The Reality of Blogging

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When blogging first became popular in the late 1990s, many people thought that they would be able to make a comfortable living sharing their thoughts with the world.

Those at the top in the blogging arena, as with any profession, can make significant amounts of money. But before you quit your day job you should have a realistic expectation of a blogger’s income. On the up side, today there are many niches and applications of blogging so regardless of your interest, you’re likely to find a suitable fit. Unfortunately the down side can be how much you’re likely to make from it.

When it comes to writer compensation, many professionals refer to the pricing guides included in Writer’s Market. Every year the publication produces a rate chart, which covers many disciplines from business blogging to screenwriting and technical writing. While the digital guide provides a wealth of features, the print edition includes an online subscription and often sells for half the price.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

As with anything in life, the best bloggers don’t just focus their efforts on producing blog posts. Whitepapers, eBooks, webinars and even podcasts can drive much more revenue because they are easier to monetize. That said, traditional articles are vital to building a brand, but these days it is difficult to rely solely on advertising to make a living online.

As Darren Rowse of ProBlogger mentioned on his blog, his monetization strategy was relatively slow and steady. When starting out with blogging as a hobby, Darren focused on basic advertising such as AdSense and Amazon Affiliate links. Over time, as Darren built up credibility, his income streams expanded away from his blog. Consulting, speaking, and authoring books became significant ways to complement his blogging income. As time went on, new revenue opportunities kept coming his way.

As Darren mentioned in his post, this occurred over 12 years, and was the result of many experiments to determine what would be his best fit. As with any business, you need to tailor your efforts to your target audience. Once you find something that clicks, run with it and keep evolving it to drive revenue from new and proven methods.

Not for the Faint of Heart

When looking at blogging statistics, the numbers are a bit grim. In a 2012 report of the state of blogging, only 8% of survey participants said they made enough money from blogging to support a family. 81 percent of bloggers never make one hundred dollars.9% of participants said that they made enough money from blogging to sustain their current lifestyle on a 4-6 hour day of blogging and another 2% stated that they spent 1-2 hours a day blogging and made $150k annually blogging from exotic locations.

Of the survey data, the most devastating figure for an aspiring blogger is that upwards of 81% of bloggers never make $100 from blogging.

Make A Living Writing has even more resources on blogger pay.

Is Blogging worth It?

While you probably won’t be able to make a living by running an independent blog, writing is still an in-demand field for many companies. According to HubSpot as of 2014, corporate content marketing budgets have been increasing significantly due to it being a cost effective way to increase revenue. In fact, 71% of marketers today are getting higher budgets, but 35% of Fortune 500 CMOs cite maximizing that budget’s effectiveness as a significant career challenge.

Simply, content marketing is a technique where a company produces informative content to persuade customers to trust them over the competition. If you’re looking to make a living blogging, content marketing could be the ideal fit as it allows you to build your reputation while making a decent income.

The Sky Is the Limit

The beauty of being a blogger is that you control your destiny. You can choose to do it on the side, or you can work hard to turn it into a full-time profession. The most important thing to keep in mind is that earning money from your blog is not the only benefit of writing online. The biggest benefit of blogging is demonstrating that you are knowledgeable in your field, which will open you up to new business or job opportunities.

Charles CostaCharles Costa
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Charles Costa is a content strategist and product marketer based out of Silicon Valley. Feel free to learn more at

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