There’s a LOT of advice out there on how to make more money blogging, and I feel like I’ve read it all. I’ve taken courses, read books, perused blog posts, and obsessively analyzed blog income reports…but nothing beats trying things out yourself and learning from your experiences.
I hit a HUGE milestone in my blog income last month (blog income does NOT include my freelance business income): almost $3,000 in passive income! Just 3 months ago, in July 2017, I made only $675.
So if you’re a blogger trying to monetize her blog and feeling super frustrated, I want to share with you what I did to more than quadruple my blog income in 4 months.
*This post has affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you choose to buy through my links, at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting my work while I get to share with you the products I use and love.
How I Make Money Blogging: My 3 Income Streams
- Ad revenue
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling my own products (eBooks)
I DO NOT do press trips or sponsored posts (though I may do those in the future), nor do I include my freelance income in my blog income reports. I think including freelance income is tricky; I think it only makes sense to do it when that freelance service is DIRECTLY related to your blog. For example, if you blog about eating a vegan diet and sell vegan diet planning services through your blog, I think that makes sense to include in your blog income reports.
If you’re like me, however, and you make money freelancing by selling social media management services, but you blog about travel, it doesn’t make sense to include that income in a blog income report. I also don’t get my freelance clients from my blog at all, so it’s not related.
The 6 Ways I QUADRUPLED My Blog Income in 4 Months
#1 I got strategic about which affiliate products I promoted.
When you’re just starting to monetize your blog, I think it’s totally fine to promote a lot of different affiliate products. You need that hard data to see what worked and what didn’t. But once you’ve gathered data (I had been promoting affiliates for about a year), you need to analyze it and see how you can simplify and optimize.
I use a blog income tracking spreadsheet that’s broken down by EVERY passive income source I have on my blog. On the first day of each month, I tally up all the results and I’m able to analyze what the top income sources are. I decided to focus ONLY on my top-earning affiliate products, rather than promote a bunch of affiliate products.
If you want to make more money blogging, don’t waste time on the small fish—go for the higher commissions!
Let me give you an example: In September, I ROCKED at promoting one affiliate product that I use and LOVE—but here’s the thing: The commission was only $4.20 per sale, so while I made 23 sales, I only earned $96.60 in total.
Now, compare that to another affiliate I use and LOVE—but the commission for Affiliate B is $98.5 per sale. So that means if I sell the SAME number of Affiliate B products as I do Affiliate A products, I make more than $2,000 MORE in commissions.
Once you see that, it becomes a no-brainer: Promote the affiliates that you love and will bring you a higher commission. The small fish ain’t worth your time.
Here is the list of affiliate marketing courses and books I’ve used:
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (online course)
- Pajama Affiliates (online course)
- How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours (eBook)
- How to Make Money Blogging (eBook)
Of those resources, I highly recommend Pajama Affiliates. It’s SUPER affordable ($97 versus $197 for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing), and the content is SOLID. And yes, I have used it to increase my affiliate sales, mostly through improving my SEO with tactics I’d never learned anywhere else before. Now, don’t judge a book by its cover: Pajama Affiliates is not hosted on Teachable and it’s not pretty and shiny like some other courses, but again, the content is solid.
#2 I focused on increasing traffic to my blog.
How did I do this? Not at all in the way almost every blogger tells you. No, I didn’t rely on Pinterest as my traffic source. Sixty-seven percent of my blog’s traffic comes from good ol’ slow-movin’ SEO efforts!
Check it out:
Last month, my blog had about 50,000 pageviews.
YOU NEED to focus on SEO. I know it’s not fast, I know it’s not sexy, but it’s the only platform that will last. Yes, your search rankings will ebb and flow as Google’s algorithm changes, but the thing with Google is I don’t think it’s going anywhere, whereas social media platforms come and go all the time.
Here are the SEO resources I recommend:
- Anything that Moz.com publishes (FREE)
- Anything that Yoast.com publishes (FREE)
- Keysearch keyword research tool – This changed EVERYTHING for me. I’ve used other keyword research tools (like Google Keyword Tool, which is free, and SERPstat), but Keysearch is WAY more thorough and helpful. This is the tool I use to discover which keywords will be profitable and plan how to rank #1 in Google. Learn more about Keysearch here.
Pinterest is awesome, and it’s my #2 focus of traffic, but again, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to my organic search traffic. Here’s a snapshot of my traffic from August 2017 through November 2017, and you’ll see 67% is from Google while the close second, Pinterest, is only 18%.
Again, that’s not to say Pinterest isn’t powerful, but here’s what I’d recommend: If you need traffic FAST, focus on Pinterest. If you want traffic that LASTS, focus on Google. Ideally, you’ll be focusing on both.
Here is a list of the Pinterest courses and books I’ve used:
- Pinfinite Growth (online course)
- The Busy Budgeter’s Pinterest Guide (PDF)
- Pinteresting Strategies (eBook)
- Pinterest Traffic Avalanche (online course)
#3 I switched to Mediavine ad network (before, I had been using Google AdSense).
To apply for Mediavine, you MUST have 25,000 sessions a month. If you don’t have that yet, refer back to #2 where I talk about increasing traffic to your blog.
Also, if you’re not eligible to apply for Mediavine, I encourage you to put Google AdSense ads on your blog. I was SUPER resistant to using AdSense (or any ad network) for 4 YEARS because everyone told me I’d make only a few pennies. THEY WERE WRONG.
Okay, sure, I wasn’t getting rich of Google AdSense, but every little bit helped.
After installing AdSense, I was pretty comfortable, so when I reached the 25,000 sessions/month milestone, again, I was SUPER HESITANT to switch to Mediavine. I think I had read one review from a blogger who said she didn’t like Mediavine because it didn’t increase her ad revenue much. Plus, you have to commit to 3 months with them before you can cancel.
But let me tell you the honest truth: My BIGGEST regret about Mediavine…is that I didn’t join them sooner.
#1: After switching to Mediavine, my ad revenue has quadrupled and then some. I made $148.56 from AdSense in the month of July. In the month of September, I made $663.50 from Mediavine, and my blog’s traffic did not increase that much. Now that my blog traffic is significantly higher, I made a VERY decent amount of ad revenue from Mediavine last month.
#2: The Mediavine community is the most supportive ever. They even paid revenue earnings EARLY for December as a holiday gift to all the bloggers in their community! When you join Mediavine, you gain access to their private Facebook group where they share revenue tips and heartwarming, humorous posts. It’s like being a part of a family, and I seriously never would’ve thought I’d say that about an ad company!
#4 I invested in my blog via educational products.
I’m a total cheapskate. I hate spending money on my business, but I decided this year to invest in educational products because there’s just SO much I didn’t know about making money blogging. I have been blogging since 2012 but really had no clue I could make good money from it.
This year I bought:
- Pajama Affiliates (online course)
- Pinteresting Strategies (eBook)
- Ultimate Bundles: Genius Blogger’s Toolkit – This is a MASSIVE bundle only sold during a flash sale a few days in October each year. So it’s not currently available, but look for it next October!
- How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale (eBook)
- Pinterest Traffic Avalanche (online course)
#5 I (FINALLY) switched to HTTPS.
Switching to HTTPS puts that nice little lock with the words “Secure” in front of your blog’s URL in the browser. This does WONDERS for your blog. Not only does it make it secure so hackers are less likely to steal your reader’s info being passed along to your site, but it also helps your search engine rankings (more traffic, yay!) and increases trust with your site’s visitors.
Google is making a hard push for ALL sites to be HTTPS ASAP. In fact, they have stated that they will make your site rank lower and look super sketchy with a warning message if you don’t switch to HTTPS.
I KNEW I should switch to HTTPS for a long time now, but I hemmed and hawed because I thought it would be complicated and time consuming.
But guess what? It took me 5 minutes to switch to HTTPS, and it was SO EASY.
The first thing you need to know is SiteGround offers FREE SSL certificates (the things that make a site HTTPS) and have amazing support. I switched from Bluehost to SiteGround last year and could not be happier. When I was with Bluehost, my blog was frequently down with no warning at all, and my blog was loading slowly. After switching to SiteGround, my blog’s speed DOUBLED and I have NEVER seen it down. If you’re serious about making money blogging, I strongly urge you to switch to SiteGround now. If you’re just blogging for fun, it doesn’t really matter which host you’re with.
#6 I (FINALLY) launched my own product.
This is another thing on my blogger to-do list that I’ve been avoiding: launching my own products. I like promoting affiliate products.
But if you study blog income reports, you’ll notice that the bloggers making the 5-figure and 6-figure months all have one thing in common: They sell their OWN products. Usually though, these products are high priced (think $100 or above), such as online courses. Actually, most of the time they are online courses. But I don’t want to create an online course (yet), so I decided to launch an eBook.
Wrapping It Up: Your 5 Action Steps to Make More Money Blogging NOW
I didn’t want to write just another “how to make more money blogging” blog post—I wanted to provide you with ACTIONABLE tips that will boost your blog income THIS MONTH. Here’s what you can do. I’m serious; please follow these steps and take action before you lose momentum and get discouraged. Here ya go:
✅Step 1: Start tracking EVERY income stream you have for your blog. Analyze your blog’s income streams for the past year. Trim the fat. Optimize what’s working.
✅Step 2: Learn SEO and start implementing it to rank in Google search for terms that BUYERS are looking for. Read everything you can on the Moz blog. When you’ve learned SEO basics, get Keysearch keyword research tool to scope out the profitable keywords you can rank for to make more money blogging.
✅Step 3: Invest in your success. Choose ONE paid product that you know will give you knowledge that will boost your blogging income. I KNOW it’s hard to part ways with your cash, but it’s an INVESTMENT into your blog’s success. Choose one product that will increase your blogging income. I highly recommend Pajama Affiliates because it’s so inexpensive and helpful.
✅Step 4: If you haven’t already (and why haven’t you??), switch your blog to HTTPS today. (Seriously, if you follow my steps, it’ll take you 5 minutes.) If you haven’t switched to HTTPS, that could be hurting your Google rankings! Google has already officially announced they will devalue any sites that are not secure, so you need to switch to HTTPS today. This also helps if you sell any products on your blog, because visitors will want to see that your site is secure if they’re going to put in their credit card info. If you have SiteGround web hosting, you get a FREE SSL certificate. Click here to learn how I switched to HTTPS.
✅Step 5: Think of a product you can create, create the darn thing, and sell it! Make what’s called a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). That means, don’t focus on making it perfect! Ship it before it feels done. You can always update it later, but right now, you need to test your concept by seeing if anyone will buy. If you choose to do a digital product (which I HIGHLY recommend versus a physical product), then you can always send previous buyers your updated version when you “perfect” it later. Just create the darn thing and sell it now. See what works. For digital products, I HIGHLY recommend Gumroad because you don’t pay anything to get started. If you sell something (AND ONLY if you sell something), Gumroad will take a tiny portion of the sale, but you don’t have to pay anything upfront. Gumroad is what I used to launch my eBook. Now I use SendOwl to sell my eBook.
So, blogger friend, I hope this gave you some actionable tips on how to make more money blogging. If you’re frustrated, hang tight. I have been there. I’m still frustrated because I haven’t QUITE reached my monthly blog income goals.
But here’s something to put this all into perspective. Here’s a screenshot of a very vulnerable post I posted to a Facebook group back in February. I was feeling super frustrated and discouraged:
At the time, I was making only about $300 a month from my blog. Last month? I hit almost $3,000. So a lot can happen in a year. Hang in there.