How I Made $16 My First Year Blogging – And You Can Too!

Start a blog, and the money will flow in!

I would know from personal experience. I made $16 during my first year of blogging, and I’m here to share how you can start a blog and start earning, too!

How I Made $16 in My First Year Blogging

No, that’s not a typo. I’m bragging about making enough money to cover my domain registration for the year. 

There’s a method to the madness. I’m sick of all the similar posts claiming unrealistic timelines for monetizing a blog. 

They’re all over the internet. Articles like “How I Made 15 Thousand Dollars in One Month Blogging” and “How I Make Over 300 Million Dollars from My Blog” fill the web, giving novices the outrageous expectation that they can start a blog and get rich. 

Making Big Bucks Fast Isn’t Realistic

Although some extraordinary folks may see fabulous gains quickly, the harsh reality is most people won’t. 

Most bloggers quit within six months because they don’t see any traction. 

Why Are Articles That Make It Seem So Easy Everywhere?

If most bloggers won’t see those impressive gains, why are articles claiming it’s easy all over the internet?

They Are Selling You!

The catchy headlines are designed to sell you a product about blogging. They try to explain how you, too, can become a multi-gazillionaire overnight if you buy this course or that product. 

It’s easy with the right tools!

Courses About Blogging

Many people who make big bucks blogging do it by selling courses about blogging.

Full disclosure: I haven’t taken most of the classes. Some might be helpful, and if you learn better in a course format than with an internet search, it doesn’t hurt to try them. 

But please go in with your eyes wide open, knowing that this course will not be the key to your success. You could implement the tools you learned and become more successful than the course creator, but you could also do everything right and still not gain traction. 

There are no guarantees, except that the person selling the course has made money off you. 

Seems Shady

The business model seems shady, especially if their first blog is a “how-to-blog” blog. 

It seems like these folks aren’t making money blogging. They’re making money by selling other people the dream of making money blogging. 

The worst part about these courses is how easy they make it sound in the promotional materials. 

  • Step 1: Start a blog
  • Step 2: Add affiliates
  • Step 3: Make Money

I get that they need to convince you to buy, but I’d like to see advertisements with a little more realism and substance. I rarely see courses that share real numbers or timelines on their promotional pages. It’s always, “Take my course, and I’ll show you how easy it is.”

If you’re going to take a course, take one from someone who has built a profitable blog and who offers a realistic perspective on the effort involved in making money blogging. 

Unrealistic About How They Make Money

The ones that share how they earn income often include a few line items that seem out of place. 

Some earn the bulk of their income through freelance work. How can you claim to make money blogging when the majority of your income comes from freelancing?

It might make sense if you find clients through your blog, but that’s not exactly what most people looking to start a blog have in mind when they think of making money from it. 

But potential customers don’t know. For all we know, the money could come from Upwork. It’s dishonest to claim you make $100,000 a year blogging when $95,000 comes from freelance work. 

The post would be more aptly titled “How I made 15 million dollars working from home.” 

A Fresh Perspective

Don’t feel discouraged if you aren’t a multi-millionaire after your first month or year of blogging. 

Blogging is a long-term game. It takes time for search engines to trust your site, for you to build a brand, and for you to grow a social media following. 

It’s easy to get swept up in the “get rich quick” dream these posts are trying to sell, but blogging is not a way to fast cash. It’s a labor of love. 

I blog because I love to write, share information, and connect with people. I hope to make real money from it one day, but I know that I’m nowhere near making tens of thousands of dollars a month from it, and that’s ok!

How Did I Make $16?

Ok, I know you’ve all been biting your nails trying to figure out how I made my small fortune this year. The answer: Affiliates! 

Most of my income from blogging came from the Amazon Affiliate program, and a few cents came from other affiliates. 

Some website owners will tell you earning big bucks with affiliates is easy, but that’s misleading. 

Finding and joining affiliate programs is easy. So is adding a link to your post. 

It is much harder to get people to see your post and then click through to the affiliate offer. 

How I Finally Grew My Blog

I originally wrote this post at the end of 2018, when I completed my first year of blogging. It’s now 2024, and although I’m not making a full-time income with the blog, I’m getting closer every month. 

The key to my success is perseverance. This year, my blog will be six years old, which is a long time to stick with anything. 

But the other big reason was joining a mastermind group. They helped me understand SEO and brand building and kept me sane through all the tumultuous algorithm updates that wreaked havoc on independent publishers. 

Limitations To Success

You’d think that after six years, I’d either be profitable or give up. We are profitable, but it is not enough to make a full-time income. 

But I’m also very aware of my limitations and constraints. 

If you want to be successful, you must put in the time, and I haven’t. I have other responsibilities and priorities. I didn’t even take it seriously for the first two years. 

People selling blogging courses will never tell you how much of a time commitment blogging is. You can’t set it and forget it. You must constantly publish fresh content, improve your writing skills, and nurture your community. 

You won’t grow quickly if you don’t have much free time to build your site. 

Blogging is Great, but Not Fast Cash

Blogging has changed my life. I’ve met some wonderful people, learned crucial new skills, and made extra money. I love it. 

But it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. Don’t start a blog if you’re looking for ways to make fast money, despite what the advertisements say. It won’t work, and you’ll be another six-month-and-out blogging statistic. 

Start a blog if you’re genuinely passionate about the content and want to share your ideas with others. The money is a nice bonus, but the real joy of blogging is in building something you love. 

28 thoughts on “How I Made $16 My First Year Blogging – And You Can Too!”

  1. I appreciate your honesty, since for the entire 2 years that we’ve been blogging, all we’ve seen are posts talking about how they are making a fortune and are only 3 weeks old….😮 Though we never began blogging for the money, there’s nothing more personally and artistically rewarding than what we are doing and I would LOVE to make this our full time gig! Having said that, I don’t think we’ve made over 7 dollars and you probably already know that we spend WAAAAY more than that just to run the darn thing! (And that’s not including the vlogging and podcasting equipment that we’ve bought along the way!) The best thing is that we love it so much that we would do it for free and I am confident that now that we’ve built our following to 12k a day, when I finally finish the course we created, we might be able to start making enough money to really cover some bills. Thanks for sharing your success.

    • Oh I agree being able to monetize the blog and turn it into a full time thing would be absolutely amazing! But it isn’t easy, it takes a lot of work and perseverance. Best of luck to you on your course, I think it will be an amazing success!

  2. Lol! I totally get what you mean about unrealistic goals being set sometimes. I appreciate the honesty! Most people don’t talk about how much money you can make until AFTER they’re making a lot, and then fudge over the amount of time it took to get there. Hoping for a prosperous year for you and your blog!

    • Thank you! I agree that people love to fudge the numbers and pretend that it’s super easy. We need to be more transparent, and that’s what this post was all about!

  3. I love your honesty in this post! It is hard to make money blogging but so many posts make it sound like an easy passive income! Thanks for sharing.

  4. My blog is simply about food. On my blog I am willing to blog about anything food related. I made $50.00 in my first month of blogging. It came from doing a review on a restaurant. I love writing, food, and sharing information. That is why I blog. I hope to make big money one day, but I agree with every word of this post. I wished people will keep it real as it relates to blogging.

    • I wished more people would keep it real as well, but that’s why I decided to be a voice for keeping it real! I wish you tons of success on your food blog! It sounds like you already found a pretty awesome method of monetizing.

    • You’re welcome! I really love your monthly updates. 2019 is going to be great for both of us, cheers to that!

  5. I agree that there’s a lot of hype in some of the sales pitches around blogging. It’s true that many bloggers make income that’s not writing-driven or ad-driven, and therefore may not directly be blog-driven. However, blogging is a powerful marketing tool that could contribute to paid work. In my case, I came to blogging purely for the marketing, as I used it to build up an audience for my coaching and consulting work). It has been very helpful for growing my business and did lead to paid writing work, though far down the road. So agree with you that blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but also would still encourage people to jump in if they’re thinking about it, especially since it takes a while to get traction.

    • I definitely think people who are interested should take the plunge and start a blog! I love blogging regardless of the money. However, I did want to add some honestly and levity to the mix of “make money blogging” posts. If people are jumping in just to make quick money, they are going to be disappointed. I just wanted to add some perspective to it. Its awesome that you were able to use blogging to build up your business, I think thats a great use for a blog. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I love your honesty! I made a whopping $37 last year, but I didn’t start trying until November. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to monetize, but I am enjoying the journey! Good luck!

    • Woot $37 is more than twice what I made so you must be doing something right hahaha!!! Best of luck to you on your journey!

  7. Honesty, how refreshing! It takes so much effort not to get caught up in those over the top claims. As a new blogger I constantly have to remind myself not to have unrealistic expectations and to not compare my traffic (or lack thereof) to those promoting thousands of followers in the first year! Congrats on your first year, most bloggers don’t make it that far along it seems!!😊

    • Most don’t make it a year, because they get caught up in the unrealistic claims. I knew it would take at least 2 years to start making any money off this blog – so I was happy to even make the $16 in my first year! Keep your head in the game, make a long term plan, and you will be successful!

  8. 16 dollars Woohooo! Cool article, Melanie. I did not even make that, I only started to make some small affiliate income in my second year ( last year) and it felt great! Still far from those 15000 a month though, haha. Good luck to us and congrats on those 16 bucks, honestly the hardest part is that first sale, that first comission.

  9. haha. I literally just found this page because I was searching for “I made $4 my first year blogging” and I was somewhat disappointed and trying to validate if this was normal. Thank you for the transparency and chuckle 🙂

    • It is totally normal! Four dollar is great. Next year you’ll do even better, and you’ll keep learning and improving!

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