What Do You Make an Hour Blogging?

What Do You Make an Hour Blogging?

I thought I would take a look at what bloggers who chose to publicize their earnings said that they made in January and break them down as if they were working a full time, hourly, job.

The Formula

The formula I’m using is simply dividing the stated earnings of the blogger by the number of hypothetical work hours in a month. For the purposes of this exercise I’m assuming a 40 hour work week with 4 weeks in a month for a total of 160 hours for the month. This means that if a blogger made $1000 I would divide this by 160 and the result would be $6.25 an hour.

Yes, I know some bloggers spend very little time on their blogs and others a lot more. But we’re just taking an average measurement here.

The Table

Here’s a table of earnings by blog.

Blog Stated Earnings Hourly Wage
John Chow $30,616.35 $191.35/hr
Caroline Middlebrook $1,387.39 $8.67/hr
Zac Johnson $3042.64 $19.02/hr
Tyler Cruz $955 $5.97/hr
Mixed Market Arts $13,585.01 $84.91/hr
Blogging Experiment $2,111 $13.19/hr
Life is Colorful $1407 $8.79/hr
Freelance Writing $5,254.46 $32.84/hr
Enkay Blog $334.47 $2.09/hr
Sha Money Maker $2088 $13.05/hr
The Affiliate Toolbox $19.89 $0.12/hr
News Notion $44.13 $0.28/hr
Affiliate Confession $3,478.99 $21.74/hr
Mark Givens $408.87 $2.56/hr
Learning To Live Well $232.10 $1.45/hr
Becoming Debt Free $231.49 $1.45/hr
Nerdy Nomad $1905.38 $11.90/hr
Mommy and Monster $122.20 $0.76/hr
How to Make Money $11,559.54 $72.25/hr

UPDATE: Links have been removed from the table above since some of these sites are no longer around as of 2011

I started by working my way down the 45n5 Top 100 Make Money Online list and also the Google Blog Search looking for January 2008 earnings reports. The first 20 that had such a report that I could find were used. If your blog is featured and if something is inaccurate, let me know and I’ll adjust it.

In doing this research I found a lot of top bloggers do not publicize their income. That’s why you don’t see some big names on the list. Some bloggers also got a big boost from a one time sale or listed income that wasn’t directly from their blog. Others didn’t include non-blog income in their stats post while others did not post everything that they earned. I just went with the number that they had posted on their stats post. I’m also calculating off of gross revenue, not net, since expenses and such vary considerably.

What We Can Learn From It

Working in Fast Food

First, I’ll have to agree with the excellent advice of Court and Vic to not do a monthly stats post unless you do have a point to prove like Grizzly of How to Make Money did with his Adsense earnings or how John Chow uses it to rope in more sycophants.

Secondly, and most sadly, most bloggers would make more money working a shift at McDonalds than they do blogging. Of course there are the advantages of working for yourself part-time and the enjoyment of online socializing and so forth. But, if you want to make it more than just a hobby, and I think most of the people on the table above do, then you need to look at some better ways of earning money online that just running a single social blog.

Lastly, the way I break it down is that you have to be earning about $2500 a month to have a equivalent of a good, full time, hourly job and around $5000 a month to reach the income point where you’re getting into the corporate management or skill professional salary range.

What are your thoughts on this? Do a stats post or not? Do the rewards of blogging outweigh the low earnings? Like or don’t like how I calculated it? Leave me a comment and let me know.


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Comment by Blogstruk
2008-02-16 13:10:28

If I didn’t have a full-time job and instead relied on my blogs for income I’d be living well below the poverty level!

Great post.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-16 15:56:20

Hi Blogstruk,

I think what would kill me would be the cash flow. Look at how long it usually takes to get paid under most affiliate plans unless you’re a high roller. Waiting 30+ days for a payday can be tough unless you’re prepared for it budget-wise.

Comment by Robert
2008-02-16 23:46:35

Yeah, but the cash flow should only be an issue the first month / cycle, no? If you just jump from making nothing (or not enough) into it full-time you’re already taking a great big risk.

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Comment by jfc
2008-02-17 00:21:29

Hi Robert,

Basically, if you’re assuming a direct deposit from Affiliate Network A is going to go into your bank account on the 10th and they do a rule change where it gets dropped on the 20th instead, then your financial plans could get thrown off.

Cash flow always concerns me. I have done programming contract jobs where I got paid on a monthly invoice and it can be nerve wracking when you’ve got a mortgage payment to make and the accounts payable people are dragging their feet. I’ve seen it cause problems at many small businesses and I’ve seen a few go under because of it. My own plan is to reinvest what I’m earning now and not depend on it being there.

2010-02-03 12:23:39

Yep, that’s my “job” in a nutshell. As a contractor I make twice the hourly rate that staff people do, but I’m never really sure when the paycheck will direct deposit. I’ll be rolling along getting paid on the 21st for months, and then all of a sudden it’s the 5th of the next month and I still haven’t been paid. Two months’ worth of savings minimum is a must if you’re self-employed.

For IM, add in all the other variables (sandboxing, competitor burns your site, Google changes things up) and you really see the need to make $5,000 a month at this minimum before quitting your day job. Besides, the majority of us (except social bloggers) don’t really enjoy working for 7-11 clerk wages.

Comment by Alex
2008-02-19 10:59:48

I think great many bloggers would agree with you on this one :D It’s actually quite interesting to know that a “few” people who earn report the earnings.

I personally never share my results and consider them a private matter but I still enjoy reading the stats posted on other blogs.

2008-02-16 13:54:29

Ditto with Blogstruk :D

But it requires you to work. Money is time so work all the time and make lots of cash. :)

Comment by jfc
2008-02-16 16:12:43

Hi Brad,

More than just working hard you have to work smart. That’s how somebody who works 4 hours a week makes more than somebody who works 60+.

Comment by Collin LaHay
2008-02-16 14:30:38

Mixed Market Arts $13,585.01 $84.91/hr

Heh, if only that was all from direct ads and not due to me selling a few of my sites. Oh well! =)

As for the $2500/m statement at the bottom, I feel that earning $30,000 off your couch, from home, without a boss, working when you want… is far different than a ‘9 to 5′ job. comparing the two is a bit biased. I would rather earn 25% less income online than work at a crappy job. You know?

Anyway, enough of me blabbing, neat idea for a post.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-16 16:21:58

Hi Collin,

Earning consistently is often the biggest obstacle, at least to me. Too often it seems you can get the lighting to strike once but getting to the point where you can make it strike anytime you want is very tricky.

$30K a year won’t go very far these days but it would be a good 2nd income. And, yes, spending 4-6 hours a day in the evening at home working an online income is much better than busting your butt working the closing shift until 2 am at McDonalds.

Comment by Marketing Man
2009-11-19 03:38:44

Collin, I am a subscriber to your feedflare blog, and it is quite funny that I just read your post regarding your September and October 2009 earnings report, where you averaged just over $10000 a month. Not bad for sitting on the couch hey!

Comment by Zac Johnson
2008-02-16 18:28:45

Congrats on a very cool report and write up. Fortunately for some of us, we are living the dream and generating a full income online. Keep at it and you will truly succeed!

Comment by jfc
2008-02-16 19:14:49

Thanks for stopping by Zac,

Of course, I know you and a few others on the list make a lot more from other ventures other than blogs but I was just going by what was in your ’stats’ post for your blog.

One thing I noticed about your stats was that you had substantial private ad sales. From my observations, I think this is one of the keys to making more than about $100-200 a month on a flagship blog once it is well established.

Comment by Grizzly
2008-02-16 18:39:21

Thanks Frank, I must admit one of the allures of adsense is the fact that it is consistent and allows less work as time goes on. It has the one serious drawback in that the big G can end it on a whim. Multiple streams is a must in this business because of that. Affiliate marketing is far more erratic in earnings but certainly safer in the long run. Interesting post as always Frank - love reading your thoughts.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-16 19:07:12

Hi Griz,

The Big ‘G’ ending the ride on a whim is something that worries me. That’s why I’m splitting my niche blogs about half Adsense and half affiliate with a few mixed ones. I had eBay cut my earnings there with a rule/algorithm change double whammy a couple of years ago so I’m wary of that happening elsewhere.

Comment by Y. S.
2008-02-16 20:17:51

I make almost $10 a month (sheesh!). But since blogging is a whole different story to me, I’m reworded through other things, like socializing and learning. As long as money is concerned, I am aiming for a $100 a month revenue (thank God I have another income!) but I’m not sure If that is possible or not. I know that there are many ways that I can make money on line (thanks to Frank and problogger) but I’m still not comfortable with the niche blog thing especially making ones in fields that I do not know much about. For now Im trying to apply the same rules of niche blogging to my fields of expertise. Lets see how it goes.

Note: you didn’t mention where you stand in the statistics ;)

Comment by jfc
2008-02-16 23:09:15

Hi Y.S.,

Niche blogs on topics you don’t know that much about are relatively easy if you use tools that help you such as PLR articles, Instant Article Wizard and other such tools. But, with you being a med student, you have a number of niche blog opportunities open to you where you can leverage what you’re learning (or have learned) in class to post a good niche blog. Many medical terms pay well on Adsense, BTW.

As for what I’m earning, I’ll follow Vic and Court’s advice. However, I will say that I am meeting my January/February income goals for OpTempo.

Comment by April
2008-02-17 11:55:49

Problem is that these people should have more than just their make money blogging bogs. They’ll also have ones on cars, dog training and whatever else. So their actual hourly pay should be a lot more.

That is, of course, if they practice what they preach.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-17 12:16:20

Hi April,

Finding ways to multiple your efforts is important. Even John Chow has multiple streams of Internet income that serve to feed each other to some degree. I don’t know why so many people miss this point.

Of course, some in my list like Griz, Tyler Cruz and Zac Johnson only listed part of their total online income so they probably make considerably more online than what’s shown.

Comment by Hock
2008-02-17 16:38:11

Great idea for a post. The caveat here is that a lot of top bloggers don’t rely on their blog as the main source of their income. The blog is simply a vehicle to attract potential customers and clients and for personal branding.

A lot of newbies are drawn to the idea that you can start a blog and become a “rock star” like these top bloggers but the truth of the matter is that it is *very* hard to rely on one blog to generate an income that you can live off of. The top bloggers use the blog as a tool to connect with their readers and convince them that they are the “authority” on the subject matter.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-17 18:13:42

Hi Hock,

That’s true. For example, my VB.NET blog is intended to show potential clients my knowledge of VB.NET and project management.

It’s funny you mention “rock star” since that is, in many ways, what it’s like. I’d prefer to be a session musician and/or producer myself. For example, George Martin, who many consider the ‘5th Beatle’, could walk in any store he wanted without raising a fuss but if any of the Fab Four tried to do it, it would be a mob scene.

Comment by Jonix
2008-02-17 17:17:15

I really would like to see some proof of this kind of income. Writing about high gains, prove that it’s other thing

Comment by jfc
2008-02-17 18:19:31

Hi Jonix,

Yes, that is a problem. If you read my social blogging success series (a semi-satire, BTW) I mention the pros and cons of this deception as a factor.

I do believe the income numbers for those I included in this list for various reasons. There were a few I ran across while researching that did not smell right to me that I didn’t include. You also have to remember that some of the numbers are from one time sales or are spread out across multiple blogs and marketing sites.

2008-02-17 22:14:05

I’ve also wondered just how real some of these numbers are, also. Sure, there are a few people that can really clean up with online advertising, reviews and affiliate programs but, seeing the five-digit monthly incomes, it’s almost too much for some of these sites.

That said, I do have a very poor business sense, so I don’t put much faith in my own estimations of market value.

Great post, jfc. If anything, you’ve shown us that we can’t possibly compete with some of these big names unless we’re writing in another niche :P

Comment by jfc
2008-02-17 23:07:39

Hi Jason,

If you look at the 3 five digit earners in the list (Chow, Griz, and Collin) you find 3 very different earning patterns.

Chow gets his by selling a lot of high priced private ads, participating in joint marketing ventures and doing expensive paid reviews.

Griz’s numbers come from a network of niche marketing blogs, not just a single blog. His number reflects Adsense earnings only, not affiliate earnings.

Collin’s earnings came from selling rssHugger, a one-time deal. How repeatable is this feat? That remains to be seen.

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Comment by kexbrown
2008-02-17 21:51:38

Well, after seeing all those numbers I am seriously depressed. But, the truth is I don’t make much money with my web site. Google slashed my revenue in half when they took my Page Rank. Boo Hoo, poor Ken. I think mine is costing me about $20 a month. :) But, I blog about what I want and when I want and nobody is looking over my shoulder making me feel guilty about not doing their work. I am having fun learning, growing and socializing. It’s a tough job, but, somebody has to do it. :)

Comment by jfc
2008-02-17 22:42:54

Hi Ken,

As you can see, they denied me PR as well, probably because I’ve done a few paid reviews (which were nofollowed per their rules) as well as numerous 100% free ones (which were followed).

2010-02-03 12:27:18

Frank, it’s interesting that Google recently burned the PR of my product review site too. Could be a coincidence, then again maybe not. I’m curious to see whether the PR would rebound if I took down all the affiliate links, but that experiment is too expensive for me to try.

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Comment by Tyler Cruz
2008-02-18 04:20:13

I just wanted to comment on: “For the purposes of this exercise I’m assuming a 40 hour work week with 4 weeks in a month for a total of 160 hours for the month.”

Since the earnings in the table are from blog income only, the time should be allocated to blogging-related efforts as well.

I’m sure that some bloggers work more than 40 hours per week on their blogs, but I doubt that the majority of them do. I personally work an average of 1-2 hours per day on my blog.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-18 09:42:19

Hi Tyler,

I picked basing it on a 40 hour week to even things out somewhat because, as you noted, the level of effort varies considerably.

Also, it’s really off of publicized income, not necessarily just single blog income, so it really depends on what people published in their stats post.

My observation is that not that many people make a full time income off of a single blog. Most who are making a good income online are diversified by either having multiple niche blogs, doing affiliate marketing, selling services and so forth.

Comment by kumo
2008-02-19 12:36:18

I think we can’t really calculate how much we could earn by an hour. That’s because we are not selling our time. When we’re working for a full time job, we already agreed on the the salary per month. As for blogging, I’m sure the first 3 month is zero income with more then 40 hours per week. I think it would be more appropriate to calculate according to how famous you are and quality of your work.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-19 14:01:33

Hi Kumo,

The reason I like to break it down that way is that it helps clarify where one is at in their business effort as compared to a job where one earns an hourly wage. It’s a snapshot of the here and now, not future potential, that can be compared against something else easily. Of course, there are intangibles that go with being your own boss and doing your own thing but they don’t pay the bills.

I’d also add that fame and quality of work also don’t pay the bills either. I’ve know several musicians that are moderately famous and do great work but have trouble paying their bills on what they earn from music. They’ll keep performing because they love music. But they do have to be realistic about what they can earn, either by taking a day job or by living an austere lifestyle behind the scenes.

Comment by Jonix
2008-02-20 15:36:06

Unfortunally that’s a very sad truth. Like the music example, blogs/sites/and other related, it’s the same thing. When someone begins a new online business like that, force of will it’s the first thing to have, and then the person must have money (to live at least 2 years without working) or have a day job (and developing will be slower). People keeps forgeting this factors. Many of the online bloggers have a day job, and they forget that the time spended on their blogs is way less that if they don’t have a job.
It’s a difficult game, a very difficult game, and everything will take time, more time than most think, and that’s the problem why so many people fail.

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Comment by Kirsty
2008-02-22 09:29:46

Thanks for the link, interesting list. I just wanted to point out that my Nerdy Nomad blog doesn’t make me any money at all (although II’m thinking of adding TLA shortly). It’s all my other sites that add up to the income you’ve reported.

Comment by jfc
2008-02-22 13:06:15

Hi Kirsty,

Thanks for stopping by and clarifying that point. Several people on the list make money from sources other than their main blog. It’s all in how they reported it in their stats post.

I would recommend avoiding TLA. It is a sure fire way to get a Google Pagerank penalty. I think I got one simply for mentioning it plain text in another post.

Comment by seo man
2008-03-09 19:22:23

Wooow! Some great info there. Quite a lot of money when you put it into prospective. I might make blogging my main source of revenue.

Comment by Hostmonster
2008-06-24 21:52:22

More like what do I earn a month. I think we would have to go into the tenths of a cent if I calculated it by hour…lol

2008-07-02 04:01:13

I won’t like to calculate mine at this time as it might encourage me to throw in the towel and quit blogging altogether! Those guys listed have years of blogging experience, so it will be unfair if I compare my blog that is 3months old with theirs ;-)

Comment by Halim-Belajar SEO
2008-07-08 04:11:27

I am new in blogging and made $18.00 so far in this several month. How about that, can you calculate it? LoL.

Comment by Cheap GPS Systems
2008-08-12 01:38:29

When I started blogging, I had monetization in mind. Now that I have read more, I have decided to do other things for income besides blogging.

Comment by Villager
2008-10-22 20:05:14

Very interesting analysis. Have you done this again in the months since Jan 2008?

Also, this is my first time visiting your blog. Where can I learn the process for requesting your complimentary blog review?

Comment by jfc
2008-10-22 20:15:17

Hi Villager,

I haven’t done this again, mainly because this was sort of a link bait article I used to get some traffic while I was sandboxed here back in February.

I’m sorry, but I don’t do the free blog reviews anymore. You can read some of the reasons why in this post: http://optempo.com/2008/04/01/new-month-time-for-some-changes/

2008-11-22 23:45:41

I wouldn’t be making very much at all haha. But hopefully I can keep building mine so I can have a decent hourly rate.

Comment by money-saving-tips
2009-01-14 22:01:54

Oh, it’s such an embarrassing number that I can’t bring myself to post it here. Good for John Chow though, wow!

2009-02-06 19:43:31

Very interesting. Although Im sure most of those bloggers either work way more or way less than 40 hours a week, it does give us a general idea comparing it to a normal 9 - 5. Thanks for sharing.


Comment by Funny Junk
2009-02-17 12:02:21

Wow, they make a ton of money. I wouldn’t mind getting $80+ an hour for blogging :-D.

Comment by Distance Working
2009-03-03 12:23:22

Griz has it right on multiple streams of income. It has taken me a long time to figure that one out, and you have to have a boat load of sites running. It’s a slow process. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

As an aside, even if you are making a decent living online, I am not so sure it is such a good idea to post about it on the Internets. I know some of these folks have to do it to sell their wares, but it nerves me out to think about posting too much personal info online.

Comment by sclerosis treatment
2009-04-06 11:41:20

Too bad I didn’t make any money from blogging. Maybe because my day job really kill my online activities.

Comment by SirNicolaus
2009-07-10 23:21:02

My Wife would say I Blog 24/7 but I think it is more like 22/7 She always is telling lies :) Nice Post eye opening potential out there.



Comment by Steven Lance
2009-07-19 08:38:40

actually i am not making money on blogging, i am actually an newbie at blogging.

Comment by it support London
2009-08-17 05:51:26

Great idea for a post! It’s always nice to see how well other people are doing I find it acts as a source of inspiration for me, if they are doing the same things as I am but earning way more money than me that just means I’m not working hard and smart enough.

Comment by Sandro
2009-08-21 05:53:43

I’m not actually making money at blogging, except those few dollars a month coming from Adsense or other affiliate links, enough to pay my web and domain hosts’ fees. Personally, if I had a great blog with a substantial income (talking about a $1000 and above a month), I’d feel quite uneasy to let all the world know how much I earn.
Anyway, I’d be curious to see an updated analysis.

Comment by James
2009-09-22 07:05:20

I think i’d be happy to make less to work from home than a regular job but there’s no justifying 12c an hour no matter what.

Comment by Marketing Man
2009-11-19 03:43:16

John Chow is still pretty much king of the hill when it comes to online earnings, but he hasn’t been divulging his earnings any more. I can only surmise that he must be earning loads more today than he was when this blog post was originally written, so one can only wonder / speculate as to what his real earnings is right now.

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