Welcome to my first income report!
I started this blog in May 2017 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.
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![clickToTweet tweet=”Find out the SECRET SAUCE to launching a profitable blog. #startuplife #incomereport” quote=”Find out the SECRET SAUCE to launching a profitable blog. #startuplife #incomereport” theme=”style3″]
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 Blog + Biz Babes 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. And when you host your blog with Bluehost, your domain is free for the first year, which means even lower start-up costs. Hooray!
If money is an issue, you can start with a free theme and go premium later. But if this is something that troubles you and you are ready to upgrade, I wrote a post on how to choose the perfect WordPress theme.
On the other hand, if you’ve been blogging on WordPress.com and want to get serious about earning a living online, I encourage you to read my article about 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)
It’s super easy to fall for the wrong numbers. But the truth is unless you want to make money using some kind of pay-per-view advertising, pageviews are pretty irrelevant.
There are other more profitable ways to make money blogging than AdSense.
I know bloggers who get 150,000 pageviews per month and make less than $150 and bloggers who get 30,000 pageviews per month and make $3,000. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be the latter.
When it comes to blogging for profit, there are only two types of numbers that matter:
- Conversion from traffic to subscribers
- Conversion from subscribers to customers
Don’t get me wrong. 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.
I don’t want to fall into the trap of chasing the wrong numbers. Even with 2,000 page views, I still managed to cover my hosting expenses for the next 3 years and turn a profit in the first month.
Successful blogging is not 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.[clickToTweet tweet=”Successful blogging isn’t about doing EVERYTHING. It’s about doing more of what actually WORKS.” quote=”Successful blogging isn’t about doing EVERYTHING. It’s about doing more of what actually WORKS.” theme=”style3″]
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.
Blog + Biz Babes Facebook group
Instead, I poured all my energy into growing my Facebook group and getting to know everybody.
At the end of April, Blog + Biz Babes was 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.
If you want to join the group, click here.
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 one article about the top things new bloggers should do before they launch their blog. You know, that period between buying the hosting and making your 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
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.
The only two ways I plan to monetize this blog is by selling my own products/services and promoting a select few affiliate partners.
I don’t believe plastering blogs with cheap ads is a lucrative business. Unless you have 10 million page views per month. Then power to you!
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.
UPDATE: If you are new to blogging and affiliate marketing, I highly recommend you read these affiliate marketing tips for beginners. There I talk more about my favorite affiliate programs and how to track everything so you’ll never feel overwhelmed ever again.
Next month, I also want to step up my Pinterest game.
And of course, top May’s income.
That’s pretty much it.
Happy blogging, darlings!
Hey girl hey! I’m a writer, designer and the creator of I Am Unstoppable: A Journal For Winning At Life. I’m on a mission to inspire and empower women to simplify their blogs and business so they can show up for their dreams in a sustainable way. I also love to travel, play with kitties and decorate my home.