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How to Make $30,000 a year Blogging

Posted By Darren Rowse 16th of December 2009 Blogging for Dollars, Featured Posts 0 Comments

Last night I was chatting with a blogger who was feeling completely overwhelmed with their goal of making a living from blogging.

I asked them how much they wanted to make from blogging.

They responded that they wanted to be a full time blogger.

I pushed them for a figure – what does ‘full time’ mean for you?

They thought for a moment and said that they could live off $30,000 USD a year (note: they wouldn’t have minded earning more but would be able to quit their current job at this kind of rate).

$30,000 a year sounds like a lot to make from a blog – especially when you’re starting out and are yet to make a dollar. To this blogger it seemed so overwhelming that she had almost convinced herself that it was not possible.

Advice for Becoming a Full Time Blogger

My response was threefold:

1. Don’t Give Up Your Day Job…. Yet

It is possible to make $30,000 a year blogging, but it’s unlikely to happen over night. Keep your feet on the ground and your expectations reasonable. IF it happens (and there are no guarantees) it is almost certainly going to take some time.

2. Be Specific

Saying that you want to be full time as a blogger is a great goal – but it’s not really specific enough. This is why I wanted the blogger I was chatting with to name a figure. For her full time was $30,000 – for others it could be more or less – the amount is not the point, the point is that you need something more concrete to work towards so that you’re able to measure where you’re at.

For me when I decided I want to go full time as a blogger I decided that I wanted to aim for $50,000 (Aussie Dollars) in a year as the bench mark (at that time $50,000 was around 36,000 USD). That’s around what I would have been earning in my current main job if I had been doing that full time (I was actually working a number of part time jobs at the time as well as studying part time).

Knowing what I was aiming for helped me in a number of ways when it came to getting to that goal.

3. Break it down into something more Achievable

$30,000 USD still sounds big when you’re a new blogger – and in some ways it is. However there are different ways of thinking about that figure. Lets break it down in the way that I used to look at my target.

  • $30,000 a year = $576.92 per week
  • $30,000 a year = $82.19 a day
  • $30,000 a year = $3.42 an hour

We could break it down on a monthly or on a minute by minute basis if we wanted to (in fact I did do it by minute from time to time for fun) – but the exercise is really about helping you to see that perhaps your big goal is a little more achievable if you are to break it down. Making $82.19 somehow seems a little bit easier to me than making $30,000 (or is that just me?).

OK – the other way that I used to break down my goal that I found really helpful to me was to do it based upon what I need to achieve to meet that target. For me I would usually look at the daily figure – in this case $82.19.

What do I need to do to make $82.19 a day ($30,000 a year)?

Well there’s a number of ways that much. Lets look at a few:

  • CPC Ads – lets say we’re running mainly AdSense on our blog and that the average click is paying 5 cents. That equates to 1643 clicks on AdSense ads (note: AdSense also runs CPM ads so it’s not quite as simple as saying you need 1643 clicks… but to keep this simple lets just go with that).
  • CPM Ads – lets say that we’re running CPM ads on our blog and we’re being paid $2 CPM per ad unit and we had 3 ads on each page (which is effectively $6 CPM per page). This would mean we’d need 13,000 page impressions.
  • Monthly Sponsorships – one way to sell ads directly to advertisers is to sell ads on a month by month basis as a sponsorship. To make $30k in a year you need to sell $2500 a month in ads. You might have 6 ad spots on your blog so this is 6 advertisers at $416.66 per advertiser per month.
  • Low Commission Affiliate Products – Lets say we were promoting affiliate products from a site like Amazon and your commissions were on average about 40 cents per sale. To earn $82.19 you’d need to sell 205 products.
  • High Commission Affiliate Products – In this case you might be promoting ebooks and earning $8 a copy (that’s what you’d earn selling my 31DBBB ebook per commission). The math is simple on this one – you’d had to sell around 10 e-books a day.
  • Really Big Commission Affiliate Products – of course e-books are not the biggest product out there to promote – there are products like training courses where you can earn hundreds per sale. Lets take one that might pay out $300 for a yearly membership on a bigger product. In this case you need to sell 8 of these per month.
  • Selling Your Own E-book – got your own product, perhaps an e-book, to sell from your blog? At $19.95 a sale you need to sell just over 4 of these a day. You can do the sums on cheaper or more expensive products.

Of course there are many many other ways to make money from blogs. Subscriptions, donations, paid reviews, selling yourself as a consultant….. etc. You can do the sums for yourself on your own model.

I know that some of the above figures still sound out of reach for bloggers – 1643 clicks on your AdSense ads sounds massive to a new blogger…. and it is – but do keep in mind that you can combine some of the above (in fact I’d recommend you diversify your income).

You might run 2 ad networks on your site, promote Amazon affiliates, sell your own e-book and promote someone’s membership course.

Looking back on my own figures for around the time when I hit my $50,000 AUD (around $100 USD a day) goal and for me at that time my income mix looked a like this (going from memory here):

  • AdSense: $35
  • Chitika: $20
  • Private Ad Sales: $20
  • Amazon: $15
  • Other Affiliate Commissions: $10

blogging income split

Note: I didn’t achieve this milestone until I’d been blogging for over 2 years (I blogged for the first year without trying to make money).

This didn’t happen over night (let me emphasize this – blogging for money is neither quick nor is it easy money) but I really found that breaking things down into more bite sized pieces helped me to stay motivated but also helped me to identify what I needed to work on in order to reach my goals (and for me to quite my day job).

Again – don’t quit your day job yet (in fact you may not want to quit it even when you reach your goal – it can be good to have a back up plan) but do work hard at being specific about your blogging goals and attempt to break it down in a way that helps you move towards them.

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.
  1. Great way to put it…just break it down

  2. As I’m an artist I’m always short with money. So let’s try to make the first million with your tip.


  3. Great post, thanks for posting. Definitely a great way of thinking, and is quite motivating viewing it that way. I also like a lot how you have broken down the various ways of making money with a blog. What I find interesting is how many different types of blogs make money, they don’t all have to be about SEO or website marketing. What would also be interesting is the amount of working time difference between working full for someone else and making that money blogging.

  4. Thanks for sharing your tricks Darren!
    I will lern and make it better and better.

  5. I’m late to this party, but I dig the post.

    I will say that watching stats can be fun, but also they can be immensely stressful! I am roughly “obsessed” with stats, I’ll admit. I’ve put myself through much too much stress when I get to checking them a bunch of times per day. I’m trying to get away from that again.

    Remember that we’re looking for trends and long-term averages increasing over time. That means that daily checking is nice and all, but you can’t adjust things too much based on a single day’s stats. It’s far more important to watch a period of time and look for the trends as moving generally up or down.

    Actually, the new AdSense (beta still, ATM?) interface defaults to a “last 7 days” with a graph. It’s taking me a while to get used to it since I’m still obsessed over “today” & “yesterday” numbers. However, it’s better to see how the past week/month/etc. is going and consider the period’s events before making adjustments. IMHO, of course. :P

    Don’t forget to compare week-to-week stats over time, too. Just looking at a week that is dipping down might be less stressful if you look back and figure out that each week dips down for the weekends, for instance. Remember your blog’s audience(s) and consider things like school days, work holidays, etc.

    Anyway.. blah, blah, blah.


  6. It is a very inspiring article. If we want to earn more than what we are expecting to achieve within the specified period, then a goal must be set up well. This would serve as a basis on how we will work forward.

    The reality in business world is too tight due to profound competition. Bare in mind, that could be a hindrance to achieve your goal.. So we will earn more dollars or $50,000 is achievable enough.. Think positive.

  7. “Don’t Give Up Your Day Job…. Yet.”

    this is so true.. wait until you are ready by blogging alone. but if that day hasn’t come yet, then dont..
    this is really a great post.. thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you so much, there aren’t enough posts on this… or at least i cant find them. I am turning into such a blog nut, I just cant get enough and this is such an important topic

  9. It’s the first concrete “how to make money” post i ever read online…Finally someone that make money dont talk about what are the tools, but what are the real numbers that needs to be reach for our objectives.

    I’ve repost it into my blog, for italian readers, that are still blocked on use adsense and spam affiliation banners all over the pages.

    Thanks for your article.

  10. to make I lot money for Blogging This need big work and more 10000 visitor A day for me Naw I have 500 a day and may blog have 3 monthe I now I can reach 10000 in years

  11. This is so true, that figure is absolutely possible, it is a matter of hard work and consistency. Most people hear the dollar amount figures that some bloggers make and are like oh I want to blog, but they do not take the time and effort to understand what goes into blogging and what it really takes to succeed.

    I like the way you explain the possible ways to make money in plain english and it is amazing how many people still dont try once they find out how much hard work it takes. Yes it is simple just very tedious.

  12. I really enjoyed reading your article. It is encouraging to read articles that tell it as it is. Thanks again!

  13. This was extremely helpful, Darren, thank you. I just started my blog a month ago and have been really enjoying writing and doing videos for my subscribers, and I figured I should at least look into monetizing it…so I found this post and I loved your tips. Thanks again, you’ve been a huge help.

    Epic Beauty Guide

  14. $30,000 a yr is certainly achievable…

    And I’m sure you wld be easily achieving it( if i’m not mistaken)

  15. I’ve had pretty good luck selling products of my own as far as ebooks and pdf series go. The key is to hit it hard and hit it hard for a short period of time. That’s what I’ve found at least.

  16. This is super true, blogging doesn’t happened overnight. I am amazed on your earnings today. $30,000 dollars a year? wow. This is so big. I am just one month in blogging today. And i am utilizing just adsense as my advertiser in my blog. I still have no domain, I was just hoping that my blog will become popular in the future. I always make sure that I always update it everyday. The contents of my blog is anything on my mind. But i do always make sure that they will learn something out of it.

    Actually, I have read an e-book from Macuha, one of the most popular bloggers here in the Philippines, same as this blogs says, patience really is a virtue.

  17. Inspirational to know that it is actually possible to make decent money from blogging.

  18. You’ve really gone a long way Darren! Congratulations. At 3.42/ hr. I think this is cheap if you are a full time blogger :)

  19. Great post, I built my following by asking questions on Twitter, and kind of fell out of doing that. I need to focus more on going back to that process to engage more people.
    I will also make sure that I begin asking questions in my posts. Thanks for your video.
    I would like to know if people enjoy reading my content and what I could do to make it more informative.
    Thanks again

  20. Great Post. Blogging and Affliate marketing is not an easy task .It really takes time and dedication. I have recently setup a blog for web design tutorials, news, and resources at:

  21. Great post. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Excellent information!

    Indeed, it is always best to take bite size pieces, as it keeps one from becoming overwhelmed with too much too fast. Leaping towards goals tends to lead to failure, while taking life in steps leads to stability.

    Of course, the idea of being diversified is good too, as it is never wise to put all of your eggs into one basket. For where one prospect might fall short another can make up for its lack.

    Thanks! I am going to share this post with my sister.

  23. Great blog, I think that breaking it down and diversifying makes it very achievable., and easy to stay focused on the goal.

  24. Wow! Nice Post! I’ve been a blogger for just a week now and I am very lucky to see this post! A million thanks! Great! Keep it up! I never knew that blogging could make me leave my job in the future! LOL.

  25. Great post! I love how you broke it all down so new bloggers, like me, could see some great ways to earn money! I am still trying see which affiliates will work best for my blog! However I’m more concerned with building an audience right now! Thanks for the helpful info!!!!

  26. Great stuff !, really must diversify at some point. This business is probably like being an Olympic athlete, you need continued persistent effort and determination. Hopefully things will get a bit better once you read the daily target.

  27. Outstanding article and advice! We are starting a blog soon for our company and have been hearing about the financial benefits of blogging from marketers. Our primary focus is for our website promotion but its nice to hear that there are additional benefits that can come with a quality blog.

  28. This post has really opened my eyes on how I could potentially monetize my blog – Thank you so much! I didn’t realize there were so many options. Does anyone have any tips for gaining blog sponsors and more importantly, how to approach them in the first place?

  29. I pray that someday I will have a blog as good as yours! :) I talk about the great weight loss achievments with resveratrol.

  30. :) Thanks for the great infor darren. As of now, I have different ideas to start with a blog. Doing eviews are my target. I really hope my blog would be successful. :) BTW, starting a blog is easy right? But continuing it is hard, especially when you are not earning anything. To be a successful blogger needs patient and perseverance. I really hope my upcoming blog would be as successful as yours. Thanks again.


  31. Nice…

    I am really curious to know how much you made in your first year and how much did you increase on a month by month basis.

    I am kind of not happy with my site :

    Your post was of great help to me…

  32. Great info. Clear, useful and actionable. There are so many people who are looking for jobs, and I think that making $30K per year from blogging is better than most jobs.

  33. I’d be interested to know whether that $100 a day came from one or multiple websites?
    I would be saying probably for multiple blogs, especially if you are just starting out.

    It is amazing reading through the comments of many that it did that many months/years before a decent income could be made. It’s still early days at the moment, but I tell you, $100 a day sounds great

  34. I agree this is a great way to break things down into more manageable dollar amounts to shoot for. It sounds like such a small amount to shoot for when you’re goal is $3 an hour :)

    Writers can do similar things when they’re trying to transition out of client based work and into more of their own projects. If you regularly earn $15 per client article written, then each time you’ve earned $15 from AdSense, Affiliate Programs, your own products, etc, you should write another article for your own sites or projects. That way you’re still earning the “today” income needed for current bills and cash flow needs, but you’re also making sure to invest in your own future profits and growth.

  35. Great and insightful post. I wouldn’t suggest for anyone to quit their day job either. They have to remain focused and centered on their goals first. Great way to break it down for us. I’ll stop back by as there is a lot of useful information here. Thanks!

  36. Glad someone finally broke it down as to what you need to do in order to make such and such money. It was also nice to see how long it took you.

  37. Really helpful info.. easily understandable and Actionable..!!
    Great Work..!!

  38. You know what’s so funny Darren, lots of people starting a blog are writing about making money online, or online marketing.

    They don’t have a clue what they publish or copy/paste content from other blogs – maybe rephrasing the content a bit.

    I want to advice any wannabe problogger to start writing about what you DO know. Pieces written from experience are more powerful than anything else.

    • Dave – there are so many people who start their first blog on the topic of making money blogging. While on one hand I think writing about what you’re learning is a good idea it’s not the smartest move in terms of creating authority if you’ve never done what you’re writing about.

  39. I have just started a website
    I have put google adwords on it but have not pondered upon the other monitization techniques that you have mentioned. You have provided good breakup and good money making techniques from a blog or a website.

    Excellent thoughts. Also can you write a blog on how much time do I need to spend a day on my website to attain such a goal in one year?

    Also is it more important to do link building or write new content for good search engine ranking?

  40. I totally agree with this post. I know some contacts of mine who make around $600 a month just by doing part time blogging and its fun too.

  41. Darren you should put more emphasis on hard work. Also put more emphasis on patience. Take things one day at a time. Making money only is FOR HARD WORKERS ONLY. Some people that actually do make money online might tell you that it is easy to do so, but they say that because they work so hard that they have gotten used to it. To YOU writing one article maybe hard but for guys like Darren who has written tens of thousands of articles, just writing one of them doesn’t hurt at all. To You building links seems really hard but for Darren it is not hard because he has done so much of it.

  42. Wonderful post!, I simply would certainly just like to bring that Freelancing really has its appealing advantages. Firms can take benefit of the much less expensive operational and labor expenses when they delegate their work. Outsourcing also allows firms to focus on their core business.

  43. need hard work to get $ 30,000 a year. I agree with you to break it down into something more achievable. thanks for your tips

  44. Yes i am 100% agree because i make alot through the blogging and other stuff.

  45. This seems completely pie-in-the-sky to me…

  46. This is a great article. Thank you for writing this. There are a lot of people trying to earn a decent income online. I have enjoyed reading all of the comments on here as well. It’s not easy earning a living when you first start trying to make it online. There is a lot to learn. There 1st website I ever made was 17 pages, yes 17, lol. It’s still up but has a lot of information on it about where to find jobs, where to post ads, etc. Thousands and thousands of visits later I made no money at all. Now after 8 years of working at home I make a good income. I started by writing an ebook and made some money on that but not what I expected, made small amounts on affiliate programs and 4 1/2 years ago find a full time online job Iove. I am still doing affiliate programs and earning with those and just got into a 5×8 matrix that’s going to be huge! CheaperGroceries! WoW! Everyone needs to eat for less! Try different avenues. There is a lot to learn. Just remember: don’t give up. You can do anything you set your mind to.

  47. I love the idea of breaking it down into small chunks.

    I think getting your own product is one way to quickly increase your income.

  48. Thanks for your great post, But it need spent a lot of time and power to build that.

  49. The most people i’ll know want to have a living with 30k (euro’s (Dutch))

    Where i aim for is, 5k euro per month. Then i’ll quit my job!

  50. At first thought $30 000 a year seems like a dream, but when i “listen” to you it’s look somehow easy.
    Anyway post is encouraging for new bloggers like me.

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