I work from home full-time as a freelancer, and I started this work at home blog as a supplemental source of income. I’ve read time and time again that it’s highly unlikely to make money with a blog in the first year – let alone the first month. I have also been told that I’m extremely competitive, stubborn, and like to prove people wrong. So that’s what I did.
I’m happy to tell you that it’s more than possible to make money with AdSense on a new blog. I’m here to show you the proof and the how.
First I’ll tell you that I purchased my domain and hosting six months or so before launching my blog. When I went into this endeavor I wanted to get hosting so I could potentially learn more about WordPress Development to branch off into developing themes along with regular ol’ websites. I never had a self-hosted blog before or a blog that I took seriously or treated as a job, so I was going into this completely oblivious to anything related to making money with a blog. I also didn’t know that I’d enjoy the blogging process so much, but that’s a whole other story.
After I was done being a nerd and messing around with all the tech stuff, I decided it was time to give blogging a go. Before I launched my blog (aka shared it with people other than my close friends for feedback on design), I wrote about 15 articles and published them before applying to Adsense. Once I was approved for Adsense, I launched my blog on May 19th. By launch I mean I threw it out there into Internet Land for everyone to see.
In this post I will share everything that I did to make money in my first month. I’m not doing this to brag. I’m doing this to show newbs, like me, that it’s possible to make money and not to feel bad about wanting to make money with your new blog. We all have bills to pay; what’s wrong with wanting a few bucks?
This post is not a how-to-setup hosting, how-to-setup themes, or how-to-do anything tech related. Before I launched the blog, I had self-hosted WordPress with a domain, and of course a theme, and all the plugins that I needed. I also had about 15 blog posts written and published for people to read when they came here. As mentioned above I was also approved for AdSense.
If you want to start a blog I recommend going to SiteGround and purchasing their annual WordPress hosting for as little as $3.95/month. They provide you with WordPress support. They’ll take care of all the technical stuff for you and if you need help they’re one call away. That gives you more time to write and bring in the cash.
Note: I knew that I wanted to use AdSense as my Ad network since I’ve used them with YouTube in the past and I’m familiar with the platform. So I didn’t have to research which network is better than the next. I went with my tried and trusted network.
Most of the methods mentioned here should work with other ad networks assuming you have the ability to customize your ads and choose their placement.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way let’s get started.
Table of contents:
- How much did I make my first month blogging?
- Research how to make money with Ads!
- Learn more about Google AdSense
- Create & Place Google Ads on WordPress
- How to Explode your Brand New Blog’s Traffic
- What Content Gets the Most Traffic?
How much money did I make blogging the first month?
The first day, May 19, 2017, that I started promoting in Facebook groups I made a whopping $6.41 with Google AdSense. By June 19th, I had officially made over $100. As you can see from my AdSense report above, I made $101.33 in the first month that I launched.
So you’ve seen the screen shot, that’s great and all, but you’re probably wondering, “how did she do that?”
2. Research how to make money with Ads!
One thing every blogger knows, or at least I hope they know, is how to research. If you’re writing content online, you’re probably a Google Ninja like me.
- how to put ads in blog posts on WordPress
- how to make money with AdSense
- optimal places to put ads on your website
- Income reports (because everyone needs some inspiration)
- plus 100 other searches that I can’t remember
I think the most important bit of research I did was visiting other websites (well-known and unknown) and observing where they put their ads. If they had income reports, I’d take note of their income in relation to their ad placement.
I’ve been using a computer since I was in diapers thanks to my father and so I’m pretty tech savvy. I taught myself to code when I was a teen. I’ve studied computer science and have recently been reading a lot about User Experience. Basically what I’m saying is I’m a huge tech nerd. The tech nerd in me uses an ad blocker. So I knew if I wanted to put ads on my site that they couldn’t be so annoying that they would force someone like me to turn on an ad blocker. I’ll touch more on this later.
First, we need to understand how Ads work.
3. Learn more about Google AdSense
With AdSense you earn money in two ways:
- CPC (cost per click) – You’re paid when someone clicks on your ads
- CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) – You’re paid when someone views your ad
We have no control over which type of ad will be displayed on our sites that’s entirely up to Google.
How do you get clicks on your ads?
- Good ad Placement.
- Relevant ads for your audience.
Relevant ads are controlled by Google. Ever notice how you’ll be looking at an item that you want to buy, but you just can’t afford it, but it won’t stop following you around the Internet? Well, these ads are showed to you based on your interests. Google has other ways of deciding what ads to display to your audience but I won’t get into that here.
How much do you get paid per click on ads?
Advertisers bid on clicks. The bids can be high or low; one day I might be paid $2 for a click and the next I could be paid $0.02 for a click. I get paid more for clicks in the USA than I do in India. One day I was paid $3.00 and some change for a click from South Africa. It’s unpredictable, and if you look at the stats too often, in the beginning, it’ll drive you mad trying to comprehend them. So just save yourself now and stop. Just stop. Don’t even.
Most of the rules are common sense. Here are some big ones to keep in mind:
- Don’t click on your own ads.
- Don’t ask, pay or encourage people to click on your ads.
- Don’t have more ads on your page than content.
I may write more on the Topic of AdSense if anyone requests me to do so but this is as much all I’ll say in this post. Otherwise, you can read AdSense’s Program Policies and check out these other articles that I found helpful:
- 5 Google AdSense Policies Every Blogger Must Know
- 12 Things to Do Before Applying for Google AdSense + FREE Bonus Checklist
- wikiHow to Earn Money Through Google Adsense
4. Create & Place Google Ads on WordPress
From all the websites I frequent, probably over 90% of them have a) ads in a side bar, b) ads in the middle of a blog post, c) and annoying ads.
What are annoying ads?
Well, I wrote a little disclaimer about it on my About Me page. I’ll paste it here for the sake of convenience:
“This blog is a source of supplemental income for me. I have ads and affiliate links posted on my site. However, as a web developer, I want to put user experience first. That means, unlike other blogs I will not have intrusive or annoying ads. You know, the kind that pop-up on your screen, or the ones that stick to the side of your screen, or auto-playing videos, or vignetting, or full-screen “POW right in the kisser” ads that make you want to leave. Let’s not forget those annoying e-mail subscription pop-ups which stop you mid sentence while reading. Ugh!
Yes, if you can’t tell I hate ads just as much as you but ads keep my website running so I’d appreciate if you will turn your ad-blocker off. In return, I promise not to be one of those annoying blogs that I hate browsing.”
So once I knew going in what kind of ads I wanted to put on my website, I could go into Google AdSense and start creating ad units.
What type of ads units do I use?
I have OCD about having too many colors and things on my website, so you’ll notice a theme here that all but one of my ads are text only. The text only ads seem to get more action than the one image ad that I have in the sidebar, too. I have all kinds of assumptions about why this is but assumptions are better left kept to one’s self.
Where did I place my ads?
Instead of writing a long description I’ll just show you a screenshot with the names of the ads.
So, as you can see from the report the Blog Post Ad made the most income, which makes sense since people are reading and the ad is inserted in the middle of the post they are going to see it and engage more.
The Responsive Widget Top (text only) took 2nd place, and the links at the bottom of the post took 3rd place. I was quite surprised that anyone even clicked on the ads at the bottom of the blog posts. I thought for sure the Responsive Image Ad in the side bar would get more clicks. Like I mentioned before these things are not meant to be understood.
Honestly, when I placed ads on my website, I used it mainly as a source of gauging visitor reactions to see what worked and what didn’t work. I used to have another link ad in the sidebar and a responsive banner ad at the top of the blog post, both of which I removed because they didn’t get a lot of action. So the ads you see on my site now, and in the screen shot above, are the ones that have worked best for me.
5. How to Get Traffic to a New Blog
So if you didn’t notice, I had close to 60,000 ad impressions between May 19 and June 19. If you have no idea what that means, basically it means that my ads were seen a total of 59,239 times. You can also see in the overview above that I had 12,300 page views.
So how did I get that many views on a new blog?
I read somewhere that it takes 2-6 months for Google to rank your site. My organic traffic is quite low, but a couple of my articles are on page two of Google now. When I first launched, my site was nowhere to be found on Google. So I turned to social media to traffic but please don’t neglect SEO!
I’m going to tell you how I managed to get this traffic in my first month of blogging, but I don’t want you to rely on this method for life. Research SEO! It’s important! How many times a day do you search Google for something? Exactly, too many to count. I found BackLinko’s YouTube Channel to be extremely helpful in understanding and implementing SEO techniques into your blog posts.
Where did my blog’s traffic come from?
As you can see above, Social Media was the big driver of traffic to my website.
Here’s a break down by platform:
Facebook was my number one driver at 79.11% followed by StumbleUpon at 20.52%.
In Google+ and Twitter’s defense, I have no idea why they didn’t get more. It was probably me not them. I suppose that’ll be the next thing I research.
How did I generate traffic from social media?
How to use Facebook to Drive Traffic to a New Blog
Facebook has these amazing things called groups. I joined about 15 groups in my niche of working from home. Most of them were full of scammers, market-level-marketing (pyramid selling), etc. So you can imagine how happy people were to click on an article that offered a real way to earn a living online.
I posted in these groups every single day. Sometimes multiple times a day. I know spammy right? Well, I didn’t feel bad about it because the posts in the groups were not just spammy they were scammy. I felt like I was doing public service helping people find legitimate work. As you can see from the graph above this method paid off.
After a month or so of posting to Facebook groups I had built my social media following (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube) up to 1000 people and I’ve been posting less in these groups. Although I still post from time to time, I’m generating about 100-200 visitors a day.
How to use Pinterest to Drive Traffic
I’ve been focusing on building my Pinterest following, and it’s turning out to be a great source of traffic – so far – and mostly passive.
Just look at the difference that it made, this report is from this month. That’s 6000 users that have made it to my site from Pinterest alone:
Tailwind is awesome because you not only get to schedule up to 400 pins a month, but you also get access to Tribes and they open up a whole other source of traffic. Being able to schedule my pins made my life easier and gave me more time to work on other parts of my business. The initial investment has already paid for itself. I can’t recommend it enough. Just sign up now and thank me later.
I scheduled four pins a day in one sitting I was able to schedule a months worth of pins. Just four pins a day significantly increased my Pinterest engagement and as a consequence increased my blogs traffic. After one month of using Pinterest with Tailwind the blogs income doubled. Just sign up for Tailwind you won’t be sorry!
Update Sept 15th: Pinterest exploded since purchasing Tailwind to schedule more and use tribes. From June 19th until today my traffic has been passive and steady as you can see in the photo below. I’ve been averaging 400 views a day and that huge spike was averaging 700 views a day.
How to use StumbleUpon to Drive Traffic to a New Blog
As for StumbleUpon, I simply posted my blogs to my SU account each time I published and kept my fingers crossed they’d get a lot of action. I got lucky, and one day I had almost 600 visitors from StumbleUpon. At the time I was averaging about 100 views a day, so that was a huge spike.
As you can see above StumbleUpon is a great source of traffic, but it’s hit or miss. You have no control over how many people see it. Once it’s submitted, it’s out of your hands. If you’re interested in learning more about StumbleUpon check out these links:
6. What Content Get’s the Most Traffic?
The Master List of Work at Home Companies was a huge success. Followed by the 5 Work at Home Transcription Companies that Pay at Least $50/ahour, virtual assistant list, transcription for beginners, and – well you can see them all there in the photo.
I wanted to make sure that when I was posting my articles in these groups that I had an even amount of reviews and lists so I could get an idea of how people responded to each type.
The lists won the race every time. Another thing to back this theory is that I posted every one of my articles to StumbleUpon and the lists were the ones that went mini-viral.
So, if you want to drive a lot of traffic to your blog make informative lists.
7. In summary, how did I make over $100 in my first month of blogging?
- Created enough content (about 15 articles) to be approved for Adsense. Make sure this content is something people want to see(lists) and is helpful in some way.
- Researched and optimized ad placement.
- Share! Share! Share! And share! Did I say Share?
- Shared some more! (but don’t forget about SEO It’s not dead and you’ll be thankful that you optimized your site later on.)
I hope you found this helpful. At the least I hope it inspired you to get out there and make some money with your blog. Especially if you were like me, hesitant to invest so much time and effort when all you ever hear is, “don’t expect to make money immediately.” It’s more than possible. You need to be open to learning and trying new things. If something isn’t working so well at first tweak it and try it again.
Good luck! May the force be strong with your blog!