You want to make money blogging? You do? I can help you. But don’t think I am going to give you yet another 101 ways to make money online. Because it doesn’t work that way at all. Seriously.
If you already have a blog and is exploring ways to monetize your blog then here’s a list of over 40 Google AdSense alternatives to make money blogging.
Over the past several months, I have been trying to scale-up my content creation process — to create more blog posts per month in a consistent way. However, I was not able to do it and is yet to find a way that works for me.
But the good thing is, I ended up doing a lot of maths. I love maths. No, not the stuff that you and me learned at school — differentiation, integration, algebra, matrices, etc. — but the one applied in real life.
In fact, that’s how I ended up writing a fun blog post about How Much Traffic Do You Need To Make $100,000 a few years back. It was all about traffic and income and surprisingly it became one of the most popular posts on my blog.
So, today I just wanted to do a reverse blog post based on the numbers that I have worked out.
How Much Money Should You Invest In Content Marketing To Generate 1,000,000 Pageviews And $3,000 Per Month
And it’s about traffic, income, and costs too.
The only problem is, the math that I have used on the previous blog post can be applied to almost any blog/website out there. But the current math can’t be as it’s mostly based on my own traffic insights plus few case studies.
So, there’s every chance that the actual figures applicable for your own blog could be a lot different from mine. Needless to say, it ultimately depends upon your website’s niche, authority, and marketing efforts.
For instance, the number of pageviews of a blog depends very much on its bounce rate. Even a slight change in bounce rate means a lot in terms of pageviews.
My bounce rate is over 85% and the number of pages per visit is 1.30/visit. Now if I’ve managed to reduce my bounce rate to say around 80% then the number of pages per visit will be around 1.50/visit.
And it will easily result in a 15% jump in pageviews (with zero additional content creation).
Make Money Blogging: I just want to decode four questions
- How Much Traffic Does Your Blog Need To Make $36,000 Per Year In Ad Revenue
- How Many Blog Posts Do You Need To Generate A Million Pageviews Per Month
- How Much Money Should You Invest In Content Marketing To Generate A Million Pageviews Per Month
- How Much Time Does It Take To Reach Your Traffic Goal
How Much Traffic Does Your Blog Need To Make $36,000 Per Year
If your goal is to become a full-time blogger or has started a blog to make money blogging then you need a clear vision in terms of earnings and traffic. Let’s say your goal is to make $36,000 (that is, $3,000 x 12) in advertising revenue per year.
So, you need to figure out how much traffic will you need to hit that goal and the kind of effort (in terms of time, work, and investment) you have to put into in order to achieve that goal. It’s not a silly goal if you do not have any experience and is yet to make your first dollar online.
First, let’s just decode $36,000 into something more feasible.
- $36,000/year ~ $3,000/month
- $3,000/month ~ $692.31/week
- $692.31/week ~ $98.63/day
- $98.63/day ~ $4.11/hour
And if I were to count only working days and working hours then it comes to $18/hour (assuming 250 working days and 8 working hours). Just FYI.
Now let’s see how much traffic do you need to make $36,000/year in ad revenue. Once again, $36,000/year translates to around $98.63/day and let’s make it $100/day.
And I’m considering only “ad revenue” as it’s a definite way (especially via Google AdSense) to make money from any content rich website. That said, advertising may not be the best way to monetize your blog.
There are a ton of other ways that you can try to make money from your blog. It’s just that it takes a while to find out what’s best for you and your blog.
For instance, a blog that’s getting a lot of traffic (say, over 100,000 pageviews a month) can monetize the website with CPC & CPM ads, private banner and text link ads (they’re non-intrusive), affiliate marketing, e-book sales, sponsored reviews, etc. — and that’s exactly how others are doing it.
So, if indeed advertising is the best way to monetize your content then your income depends entirely upon your monthly pageviews and the CPM.
CPM (Cost Per Mille) stands for Cost Per 1,000 Impressions. A CPM is always represented in dollar terms and it tells you how much money you’re making from every 1,000 pageviews (or rather ad impressions). If you are making $10 from 4,000 impressions then your CPM will be $2.50.
Again, the actual CPM depends upon your traffic sources, website niche, audience demography, and ad placement.
If you are getting most of your traffic from the U.S. (and other English-speaking countries like Canada, U.K, Australia) then you can probably make a CPM of $4 (using a combination of different ad networks).
It also means that you will need at least 25,000 pageviews to make $100 (assuming a CPM of $4) a day.
Do remember that, if you have a non-English website that’s getting most of its traffic outside U.S. then your CPM could be as low as $0.50 (if not less).
For instance, I used to manage a Spanish tech blog that was getting over 2 million pageviews/month but it was getting a CPM of only $0.25 from Google AdSense. So, it’s really a different story.
That was about monetization with ad networks. Now what about private ads?
Well, the income from private ads is somewhat more predictable than income from ad networks like Google AdSense as we can set the price/CPM by ourselves.
You can dig BuySellAds.com to get some idea about the kind of pageviews that’s required to hit your income goal.
Just in case you didn’t know,
BuySellAds is one of the largest ad marketplace that connects advertisers and publishers directly. So, if you are a publisher then you can set your own pricing (on an ad unit basis or CPM basis).
Since they have categorized all the publisher websites you can browse the ones that is in your niche and can better assess the traffic required to hit your income goal.
To give you some perspective, I will just explore few BuySellAds listings (from different categories) for you,
HomeBunch.com | Home & Architecture
HomeBunch.com is getting around 500,000 pageviews a month and is making $1,200 from BuySellAds and possibly another $1,500 from Google AdSense (assuming a CPM of $3).
The Labrador Site | Pets
The Labrador Site is getting only around 300,000 pageviews a month but is almost making $920 from BuySellAds and probably another $900 from Google AdSense.
Bedroom Producers Blog | Technology
Bedroom Producers Blog is a tech blog and it’s also getting around 300,000 pageviews a month (same as The Labrador Site). As you can see it’s making $1750 from BuySellAds itself and hopefully at least $600 from Google AdSense (assuming a CPM of just $2).
I have already mentioned that you will need 25,000 pageviews a day to make $100 (assuming a combined CPM of $4 from all the ad networks and private ads that you have placed) and it means you will need 750,000 pageviews to make $3,000 a month.
None of the above websites are getting over 750,000 pageviews a month and yet they are making thousands of dollars a month. So, the idea is to showcase few websites that is making almost $3,000 a month in ad revenue without generating 750,000 pageviews.
All of them are monetizing their websites with multiple ad networks plus they must be making additional income by way of affiliates, sponsors, private banner & text link ads, etc. So, the real income could be a lot higher or lower than the figures that I have mentioned here.
And there’s one more thing.
The CPM rates can vary significantly from website to website and industry to industry. For example, the CPM set by the above technology blog is $4.5 but it’s as high as $14 for Windows Central (with over 22 million pageviews) and as low as $3 for OS X Daily (with over 4 million pageviews).
How Many Blog Posts Do You Need To Generate 1 Million Pageviews
Well, it really depends as there is no magical number. I have already cited few examples about how different niche blogs are making almost $3,000/month without generating the required 750,000 pageviews a month.
Remember, pageviews = $$$. The more you generate, the more money you will/can make.
The effort that’s required to push the traffic of any website clearly depends upon its industry, authority, and marketing efforts.
So, it’s definitely possible that Website A is generating a million pageviews from under 1,000 blog posts while Website B is generating a million pageviews from 10,000.
And if it’s a dynamic blog (like a news blog) then the number of pages required will be much more than that as its pages gets outdated rapidly.
For example, the mega-popular technology blog TheNextWeb.com is getting around 3 million pageviews (according to BuySellAds.com) and it’s got around 150,000 indexed pages on Google. Another technology blog, 9to5Google.com is also getting around 3 million pageviews but it’s got less than 50,000 indexed pages on Google.
The actual number of pages could be much less than that as Google indexes a lot of archive pages and user-generated content as well. Both those websites are news blogs and they publish tons of posts every week/month.
Now I have also checked the stats of the popular how-to blog Labnol.org and have seen that it’s getting over 2 million pageviews. I also found out that it’s got less than 10,000 indexed pages on Google and the actual number of blog posts is less than 5,000 (got the number from its website architecture). And it’s a single-authored blog with no crappy guest posts either.
Then there are viral blogs that can attract massive traffic in no time at all. Anyway, I’m not so excited about it as I don’t like those websites. Moreover, you can’t say whether those traffic is going to sustain or not as everything depends upon the virality of the content (you can’t predict that, can you?).
For instance, here’s the traffic stats of a viral blog.
As you can see, the traffic went up from 50,000 pageviews to 4 million pageviews a month in just 6 months and now it’s less than 300,000. It’s that volatile!
As I have already mentioned, there is no magical numbers that I could give. But I can give you a perspective using my own traffic insights and you can then apply your own maths to get your figures right.
- I started this blog in 2007.
- I was averaging around 3,000 visits/month after 2 years in 2009.
- The total number of blog posts was less than 350 in 2009.
- And a large percentage of them were garbage (or thin content) with a lot of news posts and not-so-unique topics.
- Most of the organic traffic was driven only by a handful of posts.
- And then the blog was more or less idle for the next couple of years (2010-11) and I published few blog posts randomly.
- And then I decided to revamp the blog in 2012.
- So, I had around 365 blog posts as of March, 2012 — that is, just before I decided to revamp the blog.
- The monthly traffic was around 12,000 visits/month then.
- That was a 300% jump in traffic in two years when I was hardly publishing new posts and was not doing a thing to improve the traffic.
- Again, most of the traffic was driven by few evergreen posts.
- And then I focused on content creation for the next six months and started publishing more research backed and in-depth content.
- The organic traffic jumped almost 400% in 6 months — from 9,000 to 45,000.
- In 2013, I redesigned the blog and began to stick with my own editorial philosophy (thanks to Google Panda).
- I deleted all the garbage posts published way back in 2007-11, and ended up removing almost 90% of the content.
- I started from the scratch, and focused on content creation for the next two years (2013-14) and was able to double the organic traffic.
- In all, my daily organic visits over the past 8 years looks like — 100 to 300 t0 1,500 to 300 to 1,500 to 3,000. And the monthly traffic looks like:
- And the stats show that, I had 200 blog posts when I was averaging 1,500 daily visits and I had less than 250 posts when I started averaging 3,000 daily visits.
- It means that the traffic growth rate was much higher than the pace at which new content is created.
- So, I guess it’s safe to assume that if I double the number of posts to 500 from the current 250 the traffic should also double/triple from here.
Now, don’t you think that I can estimate the number of blog posts required to hit 1,000,000 pageviews a month? If there’s one certain way to increase the traffic then it’s by creating more content. You double the number of blog posts on your blog, you double the organic traffic as well.
And as I said, the traffic growth rate could be much higher than the content creation rate for the first few years but it will surely slow down over time. Because of this same reason, we can easily increase the traffic of a blog from 1,000 visits to 10,000 visits but it is extremely difficult to increase the traffic from 10,000 to 100,000.
For me, I think it’s safe to assume that if 250 blog posts are generating 100,000 pageviews a month then I can possibly increase the traffic further to 500,000 by quadrupling the number of blog posts.
Also, I set a conservative 500,000 and not a million as the monthly target as I think it’s enough to bring $3,000 in ad revenue per month (because I was averaging $6 CPM when I was running AdSense on my blog).
I also believe that the final traffic levels should surprise me on the downside or upside (can’t be something in between) as the final pageviews depends upon the bounce rate, Google algorithmic changes, competitors, etc. But I believe it’s a naturally achievable level.
Now the only problem is, I was not even publishing a blog post per week (on an average). Otherwise, there would have been at least 416 (or 52 weeks x 8 years) articles on my blog today (when the actual number is just 247 as of today).
And it basically means that it will take many, many years to publish the next 1,000 blog posts.
What’s the solution? That’s right. Outsource!
So, is it possible to come up with a number if I ask myself:
How Much Money Should I Invest In Content Marketing To Generate 500,000 Pageviews Per Month
Yes, definitely possible.
If I’m to invest in content marketing (in order to create the next 1,000 blog posts) then the figures will look like this:
- 1,000 posts x $25 = $25,000
- 1,000 posts x $50 = $50,000
- 1,000 posts x $100 = $100,000
- 1,000 posts x $200 = $200,000
- 1,000 posts x $400 = I’m Not Neil Patel!
As you can see, it’s all about how much money you’re willing to spend per post or how much much are you spending to get one blog post written.
Again, the potential traffic from new as well as future blog posts will depend a lot upon the nature of the blog and its content. However, it’s easily possible to create a content strategy accordingly so that none of the blog posts goes outdated after few months. If you create content with a purpose and do it consistently then it works like magic in the long term.
Now, what will the ad revenue look like if I did manage to generate 500,000 pageviews/month consistently?
I would say, if I monetize the blog with Google AdSense then it should bring in $3,000/month (assuming a CPM of $6) and the total ad revenue should be at least $5,000 if I also sell ads directly or via BuySellAds.com. And here, I haven’t even considered affiliates as there’s no definite way to predict affiliate income.
How Much Time Does It Take To Reach Your Traffic Goal
Again, it depends. The problem with most blogs (including many of those high-authority ones) is that they publish a high-quality blog post one day and then it’s followed by a bunch of garbage posts.
Now that makes traffic prediction difficult and it can distract your readers as well. Because they can’t know what to expect from your blog.
The best example is my own blog. No, I don’t publish any garbage posts (or at least I think so) but I tend to write and publish diverse topics. Although I can interlink all my blog posts (as they are all related to each other in one way or the other) they’re classified as diverse.
So, whenever I publish a random topic I attract few email unsubscribers as well. It basically means that he/she is not interested in that particular topic. If mine was a niche blog then I could have avoided such situation and focus on building an audience.
However, if you have a niche blog and you’re following your industry pretty closely then you can increase the quality of your blog plus increase the subscribers in an organic way. Because your readers know exactly what to expect from your blog and then it’s safe to assume that your blog will grow X% every year (depending upon your industry and the nature of your content).
For example, here’s the monthly organic traffic history of a niche blog — with a content strategy,
And here’s the monthly organic traffic history of a niche blog — without a content strategy,
A niche blog may also get an “authority” advantage. That is, if you start a blog about a particular topic and it eventually became one of the most popular website in that niche then it will get a weightage on search engines. And after that, all your future blog posts will get a ranking boost (as long as you maintain the quality of your blog and content).
For example, think about the blogs: OSXDaily.com, iMore.com and MacWorld.com. All the three blogs are about Apple (AAPL) and they rarely publish a topic that’s not related to Apple. Now all of them have established themselves as a top destination for “Apple News” and there is every chance that one of them is listed in Top 30 (or even in Top 10) for Apple related keywords on Google. That’s the authority advantage.
It also means that their organic search traffic will only go up as long as the demand for Apple related keywords on Google, Bing, etc. is increasing.
Now back to the question: how much time does it take to reach your traffic goal?
I will give you a simple perspective.
Let’s say you started a new personal finance blog and I’m assuming the following things:
- You did all the homework before starting a blog.
- You did proper keyword research before writing a topic.
- You only chose timeless topics so that it won’t become outdated after few months/years.
- You didn’t compromise the quality of your content, ever.
- You wrote about topics that’s strictly related to your niche and was able to interlink your content.
- You managed to write 100 blog posts (~ 2 per week) in the first year.
- You started getting 3,000 visits a month at the end of year.
Now that you’re getting 3,000 visits a month, how can you double it? Well, just double the number of your blog posts. That is, if you’re getting 3,000 visits a month from 100 blog posts then you will definitely get over 6,000 visits a month from 200 blog posts.
And that was just a simple math. The actual traffic growth could be a lot higher than that. You know why? Because as the number of blog posts increases the traffic usually grows at a higher rate (provided the blog is active and there is demand for your content).
Remember, it was all about organic traffic. If you’re targeting referral traffic and social media traffic then you could reach your goal in a faster way.
What Can You Do To Scale-Up Your Blog?
I’m going to assume that you (whether you’re a individual blogger or a business) already have a blog with decent amount of traffic. So, what should you do to scale-up your blog’s traffic?
- Hire a content strategist (especially if you are a small business owner) so that he will create a content strategy and streamline the whole processes for you.
- Content creation without a purpose is meaningless and I must admit that I realized it only after the first 4 years of blogging.
- It won’t help if you’re creating X number of blog posts every week when you do not have a solid content strategy.
- Once you have a solid content strategy, focus on building an amazing team of content crafters.
- When you have a content strategy plus a team of writers, it’s easy to scale-up the content creation process.
- Start leveraging social media and web 2.0 app and sites by repurposing content.
Again, the above steps are solely based on my own traffic insights and it may not be the ultimate solution for you. But I believe it can be applied to almost any blog out there in one way or the other.
Also, it was based on the assumption that you already own a blog. If you do not have a blog, then think about starting one. :D
If you own a pretty new single-authored blog, then you can wait until you hit say a hundred blog posts (unless you have the budget to scale-up from day one) so you will know where you are going. A hundred blog posts will give enough insights on traffic potential, and the type of content that are performing and the ones that are not performing.
And if it’s a small business blog, then you should immediately create a content strategy and set your goals and work to achieve it.
Sure, that was all about money but let me tell you something, blogging is tough. Making money blogging is even more tough. Oh yeah, you must have come across a ton of “how to start a start a blog in 10 minutes” and “make money blogging” guides and e-books. But the reality is that it’s not that simple.
In fact, when you get started you are neither going to make any income nor going to get any traffic (consider yourself lucky if you managed to achieve it from week one).
Of course, there are a lot of content marketing case studies out there where experienced bloggers managed to generate thousands of visits on the very same month they launched a new blog. But remember, they were experienced.
If you are beginner or is starting your first blog then you will probably experience all the challenges that I have faced (and is still facing) during the content creation process — unless it’s a multi-author blog with experienced bloggers or writers on board.
And the other thing would be about the future of blogging. No, it’s not going to die. But if you pay attention to any of the so-called guru bloggers then you will see that they are no longer excited about content creation.
90% content creation and 10% promotion worked in the past (it works today as well). The thing is recently, some genius people have figured out ways to find success with just 10% content creation and 90% promotion.
That’s why most of them are either focusing on building their personal brand and its promotion or they’re busy running their
blog “content farm”.
I said “content farm” because there are a bunch of them who advocate for professional blogging but what they are doing is literally running a “content farm”. That is, hiring a dozen content creators and publishing tons of blog posts every single month — only to keep their blog hyper-active and not necessarily because they want to share something.
What you should really realize is the fact that blogging is NOT a get rich quick kind of thing. It could be a hobby, a full-time job, a business, or whatever. Anyway, it’s something that takes a lot of effort, patience, and perseverance.
And blogging is not all about income or traffic. It’s about you too.
Happy Blogging! :)
First Published: December 17, 2015; Last Updated: Wednesday, January 31, 2018.