I'm FINALLY making money from blogging
Hi, friends! Today’s post is a very exciting one, albeit a bit scary. As you probably guessed from the title, today I will be sharing my very first Blogging Income Report. In no other profession is it normal to speak openly about how much money one makes and in fact, it’s actually one of those taboo topics that no one really talks about.
In the case of blogging, though, I do find it very informational and inspirational to read income reports from other bloggers. It totally gives me an “If they can do it, I can do it, too!” type of feeling and really motivates me to keep pushing forward. And now that I’m making a little bit of income off my blog, I want to share my knowledge with all of you! (And if it inspires you in any way, that’s a bonus.)
Affiliate links may be used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.
Check out my other income reports:
A little background on this blog for those of you who don’t me:
(You can skip this part if you don’t care LOL)
I first started this blog back in early 2016 while I was living in Japan as a way for my friends and family back home to keep up with my adventures and it was very much a hobby. I didn’t even think about monetizing it and I posted very sporadically. This continued until I moved back home in April 2017.
Since I was no longer having adventures in Japan, my blog totally transformed into a beauty blog. I’ve always loved makeup, so why the hell not?! In the few months following my move back home, I started posting more consistently, started doing some research here and there about making money from blogging, and I finally purchased my own domain name. I was using the free wordpress.com site, which is very limiting when it comes to monetizing your blog.
So, tip for those of you thinking about blogging: I would skip going the free route. It really just ends up being wasted time. And when you decide you want to make the switch, you’ll have so much more work to do to transfer all of your content. It just makes more sense to buy your own domain name from the beginning. There’s also the risk of your preferred domain name no longer being available when you decide to buy it. I was lucky with that – then again, I don’t think anyone would want the domain name “I’m Liana” in Japanese anyway LOL. But still, if I could go back in time and do it differently from the beginning, I would. You live and you learn! And if you were wondering, I'm now using Squarespace with a business plan.
Okay, sorry I went off on a tangent there. That’s honestly a topic that calls for its own post. Maybe another day. So, back to my story:
Between May and July of 2017, I REALLY dove into the beauty niche. If you look at my archives, the most I’ve ever posted in one month happened during June 2017. This is where I kind of got lost. I didn't really do much research on blogging and thought the first step was to make an Instagram. So, I made an Instagram for my blog (@lianadesu) and started following a bunch of bloggers. I would see these girls living these fabulous lives, wearing the most expensive clothes, and getting all this stuff for free. I thought to myself, “Instagram is the answer. I need to get big on Instagram and because I'll have all these people that like me, they'll read my blog.”
HAHAHA, boy was I wrong. Sure, I get some traffic from Instagram, but it’s like practically nothing. Instagram and blogging are two very different things and your success on one doesn’t completely relate to your success on the other. I spent way too much time trying to build an audience on Instagram that my actual blog kind of took a backseat. I wasn’t doing nearly enough on my blog. However, even with this slight detour in my blogging journey, I did manage to gain a decent following on Instagram and I get a lot of free shit from it now. Instagram users usually are just scrolling through their home feed during some down time and will “like” a nice photo, but very few of them will actually take the time to go to your blog and READ. Heck, most of them don’t even read the caption! Even I don’t read the caption of most posts…This also might be a post for another day.
Can you tell this is my first time writing a blogging income report? I’m sure I’m talking way too much and should probably just get straight into the numbers. But, I feel like everything I have to say just needs to be said! (We're almost there, so if you made it this far, you might as well stick with me.)
So, this whole “trying to be an Instagram influencer” thing went on for a while. Sure, I’d still post on my blog, but I didn’t do a lot in terms of promoting it, so no one was really reading it. I’d get some hits from Google search (thanks to my very wordy style of writing), but it was by no means A LOT. It wasn’t until VERY recently that I started to get serious about blogging – like only in the last few months.
A few months ago, I did a massive redesign of my blog to make it a more enjoyable user experience. I’m still not completely happy with it, but it’s satisfactory for now. And I also started really seeking information on how to make money blogging.
So, here we are, it’s been about 2 ½ years since the start of my blog, and I’m finally seeing some money come in. It’s not a lot, but I’m thrilled just knowing that progress is happening and that the changes I’ve been making have started to work. And I’m actually starting to believe that making a living from blogging is possible (although I’m very far from that goal!). My first income report is very modest, but I’m still very proud to now be even able to write one!
July 2018 Income Report & Traffic
I’m reporting my income on an earned basis (even though this money hasn’t hit my bank account yet). I see lots of bloggers reporting on a received basis, but this is just easier for me right now, especially because not all programs pay out in the same amount of time. For future income reports, I might change it to a received basis, since that is more “real,” but I will always disclose how I am reporting it. Plus, if I were to report it on a received basis, I wouldn’t be able to write this report this month and I want to write it now LOL. Also, I will not include any income I’ve earned from Instagram because that is not directly related to my blog.
Total July 2018 Blog Income: $97.21
Google Adsense - $97.21 (I was so sad when my statement came out under$100! I thought I was over $100, but I had $13.61 deducted for invalid traffic. The minimum payout for Adsense is $100, but I earned a small amount in June, so I reached the threshold YAY.)
Amazon Affiliates - $0.00
Au Naturale Cosmetics - $0.00
Butter LONDON - $0.00
Cover FX - $0.00
Skimlinks - $0.00
July 2018 Traffic: 3,413 users and 5,860 page views
If you couldn’t tell by the lack of income from any of the programs I’m an affiliate of, I really need to do my research on how to do affiliate marketing LOL.
However, affiliate marketing was the least of my worries during the month of July. My top priority was increasing page views. Even though my page views here are still very modest, trust me when I say that it was a big increase since the previous months. Take a look at my June 2018 page view stats:
I didn’t block my own IP on Google Analytics until June 19, so my page view stats up until then are so skewed. In my June stats, compare the difference in the number of users, new users, and sessions, rather than page views, to my July stats. I sometimes would view my blog hundreds of times a day, especially if I’m doing a massive redesign, which is exactly what happened in that page view spike on June 17-18. Don’t be like me. Block your IP.
I got accepted into Google Adsense on the first of June, but the money I made from June was very nominal – I’m talking like $13… Granted, I was on a trip to Australia for the first half of the month and did absolutely nothing on my blog. But, that actually made me realize that the key to making money from ads is passive traffic. And lots of it. Like hundreds of thousands of page views every month.
I want to have readers coming to my blog at all hours of the day so I can literally be making money in my sleep. You’ll hear some bloggers say that you can’t rely only on income from ads and you need to have multiple streams of income through sponsored posts, affiliate sales, etc. And they are totally right! Because there is a limit to ad income. But, let’s be real, I’m nowhere near that limit LOL. And for just starting out with monetizing my blog, focusing on traffic to increase ad income seemed like the first thing to focus on.
So, what exactly did I do to increase my Traffic?
1. I upped my Pinterest game.
I’ll be honest – I knew absolutely nothing about Pinterest before May 2018. All I knew was that people used it to find recipes and DIY ideas. And even as a consumer, I never took the time to learn how to navigate Pinterest.
After starting my research on how to make money blogging, I came across SO MANY bloggers that said the majority of their traffic comes from Pinterest. Like, what?! How? I knew I was missing something big. And that was when I decided to learn how to use Pinterest to attract readers to my blog.
I spent hours and hours reading “How to boost traffic with Pinterest” blogs and tried to implement those strategies into my Pinterest game, but I still wasn’t completely sure how Pinterest worked. (And I still don’t really know, to be honest LOL.)
One day, I came across a blog recommending Carly Campbell’s e-book “Pinteresting Strategies,” so I headed over to Carly’s blog to read more about it. Right off the bat, I loved how she wasn’t “salesy” at all with promoting her e-book. She made it very clear that her strategy is just based on her experience and it’s what has worked for her. I also liked that the price was only about $30, which is SO much cheaper than most of the e-books out there! I read ALL of the testimonials and every single comment she had on that blog post and decided to buy it.
That was on May 29th. I read the entire book as soon as I downloaded it and I started to get to work right away. I made a bunch of new pins and came up with a strategy to start implementing. However, I went on my trip to Australia just a few days after that. I was still pinning every day, but I wasn’t really implementing my strategy to the fullest. Even with this little of a change, though, I saw a difference. It wasn’t drastic by any means, but it was progress.
It wasn’t until the very beginning of July where I saw a big increase in the traffic Pinterest was bringing to my blog. Just a little over a month since I bought Carly’s e-book! And not even a few weeks of actually putting her strategies to use.
I still have a long way to go with my Pinterest game. And I still am not completely sure when to pin or how to pin. (It doesn’t help that Pinterest keeps freaking out on us…) So, I always refer back to Carly’s e-book because there’s just such solid information in there that I keep learning something new every time I read it.
I’d definitely recommend checking out Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell if you’re struggling with your Pinterest game. It’s totally worth the 30 bucks.
2. I joined Facebook Groups
I joined a handful of Facebook Groups at the beginning of July. And while I haven’t fully engaged with all of them yet, I can see the value in them. They provide a really big community and it's great to get your content in front of so many different people.
While this is really great for getting more eyes on your blog, keep in mind that many of the other users are also bloggers and most of them are probably not in your niche, so they probably don’t really care about your content at all. So, you won't turn them into loyal readers or email subscribers.
I choose to participate in the groups and threads that I think will bring value to my blog. For example, I always participate in Pinterest Visit threads, where you leave a link to one of your pins and every single person that is participating in that thread has to visit your blog from that pin.
I’m still experimenting with this, but I’m pretty sure Pinterest likes it when people click on your pin and thus, will show your pin to a larger audience. I’m hoping that’s the case anyway LOL. Plus, in doing this, if I genuinely connect with someone, it’s a win. I’ll even come across blogs that I find interesting and will engage with that person, so there is some value there.
There are also Facebook groups that all of the members just help each other out. Those are the best ones. Someone can ask a question on the wall and helpful people will answer! I’ve learned so much just by reading questions and answers from other people. And it’s really nice to just be part of that type of supportive community.
So, what’s next?
My goal for July was actually reaching 5,000 page views. Yay! Goal reached.
For the month of August, I’m going to be really ambitious and say my goal is 10,000 page views. Is it too ambitious to want to double my traffic in a month? 5,000 is a pretty small number to double, though LOL. So, with 31 days in August, I’ll have to average 323 page views a day. I think that’s doable! I have hope. And I’m only going to get even more serious from now.
How will I accomplish my goal?
1. Dive into Billionaire Blog Club
2. Write more content that people want to read
If you look through my archives, I have a ton of single product reviews from the last year. And if you go even further back, I have a lot of posts about me and my life experiences.
As for the single product reviews, those do really well with ranking on Google and for most of them, I’m on the first page when you search for it, but the problem is: are people even searching for it? My stats say they aren’t. For example, when I search “ColourPop Fame Palette Review,” my review on the palette is the second result on the first page. But, how many visits did I get from Google Search for that post? 158. That just tells me that people aren’t searching for it.
And as for the posts about me and my life…People don’t really care. Honestly. (Besides maybe my mom, dad, boyfriend, and a handful of my friends and family – but that’s maybe 20 views per post at best.) And I totally agree with that. Why would a stranger read about my life? I think people only do that with celebrities, and I am by no means a celebrity!
So, I finally realized that the purpose of blogging is to help people. Most people are looking for answers to their problems when they read blogs and are looking for it in a straight-forward and easy-to-comprehend format.
When it comes to makeup, I think more people are likely to search, “best foundations for dry skin” rather than “nars natural radiant foundation review.” Because the latter would mean that this person is already thinking of buying this foundation, but I think there is a much wider audience that don’t even have an idea of what they want to buy and would benefit from a summarized list.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my 3 top posts right now are all lists of “bests.”
3. Continue working hard on Pinterest
There are still so many things that I don’t know yet, so I’m sure there are so many things I’m doing wrong. I want to be one of those bloggers that get tens of thousands of page views from Pinterest A DAY. I’m a looooong way from that, so there’s a lot of work to be done.
4. Try to do better with my Email List
If you have subscribed via email to my newsletter, you’ll know that I only send one out every time I post a new post. While I think this is good in some aspects, what if I don’t post for more than 2 weeks? You’ll forget about me during that time! I’m thinking about doing weekly emails that will round up what has happened on the blog over the week. And I’d also like to incorporate a more personal feel to my emails, instead of it just being me pushing you to read my posts. We’ll see if I get to it LOL.
Did you notice that I didn’t mention learning affiliate marketing in my goals for August. Honestly speaking, I need to get my viewership up to even have people to buy stuff I promote LOL.
And with that my friends, I shall stop rambling. This post turned into a much longer one than I expected. LIKE WOAH. Once I started writing, it just kept coming! My little fingers were going crazy. Maybe I am cut out to be a blogger after all…? If you made it all the way to the end, you’re the real champ here.
I am so looking forward to sharing with you my income report next month and I'm so excited to progress even further. If you have any published income reports, I’d love to take a look at them! I learn so much from reading other bloggers’ experiences. Be sure to drop a link below in the comments. :)
Check out my other income reports:
Thanks for reading and until next time! <3
P.S. If you like what I do here on lianadesu, it would mean so much to me if you bought me a coffee (support my blog)!
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