Welcome to The Money Ninja’s second blog income report and the first one of 2020! Money can be a taboo topic, but since this is a personal finance site where I’m showing readers how to make more money, save it better, and spend it more wisely – I think it’s best if I’m completely transparent with my readers!
HOW I MADE $31,156.48 IN 3 MONTHS OF BLOGGING PART-TIME
Ninja Tip: If you’re thinking about starting a blog, this tutorial will help you start a blog today. My “How to Start a Blog” post will help you:
+ Decide what to write about – there are a TON of things of ideas you can blog on!
+ Compare price options – you have to spend money to start a legit blog, but it doesn’t cost much (I spent $50 a year)
+ Show you how to set up your blog online (it takes 15 minutes)
How do bloggers make money from blogging?
I created a post in plain English (but full of details) how bloggers make money from blogging. In a nutshell, there are 5 main income streams:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Sponsored Content
- Digital Products
While these are the 5 popular ones, there are many other strategies you can use. Check out this infographic that shows you 50+ other ways to make money blogging!
If you’re interested at all, you need to seriously read my post on it and then come back here to read the rest of the blog income report.
If you’re new to the site – first, welcome!
This blog has grown much faster than I anticipated in the last 3 months and that tells me two things:
- My content truly resonates with my intended audience and adds value to their personal finances
- In the not too distant future, I’m going to need help in handling some aspects of the site’s operations
Although I really enjoy marketing the blog, learning more about how to code, managing business deals, and negotiating with sponsors who reach out… it’s just too much for one person that already has a full-time job and a family to pay attention to.
I want to stick to what I do well; which is to translate complex financial items into easy-to-understand posts.
So look out for some job opportunities here at The Money Ninja in the future 🙂
March 2020 Blog Traffic
Unique Visitors = 22,864 (previous quarter = 9,480)
Pageviews = 47,594 (previous quarter = 23,415)
There’s no way to monetize a blog if you don’t have people visiting it. I’m happy to report that for this time period I had 22,864 unique visitors looking at 47,594 pages on The Money Ninja:
You can see the crazy growth compared to the previous quarter. In just 3 months, I’ve managed to more than double the amount of readers (users) AND the amount of posts (pageviews) being read!
Here were the stats for the last 3 months of 2019 as a comparison:
My short-term goal is to continue to produce valuable and meaningful content to readers. As the blog grows and includes more posts, I’m hoping that the site will attract additional visitors that stay around a little longer.
In terms of traffic trends, the number of visitors have been steadily growing too!
When I first started the blog in August, I remember getting excited when I had a handful of visitors a day. “Cool, people actually stopped by and read things I wrote about!”
Now, the blog is averaging about 400 daily users, yet the excitement seeing people visit my site hasn’t worn off yet:
How did it go up so quickly?
Well, Google has determined that several of my posts are of high value to searchers and have placed them on the first page of certain search terms – sometimes even the very first result!
That really helped drive organic traffic to my site and organic traffic is the most valuable traffic you can get.
Why? Because these types of visitors are searching for a need and Google has decided that my site fulfills those needs.
Speaking of organic traffic, here’s my blog traffic by source:
57% of all traffic came organically. As you read a second ago, this is a very good thing because this is where you want most of your visitors to come from. They’re visiting with intent.
When I first started, this was only 17.5% of my traffic.
I used a lot of Google/Facebook ads earlier in the year to bring more eyeballs to the blog, targeting people between 24-38 (the primary audience) and it seemed to pay off. I know this because quite a few of these visitors came back on their own.
That’s creating repeat visitors.
These are readers who typed themoneyninja.com on their web browsers to get to the site.
I view this group as the second most valuable type of traffic. They’re people who are already familiar with your brand and choose to come again voluntarily.
Social Media Traffic
While this is a good source of traffic, it’s not quite as valuable as organic or direct traffic. However, it’s still a strong area to get a new audience to your blog.
And if things go viral, say hello to massive ad income.
And the last type of traffic is referral traffic.
This is traffic coming from another web site, a message board, or some forum that people linked one of your posts on and someone else clicked on it.
It’s not sustainable traffic so I don’t put effort on it. I’m happy with the additional views, but since it only represents 2% of the audience, the focus is less on this source compared to the others.
March 2020 Blog Income Report
Total Blog Income = $31,156.48 (last quarter = $9,342.46)
Here’s how I made $31,040.48 on my blog, categorized by the type of income stream:
- Display Ads: $158.23 (previous quarter: $66.82)
- Affiliate Marketing: $30,998.25 (previous quarter: $9,232.16)
- Sponsored Content: $0
- Digital Products: $0
- Services: $0
Do you know what’s amazing about this? I would have made a lot more if the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis didn’t pop up. Along with the dip in traffic towards the end of March, revenue also took a big hit. March would have been around $17,000 if things went as expected.
Everyone is bingeing on Netflix and trying to handle their family being around 24/7.
Once this pandemic is over (please follow social distancing guidelines), we’ll all pick up the pieces and slowly return to our normal lives.
While we wait for the world order to return, here are the breakdown of the earnings by category:
Display Ads = $158.23
Display Ads are advertisements that show up when you visit my blog or inside one of my posts. There are many companies you can partner with for this, but the most well-known is Google Adsense.
Google Adsense pays you in two ways:
- the number of times ads appear (impressions) and
- the number of times people click on one of the ads (clicks).
Clicks pay you a lot more than impressions, but it’s also more difficult to get people to click ads than to look at them. As long as I’m getting paid, I’ll take either!
Ninja Note: I intended to show how many clicks I got per month, but it’s against Google’s terms and service. Sorry!
Display ads won’t make a ton of money until your site blog receives a bunch of traffic, but it’s nice coffee money as you keep growing your site.
Affiliate Marketing = $30,998.25
Affiliate Marketing is essentially earning a commission for marketing products and services offered by various companies. Most blogs earn the most through their affiliates and it was no exception for my site.
A big chunk of my blogging income came from recommending products that I already use and love. It reaffirmed what experts say over and over again: talk about products and services you believe in and the money will follow.
There are some companies out there that pay a huge commission, but their products are awful. I’d rather take a pay cut than offer something I don’t genuinely believe in.
So what worked?
My most popular post by far was the stimulus checks that people are getting from the government. It helped gain new users who found it through search, but it didn’t pay me anything (aside from ad revenue).
The ones that produced the most money were my review on a savings account that offered a big interest rate, an app that pays you to take a picture of your grocery receipts, and one that gave you cash back for filling up your gas tank.
I mentioned in my last blog income report that I became an Amazon affiliate. Amazon sales have really picked up since then. In the last 3 months, I received over 1,000 clicks! Out of those, 191 orders were made for $4,546.18.
The commission came out to $150.25 ($144.75 base with a $5.50 bounty).
Just like the last income report, the affiliate category has produced the biggest percentage of money generated through the site.
Sponsored Content = $0
There were a number of companies who reached out to me for sponsored content; paying me to write about them or their products and services.
I declined all of them. Although they offered decent money for it (between $250 to $500 per post), I didn’t see how it would align with my blog. One guy wanted me to post links to commercial refrigerators. What?!?
I’m open for future collaborations, but I really want to make sure it’s related to personal finance.
Digital Products = $0
I didn’t do anything here. I plan on writing an eBook or digital guide in the future, but my time is limited as it is.
Services = $0
Nothing here either.
The Bottom Line
Overall, it’s been pretty incredible that a blog can make over $10,000+ a month, even more so when the site is less than a year old!
I’m pretty happy with the traction of this blog because making a decent amount of money in the first several months is not typical. People don’t know your blog exists and Google won’t rank your pages well (if at all) since your blog is so new. It definitely helped that I had experience in this field.
As this inches closer and closer to what I make at my “real job”, I’m not sure what I will do. I still enjoy my corporate career and get paid well to do what I do… so we’ll see.
This isn’t meant to be a brag at all. There are a lot of other bloggers who made more money than I did in the beginning. It’s simply evidence that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to start a blog or to learn how to make money from blogging.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog income report for March 2020. If you like to see these on a regular basis, please let me know.
Finally, thanks again for supporting this site and following me through my journey 🙂