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A note from Sophia —
I wrote these income reports real time and looking back at them, I can’t believe how far I’ve come! I’m keeping it real with you and sharing the nitty gritty details of how I made money blogging. As I look back on these, I think they’re a fun look into my life at the time so I’ll be keeping them as original as possible. Hope they show you how possible it really is to make serious money blogging, and with that, let’s dive in!
On one hand, it’s hard to believe this is real life and after starting my blog less than a year ago, I’m making over $500 dollars! On the other hand, I can believe this is real life because I have worked SO. Dang. hard for it!
I still have a long way to go with By Sophia Lee and am by no means a blogging expert, but the fact that I have already made it this far makes me pretty happy.
First things first, why am I even sharing with you how much money I am making from my blog?
I am a full-time college student paying entirely for my school on my own. I also work at least ten hours a week nannying (it’s full-time in the summer) AND like to have a social life.
After looking at how much college costs, I knew that the money I made from nannying was not going to cut it.
I spent my freshman year feeling bad for myself that I was the only one I knew who had to pay for their own college (which I am sure is not true, I was just in a major pity party). By the time sophomore year rolled around (August 2017) I was ready to stop feeling bad myself and figure out a way to pay for this freaking college debt.
However, I quickly learned that finding a job that pays a lot of money AND will work around your college schedule (that changes every semester) is nearly impossible.
What did I do? I took my search to the internet.
After doing major digging I found blogs that were putting out these posts all about how they were making money on their websites.
The majority of them were stay-at-home moms doing blogging on the side and earning over $10,000 dollars A MONTH from their website!!
As a nanny, I know how hard it is to do anything besides watch your kids, so I figured if these moms can do it around their young kids, I sure can do it around my crazy college schedule.
The good news for me – I already had this little secret blog that I started when I was in high school.
Bad news for me – This blog hadn’t been posted too in months, barely got any views, AND was on a Blogspot platform (if you read my post on How To Start a Blog you will know just how BAD this is!).
I was starting over.
But, I was SO excited and motivated to start. I researched everything I could about making my blog successful and began writing posts that I thought people would like to read.
…and now here I am. Less than a year into blogging, I have almost $800 dollars being deposited into my bank account JUST from money I made from my website.
I am writing this blogging income report because I KNOW I am not the only one struggling to find a way to make money in college.
Anyone can do this, and I am going to show you how you can get the same success I am having.
*I also want to note, I blog anonymously. There is nowhere on my website (unless you do MAJOR digging) where you can find personal information about me or my social media. I know a lot of people are “embarrassed” to have a blog, so just keep this in mind, that it is possible to have a blog that makes money without the world knowing that you’re a blogger :)*
JULY 2018 BLOG INCOME REPORT (+ TRAFFIC)
(I am only reporting income that has actually been deposited into my bank account. This means all the money that I am showing you today was actually made in April 2018, but most of the programs I am making money from take around 90 days to be deposited into your bank account. In July, I actually made over $3,000 from my blog but that won’t be deposited into my bank account until October (I REPEAT, I made over $3,000 on my blog in July!! Holy shi*!!)
Proof of Income:
Breakdown of July 2018 Blog Income – $781.88
In July 2018, I made $781.88 from my blog. Here is the breakdown on where exactly I am getting that money from.
- Affiliate Income – $367.01
- Advertising – $414.87
- Mediavine Advertising: $414.87
The total amount above is for the month of July before any taxes have been taken out. To save my butt when tax season comes around, I put 30% of that money into a bank account just for taxes.
One of the great things about blogging is that it barely costs any money to run your business. I did have two blogging expenses this month which totaled $87.99. That is actually MUCH higher than it usually is but for the amount I made and to only have those expensive that’s pretty darn good.
One of the expenses ($40.99) was to get my email subscribers verified. It was a total waste of money and I am STILL mad that I spent that much money on it. (Over the past couple of years I’ve switched email providers a few times and am now with Active Campaign).
My other expense was completely worth it. I hired Greyson Bell (the famous tech guy in the blogging world) to redirect all my links so they don’t have the date in the slug. Slug is a blogging tech word that you don’t need to know now but once you get started than you will. I have been putting this off for so long and it needed to be done! It cost me $47.00 and was worth every penny.
My Blogging Stats:
July Traffic: 155,487 page views.
Pinterest Followers: 2,200 Followers (didn’t get this exactly on the day the month ended so it is an estimate)
What did I do in July to grow my blog?
Whew! July was busy.
On top of taking two summer classes, nannying full-time, tending to my boyfriend (a full-time job in itself lol), spending time with friends, AND going on a vacation; I had to MAKE time for blogging!
I am currently taking Elite Blog Academy which is a (very expensive but worth every penny) blogging course that shows you exactly the steps to build your blog into a business and make thousands of dollars from it.
I saved up for MONTHS for this course and am so glad I did because two months later (bought the course in March 2018) I have made the money I had paid for it back with money I made from my blog.
Basically, it’s an extremely long course that shows you the ins and outs of blogging professionally.
Outside of writing new posts, I am trying to spend all my time on the course. Some people get through it faster, but the majority of people take at least nine months to get through everything (and by the end of the nine months most people are making a full-time income!).
Summary of what I did in July:
- Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest!
- Updated old posts
- Affiliate Marketing
This month was all about Pinterest. Pinterest algorithm changed and my system that used to bring in thousands of viewers was no longer working.
I spent days making new niched down boards and resizing all my old Pinterest images to be 600 x 900 pixels (I do this on Canva! It’s free).
I use Tailwind to schedule all my Pinterest pictures and had over 2,000 pins put out and scheduled. That was enough pins to last me for almost two months!
So, while that took a long time to do, I have barely had to touch Pinterest since.
In July, I started only posting to my own personal boards – not group boards – and my page views have skyrocketed from this approach. I don’t have any plans as of now to go back to pinning to group boards.
I also went through all my posts and deleted any I didn’t like and rewrote some of them that had potential but weren’t good the way they were. This also took me a lot of time.
Lastly, I focused on affiliate marketing. Truthfully, for the number of page views I have been getting, I should be making much more money. I wasn’t prepared for all these page views and now I am catching up to really make sure all posts are monetized.
Right now is major college season (which is what I write about most). I knew that if I wrote a post that went over all my favorite dorm essentials with links to where they can be purchased, it would not only be extremely helpful for my viewers but also convert very well for me.
I spent hours writing my post on dorm room essentials and it has performed even better than I hoped. Major affiliate marketing win for BSL (By Sophia Lee)!
My plans for my blog and business:
- I REALLY want to make over $4,000 dollars in August. I am thinking August will be my highest earning month of the year so if I could make $4,000 that would be HUGE! This is one of those goals that if I don’t end up hitting it, I will be okay with it. Just the thought of that makes me so excited though.
- Edit SEO on all old posts. SEO has been my main focus these days. SEO (search engine optimization) is what determines how close to the top the post will rank when someone searches on Google or another search engine. Pinterest is always changing and for me to have all my eggs in Pinterest’s basket is not smart. However, SEO is SO hard for me to learn. After I finish Elite Blog Academy, I am definitely investing in a course on SEO. In the meantime, I have been reading dozens of articles on it and have started going through all my published posts and editing them to be able to rank higher on Google. I still have a ton of posts to get through so I hope to have this done by the time school starts (end of August).
- Email each subscribers list once a week. Maintain an email schedule that I actually follow! I have two subscriber lists so that means two emails a week. I think I can handle that.
- Batch create posts for the month of September. With school starting up, I really want to try to be a month ahead on all posts. That way if a busy week comes around, I don’t have to stress about getting a post written. This comes second in line to getting all the SEO done though.
More on the email list– I really want to focus on my email subscribers!! I have read over and over that your email list is the only thing you really “own” in blogging and that is is so important to focus on it.
Well, I haven’t focused on it as much as I should have but now is the time, so I created a few opt-ins last month to get people onto my email list and I want to create some more this month Mostly though, I want to email both my email lists (I have a college email list and a blogging email list) at least once a week.
I started a genius email series for my blogging email list that has been SO fun to do every week.
Every Monday, I give my blogging subscribers an inside look at what exactly I did last week to grow my blog business by taking a picture of my overflowing, jam-packed with information, and real planner. It’s an amazing learning tool for anyone looking to earn over $3,000+ a month from their website in less than a year.
I am having a much harder time coming up with an email idea to send out to my college list weekly. I think for now I will just send them the new post of the week that has a little something extra added to it.
Maybe next month I will have another genius idea to announce, this time for my college email list (crossing my fingers this happens at least)!
And that wraps up my first blogging income report!
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