How much money do bloggers really make? And how long does it REALLY take to build a profitable and predictable online business through blogging or content marketing? Do people even READ blogs anymore?
Those are fair questions, and they’re definitely questions that anyone who is thinking about starting a blog or online business should be asking. After all, why would you want to spend time, energy and money on an investment that may never pay off?
The good news for anyone wanting to come into the online space is that there has actually never been a better time to be online, and here at Elite Blog Academy® and now especially within our ACTIVATE coaching program, we are seeing our students gain massive traction and grow their businesses faster than ever before.
If the global pandemic of 2020 taught us anything, it’s just how much LIFE can actually happen online. For better or worse, the unprecedented shutdowns and quarantines forced the entire world to figure out how to function remotely, from behind a computer screen. Where we used to shop, work, connect, worship, meet, and learn in person, we now do all those things—and a whole lot more—online.
There are now more opportunities online than ever before.
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Prior to the COVID pandemic, people already spent an average of 10 hours a day online, thanks largely to the invention of smartphones, which keep us “connected” 24 hours a day. In 2021, that number has risen to more than 12 hours a day—literally HALF our lives is spent on the internet. And as long as the internet keeps growing — which it will — those opportunities and the potential for bloggers will continue to grow right along with it.
But that’s just the beginning.
A better business model
You see, when it comes to starting any sort of business, there’s no better business model than blogging.
To understand why, let’s first take a look at the traditional business model. Say for instance you wanted to open your own food truck. First, you’d have to buy or lease a truck. Then you’d have to stock it with everything you need to do business: food, supplies, paper plates, whatever. Then you’d have to either hire some help or plan on giving up every weekend for the rest of your life, plus either drop a ton of cash on marketing just to get the word out or pay a bunch of money for a parking space at the biggest events and festivals. And that’s all before you’re even open for business! Then, once you get a few customers trying your food, it’s a mad dash to get to know them, figure out what they want, and tailor your menu accordingly. You’re basically looking at a minimum investment of $100K or more before you even sell your first meal.
And even if you want to open a different type of business, say some sort of retail store or service franchise or even developing your own product line, the level of investment you’ll have to make is high.
That’s because with the traditional business model, you have to invest a crazy amount of time, energy, and money into getting your business off the ground without knowing a.) who your customers are, b.) what they want and how to give it to them, and c.) whether your business will actually connect with those customers.
That’s a risky endeavor and, for most traditional business owners, it’s not one that pays off. In fact, the statistics are pretty scary—more than half of all small businesses will fail in their first five years, and more than 80% will fail by year 10.
Starting a business is RISKY.
But if you really look at the data, it becomes clear that the two biggest reasons that most small businesses fail is either a.) a lack of cash or b.) a lack of felt need—their product wasn’t something their customers actually wanted.
But the beauty of blogging and starting an online business is that this new business model essentially avoids those two problems altogether.
The framework we teach within the ACTIVATE coaching program here at Elite Blog Academy® basically flips that traditional business model upside down, and in the process, makes it better. It’s a model we call the Customer Superhero Path™, which we affectionately call the CSP for short. It’s a business plan that puts your CUSTOMERS first and focuses on creating the right core offer to meet their needs. That way everything else in your business—your blog, your podcast, or even your social media—can lead people to that core offer. It’s simple and effective, but also far less risky.
We don’t start by pouring thousands of dollars into research and development or opening a brick & mortar location or hiring a bunch of people. Instead, we start by developing a relationship with our readers and customers. We work first to figure out exactly who we are talking to, what their felt needs are, and what problem we’ll be helping them solve.
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And while figuring out what your customers really want does take an investment of time, it doesn’t take a lot of cash. It’s pretty risk free. Because if something isn’t quite resonating, you can change it and hone it and refine it until it does.
How long it takes to make real money blogging
How long it takes to make money online through content marketing really depends quite a lot on which path you decide to take. Believe it or not, there’s more than one way to make money online through blogging and content marketing, and not all strategies are created equal.
So let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the most common paths within the blogging and influencer world, along with how long you can expect it to take.
The first path is the “traditional” blogging route, which focuses on creating content and monetizing primarily through ad network revenue, affiliate links, and sponsored posts. This is what most people think of when they think of blogging—writing lots of blog posts, sharing to Pinterest, optimizing for organic search traffic, and trying desperately to generate as many page views as possible, since the higher your page views, the higher your revenue potential.
For the traditional route, you’re going to need a LOT of pageviews…..typically at least 100,000 visitors a month to make any sort of significant ad network revenue at all, and probably close to 500,000 page views per month in order to generate a six-figure income. That’s a LOT.
And that’s why if you take the traditional blogging path, it will likely take you at least 2 years or more of steady posting to generate any sort of substantial revenue, and possibly a lot longer than that. To be honest, a lot of bloggers give up before they ever get there because it just takes too darn long.
If you take the “influencer” route, and focus on growing your following on Instagram or TikTok, the bulk of your revenue will likely come from affiliate links or sponsorships, which typically pay pennies on the dollar. More likely, you’ll be able to score yourself a lot of free stuff.
Thus, your strategy will be to post as frequently as you can and share as many links as possible. For influencers, engagement is key because the higher your “engagement,” the more people will see your content, and therefore the more likely people are to swipe up on your stories and purchase through your affiliate links.
And yes, it’s all as exhausting as it sounds.
Not only that, because the payout for each click is so low, you really NEED as many people as possible. Because while free stuff is nice, it doesn’t pay the bills. Realistically, you will need at least 100,000 followers or more to generate any sort of substantial revenue, which will likely take you at least a couple of years of consistent posting and sharing, if you ever get there at all.
If you take the podcaster route, the bulk of your revenue will come from sponsorships, which you will either need to secure yourself by reaching out directly to businesses, or by joining a podcast ad network, most of which require a minimum number of average episode downloads to join.
The average payout for advertising on a podcast is an $18CPM for a 30 second spot. That means for every 1000 listeners, you can make $18 for every 30 second ad you include on your podcast. That means that if you record an episode, and include three 30 second ad spots, then have 10,000 listeners download that episode, you’ll make $540 in advertising revenue on that episode.
Obviously, like the other paths we’ve talked about, the secret to making the big bucks with podcasting is in generating huge numbers of downloads, which is actually pretty difficult to do without an existing platform somewhere else. That’s why nearly all of the most popular podcasts are hosted by well known celebrities, influencers or authors.
Thus, if you are starting from zero, it’s going to be a long road to profitability with podcasting. Without an existing platform, your only real hope is to get noticed by someone bigger than you, or to pitch yourself as a guest on as many other podcasts as possible. Even then, expect to grow slowly.
And don’t quit your day job.
YouTube is similar to podcasting in that the bulk of your revenue comes from advertising, but YouTube does make it a little easier, with the native advertising program they have built into their platform. Because YouTube is owned by Google, it is also a little easier to get found organically through search engines and SEO, which means even if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll still have an opportunity to grow.
That said, like most ad networks, the payout for YouTube advertising is pretty low, and therefore still requires a high number of video views to earn any significant revenue. Believe it or not, the average annual revenue for a YouTuber with a MILLION subscribers is still only $60,00 a year.
As you can probably imagine, it’s not that easy to amass a million subscribers—suffice to say, expect it to take a while.
THE ELITE BLOG ACADEMY® MODEL
So what’s the solution? Is it really possible to grow a business from scratch online through blogging or content marketing in less than a year?
Here at Elite Blog Academy, we say YES.
In fact, we know it’s possible, because that’s literally what our ACTIVATE coaching program is designed to do.
You see, at ACTIVATE, we teach a business model for blogging (also known as content marketing) that is completely different—one that is designed to help you generate REAL revenue as quickly as possible. Our students typically see their first sales within 18-20 weeks of starting at Level 1, most will be generating at least $1,000 a month by the end of their first year, and a significant portion will be generating much more—yes, even six figures. That’s because, once again, we’re all about teaching you how to build a ego-free business that makes your customer the hero, not you.
It’s simple and effective but also much faster and WAY more profitable than “traditional” blogging or influencer marketing. (Call us crazy, but we believe the numbers that actually matter in your business are the number of dollars in your bank account.)
And it’s a model that is helping SO many of our students make massive strides, faster than they ever believed was possible.
Bette Daoust is just one of those students.
Bette first started her blog, Bette’s Makes, almost exactly a year ago, and at 72 years old, she successfully took her business from $0 to six figures in less than a year.
It’s exactly what happens when you have the right business plan to work with.
Ready to get started?
Download our FREE 6 Figure Blog Plan for a step-by-step guide to growing your predictable and profitable online business in less than a year.
How Much Money Do Bloggers ACTUALLY Make? 13 More Bloggers Who are Killing it Online
Kristin joined Elite Blog Academy in 2015 and blogs over at Believe in a Budget. In Quarter 1 of this year her blog made over $96,000, which is more than a 150% increase from last year. In her income report, she details what she is doing in her business to increase her income each quarter. You can find her www.believeinabudget.com. To view her latest income report, click here.
Michelle is a blogger at Making Sense of Cents and has been a part of the Elite Blog Academy community since 2014. Her main goal in sharing her monthly income reports and to show others that it really is possible to show others the many ways you can make money online and that it can truly change your life. You can find her at www.makingsenseofcents.com. You can find her latest income report here.
Jennifer joined EBA in February 2017 and blogs over at JenniferMaker.com. She is one of our amazing success stories growing her blog very quickly in just a year! She is currently sharing her income reports with her email subscribers, you can read more about how she earns her income here.
Monica joined Elite Blog Academy in 2015 and runs a business called Redefining Mom. She was able to leave her corporate job in 2016 and start working full-time for herself and has made it her mission to teach other moms to do the same. Click here to see the latest!
He started The Ways to Wealth in late 2016 after being inspired by Pat Flynn’s income reports. I’m grateful for the encouragement and information Pat’s detailed reports provided.
After starting the blog, he then discovered and read through the entire archives of income reports from the likes of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and Rosemarie Groner. These reports helped as he worked his way through those first few months of blogging with little to show for it.
Eventually the strategies he was learning from income reports started to work. Less than two years later, The Ways to Wealth has grown to over 300,000 monthly readers. He’s also left his job in financial services to work on it full-time.
As the idea and inspiration for his blog came from income reports, he’s committed to writing them to help others accomplish their goals. You can see his latest here.
David blogs over at Financial Superhero and joined EBA in 2017. In just under a year, he discusses in detail how he is making over $1,000 a month from his blog and what is and is not working for his business. You can see his latest income report here.
Ester Perez is Holistic Health Coach and Gluten Free Blogger at Nurture My Gut. The health of her children and her own auto-immune disease have transformed tremendously by applying a holistic approach! She is obsessed with teaching people how to make delicious and mouth-watering gluten-free/Paleo friendly foods that nurture your gut! Her recipes are family friendly and made without gluten, dairy and refined sugars. See her latest income report here.
Chelsea is a blogger at Mama Fish Saves and also joined EBA in 2017. Her income report breaks down how her business is earning her income, between both blogging and freelancing. She also reveals her expenses and resources that are important to her blog’s successes! You can check out her latest income report here!
Karissa started her blog in 2012 and after a few years of it being a hobby she discovered she really enjoyed blogging and wanted to see if she could make money from it. So she invested in EBA in 2016 and is now seeing growth in her blog and income as time goes by. She’s excited for the future of her blog. You can see her latest income report here.
Ashley is the founder of Millennialist Mom and joined Elite Blog Academy in 2018. Her main goal is to help women have it all with flexible work that leaves time to be mom. A frugal lifestyle and various side hustles have afforded her the freedom to leave the 9-5 grind and work at home. Her “blogress reports” track income earned and progress seen on her blogging side hustle, and hopefully inspire others to seek flexible work.
Stephanie has been a part of the EBA community since 2017. At Aroma Mama, Stephanie shares her passion for natural health and wellness. Her mission is to walk with her readers on their journey toward a healthier lifestyle. When Stephanie isn’t blogging, she’s enjoying her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her latest income report shares how she used affiliate marketing specifically to increase her income in 2018.
Cassie joined Elite Blog Academy in 2016 and blogs over at Life On Waller. She wants her readers to know that it is possible to make an income blogging, but gently remind them that income does not come over night. She graciously shares with her readers what is and is not working for her blog and what is earning her money on her blog each month. You can review her latest income report here.
Cara launched her blog, The Financially Free Life, in early March 2018. Personal finance is her passion. She has helped her friends learn how to save money and make money online for years and has finally decided to blog about it to help more people. When she isn’t working on her blog, she is hard at work at her 9-5 in human resources. Check out Cara’s most recent income report here.
If you are an EBA student and would like to see your income report featured on our blog, you can fill out our submission form here. Please reach out to Maggie at email@example.com with any questions. Thank you!