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How Much Money Do Bloggers Make Blogging?

Posted By Darren Rowse 2nd of January 2009 Blogging for Dollars 0 Comments

Over the last two months I’ve had a sidebar poll running here at ProBlogger that asked readers to tell us how much their blog earned in October of 2008.

This is an annual poll that we’ve run for a number of years now so it is always interesting to see the results.

As usual – the poll revealed that most bloggers either don’t try to make money blogging or earn very little from their blogs but also that a smaller (but still significant) number of bloggers are making at least a part time living from the medium and a few bloggers beyond what most of us would consider ‘full time’.

Of course this is not a scientific poll and it relies upon people interpreting the question correctly and voting honestly – I’m certain that there are inaccuracies in it (particularly with some voting in the top category just for ‘fun’) but the results are actually quite similar to previous years which does make me think that there is at least some level of truth to them.

Take it or leave it – here are the results of this year’s earning poll:

  • 37% of those who voted said that they do not make money from their blogs. This category would include both those who don’t want to make money blogging, those who didn’t realize that it was possible, those who don’t have a blog and those who have tried but failed to make money blogging.

While this is a significant and important result I’ve removed category from the charts below so that we can concentrate just on those who make at least some money from their blog.

  • 1162 people said that they make under $10 a month. This is a total of 29% of those who make money blogging. This category was 26% in 2007 and 30% in 2006.
  • 477 people made between $10-$29 in the month (12%)
  • 505 people made between $30-$99 (12%)
  • 686 made $100 – $499 over the month (17%)

So to this point we can say 70% of those who make money from their blogs make less than $500 a month and 30% make $500 or more.

  • 262 made $500 – $999 (6%)
  • 150 made $1,000 – $1,499 (4%)
  • 128 made $1,500 – $2,499 (3%)
  • 130 made $2,500 – $4,999 (3%)
  • 95 made $5,000 – $9,999 (2%)
  • 45 made $10,000 – $14,999 (1%)
  • 35 made $15,000 – $19,999 (1)
  • 373 made $20,000 or more (9%).

The top category probably has some skewing but has always been in this vicinity (9% in 2007 and 7% in 2006 – although in these years the top category was $15,000+). While I’m sure there is some skewing here it is an open ended category so we could expect it to have people earning not only $20,000 a month but also those earning quite a bit more (of which I’m aware of quite a few).

Here’s another chart with the same information:

Once again these figures hammer home to anyone wanting to get into blogging for money that it is not a foregone conclusion that you’ll make a lot of money from the medium. It is possible to make at least a part time income from blogging and for some to make quite a bit of money from it – but over half are earning less than $3 a day (or $100 a month).

For those interested in the comparisons to previous years – let me finish with charts from 2006 and 2007. First here are the 2006 results:

And now the 2007 results:

As you’ll see the results are remarkably similar from year to year although each year we’ve done it the sample size has grown.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. I would like the see the ages of bloggers along with their incomes. I think Blogger is full of college kids that don’t strive for large monthly payouts as the income isn’t important to them.

  2. I tallied up my earnings the other day. I would be in that 2%. Not quite what I expected….

    I really hope to keep better records for 2009 because I was lousy this year. Thank goodness for paypal which is how the majority of my payments were made. It’s easy to keep decent records with them.

    Anyways, there are so many bloggers that don’t have a clue how to make money still with there blog, so many that don’t care to, and so many that are doing it all wrong or don’t have enough traffic.

    I think it’s a lot more work that people expect it to be so they give up. I’ve had fun making my money in 2008. I’ve bought me some nice things, helped the family when we lost our job, and was able to have some spending money at the blogher conference:)

    Looking forward to 2009!

  3. Interesting to see the various percentages from multiple years rather than only one.

  4. I have just started so hope that in 2009 will bring in some money for me.:)

  5. I guess i have got Colour-Blindness :D

  6. Thanks for the info Darren.

    I have 2 blogs and I only earn less than 1 dollar a month. 1 blog which is about my life in germany (http://pinoyingermany.blogspot.com/) is 3 months old and my other blog which is about technology (http://techmata.blogspot.com/) is just less than a month old. I am not surprised since my blogs are still kids and I don’t have the traffic yet.hehe But I hope that I will increase my traffic even just for a bit this 2009.

    Happy New Year and Happy Blogging! ^_^

  7. Hi Darren,
    Your survey seems to be very realistic as your site is visited by all types of bloggers.
    I am one of those and I think that its na really helpful info that your poll has generated.
    Although I was active in seeing poll results but this post made it easy to understand. Great pics up there.
    By the way, I also voted. Keep the poll up the next year also please. Thx a lot.

    Regards
    Laksh
    http://makemoneyonline-withme.blogspot.com/

  8. 9% over $20,000 — didn’t think I’d see these numbers here, that’s great :)

  9. I’ve not been putting my entire focus on earning money from blogging. Providing good content first for my readers.

  10. Nice post =)

    Now my monthly earnings amounted to $ 275 per month since last July.

    I like to be a blogger because I have fun and earn money.

    Greetings to all from Perú and Happy New Year 2009

  11. very interesting poll; i received just a few dollars in the category of 100-499 in the 07 & 08.

  12. This post was “Written on January 2nd, 2009 at 12:01 am by Darren Rowse” and is getting comments from “January 1st, 2009”. Wow! I heard that Australia is “down under” (from europe), but that the time is running backwards is new for me. :-))

  13. blogging: i’m not doin it rite.

  14. 9% making over 20.000 / year means one of ten bloggers is a full time / wealthy blogger. This is such a good news for everybody who wants to join the wagon. If one of ten is capable of doing it, it’s doable. Remember there are niches of business where the percentage is far more smaller than 9%, so blogging is still a supportive medium for a business.

    It’s really awesome to see how these polls are behaving over the years.

    Oh, I assume problogger is in that 9% of the 9% who made a lot more than everybody? Well deserved, sir!

    Happy New Year from here (still several hours to 2008) and good luck in 2009!

  15. Impressed with the 9% and wondering if there’s any relationship between how much they are earning and the length of time they’ve been blogging. Might make a good survey for 2009.

    Thanks for the info and encouragement.

    Anne Wayman, now blogging at http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com

  16. I made some money on Liza’s Eyeview – and that’s not even the purpose of that blog.

    Now I started resurrected a blog called A MAUI BLOG this year – it has made a few dollars this year but next year I am determined to make it a source of income (part time if not full time). I know it can be done. I’ll be losing my job (I work with a construction company and our project is done) so I can really focus on developing A MAUI BLOG. I am excited and positive. Next time you do the survey, I’d be earning a lot ;)

  17. A classic example of the Long Tail.

  18. It would be interesting to see how people are making money on their blogs? I’m assuming the majority of these are probably ads that are specifically targeted on really popular blogs (for the ones making good money) as opposed to ad words but perhaps there are other methods just not being mentioned or that are outside of my knowledge?

  19. By itself this information is neither very surprising nor very interesting. What WOULD be interesting is a correlation between ‘how much money’ questions and ‘what do you blog about’ questions and ‘how do you blog’ questions (frequency, length, reading level). You oughta do a full-fledged survey, since you clearly have access to a pretty good convenience sample. I am sure one of your statistics minded fans would offer to do the regression analysis and data set pruning… :)

    Venkat

  20. 9%….I wanna to be a member of the ‘nobility’.

  21. That is pretty remarkable. I am surprised that so many people put down that they made a lot of money. The trend goes down until the $20,000 mark. Then it suddenly spikes. I just really think it is not likely that people were telling the truth there when they say they make more than $20,000. You never know though.

  22. How come:
    Written on January 2nd, 2009 at 12:01 am by Darren Rowse
    ???

    Here it’s still 2008 :)

  23. Does this graph contain income from adsense, affil, direct ads?

  24. I am very curious to know whether the blogs of those earning $15,000 and more a month are of a certain genre.

    Can you categorise them, at all?

  25. This poll really shows the possibilities of making some money with your own blog, really neat.

  26. I’m just interested on how the date of this post is Jan. 2nd when half the world isn’t even the year of 2009?

  27. Interesting result, hope 2009 year will be better than 2008

  28. I don’t think it’s safe to assume that the people that didn’t make money in October weren’t trying.

    This site is about making money blogging so you would think that most people would be trying.

    It seems that a lot of people are jumping into the whole make money blogging thing. They are paying for ebooks, traffic services, listing services, and crap like that, thinking they’ll get it all back.

    But I’m getting the feeling there are too many people speculating with monetizing blogs and there might be a blogging bubble.

    There seem to be similarities between other bubble economies.

  29. I find it interesting, and somewhat inspiring, that of the 12 categories, the 5th largest is those earning over $20k per month.

    Better get back to work. Thanks for some great information.

    Alan

  30. Great information Darren. I’ve been blogging and podcasting for 8 months now as part of my job, but it’s a passion (in work on New Years Eve to post this week’s episode). I hope to branch off a side blog and am shooting for $1,000 per month.

    Keep up the great info

    – Jim Hopkinson, Wired.com’s Marketing Guy
    http://www.TheHopkinsonReport.com

  31. I am making some money but blogging is fun and I learn so much. I have a full time job so less money really dont hurt. I really enjoy the attention and the amount of information I have absorbed since I started blogging.

  32. So my point is even if there are a lot of kid boggers not making money … but since they are into this so early … all the information bust will surely help them in future.

    And I should say – nice charting skills. Thanks for another stream of good information.

  33. I don’t know if I’d trust those numbers at the higher end, but what I can say for sure is if you take the income and measure it against the hours put in, my time less is practically worthless (haha), but then my blog is barely a month old, so time will tell.

    All I know is you must have a passion for what you’re doing.

  34. @detox that was a good question. Age would be a good question as well as how long they have been “seriously” blogging.

  35. i made a few money 2008. i hope 2009 is my luck

  36. I have had a blog for over a year now, but have only posted on an irregular basis. Just now, I realize it can be a money making opportunity. Since I am on maternity leave for the next 6 months I think I’m going to try working towards supplementing my family income with blogging. I just don’t know right now what to zero in on as a topic.

    Cara

  37. These are great stats. They prove that not everyone makes a ‘living’ from the web. And yeh, I’d like to see age and experience as well. Let’s have some more polls!

    Yeh, I was confused about the date as well… Maybe their servers are off? Or maybe they can manually edit the date, even if it is a future date.

  38. Thanks for the great info as always.

    I think it’s really interesting to see the learning curve. It gets harder and harder to make more money up until $19k per month, then after that it seems like people figure out the ‘formula’ and don’t look back. It is very inspiring.

    Happy New Year!

  39. Well, I’m going to be doing everything I can to make sure I’m in the top category for 2009!

    Happy ’09 everybody!

  40. It will be interesting if there are additional breakdown regarding how people are making money.

    Are those that make large amount mainly from affiliates?
    Are those that make very little only use one advertisement platform?

    I would be curious to see what is the correlation between the amount make each month in relation to the different money making methodology deployed.

  41. It’s great info but don’t skew the numbers.

    9% of all bloggers are not making $20,000 or more – remember he threw out everyone who said they were making no money – wasn’t that 39% out right from the beginning.

    He also said he suspects some people lied about how much their blog made but that the distribution was about the same each year.

    To me, posts like “an open letter to Amazon” (which appeared sometime this month I think) tell a lot more. Darren (I hope I remembered your name correctly!) wrote about actual payouts he received from Amazon in an open letter to them.

    I believe there is money to be made and I believe it’s up to us individually to work hard and see the opportunities.

    But understand (and Darren said this) this is not a scientific poll!!

    Oh and I take exception with the comment that college kids don’t care about the money – let’s not forget Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell just for starters!!

  42. And then there are the people like me who make half their income from blogs and half from regular old websites, so we don’t know what to type in. :P

    I usually make it to the ##,### a month category these days (counting it all). I’m thinking of hiring some other bloggers in 2009, so maybe I can make that $20,000 level next year… of course, I’ll have to pay those writers, so we’ll have to see. ;)

    I do think it’s challenging to stay motivated to work and grow bigger once you get into the I’m-making-a-comfortable-living-and-do-I-really-need-more category. Maybe that’s just me though. :)

  43. These charts really do need to be color-blind friendly. Too bad.

  44. I have to say that I am surprised that many people are making $20,000 a month on their blogs.

    Most people don’t know how to make their blog or website payoff that I come across.

    Of course that is why they come to me so I can help them turn their website or blog into a success.

    Enjoyed ur blog Darren you had some great information.

  45. Interesting data. That said, keep in mind that many of us blog to the goal of perception as “expert.” This can be leveraged to get jobs worth large sums.

    Therefore, though we only directly correlate small amounts of revenue to our blog, we make buckets of cash as a result of what we accomplish in publishing…and thereby in the SERPs

  46. i’m the majority of people lol.

    happy new year

  47. Interesting figures Darryn, I was keen to find out how the 3 years compared so did some analysis of my own. I have just posted the results which do show up an increase in earnings over the years, especially at the upper end of the range.

  48. Sorry Darren, I mispelt your name

  49. Arslan Ali says: 01/01/2009 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Darren

    How much do you earn ?

  50. Generated $5000 in 2008, split into half adsense and half private ads. Have learnt so much about ways to improve my earnings and aim at greatly improving the figures this year.

    It would be interesting to know all those like myself who don’t blog, but own a blog or two and outsource the blogging to experienced bloggers.

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