How Long Before You Start Making Good Money Blogging?
"I told myself that I didn’t care if I never made more than $8/hr – having freedom and not being stuck in the rat race was soooo worth it.”
- Bob Lotich
Whether I’m talking to big corporations, small businesses, or individual bloggers, everyone wants to know the same thing:
How long will it be before I start to see results?
And it’s a fair question.
If you’re creating a blog so that you have a place to publish content to support your brand, your hope is the content will help establish your authority and guide prospective customers through your sales funnel, eventually becoming lead & sales.
While individual bloggers may have the same approach, the goal is usually quite a bit simpler and immediate. To make money.
So how long?
The answer, of course, is that it depends. But I’m going to help you understand why it depends so that you can think about how these factors translate into your own ideas for a blog.
Factor #1: Your Blog Topic
While it’s true that anyone can create an online business on virtually any topic, it’s also true that some topics are more lucrative than others.
Note that I said “lucrative” and not “popular.” It’s possible to create a blog and related content that is highly trafficked, perhaps even viral, without being as successful in generating income. This has to do with your target audience as much as your topic.
A great example is the topic of Celebrities. You could easily create a blog about celebrities and pass on the latest news & gossip. If you’re a decent writer and, more importantly, are able to compile stories from a variety of sources, your audience will eat it up.
But there’s little money to be had there.
On the other hand, the Finance industry, while not as exciting, is extremely lucrative as businesses there are attracting long-term customers who are spending or investing tremendous amounts of money.
The one blog topic that doesn’t fit this approach is “Make Money Online” and that’s simply because there’s too much misinformation and disinformation out there. There are legitimate bloggers who are writing about and earning an ethical living helping others to get started in this space - but they’re few and far between.
My advice: if you want to start a blog and online business talking about making money online, don’t. Pick something else more interesting and relevant. This article on narrowing your niche is a great place to start.
Regardless of what topic you choose, there’s bound to be potential there. What less lucrative topics really require is more work to achieve the same levels of income. The trade-off is that it’s a topic you love, so you likely won’t mind the work!
Factor #2: Your Blogging Schedule
Which brings us to your blogging schedule. In other words, how often are you going to blog?
Assuming, of course, you’re able to maintain consistent quality, the more often you blog, the faster you’ll be able to ramp up your revenue.
But it’s not just blog posts.
To earn a decent amount of money through a blog and online business, you need to be able to create a variety of kinds of content:
- landing pages
- frequently asked questions
- ebooks & other digital resources
Because, as you’ll see in a moment, if all you ever do is publish blog posts, your revenue options will be somewhat limited.
Factor #3: Your Blogging Revenue Options
The final factor to consider is revenue options - how you intend to actually make money from your blog.
We’ve outlined these before but just to recap, you have the following choices:
- Sell Products
- Sell Services
- Affiliate Relationships
Advertising is by far the easiest option to monetize a blog. Simply set up ad spaces in designated areas (i.e. your sidebar) and fill them with Google AdSense ads, ads from sponsors, or other sources.
The problem with advertising is that it’s generally poor performing. You will need tremendous amounts of traffic to earn significant revenue from ads - just look at how much newspapers are struggling despite having plenty of advertising and tons of daily traffic.
A far more attractive option is to sell products and/or services. Of course, that requires that you have products or services that you can sell.
Interestingly, most successful bloggers achieve that success because they cultivate and demonstrate their topical authority through their writing. As a result, their readers often want to know more and are willing to pay for that expertise.
The nice thing about offering your time as a consultant is that it’s something you can offer & sell right from the start!
You still need to focus on creating quality content as fast as possible in order to ramp up your traffic and reach, but throughout that process each and every reader can potentially become a high-paying client.
And finally, you might consider creating affiliate relationships. While typically offering less commission than straight-up selling your own time, affiliate recommendations do offer the convenience of zero fulfillment. Once one of your readers takes advantage of an affiliate recommendation, it’s the recommended company’s job to fulfill that new customer’s order.
Which of these approaches will you choose? Which ones are the most lucrative in your industry?
And, most importantly for the question of this article, how long will it take you to start making money from your blog for each of these approaches?
How To Start Making Money Blogging As Fast As Possible
So, to this point we’ve thought about what topic we’re writing about, how often we’re going to write, and what options for making money we’re going to employ.
How do we pull that all together into a set of reasonable expectations?
That’s important because, if you’re thinking about starting a new blog, you need to have a decent idea of when you might start to see some revenue come in. So here are some more considerations to help you come up with a plan.
First, if you can, it’s best to focus your next 6 months of blogging on creating content and building an audience with no expectation or attempt to monetize. While you don’t have to wait that long, it’s likely that a solid 6 month period of building up your content and reach will result in a stronger long-term approach for your blog. And greater overall success!
This is because:
- Content that is not sales-oriented and is instead focused on answering questions will be shared and visited more.
- Readers who feel like you’re genuinely and altruistically trying to help them will be more likely to subscribe/follow you.
- Sites that employ Google AdSense ads tend to get less organic Google traffic as a result.
Therefore, content that is too focused on driving revenue early on may actually impede the growth of a new blog.
Second, while you’re focused on creating great content, think about your preferred approach to monetizing, and structure your blog accordingly.
Will you be writing reviews of affiliate products and funneling blog readers into those reviews? Or perhaps you plan to focus on answering reader questions and offering to help those who have more challenging situations?
Whatever approach you choose, you can take this opportunity to structure your blog and content so that it educates your readers, presents the sale opportunity, and funnels them correctly.
I mention this because one of the most critical points you can take away from this article is this:
A successful, profitable blog is not formed from creating more and more blog posts. It comes from creating the right series of content that helps readers on their journey, ultimately leading to an opportunity for you to make a paid recommendation.
This is a hard lesson for new bloggers to comprehend, so it’s worth explaining further.
Typically, a new reader who discovers a single blog post of yours will not become a customer. They don’t know you so they haven’t developed the kind of trusting relationship that’s usually required to make successful recommendations. Which means that one of two things has to happen:
- Your blog post is memorable enough to give the reader reason to come back another time.
- Your blog post is designed to lead the reader into other pieces of content that help establish a relationship and, ultimately, a recommendation.
While it’s possible for you to put ads on your site, or sign up for an affiliate program and start making some early commissions, the best long term strategy for making money through your blog is to focus on building a great funnel of content that leads into high-paying opportunities.
I know this is a really important question for you, and I appreciate that you’ve made it this far. While there’s no definitive answer (and do not believe anybody who tries to tell you how much you can be making in a month), I hope that I’ve given you sufficient food for thought.
You know that you need to think about your blog topic & focus and perhaps spend some time doing more market research.
You know that you need to set a schedule for your blog, and for your overall content strategy.
And you know that you have a variety of ways in which you can make money blogging.
Finally, you know now that the best approach is one of patience, allowing yourself time to create great content and set your blog up for long term success.
Hopefully, these considerations have helped you to formulate a stronger and more realistic plan for your blog. While earning a full-time living from a blog is absolutely possible, it’s absolutely impossible to achieve that overnight.
But I believe in you, and I know that if you follow this approach, you can begin to earn revenue within 6 months, and if you keep working at it, you should be to turn that into a solid income long-term!
Working from home. Working remotely! Being able to set your own hours and take on the kind of work and projects that really interest you - those are all very real possibilities. I’m a testament to that, and as you can see, I’m not selling anyone on the idea of getting rich quick. To the contrary.
To help you get your blog up and running, in the right direction, as fast as possible, I put together a complete, step-by-step walkthrough of what to do. How To Start A Blog: The Ultimate Guide. That resource is your next step. Head over there now.
DISCLOSURE: Many of the links in the article above, and throughout this site, are affiliate links. While there's no additional cost to you, any purchases made via those links may earn me a commission. Rest assured, only products and services which have been rigorously tried and tested are reviewed, and those reviews are always thorough and honest. If you benefited from my review and have a genuine interest in the linked product, your use of the affiliate link is appreciated and allows me to continue writing these kinds of helpful articles. Current examples include Tailwind, AgoraPulse, Post Planner, PromoRepublic and Freshbooks. Please also note that I am employed by SiteSell as their Chief Marketing Officer and am fully authorized to share product and company information from extensive personal experience.
By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, award-winning Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."Follow @Mike_Allton