Last week, we talked about how to (more than) double your blog’s reach in a year. I shared a bit of my personal experience about how I went from getting about 11,000 views a month in March of 2013 to averaging over 93,000 views a month for the last 3 months of the year. Of course I also shared some tips and ways that you can make it happen on your blog as well, and we will continue to share more tips for growth throughout the year to help you reach your blogging goals!
Today, I thought it would be helpful to talk about blogging income. Something that every one feels weird talking about, but I feel like it’s helpful to share, so that you can know what is possible, and be able to set realistic goals for yourself and not sell yourself short.
For the backstory: In January of 2013 I wasn’t making any money on my blog. Not one penny. I was determined to start earning and had the goal of starting to earn some money before 2014, though I had NO IDEA what number to shoot for. Vaguely in my mind, I set a goal of reaching $500-$1,000 total, by the end of the year, but thought even that might be overambitious.
By December 2013 I had brought in over $5,000 total. Averaging $1,000 a month for the last 3 months of the year.
So again, HOW does this happen? I’ll tell you, because I want you to be able to do this too!!! No gimmicks or tricks, just a lot of hard work and time.
- Get Your Own Domain – This is a great starting point, because it sets you apart and makes you look like a more professional-blogger instead of a hobby-blogger. Many brands expect you to have your own domain before they will even work with you. Also, when you start to build your page, you want to build up views, pins and SEO traffic for the domain that you will have for the rest of your blogging career. Choose your blog name and domain wisely!
- Install Google Analytics – GA is a great tool for tracking the growth of your blog. Many brands ask for numbers specifically from Google Analytics before they work with you, as GA is one of the most accurate. Your stats on GA may be a little bit lower than what you have seen on other stat-counting websites, simply because GA doesn’t count spam clicks. It’s a good thing to install ASAP so that your growth will be charted from the very beginning and you won’t have to wait to get those numbers for a sponsor or brand when asked in the future.
- Focus on Getting Your Page Views Up First – Before you spend too much time stressing over money, try to get your stats and page views up to a good level. This will allow you to put all of your energy into one thing at a time, and when you do start earning blogging income it will be more at a time instead of just a few dollars here and there. Personally, I waited until I was getting 700-1,000 views a day, before I started pursuing monetization. A few earning opportunities presented themselves before that time (and I took them!) but I didn’t actively try to start earning until I had my stats in a better place than I did on January 1st. This took half the year, but it was so worth it to me! Instead of bending over backwards for a small sponsored post or cluttering my site with ads that were earning me pennies, I was able to slowly start bringing in sponsored posts and ads, when my stats were high enough to make it worth it.
- Paypal – Set up a paypal account specifically for your blog. Though some companies allow direct deposit, most will pay you through paypal, so having it already set up will put you a step ahead as you start to earn. It can also be a good idea to set up a separate bank account just for your blogging income. This will help you track your blog earnings, so you can report them on your taxes at the end of the year. Then you can transfer the money to your regular account at the end of the year!
- Join Sponsored Posts Communities – There are some wonderful websites out there that connect bloggers with brands that are seeking to hire bloggers for sponsored posts! It’s great to join several of these companies (it’s free to join) and keep a look out for opportunities that are relavent to your blog and your readers. I may go months without getting an job from one or two of them, which is why it’s nice to have the others to fall back on! A few of my personal favorites (where I have had the most success) are Izea, Linqia, Sverve and Social Fabric. *Some of these are referral links, which means I may be rewarded if you sign up using my link*
- Hire Me – Create a “hire me” landing page. You can call it whatever creative name you choose, just have a space on your blog that shares your stats and what sponsorship opportunities you are looking for. You can even include how much you charge! Always have a contact email address on this page as well. This makes it much easier for brands to contact you personally with opportunities. The nice thing about working this way, is that you typically get paid faster, and you build a relationship with the brand directly (instead of through the groups/communities mentioned above). Make it easy to find your information and easy to contact you and you’ll start getting people looking for what you have to offer! You can see an example of a ‘hire me’ page like this on my personal blog.
- Adsense – Google Adsense is a wonderful tool, and it is MUCH easier than selling adspace on your blog. There is a waiting period after you apply, but once you are accepted it’s pretty smooth sailing. You simply add the code to your site, and start earning money as people click the ads. It can be fickle as different days the ads will be worth more, but it’s still a great (and easy) source of income. I love it when I can come home from a day at the beach with my kids and see that I’ve earned a couple dollars in ad sales while we were playing. It’s definitely a cool feeling! You can block certain types of ads or URLs from displaying ads on your site, so they should stay as family-friendly as you want them to be, which is a really nice feature. I was nervous about getting some X rated ads on my site and not realizing, but as long as you are careful with your settings that shouldn’t happen.
- Ad Space – I’ve only recently begun to sell adspace myself, but it’s something that many bloggers do quite successfully. Basically you charge people to have their image/button in your sidebar. Passionfruit is a program that helps make selling ad space easier. I’m currently in a trial period with them, so I will have to update this as I get more experience with them. I do know lots of bloggers that have had a very positive experience with them, so it’s worth looking into! As far as pricing, take a peek at what other bloggers your size and in your niche are selling and price accordingly!
- Post Frequently – Don’t rely on sponsored content to carry your blog. You still have to post lots of stellar non-sponsored content to keep the readers coming! Never stop working on your blog’s growth, even when your numbers have doubled and tripled! The majority of the content on the site should be regular, non-sponsored posts, with only a few sponsored posts sprinkled in the mix. Yes, we all need to earn money, but you will lose your credibility with your readers if you post exclusively sponsored content.
- Be Picky – Only accept sponsored posts/ads that you can honestly endorse and that you think your readers will enjoy hearing about. Sponsored content is still content going on your blog, so it also needs to ad value from the readers perspective. This might mean that you have to turn down some hefty paychecks, but keeping your credit as an honest blogger will help you in the long run as you endorse other brands that you truly believe in. Your readers will know they can trust you and your sponsors will know that you deliver the results they want!
- Don’t Lose Yourself – Never sacrifice your voice, or quality writing style for a sponsored post. Advertise for the brands in unique stories that flow with the feel of your blog. This means more exposure for the brand, and your readers will enjoy reading it, instead of skipping over it because it feels like a “commercial”. Becky has some great tips about writing sponsored posts, if you need some help getting started.
- Monetize Social Media – You can monetize social media through Izea, Blogher and Sverve. These companies pay you for tweeting, posting Facebook Statuses on your page about their brand or even pinning! You can also advertise a “social media shout out” option on your “hire me” page.
- Start Treating Your Blog Like a Business – Be professional in all your interactions and always post quality content. If you don’t take yourself and your blog seriously, neither will brands. Every tweet, Facebook status and blog post represents you and your brand as a blogger. You don’t have to lose your voice, but make sure that you are always using proper grammar, capitalization and so forth.
- Don’t Sell Yourself Short – Know your worth, and don’t settle for less. There will always be brands asking for you to advertise them for free (or virtually free). Don’t feel obligated to take those opportunities. Some times people will try to guilt you into working for free, but don’t do it! Take opportunities that you believe in, and that are giving you a fair price.
- Don’t Stress or Obsess – Continue working on your blog and being proactive about it’s growth and it will come. Sometimes there are things that have to be changed, and there is always room for improvement, but you don’t have to achieve perfection before you start to earn money.
As you can see, it’s a long process to go from $0 a month to $1,000 a month, but it’s also a very do-able one! Hard work and effort pay off in the end.
Please, do not get discouraged if you have not reached this type of income yet. Keep striving for your goals, and making the changes necessary to get there. It does take a lot of hard work and sacrifices but it can be worth it, if it’s helpful for your family and you can do it without stressing yourself out.
If you found this helpful, be sure to check out the series I did on my personal blog, where bloggers (anonymously) shared their stats, monthly income, where they were making money and other tips for every one to learn from! You can read those posts and see their numbers here and here.
Do you have any income goals for the year? Which of these are you going to work on first?
Want to take your blog even farther and turn it into a full blog business? We’ve got you covered! Check out our best selling book Blogging on the side: Where passions meets profit.
Or learn how to start a blog here:
As long as I continue to grow as I have over the past years I am happy 🙂 I see my blog money as our “fun money” and am grateful I can stay at home. Love my readers for that!
That’s awesome! 🙂
Great post. All your points are helpful but I think #9 and #10 really stuck out to me.
I have stopped following many blogs when all they did was sponsored posts.
And as for #10 and choosing sponsored posts, that can be hard. For me I have not done any yet. First because I have been concentrating on other things, but also because my blog is focused on real food. I know there are tons of food manufacturers that I “could” do posts for. But my readers expect me to talk about and endorse healthy foods. So doing a post for some highly processed packaged food would make no sense.
That’s great that you are choosing to stay so true to your brand! It will help your blog so much more in the long run!!!
Sabrina Dix says
Great post! Thanks for sharing…I feel so encouraged. It’s great to know that you really can make real money blogging. Hard work pays off.
Thanks so much for this post. I have decided to be intentional about my blog as a business this year and these tips are very helpful.
This is so helpful and encouraging to me where I am right now–somewhere in the middle with pageviews and in the smaller figures with monetization. It’s neat to see how you made it happen for your blog. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
Jodee Weiland says
I’ve learned some new things here, and I appreciate that!
Selene Galindo says
Wow! Great tips! Thanks!
Thank you, Paula, for sharing this! I will definitely be looking into many of the ideas you have mentioned!
Great post! I didn’t even know there were so many ways to make money from a blog! I will definitely be using some of them. Thanks!
I’m loving this series! I’m new to blogging and your tips are great. I will definitely be putting most of them into practice very soon. Thanks for the help.
Athena at Minerva's Garden says
This is helpful. I’m still working on getting more visitors to my blog each day, but I’ve got AdSense up, and a couple of other means for bringing in some money. It’s just very slow going at this point, and very little money.
I’m still a hobby blogger but hope to grow as I learn more about the process. Posts like this one really help. Thanks.
Giveaways 4 Mom says
I would love to make $1000+ a month with my blog. Thanks for this great advice.
Jonna Scott-Blakes says
Great tips. Especially #3 stands out to me because this is something I get asked about alot by new bloggers. The first thing they want once they create the blog is sponsors and free stuff. I’m thinking…maybe you want to get an audience and write some posts first? I’ve implemented many of these tips but some I’ll be looking into to grow my income. Thanks for sharing! #bloggersunite #sitssharefest
Kitty Swing says
I’ve just started blogging consistently (it was very off and on for a solid year) and already, my pageviews and subscribers have SHOT UP… but I have so much further to go. I’m not to the place where I could entertain the thought of earning an income blogging, but I’d love to get there eventually and your tips are SO helpful. I’m pinning this to my Blog board so that I can come back and refer to this frequently!
Great tips, thank you. I’m still working on growing my page views, and actively tracking my stats and rankings. To my surprise, a few opportunities have come my way, but I can’t wait to get to a point where I can actively seek out paid gigs for the blog and have the views to back it up. (#SITSSharefest Visit!)
What a helpful post- so happy I clicked over from SITS! I’m just now starting to get the amount of views I want, so I’m considering different ways to monetize. It feels like such a huge step!
These are great tips! Thanks for sharing
Robin @ Redo It Yourself Inspirations says
Thank you for an excellent source of information. I’m only a couple of months old with blogging and still taking baby steps. Your assistance helps all of us get farther and I appreciate it.
Rabia @TheLiebers says
This is great info. I am working on getting my page views up, but I’m making a little bit on the side, so that makes me happy.
Ali Gilbert says
Thanks for sharing- this is SO HELPFUL! I am currently making like 2 cents a month (ha- 2 cents for my 2 sense!) so I have been really discouraged. This is really helpful!
Great advice! Some I don’t understand yet (just getting started), but will refer back to it as I learn. Thanks for reaching out to help. Love your blog title!
Thank you for this post! I have recently done a lot of thinking about starting my own blog because I feel like I have important stuff to say and information I want people to hear about my experiences being a young wife & mother, etc. I never thought about it being a money-making adventure also:)
Lauren Watson says
I am so glad I found your blog (through a pin!) You have some wonderful advice, thank you so much for sharing!
Very informative, especially for someone who has not done anything for monetary gains yet.
I will go back to your last post, too, but my question is in regards to growing your pageviews. I am growing all of my social media accts. very quickly. I just started g+ last week, but happy w/ those results and also great comments & interaction on my blog,but any help to gain subscribers or daily page views appreciated. Did you do a lot of giveaways? I’ve only done one and it was beneficial, but haven’t pursued more yet. Thanks!!! New follower to you now!!
Carrie @ Kenarry: Ideas for the Home says
Great advice to put into practice, Paula. Thanks!
Wow nice site here. Found you on Pinterest and I must say you do have alot of pinteresting info here. Bloggers Unite 😉
Antionette Blake says
Great article and I am following all the tips, however, i was rejected by Google Adsense which is needless to say, disappointing!
very cool! I love the tip about waiting to monetize until you’ve reached about 1000 daily page views. I am still growing and the stress of trying to do it all at once was getting to me. this is a much better plan 🙂
Judy Klein says
Great post! Thanks for sharing — very informative. On average, how much time do you spend on your blog each day?
Tove M Stakkestad says
I just came across your blog and I am SO inspired. I am nowhere near the page views you refer to – but I can see how dedicating your time to ONE thing at a time could work – first content and the rest will follow… I am going to read your posts and then come up with a plan. It will happen! THANK YOU
Demetria @ Web Success Coaching says
These are fabulous tips. I will look into Social Spark since I’ve heard great things about it on more than one occasion. Thanks for your helpful post!
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K. Lee Banks says
Paula, thanks for pointing me to this post – I have it bookmarked now and will definitely be endeavoring to implement as many of these ideas as possible. Thanks again for the tips! 🙂
Rebecca "Franticmommy" Flansburg says
SUPER good tips and all are spot-on. I think bloggers need to work to get their stats up and display some longevity. THEN they need to connect the dots by letting it be known that they have ad space for sale. To get started with ad space sale, look to those who know you best (bloggers or companies you’ve worked with, affiliates and local businesses in your area) and reach out to them with your thoughts, strategies and rates.
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Agora sinto-me perdida não sei por onde começando, a oferta é tão grande, tanto para aprender, o meu blog está péssimo, pois sou sozinha, e não consigo ter tempo para aprender, publicar, fazer vídeos, colocar o meu blog como quero, enfim sinto-me perdida, sempre que venho ao seu blog, aprendo muito, e sinceramente penso se os outros conseguem ganhar eu também consigo, pensamento positivo e muito trabalho é a receita.
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I really enjoy your blog! I blog mostly for myself, friend and family but hope that one day, I can grow it. Thanks for being so encouraging and honest in your posts. I wish you the best!
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I am sitting at $0 earned at the moment and am going to take all your advice and aim for a penny or two (at least!) by the end of 2015. Thank you for sharing! Have a little bit more of challenge as South Africa does not have all the resources you mentioned, but try is all I can do. 🙂
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Ellen Allard says
Thank you so much for this post. I initially found you on Pinterest. I’ve been blogging for 9 years and never even thought about monetizing until I read your piece about going from $0 to $1000 a month in one year. I am definitely going to rethink my blogging purposes as a result. Many thanks!
Isaac Duenas says
I’m curious, have you started monetizing your blog? If so can you share your general results regarding passive income? If it’s too much information just disregard. I just started my blog and I’m already seeing at the most 78 visitors in a day and one sale on my services (web design). I only have 3 blog posts but I believe the quality of the content I am putting out is good. I hope your getting sufficient results.
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Thank you so much for all the info. I have found two or three links not working between this post and one other post that led me to this one. Just thought you might want to know in case you want to fix them. I look forward to digging deeper into bettering my blog with B2B tips and classes!
Nice tips.i started my blog earlier.this will help me alot
Lenae Hamman says
As a newbie to the blog scene, this post has helped me tremendously! Thank you so much for sharing your tips! I have already implemented several of them!
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