September Blog Diary

How I made $60.95 My First Month Blogging. September Blog Report

In Blogging, Make Money With Your Blog, Starting a Blog by Craig Smith4 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more info.

September 2018  Blog & Income Report

In case you missed it, this is Part 2 in my series of Blogging Diaries. My goal is to shed some light on the process of Blogging and keep track of my progress. Hopefully some of you will find it useful! This is my first full month blogging and so far I’m having a blast with it. I also made my first 2 affiliate commissions which is very encouraging! 

I made $60.95! Whoot!

Blog Diary – September 15th

I have a gig today at 4 P.M. so I’m cramming in a few things this morning.

I received an email from a potential affiliate program I applied for. I sent a nice letter back, so we’ll see how that goes.

Finishing up the first part of this article September Blog Diary – Mid-Month. Not sure about this format, so let me know what you think in the comments below.

September 16th

I have a double today. For you non-musicians out there, that’s 2 gigs in one day. I’m playing 1-5, then heading home for a quick shower and playing again 7-10. Ouch. #Musicianlife

Spent some time this morning in my 2 Facebook groups sharing and promoting. Unfortunately thats about all I’m going to have time for today.

September 17th

I’m off today yay!

As much as I love the Amazon Affiliate program, I decided today I was going to spend some time looking for more programs to join. Perhaps things you actually wouldn’t normally buy on Amazon.

In Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing she lists over 100 good ones. When I took the course (I loved it!) I really wasn’t ready yet. I had only written a few blog posts and Amazon seemed fine at the time.

If you’re not familiar with the course check it out, it’s a windfall of information for Blogger’s who want to monetize their websites.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

Now that I’m approaching 20 lengthy articles on a variety of topics, I think I’m ready to diversify my affiliate portfolio.

I setup accounts for:

Rakuten.com
Shareasale.com

Rakuten was recommended by a Rocketlawyer.com Affiliate manager. I had used Rocket Lawyer for all of my legal and disclaimer pages when I first built this site last month.

I found RocketLawyer to be unresponsive when it came to their own affiliate program. I ended up partnering with a lawyer here in Florida, Amira Law. 

Her Legal Bundle covers everything to make your blog compliant, including the new GPDR rules that affect everyone.

I wrote about Amira in my article – Blogging: The First 30 Days Tools, Tips & Tricks. 

Shareasale was recommended in the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. I had created an account a while ago, but haven’t applied for any of the internal programs yet. I definitely like Shareasale.com the best so far.

Evening:

Spent the evening writing the 2nd article in a series on Guitar Practice Routines.

I think it turned out great! 

September 18th

SEO Day!

I decided that today I was going to concentrate on something I’ve ignored thus far, SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

While my blog is still under a month old, I’ve read from all the experts that it’s better to get into SEO sooner rather than later. 

After my Yoast catastrophe I did some digging. After chatting with 4 different SEO experts who all agreed that Yoast SEO was just one of many good tools available, I decided to setup All-In-1-SEO in WordPress.

All-In-1-SEO

I have to say, it was fairly painless. I went through the entire Settings menu and filled in and ticked off everything I could. If I didn’t understand something, I simply went to their website and read up on it. The whole process took less than an hour.

So far I’m really pleased with it. I’ve also finished up a few things that were recommended in their tutorials:

  • Setup a sitemap.xml file.
  • Setup a Robots.txt file
  • Added these both to the Google and Bing Webmasters site.

These are suppose to make it easier for search engines like Google to index your website. I’m no SEO expert, so you may want to read up on that elsewhere (sorry 🙂. Regardless, it was a fairly painless process and All-In-1-SEO made it easy.  Highly recommended.

I also went back through all of my blog posts and fixed the Titles and Meta snippets to make them look more attractive to search engines.

Yoast SEO

If you haven’t read my September Mid-Month Report, I just couldn’t get Yoast to work right. After the second time it broke my navigation menu (on 2 different themes) I decided to give up on it for now.

I want to focus on writing good, quality content not becoming some IT guy. If something doesn’t work as advertised then I’m moving on. So that’s what I did. I haven’t had a single issue with All-In-1-SEO.

September 19th

Good news this morning! I was accepted into 2 different affiliate advertising programs in Shareasale!

Will look at some existing articles to see if I can place any new and hopefully unobtrusive ads somewhere.

REL=”NOFOLLOW”

Are you familiar with this? I understood the concept of a No Follow Link, but didn’t realize the importance of it until after taking the course on affiliate marketing.

(UPDATE) I actually did a quick (7:23) video tutorial on this for a friend in a Facebook group:

During my SEO crash course yesterday, I kept coming across experts saying how vitally important it was to “nofollow” all of your affiliate links. Yes, ALL OF THEM!

Ok, so now I have a bit of work ahead of me!

I spent the entire morning going through all of my articles and checking to make sure everything was REL=”NOFOLLOW”. If you’re new to HTML code, it looks like this in the link HTML:

CODE EXAMPLE:

<a href="https://amzn.to/27696969n" rel="nofollow">iPad</a>

I had setup a bunch of nofollow affiliate links in the Pretty Links plugin but all of Amazon links were just copied and pasted without any thought about the nofollow rule.

Furthermore, all of my image links were not set to “nofollow” because Pretty Links doesn’t do that with images (at least not the free version).

I figured this last problem out myself! In Visual Edit Mode in WordPress, simply click on an image thats linked somewhere. It will look something like this:

Monetize Your Blog

Monetize Your Blog In 6 Easy Steps!

Add in the “nofollow” and you’re good to go! That would have been helpful to know a month ago. Jeeesh. 

I covered this stuff in detail in a new article:

Monetize Your Blog in 6 Easy Steps

September 20th

It’s my 21st Wedding Anniversary to my beautiful wife Celeste! If I’m on the computer all day today she’ll probably murder me in my sleep, so you’re not getting anything else today. 

(Update) – If you’d like to see some pics of our Anniversary fun I wrote about it here:

#Sanfording #3 – Anniversary Adventures 

September 21st

I have a gig this afternoon in Daytona Beach, so I’m going to start a new article and that’s about it. I did Yoga this morning and thought it might be cool to write an article about that even though it’s way outside of my typical niche.

Spent the morning and early afternoon writing. Finished the article Yoga For Old Dudes. I think it turned out pretty well and is getting solid feedback in my Facebook Groups.

GDPR

I spent a bit of time looking over the recent GDPR regulations for websites and blogs. It does affect us all. I recently became friends with a Lawyer in my favorite Facebook Group: A Self Guru Biz Blogging Community.

Went over all of my legal pages, disclaimers and privacy policy to make sure I’m compliant.

Amira Law

Amira Law

If you’re not sure you are in compliance, I found this great Legal Website Bundle at Amira Law. You can use those Legal Templates to cover all of your online legal bases.

I also like that she sells the pages individually:

Making friends with a Lawyer is never a bad thing! She’s pretty easy on the eyes too. 🙂

September 22nd

Wrote another article! My 3rd this week. More #Sanfording fun from our Anniversary celebrations in Historic Downtown Sanford, Florida

I took some great pictures and we had such a nice day it seemed blog worthy.

I also added a whole new section on Essential Pages in WordPress to my epic article: Blogging –  The First 30 Days – Tools, Tips & Tricks. 

This post has been my #1 traffic getter so far and people are responding positively to it. At over 4000 words, it’s a monster!

Afternoon

Since I had a gig at Orange Lake Resort in Orlando at 7 P.M. I decided to spend what little was left of my afternoon in my Facebook Groups. 

I know I’ve mentioned it before but Facebook Groups are so valuable to a beginning Blogger. There are always members who can help answer questions and it is a great way to share your stuff and promote each other. 

My Favorite Facebook Groups So Far:

September 23rd

I woke up today with some amazing news:

My First Affiliate Commission!! – $51.95

First Affiliate Commission

First Affiliate Commission

I had sort of an underachiever goal of getting a few sales by Christmas. (I went live on August 21st). Most people say you don’t make anything your first few months and I was fine with that. 

What I didn’t expect was 50 bucks in 32 days! Yeah!

Very exciting and gives me hope for the future.

I got this one from an advertiser in the Shareasale.com network. So far I like Shareasale. The interface and backend is easy to use and my sale was displayed prominently as soon as I logged in. Nice.

 

Some thoughts on LYING about your blog income:

Don’t do it. People will find out.

I recently read a report about a blog making $1200 the first month. Sounds great right? Too good to be true? Yes, because it wasn’t true.
Ever heard of the Wayback Machine? It’s a website here where you can look at an archived history of any URL on the internet.

I did some digging and as it turned out, the guy who said he made $1200 his first month actually has had that website up for about 14 months. He was also changing the dates on his articles. Shady AF right?
He also said he made $1400 his first month.. wait for it… 7 months ago. LOL. He deleted that one, but the page is still archived. Busted!

So, don’t believe everything you read. If it seems too good to be true… well, you know.

Morning

After celebrating my first commission over a few cups of Cafe Bustelo, I decided to get back to work.

This is actually working. My methods have proven successful thus far. I do know a lot about the tech side of things… so….

I’m going to create an actual sellable product. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for tutorials both music and blog related. I’m looking at the Teachable.com and Kartra platforms as well as few others. Will report back on this exciting new venture.

I have a Birthday Party to attend today that involves Beer and Chicken Wings. I’m guessing this is all you’re getting out of me today.

Shared Hosting - from $2.88/mo

September 24th

Spent the morning scheduling in Tailwind. Since I don’t have that many articles yet, I feel like I need to do this every few days. 

I’ve seen some articles on looping and stuff, but I just don’t have enough content to do that without looking like a spammer. I’ve read about people getting booted from Pinterest, so I’m trying to play by the rules as it’s my #1 traffic source right now.

Tailwind is a valuable tool and I can’t imagine manually pinning after using it for nearly a month. Don’t forget, if you’re thinking of using Tailwind, use my affiliate link to get you a free month ($14.99!) and I’ll get one too. 

Evening

I’m really starting to get to know people in my Facebook Groups. Particularly my favorite ASelfGuru Biz Blogging Community. Everyone is super friendly and helpful! If you’re a blogger of any skill level I encourage you to join.

I decided to write another Blogging related post geared at helping some of the people in my group. I started writing Monetize Your Blog in 6 Easy Steps. I think it turned out really good!

September 25th

Morning

I have a gig tonight so going to try to cram in a few things today and get my latest article done!

I decided today I need a new MacBook Pro. They are expensive, but totally worth the money. My 2008 MacBook Pro still works great. Unbelievable, but in 10 years I’ve never had a single issue with it. 10 years! 

Macbook Pro

Macbook Pro

I decided to upgrade strictly for software reasons. The older machines only update to a certain point. I’m 3 operating systems behind and with my Blog requiring more work every day I decided it was time!

Plus, with Apple’s new Mojave OS coming out this month, I’m excited to be back up-to-date. Dark Mode!

I went with a refurbished one from Gazelle.com. I stumbled upon Gazelle in the Shareasale affiliate program. After seeing their prices and ordering mine, I decided to become an affiliate too.

I also like that Gazelle.com uses the Affirm program for easy financing with many different payment options for 6 to 18 months. Very nice if you’re on a budget or starting a new blog and only making a few bucks (ahem).

September 26th

I went back to my niche today. I’ve started a series – The 7 Day Guitar Practice Routine. It seems to be doing well among musician friends and peers on my personal Facebook page. I finished days 1 & 2 and started a 3rd on Arpeggios.

If you’re reading this, you probably won’t be interested in that. 🙂
…. But if you know someone that plays guitar, then by all means please share it.

I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on my Monetize Your Blog in 6 Easy Steps Article in my #1 Facebook Group. A few of the girls in that group asked if I’d create another tutorial specifically for beginners. Once I get my new laptop, I’m going to look into how to create video capture with audio so I can do that for them.

September 27th

I’ve hit traffic highs for the past 5 days straight. Very encouraging!
Floating between Guitar and Blogging niches has been fun. I’ve also thrown some other random stuff in too. Still not sure where I’m going with this Blog, but I am having a blast doing it.

I’m pleasantly surprised my “pillar content” article: The 7 Day Guitar Practice Routine is getting the most page views thus far. I’m a little less surprised the Monetize Your Blog in 6 Easy Steps is catching it fast! Blogging about Blogging seems to be a hot topic. Who knew?

September 28th

New Laptop Day! Got my refurbished Macbook Pro from Gazelle.com today. Delivered on time and without a single flaw. I was a little worried about using a non-Apple charger but I’m so glad I didn’t buy one.

The charger that came with my refurbished Macbook Pro included a long USB-C (aka Thunderbolt 3) cable and ports for 3 devices. I can charge my iPhone, iPad and Macbook all at the same time… from the same charger! Super cool.

I had never used the new USB-C cable before. Found a 5 pack on Amazon for cheap! Including a 10 ft. long cable. nice.

I’m super pleased with my purchase and have decided to apply for Gazelle.com’s affiliate program through Shareasale. Shipping was fast, free and I saved over $500 by buying refurbished.

I never endorse or use ads for stuff I don’t like or use myself, so this one was a no-brainer.

I have a gig tonight, so my man-toy fun is going to unfortunately be cut short.

September 29th

Having so much fun with the new Macbook Pro. Funny thing is, I almost bought some $50 software to record screen-capture audio video.

Turns out, the new Mac OS Mojave includes a variety of screen capture options including audio/video. WOW. So cool and easy to use. I was able to create 2 tutorial videos in a matter of minutes and upload them to my Vimeo account.

I made one on basic linking (below) and adding pictures in WordPress and another on adding affiliate links and ads using Amazon. Check them out and tell me what you think. (I posted the other one above)

September 30th

Woke up to another commission! – $9 HA. Time to quit my job.. Ok maybe not yet. I’m still thrilled everything is working as I had hoped. For what it’s worth, I LOVE my job as a Musician. I would never quit.

This second commission was from a Scrivener sale. I love Scrivener and use it for all of my writing. It really is the best writing software so it’s easy to recommend. Check it out and if you like it as much as I do, you can also join their affiliate program.

My first full month of Blogging is complete! I’m happy to report the best traffic I’ve seen yet this week and it looks to be going up, up, up!

traffic September

I made $60.95 from advertising! I’m excited for the future and where my blogging journey will take me.

I’m still not sure about these bi-weekly blog diaries. The first one didn’t get alot of views, although to be fair, I didn’t really promote it as much as my other more fun content.

Let me know if you like this format, and I’ll continue to do it in October.

Stuff I used to create this article:
Adobe Spark Post – The best for graphics!
Scrivener – Writing software done right.
iPad 9.7″ with ZAGG Bluetooth Keyboard
MacBook Pro

Pin it!

How I made $60.95 my first month blogging! An honest monthly report from a real beginning blogger.

How I made $60.95 my first month blogging! An honest monthly report from a real beginning blogger.

About the Author

Craig Smith

Craig Smith is a Professional Guitarist, Writer and Blogger in Sanford, Florida. After teaching and performing for over 25 years he started www.Lifein12Keys.com as an online outlet for his writing passion. An Educator at heart, Craig loves to teach people how to play Guitar and Blog. When he’s not playing Guitar, Skateboarding or arguing with you about why Vinyl Records sound better than CDs, you may find him by the pool with his wife Celeste, 4 Chihuahuas and a drink.

Comments

  1. What an awesome blog post. I am a newbie to blogging. I did not understand the no follow links until I saw your video in the blog post. Thanks for sharing and helping other bloggers learn the ropes.

    1. Author

      Thank you Deborah! I’m so glad it helped. If you need anything let me know.

  2. Craig,
    I love the day by day of your income report!! That’s a very new and fresh way to do it! Enjoyed your post very much!

    1. Author

      Oh good, thanks Mandy! I wasn’t really sure since this is all new. I was a bit worried it was too long. That’s another reason why I split into 2 per month.

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