How much do bloggers make? As a full-time blogger, I get this question a lot. And there are still a lot of people who think blogging is a made-up internet job. The truth is that blogging can be a lucrative profession for some, and it has great side hustle opportunity because of the flexibility and growth potential.
In the first first few months of running this site I made $0. Yes, zero dollars. I quit my job after making only $3 from this site — don’t do this. Since then I’ve grown it to become a seven figure business, and I have a lot of friends in the blogging world who have similar stories.
While blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, the top bloggers have several things in common. I’m going to share those tips, plus how much money bloggers make and how they earn income.
How much do bloggers make? How they make money, and more
How much do bloggers make?
Bloggers can make anywhere from $0-$100,000/month or more. That’s an incredibly wide range, and there’s no set blogger salary.
I personally know bloggers who have made over a million dollars a year in blogging income and they work less than 10 hours a week. Sounds kind of unbelievable, but considering that blogging can be a passive source of income (more on this later), it’s the truth.
It’s kind of difficult to tell how much money bloggers make because not all bloggers share how much they make. While I don’t share them any more, I started publishing income reports back in 2016, about a year after I started blogging.
Here’s a quick glance at those past income reports:
- August 2016: $6,196.71 ← first income report after a year of blogging
- December 2016: $12,581,87
- March 2017: $15,539.59
- April 2017: $20,507.77
- October 2017: $16,409.45
- January 2018: $155,424.10 ← the month my first course launched
- April 2018: $59,407.60
- August 2018: $60,489.60
You can see mostly consistent upward growth, but there were definitely some months where my income stagnated or even dropped. That’s all pretty normal for blogging income because it’s not a traditional job where you’re paid the same salary every single month.
Blogging = trading some income stability for income potential and work flexibility.
How much does the average blogger make?
Glassdoor says the average blogging income is $50,415 a year, and the range is from $24,000 to $104,000 annually.
What’s a little confusing about those results is that most of the people reporting their pay are bloggers who contract out their writing services to larger companies. They’re not people, maybe like you, who are interested in starting a blog of their own to make money.
Independent bloggers who are just starting out can realistically expect to make an extra $200-$2,000/month in their first year.
The normal trajectory is that you spend a few months not making anything (exactly what happened to me and every other professional blogger I know), and then money starts to trickle in from different sources of blogging income, like display ads and affiliate income.
The problem is that a lot of new bloggers quit before their blog starts to take off. It’s hard to invest your time in a business that feels like it’s not growing. You have to look past the $0 income and see growth in traffic, email list sign-ups, etc. Your blog is growing, but it’s not monetary growth in the beginning.
What do the most successful bloggers have in common?
Let’s get this out of the way first: it isn’t luck. Blogging is hard work, and even though there are bloggers who make it look easy, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into it.
After talking to other bloggers who’ve hit major financial milestones, think 6-figure a month income or quitting their job to blog full-time, here are 5 things they all focus on.
1. Learning their craft
The online world is constantly evolving. I mean, SEO has changed a lot since I started blogging, so have social media algorithms and the way people consume content. You have to put in the time to learn about all of those changes otherwise you’ll fall flat.
You can’t put a sub-par product out there and cross your fingers. You have to be willing to put in the work to grow your skills.
There are plenty of courses out there, free and paid, that you can take to grow your knowledge. You’re investing in your business, and that’s something many new bloggers aren’t willing to do. I know it’s scary, but the ROI has been worth it for me more often than not.
2. Consistently produce content
Because there is so much content online, people will easily forget about you if you’re not consistently putting new content out there. They may love what they’ve read, but unless you keep publishing more, they don’t have much of a reason to come back.
You have to show up for your readers — that’s what it’s all about.
You’re telling them that they can trust you, and that’s huge when you want to start making money through affiliates or selling your own product.
Now, the key is to not overextend yourself. You want a sustainable content schedule. Start writing 1-2 posts per week, and if that works, you can add another day.
3. Focus on gaining traffic
Because of how blogger income works, generating more traffic is key to making money from your site.
Generally, more traffic means more revenue. It’s potentially more product sales, affiliate sales, eyes on your display ads, and so on. Now, you have to produce quality content (like I said above) to grow your views, but traffic and revenue go hand-in-hand.
Facebook was my main source of traffic when I first started my site, and I’d run Facebook ads to posts that were already performing well. Now my main strategy is upping my SEO game. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the process of improving your content and website so it ranks higher in search engine results.
In one year, here’s what happened to the number of users on my site from Google since I started focusing on SEO traffic:
The number of users nearly doubled!
I highly recommend learning as much as you can about SEO from the beginning because organic traffic from Google is the most sustainable source of traffic.
You can learn more in the SEO for Writers course.
4. Growing their email list
Your email list is an asset, and it’s one of the most valuable assets you have as an online business owner.
The reason is because you own your list. Social media and search engines can change, affecting your ability to gain new readers, but you can always contact your list. What’s also cool about your list is that these people are your true fans. They like your blog content enough to give you their email address, and they’re the ones who are most likely to click on your affiliate links and buy your products. That’s huge.
So, don’t make the mistake that me and many other bloggers made in the beginning. Yes, I’ll admit I didn’t take my list seriously enough in the beginning.
Start your list from day one. All it takes is a widget on your blog that says “Sign up for my free email list.”
Or create an opt-in box that’s set up to deliver a lead magnet (some kind of freebie — still needs to be valuable). This encourages sign-ups and shows your new readers what they can expect from you. It’s a win-win for everyone.
5. Blogging in a profitable niche
If you’ve done a lot of reading on how much bloggers make or how to make money blogging, you will see some debate about how relevant your debate is in terms of profitability. Some bloggers say, “Just pick a niche you love!” Others say, “Lucrative niches are the only way to go!”
The reality is that the most successful bloggers write in a profitable niche they love.
Your niche is the topic you blog about, and your entire site is built around it. It informs the kinds of affiliates and sponsors you work with, the products you create, etc.
Personal finance is my broad niche, but I’ve narrowed it down over the years to focus on helping people make money. Personal finance is one of the most lucrative niches, but that’s not why I choose it. I genuinely love talking about money and helping people improve their financial lives.
Back when I was still a teacher I lectured my students about things like credit scores and investing because no one did that for me when I was their age.
There are a number of niches that can be lucrative for bloggers, including:
- Health & fitness: You’re helping people find ways to better their health through diet, exercise, or different wellness categories. Can focus on men, women, families, or age groups. It’s a great niche for anyone who’s story involves a major health journey or transformation.
- Personal finance: Money is something we can all relate to, and there are a ton of different sub-categories — investing, debt pay-off, budgeting, frugality, etc.
- Lifestyle: Kind of vague, but these blogs connect to readers through specific shared interests, like a travel blog for single ladies or organic/natural parenting. These blogs have a strong brand and aesthetic.
- Business & marketing: You can blog about B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-consumer), entrepreneurship, small businesses, social media marketing, networking, etc.
- Technology: Tech blogs do particularly well with tutorials, reviews, latest news, and topics like that. They can focus on specific types of technology, like gaming, or focus on a demographic.
- Travel: Everyone loves to travel, so you can take a travel blog in a lot of different directions — budget travel, travel hacking, traveling with kids, solo traveling, high-end travel, etc.
There are ways to monetize those and every other niche, and monetization is where you get your income from blogging. Let’s head there next!
How do blogs make money?
You can’t talk about how much bloggers make without talking about how they do it. So let’s talk monetization.
There are several different strategies, and it’s best to diversify your blogging income with multiple sources so you’re never reliant on one source. Subtle algorithm changes or policies with your affiliates can dramatically affect your income.
Diversification = income protection.
5 best ways to make money blogging:
1. Freelance services
This income source is often overlooked because most people want to know about blog-specific income. But because it can take a while to make money solely from your blog, many bloggers freelance on the side to supplement.
Here are a few freelance services bloggers can offer:
- Writing: Because your blog can act as a portfolio, this is a natural fit for many bloggers. You can get paid to write blog posts, articles, copywriting, and other types of written content creation.
- Proofreading: If you nerd out for grammar and punctuation, you can sell freelance proofreading services to other bloggers and online business owners.
- Photography: Your blog is a great place to show off your photography skills or even sell prints.
- Web design: This is an in-demand service that pairs well with blogging.
- Digital marketing: Running Facebook ads for small businesses is how I supplemented my blogging income. You can easily make around $1,000-$1,500/month per client running ads.
- Coaching: This can be lucrative if you’re an expert in a specific area, and it’s best if it relates to your blog. Some ideas are blog coaching, fitness, life coaching, wellness, styling, etc.
2. Display ads
Display ads are the banner and text link ads you’ll see on a lot of blogs and websites. They are a couple of different types — those that pay per click (CPC/PPC) and those that pay per impression (CPM).
These are pretty passive, meaning there isn’t much work once you’ve decided where you want them to go, but they’re not particularly lucrative. For example, Google AdSense is one major ad network, and you can make around $50 in blog ads revenue for every thousand visitors on your site.
There are other ad networks that pay better, but you need to reach a higher number of page views to be accepted into their network.
3. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is when bloggers promote products or services using unique links on their site. When a person clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the blogger earns income from each sale.
Making money from affiliate marketing can be fairly passive and highly lucrative. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, blogger and creator of the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, regularly earns ~$50,000/month in affiliate income alone!
The key to affiliate marketing is to only promote products that fit your blog and bring value to your readers’ lives.
For example, one of my affiliates is a platform called Personal Capital — it’s a financial tracking tool that analyzes investment fees, helps you plan for retirement, and tracks your net worth. It’s incredibly relevant to my site, and it’s a product I personally use and love. And yes, that PC link is an affiliate link.
There are affiliates for nearly every type of blog niche, including Amazon, which makes sense for a lot of bloggers because you can find anything on Amazon. So a food blogger can promote Amazon affiliate links for pots and pans, utensils, or other kitchen equipment.
The best affiliates for your blog will be ones that help your readers. You can lose a ton of reader trust if you’re promoting products that aren’t relevant, and losing readers = losing blogging income.
4. Sponsored posts
Sponsored posts are when you and a brand partner up to produce content on your blog and sometimes also your social media channels and email list. You’re paid a fixed rate and usually given parameters for the post.
The key to making money with sponsored posts is to only work with brands that fit your audience, otherwise they come off as scammy. I bet you’re sensing a theme here.
Bloggers can make anywhere from $100-$20,000/month running sponsored posts.
5. Sell digital products
This is something you will see more and more bloggers doing, from online courses, printables, ebooks, etc. There are good reasons too:
- You’re in complete control of your product, from what you charge to how it’s delivered
- You can create products that fit your audience
- You can directly respond to an audience pain point
- Selling digital products is can be pretty darn lucrative
I bet you know what I’m going to say here — the product you create must relate to your audience if you want to be successful with it.
You’ve got to go beyond slapping your blog’s name or logo on a beer koozie. Take time to develop something that enhances your reader’s lives.
The secret sauce in successful launching a digital product is your email list. You can start an email list for free with MailChimp, but once you reach 2,000 subscribers I highly recommend switching to ConvertKit.
How much can I earn from blogging? The final word
I’m guessing that if you want to learn how much money bloggers make, that you’re at least somewhat interested in starting a blog.
That’s awesome, and there’s still a ton of room online for new bloggers. The key is to take things seriously from the beginning and not giving up too soon.
Starting a blog was legitimately the best thing I’ve ever done (okay, besides getting married and having a kid, haha). There were times in the beginning when I was this close to throwing in the towel, but I kept putting in the work.
If you’re willing to put in the work too, then I’m here for you. You can follow my comprehensive, step-by-step guide to start your own blog, or you can have my team help you set up your blog for free with Launch That Blog.