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.
How to Start a Lifestyle Blog
A lot of aspiring bloggers think the only way to really make money online is to blog about blogging or personal finance.
While those niches can definitely be lucrative, they also don’t realize 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).
That’s why I felt inspired to pull back the curtain a bit and show how an average joe mom like myself makes money blogging in the lifestyle niche!
You will never hear me say 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, immediately 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 and income reports from my favorite bloggers and I thought to myself, if only.
These are people who make tens of thousands of dollars 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 passion 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, and also helps others do the same.
I actually stopped sharing income reports for a bit, but immediately after I did that 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 was 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 $1,000/month as a side hustle!
At that point, I realized something — making money could be fun!
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 that 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.
Blog income reports:
You can check out my prior (sporadic) blogging reports.
Honestly, I find it tough to look at numbers as low as these! But you know what I like about these numbers? They are honest, they are real, and they are 100% me!
- 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
Total blogging meltdown
My journey to $2,000 blogging income wasn’t a straight upward trajectory; instead, it was full of ups and downs, twists and turns, second-guessing, and soul searching.
Indeed, 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!
How I got to 100,000 pageviews and $2,000 income
When I look back and try to identify the turning point for my blog, three big moves stand out to me.
I can’t say my traffic exploded – rather, it grew.
Like a child, slowly and steadily, month by month. Inch by inch.
I found that I was working much less but seeing bigger returns! I learned how to blog smarter, not harder.
Which is AWESOME because I am not chained to my computer posting 3 times per week — in fact, I have been posting only once bi-weekly and my income has stayed the same!
*Update 6/26/2019 – I only posted once the entire month and my income is still going up!
#1: I figured out what I was doing wrong
My traffic — both Pinterest traffic and organic traffic — exploded after implementing what I learned in Dare to Conquer.
If you haven’t heard of it, Dare to Conquer is a complete blogging course from a dude named Paul Scrivens that blows all other courses out of the water.
The way I see it, creating a money-making blog is kind of like trying to find the most delicious hamburger in your city.
If you want to go out and get the most delicious hamburger, you go to the most delicious hamburger place, right?
It would make zero sense to go to the butcher, then to the lettuce farm, then to a tomato farmer, then to the dairy farm, etc.
Why would anyone buy a delicious hamburger piece-by-piece when they could go to a fantastic burger joint to satisfy their craving?
But that’s exactly how most bloggers buy their courses — they get Pinterest one place, and SEO course somewhere else, and whoopsie, why not get an affiliate marketing course over here?
Dare to Conquer is the blogging hamburger that is going to satisfy your craving for success — it’s all meat and no fluff.
Why I put my trust in DTC
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.
Here is a graph showing my blog growth (don’t worry, there are also Google Analytics screenshots further down so you can see I’m not B.S-ing you.)
#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!
#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 employed a one-two SEO punch of DTC know-how and SEMRush keyword research to plan my blog posts for the next 18 months and my organic traffic continues to grow every single month.
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 income report.
Below you can see that in the month of May organic search traffic accounted for 27% of my monthly traffic!
I am gunning to get to 50% organic!
So where did all those changes get me?
I purchased Dare to Conquer back in November 2018 — take a look at the chart below and see what happened when I started implementing DTC strategies late December.
Some quick statistics:
- My email subscribers increased by 900%
- My pageviews increased by 500%
- My income increased by 600%
As you can see, I went from an extreme low, which I lovingly refer to as “the valley of depression”, of 16,000 pageviews in December 2018 to 64,000 pageviews in January 2019!
After that, traffic increased to 91,000 pageviews in February and surged further in March, passing 100,000 pageviews!
And here is a breakdown of the week-by-week so you can see in more detail.
Special DTC offer!
Scrivs just let DTC members know that he has opened the doors to a new brand framework called the 100k Climb!
Because he is totally insane (amazing, but insane) he is offering all the Dare to Conquer courses in a complete package that you can subscribe to for only $99 per month!
You read that right — for less than 100 bucks per month, you get complete access to all the DTC courses PLUS the 100k Climb framework that spells out exactly how you can get your blog to $100,000/month!
- $100k Climb ($1,999)
- 6-Figure Product Creation($299)
- Affiliate Marketing Magic($199)
- Content Creation Cocktail($149)
- Dating Pinterest ($199)
- Feel Good Funnels ($299)
- Hero Branding ($99)
- SEO My Goodness ($199)
- Tribe Love ($99)
With the $99 package, you can stay as long as you want.
It’s up to you if you want to binge study for one month and leave or stick around and slowly soak it in.
I plan on sticking around for a long time since Scrivs regularly updates his courses — super important since social media, Pinterest, Google, etc. can change on a monthly basis!
Click here to get access to this special offer.
Last month’s blog income report
Show me the money! Here are all the ways Squirrels of a Feather made money 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, I got to this point by investing in trusted knowledge and working 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 the entire MONTH 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!
As of right now, 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 I have refused behind the scenes — I am very picky when it comes to sponsored posts.
If I don’t like 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. (You should totally follow me on Instagram.)
I hope that this information helps you in some way with your lifestyle blog!
I wish you luck and success!