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 great 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 1K 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. That's why I've put together my first ever income report, where I break down how I made my first $1,000 (which started when I was still working my normal 9 to 5 job).
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 can be a turnoff for visitors. Therefore, unless you are generating enough traffic to make a few grand from ad revenue (which then I find totally acceptable), I would avoid using it all together (at least until your traffic gets large enough).
Below is a monthly breakdown of my first $1,000. 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)!
- $346.75 from recommending 2 different Pinterest courses. These include Pinteresting Strategies (for any level of blogger!) and P.I.M.P. Your Pinterest (advance strategies I guarantee you haven't heard of).
- $78.80 from recommending Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (this course is perfect for any blogger at any level)
- $160 from Bluehost (host your new site here and become an affiliate!)
- $25 from Amazon (this number should have been higher for this period of time!)
- $47.48 from ShareaSale (selling Tailwind)
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.
Below are 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 (i.e. nicolestone.com/pintereststrategies instead of "transend.owl.etc.."). I think you get the point.
- 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. Programs that people need. Examples include hosting, informational courses, and everyday products.
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) and into easy actionable steps. It paid for itself immediately (meaning you can become an affiliate and get your money back too!)
With that said here is the strategy I recommend you try out:
1. Take an affiliate marketing course
I recommend the following:
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: The most comprehensive affiliate course you can take! It's already paid for itself.
- Master Affiliate Marketing: I understand money is tight for some people, so this is an affordable alternative to help get your feet off the ground.
This is important for so many reasons. There are so many things to learn, from legalities, to finding affiliate programs, to applying for them; that it simply can't be covered in a single blog post. So invest in the two above!
2. Become an affiliate of that course
Both courses above offer an affiliate program (along with most other courses).
Also look for affiliate programs of other products you might like: think BoardBooster, Tailwind, Email Clients, and hosting. Whoever you are hosting your site with, likely has a generous affiliate program as well. If you aren't self-hosted yet or want to know which provider I use, check it out right here.
3. Add affiliates to existing posts
Once you are accepted (some will be immediate; some will require a wait) add those affiliates to the bottom of your posts.
4. 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.
5. 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, simply make a pin and link it straight to the product you choose. Add that pin into rotation, by pinning it to your own boards, group boards, and Tailwind Tribes and you are set.
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.
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 (what a disaster)! 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.
A few places you can find freelance work:
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. I accepted work for far too cheap, let myself be taken advantage of by too many businesses, and didn't hustle for enough work. Thankfully, I've sorted all of that out (and then some!)
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 recommend starting a self-hosted wordpress blog through Bluehost. You can grab your site right here for only $3.95 a month and they walk you through it!
I also have an entire post that will step you through the process. Blogging income is possible for anyone! Read it here!
Don't forget, by becoming a Bluehost user, you can also become an affiliate!
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 learn everything you need to know about Pinterest by clicking here.
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.
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!
Every month invest in your blog education. Take courses that will expand your knowledge and understanding of the business. PLUS, 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.
A few that I recommend (and have personally purchased and taken):
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: The BEST affiliate marketing course
- Pinteresting Strategies: Good to know at any level for traffic building!
- PIMP Your Pinterest: Advanced Pinterest strategies for improved traffic!
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
Just remember, don't give up. It will take time for your site and sales to take off. Those who stick it out for the long run are those who make a full-time income from their blog.