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Can You Actually Make Money Blogging?

January 31, 2013


Erin Schrader

It’s a question I hear time and time again.
Or maybe it’s just a question that I expect people are asking secretly in their own brains time and time again. Regardless, I assume it’s either being asked or it’s being thought about..
Can you actually make an earnest income from blogging?
Today, I’d love to dive into this topic.

Before we begin I want to make one thing very clear… you do not need to make a dime off of your blog to be a successful bloggerSome of the most admired bloggers are the ones who have zero sidebar ads, they aren’t constantly having “guest posts”, and they are never seen wearing a product for a certain shop.
Making money from your blog is not what will make you a successful blogger.

Now that we have that understood, let’s look at the reverse side of things.
It may be a goal of yours to someday make money off of your blog, you may already be making money off your blog, or you may be in limbo asking yourself “is it even okay for me to make money off my blog?!” 
I think that’s a question only women ask ourselves. I mean seriously, do guys ever sit around and ask themselves “Is it actually okay to treat this thing like a business and be paid for the time we are investing?!”
We girls have to justify EVERYTHING, amen?
I have been in all three stages over the past two years.

I will always remember when I first heard about blogs.
It was Little Miss Momma and my sister was telling me about her…aside from our adoration for the girl in general, we noticed that she was generating revenue from her hobby.
We both were a little intrigued. Being the bearer of all potential income producing ideas I went to my husband and I said “So this is crazy. People are like writing these blogs about ANYTHING and then they are making money off of them. Isn’t that nuts?!!” This was my husband’s response:
“Yeah but those bloggers actually have people reading them. That could be a problem for you.”
And so it began.
I started a blog the next day. Not to make money…but just to prove to my husband that I could get people to actually read it danggit. About six months in (and a few hundred readers later) I started to ask myself those questions about making money off this new time consuming hobby of mine. You know the ones “Is it wrong to make money from a blog?” “Will that make my readers think it’s just about money?” “I mean how do you actually make money from blogging?”

This is where the exciting part comes in.
There are really an unlimited number of ways you can earn money through blogging.
It’s a lot more than sidebar ads people.
The following are ways that I am currently generating income from my blog, but please keep in mind there are SEVERAL other ways to generate income that I have yet to dive into. 
Also, keep in my mind that no two bloggers are the same—some will make less, some will make more, some will make it one way, while others will make it another way. You just have to find what works best for you.

Sidebar ads/featured posts: $800-$1200/month
Google Adsense: $100-$150/month
Product reviews through Pollinate Media: $100-$200/month
Blog Consultation: $50-$200/month
Product received to wear: $50-$150/month 

Other minimal sources of income I receive come from using Affiliate Links through rewardStyle and Amazon
For a complete list of ways bloggers can earn an income, see here. 
E-books, Conferences, Niche Blogs..the possibilities are endless (isn’t that beyond exciting?! I freak out over this stuff). While you are on ProBlogger, spend time there. The wealth of knowledge on there is plentiful. 

It is very important to keep four things in mind when it comes to making money off your blog. 

1. It doesn’t happen over night. I started slow. I was thrilled to make $50 for a few months. It took over a year to make at least $500 a month, and almost two years to start generating $1,000+ monthly.
The more time you spend focusing on your content, engaging readers, building your readership, developing genuine relationships…the more likely your income will increase. Have patience. 

2. Measure the time you are investing vs the income you are receiving. Because I work a 40 hour job, I don’t expect to make a 40 hour/week income from my blog. I personally spend around 20 hours a week on blogging (give or take some weeks). I do put in full 8, 10, 12 hour days occasionally on the weekends for blogging. I want to make sure that my income is comparable to my time. Hopefully this makes sense. 

3. It takes money to make money. You better believe I put a portion of my income back into blogging (this is done through sponsoring other blogs, participating in giveaways, paying for a virtual assistant, etc). You also better believe that I invested money into my blog/sponsorship before I started making money myself. At the beginning, every dollar that I made I invested right back into my blog. Sponsorship is not “buying readers” in my opinion. It is marketing wisely. Without advertising your growth rate will probably be more stagnant compared to somebody who is continually getting their blog out in front of new audiences. 
If you want to make money, you are most likely going to have to spend money. 

4. With anything, I say experiment with things. Try out sidebar ads, sign up with BlogHer, reposition your Google AdSense ads, sign up with an affiliate program. If you are interested..try it. But then make sure once you try it, you gauge it’s success. It’s okay to admit something isn’t working for you. And maybe it will be wildly successful for you. You never know til’ you try. 

I would love to make this post an “open forum” through the comments section with questions, pieces of advice for what’s worked for you, what hasn’t worked for you, etc. So please feel free to use it to your advantage, others advantage…The best part of blogging in my book? Learning from one another. 
I do not know much but I promise to share with you what I have learned. It’s just more fun that way. 

Also, I know several of you have asked questions about how to deal with taxes and blogging. Heather over at JustLove.ly has written a beneficial post on this topic. I would encourage you to check that out! 

excuse the profanity. not my first choice of words, however i think the point is pretty dead on. 


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