How I made $16 My First Year Blogging

I am killing it with this blog thing! I made about $16 during my first year of blogging! Impressive, I know. I’m not trying to brag or anything with this post; on the contrary! I want to help you gain blogging success and see that making money with a blog is within your reach!

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. Why? Because I’m sick of all the similar posts! I’m sure you’ve seen these all over the interwebs: “How I made 15 thousand dollars in One Month of Blogging!” and “How I make over 30 million dollars from my blog”—more power to the extraordinary people who are making a killing off their blogs. I don’t hold them any ill will (maybe 10% jealous), but they do make it seem incredibly easy, and I think that’s unrealistic.

So what is realistic?

They are Selling you!

Realistically, those catchy headlines are designed to sell you a product about blogging. They are trying to explain how you too can become a multi gazillionaire overnight if you would just buy this course or that course. Now, I haven’t taken any of the classes, and I’m sure some are super duper helpful, but please note that your mileage may vary. You may have more success than the person selling the course, but you may have less success. There are no guarantees, except that the person selling the course will make money off you (again, not necessarily a bad thing).

They are also selling non-bloggers the idea of making money through blogging. And that is ok!! We are all (well, most of us!) in this game to make money. Hell, I have an affiliate link to Bluehost in this post! We all want to make money blogging, and it never hurts to invest in yourself and your business. Some of those courses offer that opportunity (just do your research first and make sure you pick the one that’s right for you!). My problem with those posts is that they make it seem too easy, and they never actually break down the numbers. They just feel like a sales pitch to me, and that’s not helpful.


They Make Money in Other Ways

One other odd thing that I noticed about some of these posts is that they often include freelance income without explaining what that means. It’s one thing if they got the freelance opportunity through the blog, but if they are doing work off of Fiver or Upwork and crediting that income to blogging, it’s a bit shady. The post would be more aptly titled “How I made 15 million dollars working from home” (I’ve seen those posts too, which are great because they are less misleading!). 

So What’s the Point of this Rant?

Ok, so maybe this post has been a bit ranty. But there’s a point, I promise! You shouldn’t feel discouraged if you aren’t a multi-millionaire after your first month or year of blogging. Blogging is a long-haul game. It takes a long time for the search engines to trust your website, and it takes a long time to build a following. That’s all ok!

My other point is to give would-be bloggers a little perspective. It’s easy to get swept up in the “get rich quick” dream that some of these posts about making so much money in your first year of blogging are trying to sell. Blogging is not a way to fast cash. It’s a labor of love. I love to write, share information and connect with people, so I blog. Yeah, I hope to make real money from it one day, and yeah, I have a bunch of affiliate links to support that cause. But I know that I’m nowhere near making tens of thousands of dollars a month from it, and that’s ok! If you love to write, give it a try! You can start your own website with Bluehost for as little as six bucks a month! (see what I did there?)

But Seriously, How Did I Make m=My $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! Amazon affiliates, to be more precise (though I did make fifty cents with tailwind, which is a story for another post). A large chunk of that was bloggers supporting other bloggers (which is super awesome!), and some of it was organic. I don’t have any real way to differentiate between the two, but hey, a sale is a sale.

What Do You Think?

Did you make as much money as I did in your first year of blogging? How did you do it? Do you feel like it was worthwhile for those of you who invested in a course? I’d love to hear your stories!

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 2022, and although I’m not making a full-time income with the blog yet, I’m getting closer every month. 

The key to my success? First perseverance. My blog will be five years old this year, and five years is a long time to stick with anything. But the other big reason was joining a mastermind group. Yes, this is slightly similar to the courses I mentioned earlier because it is an affiliate offer, but most of my income is from display ads, not recruitment efforts.

I push this group because it works. I learned SEO, gained access to SEO tools, and have a group of dedicated bloggers to help me grow my blog. It’s been fantastic. If you are serious about turning your blog into a business, you need to join. 

28 thoughts on “How I made $16 My First Year Blogging”

  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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