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I can remember lying in bed 15 years ago thinking that things were never going to get any better than they were right then and there. Six years ago, I entered a homeless shelter with my daughter and exactly $6.00 in my pocket. Five years ago, I started a coupon blog to teach my friends and family. Three years ago, my coupon blog basically died and my income took a drastic downturn. A year and half ago, I released my first book called Six Dollar Family because that is what my daughter and I were when we entered that shelter. A month after the book release, I shut Adventures in Coupons down. I deleted the deal posts, I rewrote almost everything (or am currently re-writing) that was left and what was in its place was what you see now. Six Dollar Family. Even then it took me six months to really begin to figure out how to make money blogging with something other than a deal blog.
Learning how to make money blogging isn’t easy and it is especially hard when you’re used to being able to write four sentence posts and are forced to basically relearn everything you know about making money. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always done well blogging and I won’t lie about that, but deal blogging and blogging like I do now are two totally different things. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done on Six Dollar Family, but it will get there. I also want to point out that I know that my 2016 earnings are less than they could be and less than what others earn. I’m totally okay with that. 2016 brought a few bad surprises with it and honestly I’m just glad that I walked through it in one piece. There came a time where I needed to walk away from everything work related and instead, focus on myself, my daughter and other important issues.
My biggest thing is this: I did what I set out to do; make my family a six figure family. In fact? I went from six dollars to six figures in six years. Frankly? I am not going to complain that I didn’t earn more than I did. Like I said, I’m content but I’m also determined to make 2017 even better.
How to Make Money Blogging – 2016 Blog Income Report
Like I said earlier, learning how to make money blogging isn’t easy, but it absolutely is something that you can do too. If you have ever wanted to start your own blog, there is no better time than now. You can start a blog with Bluehost for only $3.95/mo and you’ll get a free domain name when you do. Once you’ve signed up with Bluehost, I have a step-by-step tutorial that will walk you through how to start a blog with Bluehost easily. Once you get started, you can be making money as quickly as your first month (no, I’m not saying you can do six figures in a month). Bluehost is a fantastic host and I highly recommend them for new bloggers who are just getting started. Actually I recommend them for anyone, but especially new bloggers.
For me, blogging is the one career that allows me to still be Mom to my daughter but earn an income. In fact, I earn better blogging than I would ever have hope of earning if I were working for someone else. It is time consuming though so to help myself out a bit, I have a list of 12 must-have blogging tools that I use on a daily basis. I would have zero hope of earning anything substantial without those tools. No matter what, your income as a blogger may come from different areas than mine. That’s okay. Maybe it can give you an idea of where you can focus to earn more money for yourself with your own blog.
- AdThrive – $39,445.91 (Manged by AdThrive)
- Google Adsense – $16,163.52 (Managed by me)
- Pinterest Management and Virtual Assistant Work – $11,930.48
- Amazon – $9,401.26
- Sponsored Posts – $8,808.68
- InstaGC Referral Earnings– $2,696.93
- Six Dollar Family: From Six Dollars to Six Figures – $2382.42
- ShopHer Media – $2,343.43
- Ebates – $952.15
- Mother’s Lounge – $921.00
- Escalate Networks – $117.52
- Yard Sale Pro E-book Sales – $281.59
- Zaycon Premier Influencer Program – $30.00
- Various affiliate networks and programs – $15,736.40 (Programs in this area are ones such as Shop Your Way Rewards, Swagbucks Referral Earnings, etc.)
Total: $111, 211.30
Please keep in mind that the total income above is before expenses. I had around $45,000 in expenses such as accounting software, CoSchedule, BoardBooster, blog hosting, virtual assistants, advertising, Paypal fees, bank fees and more which means that my final profit for the year will be around $65,000 give or take. That is pure estimate at this point since my books are not 100% done as of the time of the writing of this post. When you’re trying to decide if you should start your own blog, please keep all of those expenses in mind.
While I could have made more money in 2016, I’m content. Six Dollar Family is only a year and half old so I’d say that we’re doing just fine.
2016 at a Glance
At the beginning of 2016, I set a few goals for myself. I am thrilled to be able to tell you that I not only met most of them but I blew a couple of them out of the water.
2015’s blog traffic was 2.2 million page views so for 2016 I wanted to make 5 million page views. End of year totals for page views was 5.7 million. Yay for one goal met!
I started the year with 16,189 Pinterest followers. My goal was 30,000. As of the time of this writing my follower count is 71,636. These followers are 100% organic and WHOO HOO for blowing that goal completely out of the water! My Pinterest management clients are doing just as well so I’m thrilled to see what 2017 will bring us.
My income goal for 2016 was $9,000 per month pre-expenses. This goal was double what I was earning at the end of 2015. If you take my 2016 earnings, I made my goal! $111,211.30 divided by 12 months comes out to an average of $9,267.61 per month. Yay for another goal met!
What I wish I would have done differently
My book, Six Dollar Family, was released in May of 2015 and aside from the promotion and advertising that I did the first few months, it really hasn’t been promoted much. In fact, I went from September 2015 until October 2016 without promoting it at all. Had I promoted it, I very likely would have doubled, possibly even tripled my earnings from it.
I also neglected my email list as far as affiliate earnings for most of the year. I easily could have doubled my affiliate income if I had taken the time to work on it from the beginning of the year. I began really doubling down on my email efforts in November when I released my free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Cutting Your Household Expenses. Things are going well with it and I expect to at least double my 2016 email response (traffic and earnings from my email list) during 2017.
Finally, I took the month of December almost entirely off but I did so without having anything scheduled to post. While this didn’t really affect my income, I feel as if I let my readers down by not putting out the content they are used to. Whether I actually did or not, I would make sure that I was scheduled during the month that I took off for vacation if I had it all over to do again.
Looking Forward to 2017
I have a lot of very big goals and plans for 2017 and I may not make them all, but hey, if you never set goals, you’ll never make them. I also subscribe to the idea that goals should be reachable but big and that’s what I’m hoping mine are.
Traffic and social media numbers are vanity (social numbers more so than traffic), but since a large portion of my income is ad revenue, I need to actually focus on getting those numbers up. That means that my 2017 traffic goal is double what I have had for 2016 so around 11 million views. With that said, a very large percentage (74%) of my traffic is Pinterest based and I’m not okay with that being as large as it is. This means that during 2017 I will be focusing more on SEO to increase my organic search traffic as well as my email newsletter to increase visits from there as well.
My income goal for 2017 is $250,000 pre-expenses and is a bit more than double what I made this year. Of course, I’ll be doing everything I can to increase my income and would love to make more than that during 2017. If it happens, great! If I don’t make more than that, I’m okay with that too as long as I make more than I did this year.
I am also working on second book which I am hoping will do much better than the first one has. Six Dollar Family (the book) has sold almost 10,000 copies total so I’m okay with taking some time to write book #2 as long as I remember to promote the first one in the process.
I also have several courses, both to help other bloggers learn how to make money blogging and for my readers to help them save more money currently being worked on for launch in 2017. I am hoping that these courses will do well enough to help push myself toward my income goal of $250,000 or higher.
All in All
All in all I’m happy where 2016 ended both professionally and personally. I’m so excited to see what 2017 holds!
Ready to take your own blog to the next level? I’d love to mentor you and help you reach your own blogging goals!