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If you’ve been following the Blog and Retire blog for a long time, you know I did a Blog and Retire case study where I (mostly) followed the entire Blog and Retire ecourse with a brand new blog. The Blog and Retire ecourse gives you tasks to do for one hour per day, 6 days a week, for one full year (52 weeks). It’s for people who want to make a real income starting with a simple blog, with little to no budget, and very little time. It tells you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, all in step-by-step format.
If you read my final week of the Blog and Retire case study series, week 52, you’ll know that I did not do everything in the course, yet I still made over $1300 with the blog in the first year.
How Much Time Did I Spend Blogging?
In the first year of the case study blog, I published about 299 posts. Most blog posts take me about 30 minutes to write up, so I likely spent about 150 hours writing blog posts. Besides writing blog posts, I only did about 15% of the other tasks in the ecourse that I instruct you to do if you want a profitable blog by the end of a year, so I probably spent about 23 hours getting the traffic for the blog and doing other little various things like that.
I did spend extra time on the projects I did that I wrote about on the blog, and I spent some extra time designing and redesigning my site multiple times throughout the first year, but both of those things aren’t necessary to make an actual income from a blog.
As long as your blog is clean, presentable, and easy to read and navigate, it doesn’t have to have a spectacularly professional design. And you don’t have to spend time outside your blog doing projects to blog about, that’s just what this particular blog was about. You can blog about stuff you already know or are learning about, which would save you a lot more time.
So for my actual blogging tasks, I only spent about 175 hours, so I made about $7-8/hour. And that’s only in my first year of the blog, which was an experiment, which I didn’t actually end up taking too seriously.
One Hour Per Day, Six Days a Week, for 52 Weeks
At one hour per day, 6 days a week, for 52 weeks, the actual tasks in the Blog and Retire ecourse would take you about 312 hours to complete, as long as you know how to use a computer and you’re familiar with the internet, otherwise there would be a learning curve in the beginning just getting used to computers and how the internet works, etc. But I figure if you’ve come across Blog and Retire at all, you’re already familiar with computers and the internet, so it should average out to about 312 hours spent the first year of blogging, and that’s if you just did what was in the course.
My estimation is that if you followed the Blog and Retire ecourse to a ‘T’ (unlike I did) you would make about $20,000 by the end of your first year, or at least be making a consistent income by the last 3 months of the first year so you’ll be confident enough to quit your job, finally! Income is relative, so the amount you’d need per month to quit your job may be different than someone else. It depends on where you live, what lifestyle you want to/can live, and also how many people you’re supporting with your income.
At this point, if you’re pretty good at math, but you don’t know exactly how business productivity works, you’re probably thinking, “Well, if you made $1300 working 175 hours, then wouldn’t you only make about $2300 if you spent 312 hours on your blog business?”
The answer to that is No.
When you’re building a business, everything you do becomes exponential, and by spending your time on the right things, your business will grow that much more. By writing more blog posts, you’ll have more blog posts published on your blog, by spending more time on traffic-generating activities you’ll get more traffic, but by spending more time on income-generating activities, you’ll make more money.
So that 175 hours I spent was mostly on writing blog posts (~150 hours). Only 23 hours of it was spent on traffic generating and income generating activities, but my estimation is that only about 5 hours over the course of the entire year was spent on actual income generating activities.
So what if that was all switched around a bit?
Say I spent 52 hours writing blog posts (maybe I published 2 posts a week and spent about 30 minutes writing each post). Then I would have 123 more hours to spend on traffic generating activities and income generating activities, which if I was smart I would divide in two. So I would have spent about 60 hours on traffic generating activities and 60 hours on income generating activities, rather than ~18 hours on traffic generating activities and only ~5 hours on income generating activities.
That would mean I would have spent about 3 times the amount of time on traffic generating activities (which would probably increase my income by 3 times, which would be $3900, and I would have spent 12 times the amount of time on income generating activities, which would probably increase my income by about 12 times, which would be $46,800!
And that’s only with spending 175 hours a year on a blog. So if I spent all my time wisely the same way for 312 hours, then my income would more likely have been something like $83,437!
So that’s where the possibilities come in when you spend more time on the right things.
This is not a guarantee of an amount of income that just anyone would make with just any blog. Income possibilities from a blog is based on many factors and variables. This is just an example of what could have and should have happened with my case study blog if I did everything the smart way.
I Seriously Did the Bare Minimum
I seriously did the bare minimum. I was consistent with my blogging and with sharing my blog on social media, but other than that I didn’t do very much at all. I did very little of the income generating tasks, and I created zero products, and I still made over $1300. So imagine if I spent that extra 137 hours in that first year to create my own products, promote them, build my list, sell my stuff, sell others’ products, and do all the other traffic generating tasks I suggest in the ecourse…
The reason I did not was because, although my original intention was to take this seriously, I did this solely for Blog and Retire. So my heart wasn’t truly in it. My passion is to do the things I shared on the case study blog, not share about the projects I did. So while I like creating things, building things, fixing things, fixing up my house, etc. as a hobby, I don’t really care for blogging about it so much.
But although I prefer to do the fun projects rather than share about them, I still enjoyed the process of sharing my projects over doing the tasks to make money from the blog.
So that was my second problem. My motivation to make money with that blog wasn’t there (and still isn’t). Mainly because money isn’t a huge motivating factor in my life period. Which might sound weird to most of you, but if you really know the real me and my deepest thoughts and desires, and my views toward money in general, you understand.
So the fact that I made even a cent on that blog is really only because I was doing it for Blog and Retire. So in the end, I suppose it just proves to you that even a slacker could make over a thousand dollars on a brand new blog, so what if you actually took it seriously? You would definitely succeed.
Spend Your Time Wisely
The other thing I realized looking back now is that I could have written half as many blog posts and spent more time on other tasks that would have made the income. But since I did prefer sharing my projects over doing the tasks to make the income, I ended up spending most of my time on writing the blog posts and just sharing them on social media.
You should spend most of your time on tasks that will help you accomplish the main goal of your blog. My main goal for the blog was to write about it as a case study here on Blog and Retire. My main goal should have been to earn income and I should have spent my time accordingly. Then this case study would have been an even better case study, am I right?
If I was really serious about making money with the blog, I would have put more effort into building my email list, creating my own how-to ebooks and things like that to sell on the blog, and maybe selling more affiliate products to my readers and subscribers.
Lessons to Take from This
While writing blog posts is important, you don’t have to write a new blog post every single day. You can publish one, two, or three a week, and as long as you’re consistent and you continue to grow your social media networks and share your posts (including old ones) on social media, the traffic will continue to come.
I have always had consistent traffic on my case study blog, but I didn’t really monetize it. So be consistent with your blogging, publishing posts regularly, but make sure you spend time monetizing that traffic. And the best way is to build your email list of subscribers, create products (or services), and sell your products (or services) and other people’s products (as an affiliate) to your blog readers and subscribers.
You can also sell ad space on your blog and write sponsored posts. And while selling ad space used to be my favorite way of earning money, I realized you can earn a lot more by selling products. There are way more consumers out there than businesses. You pretty much can only sell ad space to businesses, but you can sell products to consumers. So your income would rise more if you focused more on consumers as your customers, rather than businesses.
Build Your Email List and Sell Products/Services
Writing sponsored posts and selling ad space was the main way I made money with my case study blog. So I’m going to say this again, if I took this seriously as a real income generating blog, then I would have spent more of my time emphasizing the building of my email list, creating products/services, and selling products (mine and others’).
Case Study Blog Stats Year Two
It’s been a long time coming, but I wanted to give you an update on the stats for the 2nd year of my case study blog. So below are the stats from December 2012-November 2013. I noted how many blog posts I published each month so you can see how that affected my traffic. It didn’t seem to affect it too much spontaneously, but the effects of traffic getting efforts are typically residual, so you don’t always see the effects right away. I explain more below the screenshots.
Take a look:
Number of blog posts published: 6
Number of blog posts published: 10
Number of blog posts published: 5
Number of blog posts published: 9
Number of blog posts published: 9
Number of blog posts published: 5
Number of blog posts published: 13
Number of blog posts published: 6
Number of blog posts published: 7
Number of blog posts published: 3
Number of blog posts published: 1
Number of blog posts published: 3
You’ll see that May and June increased in traffic quite a lot. I think that might have to do with the fact that during those two months I published posts about our kitchen remodel, which I hyped up a lot because it was one of the most awesome changes we made to the house we flipped.
After June 2013, traffic trickled down again to a steady 30,000+ pageviews per month, even while only writing about 1-5 posts/month!
Even since Novemeber 2013, the pageviews have been pretty consistent. February 2014 (not shown) is the only month that dipped just below 30K, and dropped to 29,464 pageviews, and I think that’s mainly due to the fact that I wrote zero posts that month. March and April both got over 30K pageviews again. So writing blog posts does affect traffic somewhat, but not completely. I only wrote 2 blog posts in March, and only one in April.
Get Traffic Without Publishing a Single Post!
How can someone get 29K+ pageviews on their blog in a month when they didn’t even publish a single post? By continuing to share old posts on social media. However, your posts have to be evergreen (relevant for a long period of time) for this to work. So make sure you write evergreen posts so you can continue to make your old posts work for you for years to come.
Getting Traffic from Social Media
I have a system for how I get my traffic from social media, most of which is published here if you want to learn exactly what I do, and what I use to make it happen and save me time in the process.
I also carry out my plan for clients at my social media marketing business, Twonder Woman, for those who don’t want to spend the time doing it (or spend the cost of the software I use). So if you’re interested in getting help with social media to boost your exposure and get more consistent long-term traffic, click here. Remember, TRAFFIC = MONEY. No traffic, no money.
So there you have it. My update on the 2nd year of my case study blog. I should probably go write a blog post over there since I haven’t published one about a month!