You see them everywhere on Pinterest…
Blogging income reports…
In the spirit of sharing and hopefully inspiring new bloggers, I would like to share how much I earned in my first month blogging with this income report for AbsolutelyFreebies.com.
This post may be a little bit different from the other income reports on Pinterest in that I actually started counting once I published my first post on 1st November 2018.
A little over a month later, I have increased my Pinterest views from 0 to 46,288 and my followers from 0 to 146.
By the end of November, I’ve made $17.34 with six posts.
I know it’s not much but it’s money I didn’t have before.
This also proves that it’s actually possible to make money in your first month of blogging.
Want to know how I did it?
You’re in for a treat as I am going to reveal exactly how I achieved this!
I’ll explain everything from my traffic numbers to what tools I used to earn money.
Ready? Let’s dive right in!
This post may contain affiliate links. See our policy page for more information.
Table of Contents
My Blogging Background
I should make it clear that I am not new to blogging and I run other blogs besides AbsolutelyFreebies.com so I knew what I needed to do right from the start.
AbsolutelyFreebies.com is also not a new domain but it no longer attracted many visitors.
For the sake of transparency, here’s my Google Analytics stats from 1st October until 16th December 2018 when I wrote this post.
On average, the website received 8 to 25 daily visitors before the re-launched on the 1st of November, so I didn’t start with 0 visitors.
That said, I didn’t make any money from AdSense or any other affiliate programs before the re-launched as I’ll explain later.
From my Google Analytics, it’s pretty obvious that once the site starts getting traffic from Pinterest, the bounce rate increases.
Google defines bounce rate as “the percentage of visits that go only one page before exiting a site.”
It means, someone lands on your site and then leaves without clicking to visit another part of your site. The higher the percentage, the more people that come to your site aren’t going beyond that page.
Because of the way Pinterest works, this is actually pretty normal and is not something anyone should be too concerned about because the user:
- Could be verifying if a pin was pointing to the original article before re-pinning
- Was saving the pin for future reference
Back to the website, instead of letting the domain name expires, I deleted the whole website and installed WordPress on the 29th of October.
I was literally starting from scratch with no previous posts, no social media followers and no email list.
When I first started blogging in 2006 (yes I am an old blogger!), I took the time to set up and understand everything as I was learning as I went along.
I make money online from various other means and blogging is not my major source of income.
Today I have a system in place that let me start a blog fast if I want to start one.
To monetize this blog, I have to apply to most affiliate programs after the launch. Once approved, I replaced relevant links with the affiliate ones one by one.
This blog is also AdSense pre-approved so I could make money from it from day one.
If you’re new to blogging, don’t worry about taking time to learn as it will pay dividends in your future blogging endeavour.
Often when you read an income report, realize that there’s a lot of things going on behind the scene. It really involves a lot of hard work, planning and time commitment.
The Truth About Blog Income Reports
Some income reports reveal little to no information as to how the blogger gets from point A to point B.
What they did exactly behind the scene was left out. This can be misleading to new bloggers who may think, it’s easy to make money blogging when in reality, it’s not and it takes time.
As it often turns out, some of these income reports are no more than a thinly-veiled sales pitch to blogging courses and affiliate offers.
If they are being transparent, why can’t they share exactly what they did instead of pushing affiliate offers as the answer to their success?
Now I am not saying people shouldn’t promote blogging courses or affiliate links.
But there should be a balance between providing actual value that applies to their unique situation (not just general info you can find elsewhere) and promoting affiliate offers.
A better way would be to share what they did behind the scene pertaining to what they’ve learned from a course and not just recommend the course point-blank.
That being said, for new bloggers, purchasing a good blogging course is a great way to accelerate their learning curve. It will save them time and money by learning from others who have done it before them.
As I mentioned earlier, I have made a total of $17.34 in November 2018.
No, I didn’t make $250 like some other bloggers because I started with zero posts, no social media followers and no email list.
I didn’t prep my blog for months before launching, I started counting the income right when I published my first post after the 1st of November until the end of the calendar month.
If I read about anyone who is totally new to blogging claimed he or she made $250 or more in their first month of blogging, I would be a little skeptical.
I am not saying it’s impossible but there’s often more to the story than what shared in the post. No offence to those bloggers but they probably:
- Had lots of previous blogging experience and knew what they were doing
- Prepared they blog for weeks/months so they launched with many posts. More posts mean more pins, thus more quick traffic from Pinterest.
- Have friends or people who they personally refer to their affiliate links for quick commissions.
- Have existing connections with other bloggers which they can leverage
- Some of their Pinterest pins went viral
- Fake it till they make it. Their readers will be more willing to sign up to affiliate offers if the numbers look good! So don’t just believe everything you read online lol.
- Just got lucky or just worked crazy hard.
So if you don’t make any money in your first month, don’t get discourage when others said they did.
It’s more important to get started and gain experience than trying to make money right away.
My First Month Blogging Income Report
I actually didn’t expect to make much if any at all in my first month of blogging.
From the $17.34 I made in November, $12.44 was from Google AdSense ads.
Even though the website did get a little traffic before the re-launch, I didn’t make any money from AdSense even though AdSense was already being displayed on the old site.
So I attributed the AdSense income from traffic coming mostly from Pinterest.
I also think the design played an important part in generating the AdSense income.
Someone asked me which theme I am using in the comments. I am using Rise from Thrive Themes.
Unfortunately the theme has been discontinued. But they have other beautiful themes you can consider.
They are currently working on a brand new, visual theme builder that will replace all of their previous themes.
I switched from the normal AdSense ads to Auto Ads and this made the placement of the ads more prominent.
There are many ways to make money from a blog. For now, I’m willing to experiment with AdSense. This may change in the future as I explore other monetization options.
As for the balance, I’ve made $3.40 promoting offers from Panthera Interactive affiliate network and $1.5 from Survey Junkie.
You can sign up with these affiliate programs here:
By the way, if you want to start your own blog like this one, check out my step-by-step guide here.
How Did I Do It?
Now the $17 dollars question, how did I do it exactly?
Well, I was able to achieve this thanks to the course that I took recently. If you want a similar result here’s my affiliate link… just kidding lol.
Here are the three things that I focused on.
Creating Quality Blog Content
At this point in my blogging journey, I am very familiar with the blog setup, the design and other technical stuff. So I didn’t get carried away trying to make my blog worked or looked perfect.
Although I’m aware that the aesthetics of this blog is far from ideal so I’ll continue to make incremental improvements over time.
Because of that, I was able to start writing the first post the next day after installing WordPress and almost stopped tinkering with the design or thinking what plugins to install next.
Talking about writing, it’s in fact not my strongest suit. I am not a native English speaker as you might be able to tell from my writing.
Nevertheless, I understand that one needs good content in order to attract the right audience. So I focused on trying to write good posts.
I’ve been using Grammarly to help me fix my grammar and spelling. Grammarly is an online spelling and grammar checking app that helps users find and correct English writing issues.
While it didn’t help me write like a native English speaker would, it has definitely improved my written English and help me create more engaging posts.
Currently, I am trying to publish one or two posts per week. So far I’ve written eight blog posts and this one you are reading is the ninth post.
In the future, I plan to hire a copywriter to help me produce more quality content faster.
Optimizing Blog Posts for SEO
I decided to optimize my blog posts for the search engines starting from the first post. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization if you don’t know.
While I don’t expect to see organic traffic from Google at least 6 months later, I think it’s important to start right away.
I also performed keyword research to find popular topics I could write about.
SEO goes hand-in-hand with writing quality and useful content.
Since longer post ranks better on the search engines, I aimed to write longer posts here.
My normal posts are around 2400-3000 words. The longest post I have written so far is the I need money now post which is over 5000 words!
Also having very helpful, in-depth posts results in more shares and engagement.
You can learn more about blog posts SEO here.
Using Pinterest to Attract Traffic
Since organic traffic from Google takes time to kick in, I am focusing on Pinterest to drive traffic during these early days.
Without Pinterest, this first-month blogging income report won’t be possible.
Here’s what I did to increase my Pinterest views from 0 to 46K in just over a month.
I Sign Up With Tailwind
Tailwind is a Pinterest (and Instagram) scheduling tool that helps you share your posts automatically at the best times for engagement.
I find it rather mind-boggling in that even with zero followers, I could reach thousands of viewers on Pinterest, spending only a few hours per week to schedule my posts.
This is even more impressive when you think you’ll never get this kind of reach on Facebook or Twitter if you have zero followers unless you got lucky.
The best thing about Tailwind is that you can sign up for free. No risk, no commitment. Click here to register for free.
I know my Pinterest progress is not a fluke because I’ve done this before with my other blog. Here’s my Pinterest progress for one of my other blogs.
When it comes to attracting traffic from Pinterest, I think it’s important to publish as many posts as you can as you’re starting out.
The more posts you have the more pins you can create, thus more chances to attract traffic from Pinterest.
If I had 12 posts, I could probably double my Pinterest views and actual visitors from Pinterest.
I’ve been doing 95% of pinning with Tailwind and just 5% manual pinning and this has worked well for me.
I Joined Several Pinterest Group Boards
Pinterest group boards are collaborative boards where multiple users can pin their stuff for free.
I tried to join relevant boards for specific niche only and avoid boards that accept pins from various niches or the pin your best posts types as they are too generic.
Before joining, I also check if a board has a good description with relevant keywords and is being properly moderated.
Before applying to any group boards, make sure that your blog actually launched, have more than one quality posts and is working properly.
Create a thoughtful profile description, add a good headshot or website logo, have some high-quality pins and create several targeted niche personal boards for your own pins.
If you don’t have enough of your own content to pin, try repin other people’s content.
The trick is not to make your blog and Pinterest profile look like they were just created yesterday when applying to join a group board.
To find a group, I checked which other group boards an influencer or a popular blogger have joined. Then I email the board owners to ask if I can join the group.
How do you find the board owner?
The owner is usually the first person that appears on the member list next to the board title.
Here’s an email template you can use when asking to participate in a group board.
Hi [Board Owner’s First Name],
My name is [Your Name] of [Your Blog] where I share [What You Offer].
I would absolutely love to join your [Board Name] at [Board URL]
I’m following you and your board!
My Pinterest profile: [Your Pinterest URL]
My Pinterest email: [make sure to use the email registered with Pinterest here]
In November, I got accepted into 29 group boards which are higher than average for the first month. I started with 0 on the 1st of November.
Just over a month later I’ve joined 49 group boards. Here’s what I did to get accepted
- I sent many emails to many board owners. Not everyone will add you and that’s OK.
- If I could, I invited myself to the groups that I’m already a member with for my other blogs. I did that for 10 groups.
I actually have a system in place where I use a free mail merge plugin for Gmail to send out personalized emails to multiple board owners at once.
Once I got my Google spreadsheet setup, I just clicked a button to start the emailing process. I can even track sent emails, opened emails, clicks, responded, bounced or any errors.
For me, finding the emails requires more work than the actual writing and sending but still less work than if I were to do everything manually.
I was actually wondering if anyone would be interested if I create an ebook for my technique to join group boards. If you’re, please leave a comment below!
Also, I am aware that since 2018, group boards are no place to dump pins and gain instant traffic.
They no longer work as they used to. Today, engagement and relevance will help you get traction faster.
That said, joining group boards is still one of the fastest ways to get your pins noticed.
The initial engagements you get may expose your pins to more people, at least that’s what I’ve found out from my little experiment. So don’t totally discount group boards yet!
I will write more about this in my future posts so stay tuned.
I Created Multiple Engaging Pins for Each Post
For each post that I published, I created five different pins design.
Having multiple pin images for each blog post not only improves your reach but also your SEO for Pinterest.
In fact, Pinterest encourages you to pin multiple images:
[pullquote align=”normal”]It’s okay to have multiple Pins that land on the same destination. In fact, it’s good to save a variety of images that appeal to different types of people. Just make sure to write different descriptions for each pin—it’ll improve your SEO. [/pullquote]
For example here are my pins for one of my posts:
Pinterest is favouring new pins which can be pins for new blog posts, new design for old posts or even old design with new descriptions.
Having designed multiple pins for a post doesn’t mean you could share all those pins in a group board within a day.
If you do that Pinterest will consider you as spamming and may suspend your account.
Just take care not to share multiple pins pointing to the same post in a group within a day. Fortunately, this is very easy to do with Tailwind in an automated way.
I Joined Several Tailwind Tribes
Tailwind Tribes is an online community made up of other bloggers sharing content in a similar niche.
They are like Pinterest boards but only accessible to those who use Tailwind.
When you share your blog posts to a Tribe and if your Tribemates like your content, they can share it to their Pinterest boards for their audience to see.
Most tribes require you to pin someone else’s pin for every 1 of your pins you share. This makes people more accountable and encourages more sharing.
Tribes can work pretty well and can get your pins repinned more times, amplifying the reach of your content.
For example, one of my pins was shared by a popular blogger which resulted in hundreds and thousands reach instantly. For the six posts that I shared in just one Tribe, I got 1.3M reach.
This translated to 50-120 visitors per day for my new blog. Not much but, it’s free traffic I didn’t have before.
There’s so much to talk about when it comes to getting traffic from Pinterest.
This one blog post is just not enough to cover everything. So I’ll write more about getting traffic from Pinterest in my future posts.
While I have a Facebook page for AbsolutelyFreebies, I don’t have any plan to use Facebook groups to promote my posts. I also do not plan to use Twitter yet.
However, creating an email list is something that I plan to do very soon.
How to Really Make Money Blogging In Your First Month
If your goal is to make money in your first-month blogging, having previous blogging experience will help a lot.
Your experience will come across in your writing, your blog design, post titles, Pinterest pins, posts structure, how you optimize for SEO and so on.
You’ll know how you should design your pins, what titles to use and what topics to write about that will attract attention.
The good news is you don’t have to wait for six month before Google starts sending traffic your way. You have Pinterest at your disposal for immediate traffic.
If you want to make money blogging in your first months, choosing the right niche is important. So starting a new blog around a popular topic is the key.
For that purpose, business to consumer blogs are more popular so try not to start another how to make money blogging blog especially if you are new.
Ask yourself how many people you know who want to start a blog and how many are interested in saving money or learn home organization?
You can only make good money from a blog about blogging if you have your own products to sell or a large email list. Most people don’t have those when they first launched their blog.
As an example, take a look at ChasingFoxes. Their posts mainly consist of list posts revolving around popular topics.
They have over 10 million Pinterest views and according to Similarweb, they get around 150,000 visitors per month.
If you can emulate their blog, you too can make money blogging in your first month.
During your blog’s early days, make full use of Pinterest as your main source of traffic while also optimizing your posts for the search engines.
Also, pay attention to how other popular bloggers that you want to emulate titled their posts and how they design their Pins. They don’t get to tens/hundreds of thousands of Pinterest visitors by accident!
Publish as many posts as you can in the beginning, once or twice (or more if possible) a week but make sure to produce helpful and quality posts only.
You can launch your blog with just one post. There’s no need to wait until you have 10 or more posts especially if you plan to publish several posts per week.
The sooner you publish your posts, the sooner they will start ageing which is good for SEO. And the sooner they will start attracting shares and engagements.
Blog For the Long-Term
I know I talked a lot about getting traffic from Pinterest.
The reality is that if you want your blog to be successful for the long-term, you need to create content that doesn’t just appease the Pinterest algorithm, you also need to write for SEO and your readers.
I could churn out more posts faster if I were to write shorter posts, and possibly attract more traffic from Pinterest. Unfortunately shorter posts don’t usually do well on Google.
In fact, many studies have found the average article length for pages on the first page of Google is around 2000 words or longer.
However, there’s no point in writing long blog posts only to fill them with fluff, so you also need to think about your readers.
My point is, don’t just rely on just one source of traffic. If Pinterest or Google decides to change their algorithm and it’s not aligned with what you’ve been doing, your traffic could stop overnight.
Recommended Tools & Resources
- How to Start a Blog – here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how you can start your own blog without technical knowledge.
- Thrive Themes – I am using a theme and plugins from Thrive Themes for this blog.
- Panthera Interactive – an affiliate network offering mostly CPA offers. CPA stands for cost per action. That is, you get paid when a user takes a specific action such as signing up for a trial, taking a survey, getting a quote etc – no purchase is necessary.
- Survey Junkie – get paid for promoting survey offers in your blog.
- Grammarly – an online freemium spelling and grammar checking tool that helps you find and correct English writing issues.
- Tailwind – Must have if you’re serious about Pinterest traffic. Save time by scheduling your posts automatically. Get more traffic, followers and accelerate your blog growth fast
- Photoshop, Canva or PicMonkey – design beautiful and engaging pins with any of these tools.
- Ready Set Blog for Traffic – if you are new to blogging and want to learn how to create the best blog, get traffic fast, even learn some Pinterest tactics, get this. (I purchased this for the Pinterest content but it offers more).
I hope you gain some value from my first-month blogging income report.
Perhaps by seeing what works for me, you can learn what could work in your situation as well.
Don’t beat yourself up if your blog failed to generate any income during the first month of blogging.
I have had my fair share of failed blogs too so I know the first-month blogging income is not always guaranteed.
Instead of letting this discouraged me, I took it as a learning experience to improve my blogs.
This is only my first month and it’s too early to tell how far this blog will progress in the coming months.
What I know for sure is that I will continue to work hard, publish posts once or twice a week and hopefully will start getting organic traffic from Google couple of months (6 months?) down the road.
Thanks for reading!
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