For an upcoming story on how to make money with a blog, I spoke with several bloggers who were willing to share their own financial successes (and struggles). The bottom line seems to be that while making a side income with a blog is possible, it takes a lot of effort—so much that many people will decide it's not worth pursuing. Here's a snapshot of four different bloggers, all of whom are at different stages:
1) The Beginner: Squawkfox, who launched her blog in January, started running ads about three months ago. She says it's too early to report any financial data, but she has been pleasantly surprised with the number of blogger friends she has made and the readership she has cultivated. She was also surprised by the amount of work involved, including time spent answering reader E-mails and learning technical skills to improve the look of her blog. "There is no easy path to blogging for bucks. It takes time, effort, commitment, constant learning, a love for people, communication, and the desire to want to help in some way," she says.
2) The Full-Timer. Over at Lazy Man and Money, Lazy Man defies his name. He works about 14 hours a day on weekdays and then puts in nine hours on Saturday and Sunday. But his hard work is paying off—he estimates his blog will earn him around $30,000 this year. He says he's still figuring out how best to spend his time—whether it's commenting on other blogs, E-mailing with blogging friends, or responding to media requests. "There's simply a lot more [to do] than what the average reader sees," he says.
3) The Specialist. Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life has carved out a successful niche as the expert on personal finance and technology in Silicon Valley. While she says she didn't earn much during the first six months of her blog's life, she received her first $100 check from Google AdSense shortly after that point, when she was getting around 600 unique visitors a day.
SVB now earns between $3,000 and $5,000 a month and estimates she works on her blog about 40 hours a week. She says, "I gave up my full-time job to see if I can pursue this as a viable way to make money. I am hoping that in another year or two, I'll be able to achieve income levels similar to what I was making from the career I left behind."
4) The Success Story. Steve Pavlina started his blog in October 2004, but it wasn't until May 2005 that he received his first traffic spike for an article on how to become an early riser. Since then, he has continually added to his readership by regularly posting original articles on personal growth and development. He says he now gets around 2 million to 2.5 million visitors a month and earns in the five figures each month. His blog has also earned him a book deal and speaking gigs. "What grows traffic is writing high-quality articles that are original, compelling, and profound in some way," he says.