugging and getting her site back up and running in good shape.
“Now, Agathon Group handles site coding and backend troubleshooting for me now, and thankfully, I don’t have the issues I used to,” she said. “I will be forever grateful for their expertise. I no longer need to worry about the technical parts of my site, and can concentrate on content!”
Today, Denise continues to run Coupons for Your Family. She also contributes to several engaged Facebook community groups, and is an official Money Savings Expert in a popular coupon and savings mobile app, Favado.
Vanessa is responsible for coordinating conference sponsorships and creating marketing collateral to help support our team and public-facing story.