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How Long Does It Take to Make Money Blogging?
One question I hear all the time from new bloggers who are just starting out is how long does it take to make money blogging?
And instead of giving that dreaded answer “It depends…” I want to explain exactly how long it can take to make money blogging. (Bearing in mind that it truly does depend on the blogger, and there’s no “correct” answer on how long it takes to make money blogging. It’s different for everyone.)
However, these are good approximations for new bloggers to use.
It can be frustrating when you are a new blogger, and you haven’t made any money yet. The good news is, blogging is a long-term game.
Most new bloggers give up within the first year, but that is the LAST thing you should do if you want to make money blogging. Just by sticking with your blog for more than a year, you are already going to be ahead of the majority of bloggers.
Here’s what to know about how long it takes to make money blogging!
Related: How Many Pageviews Do You Need to Make Money Blogging?
Start With the Right Foundation
The most important thing to do when starting out is to make sure you have the right foundation for your blog if you want to make money blogging.
One huge mistake new bloggers make is not starting a self-hosted blog. Instead, they start out on a free platform like WordPress.com.
Having a self-hosted blog means purchasing web hosting and a domain name from a company like Bluehost. (I recommend Bluehost because it’s only $2.95 a month and you get a FREE domain name with them.)
This is important because without a self-hosted blog, you won’t be able to monetize your blog and you won’t have ownership over your content.
Click here for my complete guide on how to start a blog.
Other Important Foundations
Before I get into how long it takes to make money blogging, I wanted to note a few other important things you should be doing before you expect to make any money from your blog. Don’t neglect these three important factors!
The first is having a strategy in mind. When you start blogging, I recommend looking at successful bloggers in your niche and seeing what they do. What type of blog posts are they writing? What social media platforms do they use to promote their blog? How are they monetizing their blog? (Hint: Check out these blog income reports for some inspiration)
The next thing is writing helpful, high-quality blog posts. You want to make sure your blog posts are solving a problem for your readers or providing information they are searching for. You don’t want to just write long, rambling, personal blog posts. Here are the best types of blog posts for new bloggers to write.
And finally, you need to be promoting your blog to get traffic. You can’t make money blogging without at least some traffic. You don’t need hundreds of thousands of pageviews per month, but you do need some readers to be successful. I recommend focusing on Pinterest and SEO (search engine optimization) for getting blog traffic. This is the Pinterest strategy I follow.
Many new bloggers aren’t doing these things, so it takes longer to make money blogging. By having these foundations for your blog, you are more likely to start earning money sooner rather than later from your blog.
Time to Make Money by Income Stream
Now let’s get into how long it actually takes to make money blogging!
As a blogger, it’s important to have multiple forms of income.
I have written more about the top five income streams for bloggers in this post: How Do Bloggers Make Money? Top 5 Ways Explained
However, here’s a quick overview of ways to make money blogging:
- Display ads
- Affiliate marketing
- Digital products
- Sponsored content
- Offering services
And here’s how long each one can take to make money blogging…
Display ads are a great way to make money passively on your blog.
Bloggers can join an ad network (here are the best ad networks for bloggers) and earn money based on the number of people who view their blog.
Ad revenue is typically paid in “RPM” or revenue per one thousand views. So if your blog gets 100,000 pageviews a month and you have an RPM of $25, you would earn $2,500 a month from displaying ads on your blog.
Since ad income is based on traffic, it can take longer for new bloggers to earn money this way, since you need consistent traffic to make good money.
Most ad networks also have minimum traffic requirements. Although there are some ad networks (such as Google AdSense) that will accept new bloggers with very little traffic, I would not recommend this because the amount of you can earn with under 10,000 pageviews per month is going to be very minimal.
Instead, I recommend waiting until your blog is getting enough traffic to apply for a better, higher-paying ad network such as Mediavine.
For this reason, it can take anywhere from six months to one year or more to start earning money from display ads as a blogger.
Affiliate marketing is another great way to make money blogging.
What exactly is affiliate marketing? Basically, it’s just inserting a unique affiliate link to products you mention in your blog posts, and earning a commission every time someone clicks your link and makes a purchase.
Here’s a list of the best affiliate programs for bloggers.
Unlike display ads, it’s possible to make money from affiliate marketing with a lot less traffic (if you are doing it correctly and strategically.)
I actually made my first affiliate sale just a month after I started blogging, at a time when I had less than 3,000 pageviews on my blog!
The important thing is to make sure you aren’t just throwing affiliate links into your blog posts at random. Instead, you need to make sure you’re using them naturally and in a way that is helpful to your reader.
I highly recommend the online course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing if you want to learn how to make money from affiliate marketing as a blogger. (It was created by a blogger who earns $50,000 a month from affiliate marketing!)
She also has a free affiliate marketing ebook you can download.
If you get started with affiliate marketing right away as a new blogger, you can potentially earn money between three months to six months.
Another good way to make money blogging is by creating and selling your own digital products. (Not sure what to create? I put together a list of the best digital products to sell to make money from as a blogger.)
Digital products are great because beyond the initial time investment required to create them, you can sell an infinite amount of them passively.
Like affiliate marketing, you do need some traffic in order to sell your digital products. I launched my first ebook after only a few months of blogging when I still had less than 5,000 monthly pageviews, and I started making sales right away. So you don’t need a HUGE audience to get started.
You can leverage Pinterest and social media for promoting your product, as well as starting an email list to make sales. Even with a small email list, you can make lots of digital product sales, as I talk about in my email marketing strategy.
However, since it does require more work to create your own digital product compared to affiliate marketing where you are promoting someone else’s product, it does take many bloggers longer to get started with.
For that reason, the time it can take to start earning money from selling digital products on your blog could be anywhere between three months to nine months.
Sponsored content is when a brand pays a blogger to create content for them (usually in the form of a blog post and/or social media posts.)
This is the form of monetization I have the least experience with on my blogs, because I prefer to focus on other income streams. However, many bloggers earn a full-time income just from working with brands on sponsored content (crossing more into “influencer” territory than being just a blogger.)
You don’t need to have hundreds of thousands on Instagram followers to do sponsored work, but you do need to have an established, engaged audience.
As for your blog, I would recommend waiting until you are getting at least 10,000 pageviews per month before attempting sponsored work.
To find sponsored content opportunities, you can join a sponsored content network that matches bloggers with brands, pitch to brands directly, or wait for brands to start reaching out to you. (I’m personally a fan of the latter option and never proactively look for sponsored opportunities.)
I started receiving sponsored post opportunities after about a year of blogging.
Since you do need an established audience for sponsored content, I would say you can expect to make money between nine months to one year.
Finally, offering services is one of the FASTEST ways to make money as a new blogger. This is how a lot of new bloggers get started actually.
When I very first started blogging, I also offered a web design and branding service where I helped other bloggers by setting up and customizing their WordPress theme for them, and creating a logo for their blog.
I got my first web design client by advertising in Facebook groups for bloggers. (I was able to use my own newly-created blog as an example of my work.)
When you don’t have an audience of your own yet, offering services can be a great way to earn some money and gain valuable experience for the future. You can use social media to find clients while you continue to build up your blog.
Not sure what kind of services to offer? Here are some ideas of profitable services.
Since offering services is more “blog adjacent” and doesn’t require any traffic to get started, you can earn money as quickly as one month to three months.
How Long Does It Take to Make Money Blogging?
I hope this helps give you an idea of how long it takes to make money blogging.
Bear in mind that the estimates above assume you are able to dedicate a solid amount of time every week to growing your blog. Someone who can work 40 hours a week on their new blog is going to have different results than someone who can only afford to spend two or three hours a week on it.
Once your blog is established, it does become a much easier and more passive way to earn money. As I mentioned, you just have to stick with it!
So many new bloggers give up right before they reach “critical mass” while the most successful bloggers have stuck with it for many, many years.
How Long Is Too Long?
If you have been blogging consistently for more than one to two years and you still aren’t seeing ANY growth with traffic or income, chances are it’s because you’re lacking one of the core foundations I mentioned earlier.
You might want to go back up and read the “Other Important Foundations” section and ask yourself if you’re really doing all of those things.
To recap, that includes asking yourself…
- Do I have a strategy in mind? Have I researched what other successful bloggers in my niche are doing? Am I monetizing my blog in the right way?
- Am I writing helpful, high-quality blog posts? Do I have at least 50-100 solid blog posts related to my niche published on my blog?
- What is my Pinterest strategy? Do I understand SEO? Am I spending too much time on social media platforms that aren’t bringing me traffic?
Usually when I see bloggers who still aren’t making any money, it’s because they are lacking one (or several) of these core blogging foundations.
It could also be a time investment issue. If you can only spend a few hours a week on your blog, it’s simply going to grow slower than someone who is able to dedicate 20 hours a week or 40 hours a week towards working on their blog.
More Blogging Tips
I hope this helped you understand how long it takes to make money from a blog.
Here are more of my top blogging tips to check out:
- How to Make Your Blog Look Professional
- 17 Highest Paid Bloggers (And How Much They Earn)
- Is Blogging Dead? Here’s What to Know
- How to Boost Your Holiday Blog Income
- How to Make Money Blogging: 25 Ways to Monetize Your Blog
If you haven’t started a blog yet, be sure to sign up for my free Blogging Bootcamp email course that has been taken by over 5,000 students!