Greetings! At the beginning of May, I released my Blogging 90 Days Later notes. It has now been another 90 days, and in this post, I will talk about what it's been like blogging over the past six months, including insights on making money blogging six months later.
Some bloggers are sold unrealistic expectations that they will make loads of money and quit their 9-5 forever. While this is certainly possible, it's definitely not going to happen fast. Six months later, I still feel like I'm in the startup phases – but I've made tons of progress.
In this post, I'm going to discuss:
- What I've been doing to grow The Dollar Blogger
- My June Affiliate Marketing Update
- My Early July Site Redesign
- My Late July Site-wide SEO Audit
- What I've Learned In Six Months
- How I Manage Multiple Tasks on an Online Platform
- Where Blogging Income Actually Comes From
- My Traffic Over the Past Six Months and From Where
- How I Used Paid Advertising To Grow Traffic
- Products To Come
- My Last Three and Six Month's Income
What I've Been Doing to Grow the Blog
For many, starting off blogging is a lot of trial and error. You throw spaghetti at the wall until something sticks. I've had a few posts stick, but most of the time, I still feel like I'm throwing spaghetti, even after six months of blogging.
To grow the blog, I constantly create content, which is not limited to blog posts. Creating content is everything one does online in the blogosphere. I create posts, engage on social media, work on products, and provide services.
Over the past six months, I've written one guest post and accepted two.
My blogging journey is still in its early stages, and most of the time, I'm strategizing how to grow as efficiently as possible. Over the past three months, specifically, I've increased unique monthly visitors, page views, income, followers, and more.
Here are some specific things I do on a daily or weekly basis:
- Engage on Twitter
- Post to Instagram
- Post to Facebook
- Post Pins to Pinterest
- 2-3 blog posts per week
- Site and SEO tweaking
- Mail my email list
It can be pretty exhausting sometimes, but that's all part of the process. Over the next six months, I have more plans to grow effectively. I wrote a whole post about my next six months' goals.
June Affiliate Marketing Update
In June, I went through all of my affiliate networks and added more affiliates. I also swept through my blog and added affiliate links to several posts that were bare.
When writing about personal finance, a key way to monetizing your blog is to make money with affiliate marketing. My blog is too small to reach out to big-name banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions, but I have access to several companies that pay a variety of commissions for conversions. This has the potential to provide decent passive income, though this early on, there is still not much of it.
I'm currently affiliated with around 20 companies ranging from online survey companies to banks to tools that help with blogging – Grammarly and SEMrush, for example.
July Site Redesign
My site has gone through three iterations in the past six months. The original site had a theme that looked nice but was difficult to customize. My web developer and I moved the site to Elementor in May, keeping the layout mostly the same.
I was inspired by big-name bloggers and personal finance companies to go a step further. In June, my wife and I created a staging site and started a full overhaul of The Dollar Blogger. Our goal was to make the site closer to what you'd see from a professional company like The Penny Hoarder, Nerd Wallet, Dave Ramsey, etc.
In early July, we launched the new site, and I feel pretty good about it. I'm still working out the kinks, a process that has taken all of July to do, but I feel the new site gives The Dollar Blogger more color and has it standing out from the sea of personal finance bloggers out there.
July SEO Audit
After I finished the site redesign, I began a site-wide SEO audit. I used SEMrush and the free version of Textoptimizer, among other tools, to go through every post, page, image, link, and more, to optimize everything. This process took around two weeks, and results were noticeable within 48 hours of beginning the audit.
In fact, the results were so noticeable, that in the first nine days that the audit was worked on, there was more search engine traffic than there was in approximately 60 days before that.
The audit was exhausting, to be honest. I have around 55 posts that all needed updates. Then, I needed to update image filenames, alt tags, file sizes, post meta, post titles, etc.
Doing an SEO audit once or twice a year should boost your traffic if you're struggling. SEO is where most of your traffic will come from given time, so it's critical to work on it periodically if you're thinking of creating a blog.
What I've Learned So Far
I've learned that I need to step up my email marketing game and grow my email list more effectively. My mailing list is small, and I don't grow it as fast as I'd like (not even close). If you want to make money online, it pays to have a mailing list.
I've also learned not to waste my time chasing pageviews, followers, and other vanity metrics. Metrics that count are conversion rate, income, and income per visitor. Traffic counts, too, but impressions, followers, and other vanity metrics are mostly a waste of time.
Blogging is difficult – that much I understand now. If it were easy, everyone would do it. If I told you that you would have to work for a minimum of six months with a minimum to no profit, would you do it? Trust me, it's not all cupcakes and muffins (did I just type that?)
Not only is blogging difficult, but you don't make money from your blog itself. You make money from the business you create around your blog. This includes services offered, products created, and affiliate marketing.
How to Manage Multiple Tasks on an Online Platform
Managing multiple tasks on an online platform is one of the toughest parts about blogging today. As I mentioned above, there are a ton of daily and weekly tasks that I have to keep up with. Some days it's easy to keep it all under control. Other days, it's a headache that I don't want to deal with.
Sounds like a real job, eh? It is!
My biggest struggle is keeping up with my mailing list. I don't email them as frequently as I want, but it's something I'm learning to get more comfortable with. Sign up for my mailing list, you'll get a free 11-step guide on how to save up to $10,000 per year. After that, I send money-saving tips (mostly) weekly.
Coming up with new posts has not been an issue yet. I always have something I want to talk about, and I have at least 10 – 15 brainstormed topics at any given time (about six weeks' worth of posts).
Twitter and Instagram are interesting challenges. I'd love to be one of those high-follower accounts that always has something great to say, but frankly, I don't have the energy, haha – I've accepted that I won't soon have thousands of followers and that I'll go at my own pace.
You can read more about my follower growth goals in my post about goals for the next six months of blogging.
Where Blogging Income Actually Comes From
Currently, most of blogging income came from SEO consulting that I did in June. After that, my second best source is my own products, and after that, affiliate marketing. I'll share my numbers at the end of this post, but I'll be perfectly honest – they're not impressive.
I don't recommend targeting ad income, such as from Google Adsense, as your main source of income, if you're aspiring to blog. The money just isn't there, plus too many ads take away from the user experience.
If you're a blogger, my recommendation is to make money through affiliate marketing and make money through creating your own products.
Products to Come
My wife spent June and July creating personal finance printables, which will be released as soon as we get them up. We are excited to offer these products to those who like to track their finances on paper.
I've also begun working on the next version of The Dollar Blogger Money Mastery System, which will likely get a new name, as it includes all sorts of information that didn't appear in the original copy. For those who purchased it, they will get the new copy for free.
Down the road, I eventually want to create a course about getting one's finances in order, which would include a Facebook group, videos, workbooks, and more. This is a long term goal that may not be worked on until later next year.
Paid Advertising Notes
I jumped into paid advertising already. On Facebook, I tested several ad copies to see what got the most hits. My most popular ad became my mailing list opt-in freebie.
I kept my budget low, though not low enough, as I barely made any money back from my ads, and it did cost me more than I'd wished. That said, in the beginning, paid advertising is hit-or-miss while you find your audience.
Last week, the last week of July, I ramped up more Facebook ads, including an ad to my mailing list sign-up, and received over 50 new mailing list subscribers.
Most of my traffic comes from social media. Facebook is the top source of social traffic, though this is specifically because of paid advertising. Twitter is my top source of organic social traffic. I post links to Twitter once to twice per day. Pinterest is a close third, and then I have a variety of small hits from sites like Instagram and Quora.
Below is my total traffic for the past three months and how it's improved from the three months before that. Note the peaks are mostly from where I used paid advertising to source traffic. I will discuss Facebook ad strategies in the future.
Income over Three Months
Let's discuss income, shall we? The Dollar Blogger's income report isn't impressive, but I'll discuss why any income is great income at the six-month mark.
Here's my income for May, June, and July combined:
- Ad Revenue: $10.41
- Affiliate Marketing: $33.65
- My Products: $53.98
- Consulting: $100
Total Revenue: $198.04
Not much, right? That's okay; blogging doesn't take off overnight. Sure, some bloggers do much better but guess what – they are the outliers. If you are blogging six months in and aren't making money, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! Keep going! You got this! Rome wasn't built in a day.
A new product line is currently undergoing user testing and is planned to be released before late August.
My goal for the next three months is to double my income from these three months (so $400+)
Making Money Blogging at Six Months
If you're blogging and making money at the six-month mark, congratulations! If not, don't worry! Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. I've seen so many Twitter accounts come and go who make lots of money for two to three months and then vanish off the face of the Earth.
Don't do that as a blogger. Start steady, stay steady. Let the money come as it comes and focus on being effective. Most successful bloggers see a part-time income after 6 to 12 months, whereas most see full-time income after 18-24 months. It takes a lot of time and effort, so keep it up!
Wrapping It Up
It's been a great journey over these past six months. Check out my post, where I outline my goals for the next six months as a blogger. If you have a blog and are looking for assistance with SEO, Pinterest, or general blog review, head on over to The Dollar Blogger's Hire Us page and contact us.