Thinking of Starting a Blog? Over the years, I’ve received many requests from folks for help on how to start a blog and how to make money blogging.
That’s why I put together this comprehensive guide on How to Make Money Blogging with updated information and links. It includes step-by-step help on how to set up your blog, get started, and make money from blogging. Go here to learn how to make money blogging and get started today!
In 2005, I discovered this thing called “blogging” and decided to try it out. I was a brand-new mom at the time, had recently quit working as a nanny, and was hopeful I could make enough on the side through online ventures to be able to replace my income and be able to stay home.
My husband was in law school and we were living on a beans and rice budget, trying to stay out of debt.
We never, ever dreamed that my little blog idea would grow into what it has become. In all honesty, when I started MoneySavingMom.com, I remember telling people that I hoped to make a side income from it.
I never could have imagined that by the end of 2008, I’d be making full-time income from blogging! And in all my wildest and craziest dreaming, I never would have envisioned that this blog would allow my husband to come home full-time, would provide the means for us to support ministries we love dearly (in the US, in the Dominican Republic, and in South Africa), and would enable us to provide incomes for our small (but amazing!) team.
How I Make a Full-Time Income from Blogging
Over the years, I’ve heard the question again and again and again: How do you actually MAKE money blogging?? People seem intrigued by the idea that our family actually makes a really good income from this blog and other related online ventures.
In these monthly posts, I want to give you a comprehensive and detailed look at our different income streams and expense streams to give you a better idea of what’s working, what’s not working, and how I actually make money blogging.
I always find these posts fascinating and inspiring when I read them from other bloggers. It helps me to learn the real nitty-gritty details of what is and isn’t working, how bloggers are diversifying their income, and what they are experimenting with.
Some bloggers share these types of posts and include specific numbers of exactly how much they make every month. I’ve opted not to do that because I feel like sometimes people can get hung up on numbers and miss the bigger picture. Instead, I want share detailed percentages of our income and expenses — not only will this give you a very accurate picture of our earnings, but it will be something that is relatable, no matter the size of your blog or the income you make.
My hope is that these detailed reports not only help give you a better picture of how I make money blogging, but I hope they inspire you with new ideas on how you can increase your income or improve as a blogger or online entrepreneur.
Ready for the numbers? Here’s our income and expenses report for the month of October 2016:
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. All of the products listed below are products and services we’ve used before. If you have any questions about any of the income or expenses, you can leave a comment and we’ll do our best to reply.
All Revenue Streams
- Affiliate advertising (See a detailed breakdown of all affiliates we earned income from below.) — 53.2%
- Sponsored Posts — 29.1%
- Banner ads (We mostly work with AdThrive for this. Erin lists more ad companies here.) — 13.7%
- Digital products (Sales of Make Over Your Mornings, Make Over Your Evenings, and Make Over Your Year) — 4.0%
Affiliate Revenue Streams Detailed Breakdown
Want to know more how affiliate programs work? Be sure to check out my post on How to Make Money Blogging.
- Amazon Digital Services — 42.7%
- EPANTRY — 16.5%
- Dedicated Media, Inc. — 12.5%
- Other (Survey Sampling International, LLC, DiscountMags.com, 23 Publishing, SecureN1 Transactions, Escalate Network, CotterWeb Enterprises, The Selling Family, Topcashback, LinkShare, Ultimate Bundles, and more) — 10.2%
- Commission Junction — 3.8%
- Creative Trust –3.8%
- ShareASale — 3.4%
- My Savings, Inc. — 2.4%
- Bloom Media — 1.7%
- Bluehost — 1.5%
- Impact Radius — 1.5%
- Payroll expenses — 37.2%
- Advertising and Promotion — 13.4%
- Subcontracted services — 11.8%
- Web-based tools (InfusionSoft*, Feedblitz, GoDaddy, Dropbox, Harvest, etc.) –11.1%
- Computer, hosting, Internet expenses — 8.3%
- Health insurance — 5.1%
- Partner & Affiliate Payments (Sign up for our affiliate program for our products here.) — 4.9%
- Other (Office space rent, PayPal fees, shipping/postage fees, merchant account fees, bank service charges, utilities, travel expenses, wifi, etc.) — 4.5%
- Professional fees (for our CPA, payroll management, etc.) — 3.6%
Percentage of Income Versus Expenses
We have had a huge increase in companies wanting to partner with us for sponsored posts. While I’m still really, really picky about what opportunities I’ll take, I’ve been excited for this additional income stream — especially since our income from sidebar advertising has gone down pretty significantly this year as I have said no to pop-up ads and other ads that I felt like would be annoying to my readers.
We also have made some changes in how we’re promoting Amazon deals and been more strategic in tracking which Amazon deals are performing the best and focusing on sharing more of those deals here. In addition, we’ve been doing more with Facebook Ads to promote these to audiences on Facebook that aren’t seeing them through organic reach.
This has really begun to pay off and it’s exciting to see Amazon being such a strong income stream for us again!
Overall, October was a really great month for us — which was an encouragement after such a dismal September.
1. Moving Our Email System to ConvertKit
As I told you about last month, we’re still in the process of making the switch from Infusionsoft to ConvertKit. The move has proven to be more complicated than we expected and we’ve had to work through a number of hiccups and glitches that have happened along the way. We’re still pressing forward with this, but I think it’s going to be a more time-consuming process than we’d hoped.
2. Setting Up a Featured Instagram Account
So, I have been mulling over this Instagram idea for a few months and finally decided to go for it. And I’ve been completely shocked by how well it has done!
What was the idea? Well, it was to set up a very targeted niche Instagram account.
You see, I have around 67,000 followers on my main Instagram account and I love that account. It’s my happy place. It’s where I share things that don’t necessarily fit on MoneySavingMom.com but that I’ve been mulling over, learning, or that I’m excited about. I’ll share quotes I’ve loved, lessons I’m learning, books I’m reading, peeks into our life, and musings on topics such as motherhood, marriage, and more.
I’ve carefully protected that Instagram account and don’t promote many deals or sales on there. However, when I do promote deals, people love them and they always do really well.
For the past few months, I’ve been contemplating how to share more deals on Instagram without overloading my personal account with promotional stuff. I briefly considered just posting more. I average around 4-6 posts on Instagram most weeks, so I thought that maybe I could double or triple the amount I was posting and then have 1/3 of my posts be deal posts.
But the more I thought about the realities of that, the more I realized that it just didn’t sit right with me. It would require a lot more work, it would mean that I wasn’t able to let some of my really thoughtful and heartfelt posts sit there for 24-36 hours like I like them to, and it would mean that I’d be completely changing up what people had come to expect from me on Instagram.
So instead of trying to produce more content posts just so I could also include more deal posts, I decided to instead set up a separate deals-only Instagram account. I picked a name that clearly told exactly what my intentions were for the account (@AllTheBestDeals). And then I decided to tell people exactly what they could expect from the account:
As you can see, while the account name uses keywords, I branded it by including my name followed by MoneySavingMom. I also made it clear that I’m personally curating these deals myself — to give more value to them. I added info about texting for deals as this is something that’s been really effective for us since we started offering it recently.
I set up a Link In Profile account so I can link each individual post to a separate affiliate link and can post multiple links every day. And then I went in and added six posts to start things off — so people could get an idea of exactly what I’d be posting. Plus, I always think it’s good to have at least 5-10 posts before you announce things to world.
I then posted about it on my Facebook Page and my Instagram account letting my followers know I had set up this account. I had set a goal to grow the list to 2,000 to 3,000 within a week. It’s always hard to get something brand-new like this off the ground and I’ve found that once you have a few thousand followers it seems that gives it enough legitimacy that it will then start to take off on its own.
I’ve been thrilled that so many people are interested in following this deals-only account! So far, I’ve only had it for 10 days and I’ve already passed up the 3,000 mark! (If you’re interested in great deals, be sure to follow the account here.)
But I’m not just excited that I’ve been able to grow the following so quickly, I’ve also been thrilled (and a bit shocked!) at how well the idea is working. Over the past 10 days, at least 5-10% of all our affiliate sales have come through the links on this really small (compared to the rest of our audience) account!
How cool is that??! Plus, I’m having so much fun seeing what posts do best on it, what people are interested in, and what types of products convert.
This Month’s Featured Question
This month’s featured question is from Johanna:
“Hi! You’ve been talking about being an Amazon Affiliate, but unfortunately I live in Missouri. Yep. Can’t use it. Do you have any suggestions for other affiliate networks?”
YES, Johanna! I do! While it’s a really unfortunate that you can’t use Amazon Affiliates as a source of income, there are so many other affiliate networks out there that can help you diversify your income well. Here is a list of some of my top-earning affiliate networks:
- Panthera Network
- Escalate Media
- ShopHer Media
- Commission Junction
- CenterPoint Media
- Glitter Network
- Coupon-printing (Coupons.com, RedPlum, and SmartSource)
- Pepperjam Network
- Impact Radius
Amy has a great list of many different affiliate programs here, too!
I also highly, highly recommend reading my post on 5 Strategies for Maximizing Your Earnings With Affiliate Marketing.
Highly Recommended Blogging Resources
- How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
- Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook by Abby Lawson
- Brilliant Pin Promotion Course by Beth Anne Schwamberger
- FB Brilliance: The Ads Course for Business Builders
Want to Start Your Own Blog?
I’m here to help! Check out my comprehensive guide on How to Make Money Blogging with updated information and links. It includes step-by-step help on how to set up your blog, best practices for blogging, and all the details on how to make money from blogging.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for my FREE 5-day course on How I Make a Full-Time Income From Home. This video course will give you an inside peek into my blogging and business journey, will share lots of inspiration and hard lessons I’ve learned in the process, and will encourage you with ideas on how you can make a part-time or full-time income from home, too.
Previous Income Reports
More Posts on Blogging
- Help! I Want to Start a Blog, But Isn’t the Market Already Saturated?
- Help! I Want to Start a Blog, But I Can’t Figure Out What I Should Blog About!
- The 3 Most Important Things You Should Do After You Start a Blog
- Why I Think You Should Break the “Blogging Rules”
- 5 Questions to Ask When You Feel Like Quitting Your Blog