There are a lot of skeptics out there.
People who think making money online is a big scam. That it doesn’t work for the average person.
They’ve got excuses for everything.
Too many people already doing it.
Don’t have the time.
Who would care what I have to sell?
This is especially the case when you talk to someone about making money from blogging.
Blogs have become common place now. Everyone knows what a blog is.
Most people even know that you can make money from a blog.
Well, most people who aren’t over 60.
Trying to explain to people that they can still make money from a blog is even harder.
Anyone can wrap their head around making money from selling a product. But to make money from telling strangers what you’re learning? No way.
Besides, “blogs are dying.” Another common excuse.
Well, blogs aren’t dead. They’re not dying. And there is still a lot of opportunity to make money from a blog.
To prove it, let’s take a look at a few income reports from bloggers that are more than thriving.
Table of Contents:
What is an Income Report?
First, let me explain what an blog income report is.
I really can’t say who started this trend, but it has spread across the blogging community.
A blog income report is a place for people to share the financial journey of their blog.
Bloggers use them for all sorts of reasons.
Some use them as a marketing tool.
Some to help their audience hold them accountable.
Others use it as a motivational tool to keep themselves going.
Blogging can be a slog and having something to show for it can keep a lot of people moving forward.
Typically it’s broken down into a couple different sections.
One is where the income is coming from.
What services are they using?
What ad network are they a part of?
Which affiliates are performing the best?
How are their product offerings doing?
The second section is traffic. What is driving the most traffic to their blog?
Is it social media? If so, which platform?
Is Google and SEO doing most of the work? Which keywords are doing the best?
Some income reports are incredibly detailed. They can provide a lot of insight into the blog and be extremely helpful.
Others are pretty basic. They can provide a lot of motivation but not much insight.
The one thing all these prove: that you can make money blogging.
This Fairy Tale Life (Mindy) - $1,400
This Fairy Tale Life is the lowest earner in our 9 person round-up and she’s still making over $1,000 per month!
She’s been reporting on her traffic and income since 2014 and making money all that time.
Most of her revenue comes from the ad network, Mediavine.
Of the $1,463 she made in October, $1,027 came from Mediavine.
The great thing is, the ads on her site aren’t that intrusive.
You can definitely tell there are ads, but it’s not a distracting amount. It doesn’t take away from the experience on the site.
To get paid that much for advertising you need quite a bit of traffic.
This Fairy Tale Life looks to hover around 2,500 pageviews per day.
That’s fantastic! Blogging is a time game. The longer you stick with it, the more traffic you’re going to get.
Most of the traffic is from new visitors, which means people aren’t having a hard time finding the site.
There isn’t a traffic breakdown, but Mindy does say most of it comes from “Google, Pinterest, Direct Traffic, Facebook, and Bing.”
I’m going to assume that’s in descending order and so most of the traffic is coming from Google and Pinterest.
Do You Even Blog (Pete) - $2,238
I’m not sure how or why one of his tweets popped up, but it made an impression.
He’d recently launched his blog and podcast and was interviewing a lot of major players in the blogging world.
Do You Even Blog launched around April of 2017 and Pete is already making over $2,000 from his site and podcast.
That’s ridiculously impressive.
Each month Pete lays out his goals. For November it was getting over 750 email sign-ups, reaching 4,000 pageviews, and earning over $2,000.
He nailed each one.
Earning over $2,000 with only 4,000 pageviews might be surprising.
This Fairy Tale Life gets about half that PER DAY and isn’t making over $2,000.
That’s the power of having your own product.
Pete launched his Blogger U course and earned almost $900.
If you have your own product to sell, the amount of traffic necessary to make a good amount of money decreases.
You don’t need a lot of traffic, you need the right traffic.
Fitnancials (Alexis) - $4,612
Alexis is the creator of Fitnancials. The site talks about her journey to lose 60 pounds, travel on the cheap, and live a great life on a budget.
Clearly the message is resonating because she raked in over $4,500 in October.
The blog started in 2013 to document her weight loss. Four years later she’s making a full-time income off the site.
While it takes a lot of dedication to blog for four years, it doesn’t necessarily take a ton of time.
Alexis spends, on average, 20-30 hours per week blogging. With travel, sometimes that drops.
Compare that to people who are working a regular 40+ hour job and it’s not a bad gig.
While Fitnancials does make some money from ad networks, like This Fairy Tale Life, most of it is made from sponsored posts.
When someone or some company pays you to write a post about a topic or product, it’s a sponsored post.
There are a host of networks you can sign up for to score sponsored posts. Alexis has a great write-up about the entire process.
While there isn’t a breakdown on traffic sources, it looks like Pinterest is a major driver.
Recipe This (The Milners) - $7,549
November of 2017 marks the 25th month of blogging for the Milners and Recipe This.
At just over two years they’ve set themselves up really well. They made just under $30,000 in their second year blogging!
This November income report seems to be a bit of an outlier. Most of their recent months seem to be in the $2,000 to $3,000 range. Regardless, these are still amazing numbers.
The Milners break down every place they received income for November.
Far and away the big winner is Sponsored Content bringing in over $4,800. That’s almost 64% of their total revenue for the year.
The bulk of their other revenue comes from Monumetric, an ad network, and Amazon Associates.
Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program.
Recipe This directs readers to Amazon through a tracked link. If the reader buys something, Recipe This gets a percentage of the sale.
Now if you look at the top two traffic sources for the blog, they might look pretty familiar: Google and Pinterest.
Those two alone account for over 50% of the traffic to the site.
From our previous analysis, focusing on Pinterest and SEO for website traffic is the way to go.
Millennial Money Man (Bobby) - $14,388
Bobby started writing income reports for Millennial Money Man in mid-2016.
That first report had an income of $6,196. He has doubled that in a little over a year.
That’s the power of an income snowball!
Bobby points out that he’s reached a level where $14k-$16k per month is normal from his blog. That’s, at least, $168,000 per year.
Blogging is not dead.
The money comes from two distinct pots: Digital Marketing and the website.
Both roll up into that $14,388 total.
But, his website brings in a majority of that with just under $9,000 in revenue for the month of November.
Of that $9k, almost $6,000 comes from affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing isn’t just throwing links onto your site at random.
To be good at it, and make $6,000 per month, you need to be deliberate.
Bobby attributes most of his success to a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner. We’ll get to her income report a little later.
Ads brought in the rest of that $9,000.
There isn’t a breakdown of traffic sources, but that’s OK.
To get a lot of revenue from ads, you need the traffic.
But affiliate marketing doesn’t rely on much traffic to earn a decent amount.
Converting a small amount of customers through affiliate links adds up quick.
Bobby has the combination of smart affiliate marketing AND a lot of traffic. That’s why his affiliate income is almost double his advertising income.
Well Kept Wallet (Deacon) - $17,714
Deacon’s first income report was February of 2016.
The total for that report came in at a whopping $940.41.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s fantastic. Making any money from a passion/hobby is awesome.
But most people would think if you made almost $18,000 this month, you’d be making at least over $1,000 a couple years ago.
Not so with Well Kept Wallet.
Looking at the totals for past income reports, it’s clear that Deacon took things to a whole new level at the end of 2016 and through 2017.
We know what the income is for August of 2017 but there isn’t a full income report.
For that I’m going back to January of 2017 where Deacon made $6,089.48. Just from the beginning of 2017 to the end has seen massive growth!
In January, $3,087 came from affiliate marketing and $2,044 from ads.
What does Deacon attribute his rapid increase in income to? Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle strikes again.
As the monthly income of these bloggers increase, you start to see a shift in where the bulk of it comes from.
Ad revenue doesn’t become the highest contributor. Other avenues start to take over that top spot.
Just a Girl and Her Blog (Abby) - $41,700
Abby stopped releasing income reports in December of 2016. But, she’d already been consistently making over $30,000 from her blog for 12 months prior.
The income reports for Just a Girl and Her Blog started towards the beginning of 2014.
Looking around the web, all Abby saw were reports for people making tons of money. She wanted to show what it was like for someone making less than $1000.
Fast forward almost three years and things have changed dramatically.
No longer is Just a Girl and Her Blog some small part time gig. It’s a full time business bringing in over $300,000 per year!
In her December report, Abby says they’re stopping because it “began to feel a little bit icky.” It felt like each month was a brag about how much they were making.
I don’t think that, but that’s how quickly things can change.
At one time you’re deciding to share income reports because you don’t see any of the “small fish” doing it. Next thing you know you’re making so much releasing income reports feels like bragging.
Not to say there isn’t A TON of hard work that goes on between those two stages. This is more to say what is possible.
For that final month of 2016, the blog income is broken into two categories: affiliate income and product income.
Just a Girl and Her Blog did show ads at one point but they don’t make any money from them now.
Product income totals $14,193 and affiliate income comes in at $27,507.
As the income numbers get bigger, the products start to show up.
Abby and her team have four products that brought in almost $15,000 in that month of December. I can only imagine how much higher it is today.
I love this graph. It shows just how dramatic their journey over the two and a half years had been.
Making Sense of Cents (Michelle) - $110,656
We’ve got two more income reports to take a look at and these are both over the six-figure mark.
Michelle has been CRUSHING it with her blog.
She left her job as a financial analyst in October of 2013 to blog full time. The income reports just started out as a way to track what she was earning from side jobs.
One of those side jobs turned into her full time job. One that brings in close to, if not more than, $1,000,000 per year.
Making Sense of Cents has four avenues of income: affiliate, products, sponsorship, and advertising.
Nearly half of that income is coming from affiliate marketing. She’s got almost a dozen different affiliate programs paying her.
The largest, by far, being Bluehost.
Next up is her products. Over a third of her monthly income ($38,601) comes from products she’s created.
Saying products (multiple) is misleading because it’s just the one. One product that Michelle has created brings in that much income every month.
When you create something that people want, they’re going to buy it.
That product is the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course I talked about earlier. It is pure gold and that’s why everyone recommends it.
Sponsorship and advertising make up the final ~$20,000. The majority of that is from sponsorship at $16,700.
Advertising is last with $2,992.
While Michelle is still displaying ads, her income is, overwhelmingly, coming from other places.
Smart Passive Income (Pat) - $213,212
If you’ve ever thought about making money from a blog, there is no doubt you’ve come across Pat Flynn.
I can’t really call him the grandfather of ‘blogging for a living’ because he’s still a pretty young guy.
Pat is definitely part of a select group. He was one of a few that paved the way for blogging as a living.
That was probably clear from the near quarter of a million dollars he made in November from his blog.
He didn’t reach that number overnight. His first income report was from October of 2008.
The blog has been around longer than that, so Pat has definitely put in the hours.
That $213,212 shows what hard work and persistence can do.
Pat has his income broken down into six different categories.
If he wanted to, it could be reduced to four: affiliate, products, niche sites, sponsorship.
Ads are completely gone from Smart Passive Income and he’s still bringing in over $200,000.
Well over half of that comes from products Pat has created.
Yet again proving that creating your own product is where the top bloggers are making their money.
There are a range of products but the top money makers are his courses. He’s got three of them that produced $120,362 in November of 2017.
The next largest category is affiliate income. Thirteen different programs brought in $61,689.
One of the things Pat is most known for is his SPI Podcast.
He’s able to leverage its popularity to attract sponsors. That brings in another $12,000 per month.
Finally are the niche sites.
Pat started his “empire” with a site talking about the LEED exam architects take.
The success of that site led him to start Smart Passive Income. As part of SPI, he has created two other niche sites to show people, step by step, how to earn extra money from a website.
Those three websites still earn over $4,000.
While we can’t all be like Pat, he’s certainly someone to learn from and aspire to.
And there you have it. Nine different people all making money from their blogs.
Even saying it that way makes the word sound bad. They’re not just blogs. These are legitimate businesses with legitimate founders and CEOs.
Each one has to have a vision. To be successful, they all need to know every aspect of how a business runs.
They’re marketing, R&D, product development, sales, technical writers, creative writers, graphic design, and a whole host of teams all rolled into one person.
And when they level up and can outsource some of that work, they have to manage those teams.
To think that these blogs aren’t businesses is flat out wrong.
To think that it’s impossible to start now and reach Pat’s level of success is wrong too.
It takes time, hard work, and, most of all, patience. It’s still possible, though.
Anything is possible.
Have any of you thought about starting a blog and decided not to? Why?