SILER CITY — From inside her Siler City home, blogger Amy Smith has accidentally fulfilled every entrepreneur’s dream: to build a thriving business around her passion.
The product? A lifestyle blog called “My Four and More”. Hosted at myfourandmore.com, Smith’s blog features seven different categories of content, primarily for housewives, parents and other kindred spirits looking for home advice, gift guides, travel recommendations , product reviews and lots of life advice including finances, adoption. , parenting and mental health.
“I didn’t start it as a business,” Smith, 40, told News+Record. “I started out just sharing my thoughts, and then it kind of turned into a full-fledged business.”
Launched in late 2016, My Four and More originally began as a passion project and platform for Smith to share her own experiences with infertility, adoption and fostering, and raise other women facing similar situations.
After finding out they couldn’t have children, Smith and her husband, Josh (the assistant pastor of the Siler City Community Baptist Church), eventually adopted three children – sons Ryan and Cameron, and daughter Camila – and even fostered other children for a few years. years in Siler City before a bad experience prompted them to quit.
“We were getting question after question,” she said. “I just felt like I was repeating myself a bit, and I realized how many people out there are kind of in the same situation of not being able to have kids and trying to look at options and different things. So when I started the blog, it was kind of a way to be able to combine all of our experiences.
Such experiences, Smith added, also included severe depression.
“So the combination of that, with the adoption, there were so many conversations we had that I was able to write it all down to say, ‘Hey, you can go read it over there too,'” says “And it just gave a way to be able to direct people — not that I don’t talk to them yet, but you know, to be able to be a little more exposed to help people.”
At first, her blog’s readership consisted mostly of friends and family members. Over time, however, Smith and her readers began to share her posts on social media, which attracted more and more readers. Eventually, a combination of social media sharing and quality content led to her posts achieving top Google rankings, which in turn attracted even more readers.
But the readers were not the only ones to understand. Companies including Best Buy and Jabra also started taking notice of her blog.
“It kind of turned into companies reaching out to me and asking if I would sponsor their content – you know, different products or travel, different places, wanting us to feature them for travel features,” Smith said. “And so it’s become a bit more like a full-fledged lifestyle blog where I do a bit of everything on it.”
Based on traffic data for the last three months, My Four and More sees 21,600 unique views per month on average, plus around 212,400 monthly reads, which means that each visitor reads around 10 articles throughout a month. on average. Its social networks also extend to thousands of people: on Facebook, “My Four and More” has more than 2,500 subscribers. There are nearly 34,000 on Twitter, about 5,200 on Pinterest and 14,000 on Instagram.
“Of course some of them are, you know, Facebook, Twitter – maybe it’s the same person following me on all four social networks,” she said, adding with a laugh, “but I hope they see it on at least one of them.
Most, if not all, of the traffic his blog receives is organic, meaning most find their site on their own through search engines. When it comes to driving more traffic through complex search engine optimization techniques and social media strategies based on each platform’s algorithm, she said she’s still a novice.
“I don’t know how people find me,” Smith said. “I don’t know how – you know, I don’t know all that. I’m not very good with the back-end. I completely set up my new website, I was able to do it completely on my own, but there are still some issues I’m working on… I’m learning everyday and hope to keep learning more and more to be even more successful, but something works. I don’t know exactly what it is.
As a result, blogging is no longer just Smith’s hobby; it’s become a full-time job, but one she loves, especially since she’s her own boss.
“I may work at 8 in the morning, or I may work at midnight,” she smiles. “I mean, it just depends on what we have, but that makes it flexible so that I can still be fully involved with my kids, and if we have something to do at church, or if my daughter has a basketball camp this week – being able to leave at any time and do what I need to do, then I can do my job later in the day.
It’s a lot of work: she aims to research, write and publish three to five articles a day. Sometimes she also edits and publishes sponsored posts for an editorial fee — something, she added, that has skyrocketed in the past three weeks in particular, though she’s not sure why. Last Thursday, for example, she had already received more than five such messages before 9 a.m.
Things have worked out so well, in fact, that she recently launched a second blog, homeremodeltips.com, focused on home ideas. In addition to posting three to five articles on My Four and More, she began writing at least three articles a day to build readership for Home Remodel Tips.
“I was getting a lot more emails about home-type messages, like remodeling or decorating, stuff like that,” she said. “And my blog, I do a lot of that there with myfourandmore.com, but there were so many posts for that, that I was like, ‘Why not start a new one that’s more home-specific? ‘ So I started one. »
Yet despite all the hard work she puts into it, Smith doesn’t see My Four and More as a one-man show; instead, she sees it – rightly so – as a family business. Josh helps out with some of the writing, and when she’s about to post travel articles, most destinations will provide tickets and accommodation for her whole family.
“So I consider that even if I do the writing and I do the emails and all that, it’s kind of our family’s thing because if they didn’t want to have pictures or if I couldn’t not share their stories or anything, that kind of takes away from the blog,” she said with a laugh. “So I see it as kind of a combined effort.”
For her, such blog-inspired family trips are among the most rewarding parts of it all – although, she added, having the ability to work from home is “probably number one”. Thanks to the success of My Four and More, Disney, Legoland, SeaWorld and Carowinds have all paid for her family’s way to their attractions in exchange for travel articles and reviews.
“It’s just a way for us to be able to really bond as a family while still being able to share our fun with everyone,” she said.
Beyond family fun and flexibility, My Four and More also gives her a meaningful way to make a difference in people’s lives.
“My husband is the spokesperson for our family,” Smith said. “I am not the speaker. I get nervous when I try to talk to people unless it’s just a one-on-one conversation, but [My Four and More] kind of gives me a way to feel like I have a purpose to go through some of the things we’ve been through, with depression and then with infertility. It’s kind of worth having been through this stuff and being able to share my experience to hopefully help someone else.
The most rewarding reading messages she has received, for example, come from families who are struggling to have children but have been reluctant to adopt or foster children until they read her articles about her trips with both. In another instance, a company contacted her about promoting a product on its website, which she had only found because the company representative was suffering from depression.
“It ended up turning into probably 20 emails back and forth, even more about the product,” she said. “It was pretty much, ‘This is what I’m going through. I see you’ve been there, I really appreciate your insight on this. Do you have any other tips?’ It was just great to see the difference that I was able to help this person directly through the blog. This is probably the most important answer that I think was the most rewarding for me.
And for those considering following in his footsteps, Smith has a little advice: just write from the heart.
“You have to find your passion because I honestly feel like the success of my blog comes from me speaking from my heart, content that was personal and not pushing the business side. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen “, she said. “I think that’s the biggest key – just write what you’re passionate about and focus on that before anything else.
Journalist Victoria Johnson can be reached at [email protected]