How Blogs Generate Income [Research/Charts]

Cash_Coin_Jar Blogging Revenues: How Does Your Blog Rank?

Every blogger wonders how their blog is performing relative to the rest of the blogosphere. While they’re curious about a variety of attributes, they’re most concerned about blogging revenue and how to generate more sales.

To provide insights, examine Zig Marketing’s online survey of 120 bloggers across different categories. Bear in mind that this is a smaller group than either the Technorati or Inc 500 research. As a result, use it as guidance rather than as gospel. Further when assessing your blog, consider your blog goals first.

How Long have you been blogging?

Less than 1% of those surveyed had been blogging over ten years or since blogs went mainstream. Over 70% of those surveyed had been blogging between 2 and 6 years. Interestingly, under 5% of blogs were started as defensive moves in the wake of Google’s Panda and Penguin. Zig Blogger Research - Years blogging

How big is your blog in terms of monthly unique visitors?

Most blogs tend to be small. Just over 60% of bloggers surveyed yield less than 25,000 monthly unique visitors (UV).

Zig Blogger Research Mon UV

Other research shows that blogs gain visitors and strength over time as they establish authority and appear in search results the longer they’ve been around. The longer a blogger has been committed to publishing, the larger the readership and reach. The Zig Marketing research found that most bloggers with less than two years of experience had under 25,000 unique visitors per year. By contrast, bloggers that had continually published their blogs for over 6 years yielded from 5,000 to 100,000+ monthly unique visits. These bloggers are dedicated to their blog and their readers.  Zig Blogger Research -Blog Size by Years of Blogging

What is your primary reason for blogging?

Just over one in four bloggers did so to generate money. (Here are 9 tips if you’re looking to generate blog revenues.) By contrast, just under 30% of bloggers interviewed did so as a hobby. They were motivated for personal reasons not generating money or building authority. By contrast, 1 out of 5 respondents blogged to gain authority or share their expertise.  Zig Blogger Research -Primary Reason for blogging

Blogging changes from being a hobby to generating income as it attracts a larger audience.

Zig Blogger Research -Primary reason by blog size

Do you make money from your blog?

Surprisingly, over 85% of bloggers make money from their blogs. (To help you here are 5 Ways to Drive Blog revenues (Check out Jay Baer’s Chart.))

Zig Blogger Research -Generate Revenue Bloggers use a  variety of methods to drive income. Advertising networks and paid sponsorships/branded content are the most used. While consulting and speaking fees drive revenues for about 20% of respondents, these activities can be more profitable.

Zig Blogger Research - How generate revenue-1

2 out of 3 bloggers considered paid sponsorships/branded content to be the most profitable. This revenue stream far out performed other options.

Zig Blogger Research -Most profitable blog revenue stream

The mix and profitability of different revenue streams changes based on blog size. This makes sense since most advertising is calculated by audience reach. Paid sponsorships and branded content may be more effective for targeted niche sites.

Zig Blogger Research-Most profitable blogs by size

Bloggers for hire.

Over 60% of bloggers charge fees when working with brands or agencies. While slightly more than 10% didn’t work with brands or agencies.

Zig Blogger Research -Fees for brands

Not sure of what to charge for various blogging activities? Fees range from $25 to $500. Posting sponsored content and blogging on a brand’s behalf yield as much as $500 at the top of the range. Understand your results will vary based on the size of your audience, your topic and your expertise.

Zig Blogger Research -Average activity Fee range

If your blog has over 100,000 unique visitors per month, your rates can increase to $1,000. Zig Blogger Research -Size matters for review fees Zig Blogger Research-Average give away fee by blog size

Zip Marketing research- SPonsored Content by Blog Size


If you’re a blogger what should you take away from this research?  Understand that, while there are a few superstars who generate a lot of revenue from their blogs, the main goal of blogging for most bloggers isn’t to drives sales, at least not directly.

What other ways do you drive sales using your blog?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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