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Is it Really Possible to Make Money From Your Blog?

Today’s episode is about whether it is really possible to make money from your blog. We take a close look at how many bloggers make money, the methods you can use, and the realities of earning money as a blogger.

In this Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). Today we talk about:

  • How much money bloggers make
  • 37 different ways to make money blogging
  • How I make money blogging
  • 11 examples of bloggers who make money blogging
  • The 4 things it takes to build a profitable blog

Further Resources

37 Ways to Make Money Blogging

How to make money from blogging

How much money ProBlogger readers make from blogging

Not all of our readers try to make money from blogging. This is how much money our readers who DO try to make money from blogging say they make (based on results from a survey we ran recently):
  • 4% of bloggers who try to make money blogging make over $10,000 a month
  • 9% of bloggers who try to make money blogging make $1,000 – $9,000 a month
  • 7% of bloggers who try to make money blogging make $500 – $999 a month
  • 17% of bloggers who try to make money blogging make $100 – $499 a month
  • 25% of bloggers who try to make money blogging make $10 – $99
  • 28% of bloggers who try to make money blogging make made under $10 a month
  • 10% of bloggers who try to make money blogging say they don’t make anything

Examples of bloggers making money blogging

Further Reading

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
Hi there. It’s Darren Rowse from ProBlogger here. Welcome to episode 32 of the ProBlogger podcast. Today, we’re answering one of the most frequently asked questions that I get about blogging. The question, can you really make money blogging? It’s a question I get a lot and it’s one where there’s a lot of misinformation going around the blogosphere. I want to clear that up and give you a realistic answer to it. You can find today’s show notes at

Hi. My name is Darren Rowse and today, we’re answering the question, can you really make money blogging? This is an important question and I want to answer right up front in this podcast series because there are a lot of misconceptions out there. I see a lot of bloggers coming into blogging with expectations that I just don’t think are realistic, so I want to give you a realistic answer to the question. There’s also a lot of hype out there. There are people making big claims about what you can achieve with blogging and sometimes, some of those claims come from people who have another agenda. They’re quite often selling something that claims to be able to help you to make money blogging.

Today, I want to break some of the myths and give you a realistic answer to the question. Is it possible to make money from blogging? Let’s get into it. What I want to share today are nine things that I’ve learned on this topic in my own journey in making money from blogging. I’ve been blogging since 2002. That’s been about 13 years and things have changed over that time. I’ve learned a whole heap of lessons and I want to share them with you today to hopefully give you a realistic understanding.

The first thing I’ll say is that it is possible. I’m living proof of that in many ways. I’ve been making a full-time living from blogging since about 2004. It took me a couple of years to get to that point. Keep in mind that back when I started in 2002, there was no such thing as making money from blogging. People weren’t doing it particularly directly. It did take a year or so before people began to experiment with that. But it is possible. As I look at bloggers today, I can think of many bloggers who do make money from blogging, but it’s worth noting that many of those people don’t make a full-time living.

We run a conference here in Australia for bloggers and we usually have about 700 bloggers come to our conference. The majority of them don’t make a full-time living from blogging. For some, it’s just a hobby and that’s totally fine. Even at ProBlogger, we give blog tips for people who don’t want to make a living from blogging and I want to make any money from blogging and they’re just blogging because they enjoy it, because they like to talk about their topic, and that’s totally fine.

Probably the majority of bloggers out there probably fit into that kind of category or at least start that way. But there are others where blogging income supplements the income that they might have from other work or supplements their family’s income in some way, in some small way perhaps.

For others, it’s something that they treat like a part-time job. They might do it while they parent for the rest of their time, they travel for the rest of their time, they volunteer for the rest of their time, or work another part-time job. That’s certainly how I started to make money from blogging. I had a number of part-time jobs and I treated blogging as another one of those. It made a day a week of income for a while, it made two days a week of income for a while.

And then there’s a smaller group of bloggers who make a full-time living from it and I think about the ProBlogger events audience and they’re certainly in the minority, but that group has grown over the last six years that we’ve been running that event. The first thing I’ll say is that it is possible to make money blogging.

The second thing builds on this and I’ve already mentioned that it’s that most bloggers don’t make a full-time living from blogging. I did a recent survey of ProBlogger readers that asked the question, “Do you try to make money from blogging? And if so, how much do you make?” and I gave them some different categories. It became very clear from this survey that those who are trying to make money from blogging, the vast majority of them were not making a whole heap, and just a very small minority were making a full-time level.

It was around 3%–4% of bloggers who are making over $10,000 per month. Let me just qualify that a little. That was 4% of those who are trying to make money from blogging. 3%–4% of those trying to make money from blogging were making over $10,000 a month. You can see there it’s possible, but the minority is at that level.

Now, $10,000 a month is $120,000 a year, so that’s more than a full-time income in most places that I know. But even as we look at some of the lower categories, certainly the minority were making a full-time income. Around 9% of those who are trying to make money from blogging were making over $1000 a month and on that $9999. Even if you add those two top categories together, about 13% were making over a thousand dollars per month and the vast majority were sitting onto that. Around 10% of those who are trying to make money from blogging made nothing at all, even those who are trying.

I’ve got those statistics and I’m happy to give them to you in the show notes from today. That’ll be at But I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the vast majority of bloggers are not full-time bloggers, even those who are trying to make money from their blogs. Keep that in mind. It’s really important to understand that.

The number three thing that I’ve learned about making money from blogging is that there’s no one way to make money from blogging. Again, in the show notes today, I’ll share with you a mind map that I created of different ways that I see bloggers making money from blogging. In that mind map, I’ve listed 37 different ways that you can make money from blogging. Most of them fit into one of these categories. 

The first category and perhaps the most common category for making money from blogging is through advertising and through sponsorships. Again, within this category, there’s a whole heap of different ways of making money from sponsorship. You might sell banner ads on your site, you might use an ad network like Google AdSense, or you might sell sponsored posts where if you talk about a product and something from a sponsor.

There’s a whole heap of different types of advertising that bloggers do on their blogs. In a future podcast, I love to break that down even further for you and talk about some of the tips that you can use for those different types of advertising, but today I want to give you an overview. That’s one type of income.

Another one is affiliate products. This is where you mention a product and if someone buys that product after clicking on your link, you might earn a commission.

Another way of making money from blogging is by selling your services. This is where the blog itself doesn’t make the money, you make the money because of your blog. You use the blog to build your profile, to showcase your expertise, and then you might sell your services as a coach, a consultant, or as a speaker.

Another way is to sell products on your blog. These might be virtual products like ebooks or courses, or physical products like books, DVDs, or T-shirts.

Another method is by selling a membership on your site. You might give people exclusive content if they pay you a monthly subscription.

Lastly quite a few bloggers use blogging to make money by promoting an offline business that they might have. You might be an accountant and have a blog about finances and getting your finances in order. Then, people come to that blog and they see that you also offer your services in your offline business.

You can see there I’ve outlined six or seven different ways that you can make money from blogging and they’re just some of them. There’s no one way to make money blogging is the point I’m making here. Again, I’m doing episodes going forward over the coming months where I really want to really dig into some of these different types of income streams and give you some case studies of bloggers who are making money in these different ways.

The fourth thing I’ll say about making money from blogging is that most bloggers who do get to a full-time level are not just focusing on one of these areas. Most of the full-time bloggers that I know have multiple forms of income on their blog.

Again, I’ll use myself as an example here. When I started blogging, I was blogging on a personal blog and I had no idea you could make money from blogging. But when I began to make money from blogging, I did so in two ways right from the very beginning. I put some Google AdSense ads on my blog, that was the main form of income, and I also started to experiment with affiliate programs and I used Amazon’s affiliate program to do that. Neither method in the early days was making a whole heap of money, it was a few dollars a day when I started out. But right from the beginning, there were two forms of income.

Today as I look at the income streams from my blog and I’m beyond full-time now in what they’re bringing in, it really varies from month to month, but there are always at least seven or eight different income streams from any month to the next month.

Last month, for example, the number one stream of income for us was affiliate products. We did a media sale on my photography blog, and as part of that, we had a deal every day on a different product for our readers. Some of the products were affiliate products, so we recommended the course that someone else had put together and we earned a 50% commission when anyone went on to buy that course. That was the number one form of income for us last month, affiliate products and we had a number of different campaigns going on through that period where we had our media sale.

The number two stream of income for us last month was ebook sales. Again, that was part of that media sale that we did on my photography blog. As part of that, we offered three or four of our own ebooks that we had produced. For month to month ebooks are usually in our top two.

The third stream of income last month for us was advertising, particularly using Google’s AdSense program. Some bloggers don’t do very well with AdSense, it works very well on our photography blog.

The number four stream of income last month was courses and selling courses. Again, this is on my photography blog. We have a course there where people can sign-up and go through a series of videos that help them to understand the different elements of photography.

The fifth stream of income was our event which we run on ProBlogger, which is a real live conference and we had to get sales going through last month.

The sixth stream of income was direct ad sales. This is where an advertiser came to us and said, “We’d like to advertise with you on your blog.” It was a direct deal that we did.

We also have a job board on ProBlogger.

I have a book on blogging which was released several years ago now, but I still get some royalties. That was the eighth stream of income.

I do a little bit of speaking, that was the ninth stream of income.

We also sell some printable products on my photography blog as well. That was the 10th stream of income.

You can see last month the top 10 income streams and there were probably a few other smaller ones that came in in a variety of different forms. We will soon be adding to that.

Next month we’re actually going to start to sell some Lightroom presets, so some software. That’ll be the 11th stream of income.

Most bloggers that I’ve met who get to a full-time level don’t just have one form of income. I’m trying to get in your mind here that you need to be open to exploring different income streams. You’ll find over time, different income streams will all do better on your blog. Sometimes it’s to do with traffic, sometimes it’s to do with the type of blog that you have, and whether it be the topic, style of blogging that you have, or the life stages of your blog. So, be open to the idea of having multiple income streams.

The fifth thing I’ve learned about making money from blogging is that there are many different types of blogs that monetize well. This is one of the misconceptions that I see people writing about making money from blogging. It is that the only people who make money from blogging are those who are writing about how to make money from blogging. I see this misconception quite a bit. Sometimes it’s been leveled at me. “Darren makes money from blogging because he blogs about making money from blogging.” That’s partly true, I do make some money from ProBlogger, but in my own situation, I make more money from my photography blog than I do from ProBlogger. Most of the people that I see making money blogging don’t blog about blogging. They actually blog in a whole variety of different topics and niches and in different ways.

Again, I think of the people who attend our event who are full-time bloggers. I think about 10% of those who attend our event are full-time and our speakers, most of them are full-time and they blog in a whole variety of different topics.

I think of someone like Nikki Parkinson. She’s an Aussie blogger, her blog is Her blog’s about style. It’s about fashion. She has a variety of different income streams in that blog. Some from advertising, she also has a shop there. Her blog is not about blogging, it’s about style.

I think of Tsh Oxenreider, who has a blog She came from the States a couple of years ago and spoke at our event. Her blog is about simple living. It’s not about how to make money from blogging.

I think of Chris Hunter, a blog about motorbikes, Bike EXIF, a full-time blogger. I think of Christie Burnett, who’s blog is about parenting. It’s called Childhood101. I think of Gavin from His blog is about cartoons and he shares his cartoons on it. I think about Lucy Feagins from Her blog is about design. Caz and Craig Makepeace from It’s a blog about travel. I think of Brook from A blog about packing and how to pack for trips. Christina from A blog about hair and hairstyles. Jadah Sellner who’s speaking at our event this year. A blog about smoothies, a blog called

You can see here a whole heap of different niches. We’ve got food, we’ve got travel, we’ve got beauty, we’ve got style, we’ve got motorbikes, we’ve got cartoons. There’s a variety of blogs there and these bloggers are all people who make a full-time living from their blog. I’ll list those links and a few others in today’s show notes. The list goes on and on and on. A very few of the speakers and attendees at our event who are full-time bloggers blog about blogging. The few that do usually came to blog about blogging out of their experience of blogging in another niche.

The sixth thing about I’ll say about making money from blogging is that there are no formulas. I’m saying this today because some people claim to have a formula and some people claim to sell you their blueprint of making money from blogging. They do have an agenda there and that’s totally fine. I make some money by selling some teaching products about blogging. But I’m always a little bit dubious when I hear people saying, “Here is the blueprint. Here is the formula. Follow this equation and you’ll have success.”

In my experience of blogging, there’s no formula, there’s no blueprint. All of the bloggers that I’ve met who got to a full-time level have found their own path to it. There are certainly some principles of profitable blogging and that’s pretty evident. We teach some of those on ProBlogger and some of the other people who sell products do as well. There are some great products out there, I will say, but there’s no formula for this. Be really wary if someone says, “Do this, this, and this and then you’ll have a full-time blog.” Every full-time blogger I’ve met has their own path, they have their own different combination of income streams. It takes them a different route every time.

The seventh thing I’ll say about making money from blogging is that it takes significant time to get to a full-time level in most cases. The survey I shared the results to earlier where 4% of bloggers were making over $10,000 a month from their blogs. In almost every case and we had thousands of people take part in that particular survey, there was quite a bit of data. In almost every case, the people in that top income tier had been blogging for seven or eight years. There were a couple of outliers who did it quicker, but most of those full-time bloggers who got to that top tier had been blogging for quite a few years.

I’m actually doing a second survey on this topic at the moment and the initial data that’s coming in again backs this up. The few people that have already indicated they’re in that top tier, most of them have been blogging for over seven years. Most of those in the next tier down have been blogging for 3-4 years. It takes time to build-up to the point where you’re able to own an income from blogging. That’s mainly because it takes time to build your traffic and time to build your profile.

The eighth thing that I’ll say about making money blogging—I’ve only got two to go—is that it just takes a lot of work and this really relates to the last thing that it takes a lot of time. I’ll say this because I hear some people—there’s not many; there’s a few people around—who say income from blogging is a passive income. 

I will say there are some elements of what I do that are passive. The ProBlogger job board would be a good example of that. I do very little work on that job board. It sits there on the side of my blog and because my blog has decent traffic, people see that and it’s become known as being a good place to advertise for bloggers and find bloggers. 

But while it is passive in some ways today, its success is built upon a lot of hard work in the past and it only works because there’s a lot of people coming to ProBlogger today. That’s built on me writing thousands of articles already which are up on ProBlogger. That’s built on me spending years and years and years building the ProBlogger brand.

You can get to a point where elements of your business may become a little bit more passive, but my experience is that blogging is anything but passive. It’s taken a lot of years and a lot of work to get to that point. I’ve been working over full-time hours on my blog since 2004. While I take breaks from time to time to go away on holidays, it’s rare that I would even go away on holidays without doing some work, although I do try and get a bit of break from time to time. It takes a lot of work. This is anything but passive income if you want purely passive income.

The last thing I’ll say really relates to this and this is where I want to indicate some of the things I want to talk about in future episodes of this podcast as well. The ninth thing is that profitable blogs are generally built upon four things. Most of the successful bloggers that I come across do these four things on their blogs, or they do at least three of these things on their blogs because I think of a few exceptions, but the vast majority work on these four things.

The first thing is that they create regular useful content. It should go without saying, really. A blog without regularly updated useful content isn’t really a blog. It’s just a website that’s quite static. The regular creation of useful content is the first thing.

The second thing is getting off your blog and finding readers for your blog, promoting your blog. Those of you who’ve been part of the 31 Days to Build a Better Challenge that we’ve just gone through in the last 31 episodes of this podcast, you’ll have seen that we have focused quite a bit of our time on those two activities. Building useful content for your blog and promoting your blog, getting off your blog and promoting it.

The third thing we’ve also focused on in the last 31 days and that’s building community with your readers, deepening the engagement that you have with your readers. This is one where I do see a couple of bloggers who are perhaps the exceptions to the rule. Seth Godin would be one example of this. He doesn’t have comments on his blog, he doesn’t really engage in social media, he’s not out there building engagement, building community with his readers, but he has some incredible profile to start with and some incredible reach. He doesn’t probably need to spend a whole heap of time on that. He says that he would much prefer to spend his time creating content because he can be more useful that way.

But the vast majority of bloggers that I see who have full-time are focusing not only on creating content, but they’re also promoting their blog, getting off their blog, and they’re also building community with their readers.

The fourth area that most bloggers are working on and being quite intentional about who gets to a full-time level is they’re working on effective monetization strategies. Money just doesn’t happen if you have a blog with great content and lots of readers. You need to actually put some time aside to think about how you’re going to monetize that. That may come a little bit after you’ve worked on the other three, but certainly, it’s an important element. You need to be intentional, thinking about how am I going to turn the traffic that I have into an income stream? How am I going to make my blog sustainable?

These four elements of creating useful content, promoting your blog, building community with your readers, and monetizing your blog, I’m sharing these four things because I want you to see that these are not just things that happen, they don’t just happen to you. Useful content doesn’t appear, promoting your blog just doesn’t happen, building community doesn’t just happen, monetizing doesn’t just happen. You need to work on all of these four different areas, these four different pillars, these four different foundations.

These are some of the principles that I was mentioning earlier. While there’s no blueprint, there’s no formula, because there’s a lot of variety on how you can do these four things, these are the four areas I would encourage you to spend your time on. Particularly, the first three in the early days. You do need to be thinking about monetization, but that really comes as a result of the other three areas.

I’m also sharing these four things because in the coming weeks and months here on this podcast, these are the four areas that I’ll be focusing most of my attention on. Creating useful content, building a readership, building community, and monetization.

I’ve already got a bit of a plan based upon a survey that many of you as listeners of this podcast have filled in. We’ve had quite a few results of that survey come in and it’s interesting to see the challenges that you have nominated in your own blogging. By far, the biggest thing that you’ve asked for information on is for help in building your readership which is one of these areas.

The next four or five podcasts, I’m going to focus my attention on helping you to build readership for your blog. I’m going to give you some principles of that, but also some techniques and some strategies that you can use in the coming podcasts that will help you to do that.

But really, what I do want to finish this podcast by saying is coming back to this question, can you make money from blogging? Hopefully, as a result of what I’ve gone through today, you can say: (1) it is possible, but (2) it’s not the norm for you to become rich from this. This is not a get-rich-quick thing. I really want to be upfront about that. I don’t want to be seen as someone who hypes up blogging and saying everyone who wants to make money from blogging is going to become rich from it. That’s certainly not my experience of it. It’s possible to make money from blogging, but it’s not the norm to get rich from it. Certainly, those who do get to that point of making a good income from it takes time and a whole heap of work as well.

I hope you found today’s podcast interesting. Again, the show notes can be found at I’ll share some further reading there and some of the resources that I’ve mentioned as I’ve gone through today’s show. I love to also get your feedback on those show notes; there’s the opportunity to leave comments there.

I would really love it if you could give us a review on iTunes, Stitcher. or any of the other podcast listening tools that you use. That certainly helps me to know how this podcast is helping you, but it also helps us to continue to grow and this information to be shared on a wider basis.

Thanks for tuning in today and we’ll be back with you in the coming days with the next podcast, episode 33, which will begin to focus upon finding readers for your blog. Thanks for listening in. I’ll talk to you then.

How did you go with today’s episode?

What are the next steps for your blog? Will you try new ways of making money from your blog? If you’re already making money from your blog, what is it that’s working best?

I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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