How Do Bloggers Make Money (and how much do bloggers make?!)
It’s kinda funny. I visited every country in the world, got arrested more times than I can count, visited Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen. But all anyone ever wants to know is how do bloggers make money, or how much money do bloggers make! Haha, I get it. When I started out I was the same. And to be perfectly honest, it’s the right question to ask. Because once you know how to earn money from a blog, you’re free to do anything with your life. And then, and perhaps ONLY then, can you start to go to crazy places, and spend money on wild trips. So yes, I’m with you!
First of all, there are a few nuances between the questions. “How do blogs make money” is a different question to “How much money do bloggers make” or “How do bloggers make money”. Because a blog makes money in a number of ways, but a blogger makes money in even more ways (including from their blog, plus other stuff). But I’ll cover all that below, so don’t worry. So, how do bloggers make money?
How do bloggers make money?
As I alluded to above, bloggers make money from their blog (obviously), and then as a by-product of their blog, in a number of external ways too. So firstly let me cover all the ways bloggers make money and then I’ll delve deeper into each one:
You can see them even in this blog post (sorry!). Ads between each photo, or paragraph. More Ads at the bottom of the page. Ads everywhere! This is the bread and butter of how bloggers make money. The more people that read your blog posts, the more money you make. You get paid a certain amount of money for every 1000 people who read an article. The amount you get paid per 1000 views depends on where the audience comes from. If they come from the USA, UK, or Australia for example, you make more money per 1000 people than if the audience is from Pakistan, Bangladesh or China. Why? Because ‘Western’ audiences are more likely to click on an ad within a blog post, and ultimately purchase something. I blogged about how many page views you need to make money from your blog here.
How Blog Ads work:
Every month thousands of people around the world google something like “Bangkok Itinerary“. Most people will click on one of the first few websites that come up on Page 1 of Google. If you find yourself on page 1 of that search query, you’ll get 1000s and 1000s of people clicking on your ‘Bangkok Itinerary’ blog post. Most of the people googling ‘Bangkok Itinerary’ are Westerners planning on visiting Bangkok. So that traffic is quite ‘valuable’.
There is a term called ‘RPM’ (revenue per mille) which means how much money you get paid for every 1000 people who visit your blog. That number can range between $0.10 to $80USD for every 1000 views, but the average is normally something around $7 to $10 per 1000 views. For a search term like ‘Bangkok itinerary’, the RPM would be something around $15 per 1000 views. So if every month, 10,000 people read that article, you get $150 a month, every month. Now imagine you have lots of articles for ‘Belfast Itinerary‘, ‘London Itinerary‘, ‘Dublin Itinerary‘, ‘Singapore Itinerary‘ and they are all on page 1. Suddenly the money can add up quickly! However, it is VERY difficult to get your blog posts to be on Page 1. That’s the struggle.
How much bloggers make from Blog Ads:
How Do Bloggers Make Money? It completely depends on which Blog Ads the bloggers instal. ‘Google Ads’ is the most famous of course (and the worst paying!). Ezoic, and Mediavine are the most popular. Often, like Mediavine, they require a certain level of traffic before they accept you. Often that can be 50,000+ page views per month. So how much do bloggers earn from blog ads? If you have 100,000 page views per month, you will probably be making about $1,000USD per month, on average.
Of course, if you’re blogging about something like financial products, or insurance, the traffic on your blog is a lot more ‘valuable’ (because people who are reading that are interested in financial services, and may then go on to buy expensive products from the ads) and that number could easily be $5k or even $10k a month. But that’s unusual.
The second most popular way when considering how do blogs make money. Affiliate marketing is when a blogger blogs about something, whether that’s the digital nomad travel insurance they use, or the best way to start a travel blog, then if the people who read that blog post click on the links you use, you get a small % commission. That’s what affiliate marketing is.
My digital nomad travel insurance article (below) has made me thousands of dollars in affiliate income. I personally pay for the service myself, so ethically, it’s great that i can recommend a brilliant product AND get money for recommending it. Perfect!
How Affiliate Marketing works:
A blogger may write about how to do a Bangkok Staycation for example. Then when people read the blog post, they see all the cool stuff to do, and the best way to plan the staycation. Often, the blogger will include the hotel they stayed at, and explain why they chose it, why it’s great etc. Then they’ll include a link to that hotel, but not directly to the hotel website, but through booking.com, agoda.com, hotels.com or whatever. Then if the person who clicks on that link and books the hotel, they get a small %. Almost always, there is no extra cost to the customer, and often (like my deal with Blue Host for example) the customer actually gets an even better deal than they would without the blogger’s recommendation.
Often the customer doesn’t have to book anything immediately. Sometimes if they book with 90 days, then the commission will still be paid to the blogger. This is called a cookie. Your computer, and the internet, ‘remembers’ where the original referral came from and will pay that person who referred the new customer. I.e the Blogger.
How much bloggers make from Affiliate Marketing:
It’s minuscule on a case by case basis. On booking.com, it may be around 4%. Amazon can be around 3%. So a blogger blogs about the best suitcase to travel with. And it costs $200. Then someone buys that suitcase online within 30 days (For example), they get 4% of that $200, so they get $8 affiliate commission. So how much do bloggers earn from Affiliate marketing? It all depends on how much traffic they get on each article that have placed affiliate links. In the travel world, top travel bloggers may make $1000USD from Amazon commission each month, and another $1000+ from hotel booking commissions.
This is sponsored blog posts. Much like when you’re in airplane, and you read the airplane magazine. Half the magazine is travel content, the other half is sponsored content (that you don’t really read, or notice). The same with blog posts. A company will supply a blog post, and pay the blogger to publish the content.
How Sponsored Content works:
Sponsored content works in 2 ways. Traditional marketing vrs SEO. Traditional marketing is when a company pays a blogger to publish a blog post so that their readers and followers will see the article and act on it. Maybe it’s a sale or a competition announcement. Whatever. The other way sponsored content works is that a company pays a blogger to publish a blog post, but they don’t care if any of the blogger’s audience sees it. They only care that the article they provided has a link back to their website. Why? Because Google can ‘feel’ that a blog is linking to a business website, therefore that business website must be trusted and newsworthy. Therefore, it helps that business appear higher in Google searches. This is against google rules, but it’s a multi-billion dollar industry within the blogging community.
How much bloggers make from Sponsored Content:
A lot. But it depends how big your blog is. Every website in the world has a ‘trust’ ranking from 0 to 100. It’s called Domain Authority. The client who wants to place a sponsored blog post on a blog will look at a number of aspects of the blog, but a main one is how high the domain authority is. In years gone by, you could add a 0 to the domain authority, and that would be the approximate price you can charge someone who wants to publish a piece of content.
My Domain Authority (or DA as it’s known) is 60, so add a ‘0’ = $600 for every sponsored post I could publish. NOTE: This is against google rules, as I mentioned, so of course I don’t do this on my blog. Imagine if a blogger published 10 pieces of sponsored content, and their website is DA50. That would be $5k per month.
If the brand is paying for the sponsored content, not for SEO purposes, but for access to the bloggers audience, the fee is the same, but the brand may also pay to have the email blasted to the bloggers email list. And also pay extra to be featured on their social media too (see below)
Social Media Income
Instagram, Youtube (although I cover that below as it’s a special case), Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat. What started out as a way for people to share their lives has become little more than a marketing tool for businesses to reach audiences. Isn’t that a sad truth?!
How Social Media works:
Brands will simply pay bloggers a flat fee to publish sponsored content on their social media channels. Sometimes this will include a ‘discount code’, where if any of the bloggers audience uses the discount, the blogger will also receive a commission. This is also affiliate marketing. Normally though, it’s simply a flat fee for an Instagram post, or facebook post. The pricing is based on how much ‘output’ there is. How many Instagram posts, how many Facebook posts, any video? Etc
How much bloggers make from Social Media:
I’m sure you’ve read that Kylie Jenner can make $100k to $1m for an Instagram post! Wow! Bloggers make a lot less. How much? An Instagram account of 50,000 can expect $100-$500 for a post. An account with 1m followers, up to $10k. It depends on the audience again. If your audience is all kids, it’s a lot less. If you’re a finance blogger, it could be a lot more as your audience is more likely to be affluent.
I have Instagrammer friends who make $10k a month like this. Bloggers make less, but can easily supplement their income with an extra $500 to $1000 a month.
This is slightly different from sponsored content and social media, in that a Brand Deal is where a business will pay for you to represent them. Normally it’s more than simply 1 blog post, or one Instagram post. The brand (hopefully) believes your persona matches their brand culture, and therefore your audience should be a good match for their products.
How Brand Deals work:
Brand Ambassadorships often work on a monthly-fee basis. With this agreement, the blogger may have to produce 1 Insta post, 1 Facebook post, 1 blog post (for example) every month for the length of the contract. In exchange, they get paid a monthly fee.
How much bloggers make from Brand Deals:
Like everything int the blogger world, it depends on a few things First, how ‘big’ the blogger is. How big their audience is. The bigger means more money. Secondly, the brand fit. For example, a rower needn’t have a huge following. But it’s a high-end sport, so may result in high-end brand deals, despite not having millions of followers. Normally a brand deal would start at $500 a month.
The blogger has built an audience within their niche. Food, fitness, travel, online business. Whatever. The audience trusts the blogger and likes the blogger. The blogger is an authority in their niche and can therefore sell their skills as a course/book. And some of that audience will aspire to have the same lifestyle as the blogger. So the blogger can show them how they did it.
How Digital Products work:
It’s a lot of work, but it’s only a lot of work ONCE. A food blogger may produce a cook book. A fitness blogger may produce a ‘work out from home’ course. The content is all digital, accessible with passwords etc once the fee has been paid. The fee can be an up-front payment or a monthly subscription. More frequently, bloggers will sell courses showing how they became who they are. Starting from scratch to become a successful blogger.
How much bloggers make from Digital Products:
Courses on how to make money online can easily sell for $2k EACH. And although that’s pricey, if they’re genuine, $2k could change your life. Unfortunately, there are a lot of sleazy, snake-oil salesmen online. So be careful when buying digital products. Only do so if you truly trust the person. And think “Did they make money before they sold a course on how to make money?” If the answer is no, steer clear!!
Bloggers can sell small ebooks for $5, and make $5 a month. But if the have a quality course selling for $100+ then can make $1k to $100k a month. This is the most lucrative method of all ways bloggers make money.
Many bloggers have loyal followings, often people have followed them and read their content for years. So it makes sense for bloggers to offer a chance to spend time with them, whilst doing whatever it is the blogger does. Online business, travel (in my case), fitness etc.
How Blogger Trips work:
The blogger organises a retreat or trip. It’s a lot of work to set-up, and a bit of a risk because maybe no-one will come! But after it is set-up, they release the dates and prices to their audience through all the channels they have – blog, social media etc. All-being-well, the spots will sell out and it’s a success.
How much bloggers make from Trips:
It depends a lot. For example, my non-profit Mudita Adventure trips, we take no profit, and have actually lost money on trips before! Then the trip I ran to Iraq was simply to find a way to cut costs to visit Iraq properly! That being said, ‘Yoga retreats in Bali’ or ‘Mindfulness in Costa Rica’ priced at $5kUSD for a week, people running trips like that can easily make up to $30,000USD for the week. That’s serious money!
The new kid on the block. It’s kind of like a blog, but in audio. Bloggers will speak themselves, or interview people, within their niche. And people can download the conversations and listen at their leisure. Joe Rogan just sold his for $100mUSD to Spotify!
How Podcasts work:
As the audience builds, brands will sponsor each episode. If it’s a fitness podcast, it may be sponsored by a supplement company. If it’s a cooking podcast, it may be sponsored by a frying pan company. Often this includes an additional affiliate marketing revenue stream by using the Podcast hosts discount code.
How much bloggers make from Podcats:
10,000 downloads should equate to about $500 in sponsorship or affiliate sales. So it depends on how many podcasts the blogger is churning out.
Often the first answer when people think ‘How Do Bloggers Make Money’. Every kid’s dream job. It used to be an astronaut or footballer, but now it’s a Youtuber. Makes me sad, but this is where we are! There is no barrier to entry to the Youtube game. Anyone can start recording videos on their phone and upload. Which is pretty cool to be honest. Although nowadays, the average youtube video quality has shot through the roof. So to become a youtuber, you need some pretty good filming and editing skills. Or just be beautiful.
How YouTube works:
You create videos, upload to your channel, and hope the content is good enough for views. You then get paid based on how many views. 1,000,000 views (which is a difficult number to reach) CAN make up to $5k. But often much less depending on the location of your traffic again. You can also have brands sponsor a video (that can range from $200 to $20k), and you can recommend products in the video description and generate affiliate commission that way.
How much bloggers make from YouTube:
$3-$5 per 1000 views, and up to $5,000 for 1,000,000 views. Then you add affiliate sales from the links in the video description. And the chance to have a video sponsored by a brand too. I have friends with 250,000 subscribers, and he makes about $1k a month. So although Youtube gets featured a lot in the press for people making millions, it’s tough to get by unless you’re a superstar.
My favourite. I used to be terrified of it, but now I love it. If you have become a legitimate authority in your field (for me that’s every country, facing your fears, starting from the bottom etc), then brands and corporates will hire you to give a speech to their workforce, often at their yearly meetings.
How Public Speaking works:
The blogger is contacted by the company directly, or if you have an agent, they contact the agent. The gig is discussed, how long, where is it etc, and the finances are negotiated. Pretty simple really.
How much bloggers make from Public Speaking:
Often 0, especially if it’s an event you’re interested in, or if you use it as a way to further build your authority. I’ve also spoken at events for free if they include business class returns flight for me + 1, hotels etc, and you can make a cool trip out of it. Equally, if it’s for a corporate event, fees can range from $2k to $20k+ for an hour to a day.
How do blogs make money; 3 Things to Focus On!
How many people visit your blog per month. The more people who visit, the more money you can make. It’s simple.
How do you increase traffic to your blog? You make sure that the content you create gets on the first page of Google. If it’s on the 4th page, or 44th page, no-one will ever click on it, or see it. So how do you get it on the first page? 2 ways. SEO (see below) and Domain Authority or ‘DA’. You need to increase your DA. To do that, you need other people to link to your blog. You can do this by promoting your blog with these 5 FREE METHODS.
Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is making sure your blog, and your blog posts, are demonstrating the best type of appearance and behaviour that Google loves. And because Google loves it, they will be more likely to churn up your blog post on the first page. This is a huge topic that I’ve covered in other blog posts. It means you need to research the topics you’re going to blog about, and find how many people are searching for each keyword. For example, 100 people per month may search for ‘Chiang Mai things to see’, but 3000 may search for ‘Things to do in Chiang Mai‘. So even though the blog post will be the same, it makes so much more sense to title the blog ‘Things to do in Chiang Mai’ as clearly more people are searching for that! That is SEO.
How to earn money from a blog as a beginner?
Don’t focus on making money when you start. Of course, you can have a goal of making money from your blog, in fact, it’s good to be professional. But don’t start your blog and instantly put Google Ads, and try to sell sponsored blog posts. Why? You’ll lose credibility. In the start, it’s important to build your reputation. Create quality content. Build an audience. Have your community trust you. Once you’ve got traffic, social media, a decent Domain Authority, then look at monetising. Personally, I wouldn’t try to make money in the first 12 months at least. I know that sounds brutal, but no-one said it’ll be easy, right?
So, how much money do bloggers make?
I wrote a blog about Travel Bloggers salary and income here. How much money do bloggers make? Most make zero. Why? Because they give up. They aren’t prepared to put the work in during the first, second or even third year when the money doesn’t come. That’s what it takes. I also wrote a blog post about how I made $1m blogging in 3 years, and you can see in my blog header I’ve now made over $2m from my blog.
But it’s the old cliche of working all your life to become an overnight success. You have to build a business. You have to follow your passions and be true to yourself. And do it as a labour of love, and then, and only then, will the money start to come. I hope now you know the various ways of How Do Bloggers Make Money. There are a lot of avenues, but first, focus on building your blog. The rest comes later.
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