We Work Hard for the Money

In a stat that should surprise NONE of you who may have read:

it’s now official. We love making money.

Technorati just published its 2011 State of the Blogosphere report, and it finds that four in ten bloggers — that’s 40% — consider themselves professional bloggers, whether that is full-time or part-time work.

I’m actually surprised the number isn’t higher. In my survey (Bloggers in Depth, linked above), 28% reported making money from blogging but a whopping 74% wanted to. And that was months ago.

The majority of people in the Technorati survey consider themselves hobby bloggers, by the way.

When you dig deeper into the numbers, there are some really interesting stats:

  • Professional bloggers receive the most views, with over half of the blogs viewed more than 10,000 times per month. 58% of bloggers using third-party analytics receive fewer than 5,000 page views per month.
  • Professional bloggers receive the most unique visitors per month, with more than a third having over 10,000 unique visitors.
  • Of the 14% of bloggers who earn a salary for blogging, the average annual amount is $24,086. Corporate bloggers earn more, averaging $33,577 per year.
  • Display ads, affiliate marketing links, and search ads are the most common ways bloggers generate revenue from their blogs. 60% of Corporate bloggers said they do not have any advertising on their blog.

Here’s the takeaway for me. For the hundreds of people who email or tweet me, asking how to become a “professional” blogger, you have to face reality.

For 99% of you, working as a professional blogger will either mean taking on multiple jobs, living with less money or working part-time in another income-raising position.

Them’s the facts, kids.

Now, I’m no dream assassin. I strongly encourage anyone who has the patience and skill to become a professional blogger to go after that goal and make it come true. While blogging professionally is much more difficult than hobbyists think, it certainly can be done. If you have a supportive spouse or family, have some income saved up, have a security net and are willing to work your ass off, go for it.

But do it with your eyes wide open and your backside covered. You will live and die with your numbers. You will hustle for contracts. You will be judged on your writing, grammar, photography skills and ability to tell good stories.

Now, if you’re still hoping to become a professional blogger, here are some of my tips:

And if you want to catch up on all of the stats that I revealed in my own Bloggers in Depth survey, click here!

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  1. Katherina says

    I guess 24k is a paycut for most people, but it’s more than I make and a hell of a lot more than I (and everybody, really) need. I’d be tickled to make that much from blogging!

  2. says

    Katy, are “professional bloggers” bloggers who are paid a salary to blog (such as for a corporation or media) or people who make money off their blogs by sponsors and ads, or both? For the latter, I think you have to realize that you are in a sales position–selling your blog to your readers and selling the ability of your blog to attract readers to sponsors. You have to work at this every day and it is hard. You have to do all the networking (on line and 3D) and promoting (ditto) that marketers do. You also are vulnerable to the whims of the market and have to keep up with trends and technology. So, yes, it’s hard, but if it’s your passion it could be worth it!

  3. says

    Thank you for not sugar coating this, especially towards the end. I see bloggers who quit their full time job to make blogging their full time job, and I can’t help but ask if they’ve done the necessary research. Luckily, we have you to do that for us! :)

  4. says

    While I’d love to make more money, I don’t think I’d ever want to be a professional blogger. For me, making it more than just a hobby would take the fun out of it, I think.

  5. says

    Thanks for keeping it real! I think it’s easy to get caught up in wishing that blogging could bring in a full time income, but it won’t work that way for most of us. However, there are a lot of non-monetary benefits to be enjoyed, mostly in the form of personal connections.

  6. says

    Blogging is my hobby. I just got affiliated with an ad network, so I certainly wouldn’t mind having a little extra fun money, but my enjoyment comes from having a creative outlet. Plus, I am really starting to love the blogging community!

    I am actually surprised by the numbers; I honestly thought that professional bloggers made more money than that.

  7. says

    I have no intention of blogging full-time however I would love to see more of a part-time income come of it. The difficulty I’m having is figuring out how much that could be.

    Are there figures out there like 1,000 pageviews per month = $, or 10,000 pageviews per month + $$, and so on? Even averages would be better than nothing.

    That would interest me. I think it would help everyone get a better understanding of how large a readership must be in order to have an income worth calling an income.

  8. says

    I wish that there were more information out there. I have no interest in ever being a professional blogger (although I do make a very minimal amount of money through ads), but I read a lot of blogs where people “follow their dreams” by quitting their jobs to blog full-time. And I think that there are probably countless young women who dream of doing the same.

    The problem is that it’s so taboo to actually talk about income and pageviews. I’ve never seen any of the people who define themselves as professional bloggers actually share their numbers. While I know that salary can be very personal, the fact is that every other industry has pretty open information about how much you can expect to make if you choose to work in that industry. Blogging has tons of dodgy sites offering to see you ebooks on how to make money online. There’s definitely a disconnet there.

  9. says

    Thanks for this post, Katy. It’s nice to have some real numbers here as I know most professional bloggers don’t want to talk openly about how much they personally make. It’s also nice to know that professional bloggers (while they seem like celebrities) aren’t making more than the average 20-30 something (well, in Oregon anyway).

    I don’t currently make any money from my blog, but have enjoyed getting more businesses who want to do giveaways or product reviews with me. And someday, it would be nice to earn a little extra fun money from all the hours I put into blogging. I just haven’t crossed that river yet. I guess I’m scared of the work it might take?


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