Note: I will be updating this post every month to share with you my progress. Be sure to check back for updates!
Have you been thinking about starting a blog? Do you constantly hear about bloggers making thousands of dollars every month? Do you wonder if it’s actually true? Well, I am about to give you a dose of truth. I’m NOT selling an e-course or my latest book or promoting anything. This post is to give you a real life picture of my journey into blogging so you can decide if it’s really for you.
I have a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, but I have never worked professionally in that field…long story. I have always loved investigative journalism though. I love it when the truth comes out. I can’t stand fluff and small talk. So many of the blogs I had read about making money blogging felt like a lot of fluff and no stuff. I wanted to know if I could really make money. Well, here is my attempt at investigative journalism. For one year, I am going “undercover” as a blogger to bring you the truth. Can you really make money blogging?
How It All Started…
At the beginning of the year, I was scrolling through Pinterest and saw a pin (for the hundredth time) that said something like “How I Made $5,000 Pinning on Pinterest All Day.” Typically, I just scroll past these pins and think to myself, Yeah right. But this time my curiosity got the best of me and, I decided to click to see what it was all about.
I started to read about how this blogger makes most of her income by creating pins using affiliate links. She said that her blog wasn’t her main source of revenue anymore and that you really don’t even need a blog to do this. She said all you need is to get 100 followers on Pinterest and you can start using Magic Links to create pins with affiliate links. I had been thinking about starting a blog for the last several years, but I kept putting it off. After reading her post, I decided I was finally going to give it a shot.
This blogger was (of course) promoting her new e-course which was free. The course was going to teach me exactly how to get started with affiliate marketing. Since it was free, I signed up (yes, now I am on her email list for all eternity).
I realized I probably needed to invest a little and purchase a domain name. I decided to go through GoDaddy. My domain name purchase also came with a free month of their website builder. I started to build my website which was pretty easy for someone like me who is not extremely computer savvy but not exactly computer illiterate either. The website builder also had a built in page for blog posts, great!
Turns out…it’s not so great. There are a lot of complaints on the community forums about GoDaddy not having a place for readers to comment on blog posts and subscribers not getting emails. Also, there’s no way to put all the cool recipe plug ins and other things into your blog posts. I have now moved everything over to WordPress. It was a very time consuming process and took several hours. So, first lesson learned, don’t use GoDaddy website builder for your blog. Just start out with WordPress.
I started getting the daily emails from the free e-course I signed up for. My first step was to get 100 followers on Pinterest. I currently had around 20. I started to pin and follow people like a mad woman. I read about how I needed to join group boards which I didn’t even know existed. It took me some digging and researching to even find group boards, but I eventually did. I requested to join four different group boards. Two of my requests went unanswered. One of the people added me as a contributor to four of her group boards. The other person took about a week to respond to me, but eventually added me. I was now part of five group boards!
I was still pinning and following people like crazy every day. It only took me 2 days to get to 100 followers! I applied to Magic Links thinking all I needed was to have 100 followers…DENIED! They basically told me I needed to get some more followers and lots more pins before they would accept me.
I ended up signing up for Ebay’s affiliate network and quickly made $3.84. About a week after signing up, Ebay sent me a message saying that I was in violation of their code of conduct Section III. C. which was for “Prohibited Promotional Methods” and “Improper Influence.” They gave me a specific time limit (like 48 hours) to fix this or they would take away my whopping $3.84. I finally figured out this was due to me not putting a disclaimer on my pins. I ended up going back to each affiliate pin and adding this disclaimer: This is an affiliate link. I may receive a commission if you purchase this item.
Then, a couple days ago, they suddenly took away the $3.84! I emailed them to find out why and they said it was probably because someone returned the item that was purchased. They didn’t give me a solid answer though. I will probably be saying “adios” to the Ebay affiliate network soon.
The second step, according to my free e-course, was to join Tailwind which is a pin scheduler. If I wanted to get a free trial, I just needed to click on this blogger’s affiliate link…so I joined Tailwind. I don’t think a beginner like me really needs to have my pins scheduled for me because I’m already pinning all day every day. I don’t know how many times my boys said, “You’re on Pinterest again!”
The one thing I did like about Tailwind, is that you can join Tailwind Tribes which are basically like group boards but better (in my opinion). I think they’re better because a lot of them don’t make you request to join and jump through all the hoops…go to my blog, comment on my post, sign up for my e-course, and then I will invite you to join my group board. No, Tailwind Tribes were not like that. I ended up joining three Tailwind Tribes and I honestly feel like my stuff gets re-pinned through them much more than my group boards.
I also decided to create a Facebook page for my blog. It’s really just friends and family who have liked my page so far. In the future, I will probably set up Instagram, Twitter, and maybe YouTube. Right now, I’m mainly focused on Pinterest and curious to see where it takes me.
Where I’m at Now…
I am now a month into my blogging journey and have over 1,000 followers on Pinterest. I continue to gain new followers every day, and I follow back 99% of them. I am still pinning all day every day. I probably pin at least 20 pins a day. I’m not sure what is considered a “viral pin” but my pin from this post now has over 39k impressions, 236 saves, and 828 clicks. I think that’s pretty good! It definitely blows all my other pins out of the water.
I checked my website visits a couple days ago. It had been around the 150 range for a couple of weeks, but it has suddenly shot up to over 900! I guess it’s from those 828 clicks.
I re-applied to Magic Links a few days after I was denied. This time I was accepted! I have been using Magic Links in my blog posts and I have pinned several pins with affiliate links. As I write this post, I have made a grand total of…$0.35! So altogether, I have made $0.35 thru Magic Links and $0 thru Ebay. I am rollin’ in the dough!
Here is the breakdown for January:
Money Spent: $21.95 (GoDaddy domain name for 2 years)
Money Made: $0.35
Profit: -$21.60 (woohoo!)
Check back next month to see if I have broken even yet!
My second month into my blogging journey definitely had it’s ups and downs. I made more money this month, but I spent more (a lot more) too! Here’s what happened this month…
After switching my website over to WordPress, I knew I wanted to be able to do a lot of different things to my site. WordPress offers three different paid plans (Personal, Premium, and Business). Though the Personal and Premium plans are less expensive, they also limit you in what you are able to do with your blog. I knew I wanted to be able to use cool themes and plugins so the Business plan was my only option…and of course the most expensive. I was able to find a coupon for 15% off, but I still ended up paying $255.00 for the year.
I now have 1.5k followers on Pinterest. I’m still gaining new followers every day but not as rapidly as last month. I also requested to join 2 more group boards on Pinterest. As of today, I have yet to receive a response.
My free trial for Tailwind ended so I can no longer have my pins scheduled for me automatically. I can still manually pin though and still participate in Tailwind Tribes.
I joined 2 more Tailwind Tribes, but ended up leaving one of them because neither of the 2 pins I shared got re-pinned. These were 2 really good and popular pins too. One of them has gotten tons of views and re-pins. I’m still not sure what’s considered a “viral pin” but this one has done better than any other pin I’ve shared. Here is a look at how it’s doing…
This pin alone allowed me to make $5.05 through Magic Links! I know that doesn’t seem like much, but I was definitely excited to see my earnings go past $0.35.
I haven’t cancelled my account with eBay’s affiliate program yet, but I’m no longer creating links through them. To date, I have made $0.00 with eBay.
I applied for Google AdSense prior to this pin going viral (at least in my eyes) and was denied. I plan to reapply this month to see if I get accepted this time…fingers crossed!
I had not been focusing much on growing my Facebook page, but then, they offered me a $15.00 ad credit. I could promote one of my posts thru Facebook up to $15.00 and it would cost me nothing! I decided to give it a shot! I decided to promote my most popular post (Traditional Southern Fudge Pie) and see what happened.
As I write this, I have had 162 link clicks in the last 3 days. This is way more than I would typically get through Facebook. I’ll take it!
As I stated earlier, this month has been up and down. I still haven’t broken even yet, but I know it will take some time. Blogging has been a lot more time consuming than I anticipated. I am currently working on putting together a newsletter to send out to my subscribers. Between my blog, Pinterest, Facebook, and the newsletter, there is always something to work on and try to figure out. If only I were more tech savvy…
Here is the breakdown for February…
Money Spent: $255.00 (WordPress Business Plan for one year)
Money Made: $5.05
Net Profit: -$249.95