Hey guys, me again. I know that starting a blog can be a stressful and time-consuming project. And making money as a blogger can be even harder. It’s difficult to know whether it’s worth the time or if you should just give up and put your efforts towards something else.
Well, I’m here to share with you my own mind-blowing success story: how I made an impressive $0.72 during my first five months of blogging.
This type of success doesn’t come easy, but if I can do it, anyone can. Believe me. All you have to do is put your entire life on hold, go into credit card debt, and sleep approximately four hours a night.
This life could be yours, too.
Okay, so maybe my blog didn’t give me the outcome I was hoping for (yet), but it’s a learning experience and I’m still passionate enough about it to see where it goes.
I went “all in” on my blog beginning in August and it’s been challenging but also very rewarding. Even if I don’t end up making money as a blogger, I’m really fascinated with everything I’ve been learning.
With all of the blog posts of people claiming that they made $5,000 (or more) after just six months of blogging, it can be really discouraging and make you wonder why you even bother. And yes, I’m speaking from experience.
But I’m here to show you that you’re not alone, fellow bloggers (or people thinking about starting). It’s a difficult road, but, as they say in High School Musical, we’re all in this together. There’s enough of the internet to go around and if we help each other we can grow together!
Surprisingly, these 72 cents that appeared in my Amazon Affiliates account on December 11th, gave me a little glimmer of hope. And my boyfriend was even more excited than me because, in Colombia, that’s enough for not one, but TWO, empanadas.
It showed me that people were taking the time to read what I was writing and I could see that my traffic was growing every month. It made me feel like if I kept doing what I was doing, the possibilities were endless. My goal of making money as a blogger didn’t seem so far away.
Yep, nothing like a whopping $0.72 to reignite a dream. And let me be clear, this wasn’t a profit. I’ve spent much more than $0.72 on this blog.
But how did I get here? It wasn’t easy (and it’s still pretty damn difficult if I’m being honest). I made A LOT of mistakes, tried out a lot of weird and awkward things (nothing sexual), and had many nights where I felt like a mindless zombie staring at my computer screen.
Here’s my ultimate month-by-month guide on how I got to this point (including my mistakes):
Admittedly, I started my blog around the middle of 2016. I had a few articles, but I just kind of left it alone after the first month. In August of 2017, I really tried to revive it and dedicate myself to it again. I had a month of free time after my teaching job ended (AKA one of the happiest days of my life), so it was the perfect time.
I aimed for three articles a week and rarely met my goal. Plus, I didn’t have any direction for my content. Some articles were about my experiences, but some were just written with getting clicks in mind.
Lesson learned: don’t do this. Being honest and genuine is what people want to read. Plus, it helps keep your passion alive and can genuinely help people. Writing for clicks will kill your soul a little bit more as each day passes.
After this month of getting maybe 100 views, I decided that’s not the type of blogger I wanted to be. I really wanted to help people and the articles I was writing were just, to put it lightly, clickbaity garbage. And bad clickbaity garbage at that.
I also hadn’t found my writing voice yet, so the articles were pretty bland. If I could do it over, I would have written every day. The keyboard can be your best friend if you let it be. It can be therapeutic even. Once you find your voice as a blogger, writing becomes not only easier but much more enjoyable.
September came and went and I did absolutely nothing on this blog. I had just moved back to Colombia and was trying to make a living as a freelance writer.
I got plenty of job offers, but it was a lot of work. Towards the end of the month, I got that pushing feeling again that I couldn’t do this forever. I needed a way to make money that would also make me happy (why is it that we always have to choose one or the other?).
After optimizing my Upwork profile, I was able to find higher-paying jobs that required less work, so I’d have more time to work on my blog. I said adios! to some clients I had and started using my time more wisely.
While I wasn’t making money as a blogger, October was the first time I was able to strike a deal and get something for free because of my blog. It wasn’t a luxury hotel stay or a free trip to Greece, but it was a small success for me.
I got to go along with Callejeros Tours and sample all of the amazing street food in Cali. Speaking 100% honestly, the tour was so much more than I expected and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Cali.
In October, I decided to focus more on what I wanted to write about and less on what I thought people wanted to read. Not only did it make writing a fun experience, but it attracted more people to my blog.
I managed to publish around one article a week:
They were all topics that I felt I knew a lot about and that would be helpful to other people. I chose a topic I wanted to write about, then thought about what information about that topic might be useful to someone. I tried to put myself in the shoes of the reader.
I always like to think of November as my power month. The month kicks off with my birthday and ends with my all-time favorite holiday, Thanksgiving (which unfortunately I haven’t been able to celebrate for two years).
Perhaps it was the impending doom of the end of the year or the extra free time I had in my daily schedule. Whatever it was, I really kicked my ass into gear in November.
I was able to post about three times a week this month.
I purchased Tailwind for Pinterest and Buffer for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Blog posts and minicourses on social media strategies and SEO became my best friend. And I still have so much more to learn.
I managed to nail down a pretty decent Twitter strategy in terms of getting followers. My account is growing steadily, but not at lightning speed or anything like that. I am strictly against following and unfollowing or sneaky little games like that.
My Pinterest account (which is still pretty small) was also growing steadily. As far as Facebook goes, I just sort of left it alone.
I was reluctant to start an Instagram account because I’m not much of a photographer and I was never really a fan of the platform to begin with. But I started one anyway and was surprised at how much I was able to interact with other bloggers and potential readers.
I also looked into affiliate marketing as a way of making money as a blogger, signed up for an Amazon Affiliates account, and started trying to incorporate some products I know and love into my articles.
I was careful not to promote anything that could end up being garbage. My reputation (at least on this blog) is important to me, so I make sure to only promote products that I know are amazing (and sustainable!).
My goal in November was to get 1,000 visits to my blog. And I got about 1,200! I was ecstatic and it gave me the hope I needed for December.
I was traveling nearly all of December. I was able to keep up with posting three times a week for the first two weeks, but I was super busy with the holidays and slacked a little the last two weeks.
My goals for December were to get 2,000 visits, reach 500 Instagram followers, and reach 1,000 Twitter followers. I’m happy to say I reached all of my goals!
I continued to take online classes to teach me more, continued thinking about affiliate marketing, and started working on an e-book.
My experience interacting with readers and other bloggers, growing my accounts, and learning as much as possible about this crazy world of blogging has been much better.
I was super excited to see Tailwind really paying off (well, not literally, but in terms of visitors). Even on days when I didn’t touch my blog, steady traffic was coming in through Pinterest.
It’s hard to say if Buffer has helped me with traffic, but it definitely saves me time and makes my life 1,000 times easier. Nothing like scheduling out your social media in advance!
I also received more comments and emails from readers, which makes me happy because I feel like my writing is reaching at least some people!
And, of course, I made those amazing $0.72 through Amazon Affiliates! What a month!
And now what?
I have a ton of exciting things planned for 2018, both for myself and for my blog. Now that I know which type of content I prefer writing, my list of blog ideas is growing every day.
I want to bring you guys more content on Colombia and I’m planning on taking a trip to a lesser-known destination at least twice a month (this weekend I’m planning to head to Filandia…stay tuned!).
I’m also hoping to spend three months backpacking Brazil towards the end of the year, which is something I’m excited to experience and share with all of you!
My goal, unsurprisingly, is to hit 3,000 views this month. The year has kind of started off slowly, but I’m going to chalk it up to everyone being busy and at work.
Twitter: My Twitter strategy, which basically just involves following people, being involved, and tweeting often, is going nicely and growing my account every day. I want to stick with it and see where it takes me!
Instagram: I both love and hate Instagram. I find it to be a very frustrating platform. I’m trying out different strategies to grow my account. I’m also learning how to take more professional photos, so we’ll see where it goes.
Facebook: I’ve been very lazy about growing my Facebook page, but I plan to promote it on various Facebook blogging groups at least a few times a week to keep it steadily growing.
Google Plus: My Google + count is basically non-existent and none of my traffic comes from it. That being said, I know it can be a really valuable source of traffic, so I’m trying to focus on it more and figure it out. Basically, I’ve never used it so I feel like a 70-year-old grandma using a computer for the first time.
Pinterest: Because of Tailwind and Tailwind Tribes, I’m getting the majority of my traffic from Pinterest even though I don’t have that many followers. I plan on doing more research to figure out how to grow it more.
Other than that, I’m taking two classes on Udemy. One is on SEO and I’m about halfway through it. I cannot recommend this course enough. The information has been invaluable and has helped me with things I had no clue about, like website speed and ways to lower your bounce rate.
I also purchased a course on how to go viral on various social media platforms. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m looking forward to it!
*This post contains affiliate links
Have you had any success making money as a blogger? What difficulties have you faced? What have you learned?