Ah, the million dollar question.
Can you really make money from blogging?
At least, at a comfortable rate that you’d be able to afford the lifestyle often associated with being a, quote unquote, ‘lifestyle/travel/whatever-else-they-call-it blogger’.
I mean, it all seems so glamorous. The food reviews. The makeup reviews. The product endorsements. The travel junkets. And on top of that, you get PAID FOR IT? What kind of Matrix-blue-pill world do they live in?
Now, I’d like to clarify that most of my content is self-generated, with money from my own pocket, OR sponsored by companies FROM WORK. Since I work as a writer, I often post about the stuff I do at work, repurpose it a little for the blog, and voila. Blog post.
I can’t blame some of my friends who think that I earn big money from this space. Unfortunately, and I very much wish for it to be otherwise, the above scenario only applies to really hotshot bloggers with thousands, if not millions, of followers. And although I’ve been blogging consistently for nine years now (yes, time flies), nobody wins a medal for seniority in the blogosphere ;P
So the answer is both yes, and no.
Yes, because you CAN make a comfortable living being a blogger, if you have a large following. That can entail a number of factors – luck, skill, a niche, the ability to keep readers interested and coming back for more, and the ability to market yourself well and get your blog out there in an extremely crowded space.
No, because most of us regular bloggers probably go through our entire lives without earning enough revenue to support us for a month, let alone as a full-time ‘job’. A good example? This blog (lol), where I write about travel, food, movie reviews, book reviews, and anything else that interests me. While I can’t say my content is better or worse than other blogs, there are certainly those that are much simpler than mine, but still rake in more views.
Now, we come to the question of how much I actually earn. drum rolls
Last year, I made the shift from a personal to a ‘Premium’ account on WordPress, mainly because I was tired of the free themes and wanted to upgrade the blog’s look and feel. And since the account came with the WordAds feature, I was curious as to how much I could actually earn from just running ads through it.
Tada! A measly $8.81. Can’t miss out on the .01 cents.
WordAds pays you by ‘impressions’ rather than number of clicks, so the more impressions ie people who have seen your site, the more you get. This might not always reflect through the ads served, because visitors may be using ad blockers, leaves before the ad can fully load, or advertisers aren’t bidding higher than the minimum price to display their ad. Well, that’s the official explanation anyway lol.
If you’re seeing an H&M ad on my blog, that doesn’t mean H&M has exclusively paid to have their blog run in my website! It doesn’t work that way. It’s kind of like Google Ads where they track your preferences and see what you’ve been looking at, and then tailor-run an ad from whatever affiliated companies to suit your surfing habits. Creepy, I know.
If you’re curious about how much I’ve earned TO DATE since I started blogging ‘seriously’ (around 2015 – before this I changed blogs multiple times lol), here’s a rough breakdown:
- Advertorial for a cashback service: RM150
- Advertorial for a property launch: RM250 – this was for a friend who worked in PR
- Advertorial for a taxi provider – USD60 (RM240) – A project from Upwork
- Advertorial for holiday tour – USD60 (RM240) – same employer from Upwork
- Linkback post – USD10 (RM40)
- + USD8 (RM32) from WordAds
Grand total: RM912
Considering I’ve been blogging here since mid-2015, that would mean… 912/30 months = RM30.40 a month. Yep. Even if I ate Maggi everyday, it wouldn’t be enough coz a cup of maggi is now RM2+ or something lol.
So there you have it. Mystery solved. Not quitting my day job anytime soon.
That’s not to say I won’t be blogging just coz it isn’t bringing in the dough. If it does, awesome. I will do what is in my power to promote it, without losing the essence of what it is, but in a personal capacity, I love blogging, and it brings me great joy when someone says they like my writing. I share what I like because I want my readers to experience what I see, feel and think, and more than anything, it’s a journal to look back on when I’m older.
I hope this post has answered some questions!
To those who still aspire to make it big in the blogosphere, by all means, go for your dreams, but I hope you take into consideration what I’ve written, and plan accordingly. Best of luck!
PS: This is my personal experience, and in no way am I saying that this applies to ALL bloggers.
Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section below.