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Blog income report! Who doesn’t love reading those?
Although, I am getting tired of seeing these, “I made $10000 in 3 months” blog income reports.
It makes you believe that something is horribly wrong with you if you didn’t earn this amount of crazy income in the first few months.
What these reports also conveniently skip out is how much they SPENT to get there.
I can tell you right away, that if I spent $5000 on my blog this month, I would earn double that amount if not more.
The harsh truth is that if you don’t make anything at all for the first six to twelve months, that is PERFECTLY OKAY.
Tell me one business that is profitable from Day 1?
Yep, I thought so too!
Blogging in today’s world of changing algorithms and a billion other websites to compete with is NOT an easy business. In fact, it’s anything but.
I am going to skip the – “I am doing it for transparency and accountability stuff” mostly because like hey, you wanna know how much bloggers make and I want to tell you, plain and simple! The rest of the stuff is just well, FLUFF.
If you’re new to my blog, you want to check out my first income report.
If you’re new to the world of blogging, you should read top ways in which bloggers make money.
If you’ve been blogging for a while and aren’t where you need to be income wise, check out why your blog doesn’t make money.
In this post you will find out-
- How I made my first $1000 including traffic, income and expenses
- How you can start a money-making travel blog too
- Things I did that helped boost my traffic and income
ALSO READ: HOW I MADE $3000 BLOGGING IN 1 MONTH
Let’s start with the juicy stuff first.
- Income Breakdown
- Category Breakdown
- II. EXPENSES
- III. What Worked
- IV. What Didn’t Work
- V. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON BLOGGER INCOMES
Alright, let’s get to the interesting bit.
Months Taken To Get Here: 8 (July 2018- Feb 2019)
Time spent blogging: 10h/week ~ 40h/month (so basically weekend blogging)
The background of this report is that less than a year ago, I switched from hobby blogging to a new domain with a new niche with the aim of monetization.
Being the true business school graduate, I A/B tested the crap out of this blog.
It wasn’t until about three months ago that I finally decided I was going to niche down a lot and stick to what I am good at, instead of trying to write about everything under the sun.
These things were- traveling in Europe and marketing. The focus of this blog is pre-dominantly travel but I do cater to a smaller audience of aspiring bloggers too.
I stress here on the part-time because context is EVERYTHING. A full-time blogger can hit this number much earlier given they have the right strategies.
So how did I make this money? I have to stress that my focus was NOT at all on sponsored content and except for 1 post, I turned down pretty much every offer I received as I didn’t think they were a good match.
I recently turned down a $1000 sponsored post offer simply because I didn’t 100% believe in the product. This is why I don’t think I will ever have sponsored content as a main cornerstone of this blog’s income. I want my readers to trust me and when I recommend a product know that I’m 100% behind it.
The main categories under which I earned this income are-
#1) Advertisements – $200
I decided to run ads on my blog quite late and had them limited to a 50% fill. This obviously is not a strategy I recommend for everyone but I wanted my readers not to be overwhelmed by ads.
This income was pretty much all from Adsense with the exception of a tiny direct ad I ran for an affiliate contest for a week. I have now moved to Mediavine and I’ll be reviewing that in a separate post. It’s too early to make statements on that right now.
#2) Sponsored Posts – $350
Again, as I said, NOT my focus. I did one post way back in the beginning and haven’t done another since. This may change if I am approached by brands that I love and believe in. Otherwise, creating one post that takes a LOT of time for a one-time exchange of money is NOT worth it.
Many bloggers use this as their primary method and while I think that’s great, I’ve always had a stronger focus on passive income and hence I am building my blog in that direction. By passive income I mean a focus on affiliate marketing and digital products.
#3) Affiliate Marketing- $450
Although affiliate marketing is not easy and requires a LOT of continuous optimisation, it is truly passive.
Posts I created at the very beginning continue to slowly generate revenue.
I have written about the top 23 affiliate programs I use on my blog here.
Broadly, this income can be broken down to:
- Cj Affiliate: $50
- Share A Sale: $120
- Booking.com, Hostel world: $60
- Airbnb: $180
- HostGator: $40
During the end of the first eight months is also when I started to look into creating my own digital products to diversify.
I’ll be writing soon on how that went and what kind of income digital products bring.
While making a $1000 is by no means a huge achievement, it’s also not a small one. Considering that I also finished my master, wrote a master thesis and applied and got a full-time job while being abroad is not a bad feat.
My only regret, is why I didn’t start blogging sooner!
Total Blogging Income: $1000+
One Time Expenses
These are expenses that I paid upfront while launching the blog including tech stuff, themes, and the whole jing-bang.
The one time expenses of this blog during this period were-
- Theme + Domain: $90
- 1 year Hosting: $77
- Freelancer (for redirecting links): $36
These are the expenses I had on a monthly basis for running the cost.
You’ll be surprised at how lean this start-up really is-
- Tailwind : $15/month
I did spend another $100 for two months on growing my Instagram using this service
Total Blogging Expenses: $353+ $220
GROSS PROFIT: $780
NET PROFIT: $427
Tell me a business model, leaner than this!
III. What Worked
1. Consistent Content Creation
Even though I was short on time, I made sure to post 3-4 long-form blog posts every month. This helped me slowly increase my domain authority and get more backlinks.
2. Killer Pinterest Strategy
I stopped caring about what people on FB and IG were doing. If they followed me, great, if not, it didn’t matter.
I took it upon myself to nail my Pinterest marketing and that single handedly drove my traffic up by 5-8x.
Like no kidding, I went from 100K monthly viewers to over 1 Million monthly viewers, with a 25K engaged audience.
And I could NOT have done it without this tool.
The sad truth about having an eight month old blog is that organic search can take FOREVER to grow. In order to speed this up, I reached out to fellow bloggers and influencers for guest posts, round-up posts and worked on getting more backlinks. This helped me boost my search traffic much faster and referrals much faster.
I have to say this is my least favourite part about blogging, but if you want to increase your search rankings, you NEED to do this.
4. Niching the F down
Blogging is SUCH an overwhelming space. You constantly see, hear, believe and want to do 1 million things and talk about all of them too.
The problem is that you only have 24 hours in a day.
With a part time blog which I basically could work on during weekends, I DID NOT have the luxury of time.
So I did what any sensible person would do, I narrowed down what it was that people wanted to read on my blog, married that to what I loved writing about, and VOILA.
I stopped writing content that a) no one was reading, b) made no money.
End of the day, I need eyeballs to pay my bills. Ain’t no simpler way to get the message across.
In short, I narrowed down my region for travel to Europe. And I added a smaller element of digital marketing, which also helps me grow at my full-time job.
Here’s an easy way to find out what content is working for you with Google analytics and Pinterest-
IV. What Didn’t Work
1. Expat Blogging
The reason I started this new blog was to move away from my old website – Indian Girl in Germany. I just didn’t want to and neither did I see potential in growing that,
Don’t get me wrong, many bloggers have had massive growth by focusing on a small country, but expat blogs in general are notoriously hard to monetise.
I also got tired of doling out expat advice because on most days it felt like I didn’t have my shit together in the first place.
I wanted to write more of a) what I loved, b) what I was good at.
So I switched my category, niche and entire blog and domain, and as you can see progress is slow, but it’s in the right direction!
<<<You can find out in technical detail how I made the switch here and why I wouldn’t make any money if I hadn’t done this.>>>
2. Spending less
Yes, you read it right. I regret not spending MORE on my blog. Especially after I made some changes from March- May and saw my income triple. More on that in a later post 😉
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, there is NO SUCH THING AS MAKING MONEY FROM A FREE BLOG.
When I come across this question on Quora, it pisses me off.
This is not some bull-shit Ponzi scheme.
ANY business in the world, NEEDS money to run on. If you don’t directly invest in top blogging tools, you WILL invest your time which is worth something right?
Take an average salary that you would get if you were working instead of blogging, and THERE that’s your sweat equity already!
In short, my takeaway is that I am going to spend MORE money in a smart way on great tools that help me smartly grow my blog.
Some of these tools that I found and have LITERALLY changed my life include:
- Tailwind– I no longer go crazy scheduling my Instagram and Pinterest posts. I just let Tailwind handle the whole goddamn thing and I spend less than half an hour per week scheduling these.
- Keysearch- I don’t know what the hell did I call keyword research before I started to use this tool. Not only do I have an amazing insight into my niche, competition and rank, I can even see exactly what I need to include to rank in search. My organic traffic is growing by 50% month on month, do I need to say more? (P.S. I negotiated a special deal for you and all you gotta do is
use my link and take the code “KSDISC” to get 20% off the monthly plan)
V. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON BLOGGER INCOMES
Since I am feeling generous and cannot spend a lot of time answering 1 on 1 questions on Quora, I figured I’ll address some of them in this post.
Do bloggers lie about income reports?
Well, I can only speak for myself and all I can say is that people who feel the need to lie about how much money they make blogging are only cheating themselves. It’s not any different from fudging up a report for investors and shareholders, so you should read every report with a pinch of salt.
How many views are needed for a blog daily to generate income?
There is no right answer here. Some bloggers make profits on less than 10000 page views a month and some don’t make any money with 100000 page views a month.
It all depends on WHAT you write about, how much your audience trusts you and WHAT you are selling on your website.
For example, you can sell a $100 product at a 40% affiliate commission and if your site is highly relevant, you can make money even of 100 daily page views.
Content Quality & Monetization Strategy > Traffic
How can I generate traffic immediately to my new blog?
When you launch a start-up, do you immediately have 1000 paying customers at your door?
NO. You need to work at it consistently and keep experimenting to find what works best. Here’s a bunch of resources that should help you:
- Blog Marketing Hacks – How I Went from 2000 to 20000 Page Views In 1 Month
- 5 Social Media Tips For Exponential Blog Growth
If you are looking for 3 super easy ways to grow your blog traffic, head here and sign up to my free mini-course.
OR take my Pinterest 5 day Challenge to instantly see a boost!
How much money do travel bloggers make in India and how?
Well, I just wrote over 2000 words explaining this. Although, I am a bit unique because I actually don’t live in India, but live in Germany.
So in a way, whatever I make is PEANUTS for where I am living.
I have also never bought a book or taken a course on blogging. Then again, I did spend $40000 on an MBA, so that should about cover it.
I hope this post made it clear that YES, it is possible to make money online with a blog, and that NO, it’s not easy.
You gotta give some to get some!
Drop in your thoughts and feelings in the comments below, and if you are feeling generous please share this post! 🙂
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I’m Shruti, the founder of Indian Girling & Digital Empires. I believe in creating a life that you don’t need a vacation from.
On this website, you will find tips on how to travel Europe on a budget and how to live your best life!