So you’ve been daydreaming of a career change, and you’re wondering whether blogging is a good enough option for you?
As someone who’s been making an income out of blogging for years, I thought to give you my honest take on the topic in this post.
A blog is a website with essay-like articles aimed at entertaining or educating its readers. A blogger is a person who owns one or multiple blogs, and who creates, publishes, and updates the content on them.
Most blogs are confined to specific topics, like gardening, home cooking, or watersports, and the articles on them are aimed at helping readers learn new skills, solve specific problems, compare products, or decide which product to buy for their needs.
Bloggers make money by participating in ad networks, which allow big-brand advertisers to compete for the ad spaces inside their posts, as well as by linking out to online retailers, such as Amazon and others, and earning a small commission for every purchase.
In a way, blogging is mostly about content creation. Successful bloggers know how to research topics and write posts that rank high in Google’s search results pages, bringing them thousands of visitors a day and generating income from display ads and affiliate links.
As their blogs grow, successful bloggers create an editorial team by contracting agencies and outsourcing content creation to freelance writers, increasing their throughput and accelerating their revenue growth.
At any point of time, a blogger can choose to sell one of his/her blogs at a multiple of 35 to 40 times average monthly profit for the past 6 to 12 months. Some, for example, sell a blog in their portfolio when they want to cover the downpayment for a new house.
Done right, blogging can be much more than a nerdy hobby. In fact, it can be a lucrative occupation.
A Day in the Life of a Blogger
I wake up without an alarm clock at around 9 AM (or 10 AM when I’ve gone to sleep late on the previous day). Brush my teeth, shower, make myself a cup of coffee, and open my laptop.
I own several blogs in a number of niches, each of which I am interested in and experienced with. This gives me diversification in all senses of the world, from being able to sleep at night as I’m not keeping all of my eggs in one basket to having the privilege of deciding what topic to write about every single day.
On a good day, I write one post myself, at least 1,000 words long, sometimes two, two-and-a-half, and edit a blog post or two written by one of the content agencies or freelance writers I work with.
My tool of choice is Grammarly for writing, proofreading, and editing. I am a to-the-point communicator, and more often than not, my writing doesn’t come out as engaging and friendly as I’d like it to be. So I use Rytr, an AI copywriting assistant, to generate ideas for intros, fluff, conclusions, and meta descriptions whenever I get stuck.
When I’m done with the writing and editing of my articles, I copy/paste them into WordPress and format them myself, hand-picking a stock photo for each. I know that some of my peers, especially those who make a lot of money, use Virtual Assistants for these tasks. I don’t mind taking the time to do this and prefer to reinvest that money into content instead.
By 3-4 PM, I’m more or less done. There are days where my creative juices are flowing, and I’m capable of writing three to four blog posts in a row. But that’s the exception, not the rule. For the remainder of my “work day,” I research keywords so that my writers and I have topics to write about over the following few days, and spend some time updating old posts.
I try not to look at statistics too much. I glance over Google Search Console to check for issues and take a peek at my blogs’ traffic stats in Google Analytics out of curiosity but doing so can be addictive. Since it stresses me out and doesn’t really move the needle, I try not to binge on graphs, charts, and tables too much.
At the end of the month, I review my blogs’ earnings, rankings, and traffics, consolidating the numbers in a Google Sheets table that allows me to track progress and make capital-allocation decisions for which blog gets how much content written by freelance in the following month.
The Pros of Blogging
- Compared to most occupations that require a computer, blogging is less demanding and predominantly stress-free.
- Your income can grow exponentially over time. The more blogs you have and the more you post on them, the more you can earn.
- A blog can have more than one source of revenue, including display ads, affiliate sales, courses, memberships, downloadables.
- Several blogs in and after a few years of publishing, some bloggers become wealthy, making tens of thousands a month.
- Profitable blogs can be sold for high multiples. A blog that makes $1,000/month in profit can sell for as much as $35,000.
The Cons of Blogging
- Blogs are generally vulnerable to algorithm changes. Google could derank your blog or Pinterest could slash your traffic on any day.
- Blogging can be a lonely occupation, even if you work with agencies and freelancers. You grind on computer, by yourself.
- Making a living out of blogging takes time. It took most people who got there a good 2-3 years to make a full-time income out of it.
- It can be hard if writing doesn’t come naturally to you. You need to write content daily and find a way to stay motivated.
- Blogging didn’t exist as an occupation 20 years ago. And it’s not clear if, in another 20 years, it won’t be a thing of the past.
How Much Do Bloggers Earn?
In January 2021, Income School surveyed their audience to find out how much money the average blogger could expect to earn from 10, 100, and 500 posts on their blog (which have aged for 9-12 months so as to achieve their ideal organic rankings in Google).
What number did they come to, exactly?
According to a survey by Income School, the average blog had Revenue per Mille (RPM) of $29.08 per 1,000 page views in 2021.
This tells you that, as long as A) you did well with keyword research, B) you wrote helpful posts that meet the search intent of your readers, and C) you gave each of them 9-12 months to rank organically, you can expect your blog to bring in monthly revenue of:
|Monthly Traffic||Monthly Revenue||No. of Posts|
|10,000 page views||$290||10|
|25,000 page views||$727||25|
|50,000 page views||$1,454||50|
|100,000 page views||$2,908||100|
|250,000 page views||$7,270||250|
|500,000 page views||$14,545||500|
|1,000,000 page views||$29,080||1,000|
The general consensus in the blogosphere is that, on average, you tend to get 1,000 pageviews/post (again, if you’ve selected a wide enough niche and done your homework in terms of keyword research and content creation), which is why I’ve added the typical number of posts you need to get that kind of consistent organic traffic.
Take that number with a grain of salt, as conventional wisdom is a bit optimistic. Even if you’re a whizz at discovering underserved topics and creating amazing content, some of your posts will significantly underperform and bring in tens to shy hundreds of views/month.
Can You Get Rich From Blogging?
Several years in and with multiple blogs to generate cash, some bloggers, like John Dykstra, report making revenue of more than $70,000/month.
The prospect of making so much money is exciting, I know. But keep in mind that it takes grits, work, and time.
For example, if you’re new to blogging and you’ve never experienced hockey-stick traffic growth, writing tens of posts per month will be a very hard thing to do when, in the first 9-12 month, you’re seeing almost no organic traffic in Google Search Console.
And, even if you’re super-productive, you’re probably working a day job to pay the bills and can’t dedicate yourself as a full-time writer. So, unless you have tens of thousands of dollars to pay writers, you most probably won’t be able to churn out more than 300-350 posts per year.
I have a blog that, for one year, I wrote 320 articles for. On its first birthday, the blog brought in $700/month from Ezoic display ads and $150/month from Amazon Associates affiliate sales (all of which I was reinvesting back in the form of content from writers at WriterAccess).
Related: How Much Can You Earn With Ezoic?
All of this is to say that you can make excellent money as a blogger, but not in less than two years’ time and not without putting in the hard work to write posts yourself.
What Skills Do You Need as a Blogger?
The core skills of a blogger are writing good content, optimizing that content for search engines, and working with WordPress, a.k.a. the most popular Content Management System (CMS) on the web.
You don’t need to know web design and you definitely don’t have to know how to code (though having these two skills helps you create better-looking blogs and tailor their functionality to your full needs).
Writing Good Content
At a minimum, you need to be able to write in a coherent, grammatically correct, and sufficiently engaging way.
Your readers will be looking to you for answers, guides, how-to’s, reviews, and roundups that help them solve problems, learn skills, and make purchase decisions.
You can only get better at writing by—no prizes for guessing—writing. Still, for those of you who feel like they could use some help, there’s a ton of courses on blogging and copywriting out there (see my list of the blogging courses actually worth your money).
Also, my team and I have written extensively on the topic of becoming a better writer and copywriting as a whole. I encourage you to go and check it out.
I’ve also found that reading books, magazines, and newspapers whose tone and style of writing I enjoy also helps; your subconscious mind gets to soak it up and, in a few days, the expressions and quirks you liked oh-so-much somehow end up appearing in your own work.
For example, I am a subscriber to The New York Times and a recurrent reader of their Wirecutter blog, also known as *the* place for the best product reviews and roundups on the Internet.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
To make money as a blogger, you need to have visitors. And, to get visitors in 2022, your posts need to appear high in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
In other words, if you’re serious about becoming a full-time blogger, you have to learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the set of things you do to get your posts to rank high in Google’s SERPs.
Those things, in their simplest form, consist of keyword research, topic selection, writing in a way that makes your posts search engine-optimized, and knowing how to make your blog authoritative in the eyes of Google by building links from other websites over time.
It may sound technical or downright incomprehensible to some of you but, ultimately, it comes down to common sense:
- Find out how people are searching for answers, how-to’s, guides, reviews, or roundups on a particular topic;
- Weed out searches where the competition is virtually impossible for a new website to beat, leaving only the searches you can compete for;
- Create helpful content that solves your reader’s problem, with a heading and subheading that hit to search engines what it’s about;
- Make your blog more visible by reaching out to the most authoritative sites in your niche and guest-blogging every now and then.
Yes, when you get into the nuts and bolts of SEO, you’ll learn that there’s much more to it than that. But few can argue that sticking to these four bullets above isn’t a “good enough” way to get started.
If this is your first time hearing of SEO, I’ve embedded a good course from Ahrefs to get you started below:
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll know how to work with WordPress right out of the box. As a new user, you will have a learning curve and it will take you a week or two to get fully used to it.
The good news is that every good blogging course out there has a module that teaches you how to use WordPress. And 99.9% of the things that you need to get started aren’t really all that hard to learn and do.
If you can’t afford a blogging course right now and you’re looking for the best free tutorial to get you started, check out WP Eagle’s Make an Affiliate Marketing Website 2021 video: