I’ve always been inspired by income reports but shied away from doing them myself because they can be seen as bragging. Well, let me put your fears to rest and let you know this isn’t a 6 figure income report, more like a 5 figure one. I see myself as an example of what you can achieve as a busy parent – you can earn around £1500 a month (income can vary) and stay at home with your family. I have three children aged 9, 8 and 4, I started when they were 4, 3 and 6 months. It takes work, and sometimes you feel like you’re never off the treadmill, but since day one I’ve loved it, and stayed completely immersed in the blogosphere and social media world.
I’m breaking down my income into exactly how it was earned, and I’ll be offering practical and applicable tips on how you can achieve the same results, so scroll down if that’s what you’re after. Any comments greatly appreciated. So here we go with my January to December income report for 2018. This is for my blog Midwife and Life, I also have Mama Foodie and this one, but my main earner at the moment is Midwife and Life which is the original and oldest one. For tax purposes I measure my income from April to April, so I’m actually as interested as you are for the final figures. My income streams come from the following:
Sponsored posts £538.56
Paid guest posts £150.47
Affiliate sales £8.77
Editorial Calendar sales £5.40
Paid guest posts £350.43
Sponsored posts £338.98
Affiliate sales £48.61
Banner ad £32.27
Sponsored posts £475
Affiliate Sales £84.28
Course sales £152.58
Paid guest posts £544.07
Link insertion £95.40
Paid review £55
E-book sales £1.35
Editorial calendar sales £3
Sponsored posts £755.77
Paid guest posts £195.14
E-book sales £1.17
Paid video collaboration £174
Travel expenses rebate £26.40
Paid guest posts £775.19
Link insertions £160.06
Google adsense payout £62.82
Film and Tv extra £145
Sponsored posts £910
Paid guest posts £375.16
Link insertions £48.37
Paid review £20
Paid guest posts £208.23
Link insertions £48.37
Sponsored posts £336.95
Paid guest posts £405.85
Link insertion £123.14
Affiliate sales £22.36
E-book sales £1.08
Link insertion £95.25
Sponsored posts £550
Paid guest posts £331.22
Paid reviews £60
Affiliate sales £103.72
Google adsense £69.59
Film and tv extra £148.71
Paid guest posts £1056
Sponsored posts £599.70
Link insertions £70
Paid reviews £20
Editorial calendar £2.67
E-book sales £2.75
Paid guest posts £455.20
Sponsored posts £250
Affiliate sales £41.85
Paid surveys £6.77
Film and tv extra £147.60
E-book sales £3.56
Link insertions £198.64
Paid guest posts £734.77
Sponsored posts £72.25
Banner ads £144.70
Freelance blog £100
Affiliate sales £48.72
E-book sales £2.71
This is before tax is calculated remember so the final figure will be less. It works out as a monthly average of £1035.92 which I’m pleased about, because that amount covers my family expenses with enough left over for extras. Of course my aim is to increase it for the coming year. I have increased my turnover by £2500 on the previous year. My 2017/2018 tax bill came to £289. Next year I will owe more tax as I have a part time job too.
My expenses come from the following:
Linkdeli (affiliate marketing tool)
Canva for work
I plan on trying to decrease them by thinking about stopping linkdeli – it doesn’t bring in many clicks or sales and I don’t get the return on the investment – but it would mean updating quite a few blog posts and it is difficult to see the return on investment; changing from convertkit to mailerlite to a cheaper plan; and keeping an eye out for an alternative to canva, perhaps something with a one off fee. I was gutted when I missed out on the appsumo deal for lifetime access to a very similar service for $49, meaning after that my monthly expense would go down. I could use the free version but I like being able to resize my designs easily and using my brand colours and fonts. You also get a lot of stock photos to use included. I still need siteguarding for protection and cleanup against hackers, and I use microsoft office 365 all the time. I was on the Teachable free plan for my blog course, but I’m experimenting with affiliates, which I had to upgrade for. At the moment I haven’t sold any courses through the affiliate scheme but I only have 20 and it’s early days in the process. Want to become an affiliate for blogging secrets? Get in touch!
In my opinion, Tailwind is a must for gaining traffic. Pinterest is my top referrer alongside search traffic. I upgraded to unlimited smart loop posts too which has skyrocketed my Pinterest views to 630k monthly unique viewers. Note that does not translate to blog views but I do get a high percentage of click throughs. It is difficult to measure investment return, but if I didn’t have that traffic, I wouldn’t get chosen for some of the PR campaigns that I do. You can see here how my re-pins increase every month:
Related post: Actionable Traffic tips you can do today
I do accept follow links for payment, both inserting links and guest posting. As you can see from the report, there were some months that they were my only income, so if I maintained that I only took PR campaigns and no-follow links, I would be a lot worse off. It depends wholly on why you blog. If it’s all about connecting with your audience, writing for yourself and any money is a bonus, then it’s totally up to you. Since I started my blogs it was always about making it into a business and giving me more of a choice about how and when I work. It’s taken 3 and a half years to get to this point where I earn a decent amount regularly, so blogging definitely isn’t a get rich quick scheme. With a little dedication and work, however, anyone can do it.
Firstly, reply to all emails offering a guest post, ones that want you to insert a link, etc. Yes, more than half of them will expect a link back for free or offer you $20, but occasionally you get a decent offer. A lot of my contacts then come back and offer repeat work. By replying and working with SEOs and PRs mean you get on blogger lists and more people will contact you. When you start off, take on some reviews and do them well, have a review or lifestyle category so if contacts are looking at your blog they can see what they can expect. The same goes for guest posts – take some on either for free or low rate and put a disclosure in that it is a guest post. You can take them from other bloggers too.
Next, keep a record of your contacts once you’ve been paid and everything has run smoothly. A simple spreadsheet or table will do with their name, email and SEO or PR. If you find yourself in a dry spell, you can contact them all to see if they have any work.
Look seriously at your affiliate marketing strategy – are you just putting in Amazon links in and hoping for the best? You need to work out what your audience wants and give it to them. They also need to trust you – The ‘Know-Like-Trust’ factor. Make a list of your top ten affiliate programmes, ones you believe in and can promote naturally, and with proof.
Network – with other bloggers, in real life, wherever you can. Join blogging Facebook groups, get to know other bloggers in similar niches and form friendships. Most established bloggers have friends they swap contacts with.
Niche down – really think about who you want to reach. It’s OK having a general parenting blog, but are you really good at baking, kids crafts, home education, breastfeeding for example? As I’m a Midwife originally, my expertise is pregnancy, early parenthood and breastfeeding, but I also like to blog about other topics too. People come to me with pregnancy related topics a lot because of my niche.
Be consistent with your content, try to write regularly on a schedule that works for you, and write high quality, shareable content. If people are checking your site out with a view to paying you, they want to see a clean website, no spelling or grammar issues and easy to navigate. It doesn’t have to be a fancy expensive theme or layout.
Lastly, you might want to diversify your income. You can see I make a little from my courses and digital products, although I don’t know if I will do the editorial calendar again next year because it takes a lot of work and I don’t sell many (I need to work on my sales technique and get over being pushy). You can offer Ebooks, email courses, printables, offer your freelance blogging services, VA services, logo making etc. I also from time to time make money as a TV and film extra, which I enjoy so much.
If you’d like a more in depth analysis on how to start and grow a blog to make money, including mastering Pinterest and Tailwind, I recommend enrolling in my blog course, Blogging Secrets. Any questions I’m happy to answer.
Would you like to know in advance all the important days, awareness weeks and months for 2019? All in a planner with space for blog ideas? It’s here! The editorial planner calendar 2018 was so popular so it’s back for 2019. I’ve researched all the important and relevant days for you. It’s soooo useful to plan out your blog content, your social media content and for giving you inspiration when you’re having one of those days. It’s invaluable really. Do you know when it’s book week, chocolate week or no brainer day? I do! Well, I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head, but I have the calendar to tell me. Here’s a sneaky peek at January for you so you can see what you will get:
The 2019 editorial planner calendar comes as an A4 PDF instant download of all 12 months. Once you have it you can keep it on your computer, phone or print out a hard copy as many times as you like. Please don’t use it for commercial distribution. The price is only £9.99, that works out at 83p per month – now that’s a no brainer!
To order yours and keep ahead of the game, order through the paypal button below and after the payment of £9.99 is complete you will be redirected to the download:
Got a question? Ask me in the comments or come say hi in my blogging group on Facebook, Parent Blogs.
This is one of the questions I get asked a lot. I will go through when you can start applying for sponsored posts, how to find them and what makes a blogger get chosen. Sometimes it seems like the same people are getting chosen all the time and you are left out of the game. Is it just who you know? I can tell you it isn’t like that, and it’s not all about growing your following or traffic either.
There are a few different types of paid blog posts. The first one depends purely on your DA (domain authority). As you have more and more blog posts, your site is around for longer and you get other sites linking back to you (follow and no follow), your DA grows. A DA score of around 20 and above means you will start to get approached by SEO agents, also known simply as SEOs. SEO stands for search engine optimisation. There are businesses out there who, like you want to increase their DA and their visibility in search engines. The aim of the game is to get higher up on the page rankings so your business or blog can be seen more. They simply want a link back from you, typically in the form of a guest post. They supply a written post including their link. They will want a follow link and will pay you for your time and the link back. They are not really bothered about your audience, comments, shares or social media posts. I’m not going to get into great detail about whether you should do follow links for payment or not; I do, but I always disclose them as sponsored and as a guest post. I very often stealth publish them, unless I can tweak them and the topic is relevant. SEO posts make up about a third of my blog income. My blog is primarily my business, and not purely a memoir for me, so I may approach it differently to some. I get contacted every day about SEO posts, and very often, the budget is too low for me, or the links are inappropriate (gambling, loan sites, etc). The few that offer a decent budget I do work with. It can be a gamble, you never know if the payment will come through, but it’s only happened a couple of times where I’ve had to remove a link or a post due to non payment.
You may also get offered to do link insertion, to an already existing post. I have a large back catalogue of posts on Midwife and Life and they often contact me with a post already in mind and where they want the link to go. Again, not everybody does it, but for me I don’t see any issue. My main sticking point is the fee. It doesn’t take much work to put in the link but you do run the risk of Google penalty, plus they are still getting the same link value as if they had a guest post. I charge slightly less for link insertion, but it can be too high for some. You will get offered ridiculously low fees like $20 – maybe some people who are desperate will do it for that, but it’s not worth it for me. Everyone has their minimum, you need to know what yours is. They will also say that they will have regular work for you, this is often not true, but sometimes it is. I have some regulars now that contact me for work and I know they pay when they say they will.
The second type of paid blog post is the brand campaign. This is where you will need an audience, traffic and a good following on social media. These are my favourite campaigns, where I can be creative and I feel like a ‘proper’ blogger. A brand will contact you with their campaign ideas and tell you about what they want to promote. They may approach you with a fee already, or you might need to negotiate your rate. It might be that they are paying in vouchers or products. What you negotiate is up to you, what you feel your time, creativity, blog and following is worth. Typically you write the post, you may have guidelines on what to include and a specific link or anchor text you need. Sometimes you send a draft to the PR for approval. The link is usually no-follow, but I’ve done both.
Paid social media and video content
Occasionally you will be asked to do social media campaigns, again you need a good following. I’ve done them with a medium sized following, so you don’t need big numbers at all. After my Instagram hit 5k I started getting approached for Instagram campaigns, both paid and product.
So.. we know the types of paid posts, but how can we clinch the deal? If your blog is new with only a few posts, keep writing. Your DA will go up with time, and link backs. If you’re writing and sharing good shareable content, you will naturally get link backs. It sounds a bit hazy, doesn’t it? Here are a few other ways to grow your DA:
Every little helps, find a group of like minded bloggers and all do guest posts for each other. Once your DA rises and you do some collaborative posts your site name will get out there and more people contact you. I must be on several lists because of the amount I get contacted, plus I see in my referrals some odd list websites. They also find you through SEO, so keep that in mind. On your about me page or home page, put down what you offer. A lot of bloggers have a ‘Work with me’ page, where you can put what you offer.
Have a media kit and rate card detailing your skills, audience, social media accounts and your rates. Offer packages and different ways to work together. Then if you get asked for it it’s there. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and Canva have free templates you can edit.
Take a long hard look at your blog. Does it have a clear header, are your photos clear? Is it immediately apparent what your blog is about? Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes? Is the content on display relevant, shareable (share buttons are a must) and easy to read? Do you regularly post? You don’t have to stick to posting every day or even a few times a week, if once a week is all you can manage stick to that. Do you have a brand identity? A logo, a header, colours that complement. Does your social media reflect your blog?
Join the networks – you’ll find a list of blogging networks and facebook groups in this post Where to find sponsored posts for UK bloggers. When you fill in forms to apply for posts, be honest about your numbers. Always write your full name, check for spelling and grammar mistakes. If there is a space for extra information, write why your blog is a good fit and your turnaround time.
Do a good job! This sounds obvious, but once you’ve agreed a rate for whatever you’re doing, do it well. Provide the post on time, read the brief and stick to it. Again, make sure spelling and grammar are up to scratch. You don’t have to be an amazing photographer, but make sure your images are clear and clutter free.
Give value: The best sponsored posts don’t look sponsored. Take this post from Edspire. On the face of it, it looks like a heartfelt post about the reasons behind their choice to home educate. It is that, of course, but it also includes a link to a school and she has it marked as collaborative. She has included lovely photos, she has made it personal and relevant to her blog and audience. It doesn’t appear salesy or promotional. Anyone seeing that would choose her over someone who had made it more obvious. Think outside the box when you are writing a sponsored post. That’s what I love about writing blogs for brands, the challenge of fitting it in around what I want to write, and the satisfaction of doing a good job for them. PRs and agents will come back to you again and again if they like your work.
Want more help to get your blog earning for you? If you want in on all my blogging secrets, more on how to make money and grow your blog and social media, I’ve written a comprehensive course you might want to consider, called Blogging Secrets. If you enrol in the course you also get these EPIC bonuses!
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