Pete Chatfield has always been a self-described “play-it-safe” kind of guy, but something inspired him to take the leap and start a website in 2016. Just a few years later, he quit his job to become a full-time blogger.
He was able to bring in a couple of hundred extra dollars per month with Household Money Saving, which was his initial goal. However, a few things changed in 2020 and his site really took off.
Today Pete’s earning around $10k/month, far surpassing his original objective and confirming the old adage, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Keep reading to find out:
- His reasons for creating Household Money Saving
- What changed in 2020
- How his income breaks down
- How much traffic his site is getting
- His marketing strategies
- His thoughts on SEO
- How he approaches link building
- How he creates content
- How he’s growing his email list
- What resources and tools he recommends
- The biggest challenge he’s faced
- His greatest accomplishment
- His main mistake
- His advice for other entrepreneurs
Meet Pete Chatfield
I’m Pete, and I live in the UK, around an hour away from London. I’m 43, married, and have three children. I worked for the UK government for twenty years, but in 2023, I became a full-time blogger.
As somebody who is traditionally risk-averse and not very adventurous (I live around 5 minutes from where I was born), this is probably the biggest step I’ve ever taken.
Why He Created Household Money Saving
I created Household Money Saving in 2016 for two main reasons.
First, I wanted to share my story about how I managed to fight my way out of debt and the lessons I learned from various methods of making and saving money.
The internet had been a great source of information for me, but I found that some of the things recommended were pretty poor, and that perhaps some people were only recommending products based on the fee they earned rather than how useful it really was.
Secondly, I hoped to create my own passive income. My dream was to earn a few hundred extra dollars each month so I could stop working night shifts. They reckon that night shift workers have several years taken off their life expectancy, and given how I felt after each one, I can believe it.
The first four years weren’t great for earnings. I mainly relied on adverts through AdSense and didn’t focus much on affiliate income. With that said, I would still earn around $200 to $300 per month by 2019.
But 2020 was a big change.
As Covid hit, a couple of my posts did really well. I was accepted into Mediavine by April, which is quite a step up from AdSense. My earnings soon doubled and it made me realize I could really make a go of it. Perhaps I had been setting my sights far too low and I could be earning far more.
I invested in a course called Stupid Simple SEO in late 2020 and it was a real game changer. By late 2021, my page views had increased over 20 times.
Prior to the course, my knowledge of SEO was OK. I knew the basics and enough to get me into Mediavine before I took the course. What I struggled with was keyword research. And SSSEO gave some great advice on how to find keywords that my site could target and rank for.
How Much Money Pete’s Making
Like many niche sites, income can vary quite a bit each month. I find that April through September are my lowest earning months, partly due to the revenue from adverts being at their lowest. However, October through March is far better, and Mediavine works on a NET 65 basis.
The advertising budgets for financial products seem the same as most others. At the beginning of each quarter, they dip quite heavily. By October and November, they’re at their highest.
My average earnings for 2022-23 were $9966.57 per month. My lowest month (April) came to $5643.86, with my best month (January) earning me $15,529.30.
Because I write almost all of my own content, I have very little in the way of costs.
My site gets 120,000 to 150,000 views per month.
I generally work between 14 and 28 hours per week on my blog. It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes, like any job, I get a little tired of it, so take a step back. It stops me from suffering from burnout.
His Unique Marketing Strategy
My advice is to focus on your strengths.
When I started, everybody told me that social media was a goldmine. I put a lot of effort into Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I’m not sure if it was me or my niche, but I had very little return for my work.
SEO, on the other hand, has been great. I find it far easier to figure out and visitors have far more interest in the content I produce.
I still do a small amount of promotion on Facebook. My page has around 60,000 followers, but I find that it tends to only get engagement if I post funny pictures. If I post a link (to my blog or another site), the Facebook algorithm doesn’t seem to like it and it reaches far fewer people.
The Importance of SEO
SEO is key to my site. It’s cheap to do, and if somebody has turned to a search engine for help and found my site, it means they have strong intent and there’s a good chance they’ll make a purchase or sign up for a service. It can be great for an affiliate income.
Initially, I analyzed competitors for possible keywords that I should target. But, as time has gone on, I now use Google Search Console. Because my site receives so many impressions, it highlights a lot of keywords that I can focus on.
I occasionally use forums or social media groups to see what questions people need to be answered. Because I write about money, people often ask “How much does X cost” or “How do I make the most of Y?” If one person asks, it often means that many others need to know, too.
Once I see a question, I’ll always do some research about it first. There are often some related questions, so it gives me the chance to target other keywords.
In the early days of Household Money Saving, I used Facebook for link building. There are lots of groups that allow you to link swap or write crowdsourcing posts. Although that’s great initially, I found a lot of these blogs disappeared over time and these links were lost.
Since then, I have used HARO. This can provide some great links but can also be a lot of work.
Social media can be useful, too. I have received several messages through Twitter from journalists looking for my opinion on various money topics. Most of the time, they’ll include a link to my site. And if they don’t, they have always added it afterward when I’ve requested it.
Pete’s Content Creation Process
I write a lot of reviews, so much of my content creation involves me trying out a product. This can be several days up to several months, it really depends on the product.
I look at a lot of subscription boxes, such as food, alcohol, and shaving to see how good the quality is and what kind of value for money they provide. I always pay for a subscription box. My personal feeling is, if you are sent a box for free, you’re more inclined to give it a positive spin so as to encourage other companies to send you free products. But I’m aware people could argue that because some of these reviews could earn me an affiliate commission, I’m going to give it a good review anyway.
I think it’s important to point out the negatives. I know that to make more sales, you should only point out the positives; however, I think you lose a lot of trust from readers if you only talk about the good parts. I make sure that I give a balanced view of a product, no matter how much I may earn from it.
Once I’ve written a post, I’ll use Google’s People Also Ask and Answer The Public to see if there’s any more content I need to add.
I don’t have a set publishing schedule. I used to aim for one per week, but I found that having a target meant that there was a chance I could be creating articles just for the sake of it. One month I may publish two articles and the next, eight.
An article can take anywhere between two and six hours to write. If I need to do some further research or look for additional keywords, it will take longer. Reviews I can write fairly quickly once I’ve tested the product.
MarketMuse is great at optimizing content so you know that you’re mentioning the right kinds of things in an article.
His Email List
I have an email list, but it’s only something I’ve paid attention to over the last few months.
I use Grow by Mediavine to attract subscribers. As a reader scrolls through a post, a subscription button will show. This is far more subtle than a pop-up and converts well.
Once somebody subscribes, they’re sent a number of emails automatically over the next couple of weeks. Not only does this give them a breakdown of some of my best content, but it also helps them to remember me when I send out future emails.
At the moment I have just over 3,000 people on my mailing list.
Pete’s Favorite Resources
I get most of my information from podcasts. I find that I take far more information in when I’m listening to something while doing mundane tasks like cleaning.
I regularly listen to The Blogging Millionaire and the Authority Hacker podcast.
His Go-To Tools
The tools I use all the time are:
KeySearch: This tool gives me access to a decent set of keywords and it’s very good value.
Grow: As I mentioned earlier, the subscription widget button is a great way to grow my email list.
Google Search Console: This is another great way to find keywords so I can add some related content.
His Greatest Challenge
Time has been my biggest challenge.
In the early days, I was happy to put in a couple of hours here and there alongside my full-time job. But once my site grew, it was a real struggle to work for 8 hours at my job and then write for another 3 or 4 hours when I got home. I had little free time.
His Main Accomplishment
My biggest accomplishment came from walking away from my full-time job. But I also appeared on BBC TV talking about side incomes, which my family loved!
I was contacted by email by somebody from the BBC. I’m not sure how they found me, though. It didn’t really have an impact on my blog. I didn’t see a massive spike in traffic. However, it’s good to be able to tell readers that I have been featured on BBC television!
What He Wishes He Knew When He Started
I wish I had known that blogging isn’t truly a passive income. I thought that I could write posts and then forget about them. But it’s important to go over old content and make sure it’s up to date. It doesn’t take much time, but it’s important to do.
I have over 300 posts. Some of the posts need updating every month or so because of their content. The others, I tend to check once per year; however, if I notice that they’ve dropped in the rankings, I may optimize them sooner.
His Biggest Mistake
My biggest mistake was thinking I understood SEO. I thought that writing a keyword 3 times in a piece of content was enough. How wrong was I? If I had a better grasp of it, I would have probably quit my job 2 years earlier.
I signed up for the course because, after I was accepted into Mediavine, my page views started to drop. I went from 40,000 views per month to just 8,000 in around five months and I wasn’t sure how to get it back. The course cost me around $500 and I wouldn’t normally spend that much, but it paid for itself within two months.
Pete’s Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
I wish I had some great words of wisdom, but I don’t. All I can suggest is not to give up too early. I’ve seen lots of people quit within a couple of years. If I had done that, I would never have been in this position.