Today, I’m going to share with you how I earned my first $1,000 blogging. A little over a year ago (Feb. 2016), I started my blog as a hobby. I’m learning more and more each day how it all works. I didn’t really know how one could make a living as a blogger. I understand a lot better now, but I also came to realize that it takes a LOT of time and work. As I already have a full-time job, part-time job, and a 2-year old, I don’t think I have the time quite yet to become a full-time blogger. Hopefully, I will have the time someday.
All right. Let’s get to it. First, I’ll talk a little bit about how blogs can earn money. Then, I’ll tell you how I made my first $1,000 blogging.
How do blogs (and bloggers) earn money?
There are many different ways blogs can make money. Here are some of the most common ways.
- Freelance writing – Bloggers can leverage their blog to get freelance writing jobs. Their blog serves as a large inventory of writing samples, giving a good indication of the quality of writing one can expect. Good writers can often get freelance gigs with large media and news outlets. This in turn can also help get the blogger’s name out.
- Affiliate marketing – Bloggers can earn a commission by promoting a product or service in a post and using a special link called an affiliate link. There is a way to do this properly and effectively. I purchased a course on affiliate marketing to learn how to do affiliate marketing the right way. If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, I highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (this is an example of an affiliate link). It is an online course by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, a blogger who earned almost $1M blogging in 2016, with a large chunk of it coming from affiliate marketing. I’m pretty frugal (hence the blog name), but I bought this course, and it has been well worth the money. It is chock full of great information, and I’ve been applying the concepts little by little. I will write a review of the course in a separate post later.
- eBooks and courses – Many bloggers will write eBooks or online courses. For example, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is an online course that I purchased, providing another blogger with income. In return, I received valuable, helpful information that took years of experience for her to obtain.
- Advertising – There are many ways to advertise on a blog (sponsored ads, display ads, etc.). You can get paid for impressions, for clicks, for certain actions (e.g. filling out a form), or for conversions (click and buy). Your income from advertising will usually depend on your traffic and your reach.
- Services – You can sell services such as coaching, technical help, design, etc.
- Products – You can sell products, both physical and digital.
How did I make my first $1,000 blogging?
I made my first $1,000 through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is the strategy that most bloggers use to monetize their blog. It took me about 3 months to get my first conversions and earn my first affiliate income. I shared my experience along with 9 other bloggers at Inkwell Editorial: 10 Affiliate Marketers Reveal How Long It Took to Get Their First Sale & How They Did It (I’m #4 on the list).
My first conversion came from Bluehost, the hosting service that I use for my blog. I was moving my blog over from a free wordpress.com blog to a self-hosted blog. By using Bluehost, I got a free domain, help migrating my blog, and a great price for hosting. Another blogger that was also using a free wordpress.com blog asked me about my experience, and I told him how everything went. He used my link to move his blog over, and his blog is doing very well now. I shared my experience with him, and he was happy to use my link. The commission was $65.
Related: How To Start A Blog
My second affiliate income came from Lyft, and this pushed me over $1,000 in blog income. I was posting a lot about my experience driving for Lyft and Uber back then. Someone was considering driving for Lyft and emailed me with some questions. I happily answered all his questions, and he was ready to get started. In order to earn a commission from Lyft, the referred driver has to complete a certain number of rides in 30 days. To my surprise, he completed his requirement within the next month, and I got $1,000 deposited into my account within a few days. He earned a $750 bonus for using my link. Win-win. A little later, I got my second commission from Lyft, but this time it was only $100.
Related: How Much Do Uber/Lyft Drivers Make?
Those were my first conversions from affiliate marketing. It took about 3 months. Then, I got busy with life and neglected my blog for many months. I’ve been trying to get back into it these past few months. It’s definitely not easy, but now I understand how full-time bloggers make a living AND just how hard it is to do that. If you’re ready to start a blog, check out my tutorial on how to start a blog!