If starting a blog has ever crossed your mind, you may be wondering how do bloggers make money exactly?
To answer that question, you need to understand what a blog actually is – and what it used to be.
Today, a blog is nothing more than a website, composed of different pages filled with information. Bloggers are essentially web publishers – even though that’s not at all what most people think of them as.
Personal vs. Professional Bloggers
When I tell people I’m a blogger, most people immediately think of what bloggers were 10 or 15 years ago – people who published personal thoughts and updates on the internet from time to time.
The truth is that professional bloggers are much more akin to publishers like Hearst and Condé Nast than Susie Q down the block sharing her thoughts on life.
But most people don’t realize that because only around 13% of professional bloggers can truly identify as such. I derived this figure from a 2012 ProBlogger survey of readers, of which 13% say they earn more than $1000 per month blogging, but I suspect the percentage is much higher today.
Now, most professional bloggers aren’t pulling in the numbers that Hearst and Condé Nast are – but they are essentially working with the same business model on a smaller scale.
It’s kind of like comparing a local burger restaurant to McDonald’s. The local restaurant counts a smaller amount of people as customers – but both businesses serve burgers to hungry people.
So what’s the difference between the blogger pulling in $1,000+ every month and the casual blogger?
Well, the former treats their blog like a website or encyclopedia rather than a personal diary.
Professional bloggers provide useful, in-depth information to an audience hungry to learn more. There are content plans, photography, and expertise involved.
Now, that doesn’t mean professional bloggers don’t use their personality to create interesting content – personal experience can actually accelerate a blog’s success – it just means that there is a strategy behind each post.
At the end of the day, profitable blogging stems from one simple need: the human desire for more information to improve one’s life.
Blogging as a Business
I believe that because the blogging world is much more transparent than many other business ventures it is an ideal first business to start.
Part of my frustration with different business ideas is that so many are shrouded in secrecy. I think there are many profitable businesses in the world but for most of them, you need a mentor or a connection to take advantage of them.
Not so with blogging.
Most people turn to the internet when they want to learn more about a topic. You may find what you need, or you may not.
You can search and find almost anything you want to learn more about blogging. Everything you want to know is available online because that’s literally what bloggers do – blog online!
That’s what makes it a great business.
Why You Should Start a Blog
There is so much free information available to anyone who wants to make money blogging. You’d be hard pressed to find that kind of in-depth detail for almost any other business venture.
Here is why I think everyone should start a blog.
It’s an Asset
A blog is an asset. If you are familiar with investing, you know that part of building wealth involves acquiring assets. Things like real estate, stocks, and bonds are considered assets – and so are businesses. A blog is a business, if you want it to be. It can grow with time and produce passive income.
You Own It
There are thousands of influencers pouring tons of time and energy into platforms like Instagram and TikTok. The trouble is that they don’t truly own their accounts, and at any point, those social networks can make a simple change that topples an influencer’s business. Many influencers saw their organic reach nosedive with a simple Instagram algorithm update. A blog is owned by you and you alone.
How Bloggers Make Money
So, back to the original question: how do bloggers make money?
Quite simply, bloggers earn money by monetizing the audience they have – mostly indirectly, but sometimes directly as well.
These are the most popular blog revenue streams:
These are visual advertisements that may appear in several places on websites including in the header, throughout the content, and in the sidebar. Advertisers pay web bloggers for their ad space – typically through an advertising network like AdSense or Mediavine. Bloggers can earn anywhere from a few dollars to $40 per thousand visitors to their blog using display ads.
Affiliate marketing is a way for bloggers to make money from the sales they refer to different retailers. Bloggers are typically compensated a percentage of the sale – from 4% up to 50% depending on the agreement. There is no limit to the amount of money you can earn from affiliate marketing as you grow your blog.
Some brands will pay bloggers a flat fee to post about their company or products on their blog. Sponsored posts are a great way for bloggers to earn a lump sum for one post. Bloggers can earn as little as $100 to potentially tens of thousands of dollars for one sponsored post, depending on the size of their following.
Bloggers can earn money by selling digital products like ebooks and courses to their audience. This is the primary way that bloggers can directly monetize their audience, but it does take time to get people to trust you.
Some bloggers launch into e-commerce and earn money by selling physical products to their audience. They may partner with a brand and launch a collaboration collection, or they may launch their own brand of products alone.
There are dozens of other ways that bloggers make money. Established bloggers can also monetize by charging membership fees, working out book deals, becoming brand ambassadors, collecting speaking fees, and doing well-paid freelance writing.
How Long Does it Take to Make Money from a Blog?
The next big question you’re probably wondering is: how long will it take to make $500 or $1000 a month from a new blog? Personally, it took me 8 months to break $1000 per month from blogging. I chronicled my blogging income journey to six figures right here on Blog Ambitious if you are ever interested in thumbing through the archives. Just click the “Income Reports” link in the menu at the top.
I think it’s good to set reasonable expectations before you start blogging. Too many people go into it thinking they will be able to quit their jobs after 6 months or even one year. That’s definitely a stretch goal – although anything is possible.
I quit my job about two years into blogging, and even then, I was just getting by for about a year afterwards, meaning my income covered my expenses, but nothing more. I didn’t start seeing the big bucks until about two years after I quit my job (four years since starting).
Blogging is a long-term game but it is 100% worth it. I truly have no regrets about any of it – except maybe not having started sooner!
Ready to Start Blogging?
If you are interested in starting a blog, I highly recommend taking a look at my Free Blogging Course, which is a comprehensive list of the articles I have published on this site explaining the specifics of launching, growing, and monetizing a blog for profit. All of the information I provide is free and I always share the cheapest, most efficient way to accomplish a task.
I grew my first blog to over six-figures profit per year and I now manage a portfolio of 7 websites.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and sign up for my email newsletter to receive my updates.