Update 1/15/19: If you are serious about blogging for profit, then using our our Traffic & Income Tracker for Bloggers is a must! This tool is an amazing way to keep careful track of your expenses, income and blog traffic to make data gathering and generating blog income reports easier!
Welcome to our very first (of hopefully many!) blog income report.
You may be wondering why we would publish an article about our blog earnings. For many years, we have worked in online marketing and data analytics professionally. We even have another blog that has steady traffic but was never really treated as a potential income generator. It was mostly just a hobby. Over time, we realized that we could pool the knowledge we have acquired from various projects and websites and monetize our own blog, on the side of our other businesses. Sounds like a pipe dream, right?
Wrong! We have devoured other blogger’s income reports, intrigued by how many are making a killing off their passion. As we looked at report after report, we were inspired, realizing that it really is possible to make money blogging. And each time we observed someone else’s monetary progression, we were like damn! We want in on that!
We were motivated, we were excited, and we were ready to get on board – and once we started seeing money come in, albeit a little, our excitement was amplified. That feeling of inspiration and motivation is exactly what we hope to provide our readers with as they endeavor to make money on their own blog.
This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. For more information, please see our disclosure.
The point of this report is also not to boast or to sell you on anything. It’s purely to motivate, and if anything else, track our progress. That drive that we felt through the month of December will be carried over into 2019, as we gear up to hit the ground even harder in the new year.
After relaunching our blog, we earned $179.27 in the first full month.
November (two weeks of blogging): $11.55
We will get to the “relaunching” part in a sec. But before that, we have to say…
It is so important to celebrate the small wins, because finding accomplishment in small conversions and traffic growth will guide you toward greater successes.
The days that our traffic was more than the days prior, even if by just 10-20 users, we congratulated ourselves. The days that we pulled in just $1-5, we were thrilled. And the couple of days that we earned over $15… we were over the moon! Imagine what it would feel like to do that regularly!? We didn’t go to bed feeling disappointed when we only earned enough to buy a small coffee. Instead, we reveled in the highs, no matter how high they were, and analyzed the lows to help us understand why traffic or income was low on certain days (whether it was as a result of the time of year, the day of the week or our strategies).
Like many small businesses, one of the main reasons that so many blogs don’t succeed is because people give up too soon. They aren’t willing to wade through the low traffic and no income days and months in order to work toward success. We are here to tell you that if you want to make money blogging, even as a beginner, you must have patience and you MUST be willing to put in the time.
This is another reason we wanted to publish an income report for our very first full month, rather than waiting until we were earning thousands, like many bloggers do: to show you that you have to start somewhere. Many people start a blog or side hustle wanting to make thousands off the bat. You’ve probably seen loads of posts on the internet about people earning $5-10k off their blog – and it all sounds amazing! But what many bloggers don’t talk about is what it took to even make a couple hundred. Sure, there may be some who really did make a few grand in their first month or two, but the reality is that they probably got really lucky.
If you want to make money blogging, dream big, but make realistic, attainable goals in the beginning. Remind yourself that it doesn’t happen overnight; that you can’t just hit Publish on a few good articles and expect the traffic to come flooding in. Blogging for profit takes drive and dedication.
With that, let me give you a little back story…
The Millennial Bull was created to help other millennials grab their financial independence by the horns. Because we are also millennials, we felt that we understand what our peers want: the ability to be free from our 9 to 5 job. To be able to be our own boss. To be able to have the flexibility to travel the world but to still generate income.
We started the blog back in August 2017 but did pretty much nothing with it. Life happened, career changes took priority and The Millennial Bull was left to be forgotten. Fast forward to Mid-November 2018 and we hit some major rough patches career-wise. We decided it was time to take this little old blog a bit more seriously to monetize it as quickly as possible. We were essentially starting from scratch.
This isn’t our first blog and probably won’t be our last. But boy, we are doing A LOT of things differently. We re-approached TMB with a game plan and have been hitting it pretty hard, utilizing the many growth promoting tactics that we learned with our other blog [she who will not be named – sorry! We mutually agreed to maintain anonymity for the time being].
When we got back in the saddle, we had maybe 8-10 blog posts already published from our first go-around, but they were getting no traffic (and we still haven’t really gotten around to revamping them). Here’s what our analytics were looking like for the month of November, having relaunched at the top of the third week with new content:
As you can see, we were relaunching with nothing. So, when I say that we are starting from scratch, we really consider it to be a new blog.
It’s always interesting to us to read about how other bloggers went from $0 to whatever they managed to make during their first month of blog monetization. Everyone has been given different tips, took different courses and followed different strategies. We all have varying stories. You may be reading this and wondering if we are going to share anything you haven’t already learned.
To be honest, we don’t know! We hope so! But we have no idea the extent of your experience so one must assume that you’re starting with the bear minimum.
Beginner? Start a blog for cheap!
If you are a beginner looking to create your very first blog, you can check out our step-by-step tutorial here. You will learn:
- The best place to host your blog
- How to choose a hosting package
- Registering a domain
- How to install WordPress on your new hosting account
- The basics of making money off your blog
You can also learn how to drive major traffic to your blog – even as a beginner – here.
Here’s a snapshot of our traffic from when we started at the top of the third week in November through the end of December.
We didn’t experience the crazy Q4 highs that many bloggers talk about but we also didn’t expect to. We were just starting, after all. Our main focus was to create a lot of new articles with a variety of pins to really diversify our exposure. This was so that when the holidays passed, we would have created the foundation we needed to really boost our traffic in the new year.
We focused heavily on Tailwind, which we owe a huge thanks to for being the primary reason that our traffic has picked up to the extent that it has.
Since we registered The Millennial Bull on Tailwind (so, mid-November through December 2018, slightly over 7 weeks), we have reach 9.2 million viewers.
We experienced a nice high in the days leading up to Christmas and the couple of days after before seeing a bit of a drop leading up to New Years. On these days, we were averaging over 200 users a day, and at its peak, over 400.
We have kept meticulous track of our data from the start.
We didn’t want to get knee deep into this thing, start making money and have no way of tracking our progress – it would be hard to have varying degrees of success but have no idea what our bottom line was or no way to visualize ALL of the data – not just the numbers we could pull from Google Analytics.
To solve this problem, we built a Traffic and Income Tracker for Bloggers with the goal of maximizing our time and money.
Spend less time recording data and more time creating content that sells! Income reports are now easier than ever, with our traffic, income and expense tracker for bloggers. Use this tool to record all data related to your blog’s growth and bottom line to keep careful track of what you are spending, what you are earning, when you are earning a return on your investment, and how your traffic growth correlates with your revenue. Learn more here.
We are curious to see how our traffic will be in the coming months, now that the holidays have passed and we are all getting back to our regularly scheduled programming.
December 2018 Blog Income Report
In December 2018, we earned $179.27 from our blog:
Affiliate Income: $164.40
Display Advertising: $12.31
Selling Our Own Products: $2.56
Affiliate Marketing & Display Advertising
As you can see, Affiliate Marketing has been our biggest money-maker so far. This was expected and intentional. We decided not to go too crazy with display advertising in the beginning. We wanted to create a pleasant user experience that would keep readers on the site for longer, rather than overwhelming people with ads all over the place. There are still a few here and there, but nothing too in-your-face.
We aren’t against display advertising; in fact, we are being patient and holding out to qualify for a better network. This is because Google Adsense is known for not bringing in that much income. We figured it was better to keep it clean rather than earn small, fairly negligible change.
We found that the best way to earn money with affiliate marketing is to be honest. We know, not that complicated of a recommendation! Rather than bogging down content with affiliate links just because you have them, share links that are actually meaningful to you and your brand. If you have an affiliate link every other sentence, chances are your readers will feel overwhelmed and lose a bit of trust in you – it’s too sales-y.
We learned many useful strategies through Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing, an online course by Michelle Schroeder. If you are ready to take blog monetization seriously, this is the perfect place for beginners to learn the ins and outs of affiliate marketing.
Selling Our Own Products
We also introduced an Advanced Excel Time Tracking Tool, which we made our first sale on in December – much to Sam’s excitement since he built it from scratch!
The tool can be used by pretty much anyone: bloggers, freelancers/contractors, small business owners, stay-at-home moms… anyone who wants to keep track of their time and be as productive as they possibly can.
When you are committed to so many projects and tasks, it can be really hard to keep track of how much time you are spending on each. Especially if you eventually wish to be more productive and turn those hours into dollars.
As freelancers, bloggers, and business owners, the tool has helped us both with our organization and time management. I can’t tell you how many times I have meant to work on Projects A, B and C in a day, only to lose track of time and only fit in A. I have also glanced at the clock, told myself I would definitely remember what time I started working on any particular task, only for hours to pass and for my mind to go blank when I go to write down my billable hours.
Other times I have switched to another project without paying attention to what time the switch happened, and when I am done I’ve got no clue what the split is. Or, how about those menial distractions? Little things pop up between tasks ALL the time. It’s easy to get confused when you’re trying to log your time, recalling that long conversation you didn’t expect when the doorbell rang.
With our advanced excel time tracking tool, you can control all of those issues. Learn more here.
Overall, we are quite pleased with our first full month blogging. Obviously we will always wish we did better, but we are definitely proud of our progress. Especially since we are doing this on the side of our full-time jobs.
Let me remind you – we, and most others – have been in the exact place you are today: wanting to make money blogging but bringing in little to nothing. It can be both exciting and frustrating to read about others making money through their blog because most talk about the thousands they are making – forgetting that they once were excited just to make $100. If you are just starting out, don’t get discouraged!
Making money blogging takes patience, time and determination. But trust me, you’re capable of having the patience, finding the time, and becoming more determined than ever.