how much do bloggers make

How Much Do Bloggers Make In 2021 + What Are The Most Profitable Niches?

So you’re wondering how much do bloggers make and is it real or just a myth. I’m guessing you stumbled across an article about a six-figure blogger crushing it and you wanted a piece of the action…right?

Well, it’s true. I mean it does happen.

But it’s not guaranteed to happen and in fact, the six-figure blogger income stories are the exceptions. You’re here because you want to know the truth. Well, you’re in luck as we only deal in facts…you’ll find no fantasy or fiction on my watch. So let me tell you what I found out when I research how much do bloggers make and what are the most profitable niches to be in.

What Is The Average Blogger Income

If you want to know how much people earn, the starting point is usually a reputable job website that shows us average salary data. This data is national or international averages and representative.

So what’s the problem with taking this figure at face value. Well, we need to define the term blogger. To me, a blogger is someone who wants to escape corporate life and control their destiny. Work for themselves. Be their own boss. Lead from the front. You get me!

What is The Average Blogger Income

How Much Do Bloggers Make Annual Salary

Glassdoor reports the average blogger salary is $58,465. However, this is really an employed copywriter, not a self-employed business owner or professional freelance blogger. So for me, it’s not really answering your question of how much do bloggers make. We need to dig much deeper. But let’s understand a little bit more about these freelancer market, as it is a good career and should not be skipped over.

How Much Money Can You Make Writing a Blog?

A freelance blogger will usually charge per project assignment or on a ‘per word’ rate. The skill and profile of the blogger will determine what they charge, just like any other profession. A top-rate wordsmith will command higher compensation than someone who’s ‘winging it’. It’s fair to say generally speaking you get what you pay for when it comes to professional writers.

Rates start at around $0.04 per word and go through to around $0.20 or more per word. If your assignment includes subject research, first draft, and any further iterations…this will require more time and therefore expect more cost.

Let’s summarise by saying a good quality 2,000-word blog post on a none technical subject should be priced around the $150 mark.

If freelancing is for you read more here The Truth Revealed: Is Blogging A Good Career In 2020?

Blogging As A Business

Let’s cut to the chase….

You came here for the truth, the facts, full disclosure, right! Good. We want to deal with facts, so let’s head down the rabbit hole and uncover the secret riches in blogging as a business.

I have studied 400 income reports and taken a consolidated view to answer your question ‘How Much Do Bloggers Make?’

How Much Do Bloggers Make by Segment

There are different niches, varying content, and high and low skilled bloggers. But, income data allows us to segment bloggers into four categories based on monthly income:

Hobby Income: $0-2,000 per month

Basic Income: $2,000-$7,500 per month

High Income: $7,500-$25,000 per month

Elite Income: $25,000+ per month

Average Blogger Income
This infographic is protected under Creative Commons License. Feel free to use if you link back to this article or domain.

This shows a significant spread of income across four levels. So ‘How Much Do Bloggers Earn’ depends of course how well they create value-added content, and turn it into profit.

Based on the study of over 400 blog income reports from 2019, the mean average income for a blogger is $6,275 per month. But wait, there’s much more to it than that.

It’s not to say you will earn $6,275 a month if you have a go at blogging, right. This figure is the mean average, so some bloggers will make $0 a month and others will earn $100,000.

Percentage of Bloggers per Income Segment

51% of bloggers Hobby Income: $0-2,000 per month

29% Basic Income: $2,000-$7,500 per month

16% High Income: $7,500-$25,000 per month

4% Elite Income: $25,000+ per month

We can see the majority of blogger in this study 51% earn $0-2,000 per month.

Hey! There is no doubt, the money is there to be made if you can work out how to create traffic and monetize it. You’ve just got to take action and try to make something happen.

Elite Blogger Income

The Elite bloggers are the real big hitters. The guys and girls that have been crushing it with amazing content, optimized conversion rates, and a true understanding of how traffic moves around the world wide web.

They adapt to the changing landscape as Google updates code and changes algorithms. Elite bloggers adapt to the flow of traffic on social media and build followers.

Although starting from humble beginnings just like any other blog, here’s a few examples of Blogs that make money, and I mean big money.

Survival Life $1,000,000 per month, the clue is in the title. Survival tips, gear and generally boys stuff.

Melyssa Griffin $200,000 per month, from English teacher to design agency to online teacher and millionaire

Making Sense of Cents $100,000 per month, about personal finance, career advice and general lifestyle

Okay, so we know the earning potential is limitless, but the average blogger’s income is $6,275 a month. Which is great. Now let’s jump across to review data from the most popular Blog Niches to see where the money’s at.

Most Profitable Blog Niches

Things get very messy when we talk about niches. There is no industry standard of niche classification. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings and duplication through category cross over.

Let’s try and set our stall out.

‘Niche’ is a term used to describe a specific area of interest. For example, some of the more popular niches include Finance, Travel, Lifestyle, Mommy, Food and Marketing, and many more.  

These are the six largest niches, so we will focus on these. Albeit, there are many micro-niches that also have the potential to yield significant earnings.

a small, specialized market for a particular product or service.

 Noun “the product is very much aimed at a niche market”

Just to clarify a few of my niche definitions, within the context of blogging.

  • Marketing blogs typically focus on digital marketing or internet marketing.
  • Lifestyle blogs produce content about a variety of general interests including health, home, fashion.
  • Mommy blogs are similar to Lifestyle with many cross overs topics, but usually have a stronger focus on parenthood.
  • Finance, Travel, and Food blogs are self-explanatory.

The data I present in this section shows the distribution of earnings across all six major niches. The data shows the total % share of all blogs earning over $2,000 per month. This suggests these are the easiest niches to make a basic level of income.

Most Profitable Blog Niches
This infographic is protected under Creative Commons License. Feel free to use if you link back to this article or domain.

Okay, 24% of blog earnings may be in the Finance niche, but how evenly is it distributed. In other words, would you be able to get a piece of it?

In short, yes. Anyone willing to put in the hard work can enjoy a share of the riches, but it does take time. Most bloggers dig deep through a period of 6-12 months with zero income. Then a slow steady increase in visitors over time creates opportunities to generate some overdue cash.

Don’t be fooled by the headlines you see showing earnings $100,000 of a month. Yes, it is possible, but not probable. The big earners are the outliers and represent less than 1% of bloggers. Remember we found only just under 4% of bloggers make $25,000+ per month.

The average income is $6,257 a month. Usually after several years of creating high quality content and nurturing a following.

Why Do You Need a Niche Web Site

It’s worth touching on the bloggers obsession with niches. It’s a pretty simple concept and not exclusive to blogging.

Most businesses or professionals recognize, in order to make a significant impression you need to be focused on one area of expertise.

You just cannot be a jack of all trades when you’re projecting yourself as a subject expert. Obvious right! Who wants to listen to someone who knows a bit about this and a bit about that.

“The riches are in the niches”

People turn to the internet to find answers, advice, or inspiration. They are looking for thought leaders or experts in their field of interest. Therefore to compete in this landscape and be credible, bloggers need to niche down to achieve expert status.

It is also super important as a content creator. To be able to identify your audience as part of a specific niche. Allowing you to keep your content focused and appealing to them.

How do Bloggers Make Money

You may be wondering exactly how do bloggers make money from their blog. There are a number of elements that need to be in place to create a profitable blog. Let’s take a quick overview.

Create Amazing Content

Content is king! Content is at the heart of any blog. A collection of resources that readers want to tap into for answers, solutions, or inspiration.

Without doubt in my experience, the best content to invest time and love into is ‘Evergreen Content’. This is a term used to describe content that sits on a platform indefinitely. Google is a great example. When a blog is posted on Google, in theory, it will be there forever. Or at least be visible until it is superseded and falls into lower echelons of the search results.

Social Media on the other hand is not Evergreen Content. In most cases once posted it has a relatively short shelf life. After a few days, it gets replaced by the latest trend, news feed, or video of your friend’s dog chasing its own tail.

Both content types have their place, but in my experience, Evergreen Content is a far more effective strategy for blogging. To add a further layer of exposure for your blog, simply share your new blog release on your Social media feed.

Blog content of any sort, typically comes in one of four formats.

  • Written Copy – Articles, Snippets, FAQ’s
  • Images – Photographs, illustrations, graphics
  • Video – Vlogs, Demonstrations, Reviews
  • Audio – Podcasts, Music, Spoken Word

It’s best to master one or two of these media. It’s best for content creators to avoid over-stretch, leading to thin and low-quality content.

Increase Blog Traffic

With great content in place, the next trick is to drive traffic to an amazing blog. To steer web traffic you need to know where to place your content. How to present the searchable elements of your content. How to retain that audience once you have their attention.

The main pick up points for traffic include:

  • Search Engine Results Page (SERP’s)
  • Sponsored Advertisements
  • Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)
  • Social Media
  • You Tube
  • Podcast
  • Email List Building
  • Traffic Through Back Links

The technique of improving the number of visitors to your blog is a specialist and in-depth topic. That has been covered many times so we will avoid going down that rabbit hole just now.

Monetize a Blog: Income Guide

Once a blogger has the wizardry to control traffic and build an audience, they can get to work and monetize their blog. How much they earn from each channel depends on traffic volume and their commercial acumen.

I will break it down like this….

There are five main channels of income for bloggers. The share of income across these channels usually varies depending on where the blog is in its lifecycle. I will explain this shortly. But first lets jump straight to the income channels and get a basic overview:

Web Advertisements

Website Ads usually come in the form of pay per click adverts distributed across a blog’s pages. You’ve seen them they look something like this….

These adverts click through to another website landing page typically selling something. Or sometimes the blogger will be paid per advert impression (each time it appears).

Think Google ads. This type of advertisement is usually through an intermediary like Google ads. Or one of the many advertising companies such as Media Vine.

There is a hierarchy on the Ads scene and you need to work your way up to the top of the tree.

Google Ads are the pay the lowest commission. When you have built enough traffic to reach a certain threshold, you can graduate up to the big players like Media Vine or Thrive Ads.

Qualifying for higher rate commission agencies depends on the amount of visitors or web traffic your site receives.

30,000+ visitors per month $750 – $15,000

Affiliate Commission

There are lots of ways to earn an affiliate commission. I will dive into more detail later in the article. In summary, bloggers promote, review, or sell a product or service on their blog and receive a percentage of the sale value as commission.

$0-50,000 per month

Sponsored Posts

Another form of advert. This is often a more formal arrangement to sell a specific piece of the blog for a partner to advertise on. This type of arrangement is a direct relationship between the blogger and the advertising client.

Negotiable up to $2,000 per display

Consulting

Bloggers would see themselves as experts in their field, right. Hopefully, their readers and followers feel the same.

Okay, that being said it therefore seems reasonable that bloggers can offer paid consulting services on their specialist subject.

From $150+, Elite bloggers with specialist skills can command $20,000 per month or more

Online Courses

Online Courses have become a popular way of scaling the 1 on 1 Consultancy model. Put everything you know on paper and sell it as a course to the masses.

Online Courses $39-$3,000 per seat. Elite bloggers can earn $100,000+ per month

Let’s review the income distribution across each channel, for the average blogger. It’s a clear majority (77%) of earnings coming from the Advertising and Affiliate Commission.

Income Split all Bloggers
This infographic is protected under Creative Commons License. Feel free to use if you link back to this article or domain.

Earlier I mentioned income channels usually change throughout the lifecycle of a blog. In their infancy, a blog’s main goal is to attract visitors. With visitors, you can begin to make modest income through advertising.

As your traffic and income begin to develop, the model matures, and focus turns to new opportunities, such as online courses. The road map goes something like this:

$2,000-7,500 per month – advertisement, sponsored ads and affiliate commission make up around 75% of income

$7,500-25,000 per month – advertisement, sponsored ads, and affiliate commission make up around 79% of income and online course begin to develop a new income stream

$25,000+ per month – for the Elite Bloggers, we see a huge swing in online courses making up an amazing 80% of income with the remainder split between advertising and affiliate commission.

Not everyone breaks through to the next level and many blogs stall or get stuck. The blogger loses motivation and content dries up along with any hope of progressing to the next level.

Income Split Elite Bloggers
This infographic is protected under Creative Commons License. Feel free to use if you link back to this article or domain.

It’s clear the savvy Elite bloggers maximized the money within advertising and affiliate commission whilst they were medium-sized. Then developed a scalable service such as online courses. This pushes them way out on the earning chart. This pivot takes their income to the Elite level. Nice work guys!

Other Income Opportunities

Bloggers and content producers have further income opportunities across a number areas.

You Tube Adverts

For the content producers who are comfortable getting in front of the camera, platforms like YouTube open up another level. There are serious advantages to pursue a YouTube channel.

Grow your audience and send them directly to your web site, or point them to affiliate links on your video post. A win-win for the blogger.

On top of these organic benefits, there is potential for advertisement earning from YouTube. However, creating enough of an audience on YouTube can feel like starting from scratch.

In 2020 advert income per 1,000 views is around $7.60. Which sound mediocre, until you think in 2013 the Gangnam Style video went viral with 1 billion views, netting $7.6 million.

Podcast Sponsored Ads

If you are producing a podcast there are similar opportunities to YouTube. In that, it’s a great vehicle for growing your web traffic through self-promotion. There are also sponsored advertisement opportunities in audio form at intervals during each podcast episode.

Sponsored Ads varies by audience size $250-$3,000 per episode

Speaking Engagements

This type of booking is dependent on the profile of the speaker and the size of the audience.

Elite level specialist command between $5,000 – $20,000 per booking

eBooks

Whether downloaded directly from the blog or via Amazon’s Kindle ebooks can be easy money. Think about it. A successful blogger will have reams of quality written content. They can employ a ghostwriter or Editor and publish eBooks.

Freelance Content Work

Usually, freelance work makes up part of a blogger’s income while they are trying to grow their traffic. Copywriting, videography, web design are all skills that bloggers develop over time. These skills can be put to good use in the early days.

Freelance writing from $0.04 per word

High profile bloggers will command large fees for 1 to 1 consultation

Consultation $1,000+ per day

As we run through these various income scenario’s it is clear to see just how much a blogger can make. But the devil is in the detail. That’s why I produced this report, to try and show you both sides of the coin…

You see, there are no easy ways to make money blogging!

How Do Bloggers Get Paid?

Getting paid is pretty important… so I feel I need to say a few words on it.

If you’re freelancing, mentoring, contracting or event speaking you will need to have a service agreement with your client. This can be a fairly simple written agreement that outlines deliverables.

The money transfer can be agreed upon in any form that works for you both. Cash in your back pocket, bank wire transfer or you could even get paid with dinner and kisses for all I care.

I won’t cover your legal obligations to the tax man here, but don’t think he will turn a blind eye.

…Just sayin’.

With most other income arrangements Bloggers operate through a platform provider.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate Commission will usually be through an aggregator or agency. There are hundreds of participating in this market. worth over $6 billion in 2020.

Here are a few Examples to give you a feel of what they are and how bloggers get paid using them.

Review Sites

Let’s say you run a comparison blog. You know…where you compare the latest Garden Hose or Soil Testing Kit. You write a fantastic product review or a comparison table and provide an ‘Editors Recommendation’.

The Yard and Garden

Okay… yes, we love this site. Shout out to the team at The Yard and Garden the niche website for gardening lovers and backyard folk. It’s a fantastic example of how to produce amazing value-adding content that their readers find valuable.

This website has taken note of the search results of an army of gardening, growing, and power tool enthusiasts. Then written product reviews on everything from the best garden hoses, to fertilizer for trees and right on through to answer how to get rid of weeds in my lawn or how to grow butternut squash.

To have a gardening website make money you need to listen to the growing community and know what they need answers for. This fundamental principle applies to any niche website, whether it’s niche is about vegetable growing, fire pit design, or woodworking.

This is an Affiliate Program making money from product or service reviews. The blogger has an affiliate account with Amazon and receives a monthly commission payment based on all purchases referred from their blog. Cool eh.

Affiliate Networks

There are various networks out there such as Share a Sale or CJ Affiliate who consolidate thousands of smaller companies’ affiliate programs across hundreds of product and service segments.

affiliate networks

As you can imagine some are good and some, well…not so good.

Read The Best Affiliate Programs to get the lowdown on how they work and the most professional networks for your blog.

All of these networks require bloggers to create an account for scheduled commission payouts. Commission deposits are made direct into user bank accounts. Simples.

Training Platforms

Conceiving and building a high-level training program is a big commitment. It requires a lot of energy. You just need to get the flow right. The Student Interface needs to be simple and frictionless.

Basically there are two options:

  1. Host the training on a blog web site and take web payments directly from customers
  2. Host training of one of the many excellent Online Training Providers such as Thinkific or Teachable
Training Platforms

Online Course platforms allow content to be uploaded into a drag and drop interface. Using high converting templates to publish content for sale.

The beauty of this route is access to customers ready to purchase. The traffic is already there, ready to learn and looking to buy.

Like the other platforms, Bloggers receive sales payment via an account sign up. Lots of advantages here…

  • Bloggers can send their traffic to the platform via their Blog. Or sell to customers browsing the thousands of courses
  • Drag and Drop purpose build user interface for professional course creation and delivery
  • User account dashboard to monitor success and support growth and tracking

Read more about The Best Online Course Platforms here

Advertising Agencies

This one is pretty straight forward. I mean you guys know what advertising is. Bloggers subscribe to agencies and place adverts on blogs.

Advertising Agencies

Once a blog has traffic surging through its advertisement banners are a nice way for bloggers to earn ‘Passive Income’. Meaning you set up an account with a Network and get paid each time an advert is shown or clicked.

The reality is you get paid per 1,000 impressions or something similar depending on the network.

Wow wow wow, back up… hold you horses cowboy!

You get paid like a few cents. [tumbleweed] …….No, Seriously.

Google Ads for example is around $0.01 per click. So let’s assume you get one click per 50 impressions. You do the math.  

Unless you are getting tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousand of visitors per month, income can be, slow but passive.

It’s not a fixed rate either. There are several metrics that determine the rate of commission. From web traffic to the product or service being advertised. But you do get paid. Which is positive.

Payment is made into the blogger’s Publisher Account. Just like the other Platforms we have covered. Once set up, it looks after itself.

Blogger Income Reports

This article was conceived when I was asked by a friend ‘how much do bloggers make’. This question prompted me to research the subject to get an angle on it. Yep, and here I am reporting on it.

Obviously, I know what my earnings are. But I have to admit I prefer to keep them to myself. I mean do you go around telling everyone your salary! Well, me neither.

So how did I answer the question? Luckily not everyone is as modest as me [wink] and the world is a better place for that. Many bloggers publish Monthly Income Reports on their websites. Sort of a blog post in itself.

If you study the reports you can build up a clear insight into how and where they made money. Typically they show the income streams and how much money they received for the month. An expenses section is also typically included, allowing a net income figure to be calculated.

Here’s an example from the guys over at One Big Happy Life. This income report was published on their blog.

Income Report Table

If you want to perform your own study, or do further research into a specific niche, the data is out there.

It is clear from the evidence there is money to be made in all niches of blogging. The mystery that shadows all of these inspirational stories and income reports, is how many people fail.

It is estimated there are 440 million blogs in the world today. Sadly we don’t have the information to inform us as to the percentage of all blogs make money. The data is just not collected on any significant scale to testify this.

We can however presume the rule of Pareto applies. 20% of the bloggers will make 80% of the income. Which means 100’s of millions of bloggers fail.

Or do they…..?

Millions of bloggers produce content for fun, out of a passion or hobby. It’s not just about the money… it’s also about the lifestyle too. In fact, most people get into blogging because of the lifestyle. The money thing just happens on the journey.

Blogging as a Lifestyle or Blogging for Money

Here are six good reasons why blogging for-profit works for so many people. The income does not have to be huge. Just enough to facilitate and a better way of living.

  1. Being your own boss, start and end the day when you want. This can have great lifestyle benefits, particularly around family commitments.
  2. Take your work in the direction you want to take it. You are the one in the driving seat.
  3. No fixed abode, working from wherever you happen to be. You just need a laptop and a large coffee.
  4. The ability to have some level of control over your income. More content and better marketing should mean more income. Your choice.
  5. Indulge yourself in topics that you love. Most content producers, including bloggers, benefit from working in a niche they are passionate about.
  6. Self-development is a choice. You can learn a limitless number of skills and areas of expertise. All on your own terms.

If you want to do it, it is possible. You just need to take action.

How to Start a Blog and Make Money?

Millions of people have done it, including me and my wife. After twenty years of Executive life, I decide to make a change. The money was amazing, but I just could not find my mojo. I had to take action.

Starting as a side hustle, we have launched four successful online businesses in Blogging, eCommerce, and Amazon. In this time we have discovered enough secret sauce to change our lives forever.

Now it’s time to share our knowledge and help you change your life too.

How Much Do Bloggers Make Conclusion

There’s no doubt about it blogging can bring wealth and happiness for you. But it’s worth being realistic with your goals. Whilst we analyzed genuine blogger income data in our search for accurate we’ve wrapped up the study with a series of averages and assumptions.

Creating a successful blog takes time, in fact years and there’s not guarantee the blogging industry and markets will sustain reasonable levels of income by the time you grow enough blog traffic to monetize it. Stay sensible and you can succeed in being happy and profitable.

“How much do bloggers make” is not really what you should be asking, as it implies the end goal is the money, and invariably the money is a by-product of a more holistic journey, the search for a better lifestyle.

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