If you put in a lot of effort on your blog, you probably want to know if you could make money from it. Unfortunately, people love talking about the exceptional amounts money they’ve earned with unusually successful blogs, but few ever offer realistic earning estimates for typical bloggers.
There are a number of ways you can monetize your blog. Not all are equal, and few (if any) are truly passive. I’ve tried my hand at monetization a few times, and while I’ve yet to strike gold, I’ve learned a lot in the process. These experiences gave me a good understanding of what it takes to earn money blogging.
In this article, I’ll reveal exactly what kind of blogging income you an expect. Influencing factors include the amount of content you have, as well as how you monetize. Then, we’ll talk about how long it took Leaving Work Behind to become profitable, to give you a real-life example. Let’s crunch some numbers!
How Much Money Can a Blog Earn?
Technically, there’s no cap on how much money a single blog can earn you. Some people bring in thousands of dollars a month, but those are the outliers. Everyone wants to get to that position, but hardly anyone has the time or drive to put in the necessary work.
It’s not all about pure grit either. Before I first took a crack at affiliate marketing, I went over dozens of case studies. In most scenarios, two visible factors correlate directly with earnings, and those are the amount of content on your site, and its age.
Generally speaking, a blog with 100,000 words of articles is going to bring in more traffic than one with a tenth of that. In most cases, the people who get that far have the opportunity to start earning a decent income, depending on how they monetize their websites. Here are some of the most popular methods:
- Affiliate marketing.
- Promoting in-house services.
- Sponsored content.
In my opinion, the two best ways to earn money blogging nowadays are affiliate marketing and in-house services. A lot of people use ad-blockers, and as someone who has built a lot of sites, I can’t stand ads. Sponsored content, on the other hand, has some decent potential, but it’s not a reliable way of earning money. Plus, you put your blog’s reputation on the line if you let anyone pay you in exchange for publishing their content.
Let’s take a look at some examples from real case studies, courtesy of the Just Start subreddit. Armed with their data, we can make some extrapolations about how much money blogs earn on average (with a focus on affiliate marketing).
Worst Case Blogging Scenario: $0-100
An extra hundred bucks per month is nothing to sneeze at. That is, unless you’ve put in months and months of work into your blog and you still can’t crack that barrier.
A starting blog with about 10,000 words, for example, can potentially earn a few dollars during its first couple of months. If you keep publishing content, you should creep closer to the 100$ mark in less than half a year. That’s a lot of time invested for a small reward, but in my experience, traffic and conversions tend to increase exponentially once you pass the 50,000 words mark.
Of course, for that to work, you need to choose your keywords carefully and optimize your blog. If you’re still writing regularly after the half-year mark and you still can’t climb out of this range of earnings, then you may have chosen the wrong niche. At that point, I’d recommend cutting your losses.
Average Case Blogging Scenario: $100-500
If you have a blog that’s earning approximately $500 per month, you’re practically already an outlier. Very few people get to that point, and if you do, you can start re-investing some decent cash into your blog, outsource content, and reduce your workload. However, it is ‘average’ in the sense that successful bloggers tend to stay within this income range per blog.
According to several case studies, between 50,000 and 100,000 words of content are often enough to get you in this range of earnings. That being said, most blogs don’t hit this milestone until they’re a few months in, even if you write day in and out like a madman.
There’s some speculation that Google ‘sandboxes’ new sites for a few months until they’ve proven themselves. That means that even with the right content, you might not see significant traffic for a while, so it’s crucial to keep your nose to the grindstone.
Best Case Blogging Scenario: >$500
If you reach over $500 per month, you’re definitely doing something right. More importantly, you’ve learned how to scale your blog, which means there’s no cap on your potential earnings.
In most cases, blogs don’t get to this level until after a year (and that’s if they’re outstanding) and over 100,000 words of content. Keep in mind, there is a tenuous correlation between how many articles you publish and your earnings. The quality of your posts and your target keywords are more important than quantity.
However, after months of working on your blog, you probably know what you’re doing. If you have any doubts, you can always check out the Blogging Mentorship Program to help you along.
How Long It Took for Leaving Work Behind to Become Profitable
Leaving Work Behind was born in mid-2011, but it wasn’t monetized until the start of 2012. Even back then, monetization only meant adding a few affiliate links.
It wasn’t until mid-2012 that Leaving Work Behind started earning a few hundred dollars per month, putting it squarely in within our successful blogging scenario. Take note that it took that first year to lay a good foundation of content and build a following. It was a natural next step to experiment with monetization.
In our case, the best monetization turned out to be marketing our in-house services. Since I joined the team a while back, we have been researching and publishing even more value-packed content than ever before, all to help you along your journey as a freelance blogger.
It’s a win-win situation for us and our readers. The better the content we provide, the higher income potential we reach! That’s the naked truth behind every strategy to earn money blogging.
Anyone can earn money blogging, but it’s no get-rich-quick scheme. If you’re starting a blog from zero, it may take months before you see any money at all, and even more until you reach a decent income. Building and monetizing a blog is effectively a part-time job, and you think about the long-term if you want to be successful.
Take Leaving Work Behind, for example. Now, several people work on the blog and its services, but that wasn’t always the case. When the blog started, it was just a single guy doing all the work, and it took years to get to this point.
Do you have any questions about how to earn money blogging? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.