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Alright, I wanted to make this post as realistic as possible as I was getting frustrated with seeing blog income reports and claims with a lot of hype but little information. If you asked me a year ago when I thought about starting this blog if it would ever make any money, I would answer …maybe. I wanted a fun hobby that could double as a side hustle but I never thought it would make more than a couple hundred dollars here and there. Since November 2017 I have been steadily making just under $1,000 per month with this blog until I finally broke $1,000 in February of this year (2018). I started this blog in April of 2017 and never thought I could actually make money blogging from it, but here we are.
The great thing about blogging as a side hustle is I only end up working a maximum of 10 hours on it a week and I can work from anywhere I want. If I could dedicate myself to my blog as a full time gig, I could easily replace my day job income. However, I am still working up to that point.
I was hesitant about jumping on the ‘blog income report’ bandwagon as all the bloggers seem to be. However, since my blog aims to help others hack heir future by saving and side hustling their way to financial freedom, I thought I would share my blog accomplishments. Who knows, these results might inspire you to start your own blog.
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Keep in mind that I also still have to pay taxes on my blog earnings when the time comes. Blogging is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme either, you have to work your a** off, but it is worth it and pretty fun too. Once you get to a point where everything starts to even out, your workload decreases and you only end up working on your blog when you need to. For me that is around 10 hours a week as I also work a full-time job.
If you have not yet started a blog and want to, or are having trouble with where to start, check out How To Create A Self Hosted WordPress Blog. If you sign up for Bluehost with my link you get a free domain, free site builders, free 1-click WordPress install, 24/7 support and all for only $2.95 a month! You really can’t beat that deal.
This blog has truly changed my life and my family’s life. Because of the side income from this blog we have been able to pay off debt, help with bills, and add more to our savings. There is an unlimited world of possibilities with blogging. If you go into travel blogging you can often receive free travel in exchange for sponsored blog posts. If you go into event blogging you can get some amazing hookups to festivals and exclusive events. I know of bloggers that have received free gifts such as infusing machines and boots in exchange for Instagram posts. Think of something you would love writing about or maybe even talk about on a podcast if that is more your thing, and make it work for you.
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How I Make Money Blogging
I mainly use ads and affiliate marketing to make money blogging.
For ads, when I finally reached 25,000 sessions at the beginning of this year, I applied to Mediavine and was accepted. If you are not familiar with Mediavine, it is not an ad network. Instead, it is a group of publishers who joined forces to work directly with ad exchanges and advertisers to get the most money for their ad inventory. This change has more than doubled my ad income since switching from Google Adsense. To read about different types of ads to display on your blog, check out Frustrated With Google AdSense? Try These Top Alternatives.
For affiliate marketing, with more traffic also came higher affiliate earnings. Don’t let that discourage you though because you can still make a a good amount of affiliate income from low traffic if you know how to reach and talk to your ideal audience (and therefore effectively affiliate market). I include a number of different affiliate links from affiliate networks and platforms throughout my blog. Some of which include, but not limited to:
What even is ‘affiliate marketing’? Affiliate marketing is when you monetize your blog by promoting and selling other’s products. You would try to earn money by placing an affiliate link on your website, social media account, or anywhere that you have online influence for potential sales. Affiliate marketing ultimately aims to have people purchase a product through your affiliate link or links.
When starting out, affiliate marketing was confusing to me too. Which is why I took the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. This course is truly amazing as I saw results with my affiliate income within the first 2 weeks. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am with my blog today without this course. The earnings speak for themselves as I do make 66% of my blog income from affiliate marketing alone. If you invest in any course for your blog, this is the one to invest in!
I also use a couple of referral programs such as Ibotta and Dosh’s referral programs. These are similar to affiliate programs but often lower payouts as I receive a credit for every sign up and fulfillment of sign up requirement for me to receive a credit.
I wanted to add more streams of income to my blog but there is never enough time, is there? As my blog is just hitting it’s 1 year old mark and I took a couple months off from my blog in the middle there to basically deal with life, I think I am in a pretty good place. I have been and continue to work on adding new ways to monetize this blog and it’s brand.
I recently started doing a couple of sponsored posts so look out for those in the coming months. Of course, I only write and offer sponsor posts from companies and brands that I know, trust, and enjoy using. To read more ways to make money blogging, check out this post.
March 2018 Breakout Of Blog Earnings:
Affiliate and Referral Income
Flex Offers: $55.60
Elegant Themes: $45.50
5 Dollar Meal Plan: $19.80
Commission Junction: $10.20
Blogging tools and resources that helped me get here:
Here are some blogging resources I use on a daily basis to get from where I was when I started in April 2017, to now.
Bluehost: When you are first starting your blog, you don’t want to spend a fortune on hosting and neither did I. Hosting your blog on Bluehost gives you a free domain, free site builders, free 1-click WordPress install, 24/7 support and all for only $2.95 a month. Yes, I do also recommend using WordPress for your blog as it is the easiest open source platform to use from my experience. Don’t know how to use it? No problem, Bluehost will walk you through every step of the way as their support team is very helpful (isn’t that a relief).
Creative Market: I love using Creative Market to find cute graphics, stock photos, fonts, plugins and themes to incorporate into my blog. I also love the weekly freebies they send straight to my inbox. There is something for everyone on Creative Market, for as low as $0 in some cases!
Elegant Themes: Elegant themes is the number one theme provider in premium WordPress themes, in my opinion. Their Divi theme is out of this world and completely changes the way we build and maintain blogs by making everything 100% easier. I love this site.
Convertkit: I use Convertkit for my email list and is the best email marketing platform I have worked with. I tried all of the free options and absolutely hated them. They were complicated and a hassle to use. To me, staying productive with my blog is very important as I also have a full-time day job. Convertkit has made it very simple to manage my email list and keep an open on-going relationship with my readers
Affiliate Window: A number of the affiliates I promote throughout my blog come through Affiliate Window or AWIN. Affiliate Window is a great and easy to use affiliate network to help boost your blog earnings. Along with access to hundreds of affiliates through the platform, they also have an amazing referral program of their own. Once you get access to the platform and refer any new signups, you get $30.
Grammarly: Without this tool, every other sentence you read on this blog would be completely butchered. Grammarly is an extension I installed onto my Chrome browser and automatically spell-checks and grammar-checks ANYTHING I type. I love it. Oh and did I mention, it is 100% free!
Picmonkey: I use PicMonkey and Canva for editing all the images, graphics, pinnable images and featured images on my blog. I switch between the two to keep the cost low ;).
I have learned so much this past year blogging, it is insane. If you knew how much I was working on this blog when I first started out, you would think I was crazy. But it was worth it. Every bit of sweat and blood for this blog was worth it. You know why? Because I am proud of what I was able to create from scratch and it is 100% mine. No one can take that from me.
But it took a lot of failures to get to this success. Some of them more painful than others.
Not having a plan
In order to have a successful blog, you need a plan in place to follow so you stay consistent and organized. One of the biggest mistakes I made as a newbie blogger was I didn’t have a niche. I had a plan but it wasn’t a realistic one as I didn’t have a clear niche nor a specific audience I was creating content for. I was writing and cranking out content but had no goal for my blog. You will see what I mean if you look at the very first few of my posts.
Aiming for perfection
When you have a clear plan for what you want to do with your blog, it will be easy to form your posts and stay consistent. Don’t spend hours writing your post because you are going over it time and time again. Proofread your posts with little effort using Grammarly. It is 100% FREE and makes sure your post is clear, effective and makes sure your spelling and grammar are correct as you go. I absolutely love grammarly and is one of my favorite tools that I have used to boost my blog productivity.
Comparing your blog to others
When you compare yourself to others, you start striving to be like them or have an idea of ‘perfect’ in your head and will never be satisfied about where you are with your blog. This also hinders your ability to be 100% yourself and will show in your content quality.
There is no need to freak out and try to be like all the other bloggers out there. Just follow your gut about what you need to do and what you need to write and always be yourself.
What other ways do you make money blogging? Not yet started a blog but have questions or want to bounce some ideas off of me? Leave a comment or contact me here!
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Daniella is the creator and author of iliketodabble.com. When her wife Alexandra and her aren’t globetrotting or playing with their 7+ animals, they are hustling and working towards a future of financial freedom.