Friday, September 2, 2016

Why I'm Not Making (Much) Money Blogging

I've been blogging longer than most people.  I've had my book blog, This That and the Other Thing since 2005.  I've been writing here since March, 2015.  Over the years I've gotten lots of review copies of books (some of which I'm sure I could have easily sold), some products for review including mixing bowls, dog toys, a breast pump  holder and a stuffed animal.  I've earned about $250 from Adsense, and gotten about $10 worth of credit in my Kickfuther account because of referral links.  If I was counting on blogging to pay the bills, I'd be sorely disappointed.  However, for me, blogging is a hobby.

What I'm Doing Wrong

I've read lots of posts from other people about how to make money blogging and I've realized what I'm doing wrong.

  • My Posts Aren't Search Engine Optimized.  Instead of using various tools to discern which keywords are "hot" right now and then writing posts based on those keywords, making sure to use those keywords in the first and last paragraph and in at least one subheading, I write about what I want to.
  • I Don't Use "Pin-Friendly" Images.  My images are size "medium" on blogger; they are not cropped to be long and thin, like images shown to do well on Pinterest. I haven't gone to Canva and created my "look" that is just like most other people's with a translucent square that goes over my image and holds some writing about it.  I haven't invested the time in learning how to make images like that, and I don't pay anyone to make them for me.  That must be why my posts are never re-pinned and why I never get traffic from Pintrest.
  • I Don't "Get" Twittter.  I have an account.  Bloglovin tweets for me when I publish a new post.  I tweet about my posts sometimes.  However I don't see any traffic coming from Twitter.  I don't follow other people because I've never seen the point.
  • I Don't Spend Enough Money.  According to many things I've read, I'm not spending enough money to make money blogging.  Here are the things I'm not buying:
    • Web hosting.  If you want to make money blogging, you have to self-host, at least according to the things I've read.  Most of the time that helpful advice includes an affiliate link that will give the advice-giver money if I follow the advice to spend at least $4.00 per month on web hosting.
    • A Premium WordPress Theme.  Not only can I not make money if I don't self-host, I have to pay for a premium WordPress theme as well.  I can buy the popular Genesis theme for only $59.95.
    • Social Media Software.  There are product out there that allow you to automate the promotion of your blog on social media and those products cost money--or you could hire a virtual assistant to handle social media chores for you.
    • Premium Photos.  I use Pixabay for most of my photos, just like thousands of other people, so they aren't unique.  Of course I didn't pay for them either...
    • Classes on How to Make Money Blogging.  I'm showing my age, but once upon a time you could pick up the newspaper and peruse the want ads.  There were often ads about how to make money at home stuffing envelopes.  All you had to do to get started was to buy a starter kit for $X.XX.  What was the starter kit?  It was a mimeographed (see I told you I was showing my age) sheet telling you to take out an ad in the paper offering to teach people how to make money stuffing envelopes.  When someone responds, you stuff these directions in an envelope and send it back to them.  It seems the modern equivalent is a course in how to make money blogging that tells you to create a sell a course on making money blogging.
    • Mail Chimp.  While you can get a Mailchimp account for free, and use it until you have over $2,000 subscribers, I'll bet the $10/month version is much better.  Since I don't collect my readers' email addresses unless they enter a giveaway, and I don't do anything with them, that must be a big reason I'm not getting rich blogging.

Why Am I Not Doing It Right?

You might ask why, if I know what I'm doing wrong, I don't choose to do it right.  
  1. I don't want to spend the money and I'm not convinced it is worth it.  If I moved this blog to  a self-hosted WordPress site that cost me $4.00/month I would spend almost all the money I am now making on this blog.  By itself, would that move pay off?
  2. I  don't want to spend hours on each post.  As I said earlier, this is a hobby.  Doing keyword reasearch, creating Pin-worth graphics and promoting posts on social medial takes time.  I have a job already.
  3. I don't want to create a product to sell  The bottom line seems to be that in order to make big money  (like job-replacing money) blogging, you have to create and sell something that you use the blog to promote.  The blog is the hook but it doesn't get them in the boat--the content that you sell is what makes the real money.  

How Am I Doing?

This, That and the Other Thing gets about 3,000 hits per month, and most of my posts that are more than a week old have 20-50 views.  Racing Towards Retirement also gets about 3,000 views a month; however, most posts get over 100 views.  Some get as many as 700-800.  

As far as money-making, I used to get periodic sales from Amazon on my book blog, but since my state decided to try to tax internet vendors Amazon kicked its residents out of the affilliate program.  

I run a lot of articles on Kickfurther and they usually include my affilliate link.  I've made about $10 from that.  I haven't sold any ad space but I do get a few dollars per month from Adsense.  I still have more books than I can read. 

My blog has helped me land some freelance customers.  I've done alright with that but not enough to quit my day job. 

For now, I think I'll remain a hobby blogger.
Disease Called Debt


  1. Yes I have many of the same problems. I almost switched to wordpress but decided it was too costly to hire someone and too many posts for me to do by myself. Then I started looking and a lot of great bloggers are on blogger and I stayed. I've heard that it really doesn't matter about the size of images on Pinterest. I'll never do SEO correctly! I keep trying to improve and maybe it will help. I love the term hobby blogger but professional blogger will be good too!

  2. There's nothing wrong with being a hobby blogger if that's what makes you happy, just as there's nothing wrong with blogging for money. I think where most people get into difficulty (myself included) is starting a blog as a hobby and then wanting to earn some money from it. If you want to make money blogging, it really needs to be treated as a business with money and time invested into it. I'd say if you're reaching 3,000 views a month here as well as on the other blog, your hobby is quite successful!

  3. You do have to invest in your blog for it to make money, but it's certainly a gamble! Despite everything you read, there's never a guarantee that you'll be able to turn it into a money maker. And it could lose a lot of money in the process. It's smart to know what your tolerance for risk is and to stick with it.

  4. I'm with Vickie. If you're getting 3000 views a month and making a bit of money on it (plus getting free stuff) while having fun, you're doing well.

  5. I actually use the free version of Mail Chimp for a client's blog and it's pretty great! :) And I use the free version of Canva to make my images - but I enjoy doing it, so that makes a difference! :) Do what's right for you! -Erin of stay at home