When I first started blogging, I did a lot of research about other blogs. I wanted my blog to look professional so I turned to the experts on what it should look like and how it should function. I also found out there were a ton of bloggers making a good living doing what they love! Of course I fell head over heels in blog income reports (I think most of us do at some point) and seemed to spend my time there more than anything. Let’s get real here, most of us would love to make money from our blog, even if it is just a little. We may not have started our blogs for the sole purpose of money, but once you learn how much money other bloggers are making, it is just another goal you strive for. Why not set yourself up for passive income to make money with affiliate marketing?
Several blogs really caught my eye. Once of which was Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s blog Making Sense of Cents. Michelle’s blog helps people earn more, save more, and pay off debt. She is an expert when it comes to making money through affiliate marketing and has made me set my sights high for my blog. When I say she is an expert in affiliate marketing, I mean she makes $50K+ every month just in affiliate sales. Could you imagine what $50K+ per MONTH (not year) would do for your family? And that’s not all, she also makes another $50K+ each month through other income avenues with her blog. Michelle is one of the most influential people for me when it comes to my blog.
Since Michelle is the expert on affiliate marketing, I found it only fitting to interview her. I have seen many other blogger’s interview with her but I had my own questions. The awesome thing about Michelle is she is so nice and enjoys helping other bloggers through sharing her own experiences.
I have been very inspired by several bloggers throughout my short blogging journey. Michelle is one of the most inspirational bloggers I know and has had such great success with her blog. Since blogging has been such a joy and an outlet to me, my hope is you will become inspired to start your own blogging journey.
Check out our interview with six-figure (a month) blogger, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner:
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your blog?
Hello! My name is Michelle and I run the personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents. I have three finance-related college degrees and I used to be a financial analyst before I left that job to blog full-time.
In the summer of 2011, I started my blog with the aim of teaching people how to save money as well as journaling my personal finance journey after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. I became extremely interested in that website and my interest in blogging just grew from there. This is interesting and hilarious because before that same summer, I had no idea about what blogs were, that they could even make money, or anything along those lines.
I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It was all just a hobby and an outlet I then realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me, so now I am a full-time blogger! I went full-time in October of 2013 and I haven’t looked back AT ALL. Blogging has definitely changed my life and it’s something that I recommend everyone try if they are interested.
On my blog Making Sense of Cents, I teach others how to make extra money, the best ways to save money, achieving their dream life, traveling (me and my husband travel full-time with our two dogs), and more. I love owning my website, Making Sense of Cents, and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.
How soon after starting your blog did you begin monetizing? How soon after you monetized did you bring in income?
I did not create Making Sense of Cents with the intention of earning an income, but after only six months, I began to make money from it. A friend I met through the blogging community connected me with an advertiser that they knew, and I earned $100 from that advertisement deal. It wasn’t a lot of money, especially considering the amount of time and work I put towards Making Sense of Cents, even in the early stages. However, it was very motivating to see that something I absolutely loved to do could actually make money. Remember, I had no idea that blogs could even make money when I started mine! After that first $100, the income I earned from blogging quickly grew from there. By the summer of 2012, just one year after I started my blog, I was earning around $1,000 a month, and I was making around $10,000 monthly by the following summer. My income only continued to grow from there. In 2015, I earned over $320,000 from Making Sense of Cents, and I earned $979,000 in 2016.
What do you feel was the turning point for your blog, traffic and monetarily speaking? What do you feel led to that turning point?
Taking my blog seriously is what led to that turning point. Before, I used it more for the social and personal aspect – not to make money at all. In fact, in my early blog posts, I ask my audience what I should do to make money in my town, because I didn’t realize that blogs could!
How soon after you started Making Sense of Cents, did you quit your day job? Do you remember how much your blog income was at that point?
I started my blog in August of 2011 and my final day at my day job was in October of 2013. I was earning around $10,000 at that point, I believe.
I have a process I go through when writing and publishing a post (i.e. write post, create images to pin, pin to Pinterest groups, post on Facebook, etc.) Do you mind sharing a very detailed list of what processes you have with new posts?
Of course! This is a great idea. I think I’m going to answer this in one of my next income reports as well 🙂 :
- Come up with article topic ideas. I have a long list of over 100 possible blog post topics.
- Create a schedule for one month full of topics and the dates they will be published on.
- Write content. I like to write it from beginning to end (no breaks). I then hand it over to my editor and she fixes everything, makes it flow better, etc.
- Once I get it back from my editor, I add images, format it the way I want, and add links to related articles on my website.
- Once it is live, I share it to Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, StumbleUpon, Flipboard, and Twitter. I also schedule it to share on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for future dates as well.
- Send an email to my subscribers about a new blog post being live.
What advice do you have for new bloggers to help them improve their traffic and monetization strategy?
I want everyone to know that YOU (yes, you!) can make money through affiliate income and through a blog, and you can do it in a non-salesy way. So many people are afraid of affiliate marketing because of two reasons: 1) They don’t think they have a large enough platform; 2) They are afraid of being too “salesy.” I have never had someone tell me that I’m salesy or pushy, and I’ve even had people ask me how I make money through affiliate marketing because they never see me try to sell things. So, yes, it is possible to provide high-quality content for your readers without being pushy!
When and why did you decide to create Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing?
I decided to launch my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing online course because I was always being asked about affiliate marketing. What seemed normal and easy to me, isn’t easy for others, so I knew I had to create this course so that I could get my knowledge out. Affiliate marketing is great, and I want others to benefit from it as well.
Who will benefit from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course?
- You want to have a profitable blog.
- You want to improve your blogging income even further.
- You want to earn income while you sleep.
- You want to write a blog post and earn money from it for years down the line, with minimal work needed.
- You tried affiliate marketing but haven’t had any luck.
- You want to spend more time with your loved ones and have a better work-life balance.
- You love blogging and want to be able to grow your blog, build trust with your audience, and help more people!
What will students learn in the course?
- In Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, students will learn:
- The basics of affiliate marketing, what it is, etc.
- The positives of affiliate marketing and why all online influencers should be doing it
- The exact steps I’ve taken to earn over $500,000 from a SINGLE blog post
- How to pick the correct affiliate products to promote
- How to increase conversions
- How to build trust and not lose followers
- Required laws and disclosures that you need to know about
- The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
- Different strategies to use to promote your affiliate products
I have heard a lot of success stories from bloggers that have taken your course. Do you have a few that stick out to you that you would not mind sharing with us?
Yes, I’ve had so many great success stories! My favorite recent one is this one:
“Since taking Michelle’s course 5 months ago, my page view average has been 36,715 but my affiliate marketing income has grown from an average of $272.94 per month to $4,400.19 per month. That’s more than 1,500% growth! Within just 5 quick months, I’ve made more than $21,000 directly from the affiliate marketing tips in this course…. I made more than $10,000 in just March 2017 alone! Low page views is not an excuse for low affiliate marketing income. You don’t have to struggle to earn a few dollars a month. Invest in yourself & get educated to start building your business right away. Let Michelle show you how an expert does it!” – Saira Perl, Blogger, MomResource
I hope you enjoyed reading my interview with Michelle of Making Sense of Cents. To learn more about Michelle and her blog, you can find her at the following:
Ready to make money blogging but have not started a blog yet?
That’s okay! The great thing about blogging is you can start at any time and work on it when you have time! And the thing I love, starting a blog is the one of the least expensive businesses you can start! Starting a blog is for you if:
- You’re a stay at home mom and want/need additional income
- You work a job you are not satisfied with and want to be your own boss
- You’ve always dreamed of starting your own business but do not have money to invest up front
- You enjoy helping others through your own experiences
- You own a business and would like to grow it
- You want to pay off debt and become financially free
There are other reasons why you should start a blog, but these are the top 6 type of people I see that start blogs and are successful with it. I thought about starting a blog in 2015 and decided against it because I had a full-time job. I tell you though, that is the biggest regret of my life! So don’t make the same mistake I did. Take the dive and start your blog. It is so much fun! If you are ready, check out my Step by Step guide on How to Start a Blog. It walks you through the exact steps to choose a domain name and setup hosting. Once you have that checked off your list make sure to check out the Blogger’s Resource Library. This library explains everything I use to build, grow, and monetize my blog. A few other posts you may want to check out are:
Ready to monetize your blog?
It does not matter if you are just starting your blog or you are an established blogger, monetizing your blog can be confusing. I researched so much about blog monetization and learned the easiest and fastest way to make income from your blog is through affiliate marketing. I read review after review about Michelle’s course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing before deciding to enroll. The other regret I have since starting my blog is not taking this course sooner. Not only did I learn everything about affiliate marketing and what I needed to do to make money from my efforts, but I also gained a sense of peace from knowing what disclosures are required and the laws I need to follow. Most bloggers I’ve seen report making any amount of money with their blog have taken Michelle’s course. So what are you waiting on? Click here to learn more about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing or to enroll in the course.