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How Bloggers Make Money: Income and stats from 13 full-time bloggers

how-bloggers-earn-moneyWhenever someone asks what I do for work and I reply “I’m a blogger”, the next question is always the same: “How does that make money?”  Usually, they say that while thinking “blogger” is code for “looking for a real job but can’t get hired.”  I assure you it’s not.  In fact, blogging can be an extremely lucrative career.

Most people think that the money comes from advertising, but the truth is that most of the bloggers I know make only a small portion of their income through ads.

Every blog works differently and earns money in different ways, so I think it’s best if I simply share statistics from 15 real blogs so you can get an idea.  Some of the names have been changed to protect privacy, but all of these are real sites–mostly from myself or people I know personally.

11 Examples of Profitable Blogs and How They Make Money

  • ImprovePhotography.com – This is one of my sites.  I don’t publish the income it earns anymore for legal reasons, but back in 2014 it earned over $500,000 in one year.  It has grown since then.  The site earns half its income from selling products like online photography courses, 25% of its income from affiliate sales where I refer traffic to Amazon.com and Amazon gives me an 8% cut of the profit, and the rest comes from events, advertising, etc.  The site has very low expenses and no employees.
  • JustAGirlAndHerBlog – The site earns about $30,000 per month.  30% of their money comes from selling an online course.  70% of their money comes from referring people to products and services on other websites who then in turn give them a cut of the sale.
  • StartupCamp.com – He earned over $132,000 in one month!!!  The income came from selling his online course (30%), speaking engagements (30%), book sales (15%), and the rest from affiliate.
  • TrueValhala.com – This is a video game website that earns on average $7,300 per month as of the time of writing.  Matthew earns his money from providing online HTML5 games for people to play and buy.
  • PullingCurls.com – This site covers lots of topics and is mostly targeted toward women.  It earns $4,000 per month from ads (40%), affiliate (35%) and sponsored posts/other.
  • Design Your Event – This site earns $24,000 per month.  Almost all of the money comes from private ad sales, where the blogger sells ads to companies who want to appear on the site.  This site get HUGE HUGE traffic.
  • Traffic4Blogging.com – This site earns $2,000 per month and is only 12 months old.  The site is earning 85% of its income from referring people to products on other sites, and the rest of the money by consulting.
  • IncomeSchool.com – This site earns 60% of its money from when people purchase our products like our Niche Site Consulting and School, where we teach people how to create a profitable blog in 60 days.  25% of our income comes from affiliate products like when we refer people to tools and hosting companies that we use for our blog.
  • MostlyMorgan.com – This site earns $2,000 per month.  She makes most of her money (95%) by referring people to the hosting company she uses, as well as other products she likes.
  • My Boating Blog – This is a small site that I created back in 2014.  The site earns about $3,500 a month on average today.  100% of the income from this site comes from Amazon Affiliate.  I recommend different products on Amazon that I use on my boat.  When people click my link to Amazon, Amazon gives me about 8% of whatever they buy.  This is the only source of income on this site.  I only log in to this site about once every 3 months to give it about 20 minutes of updating.  The site earns income passively from the 30 articles I wrote 2 years ago.
  • PinchOfYum.com – This is a large website that has cooking tips and recipes.  The site earns $56,000 per month in gross profit, but has an unusually large $20,000 of expenses per month since it pays for so many writers.  This site earns 45% of its income from advertising, and 45% of its income from sponsored content.  Sponsored content is when a company pays a blog owner to publish a post that it writes on your site, and mentions its own services.  The rest is from affiliate products.
  • KnifeUp.com – This is another one of my websites.  It earns about $3,200 per month.  I actually purchased this website from someone who had mismanaged it, and I was able to double the income it was earning almost overnight.  The site earns 95% of the income from Amazon Associates where I refer traffic to Amazon in exchange for an 8% cut of the sale.  It earns the remaining 5% from Google Ads.

Overall Conclusions

From the blogs that I looked into and have numbers from, they are earning income from the following sources:

Affiliate Marketing Products
45%
Advertising
25%
Selling their own digital products
20%
Other
10%

How Much Traffic Do You Need to Earn a Full-Time Income?

The way that a site is monetized determines how much traffic the site needs to earn a decent income.  If a site is reliant on advertising, it usually needs huge traffic numbers in order to make money.  If a site is monetized with their own products or affiliate income, then it needs much less traffic.

Most website owners can find a way to earn $4,000 per month from a website that has 75,000 visitors per month.Jim Harmer

Also, the type of site makes a huge difference.  If a site about personal finance or business has 100,000 visitors per month, it could very very easily be a full-time gig earning $10,000 per month.  Visitors to a website on these topics are willing to spend money.  Other niche websites like celebrity rumor sites or recipe sites have information that visitors quickly read and then leave, so they are much much harder to monetize.

However, I can give some examples.  I have a website that gets 150,000 visitors per month and makes $3,500 per month.  I have another site that earns the same amount of money on 32,000 visitors.

How Hard Is It to Get Up to 75,000 Visitors Per Month?

I have a few sites that get that much traffic.  When I start a brand new website, it usually takes me about 14 months to get that much traffic if I’m starting from scratch.  Obviously, that kind of result depends on your skill, dedication to writing new blog posts, and also how large the audience is.

The real reason why most people don’t succeed with their blogs is (1) they simply don’t know some of the tips and tricks that full time bloggers use to write articles that get traffic, and (2) they aren’t sure how to monetize their blogs properly and just rely on ads.

I usually find that it takes about 100 articles to get up to the 75,000 visitors per month mark, but the articles have to be very high quality and long (typically 1,500 to 2,000 words).  However, if I were to write 100 articles today, I wouldn’t expect to be getting serious traffic tomorrow.  It takes time for Google to learn to trust your site.

This is a screenshot of my Amazon Associates account for March, 2015 for JUST ONE of my websites. You certainly can't expect to do this right away, but stick with it and you can do really well.

This is a screenshot of my Amazon Associates monthly earnings account for JUST ONE of my websites. You certainly can’t expect to do this right away, but stick with it and you can do really well.

How To Start A Blog and Actually Earn Money From It

I used to spend a lot of time with family and friends around my kitchen table teaching them how to make blogs and websites as a side business or a full-time job.  Unfortunately, I think I proved to not be a very good teacher because I could never quite convince any of them to keep working on their site for long enough to see the rewards.

The truth is that it takes a year of really hard work writing on a site and working to get traffic before it generally starts to earn any significant amount of money.  Some people do it faster, but usually it takes a year.

So, I decided that I’d just write a really in-depth, step-by-step series of blog posts that walks you through everything you need to know to get started.  I call it the “Getting Started with a Profitable Blog” series.  You can read it for free right here.

In that post you’ll learn how I pick the topic or “niche” for a blog that will be profitable and easy to get traffic, and then how I write the articles and monetize the sites that I make.  That’s a really really good place to start because it’s free and really valuable.

But if you want more of my personal help in getting started, then I can highly recommend my Niche Site Consultation and School.  Basically, it works by you telling me the things you’re interested and like and then I help you decide which of those ideas would be a profitable website.

After you hear back from me and choose your topic, I send you an email almost every single day for 60 days with a short video in it that shows you exactly what to do that day to set up your hosting, get your site online and design it up nicely (NO technical expertise necessary at all), write articles, create a social media presence, etc.  It’s a step-by-step recipe for how I have created many successful blogs that now earn more than half a million dollars a year with very low expenses–all while working from home.

It really doesn’t matter to me whether you choose the free route by reading the getting started blogging series of articles I have free here on the site, or if you choose to invest a tiny amount of money in your education by getting my personal assistance with the Niche Site Consultation and School.  Either way, I just want you to get started!

I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills over the last few years as I started a blogging business, but the results have been absolutely amazing and I’d love to share with as many other families as possible how you can do it too.

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