How I Monetize and Make Money Blogging (and How Much I Make Per Year)

I’ve been asked this question a few hundred times already since starting this blog exactly 2 months ago, especially since it doesn’t appear that I advertise explicitly on TentBlogger:

John, how exactly do you make money blogging? Where?

And, of course this one:

John, how much do you make per year?

Great questions!

So how does that work? How exactly can I claim the title of a Full Time Blogger and how in the world do I manage to pay my bills and fulfill my role as something one step above a dead-beat daddy blogger with a 4 year old and a pregnant wife?

I HONESTLY can't believe I get to make a living this way... INSANE!

Simple! I’ve already shared the ways in which I get a paycheck here in the Make Money Blogging Series, but I’ll go a bit further and share some specifics.

Here’s a list of the ones that I use actively today ( stars ***) and the ones that I’ve tried historically (plus signs +++):

  1. Advertising Networks ***
  2. Affiliate Marketing ***
  3. Paid Reviews, Sponsored Posts ***
  4. Blog Networks, Guest and Paid Posting +++
  5. Selling Products, Merchandise, and Expertise ***
  6. Big Business and Corporate Blogging +++
  7. Services and Business Development ***
  8. Premium Content, Auxiliary Sites, Donations, and More ***
  9. The Art and Science of Diversification ***

As you can see I’m actively engaged with 8 of the 10 strategies listed which is perfectly in line with one of the baseline strategies that you’ll want to consider long-term, Diversification.

Here are a couple of clarifying thoughts from the above list as it relates to my current global monetization strategy:

  • I have tried every single strategy and have found very mixed results. You’ll want to choose the best ones for your content and audience.
  • There is a lot of research, time, and study that’s necessary to execute well on them. Trust me on this.
  • Experimentation done wisely is your best bet. But experiments have a “Start Date” and an “End Date” so make sure that your “experiment” doesn’t become a year long “Whoops, I forgot because I’m too lazy to report, analyze, and stop that experiment” type of deals.
  • I use Strategic Partnerships in #9 specifically. I do not have Premium Content or Donations.

Remember that you should tackle one at a time and don’t over do it!

Wait… Where?

If you’re new to TentBlogger then you must be thinking something to this affect:

Wait, where are you doing all of this?

That’s an easy question to answer too! I manage a successful and growing startup that builds products and serves content on some very large blogs. The name? 8BIT, after my and my partner’s love for retro video games!

One of the most successful product is Standard Theme, which is a premium WordPress Theme:

TentBlogger is a personal project and is how I market my startup, my products, and how I get advertising and other channels of revenue. You’ll be able to see all of the aforementioned active monetization strategies being executed throughout those properties.

[***Side Note: It’s no secret that I’m a Christian (I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God who died on a cross for our sins and rose again from the dead 3 days later) and that I blog primarily in the are of ministry, church, and not-for-profit organizations. I know that much of the traffic and visitors here do not necessarily agree with that perspective and that’s completely fine! I hope that me being explicit doesn’t take away from the content that I’m attempting to cover here on TentBlogger and my hope is that the content is so good that you don’t mind the context from which it comes! I appreciate you!]

So, How Much Money Do You Make Per Year?

I haven’t gotten this question as much, which is understandable since you probably don’t go asking your friends, co-workers, or colleagues how much they make a year in their current jobs and professions, right?

For one, I actually don’t mind people knowing what I make per year since it’s one way in which I can keep myself financially accountable to my business partners, family, and the organizations that I support.

And, I believe that by sharing some of those figures it’ll ultimately help you in your blogging efforts and that it’ll increase the level of transparency that I hope to cultivate here. If this makes you feel uneasy you can, of course, skip over these parts!

Here’s a look at the percent breakdown of the total earnings by active type:

Net earnings from all blogs.

This is very much an estimate of the coming year, 2011, since I only started blogging official “Full Time” in September of this year.

Please note that I’ve taken out the Services and Business Development entirely since I wanted to take a snapshot of the earnings from a “pure” blog perspective. In other words, money that is earned as directly as possible from the blogs themselves.

What is this exact dollar figure? Approximately $44,000 per year.

Holy Smokes Batman! $44,000 Per Year?!

I love Batman!

Pretty neat, right? This figure is after expenses but before taxes. What does this practically mean for me? It means a few of the following:

  • I need to continue to grow all of the business, from all angles and all channels.
  • I need to continue to take on contracts and consulting (Services and Business Development) to help make a bit more green.
  • I need to continue to work hard, knowing that the last 10 years have been preparation for all of this and that I’m not “there” yet!
  • I need to strategically plan for monetizing!

I think it’s the last part that people oftentimes miss or forget about my current situation – I’ve been doing this for a long time and experience accounts for a lot of my success. Have others been able to achieve even more success, faster? Yes. Absolutely.

I’ll spend some time going into more specifics of why this is but I’ll save that for another post. In short, the niche and target that I (and my team) serve is a bit different than the rest of the market.

The bottom line is this: I hope that by sharing this information it is both informative and encouraging for you! You can definitely be a success but it takes hard work, time, and a bit of luck, and some of you are primed, pumped, and ready to execute!

What are your thoughts? Any questions? Is this something you’d like me to continue to blog about?

Let’s hear it in the comments!