I just wrapped up my 11th month of blogging with my lifestyle blog and because I haven’t written a blogging income report for many months, I wanted to share what I’ve been doing and how I earned $1,500 in August 2018. This definitely would NOT have been possible without learning how to use Pinterest to send traffic to my newer blog!
If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog but aren’t sure if it’s REALLY possible to make money blogging with a lifestyle or mom blog, I wrote this post for you!
After feeling discouraged, stressed and wondering if I was just wasting my time by starting a blog, I’m FINALLY seeing huge gains from the efforts I put in LAST YEAR. I even considered changing my blogging goals to hobby status instead of job status since I felt like I was blogging every spare minute to only make at most $500/month.
While summer is supposed to be the time of blogging slump, although I wasn’t even writing new blog posts my traffic was still increasing. Here’s what I WAS doing:
- Setting aside 1 hour per week to create 5-7 new Pinterest pins per week for older posts.
- I signed up for Tailwind’s Smart Loop so I could stop thinking about my Pinterest strategy. I had over 80 posts and threw them in SL bring life back into old posts.
- I stopped obsessing over blog traffic and instead switched to affiliate income conversions
- We went backpacking in Europe for 3 weeks and taking time off from stressing over the blog was so refreshing!
And getting right to the point, my income is NOT from the blogging niche lol.
You generally just see income reports from bloggers in the blogging and finance niche, and while there ARE interesting to read, I thought seeing an income report from someone in a multi-niche lifestyle blog would help people too.
11 Month Overview
- 49,448 blog pageviews
- 3,208 Pinterest followers (started blogging with 34)
- 858 email subscribers
- 90% of my traffic comes from Pinterest
Here’s my Google Analytics for August, this wasn’t my highest traffic number month but I’m still happy with it since it’s during the summer slow season and much higher than when my traffic dropped to 20K in April.
Important Things to Point Out
I stopped writing income reports after my first 3 months, but if you go back to my 3rd-month blogging report, I had over 46K blog pageviews and made $358. How is it that in month 11 I only had 3K more pageviews per month but increased my income to over $1500?
- By qualifying for Mediavine and getting paid 2-3X what Google AdSense pays
- Working to increase my RPM with Mediavine- this caused my ad income to double
- Improving affiliate marketing conversions, especially with Amazon and Etsy
- Working on SEO
- By automating Pinterest and invested that time into other areas
Just Taking Consistent Baby Steps
While we’ve all heard success stories of bloggers making thousands within just a few short months, this is not realistic for the majority of us. I’m NOT trying to discredit the hard work of others, I just don’t want you to feel discouraged or feel like you’re doing something wrong.
While blogging DOES have a big learning curve, starting slow and building up your income over time is NORMAL. Blogging is an awesome way to make semi-passive income. You put in tons of time and effort up front to see steady income coming in down the road.
Yet…. so many new bloggers have the impression of making money with a blog is actually easier than it is. Making money from a blog is so much more than writing about whatever we want and including links to our favorite affiliate products.
While of course I WISH I was making $1,500/MO after 3 months or $5K after one year, I definitely believe just slowly moving forward and chipping away at things a little at a time is what it truly takes to build a profitable online business.
My income goal was to start with that first $100 and evaluate at the end of the month what I need to improve on to try and increase my income by $100 the next month. This system has worked REALLY well for me and it’s a realistic path.
Looking at some of my income results for this past year, in Month 1- $37, month 2- $170, month 3 – $358, month 4 – $487, and slowwwwwly increasing about $100/mo to over $954 in month 10 and now over $1500 in month 11!
Ads – $830.12 Mediavine
If ads are part of your blog income strategy, this red circled number in the image below called RPM matters A LOT! RPM stands for ad revenue per thousand impressions. So that means for every 1,000 visitors to my blog each day, I earn about $21.33. It DID drop down to about $8 a couple months ago, I contacted Mediavine and an employee worked with me on what I needed to change to increase my RPM. I cannot express how awesome their customer service is!
Ads- $147.55 for my new hobby blog (I started a 2nd blog in May since I thought this one would never make more than $500/mo! No aff links on that account)
Amazon – $130.06
Shareasale (mostly from Etsy) – $115.43
Ebates – $170.00
Viglink – $77.62 (this surprised me! It’s pay by click and I didn’t know the more clicks, the more you get paid! Some of my links earn over 0.80 each whether someone makes a purchase or not!)
Grove Collaborative – $15.00
Shopstyle Collective– $4.55 (my bad, I keep forgetting to update expired product links-not as much as a set and “mostly” forget link system as Amazon, Shareasale and Viglink)
Blogging niche affiliates – $59.60
My own products – $17 (this typically makes $200-$300/mo but I didn’t promote it since I focused on affiliate income)
TOTAL INCOME: $1,566.93
- ConvertKit – $29 (I was too lazy to start with a free service and only wanted to learn one platform)
- The Society of Women Winning Online – $37
- Milo Tree – $9
Total Expenses: $75
AUGUST PROFIT: $1,491.93
(Income disclosure: I always recognize income when it’s earned. Business owners can choose to use the cash or accrual method of accounting, which means recognizing income when you receive it or when you earn it. The key is to consistently report income in the same way as a business. Some affiliates like Amazon pay immediately after months end, others payout 30-60-90 days later).
If You Don’t Yet Have a Blog
Siteground is the BEST hosting site for brand new bloggers. I got sucked into starting with a poor quality host just to save $1/month, but after a pin went viral, my site crashed for 3 days because my host couldn’t handle it. I definitely understand the desire to spend as little as possible when you aren’t yet making money, this is the one area you want to start out with the best right from the get go.
While you CAN start with a free service through wordpress.com, I do NOT recommend that path if you’re starting a money making blog. You can’t put ads using a free service and there’s big limitations on affiliate marketing and paid content. Meaning, if you’re blogging as a business, you should act like a business and pay for hosting.
DON’T make the mistake that I did! It only costs $3.95/mo to start with a high-quality host and trust me, you’ll save yourself tons of time and frustration down the road when your blog traffic takes off. I recently had another mega-viral pin and had ZERO issues with Siteground being able to handle it. If you don’t want to just take MY word for it, check this survey out from others:
Out of the 37 people that responded: 31 said Siteground was the best, 5 voted for Bluehost and 1 voted for Other.
How Do People Money With Pinterest?
I’ve been a heavy Pinterest user for many years and literally just realized a little over a year ago that it’s mostly bloggers using Pinterest marketing to send visitors to their blogs and in turn, potentially making money from those visitors by receiving ad money, visitors purchasing money through affiliate links or by buying products the blogger also sells like ebooks or printables.
This was truly mind-blowing to me! I assumed people were just posting photos and posts for FUN and I never really got that it was for BUSINESS and an awesome way to actually make MONEY!
While I’ve thought about starting a blog for many years, it wasn’t until I made the Pinterest connection that I was committed right then and there to get my lifestyle blog up and running and soon as possible.
If you’re new to blogging or are just wanting to get started with using Pinterest to send traffic to your blog, for most business models, blogging “through” Pinterest is absolutely the best way to rapidly grow your new blog!
The majority of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest, this is definitely the quickest way to get traffic to your blog. Here’s some of my favorite Pinterest resources that have really helped me with figuring out Pinterest marketing.
PINTEREST MARKETING FOR BEGINNERS
How to do well with Pinterest marketing is included in my free 7 day Pinterest course. It teaches you all about setting up your Pinterest account, how to get your pins seen in the Pinterest search, how to keyword your Pinterest boards and pins, and getting started with scheduling and automation.
This covers everything a beginner needs to know about Pinterest marketing. I’ve even had some readers tell me this has MORE INFO than they’ve received in PAID Pinterest courses!
OUR FAVORITE PINTEREST COURSE! Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell! The very popular ebook just got turned into a full course (at a ridiculously low price!)
I started blogging last fall and out of total frustration at struggling to get accepted to Pinterest group boards, I threw all of my energy into figuring out the new Tailwind Tribes beta program. Little info was out about using Tribes since it was new, so I created my own successful strategy.
Tribes is a HUGE reason why I qualified for Mediavine so quickly. For my first 6 months of blogging, 40% of my blog traffic came from Tailwind Tribes (some months 50%!). Tribes helped me get over 11K blog pageviews my first month and over 40K by month 3.
Before considering a paid Tailwind plan, I definitely recommend people get their current level working for them first before spending money.
Here’s a list of the 10 muli-niche or mom tribes that have helped me the most. Even if you aren’t a mom, some of my favorite all niche tribes are listed in this freebie too!
If you haven’t yet started with Tailwind and want to try their Pinterest scheduling tool and/or Tribes, you can try Tailwind one month for free with my referral code.
WHY MY TRAFFIC (& INCOME) IS RAPIDLY INCREASING
While my traffic was between 40K-60K pageviews per month during peak holiday season, it quickly fizzled starting in March. I had to make drastic changes to my strategy if I was ever going to seriously make a good monthly income from blogging. Here’s what helped me get over my traffic slump after it dwindled to dropped to 20,000 blog pageviews in April.
My current blog traffic was close to 50K this month during the “slow season” with mostly evergreen content. Bring on peak season please! My past week has already seen over 3,000 blog pageviews per day EACH day, and my goal is to reach over 100,000 blog pageviews per month this fall.
Here’s what Helped Me:
A Pinterest employee held a webinar last spring with Tailwind, and the main points to draw from it:
- There’s no benefit to manually pinning over scheduling
- Pinterest is favoring fresh content, this can be a new post, new pins or a pin description change.
- The ideal pin size is 600-x900 but they cut pins off that are longer than 1260.
- Scheduling your pins with Tailwind creates a new pin, which is what Pinterest wants.
PINTERESTING MARKETING INT-ADV
If you’re beyond the basics (I still recommend my email course regardless) and ad revenue is a big part of your income strategy, there TRULY is no one who can teach advanced Pinterest strategy better than this blogger. Personally having multiple blogs in a variety of niches that are all successful is why you can actually believe in their strategy.
While I was doing well with Pinterest, there were still a few pieces I couldn’t quite figure out and this resource helped me connect the missing pieces!
While the author, Scrivs, also runs Billionaire Blog Club, which is a whole package membership site, it’s usually closed but every now and then open lol.
Pin Signals by Pot Pie Girl– I consider myself Pinterest savvy, and Jennifer of Pot Pie Girl TOTALLY opened my eyes to a new way of viewing Pinterest. I HIGHLY recommend this ebook. Implementing the changes in her book drastically increased repins from my OWN boards.
Being able to rely more on your own account and less on group boards is super important.
My Pinterest Strategy in a Nut Shell
Mastering Pinterest marketing has been my top priority this year because it’s a quick and relatively easy way to get massive amounts of traffic compared to search engines and other social media outlets. Mastering Pinterest does take time and effort, but it’s WELL WORTH the time and energy if you’re in a niche that traditionally does well on Pinterest.
Every month I invest in 1-2 new blogging resources. Putting earnings back into your business will help you grow faster and even if I feel like I’ve mastered a concept like Pinterest marketing, it’s still interesting to read about other strategies.
HERE’S WHAT I’M DOING:
- Create new content at least weekly. Whether it be a new post or new pins, Pinterest is favoring fresh content. This is why I stopped frantically writing for a couple months and instead focused on improving what I already had.
- Add new pins to Tailwind Tribes and schedule tribe repins with Tailwind.
- I also use Tailwind Smart Loop. After taking 2 hours to set it all up, all I have to do now is add new pins as I create them and remove pins that no longer get repins. While not a perfect system, my traffic is not only increased after using SL, I no longer have to spend countless hours figuring out a Tailwind pinning strategy
- Write new content 6-8 weeks before readers will be searching for it
What It Takes to Qualify for Mediavine
If monetizing your blog with ads is part of your income strategy, getting accepted to a high-quality ad network as quickly as possible is critical.
To get approved by Mediavine, you need to have 25K blog SESSIONS in the past 30 days. This is roughly 30,000 blog pageviews. And before you start worrying because you think that seems like such a big number, it IS possible!
I honestly used to think the exact same thought and when I first started, hoped I’d reach that after 1 YEAR of blogging. Instead, I was super surprised it took me 3 months!
Here’s what I did to qualify quickly:
- I learned everything I could about Pinterest Marketing (don’t forget to download my free 7 day Pinterest course to help you!)
- I joined Tailwind Tribes. My repin rate from Tribes outperforms my Pinterest group boards 5X.
- Capitalizing on seasonal traffic. While evergreen content is most important, whenever I have a pin go viral, it’s most often from seasonal content.
- Write for your readers and not yourself. What content are your readers LOOKING for versus what do you FEEL like writing about? Find a balance!
Bonus: All you need is to do is qualify for ONE month! This means if your traffic drops down after you reach 25K sessions, you still get to stay in their ad network
Blogging Mistakes I’ve Made
Not being consistent with email marketing
Social media and search engine traffic can go away in a snap with a big algorithm change. The only thing you can truly rely on is your email list. But just building up followers isn’t enough to get people to buy from your email affiliate links.
Your readers won’t ever buy from you if you don’t build up TRUST first. The rule of thumb is serve, serve, serve, serve, serve and then sell (things that honestly will help them).
Regardless, I’ve been SUPER happy with my email service! Blogging has such a learning curve, for me I wanted to pick the best option from the beginning, just learn one program and then stick with it. You can even try it out for 1 month for free with my referral link before you make a final decision!
If a paid email service provider isn’t in your current budget, this is considered the best free email service.
Only focusing on Pinterest
I should’ve worked on SEO sooner! While it’s doing well by some miracle without giving it too much thought, I honestly think my pageviews would be even 10-20K higher per month right now if I’d prioritized this 6 months ago.
Also, because I want to work with brands, I regret not starting building up Facebook, Instagram and Twitter sooner. I made the assumption having a lot of blog traffic would be enough to qualify me to get sponsored posts, and it’s definitely not.
While you can’t master every social media platform at the same time:
- At least do the bare minimum and pin your new posts to your other social media profiles
- Chip away at learning basics as time allows
There seems to be an untrue rumor that only bloggers in the blogging niche are making money. This is totally false information and because I used to think this was true too, I started writing income reports as a brand new blogger because I felt like I was “supposed to.” If I write any income reports in the future, I’ll be separating out anything related to the blogging niche to be totally transparent.
The main reason I’m pointing this out is so that if you’ve questioned whether you can even make money with a small lifestyle or mom blog, you definitely can! Pinterest marketing is an AWESOME way to get traffic with a lifestyle blog and mom blog. Blogging about blogging doesn’t do as well on that platform, so you also have to consider what your niche and where your audience hangs out.
After realizing that the MAJORITY of my income is NOT from the blogging niche at all, I stopped writing blogging-related content and instead focused on my lifestyle blog content. While I DO love helping others, especially with Pinterest marketing, blogging about blogging isn’t my passion or why I started a website in the first place.
The honest truth on why you mostly just see income reports from blogging niche bloggers, is because that’s their business and the only way to gain trust is by proving they know how to get traffic or make money. If someone is a mom blogger, WHY would they need to share how much they make?
They don’t and that’s the point! You mostly just HEAR about blogging income by people in the blogging or finance niche because they’re business model relies on it. Someone making Amazon affiliate income from craft projects or recipes doesn’t need to disclose that.
There are SO MANY ways to make extra money online with a small website, whether it be from affiliate marketing, ad revenue, selling your own products, offering a service, or selling products on platforms such as Amazon, Etsy or Ebay. Putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good way to go and diversifying your income is critical.
My purpose of writing this blogging income report is to show other lifestyle bloggers and mom bloggers that you CAN actually make money with a small part-time blog from home. It IS possible, but the reality is that blogging not an overnight success and a slow and steady plan to grow your business over time is the best way to realistically do this.
My Final Thoughts for You
There honestly isn’t a magic formula for blogging success other than YOUR hard work. Buying a new blogging course or investing in programs like Tailwind or ConvertKit will only get you so far.
Following someone else’s strategy will give you a starting point to work from, but you MUST tweak it to fit YOUR audience.
We all have different posts, viewers, followers, have a different amount of time to spend blogging and are on different group boards, etc.
The one piece of advice I have for new bloggers is to always ask yourself WHY.
Using YOUR CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS is SUPER important to blogging success!
- If you’re getting lots of Pinterest views but not blog pageviews, WHY? Maybe you need to improve your pin designs
- If you’re trying to promote affiliate products to your email list and aren’t selling, WHY? Maybe you haven’t built up trust with your readers or aren’t being consistent? (cough cough like me).
- If you spent 20 hours working on a sales funnel to your new ebook and it’s not selling, WHY? WHERE are you losing people?
- If you KNOW you have great content but aren’t getting traffic, WHY? Maybe you don’t have enough posts people are actually SEARCHING for and your awesome posts just don’t have many people looking for info on that topic.
You are the ONLY one responsible for your blogging success. So many give up way too early and don’t dig down deep on WHY things aren’t working yet for them.
If you are PASSIONATE about your blog and want to create a profitable business more than anything, YES it can turn your blog into a good monthly income!
Please post below if you have any questions about anything blogging related!