How Much Money Can a Blog Earn?

“If my blog has ((insert daily number of impressions or page views of your blog here)) how much should it be earning?”

This is one of the more common questions I get asked by bloggers just starting out with making money from their blogs.

On one level it’s a valid question to ask – after all if you’re going to put time and energy into building something it’d be great to know up front what rewards might be awaiting you.

On another level – it’s an almost impossible question to answer because there are so many factors to take into consideration.

As I look across the blogs that I am involved with (around 100 in number if you count b5media’s 80+ blogs) there is a massive variation in the earnings that blogs are pulling in. It is very difficult to make sense of it as it not just a matter of traffic levels.

For example – As I write this I’m looking at the earnings for January of three blogs that I have some involvement with (I don’t get into what specific blogs earn so don’t ask) and here’s what I see:

Blog A: For the month this blog had a total of around 20,000 page views from about half that number of visitors (ie they viewed 2 pages each. The Total earnings of this blog (all from contextual advertising) was $790.91 (USD).

Blog B: This blog had just over 40,000 page views over the month, this time from about 13,000 visitors. It’s total earnings from contextual advertising (same amount of ad units per pages as the other) was $99.08 (USD). it also earned around $35 from an affiliate program.

Blog C: Our last example is a blog that had around 160,000 page views over the month from around 80,000 visitors. It earned $515.12 from contextual ads and somewhere in the vicinity of $2,500 from affiliate programs.

Factors to Contribute to a Blog’s Earnings…

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Blog Auction In Progress – Unmatched Style

Another blog is up for auction at SitePoint Forums – this time the blog is Unmatched Style and the bids are at $12,500 so far. It’s a blog with $500 – $900 monthly revenue and 850,000 monthly page views.

I’ll be interested to see how high the bidding goes.

found via Blog Herald

Making Money Because of Your Blog – Indirect Methods

We now turn our attention to ways of making money from blogging that are more more ‘indirect’ in nature – or how to earn money because of your blog rather than from it.

Many of the following methods are the result of the profile and perceived expertise of the blogger themselves (whereas many of the direct methods mentioned previously are less reliant upon this).

Building a profile as a blogger doesn’t happen quickly and starting a blog with some of these hopes should be seen as a long term thing. My own experience in this area is that now after 18 months of blogging here at ProBlogger that it’s only been in the last few months that I’ve had opportunities open in most of these areas.

  • Consulting – when you are perceived as an expert on a topic you will find that people naturally come to you for advice – some of them willing to pay for it. Some niches are probably better positioned than others for their bloggers to get into paid consultancy work of course. I spoke with one blogger recently (blogging in a business/technology field) who was able to charge himself out at $600 per hour to give advice to a large company. Interestingly I’ve heard of a number of companies in the last 6 months who are developing VOIP services that bloggers will be able to add to their sidebars to enable them to be called by readers for consulting. The systems would have per minute rate on them to automate this consulting process.

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How to Make Money From Your Blog – Direct Methods

Having thought through whether you should blog for money it is now worth taking a look at some of the different models for doing so.

I tend to break the different models that bloggers are using to make money from blogging into two areas – Direct and Indirect methods.

Direct Income Earning Methods – these methods are where a blogger earns an income directly FROM their blog.

Indirect Income Earning Methods – these methods are where a blogger earns an income BECAUSE of their blog.

Most blogs tend to fall into one or the other of these methods – although there is nothing to stop bloggers experimenting with elements of both ( I’ve seen a few bloggers get into trouble with this (example: Scenario 1 in the previous post).

In this post I’ll look at 8 direct income earning methods and in the next post of this series I’ll explore indirect methods. Please note that on occasion in the following post there will be few affiliate links to services that I use and have had some success with. These will be marked with (aff) after them.

Direct Income Earning Methods for Bloggers

1. Advertising

There are many ways of selling advertising space on a blog (this could almost be a series of it’s own) but some of the different advertising options that I see bloggers experimenting with include:

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Should I Blog for Money?

I speak with bloggers every day who have heard the stories of blogs that make big dollars and who want to try to make an income from blogging also. One of the pieces of advice that I attempt to convey (and I’m afraid it doesn’t always get through) is that it’s worth pausing, before running out to slap ads on your blog, to ask yourself whether making money from your blog is right for you.

While this might seem to be a silly question to some (what’s wrong with earning money?) I think it’s worth at least asking the question.

Not every blog is suited to blogging for money.

Does it Fit with Your Blog’s Goals and Objectives – For me a lot of the advice that I’ve given in this series of blogging for beginners comes down to working out some goals, strategy and vision for your blog (I’ve written extensively on strategic blogging here so won’t unpack this now). There are many reasons why people blog and the motivation of money is just one of them. Here’s some of the responses I had when I asked why people blog:

  • ‘I blog for recreational purposes – to help me relax’
  • ‘I blog as part of my plan for world domination’
  • ‘I blog to help me promote my book/business’
  • ‘I blog to keep a record of the life and times of me’
  • ‘I blog because I want to help others’
  • ‘I blog to because I’m lonely and want to connect with others’
  • ‘I blog to pick up cute girls/guys’
  • ‘I blog because it’s fun’
  • ‘I blog because I want to build profile – I want to be known’
  • ‘I blog to make a living’

Now there is nothing wrong with blogging for more than one reason – but bloggers considering adding income streams to their blogs need to consider the possibility that there are implications of going in that direction that MIGHT impact their other goals.

Let me share some scenarios of real cases that I’ve come across (no names given) where putting ads on a blog wasn’t a good idea. If I were a betting man I’d say that they represent the story of many bloggers and that others could add more scenarios:

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Introduction to Making Money from Blogs

Blogging has undergone something of a revolution in the last 2 years on many fronts. The number of people blogging has exploded, the number of tools and services available for bloggers has risen (and their quality has been raised incredibly) and the profile of blogging in wider culture has increased also (I find I only have to explain what a blog is to 50% of people these days).

Along with these developments has been an increase in focus upon making money from blogging. This is a trend that is happening across all levels of blogging, from very prominent blogs (I found that 100% of the top 30 blogs had some sort of income stream from their blogging) right through to many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of smaller blogs.

I’m now going to turn the attention of this series onto making an income from blogging. The following posts will begin to introduce bloggers to making money from blogging and will examine the following questions:

  • Should I Blog for Money?
  • What Income Streams are available to be used by Bloggers?
  • How Much Can I Make?
  • How can I maximize the success of these income streams?

I’ll tackle each of these questions in turn over the coming days. In continuing the ‘beginner’ focus of the series these posts will be very introductory. For more extended learning on making money from blogs I’d recommend digging into this blog’s archives and/or checking out a Six Figure Blogging, a six session course on the topic.

It should be stressed at the beginning of this mini-series of posts that bloggers need to enter into an examination of this topic with realistic expectations. While millions of bloggers are experimenting with advertising and affiliate programs on their blogs, the vast majority of them are only supplementing their income by doing so. While some bloggers make a full time living from blogging – most are not and are at a level of paying for a daily (or a weekly for some) coffee or are using the income as a way to offset some of their Internet access costs. For more on getting a balanced view of blogging for money head over to my Public Service Announcement post which attempts to give some perspective.

PR Blogger Builds Profile and Lands Job

Popular PR Blogger, Steve Rubel, has just announced that he’s moving from CooperKatz to new employer at Edelman. While I’m sure there’s more to it than just his blog (a lot more), it’s been fascinating to see how Steve has used Micro Persuasion over the last 20 months since it’s beginnings to raise the profile not only of his company but also himself. In doing so he’s marketed himself as an expert in his field brilliantly and it’s no wonder that he’s in demand. Yet another way of making a living from blogging (more indirectly than running ads – but still well worth exploring). Congratulations Steve.

What’s a Blog Post Worth?

Wired News has a mini interview with Harold Davis from Googleplex (which doesn’t seem to have any content on it today for some reason) which has some good basic information on making a living from blogging.

Interestingly he puts a dollar value on a per page basis(over a year) to blogging:

‘As for money, people who are really in the business of making a living off content pages say they average about $10 a page per year. That would be a pretty good average. Usually, it’s not enough to make a living on, but it’s a good supplement.’

I’d actually not considered measuring income in terms of a per page basis. I’m not sure it’s a terribly good measure because it would vary so much depending upon the level of traffic that you get to your page per year and the topic of the page (and the resulting click value in AdSense) but it’s an interesting one to calculate.

Here at ProBlogger I’d say that my figures are well and truly under the $10 per year per post figure (they are probably a third of it) but on some of my other blogs they are much higher. In fact overall my blogs I’d say it’d be a conservative estimate.

Buyings and Selling Blogs

There is a couple of worthwhile podcasts over at SavvysoloCast which are a conversation between Yaro Starak and Michael Pollock talking through the topic of Buying and Selling Blogs. The conversation is based upon the sale of Small Business Branding (bought by Yaro from Michael) where both guys talk through some of the considerations they made on their side of the transaction (including the price paid – towards the end of Part 2). Listen to the conversation in two parts – Part 1 and Part 2.