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 January 2017:
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 Payouts (See a detailed breakdown of all affiliates we earned income from below.) — 52%
- Digital products (Sales of Make Over Your Mornings, Make Over Your Evenings, Make Over Your Year, and 15 Days to a Healthier You) — 25%
- Sponsored Posts — 13%
- Banner ads (We mostly work with AdThrive for this. Erin lists more ad companies here.) — 10%
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 — 54%
- Cents of Style, LLC — 9%
- ShareASale — 8%
- Other (MySavings, Inc., DiscountMags.com, 23 Publishing, SecureN1 Transactions, Escalate Network, CotterWeb Enterprises, The Selling Family, Topcashback, Ultimate Bundles, New Leaf Wellness, Mr. Rebates, Grove (formerly ePantry), and more) — 7%
- Bluehost — 6%
- SSI, LLC — 6%
- LinkShare — 4%
- Commission Junction — 3%
- Dedicated Media, Inc. — 2%
- Payroll expenses — 38%
- Partner & Affiliate Payments (Sign up for our affiliate program for our products here.) — 13%
- Web-based tools (InfusionSoft, Feedblitz, GoDaddy, Dropbox, Harvest, etc.) — 12%
- Subcontracted services — 11%
- Computer, hosting, Internet expenses — 8%
- Other (Office space rent, PayPal fees, shipping/postage fees, merchant account fees, bank service charges, utilities, travel expenses, wifi, etc.) — 5%
- Health insurance — 5%
- Professional fees (for our CPA, payroll management, etc.) — 3%
- Advertising and Promotion — 2%
Percentage of Income Versus Expenses
Different Email Formats — This year, one of our big goals is to really get a handle on how to effectively use email. It’s something I’ve been wanting to figure out for years and finally have the breathing room and team in place to really make it happen.
Right now, in addition to really cleaning up our email lists and being very focused and intentional in our email newsletters, we’re testing different email formats — HTML only, HTML + Plain Text, and Plain Text only. We’re tracking how it impacts open rates and deliverability. So far, Plain Text is winning out big time, but we want to continue to test for another month before we can make a conclusive decision.
Instastories — I finally jumped on the Instastories bandwagon and am having so much fun with it! It’s a way I can really connect with my followers in more of a real-time way and give them peeks behind-the-scenes into my every day life.
Instagram — I’m also putting a lot more effort into Instagram as I feel like that’s a platform where people are really connecting with me at a deep and more personal level (Follow me here, if you aren’t already!). We’re promoting Instagram heavily when you sign up for my coming-soon site, CrystalPaine.com. (Sign up for the Crystal Paine email newsletter here for personal emails from me and then you’ll see what I mean about how we’re promoting Instagram after you sign up.)
New Sites — Both of the new site designs are really close to being completely done and now we’re working on content and email strategy for them. We plan to launch both of them at the end of March/beginning of April. Want to see a sneak peek of the design? Check out YourBloggingMentor.com and CrystalPaine.com.
This Month’s Featured Question
This month’s featured question is from Kaitlin from The Simply Organized Home:
I’ve suddenly been seeing a ton of growth in my blog traffic and subscribers. My subscribers have jumped from a daily gain of ~20 a day to over 150 a day in the past week. It’s all relating back to a post I did which gave away a budgeting printable pack.
My blog expenses are growing rapidly with my increasing subscribers but I’m not sure my income is going to do the same over the next month.What would you do in this case?
I’m thrilled to see my subscribers and page views increasing, but I’m a little scared by the financial commitment I’m making to pay out a larger sum of money without the money guaranteed to back it up. – Kaitlin
This is a fantastic question! Seeing blog growth is a HUGE indicator that you’re doing something right. But what most people don’t think about in the early stages of growing a blog is that your expenses WILL grow as your audience does.
If you have a blog and you’re worried about your expenses exceeding your income, I totally get it. I’m constantly having to be strategic and plan ahead to make sure that our income is growing faster than our expenses! And there are definitely times when it can produce stress — especially during periods when your blog has a huge growth spurt!
Here’s what I’d recommend to Kaitlin:
- Promote your own products to new sign-ups and regularly in your email newsletter (if you don’t have any of your own products, it’s time to create at least one or two!). As soon as people subscribe, send them a series of 2-3 emails that introduces yourself, introduces what you do, and offer a special coupon code for your products.
- Make sure you are emailing out at least one or two affiliate links/promotional-type things every month. Of course, be sure you really love and feel you can get behind these things wholeheartedly. Email marketing is highly, highly effective when it comes to being able to actually encourage people to click through and buy something. Plus, when you’ve built a relationship with a reader and they trust your opinion and experience, they are much more likely to pay attention and take your recommendations very seriously. (Read more about affiliate marketing here and here.)
- Set up a good followup sequence when people sign up for your email newsletter that sends them an email every few weeks that points to one of your top posts on your blog from the archives. Make sure that these top posts have great affiliate links in them.
- Maximize your potential with sidebar advertising so that when people come to your site through links in your email newsletter, you are getting a payout for the traffic. (Read more about how to set up sidebar advertising here.)
- Remember: Quality over quantity. A large email list is great, but if you aren’t nurturing your list and increasing your readers’ engagement by providing them good content and opportunities, your list numbers won’t reflect well in your payouts.
- Network! Getting to know other bloggers and the strategies that work for them is a great way to increase your income-earning arsenal.
- Never stop experimenting! If one idea doesn’t work well, tweak it and try again. Or, go back to the drawing board and try another idea. The more you’re willing to keep experimenting, the more chance there is that you’re going to find something that really, really works.
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
- August 2016 Income Report
- September 2016 Income Report
- October 2016 Income Report
- November 2016 Income Report
- December 2016 Income Report
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