Can you really make money blogging? The quick answer is YES.
It takes hard work just like any career, but yes.
Making money blogging is not a new concept. You likely heard stories of bloggers leaving their corporate jobs to blog full time, become published authors, work from home, travel the world, and actually earn a lot more in significantly fewer hours. All while having the creative freedom to blog about topics they’re truly passionate about.
And as a creative, isn’t that the ultimate dream? To have the freedom to create whatever content you’re passionate about and to afford doing it every day, full-time?
The caveat, of course, is that you have to be willing to do the work. Making a livelihood from blogging doesn’t happen overnight. It involves commitment, determination, and months building up your blog (sometimes while keeping your 9-5) before you start seeing any significant profit.
And then it takes continuous growth and learning to maintain a consistent blog income.
Just like you would in any profession, business, or creative passion, you’re going to have to work hard and love the craft enough to see it through—even if it doesn’t make you money in the beginning. Come to think of it, some of the most successful bloggers are those who started blogging for the love of it, eventually learning to monetize their content as they go.
Today, blogs matter more than ever so if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, there’s no better time than NOW.
Actually, there’s no better time than YESTERDAY. But NOW is okay too.
And here’s the thing. Once you start making money blogging about topics that make your heart soar, take it from me, you’ll never look back.
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The stigma surrounding money-making blogs
The problem is, many bloggers are in it for the money, for the wrong reasons, and with the wrong mindset. Hence they end up selling themselves short, publishing lousy content, or risking their credibility for the sake of money, which sadly gives this billion dollar industry a bad rep.
People sneer when you say you’re a blogger as if it’s not a real job. Bloggers’ integrity is always under fire. Blog content is labeled as glorified PR and therefore should not be tolerated or trusted.
More often than not, this stigma stems from the lack of understanding on the amount of work that goes into blogging, as well as the lack of appreciation for the impact bloggers can actually make beyond just making money.
So in taking this path of becoming a professional blogger, you have to be grounded on your purpose while also understanding that monetizing your blog is essential to purposeful blogging.
Even if you started blogging for fun (or for the artistry of it), at some point you’re going to have to monetize your content. Just like any profession, a blogger can’t invest hours and years of his/her life and not get paid for all of that effort.
Let’s put it this way: Purpose should always precede profit, but Profit is essential if you want to to keep blogging with purpose.
Tweet thatBlogging tip: PURPOSE should always precede profit, but PROFIT is essential if you want to blog with purpose. Click To Tweet
It is purpose that keeps you going even when passion is running low.
But profit is what’s going to afford you the freedom to keep pursuing your purpose, whatever that may be.
And so for bloggers to keep doing what we love, we have to absolutely, intentionally, unapologetically monetize our content.
A little backstory
Becoming a Professional Blogger
A few years ago I took a different stand on blog monetization. I started blogging back when blogs served as raw and fearless documentation of life (kinda like what social media is today), with no agenda to rank in Google, gain traffic, get viral, or make money.
Unlike those first generation bloggers who took on blogging full time, I instead explored a career in digital marketing and spent much of my creative energy gaining skills and knowledge in various digital marketing disciplines.
Since my full-time job was my bread and butter, my personal blog existed for years without any monetization plan because I wanted to keep my personal space, personal.
As one of them old-timers, it took me a while to embrace blog monetization even though I helped other brands and companies monetize theirs on the daily. Not my blog, I thought.
Eventually, inquiries for brand sponsorships, PR events and collaborations started to pour in my personal blog. I remember thinking, “seriously, they’re willing to pay me to blog about stuff I already love blogging about?” Heck yeah! Where do I sign up?
So I worked with carefully hand-picked brands on the side while doing my 9-5 digital marketing job (which I also love), and that’s when I proved firsthand that—
Yes, you can definitely make money blogging your passion without selling yourself out, or compromising your personal convictions, or in many cases, even without quitting your 9-5.
I launched The Purpose Blog (this blog you’re reading, ICYMI, lol) precisely because of that.
Because through all these years blogging leisurely and professionally, I have grown passionate about digital content creation—and how instrumental blogging can be in one’s desire to make a living from his/her passion, and ultimately, to live a life of purpose.
The million dollar question
How much money bloggers make?
I thought you’d ask.
The blog income trajectory
This blog you’re reading made $1500 in the last quarter of its first year, part-time. That’s hardly enough to pay our monthly bills, but take note that this blog is just one of my income streams. I had a full-time remote job up until February 2019, had several freelance clients going on, and another blog that was also making a little profit. You get the picture.
But here are a few more examples of successful bloggers making money:
- One travel blogger makes $10,000 a month on her 2nd year blogging.
- One mommy blogger makes $22,000 a month on her 3rd year blogging.
- One food blogger makes $60,000 a month on her 5th year blogging.
- One family lifestyle blogger makes $200,000 a month on her 8th year blogging.
- One financial blogger makes 7-digit income a month on his 10th year blogging.
Notice in these few examples that there is a significant correlation between time and income when it comes to making money blogging.
The longer you work on your blog, the higher your monthly income naturally becomes.
REAL TALK: Many bloggers quit by the first year, long before they see their blogs take off.
Truth? Your first year blogging is the hardest, and it’s true that you likely won’t see any significant ROI in the first couple of months. But the work you invest in your blog during the first year is foundational to your success moving forward. If you stay long enough, and if you spend your first year consistently creating high-quality content, your hard work will reap rewards.Truth? Your first year blogging is the hardest, but the work you invest in your blog during the first year is foundational to your success. Click To Tweet
3 truths about making a living blogging
1. If you want to make blogging your career, you have to treat it like you would a career.
Anyone starting a new career has to start from the ranks, and starting a career in blogging is the same. Succeeding in your blogging career is like climbing the corporate ladder (minus the cranky boss, #justsaying). You log in the hours, do great work, and hone your craft.
The good news is, unlike other careers, blogging has a low barrier to entry. You don’t need a college degree or a big capital to begin. You don’t even need to spend years of your life figuring things out or reinventing the wheel.
How you see your blog spells a HUGE difference in your journey. If you see it as a hobby or a creative outlet (as I have, for years), then that’s what it becomes. But if you treat your blog with the level of professionality and consistency that a career requires, then career it becomes.
2. If you want to make money blogging, you have to invest in your blog to start with.
Don’t expect that your blog will earn you income if you don’t invest in your platform to begin with. Most affiliate marketing networks, for one, do not approve blogs on free-hosted sites like Blogspot, Tumblr, and WordPress.com. Brands and advertisers prefer working with bloggers who have self-hosted sites, too.
For starters, investing in a reliable web host (I highly recommend Dreamhost) and a domain name is A MUST if you want to make money blogging. A premium WordPress theme is also a good initial investment.
Having a self-hosted website tells potential sponsors, affiliate networks, as well as your readers, something about your professionalism. It’s like coming to an interview prepared with an impressive portfolio, and power-dressed with the proper attire.
Initial investments to starting a money-making blog
Only the bare essentials to start with:
- Dreamhost — your own domain name and a self-hosted blog is a must. I highly recommend Dreamhost over Bluehost, IM Hosting, and other web hosting providers I’ve tried out over the past 10 years.
- WordPress — Squarespace is a close contender, but most full-time bloggers have their blogs on WordPress for a reason. There is a one-click WordPress installation feature when you sign up with Dreamhost, no hard coding is needed. If you know how to read instructions and click links, you can easily install WordPress using Dreamhost’s setup wizard.
- Premium WordPress Theme — You don’t need a fancy website design, but for a professional and aesthetically pleasing blog (which is a must for creatives like us), a premium WordPress theme is a worthy investment and will likely stay with you for years. For creative and lifestyle bloggers, I love recommending 17th Avenue.
3. If you want to be a full-time blogger next year, you have to start blogging today.
The good thing about blogging is, you can actually start building your blog while keeping your full-time job and working your way to a realistic blogging salary.
Others keep their blog projects on the side, without any intention of leaving their 9-5s (this was me for years), and that’s a good path to consider too.
If you’ve been mulling over a blog-dream for a while and you can’t sleep at night thinking about it but you’re not doing anything about it when you wake up, I’m sorry to break it to you but nothing’s going to come out of just dreaming.
But if you want to make those dreams a reality, then you want to start today. Register that domain name. Get that web host. Press that publish button.
There’s so much about making money blogging that you’ll learn along the way, but for today, the important thing is to just start.