Oh the blog income report. Where do I start?
I think it’s safe to say blogging income reports are one of the first posts a budding blogger comes across when searching for advice on starting a blog. In fact, blog income reports might be the thing that inspires someone to start a blog in the first place. I mean, who would know blogging could be so lucrative if people didn’t share their income for the world to see.
In 2011, when I first started to blog, there weren’t many bloggers sharing their blogging income. Looking back, I can only remember 3 that I followed – Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income, Darren Rowse from Problogger, and Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum. There might have been more sprouting up at that time but those were the ones I waited patiently for every month.
To be honest, I learned A LOT from these blogging income reports. Every month, they didn’t just share regurgitated fluff. Nope, they went into the nitty gritty of blogging. I mean, there were screenshots, tutorials, and tons of insider tips you’d never know unless you were in the blogging trenches. It was great!
As a new blogger I was grateful these bloggers shared openly their wisdom, along with the income potential blogging held. Specifically, Pinch of Yum. I followed them for a long time – before they even started sharing their income – so it was awesome to learn from them.
Also, at that time there weren’t any ecourses or structured ways to learn to blog. There were some ebooks but that was about it. So back then, if I wanted to learn from the pros the only way to do that was through blog income reports.
Fast forward to now.
At this point in my blogging career, I must admit, I have a love/hate relationship with blogging income reports. You might be wondering why, considering I just talked about how much they helped me in my own blogging career.
Well here’s the thing.
In the last 5-6 years years blogging income reports have exploded. When browsing a blog, regardless of the niche, I bet you can find a blogging income report or “how to start a blog” somewhere. And there’s a reason for that. Blog income reports have potential to make cash – a lot of cash.
First, blogging income reports are popular – people love reading them. How can you not? It’s fun to see someones income rise every single month! So, the more people you get to a post the more money you’ll make.
Second, all income reports link to a hosting service and other blogging services. Which makes sense because the purpose of these reports is to give you a behind scenes look at blogging. Anyway, the blogger is an affiliate for these services and receives a commission whenever a person signs up using their link. For hosting services (for example, Bluehost) a blogger can receive between $65 to $100+ per sign-up. Obviously, depending on the traffic a blogger gets, that can really add up.
Now I don’t have a problem with people making lots of money – trust me, I know there’s enough money in blogland for all of us. That’s not the issue.
The problem I have is the blogging income reports of today don’t even come close to the ones of yesterday – at least none that I’ve seen. And when newbie bloggers are looking to these reports for guidance they are receiving false hopes, bad advice, and becoming frustrated. Sorry if that offends anyone.
Think about it. Most bloggers who share they made “10,000+ in a month” or “50,000+ a month” most likely have one income source bringing in the majority of the money. This income source is typically Bluehost, Siteground, or some other hosting company. Take that income source away and how much did they really make that month? Just sayin.
Again, I don’t have a problem with people making money but if your blog is primarily a food blog and most of your monthly income is coming from Bluehost then that’s not giving a new blogger a realistic view of the income potential a food blogger can make.
Every current income report I’ve read starts off by saying they’re sharing their income to help other new bloggers succeed. Well what if someone wants to simply run a food blog and not talk about blogging? What if they don’t want to share income reports or have a “how to start a blog” page on their blog? In this case, seeing that particular blogger make $10k a month through a hosting company, but zero money in food blogging related areas is going to be frustrating. A budding food blogger wants to learn to make money by writing a food blog. That’s just an example, you can switch out food blogger for any niche.
In my opinion, most bloggers are starting blog income reports because they are struggling to make an income within the original niche they started with. Hence, the reason you see so many lifestyle, food, health, parenting, and every other blog niche sharing their blog income. Again, it’s their blog, and their choice to do so, but it definitely sends the wrong message if your goal “is to help bloggers make an income”.
This is the reason so many people say things like “the only people making money blogging are the ones teaching about blogging”. This makes sense, because that’s the only people sharing their blog income reports. However, I can assure you there are MANY true blue bloggers who make well over 6+ figures a year without talking about blogging. You just don’t see those bloggers because 1. their too busy blogging to create income reports and 2. they don’t want to share their income. By the way, I’m one of those bloggers. My blog Organize Yourself Skinny makes well over 6+ figures a year and I don’t talk about blogging – just meal prep and healthy habits.
With all that said, I still see the appeal with blogging income reports. Some of them are fun to read and admittedly, once in a while, I do learn a new tidbit of information. Plus, blog income reports are not going away anytime soon.
Therefore, how does one decipher between all the blog income reports out there. How do you know which ones to take seriously – meaning you can learn from them – and which ones should you skip over?
Here are the questions I ask.
Where is most of their blog income coming from?
This is huge, in my opinion. If their primary niche is low-carb recipes and 95% of their income is coming from Bluehost, or another hosting company, then I would really question whether or not they are successful as a food blogger.
Remove their “how to make money blogging” income and see what’s left. Again, I’m not saying people can’t, or shouldn’t, make money. Who am I to suggest that? I’m simply saying to recognize where a blogger’s income is coming from – especially, if they are trying to teach you how to blog. You want to know the tips they are sharing are helping them grow the blog they originally set out to write. Make sense?
How long have they been blogging?
Sorry, nothing makes me skip over a blogging income report faster than it saying “I made $50 in my first month or blogging” or “I made $200 in my third month of blogging”. Not to say they don’t have any “lessons learned” to share but, in my opinion, they really shouldn’t be giving advice on starting a blog.
Personally, I want to learn from someone who’s been blogging for years – a veteran. Someone who’s been on the front lines and knows exactly what’s it like to be a true blue blogger. In this case, it wouldn’t bother me to see blogging information on their blog even if their niche is something other than blogging. Because, if this blogger has been there and done that, then I want to learn from them.
Think about it this way. If you were starting a job at a restaurant. Would you want to be trained by someone on the job for a month or someone who’s been there at least 2 years? The one who was just trained could possibly give textbook answers to problems but the veteran could give real life examples.
Do they have a blogging niche beyond “how to blog”?
There are many bloggers that create “how to blog” blogs right out the gate and start sharing income reports. My issue with this is they don’t have experience being a true blue blogger. Do they know what it’s like to start a blog about fitness, gardening, pies, or any other topic and make a full-time income from it?
Creating a blog to teach about blogging is completely different than starting a blog outside that topic. The audience, marketing, and income sources are different. Well the basics are the same but how you can make money with them is different. I feel it would be very difficult for someone who only knows about starting a blog to help someone become a successful blogger in another niche.
I love learning from bloggers who first succeeded as a true blue blogger THEN started a blog to share their blogging wisdom. For example, Becky Mansfield from Your Modern Family and Paula from Beauty through Imperfection joined forces and created www.beckyandpaula.com to share all their blogging wisdom. I find it beyond helpful to read their tips and also see examples from their own websites.
Also, I created the website your reading Big Boss Moves to share all the blogging wisdom I’ve learned from running my main blog Organize Yourself Skinny since 2011.
I’m not saying to completely disregard bloggers who are solely in the blogging niche – there are some I’ve learned a lot from. I’m just saying to be vigilant on who you decide to take blogging advice from.
Like I said earlier, it’s one thing to learn the information but it’s quite another to live it. Knowledge + experience = true wisdom.
Are they sharing valuable advice and all their numbers?
The best income reports go beyond the income. They offer tutorials, lessons learned, and tons of advice. They also share traffic numbers and other data. Honestly, that’s what I loved the most about the income reports I followed years ago. Each blogger gave a detailed look into the traffic they received the previous month. This helps readers understand the importance of traffic, how to get it, and what the income potential is as your traffic grows. The information was valuable and helped me create a strategy for my own blog.
If a blogger is sharing income, some basic tips, and nothing else I’d move on to another one. Remember, the purpose of a blog income report to a new blogger is to learn. So ask yourself, what did I learn from this? How can I improve me blog based on this information?
What do their social media channels look like?
This one isn’t a total deal breaker but I don’t think it hurts to take a look at their social media channels. Building a blog means building an audience and, more importantly, a community. It takes time and work to do that – you want to take a peak and see if they’re active with their readers and have put in the work to build a community. This helps you see if they are walking the walk.
The purpose of this post is not to talk down, or diminish, blog income reports. Again, I started my blog career with the help of certain bloggers generously sharing their knowledge. However, times have changed and if you’re serious about starting a money making blog then out of ALL the blog income reports available you want to make sure you read the ones that are truly helpful. Meaning these bloggers are sharing valuable advice and tips – not just a list of income streams with affiliate links. You want to see that each month they are putting into practice the advice they’re giving and increasing their blog income because of it.
You might be wondering if I write blog income reports? The short answer is no. Prior to starting Big Boss Moves I did do a few income reports, and also put together a “Start a Blog” page, on Organize Yourself Skinny. However, I felt that content didn’t meet the needs of my readers so I stopped. I decided to start Big Boss Moves to share my blogging experiences. I don’t feel it’s necessary to share a blogging income report because you can easily look at Organize Yourself Skinny and my social media channels and see that I am a professional blogger. Not to mention, I just don’t feel comfortable sharing my income publicly.
So, while I don’t publicly share my income, I do work hard to share my blogging knowledge on Big Boss Moves so you can successfully start a blog and become a professional blogger.
Here are some posts to get you started:
Creating a blog was the best decision of my life! If you’re interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you step by step start a blog of your own. Take that first step and get your blog started.