I Made $10,889.63 Last Year Thanks to This Blog

July 1st, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

You know those questions you aren’t supposed to ask people but really, really want to know?

In the blogger world there are two big ones; how much do you make and what are your pageviews.

I’ve never understood the secrecy behind either. I’ve always talked about money freely, even telling my students how much money I make, because I don’t think money defines a person. I make enough to support myself and pay my bills so I’m pretty damn happy with that. After talking with friends at Fitbloggin I realized I wasn’t the only one extremely interested in seeing how I compared to others.

So, here are all the semi-juicy details behind my blog. I would say I’m not trying to boast, but that would be a lie. I’m very proud of how much I’ve been able to make off of this blog! As a teacher my pay SUCKS so without the income from this blog I wouldn’t be able to afford to train for marathons, travel, or do most of the other things that I get up for in the morning.

I started this blog in May of 2012 and as you can see in the chart below my traffic has been steadily increasing over the last two years. One of the girls who I spoke with this week used to have similar traffic as I did last year, but her’s has DOUBLED. So, that’s one thing I’m going to try to improve in the next few months (starting with installing the Yaost SEO plug in!)Blog TrafficI didn’t start making any money for the blog until about 6 months in. So, here are the monthly incomes for this site AND my freelancing work (which I attribute getting most of my freelance jobs thanks to this blog and my social media presence.) Starting in January 2013 and going through June 2014.

Jan         370

Feb        252.75

Mar        297.66

Apr         1460

May       525

Jun         1768

Jul           1095.5

Aug        850

Sept       1378.84

Oct         699.97

Nov        1410.81

Dec        781.1

Jan         1301.69

Feb        1096.08

Mar        450

Apr         320

May       451.71

Jun         25.73

Taking a look at the numbers you can see a few things: this income is VERY unpredictable. I’m glad I have a job I love (teaching psychology classes) that can pay the bills (cutting it close each month) because months like this past June can happen. I made a whopping $25! I have a lot of jobs I’m waiting on payment for but such is the life of a freelancer. My income is down a lot this year thanks to loosing two big multi-month jobs I had in 2013.

So, where does this money come from?

Income SourceI’d say about half of my income is from freelance writing jobs. So, technically that’s not blog-related income, but I never freelanced before I started this blog, and a lot of brands/websites reach out to me because of finding my blog. The second biggest source of income is sponsored posts. I try to not do an annoying amount of them and I only promote products I genuinely like/enjoy. Finally, the smallest portion of my income comes from ads on the sites and affiliate sales (like my Amazon link!)

So, why the hell am I humble-brag telling you all this? Well, I know a lot of bloggers would love to make money off of their site and have no clue where that money actually comes from. If there’s one thing I learned this weekend at Fitbloggin it’s that there is no one formula for success. One girl I spoke with made almost 5x what I do off of ads on her site, yet only has about double my page views. Another girl is making a killing with affiliate sales. My social media statistics are pretty stellar (47k+ on twitter, almost 200k views on youtube, etc.) but I know people with 1/10th of the following who are making triple what I do.

In the end my goal is what most people probably want out of life; have a job I love to do and can support myself with. I never started this blog with the intention to make money from it (I wanted to use it as a tool to recruit personal training clients.) Once I realized the potential there I made a conscious decision to try to write better, put myself out there with freelance work (some unpaid to get experience and traffic to this site) and see what may happen.

Thanks to this blog I continually tell people that I have the best job/s in the world and am pretty in love with my life. I get to teach classes on fun psychology topics, work from home part-time with my fat cat and wearing workout clothes all day, and try to help inspire others to make healthy choices in their lives.

And I actually make money off of that.

#MindBlown

Any question for me? Leave ’em in the comments!

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83 Responses

  • As a new blogger all this was really helpful to see, since being 3 months in I have no clue what the deal is with $$$. So thanks for sharing your stats! Its interesting to see the breakdown. I’m torn over sponsored posts, and would only do them if I loved the product, which sucks because I don’t love too many products, but good to see that a good chunk of income is coming from that. Thanks for being open with the info. I agree people should talk about it more :)

    • Erica House says:

      You’ve only been blogging for three months?! Your blog looks 10x better than mine did when I first started! I can’t believe how engaged your readers are. I’m sure you will be successful if you keep doing what you’ve been doing. Sponsored posts are a bit of a bear. Obviously they make a good % of my money for the site, but I also feel bad doing a lot of them. I actually turn down about as much as I actually agree to do.

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I feel so lost in growing a blog/social media in general, so your stats are already mind blowing to me. Opening up on on actually making money and where you get it from is such a cool thing to do :-)

    • Erica House says:

      Your blog looks great! I love the layout. Very clean and easy on the eyes. I know it can be overwhelming in the beginning. As for social media my best advice is to not try to do them all. I’m a total failure at google+ and LinkedIn. I focus now mostly on Twitter & Instagram.

  • Yay for you! BTW, I’m also amazed at what some bloggers say they make from advertising . . . . mind boggling.

    • Erica House says:

      I think of the ‘really big’ bloggers like Oh She Glows or Pioneer Woman and cannot begin to fathom how much $ they must bring in!

  • Coco says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. It really helps me keep perspective. I think one thing that new bloggers don’t understand is how much work (time, effort, consistency) it takes!

    • Erica House says:

      YES. I cringe when I talk about blogging with someone and their first response is “Oh I want to do that” like it’s super easy and they’ll be making money off it tomorrow. I put in about 480 hours of work in the first 6 months before I started seeing any real return from it!

  • Linz says:

    interesting! thanks so much for sharing!

  • Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family says:

    Awesome that you shared! We aren’t that far off with numbers. I too got most of my income though from freelancing. Though it wasn’t actually on my blog I definitely got the gigs because of it!

    • Erica House says:

      I think freelancing is one area people really don’t consider when thinking of monetizing their blog. I’ve always loved writing, and I know my MA in Psych helped me land gigs as well.

  • I’d love to hear some of your tips for how to monetize your blog. I write mine because I love doing it, but I wouldn’t mind making a little extra money from it too!

    • Erica House says:

      It looks like you have ads on your blog and have been posting consistently since you started it two months ago. I’d focus on building up traffic as much as you can (more traffic = more $$ from ads.) For increasing traffic try commenting on other bloggers posts (that’s how I got about 60-70% of my traffic in the beginning), and building up social media followers!

  • Caroline says:

    I am currently on wordpress.com and am wanting to move to a site where I can put on ads and monetize my blog a bit, as well as rebrand. What steps did you take to move to your own blog?

    • Erica House says:

      I actually made the extremely fortunate decision to go self-hosted from the beginning. My bf at the time helped me start it. I use WordPress.org and am hosted through Blue Host. I have a love/hate relationship with them, but I think if you contact them to get on their server they help with transferring your old blog over.

  • Patty says:

    Thank you for sharing and being so open. I also never understood why everyone is so vague about making money. It is an individual process indeed. This post actually encourages me to find my own way of doing things because it’s not this huge mystery.

    • Erica House says:

      You are quite welcome! I’m still unsure why most people are so secretive about it. It’s not like me talking about how much I make will mean other’s can ‘steal my business’ and I’ll make less. If anything the opposite happens and the more open I am, and the more information I share, the more traffic I get!

  • Lisa says:

    That’s great! I started a blog in 2002, which led me to learning how to use content management systems, which led to a freelance job doing content management. I did that plus teaching adult ed and some freelance photographer jobs for a few years, and then I got a job doing content management for one of the big companies in my town, and after doing that for 3 years, I talked them into hiring me full time, and in some ways, this job brings me more success than I ever dreamed. I got here largely because of my education & drive, but working with blogs certainly helped open the door.

    I think there’s a great opportunity out there for wellness blogs, writing, coaching, so glad you’re making it work. Good luck for the long haul!

    • Erica House says:

      Wow – I don’t think I’ve heard your full history before!

      The blog has opened SO many doors for me. What started off as a way to get in-person clients, became a way for me to freelance write which was always a dream I had. I’m excited to see what else it may bring me in the next few years!

  • Thank you for posting this! You rock for actually acknowledging the sneaky stuff all bloggers want to know. ;) I’ve been meaning to put more effort into the freelancing, and you’re inspiring me to get movin’!

  • Raechel says:

    Thanks for the post! I think the only thing I feel like I’m missing is: how do I increase followers &/or traffic to my site? I’m just starting to really get good about reading through others’ blogs and leaving comments, so I’m hoping that will help.

    • Erica House says:

      Yes, for the first 6 months most of my traffic (like about 70%) came from just commenting on other blogs. It’s a great way to meet bloggers, drive traffic to your site, and just get your name out there. I try to leave meaningful comments though, not just ‘I like your post!’ I find the one’s with a little more depth are the one’s that make people want to check my site out. Also be sure to work on social media. Build up followers on one or two that you really enjoy using.

  • Loved reading a post about making money on a blog that actually talks about the actual numbers. So refreshing!

    I stopped trying to monetize a while back, focusing on my coaching practice instead, but back in the day, most of my revenue came from freelance and Evil Text Ads, which are now such a threat to google PR I won’t do ’em any more.

    • Erica House says:

      Yes, text ads scare the shit out of me. I known a lot of people that have had good luck making $$ with them but it’s not worth it (in my opinion.)

      Like virtually all other areas of my life I have nothing to hide with my blog stats! I LOVE when I see other bloggers share theirs so I can see how I compare. It always motivates me to see what it possible.

  • Thank you for this! I’ve had my blog for about a year and a half, and I make $0 off of it. Actually, I make a negative dollar amount when you consider the hosting and domain costs, as well as other random things that goes into it! I’ve always wondered what the big bloggers make and if it’s worth putting in the extra effort (on top of my full time job). Right now it’s my hobby, but also a good portfolio piece for a potential job in graphic design or social media, so that’s good for now.

    • Erica House says:

      UGH. Don’t get me started on the hosting, domain, and taxes I have to pay on the blog ($1600 last year!) Keeping the blog up to act as a portfolio and get clients for graphic design/social media is similar to what I use mine for in the world of freelance. Even if my blog made $0 I know it helps me get other jobs online.

  • Thank you for this girl! I’m slowly learning all this… I need to go to fitblogging or something to learn MORE!

  • Just wanted to say thanks for your transparency. I often learn a lot from your blog; not only would freelance writing make me happy, but apparently it can be the best source of income!

  • Thanks for this!!! I am a new blogger, 4 weeks now. But my following and blog has been blowing up. Didn’t hurt that my last race I was able to hang with ‘heavy hitter’ bloggers. I started my blog not too make any money. But in the last 4 weeks I’ve had people contact me to do exactly what you mentioned…freelance and sponsored posts. I even had people contact me about ‘buying’ space on my website. So crazy. I’m saving this and bookmarking it! Thanks again!

    • Erica House says:

      Wow – that’s amazing! Many bloggers wait months/years for their first sponsored post/freelance opportunity.

      • Yes. I know. It’s kinda going to fast. I’m not going to drop any names, but if you look at my IG @daSilentAssassin, from the last race, you’ll see. That weekend made my social reaches go nuts. Honestly, I’m trying to slow down and trying to take things slowly. Thanks again for the post and your honesty.

  • What a great post! Thanks for being so honest and open about your numbers. I don’t understand the secrecy with numbers either, which is why I put them on my media kit on my blog for all to see.

    I’m horrible at actually adding up how much I’m making from blogging. Josh and my full time jobs are how we pay the bills. The money that comes in through my blog is kind of yay money that we use for extras and vacations and stuff. (Although I’d really like to change that!) It’s crazy how many different ways there are for bloggers to make income. We have very similar readership numbers but none of my revenue comes from affiliate ads or freelance writing. (I chose not to do affiliate ads because I do enough sponsored posts as it is on my blog. I don’t want to piss people off even more.) I would love to look into freelance writing though. I’m a marketer and love to write so I’d be really interested in this. Do you have any tips of places to seek jobs?

    • Erica House says:

      I LOVE your media kit! Such a cute and creative idea. I think you and I do a similar amount of sponsored posts and I have walked a very delicate line with the number I do. One of my best sources for finding freelance work is http://jobs.problogger.net/. I also started by writing a few free pieces for MindBodyGreen.com. A pretty popular website so having those on my resume helped me land paying work.

  • Jenny says:

    I still have so much to learn! Clearly I need help. Lol

    One thing i definitely need to work on is consistency!

    Thanks for always being an open book. <3

    • Erica House says:

      Always! Your blog is AWESOME and I love your writing style. I think its just a matter of getting people to your blog.

  • Thanks for this! Even the books on blogging are very hazy on the monetary facts. Too bad you can’t tap into some of that YouTube mega cash!

  • Katrina says:

    Great honest post girlie!

  • Thank you for sharing this! It IS one of those things that is hard to find info about, so I appreciate you sharing!

  • Thanks for being candid about your traffic, journey, and income. I find it really refreshing. My blog has been going more than a year now and I’m starting to make a little money, which I’m hoping will end up covering my outrageous race registration costs (I sign up for all the things, obviously), and triathlon gear (hello, pricey sport I chose!). And music lessons for my kids (can’t be all for me, right?). But otherwise I have a full-time career and this is my thing on the side.

    The main thing I’ve learned in 2014 is that it is way more time consuming at this stage than when I started to blog just as an outlet and for “fun” – because there are more people reading, I self-promote my posts more via social media, and I want to do a fabulous job at sponsored posts and other endeavors – basically I want to do well at my “job” of blogging. So that’s something I hadn’t anticipated – as my blog grew, so did the time commitment.

    Anyhow, thanks for your words of wisdom!

    • Erica House says:

      I’ve been wanting to get into tri’s for years now but FOR REALS they are expensive! Your blog is awesome! I can’t believe it’s only been around just over a year. Your reader engagement is amazing. Yes, the longer my blog lives the more time it requires, but also the more payoff it receives!

  • Erica,

    How great are you to be this transparent?! I tip my hat to you for sharing not only your thoughts and feelings but your income! No joke.

    I hope you’re feeling better and I look forward to reading about your upcoming journeys.

    Sorry we didn’t get to chat more but it was very good to see you!

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you! I think one of the reasons my blog started doing well early on is because I put EVERYTHING out there. For better and for worse!

  • This is helpful for so many people!!! :) I am thrilled you posted it. I love keeping tabs of my earning – it makes blogging that much more rewarding! Xo!

  • Michele says:

    Thanks for sharing! That was interesting. I’m really curious how you got so many Twitter followers. Also, what is the approximate amount that a company pays for a sponsored post?

    • Erica House says:

      For Twitter I started with seeking out people to follow on a daily basis. I’d think of an account that people following it would likely be interested in my blog, like Blisstree, and follow about 100 of their followers. Repeat daily! As for sponsored posts the pay will depend on how much traffic you get and what your social media influence is like. For new bloggers this could be $50, for really big bloggers I’ve seen rates as high as $1,000+.

  • Amalia says:

    This is amazing! I love that you posted about it! I actually found your post through a tweet you made, so there’s the power of twitter for you! I would love any advice that you have. I feel like I’m working diligently at posting but not seeing the numbers I would like!

    • Erica House says:

      I love your blog layout! Very clean and easy to read. Nice photos as well :) You’ve got a great twitter presence, and facebook is about what mine was in the beginning (and I’m not on FB as much anymore thanks to crazy algorithm changes.) Do you comment/interact on other blogs frequently? That would be a great way to drive traffic to your site.

      • Amalia says:

        Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog and see what you think! I really appreciate it! I’m working on the photos – taking the time has really seemed to make people notice the difference in quality! I’m learning about commenting on other blogs – my problem is quite a few of the blogs I frequent use disqus which doesn’t link to my blog, or they don’t have an Name/URL option. Any suggestions there?

        • Erica House says:

          Yeah … disqus isn’t a favorite of mine! If I can’t leave a URL but you can put a name in I’ll usually put “Erica {EricaDHouse.com}”. I tend to comment MUCH more on blogs that let people link back!

  • Hey Erica –

    Thanks so much for posting this and for being so transparent. I don’t understand why a lot of bloggers are so vague about their numbers when we can all take it as an opportunity to learn from one another. I am curious about the freelance writing opportunities you spoke of. How do you determine your rate for freelance articles? Do you base it off what you charge for a sponsored post for your own blog? I’ve always been curious about that and would appreciate your insight. Thanks again!

    Lindsay

    • Erica House says:

      I think my roommate (Frugal Beautiful) said it best when we were at Fitbloggin last week, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Let’s work to make each other’s blogs as awesome and powerful as possible and it’s just going to reflect positively for the community as a whole!

      For freelance work the amount I charge varies on length of post, if they want it amplified on my social media channels, if photos are required, and how many articles they want. If it’s a re-occurring gig of one article a week/month then I will charge less. I’d say my average piece is 500 words, no photos, shared on my social media and anywhere from $150-200 depending on if there is research required.

  • Thanks for sharing this.
    I’ve not yet gone the ad route but may work on pursuing that.

    • Erica House says:

      I didn’t have ads on my site for the first year I think. But, I took a look at the big bloggers I really love and saw they all had a few on theirs and it didn’t detract from their layout/message at all.

  • This is awesome! :) Thank you for sharing! I am still clueless how to get on the ad/affiliate band wagon. Something to look into.

    • Erica House says:

      You are quite welcome! I know a lot of bloggers cringe at the thought of monetizing their site, like it will make them sellouts, but I’d LOVE to make a living doing something I love!

  • I’m late to the game on this post, but I loved it. Thank you for being so open and honest about the topic. I use my blog as more of an outlet for the time being but hope to one day to get more serious about it (and switch over to self-hosted). I’ve often times wondered about how people make dough off blogging. You’re awesome and I enjoy following you through your fitness endeavors and hearing about your life! Not to sound creepy, haha.

    • Erica House says:

      Doesn’t sound creepy at all! I’ve always thought you and I would make great friends in real life. Who know’s, maybe our lives will cross someday :)

  • I’m so glad you shared this and that you mentioned how different it can be for each blogger. I try to explain that to clients all the time.

    • Erica House says:

      It honestly took me about two years to realize that there is no ‘one size fits all’ method for financial success for bloggers.

      • briwifruit says:

        Thanks so much for the advice Erica! I didn’t think wordpress allowed ads other than WordAds? I will look into those other ones you suggested. Will definitely aim to put some more time into my blog and leaving comments on others. Thanks a ton! And p.s., I always love reading your posts and tweets, so entertaining :)

  • briwifruit says:

    Thanks so much for posting about this. I’ve had my blog since 2009 and make zero off of it! I have WordAds, but make only $2 a month :( Traffic has been increasing this year, but still is nowhere near as good as other running/training/fitness blogs I come across. I write for other popular blogs and print magazines, but just can’t seem to get a readership for my own site. Do you have any suggestions Erica?

    • Erica House says:

      I had NO luck with WordAds in the beginning. Try to get on with an ad network like BlogHer or MODE. I can believe you write for other blogs/magazines as your writing style is awesome, and your posts seem very educational/informative (the ones that I find are shared the most often.) I think the only issue is getting people to your blog. I see you don’t post very often, which may be the #1 issue. Maybe aim for once a week (and on the same day each week, consistency is everything.) Also, try to comment on other popular blogs often as doing that was my primary source of traffic the first 6 months I had this blog.

  • This is awesome, Erica! Thanks for sharing. I would love to see how you started doing freelance works (i.e. your tips for that!)

  • So happy you wrote this post. I’ve been blogging since 2009 (and even way before that with older/personal journal blogs), and I haven’t figured out a good way to monetize. Did that SEO plugin help with traffic? I’m looking into a new plugin and would love any feedback you could send my way :)

    • Erica House says:

      I’m glad you found it useful! Honestly I’m not sure how great my SEO is. If I look at my traffic the #1 source is always google, so I suppose that means I’m doing a good job of getting my posts found. I do like the Yaost plug-in. There’s a lot to it I haven’t even started really looking into and using, but it’s nice the way it’s built into the posts you write and kind of forces you to remember to try and SEO them.

      I love your blog! Your photos look great. I’m trying to get much better with mine as I know if I want to take my blog to the next level I need to work on the appearance of it. Do you use a DSLR for the photos or a phone? I use WAY to many iPhone photos. I just found out they make compact wireless DSLR’s that I may try to buy this Fall.

      • Thanks lady! I’ve found that over the past year my traffic has gotten much lower. I’m thinking it may have to do with the frequency of my posting (i went from almost every day to maybe 3x per week).

        I just started using a DLSR. My father-in-law is letting me borrow his for a while until I save money & buy my own.

        I’m definitely going to have to check out that SEO plugin. Right now I’m not doing anything re: SEO. (TERRIBLE, I know). So having a plugin I hope will help my organic google traffic.

        Aside from SEO, any other tips on increasing traffic?

        Thanks so much for you time!

  • Such an interesting post Erica! I love reading about income from blogs. I’ve never been to a conference so I am largely self-taught and SLOW at learning the back side of things- haha. I blog because I love it, but like you mention in the comments, it takes work, so I’d love to continue to earn more from it.

    When I chat with bloggers, I’m very comfortable being open about numbers but for some reason I’m hesitant to post them. I’m not even sure why! Maybe because I feel like it’s talking about income (well it is, duh ;)) and that’s the thing you aren’t ‘supposed’ to ask people? However, I find it fascinating and informative to read posts like yours, so I’m not sure why I feel this way!

    Anyways, I appreciate your candor and great post!

    • Erica House says:

      I definitely hesitate for a moment before sharing such detailed income information, but I know I LOVE seeing other bloggers do it so I wanted to do the same. It is a notorious “don’t ask, don’t tell” topic for most bloggers. Go figure I enjoy breaking the norm a bit!

  • Amanda Nyx says:

    I know I’m WAY late to the party, but I felt a need to remind newer bloggers that there may be more benefits than just the dollar sign when you’re still finding your niche. I’ve had my fitness blog for just about one month, and though I haven’t seen a dime slide into my piggy bank from it, I have still “made money” in some surprising ways. As an active blogger, I have had the opportunity to attend free fitness classes (anywhere from $25-$40 a session normally) as part of events, I get free stuff at many of those events (water bottles, shirts, magazines, etc), and I am sent products to try and review. If I put even conservative dollar values to the opportunities and swag I’ve received, I find myself “making” almost $500 in my very first month! That’s a very real gain in a lot of ways, especially if you consider I would likely have paid almost as much to do or buy things if I didn’t have the blog opportunities. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not seeing dividends in the early days, and think positively about the other types of rewards you may receive – and definitely stick with it!

  • Hey Erica, thank you for taking the time to post this. You have inspired me to start blogging again. Not necessarily for the financial factor. I have been so busy recently with graduate school and my own personal training business that I stopped writing as frequently and I stopped taking the time to comment and thank others for writing. I have never really looked into blogging for the financial aspect of it, although the incentives have been rewarding and a great experience. For example, receiving products and writing reviews on supplements, running shoes, and so forth. I think my biggest issue is that I get overwhelmed in trying to do everything at once and slow down. Here’s to coming back to the blogging world….slowly! Feel free to shoot me any advice or if you ever want to chat personal training. I enjoy following you on both Facebook and Instagram.

    Cheers and thank you again!
    Joshua

  • Ali A says:

    Thanks for this post! I’ve been blogging for 2.5 years now, but it wasn’t until recently that I started heavily promoting it or even considering any compensation for it. Now that I am, I’m learning a ton about ads, SEO, sponsored posts, and all the ways you can increase traffic and also get paid! Posts like yours are extremely helpful and give great insight on how this all works. I have a LOT to learn!

    • Erica House says:

      The more I learn about monetizing, the more I want to learn! It’s incredible to truly be your own boss and know that there is a direct correlation between how hard you work and how much money you can make.

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