It always makes me a bit nervous about publishing an income report. But many people want to know how bloggers make money. The only way to know how to build a lucrative blog is by studying other successful bloggers. So here goes…
I think the best way to break this down is by giving you the income averages for each stream. While they may fluctuate slightly, my websites don’t suffer or have big wins based on seasonality. I’m including my real estate business because blogging drives that business.
I also include freelance writing because it’s another way to make money as a blogger.
Here’s the average monthly income based on earnings in 2022.
Affiliate Income: $10,880.66 per month
Affiliate marketing is how I make most of my money from blogging. It’s also how most bloggers who are making a full-time income do it as well.
I’ve been doing it for over six years, and the consistent growth has been nice. Technically, most of my income streams are affiliate models, which means I generate traffic, leads, and referrals and earn money without serving the client or selling products directly. Learning how bloggers make money often includes multiple streams.
In this income stream specifically, I influence a buying decision. I do this through written blogs, social media influence, youtube videos, webinars, and courses.
I specialize in software. I prefer promoting software over other types of affiliate programs because it’s generally a recurring commission. Each time the subscriber I referred renews their monthly or annual subscription, I earn a commission.
My top earner has 225 subscribers with a $39.00 monthly average. And, since it’s an essential piece of software for operating a website, the churn rate is low because people rarely cancel.
My primary source of traffic is organic search, including Google and Youtube. I don’t generally pay for ads.
How Bloggers Make Money with Affiliate Income
Anyone can do affiliate marketing. You don’t need to be an expert in the product you’re promoting, but it helps if you’re familiar with it.
The best way to get started is by finding a program in a niche that you’re interested in and signing up for their affiliate program. Once approved, start promoting their products or services using your unique affiliate link.
You’ll earn a commission when someone clicks your link and makes a purchase. The amount you earn per sale varies from program to program and product to product. Some pay as little as 2%, while others pay up to 75%.
Real Estate Affiliate Model: $4,559.094 Per Month
I am a licensed real estate agent in Nevada. While I don’t work with clients directly, I blog on my real estate website, and I generate leads for agents that work in my non-conventional real estate team in Las Vegas.
My team’s typical real estate transaction has a 3% commission (always negotiable). Because I’m not the agent working with the clients, but I am the one who generated the lead, I get a portion of that 3%.
My expenses are primarily related to my brokerage and franchise fees and software and hosting for my website.
My leads are primarily generated through organic Google searches (not ads), and referrals through social media influence.
How Bloggers Make Money with Services
So, if you’re wondering how bloggers make money in real estate without working with clients, this is an excellent model. You could generate leads for agents in your area, or anywhere in the world.
As long as you generate traffic and leads, you can learn how bloggers make money in real estate and follow the models. And getting a license is pretty easy, in my opinion.
Marketing Company: $4167.50 per month
In 2016, I founded a digital marketing company specializing in building WordPress websites. It’s called Ballen Brands. Shortly after starting the company, which involved working with my brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin, I realized that my passion was more on the blogging and content creation side than on client services.
After a few years of working in the company, I gave it to my brothers, Jeff and Paul. While Ballen Brands already had a growing client base and monthly recurring revenue, I didn’t ask them to buy the company from me. Instead, I retained a 10% revenue interest in the company.
That way, I could still keep generating business for the brand and make money the way I enjoy making money, without working directly with clients.
Essentially, this is another affiliate stream, but I chart the income as an individual income stream separate from my standard link referral affiliate income.
How Bloggers Make Money with Brand Collaborations
Anyone can make money by referring business to a marketing or web development company. You don’t have to start the business. For example, my brothers have an affiliate program where they will pay someone healthy commissions based on referrals.
You could partner with any trusted provider. As long as you can generate the traffic and referrals, you could also add this income stream.
This is another excellent example of how bloggers make money.
Webinars, Courses, Coaching, Speaking: $2,018.39 per month
In the past, this income stream has been much larger. In a couple of years, my average earnings were closer to $40,000 per month in this bucket.
When the pandemic hit, travels halted, and my course sales bottomed out. Most people were attending free zoom calls around the clock, and I honestly felt guilty trying to sell my courses during that time.
Instead, I decided to spend my time focusing on my niche websites, and creating content, hoping to gain another strong income stream in the future.
As much as I have found success in course sales, I’m still not quite ready to jump back in with both feet.
That said, it’s nice to have a switch I could flip if I wanted to Turn it up!
How Bloggers Make Money Selling Courses Online
Courses are a fantastic way to share your knowledge with the world and get paid! Courses are one of the most popular products bloggers sell.
Creating and selling a course takes a lot of work, but it can be extremely rewarding financially and personally.
Of course, not every blogger is interested in or good at creating courses. And that’s OK! There are plenty of other ways to make money blogging.
But if you are interested in creating a course, check out Thinkific or Teachable for your online course platform.
Tip: LAUNCHES with limited time availability have been the most successful for me, along with monthly subscriptions.
My Keto Course, in 2017, earned $10,000 per month in its first year based on subscribers who gained access to a monthly call and a drip course.
My real estate marketing course earned $30,000 per month for the first couple of years when I was promoting it heavily.
I’ve had a 4-hour virtual course, available only through the live stream, earn $20,000.
There are many ways to monetize your skills with courses. Selling courses is a great example of how bloggers make money.
Publishing Earnings: $1,187.36 per month
This is a tough one but it shows promise. I make money, as many bloggers due, through display ads that are served up on my websites. The clicks don’t pay much, but with enough web traffic, the possibilities are endless.
The key is volume, and I have growing traffic, but it’s not enough to make this a significant income stream… yet. I have two websites and a Youtube channel monetized with display ads.
This is another stream that I could easily turn up if I showed up. What I mean by that, is that I could blog more, post more videos, and be more active on social media to help boost my traffic.
I haven’t published nearly as many videos as I have in the past. I bought my own house last year, got my daughter into college, and have been learning how to be an empty nester.
The freedom has allowed me to explore more non-work activities, and I have to say that I enjoy not working 12-hour days anymore. My “passive” income streams, such as the income generated from affiliate income over the years, allow me to let the business ebb and flow.
This is a huge win because it gives me more time to enjoy life. I highly recommend that you focus on creating at least one significant passive income stream in your business so you can have the same financial and time freedom that I have.
On a side note, I’m only using Google Adsense on my websites right now, but I had better earnings with Ezoic. I’m considering building that back in but I wanted to test how far I could go with Google Adsense for the purpose of teaching best practices.
Ezoic paid better, and it’s also available to new bloggers.
How Bloggers Make Money with Ad Revenue
Ads are a fantastic way to make money blogging, but they are not without their challenges. The biggest challenge with ads is that you need a significant amount of traffic to make decent money.
I’ve found that the sweet spot is around 100,000 page views per month. This is when most bloggers start to see some serious earnings from their ads.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if you have a high-traffic website but your niche is not very commercial, you may not make much from your ads.
And if you have a low-traffic website but your niche is very commercial, you may still do quite well.
Make More Money with Display Ads
Allow AI to increase revenue and improve UX
It depends on a variety of factors, but in general, the 100,000-page view per month benchmark is a good place to start.
So how do you monetize your website with ads? There are a few different ways. The most common is through Google Adsense.
Google Adsense is an ad network that serves ads on your behalf. You simply add a piece of code to your website, and Google will serve the ads for you.
You will then earn money based on your ads’ number of clicks or impressions.
They will optimize your ad placements to ensure you get the most revenue possible. They also have a feature that allows you to serve ads through Google Adsense.
This is a great way to increase your earnings without doing anything yourself.
The final way to monetize your website with ads is through paid sponsorships. This is where you contact companies directly and offer to place their ads on your website.
This can be a great way to earn a lot of money if you have a high-traffic website. However, finding companies willing to pay for ad space on your website can be difficult.
Freelance Writing: $500 per month
This is a new income stream that I added in 2022. As a blogger, I decided to test selling content through one content broker. I published around 50 articles on their website, and niche website owners and small business websites will purchase my unique pre-written content.
It’s been a great decision, and I like that I don’t directly work with clients. I charge 7-10 cents per word, and I’m experimenting with best practices on the platform.
This is another income stream, albeit not passive, that could grow considerably if I wanted to focus more on it and expand it. With the large number of content mills that hire freelance writers, in addition to websites like Upwork and Fiverr, there’s a lot of opportunity for growth in this area if I wanted to take on clients.
For right now, it’s an experiment, and I’m enjoying a bit of extra income from freelance writing.
How Bloggers Make Money as Freelance Writers
There are many ways to make money as a freelance writer. You can work with content mills and private clients or start your own blog and sell content through that platform.
Content mills are websites that hire writers to produce content for their clients. These websites usually have a large pool of writers from which their clients can choose.
The content mill will usually assign the project to the writer they think is best suited for the job, based on writing samples and ratings.
The client will pay the content mill, and the content mill will then pay the writer.
Content mills are a great way to get started as freelance writers because they provide a steady work stream.
However, they usually don’t pay very well, and the working conditions can be challenging.
For example, some content mills require their writers to produce a certain number of articles daily or weekly.
This can be difficult if you have other commitments, such as a full-time job or children.
In addition, the quality of the work can be variable, and some clients can be challenging to work with.
Private clients are individuals or companies that hire writers to produce content for them on a freelance basis.
The process is similar to working with a content mill, but you usually have more control over the projects that you take on, and the pay is usually better.
To find private clients, you can search job boards, contact companies directly, or even start your own blog and offer your writing services to its readers.
Working with private clients can be very rewarding, but it can also be challenging.
For example, you may need to negotiate your rates with each client, and some clients can be difficult to please.
In addition, private clients usually don’t offer the same level of job security as content mills.
If you stop working with a particular client, you may not be able to find another one to replace them.
In closing, learning how to make money as a blogger is not difficult. You can sell ads, work as a freelance writer, or even start your own blog and earn substantial money through affiliate marketing.
For me, it’s a mix of all of them. And it works.