I don’t consider myself a blogging “expert,” but I do know enough and have over 20 years of experience. Do you know how often someone asks me how to make money blogging or how an average person can make money with a blog?
Sure, I’m a guy who has built hundreds of blogs from scratch, most with WordPress. Some went on to do well, some I sold, and some failed miserably. I learned enough along the way to talk about the subject comfortably, especially the “building” part of blogging.
But even I went through a year-long period where I was so disillusioned by the snake-oil salesmen in the blogging industry that I was telling everyone not to start a blog because the only people making money blogging were the jerks “revealing their secrets” and teaching others how to make money blogging.
I took a break from blogging. I stopped writing about it and shuttered the few blogs I had left. Blogging had become such a dirty word to me that I wanted nothing to do with it. I had become so confused that I no longer knew how I felt about blogging anymore.
But recently, my heart has been warming from all the honest people coming out of the woodwork in support of blogging, especially post-pandemic. I’m back to researching and trying new things again, all to figure out formulas that can easily be used to make money with a blog.
Blogging is the real deal and one of the most rewarding ways to make money online. But it’s not passive, as much as people want to convince you that it is. You are a writer, digital marketing professional, graphic designer, social media manager, web developer, and business owner, all in one.
You are responsible for how much money you can make by how much effort you are willing to put into your blogging projects.
Believe me when I say that there are a ton of people making outstanding money month after month with blogging.
Let’s Get This Out of the Way: Do People Make Money Blogging? It’s No Secret:
Many people make money blogging, some more honest than others, and contrary to popular belief, they are not special in any way. You don’t need a college degree or fancy titles after your name. All you need is confidence in yourself and your ability to make a good living.
But don’t take my word for it.
- Michelle of Making Sense of Cents made over 1.5 million in 2018 with her blog
- Lia and Jeremy from Practical Wanderlust made over $4300 in February of 2018
- Holly at Club Thrifty made over 1 million dollars in 2019
I could go on all day because it’s possible to be making money blogging. Do a Google search for “blogging income reports” and find out for yourself.
Now is a perfect time to start blogging because more people than ever are on the internet. According to Statista, as of January 2021, “there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide — 59.5 percent of the global population.” And even though there are social media sites and metaverses, people will still be visiting their favorite blogs on the daily.
With that said, let me temper your enthusiasm and give you a few statistics so you can make an informed decision:
- There are over 1.7 billion websites on the internet, and 600 million of them have a blog.
- According to Statista, there will be 31.7 million bloggers in the United States alone in 2020.
- Blogging.org surveyed 1000 bloggers in 2012 and found that 2% spend less than 2 hours a day blogging and make more than $150K, 17% can maintain their lifestyle or support their family with their blogging efforts, and 81% never make more than $100.
The potential to make money is there if you are willing to work hard and smart, but most bloggers never see much money. Do you want to know why? I looked back at every blog I’ve ever owned and a good share of other blogs from around the industry, and the main reason they fail is that bloggers don’t stick with it long enough. They are impatient. They want to be making those thousands after a few months, and when they don’t, give up and badmouth blogging.
Is It Realistic to Think I Can Make Money Blogging?
Anyone can make money blogging, but not everyone will. What you must realize is that blogging is hard work. If you half-ass it, you will never get anywhere. You can’t build a little crappy blog and write a few articles and expect that the money will flow into your bank.
You have to write and create content every day, hustle on social media, market your blog and your products, and do all the little everyday tasks that all businesses do to profit. If you want passive income and don’t want to put in the work to be successful, blogging may not be for you.
The bloggers who make money are hustling every single day,
How Soon Can I Expect to Make Money with My Blog?
Everyone wants to hear that they can make millions overnight, but it rarely works out that way. If you are just starting and learning the business of blogging, it may take six months to a year to make enough money to buy a Big Mac.
You may also be one of the lucky ones who pick everything up quickly, generate a lot of traffic, and make coin right away. It can happen, but the best advice I can give is for you to be patient.
It takes time, but eventually, you will start to make money blogging.
Expecting to come into blogging as a newbie and earn thousands or even hundreds is unrealistic, and it won’t help you to start your business, assuming that you will be one of the lucky few to get rich in your first year.
How Much Money Can a Blogger Make?
I mentioned a few outliers at the beginning of this article, but the amount of money people make from blogging varies. Some slog by month after month, making pennies while others quickly grow into the millions.
To give you an idea, take a look at these income reports:
- The Ultimate List of 50 Blog income Reports by Niche — BlogAmbitious
- 50 Blog Income Reports — Raelyn Tan
- 53 Blog Income Reports — Start A Mom Blog
Many bloggers used to publish more income reports, but most have stopped, especially when they get to a certain income level. You can imagine the negative attention they get from broadcasting their earnings, especially when everyone is unemployed.
Remember when you are reading these income reports that these figures are before figuring in their costs (gross income), and most likely, their profit is much lower.
It’s just the nature of doing business.
How do Bloggers Make Their Money?
Bloggers have a variety of different ways they make money or other income streams. You should never rely on one source of income but instead, diversify and collect money in various ways.
You don’t make money by posting content directly. The only way I know to make money just by posting an article is Medium.com, and even then, you rely on the number of views and reads you get on your work.
When you have a blog, you create and post content to generate traffic to your blog, and then when the audience is on the website, they engage and interact with you in one of five ways:
- Subscribing to your newsletter
- Clicking on an ad or sponsored post
- Purchasing something through one of your affiliate links
- Buying a digital product
- Purchasing a physical product you offer, or;
- Using a service you provide
Lately, I have been going all-in on subscriptions. On my new blog, newsletter subscriptions will be the primary source of revenue. In addition to the posts I make regularly, I post premium newsletter content to my subscribers.
There is money to be made with subscriptions if you position your offer correctly. Take my word for it, they are the future of monetization.
Ads and Sponsored Posts
I don’t place ads on my blogs. I feel like the age when ads were effective has passed, and, like many, I wholly ignore or block anything that even looks like an ad.
But ads are making a resurgence. With the advent of Adblockers, people now choose to see ads or not, so I no longer believe they are evil or wrong. In 2022 and beyond, internet users expect ads, and as long as they aren’t too intrusive, they should pose no problem for usability.
With that said, it’s a decision you have to make for yourself because many bloggers do make money with ads. Just to give you an idea from the other side: Google made $133 billion from ads in 2019, so unless you have some kind of moral or ethical problem with advertising, you might jump on the bandwagon.
You can also make money blogging by writing sponsored posts, which is an article or review written about a specific product or service that you have used. Just know that 70–80% of searchers ignore sponsored posts in favor of organic content.
Affiliate marketing is a better option for most bloggers. You place a unique link in your content, and if a user or reader clicks the link and buys the product or service, you make a commission.
I love the simplicity, and it doesn’t cost your reader anything.
There are quite a few affiliate networks to join, with the most popular being Amazon Associates — where you get paid when your reader buys something on Amazon using your link.
Other affiliate networks I use for my blog are:
These affiliate networks introduce you to the companies and brands that want your help to promote their products and services. Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest and best ways to make money with your blog.
Creating and offering digital products to readers is another way for bloggers to earn from blogging. Examples of digital products bloggers create are:
- Courses — Although I have a real problem with people offering courses that give no real value
- Online masterclasses or workshops — Same as a course, but often live and in-person. These are a much better option than static courses
- Membership sites — Users pay to access premium content you create
- Apps, plugins, or themes — Most of the time, you can get someone to create the product for you if you don’t have the expertise.
Some bloggers sell physical products they create or have someone design for them. Some examples include:
- Books — Many bloggers are also published authors and sell their books through their blogs or on Amazon.
- Handmade Products — The sky is the limit with what you can craft an offer to the public.
- Manufactured Products — Branded t-shirts, posters, and mugs are big sellers for bloggers and vloggers alike.
- Arbitrage — Find products in retail stores and resell them for a profit.
- Conferences, tours, classes, or special events — For example, many travel bloggers organize tours for groups of their readers.
Many bloggers have started offering print-on-demand t-shirts that are drop-shipped to their customers. I have my own line of beard culture shirts in my store, Remarkable Gentleman, at teespring.com.
Many bloggers have expertise related to their blog topic and get paid when others hire them to perform tasks, such as:
- Consulting and coaching — The topic of my blog is blogging, so I offer consultations and help for those who need it. I also offer coaching for creators and creative entrepreneurs
- Speaking engagements.
- Virtual assistance (VA).
- Freelancing — Writing, design, and web development are just a few of the skills you can earn with.
Services are excellent because you can get started with minimal work and advertise your offer right on your blog.
“But I thought I just published content and made money?”
As I said, the content you create is a means to bring people to your blog so you can offer them a product or service they can buy. You write content to present yourself as an authority on your topic or niche, and when people trust you enough, they will buy almost anything you recommend.
A blog is sometimes not even necessary if you tend to guest-post on different websites and blogs, but it is an excellent place to use as a hub for all your content and marketing activities.
How Do I Get Started Making Money with a Blog?
First, pick a problem that needs solving and write about your solution, build a blog, and become an authority or expert in that industry if you aren’t already. Monetize your blog and generate a few income streams. Interact with others on social media, so you become known for offering the best content. Become the go-to resource for your topic or niche. As people search you out and seek your advice and experience, you make money through your various income streams.
If you are to become an authority, your content must be the best available on the internet. Find out what people want to know and create long and detailed content that will answer all the questions and keep the audience’s attention throughout.
The last thing you want to do is bore them, so use your voice and personality to WOW! them as you drop knowledge bombs they can’t get anywhere else. Do it repeatedly until you’ve developed a system that both delights your readers and makes you money because they will then be willing to spend money finding out more about your knowledge.
Final Thoughts to Help You Make Money Blogging
Only start one income stream at a time and master it before moving on to another. Your goal should be to have as many income streams as you can handle while providing the best for your readers and audience. Don’t half-ass anything. Use your whole ass.
Your content should be the best you can offer. Depending on your niche, there will be competition. You have to consistently strive to be better than everyone else, enough that the world knows it and comes to your blog and not someone else’s. You must be the best, or it’s better just to stay home.
While it’s always good to get ideas from other bloggers, take your own path. Try to be different and give people something they aren’t getting anywhere else. The last thing we need on the internet is more carbon copies. Not everyone can be another Neil Patel or Tim Ferris. Variety is the spice of life. Be yourself!
Most people get into blogging for the money, but the ones who stay and are financially successful are the ones who love what they do and have fun doing it. If you hate every moment of blogging it would be better to find something more suited to your personality.
Blogging is fun, and if you work hard and smart, you can make money. In a world where everything seems like it’s stacked against you, it’s comforting to know that you can do something to make money that is easy enough for anyone to do.
If you are willing to put in the hard work, jump over the hurdles in your path, and do whatever it takes to be a success, blogging is one of the best ways for you to make money online.