Hi, I’m Sam and firstly, a big thank you goes out to Dan for allowing me to be a guest.

My blog lovingthefiftysomething.com which I believe comes under the guise of a lifestyle blog is mainly aimed at the over 50’s although I do have readers of all ages.  As the title of my blog suggests, I am myself a member of the over 50’s gang and happen to love it.  When I turned 50 I was somewhat surprised to find that things didn’t suddenly start falling apart and it certainly wasn’t ‘all downhill’ from here, on the contrary, after taking some time to get over the horrible ‘empty nest’ feelings after my two sons flew off in their own directions, I suddenly woke up, smelt the coffee and realised that it’s my next phase in life.  I actually felt fantastic and quite excited about it.  I and my partner Jon then made a decision, we sold my business, my house and along with our two cats and two dogs, moved onto a broad-beamed, canal boat which Jon had been working on for many years.  We have a permanent mooring in Yorkshire, UK and tend to cruise around in the Summer months, but we also have a camper van called Polly and love to trip about in her too.  We also love to mountain bike, snowboard, surf and walk, among other things, so our life is an active one and I like to write about it.  I like to ‘shout out’ for the “over fifties” and hopefully inspire others to enjoy and be excited about this time of their lives.

My Featured Writer Friday guest this week is Sam Smith,

1.How long have you been blogging?

I tentatively set up my blog towards the end of 2016, wrote a few posts, did quite a lot of research, read a lot of other blogs and finally plucked up the courage to press the big ‘Publish’ button in January 2017 and waited.  It wasn’t long before I received a few ‘Likes’ and lovely encouraging ‘Comments’ and even some ‘Follows’. I was hooked. 

2. Are you a full-time blogger or do you also have another job/career?

My self employed business was a local one based around the area we were living, so I had to sell it when we moved onto the boat which was moored in another area.  So no, I’m not working at the moment and not exactly rushing to find another job, this means I can concentrate more on my blogging.

Read about Sam’s travels on their canal boat.

3. What got you started into blogging?

When I sold my business, I knew I needed something else to occupy my mind and concentrate on, something I could do from home (the boat), something I could do whilst cruising or whilst on the move.  I was already enjoying reading a few blogs and had read somewhere, ‘How to start a blog’ and thought, I might just give it a go, I was up for the challenge.

4. What is your blog about and how does it help others?

Loving the fifty-something is a lifestyle blog, which aims to show how turning 50 can be fun, not scary at all and in fact, can be a time of your life that’s surprisingly fresh and exciting.  It hopefully encourages other mid-lifers to take a leap of faith and try things they’ve maybe always wanted to try. I write about my journey of trying to stay fit and healthy through various ways, including mountain biking, snowboarding, yoga and walking and of course our travels on the boat and in Polly our camper van.  I also feature other ‘Amazing over 50’s’ every month who show off their own unique achievements after turning towards their mid-life.

5. What is working for you and your blog? Why?

Since first going live with my blog, I have been both amazed and happy to find a whole community out there of like-minded fifty-somethings who are blogging about how great life is at this time in their lives.  In no way at all do I see them as competition, I see them as ‘blogging’ friends and we interact so well together, supporting each other and also giving encouragement to each other.  I have found the blogging community, (not just the fifty-somethings) as a whole to be wonderful and I genuinely love to read their blogs, finding them to be, not only enjoyable posts but helpful in many different ways, for instance learning from the more advanced bloggers, seeing what works for them and taking note of their advice.   This interaction with other bloggers, whether that be through reading and commenting on their posts or through being interactive through social media has been and carries on to be so important for the building of my own blog.

Sam Smith, LovingTheFiftySomething

6. What did not work out so well for your blog? Why?

I’m into my third year now and feel I have learnt such a lot, most of which I still need to implement in order for my blog to leap forward, for instance, I realise the constant interaction through both social media and the blogging community is imperative to help gain traffic.  This is what I personally need to work on as I know I’m not consistent.  I cannot blame any individual platforms for lack of sending traffic through, because all the resources are out there.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram to name but a few are all there to aid in the marketing of a blog, but it’s up to the blogger, (ME!) to keep the momentum up to reach potential followers.

Although I realise and understand this, I still find this part very difficult, because I can get overwhelmed and quite stressed out sometimes with the following, reading and commenting of all the fabulous blogs out there, the daily need to be following and posting on all the social media platforms and that’s apart from keeping up with my blog, the writing of posts and the behind the scenes admin.  So in answer to this question, it’s ‘Me’ who needs to be more consistent in writing quality posts and also keeping up to all the social media management.  It’s been a problem to me from the minute I began blogging, I don’t know how all you amazing bloggers out there do it?!

7. What tools are you using that you can introduce my readers to?

I use WordPress for my blog and I do find it very user-friendly.  I haven’t been brave enough to try their new block editor yet, but I do intend to use it because many are saying it’s very good. I use most of the social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, but as I said above, I should be using them to my advantage a lot more. I also use Canva which is great for creating images for social media, but again, I need to get a little more ‘savvy’ with this too.

8. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a blog?

I would suggest doing a lot of research and read a lot of other blogs, especially those which offer help with blogging tips, etc, such as Dan’s.  It’s also important to get yourself out there into the blogging community, not just reading other blogs, but ‘Liking’ and ‘Commenting’, and getting your name known because you’ll be amazed at how friendly a community it is and how encouraging too.  There are many bloggers who love to help and you may even be given the chance to be a guest. 

Don’t be scared about hitting the ‘Publish’ button it’s not that scary and you may even be happy with the results. 

Choose a niche which you are passionate about and enjoy writing about, then follow other blogs in that same niche, not just in the blogging world, but on social media platforms too and try to be consistent with your blogging, (still telling myself this!). 

Write a good ‘About Me’ page, because if someone lands on your blog or has been interested enough to find you, then they’ll want to know a little about you and also have a good contact page, where it’s easy for people to get in touch.  Enjoy blogging, enjoy writing.

9. Are you monetising your website? If so, how?

I would love to earn an income from my blog, even if it’s just to cover the costs of having a website and I have started tentatively dipping my toe into the world of affiliate marketing although I’m not very good at it, but learning.  Hopefully, I’ll get better.

I have written one sponsored post and have been offered others, which I haven’t accepted as I am very choosy with topics.  I feel the topics should relate to my niche and to my blog.

Sorry folks, I’m no expert, but I’m not giving up that easily.

10. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in monetising their website/blog?

Again, I’m certainly no expert, but I believe building traffic is key and do your research, although be careful not to get drawn in by the many ‘get rich quick’ links going around.  I’m learning something new every day and again, there are many blogs out there to follow who have great advice.  I do know one thing – It takes time and patience, but when just a few pennies come in, it feels very rewarding.

11. Where can everyone find you?

Blog URL:  https://lovingthefiftysomething.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sam50something

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Lovingthefiftysomething/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.co.uk/samfiftysomething/pins/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/sam.fiftysomething/

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Until next time everyone,