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Blog Case Study: Over $8,400 in 9 Months
Today I wanted to share a blog case study with you and show you exactly how I earned more than $8,400 from a brand new blog in just nine months.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I have started quite a few blogs. Five to be exact, three of which I later sold for a profit!
This blog case study income report is going to be for a college lifestyle blog that I started at the end of March 2020, and then sold in March 2021. However, within the first nine months of starting this site, I earned over $8,400 from it.
I’m going to give you an EXACT breakdown of how I monetized this blog so quickly.
If you haven’t started your own blog yet but you’ve been thinking about it, before to check out my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog or sign up for my free Blogging Bootcamp course and get the steps delivered straight to your inbox:
Before I get into the blog case study, here’s some background information.
As I mentioned, this blog is in the college lifestyle niche. The main categories on this blog are dorm room, college life, and gift guides.
I started this blog towards the end of March 2020, right after the pandemic began. This ended up being SUPER good timing, because I had not yet realized the effect the pandemic was going to have on my swiftly growing travel blog.
So while my travel blog income ended up completely tanking for the rest of 2020 (after hitting an all-time high in the previous few months) thankfully this new blog came in and saved the day for the rest of 2020.
Monthly Blog Stats
Okay, time to get into this blog case study!
First things first, let’s take a deep dive into the growth of this blog.
Below is an overview of my income and traffic each month since starting this blog. (I’m not including March since I started it late in the month.)
The number in parenthesis is my traffic in page views for that month.
- April: $33.47 (9,478)
- May: $205.42 (25,716)
- June: $681.50 (31,835)
- July: $1,254.74 (41,814)
- August: $999.23 (35,258)
- September: $352.33 (20,360)
- October: $1,440.35 (42,612)
- November: $1,250.22 (29,766)
- December: $2,227.68 (41,891)
Total Income: $8,444.94
And here’s how that income breaks down…
- Mediavine: $4,066.20
- Amazon: $4,286.13
The remaining $92.61 I earned came from a handful of smaller affiliate programs.
How My Blog Made Money
So as you can see, I made over $8,400 in nine months on this blog.
But let’s talk about how actually I earned this money.
As you could tell from the breakdown above, almost all of my blog income came from two sources: Mediavine ads and the Amazon affiliate program.
Close to half of my income came from Mediavine ads on my blog.
With the Mediavine ads, I was able to get them on my blog very quickly. I applied once I hit 10,000 sessions on my blog, which was at end of the month of May.
I was able to apply with just 10,000 sessions because I already had another website with Mediavine. However, they have since changed their requirements, and now you need 50,000 monthly sessions to apply regardless.
I got Mediavine ads on my blog in June, and my earnings and RPM (revenue per one thousand page views) fluctuated from month to month, with it being highest around the holidays. (Which is typical for ads.)
The rest of my income came from affiliate marketing, mainly through Amazon.
I wrote a whole ebook about making money from the Amazon affiliate program if you want to learn the exact strategies I use to write blog posts that make sales.
For this blog, I wrote a lot of gift guides and shopping lists. This is a great way to make money from the Amazon affiliate program.
In May and June, a lot of my affiliate sales came from my blog posts about graduation gifts because it’s the time of year when high school and college graduations are happening across the United States and other countries.
In June, July, and August, most of my affiliate sales were coming from blog posts about back-to-school shopping (mainly what to buy for your college dorm.)
Obviously, September was my worst month for traffic and income. I’m honestly not sure why my traffic and income was SO low in September, but I assume part of it has to do with the fact that most college students were already back in school and done with their back-to-school shopping.
In October, I had a blog post about college Halloween costumes that did really well on Pinterest and led to a lot of affiliate sales.
And in November and December, I had blog posts about Friendsgiving and Christmas that made up the majority of affiliate sales. I had a number of Christmas gift guides which got a lot of traffic, including one that ranked at the top of the first page in Google for a very popular search term!
A tiny amount of my income (just over $90) came from a few other affiliate programs, namely for a planner and another blogger’s ebook.
I had affiliate links for a few other products on my blog too, but I never saw any conversions for those, so I didn’t spend much time promoting them.
How Did I Get Traffic?
I was able to start getting traffic to my new blog almost immediately thanks to Pinterest. Pinterest is my secret weapon for getting traffic quickly!
If you need help with using Pinterest to get traffic, I HIGHLY recommend the online course Pinteresting Strategies. It’s affordably priced and it’s what I’ve used for ALL of my blogs for the past three years now. Carly, the blogger who created this course, gets 200k+ monthly page views to her blog from Pinterest.
While I am still nowhere near that level of Pinterest traffic on any of my blogs, I HAVE been able to use her strategies to go from zero to decent traffic within a short frame of time on every new blog I have started.
Her course explains everything in detail, but the basic gist of what I do is create lots of pins for every blog post I write (typically 3-5 for new posts and then more as time goes on) and pin them to my personal boards on Pinterest. I use lots of keywords in my board names, board descriptions, and individual pin descriptions.
I also started getting organic search traffic to my blog, but that took about seven months to kick in, whereas with Pinterest I was getting traffic after a few weeks.
SEO (search engine optimization) is something I really prioritized with this blog.
For every blog post I wrote, I did keyword research (I paid for the $7 trial of Ahrefs and did my keyword research in bulk, but you can also use a tool like UberSuggest or SEMRush, both of which offer a certain number of free searches each day.)
I made a spreadsheet where I put the keyword, its monthly search volume, and its ranking difficulty. I made a big list of keywords this way.
Then I targeted keywords with a high search volume and a low ranking difficulty when I wrote my blog posts. Making a big list of keywords ensured that I never ran out of blog post ideas, and that I was strategically creating content.
How Many Blog Posts Did I Write?
A question I hear from new bloggers a lot is how many blog posts they should write.
With this blog, I wrote 55 blog posts from March until December of 2020. That works out to 5.5 new blog posts per month. Although honestly, I wrote WAY more over the summer and was churning out a new blog post every few days. Then I slowed down in the fall and posted more sporadically, only a few times per month.
My goal was to get 50,000 words of content written as quickly as possible because I heard somewhere this is a good number to target before you start seeing real results from SEO. (I’d say that’s about accurate!)
I ended up with about 64,000 words written, which works out to an average of 1,163 words per post. So on average, my blog posts are not super long.
I think once you get to the point of having 100-200 GOOD blog posts published that target good keywords, is when you can really expect to see more traffic.
My expenses for this blog were very low.
Actually, the main expense I had was monthly web hosting, but I split that between all my blogs so it was not really a dedicated expense just for this blog.
You can get web hosting for just $3.95 a month for one blog with Bluehost.
(I pay around $12 a month because I’m on a plan that hosts multiple blogs.)
I did spend $50 hiring a graphic design for a couple of one-off tasks as well.
But aside from that, everything I earned from this blog was pure profit! That’s one of the best things about blogging: it has extremely low expenses and higher profit margins that pretty much any other business out there.
I hope you’ve found this blog case study helpful!
I wanted to show that it IS possible to make money with a new blog.
For this blog, I think the most important things I did to grow it quickly were…
Publishing seasonal content
I made it a goal to publish seasonal content a few months in advance on my blog. So this meant publishing high school/college graduation content in March and April, back-to-college content in May and June, Halloween content in July, Christmas content in August and September, etc.
This gave my blog posts a few months to start circulating and getting traffic.
Focusing on Pinterest
The way I was able to get traffic so quickly to my new blog was through Pinterest. I mentioned this above but Pinteresting Strategies is a lifesaver.
Since I was publishing seasonal content a few months in advance, I was also creating and sharing pins for those blogs posts a few months in advance.
Pinterest will work for almost any blog niche, but it’s definitely better for some more than others. (For example, food, lifestyle, or DIY & craft blog are going to do a lot better on Pinterest than a blog about stock investing tips, just because they are more common topics and have more of a presence on Pinterest.)
Affiliate-heavy blog posts
Finally, one of the biggest things I did to earn money from my blog was write MONETIZED blog posts using affiliate links. And the key thing here that so many bloggers miss is that I wrote blog posts that would attract readers who are already in a buying mindset, leading to more conversions.
Shopping and gift guides are the name of the game here!
For example, some of my popular blog posts were on topics like…
- College dorm room essentials
- Graduation gifts
- Christmas gifts for college girls
- Stocking stuffers for college students
- College Halloween costumes
- Dorm room packing list
- Best planners for college students
I utilized Amazon affiliate links in all of these blog posts.
Check out my ebook Amazon Affiliate Affluence for more tips!
Selling the Blog
After I worked on this blog for nine months, I stopped writing new content for it and doing any Pinterest promotion, and just let it sit for about three months.
Then, in March 2021, I sold this blog to a new owner for $22,000. I used a broker to help me find a buyer, so after paying her commission, I walked away with $17,600 profit. (Read more about blog flipping for the details!)
Blog Case Study: Final Thoughts
So that’s exactly how I made money with a brand-new blog!
Not too bad, earning over $8,400 in the first nine months while working maybe five to ten hours a week on this blog in addition to my other blogs.
I hope you enjoyed this blog case study!
For more blogging tips, be sure to read the following: