Can You (Really) Make Money From Blogging?
The experience and achievements of real bloggers will best answer the question of whether you can really make money from blogging:
|Two Wandering Soles||$53,078||3 months||Amazon, Booking.com, Agoda, JR Pass, RentalCars.com, Allianz Travel Insurance, World Nomads, CityPASS, & VIPKID|
|Where’s Sharon||$29,452||3 months||HotelsCombined, Booking.com, Agoda, Amazon, Wild Earth, & eBay|
|Helene In Between||$7,951||1 month||Siteground & Genius Blogger’s Toolkit|
This table shows the income of some popular travel bloggers who earn money from affiliate marketing by recommending the services and products of various brands and receiving income from each sale (for example, through Travelpayouts). This only takes into account income made from affiliate programs. Many bloggers earn money from several channels at once, which we will talk about later.
Sure, these numbers may impress you and are definitely worth aiming for, but if you’ve never blogged before, it could take years for you to reach a five-figure income. Regardless, you can certainly make several thousand dollars a month, as, for example, Katarina earns with her Adventourbegins.com blog, which she told us about in her story.
Whether you can make money on a blog depends not so much on your current skills (as you can learn everything), but on the time and effort that you are willing to invest in creating and running your blog. You will need to regularly produce new content in order to attract an audience from which you will later earn money. In the end, the answer to the question of whether or not you can earn money from a personal blog depends entirely on your own efforts.
How Much Money Can You Make From a Blog?
How much money you can potentially make from a blog depends on many factors, but the key ones are:
- Total traffic volume
- Traffic quality
- How you monetize your traffic
Later, we will talk about each factor in more detail, but in short, you need as much traffic as possible, especially traffic consisting of people who are ready to make purchases (or are very close to buying some services). When it comes to monetization, you can simultaneously combine several methods, such as affiliate marketing and contextual advertising.
There is no universal formula for how much you can earn, but if we take the average value, then, as the members of the DigitalNomadWannaBe group suggest, targeting $25 to $30 per 1,000 ad impressions is reasonable for US traffic (and several times less for most other regions).
Who Can Make Money Blogging?
Bloggers are divided on whether they approach blogging:
- As a hobby or a side project
- As a full-time job or main project
People who create a blog and do nothing, of course, don’t earn anything. Creating a blog is just the very first step. Plenty of work lies ahead beyond that. However, of the two groups, both of them earn money, but the size of their income differs.
A blog can become a full-time job that is not a side project, but is your main source of income. For example, Gabriele, the creator of Thelithuanianabroad.com, lives entirely on income from her blog. You can learn more about her travel blogging journey on this page.
Most bloggers begin with a combination of regular work and blogging as a hobby, and some later transition into full-fledged blogging. You may fall into either of the two groups.
However, the main rule is: the more time you spend working on your blog, the faster it will start to bring you high levels of income. This is why hardworking bloggers who view their blogs as their main project usually earn more than hobbyists.
How to Make Money From Blogging?
All ways of making money on a blog can be divided into two broad categories: if traffic is required or not. Most of the ways to make money are related to traffic. The more you have, the higher your income will be, but there are ways to make money on a blog without traffic. Let’s take a closer look at all the ways to make money on a blog.
How to Make Money Blogging Without Traffic
The main way to make money on sites without traffic is to sell links or do guest posting. A single link can cost between $50 and $500. The price depends on what DA rating your domain has. You can calculate the price using a calculator (for example, this one).
The general way to earn on links is:
- You place a link in an existing piece of content or create a new article with a link
- The buyer pays you for that link placement
In addition, links are sometimes bought not in articles, but in the interface itself (for example, in the footer or menu). Such links are often rented, while links within articles are usually paid one time and must remain there for life. Regardless, the principle itself is the same: other site owners need incoming links to their sites, since Google ranks websites, including by the number of incoming links to said websites.
As a rule, buyers are interested in dofollow links that can transfer a “weight”. This way, the cost is highly dependent on your niche and domain authority (how much link weight there will be). Websites with traffic usually have higher DA, which is why the links on them are more expensive for buyers.
You can check the authority of your domain through services such as Website SEO Checker:
Buyers are only willing to pay a lot for links from domains with a high DA rating (50 and above). With that said, DA is not the only factor that impacts the ultimate price. How much money you can make from a blog by guest posting also depends on:
- Traffic Volume – The more traffic on the site, the higher the price.
- The Ratio of Outbound Links to the Number of Pages in the Index – For example, a site with 1,000 pages and 10 links will be able to sell a link for more than the same site with 900 links.
Selling links on your blog is fraught with risks, since Google regards the sale of links as manipulation. Google assumes that all links are placed on the Internet as a recommendation of quality pages. Thus, paid placements prevent the algorithms from working properly.
Therefore, your site can be penalized and you may lose traffic. If you want to create a source of passive income and earn more on your traffic, the selling of links should be handled as carefully as possible or even completely avoided.
Other than the risk of being penalized by Google, selling links is a constant job that takes up your time. The moment you stop selling links, your income will dry up. It is also worth considering that, in order to place a link on your blog, you will need to create content that costs money to produce, and $100 to $200 per link will ultimately generate less net profit.
So, guest posting is not a great way to make money on a blog, as it is risky and also requires a lot of effort, which could be more efficiently used to make money on a blog with more traffic.
How to Make Money Blogging With Traffic
Traffic on your blog is the key to earning a high level of income. The higher your total traffic volume and the higher the quality of your traffic, the greater your total income will be. For example, with the US traffic, you can make around $25 to $30 per 1,000 ad impressions.
Earnings on your audience is often a more effective strategy, as it allows you to earn in the long term and can help your audience by delivering valuable content as well as useful services and products. In addition, you will have much more options for making money on your blog.
Your audience probably needs some goods or services and, if you recommend a trusted seller or specific product to them, you can earn a commission on each sale. This approach to earning is called “affiliate marketing” and it works as follows:
- You choose brands to partner with. It’s worth making note of brands that your audience might be interested in that you are also ready to recommend. For example, if you personally used the GetYourGuide service while traveling, you can join the GetYourGuide affiliate program and recommend their services to your audience.
- The brand provides you with affiliate tools, such as an affiliate link. You can also get ready-made banners or other tools that you will later use to send traffic from your site to the brand’s site.
- You place affiliate tools on your blog. For example, when you write an article about Barcelona, you can recommend a specific brand to buy a tour or museum tickets.
- Your audience reads an article on your website and follows your recommendation to the brand’s website.
- By using an affiliate link (or another affiliate tool, such as a banner), the brand knows that it was you who attracted specific users.
- The person you referred makes a purchase and you earn a commission on that sale.
Most often, the commission is paid after a person has received a product or service, since before this, the reservation can be canceled or changed and the brand will not earn anything. After completion, you will receive income that you can withdraw (for example, to your bank account).
The exact amount of the remuneration and other conditions depends on the chosen brand. Here are some examples:
All of those examples are from the travel market, but this approach works the same way in other niches as well. On this page, we have collected the most popular affiliate programs from various niches, including education, health, finance, and others.
To make it convenient for you to work with various brands, you can join them through partnership platforms. Travelpayouts is the largest travel partnership platform with over 100 brands. You will be able to work with brands, such as Booking.com, GetYourGuide, RentalCars, and dozens of others.
Join the Travelpayouts Partnership Platform
Access exclusive tools and the best travel affiliate programs, including flights, hotels, car rental, insurance, tours and activities, all in one place.
350,000 partners already trust us
100+ travel brands
$40M+ total paid since 2011
Payouts from Travelpayouts are made once a month between the 10th and the 20th, upon reaching the minimum payout amount of $50 USD. Every month, Travelpayouts partners receive hundreds of thousands of US dollars, and since the inception of Travelpayouts, partners have earned over $40,000,000.
Travelpayouts is an example from the travel niche, but similarly, you can work in other segments, such as retail, education, health, etc.
Affiliate marketing is a form of advertising that works based on the principle of recommendations. This is a comprehensive solution for:
- Your audience, as they get solutions to their problems
- Brands, as they get new customers
- You because you get a decent income
In the case of affiliate marketing, you advertise services that your audience needs. At the same time, the brand does not pay you for clicks or impressions, but only for performed actions (sales). This allows the brand to better plan its economic model and share high revenue with partners.
However, besides affiliate marketing, there are some other types of advertising that you can place on your blog and earn money from. These include:
- Contextual advertising
- Direct selling banners
The second method is suitable mainly for websites with a large traffic volume, but let’s take a closer look at them both.
You do not need to look for advertisers, negotiate terms, etc. You can place ads on your site in just a few clicks by connecting to contextual advertising networks. It works like this:
- Choose the right contextual advertising network for you, such as Google Ads, Ezoic, Mediavine, etc.
- Register for the network.
- Pass the moderation process for your blog (most networks require minimal traffic and high-quality content on the site).
- Get a code for integration on your site.
- Embed the code in places on your site where you want ads to be displayed.
- The ad network will display ads on your webpages.
- You will get paid for clicks on ads (and, less often, for ad impressions).
Contextual advertising networks themselves attract advertisers. Therefore, your site will have a variety of ads that will either match the context of your page or the interests of your users.
The advantage of contextual advertising is that you receive guaranteed income per click. It doesn’t matter to you if the person who clicked on the ad bought something or not, you will receive a few cents per click in either case. However, this can also be a disadvantage. If a person bought, for example, a tour in Barcelona, you could earn dozen of dollars if you worked with the affiliate program.
Therefore, for high-quality sites, when your audience is close to making an actual purchase, you should first look at affiliate marketing. With the right choice of product (which the audience needs), the chance of earning a decent income is high.
Direct Advertising Sales
This method only works great if you are a leader in your niche. Finding advertisers that will work directly with small blogs can be problematic, as advertisers are not eager to work with small bloggers, often preferring to work through contextual advertising networks.
In the case of large sites, you can work directly with advertisers. This is not only the better option in terms of income (which is definitely higher, since contextual advertising networks take a cut for their services), but also better in terms of formats. Direct advertising can be manually integrated or implemented in an organic way as part of a special project.
How much you can earn from direct advertising depends entirely on your niche and overall traffic, as advertisers buy based on the number of impressions your audience has.
Other Monetization Methods
Affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising are the main methods of monetization, but not the only ones. You can also earn in the following ways:
- Selling Your Own Services – Your website is a great platform for starting your own online business. For example, if you have a travel website, you can sell travel-planning services.
- Selling Your Own Products – Marketplaces are trendy, which means your site can become an excellent platform for you. You can either place a product on Amazon and drive traffic from the site there or sell a product directly from your site.
- Attracting New Partners – You can attract not just customers for another business, but also partners. For example, you can refer other travel bloggers to work for Travelpayouts and earn 7% of their income for two years. For some bloggers, this is their main way of earning money.
In addition, site owners have another amazing opportunity to receive free services or goods. Some brands are willing to send you a product to review or pay you for some services (for example, a trip), if you are ready to prepare a review on your site in return.
Such free services or goods can hardly be considered direct income, since you do not receive money, but this is still a source of profit for bloggers. For example, this is how you can go on a press tour to a new country, where the organizer will provide you with everything from flights and hotels to entertainment.
How to Attract Traffic to Your Blog
We figured out the main methods to make money from blogging, but you are probably still wondering how to attract more traffic, since traffic is what allows you to earn the most.
The main sources of traffic for any website are:
- Direct visits (when people return to the site themselves)
- Organic traffic (for example, from Google)
- Clicking on links on other sites (for example, from Q&A platforms such as Quora)
- Links from social networks
- From email newsletters
- Paid advertisements
If you look at a regular blog, then organic traffic will most often prevail. In some cases, traffic from social networks and websites with a well-established brand can be due to direct visits (for example, to popular forums).
This is an example of how traffic is distributed to Twooutliers.com:
You can also rely on organic traffic and your marketing strategy.
How to Attract Quality Organic Traffic
For high-earning blogs, both the amount and quality of traffic are important. Therefore, it is essential for you to focus on the search queries of people who are close to buying goods or services. Advertisers are willing to pay more for such traffic and you can also earn more.
To find topics to create content about, you can use the following tools:
All of these are paid tools, but worth the money spent, as they will allow you to find high-traffic topics that will allow you to reach the top of the search results without putting in significant effort. In other words, these tools help you find topics with competition that matches your blog. As a free alternative, you can try Google Trends; however, this tool won’t provide you with all the data you need to create high-performing content.
Once you have chosen a topic, you need to study any of your competitors who have previously written content on that topic. If there are none, congratulations, almost 100% of you will be able to get all the traffic. However, if you do have some competitors, then your task is to make your content at least as good as theirs. This means your content must be at least the same length as that of your competitors and must answer the question being asked in as much detail as possible.
When publishing a new page, it is a good idea to track exactly how that page ranks in search engines. Again, you can use SEMRush or Ahrefs. If, after about three to five months, the article did not reach the top 10 search results, then study what exactly your competitors have done better and solve the problem. This may require you to:
- Improve Your Existing Content – One of the most common reasons that you don’t get enough traffic is that your competitors have better content. This does not necessarily mean that their content is longer than yours, but it may be better presented. For example, they used spreadsheets, etc. Study your own website and those of your competitors to determine what can be improved.
- Niche Down the Subject of the Page – Sometimes, you do not need to expand on your content, but narrow it down. For example, you may want to split one page into two or three and answer user questions in detail on each of those pages.
- Get Links – As we noted earlier, buying and selling links is necessary. However, you can also get links organically. For example, you can exchange links with other bloggers for free or simply answer questions on forums and leave a link to your site.
To attract a high volume of traffic from search engines, such as Google, you should also work to improve the trustworthiness of your site. This applies not only to links, but also to the “About the Website” and “About the Author” pages. It is important that search engines understand that you are an expert in a niche. Making these improvements to specific pages, in practice, can help improve your website as a whole.
For more information on how to drive traffic to a site where you can earn a solid income, see our free course.
Can You Make Money From Blogging?
We hope that the examples of real bloggers who make money on their blogs have proved to you that yes, you can make money from blogging. We also hope that our detailed review of earning methods and overview of how to get traffic has sent you in the right direction.
- Blogging is a job from which you can actually make a lot of money. The more time and effort you invest, the better your results will be. However, you should not expect quick results.
- Making money on a blog is possible even without an audience, but doing so is limiting and risky.
- To earn a decent profit, you need to work on growing your website traffic, as the more traffic you attract, the higher the income will be from your blog.
- You need to keep in mind not only the volume of your traffic, but also the quality of your traffic. The closer your audience is to making a purchase, the more you can potentially earn.
- Affiliate marketing is a great blog monetization method for everyone involved. You get revenue, your audience gets the best services, and brands get new clients. You can work in the travel niche (for example, through Travelpayouts); however, affiliate marketing also works well in other niches.
We’ve collected a list of proven methods for earning money from a blog. But whether or not you can make money from a personal blog is up to you. To succeed, you have to get started and continue doing the work. Your efforts will definitely pay off and your blog will be able to generate a decent income, if you work on making the sort of quality content that attracts traffic.