How much money can you really make blogging? I was recently suggested to create a blog income report for the first quarter (Jan-March) of 2020. The last time I created a blog income report I received great responses so why not give it another go to show you my progress.
The first 3 months of 2020 have been crazy and unexpected however, I didn’t let that stop me from making money with my blog. The purpose of this income report is to share with you that it is possible to make money blogging if you set your mind to it. I am in no way trying to brag about the money I make. This is for informational and learning purposes only.
A little background information, I started my first blog in April 2017, exactly 3 years ago! When I first started my blog I had NO clue what I was doing. There was no previous marketing knowledge that I had. I was just a full time waitress and college dropout who loved to create. I had some of my darkest moments in 2017 and my blog helped me escape.
Within the first 6 months of blogging I had my first $1,500 month. That’s when I realized it was possible to make money blogging. I break down how much money I made my first year blogging in my previous blog income report that you can check out here!
Last July I decided to create my second blog, the one you are reading now. This blog was created based off of my Boss Girl Bloggers community that has over 38,000 inspiring women. Now I use my second blog to connect with my BGB members and share helpful blog, marketing, and social media tips.
How much money can you really make blogging?
The first 3 months of 2020 I made a total of $19,288.03 before taxes and expenses. This is a screenshot of the income I collected through PayPal. The rest of the income I earned was through direct deposit to my bank account.
The grand total is $19,288.03.
Compared to last year’s quarter 1 sales I have definitely made progress. Last year’s quarter 1 sales were about $14,000
I am going to break this number down for you so you know exactly where the money came from. I will also share my expenses with you!
Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used. You can read my full disclosure here.
How I Made $19,288.03 from my blog – Quarter 1 Blog Income Report
Before I talk about how much money I made from my blog in 3 months, I want to share with you my expenses and subtract that from the total. These are things I pay for each month to help me make money with my blog. If you had to invest in things for your blog, I recommend these.
Teachable subscription $39/month: I use Teachable to host my Pinterest e-course. I love teachable because it handles all of the backend tasks such as collecting payments, sending the course to students after purchase, makes it easy to add affiliates and give refunds if necessary.
Canva subscription $12.95/month: I love using Canva to create pin graphics for myself and my clients. I use Canva Business which is $12.95 monthly.
Podbean $14/month: Podbean is a podcast hosting platform I use. I haven’t been able to upload a new podcast in a bit which I hope to get back into but, I have to keep paying the fee to keep my podcast up and running. Feel free to listen to my Boss Girl Bloggers Podcast here.
Hautestock: $99/quarter ($33 a month): This is a stock photo membership I have been using for a while now. The first stock photo membership I ever signed up for.
Pixistock $197/year ($16.41 a month): Pixistock is another stock photo membership I use and love.
Styled Stock Society $75/quarterly ($25 a month): This is also a stock photo membership I use. Since I am a Pinterest manager and use Pinterest for both my sites, I need stock photos to keep up with creating fresh new pins.
Siteground (2 sites) $478.80/year ($39.9 a month): Siteground is the self-host I use for both of my websites. I have been using Siteground for 3 years now and I love them! Their customer service is phenomenal and their site speed is fast. I always recommend Siteground when it comes to starting a blog or self-hosting a blog. If you want to learn how to start your own blog on Siteground then check out this post.
Stupid Simple SEO 3 month payment plan $87/month $261: I decided to finally bite the bullet and invest in an SEO course this year. I heard so many great things about Stupid Simple SEO that I had to give it a try myself. I LOVE this course. It’s worth the cost. I knew the basics about SEO but this course helped me take my SEO to the next level. He opens his course up for enrollment only a few times a year so hop on his waitlist so you can grab your own copy the next time it’s available!
Tailwind $194/year $16.16 a month: I use tailwind to schedule my pins for both blogs. I don’t have the time to manually pin so Tailwind is a must for me! I had referral credit which helped knock the cost down. I use 2 yearly plans which are usually $119 for the year each and a tribes boost for $119 a year.
Mailerlite $20/month: This is the email list builder I currently use to manage my subscribers and email marketing. Super easy to use and free for up to 1,000 subscribers!
Total expenses for Quarter 1: $966.75
Total made after expenses: $18,301.28
Breakdown of where the $19,288.03 came from
Now let’s talk about where my blog income in the past 3 months came from. There are 4 different ways I made my money blogging in quarter one. Through my Pinterest e-course, client work, affiliate marketing, and ads.
Pinterest With Ell E-Course: $6,730.35
In quarter one my highest source of income came from my Pinterest e-course. I made $6,730.35 from selling my Pinterest e-course. A few things I did to help push my course sales was by getting those who enjoyed my e-course to sign up as affiliates. Here are my 3 separate payments
I think the reason why I had more sales this quarter than last years first quarter was because more people had taken my course and loved it which helped spread the word. I also had a course promotion which offered my course for only $15! This is extremely low but I always like to have a holiday sale, that’s why there was an increase of income in Feb.
I talk about how to create and sell a digital product in this post that might help you create a product you can sell too.
Client work: $5,673.45
The second highest source of income in quarter 1 of 2020 for me was my client work. I take on clients mostly for Pinterest managing as well as blog and Pinterest coaching. You can learn more about the services I offer here.
My best tips for getting clients is by showing REAL results. In order to get clients you need to build trust, prove that you know what you are doing. I also use Pinterest marketing strategies to market my services as well as using my Boss Girl Bloggers group.
I suggest creating blog posts that are based around the services you offer and create your own Facebook group to market your services.
Affiliate Income: $4,897.69
The next highest source of income was affiliate marketing. Making sales through affiliate marketing is TOUGH but it is possible. If you have a trusting audience they will purchase what you are recommending.
Here are the affiliate programs I am a part of that earn me income each month:
- Amira’s Legal Templates (I use her legal templates for my blog privacy, disclosure policies and love them)
- Styled Stock Society
- Ivory Mix
- Creative Market
I share my favorite affiliate marketing strategies in this post if you want to learn how to make more affiliate sales.
Mediavine Ads: $1,986.54
My last source of income blogging is through Mediavine ADs. Last year I finally qualified for Mediavine ADS (you need 25,000 sessions in the last 30 days to qualify) and I was so excited. I used to have google Adsense before Mediavine and was pretty disappointed. The payout wasn’t great.
I worked my butt of growing to 25k sessions in the past 30 days so I could qualify for Mediavine ads. Their payout is much better and I was able to make almost $2,000 in 3 months just for having ads on my blog. It’s a perfect way to make passive income.
Another way bloggers can make money is by working with brands
I didn’t make any money in the past 3 months working with brands and that is because I simply did not pitch or reach out to brands. I had a lot on my plate with client work which I don’t mind because Pinterest is my “thing” that I enjoy doing.
If you are a fashion, beauty, lifestyle, mom blogger OR any blogger in general you can pitch yourself to brands and make money from sponsored posts. I’ve done it before and I talk about how to do so in this post.
What helped me increase my income this year so far?
I have been blogging longer which means I have been learning and growing more. Patience and dedication is truly key. You need to make time for you blog. Take the time to learn and implement strategies. I find that it’s not about making one strategy work for you, it’s about learning different strategies and taking bits and pieces to make your own strategy that works for YOU! I also quit my waitressing job Feb 2019 which allowed me to have a lot more time to work on my blog and client work.
Blog Traffic Increase
I had my first ever 100,000+ blog traffic month in December which meant more money through Mediavine and affiliate sales. It is possible to make money with a small audience however, your income can definitely increase when your blog traffic grows. I was also able to qualify for Mediavine which is an income source I didn’t have at the beginning of last year. I didn’t start getting paid for Mediavine until I believe last April.
My Pinterest e-course has really taken off since I first launched it. I have thousands of students and that has played a huge part in helping me keep the momentum of selling my course alive. I also make sure to promote my course when I can without coming off as too aggressive. If you don’t have a digital product to sell I definitely recommend it as it becomes a great source of income.
Being Active + Engaging
Making personal connections with your audience goes a long way. It’s been a huge part of my growth. I find that the more I take the time to engage and help my audience, the more they trust me. There is nothing more important than trust when it comes to blogging and making sales. If your audience doesn’t trust you, they won’t purchase anything you recommend. I have also been SO ACTIVE on twitter and in my Facebook group which are 2 places I am able to make sales and grow my blog traffic.
Although I may not make 6 figures blogging yet, I still have the potential to make almost $80,000 this year if my blog income continues going the way it is. That would make 2020 my highest earning year blogging yet!
I hope this sheds a little bit of light on how you can actually make money blogging, it is possible! This is what 3 years of dedication and hard work can bring you. I didn’t start off making this much by any means, you can read how much I made blogging my first year in this post.
I find that a lot of bloggers give up because they aim for making money right away. This can be discouraging if you don’t see the income immediately. Don’t get discouraged. Invest in your blog, learn strategies to help you grow and monetize and you will get there!
Would love to hear from you in the comments, and don’t forget to grab your FREE Pinterest checklist!