Update : You Don’t NEED 250,000 Page Views to Earn a Living Blogging

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Just about a year ago, I wrote an article here on IFB sharing on average how much I make a month as a “professional” fashion blogger. Especially in light of “82% of Bloggers made more money than ever last year”, I thought it was time for an update, a deeper look into my stats, and another reality check.

First, the reality check: according to the article I linked above, 31% off the “influencers” interviewed make less than $10,000 a year on their blogs. Only 21% of them make more than $50,000 a year from blogging. So, most of these influencers make less than enough to really rely on blogging as their only source of income (depending on where they live and their lifestyle of course). This only affirms what we know anyway: that most bloggers will find it very difficult to make enough money to blog full-time.

Not that you can't make any money at all blogging, you can, but it's unlikely that you'll be able to ONLY blog and make enough money to support yourself. But obviously, I'm not here to tell you that you should give up and quit blogging because it will never happen for you.

If you want to earn a living from your blog, you can, but you will have to find the combination of tools that work for you. Affiliate linking works for me. Sponsored posts may work for you. You might be most successful selling an ebook. Success is in the eye of the beholder; yours will not look the same as mine.

Now for my Facts:

1. I've been blogging for 10 years
2. On average this year, I've made about $4,200 a month
3. I have earned more than $50,000/year for the last 5-6 years
4. On average this year, my two blogs get about 54,000 page views a month
5. I have more than 4,000 twitter followers and more than 600 Instagram followers
6. I earn most of my income via affiliate linking
7. I do not generally take sponsored posts

That's it. My blogs do not average 248,000 page views a month (as the blogs in the article average), and never have. I have never had a lot of traffic, but I have been blogging consistently for 10 years, and have built up a very loyal community who interact with me frequently and buy via my affiliate links. It's very difficult to make money solely on affiliate commission nowadays, which is why most bloggers are successful with some combination of sponsored posts and affiliate linking (from the article I linked above, sponsored posts and display media provide more revenue than affiliate linking for the “top” bloggers interviewed).

Determine what success looks like to you, then find a way to achieve it. In general, to make money from affiliate linking you should have a lot of traffic, but I don't. Why is that? It's a combination of things, including longevity, loyalty and passion for what I do.

You can be the outlier too, if you're good enough at what you do, and provide consistent value to your readers. Figure out what your value is and focus on that more than anything else. Then use that to support your passion and your career.

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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55 Responses

  1. AJ Wears Clothes

    This is interesting. It’s true that you have to find what works for you, but I definitely think the savviest bloggers who are smart about their money making tactics make the most. I’m a little lazy and just consider ANYTHING to be great, so it’s mostly passive income. I do wish I had the kind of following and klout that could finance a jacket just by linking it, though ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  2. Ghazaleh

    Thanks for the perspective. I love blogging, but as I’m juggling priorities I have my days where I’m thinking about the longer term goals and wonder how focused I should be on monetization. I have to make money to live obviously, but I find blogging far more satisfying. Having deeper engagement with readers seems more important than mere page views so that is good perspective to keep in mind. Thanks for the insight!

    Ghazaleh
    http://beautyandsass.com

    Reply
  3. Lollie Shopping

    Thank you for your honesty, reality-check, and encouragement. This post and the massive following one are so helpful and offer great clarity for many. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Ashley

    A welcome dose of reality!
    I’ve never had anywhere near 248,000 pageviews, and have been blogging… 7 years now? But, as a supplement to my day job, I’ve found I’ve been able to bring in some decent cash from various blogging streams.

    “Figure out what your value is and focus on that more than anything else. Then use that to support your passion and your career.” This is a wonderful, simple reminder for us all!

    Reply
  5. Onianwah

    A breath of fresh air for sure. There was a time last year when I gave up on ever getting any kind of income from my blog but I have renewed faith and hope in it coupled with the fact that my experience blogging has provided a good resume for me to get paid writing jobs. I am building my community of followers, I continually will, I won’t give up. Besides, I do love chatting with them and generally being there with and for them.

    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com
    Lagos, Nigeria

    Reply
  6. Juliana

    I really appreciated hearing about what works for you as a blogger and it’s really interesting to see how it can vary quite a bit from blogger to blogger. It’s also really refreshing to know that you don’t need 250K pageviews per month to be able to earn some cash off of your blog.

    Reply
  7. M

    Thanks so much for your insight and perspective. This is great motivation for not only us, but for the rest of the blogging community, and a good reminder for all that pageviews aren’t everything.

    xxx
    M: http://www.madeinmauve.com

    Reply
  8. Lesia

    I’m so grateful for this post. Now I can see some real numbers to aspire to and to be objective about. And that’s priceless. By the way, I loved the Coupon Codes section of your website, I found it a refreshing idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

    http://taleofthegreat.com

    Reply
  9. Lauren Martin

    Love the transparency and facts…i blog because I enjoy sharing my life and knowledge with others. Earning a little cash/extras from it is great but I think those who go out to “blog” just because they think it will make them rich or its glamorous and easy are extremely jaded. You just have to love what you do.
    http://makeitadoubleplease.com

    Reply
  10. Katya

    Dear Grechen, thank you for the informative and helpful article. I think that nowadays many people are really getting into blogging without understanding their goals. They are looking for “free money” or “want to be famous.” But, as you correctly noticed, most of the time blogging is a way to be creative not make money. Many bloggers that I know gain some perks from blogging (such as free clothes and beauty products) but do not completely rely on income made from blogging. However, it would be unfair to say that it is impossible to live on money made from a full-time blogging. As you proved on your own example, there are some financially successful bloggers whose posts are not necessarily hit “average 248,000 page views a month.” In other words, it is possible to make money blogging; it all depends on how much time and effort are you capable to invest in blogging.
    – Katya (http://stylesprinter.com/)

    Reply
  11. Nadia King

    Thank you Grechen! I’m reading a lot of books and articles on blogging at the moment as I’m just starting up. A lot of what I’ve found is all very much ‘how to get rich’ and ‘how to get 100,000,00 views’ and I get the feeling it’s all or nothing. Thank you for giving me another perspective and for your honesty!

    Reply
  12. Michele

    Very interesting! The funny thing is, I work for a brand, and we have budget to give to bloggers, but struggle to find bloggers to work with… We’re not looking for 200K+ visitors either. It’s exactly those blogs that we struggle to find, smaller bloggers that engage well with the followers they do have.

    Reply
  13. Jen. Miller

    Thank you for being to open and honest about this. I love that you mentioned consistency and loyalty! Do you have recommendations for affiliate marketing programs to start with?

    Reply
  14. Leigh Ann Dickey

    I recently read “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield and he made a good point in that at the end of the day if you’re not blogging (writing) about something that you’re passionate about – then is it really worth it anyway? Passion is key…

    Reply
  15. cindy

    I would love to hear which affiliate links pay out well. I have yet to make anything off of my Amazon links!

    Reply
  16. sah spence

    As many others have mentioned- so great to hear. Sometimes it is hard keeping things in perspective when you see people with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers on instagram and the like. Perseverance can be hard and having you share your experience is really appreciated x
    http://thedspencery.blogspot.com

    Reply
  17. atuesdayinapril

    This is very interesting. I’m a new blogger and I started my blog as a way to showcase what I enjoy and am passionate in terms of fashion and beauty. Though I am blogging for the joy of it, it is very interesting to read about successful bloggers such as yourself. I especially love reading about intelligent individuals who’ve made a business out of something they enjoy so much. Thanks for the great read ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  18. Candace

    Thank you for this! I feel like bloggers are SO secretive about what they make and how many page views they get. Making any money blogging is pretty exciting, let alone enough to call a salary.

    xoxo
    Candace
    http://www.FromCtoC.com

    Reply
  19. Kerri Estella

    I’m just getting to the point where I’m starting to take this blog seriously and articles like this help me think realistically as well!

    Appreciate it!–kerriestella

    http://therightstyle.com

    Reply
  20. Marlee De Angelus

    I like that you specifically explained that earning money does not solely rely on pageviews because since starting my blog in August 2013 I have reached to 28K and climbing. Though this may not be a lot in the grand scheme of things, this is a huge achievement for me by only marketing it from my social media. My question to you all though is how do you go about starting the process of earning revenue and gaining more followers?

    Reply
  21. Marc Teng

    Hello. :)) I am just new in IFB, so I am still on the process of exploring this website. If I may ask, what is affiliate linking?

    Reply
  22. Molly Hainline

    I know I’m a bit late to this article – but it’s awesome, and so encouraging, to hear about someone who’s been doing it for so long and has a loyal following. Cheers!! Thanks for the piece, and the impart of knowledge. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  23. cheryl Y

    Thank God I found this page. So much to learn about blogging. A friend told me about affliates a month ago and I regret the fact that i was so blind to eat despite being a blogger for 3 years. Thanks for more info on this. Patience is really virtue , I got my first interview ever too, just goes to show someone is always watching your efforts.

    Reply
  24. meltem fakabasmaz

    This article really good for me. I have been blogging almost 3 years. I earned some money from sponsored stories and organising an event. But I want to earn like you do in order to continue my living standards. Thank you for your sharing.

    http://www.filmstilmoda.com

    Reply
  25. Stephanie

    This was really informative and useful for a new blogger like me. I’m from NYC and looking to make some new fashion-minded friends whether over the internet or in person ๐Ÿ™‚

    SUSTENANCEANDSTYLE.COM

    Reply
  26. Allison McIntyre

    Thanks for sharing! I have only been blogging for about a year, and I’m sure you fellow fashion/beauty bloggers know, hobby blogging can be quite expensive. I would love to turn blogging into a career someday, but I often go through waves of feeling really discouraged because of the number of page views and followers I get (or don’t get). This article was very encouraging.
    http://www.allisonmmcintyre.com

    Reply
  27. Magalita

    Thanks so much for your insight and perspective.I really appreciated hearing about what works for you . Itโ€™s also really refreshing to know that you donโ€™t need so many pageviews to be able to earn some cash off of your blog.
    This is great motivation for not only me, but for the rest of the blogging community, and a good reminder for all that views arenโ€™t everything.

    Reply
  28. Magalita

    Thanks so much for your insight and perspective.I really appreciated hearing about what works for you . Itโ€™s also really refreshing to know that you donโ€™t need so many pageviews to be able to earn some cash off of your blog.

    This is great motivation for not only me, but for the rest of the blogging community, and a good reminder for all that views arenโ€™t everything. Inspiring

    http://houseofkimaani.blogspot.ca/

    Reply
  29. Camilla

    This is so true and it’s such a weird misconception! I’ve read about bloggers with smallish sites making a full-time income (e.g. through coaching). As mentioned in the post, it depends on goals/business model.

    http://www.99smartideas.com/

    Reply