How Much Money Can You Really Make With a Personal Blog?

Disclosure (full version here): Some of the links you’ll encounter are affiliate links. If you click and buy something, I may get a commission. Thank you! 

The simple answer to the question of how much money you can make with a personal blog is: It depends.

A lot of factors go into determining the amount of money bloggers make, including their industry or niche, the time they put into growing their blog, the monetization strategies they use, and more.

Read the rest of this article to discover the answers to many of the commonly asked questions on how much money you can really make with a personal blog, as well as some strategies for getting to your desired income level as a blogger.

I’ll also include some income reports from my own blog detailing my path from where I began with my personal blog to where I am today.

If you’re ready, let’s dive right in.

So, How Much Can You Make with a Personal Blog?

Many full-time bloggers earn about $2,500 a month within their first year of blogging. With strong monetization strategies, the income goes up with every passing year, with a lot of established bloggers earning anywhere between $3,500 and $15,000 each month.

Here’s a quick look at what some popular bloggers in different niches make:

  • Smart Passive Income (Entrepreneurship Blog): $125,000/month.
  • One Hour Professor (Online Marketing): $16,436/month.
  • 7 Ways to Wealth (Personal financial plan): $15,000/month.
  • East End Taste Blog (Lifestyle Blog): $10,000/month.
  • Mom Beach (Mom Blog): $5,000/month.
  • The Wayward Home (Nomadic Living): $3,000/month.
  • Travel Blog Stories (Travel Blog): $1,500/month.
  • Pupster Passion (Pet Blog): $1,000/month.

However, these numbers should not be taken as the norm.

Top bloggers take home seven-figure incomes, most bloggers should expect to make much less — at least initially.

There are a lot of factors that will determine whether or not you can make a successful living as a blogger.

For example, there are many different types of bloggers who write in niches that are more profitable than others while working full-time or part-time can negatively impact the amount of time you need to invest in your blog to ensure steady traffic growth.

To help you figure out what you need to do to a profitable personal blog, I’ve created this short list:

  • Create a solid business plan
  • Choose a profitable and proven blogging niche
  • Use reliable monetization strategies targeted toward your ideal audience
  • Create high-quality, helpful content that is relevant to your readers
  • Leverage the power of search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Proactively promote and market your personal blog

But just because the list is short does not mean that becoming a professional blogger will be easy.

Building your blog to the point where you’re making pure passive income can be a long and difficult journey filled with self-doubt.

Don’t worry!!!

I’m here to tell you my story about how I went from a personal blog to owning a suite of websites that generate thousands of dollars of passive revenue every single month.

And then I’m going you the strategies and tips you need to build you own successful blogging empire.

Let’s get started, then…

From a Personal Blogger to Passive Income Generation — A Look at My Income Reports

I started out with a single site created to help out people within my industry, and my journey as a blogger has led to the creation of a suite of websites and blogs that are each generating healthy revenue.

But it didn’t start over night.

One thing I did early on was find a way to differentiate myself from other people in my niche, so I began posting monthly income reports to share my journey with others.

Not only do my progress reports help me remain accountable, they tell a story how to invest in your blogging business to build long-term passive revenue — even if that means you suffer monthly losses at the beginning.

My First Lesson Learned As a Personal Blogger — Perfect is the Enemy of Good

Take a look at my early days as a personal blogger. In the first column, you can my monthly revenue. My expenses are in the second column. Net income is in the third and annual income is in the fourth:

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As you can see, in September 2014 when I posted my first income report, my expenses exceeded my revenue by $144.

The next month was even worse: a net loss of $616!

I ended 2014 losing $1,472…

But all the money I spent, I spent strategiclaly to create SEO content across all pages on any website I owned, a practice I continue to this day.

This is what primarily drives traffic to my sites, which are designed to produce passive income via display ads or affiliate marketing.

And that’s the first step toward creating a profitable business of any type: make the neccesary up-front investments that will pay off in the future.

Don’t just think about the next blog article, think about how that blog article can keep making money for you years after it’s published.

This is the difference between writing great content and writing content that makes money. While a blogger should aim to do both, it’s always best to remember that perfect can be the enemy of good.

What this means is that if you’re aiming for perfection, you may spend a lot more time and money putting together a piece of content than is really needed. In other words, you may always come up month after month at a loss and never actually see profit.

That’s why it’s important to remember that a good piece of content, properly monetized, is always better than a great piece of content that costs more than the projected ROI. If you want personal blogging to be more than just a hobby, you have to start thinking about how to create content that makes money not just write articles for the sake of writing.

Focus on Doing What Makes The Most Money — My Second Lesson as a Personal Blogger

I’ve also experimented with other monetization strategies both on-site and on other platforms.

For example, I’ve built YouTube courses, thought I don’t focus too much on those as they aren’t as profitable as my on-site monetization strategies.

That’s the second lesson. Even though I really enjoy creating online courses and testing out the latest eLearning platforms, I know that I won’t make as much money doing that as, say, writing this article and building my backlink profile.

So I choose the strategy I know will make me the most money. That’s why my income reports now look like this:

 

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As you can see from the reports above, I was barely making any money when I started out, but my income has grown consistently over the years.

And now, here’s a breakdown of the methods I used to create this level of success so you can emulate it for your own blogging business.

Generate Traffic Using SEO Strategies

The first thing we’re going to discuss is the importance of using SEO (search engine optimization) strategies to generate traffic for your personal blog.

SEO is cost-effective marketing. You can leverage its power to accurately pinpoint your target audience and achieve significantly better results than ads.

As a blogger, you’ll save money by researching and writing your own SEO campaigns and customizing them accordingly so you provide your blog audience with relevant and helpful content.

When done right, SEO will allow you to achieve the following:

1. Increase Organic Search

SEO gets a lot more clicks compared to PPC. Even though PPC ads are shown above organic rankings, studies show that 71.33% of searchers ignore paid results and scroll down to click on organic search results instead.

This is possibly because they trust Google’s algorithm to provide them with the best and most relevant results, but in any case, the more SEO-optimized posts you write for your blog, the more you will appear as an expert in your industry, and the higher your content will be ranked on search engines.

All you need to do is center your blog around a core niche or topic and position yourself right in the middle of it. This way, your personal blog will be so much more than a mere journal, but rather an interesting personal brand that may lead to you becoming an authority or influencer in your market.

2. Target Quality Visitors

Another huge advantage of SEO is that it is an inbound marketing strategy that allows you to target quality traffic.

It’s very different from traditional “outbound” marketing and advertising channels that are about reaching out to customers en masse (whether or not they’d like to hear from your brand).

Inbound, or attraction methods like SEO are customer-centric and focus on making it easier for your ideal readers to find you whenever they need information.

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3. Get Free Traffic

SEO is cost-effective marketing. When using this type of strategy, you don’t have to pay for ads to place your content in front of your target customers.

Google ranks your content based on what its algorithm deems to be the best result for any particular query. This means you simply have to focus on creating relevant, high-quality content with carefully crafted keywords and topics.

In this case, an SEO tool will help you to find what queries users type to find information relevant to your business, and even what your competitors used to succeed in a certain direction.

 

Update your blog regularly, and the search engines will index your content and you’ll get your spot in the rankings free of charge. You’ll get an ever-growing flow of targeted traffic to your blog without any ongoing costs.

Monetize Your Site Using Various Strategies

In addition to using SEO to generate targeted traffic for your website, you also need to implement lucrative monetization strategies for specific pages on your blog or your entire site as a whole.

And remember, the types of monetization methods you choose will play a huge role in determining the amount of money you make each month.

For the most part, successful bloggers have a diversified approach when it comes to monetizing their blogs. So, you might want to pick at least two or three ways to generate revenue from your blog.

Here’s a closer look at some of the best website monetization strategies to make money from your personal blog.

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn a good income as a blogger. Pretty much all successful personal blogs use it for monetization.

For example, I earned thousands of dollars in my first year as a blogger from affiliate marketing alone.

To create a profitable affiliate marketing strategy, I had to rank for keywords on Google designed to mediate purchasing decisions. Whenever a sale was made through a link on my blog, I’d receive a commission.

You can sign up on any affiliate site, Amazon Associates, for example.

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Find a range of products to offer to your audience, and you’ll be provided with an affiliate link for each product. Whenever someone uses your referral link, you’ll get a small commission.

Alternatively, you can conduct a search for [affiliate programs] + [your niche]. Here’s an example of the search results page from the home goods niche:

Important Note: Use “involved” affiliate marketing, which basically means that you should only promote products or services that you have used yourself. If you genuinely believe they’ll help your audience, you’ll have a much easier time convincing them to purchase through your link.

2. Display Ads

Advertising is one of the most popular ways to make money from a blog. When done right, it can provide you with a reliable and passive source of income that continues to grow as your blog and audience grow.

Most beginner bloggers use a network like Google AdSense where ads are placed on your blog and you are paid each time a visitor views or clicks on an ad. But, there are many better alternatives to Adsense, such as AdSpyGlass.

3. eCommerce

Bloggers who sell products can earn even more than those simply using advertising and affiliate marketing as blog monetization methods.

There are tons of different products to choose from, depending on your niche. Once you’ve chosen or created lucrative and relevant products to offer to your audience, you can use blogging as a powerful marketing tactic to drive customers to your product pages.

4. Consulting

When you’re first starting out, you won’t have a large audience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t monetize your blog.

As long as your blog has a service that fills a specific need in the market, you can use consulting as a way to make money while building your audience.

The trick is to start treating your blog like a business from day one and implement a strategy with a high-end sales funnel for landing well-paying clients.

Here is an example of what that might look like:

  • A visitor reads high-quality content on your blog that is related to their problem (and the solution offered by your high-end offer).
  • The reader then opts into your email list for a simple yet extremely valuable “freebie” offer.
  • Optional: On your “thank-you” page, you add a lower-priced offer to build trust.
  • The visitor receives an automated welcome series that tells a story and nudges them down the buyer’s path to set a meeting with you.
  • Your client sets a meeting and pays for your consulting offer.

Pro Tip: Use a reliable invoicing tool like this one to keep track of all your business transactions.

While any one of these topics can make you a decent income, things get much more powerful when you use income stacking. Or, when you combine 2-3 of these tactics to monetize your site further.

A good example of this is the site that my wife manages called HerBones.com. When she first started the site, she only used affiliate marketing links to generate revenue.

But, once she hit 8,000 monthly pageviews we added on display ads to the site and the revenue increased by about 70% month over month. At this point, the site still makes a little under $1000 per month, but that’s just the beginning.

Our ultimate goal is to use both affiliate marketing and display ads to grow the site to a higher level of profitability and then eventually we’d like to create our own ecommerce brand. The products we create are going to be determined by whatever we are ranking for within our site.

For instance, if we rank for this post about coffin nails and the post has a decent amount of traffic, we’ll create a coffin nail product line and place it for sale on Amazon. If that product sells well, we’ll be able to make money on the sales, but the real beauty is if Amazon begins to puch buyers to our products as well.

Is it easy to do? No. But using a monetization strategy like this is how you can grow your revenue streams far beyond simply using one monetization strategy.

Integrate Off-Site Content into Your Personal Blog

Another important way to generate more income from your website is to integrate off-site content into your personal blog.

This will serve to expand your reach and drive new visitors to your site where you can transform them into subscribers or customers.

Here are a few effective ways to integrate off-site content into your personal blog.

1. Leverage the Power of TikTok

TikTok is a fast-growing social media platform that holds many benefits when used as part of your blog marketing strategy.

You can create and share interesting content to drive brand awareness or use storytelling to feature product use cases or ideal clients.

You can also follow trends on the platform that you can jump on quickly to come up with engaging content for your audience.

2. YouTube Videos

With more and more people preferring to watch videos as opposed to reading blogs, having a YouTube channel allows you to give your audience more content that solves their problems while increasing engagement levels. With time, you will also be able to monetize your video with native Youtube ads.

It’s an extra source of traffic and will help you drive targeted visitors to your personal blog.

A channel is also a great creative outlet that will allow you to build closer personal connections with your audience while adding another source of revenue to your business.

3. Tweets

Twitter is yet another effective way to monetize your personal blog. It’s a fantastic tool that you can use to promote your blog posts for free.

The fast-paced information-sharing culture on the platform allows you to get to know your audience on a closer level while keeping your finger on their needs and feelings.

You’ll be able to use the platform to reach a wider audience, get your content, products, or services in front of your ideal customers, and deliver exceptional customer service – all for free.

You can also use various Twitter tools that help you automate the entire promotion process.

Of course, you can use various other social media content. Depending on your audience, you might find more success with sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

Increase Revenue Across Multiple Channels

It’s important to use a diversified monetization strategy if you want to create a profitable personal blog.

With the tips listed below, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of omnichannel marketing and sales, and develop more engaging content that readers will want to share across their own personal or business social media channels.

1. Online Courses and Webinars

Selling online courses is now one of the best ways to make money online. Over the past few years, course sales have seen a steady rise and you can build a lucrative knowledge business on virtually any topic.

I use this as one of the monetization methods on my blogs it works exceptionally well and comes with a lot of additional benefits, such as:

  • Broader Audience: Selling courses allows me to reach a wider audience.
  • Easy Management: Online courses are easy to manage with the right course creation platform.
  • Location Freedom: I can work from anywhere.
  • Easy Scalability: I only have to create the material once and sell it over and over again.
  • Huge ROI: After creating an online course, you can sell it over and over again. This means you can keep generating a steady stream of revenue with a single online course while drastically cutting costs associated with content production.

In addition to online courses, traditional video-based content on YouTube and similar channels remains a great way of connecting to a large audience and integrating social media into your marketing mix.

You can even take things a step further with industry-leading webinar tools for creating and editing promotional, educational, or simply entertaining webinar content that you can post on landing page, blog articles, elsewhere on your site, via your email newsletters, on your most profitable social media platforms, and across every other part of your digital marketing mix.

2. Podcasts

Podcasting is a rapidly growing space, with over 80 million Americans listening to podcasts each week.

Podcasts have the advantage of catering to people in your audience who don’t like reading longer content.

By starting using a podcast hosting platform to create, share, and monetize blogs as a revenue channel that compliments your personal blog, you will be able to develop deeper connections with listeners and open yourself up to multiple opportunities for reaching new people in your niche — as well as making more money through sponsorship opportunities, increased brand reputation, and much more .

3. Email Marketing

Although I left this one for last, it’s still one of the most important digital marketing channels for growing a successful personal blog.

It’s also one of the most lucrative, with an impressive ROI of $40 for every $1 spent on marketing.

To run your email marketing campaigns, you’ll need email marketing software from a reliable provider. Set it up with opt-ins on your personal blog. You can put these in your sidebar, within blog post content, or as pop-ups, upon exit intent so you can start collecting emails from day one.

This will give you an opportunity to send nurturing emails to your subscribers designed to guide them down your sales funnel and generate more revenue for your blog.

Conclusion

There are, of course, many other elements of a brand’s digital marketing mix that you can use to increase revenue across multiple channels. However, it’s beyond the scope of this article to explore them all.

The important thing to remember is that different types of bloggers create different levels of income. Some make $0, some make $1,000 a month, and some make $100,000 per month.

How much you make will depend on whether or not you have a solid business plan in place, if you chose a profitable blogging niche, and if you’re using effective monetization strategies for your niche and audience.

You also need to create awesome content your readers love and have a solid grasp of SEO.

Finally, you must proactively market and promote your blog to get your content in front of your target audience.

By following the steps in this article, you too will be well on your way to building a successful personal blog that will provide you with a healthy source of income for years to come.

How much money do you hope to make with your personal blog? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

BYLINE:

Ron Stefanski is a website entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online businesses. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com

You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin.

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