*There may be affiliate links in this post. (Please see our legal pages, link in the footer, for more information.)
Ever wondered how people actually make money blogging?
When I first learnt that blogging as a career was a thing all I could think about was how do they make their money?
Then I stumbled onto blogger income reports. That was my aha moment.
Suddenly I could see exactly what they were doing to earn their income. It was incredible. I mean, in what other industry do businesses detail the exact amount they are making and how?
(Never heard/read bloggers income reports? You are in for a treat! They are fantastically inspirational and educational. Obviously, I will be linking to a few reports in this post. But you can also check out my own income reports or my Pinterest board dedicated to blogger income reports.)
But do you have to blog about blogging to make any money?
This was a question I kept asking myself.
Mainly because the majority of the income reports are written by bloggers who blog about blogging. And you can see why, if they write a post showing how much money they’re making. Someone will read it and see how successful they are and then they will buy their product, creating even more money. Which is a perfect business model if you ask me. The business owner makes money whilst the customer gets a product that they have seen evidence will work.
So to answer the question of whether you have to solely blog about blogging to make decent money I have rounded up 6 personal finance bloggers whose income reports I will be going through with a fine-toothed comb.
Here they are:
Michelle from Making Sense of Cents
Rosemarie from The Busy Budgeter
Bobby from Millennial Money Man
Kyle from Dollar Diligence
Sarah from The Frugal Millionaire Blog
Yandra from Smartnancials
Do more pageviews always equal a higher income?
Before we really get started examining each income report I wanted to just take a quick look at the correlation between pageviews and monthly income.
I think that most of us believe that the higher your pageviews the higher your income is likely to be. Whilst the graph above does show a general trend towards that. It’s important to note that Making Sense of Cents got nearly 100,000 fewer page views than The Busy Budgeter and yet still was making $45,000 more!
While there really isn’t enough data above give us any definite answers. I think it helps to know that yes, more pageviews can lead to more income. But there are circumstances where you can make a (very) good income on fewer pageviews. It’s all about how you market your blog and how much of a tribe you have built up.
In two cases I have had to use income reports not from April 2017 in order to get the information I wanted. I will make it clear where I have done that.
I have not included any information about how long a blog has been around for. That’s because here we work smarter and not harder. So I don’t actually want to know how long it’s taken someone to do something because time spent doing something is not a good measurement of success.
I really wanted to include the number of people subscribed to their email list but only one person shared that info. Basically, I used what I had!
Making Sense of Cents
I thought Michelle’s blog Making Sense of Cents would be the best one to start with. She has the highest income of the 6 and is very well known. I have used her April 2017 income report.
Total Income: $131,448.35 (shes killing it…)
Right, what we can immediately see is that the majority of her income if from affiliates or her own product. Michelle is famous for her incredibly high affiliate income and so she released her course ‘Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing’. Makes sense that this is where she’s making her money.
She also earns from sponsored posts and ads, but these only make up 11% of her total income. However money wise it’s still $14,638. Just goes to show that it can be worth sticking to those income streams that only bring in a few dollars in the beginning, because eventually they could be worth a lot!
Next up we have…
Yandra’s blog is full of useful personal finance info. She also has a great Facebook group for new bloggers. I have used her April 2017 income report.
Total Income: $1,726.44
So Smartnanicals only has two sources of income, or at least it did this month. Ads and affiliates. Her afiliates currently make up 87% of her income. But as we know from Making Sense of Cent’s income report, as the blogs income grows that other 13% can amount to a serioulsy large amount of money.
Kyle’s blog is the newest and smallest blog whose income we are examining today. I have used his April 2017 income report.
Total Income: $132.90
Dollar Diligence is right at the beginning of the blog monetization journey. But he does already have 3 streams of income which is great for security. (The more income streams the better as long as it’s not spreading you too thin on the ground.) Sponsored posts currently account for 56% of the total income. Something I’ve often seen in newish bloggers is for the majority of their income to come from sponsored posts until their audience start clicking through on their affiliate links!
Millenial Money Man
I really love Bobby’s blog and it’s actually one where I tend to read everything he posts. I have used his April 2017 income report.
Pageviews: Bobby doesn’t post his page views in his income report so no number here this time
Total Income: $10,117.87
Now Bobby’s income report is a little different to the others because he posts an overall online income, which was $20,507.77. Then gives a breakdown of how much was actually from the blog and how much he made from his digital marketing and Facebook ads consultancy. So he made $10,117.87 directly from the blog, $6,889.90 from digital marketing and $3,500.00 from Facebook ads consultancy. For the purpose of this post I am only looking at the income derived directly from the blog.
First off it’s worth noting that on Bobby’s income report he combines his ads and sponsored posts income. I have split it for the purpose of this pie chart leaving a higher amount in the ads section because he explained that his sponsored post income is lower than his ad income.
As you can see Bobby also has a few other income streams the other bloggers don’t. Staff writing and coaching. This is great because the diversification adds extra income security. He did write that he plans to stop coaching in favour of the more passive income like affiliates.
The Frugal Millionaire Blog
I have used her March 2017 income report as the April 2017 income report did not have pageview information. It was actually Sarah’s first month blogging full time having quit her 9 to 5 job which is super exciting!
Total Income: $2,615.73
You can see that a whopping 89% of the income is from affiliate links. This girl’s readers clearly trust her judgement to click on those products she recommending which is so great. She also has two products that are starting to give her some income. We know from Making Sense of Cent’s report that both affiliates and blogger’s own products have incredible potential to bring in crazy amounts of money.
Last but not least…
The Busy Budgeter
Rosemarie’s blog is another one of my favourites. She has done amazingly well considering she has only been blogging for around 2 years. If you’re interested she pretty much attributes her success to Elite Blog Academy and her own Pinterest strategy (which she has a course for by the way). I have used her January 2017 income report as she does not have an April 2017 income report.
Total Income: $86,438.83
Look at that, 68% own products! That’s amazing! Of course, the great thing about earning income from your own products is you can set the price yourself and no one can take them away from you. Even with affiliates or ads, which tend to be relatively stable, they are at the end of the day under someone else’s control, which could affect your income from them.
What’s so great is that the main product Rosemarie sells is supplemental worksheets to her free 90-day budgeting challenge. A fantastic example of using a free challenge to advertise and sell your product.
Okay, I’ve learnt so much about how these 6 personal finance bloggers make money blogging. But I’ve put all that information together in one more pie chart so we can see the most lucrative forms of income for these personal finance bloggers.
Bloggers own products clearly come out the winners here, followed in close second with affiliates. I’m not surprised by this outcome as both of these tend to be the highest paying items. I am surprised that ads do not play a larger role but then they are notorious for low payouts.
In answer to the two questions we started with:
How do people actually make money blogging?
Do you have to blog about blogging to make any money?
I think we can now answer both of those questions very easy.
People make money blogging in a variety of different ways but the main ones are through selling their own products, affiliates, sponsored posts and ads.
And you definitely don’t have to blog purely about blogging to make money blogging. In total, these 6 personal finance bloggers made $232,480.12 in one month. Is that proof enough?
Great article! Could you please guide more about affiliate marketing.
You might find this blog post helpful!