This article was last updated on April 25
Whether you are a blogger or just enjoy reading blogs online, you may have wondered how much bloggers earn from blogging and whether all the effort is worthwhile from a commercial or alternative revenue perspective. If so, then read on. Based on my earnings from this blog over the last 8 months and some quick research around the web I have extrapolated some simple approximations of how much bloggers of differing (online) sizes could potentially be earning. There are two main sources of income when it comes to blogging – Click to Pay programs like Google Adsense, in which you get paid every time an advertisement (ad) on the site is clicked and Affiliate programs, where money is earned when a user sign’s up for a product or service through an ad on your site (like Amazon and Commission Junction offerings). For other income sources, like paid text links or sponsored reviews, I have created the “other” category. The following is what I have determined to be earning assumptions for each type of income source:
Click to Pay (CTP) programs – are worth on average 0.30c per click with an estimated 3% Click-through-conversion-rate (CTCR). The CTCR rate describes what percentage of site visitors click on a revenue generating ad. Using these metrics a site with an average of 1000 daily visitors will earn, 0.03x1000x0.30 = $9.00 a day.
Affiliate Programs – There are literally thousands of affiliate programs available with different payouts. To simplify things, and extrapolating from my own experience and research let’s conservatively assume that the affiliate program payout is about 2.5 times the Click to Pay program average daily payout. So using the example above, the Affiliate program payout would be $22.50 a day.
Other Sources – This includes private ad deals, text links and sponsored reviews. Almost impossible to work out an accurate income estimate for this, but using my numbers the daily average would be about half the CTP program earnings. This is equivalent to $4.50 per day based on the above example.
Given I am in the personal finance blogging space/domain (with occasional articles purely about blogging like this one), I used the above calculations for a cross section of established bloggers in my domain whose average daily visitors statistics were publicly available (via Sitemeter). Here is what I found their daily earnings would approximately be (rounded to the nearest dollar) based on the above assumptions. Note: This is only my approximation and by no means a representation of their actual earnings. I have only used actual blogs to provide realism for the visitor numbers:
Despite the above being rough, back of the envelope type calculations I think you can see that blogging can be quite lucrative if you have the right amount of visitors. The consumerist, which gets over 300,000 visitors a day, is essentially a professional concern with serious revenues. Then you have the next step down which includes semi-professional blogs Calculated Risk and Get Rich Slowly, that get tens of thousands of visitors a day and lots of estimated revenue, yet are only run by one or two full time bloggers. Both are excellent, well established blogs with quality writing that are the leaders in the economic and personal finance blogging domains respectively. However even great blogs that get a few thousand visitors a day (Consumerism Commentary, Cash Money Life, Frugal Dad, Bible Money Matters) are solid money earners that could allow the bloggers behind them to go “full-time” if desired as their estimated yearly earnings are near the American median wage of $36,000. Up and coming blogs around the 1000 visitor a day mark (Moneyning, PT money) can make some decent alternative income as well, but probably not enough to allow replacement of the day job’s paycheck (though Moneyning has recently gone “full-time” so must be doing much better than the numbers above allude to). Even a blog with 200 visitors a day on average, makes a nice chunk of change on a yearly basis. Though I suspect Red Stapler makes a lot more than what is stated on the table above.
As discussed in a recent post on characteristics for successful blogging I am sure the above bloggers work damn hard on their content and blog. It has probably taken a lot of time and effort to build their current visitor bases and will take continued focus in the increasingly crowded and competitive blogosphere. All this being said, with enough time, patience and effort there is definitely money to made from blogging. The rewards can be large, but don’t go into it thinking financial freedom is only a few clicks and words away.
So how accurate do you think my estimates are? Am I way off with my earning/income rate assumptions- too low or too high? Share your thoughts. Personally, I think I have been very conservative with my estimates and the blogs that get less than 3000 visitors a day probably make much more than I have estimated in the above table (due to higher affiliate and other revenue income sources), while those with more than 30,000 visitors – many repeat visitors – probably do not generate as much in revenue from affiliate sales as assumed. Still I think it gives you a good “rough” idea of what it takes to make money blogging.