In the past few months, this little lifestyle blog of mine achieved two major milestones; I hit 100,000 pageviews and met a short-term blogging goal I set for myself of making $2,000 per month. All while sitting at home — in my pajamas, mostly — lifestyle blogging.
Today I want to share the strategies I used to get me to where I am, in the hopes it can help you take your own blog to the next level!
This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. That means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more here.
Making money by lifestyle blogging
A lot of aspiring bloggers think the only way to really make money online is to blog about blogging.
What they may not realize is tons of lifestyle bloggers are quietly killing it in the background.
However, because their topic isn’t blogging they have zero incentive to discuss their income.
But I want you to know it is ABSOLUTELY possible to make money blogging even when you don’t blog about blogging (so meta, I know).
I’m not saying making money blogging is easy; if another blogger is telling you it’s “so easy” to make money blogging, run the other way because they are full of poop.
Blogging is a lot of things – exhilarating, fulfilling — but easy it is not.
So let’s cut through the hot, steaming piles of blogging B.S. and I will show you how exactly how I make $2,000 per month blogging from home in my pajamas!
Why I started a lifestyle blog
A little bit of background about our family:
- We have relocated a total of 5 times in the past 6 years for my husband’s work.
- I have been a SAHM since leaving my hospital speech-language pathology rehab job to have our first child in 2012, after which we moved to China for two years.
- My two boys were closing in on school age (Big Brother is now in kindergarten) and I was facing the prospect of returning to work after six years at home– a prospect which filled me with dread!
I remembered the constant burnout, the unmanageable caseloads, juggling patients and paperwork, dealing with doctors showing up to meetings hours late with zero regard for your schedule, the long commutes, and most of all, the stress.
When lunchtime rolled around, I could usually be found at my desk scarfing down cold food with one hand and typing up clinical reports with the other.
I dreamed of having a job that I could wake up and be excited for.
For years I read articles from my favorite bloggers and I thought to myself, if only.
These people make tens of thousands of dollar each month, traveling the world while blogging and generally living a life I could only dream of.
Then one day I saw a quote:
Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
— George Addair
It was then that I knew — I wanted to start a blog and reclaim my freedom and share my passions with others.
Maybe even make a little money while doing so.
Why share my income reports?
I share my blog income reports to:
- Inspire others to chase their blogging dreams, as other bloggers inspired me in the past.
- Pull back the curtain and allow fellow lifestyle bloggers to see it is possible to make money blogging in a creative niche!
- Track my progress in a way that helps me see trends and patterns, analyze what’s working and what isn’t, but also helps others do the same.
I actually stopped sharing income reports for a bit, but right when I did that I interest in my side hustle posts surged again (go figure) so I am adding them back in there!
(Lesson: pay attention to analytical data and allow your readers to TELL YOU what they want through their behavior patterns!)
Besides reading income reports from other bloggers, I also inspired to start my blog after decluttering with the KonMari method and selling my unwanted stuff online as a side hustle, an endeavor which ended up making me $15,000!
Side hustling is a topic near and dear to my heart and it fits so nicely with all these decluttering posts and ideas on how to simplify your life and have more freedom — so let’s continue!
What does blogging mean to me?
For me, blogging is literally a dream come true — it’s freedom!
Blogging allows me to work from home while still caring for my busy family.
I especially appreciate the flexibility since we just found out we get to move to Germany with my husband’s company!
This time, I am actually excited about moving — for the first time, we will be close to family (hubby’s entire family lives in Berlin).
I feel so blessed that I have a career which allows me to explore my passions from anywhere around the world.
Realistic Monthly Blogging Income
Okay, it’s time to get real — so what does realistic blog growth and blogging income look like?
(For most people it doesn’t look like 250k pageviews and $9,000 in your 3rd month blogging, I can tell you that!)
Heck, even making $324 the first SIX MONTHS blogging (like I did) isn’t very realistic!
Particularly in the lifestyle blogging niche, it can be tough to get your blog out there and start making money.
If you want, you can check out my prior (sporadic) blogging reports.
- How I Made $324 My First Six Months of Blogging
- How I Made $130 in My 7th Month Blogging
- How I Made $667 (and Hit 140k Pageviews!) in My 8th Month Blogging
- I Hate Pinterest: Why Traffic Tanked in My 9th Month Blogging
Total blogging meltdown
Blogging can be a rollercoaster — one minute I was on top of the world with 140,000 pageviews and being accepted to MediaVine, then the next month my pageviews were tanking and I was riding the struggle bus.
But the drop didn’t stop — down, down my pageviews went, from an all-time high of 140k pageviews in October to 16,000 pageviews in December.
I hit a wall.
I was filled with self-doubt.
After nearly a year of stellar growth I was in freefall — worse, I had no clue what I was doing wrong!
3 big changes = $2,000/month
As I stared at my falling pageviews last year, I accepted the fact that I needed help with the future of my blog and decided to invest in a course called Dare to Conquer (DTC).
That course literally changed my life (it sounds cheesy, but it’s true).
Change #1: I invested in Dare to Conquer
Dare to Conquer (DTC) was created by a Paul Scrivens, who makes six figures each year from 8 different blogs across multiple niches.
Lest you think that he’s just another dude who makes money blogging about blogging, read this quote from his website:
I didn’t like the idea that 33% of my life was going to go towards not being happy working for someone else.
So I started to create websites thinking that if others could succeed, then I could as well.
I had a couple of successes and many more failures.
A couple years ago, things finally clicked and from there I’ve been creating successful site after successful site.
In 2018, I made $728,506.78 without purchasing ads or doing anything crazy.
This was all from 8 different sites across different niches with different strategies.
When he says all niches, he really means all niches — the strategies he provides are formulated to help any blogger find success in major niches, not only personal finance bloggers or food bloggers, but also DIY, home decor, parenting, homemaking (like moi), etc.
I purchased his course back in November 2018 and then Dare to Conquer blew my mind about 16 different ways from Sunday — take a look at the chart below and see what happened when I started implementing his strategies late December.
I have tried many, many blogging courses and Dare to Conquer is the ONLY one that I recommend! You can try his free blogging bootcamp series yourself and see if Dare to Conquer may be right for you — who knows, it may be just what you need to take your blog to the next level!
Change #2: I switched up my blog’s theme
While going through DTC and implementing the strategies, it became clear to me that I needed to change up my blog theme to make my site easier to navigate.
I also wanted strategic gizmos that would help me capture more emails (like that nifty announcement bar you see at the top there).
After four hours of easy work on my part, my sparkling new blog design was ready to go!
Change #3: I got serious about keyword research
Having learned my lesson about the double-edged sword that is Pinterest when all my viral traffic dropped off in November 2018, I decided I was going stop going to put my eggs in the Pinterest basket and get even more serious about SEO.
Luckily, I have several other blogger friends who were also interested in improving SEO and we pooled our money together and joined SEMRush together.
(I was blown away by how much information you get with SEMRush! If you are interested in taking your blog to the next level you should definitely sign up for their FREE 7-day trial and check out their powerful SEO tools and see how you can start driving more traffic to your blog! Don’t let the price tag stop you — up to five people can share one SEMRush account at a time, so find some friends to hop on board with you. You can see how much organic traffic I gained in one month using SEMRush in this blog report.)
So what did all those changes get me?
Some quick statistics:
- My email subscribers increased by 900%
- My pageviews increased by 500%
- My income increased by 600%
Take a look at this screenshot of my Google Analytics data for my blog.
And here is a breakdown of the week-by-week so you can see in more detail.
Last month’s blog income report
Here is how much Squirrels of a Feather made in April 2019.
- MediaVine ads – $1,670.29
- Amazon – $97.04
- Tailwind – $2.25
- Etsy – $4.74
- Tasty Pins – $8.70
- Bluehost – $65
- Sponsored posts – $300
Total lifestyle blogging income: $2,148.02
Here are the stats for my two biggest income sources, ad income + Amazon affiliate income, for the past three months.
Blog smarter, not harder
In my opinion, the best thing about investing in Dare to Conquer was that it taught me to work smarter, not harder.
Towards the end of 2018, I was churning out 2-3 brand new blog posts each week and my traffic just kept falling! I kept throwing out new content hoping that something would take off and pick up my falling pageviews!
Compare that to last month, April 2019, during which time I only wrote three new blog posts and made more than $2,000!
See what I mean? Blogging smarter is where it’s at!
Areas for improvement
I DEFINITELY see areas that could use improvement!
I think that too much of my income is dependent on ads and I would like to increase my affiliate income. I recently started sharing more Etsy links for products that I adore (Etsy is an amazing affiliate for creative bloggers) and I hope to explore more avenues of income in the future.
I have a few more sponsored posts coming up but I don’t need to chase them anymore — I let them come to me. 🙂
(For every sponsored post you see here I can assure you there are probably 10 more that I have refused behind the scenes — I am very picky when it comes to sponsored posts. If I don’t love it, I won’t talk about it.)
Another area that could be improved is Instagram — I would love to hit 1,000 followers on Instagram but I don’t put a lot of time into it right now because it isn’t making me money. That may change in the future. (Follow me on Instagram, I tell great stories.)
I hope that this information helps you in some way with your lifestyle blog!
I have a little freebie for you before you go.
If you want to work on SEO but are feeling a little lost, sign up for this free SEO cheatsheet and accompanying instruction manual.
I created this cheatsheet especially for newer bloggers who are struggling to get traffic to their blog. (You will love the simple six-part action steps that can help you get more organic traffic!)