I don't care what anyone says, income reports never get old. There is no better motivation than learning that it is possible to make a profit from your own website and that YOU are capable of making the profitable website yourself. That's why I love reading income reports.
However, when I first started blogging, my favorite reports were those that focused on how they made their first income. Sure, it is intriguing seeing all of these $10,000 a month posts, but for someone starting out, it's an unreal expectation and not entirely applicable. It almost feels impossible.
However, making an extra $1,000 a month? That's something anyone can achieve.
Not to mention, most people are looking (at least initially) for a side income, not a job replacement. This usually means they want results sooner rather than later. Nor do they want to work 40 hours a week to achieve it.
I've been there. That's why I've put together my first ever income report. This is where I break down how I made my first $1,000 (which started when I was still working my normal 9 to 5 job).
It's important to first understand how you can make money with a blog.
There are five main ways you can make money blogging (that you can learn about by reading here). However, when I first started making money off of my blog, I used only 2 methods: providing a service and affiliate marketing.
Although I could make a small income from ad revenue, I find that it's not worth the tradeoff. Polluting your website with ads is never appealing.
Therefore, unless you are generating enough traffic to make a few grand from ad revenue (which then I find completely acceptable), I would avoid using it all together.
That's why below I've listed a monthly breakdown of my first $1,000 without ads. I've also included actionable steps for you to follow to achieve your first 1K too!
Affiliate marketing is, by far, my favorite way to make money. It's passive, meaning once the work is put in, it will produce money for you! Much of the time I will wake up knowing that I made a few hundred dollars overnight. My blog was working for me (instead of the other way around).
Affiliate Money breakdown
- $346.75 from recommending 2 different Pinterest courses. These include Pinteresting Strategies (for any level of blogger) and Pinterest Improvement Master Plan (for advanced bloggers).
- $78.80 from recommending Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (a MUST for affiliate marketers)
- $160 from Bluehost (host your new site here and become an affiliate)
47.48 from ShareASale (from selling Tailwind)
$25 from Amazon
I made $658.03 from affiliate marketing.
Profiting from affiliate marketing doesn't happen overnight. It takes considerable time for a post to mature and even longer to convert to a profit. Therefore, don't expect to make an affiliate sale the day after you create a post. It can take roughly 2 to 3 months for any return and sometimes you will never see one.
However, to increase your odds I've included a few tips to help you on your way (after you sign up for your favorite affiliate programs!)
- Embed your favorite products at the end of the post.
- Use video when possible, people relate more to video than anything else.
- Make the link "pretty", which means creating a redirect from your website, when sharing to social media platforms.
- Provide value: don't just throw out a link, but provide reasoning so people can trust your recommendations
- Find high paying, in demand, affiliate programs. These programs should be ones that people need. Examples include hosting, informational courses, and everyday (must have) products.
- Make beautiful pins and add them to Pinterest immediately. It takes time for pins to start "taking off" toward becoming viral.
The best thing I ever did was educate myself on affiliate marketing the minute I decided I wanted to pursue blogging. I signed up for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing and never looked back. It breaks down every detail (from legalities to conversions) into easy actionable steps. It paid for itself within the same month.
With that said, below is the strategy I recommend you try out.
Take an affiliate marketing course
Understanding affiliate marketing is the key to executing it properly. Find high paying affiliate links that give you a solid commission. Make sure they are products you use and believe in. (I recommend the course mentioned above, obviously). It's created by arguably the most successful affiliate marketer to exist.
Utilizing courses is important for so many reasons. From legalities, to finding affiliate programs and applying for them, an in-depth understanding essential to affiliate marketing success. Too many bloggers try to wing it and never make it.
Just like you would invest in a "normal career" path, it's equally important to invest in your blog as well.
Become an affiliate of that course
Once you complete a course or two (like the one above), the next step is to become an affiliate of that course. Do you love it? Then recommend it and make some money for doing so.
Also look for affiliate programs of other products you might like. Examples include:
- Email Software
- Your Web Host
- Your Favorite Theme
Whoever you are hosting your site with, likely has a generous affiliate program as well. If you aren't self-hosted yet, or simply want to know which provider I use, check it out right here.
Add affiliates to existing posts
Once you are accepted (some will be immediate; some will require a wait) add those affiliates within your post, or to the bottom of your post. Be sure to use "nofollow" links.
Create new affiliate posts
Writing new blog posts on why you love a product, how to use a product, or simply a complete review of that product, is a great way to convert an affiliate into a sale.
It's OK to write more then one blog post as well. After these are created, start making high quality pins for Pinterest. Be sure to also drop the post on other social media platforms such as:
- Facebook Groups
- Your Facebook Page
- Google +
- Tailwind Tribes
- and your email list!
Be sure to grab my entire traffic list by signing up below!
Create "affiliate only" pins to add to Pinterest
Did you know you can post your affiliate links straight to Pinterest? Instead of taking the time to come up with content all of the time (content is still king remember), simply make a pin and link it straight to the product. Then, add that pin into rotation. Do this by pinning it to your own boards, group boards, and Tailwind Tribes.
FREELANCE WRITING SERVICES
When I first started affiliate marketing, I also started my freelance writing services. So while these sales were being made, I was making money writing for clients (something that has expanded to website design and social media as well!)
Example's of my client work included:
- Outdoor companies
- B2B companies
The first outdoor gig I ever had paid me a whopping $12 for 12 articles. NEVER fall for that type of work, ever. That was one of the dumbest mistakes I could have ever made.
Thankfully, I didn't let that deter me from my end goals.
I've since made thousands of dollars (I average roughly $150 per article). My first $500 came from two B2B (businesses marketing to other businesses) companies at $100 a piece and two outdoor articles that came in at $150 a piece. If I could do it over, I would have asked for more money.
However, either way, within my first few months of blogging, I had surpassed the $1,000 mark.
However, finding work isn't easy for a new blogger. Therefore, a few places you can find freelance work include:
I have an entire article dedicated to freelance writing that you can read here.
Freelance writing is just one of the services you can recommend from your website. Other options include marketing services, website design, consulting, and so forth.
BLOGGING FOR MONEY: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW!
I made plenty of mistakes with freelance writing when I started out. A few major mistakes included.
- Accepting work for far too cheap
- Letting myself be taken advantage of by too many businesses
- Didn't "hustle" for enough work
I quickly learned marketing is just as important as blogging. Get over being shy or else you will fail.
SETUP A BLOG
The first step is to develop a blog that is capable of making money. This means doing it right the first time. Self-hosted (it has to be self-hosted) is usually the way to go (otherwise Squarespace is an option too).
I build client sites on WordPress/Bluehost. You can grab your site right here for only 3.95$ a month. One click Wordpress setup is included!
I also have an entire post that will step you through the process. Blogging income is possible for anyone.
Be sure to check out my article How to Start the Ultimate Money Making Blog.
BUILD AN ONLINE PRESENCE
Once you have a niche (topic of choice), a website, and valuable content (starting creating blog content), you are going to have to figure out how to market that content.
I highly recommend Pinterest for this! It can drive tremendous traffic to your site fast. Plus, you can also add direct affiliate links to your pins. .
You can also make money by using affiliate marketing with Instagram and Facebook. Just remember, building up an audience takes time and dedication. Commitment to your long-term success is key.
Post high-quality content, regularly.
SIGN UP FOR AFFILIATE PROGRAMS
The best places to sign up for affiliate partnerships are with your hosting provider, the owners of blogging courses you support, and product stores such as Amazon. They all have "affiliate program" links where you simply fill out the application and start promoting!
TIPS FOR BUILDING A MONEY MAKING BLOG
Every month you should set aside resources to invest in your blog education. Take courses that will expand your knowledge and understanding of the business. In addition, courses also give you a chance to become an affiliate of their product. This means you can make money by promoting their product.
I take a new course every month (like the one's listed above!)
What You Should Read Now:
- Start Your Own Money Making Wordpress Blog
- 5 Ways to Make Money With Social Media
- 10 Ways to Make Money Online in 2018
Blogging is a marathon not a sprint. Just remember, the most important task is to not give up. It will take time for your site to mature, and for affiliate sales to start accumulating. However, if you give up they never will.