Phew the relief! When you put yourself out there and say “I’m going to demonstrate how to make money blogging with a lifestyle blog“, and it actually starts to happen.
When you prove to yourself, (and anyone-else who’s reading this blog), that you can start a blog from scratch and make money. No gimmicks, no cheating, just writing posts and promoting them on Pinterest.
Did I make money blogging in 48 hours with a WordPress blog – oh no. Yes it might be possible (if you worked like crazy and got really lucky). But I’m trying to demonstrate how to start a blog and make a decent, regular income. Maybe even enough to replace your day job. That takes time…
Make Money Blogging With A Lifestyle Blog- My Summer Challenge
So this was my summer challenge last year (2019).
To launch and build a lifestyle blog as quickly as possible. To find out just how long it takes to make your first $500.
I probably should have put a bit more thought into “quickly as possible”. This was never really my aim.
If I wholeheartedly wanted to go down the “quickly as possible route”, I would have been thinking short-term. Hit a trending tiny niche and built my blog around one small topic.
Gone for the quick buck.
Instead I wanted to show you how to build a solid, reliable income from blogging. That takes a little longer. Plus let’s face it, just about every other person who gets in touch with me about starting a blog, is set on starting a lifestyle blog. I had to know if it worked.
How Much Money Did I Make Blogging?
My first payout was a whole 12 bucks…
Someone clicked on my recommendation for MyYogaWorks, online premium yoga classes, and signed up for the free 14 day trial.
Promoting free stuff is always a good idea, plus it’s a quality product I use myself. That’s really important for affiliate marketing. You need to promote products you believe in.
Yeah I know, $12 is not very much. It’s tiny when you think about how many hours I’ve spent working on my new blog. But it’s just the beginning.
Making that first sale is huge.
It’s confirmation that your blog works. That someone, somewhere has taken your advice and signed up for a course, digital service or bought a product based on your recommendation.
That’s a big deal.
How Did I Make My First Money Blogging With A Lifestyle Blog?
The instinct is to focus on finding products to promote. It’s natural. You think: “What can I sell? What will make money?”
It’s the wrong way to go about blogging.
Successful blogs focus on their customers FIRST, selling second. You need to spend time writing about topics people want to read about.
Topics that provide helpful information and help people solve their problems.
Build Traffic First
You can’t sell unless you have traffic. I wrote 30 blog posts before I launched my blog. That’s excessive.
You don’t need to do this. You can take a slower route and post once a week. It’s what works for you. I just decided to start a broad topic blog, magazine style with six categories. Way more than I normally recommend.
I wanted to see what it’s like writing about lots of different topics and to begin with the posts were really short. Most of those initial 30 posts were just 300 words long and very quick to write.
Having so many posts meant I had a ton of material to promote on Pinterest.
Make Money Blogging Using Pinterest
For each blog post I created 3 different pins, testing out pin titles and images. Ideally I would have loved to create 5 pins per post but in practice I caved under the workload.
3 pins per post was still 90 pins in total!
It’s not enough just to create pins, you have to promote them. When you’re starting a Pinterest account from scratch the two main ways to build traffic are following people and joining Pinterest group boards.
There is a third way; using Tailwind Tribes.
Tailwind Tribes are a bit like Pinterest group boards but less effort and, in my view, give you better results.
Tailwind is a scheduler for your pins. Some people swear by manual pinning on Pinterest. I do manually pin a few pins everyday, but most of my pinning is taken care of by Tailwind.
It means I can schedule my pins once a week and then forget about it. This saves a heap of time.
A big plus with Tailwind is that you get to join 5 Tribes as part of your membership. Create great pins, pick active tribes and your tribe will share your pins for you.
These were my repins after just 41 days – all thanks to my tribe members…
(I’m now up to a huge 4,116 repins – and that’s after taking my foot off the gas over the winter!)
In case you’re thinking yeah but what about actual blog traffic? (I had a comment recently on one of my Pinterest blog posts saying monthly unique views on Pinterest don’t mean anything if no-ones visiting your site. I totally agree). Here are my blog stats for the first 41 days…
Just about all this traffic was from Pinterest. At this stage I was only getting a tiny amount of organic traffic from Google – really tiny. This changed from October onwards, 3 to 4 months after launching.
Just note: Pinterest won’t work for everyone. Your blog topic needs to be a good fit. For my blog health and fitness worked brilliantly, especially my posts on running. I’ve also shared pins on healthy recipes and seen huge reshares – so if you’re starting a food blog make sure you’re on Pinterest!
I credit a big part of my traffic success to Tailwind Tribes. Try Tailwind out for free and if it works for you, get a $30 credit towards your first subscription!
My First Affiliate Sale – The Lowdown
I really thought my first affiliate sale would come from Amazon Associates. Mainly because I’ve peppered my site with Amazon links promoting books and more recently clothing.
I have had a lot of clicks through to the books in the first few weeks but no sales. This was down to a really lazy approach to affiliate marketing. I’ve had a lot more success since I started writing reviews.
Why do you need to write reviews?
Writing reviews for your Amazon products (or any affiliate products) demonstrates that you really back these products. Plus you’re providing information, helping people to make up their minds in their buying process. These reviews are also great for Google traffic. Six months on and three of my top 5 trafficked pages on Google are review articles.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my first sale came from adding a short review for My YogaWorks to a blog post.
Finding Affiliate Products
I use ShareASale to find products to promote. I find it’s a network that’s easy to join with a new blog. It’s important to make sure the products you apply for are a good match for your blog.
It also helps to have built up some traffic first before you apply and to have at least 5 – 10 blog posts up. Although my blog was really new I was still accepted for My YogaWorks.
The Next Step
This was just the beginning for my summer challenge. My income for those first few months wasn’t great. (It’s higher now despite ignoring my blog all winter). But those first few months demonstrated how quickly you can build traffic from a lifestyle blog if you put your mind to it.
What I loved most about my summer challenge was how easy it is to start a lifestyle blog. Really you just need to start writing about popular posts and sharing those posts on social media.
Blogging is about playing the long game. Slowly building material and reaching more people. Blogging about popular topics and helping people solve their problems.