How much money does a small blog make?

How much money does a small blog make?

11th April 2019 4 By Biggsy
Reading Time: 5 minutes

I thought I’d see if anybody had written a post on how much money a small blog makes directly? I’d already found some honest articles by the more established travel writer; those who’ve been in the game for 6-7+ years and have DA scores of 45+ (like this good one by Wanderlust Chloe). Blogs that reiterate that they needed to diversify to make money “outside” of their blogs too (eBooks, talks, running social media courses, freelancing, ghost writing etc.)

However there weren’t many posts written by “newbies”, or like me “part time bloggers”. Those people who love publishing their adventures to the world (sometimes in partnerships with brands) but always in addition to their full-time jobs. The lack of any articles was probably due to the unease and embarrassment of essentially saying:

Hey everybody. My blog’s not very successful and doesn’t make any money!”

Of course there were hundreds of blogs titled “How To Make Money Blogging” although these weren’t quite what I was looking for.

If “success” is defined as making money that is?!

However what is “success”? I define it successful (and ever so rewarding) if I know that someone has found one of my articles and got something useful out if it! I was recently told off for referring to my blog as ‘not-for-profit’ though as sometimes a blog’s “profits” can be things other than direct payments. Things like press trips, complimentary hotel stays, invite-only events and various other spin-offs. More of that below.

A "thank you" wordcloud
Source

So how “small” is my blog? It’s 4 years old (although only 3 articles were posted in year 1). In Q1 2019 it averaged 2.2k views a month; it has a DA score of 21, and as of the end of March 2019 contained 95 posts. The most popular three of which have had <3,500 views each.

  1. Lavender fields and sunflowers in Hitchin
  2. Where is Doctor Foster filmed? – locations in Hitchin
  3. Dreiländereck – walk across 3 countries in 10 minutes

How much money does my small blog make then?

From January to March 2019 my blog made … wait for it … £4.72! Get in! 😉

So where did that £4.72 come from?

Like a lot of people I’ve dabbled with affiliate marketing (Amazon, Booking.com, GetYourGuide) and advertising placement services (Google Adsense). Both as a learning to better understand how they work because A) it’s “nice to know” and B), it might potentially be useful for the “day job”. Read up on the difference between affiliate marketing and Adsense here.

It’s important to note that not all my posts contain affiliate links and I’m not overly pushing visitors to see them either. I’ve tried to read lots of blogs recently but some of them have so many adverts, banners, pop-ups and sign-up windows you can’t actually read the damn article!

So where did my income come from?

1. Booking.com – 25% of their 20% commission – but in-session (hotel/trip has to be booked there and then)

Only my top 9 most viewed posts contain Booking.com widgets/links.

Views to
my site
BookingsConversion
Rate
Estimated
Fees
Q1 20199,74310.02%£2.92

 Booking.com

2. Amazon – 7% commission and a 28 day cookie

Only 8 posts contain links to Amazon’s products.

ClicksBookingsConversion
Rate
Estimated
Fees
Q1 20192913.4%£0.23

 A Fuji X-T20 which you can read more about on Amazon

3. Get Your Guide – 8% commission and a 28 day cookie

28 relevant posts contain ‘Get Your Guide’ widgets.

ClicksBookingsConversion
Rate
Estimated
Fees
Q1 20195800%£0

 
 

4. Google Adsense – combination of CPM and CPC

All my posts contained ‘Adsense’ banners as chosen and inserted automatically by Google. NB. However due to them negatively affecting the flow of my articles I decided to turn them off at the end of April 2019. In some posts up to 6 Google Adsense images were returning and that was starting to affect my website’s UX IMHO.

Page ViewsImpressionsClicksEstimated
Fees
Q1 20195,5713,4918£1.57

 
An example of a Google Adsense banner
An example of a Google Adsense banner

What about those indirect payments/wins?

OK – so thanks to having an actual blog I put these payments in this category. Some of these items were gifted to me over the last 4 years on the proviso of some social media coverage or a blog post. Others like the hotel stay were offered without any obligations. Press trips have been excluded:

TypeAmountWhat exactly?
Copenhagen hotel stay£150Press discount for a hotel I was going to stay at anyway
London boat trip£322x complimentary tickets
Sponsored post on Mallorca£75Although I felt uneasy about this due to being told to use “dofollow” links. I subsequently realised Google frown upon this type of thing and made it my only such post
Paris ride in a classic 2CV£75Offered this experience acfter meeting Paris Authentic at the ‘World Travel Market conference
Samsung S9+£869Won this as part of Traverse Event’s#ThreeGallery event in London
Sold a framed lavender print thanks to the event above£21The £21 was the profit after costs and the gallery’s 30% commission had been taken into account
Total£1,222

 

So that list equates to £246 “cash in hand” plus a £869 smartphone. £1,222 over 4 years isn’t really enough to live off though is it?!

Any surprise revenue streams?

Away from my blog, at the ‘RideLondon Freewheel’ bike ride back in July 2016 I happened to be in the right place at the right time to catch this guy called Frank cycling along The Strand on this wonderful machine. A custom built bicycle by Continental with six Adidas running shoes on each wheel.

I only had an iPhone to hand, but my balance was sufficient to take a few photos plus a 25 second long video. This was picked up by entertainment company Jukin Media and has provided a nice little unexpected revenue stream ever since. Find out more about my Instagram post going viral.

Frank on the Continental "shoe bike"
Frank on the Continental “shoe bike”

So there you go! A transparent view of how much money my 4 year old travel blog has created over the last few months. Obviously if you’ve got grand ideas on monetising a blog from day 1 then you can acheive much, much more, and much more quickly. But if you’re happily ticking along with a priority on creating good content these are the sort of figures you might actually be seeing for yourself 🙂

Who out there can beat £4.72? I hope your small blog makes a bit more than that? 🙂

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How much money does a small blog make?