Yep, it’s true! I’ve made over $3,000 on my blog! But first things first, I am not the best at doing monthly income reports. By the time all of the numbers are finalized, another month (or maybe even two) has already passed. So every time I sit down to write one, I feel like I am playing a game of catch-up. So if you go back and look through my blog at all of my income reports, you’ll notice quite a few are missing! Eek!
There are two big takeaways then that I want you to get from this post:
- That if I can do, anyone can do. (It’s true! I promise. Some days I feel like the least special person out there. Seriously.)
- It’s important to follow your dream. For years and years, I wanted to have a blog. And it was because I found other people’s blogs so useful. I would read one every time I had a question everything from figuring out how to grow a plant to what to cook for dinner. In other words, reading blogs had become an important part of every aspect of my life. So why didn’t I follow my dream? Because I had let others convince me that there was no way to make money, much less a full-time income, from a blog. Friends, that is simply not true! And so now my one regret is that I didn’t start a blog sooner!
If you have been itching to take the plunge, check out my post: How to Start a Blog (Faster Than You Can Order a Latte).
Now that I have said all of that, I am sure you want me to get on with it. How have I made so much money blogging in less than a year? Affiliate marketing and ads.
What’s affiliate marketing you ask? It’s where you earn an affiliate commission (whether it’s 1%, 40%, or a flat fee) when someone buys a product from a link that you publish.
Now, I know. You are probably freaking out right now. Very few people, in my experience, love to be salespeople. Most are terrified that they will come across like the guy selling Ginsu Knives on tv at 3:00 am. But before you click away or slam your laptop screen down in fear, listen.
Affiliate marketing is really just talking (in a natural way) about the things you already use and love. And chances are, you are probably already doing that. Think about it. How many times have you gone to see a great movie and then told others to watch it? Or given a restaurant recommendation? That’s really affiliate marketing, except you probably weren’t being paid for it. Here, you are.
So all I did was be very genuine and talk about things that I already loved, and boom! I made referrals. But how did I learn to get over my fear of affiliate marketing and do it in an authentic way? With the e-course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner. Michelle’s course literally teaches you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing.
So why learn from Michelle? Well, for two reasons. First, Michelle makes over $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing on her blog. Clearly, she knows what she is doing. The second is because someone once reached out to her and said, “I don’t understand how you make $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing. You’ve never sold a single thing through your blog.” That’s because Michelle does affiliate marketing in such a natural and authentic way that you can’t even tell that’s what she’s doing. Be sure to sign up for your course; you won’t regret it.
The other way that I earned money from my blog was through ad revenue. But in order to make money through ads, you have to be able to generate lots of traffic, and I learned my traffic strategy from Silas and Grace Moser of Chasing Foxes.
One of the first things that Silas and Grace talk about when discussing the generation of traffic is the importance of a strong foundation. Now, I had read something similar to this before, about how you should have 10-15 blog posts up before your site goes live. The idea is that you want to provide enough content for your readers that they stick around once they visit your blog. But in reality, 10-15 blog posts is mediocre advice. Silas and Grace had 40 blog posts up before launching Chasing Foxes. Some quick math helped me realize that if I had a five-month-old blog and was posting twice a week, I had roughly 36 blog posts plus the ten I started with. So I decided to commit myself to building a vault of content for visitors back in April: 30 posts in 30 days. I got close with 27 posts, but those new posts really made a huge difference because there is a lot to read now on my site.
People talk about the importance of Pinterest Group Boards a lot, and they are important, but the reality is that some of them are important. Not all of them. What do I mean by this? Well, I know a lot of beginner bloggers who started a group board themselves and then join a bunch of group boards all started by other new bloggers. I know because I was one of them. And while you may get some social media traffic, so what? If you have only a 1,000 Pinterest followers and you start a group board, all of the people pinning to it will only be exposed to 1,000 new people. Same for the content you pin to others’ boards. Silas and Grace joined a lot of group boards created by bigger bloggers; they say the goal is to join a group board with no fewer than 25,000 followers. Get it? Because you are then exposed to 25,000 new people not just 1,000. Here’s the thing though. Somehow I misread that and thought they had said 100,000 followers. Don’t ask me how 25,000 looks like 100,000, but it was a happy mistake. I spent a lot of time researching group boards, sending out group board requests, and it really paid off. I became a part of some pretty big boards with high repin rate.
But how else do you join a group board? Well, *within healthy and tasteful reasoning*, some good old-fashioned Facebook stalking certainly helps. I got to join a huge board because it turns out that I had a mutual friend with this other blogger. A real-life, hang out with friend, too. So when I wrote my super polite request I mentioned our connection and boom! I got a group board invite.
Last but certainly not least, a whole handful of my Pinterest pins went viral. It was crazy, and I have spent time off and on doing various happy dances. However, making a pin go viral is partly controllable and partly not. The things you can control (and should!) are the appearance of your pin and the title. You want to have a very attractive image that’s vertical. Not just vertical, but crazy long, vertical. Do you hear me?
And you want a title that will make people click your pin. I don’t want to sound mean, but your title, “Our Day at the Zoo” is going to have no one click on it because as cool as you are, people don’t want to hear about your day. As Silas and Grace call it, you want each pin to answer WIIFM or “What’s in it for me?” But you can’t just answer that question for them, you have to give them the uncontrollable urge to click on your pin to find out the answer. Take, for example, one of my blog post articles, “12 Ways to Save Money on Real Food.” It’s one of the ten blog posts I started with on my blog, and I am insanely proud of it because it gives 12 out-of-the-box, mostly never heard of before ways to save money on real food. No clipping coupons or shopping sales. And guess what? I don’t think a single, solitary person has ever read that article because, even though it solves a pain point for people, that title is not any different from countless other titles already out there. Compare it to the title of one of my blog posts that did go viral this month, “7 DIY Room Sprays You Must Make So Your Home Smells Like Spring.” Everyone wants to read that.
And lastly, your pin has to look great! If you can’t take excellent photos, use stock photos. But you can’t just have a slick photo. Your overlay also has to look right and so does your text. Some of my earlier pins that I thought were incredible I now realize were pretty terrible. You want to make sure that others can actually read your font and that your text stands out.
Those three things have helped to explode my blog traffic and in turn, increase my ad revenue.
So there you go! I hope this was helpful to you, and seriously, my one regret is that I didn’t start my blog years and years ago. So if you have been thinking about starting a blog, even just a little bit, you need to take the plunge! Check out How to Start A Blog now!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, click here. Also, if you do utilize a link, THANK YOU!
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