How Much Does a Beginner Blogger Earn?

Don’t expect to make as much as you make at work from your first year of blogging. Still, if you play your cards well, you can end up with a pretty decent side income.

Published Categorized as Blogging

So you’re thinking about starting a blog, and you’re wondering how much you can earn as a beginner blogger?

Blogging is one of those businesses where you can make a lot of money with a good system, a lot of work, and some tailwind along the way. But it takes a good year or two to start making a decent income out of it.

Beginner bloggers who can do effective keyword research and content creation, and who publish 10 posts per month, can make approximately $750/month by the end of their first year.

That number depends on the niche, the blog, the content, and the experience level of the blogger.

Here’s why… and how I came to it.

Let’s assume that, on average, each of the posts on your blog is going to bring in 1,000 pageviews per month within eight months of publishing.

Of course, some posts are likely to underperform and others to overperform. But if you follow a good system—such as Authority Hackers’, Doug Cunnington’s, Income School’s, or Passive Income Geek’s—then there’s a high chance you will achieve these numbers.

Say that you publish at a rate of 10 posts per month, which is doable for anyone who gets into this type of business. By the end of your first year of blogging, you’re going to have 120 posts on your blog.

However, only 50 of your posts are going to have aged, and therefore achieved their full ranking potential in Google, bringing in a total of 50,000 pageviews per month.

By then, you will have joined Ezoic so that you can run premium display ads on your blog. Let’s suppose that your blog will have an RPM of $15. In other words, it will earn you fifteen dollars for every thousand views every month.

Here’s what the numbers look like:

How much money can you make in your first year of blogging?
How much money can you make in your first year of blogging?

As a beginner blogger, you can make roughly $2,380 in your first year, and your blog can be earning revenue of approximately $750/month (as long as you’ve published 10 posts per month for long-tail, low-volume searches where you have a chance to compete).

It’s important to note that this number excludes the operating cost of your blog, which includes a domain name, SSL certificate, hosting, and, typically, subscription for a premium WordPress theme as well as a few paid WordPress plugins.

In a post titled “Does WordPress Require Hosting?”, I narrowed these costs down to $245.88/year.

Naturally, if you reinvest 100% of the profits into content, you can accelerate your blog’s growth. It’s not uncommon for bloggers to hire freelance writers or content agencies who can help them churn out more content. As a result, they get more traffic, which brings in more monthly revenue.

Some say that you can find good writers on Upwork for as little as 3¢/word. Maybe it’s me, but my experience is that, at this rate, you get badly-written content that tries to stitch together, not very successfully, rephrased paragraphs from the top two or three articles on Google’s page 1.

Some say that you can find good writers on Upwork for as little as 3¢/word. Maybe it’s me, but my experience is that, at this rate, you get badly-written content that tries to stitch together, not very successfully, rephrased paragraphs from the top two or three articles on Google’s page 1.

Which is why I work with writers at a rate of 5¢/word. So I pay $50 for a 1,000-word article, and monthly revenue of $500 would allow me to publish an additional 10,000 words of content on a blog.

Is Any of This Guaranteed?

No, there’s no guarantee that, if you start a blog right now, you’d be making this much money 365 days from today. And if anyone tries to convince you otherwise to sell you coaching or membership in a course, don’t buy into it.

If that were the case, they’d teach blogging at school, and everyone would be starting a blog after graduating from college instead of applying for a full-time job. As with any new business, there’s a fair share of risk and at least as much uncertainty involved.

Some people will try to tell you that you can “shortcut” your way into revenue by buying a blog that already ranks high and makes money.

While that’s generally true, I don’t recommend it to those of you who are coming into this type of business for the first time.

I mean, how can you tell that you’re buying a good website that won’t get hit by the next Google algorithm update if you’ve never built one yourself?

Some things in this career can only be learned by doing.

I have a blog that crushed this estimate and earned $900/month by the end of year one. And another that, despite having 50 posts on it, never took off as I had completely misjudged the amount of search demand.

Factors That Determine Your Earnings

Sadly, there’s no magic formula you can copy/paste into Google Sheets or Excel that gives you back an exact figure for how profitable a blog can be. 

But there are a few factors that determine this, and, in the rest of this post, we will spend some time looking at each and every one of them.

Your ability to earn money as a blogger is generally determined by your level of experience, the niche you’ve selected for your blog, and the quality of the keyword research and content creation for it.

Your experience as a blogger:

First-time bloggers who are just starting out are prone to more slip-ups than seasoned bloggers who’ve learned the ropes and have a system to follow, be it their own or that of a blogging course.

I know because I’ve been there myself, and—for better or worse—I’ve made every mistake there is to make with blogging.

When you’ve never done keyword research or written blog posts before, you’re likely to select highly competitive searches your blog can’t rank for and write articles in ways or on topics that no one wants to read.

Over time, you learn. You develop your tone of voice, your style of writing. You get to understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the way that people search for and consume written information on the web, and you become a better writer with every word.

Can you win a Pulitzer prize by the end of your first year of blogging? I highly doubt it, but I’d wholeheartedly salute you with a hat off if you do.

That being said, I guarantee you that you will look back at your old posts and think to yourself, “What the f*ck was I thinking and how could people possibly want to read this?” As you publish thousands and thousands of words, the good news is that you get less and less of these moments.

The niche you’ve selected for your blog:

Some niches are more profitable than others. For example, people interested in gardening have what we call “buyer intent.” They’re not just out there to consume information; they want to buy a good lawnmower, a sturdy wheelbarrow, the best tools for trimming shrubs.

Compare that to someone interested in quotes from famous people or song lyrics (who’d like to advertise on those and what can you sell there, really?!), and you start to see what I’m talking about.

Niches with high buyer intent, you see, are more profitable for two reasons.

First, manufacturers and retailers are hyperactive on ad marketplaces, buying ads to promote their products and their offerings. They need to bid against each other for ad space, which ends up inflating the price of ads and boosting your blog’s RPM.

Second, niches with a good variety of products priced from $50 to $500 are great for reviews (of single products), comparisons (this vs. that), and roundups (best this for that), all of which are ideal for affiliate marketing programs that earn you a commission on every sale.

Simply said, create blogs in niches where people A) have real-world problems to solve and B) are solving them by buying products or services priced in the high-tens to mid-hundreds.

Products priced lower than that (for example, books) simply don’t bring in good earnings.

Conversely, higher-priced products have lower demand and require meticulous research, so you’re going to have a hard time earning good money from display ads (where traffic is king) and affiliate commissions for sales (where purchases from your links are the game) because of that.

The quality of your keyword research and content:

Last but not least, your ability to research keywords and select topics that your blog can reasonably rank for—and your capability to create engaging and helpful content to compete for them—directly determine your blog’s earning potential.

All you need to do keyword research is a good system like Doug Cunnington’s Keyword Golden Ratio, a reliable SEO tool like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest, a bit of practice, and a great amount of common sense. 

You’re basically looking for the searches where people aren’t getting satisfactory answers, no matter if the question is related to a specific skill (i.e., “how to change a lightbulb”), a product category (i.e., “the best lightbulbs for a living room”), or product (i.e., “Lightbulb X review).

Then, you’re setting out to create the most comprehensive and useful article on the topic. As you can probably guess, this is as much a science as it is an art. At the end of the day, your piece of content should resemble that of your top-ranking competitors, yet be better.

Image courtesy of stetsik /Depositphotos

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