Blog Monetization Challenge – Update 1

In 2022 my goal is to monetize this blog. I’ve decided to track the progress as a Blog Monetization Challenge.

This will give me the opportunity to share what I’ve learned as I discover if it’s possible to still grow a blog/website in 2022. Welcome to the first update!

Where We Started

I started this blog in March 2020 to go along with my personal finance and creator tutorial YouTube channels.

After starting the blog I mainly let it sit for the rest of 2020 and then finally started publishing more in 2021.

In 2021 I published 88 blog posts and grew the pageviews to 10,329 in December 2021. This is where I finally started to see the work payoff and decided to double down on growing the blog.

I recognized the power of having a platform I controlled outside of YouTube which is volatile at times.

2021 Blog Recap

  • Number of posts published in 2021: 88
  • Published in September 2021: 22
  • January 2021 Views: 4,256
  • December 2021 Views: 10,329

In 2021 I put more work into this blog but still a small amount compared to what I did with my YouTube channels. Luckily the work on YouTube paid off and I quit my job in August and hit my first $10,000 month in December.

That work did start to pay off as I had the best month ever for the blog and hit 10,000 views in December. It’s not monetized besides a few affiliate offers currently but I’ve hit the minimum level for most ad networks. However, if the goal is to ultimately qualify for inclusion with Mediavine I’m a long way from the 50,000 sessions minimum.

The Blog Monetization Goal

When we started this challenge I was at 10,000 pageviews. That’s not insignificant but it’s a long way from my goals.

The goals for this challenge are:

  • grow to 50,000 sessions (roughly 60,000 pageviews) per month
  • apply for and get accepted into MediaVine ad network
  • grow to $1,000 per month in blog only revenue

Based on my research I’ve decided that this is the ad network I value the most and find offers the best display ad experience. Since I’m planning to mainly monetize via ads here I want to offer the best experience possible.

Blog Monetization Challenge Content Plan

In 2022 I’ll be creating content based around a few different topics. Instead of niching down here on the blog I’ll be using it as a hub for the main areas I already create content on via YouTube.

Blog content topics for Pennies Not Perfection:

And more!

Anything about saving money or making money is fair game since Pennies Not Perfection is all about using money to help you live the life you want.

Blog Content January 2022

In the month of January 2022 I did not create as much content as I wanted. Unfortunately personal issues and illness stopped me from being able to blog more along with making videos.

However I did create five new posts!

New content created in January 2022:

These blog posts got a tiny bit of traffic from sharing on social media but will hopefully grow over time via search engine traffic.

They are also posts that I can use over and over again to answer questions in my YouTube comments.

Most of the January posts were related to my personal finance content. Several are evergreen posts that I can link to and share when I get questions about tracking net worth, starting a Roth IRA, or doing a no spend challenge.

Blog Traffic Results January 2022

After adding just five posts to the site I was worried not much would happen with the website traffic.

But the growth in my YouTube channel in January and the topic relevancy helped achieve my best month so far.

In January 2022 I had 13,600 pageviews and 9,663 sessions.

This was the best month of the website so far and gave me hope that this blog monetization challenge will actually succeed as long as I put in the work by creating good content.

I also fixed my Google Analytics reporting issues so that next month I will be able to use Google Analytics data rather than the WordPress option.

At this point after one month I still need to 5X my traffic. I’ve got a long ways to go with this challenge!

Lessons Learned

This month I learned that I’ll need to create much more content or work a lot harder to drive traffic to my blog.

Traffic Growth

While I’ve grown my subscribers on YouTube it is very hard to get users to leave platforms. Not much of my traffic crosses over even if I leave a link.

The small bump in views is nice but it won’t be sustainable to reach the level I want.

Next month I’ll work on brainstorming how to increase traffic in a more dramatic way.

Tools Used

I’ve been reluctant to use any more paid tools for this project until it makes money.

However, I gave Lasso another chance after their team reached out. I had signed up for Lasso and then canceled my. subscription because the work to get it setup put me off.

I’m so glad that I gave it another chanced! It’s now a critical part of my blog writing process and the affiliate strategy for this website.

Lasso: The All-In-One Affiliate Marketing Plugin

Increase affiliate revenue by 30% with Lasso. Fix broken links, find new affiliate opportunities, and create product displays that convert to commissions.

I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Lasso is an all in one affiliate marketing tool for WordPress site owners. It helps you fix broken links, create new cloaked links, and create beautiful product displays.

I previously used Pretty Links for creating URLs and manually created images for use inside posts. Switching to Lasso has eliminated so much work on the backend because it creates pretty displays instantly.

I did do a lot of work getting Lasso set up in the month of January. I switched over many of my affiliate links, created new ones, and updated old product resource pages. This did not contribute to creating new content but now the backend of my workflow is much smoother.

From this point on I believe using Lasso will safve me a lot of time and make the site look better when promoting affiliate offers.

Speaking of, I’m an affiliate for Lasso now that I use and love it! Feel free to try it out using this affiliate link.

Create More Content

The biggest lesson learned this month is that I need to create more content.

I’m happy that I added 5 posts to the site this month but I need to add a lot more for the growth I want.

In February my goal will be to at least double this amount and create 10 posts at minimum.

Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.

Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.

Her favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, where she built a custom portfolio for free with no fees. She shares her portfolio growth and savings progress every month on YouTube.