The Biggest Mistake I Made When I First Monetized My Blog

Do you have a blog and want to make money online? Don't make this mistake when creating your monetization strategy for your blog.

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When I started my first blog, Living With Batman, 5 years ago, I didn’t even think about monetization. I didn’t know that you could make money from blogging at all. But that wasn’t the reason I started that blog in the first place so I didn’t pursue that option.

But as time went on, and I created new blogs, I came to the conclusion that I did love blogging but it took a lot of time, effort and knowledge and that I should try and leverage that into making money online.

Those first few steps from hobby to business were fraught with a lot of life lessons and the realization of the biggest mistake I made when I first monetized my blog.


For at least 20 of my working years I was self-employed. And even though I made a lot of money, my business carried a lot of responsibility as I was the sole proprietor. There was no such thing as a day off. Ever.

And when I did actually take a vacation, the logistics of hiring someone, training them and trusting them with my livelihood, was really scary. So even when I was away, I was constantly checking in.

I eventually went back to the corporate world because I longed for the 9-5, weekends off (I mean really off) and paid vacations. It didn’t take me long to realize that I hated working for someone else and after I had to take a leave of absence in 2015 to take care of my ailing mother, I never went back.

Thankfully, my husband had a great job, we had lived in the same house for almost 30 years so the expenses were manageable and my children were now adults and self-sufficient(mostly). We worked it out and we could “survive”. Of course it is always better to do more than survive on your household income.

Fast Forward:

I’m blogging. I’m having fun. I’m developing strategies to increase my pageviews using Pinterest. Other bloggers respond to my posts about Pinterest and ask for my help. I create some services, develop some courses and take advantage of some sponsored post opportunities.

I start making some serious money. Like thousands a month serious. I am thrilled!


The Biggest Mistake I Made When I First Monetized My Blog

Things were going so well that my husband and I decided to take a long, overdue vacation. It all goes downhill from here.

It turned out to be so stressful that I wished I had never gone away.

  • I could not get decent wifi, which meant I could not work when I wanted to.
  • I had clients and brands relying on me and I couldn’t deliver.
  • When I could get a signal, I worked and worked and worked, just in case the connection the next day was lost.
  • My husband was not happy. When I did spend time with him, I was grumpy and not fun to be around.

Even though that was the vacation from hell, I learned a very valuable lesson. One I had been taught before in my days of self-employment but I guess I am either a slow learner or have a very bad memory. I had created an online business exactly like the business I had walked away from years ago.

My biggest mistake I made when I first monetized my blog was that my strategy relied heavily on me working. Every. Single. Day.

When I got back home, I re-evaluated what I wanted my life to look like and how I was going to mold my blog to fit it, not the other way around.

  • I narrowed down my services and eliminated those with daily/monthly commitments.
  • I declined all sponsored posts.
  • I stopped putting pressure on myself to follow the crowd.

It was really difficult to drop all of my monthly clients and I went through a lot of very lean months. But I am happy to say that I am on course to have a $3,000 month for November. (I made it! Check out my blog income report here.)

How do I make my money now? A huge percentage is from running ads and the rest is through affiliate links.

I wish I had realized years ago that this was the way for me. My income is strictly tied to my pageviews and I am ok with that. But for many years, I poo-pooed the premise because everywhere in the blogging world, you hear that you shouldn’t look at pageviews and you don’t need them to create income.

I have never had any trouble driving tons of traffic to my sites. Why shouldn’t I use that to my advantage?

Is that the right fit for you and your blog? I don’t know. That is up to you to decide.

So before you go off buying courses and plug-ins, before you go throwing links in everywhere and before you start promoting products and offering services, stop and really think about what you want and then create your monetization strategy.
Click here for a more detailed look at different monetization strategies available for your blog.
I am so thrilled to have built several blogs that I am super proud of. I work when I want to. My monetization strategy works for me and fits me.

Of course I am at the retirement stage of my life and you may not be.

However you choose to make money with your blog, just make sure it works for your life. And don’t be afraid to change course if your life or circumstances alter.

You own your blog, not the other way around. Remember that. 

If you want to start a blog and make money online, follow my step by step guide here.

If you are on the free WordPress platform and want to know how to transfer it to a self-hosted site, click here.

Thank you for reading!

I would love to connect with you!

You can find me on PINTERESTFACEBOOKTWITTER, or INSTAGRAM. Or you can follow me on Bloglovin here.

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This post may contain affiliate links - which means if you click on them and buy something, I'll earn a small commission. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

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  1. You raise such excellent points here, Elena, showing how bloggers should work smarter, not harder. I still have no real interest in monetizing my blog, but my blog has opened doors to make some money in self-publishing and freelance writing. With my teaching schedule, however, I’m just too busy to head down that road seriously, having had to put all writing projects on hold for a while. I’m at a good place with my blog and enjoy the writing and photography on MY terms and the connections I have created over the years. Too me, this is more important that making money from blogging. Best wishes to you as you continue your journey and as you learn things, keep sharing with us!

  2. Love your tips, Elena. It’s sad that we have to go through all the hubbub of learning the hard way, first, right? But then again, how would you get to the point where you are now without all the hard work, sweat, and tears. I admire what you’ve accomplished and although I may not comment all the time, I’m always reading and dreaming of how to get to where you are. 🙂
    After starting my own business over 2 years ago, which btw I am passionate about, I do miss the lifestyle blogging and interaction with my girlies. Sometimes, general blogging, sponsored content, paid reviews, and such and can be more rewarding than being a one gal show. This is where I am now and am preparing a relaunch of one of my old blogs, A Splash of Cray. I’ve really missed that aspect of my life…….especially now that I’m in a fantabulous place! 😉
    Thank you for sharing your tips with us as always.

    1. I look forward to that! It is a great blog and I’m glad you are resurrecting it! Thank you so much for your kind words and know that I visit your blog often too.

  3. This is a very informative post, Elena. Sometimes it is easy to let things run away with us! I hope to monetize my blog, but I have just started this one up again as my other one had too many technical issues. It is going to take a while to build up my following and traffic but you have been successful with more than one blog, so I know it can be done 🙂

    1. It most certainly can be done! But you can only concentrate on one at a time. So take your time and get your blog set up the way you like it before you move forward. Good Luck!

  4. I’ve missed you and reading your insight, intelligence and level-headedness! Thanks for honestly sharing your journey. I am at a point where I need to make money despite my age (financial downturns) but don’t know how other than writing for other websites. I don’t know if my health-related blog is the best place to monetize as I’m afraid to lose my readers in the disability community. Don’t know much about affiliate links and sponsored posts I do every once in awhile but again they need to fit the focus of my blog. Any advice? You are amazing, btw.

    1. Awww! Thank you! Honestly, I don’t think readers are turned off by ads. They get ads everywhere else like radio, tv, and all news websites. All of them. So why as bloggers are we so hard on ourselves when we want to monetize our sites. We are not independently wealthy. And your readers in particular must understand the monetary hardships associated with disability. If you do want to proceed, I would start with MediaNet. The link is in the post. You get to decide where and how many ads are put on your site. They also give you an ads manager to help you with placement and any other questions you may have. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. Thank you for sharing your honest journey from where you were to where you are now. Isn’t it interesting you set up the same lifestyle with your online endeavor that you had as a business owner? We tend to repeat what we know. I’m glad you broke through to a more manageable lifestyle and still making money! You are the best.

  6. I, too, was freelance for many years, and, fortunately have no interest in monetizing something I do for pure pleasure, but this article offers very sound advice for those who do

  7. Fantastic! First thing I read today. I’m a new blogger and not focused on making money – yet. I work full time so hard to devote more than a few hours a week but this advice will get me thinking about ways I can work more on my blog effectively in the future. Thanks

  8. Elena!
    Thank you once again! It’s funny how when I need advice or encouragement, an email with a new blog post pops into my inbox! I’ve just started monetizing and it’s like trying to negotiate a field filled with land mines. So .. funny coincidence … after I read this post, I was digging around on Pinterest trying to figure out how to find group boards and I stumbled right on your blog post about “100+ Pinterest Group Boards Directory”. LOL. Oh, by the way … Pin Groupie is back up. 🙂

    1. That site comes and goes and isn’t as helpful as it could be. That’s too bad really. I am so glad that my post was what you needed today. Thanks for stopping by!

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