For some reason, there is this perception that all bloggers who are doing this full time must be making bank, or that you are a lazy millennial who doesn’t want a “real job”… This also seems to be true of social media influencers such as Youtubers and Instagramers. So, perhaps I get asked the question ” So, how much money do you make?”, more than most, but my response is probably not appealing to most people- “I make enough”.
To be honest, I never quite know how to answer this question because the answer is multifaceted. The amount I make every month changes- sometimes drastically-as do my expenses. Another thing, is that I earn about half my income now from Youtube and Instagram…Because I’ve diversified not only my income, but the way I drive traffic to my blog.
So, I’ll try to break down how much I personally make, in a bit, but first let’s explore how I and others make money in the first place so you can understand why this question is so loaded and so difficult to answer as a whole.
Understanding How Bloggers & Influencers Make Money
To really understand the potential earning for a blogger, you first have to understand how bloggers make money.
1, Google AdSense (or any other display pay per click advertising platform)
These platforms allow you to places ads on your site and you get paid per click. Now, the average conversion rate is said to be about 3% across the web. Meaning that 3% of people who visit a website will click on an advertisement and make the website some money.
The amount you get paid per click can vary from a penny to over $5.00, or in super rare cases $10.00 .. I always like to do a conservative number and say that the average click is probably between 25 cents and $1.00. So, taking that lower number of 25 cents, let’s see how much you could make with various visitors.
1000 visitors= (1000)(3%)= (30)(.25)=$7.50
10,000 visitors= (10000)(3%)= (300)(.25)=$75.00
100,000 visitors= (100000)(3%)=(3000)(.25)=$750
1,000,000 visitors= (1000000)(3%)=(30,000)(.25)=$7,500
Now, obviously this is a VERY rough calculation because every individual website will have a different conversion rate (percent of people that click on ads) and different amounts they make per click.
For instance, I had a site a couple years ago that made over $3000 a month on ads with only 3000 visitors. I attribute that to the fact that it was a diet site so the ads paid more because there’s a lot of money in the diet industry. There were also lots of relevant ads to be displayed on the site. A site about knitting is probably not going to make anywhere near that though… In fact they would probably make something more along the lines of our example.
2. Promoting Products Through Affiliate Marketing
Once again, the amount of money blogs make with this is very subjective to the type of blog and the products they’re promoting.
Someone who uses Amazon to promote a variety of products will only make 4% commission a sale. Whereas someone who uses a luxury vacation rental affiliate platform might make 30% a sale. Like I said above, I like to be conservative with my math when I’m calculating what I (or others) could make with a product. So, I assume 3% will click on the link and 3% will buy it. This is REALLY low for most industry standards, because most of the time if someone is clicking, they’re interested in the product. However, it’s better to be pleasantly surprised in my opinion than let down and not able to pay your bills!
So let’s say you have a style site and you’re going to promote a pair of shoes using Amazon. If that pair of shoes cost $40, then you’ll make $1.60 per sale with the 4% commission. So, If 3% of your visitors click to go look at the shoes and then 3% buy it, you’ll need approximately 1000 visitors to your website to make one sale- which will make you an income of $1.60.
On the other hand, if you have a luxury travel blog and you promote a luxury vacation get away that costs $5,000 and you make 30% commission, you’ll make $1,500 a sale. So for that same 1,000 visitors we talked about with the Amazon example, you could make $1,500.
Is it starting to become clear why it’s so difficult to answer the question of how much bloggers make?!
3. Selling Their Own Products or Services
The product you sell depend on your site. There are Eproducts and physical products which have different costs to make and sell and various profits. Even a small site can make a lot of money selling products if they know what their audience wants.
For instance, the diet site I owned a couple years ago was on vegan diets, so I sold two different vegan diet EBooks. Those Ebooks were $29.99 and $39.99. I also bundled them and sold them together for $59.99. About 50% of my traffic clicked into my Ebook section and 30% of them bought one of the programs… With 4000 visitors a month I sold 600 Ebooks on average a month. Obviously, the total I made varied depending on the particular books sold, but you get the idea. Even with a small number of visitors, I made some good money. But, I KNEW what they wanted because I made the site very niche and specifically for them.
A lifestyle blog, such as this one, is a bit harder to define and make products for which means there isn’t as much potential for large profit without large numbers of visitors… so once again, the amount you can make with a product depends on a number of factors!
Along with products, some bloggers sell services which can be in person- such as a fashion styling appointment, or online- such as a website consultation. Typically, services are charged per hour and bloggers typically charge at least $100 an hour.
Typically, we think of sponsorships as being something only Influencers get, but bloggers can get sponsors as well for reviews, product promotions etc.
If you’re unaware of what a sponsorship is, it’s when a business pays you to feature their product or services in a post. The amount you can get paid for a sponsorship varies immensely from blog to blog. The average blog post is probably worth at least a few hundred per sponsored post, but the reality is that it depends on the brand that wants to work with your site and what your site is worth.
It’s impossible to say what a site might make with sponsored posts, but it could be six figures a year in the right industry!
5. Other Ways Bloggers Make Money
This article isn’t about ways to monetize your blog, it’s about how much bloggers make.
So, I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but there are TONS of creative ways that bloggers also make money besides the normal.
For instance, speaking engagements, are highly profitable. Pay-per click affiliate marketing is becoming more popular, as is Livestreaming on platforms like YouNow, and making content for loyal fans using Patreon. You even have people offering paid email newsletters and membership platforms as additional ways to make money on their sites.
The Determining factors For How Much A Blog Makes
The amount one makes blogging depends on many factors like:
- Your niche (The area you blog in- style, beauty, food, home and garden, trucking etc.)
- How long you’ve been at it and how well known you’ve become
- If your networking has been effective
- If you have good content that makes people keep coming back and other websites link to you.
- If your topic has advertisers who want to pay to work with you (or put ads on your site via Google Adsense)
- How you’ve monetized your site- are you using multiple income streams (ads, affiliates, sponsorships etc?)
- How good of a business owner you are
- How well you know your audience
- Plus many other factors!
As a broad rule of thumb, the amount you can expect to make is proportional to the time and energy you put into your blog and how targeted the choices you make are. I made my first $1000 the month I started my blog, but that’s not normal. Most people go at least 3 months before they even see a penny and at least a year if not longer before they make a full time income.
But, as you’ve seen above, there are many ways to monetize a blog and make a good income, even with a small number of visitors a month- if you have a plan, know your audience, and hustle the opportunities are there! With that being said, most bloggers who start blogging as a hobby, never turn their blogs into a business- or it takes them years to do so.
How Much I Make As A Blogger
I told you in the beginning of the blog that I would talk about how much I make as a blogger. Here’s the deal, I honestly can’t say I make a certain amount every month and that there’s a normal for me.
I’ve had months where I’ve made tens of thousands, and months where I’ve been in the hole. I started online with niche sites (essentially blogs focused on one tiny topic). I used a lot of various ways to monetize those sites- which means when I had traffic I made a good income. I also catered to very specific communities. But I did one thing extremely wrong. I had only one traffic source- Google. So, basically I relied on my sites ranking on Google where people could find. That was my only source of traffic. For the most part I stayed in the top five positions in Google, but, sometimes, Google would knock my site down in rankings and I wouldn’t get the traffic I normally had. In those months I would make way less money, or even sometimes be in the whole $20 or $50 at the end of the month because I still had the expenses that I had when I was making $3,000 or $10,000 or $30,000…. Ultimately I made a decent profit throughout the year, but I can’t say there was an amount I made that was normal, nor could I say “I make a $100,000” or “$40,000”, it was just too subjective to a bazillion elements.
This year however, I’m focusing on building out this particular site and building out multiple channels of traffic so I can project an amount that’s reasonable to live on and not have to worry so much about how Google feels about my site. I’m projecting with a lot of hard work to make a minimum of $40,000 this year with this site, and equal amounts with Youtube and Instagram.