In this blog post, I’m sharing how I made my first $20,000 blogging (blog income report) and the exact tips and strategies that I use to get my blog to this point.
HOW I STARTED BLOGGING
Now before we talk about strategies and tips, it might make a little bit of sense to actually give you some background into how I actually got here, how I started blogging, and how long it took me to start making money from my blog.
Now, the blog that I’m referring to here is my lifestyle blog called indiangirling.com, which I started in July of 2018, so roughly a little over two years ago. And it took me a while to really understand how to monetize this blog in the right way.
Now, this wasn’t really the first time that I had experimented with blogging. I had had actually a personal blog for about 18 months before I started my second blog called Indian Girling in July of 2018.
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For those 18 months, I was basically just writing a personal diary online. I had no idea how to actually monetize this. I even didn’t know that blogging existed as a way of living, and that could be something that would actually make you money.
So imagine my surprise when I started to see YouTube videos, as well as blog posts about how people are actually making money and that made me realize that this was something that was doable and was worth a shot.
So a little over two years ago, I started my lifestyle blog as an experiment to see if I could actually make any money in about a year or so. I promised myself that I would give this blog one year and see if I was able to actually monetize it beyond just a couple of dozen dollars, and if that was the case, then I would continue to blog.
If that weren’t the case, then I would just shut down this blog and maybe explore a different creative project.
HOW LONG IT TOOK TO START MAKING MONEY WITH MY BLOG?
Now the first few months, I really didn’t make a lot of money with this blog. I think it took me about eight months to get to my first $1,000, so it was actually quite a while that it took me to understand how this whole making money blogging thing works and how to make that work in my particular lifestyle niche.
So after the first eight months of this blog, and having made $1,000 give or take, I realized that there was a lot of potential in trying out different monetization methods, and I was just starting to get the hang of it. So in March of 2019, I launched my travel ebook, which was about, I think, $10 when I launched. And that made me around $300 on a single weekend.
Now, obviously as someone who hadn’t seen so much money coming from a blog, this was just a shocking to me as to anyone else. And this really got me hooked into the whole making money blogging thing.
And that’s when I started to focus a lot more on growing my blog. So in April last year, after having this blog for about nine months on, I was able to apply for Mediavine, which is a premium ad network which manages your ad inventory and gives you a commission every single month, pretty much the same way Google AdSense works on YouTube.
Once I was accepted, from May onwards I started to see a much more regular income, which was probably 10 or 15 X the income that I was getting from Google AdSense every single month on my blog. Now that income started out really small. I think it probably started around $300 or $400 a month, but it has a grown pretty steadily and compounded over time as well.
Fast forward now, my lifestyle blog is a pretty passive source of income for me, and you can check out this video here that I did on passive income to understand exactly how I make passive income from different sources.
HOW DID I MONETIZE MY BLOG?
Now, when it comes to the monetization methods that I used in this blog and exactly what made me how much money, the biggest contributor for me has been ad income, which is my income from Mediavine, which comes out to around a little over $9,000. The second biggest contributor for my blogging income was digital products, which was a little over $7,000.
These were products that I was selling for under $20 or $30, which have really compound over time as well. And the third and final source of income on this blog was sponsorships and affiliates, which was around $5,000. Altogether, this blog has made me over $20,000 and continues to make me passive income every single month.
Now of course, how you make money blogging can really differ from blog to blog because it is very niche and audience dependent. So depending on where you’re based, where your audience is based, and the monetization methods that you use in your particular niche are going to be what determines exactly how much money you make and in what way you make it.
All right, now that the background and the monetization methods are out of the way, let’s talk about the exact tips that helped me get to this point.
TIPS TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING FAST
#1 GET YOUR OWN HOSTED DOMAIN
Now, your own domain means that you don’t have a domain such as shrutipangtey.wordpress.com. Instead, you have a domain which is specific to you and you have a specific brand name that is only yours. Now just like you would not want to build a house on borrowed land, you don’t want to build your blog on borrowed land either.
This means that you actually buy your own domain name, as well as get a self host to host your own domain so that you have this corner on the internet that is completely yours, that is customizable, and that you can monetize in any way, shape or form. Now, when I started my first ever blog in 2017, this is the biggest mistake that I made and I actually bought a blog on wordpress.com, and I didn’t really know the difference between having a blog with a wordpress.com at the back and having your own self hosted domain.
Not only did this mistake cost me money and time, but it also didn’t really give me an overview of what was working for my blog in terms of analytics, et cetera. For my second blog, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice, especially once I found out that I could get my own self hosted domain for less than $3 a month, this was a no brainer.
So I highly recommend that if you are starting your blogging journey, to make sure that you spend this $3 a month and actually get yourself your own domain name, as well as a self hosted option so that you can not only customize your blog the way that you want, but you also have no limits when it comes to making money from your blog. If you’re interested in using the same host that I use, you can check out my discount code link here.
#2 CREATE CONTENT THAT SELLS
Now, when you are thinking about owning a blog that actually makes money, you have to think like a publisher would. So think of your blog as a digital magazine, which has two sides to it. You that is publishing the blog posts, or the publisher, and then your readers who are reading your blog posts.
Now a common mistake that I see a lot of people make and that I was making at the beginning of my blogging journey as well is to write for yourself instead of writing for your reader. Now you have to keep in mind that at the beginning when no one knows who you are, they’re not really interested in what exactly it is that you are doing in your day to day life. Instead, they’re more interested in how what you are doing can actually help them.
So how can you make your reader’s life better? Whenever you content, it is so important to think of who is going to be reading your blog and actually create content for that person. Now, if you want your blog to be making money, you have to keep your reader in focus. One of my favorite strategies here to figure out what content sells and what is in demand is to actually reverse engineer what is working.
This means that there is already a set demand for things that are working in your particular niche and with your particular audience. The only thing that you need to do now is to find out what those topics are, what those categories are, and then can work them into blog posts, which make you money. Now, one of the ways that you can do it is by doing simple keyword research on a lot of different keyword tools. You can use the keyword planner tool for Google.
You can use Keysearch, which is a paid tool, and there are tons of other tools that you can use as well to figure out what it is that your audience is searching for and what it is that your audience really wants from you as well.
The second way to figure out what’s working as well is to simply spend some time doing competitor research. So who are the bigger bloggers or the bigger influencers in your niche and what is doing really well with their audience? You can find this out by checking out their websites, or maybe even seeing bigger magazines and media outlets and seeing what kind of content is getting the most shares, the most likes, as well as the most comments. Obviously topics that are getting the maximum engagement are topics that people are interested in. And at the end of the day, your job as a blogger is to provide your readers content that they really want.
It is not to create content that is fancy or pretty. Instead, it is to create content that actually serves a need and a purpose. So when you create content that serves a particular need, you’re also able to monetize that content. So let’s say that I’m creating a post on how to travel responsibly and what kind of items I should carry to travel responsibly. When I’m creating the article, my reader is one interested in figuring out what these articles are.
And once they see me as an authority in that space, they might just go and click on the links in that article, which might be affiliate links and that might make me money in the future as well. So this is what I mean by creating content that sells instead of just creating content that has no purpose. The bottom line is that you need to spend more time in understanding and researching what your audience wants and then creating the best freaking blog posts out there to ensure that your reader comes back for more, every single time that they see your posts.
#3 MASTER ONE PLATFORM FOR TRAFFIC FIRST
Now, I know how tempting it can be to want to grow a Facebook page, to grow an Instagram following, to grow on Pinterest, LinkedIn, and everywhere else possible. However, that strategy doesn’t really serve you as a blogger, who is looking to make money. Why? Because not all of those platforms are search engines and they’re not going to help you get discovered. Now, I get that it’s really important to build a community and you can continue to do that after you have figured out how to generate traffic to your blog.
Now, one of the biggest challenges that I faced with my blog was to figure out a sustainable source of traffic so that I could actually monetize the traffic and by traffic here, I mean, people who are reading and visiting your blog, essentially your visitors, because if you don’t have visitors who are coming to your blog and checking out your content, who will be paying you to create that content? Who is going to be watching those ads? Who is going to be clicking on those affiliate links? Who is going to be buying your products and services?
This means that if you haven’t figured out exactly where traffic is coming from, you’re going to struggle more to make a sustainable income online. Now for me, one of the things that I learned early on and started to implement right away was to stop spending so much time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all of these social media channels that weren’t doing anything for my blog.
Now, while these were nice to have features, and it was great to have the vanity metrics in place where I could say that I had X number of social media followers, those followers weren’t directly making me a lot of money, and that’s the problem that a lot of bloggers get stuck at. For me personally, I figured out that there were two main ways that would work best for my niche, as well as my audience. The first way that I could generate traffic was from Google, where everyone generates their traffic from, but that’s also what makes it extremely competitive.
Now I knew that with my new blog, it was probably going to take me one or two years to even rank on the first five pages of Google, which means that if I relied on Google traffic alone, it would probably take me three to five years to make any amount of money with my blog.
The second way that I discovered to start getting traffic faster was Pinterest, which is not just a social media platform, but also a search engine. Now on my channel, you can find tons of tutorials in how to use Pinterest to drive traffic.
I also have a paid course and a membership to help you fast track your traffic results, so feel free to check them out after you’re done reading this. So the way to look at it is that Google should always be your longterm game. So as a blogger, you obviously want to be visible on search on Google, and you do want to have traffic, which comes in from the biggest search engine on the planet.
But, what do you do until the traffic starts coming in? You build a secondary source of traffic, and that is where Pinterest can come in. Now, it’s not going to be an overnight success where you just open an account, and in one week you start driving thousands of page views. No. No platform works like that, but if you know what you’re doing and follow a step-by-step strategy, you can reach tens of thousands of page views in anywhere between three to six months.
Once I started to use Pinterest for my blog is when I actually started to see my traffic and my income explode. Now without Pinterest, I would never have been able to get into Mediavine in month nine of my blog, simply because I was in a very competitive niche that was taking very, very long on Google to rank. The bottom line is this, as a new blogger, stop wasting your time on every social media platform out there to grow your audience, because that’s really not going to make you a lot of money in the long run.
The main thing here to remember is to just focus on one thing at a time. And once you have mastered that, move on to the next thing, instead of trying to do everything at the same time.
#4 PUBLISH CONSISTENTLY
Now I know so many new bloggers who start out with a lot of enthusiasm and then they just publish once in a blue moon and then they wonder a year or two later, why their blog didn’t make any money. The reason why their blog didn’t make any money, and the reason why my first blog also failed and didn’t make any money was because I was not consistent. Now here’s the thing, no one likes to read a blog with just three or four blog posts.
In order to stand out and to be a professional blogger that actually attracts new visitors, as well as returning visitors to your blog, you want to make sure that you have a consistent publishing schedule. Not only will publishing blog posts consistently help you attract new visitors as well as retain your existing audience, but it will also help you get discovered on Google, as well as in Pinterest faster.
Every social media platform and search engine likes fresh content, and if you only create one blog post every three months, it’s going to take you a decade to get discovered. So when it comes to your publishing calendar, I would actually recommend publishing a bare minimum of once per week. And if your schedule allows you to publish more, then that is even better, because the more content you have and the more you create at the beginning, it’s going to really help your blog blow up much faster and grow much faster than it would if you were just creating two blog posts a month.
The next tip that I have for you is by far the most important tip of them all. And this is the biggest reason why I was able to monetize from my blog fairly fast and actually turn that into something solid.
#5 TREAT YOUR BLOG LIKE A BUSINESS
Now with my first ever blog, it took me 18 months. And because I was taking it really casually and not really investing time and energy into growing that blog, I didn’t see any results. In fact, it actually just costed me money and time, but didn’t really make any monetary impact in my life.
When it comes to my second blog, I was able to start making money in the first year itself and I had a pretty solid revenue stream going forward. The reason why my second blog actually worked out much faster, and my first blog was a failure is pretty much down to the strategy of not treating my first blog like a business.
Now with my first blog, I didn’t really know that it was possible to make money, so I was kind of ignorant in that sense. And that is also one of the reasons why I didn’t really take it seriously or really invest a lot of time and money into it. Now the thing is, if you want your blog to be making money, you have to start treating it like a business from day one itself. Tell me one business that is profitable without investing time or money into it. Why should your blog be any different?
Once I had this realization that if I wanted to make money blogging, I had to actually invest my time and money into it as well, I started to see results much faster with my second blog and that is the main reason why I am where I am today. Now, when it comes to investing money, you don’t have to go crazy and start investing thousands of dollars in education, but you can start with what you have.
So whether it is getting a self hosted domain, which is $3 a month, or it is getting a $5 ebook, or it is getting a $200 course, whatever it is that you can afford at whichever stage of blogging you’re in. Now, I truly stand behind the quote that success leaves clues, and this means that there are people out there who have been successful at doing exactly what it is that you want to do, who have solved the problems that you are maybe facing right now.
And if you go direct to the source and you try to learn from these people and their strategies, you are going to have much faster success. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t do all of this on your own. It just means that when you invest your time and money into learning from someone who has already done it, not only do you speed up your results a lot more, you also make the process a lot more enjoyable and a lot more smoother. With my second blog, I didn’t want to risk taking another two or three years to just maybe make a couple of hundred dollars.
And I’m so glad that I didn’t adopt that mindset for my second blog, because if I had that mindset, I would still be in the same place as I was with my first blog, which would be just making a couple of hundred dollars here and there with no consistent plan, no consistent strategy, and no consistent income.
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