Everyone seems to be hopping on the professional blogging bandwagon these days. And why not? Blogs are hot right now, and blogging about a topic you're passionate about is a lot of fun.
But how much money can you really make blogging?
There are a couple of different approaches to professional blogging. The first is to write a blog for a blog network or other company -- basically a freelance writing gig. The second is to run your own blog and monetize it with advertising and affiliate programs.
Jennifer Chait at Network Blogging Tips offers some rare insight into the first model, with a look at typical blog wages, in which she exposes eight actual deals that either she or other bloggers have accepted recently. The deals range from $7-$12 a post or $120 a month at the low end to over $1,000 a month on the high end.
For independent bloggers, Problogger Darren Rowse provides a closer look at how much money a blog can earn. He shows examples ranging from about $135 a month to over $3,000 a month, and takes a look at seven factors that contribute to a blog's earnings.
The real question is... is it worth it?
Well, it depends... not only on how much traffic you can generate, ad rates and affiliate click-throughs, but on one thing especially: how efficient can you be at it?
If you can crank out two posts a day in an hour or two, then $1,000 a month is moderately good money (about $30-$35 an hour). If it takes you an hour a day to do one post on the lower end of the pay range, it's more like $5 an hour! And the reality is that the vast majority of "professional" bloggers are at the low end of the spectrum.
So why do so many people still do it if the pay is so bad for most people?
There are a few possible reasons:
- Some people just don't make good business decisions. They want to make money online, and they unrealistically think that they're going to grow into the next Boing Boing or TechCrunch.
- Others are simply passionate about their topic, and they blog because they love it. The money is icing on the cake. Just think about how many blogs there are that don't make any money at all. If you can get paid to do something you would do anyway, why not?
- They're using it to establish themselves as an expert in their field to support their primary business. It's even better than free marketing -- it's marketing you get paid to do! Neat trick.
So before you start a blog with the intention of making money, or accept a freelance blogging gig, do your homework. Take a good hard look at the time commitment and a realistic look at the expected financial returns. Don't just get sucked in because it sounds cool. Does it stand on its own as a good business decision? If not, do the personal satisfaction or marketing benefits to your primary business make it worthwhile?
If you answer those questions before you start, you greatly improve your odds that it will meet your expectations and be something that you'll stick with and not get burned out.