Updated January 14, 2016
How much do bloggers make? Well, it varies. It’s sort of like asking how much actors make. Some make a whole lot and some don’t make much at all. We’ll get into some numbers too.
Understand how bloggers make money
If you understand how bloggers make money, you’ll better understand why it varies so much.
I’d recommend reading my post How to Make Money Blogging for an in-depth explanation of how it works, as well as a list of the many ways bloggers make money today.
When I started, I asked the same thing (& how much I make)
Currently I make six figures a year, but back in 2010 when I was just starting out, I asked the readers of this blog to share their incomes. It certainly wasn’t a scientific study, nor was it a representative cross-section of all bloggers, but many did share their incomes and I am so grateful they did.
Update: It’s now 2016 and many of the incomes people shared (in the comments below) are now years old and likely no longer accurate simply because things in the blogging world change so fast. Still, I’m keeping the comments live just for fun.
The general pageviews-to-income ratio then
When I first asked people to share what they were making in 2010, I saw a general trend emerge. Of those who answered, most were making about 1% of their monthly pageviews. For example, if a blogger got 40,000 pageviews per month, they we’re making roughly $400 a month. If they got 400,000 pageviews per month, it was about $4000 a month.
The way bloggers are making money now
I’d say most of the bloggers who answered the question in 2010 made most of their money via display ads. Today, that income stream (display ads), on average, is far less lucrative for bloggers. (Again, I’ll refer you to my post How to Make Money Blogging for a list of many more income streams.)
These days the trend seems to clearly point in the direction of creating and selling your own products as well as things like affiliate marketing (one of my top income streams which I list here), sponsored posts, etc.
The amount one makes blogging depends on many factors like:
- Your niche
- How well-known you are
- How effective your networking is
- If you are fortunate enough to be recognized and linked to by well-known bloggers
- If you have outstanding content that makes people keep coming back
- If you have multiple income streams
- Your type and number of income streams
- If you write about topics for which there are companies willing to pay advertising
- And more
The list goes on and on. Every blogger’s story is different.
(By the way, if after reading you decide you want to start a blog and you don’t have one yet, you can set one up in 15 minutes.)
How much time does an income-producing blog require? A lot!
I’m going to make a broad, blanket statement here just for perspective (there are exceptions to every rule, so please take that into account). I would say, your income is pretty proportional to the amount of time you put in.
In other words, it’s not likely you’ll make a full-time income writing and networking 2-4 hours a day. You could probably make a decent part-time income doing so, but getting to that point would require a good amount of blogging knowledge and experience.
How long will it take before I start making money on my blog? It’ll be a while.
Like I said, you will always find exceptions to the rule, but I’ve been doing this many years and have heard many bloggers’ stories. A very common experience is the following:
- I started blogging for fun or on a whim. I did it because I enjoyed it.
- It took me a while to realize I could make money doing it. This was a nice thought because I was putting a lot of time into it.
- I slowly learned how to monetize my blog and income started trickling in.
- Soon, I got the hang of it. When I really started treating my blog as a business, my income increased.
- It took me at least a year or two to get to the point where the income was full-time and steady.
I like what Angela said:
I always tell folks that I worked for 8 months on my blog before receiving a single check! You have to make sure you are committed and passionate about what you’re blogging about. Focus first on quality content and bringing in traffic. And if you NEED the money…like NOW? Don’t start a blog. Get a day job.
If you’re new to the blogging and social media scene, I’d say give yourself at least 3-6 months before you start pulling in an income. And even then, it’ll most likely be coffee money.
The idea that you can start a blog today and make a full-time income within a few months is, for most of us, simply not realistic.
Having said that, many more people are starting blogs these days with the sole intention of making money. In some cases, they are able to expedite the process since they are purposeful and focused from the beginning. My point is, people come about this “blogging for money” thing in so many ways. That’s why it varies.
First, I don’t know of any hard numbers about blogging incomes across the board. I think it varies widely and I suspect many (most?) don’t earn much.
Many years ago, Problogger surveyed his audience about income two years in a row. Both years he found that most bloggers were not earning income or earning very little. It’s hard to say if those percentages are similar today.
Feel free to read the comments below for some numbers (note the dates though). Also feel free to add to them if you’d like.
There are many bloggers these days who share very detailed income reports. In fact, I keep track of many on one of my Pinterest boards (you can follow that board here).
Important note: Usually a person has been blogging a while before they start posting their income reports, so the numbers you see here are generally not from beginning bloggers. This is important to remember, lest you think these numbers are typical.
Many, many, many bloggers make far, far less than what you see below. Some never really make any money at all…despite considerable effort.
Still, if you want an idea of what’s possible, here are some examples (links go to their income reports general page):
- Coming Up Roses – Erica was making about $1400 at the end of 2015.
- Arts & Classy – At the end of 2015, Meredith was making about $5000 per month.
- Becky & Paula – Becky & Paula each have their own blogs but share their income reports on their joint blog. As of 2015, Paula was making about $5000 per month and Becky $40,000. (They also occasionally share the income reports of other bloggers too.)
- Just a Girl and Her Blog – At the end of 2015, Abby was making about $24,000 per month.
- Pinch of Yum – As of mid-2015, food blogger Lindsay was making around $30,000 per month.
- Smart Passive Income – At the end of 2015, Pat Flynn was making over $100,000 per month.
- Keep Chasing the Stars – I love Monique’s transparency about her “un-income” of -$13,000 in September of 2015.
As I said, you can find many more on my Pinterest board here.
I also encourage you to read my other post How to Make Money Blogging for a lot more explanation about how it works.
And if you want to dive right in and start a blog or website, you can follow my steps here.
As I said, this post was originally published in 2010 after asking my readers to share their incomes. At the time, this blog was only 2.5 months old (although I had been blogging elsewhere for 6 years prior to that).
I’ve kept all the answers in the comments for fun and for reference. Here’s the original question and my answers. If you would like to add yours, please feel free!
How much do you make?
Here’s what I said:
How old is your blog? 2 1/2 months.
Niche? Blogging tips, time-management tips, how to start a blog, how to make money blogging.
Pageviews per month? Google Analytics tells me in the last 30 days (May 15, 2010 – June 14, 2010) I’ve received 13,149 pageviews. (This number is not normal. See special circumstance below.)
Monthly income? In the same time period (mid-May to mid-June), I’ve made about $500. (Again, not a normal number. See special circumstance below.) This does not include income from design/consulting which I would say resulted from my blog but is not directly related to it.
Main income streams? Affiliate sales (i.e. getting a portion of a sale for referring someone to a product or service).
How long before you made money? I blogged almost 6 years without trying to make money, but in that time I learned a whole lot so by the time I started making money, it happened within the first month.
Hours blogging (& related activities) per day? At least 4-6.
Turning point or special circumstance? Special circumstance: I blogged for almost 6 years and I made pennies per month. Making an income wasn’t really my focus until I started this blog which is a culmination of what I’ve learned over the last 6 years and I would absolutely not have the same numbers if I had started as a new blogger. I would guesstimate that a blogger who started blogging 2 months ago would have made $0 and pageviews would be between 10 and 50 per day.
Turning point: Attending a blogging conference. The networking at the conference was huge for me as was the inspiration to pursue blogging as income and to do so full steam ahead.
If you’re game, copy this list of questions, paste it into a comment and answer as many as you’d like. All I ask is that you keep it real.
If you found this post fascinating or helpful, I’d love it if you passed it on. Thank you!