How Much Do Bloggers Make? – Here’s the Data

by Ashley Barnett
*Some of the links below may be from our sponsors. My full disclosure statement.*

Most bloggers (just over 50%) make less than $500 a month. But some bloggers make over a million dollars a year.

I believe that if you are committed to blogging you can make money. However, I also believe most bloggers give up too soon because they think blogging is fast easy money – it's not. I'm guessing that the bloggers who make under $500 per month have been blogging for less than two years.

And when I say “blogging” I don't mean publishing once a month and otherwise not really paying attention to their sites. I mean, seriously blogging consistently and with their full efforts.

I've been saying this for years “If you start a blog just to make money you never will. You'll quit way before you ever make a dollar.”

That said, I think blogging is the best hobby in the world. Few hobbies have this kind of earning potential. Most bloggers start their blogs for fun and then end up turning it into a business over time.

But, if you’re wondering how much money bloggers make and what the potential is for this side hustle, it’s time to dive into the numbers!

How Much Do Bloggers Make? – Survey Results

One useful source of information for figuring out how much money bloggers make is to look at surveys.

For starters, a recent blogging income survey of over 150 bloggers found that:

  • 17.6% of bloggers make $0 or almost nothing
  • 6.5% make under $100
  • 14.8% earn $100 to $500
  • 11.1% earn $500 to $1,500
  • 13.9% earn $1,500 to $3,000

There are also groups of bloggers who even earn $5,000 to $10,000 or more per month:

A larger survey asking how much bloggers make from Digital Nomad Wannabe had slightly different findings. This survey found that nearly one-third of bloggers make $0 and that more than half earn under $500 per month:

The takeaway here is that most bloggers don’t make money or a substantial enough per month to cover all of their bills.

Yes, making money with a blog is competitive. But, blogging income typically scales over time the more you work and learn, as we’re about to find out!

Related: Is Blogging Dead?

Blogging Income Reports

Another nifty data source for finding out how much money bloggers make is blogging income reports.

Many bloggers publish how much money they earn per month to inspire other writers.

I’d still take income reports with a grain of salt since it’s sometimes hard for bloggers to include every single screenshot of their earnings, and there’s definitely some fake reports out there.

Plus, a blogger isn't going to report that they don't make any money at all. So those income reports go unpublished.

However, here are some useful reads for finding out how much bloggers make at different stages:

  • $100 to $200 A Month: This blog income report from Blog Ambitious shares the path to earning $1,876 in 8 months.
  • $1,000 A Month: Maya Maceka shares how her blog generated just under $1,000 in January with only 8,000 page views.
  • $5,000+ A Month: Read how Millennial Boss broke the $5,000 monthly blogging income mark.

There’s no real formula for how much money bloggers make. But, if you read several income reports, you’ll find blogging is often a case of snowballing income from grocery money into your mortgage payments if you stick with it.

Factors That Influence How Much Money Bloggers Make

Alright, the data shows that a lot of bloggers make no money, some make a few hundred bucks, and a smaller percentage take their blog full-time.

The question is, what factors influence how much money bloggers make and how can you improve your revenue?

1. Website Traffic

While this is an obvious one, it’s also one of the most important.

How much money you make as a blogger generally correlates to how much website traffic you get. This is because more visitors equals more advertisement impressions, affiliate conversions, email sign ups, and purchasers.

However, what you might not realize is that small changes in blog traffic can completely change how much money you make.

Here’s an example.

My friend Tom started a finance blog in college. To make money, Tom ran Google AdSense ads on his website where he was barely earning $100 a month.

However, once Tom grew his blog to 10,000 monthly pageviews, he applied to Monumetric, a more “premium” advertising network that requires a minimum of 10,000 monthly pageviews to join.

The result? His revenue increased by over 400%.

Suddenly, the blog went from earning beer money to buying groceries and paying bill.

This example shows the power different levels of website traffic can have for your income. Plus, it highlights how blogging income is often defined by tiers of traffic; if his blog had gotten stuck at under 10,000 pageviews, growing his income as quickly would be challenging.

This pattern continues for larger blogs as well. Advertising network Mediavine requires 50,000 monthly sessions to join and pays some of the highest RPMs in the business. Similarly, AdThrive, another premium advertising network, requires 100,000 monthly pageviews.

My tip here is to focus on learning SEO basics to build your organic traffic. Over time, this is how you grow your blog.

As search engines start to pick up your blog, you can mix in social media marketing on Pinterest or create a Facebook group to keep driving extra traffic.

Related: How to Use Your Keyword – And On Page SEO Checklist

2. Monetization Mix

Another factor that influences how much money bloggers make is the number of monetization streams (and their effectiveness).

Generally, the more effective monetization streams a blogger has, the more they make.

I say “effective” because anyone can sell an eBook, spam their sites with affiliate links, and plop ads on their blog and call it a day. It’s the conversion part that actually matters!

Typically, bloggers make money with:

  • Display advertisements
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Freelancing
  • Selling products or courses
  • Sponsored posts
  • Consulting and speaking gigs

Related: 7 Ways to Make Money Blogging as a Freelancer

However, what’s interesting is the categories high-income and low-income bloggers prioritize.

A blogging study by Growth Badger of over 1,100 bloggers found that bloggers who earn over $50,000 per year prioritize affiliate marketing and selling their own product or service far more than low-income bloggers:

They also land more sponsorships and stay away from Google AdSense. (I encourage all bloggers to say away from Google AdSense.)

If there’s a takeaway here, it’s that affiliate marketing and selling something you own are what begin to drive your blogging income.

3. Blogging Niche

While it might surprise you, a blog niche also impacts how much money bloggers make.

Of course, there are exceptions, and these are just industry averages I’m digging into.

However, certain niches are generally more profitable because the advertisers are willing to pay more for ads and affiliate marketing efforts.

Examples of lucrative niches include:

  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Software
  • Legal

Examples of some less lucrative niches include:

  • Gadgets
  • Travel (with current events)
  • Fashion
  • Home and garden
  • Hobbies and crafts
  • Cooking

Now again, there are exceptions here. Plus, these less lucrative niches are often less competitive from a SEO perspective than high-paying niches. This means it’s probably easier to grow a hobby blog to 10,000 pageviews than a finance blog to 10,000 pageviews.

Additionally, it doesn’t really matter if you have lower advertising rates and affiliate offers if you’re a conversion wizard and sell hundreds of your own products or courses per month for your cooking blog.

The takeaway here is that on paper, certain blog niches have higher-paying advertisement rates and affiliate offers than others.

But, you should still pick a niche you’re knowledgeable and passionate about since you can’t fake expertise. Just make sure it’s broad enough so you can grow an audience.

Related: How to Choose a Blog Niche – 6 Critical Questions and 60 Niche Ideas

4. Your Email List

As a blogger, building an email list is one of your most important endeavors.

An email list is something you actually own. It’s also a consistent source of traffic and revenue when used correctly. In fact, email marketers earn $42 for every $1 they spend; try finding a higher ROI out there!

An email list helps you push products and courses, drive traffic to high-value pages, and build a loyal audience. Plus, you don’t lose sleep over Google algorithm updates or your Pinterest following falling off a cliff.

If you want to start building an email list, I recommend checking out ConvertKit.

ConvertKit has an intuitive email builder that lets you quickly send out newsletters and email blasts to your subscribers. You can also automate email sequences and create eye-catching email grabs.

ConvertKit is also free for your first 1,000 subscribers, and plans scale affordably as your list grows.

My advice is to offer a freebie for new subscribers, like a short ebook or bonus content that relates to your niche, to encourage sign ups.

You can also check out my ConvertKit review for more information.

Other Questions About Blogging Income

Alright, we’ve cleared up some industry averages and data points about how much money bloggers make.

Time to clear up a few more commonly asked questions about the world of making money as a blogger.

1. Do Bloggers Make Good Money?

This question is tricky since “good” largely depends on where you live and your income goals.

However, blogging surveys show us that the majority of bloggers earn $0 or under $500

This is $USD, so in many countries, $500 can go a long way. Heck, even if you live in a country where the U.S. dollar isn’t as powerful, who would complain at an extra $500 per month?

On the other extreme I know dozens of bloggers who make over a million dollars a year. This level of income IS possible and I'm willing to bet blogging pays better than most hobbies-turned-businesses.

So in short, most bloggers don’t make full-time income or “good money,” if that’s your measuring stick. But, the potential is there, and a blog is still a success in my book if it’s a solid side hustle.

2. How Much Do Bloggers Make Per Year?

If we take that $500 per month example from above – we would say that those bloggers earn $6,000 per year. But this isn’t as simple as multiplying your monthly income by 12.

Blogging income can fluctuate wildly. A lot of bloggers earn more towards the end of the year when holidays like Christmas and purchasing frenzies like Black Friday occur. These events are great for advertising rates and affiliate offers.

Other niches, see spikes after the New Year due to all the Resolutions being made. I'm guessing fitness and weight loss sites love January. I know for personal finance blogs, January is often their highest traffic month of the year.

What’s important is having consistent traffic and working with what you got. If your blog is highly seasonal, this will also impact your annual income, so keep this in mind.

3. How Much Do Bloggers Make Per Post?

This is a common, albeit tricky question to answer. Unfortunately, blogging income doesn't come evenly from all articles. And honestly, most posts don't make any money at all — even on the biggest sites.

Different posts have different jobs. Some are designed to generate traffic but aren't “monetizable”. Their job isn't to make money. Their job is to bring in readers.

Other posts are there just for fun, community building, or general information. Most bloggers start their site because they have a love for the topic. So bloggers frequently just want to write about their topic without an eye for affiliate income.

Then there are the money making posts. Posts that are jam packed with affiliate links and calls to action. The point of these are to make money. Review posts, “best of” list posts, and comparison posts are usually examples of these. The point of these posts is to get the reader to sign up for one of your affiliates.

The takeaway is to do more of what works when you identify the type of content that performs well. You can also write articles that are full of affiliate offers and revenue opportunities and work on driving traffic to those pages.

Related: How to Write Review Posts that Make Money

Summary

So, how much do bloggers make?

Well, as we just explored, there’s a myriad of factors that determine the dollar amount.

Ultimately, a blog is really just a tool for building an online audience and monetizing it. How effectively you do this depends on your skills, commitment, and a bit of luck.

But, it’s still possible to turn your blog into an income source. Even if it takes time to grow, the lessons you learn during the process will surprise you.

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