How much does a blogger make? It depends on how much traffic you get. But it’s certainly possible to estimate how much you can make as a blogger and plan accordingly. Some people even manage to make a full-time living off it, though that’s certainly not a guarantee. Nor is it a necessity, in some cases.
A blog that gets 3,300 pageviews per day should generate $30/day in revenue, if not a bit more. A blog that gets less traffic than that only makes a few dollars a day. Over the years I’ve devised a formula that can get you into the $10 per 1,000 pageviews territory.
My blogging experience
I blogged for the first time in October 1999. Those earliest efforts are lost to history and it’s not a tremendous loss. By 2000 I was getting enough traffic to encourage me to keep writing on a regular basis.
But I also learned pretty quickly that it takes more than slapping Amazon Affiliate links up on your blog and signing up for Google Adsense to monetize a blog. Sure, I made a couple hundred bucks a year doing that, but for about a decade, that was all I made.
I expect the majority of bloggers make that much or less. But you can do better than that, whether you’re just starting out, or have existing content you can leverage.
How much does a blogger make in their Adsense phase?
Most bloggers start out monetizing the same way I did, signing up for Google Adsense and an affiliate program like Amazon Affiliates or Viglink. Not all states allow Amazon Affiliates, so Viglink is an alternative if you live in states like mine.
You’ll generally make about $2 per 1,000 visitors from Adsense ads. That’s been my experience, and every estimate I’ve ever seen from a professional blogger has been in the $1.75-$2.25 range.
During this phase, some months I actually made more off affiliate links than I made off advertising. This was because my highest-traffic blog posts recommended specific products and I had affiliate links I could attach to them. I discovered accidentally that telling people how to solve a specific problem using a specific product could be rather profitable, if I stumbled on something not many other people were talking about.
Attracting 1,000 visitors is no mean feat, however. And if you want to make $30,000 a year, you have to have 15 million visitors per year at that rate. That’s completely unrealistic.
Fortunately, once you’re getting about 3,300 visitors a day, more profitable options start opening up.
How much does a blogger make in later phases?
In late 2019, I found out about Adthrive. Adhtrive has pretty strict requirements, but if you meet them, they pay much better, and if your earnings drop all of a sudden, they’re much more forthcoming about why. My Google earnings dropped 50% one month in spite of my traffic actually increasing that month, and Google left me to figure out for myself what was happening. When my Adthrive revenue changes, they tell me why without me even asking.
Adthrive earnings vary, and it’s much harder to find people who are using Adthrive who are willing to be specific. But $10-$15 per 1,000 visitors seems realistic. Depending on your content, you may do better than that.
But yes, this means by the time you’re making $6/day on a consistent basis, your next milestone isn’t $8/day. It’s $30/day. If you spend 10 hours a week on your blog like I do, that works out to $20 an hour. And while $20 an hour won’t make you rich, it’s much better than writing for 38 cents an hour.
How to make $30/day blogging
There are people who charge you several hundred dollars for this information. I think that’s ridiculous. What I’ve generally found is that they don’t know any more than the people who’ll give you general advice for free on their own blogs. They may have more monetized content. But their formula isn’t worth the $450 a year they ask.
The first step, if you already have existing content, is to SEO it. Get Yoast SEO, then enter the Google search that people use to find your content in as the keyword. Add a meta description. Add at least one image, if it doesn’t have an image already. If it does, add that keyword as metadata on the images.
Do this for your 20 or so highest-performing blog posts. You should notice within a week or so that they’re starting to get more traffic. If you have content that you always thought should get more traffic than it does, put it through the same process. Some of it may turn around.
For more than a decade, I just wrote whatever I felt like writing, whenever I felt like it. The result was that once or twice a year, I’d write something that got significant traffic every day. But most of it got no traffic at all once it was more than a month old.
Finding a niche
Not a lot of the people who were reading my stuff in 2000 are still reading me today, but the few who do will note what I write has changed pretty significantly over the years. One longtime reader complained every chance he got until we had a falling out a couple years ago. But considering I spend about 10 hours a week keeping this blog running, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to make more than 38 cents an hour doing it.
Politics and religion are two suboptimal niches. There are just too many people doing those, so a blogger in those niches can’t expect to make much, if anything. That’s why I rarely write about them anymore, and when I do, it’s an aside to something else.
Some experts recommend sticking to a single topic on a blog if you want to be a pro, but that’s not strictly necessary. As my blog name suggests, I write about technology a lot. But once a week, I veer into model railroading. And it’s a rare week that I don’t write something DIY-related.
You won’t make anything as a blogger if you don’t write content that people will find. That means writing stuff that people type into search engines. I’ve had people tell me they don’t want to write for Google. That’s noble, but using that approach, it took years to get to 400 page views per day, and I never consistently exceeded 500. When the choice is writing for search engines or making 38 cents an hour, I’ll write for search engines.
When I get an idea, I type something related into a search engine and see what comes up in autocomplete. Then I take that result and enter it into a keyword tool. There are dozens of keyword tools out there. Most of them cost money but most will let you enter a few keywords per day for free. Try out as many as you can and see which one works best for you.
The keyword tool will tell you, at the very least, how many people search on that topic per month. Don’t go for keywords that thousands of people search for every month. Those are going to be too competitive. The sweet spot when you’re starting out is 90-140 searches per month. Target that kind of content for about six months. When you’re consistently getting 3-5 pageviews per day on that content, step up to the 210-240 range. Consider chasing bigger keywords a couple of times a week, then increase the frequency once you start seeing success.
Remember, if you post 260 times a year, and hit your target of 5 views per day per post with a 75% success rate, you’ll get an increase of 1,000 page views per day every year.
Still confused about the idea of what a keyword is and how to use it? Here’s a bit more about keywords and their strategy.
How much a blogger makes: In conclusion
I started figuring this out in 2015. Prior to that, I was fine with blogging being a hobby, but I always wondered if it could be more than that.
The trick is to start out using free and inexpensive tools to start getting more traffic and monetization. Once you’re making some money, you can start buying better tools. Write content that’s going to get some amount of traffic every day. Build yourself up to 3,300 page views per day, then ditch Adsense for Adthrive.
This formula will get you to $30/day. Getting there in three years is realistic. You might do it sooner too. It took me five years to devise the formula, so I can’t tell you how quickly I could have done it. I make more than that now, but I’m also a long way from being able to quit my day job. That’s OK.
And yes, my approach is as formulaic as pop music. Maybe I’ll ditch the formula once I’ve made it. Whatever “making it” means.