Is Blogging a viable way to generate Income?
Starting your own Blog is always considered as a viable option of starting your own Business.
There are thousands of testimonies about how easy and profitable it can be on Internet.
There is a whole gigantic Business surrounding this economic sector but… is it as profitable as it seems? Is Starting a Blog/ Website a viable option for earning a monthly Income?
Here, we’ll analyze whether you should consider starting your own Blog (or Website) a plausible way of starting your own Business.
- We’ll analyze different scenarios with Real authentic data in order to find out what would you need in order to start a profitable Blog/ Website.
- We’ll analyze How much time would you need for reaching the number of pageviews that allowed you to make $1.000 a month.
- Analyzing different CPC, CTR and CPM/RPM scenarios.
- We’ll analyze which other Income Sources should you consider, When and How.
Finally, we’ll give you our verdict: Does it worth it?
We’ll use the information we’ve found on Internet that seems more “authentic” and honest as well as the experience we’ve acquired while building this Site.
Since Blogs/ Websites can be monetized in very different ways, some people (Bloggers that only want you to enter their site, or sell you something) use it as an excuse for “faking” the results you could have. Maybe you could have those results, but it is extremely unlikely.
- We’ll consider an average scenario; Not an exceptional ultra-monetized optimistic one.
Being said that; let’s analyze how you should start if you decided to Become a professional Blogger.
What should you be blogging about?
The first thing you have to define is what you should write about.
Here, we’ll repeat something we always tell: our first “Entrepreneur Golden Rule“: Do what you love.
Talk about something you love
Don’t necessarily pick the Topic you know more, but the Topic you love the most.
Our research concluded that you will spend at least one year publishing content before you have a minimum opportunity of monetizing (on average).
Building a successful Site, require you to research about new Topics, sections…
- So, either you have passion about what you write or you’ll get sick of it after few months.
But, there is other reason why you should never write about something you are not passionate about: a failure-scenario.
There is a chance your Blog never success. Why?
- Not everybody has the skills necessary for writing attractive engaging content.
So, even in the worst-case scenario – you don’t succeed to monetize your Site – if you love what you publish, you would end up with a nice Hobby:
- A Website you like to spend time on with some interested users or a small community.
What you need for monetizing a Blog
Here, the problematic begins: What do you need for having a profitable Blog?
- 20.000 pageviews per month?
- 100.000 pageviews per month?
- A million?
Everything depends on:
- How engaged your users are.
- The Topic you talk about.
- Where they are from.
- Your Click-Through-Ratio (CTR).
- The Advertising platform you use:
It is literally impossible to guess what would be necessary for an average website to become a profitable Business, for sure.
- We could assume a CTR of 5% but if yours were 2% (nothing strange), you would need double of visitors for having the Income we’d estimate.
- We could estimate that your Ad Platform would pay you $4/cpm [$4 per 1.000 impressions] while it would be very possible that they paid you less than $1 per 1.000 impressions.
- The same with Cost per Click (CPC): We could estimate a cpc of $2 but if your Ads platform decides to pay you $0.8/cpc all the numbers developed would be useless.
And that, assuming your pageviews would remained “stable”.
- They may increase, decrease…
Monetizing a Blog - Example
Let’s do some numbers:
- Let’s assume that you have a CTR (Click Through Ratio) of 3%.
- Your Topic is paid at about 5$/1000 views ($5 CPM or $5 RPM).
- You have 50.000 views per month.
With these numbers, you could be making:
- 50.000 /1.000 = 50 * 5 cents = 250$ a month.
While if you had a CPM of $2, you would be making $100 a month.
On the other hand, if you calculated it by using Cost Per Click (CPC), you would have:
- 50.000 pageviews x 3% = 1.500 Clicks
If you had a CPC of $0.5 (Not unusual) you would be earning: $750 a month.
But, if you had a CTR of 1.5%, your CPC Income would decrease to $375.
- 50.000 x 1.5% x $0.05 = $375.
All these Metrics; CTR, CPM, pageviews you receive… vary over time.
- Maybe, the Topic you talk about becomes more or less interesting.
So, as you can see, while you started with 50.000 pageveiws; not easy to achieve, you don’t really know whether your Income, coming from Ads, may be $100 or $750 a month.
As you can see in this example, depending on:
- The method selected for estimating Ads. revenues (CPM or CPC).
- Its evolution.
- How much they pay for your pageviews (may vary).
- Usually, the process is not “transparent”.
- The platform you employ for your Ads.
You can end up with very different scenarios.
And we have just talked about Ads-Income.
We could be considering:
- Sponsored Content.
- Affiliate Links.
- Selling products.
The variability is unlimited.
That is why we’ll use a conservative model for our calculations.
We’ll use the numbers we consider more “realistic”/conservative after a deep research through Internet.
- It would be easy for us to pick a certain number and give you weak conclusions, but we prefer being precise and realistic.
Alternatives for monetizing a Blog
As we’ve mentioned before, there are 6 main types of monetization while running a Blog or Web Sites:
- Sponsored content.
- Selling your own products.
- Affiliate Links.
- Consulting Services.
- e-book selling.
Some of these monetization alternatives may require you more “authority” than others before you can carry them out.
That is why we’ll classify them depending on what you would need for expecting a certain Income:
Immediate Income source
Selling your products.
If you sell something good, at a fair price, you could expect to make some Income as soon as you receive your first user.
- Moreover, you could promote your content at different platforms.
People won’t expect you to have authority, just a good and cheap product.
Medium term Income source
Although getting some Income coming from Sponsored content takes time, if you have good commercial skills, you could offer some medium-small businesses to review their products in exchange of a certain (little at the beginning, of course) amount of money.
The same with Consulting:
- People want advices from good reputation websites but, if you Post about technical specific contents, you may don’t have to wait that much.
Long term Income source
Ads take time.
Depending on your Site’s performance, you may need a whole year (or 2) before hitting a decent amount of traffic.
- Nowadays, we have almost unlimited information for free on Internet. People won’t pay a single euro/dollar for an e-book unless you have proven to be an important authority in your field.
"Never" term Income source
No matter who we talk with. No matter where we search.
Everybody agrees: Donations never take place.
Maybe, if you create a huge, fantastic, super-engaging website… you may receive some money.
But please, don’t expect them.
So, being said that, with “all the cards on the table”, let’s analyze whether starting your own Blog could be considered as a plausible way of starting your own Business:
Business Idea: Starting a profitable Blog
Nowadays, everybody can start talking about something he/she loves, and it seems that some people is making money out of it.
Our main Goal will be building a profitable Blog.
Hence, we want to find out:
- What should you expect?
- Is it really possible to have decent Income from it?
- How much time would you need?
As we have mentioned before, this is difficult to answer, but we’ll analyze the main factors you should take into account and propose some standard scenarios so you decide whether or not to start your own Blog Business.
First Steps for starting a Blog site
As soon as they decide to start a Blog, most people start worrying about:
- Which Ads platform would they chose.
- How to improve Google ranking.
- How to insert Keywords everywhere.
- Best SEO Plugins.
- etc, etc.
That makes no sense.
If you start a Blog, you need authority before reaching substantial pageviews each month.
- And if you have hundreds of thousands of pageviews each month, you should have no problem for monetizing them.
So: You should worry about having a good engaging site.
- You’ll have time to worry about those things in the future.
And, the first step for writing engaging content is deciding what you’re going to write about:
1. Choose your Topics' Categories
As we said before, you have to write about something you love:
- Something you’d never get tired of writing about.
Think about Topics or Categories you would keep writing about even if you weren’t able to monetize successfully your Blog.
2. Define your Style
There are millions of Blogs for each Topic you could imagine.
Either you approach those Topics in a new different original way, or your site would never pass Google’s page 10.
* For example:
- Approach your Topics in a Fun way.
- Use new platforms or Web browsers.
- You never know which one will be the next “YouTube”.
- If you’re the first, you may “monopolize” a certain Topic.
- Give products for free.
Your style will be your watermark: unless you are in a very first stage, you should never change it.
- Stick to it. Otherwise, people would perceive your content as “unpredictable”.
There are hundreds of millions of users. You’ll always find lot of people that like the way you publish: give them certainty about how you are.
3. Start your Site
Today, this is not really a problem.
By using WordPress and seeing some YouTube tutorials you can build a new Website from scratch in few weeks.
We recommend you to visit our “Website building and SEO Diary” section.
- There, we share our experience about building this website from scratch:
- What we have learnt so far.
- How our Website is doing.
- Our Strategy.
- Which Templates, Plugins… we currently use.
- And much more.
However, although it is very easy to start a site nowadays, you have to take care of how it looks, the appearance, the typography, etc.
You want a nice-looking site. Don’t settle with the first WordPress free template you find.
- We use KLEO Theme, for example (not sponsored).
- If you want to find out why, check our “KLEO Theme” Post.
* One important advice: once you have launched your site, you should not make very significant changes (Structure, Theme, Main Plugins…). You should focus just on publishing, publishing and publishing.
- Else, you could jeopardize all the work done.
So, think carefully how do you want your website to look like before publishing it.
One of the most attractive parts of Blogging Business is the structure needed:
- Just one computer and access to Internet.
That is why starting a successful Blog is so difficult: because almost everybody can do it.
- It is a very competitive sector due to the non-existent entry barriers.
- You already have a computer.
- You start this Business as a side Business.
- We won’t take into account your Internet bill or your Rent.
- You’ll decide to acquire:
- A premium WordPress Theme.
- Some premium Plugins.
A Hosting for your Site:
- $100 per year.
A Professional WordPress Theme:
Total investment required for starting a Blogging Business:
* Surely, you could build an impressive site with: a cheaper Hosting, a free Theme and Free Plugins.
- Nevertheless, we are assuming a “worst-case-scenario”.
Earning $1.000 a month with a Blog or a Website
Here is when “the rubber hits the road”.
Since there are infinite monetizing combinations, scenarios, assumptions… We’ll propose 3 “realistic” scenarios.
These scenarios will give you an idea about what would you need for having a profitable Site.
- Moreover, we’ll estimate how much time it would require you, what it is also very important.
Monetizing just Ads scenario
In this scenario, we’ll suppose that you built a Website monetized just with Ads.
- Nothing else.
This would be expected if you choose a difficult-to-monetize Topic.
- Political opinions.
- Personal Diary.
How many pageviews do you need for earning $1.000 a month?
Since we don’t want to confuse anybody with CPM or RMP (revenues per thousand impressions) we’ll talk in plain English:
We’ll analyze how many pageviews you need based on how much they pay you per thousand pageviews (CPM or RPM).
$0.5 per 1.000 Impressions ($0.5 CPM/RPM):
If your Ads platform paid you $0.5 per 1.000 impressions, you would need:
- (1.000 / 0.5) x 1.000 = 2.000.000 pageviews per month.
- 2 million pageviews per month for earning $1.000 a month.
$2 per 1.000 Impressions ($2 CPM/RPM):
You would need:
- (1.000 / 2) x 1.000 = 500.000 pageviews per month for earning $1.000 a month.
$5 per 1.000 Impressions ($5 CPM/RPM):
You would need:
- (1.000/ 5) x 1.000 = 200.000 pageviews per month for earning $1.000 a month.
As you can see, the outcome is completely different.
Assuming that 2 million pageviews per month only would report you $1.000 is very pessimistic.
- But, you should also not expect $5 cpm as your most-plausible scenario.
However, for our analysis, let’s assume the “best-case-scenario”: your cpm is $5 (it could be even better but we don’t want to be over-optimistic).
What it takes to achieve 200.000 pageviews per month?
Not everybody can achieve 200.000 per month.
It is a very difficult task, and you need an outstanding website.
However, according to our experience:
You hit 1.000 pageviews per month, 6 months after starting your website from scratch (with no promotion or previous experience in websites or Blogs).
- Of course, there are websites that may hit that number before (we assume a medium quality Website).
- We just tell you our real experience. Nothing else.
- You can check our numbers at our “Website building and SEO Diary“.
From that on, your pageviews may increase lineally or exponentially:
- If they grew lineally, you would reach 200.000 pageviews per month after 100 years (1.200 months).
- If they grew exponentially (base 2), you would reach 200.000 pageviews per month after 7 years.
- If your pageviews grew exponentially (base 3), you would reach 200.000 pageviews per month after 3 years.
* We made a deep analysis in our “Real Income you can get from your Ads” Post with all the mathematical models involved explained in detail; Check it out.
Even in that best-case-scenario considered, you would need 3 years.
- Moreover, we think it is a fair assumption providing your Website publishes regularly medium-high quality content.
Monetizing just Advertisements – Conclusion:
- With a medium-good $5 cpm (RPM) and exponential pageviews increases, you would need 3 years for earning $1.000 a month just monetizing your Ads.
Monetizing Ads and Consulting scenario
In this scenario, we’ll consider the next more-plausible source of Income: Consulting.
If you publish valuable technical information, you may be able to offer your “consulting” services to other people.
* For example:
- If you Post about Disc-Jockey software.
- If you write about how to improve your Photoshop skills.
- If you publish content about Stocks or Trading.
The more technical your Posts are, the more easy would be for you to offer consulting services.
Which scenario should we assume?
Let’s assume that you offer your consulting services 4 times a month.
- You charge $50 each Client.
You would be making $200 a month from your Consulting services.
Now, you need an additional $800 a month for reaching $1.000.
If we consider the same “optimistic” scenario ($5 cpm/rpm) than before, you would need:
- (1.000/ 5) * 800 = 160.000 pageviews per month.
What it takes to achieve 160.000 pageviews per month?
Using the same base-3 exponential pageviews increase we used before, you’d need:
- 2 years and 8 months.
Advertisements and Consulting Services Monetization – Conclusion:
- This scenario offers more flexibility than the previous one.
- It allows you to promote your Consulting services so, in case you start having “success” at it, you could dedicate most of your time to improve your services and offer new ones.
- Increasing pageviews is something relatively “passive”; there is not much you can do, providing you are writing good content.
- However, with Consulting services, you would be able to act pro-actively.
Diversified Blogging Business
The definitive Scenario: you have been able to generate different Income sources.
In this Scenario, we’ll consider different Income sources:
- Affiliate links.
- Sponsored Content.
- Consulting services.
The premise is: Once you reach 100.000 pageviews per month, you’re able to start making money with Sponsored Contend and Affiliate Links.
- This assumption seems fair enough.
But… How much?
There is lot of information on Internet about this.
- However, again, everything is very “dark” and not transparent at all.
Affiliate Links work this way: You recommend a product via your website, and if your users purchase that product through your “link”, you get a commission.
This commission vary depending on the product.
However, we consider that, for a “conservative” medium-term scenario, a 5% commission is enough.
- Few businesses maintain these commissions during for years.
You have 100.000 pageviews per month but:
- The pages where you promote these products receive 5% of the Traffic (your Website is not an on-line shop).
Now, let’s assume that 1% of those pageviews turn into a purchase that is done through your “affiliate link” (some product you promote).
- It is a very optimistic assumption.
- Think how many purchases have you done by using these affiliate links… exactly: We tend to “sniff around” and get away.
The average product you promote is worth $100 so, for each product “sold” through your affiliate links, you make: $5.
How much would you be doing each month with your Affiliate Links?
- 1.000 x (5%) x (1%) x $5 = $250 a month.
If you have more than 100.000 pageviews per month, you’d be in a position of considering sponsored-content Income.
- Articles about products.
- Comparisons and recommendations.
You could “easily” approach different businesses or products (OK, maybe not Coca-Cola, of course) and offer them a review, a comparison or promotion.
* For example:
- Plugins you use in your Site.
- PC Games from “Independent” or “alternative” companies.
- Apps from small companies.
* We recommend you to be honest with your users and, if you publish sponsored content, do it with total transparency.
- Be kind with the company sponsoring you, but also with your users; you owe them everything.
How much could you be making with it? It is very difficult to say. It depends on the company you approach, the product, the agreement…
However, if you ask for “small” quantities of money, you will have it much more easy to find sponsors.
We’ll assume that you could publish 2 sponsored contents per month at an average price of $100 each.
- We’re not experts, but, $100 for an article about a certain product at a Website with 100.000 pageviews per month, seems fair enough.
Total Income from Sponsored content:
- $200 a month.
We’ll assume the same situation we considered in the previous case-scenario:
- 1 Consulting service per week.
- $50 each.
Total income from Consulting Services:
- $200 a month.
Income from pageviews Ads
Again, we’ll consider the same Income than we considered before: $5 per 1.000 Impressions.
How much time would you need for reaching 100.000 a month?
Using the same base-3 exponential (and optimistic) model:
- 2 years and 3 months.
Total Income from Pageviews’ Ads:
- $500 a month.
Diversified Income Blog – Conclusion:
If you are able to monetize properly 100.000 pageviews a month by:
- Affiliate Linking.
- Sponsored Content.
- Consulting Services.
You could be making: $1.150 a month, even with “reasonable” yet optimistic numbers.
Verdict: Is Blogging a viable Business Idea?
You may be asking to yourself: “You made lots of assumptions”.
Yes. That is the problem of this “Business”.
In other Business Ideas we explained, you can do better or worse assumptions, but you don’t require that much time to check whether they are right or not.
In order to have a successful Website/ Blog you need at least 100.000 pageviews per month.
And that takes a lot of time:
- Editing – Publishing
- Improving the content.
- etc, etc.
Based on our calculations, you need a minimum of 2 years (on average) for reaching that numbers.
- That, if you are a “good-engaging-writer”. Else…
Which is our verdict? Should you consider a Website or a Blog as your next Business?
It can be profitable, of course.
But, we would recommend you to start a Website/ Blog, not expecting to make a single dollar.
Do it as a Hobby.
And, if it happens that:
- You are good at writing.
- Your numbers start to increase.
- Your users start sending you mails, asking you for help or opinion.
Then, you should consider it as a potential Business.
But starting a Website or a Blog from scratch and expect to make a Business out of it without previous experience… Not very recommended.