[This is part of the Escaping the 9-5: My Road to ProBlogging series.]

I’ve been asked a few times how much bloggers can potentially make and the answer to that question is pretty easy to answer: As much as they want.

The range is near-infinite (or pretty darn wide, at the least) as even some of you make a few dollars every day through your blog while others make a few hundred (or thousand) every day.

But typically the question is much more about how much a blogger can get paid specifically in certain areas of monetization which I cover in my Make Money Blogging series. But one area that I didn’t answer is how much someone can get paid per blog post if they were to contribute guest posts, either via salary or contract rate.

Like anything else it’s a sliding scale based on experience and skill as well as the particular blog and the industry that they are writing towards as some are a bit more profitable than others.

Why have a rate card to begin with? For starters I used this rubric to help me see, at least from one angle, what it would take for me to leave my corporate job and head toward professional blogging since I would need to calculate, financially, as many different sources of income potential as possible.

So, without further ado, here are two general rate cards that I’ve used to help inform my decision about what to charge as well as to see where the publication or blog sits in comparison to other opportunities.

Pay Per Word or Pay Per Post?

Typically a blog or a business will either pay a blogger per post or per word. To some they are somewhat the same thing as you can mirror the costs easily, but it’s typically just a decision made by the organization that’s paying and hiring.

You can, of course, determine your own contract rate and simply ask (or demand) that they pay based on your scale.

Pay Per Word

pay-per-word

Personally I’ve enjoyed this paying schematic with journals who would pay me based on how many words I wrote. I could pace myself and craft the article based on their max number of words that they needed to fill their space.

Pay Per Post

pay-per-post

I’ve done this as well for some of my guest posts historically. Many of them got a great deal as I wrote ten’s of thousands of words for them for a “static” rate.

What Should You Charge?

This is where I can’t give you much help as a lot of the decision is based on the organization’s internal budget and established contract rates.

But, you know how much your time is worth and how much you’re willing to exchange your time to write for another publication or blog instead of your own. If you’re just starting out though and it’s a fairly newer or smaller niche blog then don’t expect to get paid more than $10-$15.00 for a kick butt 500 word blog post.

You’re not a newbie? Then go for it and charge a bit more but you’ll most likely barter back and forth with the editors a bit or just accept their going rate. Remember that you’re not necessarily doing it just for the money – you’re also doing it for exposure, traffic, and a few new readers via links.

Ultimately you need to make sure that it’s worth your time and that you’re getting a fair deal for your efforts. It’s also worth considering that word count does not necessarily equate to effectiveness (thanks Michael for the reminder!) – 100 words might be perfect for the topic that needs to be written while another might require 10,000.

When to Start Getting Paid to Guest Post?

Not too soon, I hope! Here’s what I suggest, especially if you’ve just begun your blogging efforts, is that you spend 99% of your time writing for your own blog and to not worry about doing guest posts and/or paid posts so much – your long term success is based on your ability to create compelling and consistent content day-in and day-out, not for other publications or blogs.

Sure, if you have any extra time you can use that remaining 1% of time to throw together a guest post here and there but I wouldn’t make it a priority. Even for myself who’s written many guests posts in my lifetime I waited until I had 400 amazing blog posts here on TentBlogger before thinking about spending any time writing for others under the TentBlogger brand.

Besides, this just makes sense as I wanted any traffic that came through to see that I was an established blogger who had great content (and community) to offer them! I want guest posts to convert new readers into subscribers and that’ll only happen if they show up with great content to keep them engaged.

Good luck and have fun with it!

[This is part of the Escaping the 9-5: My Road to ProBlogging series. Image via Creative Commons, steve]