Bloggers in Depth: How Much Do We Make and Where Does the Money Come From?

Ahhhh number nerds, come to your safe haven. Mama is here. Shhhh, now. You’re among friends.

I’m admittedly a total geek for analytics, reports, data and more. Hard to believe, since I hate math so much, huh?

I was thrilled to once again work with SurveyMonkey for the 2011 Healthy Living Summit (I received travel compensation as part of a brand ambassador gig for HLS and also for Fitbloggin’ — love SurveyMonkey!) and to launch what I hope will be an annual look at money: how we make it, how much we make and what the future holds.

So, I present to you:

The 2011 Blogger Money Survey. First a few basics.

We are, according to this survey of about 400 respondents, 95% female. And as for age, the majority are under 40 (with the largest section being between 21 and 29 years old).



The majority are married (46%) although 26% of us have never tied the knot.


Not many of us have kids (81%) but 7% have one child and 6% have two. We are, by the way, 92% caucasian.

While many of us own homes, the majority (56%) rent.Housing

And we tend to be graduates of higher education, with 60% holding bachelor degrees and 28% having a graduate degree.Education

61% of us are employed and working 40+ hours a week. 23% are employed and working 1-39 hours a week. 4.5% are unemployed and looking; 4% are not employed and are not looking for work.

How do we feel about our current jobs and the future of our employment? That’s where things get pretty interesting. While in most cases, people report feeling satisfied, only very few report one of the extremes — either being extremely satisfied or not at all satisfied.Satisfaction

So the question is — would the people who are not fully in love with their current jobs or employments status like to make their blogs their jobs? You betcha. 56% say absolutely, they are interested in someday becoming a professional blogger, with another 32% saying they’re not sure. Leaves the door open, no?Interest in ProBlogging

We may have big dreams, but we’re still, as a group, a bit early to the game. More than half of people have been blogging for less than two years.Blogging Experience

We blog about everything under the sun but mostly fitness (77%), cooking (70%), health news (35%), family (34%), travel (24%) and romantic relationships (14%).

We blog a lot — 31% post 3-4 times a week and 31% post 5-7 times a week.

47% of us are self-hosted on WordPress, 25% have free hosting on WordPress and 23% are on Blogger.

And, proving that for many, blogging is an escape from the real world — 68% say that they do NOT blog about the same industry or theme that makes up their outside employment, with 67% saying that it’s also not a topic they went to school for.Blog ThemeBlog Education Focus

So, how much are we making? Not a ton…a majority of people reported making between $0-99 in 2010, with the next largest groups between $100-499 and $500-999. But things are changing — almost across the board, people reported that they expect to make more in 2011 from blogging than they did in 2010.Money EarnedMoney Expected 2011

Where is the money coming from? Lots of sources! People reported being open to many revenue sources including, most notably, ad networks and freelance/contract work. Affiliate sales came in last, but still, almost half said they’d be open to the opportunity.

And free products still seem to be the most enticing form of compensation, beating even cash payments from an ad network.

Revenue SourceCompensation Accepted

47% have belonged or currently belong to an ad network (Foodbuzz, AdSense and BlogHer are the top 3). 41% have accepted products for review, and 69% are interested in free products.

As a group, we want some serious goodies for our work — event admission, gadgets and equipment and food and drink all topped the list.Products

So now I ask — where do you stand? What stat surprises you most? Was there something you wish I’d asked that I didn’t? How can you use this new information to stand out in the crowd?

P.S. If you haven’t gotten your nerd fix, be sure to visit the rest of the posts in my Bloggers in Depth series — everything from where we come from, what we write about, what technology we use and more.

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  1. says

    The overwhelming majority is making less than $100 bucks a year blogging and the under $5k a year represents most everyone. Seems that most people want to blog as their job, but that ain’t gonna happen if they continue on their hundred bucks a year path :) And most are blogging 3-7x a week and STILL only making $100 a YEAR. Wow. Interesting info!

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing this – it’s an interesting read! I think one of the stats that surprises me the most is how many people want to blog as a full time job/ for money. I feel having to rely on it as a way to get by day to day takes a long time to accomplish as there are so many bloggers out there, and that would probably start making some feel frustrated and not enjoy it as much.

  3. says

    I’d like to know how to make 30K!!! I imagine that those folks are doing a lot of ebook work and freelancing and that the money isn’t just coming in by virture of having a blog/website. I am however surprised that so many make less than 100 a year! Goes to show how folks do this because they love it!

  4. says

    katy, i know you and i have talked at length about money and blogging and that’s just one of the reasons that i love these survey results. i think it’s eye opening for many (myself included!) to see what the potential is when it comes to making money through your blog. great series and awesome post, as always.

  5. says

    For me, blogging is something I hope will always be a side job. That it’ll bring in enough to cover the costs of self-hosting and maybe a little more on top of that. I love the networking, community building, and writing. It’s okay if I never make more than a little extra fun money. :)

  6. says

    ah the nerd in me loved this … and I laughed OUT LOUD at your intro ….

    this is very interesting info especially because I’m going to be using blog related income (freelance writing, ad network, etc) as my only part time income for this school year

  7. says

    This is really interesting. I’m shocked that 56% of bloggers wanted to make blogging their full-time job and that another 32% were open to the idea. Honestly, I think that trying to blog professionally is a lot more work than people think. I can’t imagine how stressful it would be to be so constantly focused on your stats and numbers and SEO – even for math geeks! I can see the appeal for “big bloggers” of writing e-books, doing speaking engagements and doing freelance work, with blogging as a form of PR. But blogging itself as a full-time job? I honestly think that would be just too hard, which would take a lot of the fun out of it.

  8. says

    Thanks for sharing this! Such a wonderful chunk of information! Answered many of the questions i’ve been asking but couldn’t find answers to.

  9. says

    I found this information so interesting! I think what surprised me most was the low numbers for how much bloggers make. I had thought it was more for really popular ones for some reason. I think I was also surprised by the amount of people who hadn’t been blogging for very long. So interesting! Thanks for all of the stats!

  10. says

    According to the statistics… I’m a severe minority! Hahaha! 37 years old… have 2 children…. only got my associates degree…. Agh…
    All I know is that I LOVE blogging and have thoroughly enjoyed your blog! It has taught me so much about setting up my own. Thank you so much for all of your tips and tricks of the trade… :)

  11. says

    My mind is BLOWN by your genius size brain. You rock my world, Katy. Just, freakin rock it. I love the graphis (I’m a visual learner, you see) but this is AMAZING. I love seeing the different demographics and who does what and who wants to do what. It’s cool!

  12. says

    Awesome stats, thanks for sharing! I too am surprised at how little income bloggers are earning. Makes me wonder if many full-time bloggers are being supported by their husbands? I’d love to see more info on the ad networks, and a survey to determine which ad network bloggers are making the highest amount of money with. Loved your intro, by the way :)

  13. says

    It’s interesting to see how many people want to make an income from their blog but either are making very little to none. I think part of what many are missing is the HOW to make a profit from their blog. The funny thing though is that there are MANY tiny components (as well as one or two big ones) that all should be running at the same time so that you can have that flow of income. That’s one of the things that I enjoy focusing on is sharing the how…these statistics are great to know though, I appreciate the effort to put this together!

  14. says

    It’s interesting to see the stats, but as I was reading the questions I would try to estimate the numbers beforehand and I was quite surprised I was right in most of them.

    I do love numbers. I’m in the finance field and I don’t think I have talked about finance in my blog before. My blog is for fun and it uses the creative side of me (something that I don’t use in my daily job, because how creative can you get with numbers right? I can only color code my excel sheets in so many different way,s lol!) and that’s why I’ve been loving blogging and being part of the blogging community.

  15. says

    great results and thanks for sharing some of the insights you learned.. i was surprised by the 92% caucasian stat.. blogging could definitely use a bit more diversity..

  16. says

    This is very interesting and actually provides me with some hope :) My blog is getting bigger and bigger quite quickly and my husband has been trying to convince me to blog full time – even though I’m not making ANY money at all yet haha. One can only hope!

  17. says

    Hey, I’m the first guy to comment! Gotta make sure the 5%-ers are represented. :)

    Very interesting stuff! Thanks a bunch for sharing you busy bee you.

    Question – why don’t the keys on the compensation pie charts go in order (smallest to largest from top to bottom)? I think it makes it kind of difficult to read, or maybe I’m missing something?

    Still fantastic info!


    • says

      Hi Matt!

      Good feedback — I wasn’t sure which layout made most sense, but I’ll be doing many more of these surveys and I’ll keep this in mind.

  18. says

    Thanks for posting – I love crunching numbers, too. Although I’ve received free products, I’m interested to hear what people think about accepting advertising on their blog. At what point do companies usually contact bloggers?

    BTW, I’ve heard so much about your #fitblog on twitter. Do you have a link that explains it? I’d love to get in on the action.

  19. says

    Majority of bloggers are barely making enough money just enough to buy lunch. But like in other fields the top bloggers usually less than 5% are making more than 70% of the income that revolves within the industry so it is not surprising to me when you mention your findings.

    Great survey

  20. Alisha says

    I just discovered your site and I love it! I already added you on Twitter and everything :) I’m a 24 year old African American young woman and I’m really disappointed in the stats about minorities and blogging. I wonder why that is? Being very passionate about low and middle income communities, I’m thinking that being active in online communities is a privilege to those who have access to computers, internet, and (according to your stats) higher education. Sad, sad…

    • says


      I’d really like to do a follow up survey in the next couple of months and devote even more space to race and ethnicity. I would love to know more!

  21. says

    I just started a fashion, travel, and pop culture blog. I made $1.06 from google Adsense in the first 12 hours. I am really hoping to turn this into a full time job as I relocated to Italy (from the US) for my fiance 2 years ago needless to say, I can’t just go out and get a job when I haven’t mastered the language and the Italian economy is in shambles. Good luck to everyone. I hope it works out for us!

    Twitter @labelsandsky

  22. says

    The one thing I ask people when they want to start a blog is if they really love what they are going to write/talk about. If they don’t, then they are going to be wasting a lot of time. On the other hand, if you are passionate about your subject–then it will be very easy to tell. People migrate towards passion.

  23. says

    I’m surprised by the family %. I really thought more moms blogged than single ladies – that seems to be every blog I land on, except this one.

    I have 5 children myself and have 3 blogs that I post on – is about Technology and God (odd I know), is about poetry, saving money, photography, and product reviews… is about our very chaotic life with 5 children.

    Excellent Stats! I loved seeing the graphs too.

  24. says

    Very eye-opening information that is for sure. It only serves as motivation to me personally. I know I am late to the game on this post.

    But, it motivates me to be better. Appreciate you taking the time to lay this out.

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