If you are asking yourself, can you make money blogging in 2021, you’ll find in this post the most detailed and transparent answer with my blogging income report.
My mind is blown when I look at my latest income report. I crossed the mark of $40,000 in one month! It’s the highest month so far in my blogging business. But I decided to publish this income report not only because it was the highest so far but more so because the structure of my income streams has changed quite a bit compared to my income reports published last year. I hope you will appreciate the transparency of this post when I share all the details about the income sources and what worked best for me this month.
Before I jump into the income report for this month, a quick story for those of you who just found me online and don’t know how and when I started blogging. It was in early 2017 when I bought my domain name and it took me about one year to quit my day job.
I’ve only seen some traction on my blog when I focused on Pinterest as a traffic source and it helped me get into Mediavine ad management company – and yes, the first $1000 a month on my blog was made mostly with display ads from Mediavine.
To give you an idea of how completely clueless about what will be my niche I was when I started my blog, the first two blog posts on my site were:
First about the city where I live and how it’s awesome to live here.
Second – about my potty training for puppies because around that time we’ve just got this little cuttie home and it was a real struggle for us. So, I was going to share whatever was going on in my life on the blog but I soon realized that with that approach, the blog wasn’t going anywhere. I had to be more strategic in choosing topics that would do great on Pinterest.
Anyway, I’m far from that place of uncertainty and being clueless now.
After making lots of mistakes and learning along the way, I can share with you a thing or two which hopefully will help you skip making the same mistakes and will help you get to the first $1000/mo with your blog way faster than I did.
This is actually WHY I am sharing my income reports – so that you can learn from them. I STUDIED income reports of successful bloggers when I was starting my journey. Yes, I really meant to say studied, not quickly looked through them to see the total number in the end but took each one of them as a lesson. It was never discouraging for me to see someone make 50 times more than I did with my blog. It was always motivational and inspiring.
Now let’s dive into the numbers.
How to Make Money Blogging
- Display Ads
In November I made $3054 with two of my blogs just with Mediavine ads. I consider my display ads income relatively low for the amount of traffic I get but there is a reason for this. On my older blog anastasiablogger.com on a large part of my content, the display ads are turned off.
It’s actually what people ask me about quite often. If you have display ads on your site, can you control on which pages you want to show the ads and where you want to sell affiliate products or your own products? The answer is YES – you totally can turn off display ads even on individual pages. That’s what I did on all my posts with blogging tips and Pinterest marketing tips. On all of them, I am either promoting affiliate products or selling my own course. So it doesn’t make sense to show ads and send my traffic away from these pages for a few cents.
Now you know that when I started my blog, I mostly relied on Mediavine ads for income but over time, I’ve been intentionally decreasing the number of ads on my blog because I’ve built additional monetization methods that can pay me more for each visitor on my site.
By the way, if you have a new blog and not much traffic on it yet, you can still monetize it way better with Ezoic than you could with Google Adsense. Application to Ezoic is free and you might be making 1.5-2 times more than with Adsense even on a small traffic volume.
I will also mention it here because it’s related to display ads – I made $1100 with Youtube ads on my channel.
This one I consider a passive income stream for a couple of reasons. The first is because with the baby at home, I haven’t been posting videos every single week like I used to before having a baby. But my income from Youtube ads is still coming in from my old videos. Of course, if I abandoned my channel completely, the views and ad income would be slowly decreasing. But it’s great to know I can take a break from making new videos for a month if I need to, and Youtube would be still sending me my ad income for that month. That’s truly passive, isn’t it?
By the way, I just want to make a side note here for the full disclosure. When you hear from bloggers their income reports, that’s not how much money they will have eventually in the bank account and definitely not in the same month when the income report is made. Because most of the income will only be actually paid by partners and affiliate companies with 30 or 60 days of delay. Also, there are some expenses. I already mentioned my business expenses are very low, I rarely test some ads on Google and Pinterest on very small budgets. Other than that, business expenses are most of the tools that I use like an email provider, hosting, some WordPress plugins, and such.
But even after the expenses of course like any other business, I have to pay taxes. I live in Portugal, I have an LLC company and in total for taxes, I am paying about 43% of everything that’s left after expenses. I realize it could be higher or lower in other countries so don’t take the 43% as a reference. If you want to know how much you would pay in your country, you can start by googling this information or talk to an accountant.
2. Affiliate Marketing income
As an affiliate of various tools and programs that help you build your online business, I made $8920 in total. Some of the products that I recommend frequently on my blog you already know – for example, I recommend beginner bloggers to start with Bluehost hosting provider as they offer really affordable pricing, 24-hour support through chat, and a free domain. And they provided special pricing for my audience, you can get through my affiliate link here.
See what I just did? This is affiliate marketing in action. I make money recommending services and products that worked well for me, and my audience gets the best deals through my links.
And to be completely honest with you, for quite a long time I was not using affiliate marketing to the maximum capacity on my blog. I was so focused on talking about Pinterest and building my own product and marketing channels for it that I completely ignored the big opportunities that are out there with affiliate marketing. I am just starting to look around and to my surprise, there are actually a lot of amazing products that I personally used or learned from, and I could recommend them to my audience because they helped me in my online business.
The next income source was my ebooks and printables that I sell on both of my sites. I made $267 this month with this monetization method. I want to clarify that the eBooks are in the price range from $7 to about $20 on average, and the main way I actually sell them is by placing pop-up banners and links to them inside my content pages. I don’t run any ads for these products, no promotions, no tripwire smart funnels, no email marketing – it’s completely passive money that gets into my bank account every month from eBooks that I had to create only once. They also are very low-maintenance meaning to sell them, my only business expense is about $15 a month for SendOwl payment processor. And they don’t take any of my time for support because the customers just download those files automatically.
4. 1:1 Services
The next income source was my 1:1 services. I’m still providing just one type of 1:1 service related to Pinterest – it’s an account audit with 1 hour of coaching call and I made $1141 this past month with these services. If you ask my opinion on what’s the fastest way to make money blogging, my answer is promote your 1:1 services through the blog. Lots of business owners would rather spend $400 – $1000 on your services a month and focus on what they do better. It can be a broad spectrum of services from virtual assistant to programming, social media management or graphic design.
I used to provide Pinterest management services in the past and although businesses are ready to pay me the premium price for my services I had to stop doing this because I still had 24 hours in a day and it was hard to scale Pinterest management services beyond my working hours.
I could probably open like a Pinterest management agency and I could hire people to work for me full time on clients accounts but it’s just not my thing. I don’t like scaling through increasing the team so much, hiring people and managing people to work in a remote team is a job in itself and I don’t see myself doing this kind of stuff.
I found another way to scale my business while still keeping business expenses low and still having a really small team. I packaged my experience and knowledge about marketing on Pinterest and all the most recent Pinterest updates into an online course. Basically, who works on all the course content and who provides support to students and clients is just yours truly. And who helps me create nicely designed landing pages and helps me with post-production of all my videos is my husband.
Yes, really, we are a very small team. And this month my Pinterest course generated $26,870.
Of course, Black Friday contributed to this – I was selling the course with a big discount and a lot of people were waiting for Black Friday ready with their credit cards to buy things on a sale.
Actually, I think this year a lot more people realized the advantages of online education and it’s a great opportunity for everyone who’s been teaching anything in the offline world, to switch to online courses. And in general, a lot of people have some kind of knowledge – either professional skills or even something related to their hobbies – which could be packaged in an online course.
Not so long ago, I convinced my husband to create his own online course. He has been working for over a decade in the area of 3D art and architectural visualization. So he started with 0 email subscribers on his list and in the first month selling his course at the early-bird price of just $47, he made over $1200 with his course. He’s been consistently making on average $5000 with his course at the price point of about $100 and last month with the Black Friday sale, he managed to hit $10,000 in course sales.
Of course, he is using the same strategy I tried and tested on my course and since I’ve seen in works in completely different markets, I’ve created a program that teaches people with all kinds of expertise how to create and sell courses using my evergreen risk-free and stress-free model.
You can check it here.
Now if you ask me what is the fastest path to making a living with your website generally in any niche I will tell you the recipe is really that simple:
- First, put quality content out there. Don’t generate content bad content because, without you, there is already a LOT, a LOT of garbage on the Internet. And people are desperately looking for quality content. If you put out something of great quality, people will love you just for this and will share your stuff for free.
- Second, decide which platform you will focus on initially for traffic. My personal top list is as follows: Pinterest, Google, and Youtube. It can be something else or in a different order, depending on your niche.
- Third, start looking for great products with generous commissions in your niche which you could recommend to your audience as an affiliate.
- And when you get to a more advanced level, think of your own product. Maybe it will be an eBook or even a fancy online course with videos. Just never think that any of this is too hard! If that’s what you want to do and what you want to learn, you will figure it out either on your own or through some training and courses from other people.
I hope this post was helpful for you to start your own blogging journey this 2021!
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- Display Ads
- Affiliate Marketing income
- 1:1 Services