I’ll be real: at the beginning of May, I had absolutely no idea what to expect for my fourth income report. After all, my boyfriend and I left the country for two weeks. The entire time, I faced limited WiFi connectivity and even less time to dedicate towards my blog.
Despite spending half the month out of country, I’m very fortunate to say I doubled the $1,134.25 I reported from my third month of blogging. I earned $2,681.22 blogging in May. And this doesn’t include the products we received from sponsors.
Most of my income was earned while we were abroad. So the passive income earned through affiliate marketing was really and very truly passive. One day we explored the Principality of Monaco and found ourselves stranded in Villefranche sur Mer on our way back (I talked about our experience stranded in this coastal town on Instagram). And my blog was earning me money at the same time.
It’s very surreal to think about.
I still constantly think back to the conversation with my friend last year, when she asked me if I made money from my personal blog. The personal blog that served as an emotional outlet as I coped with feeling homesick after making the decision to move and change careers.
My answer to her was a simple “no,” but in my head, I thought, what?! You can make money blogging?!?! I became obsessed with the idea because I’ve had a growing affinity for writing since Montessori school where I wrote short, two-sentence stories.
A part of me feels weird about sharing this income report as my numbers continue to grow. Another part knows that people (like myself) learn by seeing how others accomplish their goals.
After all, if other bloggers did not post their income reports, I would not have started this blog. Reading those income reports inspired me to start a profitable blog of my own.
Starting this blog turned out to be an incredible journey. It serves as a creative outlet for me and gives me so much to be excited about with each day.
While it’s a lot of work, I never feel like I’m working.
Let’s get into how I earned $2,681.22 blogging in May.
This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.
Because programs each have different payout terms or minimum payouts, bloggers report their income in (primarily) two different ways.
Some bloggers report their income as it enters their bank account. Others report their income as they earn it.
I choose to report my income as I earn it. This helps me identify what is a successful (or unsuccessful) month. That way, I can specifically target what works and areas of improvement.
Another important disclosure is I chose to report my Awin income as it is tracked. My Awin income, which is the highest amount of income for the month, will take a significantly longer time to reach my bank account.
All commissions resulted from my efforts in May, which is why I’m including them in this report.
Top Posts in May
- Third Income Report: How I Earned $1,134.25 My Third Month Blogging (2,580 page views)
- How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Monetize Your Blog (1,441 page views)
- Student Loans 101: Easy Steps to Become Debt Free (516 page views)
- How to Make Money Blogging This Month (404 page views)
- The Ultimate Pinterest Strategy to Increase Your Page Views (371 page views)
Total Page Views in May: 11,362
Previous Income Reports
- First Income Report: How I Earned $74.62 My First Month Blogging
- Second Income Report: How I Earned $693.94 My Second Month Blogging
- Third Income Report: How I Earned $1,134.25 My Third Month Blogging
What I Accomplished in May
I spent the last week of April, and the first two weeks of May, traveling. So I anticipated a slow start to my blog for May. But I still managed to accomplish a few goals!
- Collaborated with tourism boards in France. While we were in France, I collaborated with three different tourism boards. For the first post in my France Travel Series, I wrote about the Principality of Monaco. Check it out here.
- Started drafting a 10-day blog success course. Per the (insightful!) recommendation of others, I started working on a free 10-day blogging ecourse to help others turn their passions into profits. Update: This eCourse is now complete. Learn more about it here!
- Focused on learning how to use Tailwind. Last month, I purchased an annual Tailwind Plus plan. But I had no idea how to use it. After stumbling through the platform, I finally found a strategy that works (click here to read it). Since starting my Tailwind Pinterest strategy, my repin rate has improved immensely. Repins are important because it increases the likelihood of someone seeing your pin and visiting your blog
I was happy to see the way my social media following grew, too. Although I didn’t make every goal, I still managed to reach my overall goal of 2,000 followers across social media platforms!
- Pinterest (aimed for 900): 750 -> 945 Goal for June: 1,200
- Facebook (aimed for 250): 234 -> 271 Goal for June: 300
- Twitter (aimed for 350): 290 -> 333 Goal for June: 375
- Instagram (aimed for 500): 466 -> 500 Goal for June: 525
- Bloglovin (no goal in May): 87 followers -> 118 Goal for June: 150
My social media goals are ridiculously ambitious. After all, I’m self-proclaimed #awful when it comes to posting on Instagram.
For June, my main goal is to focus on somehow achieving 1,200 followers on Pinterest in June.
Income for May
Products from Sponsors: $274.29
I did not include products from sponsors in my total income (since it’s not money earned). But, to be transparent, this is the calculated value of products I received in May while we traveled. So far, I’ve only published one sponsored post detailing an amazing two days exploring Monaco.
Affiliate Referral Income
Awin stands out simply because of its partnerships with Etsy, Trusted Housesitters, Swagbucks, and Fiverr. It’s $5 to sign up, but you get the $5 back in its entirety when you receive your first payment.
Share-a-Sale is a big winner for bloggers because of the diverse types of affiliate programs they offer. I personally use it to promote Tailwind (click here to read about my aggressive Pinterest strategy), Grammarly (click here to read about how Grammarly will improve your writing and thus captivate your audience), PicMonkey, and Pura Vida Bracelets.
Linqia is an influencer marketing program that connects influencers to brands. They have requirements to join (e.g. 2,500+ social media followers or unique monthly visitors), but once you meet that threshold, they approve you to start working on campaigns.
Earlier this year, I invested in my own self-hosted WordPress blog with the intention of making side income. Do you want to start a money-making blog? Use this link to get a 60% discount on your first hosting plan!
Refinancing your student loans becomes simple: fill out a free, three-minute application and LendEDU shows you what student loan refinancing rates you could qualify for. LendEDU’s free application doesn’t affect your credit. It’s amazing how much you can save simply by refinancing (hint: it can be thousands of dollars). LendEDU does the grunt work for you at no cost to you! Read this article to learn more about student loans. Or, click here to see for yourself what refinancing can save you!
I’m proud of my writing, but Grammarly helps me daily. Read this article to learn about how to improve your writing with Grammarly. Or sign up for Share-a-Sale to partner with Grammarly!
Although my income from Etsy is small every month, it adds up! I love Etsy products (I bought my theme from this shop on Etsy) and it’s fun to promote products small business owners create. You can use Awin to promote Etsy products.
Although known as a survey site, earn points called SB watching videos while you clean or do errands. I joined their affiliate program through Awin. Sign up using this link to get a free $5 bonus, start earning points called SB, and redeem SB for gift cards (including Amazon!).
Amazon Affiliates: $1.54
Blog Coaching: $17.00
Sometimes, I open blogs and immediately see where it may need work. So, I decided to offer blog consultation to diversify my income. I write detailed reports with targeted areas of improvement for bloggers! If this sounds like something you’re interested in, contact me here.
MediaNet advertisements: $4.15
I only have Media.net advertisements at the bottom of a few posts. I think it’s a subtle way to showcase advertisements, but not in an aggressive manner. Hopefully, this leads to a more fulfilling guest experience!
Tailwind: $105.00 referral credit
Boardbooster: $5.00 referral credit
Boardbooster is the smartest Pinterest scheduler on the market. Although I don’t pin aggressively with Boardbooster, I still use its campaign feature to post regularly to group boards. Their plans start out at $5 per month, and you can try it for free!
Total Income: $2,681.22
Total Expenses: $10.00
Total Income (after expenses): $2,671.22
Affiliate Programs I Want to Focus On
- Ebates: I seriously need to brainstorm ways to promote Ebates. I think it’s a great way to get cash back when you shop online, and every penny counts! I earned cash back on gifts for my mom for mother’s day and items I purchased for our trip to France. Quite a few have signed up, but the hardest part is probably remembering to visit Ebates before you purchase online. FYI: Ebates does give you $10 for free when you make a purchase, on top of the cash back they’ll give you! It’s basically free money you’re missing out on if you don’t use it!
- MediaNet advertisements: As a new blogger, I prefer MediaNet advertisements over Google AdSense. I enjoy the minimalist design. To increase my MediaNet income, I’d love to research best and most effective ways to implement MediaNet advertisements on my blog.
- Maven: I love Maven! This website is seriously just Pinterest on steroids because you can “pin” products to boards. But then, when people actually click your links and buy the products on your boards, you get a commission! Since I found so much success using Maven in May, I’d love to find ways to continue earning from Maven in June.
- Track as much as possible. Last month, I earned an unusually large amount from my web host, Siteground. At first, I thought commissions might be because of a Facebook advertisement I ran using free Facebook ad credits. Once we returned from France, I started tracking potential income from Facebook advertisements using a tracking link. To my surprise, I did not earn any commissions from Facebook after I started tracking. After about two weeks of zero Facebook-specific referrals, I have a gut feeling my Facebook advertisement was ineffective and I don’t feel guilty about canceling the subscription. I still don’t know where those leads may have come from, which frustrates me.
- Sometimes, you just need time. A few months ago I wrote a post about How to Make and Save Money in Your 20s. I didn’t really earn much after publishing it. At the time, I felt crushed. However, I’ve recently received a couple Swagbucks referrals as a result of promoting this post via Pinterest using Tailwind. Sometimes, you just need to give your posts time before you start earning affiliate income.
- Have a game plan, but roll with the punches. I haven’t earned anything from Ebates despite promoting their online cashback program since the inception of this blog four months ago. Then again, I never really developed a plan for it. I understand there are some things that might not work for your audience. But sometimes you gotta take those crickets and figure out 1) what you’re doing wrong and 2) how you can make it work.
Goals for June
- Rewrite older, high-performing posts. There are some posts I wrote when I first started blogging that bring in views, but don’t keep people on my blog. They’re subpar and I’d like to rewrite them to improve viewer experience and blog stats.
- Work on a 10-day blog success course. In May, I started working on my free 10-day blogging ecourse to help others turn their passions into profits. If you want to receive an update the moment this is completed, click here!
- Create a “Work with Me” page. I know my blog income can’t grow every month, but I’d like it to remain consistent. So, I want to create a “Work with Me” page to showcase my blog coaching and Pinterest services. If you’d still like to work with me, feel free to use my contact form to get in touch!
- Reformat Blogging Resources Library. This has been on my to-do list since April. While I decluttered my Blogging Resources Library and eliminated unnecessary links, I’d still like to touch it up a bit more.
Related Blogging Posts
First of all, thank you for joining me on my blogging journey! Check out these posts for other blogging tips and advice:
- How to Start a Self-Hosted Lifestyle & Travel Blog
- 10 Ways to Make Money from Your Blog This Month
- Affiliate Programs You Can Use to Monetize Your Blog
- Blog on a Budget: Free Blogging Tools
Most importantly, remember that blogging is definitely a “learn-as-you-go” activity. At first, you might feel overwhelmed by the tasks you have to conquer. After four months of blogging, I can confidently say that to build a successful blog, you first need to conquer your fears and stop worrying!
Starting a blog can be intimidating. In fact, I felt apprehensive before I started this blog. So many questions ran through my head. Would people think I’m weird? What if I’m unsuccessful? Now, in retrospect, I’m only overwhelmed by all the fantastic, positive support I received!
Even better, blogging is a great way to make money on the side. You can really turn your play-thing into a pay-thing. To learn how to start your own blog, use this guide. Or, you can jump start and use my link to sign up for web hosting at only $3.95 per month!
If this helped you out, please pin or share!
Considering starting a blog? Or, are you already blogging? What are your goals for the upcoming month?
Do you have any questions about affiliate marketing? Drop them in the comments below!