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Welcome to my first blog income report! That’s right and now it’s time for me to share how I made $631.19 in December 2020 whilst working full-time.
I plan on making this a monthly thing from now on and I’ll share a little bit about why in a bit, but first I want to tackle one of the most common questions people ask when it comes to starting a blog:
Can blogs still make money in 2021?
The answer is a resounding yes. Every year this question pops up and every year people start blogs and start making money… some even go on to become full-time bloggers!
There are more people online now than ever before, approx. 60% of the world’s population in fact and 77% of them read blogs! With that many people (over 3.5 billion people who read blogs) there’s more than enough opportunity for anyone to start a blog and make money in 2021.
Can blogs still make money in 2021? The answer is yes, as I’d like to show you with this income report on this blog, but I’ve also covered this topic in more depth here if you’re interested.
Now let’s take a look at why I’ve decided to start making these blogging income reports.
Why make a blog income report?
For a long time, I didn’t feel it was right to publish these reports. I felt that by sharing these reports I was being disingenuous with you, the reader. I felt that by sharing what I was making, it would seem like I was saying all you need to do to earn $500+ on the side is to “start a blog”. This is very much the tip of the iceberg, as it takes a lot of work to start a blog that makes money.
This thought was sort of the lightbulb moment for me though because I cannot force my feelings onto you. It’s your decision to make and all I can do is provide you with the relevant information to make an informed decision.
Unlike most income reports that show how bloggers made $100,000 in their last month. I want to share with you the other side of the spectrum with this relatively small blog.
I started this blog in July 2018, currently, there are 77 articles live, I’ve been active here on and off with it all being part-time. First having finished my studies, then building a house, and now working full-time for the majority of the past year.
So, two years have passed since I launched, and I’ve “only” brought in a little over $630 in revenue in the last month with this blog.
Now I don’t want to dissuade you from starting a blog, I just want to give you a little bit of context. We’re all different and it may be that your journey starts looking more like mine than those bloggers that have made millions (which is fair play to them, FYI, it’s not an easy accomplishment).
This is one of the reasons why I want to share these income reports now, to show both sides.
Some other reasons are actually the typical reasons you see in all of these blog income reports.
- Accountability – By showing what happened and setting future goals, I will hold myself more accountable to make it happen (although if we’re being honest, me as a blogger, this is my site, I can delete a goal, or adjust a goal and no one would be the wiser… but I would never do that 😉)
- Transparency – I want to be transparent with you and provide context. I also want to document this growth in a transparent way, instead of just making income reports if money made starts becoming significant.
- Inspiration – Income reports were one of the things that helped convince me that there was money to be made in blogging. It’s not why I started blogging, but it is why I started adding affiliate links to my posts. 😉
I think this is also the part of the income report where I need to tell you that these income reports aren’t about bragging, it’s about showing you what’s possible, what my goals are for the coming month, and maybe even what didn’t work.
So, it’s about time that we dive into some numbers.
Blog Traffic Report December 2020
Let’s start things off with the traffic generated in December 2020 to outofthe925.com.
In this month I saw 20,554 sessions and 23,932 page views in total. This was a slight increase over the previous month.
The majority of my traffic came from search, with Pinterest taking second place. In the last year, my main source of traffic has flipped, with Google Search providing the majority of my traffic now, where before Pinterest would provide the majority of my traffic.
Pinterest is a great tool to get your first 10,000 page views per month as it generally doesn’t take as long as Google SEO does to take effect. Towards the end of the year, I lowered my Pinterest activities quite a bit in order to focus on other projects, which reflects in the drop in Pinterest traffic. This is one thing I do plan on correcting in the coming weeks.
On the positive side, search engine traffic from Google has increased, and I will continue to focus on creating search optimized articles and other site optimizations in January.
In December I uploaded three new articles:
- 42 best websites for free stock footage
- 11 YouTube Channel Ideas for Introverts
- 22 YouTube Videos Ideas for your Business
As well as updating many posts.
So, how did I make $631.19 in December 2020? (And 19 cents!)
Income Breakdown – $631.19
Basically, everything came from affiliate commissions. These are commissions I earn whenever someone purchases a product or service through one of my links. The person clicking on the link doesn’t pay anything extra, but the company pays me a small commission for bringing the two parties together.
It’s my favorite way of making money with a blog, I like to provide everything I can on this blog for free, and readers that are interested in some tools or products can support me without having to spend anything more than they normally would have to on something they’re already interested in.
So, this is where the $630+ comes from:
- TubeBuddy – $334.53
- Bluehost – $160
- Shareasale – $93.46
- Amazon – $22.40
- Udemy – $20.80
You’ll also notice that I made $0 from ads on this blog and this is because I don’t have any ads running on this site. They tend to spoil the interface in my opinion, but it may be something to experiment with slightly in the future.
Expenses Breakdown – $92.88
I’ve shown you the income, not let’s look at what blogging expenses I’ve encountered in December.
Convertkit – $49
This is the email tool I use and recommend. Depending on the number of subscribers you have on your list, the price can vary, but it’s free to start out with, under 1000 subscribers I believe. You can find out more about ConvertKit here.
Hosting – $6.49
Some things are changing with my hosting, as December 2020 is my last month on a shared hosting server with Bluehost. I paid 3 years in advance for $233.46 back in 2018 (so 1 month is about $6.49), and I had the shared hosting plan that allowed me to host multiple websites. If you only want to host one website (your blog) then the price is even cheaper.
With multiple blogs, I’ve never had any trouble handling 30k-40k page views per month on Bluehost’s shared hosting plan.
I have moved to a VPS this month (January 2021 – still with Bluehost though), as I have some additional projects and scaling plans, but this is definitely only something you may have to think about when you’ve established more website traffic.
CDN – $7.39
A CDN stands for Content Distribution Network. It’s used mainly to speed up your site by having your website content on servers all around the world. Meaning that when someone in Australia tries to visit your site, the Australian server can provide them your content, and if someone in South Africa looks up your site, the South African server delivers your content.
This improves the speed of your website massively as it doesn’t have to travel across the globe to one server. It also helps with server loading & security. I use Amazon Cloudfront (AWS), and the $7.39 is the cost of the data that was delivered through the CDN, which isn’t much, although Bluehost & Cloudflare do have a free CDN option.
Miscellaneous – $30
There are some more small things that I pay for yearly that all together adds up to about $30 per month in total. Things like:
- Canva Pro – A powerful online graphic design tool
- Tailwind – Pinterest Scheduler
- Envato Elements – Massive resource of stock photos, graphics, music, video, etc.
Gross Profit – $538.31
If we take the income and minus the expenses, we see that I made $538.31 whilst working full-time with this small blog.
Blog Income Report Proof
Below you can find a few screenshots of some of the sources of income.
Goals for January 2021
For January, these are my goals:
- Publish 3 NEW blog articles (This is 1 of them 😉)
- Update a few popular posts
- Create 3 NEW YouTube videos (check out my channel here, it’s new)
- Send out 4 emails to my email list
- Launch my new website (UPDATE: This will be held back a bit as I have lots of great ideas for this site first! 😀)
And that’s pretty much it, of course, I would love for the income to increase and the website traffic to increase, but I’m in this for the long run, so I want to focus more on delivering VALUE.
Blogging Tools & Resources
I hope this has given you a good perspective of the work involved in starting a money-making blog and if you’re on the fence about starting, I would recommend just taking the leap.
Here are some resources I recommend for getting started:
Blog hosting with Bluehost
This is the hosting provider I use and recommend; you can get started for as little as $3.95/month with this link. In addition to the free Cloudflare CDN integration, when you sign up for one of their plans, they’ll include your domain name registration for free for the first year. If you run into any problems, their support staff is also some of the best I’ve come across, resolving any issues very quickly.
They also have a one-click WordPress integration, meaning you can start your blog without having to worry about technical things like your server settings.
Pinterest Traffic Avalanche
The Pinterest Traffic Avalanche is a course provided by Alex and Lauren over at Create & Go. This course is designed to increase your blog traffic through proven Pinterest traffic techniques.
Pinterest is one of the best sources of traffic for new blogs and this course teaches you the A-Z of setting up your account, creating engaging pins, how to grow your account, and much more to drive targeted traffic to your blog so you can make more money.
Launch Your Blog Biz
If you’re at the very beginning of your blogging journey and finding it tough getting started. I recommend the Launch Your Blog Biz course, also from Alex and Lauren from Create & Go.
This course guides you through setting up your blog with WordPress, customizing themes, creating graphics, how to write blog posts, blogging fundamentals, building your list, and many more useful and professional tips and tutorials. In addition to the blogging stuff, you’ll also learn how to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing, sales, and email funnels, how to convert readers into buyers, using social media to get traffic to your posts, and much more.
If you want to get started making money with your blog, I highly recommend the course. You may even run into me in the private support group lending a hand. 😉
In combination with Pinterest and the Pinterest Traffic Avalanche course, Tailwind can help accelerate your blog growth and reach your first 10,000 blog readers.
By using Tailwind, you can drive traffic to your blog whilst you’re sleeping and it frees up your time to do more important things, like writing more articles, reaching out to other bloggers, or to just spend more time with family.
I mentioned page speed earlier with the CDN, and page speed is a big factor in SEO, which is why I love the Genesis framework themes. These are optimized for speedy delivery. You can find a number of great looking fast child themes for Genesis here. (A child theme is a theme that goes over the main theme, it’s basically how your site then looks; the clothes, whereas the framework is the skeleton… a very speedy skeleton).
Another thing I like about these “pre-built” themes, especially for new bloggers or if you’re in a time pinch, is that you aren’t overwhelmed with options like you would be when you start off with a page builder like Elementor.