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How long does it take to make money blogging?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

I began my blog in July of 2019, and will get my first significant income in October of 2020 of around £2000.

I made starting making money in around June, with around 85,000 pageviews per month.

But realistically, this is a question most easily answered in two words: it depends.

Blogs about blogging are everywhere. Who doesn’t want to make money online, wearing pyjamas and never being more than ten feet from the fridge? What a dream.

But it isn’t easy. I know you know that, but the reason blogging isn’t easy isn’t quite what you might think.

My main problem is information overload.

From picking hosting, a niche, monetisation methods, a content management system, how to find photos, how to improve site speed, SEO…and we haven’t even TOUCHED on social media or getting traffic yet.

Learning all that stuff is important.

You’ll never make money if you don’t understand basic SEO, but the key word here is basic.

Learn what you need to learn (and I’ll tell you all that stuff in a later post) and then stick to creating content.

If you don’t want to write, then this maybe isn’t the post for you.

I’ve dreamt of writing for a living my whole life. I have no interest in coding, photography or SEO beyond what I need to create a basic site.

ANYWAY.

How can I make money from my blog?

Advertising

This is the most passive way of making money from your website. Once you’ve picked your ad network, you just watch the money roll in.

How long will it take to make money on my blog through advertising?

You can make a few pennies in the first couple of months, but you need substantial traffic if you want to make a full-time income from ads alone. We’re talking a year or more if you follow the no social media, content-driven blog building method I write about on this site.

How much traffic do I need to make £1,000 per month from advertising?

It depends a lot on your CPM (the amount of money you make per thousand page views) but we’re talking about 30,000 page views per month. Wowsers.

Should I sign up for AdSense straight away?

If you want to sign up for AdSense right from the start, then go for it. BUT please bear in mind that those pennies you’re making come at a cost. Putting ads on your site can significantly decrease your page speed, so you need to decide whether it’s really worth it.

In those beginning stages of a blog, you really want Google on your side, and user experience (of which page speed is a large component) is one of Google’s biggest factors when it comes to ranking.

How passive are ads?

Super passive. And once you’re getting big girl traffic, the big ad networks set it all up for you.

So what’s the catch?

You need a hell of a lot of traffic. And not just Pinterest traffic that has a session length of 00:00:03. Real, engaged traffic.

The pros of ads:

  • Passive as hell
  • Don’t require a call to action
  • Doesn’t (usually) bug the reader

The cons of ads:

  • Decreases site speed
  • You need serious traffic to make any money

Affiliate links

Affiliate links are another fairly passive way of making money blogging, and it can be quicker to get results than it is with displaying ads. It’s not quite so easy – you have to find affiliate networks, find products and then add links – but depending on what you’re linking to and the rate of commission you’re getting, you can make a small income without needing mega traffic.

How long will it take me to make money through affiliate marketing?

Some people make money in the first few months of blogging. It really depends on how you’re selling the links. Product reviews are great for conversions BUT it’s a very saturated part of the internet. Try to really niche down so you get really targeted traffic.

How much traffic do I need to make £1000 per month from affiliate marketing?

This isn’t as clear cut an answer as it was for ads, but in general, you need less traffic to make money from affiliate marketing IF your traffic is high quality.

Say you decide to join the affiliate programme for your hosting, and you get £65 from every click-through and subsequent sale. To make £1000 per month you’d need 16 sales. Assuming a clickthrough rate of 10% and a conversion rate of 2%, we’re looking at needing about 9,000 pageviews a month.

Should I sign up for affiliate marketing straight away?

If this is your first crack at blogging, then *controversially* I’m going to say no. Affiliate marketing is only passive once you’ve applied, got accepted, and put all the links in. That time is better spent getting to grips with WordPress and SEO if you’re new.

If you’ve had a few blogs and vaguely know what you’re doing, then adding affiliate links isn’t detrimental to your site in any way UNLESS you’re too pushy.

I would recommend setting up a Resources page if appropriate and linking to all your products there (without necessarily having affiliate links) from the start.

That way, when it comes to adding affiliate links you only have to add them to one page. When you add a link in your articles, link them to your resource page.

It also means you don’t have to clog up your articles with affiliate disclaimers, and you’re increasing pageviews, by having your readers click to another page on your blog.

How passive is affiliate marketing?

It depends. It’s pretty passive once set up (which can be a lot of work), but you’re not in control of changes in commission, affiliate networks kicking you out, and dropping stores you link to.

So what’s the catch?

If you run a site that lives and dies by affiliate marketing, all your integrity hinges on the products you recommend. If a customer buys a product and doesn’t like it, you’ve lost a customer. If that happens repeatedly, you’ve lost a business.

This. Is. Not. A. Get. Rich. Quick. Scheme.

The pros of affiliate marketing

  • Fairly passive – it’s a bit set it and forget it

  • You can make a significant amount of money. Michelle from Making Sense of Cents has built a million-dollar business from affiliate marketing. Nice.

  • You can implement right from the beginning

  • It’s free to start

The cons of affiliate marketing

  • There’s a bit of a learning curve – beginners should maybe wait until they know what they’re doing with their blog before adding affiliate links.

  • If your niche doesn’t lend itself to linking to big-ticket products, you may need a lot of traffic to make any real money. One of my niches is house plants, and let me tell you: I’m not going to get rich receiving 2% commission on a £7.99 moisture metre.

  • You need to establish trust before your audience will trust your recommendation. If you recommend a crappy product, news like that travels fast.

Sponsored posts

I’m not really going to go into detail with sponsored posts, because I can’t really give you any useful figures.

However, certain types of sites do lend themselves to making money from sponsored posts, for example, if you blog about a specific location only then you may be able to sponsored posts reviewing restaurants, local attractions etc.

If your niche is very narrow, then you could get sponsored posts with relatively little traffic, since the traffic will likely be highly targeted.

In terms of making money, it really depends. Set your rates. Do one sponsored post a month and charge £1000, or scale accordingly. Just be sure that your posts are well-researched and not misleading in any way, and don’t let sponsored posts make up more than 10% of your articles.

Info products

Info products are products that you make yourself and sell on your website. It could be an ebook, a course, printables, whatever.

How long will it take me to make money through info products?

That really depends on whether your product is something that people want, how much traffic you’re getting (and how targeted it is) and how much people trust you.

How much traffic do I need to make £1000 per month from info products?

How long’s a piece of string? When you’re just starting out, I’d stick to cheaper info products – no more than £50. Say you write a £9.99 ebook, have a clickthrough rate of 10% and a conversion rate of 2%, you’d need about 50,000 monthly pageviews.

When should I launch my first info product?

Whenever you like. Provided its good quality, then why not? Like affiliate linking, I’d leave it a while if you’re a noob, just because it’s one more thing to get your head around.

How passive are info products?

It depends on what you create. If you create an ebook, stick it on Amazon and you’re done, they can be incredibly passive. However, if you’re after the big bucks and want to create a course or something then you need to keep it up to date, manage any communities you created for it, and generally keep it alive. Not so passive.

Pros of info products

  • Scaleable – as your audience grows you can create more and more products
  • As passive as you make them

Cons of info products

  • Initially, time consuming
  • The more money they make you, the less passive they tend to be
  • If they’re not good enough, you risk losing your audience

Conclusion

Realistically, you won’t be making decent money from your blog until you’ve been doing it for around a year. This time scale can be shortened if:

  • This isn’t your first blog
  • You have prior blogging knowledge (maybe from work)
  • You can work at it full time

And of course:

  • If you have a shit tonne of money to throw at it.

It’s taken me YEARS to make any money blogging, and not because I couldn’t write well, but because:

  • I kept changing niche

This isn’t a problem IF you start a new site every time, rather than just deleting posts and starting over. A couple of my sites were probably quite good, but I didn’t give them the time to get out of the Google sandbox (about 8 months)

  • I wanted traffic quickly

So I tried every method going, and then got frustrated when they didn’t work ESPECIALLY when I spent money on them. But also, I didn’t give any one method the time it deserved.

That’s the crux of my problems in what? Five sentences? It’s also why so many writers abandon their blogs. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES I BEG YOU.

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