Are you wondering how much do bloggers make? With many more people working from home, the idea of making money blogging has exploded in popularity. The reality is, you can make a lot of money blogging.
Everything is rational when it comes to personal finance. Today, I fortunately make more blogging than I made during my highest earning years, while working 1/4th the hours and having 3X more fun.
What’s more is that I’m not writing constant generic affiliate posts to try and make money. I’m just writing in my natural way about topical issues that are also helpful to people’s finances.
I don’t even feel like blogging is work because it’s fun being creative and connecting with readers. Because I can blog from anywhere in the world, it feels amazing to travel and blog at the same time. If I didn’t have fun blogging, I would have quit long ago.
It’s pretty easy to make an extra $500 – $2,000 per month blogging in your first year. In years 2 and beyond, after you’ve built traffic and subscribers, you can increase revenue to $100,000+. We cover how below.
I think blogging is the perfect side hustle because you can do it in your own time, you can do it from anywhere, and you can build it into your lifestyle. Yes, I am actually working on a blog post on a sand dune in Oregon in this picture!
HOW MUCH MONEY DO BLOGGERS MAKE?
It’s pretty easy to make an extra $500 – $2,000 per month blogging in your first year. And then in year 2, 3, 4, and 5, you can significantly increase your monthly blog revenue. Glassdoor reports that the average blogger salary is over $32,800 per year, based on several anonymously submitted salaries.
And while it’s a smaller group, I also know bloggers who make millions every year and work less than 10 hours a week (wouldn’t that be nice!). That’s an absolutely insane ROI for your time.
HOW DO BLOGS MAKE MONEY?
How much money you can make depends on how much traffic you are getting and how large your email list is.
You can realistically make $25,000-$50,000 your first year blogging, $100,000+ your second year, $250,000+ your third year of blogging, and $500,000+ in your fourth year.
Later in this post, I highlight the 15 ways that I make money on the Earlybirdguide blog, but before we get there, here’s how you should think about (and measure) the money that your blog is making.
Some of the bloggers that make the most money actually have pretty small audiences – they just know their audiences well and have maximized their earning per page view and email subscriber. Most professional bloggers are measuring both earnings per page view and earning per email subscriber monthly. Since I’m so busy I do it quarterly and it works for me.
More Traffic = More Revenue
It’s not unrealistic to make between $0.01 – $0.25 per page view in many blogging niches through display and affiliate ads.
So if you get 1,000 pageviews a month (very very easy), you can make between $10-$25 per month, which will cover the cost of running the blog.
But if you can get to 100,000 pageviews a month, that turns into $1,000 – $25,000 each month. In rare cases I’ve seen a blogger make $0.20 per page view in a very profitable niche like insurance, but somewhere in the $0.02 – $0.05 is realistic.
So the more people your blog reaches, the more money you can obviously make.
The more time you put into sharing quality content, the bigger your traffic and email list will grow (read: the more money you can make!).
This is why I love SEO (search engine optimization) so much – it really is the compound interest of blog growth. If you haven’t yet checked it out, here are my 67 Best SEO Tips for Bloggers. Study and use those strategies – they actually work. SEO is what is going to make you the money over the long run. Organic traffic from Google is by far the most sustainable traffic strategy.
How Much Do Bloggers Make A Year
Like everything good, you’ve got to put in the work. Here’s what’s possible for ~60% of the population who is willing to publish 3X a week of strategic content without fail:
Year 1: $1,000 – $10,000
Year 2: $10,000 – $30,0000
Year 3: $30,000 – $50,000
Year 4: $50,000 – $100,000
Year 5: $100,000 – $250,000
Year 6: $150,000 – $350,000
Year 7: $200,000 – $500,000
Year 8: $300,000 – $600,000
Year 9: $400,000 – $800,000
Year 10: $500,000 – $1,000,000+
As you can tell from the progression, there is a high correlation between time, effort, and money. Too many bloggers quit by the first year, negating all their effort in the process. The secret to your success is unwavering commitment!
I always ask myself when it’s 10pm after a long day of my day job, why quit when I can keep on going? Everyone just needs to keep on going if they want to grow a successful blog.
Even if you don’t make the above amounts blogging, it’s still a healthy amount of supplemental income to your day job.
Or, if you decide to retire early from corporate America, blogging can provide a nice amount of supplemental retire income. Blogging income is passive income and it sure is fun!
Here are some core principals of how to make money blogging.
Blogging Revenue Is A Function Of Traffic
The more traffic you can receive, the more revenue you will earn. Take a look at this chart on how much you can earn by pageview.
It’s not unrealistic to make between $0.01 – $0.10 per page view in many blogging niches across display and affiliate ads. So if you get 1,000 page views a month, you can make between $10-$100 per month. But if you can get to 100,000 page views a month you can make between $1,000 – $10,000 off of your blog per month.
You must consistently produce valuable content so that your readers start following and trusting you. Sooner or later, your valuable content will start getting ranked in the search engines like Google. Eventually, they will turn into perpetual traffic generating machines that allows your blog to continuously grow.
Email Lists are Your Most Important Asset
The most important asset you have as a blogger is your email list. This is your crew, your audience, your tribe. They are the ones who will come back and keep reading your content and who you will build enough trust with so they will buy from you (either products you create or promote) or click on the affiliate links for the products you recommend.
You own the e-mail list and nothing can take it away from you. With search engines like Google, they might go through an algorithm update and de-rank your posts out of the blue. With your e-mail list, you can always reach your audience.
While you can, and will, definitely make money running display and affiliate ads on your blog, your biggest money making opportunity is going to be with your email list. The million dollar bloggers out there are able to make between $1-$5 in revenue per email subscriber each month!! If you have a list of 10,000 subscribers you can make up to $50,000 in revenue off that list per month! It’s crazy.
Keep in mind that’s a really extreme example and not typical. Somewhere in the $1-$3 per month per email subscriber is actually realistic.
The email marketing platform I recommend is Constant Contact. They offer a free 60-day trial of their service, and you don’t even have to input your credit card number for access.
Start building your email list as soon as you start your blog. Your email list is your most important asset.
YOUR BLOG NICHE MATTERS
How much money you can make blogging depends largely on the niche you are blogging about. If you blog about used books, for example, you could probably only make money if you sold books directly through your blog and then you likely won’t make much money. Unless of course, you blog about (and sell) expensive, in-demand, rate books. But if you blog about money, for example, it’s going to be easier for you to make money because you can get larger affiliate commissions, bigger advertiser fees or CPMs (cost per thousand impressions), and sell products for more money.
So pick a niche that you are really interested in writing about (this will help you stick with it) and one that can also make you money (if you want to make money blogging). Not all bloggers want to make money. Over the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity to meet (and work) with many full-time bloggers and while you can make money blogging in almost any niche, below are the most and least profitable blogging niches based on my own research and experience.
Some bloggers are able to successfully combine multiple niches, for example, “travel and product reviews” to maximize monetization opportunities. Keep in mind these numbers are just average ranges that I have observed and were reported to me in a blogger survey of 481 bloggers across many niches.
Write In A Lucrative Niche You Love
Personal finance is the most lucrative blogging niches. Think about it. We’ve got massive financial institutions looking to build their brands and sell their products. The banks have all the money! Further, there’s plenty of venture capital money going into fintech startups who are looking to grow their companies as well.
But don’t look down on other niches just yet. If you blog about food, that’s cool since everybody needs to eat. The market is huge! Just be the best food blogger out there with amazing pictures and variety for readers to buy from.
Here is an income statement from a very popular food blogger. Not bad right? Learn how to start your own website today with my step-by-step tutorial.
Most Profitable Blogging Categories
1. Finance / Personal Finance – It’s where all the money is, after all.
2. Boring Product Reviews – You can write endless product reviews on things you don’t even use to earn affiliate income. Just hire a bunch of freelance writers to do your work and you’re done.
3. Travel / Lifestyle – Who doesn’t want to live a glamorous travel lifestyle, blogging off the coast of Santorini? I would. The key is to sell the dream, baby!
4. Fashion – Look good, make money. The higher price the brand, the more you will make because luxury brands themselves have the highest profit margin in fashion. There’s an opportunity for males to get into this category because it is dominated by women
5. Health Products / Supplements – People are infatuated with health, life, and fitness. There are plenty of sports drinks, exercise drinks, health pills, etc that can be marketed.
Least Profitable Blogging Categories
1. Music – Not even musicians are making big bucks now due to 99 cent downloads and piracy.
2. General News/ Politics – So much divisiveness in this country. You can plan off the angst, but it will probably make you angry and depressed.
3. Cooking / Gardening – Everybody has a cooking recipe to sell and a gardening hack to grow vegetables.
4. Toys/Games – Although there’s this one kid Ryan, 7 years old, who supposedly makes over $5 million a year from YouTube reviewing games.
5. Religion – If you can get fiery fanatics to follow your site, you might actually make a lot of money like Mel Gibson (made $500M in the Passion of Christ) and other celebrity preachers. But overall, it’s hard to sell products and earn ad revenue here.
How To Make Money Blogging For A Living
OK, now that you know how much do bloggers make, it’s time to start trying yourself. Once you build an incredible platform with a strong brand that resonates with the world, you can really leverage your platform for incredible opportunity.
The internet is great for scaling. And if you have a brand that scales, then you’ve got yourself a real winner.
Earlybirdguide is a unique voice in the personal finance space that slices through money’s mysteries with no BS content. Everything is written based on experience because money is too important to be left up to pontification.
Here’s how you can monetize your blog:
1. Google Adsense
Potential blog revenue: $0.1 – $0.5 per page view
Google Adsense allows you to run ads from the Google Display network on your website. If you are brand new blogger Google Adsense is the easiest way to monetize your blog, but you won’t make that much money off of them. Even if you are getting a thousand visitors a month you might make $50 at most of Google Ads. But that’s a start! I used Google Adsense for the first year that I was blogging and then switched over to an ad network to get a higher CPM (cost per thousand impressions) and CPC (cost per click).
2. Advertising/Publisher Networks
Potential monthly blog revenue: $20,000+
Once you’ve reached at least 25,000 page views per month you can (and should) ditch Google Adsense and start working directly with an advertising network (they are also called publisher networks), who will directly manage the display ads on your website to ensure you are making the most money off of your ads. Typically these networks take between 20%-40% of the display ad revenue from your website.
Even with this commission, you can make a lot more money working with an advertiser/publishing network than working directly with Google. Some bloggers absolutely crush it, making $20,000+ a month on display ads alone. There are often ad/publisher networks that specialize in your niche, so just do a simple Google search for [your niche] ad networks and you are likely to find a few that you can reach out to. Some of them are very selective about who they work with, so you might want to reach out to a few others.
3. Direct Advertisement Buys
(CPM = Cost Per Thousand Impressions = RPM = Revenue Per Thousand Impressions)
Some brands or companies will reach out to you to put a banner display ad on your website to promote their product. Let’s say you’ve got 1,000,000 pageviews a month. The brand offers you a $20 RPM, you stand to earn $20,000 from a single above the fold banner ad. The CPM is from the company’s point of view given it is a cost to them.
You can fill up to three direct banner ad buys above the fold (first page). Unfortunately, real estate above the fold is limited to the size of a screen. With more people surfing the net via mobile, the real estate is getting smaller.
4. Affiliate Ads
Potential blog revenue: $5 – $500 per click
Affiliate marketing is legit and you can make a lot of money by placing affiliate ads on your website. In almost any niche you can make money recommending products or services and getting paid every time someone signs up through your link. These are affiliate ads and are a win/win for both bloggers and advertisers because the advertiser gets a confirmed sign up and you, the blogger, will likely get paid more money for a confirmed sign up than a click. Where you might get $1-$3 per click, with affiliate commissions, depending on the product you are promoting, you can make between $5 – $500 (or more!) when someone signs up through your link.
So how do you make this kind of money? Only recommend products or services that you believe in and/or use. One of the fastest ways to lose the rest of your readers is to recommend a crappy or spammy product just because you will get paid if they click and sign up. It’s not worth it.
Focus on finding affiliate relationships for products that you really believe in and/or use. Not all companies have affiliate programs or they keep them hidden for a smaller group of bloggers. Just reach out to the makers of your favorite products and/or services to see if they have an affiliate program. If they do they might have minimum traffic requirements, and if so, just make a note to contact them when your traffic gets bigger.
To learn all you need to know to make money using affiliate marketing here is the best course I’ve found from – Make Sense of Affiliate Marketing. The ROI on this course is insane! You can make your money back in just a few weeks. Definitely, check it out.
Amazon Affiliate Ads
One of the most popular affiliates is Amazon and you can get paid whenever you link to a product listing on Amazon if one of your readers buy the product. While the payouts (what you get paid for sale) aren’t as much on Amazon as going directly to a product or service, they have really easy to use affiliate platform and you can pretty much promote any of the gazillion products on Amazon. The more expensive the product you promote is, the higher the commission you get if someone buys it through your link.
This is one of the reasons people who blog about electronics and cameras and expensive items can absolutely crush it through affiliate ads – every time someone buys a TV through their link they are pocketing up to $200 per transaction. You can earn up to 10% with some transactions. Those numbers add up quickly.
5. Social Media Promotion
Potential blog revenue: $500 – $3000 per promotion
It absolutely blew my mind the first time a brand paid me to tweet. Seriously, I just couldn’t fathom that someone would pay me $500 just to tweet for 30 minutes in a Twitter chat. It was awesome. Since then I’ve been paid between $500 – $3,000 to do simple social media promotions of other people’s content. If you are an influencer or expert in your niche you can likely make money promoting products or services on social media. The bigger your following the more money you can get paid.
Paid promotions are one are where growing a large social audience can really pay off. For example, some bloggers I know with massive Instagram followings make at least $5,000 per month promoting products in their niche (fashion and travel specifically). Sure they have a blog, but they make more money on their social following as they grow their blog.
6. Corporate and Private Consulting
At one point, I was making $30,000 a month consulting for three financial technology startups in the San Francisco Bay Area. As someone who build a reputable platform online, they needed my expertise to help build their platform as well.
I used to do personal finance consulting on a regular basis through my Financial Samurai Consulting page. Each month, I consulted with 3-4 people on how to negotiate their layoffs. My book has not only made me an expert in severance negotiations, it also serves as a lead generator.
Consulting is one of the big bonuses I did not anticipate after leaving work behind in 2012. Your blog serves as proof that you know how to build an audience, how to generate revenue online, and how to build a brand. Every single company out there wants to do these things.
Check out the income statement of a personal finance blogger who generates a 300,000 a month in pageviews. He makes roughly $186,000 a year through consulting alone!
7. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is the low hanging fruit. If you have a blog with some relatively interesting content, it makes you far more marketable than someone who says she is a freelancer, but has nothing online that shows her talents.
When you are first starting out, it’s smart to freelance to earn income. But more importantly, it helps get your name out there because often times, the company you freelance for will allow you to link back to your website.
I did plenty of freelance writing for other blogs and affiliate partners tin my first year of blogging. These articles were some of my best work and it really got my name out there. Freelance writing is like guest posting, but getting paid.
How Much Do Bloggers Make? A Lot!
Hopefully this post has answered your question about how much bloggers make. Just remember that every journey begins with the first step. You’ve got to start or else nothing will ever get done!
You can set a blog up with Bluehost for less than $3/month today. When I first set up Financial Samurai, it cost me $1,500.
I love blogging because it’s cheap and easy to start and has endless scale. With 3 billion people online and growing, the upside potential is unlimited. Further, you only need a little bit of the internet to make a fortune.
I highly recommend everybody start their own blog today. Check out my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog in 7 Steps.
Everybody needs to brand themselves online. Don’t let LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Quora, and other sites get rich off you. Get rich off yourself!
Not a day goes by where I’m not thankful for starting my Earlybirdguide. My site has provided my wife and me the freedom to travel the world, retire early from our jobs, and take care of our boy and girl. Freedom is priceless!