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2014 Reboot: Make Money From Your Blog This Year

We are mining ProBlogger content this week for super-useful information to kick-start your blogging year with gusto. Today we focus on that old chestnut – is it REALLY possible to earn some cash doing what we love? Well the answer is “yes, but”. So if 2014 is the year you finally knuckle down and make it happen – Darren’s got just the post for you.

This post “Is it Really Possible to Make Money Blogging? [7 Things I know about Making Money Blogging] first appeared in November 2012. 

Every now and again I am pulled aside at a conference or am emailed and/or tweeted by someone wanting to get the “real” scoop on whether it is possible to make money blogging.

  • Is it really possible to make a living from blogging?
  • Is it just a small number of people making money from blogging?
  • Is it only really possible to make money blogging if you write about the topic of making money blogging?

I completely understand the questions and would probably want to add one more:

  • If it is really possible to make money blogging, how likely is it that you’ll succeed?

I’ve written many times here on ProBlogger about this in the hope of giving a realistic picture of the topic, but I think it is worth touching on again because there is a lot of misinformation out there right now.

On one hand, we see hype on the topic. Periodically someone will claim to be able to make millions from blogging quickly. These claims are usually accompanied with the release of a product or service (i.e. they are marketing spin).

On the other hand, I periodically see people writing about how it is impossible to make money blogging (or that anyone claiming to be full time is either a scammer, a liar, or is selling something on the topic of making money online).

The reality is somewhere between these two extremes.

7 Things I know about making money from blogging

1. It is possible

I’ve been blogging for just under ten years and for nine of those I’ve been making money blogging. It started out as just a few dollars a day but in time it gradually grew to becoming the equivalent of a part-time job, then a full-time job, and more recently into a business that employs others.

I used to talk about the specific levels of my earnings when I started ProBlogger but felt increasingly uncomfortable about doing so (it felt a little voyeuristic and a little like a big-headed boasting exercise and I didn’t really see the point in continuing to do it)— but my income has continued to grow each year since I began.

On some levels I was at the right place at the right time—I got into blogging early (in 2002 … although I felt I was late to it at the time) and have been fortunate enough to have started blogs at opportune times on the topics I write about.

However I know of quite a few other bloggers who make a living from blogging, many of whom have not been blogging anywhere near as long as I have.

For some it is a hobby that keeps them in coffee; for others it is the equivalent of a part time job/supplementing other income from “real jobs” or helping their family out as they attend to other commitments (raising a family). For others it is a full-time thing.

I’ll give you some examples below.

2. There is no single way to monetize blogs

Recently at our Melbourne ProBlogger event I featured numerous Australian bloggers in our speaker lineup who fit somewhere in the part-time to full-time spectrum. They included:

The year before, we had others, including:

Most of these bloggers are full-time (or well on the way to being full-time bloggers). They come from a wide array of niches and all monetize quite differently—doing everything from selling advertising, to having membership areas, to selling ebooks, to running affiliate promotions, to promoting their offline businesses, to selling themselves as speakers, to having book deals, and so on. Many have a combination of different income streams.

They are all also Australian, and are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is happening here in Australia—the same thing is being replicated around the globe.

There are many ways to monetize a blog. To give you a quick sense of the many methods check out this “money map” I created a year or so back, which outlines just some that I brainstormed (click to enlarge).

Ways to Make Money Blogging.png

I also recorded this free hour-and-twenty-minute webinar giving an introduction to the topic.

3. There are no formulas

From time to time, people have released products that claim to be formulas for success when it comes to making money online. They outline steps to follow to “guarantee” you’ll make money.

In my experience there is no formula.

Each full-time blogger I’ve met in the last ten years has forged their own path and has a unique story to tell. They have often acted on hunches and made surprising discoveries along the way.

There are certainly similarities in many of the stories but each blogger has their own personality and style, each one is reaching a different audience, and each niche tends to monetize differently.

The key lesson is to be aware of what others are doing and to learn what you can from each other, but to also be willing to forge your own path as well!

4. Many niches monetize

One common critique of the topic of monetizing of blogs is that the only people making money from blogging are the ones writing about how to make money blogging.

This is simply not true.

In the above list of speakers from our Melbourne event you’ll notice I included topic/niche of each blogger. None sell products teaching others to make money blogging—all are on blogging on “normal,” every-day topics.

My own experience of having a blog about blogging (ProBlogger) and a blog about Photography is that it is my photography blog that is by far the most profitable blog (I’d estimate it’s ten times more profitable).

I’ve interviewed numerous full-time bloggers of late in a webinar series including:

Interestingly, none of them make money by teaching others to make money online. Sarah largely blogs about health and wellbeing, Tsh blogs about simple living, and Ana blogs about woodwork.

5. Most bloggers don’t make a full-time living from blogging

Every time I’ve surveyed readers of ProBlogger about their earnings, we’ve seen that those making money from blogging are in the minority.

In a recent survey of 1500 ProBlogger readers we asked about their monthly earnings. What you’re seeing below is the spread of earnings from readers who are attempting to make money blogging (note: not all ProBlogger readers attempt to make money, so not all are included in these results).

Keep in mind that ProBlogger readers are generally newish bloggers—about half of those who took this survey had been blogging for less than two years.

So of those trying to make money blogging, 10% don’t make anything and 28% are making less than 30 cents per day. A total of 63% make less than $3.50 per day.

Let’s be clear—most bloggers who are attempting to make money are not making a living from blogging.

Having said that, of the 1508 bloggers surveyed 65 (4%) are making over $10,000 per month (over six figures per year) and a further 9% were doing over $1000 per month (which is at least a part-time level of income).

My feeling, having been attending blogging conferences for six or so years now, is that the number of full-time bloggers is on the rise, and there are actually quite a few more people now at least making the equivalent of a couple of days’ work a week in income from their blogs.

However, most bloggers don’t make much.

6. It takes time to build

When I dig down into the stats from the survey on income levels above, and do some analysis of those who are in the top income bracket, it is fascinating to look at how long they’ve been blogging.

85% of those in that top income bracket have been blogging for four years or more. Almost all of the others had been blogging for three or four years.

This certainly was my own experience. I blogged for a year without making money and once I started monetizing it was around two years of gradual increases before I approached a full-time income level. It would have been four years before I joined that top bracket of income (over $10,000 per month).

Blogging for money is not a get-rich-quick thing. It takes time to build an audience, to build a brand, and to build trust and a good reputation.

And of course even with four or five years of blogging behind you, there’s no guarantee of a decent income.

7. It takes a lot of work

Longevity is not the only key to a profitable blog. The other common factor that I’ve noticed in most full-time bloggers is that they are people of action.

Passivity and blogging don’t tend to go hand in hand.

 

Blogging as “passive income stream” is another theme that we hear in many make-money-blogging products, however it is far from my own experience.

I’ve worked harder on my business over the last ten years than I’ve worked on anything in my life before this. It is often fun and gives me energy, but it takes considerable work to create content on a daily basis, to keep abreast of what’s going on in the community, to monitor the business side of things, to create products to sell, to build an audience, and so on.

The key is to build blogs that matter to people, that are original, interesting, and helpful. But this doesn’t just happen—it takes a lot of work.

Conclusions

Yes, it is possible to make money blogging. There is an ever-increasing number of people making money from blogging at a part-time to full-time level —however they are still in the minority.

Those who do make a living from blogging come from a wide range of niches, however one of the most common factors between them is that they’ve been at it for a long while.

How long have you been blogging? Are you looking to make money from it—and have you already? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Samuel says:

    Excellent tips imparted from the Problogger himself!

    The words said in this article couldn’t be more valuable to a reader and to myself.

    I believe some people are too rushed and impatient in making money, and forget it takes a long time to make a name for yourself.

    I have already been almost 2 years in the industry and I am still going strong, maybe feel even better about the chances of succeeding!

    It takes a shitload of hard work and all you can do everyday is to work hard. :)

    Thank you!

    - Samuel

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      And the longer and harder you work, the closer you are to success! Keep on truckin’ :)

    • rakesh kumar says:

      What most problogger does not teach in their blog post is – how to monetize your own blog. the magic funda is – Check your blogs metrics on regular basic and try to find out which type of articles are being read on your website. Try to promote the same kind of matter through your affiliate links. This way I am 200% sure you will be able to make money in very short span of time.

  2. Robby Kukurs says:

    Hi Darren/Everyone!

    Personally I’ve been actively blogging for 4 years now, and if there’s one thing I can tell you all about blogging, then it’s PERSEVERANCE and consistency. As Darren rightly pointed out, “passive income” is a very misleading concept most often used by unscrupulous marketers to lure gullible internet marketing wannabes into buying some get-rich-quick scheme. In real life you have to work like hell to achieve something!

    Is blogging easy?

    Hell no!

    It’s time consuming (single article might take anywhere up to 8 hours to create, proofread, format etc, let alone video production etc.) , it’s sometimes boring (there are times when it feels I’m just re-writing past blog posts and it gets hard to come up with some new ideas to write about), and sometimes you really hit the writer’s block and you can’t do anything for days.

    Is blogging rewarding?

    Yes!

    If you’re really serious about it and you stick with it for a long, long time, and you provide REAL value to your audience, money will start coming in and that’s the most gratifying thing I love about blogging – your customers trusting you with their hard-earned cash. Getting that sales notification in your mailbox is one of the best feelings ever!

    So, all my fellow bloggers out there and Darren as well – Happy New Year!!!!

    Regards,

    Robby

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I agree, it’s so rewarding. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re getting back what you’re putting in, but if you don’t try, you never know!

      Happy New Year to you too, Robby.

  3. If someone asks whether it is possible to make money blogging, I think what they really want to hear is that it’s possible to quit the job and just blog.

    What they don’t understand is that blogging IS job, and being good blogger takes effort.

    Other thing is – not all niches can make money from just blogging.

    e.g. I’m a cat behaviorist, and, if one day I quit working and become full time blogger, my posts would soon start to repeat themselves and become boring, telling nothing new.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I know what you mean, it’s like swapping a job for another job, really!

  4. First of all showing us newbies that it is possible no matter what we are blogging about. Its nice every once in a while to get a reminder especially since every out here seems to be doing this for years and sometimes it feels like a begginer can ever reach that level! I am a very visual person so I loved the chart it makes it very easy for a person to see what kind of path they can take without being to complicated!

  5. I have had some success with blogging in the past, and did make some money, around $100 a month from ppc ad networks. I only blogged a couple of times a day and it took a while to build that income but I eventually kind of gave up on the idea. Reading this post has gave me the inspiration to really go for it this time!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      That’s what I like to hear, Mark! Knock it out of the park this year.

  6. waqar says:

    Hi Darren an excellent post again, I don’t know what to say about Blogging it gave me rewards but it hurt me as well,

    I earned about 100$ in one year, which is not much but that was my first year, Now My blog is about a very limited topic , Can I expand it ?

    Please help me

    When I read your post why Windows 8.1 upgrade started after 2 hours of upgrade I came back to comment, and ask you my little question

    Hopefully you Reply

    Regards

    Waqar

    Happy New Year Darren

  7. It is actually heartening to hear that it takes several years of consistent blogging for most people to make any appreciable money from blogging. You hear so much information about just putting up a site and letting the money roll in that it was nice to see a more realistic but workable perspective.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      It’s been my experience too – no quick fixes, just consistency. If you don’t give up, then you’re the one still standing when the opportunities roll around!

  8. scott moore says:

    This is a very realistic post on making money from a blog. I have been blogging for several months but am trying to find the niche that is best for me as well. Right now it is personal development because I know how important mindset is.

    I intend to keep blogging from here out, and I hope to settle into a reasonable amount of success and hopefully earn from it as I learn to provide value on a consistent basis. I want to be known for providing value.

    Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Scott

  9. Ryley Kade says:

    Great post. It is totally possible to make money blogging. The reason most people fail is they can’t seem to stay committed. As long as you are willing to put the hours in and stick with it you can and will make money.

  10. I 2014 I want to make more than any year in the past. This year I will make it a pure multiple income stream destination. Combination of blogging and affiliate marketing is the magic combination of money making. I will do it in next year.

  11. janet huey says:

    Words are powerful. I never say “make”money. I earn it so I ALWAYS say
    “earn” money, whether speaking to clients or other business owners. It sends a strong psychological message to me ad well as others

  12. Stacey,

    You are so right when you state “it takes time to build”, I struggled understanding this and felt I should be able to profit in no time, but that just doesn’t make sense.

    I fall in the category of the 25% on your graph and have been working hard to implement strategies to help get myself lifted to the next step.

    Happy New Years Eve,

    Christopher Pontine

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      You have to establish yourself first, and establish your credibility. That’s something you can’t fake – it just takes time. Good luck this year!

  13. waqar says:

    And Darren or anyone else never replied to my comment :(

  14. Debashish says:

    Excellent post, Darren. I certainly believe it’s possible to make money by blogging. I’ve been bogging for less than a year, and although I’m not making money directly through my blog, I’m making money by selling my service as a blogger/writer.

  15. I just had my 4 year anniversary for my blog. I agree with all that has been said, It isn’t going to come quickly and it is a lot of work. My issue now is I receive lots of email from folks who want me to list their products or events for free. I am trying to take a stand to not give away for free. My readership is a nice size, growing daily as well as my social media presence. I would tell new bloggers to not be quick to do things for free, even if it is a big company. You get impressed that they are contacting you, but, you shouldn’t give away prime space on your blog, as in a post, for free. I am hoping in 2014 I will have more advertising opportunities and am going to see what other avenues I can pursue. Being a travel blog about NYC, I do not have products to sell, per say. Great post as always and Happy New Year to everyone!!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Ah yes, that is a difficult situation a lot of us find ourselves in. I hope you find what works for you. Happy new year!

  16. Bobby says:

    This post has boosted confidence in me. But i know i have to start from somewhere. At the moment i don’t have any money invest on hosting and domains. As soon as i get that get back to you. Thanks

  17. Tom says:

    I resisted blogging for many years. It wasn’t until prompting from friends to share my knowledge that gave me the courage to go for it. I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear what I had to say but I was wrong.
    I believe a person MUST follow their passions. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you will lose interest,
    I am still learning. But do it for the love, and hopefully the money will follow.

  18. Gary says:

    Blogging is definitely not an easy road and you do need patience and a big dollop of discipline (and then some).

    But I do find it rewarding, 18 months before I made a penny, but if you’re on a limited budget I can’t think of a better alternative method of profiting from your on-line exploits!

    I love it and I’m proud to say I’m a blogger…love the article :)

  19. Elliot says:

    Great article! I’ve been blogging since the start of 2009 when I was roughly 16 and I’ve always loved reading your blog and getting inspiration from your posts.

    In my time blogging the most I’ve made from one month of blogging was roughly $150 which isn’t a lot so hopefully I will be able to thoroughly smash that record this year and start a decent wee side earner!

  20. Hi. I swore I wouldn’t comment since no one ever seems to answer comments on this blog, but you seem pretty engaged, Stacey, so I’m going to add my two cents worth.

    I’ve been blogging for just under a year on a free blog on WordPress. Until last January, I didn’t even own a computer. (Yes, believe it. It’s true.)

    Now I am pursuing my passion, my hobby, my writing. I’m freelancing and loving it; I’m working on books, and I’m creating a course to sell (well, I will be this year). What most people fail to realize is that they can earn money in various ways without having to spend it. I have not spent one cent (other than my monthly internet connection fee) since I began blogging. “Free” has become my trademark, in a way! (So says Dear Blogger’s Greg Narayan.)

    Is this unusual? I’d really like to know.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Haha yeah, I don’t mind a bit of a chat when I can!

      I don’t think it’s totally unusual, no. I know lots of people following their passions and making some money on free blogger platforms, and all the social media they use for self-promotion don’t cost them a thing. But as with all things, sometimes a little investment can take you to that next level. But no, you don’t really need to spend money to get some traction! Sounds like you’re onto a winner there, Lorraine. I wish you all the success :)

  21. Wow that chart with the different ways to make money blogging blew my mind. I’ve never seen it diagramed like that. There are literally SO many ways to make it work. But I guess they all have one thing in common A TON OF HARD WORK. Gotta keep grinding I guess.

  22. I have been working on my blogs from last 2 years and i am not a good blogger i earn only 200$ per month but i have a good habit that is learning attitude and i read your post and got many inspirations. Thank you

  23. Very comprehensive and helpful post. thanks for sharing information.

  24. Aparajita says:

    Feeling Motivated after reading this article :) Last year I was working on 2 blogs but this year i have 4 new domains going to make more from Blogging thanks for sharing :)

  25. zack says:

    I have been working on my blogs from last 1 years and i am not a good blogger i earn only 20$

  26. Carole says:

    Excellent post, Stacey and Darren! As a blog that is only 18 months young, we have struggled with the monetizing end of things but learning that we are in the 25% bracket is encouraging, even if it is still peanuts! Yes, blogging is hard work, but if you love what you do, it is vastly rewarding! And, fortunately for me, I love what I do. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  27. I’ve been blogging for four years. My earnings have steadily increased each year, but I would really like to earn a part-time income from blogging. I actually have a freelance writing job that pays much better, but blogging is where my heart is–there is just something so satisfying about earning a profit from something I’ve created from nothing.

    I started 2014 with a site redesign, which has already improved traffic and revenue. Now I just need to focus on putting out quality content on a regular basis.

  28. Thank you this very informative article. I’ve been blogging for 7 months and am loving every minute of it so far. I agree that as bloggers we can learn lots from other bloggers. I’ve also found them to be really supportive. In my heart I feel that if you are passionate about what you write about and work hard, and then even harder, you will go far. Never stop learning. : )

  29. sameer says:

    Thanks for sharing how to make money from blog. I need this information and I got it here.I followed all steps. Thanks once again.

  30. Vanessa says:

    It takes time – I’ve only had my blog two years but have been writing online in one way or another for 10 years. It’s only now I have a clear plan forwards.

  31. Stacey,

    I can’t agree with you anymore, I have been managing my website for a little over a year, and I am barely starting to see noticeable increases in traffic, even though I have been actively promoting the website.

    The key is to never give up and to try to write amazing content every time you write.

  32. Phuong Le says:

    If you provide your readership with tons of unique and high quality content in your niche which you really enjoy, people would consider you as an authority and give you credit. It means high targeted traffic containing prospects that want to just take your recommendations more seriously and buy from you. The bottom line is huge profits.

  33. Mel says:

    I’m new to the blogging scene and this article provided some very good information. One thing that stands out from everything I’ve been reading is to be persistent. Blogging success takes time.

  34. SK Yadav says:

    The only thing that I realized about online earning is, it needs equal hard work and dedication as in some offline job. You need to work hard to done the task, whether it is blogging, web designing task, development task or some other like email marketing.
    Hard work is everything that can help you earn more and more every day.

  35. Nina Amir says:

    I found this so interesting, Darren. And it made me think about one of my four blogs…one that chugs along on its own almost because it has a very specialized–and underserved–market. What a monetization opportunity I have been missing! That blog was started from passion and interest and to build platform for a book. I got sidetracked by other blogs I thought were more of a “business” opportunity. Duh. Plus, I have an old free WordPress blog. Every month people sign up for it…and it has three post on it. This was also a passion of mine. It obviously generates interest; people find it. And it could be built and probably monetized.

    Thanks so much for the eye opener.

  36. Joy says:

    Man oh man i think the “x” in my domain name alerts the spam filter so do forgive me for using the google URL shortener. Yes you can make a living out Internet marketing, if you are willing to take it more seriously than the average day job. Keep at it and one day will come out with flying colors for sure!

  37. The way you have written this piece is excellent – even though you have said that it is possible to make money from writing blogs, you haven’t tried to feed readers any guarantees. I think this industry really needed a bit of a reality check and you have delivered. If you are writing blogs to make some money, you are going about this all wrong – you should be doing it because it is something that you love and enjoy doing. Keep up the good work guys!

  38. Phillip Dews says:

    Hi Guy’s,

    I started Blogging 5 years ago with the intention to make a living from it! After a year though I gave up and threw the town in! At the same time a blogging buddy called Ryan Biddulph started and has written on here as well as some other top blogs.

    I keep looking back thinking that if I had kept it up then I too would be a globetrotting blogger like Ryan! This time though I am back to blogging as I found myself out of work during 2013 and applied for 100′s of job and had 21 interviews.

    Things are looking good now as I have been back blogging for a little over 4 months and have over 50 posts to my name and I am excited with the fact that I have been working with Ryan this past few weeks on his latest book!

    Yep blogging requires hard work and dedication and the will never to quit as you never know what’s around the corner! Thanks for the inspiring post Guys!

    - PD

  39. Rav says:

    Hi Guys,

    Im a new blogger starting out in the MMO niche. Firstly Thank You! this article is helpful and will definitely help to get the cash rolling.
    One thing i have found is that i feel IM Marketers now are caring less and less about there followers and focus more on sales sales sales. Obviously thats how to make money but its refreshing to se someone like yourself who is a successful marketer giving back like this and i hope one day to be able to do the same but for now i have tried to operated slightly differently to status quo.
    I am trying to consume as much knowledge as possible and would love any tips and advice about my blog if anyone has the time to give it a look:

    laviemarketing.com

    Much Love guys,

    Rav