Wanna know how to make money with a blog and if you can make money on your first month blogging? Welcome to my first income report where I’ll show you how I made $246 in a month with a brand new blog.
I started this blog with a clear mission in mind. To help women get past the overwhelm of starting a blogging biz and make a living pursuing their dreams.
For the sake of full disclosure, I didn’t start with zero blogging knowledge. I had already been blogging and learning for quite some time before launching this blog. I also had a strategy. And I knew exactly what I wanted.
However, I thought it was important to share with you this first income report because it shows you don’t need a well-established blog and millions of pageviews to start making money blogging.
UPDATE: If you are thinking of starting your own blog, Bluehost has given me a special discount for my readers! Now you can get hosted with them for as little as $2.95/month (including a FREE domain name for the first year!). If you need help setting up your blog, I wrote a step-by-step tutorial you can follow.
Now… I’ll be the first to tell you that blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. It is hard work.
But if your goal is to spend quality time with your kids every day or be able to buy a plane ticket without having to ask your boss for permission, it is doable!
You’ve probably read about $400K product launches and bloggers making $60K per month from affiliate sales before.
Publishing $100 income reports isn’t that exciting after all. So most bloggers wait until they become more established and their blogs take off before publishing their first income report.
But I think that’s wrong because it creates a gap that prompts more questions than answers.
I’ve been talking to women in my Facebook group and I know for a fact that for most of them blogging isn’t about 6-figure launches. It’s about earning an income from home so they can spend more time with their families.
So how do you achieve that? How do you make the first few bucks? What strategies should you use? And how do you go from writing the first post to cashing the first check?
Below I’m going to tell you how this blog turned a profit in the first month of its existence so you can do it too.
So let’s have a look at the numbers. Please note this is before taxes and transaction fees.
MAY 2017 BLOG STATS:
Number of blog posts: 5
Email subscribers: 152
Facebook group: 948 members
Pinterest: 2,679 followers
MAY INCOME REPORT:
Creative Market: $25.96
Blog planner: $20
Bluehost: $106.20 (domain name + 3-year hosting)
Starting a blog is SUPER affordable. To be honest, all you really need is a domain and web hosting. When you host your blog with Bluehost, your domain is free for the first year, which means you can start blogging for well under $100 (the 12-month plan is $59.40 paid upfront).
Another possible expense is the purchase of a WordPress theme that is consistent with your brand vision. If money is an issue, you can start with a free theme (such as Astra, which I’m using now) and upgrade to the paid version later on.
If you want to know more about what makes a WordPress theme great, read my article about how to choose a WordPress theme.
Pro tip: If you’ve been blogging on WordPress.com and want to get serious about earning a living online, see all the reasons why you should change to self-hosted WordPress.org and how to do it.
The only numbers I care about (and so should you)
When it comes to blogging, it’s super easy to fall for the wrong numbers.
I know bloggers who get 150,000 page views per month and make less than $150 and bloggers who get 30,000 page views per month and make $3,000. I’d rather be the latter.
I don’t want to fall into the trap of chasing the wrong numbers. With only 2,000 page views, I managed to cover 3 years’ worth of hosting expenses and turn a profit. This definitely in the spirit of the work smart, not hard saying.
I strongly believe successful blogging isn’t about what you can ADD to grow your business and being ALL over the place. It’s about figuring out what you can strip away so you can do more of what actually WORKS.
When it comes to blogging for profit, these numbers matter the most:
- Conversion from traffic to subscribers
- Conversion from subscribers to customers
Traffic is great, but ONLY if it’s high-quality targeted traffic. Somebody who makes a quick 2-second pit stop on your blog is NOT getting you any closer to your dream lifestyle and goals.
That’s why I’m not looking into joining any ad networks while my pageviews are still low. Focusing on SEO, subscribers, and building up my blog is a much more productive use of my time right now.
Once this blog reaches 10,000 sessions per month, however, I’m looking forward to joining Ezoic.
Ezoic is a platform that runs ads on your blog. They constantly test and optimize ad placements in order to maximize your earnings. I’ve worked with them on another blog and I know the money can be quite good.
How I got 152 email subscribers in one month
Can you believe how MUCH pressure there is to GROW? Grow your traffic, grow your email list, grow your following.
What about CONNECTION?
There’s a HUGE difference between building a list of random subscribers and building an email list of soon-to-be buyers.
It’s FAR better to have a list of 100 people who are GENUINELY interested in you and your products than to have 10,000 emails from people who don’t even know who you are.
I signed up for a MailerLite free account because I really wanted to keep the costs of starting this blog to a minimum. I love MailerLite and they are free up to 1,000 subscribers. Plus they give you access to most of their features right from the very beginning.
MailerLite is probably the best email marketing platform to start on because they are so easy to use.
Lead magnets that work
This month I launched 2 lead magnets.
- A 3-page blog planner. I created a landing page for the free planner that is converting at a crazy 68% rate. The pages are actually samples from the paid version of my planner. UPDATE: I stopped offering this freebie and decided to promote the paid planner instead.
- From Fog to Blog – a 6-day free email course that walks you through the first steps of blogging. The landing page for the course converts at 19% and this is a pretty good conversion rate as well.
I also added a popup form and embedded a form inside posts, but those convert at under 8%.
Why is growing a list so darn important?
I’ve got a few questions from people asking when it’s the best time to start an email list. Honestly? Yesterday! I cannot stress enough about the importance of starting an email list from day ONE and here’s why:
- Your list is yours. Google can (and will) change their algorithm anytime. Social networks come and go. Remember MySpace? Facebook and Instagram constantly change their algorithm as the companies grow and move into paid content. But when someone gives you access to their inbox, you have their undivided attention.
- It’s the easiest way to build trust. A gazillion page views per month and a million followers on Instagram are nothing but numbers. And you can’t build a relationship with a number.
- Email is the most affordable marketing option. Selling to your email subscribers has a learning curve of its own, but it comes at a fraction of the cost of running a Facebook ad campaign.
My social media strategy
I’m refusing to embrace this you have to be ALL and do it ALL if you want to be successful online mentality. In fact, I’ve found the opposite to be true.
My strategy is about aiming for maximum impact without spreading myself too thin. I don’t want to run in circles like a headless chicken EVERY WAKING MOMENT.
Again, social media is not about the number of followers you have but, ding, ding, about making meaningful connections (it’s called social media for a reason).
So for the time being, I’ll only be active on Pinterest and in a select number of Facebook groups.
I started the month with about 2,400 Pinterest followers and this is the only help I brought from my old blogging life.
However, being successful on Pinterest is less related to the number of followers you have and more to the quality of the Pinterest group boards you are a part of.
That’s why I highly recommend you find group boards in your niche and start joining them asap. Pinterest is maybe the only social network where you can get amazing results without having a large following of your own.
I joined several new group boards this month, but I cannot say I spent much time on Pinterest.
UPDATE: I few months after writing this I wrote a post on my 3 favorite strategies to get blog traffic from Pinterest.
Instead, I poured all my energy into growing my Facebook group and getting to know everybody.
At the end of April, I had a tiny group of about 100 members. I actually started this group last year but soon abandoned it.
When I revived it and renamed it in April, I inevitably lost a few members.
However, the group has been growing lightning fast and I am incredibly proud and grateful to be the mother duck of this community of fabulous women and entrepreneurs.
I run a tight ship when it comes to spam and I think this is one of the reasons I get engagement rates WAY above average.
By now it must be obvious to you that I believe less is more. Gone are the days when bloggers updated their blogs daily. Slow blogging is all about posting BETTER content, LESS often.
I don’t have TIME to write crappy content that doesn’t convert.
I only plan to post 2 new blog posts per month.
I launched this blog with 4 articles:
- One about how to change web hosting providers, since I did that recently for another blog and had it fresh in my mind
- A Marie Kondo inspired post on decluttering and organizing your blog (loved her book SO much!)
- A how to start a blog tutorial
- And a post packed full of productivity tips for bloggers
During the month of May, I spent a lot of time in the FB group and I only published my blog launch checklist, which covers the top things new bloggers should do between signing up for hosting and making their blog public.
I like to write long word articles that serve a PURPOSE and help solve a problem. It’s actually funny because I always freak out before writing a post and worry way too much I’ll end up with only a couple hundred words. It’s never the case once I start writing though.
Okay, that kind of covers the first month and my blogging philosophy…
Next month’s goals
A big chunk of my first-month income actually came from affiliate marketing ($225,96 to be precise). I believe affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to monetize a blog, especially when you don’t have your own products.
However, I’ve already started working on a paid product.
UPDATE: I’ve published the How to Make Money as an Amazon Affiliate ebook. Over the course of 6 modules and 160+ pages, I teach you how to become an Amazon Affiliates expert and build a successful money-making blog without tons of traffic or selling your soul.
I also want to step up my Pinterest game.
And of course, top May’s income.
That’s pretty much it.
Happy blogging, darlings!
THINGS TO READ NEXT
- How to Make Money Blogging
- How I Made My First $1k Blogging
- How To Use MailerLite To Grow Your Email List Lightning Fast
- The Beginner’s Guide to Making Money Blogging With Affiliate Marketing
- 7 Amazon Affiliate Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
Hey there dream chaser! I’m a writer, designer and the creator of The Smart Blog Planner and Perfectly Productive Planner. I’m on a mission to inspire and empower you to create a highly profitable minimalist online business and show up for your dreams in a sustainable way.