Ask Writing World: How much money can you make from blogging?

Fran asks:

I’m thinking of setting-up my own blogs (on topics unrelated to your own), and I was wondering if you would be able to give me a rough idea of how much money I could expect to make from Adsense each month? I hope you don’t think me rude for asking, but I’ve struggled to find realistic figures on the web; they all seem overinflated

Hi Fran,

To be completely honest with you, the answer to your question is that there is no answer. I could tell you what I make every month from Adsense, but it wouldn’t give you any idea what you could hope to make from it because there are just so many variables to take into account. Your earning capacity from a pay-per-click program like Google Adsense, for instance, will depend on factors such as:

1. The niche you choose for your blog

Put simply, some subjects are always going to be more profitable than others. What you earn per click depends on how much the advertiser is willing to pay for that click, and that, in turn, depends on factors such as how competitive the niche is, how many other advertisers are also paying for adsense adverts, what time of year it is, how well the economy is performing and too many other factors to list here.

Our blogs are spread over a few different topic areas, but even within each niche, the cost per click, and what we earn per day/month/year can vary wildly. Traffic is also a big factor when it comes to earning from Adsense, and it’s clear that some topics will generate more interest and therefore more traffic than others. If you choose a very specialist subject to blog about, for instance, you may find that your Adsense earnings will be smaller, or will at least plateau more quickly than a more popular topic, which gives you the opportunity to reach a much larger audience.

2. How seriously you take blogging

At the moment I earn the equivalent of a smallish full-time salary each month from Google Adsense, but that’s because blogging is my full time job. I spend at least eight hours per day blogging, and often much more than that – for instance, I’m actually writing this post on Sunday afternoon and scheduling it to go live on Monday. Of course, if you’ve done any freelance writing or blogging at all, then you probably don’t need me to tell you this, but it’s hard, hard work. Because there are so few barriers to entry with blogging, I come across a lot of people who think all they need to do is set up a few blogs, update them occasionally and then sit back and watch the money roll in. In actual fact, if you want to earn a full-time wage from it, you have to make it a full-time job.

3. How long you’re prepared to keep on blogging, even when you see little or no rewards

My main earner is my fashion blog. It went online in August 2006, and we only started to see decent Adsense earnings from it once it had been online for around a year. For a long time, I had to keep on posting and promoting while seeing very little in the way from income from that blog, and that can be very disheartening – in fact, it’s the stage at which most people just give up. The reality is that most blogs take years to build a steady income, which is one more reason why it’s hard to guesstimate how much you could earn.

4. How much you know – or are prepared to learn – about promotion and search engine optimisation for your blog

As I commented above, how much you earn from Adsense depends to a great extent on how much traffic you receive to your blog. Blogging is not just about writing: to be successful at it, and to make money from it, you’ll need to know about how to promote your blog, and how to drive traffic to it, either through search engine optimisation, through use of social networks like Digg or StumbleUpon, or through using other promotional tactics, both online and offline. Promotion takes up a huge amount of your time, and how much you earn will depend on how good you are at it, or how much time you’re willing to invest in becoming good at it. You’ll also need to work out what the optimum number of posts you’ll need to write per day/week/month is in order for you to make the most from your blog – this is something that differs from blog to blog, and is something that you can really only learn through trial and error.

5. Adsense optimisation and placement

Earning money from Adsense isn’t simply a matter or placing the code on your site and making money from it. I spend a huge amount of time every week tweaking my ad placements, and experimenting with different ad sizes, types, looks and colours, in order to make sure that they’re making us as much as they possibly can. I also spend a large amount of time analyzing our earning reports in order to try and establish what’s working for us and what isn’t. Again, how much you can earn from Adsense will depend on where you place your ads, what they look like and how much effort you put into optimising their placement and appearance on your site.

In conclusion, I know this probably wasn’t the answer you were looking for, but all I can do is reiterate that there really is no answer to your question. How much you can make from Adsense really does differ from blog to blog and from person to person. The good news is that there is no real limit to how much you can make: there are people out there who are making thousands of dollars per month from Adsense, and there’s no reason why you can’t become one of them. The reality, too, though, is that there are a lot of people making very little, or nothing at all, and the only way to know how much you can make from yourblog is by constantly experimenting to find out.