“So, what do you do?”
This question never used to bother me—back when I had a Real Job. But ever since I started blogging full-time, this question has taken on a whole other energy.
“No, but what’s your Real Job?”
“Does that actually make money?”
“So, you just write about…yourself? People read that?”
That last one was courtesy of my cousin, and one of my personal favorites. Because yes, people do read that (even though I don’t personally blog about my own life). Also, yes, blogging does actually make money.
But how much money do bloggers really make per post?
The short answer is: it depends.
How much bloggers make per post depends on their reach—how big an audience they have—and how engaged that audience is.
In simple terms, if you have 100,000 visitors but none of them are reacting to your content—by liking, sharing, commenting, etc.—you’ll struggle to monetize your blog. If you have 50,000 engaged readers, who share your content and connect with you as a writer, you could earn hundreds—and even thousands—of dollars per post.
I’ve heard of reputable bloggers earning up to 20,000 per post (I feel like I need to point out that this is by no means the norm).
It’s impossible to tell you what you would make as a blogger, since everyone has a different earning potential based on a multitude of factors. What I can do is tell you how bloggers are making money, and how much of it they’re making on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
So let’s get started.
The Breakdown: How Bloggers Make Money
Before we look at what some of the internet’s most successful bloggers are making, let’s look at how they’re making it. First, the foundations:
- Traffic. In order to get paid as a blogger, you need to have traffic. Effectively, traffic is the number of people visiting your blog. Successful bloggers might not have the largest traffic count overall—although many of them do—but they know their audience well.
- Engagement. As I mentioned in the intro, traffic means nothing without engagement. Engagement translates into successful bloggers understanding how to maximize their influence and earning potential per page and per email subscriber. This is often counted across several KPIs:
- Time on Page
- Average Session Duration
- Email List. Easily one of the most vital assets you have as a blogger, your email list is your real audience. They return to your blog to engage with your content, they trust you enough to buy from you—or, at the very least, to give you their email addresses—and they’ll click on affiliate links you send them. The world’s most influential bloggers all know that their email list is their biggest money maker.
Let’s say you’ve got these foundations established. You’ve got the traffic, the engagement, and your gold-standard email list. Now you need actual revenue streams:
- Advertising networks – direct display ads on your blog (potential monthly revenue: $25,000+)
- Google Adsense – Google-sourced ads on your blog (potential per click revenue: $0.5)
- Affiliate advertising – Other brands’ products or services endorsed on your blog (potential per click revenue: $500)
- Sponsored content – Hosting guest posts on your blog (potential per post revenue: $500+)
- Ad buys – Paid banner display ads on your blog (potential per banner revenue: $2,000+)
- Social media promotion – Being paid to endorse or advertise for a brand on social media (potential per promotion revenue: $2,000+)
- Paid social media content promotion – You pay to advertise on social media platforms in return for an increase in traffic. If you subscribe to the ‘spend money to make money’ theory, this one’s for you (potential per purchase revenue: $25,000+)
- Online courses – You offer paid training courses or online seminars (potential per user revenue: unlimited)
- Brand partnership – Ongoing sponsorship between your blog and a brand that adds value for your audience (potential monthly revenue: unlimited)
These income streams are the most commonly used in the blogging world, but there’s plenty of scope to diversify if your blog is ready to expand. A lot of bloggers move into podcasts, one-on-one coaching, public speaking, book deals, and guest writing gigs.
The Breakdown: What Bloggers Make On Average
According to most blogging experts, if you can average at least 3 high-value blog posts per week, $500 to $2,000 is a manageable monthly earning in your first year as a blogger.
Grant Sabatier over at Millennial Money was able to net $25,000 in his first year as a blogger. In his second year he was able to quintuple (5-tuple? Multiply that by 5, anyway) that number. In year 3 he hit the $400,000 mark. In year 4, he was on track to crack a million dollars in earnings as a full-time blogger.
Even without the level of drive and ambition it takes to create a multi-million dollar empire like Millennial Money, Glassdoor puts the average blogger’s annual salary at $33,470.
The beauty of being a blogger is that not only do you get to work your own hours, in your own way—and from anywhere in the world—you really can carve out your own niche. One super-successful blog scored a book deal out of posting bad life advice they’d found in history books. Perez Hilton earns over $40 million a year talking about celebrities. Whatever you want to blog about—you’ve probably got an audience out there, waiting.
The Breakdown: What Bloggers Make in a Week
In my pretty extensive research into the earnings of other bloggers, there wasn’t a lot available across weekly earnings. I’m guessing there are three reasons for this:
- Traffic fluctuates a lot from week to week, so it’s hard to get a consistent read on weekly income, and
- You may not be delivering the same level of content each week (although you should definitely be trying to be as consistent as possible), and
- If you really wanted to get an average weekly number, you could divide your annual blog income by 52.
Consistency is going to be the key, with a lot of blog experts saying you should aim for 3 epic, top-tier pieces of content each week. Treating your side hustle like it’s your Real Job—instead of some hobby you kind-of-do when you have time—is the only way to grow your traffic and your income in the blogoverse.
The Breakdown: What Bloggers Make in a Month
There are a lot of ways to earn money as a blogger. Affiliate marketing, advertising, sponsorship…the list goes on. But when it comes to monetizing your blog, traffic is the key to monetization.
An average monthly income for a monetized blog typically looks like this:
- Pageviews per month (that’s your traffic) x income per pageview = monthly income
Most of the blogs I’ve looked at average around 5c per pageview, with the bigger hitters sitting at around 8c+ per pageview. Since it’s pretty reasonable to expect you could grow your traffic to around 50,000 pageviews per month, that’s an average monthly income of $2,500.
Ok, so that’s probably not enough to convince you to quit your day job, but it’s a manageable side hustle for a few hours work each week.
How Many Hours is “A Few”?
JD over at The Money Habit generated $5,193 per month (on average) back in 2017. And that’s based on his fairly solid commitment to only writing 3-5 hours per week.
According to Convert Kit, that’s pretty standard for a professional blogger. According to their stats, 42% of professional bloggers spend less than 5 hours working. (Did I mention that of that 42%, the average annual revenue was over $185k?)
If you can grow your monthly traffic to around the 100,000 mark—somewhere most successful blogs sit at year 2 or 3 of consistent work—you could be making double that, or $60k a year.
The Breakdown: What Bloggers Make in a Year
Many of the pro bloggers I’ve spoken to (or stalked on the socials) are pulling in over $200k a year. Of course, there are the big guns of the blogging world, who make millions every year. For funsies, let’s look at those:
- HuffPost: Annual earnings $500+ million
- Engadget: Annual earnings $47.5 million
- Moz: Annual earnings $44.9 million
- PerezHilton: Annual earnings $41.3 million
- Copyblogger: Annual earnings $33.1 million
Other blogging giants—like Mashable, Smashing Magazine, and Gizmodo—are all raking in millions a year.
The sheer volume of posts these big hitters generate might be unachievable for most of us, but it’s still pretty conceivable to shatter the million dollar ceiling with your work-from-home blog.
Take Michelle over at Making Sense of Cents. She earns over $120k a month on a blog that originally helped her manage her student loan debt.
Liz (one half of the Frugalwoods couple) and her husband used a blog on living frugally to eventually buy a 66-acre Vermont homestead.
Jennifer, who runs Show Me The Yummy, provided a monthly income breakdown a few years back to show her income that month (a net profit of $44k!) and her rolling annual salary.
Finally, Melyssa Griffin posted proof of her staggering $283k monthly income (P.S. if you want to know how much online courses can earn you, Melyssa is your lady!).
Don’t let anyone tell you blogging has run its course—it hasn’t. As netizens search for more organic, authentic content and turn away from big media, your niche could be a part of the movement.
The key is: traffic before monetization.
Work on building your audience and email list, creating genuine engagement with the people who visit your blog, and look at ways to monetize that to create real value for them. Next year, maybe you’ll be one of the success stories other bloggers are aspiring to.