This post may contain affiliate links. Please see full disclosure for details.
Hey, blogging fam! It’s been a while since we’ve talked money, and I know from the emails and messages I’ve received over the past few months that y’all haven’t been too happy about that. 😉
So what happened to your monthly income reports?
One question that I get asked all the time is why I stopped publishing my monthly income reports. The honest answer is this:
1. They take a reallllly long time to put together, and
2. I now make the bulk of my income online through freelance work (SEO content writing, social media management, front end WordPress development, and virtual assistant work) that I was able to book as a result of having this blog and from previous work experience.
Because I booked all of these jobs by essentially pitching myself to small businesses on an individual basis, I’m not really comfortable putting that income down on a monthly income report for a couple of reasons.
First, I don’t think the clients would appreciate it.
And more importantly, unless I put together a course on how you can pitch yourself as a freelancer, knowing how much I make each month as a freelancer doesn’t really help you as a blogger. In fact, putting a larger monthly income total out there might skew your opinion on blogging and give off the impression that it’s easy to make that kind of income online. I know some bloggers are comfortable grouping all of their online income together for these reports, but I’m not one of them. I want to give you only information that you can actually use to grow your own blog.
Why publish an income report at all?
I learned how to make money blogging from one really great course on affiliate marketing and from reading other bloggers’ income reports. That’s it. As someone who has benefitted from other bloggers sharing how they make money, it’s important for me to pay it forward and do the same for you.
So do I still make income directly from this blog?
But again, that information doesn’t really help you as a blogger. The most useful information I can give you is my sources of blogging-related income that you can utilize yourself.
So, without further ado, I give you this gift on my one year blogiversary: a really long list of ways that I made money during my first year blogging and how much I made from each source. Enjoy! 🙂
How I Made Money In My First Year Blogging (And How Much I Made From Each Source)
What This Report Is:
- A list of sources that I’ve earned blogging income from during my first year, and how much I’ve earned from each source.
- A list of blogging-related income sources that can actually be utilized by other bloggers.
What This Report Isn’t:
- An all-inclusive list of my blogging-related income. Excluded income sources include sponsored posts booked directly through brands, products/services offered by me personally (blog audits, etc.), and freelance work booked as a result of blogging experience (SEO content writing, social media management, front-end WordPress development, virtual assistanting, etc.).
- A monthly income report. This report lists combined income earned between July 2017 (when I began to monetize my blog) and March 2018. I made no blogging income during my first four months as a blogger, from March 2017 – June 2017.
I’ve used Bluehost as my web host from the beginning—and they are absolutely fantastic! If you’re not a big tech person, their 24/7 customer service is a real lifesaver. Bonus? Their plans are super affordable at under $4 a month, plus you get a free domain name. They also have a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you give blogging a try and it ain’t your thang, you aren’t out any money.
Nothing feels better than supporting independent small businesses on Etsy by recommending their products to my audience. I love it. I could do it all day long. The products and services are outstanding, and the shop owners are wonderful. I joined the Etsy affiliate program through Awin, and it’s easily one of the best blogging decisions I’ve made.
You can sign up for Awin here. (As a head’s up, you have to pay $5 when you sign up to join Awin, but you get that $5 back in its entirety as soon as you make your first affiliate sale.)
While you can absolutely learn the ins and outs of affiliate marketing on your own through a Google/Pinterest search session, if you’re looking to cut right to the chase and get a start-to-finish breakdown of affiliate marketing and a doable strategy, I cannot say enough good things about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, a course by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (who makes over a million dollars a year from blogging. I know. Hashtag *goals*.)
Amazon Associates ($173.67)
Amazon Associates is sort of a no-brainer for bloggers because…well…it’s Amazon! They have pretty much every type of product that you could want to recommend. Signing up for Amazon Associates is free and can be done here.
If you’re a fan of Pinterest, you’re going to love Maven. You pin products that you find online to boards and share the boards on your blog and social media platforms. Then, when someone makes a purchase, you receive a commission. You can set up a free Maven account here.
I took surveys on Swagbucks on my iPhone to earn Target gift cards while I was pregnant and breastfeeding my daughter. I usually earned about $5-$10 in gift cards each month with passive survey taking—which definitely was not nothing! You can join Swagbucks for free and start taking surveys in your spare time here, and then you can join their affiliate program through CJ Affiliate here.
Another popular web hosting choice, Siteground also offers low monthly prices and a great tech support team to answer any questions you may have. However, their plans do not include a free domain name like Bluehost.
Awin was one of the first affiliate networks I joined, and it’s the one that I’ve made a good amount of money from thanks to being able to recommend products from Etsy. Other notable programs include Hyatt and Fiiver.
As a head’s up, you have to pay $5 when you sign up to join Awin, but you get that $5 back in its entirety as soon as you make your first affiliate sale. You can sign up for Awin here.
One of my very favorite affiliate networks (especially for mom bloggers), joining ShareASale allows you to become an affiliate for amazing brands such as Wayfair, ErgoBaby, Gymboree, Spanx, Earth Mama Organics, and more. Applying to join ShareASale is completely free and can be done here.
Linqia is an influencer network that connects online influencers (such as bloggers) with amazing brands to work on sponsored posts and social media campaigns. There are a few minimum requirements that your blog will need to meet before you’re approved (e.g. you have to have either 2500 social media followers or unique monthly visitors to your blog), but once you’re in you can start working on campaigns. Linqia is completely free to join, and you can apply here.
EarthMama Organics ($15.00)
My audience digs pregnancy/birth stuff, so partnering with one of my favorite brands, EarthMama Organics was definitely a no-brainer. If you’re blogging to mamas-to-be, you can join their affiliate program through ShareASale.
Survey Voices ($14.40)
Survey Junkie ($4.00)
Yep! You guessed it. Another survey company that I used to make extra money while breastfeeding my daughter. Can you tell I did this a lot? 😉 You can sign up for Survey Junkie here, and then sign up for Max Bounty to join their affiliate program here.
If your web host doesn’t include a free domain name, you can purchase a .com domain from Namecheap for under $10/year. (But honestly, you will save a little bit of cash if you go with a web host like Bluehost that includes a free domain name. That’s one of the main reasons I started my blog with them. Because #broke.)
One of the best ways to start booking your first sponsored blog posts is to apply through sponsorship networks. These networks are some of my favorites.
Social Fabric ($2,000)
Massive Sway ($1,760)
The Motherhood ($575)
Everywhere Society ($250)