All the answers about blogging and money: do bloggers make money? On my example of a specific month, I’ll show you how do bloggers get paid and I’ll prove you that you can still make money blogging in 2020!
Over $25,000 in one single month blogging! This number still blows my mind as I’m writing this income report for the last month. I started my blog less than 3 years ago and had no idea how I was going to make money with it.
I had a dream of leaving my day job and building a different lifestyle for myself and my family. Ok, I’ll tell you honestly, I just wanted to work sitting on my sofa while making a lot more than I could ever make at my day job.
I couldn’t stand the idea of working at a corporate job my entire life. Starting a blog seemed like a good option, especially because it needed very little financial investment to start with.
Starting a business online is nothing like starting a traditional business, like a restaurant or a travel agency, or whatever other ideas you might have. You don’t need an office, you don’t need any expensive equipment except your laptop. The only investment that is hard to avoid even as a beginner is purchasing your domain and hosting for the blog. And luckily, in our times there are options that can cost you $2.95 a month for your blog hosting. If you can afford that, you can probably afford starting a blog!
This post contains affiliate links to Bluehost. This means I might receive a commission if you buy their hosting using my link (NO extra cost for you involved). For more information, see my disclosures here. Using my link, you can get hosting + free domain name + free SSL certificate (https) at a 60% discounted price.
Check below a very special offer just for my audience (affiliate link) so you can start your blog without any technical overwhelm for less than $2.95/mo.
Now, maybe you are not anything like me. Maybe you are not working at a sole-sucking corporate job and you are already an entrepreneur – a coach, a Yoga instructor, a nutritionist, a psychologist, an interior designer, a marketing specialist, you name it!
Why would YOU be interested in blogging? Well, because a lot of people scaled their solopreneur and local businesses thanks to blogging. By blogging I mean all the major platforms you can use to reach your audience – it can be a website, it can be a channel on Youtube, an Instagram account, a Pinterest account, even a TikTok account if your audience is there!
But having your own website and domain as a home base for all your content is always a good idea even if you are doing really great on social media. Because that’s where you will make money – on you site, people won’t pay you directly on Instagram or on Pinterest, they will find you there but eventually they will end up checking your website.
In this blogging income report, I will not talk about ALL the ways you could use to make money as a blogger. I already made a very detailed video on the channel where I showed you how to start a blog in the right way, and about all the monetization methods which are popular among other bloggers. That video received a very positive feedback so in case you want to check it as well, it’s here:
But today, I want to focus on the methods that worked best for ME and I want to also show you how this income that you see in the title of this video, is distributed between different channels in my business.
And I have steps for you in this video. Because as I was growing my blogging business, the ways I used to generate income from it, also were going through stages. You can hardly use all the monetization methods right away as a beginner. If you try, you will spread too thin and will have a hard time seeing results with any of the strategies.
By the way, I also have a free online course for those of you who want to start a blog but don’t know where to start and how to build a website in the right way to make sure it will actually make you money in the future.
So here is how my income growth looks over the last 3 years. If you want more details on specific months, I actually made a few videos in the past showing how I made between 4 and 5k dollars only with ads on my websites.
I have to make a side note for the full disclosure here that this is how much I made last month but it’s not exactly the amount that hits my bank account, and not all of this money is what I actually take home. The majority of companies that pay bloggers have at least 60 days of delay in payments. So, most of the money I earned last month, I will only actually receive 2 months later. I also have certain expenses on my blog to run the business, like website hosting, email provider, various tools and plugins. And of course, before taking the money home I’ll also discount a big chunk of it to pay taxes. This is just for you to understand that when people say here is how I made $10k or 25k or even a million dollars, most of the times they mean the revenue they generated in their business.
1. Affiliate links
The monetization method that made me my first 500-800 dollars when I started blogging was affiliate marketing. At that time, I was writing a lot of posts about work from home opportunities and some of the affiliate offers in that niche made me consistently several hundred dollars a month. My main traffic source back then was Pinterest – but if you know me well, Pinterest is still my main traffic source anyway 🙂
As a beginner, I registered in lots of affiliate networks and was testing different types of offers. My traffic wasn’t big enough at that time to apply for Mediavine ads, so I had to mainly rely on affiliate links on my site.
I joined Flexoffers, iGain, Shareasale, MaxBounty, CJ affiliate and a few other networks, but these were the main ones I used.
Nowadays, I don’t rely on these networks and general work from home blog posts that much. I invest more time into building useful content specifically for beginner bloggers and online entrepreneurs. When I do so, I mention various tools and services which I personally use in my business – and many of them have quite generous affiliate programs. Last month, I made $975 in total on different affiliate products I offer to my audience.
2. Mediavine Ads
I can tell you honestly that using Google Adsense in most of the niches will not pay your bills when your traffic is low.
But once you get at least 10k/mo sessions in your Google Analytics (ok I often get the question what are sessions – to simplify things, you could say it’s the number of website visitors but it’s not exactly that, so if you are not sure what are sessions just search on Google: sessions in Google Analytics and you’ll find the exact definition).
Once you have 10k/mo sessions, you can apply to ad companies that will help you make more with your ads – like Ezoic and Monumetric. Then once you hit 25,000/mo sessions, you can apply for Mediavine ad management company. It’s the one that I use on my sites and I can tell you honestly, their support and the revenue per 1000 visitors on your site are the best.
I am not getting paid to tell you this, Mediavine doesn’t have any affiliate program but I am truly thankful to this company for being where I am now.
Because the first ever significant income from my blog was done with Mediavine ads – and it was about 1500 dollars earned in one month from the same blog that used to make 10 times less with Google Adsense.
Mediavine ads have supported my family for over 2 years now, it was thanks to this ad company that I managed to quit my day job by the end of the first year blogging. And on good months, I make over $5000 only with Mediavine ads on my blogs. Last month I made $4609 in total with ads on my two blogs.
3. Youtube Ad Income
The third monetization method is Youtube ads. I started my Youtube channel just because I wanted to show my Pinterest marketing tips here and didn’t plan on making it my new ad income stream. But slowly, Youtube started bringing me more and more ad dollars and last month, I made $830 just with ads that Youtube shows on my videos. So Youtube accidentally exceeded my other income steam which I created very intentionally and will cover next.
4. Selling Digital Products (PDFs, Graphics)
It’s selling my own eBooks, printables and other similar products to the visitors of my blogs. For example, I know there is demand for people who struggle with pin design, for click-worthy templates that can actually generate you traffic from Pinterest. I created pin templates for Canva – I know that a lot of people like Canva as it’s an easy and free online tool for graphic design. So it’s just one example of my own products I created to help my audience solve their problems.
Want to see in detail how I present this product on my site and who knows, maybe you actually need these Canva templates to create your own pins? These products are usually in the low-cost range, something between $10 and $30, something that’s easy to buy for North American visitors, even if they only visited my site for the first or second time ever. I made $650 with this kind of products on the two of my blogs last month.
5. 1:1 Pinterest Marketing Services
I also have 1:1 services related to Pinterest marketing and I sell them through my blog. Last month, I made almost $3200 with these services and in case you’d like to get my eyes on your Pinterest account and give you an advice specific to your online business, to your website, then check my Work with me page where I offer these 1:1 Pinterest marketing services.
6. Course Sales
And my next income stream performed really well last month, I sold my courses for over $15,000. I have to admit though it was my best month so far in terms of course sales, and funny enough, I didn’t run ANY promotions or sales on my courses last month.
I think it was mostly due to the beginning of the year when a lot of people are looking for a new program or a new way to grow their business or website, perhaps that could have some influence on the sales volume.
You probably know about my signature program Pinterest SEO Traffic Secrets in which I help my students drive free organic traffic from Pinterest to their websites.
I also have to admit that the growth of my Youtube channel gave a great boost to my course sales because here I’m sharing a lot of Pinterest tips, people try them and see that they really work so they are interested in joining my paid program too. I also found it a lot easier to work with my students inside the program because mostly people who join it these days, already know my teaching style. Most of my students first learn a few things about Pinterest from my channel so they have the right expectations from the course, from me, and from Pinterest.
Essentially, all these monetization strategies that I use, are the steps you could take for growing your own website or online business. It’s really hard to tackle all of this at once and when I look back at my journey, I realize that I’ve only had real breakthroughs when I was working on one platform or one monetization method at a time.
What I mean here is that I first had a goal to simply drive traffic, a lot of free organic traffic to my site. And that was how I ended up growing quickly on Pinterest and learning about this platform enough to later start teaching others.
But while I was building my presence on Pinterest, I had no Youtube channel to work on. Then I decided to make my course, I dedicated full 3 months of work to building that first version of the course which later evolved and was updated many-many times together with Pinterest platform.
About a year ago, when I focused on this Youtube channel it was a huge shift – I started investing about 40-50% of all my time into creating new videos, doing keyword research for new tutorials, replying to questions and comments here under the videos every day.
The beauty of online business though is the accumulative effect of all your work and efforts. You invest yourself in one platform and once you built your authority there, you can move on to the next one. And the first one keeps working for you with some minimum required maintenance.
Here’s another top for you: If you struggle to understand the basics of search engine optimization for Google, check this free training by Mike Pearson who has his Google SEO figured out and making over $10,000/mo with each of the two niche blogs he runs.
I will be happy to answer any questions all your questions below this post in the comments. If you found it useful, share it on your social media and save THIS PIN below to your Blogging Board on Pinterest.