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Are you thinking about starting a blog and wondering how you can make money blogging online in 2020?
According to Glassdoor, bloggers in the United States on average earn $30,000 per year. (firstsiteguide.com) And who doesn’t want in on a piece of that? Sounds like a dream, really.
This is how I made money in my first 6 months of blogging and some ideas on how you can make money blogging as a beginner too!
Wow. This really has been a whirlwind of a journey as a blogger.
It started one day when a friend and co-worker casually mentioned that she’d like to start a blog. I thought about it (not for more than a few passing seconds) and forgot about it. Because honestly, am I really a blogger? I had a lot of experience on social media but knew nothing about blogging.
Fast forward another 8 months or so and we again started talking about the idea of blogging. At this time, I had been with a network marketing company that I was very passionate about for the past two years, but it had been losing it’s luster and the social media content strategies were not getting me very far.
I always am looking for new shiny. And so, I gave it a bit more thought. Two days later, I had researched everything we needed to do, was wracking my brain for a blog name that suited me and crammed all the information I could find in my brain and down my poor friend’s throat lol.
Within two weeks of that, I had a fully running blog and absolutely no direction. I hadn’t chosen a target audience and had no idea what content marketing, affiliate programs, or email marketing was all about.
But, I did it.
My First 6 Months as a Beginner Blogger
After six full months of being a blogger (two years as of the update on this post), I’m happy to report that I AM STILL IN LOVE with blogging!!! (And just like Buddy- I don’t care who knows it!)
I thought this would be a great time to jot down my ideas on what I have learned, earned and spent in those first six months.
Cause let’s face it, sometimes those “How I made 6 Figures in One-Month Blogging” though great for goal setting, can be a bit diminishing when you get into the thick of it all and you don’t make a cent.
If you haven’t started your blog yet, here’s how to get your website set up
First, you’ll need to select web hosting and set your domain name.
Web hosting is where your website and blog “live”. Selecting reliable web hosting is really important.
You’ll want to stay away from shared hosting sites. These types of plans can be very inexpensive but sometimes their hosting is unreliable and you can often times have slower site speed.
You’ll also want to consider domain privacy as an add-on purchase with your web hosting. When you apply for site hosting, your information is automatically stored in public online web hosting directories and if you don’t want your information public, purchasing domain privacy is a great option.
Once you’ve decided on a web hosting plan, you’ll need to choose your domain name.
Your domain name is simply what your website or blog URL will look like. For instance, if you choose a name like shelovestoblog, your URL will become shelovestoblog.com.
When choosing a blog domain name, it’s not as important anymore to make sure that your name matches your keyword topics. (It used to be critical in helping you rank for search engines). But if you can secure some keywords in your URL, even better for search engine optimization!
Here are some tips when trying to come up with a blog name.
- Try to secure .com (instead of .ca, .org)
- Don’t use clever spelling variations as it will make it harder for people to remember
- Don’t use any punctuation in your domain name
If you’re having trouble coming up with a domain name that you like, there are tons of free domain name generators available on Google search. You can use this free blog name generator to find a unique blog name made just for you. (wix.com)
You can either purchase your domain name directly from the site host or you can buy it from a third party website like GoDaddy. Many bloggers insist on purchasing the two separately in case you break up with your host in the future. There are also some concerns for having your domain name and site host together for security reasons.
NOTE: If you are not very tech-savvy or you don’t have a host that will automatically transfer your domain name to your site, you may want to consider purchasing them from the same place.
Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to talk about how bloggers actually make money.
The most frequently asked questions I get from new bloggers is “How do you make money blogging?”. When I started, I didn’t even know that you could make money blogging. In fact, my husband even was questioning how I would make anything off an “online diary”.
There are tons of ways to monetize your blog and website, but as a beginner, most focus on these three to get started:
- Affiliate marketing – Affiliate marketing is where you promote and sell other products and services to your audience and make commissions from them. These commissions can be anywhere from 1%-50%, depending on the company. Although it pays very little, Amazon Associates is a very popular affiliate program with beginners because there are products that appeal to almost every audience.
- Ads Networks – Ads Networks place ads within your site that can earn you money from either your readers clicking on or buying that product. Although this is a popular method, as a beginner you won’t have much traffic to depend on and these profits can be very small
- Sponsored posts – In a sponsored post, a company will pay you to create content around their product or service. This is a great way to add fresh content, grow authority and make some money from your blog.
You’ll see in my following breakdown that I made most of my income in affiliate marketing.
How I Made Money In My First 6 Months as a New Blogger
Let’s start with some stats.
As a new blogger, growing all my social media platforms became a priority. Trying to get my name out there and be seen was my drive and goal for the last 6 months.
Although I do try to give each of these platforms some love every day, I mainly focus on Pinterest, so I was amazed when I hit 700 followers on Instagram! These accounts all started at basically nothing and I’m pretty impressed with the results so far.
These are real thoughts and stats. By a real newbie blogger with big dreams, greater hustle
Social Media Stats
|1853 Followers/6.5K Engaged|
These are stats since I started. It took about 4-5 months before I saw any real traction from Pinterest and 6 months before organic searches came into play. My Home page generally gets the most hits, which is interesting.
At six months, I was getting about 12,000 pageviews per month. They aren’t huge numbers, by any means, but each month, they are steadily rising and I’m super pumped about it!!
Top Tips for a New Blogger
I have learned soooooo much in six months that I can hardly keep up with my own brain. Being that I’m naturally addicted to trying and learning everything I can about a particular subject, I literally absorb it all like a sponge.
Looking back, there are definitely some things that I did well and of course, some things I maybe should have done differently. Hopefully some of these tips might come in handy if you are just starting out.
Things I did right
- I just got STARTED. We are all busy and really, there is never going to be the perfect time to do anything. If you are passionate, just start your blog journey. It’s better than staying only a dream forever. I didn’t know anything about being a blogger when I started and now look. I’m still learning but I’m here and I’m building my dream. One hustle and sparkle at a time.
- Realized When I Was In Over My Head This was tough for me. I’ve never been much of a quitter and I usually have a knack for figuring out things on my own. But there were times early on in blogging that I knew that I needed help. I sourced out the best gals in the blogging biz and got hooked up with the information I needed so that I could create what I wanted to, the right way.
- Stayed Consistent When I started, I made a plan to post one post per week to make sure that I could be seen as consistent to Google and eventually get noticed. I am proud to say that I posted at least once per week and only took off a week at Christmas when blogging was really slow. Some weeks I even posted twice, so I made up for it!
- Another thing that I continued to stay consistent with is being active in Facebook share threads. EVERY SINGLE DAY for six months I have posted links to posts, pins, and social media accounts all in an effort to grow my blog daily. This is so important in the beginning as you are not likely to get even acknowledged by Google until your site is six months old. It took some time, but I’m finally now starting to see some organic views from Google searches. YAY!!!!!
- Made Connections With Other Bloggers If you haven’t figured it out yet, blogging is definitely a community and it is VITAL to the growth of your blog. I’ve joined some amazing Facebook groups and even started one of my own to build on those connections. Meeting other bloggers have given me opportunities to help support each other, create and acquire guest posts, and even sell some of my own services. Build this strong social network early on.
- Created Opt-Ins to Build My Email List Email marketing and building a solid email list is critical for growing your blog. It’s a way to connect with your readers on a weekly basis and provide more value to your audience. My very first coaching call was with Cate Rosales from a Sweet and Simple Life on email marketing, and she showed me how to set up a welcome email automation sequence on MailerLite, create sign up forms and link them all to a opt-in freebie. Within a few hours I had my first one set up and emails started coming in.
Things I could have done differently
- Create a schedule right from the beginning. Schedules are my life. I sometimes fly by the seat of my pants and it never goes well in terms of scheduling. I am two things. A perfectionist and a procrastinator. These things do not go well together. If I do not create a schedule and stick to it, I never move on to the next task because there is always something more I could do to perfect the one I am working on. Once I started using my planner and being intentional about my schedule, blogging life was much less hectic.
- Create balance. Honestly, when I do something, I DO IT. All of it, and ALL THE TIME. It’s almost a bit of a curse at times as I will forfeit sleep, me-time, family-time
andlife in general to follow my passions. The problem is, creating that kind of pressure will bite you eventually. You must make time for the things you are trying to live for or what’s the point of having the dream in the first place? I was waking up at 4 am, eager to learn something new, meet new people and write like a madwoman. Then going to work five days a week and then throw in four kids, a husband anda dog. After a couple months of going hard, I CRASHED. Completely. I slept for two whole days. After that, I decided that I need to take well-earned breaks and make time for life.
- Focus on one task at a time. This kind of goes along with the schedule part of this post. I am also a crazy multi-talker (as are most of the moms I know). I have this idea that I can get it all done at once and everything should be done and perfect – YESTERDAY lol. That is not the case for bogging. Things take time and should take time. Do the tasks you have and do them well. Once you have things figured out, set them on automation so that you can focus on the next thing to better your business.
- I would also look into an effective content management system like CoSchedule if you are a very busy blogger. It can help you share your content to all your social media platforms on a consistent basis.
What I Earned as a Blogger in My First 6 Months
This is my total earnings for the six months I have been blogging. I will tell you, this is super scary to post for some reason. Maybe it’s because there’s some notion that what you earn somehow equates to your value. And as you will see here- it’s not a lot.
But I earned every penny with sweat and even a few tears and I’m proud of my accomplishments. But the thing is, I
Amazon Associates – $1.69 (This was in my first month and because I never made another penny or saw these actually dollars, now I’ve been officially fired lol)
- Affiliate Program Sales – $478.07
- Sponsored Posts – $65.00
- Fomo Ads – $8.90
- Personal Services – $50.00
Grand Total: $601.97
And, The Realistic Part- How Much it Costs to Start a New Blog
Let’s be honest here. If you are planning on creating a business out of blogging, you will have to make some investments. It is like any other business but the fact that it’s not brick and mortar doesn’t mean that it will come cheap or free. As an entrepreneur and business woman for nearly 15 years, I understand this concept VERY WELL.
I totally did not expect to earn or even break even in the first six months. Most of the income reports don’t share this kind of information and I even considered leaving it out, but without it, it’s not really a real picture.
I’m not trying to discourage here – I just want to be transparent about it all. So, here it is. The raw truth.
- Blog hosting on SiteGround – $143.40 (This is one year – DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE! Buy 3 years for less than this at the introductory price)
- Website Maintenance- $106.10
- Graphics – $197.33
- Content Management System – $313.50
- Courses & Coaching – $862.31
Grand Total: $1,479.24
You can see that if I hadn’t invested in the courses and coaching calls, I am almost breaking even. But I know how important they are in the big picture and don’t regret it for a second. It’s all part of being successful.
How much money can you make from blogging?
As you grow you blog, your potential and opportunities to earn will also grow. Although it takes a lot of consistency and effort to make money blogging, it is definitely a legitimate side hustle that shouldn’t be overlooked.
There are many bloggers making six-figure incomes, doing what they love. And there’s a piece of it available for anyone who wants to put in the effort.
Once you’ve gotten settled in as a blogger, there are tons of opportunities to expand your money-making opportunities including:
- Digital products
- Paid memberships
- Email marketing
My Top 10 Tip For Creating a Successful, Money Making Blog
- Create a plan for your blog – Understand your audience. Know who you are helping and what value you can provide from the beginning. If you don’t know where you are headed, how will you get there? What do you want out of it? How much time are you going to commit? What are the things you expect for your investments? What are the tasks that you need to do to reach your goals? Ideally, these things should be considered before you even start your blog, but if you didn’t, don’t fret- you can start anytime. Write these questions out and answer them all. Then make a task list and break it out into achievable tasks.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – even gurus need advice and help sometimes. This is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of being SMART
- Invest in yourself – you are worth every penny
- Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers – every journey is unique
- Tackle one task at a time – Master one thing on your list and then move on.
- Use scheduling tools to automate – This is definitely one of those investments that is well worth your money. Freeing up your time to focus on other projects, especially if you are working full time or have a busy family will be the only way that you can grow your business and have a life at the same time.
- Hard work and dedication is key – You must be willing to put in the time with nothing in return.
- Be patient – I often see so many bloggers concerned that their traffic isn’t building fast enough. These things take time. It took almost 4 months before my main source of traffic started to come from Pinterest instead of from my Facebook threads
- Don’t be discouraged – I remember when I wrote one of my very first posts about adding custom social media icons to your blog. I had searched everywhere and couldn’t find a response that didn’t include knowing coding so when I figured it out, I thought I had hit the JACKPOT! I watched my blog for days expecting millions to arrive and see my wisdom. But, guess what really happened? NOTHING. I had a couple people check it out and that’s it. I was disappointed for sure but decided instead of letting it get me down, I would do it better next time. And I did. Find a way to learn from your disappointments (cause they are inevitable) and make it better next time.
- Make sure to take a break – Burning yourself out won’t get you anywhere. Make sure to take dedicated time for you and your family.