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How to Make a Full-Time Income From Your Blog

This post is based on episode 48 of the ProBlogger podcast.

While there are no guarantees, earning a full-time income from your blog can be a realistic goal provided you’re willing to:

  • get specific about your money goals
  • be patient and consistent
  • break the work down into achievable chunks.

I’m going to share my personal journey, along with tips for how you can work out a realistic journey for making a full-time income from your own blog.

The first thing is to work out exactly how much you need to earn from your blog to make a full-time living.

What’s the exact figure you’d need to quit your job and totally focus on blogging?

Here are my top tips for earning a full-time income from your blog.

1. Don’t give up your day job

It will take a while to get to your goal, and there are no guarantees. It took me two years of blogging to get to my income goal ($36,000 USD/year) where I could focus on blogging full time (in 2004).

2. Be specific

Saying you want to be a full-time blogger is great. But try to come up with a specific income goal. Talk to your partner (if you have one), family and friends, and work out the exact amount you’d need. This will give you a figure to aim for as you make the transition to full-time blogging.

3. Break your goal down into achievable milestones

For example, let’s say you need to make $30,000 a year. To make it seem more achievable you can break it down to $576.92 a week, or even $82.19 a day. So what do you need to make each day or week?

Remember: a blog can earn you money 24 hours a day (if you have a global audience), 7 days a week.

What do you need to do to make your income target? And what revenue streams should you tap into?

Here are six different ways you can immediately start earning an income from your blog.

1. Adsense. This was my number one revenue stream when I started. I make about $1.72 for every 1,000 pageviews, which means I need 47,000 pageviews to make $82.19. But that’s a lot of pageviews, and something you may not be able to achieve straight away.

2. Direct advertising. You could also sell ads on your site to niche advertisers on a monthly basis. To make $30,000 a year you’d need to sell around $2,500 worth of ads each month. If you had six ad spots on your site for six different advertisers, you’d need about $416 per advertiser per month.

3. Sponsored posts. Let’s say you charge $300 for a sponsored post. To meet your monthly income goal you’d need to publish about eight sponsored posts per month, which may be more than you’re comfortable with.

4. Affiliate products – To make $82.19 a day in affiliate revenue you’d need to work out the value of your affiliate referral fee – whether that be high- or low-value commissions – and then calculate how many referrals you’d need to make.

5. Your own product. If you had an ebook you could sell for $20, you’d need to sell four a day to make the $80.

6. Consultancy. Some people sell their services as a consultant or coach via their blog. If your day rate is $300, you’d need to sell eight day’s worth of your time each month to reach your target revenue.

As you can see, you can make money from your blog in a variety of ways. For more ways, check out my mindmap on how bloggers make money.

Some of you may still think this is way out of your reach. Getting 47,000 pageviews per day to make $82 might seem unrealistic. And selling eight days of your consulting time every month may be way more than you can contemplate.

But here’s the thing: Most full-time bloggers don’t monetize with just one income stream.

You can do all the revenue-making activities I just mentioned at the same time. That way you don’t need to earn all of your target revenue from any one of them. Instead you can reach your goal by earning a portion of the money you need from each one.

Makes that goal seems a lot more achievable, doesn’t it?

Fashion blogger example

  • Sidebar ads on your blog for $150 per month, with four running over the month = $600
  • Two sponsored posts per month at $450 per post = $900
  • Selling a friend’s ebook for a commission of $10 per sale with ten referred sales = $100
  • Affiliate referrals to an online retailer selling clothes and shoes, with around 20 referral sales per month at approximately $20 commission per sale = $400
  • Writing a freelance article for a fashion magazine each month at $400 per article = $400

Total monthly blog earnings = $2,400

This example goes to show that if you diversify your income and break down the larger goal into smaller, more achievable ones you can get there.

Photography Blogger example

  • Selling 100 ebooks a month at $10 each = $1,000
  • Adsense = $200
  • Freelance writing = $500
  • Affiliate commission from promoting other people’s ebooks and courses = $400
  • Photo sales = $300

Total monthly blog earnings = $2,400

Food/recipe blogger example

  • Having a $10 per month membership area and 100 members = $1,000
  • Ebook sales = $400
  • Affiliate commission from promoting other people’s ebooks = $200
  • Three sponsored posts at $200 per post = $600
  • Occasional speaking gigs (averaged out across the year) = $400

Total monthly blog earnings = $2,600

So that’s three different bloggers monetizing their blogs in different ways.

And they don’t have hundreds of thousands of pageviews each month. In fact, they may have only a few thousand.

Of course, even those figures might seem out of reach. But if you stick at it for a few months (or maybe a couple of years), hopefully you’ll reach this level of traffic.

When I went full-time as a blogger I earned my income target of $36,000 USD per year from five main sources:

  1. Adsense = $35/day
  2. Chitika – another ad network popular at the time (and still around today) = $25/day
  3. A few private ad sales and sponsorships = $20/day
  4. Recommending products on Amazon = $15/day
  5. Affiliate commission from recommending other people’s books and courses = $10/day

Together they got me close to that full-time mark. The exact amounts went up and down from month to month, but they averaged out.

This was after blogging for two years.

I found it really helpful to break my revenue down and think about how I could add other income streams without having to increase my traffic. Some income streams will monetize with less traffic than others. For example, to monetize through Adsense (whether it’s your own advertising or sponsorship) you’ll need a lot of traffic. But monetizing via affiliate product commissions or selling your own product (such as an ebook) requires less traffic. And selling your own higher-value services requires even less traffic.

These monetization strategies depend on both your niche and the specifics of each income stream. But the key is to diversify your income. And that’s something you can do over time as opportunities open up.

The other thing to keep in mind with making money from your blog is you want to target the ‘right’ readers. Identify who you want to reach, because it’s much easier to monetize when you have a few of the ‘right’ readers, rather than lots of random people reading your blog.

Pay attention to where your readers are coming from, and make sure they’re the right type of reader for you. They’ll be much more likely to:

  • buy your ebook
  • click on the sponsorships you have
  • take your recommendations for affiliate referrals.

Attract the right type of reader, and keep them coming back again and again. It’s much easier to make money from a reader who comes to your site every day/week and feels engaged, connected with you, and like they belong to your community.

If you:

  • develop multiple income streams
  • find the right reader and get them subscribed, engaged and interacting with your community
  • stick at it for several months (or perhaps a couple of years)

you’re much more likely to reach the level of a full-time blogger.

Whatever your target income is, don’t think of it as a massive amount of money. Break it down into smaller, more achievable targets, and work out what you need to do to achieve them. As you gain traffic, start monetizing it, and work out how it converts to dollars, you’ll begin to understand how much traffic you need to achieve your goals.

Which will make creating an action plan to make money and build a full-time income around your blog much clearer.

Want to know more? Here’s even more information on how you can make money blogging.

Image credit: Alexander Mils

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