Learn how blogs actually make money for their creators by taking a closer look at MY craft blog and its income reports in its very first year.
People often ask me, “How can you do this “blog thing” you’re doing and earn a living?” How can I give away all of my designs for free on my blog and still provide for my family? What is the secret to money-making blogging? What is the MAGIC? Well, it’s not magic, but it may not be obvious at first either. So let’s take a closer look at how blogs make money by examining the income reports of my little craft blog in its very first year.
In October 2016, I set out to create a money-making blog. Why? Let’s get real and honest here. I was BROKE. I needed to supplement my income and I also needed to stay home for my daughter, who was going through a very difficult time. After weighing my options, I embarked on several at-home ways to earn income — freelance work, client work, and a blog.
I had an old “mom blog” that was gathering dust and had no more than maybe a dozen posts on it about things I’d done with my kid over a couple of years. Random stuff mostly — recipes and DIY projects mostly. I started it on Mar 23, 2014 on a whim. My first post was a recipe for Healthy Banana Pancakes and was a whopping 110 words. The specific reason for starting this hobby blog is lost to my memory, but I do remember two things — I was starting Weight Watchers (again) and needed to get my recipes in a better place than the binder in my kitchen (Alexa loved to cook, even back then, and we often cooked together). And I was inspired by Pinterest. I love Pinterest and I was starting to see really cool blog posts on there, and I thought, “hey, I can make those things, too.” Here’s my very first pin for those banana pancakes. (cringe)
The blog had a bit of traffic from those random posts I’d so eagerly put on Pinterest, so I figured it made sense to start there than start anew. Plus, I was very broke and it would cost me nothing to put some effort into that old, existing blog while a new blog would have expenses (new domain purchase and new hosting plan). That’s all I had, however. The mom blog was not monetized at all, had no social media accounts of its own (I was using my work’s account to post everything), and was really bare bones (ugly but free theme, super cheapo web server, and so on).
So I dusted off JenuineMom.com (I still love that name) and began to dig in with earnest. I dutifully kept notes of how things progressed, creating my own (private) income reports as I went along. And I’d like to share them with you now so you can see how this money-making blog thing actually works.
Why Would I Share Blog Income Reports?
I share my blog income reports because I personally found them very helpful in understanding how I could earn an income from blogging. It’s one thing to say “My blog is going great and I’m making money” and quite another to say “Here’s exactly what I made and how I made it.” My goal is to INSPIRE and EDUCATE you.
Before I began working on my blog, I really didn’t think it was possible to make any significant money from a blog. In fact, I thought it was all rather silly. I thought blogging was something a bored mom would do to feel like she was contributing (my apologies, just being honest about how I felt). The first hint that it could be something more was when I began looking for ways to make money from home. I went right to Pinterest, of course, and I began to find blog income reports. At first, I thought it was a scam. How could THAT blog make THAT much? Ha! Yeah, whatever. But I kept finding them. And I began to wonder.
About a week later, something else happened. I like to experiment, and a year before this I had put a Google Adsense ad up on a totally different blog I had — one about historical costuming. It was the hobbiest of hobby blogs. But I had this old Google Adsense account from an even earlier experiment I’d done on some weird blogging platform (maybe HubPages?) and I wanted to keep my Google Adsense account active, so I stuck one simple ad on this hobby blog. Then I promptly forgot about it. Google Adsense pays you after you reach a $100 threshold, and coincidentally, I got paid for that ad that very same month I went looking for ways to make money at home. And because we were so broke, we noticed an extra $100 showing up randomly in our account.
The income reports + $100 extra dollars were what pushed me to give a blog a try.
And as I was inspired by income reports, I see sharing my own income reports as my own contribution to all bloggers and future bloggers who find me. If I can inspire just one person to try a blog and see that blog become successful, it’s worth it.
About My Blog Revenue Streams
As you’ll see in my reports, I have four main streams of revenue.
- My advertising revenue — that’s the display ads you see here on my blog, and later, on my YouTube channel. I began advertising with Google Adsense, then moved my blog’s advertising to Mediavine (YouTube is still on Google Adsense).
- My affiliate revenue — that means commissions on things like Amazon products. I make most of my affiliate revenue from Amazon Associates and Share-a-Sale (specifically Cricut sales). I make a lesser amount from the sale of products I recommend for my fellow bloggers, such as Siteground hosting or ConvertKit mailing list services (this is not a significant source of income for me at this point as it is for some other bloggers).
- Product revenue — that’s money earned from the sale of products I offer, such as a course or e-book. I have five products currently — two courses and three e-books.
- Sponsored content revenue — that means a company pays me to post about something on my platforms. This is my smallest revenue category, as I’m not a huge fan of sponsored content.
There are other revenue streams that some bloggers have which I do not, such as client work and speaking engagements, and that’s okay. Every blogger does earns a little differently based on their topic, their style, and their interests.
My First Year of Blog Income
Blogging is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a long road with a long of hard work and without much to show for it in the beginning, and it’s important you know this. Learning how to blog with courses like Elite Blog Academy helps tremendously, but it still takes time. So I want to take you back with me to the very start of my blog. Follow along with me, watch my ups and downs, and see how the income flows.
And to make sure I have room to give you all the information, I’m creating a separate blog report for each month (check back to see them as they go online).
- October 2016: My First Blog Income Report
- November 2016 Blog Income Report
- December 2016 Blog Income Report
- January 2017 Blog Income Report
- February 2017 Blog Income Report
- March 2017 Blog Income Report
- April 2017 Blog Income Report
- May 2017 Blog Income Report
- June 2017 Blog Income Report
- July 2017 Blog Income Report
- August 2017 Blog Income Report
- September 2017 Blog Income Report
My Second Year of Blog Income
Things began to really take off for me in my second year. In fact, this is when I first began to publicly share my income reports, as before this point I didn’t think anyone really cared about what I was making (and I was feeling shy about it, too). That said, I never put any of those income reports online — I sent them ONLY to my tiny little list of blogger friends. And for now, I intend to keep it that way to honor the trust that my blogger friends and I have developed over the past year. Plus, at this point and the amount of income I’m generating, I’d feel really weird about posting those online for Google to index and the world to see. But I did publish the following income reports to my blogging email list (click any of the links to subscribe to the list to get future income reports):
- December 2017 Blog Income Report
- January 2018 Blog Income Report
- February 2018 Blog Income Report
- April 2018 Blog Income Report
- September 2018 Blog Income Report
Wondering why I didn’t do one every month? It mostly came down to being really busy, especially during the summer. The income reports are not income generators for me, and it IS important that I focus on things with a good Return on Investment (ROI), so when I get busy, those things tend to fall by the wayside.
My Third Year of Blog Income
My third year marked yet another step up in income. Here are the income reports I’ve published so far for my blogging newsletter subscribers (click any of the links to subscribe to the list to get future income reports):
- October 2018 Blog Income Report
- December 2018 Blog Income Report
- January 2019 Blog Income Report
- February 2019 Blog Income Report
- March 2019 Blog Income Report
- April 2019 Blog Income Report
- May 2019 Blog Income Report
- June 2019 Blog Income Report
- September 2019 Blog Income Report
I hope these reports help to inspire and educate you! If you find they are hindering your progress, stop reading them and anything else that gets in your way.
I’m now entering my fourth year of blogging, and I’ve finally decided to stop sharing detailed blog income reports as of January 2020. Why? With my monthly income now well into the six figures, I no longer feel it’s helpful to new bloggers. In fact, it might be harmful as it could paint an unrealistic picture. That said, I still send out modified income reports, which focus on one specific segment of my income and delve deeper into it, so I’m not overwhelming you with giant monthly revenue figures. I think this is working well for now.
If you are interested in learning more about my blogging method and techniques, and my personal story of how I created a full-income blog within one year, please subscribe to my little blogger mailing list below.
And if you’re looking to boost YOUR blog income, check out this free e-book from my mentor Ruth. My favorite ways listed here are #3 and #7, both I’ve done several times and with GREAT success!