I think there are some awesome blogs out there that provide super high quality stuff, I enjoy blogging myself. But one thing I oppose is the “make money blogging” wave we’re currently seeing.
Everybody and their mother are blogging about making money blogging, writing ebooks on the subject and generally praising the shit out of “A-list” bloggers.
Heck I even fantasized a little about making a buck or two on this blog. With every new venture I throw myself into I like to see the business case, so I did a little research into blog traffic and earnings and was quite surprised about the picture I saw.
In this post I have analyzed a number of successful blogs (most of them 10,000+ monthly visitors per month) to see just how profitable they are typically bringing in. Luckily a lot of bloggers are now revealing their stats and I took as many blogs I could find that wrote both monthly earnings and visitors.
Again this is not a rant about the blog owners, they all provide super quality content – it’s only the whole “make money blogging” wave I feel needs some contrast.
Notice that I am only focusing on the money brought in directly to the site, not on other sites the blogger might own such as small niche sites. You can go here if you want my view on niche sites.
Why you shouldn’t blog for money
To start out with the conclusion…
The average visitor was worth $0.06 per month. That’s 6 cents!. The visitors numbers varied a great deal so it’s obvious that the more traffic you can bring to the blog, the more money you will make.
In average the bloggers wrote little over 16 posts per month with numbers between 2 and 45 (one blog with 59 posts in one month was removed due to very shorts posts in a special case). Many of the productive blogs had multiple authors.
Now if we assume that it at least will take you 3 hours to produce (researching, writing, editing, finding resources) a quality blog post (most of the time it probably takes longer, but humor me).
On top of this you typically also have to manage your blog (updates, roll on updates) and comments. Let’s just say that this amount to 5 hours per month even though a lot of these blogs have hundreds of comments on each post.
Again assuming that the you had 20,000 visitors per month pushing out just 10 quality posts would result in $1,200 per month which might not sound too shabby.
Now the $1,200 you make per month is probably not enough to avoid a day job. And then you suddenly need to find time for the 40+ hour work weeks and 30 hours per month writing posts on the blog.
So you probably have guessed my point already. You would have an hourly wage (at best) of:
So why isn’t this fantastic?
Sure if you are in a low cost country making $34 per hour might sound like a hell of a deal. But if you’re like me in Denmark, most of Europe or in the US this is probably not really that great.
Not to mention the biggst problem there is. You are trading your time for money. Just like in your J-O-B!
It’s not scaling, if you would suddenly stop blogging guess what this would do to your traffic? It would go down, quickly, and then your income follow.
Making a little extra on the side
One of the most prominent arguments I hear is that you can make “a little extra on the side”, meaning that the money you make online can be used for paying your car loan or that extra holiday with the family.
But the problem is that you are trading time for money and assumes that you have nothing else to do with your time! One thing I could think of was to BUILD A REAL ONLINE BUSINESS. One that would make you money even when you weren’t spending time on it.
If you want to make money online, build a business
No one ever got rich from working 9-5 PERIOD! If you think I’m an asshole making a statement like that, let me know in the comments.
So if you want to be making money, and if you want something that can bring in money in your sleep you need to build a business. There is no way around it.
Writing blog posts is NOT a business. You are just creating a new lousy paid job for yourself.
A blog can be a powerful marketing tool, but it’s not a business model in it self.
Where are the money coming from
The sites I looked at used different monitization strategies in order to make their money.
Most of them used affiliate marketing (where they are paid if someone buys a product through their link)
Specially the higher traffic blogs made money through paid advertising.
It the personal finance space, it’s also very profitable to sell qualified leads to insurance companies and banks.
A lot of the blogs also used AdSense which I really don’t understand. If you only make something like $50 per month is it really worth it? I mean… in the end all you are doing is alienating your readers and decreasing the value of your brand.
So what works when it comes to blogging
I hate giving advise on stuff I don’t see myself as an expert on, and blogging is not really something I see myself as an expert in. However I’ve been through all the blogs in the research material and there are a few best practices I can see is really working for them.
- Blogging in the personal finance space (I know that it’s a big niche but I was still a bit surprised to see the numbers) -> Choosing one of the big niches with a lot of money (Finance (personal finance/investing), Dating, Health)
- Strategic guest blogging (strategic partnerships), while I’m a likeable guy I’m really bad at reaching out to other bloggers (probably because I feel that Danish being my second language that I don’t have enough to offer). This works well for pumping up visitor numbers
- Doing income reports (people are suckers for that shit – I don’t but you can see a part of my income here)
- Multiple income streams and being everywhere (like the boss Pat Flynn)
- Creating own products/services and only using the blog as a marketing tool (but not making money on it self) TREATING YOUR BLOG LIKE A BUSINESS! (the blog gets you visitors to your business, but you still need something to sell to them) (up until now I’ve just blogged about my existing businesses and tips on how you can build one as well, but I haven’t really had a product to sell to you my dear visitor – although that’s gonna change soon I hope (had some difficultites you will hear about once I’m over the bump – because that’s what is it))
This is how much I spent
Well, I’m from Denmark so I might write a bit slower than one speaking English natively. But below I’ve tried estimating how much time I spend on this post.
1) Brainstorming blog outline 15 minutes
2) Research (own and outsourced) 1 hour (VA => 5+ hours)
3) Writing 2 hours
4) Editing (heck can’t you tell… I tend to forget the editing phase )
5) Resources (finding images and prepping the excel spreadsheet for download) let’s say 1 hour.
A total of 4+ hours hours.
And I’m not gonna make any from money it? No!
(while there are a few affiliate links here and there on my site, it’s bringing in so little that I’m almost embarrassed mentioning it).
Also notice that this blog post only is less than 1400 words, most of the blogs in my survey were doing much longer posts than that.
If you want to do some analyzing yourself, the sites that I have gotten my data from (and that I’m truly grateful publishing their numbers) the following sites:
I did remove to blogs from the data set that was making a ton of money in the personal finance space. I felt that they obscured the data a little and pulled it away from my point.
So the point of this is that if you want to make money blogging you could also blog about financial subjects.
Got an opinion? Am I right/wrong? Let me know in the comments