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All the details on how I made a full-time income blogging in November

Make a full-time income blogging!

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 November 2016:

November Income

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 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.

November Expenses

  • Payroll expenses — 33%
  • Advertising and Promotion — 20%
  • Subcontracted services — 12%
  • Other (Office space rent, PayPal fees, shipping/postage fees, merchant account fees, bank service charges, utilities, travel expenses, wifi, etc.) — 10%
  • Web-based tools (InfusionSoft, Feedblitz, GoDaddy, Dropbox, Harvest, etc.) — 9%
  • Computer, hosting, Internet expenses — 7%
  • Partner & Affiliate Payments (Sign up for our affiliate program for our products here.) — 5%
  • Health insurance — 4%

Percentage of Income Versus Expenses

Once again, I was very excited to have a good revenue to expenses ratio. We’ve been working hard to diversify our income and think outside the box and it’s really been paying off!

Recent Experiments

Blog Coaching Program

In November, I launched the 4-Week Blog Coaching Program as an experiment to see if there was enough interest in me doing group blog coaching to possibly put together some products and launch a dedicated blog on this topic.

I’ve blogged for so long that sometimes it feels like I’m a Grandma Blogger instead of a Hipster Blogger and that I’m so old-fashioned about how I do things that I’m not up-and-coming enough to really teach new bloggers. 😉

But I have a passion to help other bloggers and I love to share what I’ve learned and the mistakes that I’ve made. So I just jumped out and put the 4-Week Blog Coaching opportunity out there.

My big hope was to hit 100 sign-ups in 3 days. The cost of the program was $97 and I knew that was a lot of money to ask people to pay — especially kind of on the spur-of-the-moment. But I also knew that if I was going to prove that there was a market for me to teach other bloggers about blogging, I needed to be able to find 100 people willing to pay $97 in 3 days.

Well, I was shocked and thrilled that over 300 people signed up!!! And I ended up have the best time ever doing the blog coaching and can’t wait until I can do something like it again!

ConvertKit Versus InfusionSoft — What a Wild Ride!

So, I told you all that we were switching from InfusionSoft to ConvertKit. We set everything up and starting making the switch. We decided to test it out and learn the program by running all of the Blog Coaching Program through ConvertKit — including all of the sales and the emails related to the program.

Well, we ended up running into all sorts of glitches and issues. It wasn’t with ConvertKit, but with other programs we needed to use in order to run a launch and coaching program.

A lot of people didn’t get their emails or even get on the email list. We had to manually go in and fix all sorts of things. We had issues with payment processing. And we saw some huge holes in the overall system that would cause headaches for us in big ways for future launches.

My team spent a lot of time on the phone with ConvertKit and the other programs we were using to connect everything to run a launch. Ultimately, because of all of the issues and problems and the fact that there didn’t seem to be any fixes for some of them with our set-up and how we wanted to run things for future programs, we decided to go back to the drawing board again.

As of right now, we’re moving forward with trying to clean up everything currently in InfusionSoft and learn InfusionSoft to see if possibly we can make it work for what we’re wanting to do. It’s been hours and hours and hours of effort from my team, but they are making some headway and I’m hopeful that we’ll have a good email/course download system in place in the next few months.

This Month’s Featured Question

This month’s featured question is from Catherine:

Hi, Crystal! I’m a newbie blogger. I’ve started a chart for tracking things like email signups, Facebook page likes, Instagram followers, etc., to see how they’re growing each month. When it comes to Google Analytics, what should I pay the most attention to? Pageviews or users or something else?

This is a fantastic question, Catherine! First, let’s talk about what Google Analytics is and how bloggers use it.

Google Analytics is a Google service that helps website owners track the traffic they get to their website. Using Google Analytics, you can find out how many people have visited your website, what they’ve looked out, how long they’ve stayed, and where they came from.

This is very important information because it helps you get to know your audience better, and knowing your audience is key to running a successful blog.

Here is a quick breakdown of a few of the most important metrics to look at in Google Analytics:

  1. Pageviews — This metric shows the total number of pages that were viewed on your site. (More pageviews = higher traffic.)
  2. Sessions — This shows the number of times visitors are actively engaged on your site. As Google Analytics puts it, “A session is a group of interactions (pageviews, purchases, etc.) that take place on your website within a given time frame.”
  3. Users — This is the total number of visitors that have had at least one session on your site.
  4. Bounce Rate — Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that stopped by, but only looked at one page before leaving your website — meaning they bounced in and out again without exploring your website further. If your bounce rate is high, it might mean that your content isn’t grabbing their attention OR that you’re marketing to the wrong target audience. TIP: Statistics show that visitors to your website will decide if they want to explore your website further in the first 6 seconds of their first visit. (Note: We actually have a high bounce rate because most of our posts are encouraging people to click off our site and go to another site to sign up for a freebie, download an ebook, or get a great deal. So for us, because that is the nature of MoneySavingMom.com, I don’t worry as much about the bounce rate.)
  5. Average Session Duration — This shows the average length of time each user spends on your website. This is valuable in learning whether or not your visitors are engaged. (Longer sessions = more engagement.)
  6. Pages per Session — This metric shows how many pages your users are looking at during their time on your website. (More pages = more engagement.)

We keep records of how our pageviews, sessions, and users are compared to last year and the year before. We also pay attention to where visitors are coming from so that we can make sure that what we’re doing is performing.

For instance, right now we’re working on increasing out Pinterest traffic. So we’re paying close attention to which posts are performing the best on Pinterest and then we make sure to promote those the most often on our boards, as well as promoting posts that are similar and keeping what is working in mind when planning and writing new posts!

Highly Recommended Blogging Resources

Make Money Blogging

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

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14 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your monthly income reports

  • Maryalene says:

    Thanks for posting these Crystal. For us little bloggers, it’s an interesting peek into how the big blogs run. 🙂

  • April says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been probably the slowest blogging learner ever. I’m hoping to focus on growing my blog traffic this year. Your blogging course inspired me to begin working on my first e-book to use as an opt-in, and I launched my newsletter, which I’ve been sending out every other Monday like clock-work. I still haven’t seen any traffic growth. I feel like I must be doing something wrong and not realizing it, but I’m not going to give up. Blogging is still my favorite thing to work on, and my word for 2017 is persistence.

    • YAY for working on an opt-in and way to go on sending out your email newsletter! Don’t give up and don’t beat yourself up. You have so much potential and so much that you can offer the world. Focus on that instead of being discouraged or telling yourself stories like, “I’m the slowest blogging learner ever” — which is very likely not true and does nothing but just hinder your success.

      I’m cheering for you!

  • Diane says:

    This article was SO helpful Crystal! Thank you SO very much for sharing your knowledge. Like April above, I am slowly learning, hoping to launch a blog this spring. It is so overwhelming. Information like this really helps.

  • Keelie says:

    This is such a great help. I love reading your breakdowns. It helps me to figure out where to place my focus.

  • Love these kinds of posts – thank you Crystal! I was in your break out session in Nashville and loved hearing your story and all your tips! I just hit the 1 year mark with my blog and am blessed to have phenomenal growth, however I can barely keep up and am running myself ragged. Do you have any tips on when and how to hire VA’s? I would love to start outsourcing some things that I hate doing and spend my time focused on what I’m good at. How did you find your team? And what is a good rate of pay to offer VAs? thanks so much!

  • Amy says:

    I’ve noticed your health insurance premiums aren’t amounting to much of a percentage in your expense column. Can you elaborate? Most self employed people I know are paying out huge (in my opinion) amounts for health insurance, even high premium plans with hsa accounts to supplement.

    • That total is currently for 50% of the premiums of our employees + our family’s health insurance. We worked hard to get a good rate and have a high deductible in order to lower the rate, but it still feels like we are paying through the nose. One of the not so fun parts of being self-employed.

      However, because our expenses are so high in total, the health insurance premiums aren’t that much compared the the other expenses (full-time wages for our employees + all of the operating expenses for running the business, etc. It costs a LOT to run all of the moving parts and behind-the-scenes things!).

  • Eva says:

    Hi Crystal!!!

    I am working on building my content so that when you open the doors to coach again, I will be ready!!! Loved meeting you in Phoenix at #BB2016, my sweet sister-in-Christ!… Sorry that I went “underground” for awhile! Anywhoo, I am grateful for all the blogging advice and resources you have shared with me, but I am excitedly waiting for your next coaching session!!! So, let me hop off here and write more content! If you are curious, check out my landing page at evapennerinspirations.com

    P.S. Besides praying, how else could I bless you??? ???

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