I’ve written this article to counterbalance and to add to those many implied motivational blog posts called ‘income reports’ that you can find in the Internet. They tell you how much money you can earn by blogging or how much this or that blogger already earned.
Although big income numbers achieved by ordinary guys and gals can be really driving you in a positive way and pumping up your blogging motivation, I’d like to give you more down-to-earth numbers with the help of per visitor and per page view approach considering the expenses that the bloggers have.
This will make your expectations about earning money by blogging more realistic, especially when you just start out with your blog.
I’ve analyzed six bloggers’s income reports for one year period or longer to get realistic average data of their earnings: smartpassiveincome.com (online marketing), matthewwoodward.co.uk (online marketing and SEO), makingsenseofcents.com (home finances), justagirlandherblog.com (life style and home decoration), shoutmeloud.com (blogging and online marketing) and pinchofyum.com (food).
This blog posts contains of three major parts:
1. My thoughts on what makes your blog profitable. Inspired by income reports analysis.
2. Analysis and comparison of income reports of six bloggers (and their 12 projects) with per-visitor and per-page view approach.
3. Conclusion and strategic advice on earning by blogging.
- Before Crunching The Numbers. What Makes Your Blog Profitable
- How Much Money You Can Earn By Blogging: Blogger’s Income Reports Analysis. Per-Visitor View
- Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn income reports analysis
- Matthew Woodward’s income reports analysis
- Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s makingsenseofcents.com income reports analysis
- Abby Lowson’s justagirlandherblog.com income reports analysis
- Harsh Agrawal’s shoutmeloud.com income reports analysis
- Lindsay’s pinchofyum.com income reports analysis
- Comparative Charts and Tables
- Conclusions And Advice
Before Crunching The Numbers. What Makes Your Blog Profitable
Before diving into the numbers let me tell you in short about just one factor that can make your blog profitable. If you want to have really profitable blog and you just start out, you need to treat it as a long-term business.
In blogging world it means that you need to be good at many things. Being helpful or useful in some way to others and being determined to success are probably the most important ones. And you need to be (or become in the process of your blogging path) really good in at least one thing which is called your competitive advantage. It can be really anything – your expertise, your creativity, your way of thinking or even any trait of your character that you can embody into your blogging.
For example, I’m good at analysis that make my articles much deeper and more useful than many others you can find in the Internet.
Unlike many bloggers, I don’t think so. You don’t have to be the best in something. But you need to be good at presenting something. Under presenting I mean making something visible or tangible or understandable to others in the way that people will like.
However, in your niche it’s really better to be the best. But this niche can be very specific or non-existent yet. You can actually make up your own niche by creatively combining other existing niches (but this is a topic for a separate article).
By the way, the more unique your approach will be, the more successful you’ll be. And look – if you are unique in something, you are automatically become the only one doing it and you become the best in it! 🙂
And one more good news is that you can learn by practice how to be unique and good at anything you like. By mastering it your own way, you will gain your uniqueness that people will love and it will become your really strong competitive advantage.
There’s a lot to be said on this topic, and I’ve just have scratched the surface.
- your determination to success (mandatory)
- being helpful or useful to others (mandatory)
- being good at something (mandatory, but also you can learn it in the process)
- your creativity and ability to learn (desired, especially very helpful if you don’t know your competitive advantage yet)
- and of course your work (hard work is good, smart and creative work is better)
Also, read more advice in the conclusion.
Okay. That’s clear. And where are the numbers? How much money can I earn by blogging, how many visitors will I get and how quickly will I begin earning? – you may ask.
The answer is that it depends on how well you play with the factors I’ve written above. And then your numbers will come. Sooner or a bit later.
And now let’s talk about numbers of visitors and page views and how much different people make with them.
How Much Money You Can Earn By Blogging: Blogger’s Income Reports Analysis. Per-Visitor View
I’ve analyzed several bloggers who publish their income and traffic reports regularly. And you’ll see that not only their gross income differs but also how great their income per visitor and page view differs. Mostly the guys are earning as affiliates, with ads, some of them sell their digital products and services on their blogs or websites.
The purpose of my analysis is to show you examples of how much per visitor and per page view you can make with your blog. I have not selected the greatest numbers in order to motivate you, but the opposite – I’ve selected different examples to let you see more realistic situation.
Also, you will see that profitable income streams can be different for different bloggers: what works very well for one blogger, is not always good for the others.
Note that income reports contain not only revenue part, but also expenses part which make it possible to calculate net profit values. Each blogger may include different things in their expenses (e.g. someone includes new laptop or mic costs and someone includes just online costs) , but generally there’s enough data to compare revenue vs net profit.
Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn income reports analysis
Pat manages to maintain several websites which have their own income streams including affiliate, information products, ads, job board and sponsorship.
What is interesting is that they all have different per-visitor and per-page revenue.
I’ve used Pat’s 2014 yearly income report (2015 is not published at the time of writing this article). But 2014 is also fine because I analyze not absolute values, but relative ones (per visitor, per page view) which are more or less the same for a particular project.
Also, I did not analyze each Pat’s project expenses separately for simplicity, and considered expenses and revenue/expenses ratio for all Pat’s projects in common. The common revenue/expenses ratio was 0.773 ($946 K revenue and $731.5 K net profit) in 2014.
Let’s look at each project Pat has.
This is a blog about online marketing. I bet you have heard of it before.
I’ve analyzed revenue coming from affiliate and Pat’s ebook sales.
Here are the total numbers:
Pat’s popular blog smartpassiveincome.com was visited by 3.34 visitors and there were 7.62 mln page views in total. The blog generated $6.78 mln revenue ($5.24 mln net profit) in 2014.
Thus, each visitor brings Pat $0.203 revenue and $0.155 net profit. And with each page view Pat has got $0.089 revenue and $0.069 net profit.
And here is the net profit per page view data (see the circled marker) in the chart with other projects and blogs I’ve analyzed:
Let’s see the breakdown by revenue streams at smartpassiveincome.com. There are affiliate sales:
And here income/profit from his e-book sales:
As you can see, affiliate sales make a huge part of Pat’s income on his blog. Affiliate sales bring $0.201 ($0.155 net profit) for each visitor, and $0.088 ($0.068 net profit) for each page view. By the way this values are pretty good. Getting almost 7 cents net profit from a single page view is a very good result.
At the same time Pat’s book, although it brought Pat several thousand dollars (which is cool), per visitor or page view it was quite little. The book generated only $0.002 per visitor and $0.001 per page view.
Let’s see other income streams which Pat utilizes on his other websites.
This is a website about preparing and passing exam in Architecture.
The revenue comes from selling the information product “how to pass the exam”.
With 124.5 K unique visitors and 270.4 K page views this Pat’s web project generated $39.4 revenue ($30.5 net profit) during one year.
It makes $0.317 generated for each unique visitor (and $0.245 net revenue for each unique visitor).
Also, $0.146 revenue ($0.113 net profit) was generated per page view .
These are very good results.
Here it is (see the circled marker) on the chart with other blogs and projects I’ve analyzed:
The revenue comes from selling digital products which are interactive maps.
There were about 43 K visitors and almost 82 K page views during 2014 and it brought $6.5 K revenue and $5 K was net profit.
It generated $0.151 revenue ($0.117 net profit) for each visitor and $0.08 revenue ($0.061 net profit) for each page view. Really not bad.
Here’s how it looks like (see the circled marker) on the chart with other blogs and projects:
Ask Pat (Podcast)
The income in this project comes from sponsorship:
Since this is a podcast, there are no visitors and page views, but downloads. There were 3.1 mln podcast downloads and they made $46 K revenue ($35.7 K net profit).
Each download brought $0.015 revenue ($0.012 net profit).
Here is how the podcast performed in terms of efficiency (see the circled marker) in comparison with other projects and blogs I’ve analyzed:
Ask Pat (Podcast) Efficiency
SmartPassiveIncome.com’s podcast had two income sources: sponsorship and digital product sale (player).
There were 5.7 mln downloads and $99 K revenue ($76.6 k net profit) in total.
Here’s where the podcast is located on the chart with other projects and blogs (see the circled marker):
SPI Podcast Efficiency
Digital product sales brought $50.6 K revenue ($39.1 K net profit) and $0.009 revenue ($0.007 net profit) for each download:
Sponsorship was a bit less efficient for this project. $48.4 K revenue ($37.5 K net profit) and $0.008 revenue ($0.007 net profit) for each download:
This website is about starting a Food Truck business.
This project has two income sources: ebook sales and ads.
This website attracted 349.1 K visitors and got 665.8 K page views. The total revenue was $10.8 K ($8.4 K net profit).
It makes $0.031 revenue ($0.024 net profit) per visitor and $0.016 revenue ($0.013 net profit) per page view.
Here’s how this projects is compared with others (see the circled marker):
And here are ebook sales separately:
$10 K revenue ($7.8 K net profit) which make $0.029 revenue ($0.022 net profit) per visitor and $0.015 revenue ($0.012 net profit) per page view.
Income from ads looks less attractive for this project:
$0.8 K revenue ($0.6 K net profit) with $0.002 per visitor and $0.001 per page view.
As the title says, this website is about training security guards.
This project has several income sources: affiliate, ads and job board.
In total it made $33.6 K revenue ($26K net profit). There were 351 K visitors and 729.5 K page views.
It was $0.096 revenue ($0.074 net profit) per visitor and $0.046 ($0.036 net profit) per page view.
Here’s this website (see the circled marker) on the common chart with other blogs and projects:
Affiliate earnings were just a small portion of this project’s income.
$731 revenue ($565 net profit) which makes just $0.002 per visitor and $0.001 per page view.
Most of income came from ads: $31.8 K revenue ($24.6 K net profit) which made $0.091 revenue ($0.07 net profit) per visitor and $0.044 revenue ($0.034 net profit) per page view. Pretty good results.
And the job board presented some extra income: $1148 revenue ($888 net profit) with $0.003 revenue per visitor and $0.002-0.001 per page view.
That’s is with pat Flynn’s projects and income streams. As you can see, they have very different Efficiency.
As you can see, Pat benefits from many income sources. And the most profitable ones are some (not all) of his digital products as well as affiliate marketing.
Matthew Woodward’s income reports analysis
Matthew earns by affiliate marketing (SEO and other niches) and some other income stream that he does not reveal at the moment.
In total in 2015 he’s got nearly 661 K visitors and 2.3 mln page views (3.4 pages per visitors which is very good).
Matthew has earned $284,213.8 ($271,621.4 net profit). It means that the revenue/expenses rate is 0.96 which is very high.
He has got $0.43 revenue ($0.411 net profit) per visitor and $0.125 revenue ($0.119) per page view. These values are exceptionally good in affiliate marketing sphere, especially per visitor net profit is huge.
Here’s how Matthew’s blog (see the circled marker) compares with others:
Let’s look at his affiliate income stream:
Matthew has earned about $167.8 K revenue ($160.4 net profit). It makes $0.254 revenue ($0.243 net profit) per visitor and $0.074 revenue ($0.07 net profit) per page view.
Another income source that Matthew calls “other income” which is a part of his blog, but Matthew keeps details in a secret. Anyway, this part is also very efficient from earning point of view.
It brought him $116 K revenue ($111 K net profit) which makes $0.176 revenue ($0.168 net profit) per visitor and $0.051 revenue ($0.049 net profit) per page view.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s makingsenseofcents.com income reports analysis
This is a life style blog about saving money. In my analysis I’ll cover only affiliate income, since other kinds of income are hard to analyze.
There’s no statistics for visitors – only page views are revealed. There were 3.9 mln page views during 12 months from March 2015 to February 2016.
Michelle has earned $327 K ($303 K net profit) during this period. The total revenue and net profit ratio is 0.93 which is pretty high.
So per one page view income was was $0.083 ($0.077 net profit). Really good result.
And here’s how it compares with others (see the circled marker):
Abby Lowson’s justagirlandherblog.com income reports analysis
Abby writes about home, decoration and blogging.
Her main income sources are affiliate, ads and her digital products.
During the period from March 2015 to February 2016 her website had 2.8 mln visitors and 5.3 mln page views. The income figures are $250K revenue and $216 net profit. Total revenue / net profit ratio is 0.86.
Abby has got $0.088 revenue ($0.076 net profit) per visitor and $0.047 revenue ($0.041 net profit) in total.
Here’s how this blog compares with others (see the circled marker):
Let’s look at the income streams breakdown.
Affiliate income source:
There were $99.7 K revenue ($77 K net profit) with $0.035 revenue ($0.027 net profit) per visitor and $0.019 revenue ($0.014 net profit) per page view.
Digital product income source (ebooks and courses):
This income source generated $131.3 K revenue ($101.5 net profit) with $0.046 revenue ($0.036 net profit) per visitor and $0.025 revenue ($0.019 net profit) per page view.
Ads brought $16.3 K revenue ($14.1 K net profit) into the pocket with $0.06 revenue ($0.005 net profit) per visitor and $0.003 profit per page view.
As you can see, the most profitable income sources were own digital products and affiliate income.
Harsh Agrawal’s shoutmeloud.com income reports analysis
This is a pretty popular blog about online marketing.
During 12 months in 2014 and 2015 it was visited by 4.2 mln people who viewed 7.9 mln pages.
Main income sources are affiliate and ads.
Income is also generated by selling digital products, services and sponsorship, but their share is not significant so I will not analyze them separately.
During this period Harsh has earned in total $146.4 K revenue ($101 K net profit). The total revenue / net profit ratio is 0.68.
Per-visitor revenue value for all income sources is $0.035 ($0.024 net profit) and per-page view value is $0.018 ($0.013 net profit).
Here’s how his blog compares with others (see the circled marker):
Let’s look at affiliate income source:
Affiliate earnings were $105.2 K ($81.4 k net profit) with $0.025 revenue ($0.019 net profit) per visitor and $0.013 revenue ($0.01 net profit) per page view.
Ads are less efficient:
Ads brought $21.1 K revenue ($16.3 net profit) with $0.005 revenue ($0.004 net profit) per visitor and $0.003 revenue ($0.002 net profit) per page view.
As you can see, ads have comparatively not very efficient revenue values, but with big number of visitors and page views the income is good.
Lindsay’s pinchofyum.com income reports analysis
This is a popular blog about cooking and blogging.
The main income sources are affiliate and sponsorship.
I will analyze all income together.
During 2015 and a little in 2016 (12 months in total) the blog attracted 22.3 mln visitors and 42.8 mln page views. Yeah, huge numbers.
The total revenue was $647.7 K ($442 K net profit) with $0.029 revenue ($0.02 net profit) per visitor and $0.015 revenue ($0.01 net profit) per page view.
The total revenue / net profit ratio is 0.68.
As you can see, the efficiency is comparatively not high (see the circled marker on the chart below), but thanks to popularity the blog generated a really good sum of money.
By the way, as you could see, other charts above were without PinchOfYum’s data. This is because PinchOfYum.com had comparatively too many page views that stands out of other blogs and projects, so that I put it on a separate chart for convenience.
Comparative Charts and Tables
Here’s the common table with the calculated data:
And here’s once again the revenue received from blogs (and blogger’s projects) in per page view:
(PinchOfYum.com data is excluded in this chart for better view)
As you can see, both popular and very popular blogs (projects) may have high or low income per page view.
However, common sense says that projects targeted at smaller niches can be generally more profitable per page view or per visitor. I don’t have enough data to prove if strictly scientifically, but even having analyzed these projects and blogs, we see that this is true. This can be observed on the following chart (PinchOfYum.com data is included now):
And here’s just another representation of the analyzed data. On this graph you can see that efficiency of the blogs (net profit per page view) can differ greatly. A blog can bring a lot of money but at the same time it can be not as efficient as other blogs.
Conclusions And Advice
It could be a separate blog post, but here it is in summary:
- You can be motivated with other guys’ income reports, but also keep in mind their per-visitor and per-page view values in order to think it real and be adequate with your expectations.
- $0.01 or so net profit per page view can be considered as a not bad revenue. And earning more than $0.1 net profit per page view means you are exceptionally good at your marketing!
- The more quality content you have, the higher your page views and conversions (more profit per visitor and page view).
- Getting on average about 2 page views per unique visitor is pretty good.
- Your income may differ greatly and it depends on many factors, some of them are your audience size, your market niche, your income streams, the price of products you advertise, the way you blog and network etc.
- Income streams (affiliate, ads, own digital products etc) may be not equal from profitability and efficiency point of view. However, there’s a pattern than own products bring more revenue than affiliate income stream, and affiliate income stream is more profitable than ads or sponsorship. But it all depends on many factors and can be different in your particular way.
- Big net revenue maybe not always good. Perhaps it’s better to invest a lot to get more profit in the future. It depends on your strategy and you business though.
- Don’t expect to earn a lot of money with very small audience on broad market niches. You need to get a good traction with visitors flow before money will start coming to you. Or you need to find a new or a specific niche (be creative!)
- Don’t compare yourself with other guys. You may be getting more visitors easily with less profit per visitor or you may get less visitors with higher margin per visitor. Or you may get lucky and get tons of visitors with very good revenue margins.
- Be yourself and be uniquely attractive. Don’t try to repeat exactly what other guys do. Although you may take it as example and learn from it, you still will want to make it your way, the unique way, the better way in order to win your market niche share or even creating a new niche (very important stuff! More on this in my future posts). If you only repeat exactly what others do, this will bring you much less with much more efforts.
- The magic is in the practice – once you start doing something you will see how it goes and how you will want to make it your way.
- The magic is in persistence – very few bloggers can start earning a lot from the very beginning. If you don’t have a product or the information that costs a million, you better expect a lot of work before seeing a solid income flow.
- Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Blogging and business in general is not like schools or colleges. You are free (and welcome!) to make mistakes and learn from them. Doing it wrong or not good enough is much more important than doing nothing. Over the time you will make less and less mistakes.
- You can shorten your way to blogging success if you do something useful or interesting that others could not think of doing, hesitated doing or could not yet managed doing. But it’s not easy to find this out especially if you are just starting out. Usually you find this uniqueness when you already on your way, and you just continue developing your unique approach and experiment at the same time.
- Keep experimenting. The more you have practice, the more successful and enjoyable will be your experiments.
- Don’t do this for money only. And if you just start out, don’t do this for money at the first place at all. Yes, it may be hard to accept this, but this is the right way to do it. Of course you need to think about how you can earn with what you do if earning is one of your goals in blogging. But your focus should be on delivering value, trying to find and stand on your unique track and then you will feel the right way how to make good money with it.
P.S.: Don’t forget that you can save a lot of time and efforts on your way to blogging success if you have a reliable and fast hosting, as well as protection against hackers and website backup solution.