How Much Traffic do you Need to Make Money with a Blog?
This is probably one of the most searched questions for self-employed people who want to start making money over the internet, however since I’m trying to monetise my own blog (AffiliateFYI.com) I thought I’d do some research and share my results.
Case Study 1: Calculating Average Traffic and Earnings from SPI.com
I think by far one of the best examples of a “make money online” type of blog is SmartPassiveIncome.com, run by Pat Flynn. Since he regularly publishes monthly income reports for his blog and has also provided traffic/subscriber stats from time to time, his blog provides the perfect example of calculating how much traffic is needed to make a good income from it.
If we look at Pat’s annual income page here, we can see that his blog received a total of 515,000 visitors in 2010.
This equates to roughly 1,400 visitors per day. During this time, Pat published that he made a total of $95,000 (around $8,000/month) from affiliate marketing sources of income, which is pretty much 95% from his blog. Thus, we see very clearly that Pat’s made around $8,000 per month based on 1,400 visitors per day.
Pat’s surge of traffic later on in the year also correlates nicely with his increased monthly earnings, which means monthly traffic volume and earnings are extremely correlated. I guess we could break-down this data to say that Pat made about $180 per 1,000 visitors to his blog. I should point out that by the end of 2010 he also had around 2,000 YouTube.com subscribers, 4,500 Facebook Fans and 48,000 Twitter Followers, which made up a huge proportion of his traffic (i.e. he turned his blog into a popular brand, rather then spending money on SEO for his site).
When I decided to launch AffiliateFYI.com, I naturally assumed I’d need around 1,000/month traffic to make $100-$200 per month, so I was pretty spot on in this example.
You’re probably wondering where all this “affiliate marketing” income came from. Well we can use Pat’s monthly income reports like this one in November 2011 to see that most if his affiliate income comes from products he promote on his site such as Bluehost (around 30% of his total $40k monthly income comes from here) Market Samurai and The Best Spinner.
From reading other sections of his blog I know that most of his conversions (75%+) come from his resources page and his 125×125 banners on the home page.
Case Study 2: Calculating Average Traffic and Earnings via BlogProfitCamp.com
John Chow runs one of the world’s most successful “make money online” internet blogs. In his free eBook BlogProfitCamp.com he explains how to make $100 per 1,000 impressions (CPM) on a blog (he explains how to do this through email captures and optimising sales funnels) so I assume this is pretty much the limit of how much you can make with a blog.
Conclusion on Making Money with a Blog
I already estimated that I’d need around 1,000 visitors/month to start making $100-$200 per month. Pat’s blog and John Chow’s stats have backed these figures up.
What I will also say however, is that the income you earn from your blog can be completely different based on which products you promote, how well you convert traffic and where your traffic and income sources are coming from.
Pat’s obviously built up a huge following over the Internet which means people will trust his products and hosting recommendations, and this will lead to successful conversions. If he were a complete stranger then he’d get much lower conversions with that traffic.
Finally, notice that both Pat and John Chow promote a business model based on affiliate marketing commissions. Neither of these guys have managed to make income from selling direct advertising on their sites. I’ve also talked to someone who runs a large blog who has struggled to sell advertising at a rate of $300 per month. What this shows is that the trick to monetising a blog is getting lots of traffic, but then also using guides or eBooks to educate users while recommending products within the articles.