How Long Does it Take to Make Money Blogging? An Accurate Timeline
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Let's say you have an idea for a new website or blog and you start it today. How long does it take to make money blogging?
The answer to that question obviously depends on a ton of factors. However, I'm going to walk you through exactly what I did when I recently launched a new site (for Niche Site Project 4) and tell you exactly how long it took to start making money blogging.
I'll also share how long it took before it was indexed in Google, how long before I got my first visitor, how long before it started ranking in Google, and how long before I started to earn money.
If you are just starting a brand new site, these are all questions that you likely have. I've got answers to these exact questions because I literally just went through them.
How Long Does It Take To Make Money From A Blog?
It took me 4 months before I made an income from my website. But once I started to make an income, the earnings took off pretty quick.
By month 7, I was earning $128.41 per month.
By month 10, I had crossed the $1,000 per month mark.
So in less than a year, I built myself a $1,000 per month cash flow and an asset worth about $30,000 (websites sell for 30-40x their monthly profit. Mine is less than a year old, so I'm calculating it's worth based on the low 30x).
Here's how I did it:
How To Make Money Blogging
As part of a new public case study I'm doing, called Niche Site Project 4, I recently started a niche site. So, I'll share my exact scenario and blogging strategy, although the amount of time it takes you to make money could be different.
So, I created a WordPress site with these factors:
- My main goal is to attract Google organic traffic.
- I've also been adding pins to Pinterest in order to get traffic.
- I write content on my site for my target audience and then pin related images, and that's about it for my marketing strategy.
I should clarify that I'm targeting very specific keywords in all my articles, and I'm implementing best practices to help my site get noticed by Google. In other words, my site is very SEO friendly.
Also note, that I'm not doing a lot of “hustling”. I'm trying to build a business that over time (maybe a year to 2 years) is earning a healthy income month after month without my direct involvement.
I want the site to just rank well in Google and the traffic to keep pouring in each and every day.
So, I'm not daily “hustling” to try and earn money. I could be super active on Instagram, Twitter, Quora, forums, or other places where I know if I post enough daily, I'll get a trickle of traffic each day. By hustling, your site could start making some money on the first day!
But that is not sustainable. Sure, you might make $1 on your first day, but you might need to hustle just as hard tomorrow to make another $1.
The idea is to hustle smart so that in 1 or 2 years I'm not hustling at all and yet my site is making $1,000, $2,000, $5,000 or more each month with minimal involvement. I know this is totally doable since I've done it a few times.
So, now that I've laid out the criteria for my site… How long does it take a new niche site to make money?
In my case, it took almost exactly 3 months.
Here's the timeline (UPDATED):
- August 24th, 2018 – I buy the domain name for my new niche.
- Sometime before Sept 10th – The site is indexed in Google with just an About page live.
- September 10th, 2018 – I publish the first article on the site. I count this as the real start date.
- September 13th, 2018 – The site gets its first visitor from Google. It's unclear if it was from me or one of my authors. However, within a few days, it's definitely getting a random visitor from Google.
- September 27th, 2018 – Site gets its first visitor from Pinterest.
- End of September – 20 articles on the site. No earnings.
- End of October – 32 articles on the site. No earnings.
- End of November – 39 articles on the site. No earnings.
- Dec. 9th, 2018 – I get my first sale on Amazon. $3.97 in earnings!
- Dec. 10th, 2018 – I get 2 more sales for total earnings of $14.09!
- Feb. 2019 Report – $6 of earnings for the month
- April 2019 Report – $128.41 earnings for the month, breaking the $100 mark for the first time
- May 2019 Report – $565.44 earnings for the month
- June 2019 Report – $740.45 earnings for the month
- July 2019 Report – $1218.41 earnings for the month
- Aug 2019 Report – $1392.11 earnings for the month
- Dec. 2019 Report – $2360.98 for the month
- Dec. 2020 Report – $3,755 for the month
Early Amazon Affiliate Earnings Screenshot
So, after 3 months of work, I finally got on the board with $14.09 in earnings. I don't know if that's encouraging or discouraging for you, but I think about 3 months is a safe bet for when a brand new site should start making money (if you are focused exclusively on Google organic traffic).
I actually could have started making money a little bit quicker if I had just thrown up some Google Adsense ads. I'm sure I could get a few clicks. But again, this is not my long-term vision.
Paid traffic to an affiliate income site generally isn't a winning strategy with new sites.
Display ads and affiliate products are a great way to monetize blogging traffic, but it takes time.
So, how long does it take to get traffic to your brand new website?
Well, just a couple of days. Visitors from social media, Pinterest, or even search engines can start quite quickly.
However, ranking in search engines typically takes time for your site to age and these rankings to “stick.”
If you're looking for passive income that means you need a site Google loves and sends organic traffic to consistently. That takes time. Every successful person that's making money blogging will tell you that.
How long does it take a new website or blog to get indexed by Google?
Typically just a few days. Especially if you post your site on social media, Pinterest, or even blog comments will help Google find your site faster.
Some people take the extra step of using Google indexing tools, but if you're producing great content and building up your site this step isn't necessary. Google is very good at finding new sites.
How To Make Money Fast With Your Blog
You can see that my new site took a little while to make money. 4 months is pretty quick in the world of entrepreneurship, but there are ways you can do it even faster.
Social traffic and paid traffic both allow you to get instant viewers and earnings. Let's take a look at each.
Social traffic can be hit or miss. I think you might hit a home run if you share your site with people who already know and love you.
Get them to share it, ask for more shares, and see what happens. You probably won't go viral or anything. But there's a good chance that you'll get your message out to quite a few people.
And if you have ads, good affiliate recommendations, or sell good products, you can make an income.
The downside to this strategy is that it can be tough to sustain over the long run. It's impossible to keep up unless you're putting out new content.
And even when you are putting out new content, it can be easy for your circle to get tired of hearing about it. So you'll always need to be asking for shares, trying to get more people bookmarking your site, and creating repeat visitors.
You can use this blogging strategy as a sprint, but I recommend using it as a marathon. I think that networks like Facebook and Twitter can help with a sprint, but I think that Pinterest is best for a marathon.
A solid Pinterest affiliate marketing strategy is an important part of building a reliable passive income stream from your blogging work.
You can read my full guide to Pinterest Traffic.
Paid traffic is pay to win, but it works. The problem is that it can get expensive if you aren't 100% sure what you're doing.
You'll need to be profitable fast to continue with paid traffic. The fact of the matter is that as soon as you aren't paying, you aren't getting traffic.
I don't recommend paid traffic with display ads or with affiliate marketing websites. Your margins just end up being too low and you'll lose money.
But there is some serious money to be made with ads if you're selling a quality product. You'll have to keep track of your conversion rates, but you do have the opportunity to make a ton of money this way.
The Fastest Way to Make Money Blogging: New Opportunities
Building a niche website is all about the long-term. Building organic blog traffic takes time, as well as an understanding of search engine optimization. Then you have to make sure you're monetized well to get as much affiliate revenue from your work as possible (to help, we created a complete guide on optimizing your blog for monetization here).
However, there is another way that a blog can help you make money fast: with other opportunities.
Use a good-looking and well-written blog to prove your digital marketing skills and get hired for a freelance writing gig. Write scripts for a small company building a YouTube channel.
These jobs can earn you online money now. So how long does it take to make money with a blog? It still takes time. But if you use the blog to showcase your skills as you're building a long-term source of affiliate revenue then you can speed up the timeline a bit.
My Longer Term Strategy
I tend to go for a longer term, make-money-slow strategy. I take the marathon approach to social media and to my content. I'm always trying to publish new content and pin new images to Pinterest.
Ads have worked well for me in the past, but they're a late-stage addition. I use my income from Google traffic and social traffic to fund the ads.
The Momentum Has Begun
Obviously, I'm not going to be able to retire early just yet on this income. Although, I did quit my day job in 2011 (and have never looked back) because of my niche site income. However, the momentum has now begun for big things to happen over a longer period of time.
I actually think it could take almost 12 months for any new site to even break $500 or $1,000 a month in earnings (UPDATE: it ended up being 10 months to hit the $500 mark). However, if you are someone that is able to stick with the process and actually put in consistent work for a period of 12 months, you should have a great site on your hands and the possibility of one day making a full time income.
Building a successful blog and earning money from it is a long-term project. You need to develop a great foundation, then add blog post after blog post to grow and expand. If you don't quit, you'll be amazed at just how far you can go.
The exciting things start to happen after the first year. Earnings can go up significantly as the site truly ages, gains authority, and rankings improve in Google. That's when you can really start to make money blogging.
So, is a niche amazon affiliate website going to make a killing after 3 months? No. But will the process have started where the site is started to get a trickle of traffic daily and money can be made? Yes.
Don't Give Up on Making Money Blogging Too Early
I think it's important to keep the life cycle of a site in perspective. I think most people give up way too early.
For example, when the Niche Site Project 4 started many people were interested in joining. In fact, I had over 800 beginning bloggers indicate interest in starting a new niche site and joining me for Niche Site Project 4. By the time the first monthly report came due, only about 139 people submitted a report.
I don't know if all those people had quit before the first report was due after 1 month, but I suspect many of them quit or just never got started. Then many others probably just failed to report their blogging income.
By the time the next report came due, only 77 reported. (Most bloggers, or almost half, dropped out from the previous month).
And in the most recent monthly report, only 45 people reported.
Quitters don't make money blogging
Now it could just be that 750 people aren't reporting. However, I think it's most likely that most bloggers are quitting after 1 or 2 months.
Once the excitement wears off, writing multiple blog posts, attracting blog traffic, building a profitable blog, and earning a full-time affiliate income is a ton of work. The majority of people out there are quitting way too early. Building your passive income stream takes time and effort.
In some niches, like if you're going with a travel blog, the competition is heavier and that means even more time and work. But it is possible!
So, if you are going to start a brand new website from scratch, just realize that it's going to take longer than a few months to start seeing much momentum. But that's really where the fun begins!
If you put in the blogging work early and refuse to give up you will build a profitable blog. The exact timeline can vary based on competition in your niche (travel blogger is great but it's a brutally competitive niche, for example), monetization, your keyword research, your search engine optimization skills, and how much work you really put in.
But it is possible. Everyone's blogging journey is different but every new blogger can create a money making blog with enough work.
I wish you luck as you build your website and hope you have great success!
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