I think that at this point, we can pretty much agree that reading blogging income reports can be classified as an addiction.
Bloggers have been making money for years and years and I think we are all still fascinated by the fact that you can make money by sharing content online. I will be the first to admit that the concept is still pretty mind boggling.
Is it a scam? Some sort of cult? Or pyramid scheme?
How do people actually get paid?
I understand that it can be quite confusing, so in this comprehensive guide, I will be answering the following questions:
- Do bloggers really make money?
- How much money do bloggers make (looking at income reports of various top bloggers)?
- How to make money blogging (so you too can)
- The most profitable blogging niches in 2021
If you are ready to learn how to make money blogging, keep reading!
Do Bloggers Still Make Money Blogging?
First things first. You might be wondering whether it is really possible to make money blogging. Especially in 2021 when everyone seems to be moving to newer platforms such as Youtube, Podcast and other social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
The short and simple answer is yes.
People do still make money blogging.
However, making money blogging is not as easy as the income reports often suggest.
The truth is that not everyone makes money blogging.
In fact, it may shock you to find out that only 5 % of bloggers actually earn 6 figures from their blog. (I know.. You thought blogging was a surefire way to get rich quick right?)
Several years ago, there was a problogger survey where they asked over a thousand readers about their monthly earnings through their blogs. The results showed that only a small percentage of those surveyed were making a substantial amount of money through their blogs (>$1000 per month).
What might be even more disappointing is the fact that the vast majority of these bloggers (68%) made less than $100 per month.
Thats not a lot of money given the expenses and investments that we often make when trying to build a successful blog.
Not all bloggers set out with the intention of making money. These results were taken from readers who were actually attempting to make money blogging.
In fact another survey from 2012 showed that:
- 81% never even make $100 from their blogs
- 9% make enough to sustain their personal lifestyle blogging 4-6 hours a day
- 8% make enough money to support a family
- 2% make $150K+ blogging 1-2 hours a day
These results were from 2012, but I expect results today to be pretty similar.
I like to be pretty transparent and I will openly admit that since starting this blog in September 2020, I have made about $10 directly from my blog (Through affiliate marketing, but none of that has actually entered my bank account yet, but more on that later).
(I have however made several thousands of dollars indirectly through my blog by providing services relating to blogging and social media management.)
This is an important distinction that I would like to make.
We often think of income earned through blogging as purely passive income. However, most times bloggers resort to providing services (active income- lol) while they wait for the passive to kick in.
How Much Money Do Bloggers Really Make?
2020 may have been a write off for many individuals and industries, but when it comes to blogging and content marketing, it was a great year for many.
I will be sharing the income reports of several top bloggers just to give you an idea of what is possible with blogging.
As you will see, the amount of money bloggers make can really vary. Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to make money from your blog.
Ell Duclos- Boss Girl Bloggers- $103,457 in 2020
Bloggers like Ell Duclos of Girl Boss Bloggers continued to earn 6 figures from their blog despite the COVID 19 pandemic.
In 2020, Ell made $103,457 from her blog and services.
Her main sources of income were
- Affiliate Marketing
- Digital Products (one of them is Pinterest with Ell)
- Pinterest Management Services
Ell is the owner of the popular blog BossGirlBloggers and Facebook community with the same name. She shares lots of great information for bloggers and teaches them how to grow their blog primarily through Pinterest.
I took Ells Pinterest course and learned a lot about Pinterest marketing. I attribute all of my Pinterest success to what I have learned in this course. The other really great thing about Ells Pinterest course is the fact that
- She has a facebook group for course members where she is fully active and readily answers any questions that you may have.
- She updates the course regularly. You know how the Pinterest algorithm changed? Ell researches and updates the course so that we have all the most up to date strategies for what works.
- The course is really really affordable. For the value, you get it is totally worth it.
Chelsea of Her Paper Route- $379,387
Chelsea earned close to $380,000 from her blog in 2020.
She is a pro when it comes to digital marketing and she teaches marketing strategies to growth hack your business and make more paper (haha).
Chelsea’s course- Monetize your blog was one of the first blogging courses that I took before I started my blog.
She shares a ton of insight into the different ways that you can monetize your blogs and gives a lot of useful tips to help you get started.
I definitely felt a lot more prepared to launch my blog after taking Chelsea’s course.
Her income streams were
- Affiliate Income: $108,830
- Digital products: $69,430
- Virtual Summit $58,075
- Broker Commissions: $55,671
- Niche Site Sales: $71,524
- Ad revenue: $16,516
- Misc other income: varies
Adam Enfroy- $83,737 in November 2020
Adam Enfroy is on a mission to teach the next generation of entrepreneurs how to scale their influence and start speed up. He made $83,737 in November 2020 alone.
The majority of his monthly income came from affiliate marketing. I really appreciate the fact that he has really actionable tips on how to generate affiliate income.
He also makes money through:
- Ad Revenue
- Digital Product Sales
- SEO Consulting
Ming of Finsavvy Panda – $22,343.23 in November 2020
Ming made $22,343.23 BLOGGING IN NOVEMBER 2020.
She loves to blog about all things relating to saving, investing, earning, and building net worth. She started her blog as a side hobby to make extra money in 2018 and has now quit her job now that it is earning a full time income.
Mind made money through the following income streams:
- Affiliate Income
- Digital Products
Ryan Robinson- $36,257.04 in December 2020
Ryan made $36,257.04 blogging in December 2020. He is a full time blogger, podcaster and content marketing consultant who has worked with many top startups and fortune 500 brands.
Like many of the other bloggers mentioned in this list, Ryan started off as a side hustle. He has now left his full time job to run his business.
Ryan makes money through:
- Affiliate Marketing
- His Built to Blog Course
He also makes money through freelance projects, but did not earn any money through this stream in December 2020.
There are a number of things that we can learn from these income reports. I think what stood out to me was the fact that a lot of these bloggers earn money through affiliate income. Another common theme amongst all of them was the fact that they had digital products and courses. This is something to think about as we start to discus the various ways that you can make money blogging.
I will share a list of the different ways that bloggers made money in 2020 and how you can start to earn money from your blog in 2021 and beyond.
How Do Bloggers Make Money?
The truth is not every blogger makes thousands of dollars blogging every month.
I have talked previously about how I have lost A TON of money through blogging! Losing money through blogging is what I believe is actually more common!
It is also important to know and understand the most common blogging mistakes to avoid so that you can start your blog and grow with higher chances of success.
The great thing about blogging is that there are a number of ways for your to make money.
In fact as we saw above with many of the top bloggers, none of them relies on any single stream of income for their blog.
I highly recommend that you start with one income stream when you start to monetize your blog. Focusing on too many things at the same time will leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed. Once you get a hang of one income stream, you can start to build and diversify your streams of income.
Here is an overview of the 7 main ways that bloggers make money
- Affiliate Marketing
- Online Courses + digital products
- Freelance Services
- Coaching and Consulting (1:1 coaching, masterminds)
- Sponsorships (brand deals)
- Physical Products (e.g. books, merchandise)
- Speaking engagements
Making Money Through Ads
Ads are often the first thing that most people think about when it comes to monetizing a blog.
That is for good reason because ads are an effective and easy way to monetize a blog.
Here’s how it works:
Ad companies pay bloggers money to advertise on their site.
There are two pricing structures that ad companies will generally use- CPC and CPM.
CPC- Cost per click
CPM- Cost per thousand impressions
With CPC ads, you get paid when someone clicks on your ads. CPM works differently. You get paid based on the number of impressions. CPM ads are easier to get started with, however, they pay less. This makes sense because ad companies know that the majority of the people viewing the ad will not take action.
The amount of money that you can make through Ad Networks depend on the amount of traffic that you get on your blog.
If you have a blog with a TON of traffic, you can make a lot of money.
Not all bloggers choose to run ads on their website. They can be distracting and can affect the user experience if they are overdone.
Most Profitable Blogging Niches (Based On Average Ad Rates)
- Money / Insurance: $0.02 – $0.25 per pageview, $0.50 – $6 per email subscriber per month
- Product Reviews: $0.01 – $0.15 per pageview, $0.25 – $5 per email subscriber per month
- Travel: $0.01 – $0.10 per pageview, $0.50 – $4 per email subscriber per month
- Fashion: $0.01 – $0.10 per pageview, $0.10 – $4 per email subscriber per month
- Decorating: $0.01 – $0.05 per pageview, $0.10 – $4 per email subscriber per month
Least Profitable Blogging Niches (Based On Average Ad Rates)
- Music: $0.01 – $0.03 per pageview, $0.10 – $1 per email subscriber per month (I worked with a guy that had a music blog that got 2 million unique visitors a month, but he barely made $2,500 a month because it’s so tough to monetize)
- General News / Politics: $0.01 – $0.02 per pageview, $0.10 – $2 per email subscriber per month
- Cooking / Gardening: $0.01 – $0.03 per pageview, $0.10 – $3 per email subscriber per month
- Home Improvement: $0.01 – $0.03 per pageview, $0.10 – $3 per email subscriber per month
- Toys / Games: $0.01 – $0.03 per pageview, $0.10 – $3 per email subscriber per month
Making Money Through Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you promote another person or business’ product for them. You essentially enter an agreement with the business and get a percentage of the sale that is made through your affiliate link.
The first $10 that I made directly from my blog was through an affiliate link on my blog. Someone clicked on my link, made a purchase (at no additional cost to them) and I made a small percentage of that sale.
Affiliate marketing can be quite lucrative when you have a big enough audience that knows, likes and trusts you.
The key with affiliate marketing is to only promote products or services that you truly believe in. If you recommend a sub-par product, your audience will have a hard time believing you again.
Affiliate marketing is passive income. Once you post your link, you can continue to make money from it for months and even years to come.
The truth is that monetizing through affiliate links is hard. You have to be REALLY intentional about it in order to be successful. Affiliate links are more lucrative when you have a dedicated audience who know and trust you and your recommendations.
Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers
Before I launched my blog, I took Kimi Kiney’s Affiliate marketing course and I loved it!
Kimi gives great information about affiliate marketing and how to do it right.
I am not going to lie to you, it is hard. But once you know the strategies that you need to pay attention to, it makes it a lot easier to be successful.
Kimi’s course is great. One of my favourite features is her comprehensive list of affiliate marketing programs that you can join.
She has done a great job of listing all the different programs and categorizing them by niche. If you are a fashion blogger, all you need to do is focus on the list of affiliate programs in your niche and start applying to them.
Speaking of affiliate marketing, the link I shared for the affiliate marketing course is an example of an affiliate link. If you decide to purchase this course through my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale.
It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it is one of the ways that I make money blogging. It goes a long way in helping me to continue to create valuable content for you.
Making Money Through Sponsored Posts
Sponsorships are similar to affiliate marketing because you are being paid to promote some else’s product. The main difference with brand sponsorships is the fact that you typically agree on a payment (or reimbursement) prior to creating content for that brand.
This is how the majority of ‘influencers’ make money blogging. They are being paid for the influence that they have over their audience. Brands know if an influencer recommends a product, a certain percentage of their audience is willing to purchase it.
There are a lot of intricacies when it comes to sponsored content.
For one thing, there is often no set rate. Brands will choose to pay you how much they believe you are worth. This is typically based on your audience size and the engagement that you typically get on your content.
A lot of people start blogs or want to create content so that they can get free products. (I used to be one of those people so I get it). But the truth is that a brand will only work with you if you can prove to them that you have something valuable to offer them.
Some brands will try to approach new bloggers and offer them a discounted rate of their product in exchange for sponsored content. This is generally not a scenario that is beneficial for the blogger. In most instances, I would advise the blogger to negotiate at least free product (if it is a brand that they are interested in working with).
Making Money By Offering Services
A lot of bloggers make money by offering services based on certain experiences and skillsets that they have.
For instance, I offer content writing and social media management services.
As someone who has been blogging for over 5 years, these are skills that I have developed over the years.
I was able to leverage my years of experience and offer those services to my clients. As I work with clients, I continue to improve my skills.
When you choose to monetize through services you must make sure that it is something that you:
- Enjoy doing
- Are good at
- People have a need for
If the services that you intend to provide do not meet all three criteria, you will have a hard time offering those services on a long term basis.
You risk burning out when you continually do things that you do not enjoy.
Making Money Through Consulting + Coaching
If you are currently blogging about a particular topic, there is a good chance that you are an expert on that topic. Even though you may not be the expert of all experts, there is someone who is a few steps behind you, who would benefit from your knowledge and experience.
Coaching and consulting really just involves taking your client from point A (present reality) to Point B (transformation). You do this by sharing your expertise in a more intimate and personalized content.
Coaches and consultants can expect to earn anywhere from $1000- >$100,000 per month!
Making Money With Online Course + Digital Products
Creating online courses is one of the most lucrative ways to make money online.
You often hear about online marketers talking about passive income. Digital products are the ultimate form of passive income. That is because when you create the course, you really do not have much else to do.
You can easily automate all of the parts of the sales funnel, from the lead magnet to the tripwire to the email sales sequence to the actual sale of the course.
Once you do the initial legwork of researching for and creating the course, you can let that course continue to make money passively for years and years to come.
Bloggers can make digital products ranging from paid worksheets and ebooks to online courses that cost thousands of dollars.
Making Money Selling Physical Products
Many bloggers choose to sell physical products instead. Physical products are great when you have an audience to sell to. If you have been blogging for a while and building your audience, you will have an audience who knows, likes and trusts you and are ready to buy whatever you have to offer.
Bloggers make money through physical products, sell everything from clothing to beauty products to stationery. You can sell whatever your audience would be willing to buy from you.
Some bloggers even sell books. If you have a lot of content on your blog, you can take some of the more popular pieces of content and repurpose them as chapters for your book.
Making Money From Speaking Engagements
Many bloggers who are considered experts in their field are often paid for speaking engagements.
This is a popular stream of income especially for bloggers who have built personal brands.
Blogging Is Not A Get Rich Quick Scheme
Although you can start monetizing through any of the streams mentioned above from the start, you will be a lot more profitable when you have a steady amount of traffic on your blog.
Therefore, the first thing that you should do as a blogger is to focus on increasing your visibility and growing your audience using effective content strategies.
SEO is the best way to drive organic traffic to your blog. By leveraging the power of google, and positioning your content strategically, you can boost traffic to your site.
Another way to get traffic to your site is through Pinterest. Pinterest is also a search engine. Strategic Pinterest use can also offer long term results for your blog and business.
As you can see, it is possible for you to make money blogging. Now that you know the different ways to make money blogging, I hope that you have the confidence that you need to start making a difference with your blog.
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