Blogging For A Living: How Much Can You Really Make Online?

Ever wonder how much can you make blogging for a living? With more people looking to make money working from home, trying to make money blogging is a growing pursuit. You can make a lot more money blogging for a living than you realize.

I've been blogging consistently since 2009. After more than 13 years, it's been a long and awesome road. In this post, I want to share how much bloggers can really make and how they make their money.

It took me 20 years to build a investment portfolio that generates over $250,000 a year in passive and semi-passive income. It took only five years to build the same income blogging. That's right, you can make six-figures or even seven-figures blogging a year.

Blogging for a living is the real deal if you stay consistent, build a brand, write strategically, and grow your network. Schools still don't teach people how to start a blog or make money blogging. So, let me share some of the secrets.

Reasons Why You Should Try Blogging For A Living

If you've ever thought about blogging for a living, now is the time. The global pandemic has proven that online businesses that can't be shut down are very valuable.

No matter how tempting it is to sell your cash cow blog, don't! You will regret it. The value of cash flow has gone way up because interest rates have come way down.

Here are the main reasons why you should try blogging for a living.

1) Low barriers to entry.

Depending on where and when you buy, you need $1 – $2M in capital to generate $50,000 in net operating income with property here in San Francisco. It takes at least $1M in capital to generate $20,000 a year in dividend income from the S&P 500 index.

With both asset classes, you can also lose principal. With blogging, it costs as little as $2.95/month to run a website and you can get a domain name for free. If things don't work out, all you've lost is your time and a minimal amount of money.

2) Enormous demand curve.

Financial Samurai can theoretically reach three billion people online through search engines, word of mouth, organic promotion, and advertising. If that happens, I'll be worth billions and I'll take each of you out to a steak dinner!

However, in real estate, you can only lock in one set of tenants and raise the rent once a year. And sometimes, dealing with tenants can be a huge PITA! See: Real Estate vs. Blogging.

In the stock market, you are a passive investor with no control over dividend payouts or other strategic management decisions. If management decides to commit fraud, or mismanage its investments, which caused a bank run at Silicon Valley Bank, then you are screwed.

With a retail store, you can only capture your neighborhood traffic. The internet is growing in usage and size every day.

If you can create a successful blog with consistent, quality content that people want to consume, the demand curve is enormous. You are the CEO of your blog and have an enormous demand curve to capture.

3) Operating leverage.

Because costs are generally fixed (hosting and domain registration), operating profits soar the more traffic and revenue you get. It's not uncommon to earn 80%+ operating profit margins as a professional blogger, depending on how much you pay yourself. Very few businesses can compare.

Now that I've convinced you pro blogging is the best business on Earth, perhaps you're interested in knowing how much you can actually make? Before we get to the money, let me first highlight the types of people most suitable for succeeding as a professional blogger.

The People Most Suitable For Blogging

Blogging for a living isn't for everyone. Therefore, let me share the most suitable types of people for blogging.

1) Creatives who enjoy writing.

There's no getting around the fact that you must love to write. You don't have to be a great writer to blog. But, you need to enjoy writing as much as you enjoy eating a juicy double cheeseburger with garlic cheese fries. Creativity is what will also make you feel rich!

After a day without writing, I get an insatiable need to be left alone for a couple of hours to write. Even after my son was born in 2017, I needed to write despite being so exhausted every day. Writing is just a part of me, like playing tennis or even breathing.

Blogging even led me to a book deal with one of the best nonfiction publishers today, Portfolio Penguin. Thanks to blogging, I ended up writing a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Buy This, Not That! In other words, writing begets more writing success.

Buy This Not That Book Reviews

2) Creatives who enjoy connecting with others. 

One of my favorite joys is bantering with intelligent people who have an opinion on the topics I write about. For those who wish they could live multiple lives to experience more of the world, blogging comes very close to vicarious living. 

There's a great online community that is generally very supportive. If you used to have a pen pal, used to BBS, or enjoy meeting unique people, blogging is for you.

3) Someone with an entrepreneurial spirit.

There are huge differences between being a freelance writer, a journalist, and a pro blogger. Let's break them down.

A freelance writer gets paid per article and is always looking for the next assignment. 

A journalist covers a beat and is paid by an employer.

A pro blogger is self-employed gets paid nothing per article. They must think long-term to earn advertising and partnership revenue. The pro blogger is the Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Designer, and Chief Executive Officer. As a true entrepreneur, you wouldn't have it any other way because you are in control of your destiny.

When you're a pro blogger, you eat what you kill. And there's nothing more rewarding than nurturing something from nothing. But it requires a steadfast entrepreneurial spirit, discipline, a range of skills, and the motivation to stick with it long-term.

But make no mistake about it. Becoming a professional writer where you make enough to provide for your family is very difficult. So strategically, if you want to become a professional writer, you should do some freelancing and blogging on the side while still having your day job.

You can listen to my podcast episode on making $10,000 a month freelancing here. Freelancing is the easiest way to make money, but it also requires more active work than blogging.

4) People who always want the freedom to choose. 

Most people are unhappy with their jobs because they're limited in what they can do. They've got a boss whom they might like, but resent being told what to do. They might have unqualified micromanagers who drive them crazy. Or, they might work at a company which produces a product or service that adds no meaningful value to the world.

When you have the freedom to choose, even if you choose wrong, you feel much happier. In many ways, the feeling of being a blogger is very much like the feeling of having financial freedom.

There's no better combination that making money from blogging and enjoying it! I would blog for free.

5) People who believe they have the power to effect positive change. 

Financial Samurai Blog - how much can you make blogging for a living

Every single blogger I know started their site because they were unhappy about something in their lives. I started Financial Samurai during the depths of the financial crisis because I was worried and confused. My net worth took a 35% beating. But I believed I could pull myself out of the doldrums. And I wanted to help others who were suffering to rebuild their wealth.

Since 2009, millions of people have been able to improve their financial well-being by reading a simple personal finance site. My own wealth is much greater due to careful analysis and accountability online.

Having a platform is alluring. It's one of the reasons why you see so many billionaires by big media sites e.g. Bezos buying The Washington Post, Benioff buying Time. When you have a platform, you have a voice. And when you have a voice, you have power and status.

How Much Can You Make Blogging?

The people who make the most amount of money blogging tend to be those who got into blogging because they predominantly enjoy writing and connecting with people and then figure out the business side of things.

The people who make the least amount blogging tend to be the ones who primarily blog to make money. Their content has no spirit, which means their content hardly gets read or shared. They write content for the search engines. They hire freelance writers who pump out lots of souls content that will likely get marginalized by artificial intelligence.

Blogging Income Is About Pageviews

In general, you can make anywhere from 1-15 cents a pageview. In other words, if you have 100,000 pageviews a month, you can make $1,000 – $15,000 a month. The range is wide because how much you can make blogging depends on your niche and audience demographic.

If your entire audience is under 18 years old because you write about cats for teens, then you probably aren't going to make as much money as someone who writes about retirement planning for Baby Boomers.

That said, there are plenty of examples of entertainment sites and YouTube channels that cater to a younger demographic that make millions.

Below is a graphic of how much you can make blogging if you generated 1,210,543 pageviews in one month at a $13.5 revenue per thousand impressions. You can make much more money on YouTube than on TikTok.

CPC Blogging Income Example
Example of real click-based advertising income. Month to date is for 21 days. RPM = ~$13.5 or 1.35 cents/pageview.

Compare Blogging Income To Median Household Income

The national median household income is around $75,000 a year as of 2023. Thus, simple math states that if you can generate 75,000 – 750,000 a month in pageviews, at a $10 – $100 RPM, you'll be able to quit your job and support a median family in your underwear through your writing endeavors.

But of course, you should know by now that it's never a good idea to quit your job without having a livable income stream on the side. 

Always negotiate a severance through a layoff so you can have a long enough financial runway to build your site’s traffic and income into something meaningful.

Ever wonder why many professional bloggers hail from the Midwest, the South, the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Texas or international cities like Chiang Mai or Manila? Lower cost of living! It's much easier to be a pro blogger if you live in an inexpensive area.

Only a fool would try to blog for a living from San Francisco, Manhattan, London, Paris, or Hong Kong. If you find such fools, follow them, because they've beaten some insurmountable odds and probably have something worth reading.

Example #1: 100,000 Pageviews A Month, 3 Years Experience

Professional Blogging Income Statement 100,000 pageviews a month -

Key Points From The Blogging Income Statement Chart

* With roughly $51,144 in annual income, this blogger lives a comfortable life in Portland, Oregon. She blends lifestyle design and personal finance blogging topics together to reflect her personality.

* She found one product she loves that generates the majority of her revenue. Once you find that perfect product that fits well with your ongoing content, selling the product becomes easy. The only risk is product concentration. If the product changes its terms or goes out of business, she's out of luck.

* This blogger has also found corporate consulting work due to the content of her blog. She writes articles for a corporate blog, edits articles for another corporate blog, and does additional book writing/editing for various clients.

Her income split between her own blog, and consulting for others is a balanced 50/50. She loves the freedom of not having a structured 9-to-5!

Example #2: 300,000 Pageviews A Month, 4.5 Years Of Experience

Blogging For A Living Income Example: $300,000+ - how much can you make blogging for a living

Key Points From The Blogging Income Statement Chart

* This blogger makes more money from consulting than from blogging. Once you become a recognizable brand in your niche, corporations may contact you for your online marketing, content marketing, and writing expertise. Individuals will reach out for your specific advice as well if you put up a consulting page.

Corporate freelance opportunities are the biggest X Factor I did not anticipate when I left my day job in 2012. But it makes sense. Many professional athletes make more from corporate sponsors than they do from tournament winnings or NBA salaries.

* The key to generating sustainable online income is to find affiliate partnerships for products you use and love. If you can provide a 1-2 combo of providing value added content that answers an important question while also providing an actionable product to use, you've got yourself a home run. Every single product I highlight on FS is either free or will save readers time and money.

* There’s nothing better than selling your own product that you’ve spent your heart and soul creating. You are the product expert.  This makes selling easier. I know my severance negotiation book works because I’m still getting benefits from it four years later. Not only have several dozen people written in to thank me for the resource, I've consulted with several dozen more people about breaking free from their jobs with money in their pockets.

Your product can and will act like a lead generator for any consulting services you might want to provide. It's a lot of work, but helping people with a specific problem 1X1 is tremendously rewarding.

* $151,200 in blogging income and $337,200 in total income might sound unachievable, but I can assure you the large majority of blogs which generate 300,000 – 500,000 page views a month like in this example earn similar amounts.

Many professional bloggers are making more than bankers, techies, lawyers, politicians, doctors, journalists, and company executives. Yet nobody has any idea because blogging is not taught in school and gets very little respect as a profession.

The key is to generate as much traffic as possible by writing genuinely interesting and helpful content. Sadly, great content doesn't sell itself. Those who are the most self-promotional often get the most traffic, even if their content isn't as good.

Example #3: 1,000,000 Pageviews A Month, 10 Years Of Experience

How much you can make blogging  for a living - 1 million pageviews a month

Key Points From The Blogging Income Statement Chart

* The key revenue growth driver is affiliate partnership, which has more than quadrupled from the second example due to strong traffic, better terms due, and more concentrated topics that relate with the affiliate product. CPC/RPM income hasn't grown at the same pace as traffic growth because the quality of the ads/products aren't as good. The rise of ad-blocking software may account for part of the slowdown in growth as well.

* By having a large platform under a strong brand, a new product can easily generate $2,000+ a month e.g. XYZ For Dummies series of books. An online platform can hold an infinite amount of product. The only constraint is one’s effort and time.

* Corporate consulting activity goes down because the blogger is already making $900,000+ from his site. All non-blogging related income activity is done entirely for fun. He now charges $1,000 – $2,500 to write a corporate article where he also provides a linkback to generate traffic to the article. 1X1 career coaching revenue goes up as individual clients seek out this blogger's expertise after 10 years of blogging and publishing over 1,800 articles.

Podcasting Can Help Build A Blogger's Brand

* This pro blogger has introduced a podcast to provide more color and personality to his content. He recognizes that there are millions of people who only listen to podcasts, which he'd like to connect with. Given his blog traffic and established brand, advertisers easily pay $1,000 – $2,000 per 15 – 20 minute episode. If the blogger just produces one episode a week, he can make an additional $52,000 from his work, instead of the $12,000 I estimated here.

* With over $1,000,000 a year in revenue working 25 hours a week, the blogger has the freedom to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He practices Stealth Wealth because very few people will relate to such an income level. Or very few people will believe he makes such an amount from a blog. The general tendency is to try and discredit a person whom you don't believe. It's much better to blend in and continue the belief that blogging can't be a true profession.

Example #4: 4,000,000 Pageviews A Month Food Blogger

And you thought you couldn't make big bucks being a food blogger? Check out Pinch Of Yum's income statement for one month. Not bad.

Pro food blogger income statement
Who knew taking pictures of food and writing about recipes could be so lucrative? Based off real example.

How To Transition Into Blogging

When I left my job in 2012, my blog was generating around $5,000 a month. It's not bad, but not that much if you have a $4,300 a month mortgage.

However, with combined with my established passive income streams of roughly $6,800 a month and a six-figure severance check, I felt comfortable enough blogging for a living.

Unless you've been able to negotiate an enormous severance package, I don't recommend anybody to just leave their job to try and become a professional blogger. It takes years to grow your online income.

Based on my 12+ years of experience blogging, it takes a minimum of one year of consistent publishing to make any sort of meaningful income on a consistent basis. I'm talking $1,000 a month or more. But after that, the sky is the limit!

Given it'll probably take you two years to earn enough to pay your mortgage or rent, I strongly suggest everybody start a site while working a full-time job. Plus, competition is fierce and only continues to grow.

Work On Your Blog For Two Years Then Make A Decision To Go Full-Time

If you're afraid of starting a blog while working, don't be. Nobody is going to deny you the freedom to write your own personal journal online due to the First Amendment. And if you feel they will, simply write with a pen-name.

Obviously never write about your employer, share inside information, or denounce people you work with. Be positive and focus on a different niche.

Consider the two years as an incubation period with little downside risk for whether you can really keep up your writing schedule. See if you enjoy the process. To me, progress is addicting. Your upside is very rarely capped on the internet since the demand curve is so large.

If you're blogging for at least three years and seeing progress, you're making enough blogging where you could take the leap of faith and quit your job to blog full-time.

There is a strong correlation with hard work and reward in blogging. If you believe in meritocracy, then blogging is a great way to make money. I promise you the harder you work, the more money you will make blogging over time.

Write What You Feel Strongly About

After spending 13 years working in Equities/Investment Banking and getting my MBA, it's been very easy to write about finance. I didn't write much about investing until after I left my job in 2012 because I didn't want to risk blowing myself up at work if there was some sort of conflict of interest. Instead, I wrote a lot about real estate investing and being a landlord.

When you write from experience, writing becomes so much easier. You don't have to do as much research or make things up as you go along. You can draw from real life examples to share your advice.

Writing from experience also gives you a lot more authority than writing through pontification.

Today, it's not enough to just report the news and interview a few sources. Consumers want to also hear your opinion of the subject matter. Part of the reason why the journalism industry is getting decimated is because journalists can't throw in their own personal analysis for fear of being biased.

Always Have An Opinion Backed By Facts

However, thanks to the plethora of ways we can now consume news, e.g., Twitter, news has become a commodity. Therefore, for you to thrive, you must have an opinion, backed with enlightening analysis.

Anybody reading Financial Samurai for at least a month knows that I'm very opinionated about certain topics. For example, I don’t think anybody should contribute to a Roth IRA before first maxing out their 401(k).

I think the reason why so many of us are spoiled or clueless about money is because we haven't suffered enough or seen true suffering by people from around the world.

I think getting a 30-year mortgage is a waste because interest rates will likely be low for the rest of our lives.

When the stock market was melting down in March 2020, I wrote the post, How to Predict A Stock Market Bottom Like Nostradamus. If you read the post, you will see that it was a strong voice of reason to not panic and to buy.

Have An Opinion – It's What Makes A Blogger Unique

You may disagree with my views. However, I provide some very thorough analysis as to why I think the way I do based on experience. An opinion is what differentiates a blogger from a journalists. Have an opinion!

Only when you write based on experience and strong interest will you be able to maintain a consistent production schedule. Not only will you be able to write consistently, you'll also be able to write more affectionately.

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader,” as one saying goes. Readers can tell when you're “shipping it in” or putting everything you got into your craft.

As your site grows, you must grow a thick skin and embrace those who dissent. Once you start getting nasty comments or hate mail, you know you've arrived!

Leverage The Internet For Everything

At age 46, I'm fortunate enough to clearly remember what life was like before the internet. Here are my reflections on making money online since 2009. Life is so much better now.

The amount of free and useful information online is amazing. What used to take 10 hours to write might only take two hours now thanks to the ease of finding sources.

It used to take days to get written correspondence delivered or a stock confirmation. Now communication and trade confirmations are instantaneous. 

Blogging for a living is a real possibility. I'm living proof of it and so are the thousands of other bloggers out there today.

Start Your Own Blog Today

There's nothing better than starting your own website to own your brand online and earn extra income on the side. Why should LinkedIn, FB, and Twitter profit off you? With your own website you can connect with potentially millions of people online. You can also sell a product or sell some else's product. Finally, you can find a lot of new consulting opportunities as well.

I never would have imagined not having to ever go back to a day job again due to my online income. So how do you get started? Use Bluehost to host your website.

What used to cost thousands of dollars and days of your time now can be done for much less in only 15 minutes. Once you own your own site, it's much easier to get a job, sell a product, and tell your story. You never know where the journey will take you!

For those who need help, I created a step-by-step tutorial on how to start your own blog here. Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for starting Financial Samurai. The site generates great supplemental retirement income and it also gives me something to do in retirement!

Making money blogging is a reality. And some people can make a lot more money blogging than you can ever imagine!


If You Want To Quit Your Job And Blog Full Time

If you love blogging and want to quit your job, I recommend negotiating a severance. In 2012, I negotiated a severance package that paid me six figures. With subsidzied healthcare, unemployment benefits, and a severance, I pursued blogging without much stress.

Since you got laid off, you're also eligible for unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits can range from 27 weeks and up, depending on the government. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.

Conversely, if you quit your job you get nothing. Check out, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, on how to negotiate a severance. In its 6th edition, I've recently expanded the book to 245 pages with new resources, strategies, and additional case studies thanks to tremendous reader feedback.

Use the code “saveten” to save $10 at checkout. The book is an all-time bestseller than will help you leave your job with money in your pocket so you can be a contractor or freelancer with more freedom.

How to engineer your layoff - learn how to negotiate a severance package and be free

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. To get my posts in your inbox as soon as they are published, sign up here

About The Author

230 thoughts on “Blogging For A Living: How Much Can You Really Make Online?”

  1. This is great motivation! I just started my blog in the last month, with no expectations. I just wanted to start sharing some of what I know and have a writing outlet.

    But, I did no real research ahead of time and just sort of thought people would start reading. I was very wrong!

    Seeing 2 views in a day is discouraging, but I’m going to give it 1 year to see how it goes! I feel like I am / will provide valuable content, so I’ll try to learn and iterate along the way.

    Reading your blog front to back at the moment if you can’t tell, haha. Such great stuff!

  2. Hi Sam, I just started blogging as a side hustle when I lost my job during the pandemic. I have only been doing it as a hobby and made my first commission couple a weeks ago. I almost lost all motivation to continue blogging as another stream of income. However after stumbling on your post it really sparked some inspiration in me to keep pushing. Thanks!

  3. Really great post! I have read a few of your posts now on creating a blog, or how much you can make with a blog and it is really inspiring. I am only 3 months in (approximately) and despite how many articles I read telling me to ‘stay the course.’ Much like investing, its easier said then done. I love writing so I just keep cranking out content because it is therapeutic, but also because if I write about it, then my wife doesn’t have to put up with me rambling about financial topics on our walks. Thanks for your inspiring advice and tutorials. Quickly becoming a big fan.

  4. Thanks Sam for the link to BlueHost. I wanted to make a website for my new short-term / vacation rental property after I stage the property. I wonder if I can use bluehost for that. Will def check it out. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ceci,

      With a simple website for your vacation property, you can create a website for free with WordPress, Wix or Weebly. I would go the free route first and then go the paid hosting route second if the website grows and needs to handle lots of traffic.

      I had to go the dedicated server route years ago due to Financial samurai’s growth. I pay over $200 a month.



      1. Thank you! Appreciate your feedback. I will check out WordPress, Wix and Weebly. Have a good weekend!

  5. Hello – ran across your blog and thank you so much for the info…. I currently have a Weekly Podcast – The Simple Money Show – where I bring my 25 years of experience in banking, credit, mortgage and finance to my audience.. I have received great reviews and have been asked to guest on several podcasts – How would you recommend I start a blog to leverage my podcast… all of the subjects that are highlighted I already have “blog posts” written .. your feedback is appreciated

    1. Yes, the key is to just start your blog. Don’t overthink things. You will optimize your site after you start and figure out the synergies between your blog and podcast.

    2. Hi Tom, I just went through your podcasts on Apple Podcasts – great content you’ve got there.

      Moving your podcasts to your blog posts shouldn’t be too hard –
      – You’ll simply need to use a transcription service (like to convert your audio to text; then
      – Re-edit the words to suit reading on screen, and adjust the headlines to make them more catchy and interesting.

      I’d be happy to help – if you’d like me to.

  6. TechNFinance

    I started blog just 7 months back. Getting hardly 150-200 views per month. So 5-7 views per day. I am okay with less traffic but I did not get a single subscriber till date. So I am assuming users don’t like what I write much. So how will it grow. You mentioned skills are not required but one should love to write. I do like but wonder if I should continue without those skills may be. Also I don’t promote my blog in my friends, social media etc as I want to get true audience if at all. Also is there any way to know how to improve your blog without users actually commenting.

        1. Thanks! I’m not a professional blog reviewer, but I did notice a few things about your blog that might be holding you back. First, the page loaded very slowly for me. If readers are trying to get to your website, or trying to read articles within your website, and if the page doesn’t load within a few seconds, they might get frustrated and click away from your site. If your “bounce rate” is high, that could be a big part of the problem.

          More importantly, though, I found your blog a little difficult to read. I don’t mean any offense by that, I’m just trying to give you my honest opinion. It might be a good idea for you to collaborate with a friend or associate who can help edit your posts to make the language smoother.

          Try to give your posts catchy headlines with just enough “teaser” information for a reader to want to click on it. Put yourself in the shoes of your reader and think about what they want to know, and how you can say things in a way that will interest them. (A good editor can help you with this.)

          One possibility that might work for you, if you’re not writing in your native language or if you’re just not a smooth writer, is to hire a writer. Maybe you want to be the brains behind the operation, thinking of topics and writing the outline of the article, and maybe someone else could do the actual writing for you. Just some thoughts. I know blogging is hard, but if it’s something you really want to do, I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it work for you. :)

          1. TechNFiance

            Thanks for your feedback. Will relook, I am amature blogger so may not afford other writer but thanks for your views. I will take it positively and see what best I can do. Yes – English not my native language so not that fluent.

  7. What a great no-nonsense overview about blogging for a living. I wish I had read this when I started blogging.

    The thing is – the blueprint for success is pretty simple. Post quality content that truly helps people. Promote it (heavily). Do some SEO work for each piece of content. Repeat consistently (as often as possible).

    The part that 90% have a hard time with is that it takes time. In the beginning, you’re working hard but your analytics are showing three visitors to your site the last week. You’re busint your tail churning out great content but you’re not seeing the fruits of your labor.

    But if you can press onward through the first year, you’ll find it’s not that hard to make a very good living blogging.

    You have to look at that first year as a means to an end. Keep your eye on the prize. Celebrate your wins, no matter how small (“hey look at that, the analytics show 20 visitors last week woot woot!”). If you can accept the path, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will get there!

  8. Sam,

    You’ve inspired me to create a blog. I’ve been in sales for almost three decades, and that’s what I cover. I hope you’ll check it out:

    Brand new, but I’m looking forward to the journey. Thanks for all of the great info.

  9. Great summary and great points. Even though I’ve had a blog for several years, I’ve only started taking it seriously in August. I’m a teacher and wanted to experiment with a blogging challenge before I assign it to my class. Break out month for me…….Earned $0.04. Next week, my total earning might go as high as a whole nickel. Looks like I’ll be teaching for a while.

    1. Big bucks! Don’t think in monthly segments. Think in yearly segments. Things start getting good after about 1 year of consistent posting, and definitely after 3 years. GL!

  10. Hey Sam,

    Just want to say that it’s been a year since I’ve created my website. You were one of my initial inspirations. I’m a long time follower of Financial Samurai and appreciate all that you’ve contributed to the financial community. I’ve learned a ton and will continue to do so. Keep up the great work–I know I’ll continue trying!


  11. Very detailed information, this kind of guide me on how to organize my previous and future posts. You’ve got yourself another subscriber (not that you need anymore)

  12. Hi Sam, I’ve just came across your blog and like what I am seeing. I especially like your examples of potential income from your blog. As a new personal finance blogger, it’s great insight!

    PF Mojo

  13. Kevin Battle

    I know more than 10 professional bloggers who are solely depending on blogging and earning a handsome amount. But, I know how they started and worked hard to reach this position. Earn a huge amount from blogging is not a myth but all about a perfect plan and implementation.

  14. Thank you very much for this article. I just found it. I have a blog but put it aside temporarily because I had a temporary health challenge that then motivated me to work on being financially independent. Now that I am almost there, I’m looking to return to what I enjoy doing.m, which is all kinds of craft/sewing/baking/creating, but then I am also interested in real estate and passive income. So many topics! My initial website name has to do with sewing but my interests are diverse. Would it be better to come up with another name? So I can blog about other things? Or better to stick with one area? I have seen others who just use their name as blog address and then do fashion/lifestyle etc. I’m more of a DIY Person and not a consumer so don’t follow fashion/lifestyle blogs. Any advice would be helpful. Fascinated that I am almost to 200k passive income by investments in real estate and compare that you in the same about the same amount of time (started real estate 2010) you got to that passive income by blogging. Congrats!

  15. Robert Spall

    It might be interesting if Sam were to do a survey of his readers who operate blogs. How long have they been blogging, what is the area they focus on, and what is their income from the blog?

  16. Akhil Mishra

    Hi there.
    It was nice and reassuring to read about the income level. Recently I started a blog ( and every body around me is saying that I am making a mistake. Blogging is a very saturated field and don’t waste your time. So, I was getting depressed. But, after reading your post, I have a feeling that I am going in right direction. Only I have to keep posting better quality posts.
    Thank you Sam.

    1. Everything is saturated. We’ve got over 7 billion people on Earth with 3 billion+ online!

      But that doesn’t mean we can’t carve out our own little niche. I see so much opportunity out there. Half the battle is to never quit. I’m in my 10th year now. If you can last for at least 1 year, good things start happening.

  17. Sam,

    Let me start first by thanking you for what you do. I wouldn’t be here writing this were it not for my wife reading your posts and sharing them with me regularly. Your posts have started a number of rewarding conversations in our house and given us a lot to think about so early in our marriage.

    After speaking with family and friends who have valued my financial perspective over the years and reading your posts detailing the process of starting a blog, I have taken the first step and started my own. My site isn’t quite two weeks old but I do hope to begin dedicating more of my time to writing about my perspectives on finding financial wellness and ultimately, financial independence. Personally, I find the topic area to be an endless well filled with opportunities and teachable moments. I am excited about laying down my thoughts at one moment in time and seeing how they mature with time as I, too, grow older. Will they stay the same? Will they appear completely foreign, or perhaps naive to me once I’ve had kids and gained some better perspective on what it means to be a parent? Will I come to value different approaches to reaching financial independence learned through experience, research, or experimentation? I don’t know- and that’s what’s so intriguing!

    I don’t know how many novel ideas I will provide but I do hope others will find my perspective valuable. After all, I’ve had many experiences to which I think people can relate and explore further. Finding that ability to relate and provide a new perspective is important and what I aim to do with my blog. I look forward to reading more about your perspective and using it to shape my own thinking.

    Happy Blogging,
    Riley Adams

  18. Really enjoyed and appreciate your guidance. Have saved it to refer to many more times in my blogging career!
    Thank you so much for all the effort you’ve put into this article, it will really help me in my writing career.
    All the best.

  19. Hi Sam,

    Great article and very useful comment. I recently started my own blog and the article had some great insights.


  20. Hey Sam,

    There’s a small you on the first blogger case study. The same information appears twice. No biggie. Just a heads up in case you want to correct.

    Thanks for the wonderful content

      1. I’m not sure what “you” FM is talking about but in example one, last bullet point, the last few sentences are repeated. Same thing with the last few sentences in the first paragraph under “leverage the internet for everything.” I love your blog btw!

        1. Ah hah! Thanks for pointing out the repeats and typos! Always helpful. I’ve gone ahead and updated the post for 2H2020 and beyond.

          Having a blog now is more valuable than ever because it can’t be shut down like so many other businesses during the lockdowns of 2020! If you can’t shut down a business, its earnings are more defensive. If earnings are more certain, than the overall business is even more valuable.  

          With interest rates so low, any cash flowing asset has also increased tremendously in value.

  21. I’ve clicked on this post so many times yet always find it so inspiring. I’m a newbie blogger (6 months in) and haven’t made a penny off of my blog. But I’m glad there’s always hope about a more profitable future! :D

  22. Hi Sam,

    Great article! I am a new reader and like what you’re doing.

    I am going to start a blog with focus on helping people become landlords. Based on your suggestion in “How to start a blog”, I have decided to use Bluehost and purchase the Genesis Framework, and I have a few questions I am hoping you can help me with:
    1) Is it necessary to buy a Theme with the Genesis Framework? Put another way, is it simple enough to use the Framework to create your own Theme similar to using a software package OR are the Themes such that they require coding expertise?
    2) I see Bluehost offers SiteLock Security. Is it good idea to purchase that add-on OR are those security features basically included with Genesis?
    3) How much traffic can Bluehost handle before needing to upgrade to a better host, and how many years was it before you had to upgrade?
    4) I notice you don’t include the date an article was written. Does this improve SEO and that is why you don’t include dates…or other reason?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    – Mike

    1. Hi Mike,

      1) no need to buy a genesis theme. You can start with a free basic one like I did for the first 2 1/2 years and then switch if you want.

      2) I would purchase no add-ons in the beginning. Do you want to keep your car slow and see how things go for the first several months. And then you can decide to add on some new things if necessary.

      3) your basic server from bluehost can handle more traffic than you can generate the first one or two years, I’m pretty sure of it. Therefore, no need to upgrade. I didn’t upgrade to A private server until before the year I think. My cost went up to $250 a month, but my traffic and revenue went up much more.

      4) personal preference. I try to write evergreen content that lasts forever so the day doesn’t matter. Further, I’m always updating content to be as relevant as possible.

      The key is to write consistently and not quit for at least three years. You will see tremendous about any opportunities if you stick to it. Good luck!

  23. I currently work in finance and am securities licensed; I have thought about blogging on the subject, but I am concerned about the compliance and legal implications, especially if the blog started making money. For instance, I suspect most broker-dealer firms wouldn’t approve “Finance Blogger” as an Outside Business Activity because (from their perspective) it could open the firm up to liability, but not disclosing as an OBA could land you in trouble with FINRA.

    You mention that you were working in finance when you started blogging. Do you have any advice on how to legally and ethically navigate this? Thanks!

  24. I’ve gone back to read this post multiple times and always feel so inspired and impressed by your writing. You’re definitely someone I look up to and want to learn from. Thanks for sharing the great advice!

  25. I especially liked the structure to your article. You broke it out with some interesting writing to bring people in; then you were able to explain the numbers down the page well enough. Seems like it’ll inspire plenty of people who read all the way through!

    I’m just starting out with my blog. I knew you could make money with a blog, but I never really considered it as feasible. Reading this, I may want to reconsider, but the top of the mountain seems pretty high up at any rate.

  26. Great blog and thanks for sharing the great information. I have been thinking about doing a travel and lifestyle blog and this helps give me confidence. I’m still nervous and scared about it but I am going to jump into the deep end and get it going.

  27. Hi Sam,

    Very helpful information. Wish I had read it a couple of years ago and taken your advice of starting a blog while working at a full-time job. Starting a blog is easy but growing it and building an audience takes time. When you start blogging on the side, it takes away the pressure to make money and allow you to really focus on creating good content for your audience. Anyone who is thinking about quitting their job and make a living blogging should take this advice seriously:)


  28. Hi Sam, I have parted with my brother and started a blog about a year ago. As I posted above, we an Amazon affiliate link and Adsense and make about $30-60/month. Amazon affiliate revenue is growing slowly but surely, but Adsense is almost always close to zero to a couple of cents due to Adblocker, which is my speculation. Any advice on how to improve Adsense revenue?

  29. the numbers look good but how about the users who use adblock or similar extensions? Are they included in your calculations? do you know their percentage from your total number of visitors?

    1. Before the invention of ad blockers, only about 5% of my revenue was from banner ads. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter to me. I purposefully made the strategic shift away from banner ads and click ads at the end of 2013.

      If you focus on business partnerships, they will never go away because they are part of your content.

  30. I think the 1-10 cents per page view is very aggressive. That would be $10-100 CPM. I am seeing average CPam around $2-10. In other words it is 5-10 times too aggressive?

  31. I have a full time job and no niche areas/expertise to write about, so helped my brother whose job/hobby is reading books set up book review blog. It’s been over one year, and the initial monthly revenue was $0-3 but now $30-60. The goal is to hit $500/month on average. I know it will take a long time to accomplish but the time will come if he writes consistently.

  32. Justin Dinkins

    Hey samurai

    I love your blog. Just ran into it . I ahve been looking to start a blog for a lil while now. Just wondering what platform should i use ? Something that is easy and plug and play. Also is there any sites that you would recomend that would put me in the right track with affiliate programs?

    Thanks alot


    1. Use WordPress. It’s the best platform to create a blog. I don’t even know how anybody could have created a good looking, multi-functional blog before WordPress began on May 23, 2003! Thank goodness for innovation and technology. Seriously. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be here before 40. Never.

      Think about building your brand, your content, and your traffic before getting deep into affiliate programs. This is very important.

      See: How To Start A Profitable Blog

      Good luck!


  33. Sam,

    I like the layout of your homepage, how you have popular posts and latests posts instead of having the actual post and content on the homepage so people can see more articles.

    I don’t have a blog yet, was reviewing your old articles, and saw you recommended genesis, but it looks very different from the link that you had on the article versus your site layout. Can you let us know what template you’re using?


  34. Frank Van Buren

    Hi Sam – Just a short note to THANK YOU for the super advice detailing blog start-up instructions, economics and the compatible attributes of bloggers. Fantastic advice! Since I read your posts in early September 2016, I have launched two blogs. The Wise Blackhawk ( and Advice for Vets ( I simply followed your well written posts on the subject, and the process has been smooth, and I sincerely appreciate it! Frank Van Buren

  35. catherine gacad

    I have been blogging since 2005 and have a respectable blog awarded the top San Francisco blog by FlipKey/TripAdvisors: If I hustled my ass off, maybe I could make a living blogging (probably not at the lifestyle I’m used to), but yes it’s possible.

    That said, I have to make the counter-argument that, more often than not, it’s extremely difficult to make a living blogging. I see top bloggers (i.e., Dooce which was considered the most popular lifestyle blog of our time) burn out and give up. In an interview, the Dooce blogger made an enlightening point which is that she can’t outsource her voice/opinion. She said if you want to make money, do something in craft or design or anything where you can hire or outsource your messaging. If you’ve got a personal blog, which she and I have, then creating content can be exhausting.

  36. Joshua Morgan

    I am curious if this works for niches in education. I am good at math and literary analysis. But you seem to focus on business topics or “mommy” topics in this post (just a presumption). Can I analyze high school pieces of literature and and create a website for affiliated links from that? And help students write better essays. I did that for the last three years as a learning specialist.

    1. Anything is possible Joshua. You didn’t hear about the website that sold for millions 15 years ago that was the online Cliff notes for high school students? He spoke at Hustle Con in Oakland last year. It was great.

  37. Robert Spall

    I notice your site has a fairly comprehensive Disclosures, and Terms and Conditions statement. Did you write your own or have an attorney write it? Seems most but not all blog sites have something, but the level of detail varies greatly. I don’t think I’ve seen mention of this in any of your posts, but it does seem like a necessity.

    1. Yes, it’s always good to have comprehensive Disclosures, Terms, and Conditions. You want to let readers be aware of your background, the business partnerships you have, what you are selling, etc as much as possible.

      At the end of the day, Financial Samurai is free for anybody who’d like to come visit. I share my thoughts and journey, as well as the thought’s of others.

  38. Value Nurse

    I would like to ask this as genuine as possible so I hopefully get some responses. Mr Money Mustache started his blog 6 years ago, before financial blogs were really that cool or popular. Financial Samurai started his many years back as well roughly 2009. They developed huge audiences and were able to monitize first and foremost because of amazing content but also because they were some of the first blogs about personal finance and financial freedom/early retirement. So the question is genuinely- is the financial independence/early retirement blog space very saturated and seriously challenging to monitize when starting right now 2016 from scratch. I’d appreciate any responses or opinions.. thx u!

    Please understand I’m not trying to be negative, debbie downer, pessimistic. I’m really wondering how viable this space is now starting from zero.

    1. Hi Value Nurse,

      When I started in 2009, there were tons of sites as well. No matter when you start, you’ll always think there’s so much competition. But as internet penetration and usage increases, we’re now at over 3 billion users online versus less than 1 billion 7 years ago. And in 4-5 years, there will be around 9 billion users due to the continued proliferation of mobile devices.

      You only need a TINY slice of the internet to make money.

      If I was starting right now, I’d be PUMPED b/c the installed base of potential readers is much larger, it’s much cheaper to run a site, it’s much easier due to all these amazing free add-on widgets on WordPress, there’s a lot more social media platforms to help get noticed, it’s faster and cheaper to access sites with a mobile device, you’ve got way more companies wanting to do business with bloggers, and you’ve got guys like me still responding and sharing thoughts 7 years later!

      I’m pumped! Just make sure you say something different from what everybody else is saying. Have your own unique take.

      Related: How To Build A Powerful Brand For Your Blog



  39. Cindy @ Smart Family Money

    This is a very inspiring post. I started my blog about 6 months ago and I am starting to see some increase in traffic, but it will take some time before I make any real money. It is good to see that 1-2 years is the norm before it becomes profitable. Do you know anyone who has blogged for over 1-2 years (doing a reasonable job and with the intent to profit) who didn’t succeed? Are effort and stubbornness the only essential ingredients?

  40. Eastcoastgirl

    Sam -staring my own website / blog … I have the content rolling around — I’ve been reading your blog for 2 years — I’m a mid 50s woman .. I was in real estate for 20’years and went back to school for an Mastersat 49 to become an teacher.
    I’m writing a Lifestyle Blog /Website but you say start with the $!2.95 bare minimum host fee. At the end of the day today I was up to $502. For 3 years which includes all kinds of security for myself and my readers. I was advised that Google will be requiring this by the end of the year. It actually covers me for the https.and SEO. By 4:30 pm I felt overwhelmed but kept going. I initiated the website hosting at noon! But as I told them I hoped to bring in revenue with affiliates and ads ( very few ads lol)… They devised me to go with the Pro Package. I hope I as the oversold. I certainly don’t want people to be afraid to leave comments or click on links. I’m not sure when you wrote the original post but today’s lowest fee is $2.95 /month — promotion. However, as I said once you’re on the phone you find out that you need to protect yourself. Your thoughts ?

    1. Oh gosh! I didn’t realize they upsell people so much. It’s been so long since I started a website that I forgot about all these tantalizing options they make you think about before you check out. It’s always good to start slow and get the bare minimum and then work your way up as needed. You can always get more features added the large Site grows.

      I contact them and check for the nonessentials and then remove them for now. But at the same time, if you spend more and have these features, there may be a higher chance for you to succeed because you will be more committed.

      If it makes you feel better, I spent about $400-$500 for my first site, which failed after several months b/c I didn’t like the theme. Then I started FS for about $1,100. This was all back in 2009.

      1. Eaatcoastgirl

        Yes that does make me feel better – however I started with clicking through your site .. Then mentioned your name many times .. But since I had to call in to ask questions, as in ” what’s essential” I doubt your siite got credit. How would you protect yourself for that ? Thanks for a answering me so quickly.! Actually the responses you have everyone here are extremely helpful. All the Best

  41. Hey Sam – thanks for the info on blogging. I have a question about advertising. I have two blogs – a travel blog that I write with my wife and a running blog that is all mine. These are two great passions of ours and I think the content contributes authentic and genuinely helpful info. After 1+ years in the building content up and making the WP sites, I think the sites are ready for ads and other income streams, however, I don’t know where to start and I don’t want my blog to turn into a site of popups and unrelated ads. Any advice on getting started with google ad words and affiliate programs or working with ads in general?

    1. I’d just start testing with one Google Adsense block, and slowly work your way up to 3 blocks around and in the content. I’ve got 3 and it doesn’t seem too intrusive does it? Many folks ask me whether I even make money from this site actually.

      You should find your best posts and find the best value added products that synergistically fit with your best posts. Then you’ll have a match made in heaven. There are places like where you can do research on products you like that will fit.

  42. Jeff Proctor

    I really needed to see this, thank you. As a blogger who’s 1 year in and just now starting to see progress, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one in the slow progress boat. I’m going to keep at it though! Thanks again so much for sharing your insights on blogging.

  43. Sam thanks for the great post. I found your blog only a year ago. For a long time I lacked direction how to start a blog. Your post was very clear how to get it started and why I should not wait to start the blog. I started my own blog couple of months ago. Thanks for your article.

  44. This is really fantastic and decent of you to share. I’ve been laid off 7 times in the last 9 years and I just need something extra to cover us during these times.. maybe someday I too can not worry about finding the next gig.

    What I’m not clear about it, how do you get the advertisers and the clicks, I mean once the blog is up and running, where/how does the actual money get generated and how does it get to your piggy bank?

    Thanks again

    1. The key is to gain traffic by writing content that other people would want to read and share. Google will automatically find your work and rank you according to the value provides among other Ab The key is to gain traffic by writing content that other people would want to read and share. Google will automatically find your work and rank you according to the value provides among other variables. You can start making money by signing up for a Google AdSense and other advertising networks such as

      But the key to making money online is to actually not focus too much on making money online. I’ve noticed in my years that the people who are overly focused on money are the ones who burn out the quickest.

      It’s important to just start.

      1. Thank you. I have for years written grants for animal rescues as a volunteer so I was thinking of doing a blog for the rescue community as a whole, of which there are many, to help them with financial aid resources and how to write grants.. so its a passion and people would i hope want to follow it… even if i dont make any money, I’m helping more animals..

  45. Follow Success

    Thanks so much for this article Sam. Had no idea you could earn this much with blogging! This post and the other one on how to start blogging helped me start mine.

    Do you know any other educational tools / books that are useful on building a successful blog?

    Cheers, James

  46. Hi Sam,

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, and pretty much read all your articles. I find them truly encouraging and a lot the ideas presented in the articles and comments resonate with me or at least get me thinking. I think you have a truly wonderful community here on FS. Lately I’ve been contemplating starting my own blog. Do you have any ideas other than google searches where I could find information on what niches might be profitable if it comes to that? I have about 10 experience in Financial ERP risk management / system design and love photography ash a hobby. I can see myself developing a side business in photography so that might be a good idea to document the progress and I’m sure there are others out there.

    Thanks for your time.

    1. I think you need to write about what you LOVE + KNOW about. People have grown successful, money-making blogs in every niche. The key is to last long enough to see the good fruits grow. Finance is definitely a lucrative niche by definition. But don’t underestimate the profitability of travel blogs, lifestyle blogs, food blogs, and others too.

      Build a brand and a community.

      Best of luck and effort!

  47. Hey Sam,

    In your research for this post, did you talk to any bloggers who made a real go of it and who didn’t generate real income after 2+ years of work? Did any of the success stories you interview try a different blog that didn’t take off? I’d be really interested to hear more war stories about less compelling outcomes as I know you try to give a balanced view.

    I’m also curious if you have any thoughts about entering the market now vs when you did several years ago. Is it more competitive/difficult than before?

    Thanks very much for your thoughts.

  48. I just started my blog this month and i am on pact to make $1…a journey of 1,000 miles starts with 1 step…

  49. Found your blog via post on City Data’s Investing forum with link to your site…
    Read some of your articles…
    Retired English teacher with son and his wife who are curriculum writers/media producers for educational resource/test prep site…
    Going to pass this link to them…they both are very creative people, wide-ranging interests, and might like the idea of working on blog together—
    I don’t read many blogs—
    Would a married couple be a different/attention-catching format?
    Enjoyed this and for what it’s worth blogs don’t work if the material is not well-written and literate (not synonyms).
    Don’t know who your Englsh teachers were in school, but they did a good job.

    1. Hi Vicki,

      Thanks. I’ve got to thank my father for being a great editor! I’ve always enjoyed writing, so I decided to pursue it full-time in 2012 when I left my day job in finance for 13 years. I did take AP English in high school and got an A :)

      You can start a blog about ANYTHING, just like you can list anything on eBay and find a buyer. With 3 billion people online, starting a blog is a serious no brainer for anybody who wants to grow their brand, connect with other people, have some fun, and make a little or potentially a lot of money online.

      If someone has good writing skills and can continuously think creatively, all the better!



  50. Sam,

    I jut listen to “The Best Passive Income Model Podcast” from the land geek and heard your comment about blogging and it drew me right in. Then, I just read a couple of your post and I found them each to be eye openers.
    I was wondering when starting your own blog is it better to create a blog that mainly talks about one topic such as health or sports or is it better to create a blog that deals with many of your interest. For example I’m interested in how politics affect our daily life when it comes to health choices, comparing different economies, law enforcement, education, data visualization and many more. Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Ricky,

      It’s probably best to focus on 2 or 3 topics at most in the beginning. You want to build DEPTH in each category with as many articles as possible. Then you can slowly move wider with new categories.

      You will find the limit of growth to be determined by your enthusiasm and knowledge. Those who succeed just keep on going, no matter what. They find inspiration in the mundane, because perhaps there is a story to tell.

      A lot of people have asked why I’d bother driving for Uber if I have enough income and wealth already. One of the big reasons is because I wanted to hear people’s stories and see if I could tell them from a different perspective. Posts like: Spoiled Or Clueless? or What’s It Like Driving For Uber? Feelings Of Hope and Sadness could not have been created if I didn’t drive.

      And then of course there is the income element of driving, the $750 bonus, getting a referral code to make referral income, etc. From these experiences, I wrote: Income Profiles Of Financially Free People, to challenge readers on how they can take advantage of the gig economy. I’m always looking for inspiration to write new stuff b/c I don’t want to write the same old stuff again.

      I don’t know how frugal blogs talk about X different ways to save money, riding a bike, or DIY house work all day. I’d go nuts writing that stuff every day!


      1. Sam,

        Thanks for your advice and the related links. You have a wealth of information that are very well presented and have great perspective. After reading the related link you really have me excite about the possibilities. I will be starting a blog once I done all the research.


  51. Mr. Enchumbao

    “…If you find such fools, follow them, because they’ve beaten some insurmountable odds and probably have something worth reading.” LOL, I loved this line!

  52. Sam:

    Thanks for the inspiration and the how-to steps in another post. It has motivated me to start my own site ( My site helps candidates pass certification exams offered through the Government Finance Officers Association (I have already passed the exams over the last five years). I put my first post up today!

    1. First, check for competition. If nobody is writing in this niche it’s either: 1) brand new, 2)isn’t very monetizable, or 3) nobody is really interested in it.

      One good tool I use for evaluating niches (or just topics for a blog post) is ‘Google Trends’ ( where you can compare keywords or topics and see their popularity over time or by region.

  53. Sam,
    It took you 4 years and a whole lot of hard work and dedication to achieve this feat.
    Your ebook has done well, hopefully the new release would also do well.

  54. Sam, as usual great post. I’ve been contemplating for over a year now on blogging. I graduated in 2012 with $50k in student loan debt and submitted my last payment on Dec. 31st 2015. Between your blog and a few others, I developed some form of financial literacy in the last 3 years. Being 27 and a millennial, I feel that there’s a large audience base that I could gain traction with.

    Whether I decide on blogging in the future, regardless, your blog has made a difference in my financial world. Keep up the good work.


  55. PatientWealthBuilder

    Sam – how do you get the affiliate partnerships? Is that something they approach you about or that you have actively sought out? I notice that the examples in this post have LARGE proportions of monthly earnings come from those sources. Thank you

    1. They are the best if you can find the perfect products for your content. Perfect products are those you use and believe in. Perfect products also lower the cost of existing alternatives, are free, improve your day to day life or can help you make more money. Affiliate products also aren’t blockable by ad blockers since they are natural links to your content.

      Affiliate partners approach me all the time. Most all I deny b/c I’ve found pretty much all the best products per category that I talk about already. I’m working on my own products more now. My book has an affiliate program btw if you are interested. I need to do a better job promoting it to bloggers who write about career, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle.

      1. PatientWealthBuilder

        That is interesting – they probably come to you because you have a great site and good traffic numbers. I’m working on that. I am working on the Alexa challenge and trying to read everything I can find to help me. When I get better traffic numbers I will reach out about the book affiliate program. I had an idea for your book if you do a 3rd edition to include a chapter or perhaps an appendix on negotiating retention. Was recently involved in a merger and learned some things on that topic. Its always great talking to you – thanks.

    2. First you get the traffic, then you get the affiliates, then you get the money, then you get the power…

      or you can apply for the generic affiliate programs now through Commission Junction, etc. Once you have enough traffic you can negotiate a better deal privately and other advertisers will find you.

      1. PatientWealthBuilder

        I am working on the traffic. I did a guest post and have another post out for review on a larger site but the editor must be busy – hasn’t responded yet. Also I’m reading and commenting on various blogs. I need to start sharing on social media etc. wondering if anyone has had success with that. thanks

  56. Probably the biggest barrier to me starting a blog is finding the right “niche.” I would love to write a blog about photography, travel, music, and life (things I love obviously), but I fear that might be too broad.

    I work in marketing in a company that gets solicited by bloggers for free product ALL the time. Most of these bloggers are female lifestyle bloggers… and I’ve realized there are very few male lifestyle bloggers. Would it be crazy to be a male lifestyle blogger?

    1. Isn’t “male lifestyle blogger” a loose description of what Tim Ferris does, at least with respect to his blog?

  57. Sam, really nice post! I was thinking about starting my own blog and was wondering if you had a recommendation as far as comment moderation plug-ins go? I know that managing comments can be a real pain with comment spam and thought you would have some good thoughts on this. You do an excellent job of building community and of responding quickly to comments.


  58. Thanks for a great post and for your other post “How to start a blog”. Really useful info!

    I am hoping to launch a PF site in the near future, but I worry about writing a proper legal disclaimer. Any advice/tips on this?

    I am a high-net worth individual and worry about exposing myself to unnecssary legal risk, but I truly do want to try blogging as a hobby. Do you every worry about this, as there are always “crazies” out there on the net?

    Thanks in advance.

  59. Hi Sam, I’m a fresh graduate who’s about to start work in sales & trading at a bulge bracket just like you did. Do you think it’s wise for me to spend my free time on blogging or should I focus 100% of my time on my day job? The idea of having side income to fall back on is tempting, but I’m not sure whether it’s the best use of my time.

  60. Hi Sam, great post, love the charts!
    ok, simple question for you and all the bloggers out there: what (physical) environment do you prefer to write in, and get the most mileage? or is it just me who struggles here?

    eg. In my home office (bedroom), after an hr or so, I just Need to get off the chair. So I go to the hall – to the fridge – then, back to the chair. Yuck. Or, if I slouch on the couch my typing posture fails me. If I turn on music, I can get distracted. Go to a public place – batteries get low too fast and distractions too. Currently, I have an easy chair sofa, put my feet up, PC on my lap and that ‘seems’ to work. In my day job I am a techie so I use ‘phones, wire in pink noise and type, focusing like a madman, banging off lists of to-do/ fix-this/ design that/ /code-that sorta work-tasks. But that mode doesn’t really seem to work for creative writing – – –

    1. I spend a lot of time writing in my hot tub, I kid you not. I like to spend 2-3 hours each session to read the news and write a post. I also like writing in my sanctuary. I have a standing desk. For some reason, I have no problems writing for 2-3 hours at a time. I really like to go non stop from start to finish so I can spend the rest of the day doing whatever!

      1. Sam, were you able to write off the cost of the bathroom remodel and hot tub as business expense since you do a lot of blogging from your sanctuary?

  61. Is the link that is provided in the article, a great place to start for someone with only academic writing, but not technology savvy? Also, how is the best way to choose a domain name? Any information will be greatly appreciated.

  62. Love this post! Shared it this morning on my Facebook page, too. Readers are loving it!

    I love being a professional blogger. I am able to travel full-time, I make a great living, and I LOVE what I do :)

  63. This has to be one of my favourite posts about Finance/Blogging I’ve read. I really enjoyed it. I agree so much with your line “When you write from experience, writing becomes so much easier.”
    I had been working in a stock brokerage and was basically prohibited from blogging/being an entrepreneur unless approved, so I couldn’t discuss trading/dividends/equities. Since I quit, it’s so much easier to write about exactly what I’m doing. I also like how you showed types of people most suitable for blogging. And the income examples were excellent. Thank you!

  64. Stefanie OConnell

    You know I’m the “fool” who blogs full time and lives in NYC ;) I’ve actually been thinking about writing a piece on why I’ve chosen to stay here since becoming location independent. Essentially, it centers around opportunity. The reason I’ve been on so many national television shows is because I can be at the studio an hour after a producer calls. And the brand equity built in the process is more valuable in increasing my income than any would be savings moving to a lower cost of living area. I’m also able to cultivate many meaningful relationships, because I’m here, at the center of it all, getting face time with the decision makers.

    1. That’s a good point! Nothing like being in NYC for media access.

      It will be interesting to see how things pan out. The “as seen on NBC” is a very powerful signal. And if you can back that signal with substance, then the sky is the limit.

      No need to ever leave NYC as a result. Could one day buy that Central Park view apartment instead! That would be so awesome. I’ll come visit :)

  65. How does one pick a theme from all the choices out there? I’ve been reading that Genesis is good for a non-coder person like me. This is a daunting tasks.

    1. Genesis is fine. The big thing is to just pick one and get started! Momentum is key to success in anything. Don’t let a small decision like this hold you back.

      The “themes” are simply style templates that are laid “on top of” your core WordPress blog. It’s not a big deal to change it later since your are only changing the top “layer”.

      1. Agree. I used a free theme for 3-4 years before I moved over to Genesis (~$50) 3 years ago.

        There are a lot of great free themes. I just used Genesis bc a blogging friend had a developer license and redesigned my site for me. I plan to do another update this year. We’ll see:

  66. At only a year and change, I’m still too early in the blogging game to give out safely advice like Sam. But having past the $100 Adsense mark and having more page views in the first few days of March 2016 than I did in the whole of March 2015, I can definitely confirm a few things he said. It WILL take a year or two to gain a following and start making real money. I should know because I’ve yet to do either, but am inching closer and closer. Blogging is also a LOT easier when you aren’t just interested in the topic, but passionate about it. Even if you’re passionate about a topic because you hate it, it means that you must have lots to say on an issue. I love banking and finance but hate retail customer service. That shows in any of my rant articles.

    Though with the exception of an article I wrote recently about the Miami doctor who attacked the Uber driver, I haven’t really gotten any negative feedback, hate, or grammar nazis. I guess I haven’t made it yet, though my article last year about an MIT professor who robbed a bank was found and commented on by said professor/robber today. Fame and fortune, here I come!

    I’ll echo the advice that many other bloggers give that I’ve always found equal parts uplifting and irritating: Keep at it. For the first 6-12 months, you will likely be your only reader. But that’s just the signs of a beginning blog, not a failing one. Most bloggers quit in less than a year because they weren’t making money during that time. But no blog ever does. If you’re passionate and knowledgable about your topic and you hang in there, you’ll start seeing the fruits of your labor.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  67. Casebook Arbitrage

    Awesome article and congrats on your success blogging. This site is truly an inspiration!

  68. Warren Franklin

    Great post, I appreciate your advice. At what point did you ad the affilaite Parnterships ?

    Is there a minimum traffic level ? Did you approach financial service companies or did they approach you?

  69. You point about traffic and, in particular, content, is spot on. I had a site that at its peak was getting over 100,000 pageviews per months from about 40-50,000 unique visitors. I had some killer content because it was totally in my wheelhouse and based on what I still do today for a career.

    The problem was, the site had a readership of teens and college kids. The Google cost-per-click on pretty much everything was tiny, and the RPM was very low. I could pull in an absolutely paltry $50-$80 per month. There were basically no real affiliate products for this niche, and if there was, this set reading wasn’t going to pay for it.

    I gave up the passive revenue and tore the site down. (Some hackers helped. I didn’t want to go through the process of restoring from backup). I’ve since rebuilt the site completely, but aimed at professionals in my field. The only ads are for me. It’s entire existence is built on promoting my speaking and workshop services. It gets tiny traffic, but it leads to paid trips all over the world to speak, workshop requests, and consulting gigs every year. Way more money per month on average than that tiny $50 Google adsense check.

    Sometimes a blog serves a different purpose, and high traffic for ad clicks might not be the thing to grab for. Just depends.

    I have a silly little blog about growing a beard and growing my net worth just for fun and to keep me motivated.

  70. Jim @ Route To Retire

    Sam, first off, congrats on the income you make on this site – that’s incredible! And thanks for this post – it’s something I really wanted to get a better understanding on.

    I love writing (already published a couple books!) but my goal is to continue to build my site with great content and hopefully use it for some supplemental income when I quit my job. I still have a number of years left, so I should have a pretty good following by then if I continue down the path I’m on.

    This post is definitely helpful and makes me think that this might be more of a reality than a dream!

    — Jim

  71. I mix blogging with internet marketing, developing content rich niche sites and monetizing through various CPM and CPA options. I can tell you from experience that it is a long, harsh road to glory.

  72. Wallet Squirrel

    This is awesome! As a blogger myself, the price points you highlighted are great. I’m currently at $0.60 a month through Google Adsense (just starting out, but building my audience). Wahoo! So obviously I have a bit to go, but hopefully at the precipice starting my financial blog career.

    Excited to continue to follow your blogging advice.

  73. Elle @ New Graduate Finance

    I am genuinely impressed by your blog’s success, both of the consistent quality of your articles and by the revenue you have generated!

    I started my own personal finance blog really motivated – I created lots of (what I thought was) quality content.

    I then started a Finance internship, so I stopped writing to avoid any conflicts of interest.

    I’ve now started writing again, and I really enjoy it.

    I’m not sure if I have what it takes to achieve blogging success like your own, but in the meantime I will continue to enjoy your posts and learn from the content you publish.

    Thanks for introducing me to a new way of thinking about my finances, and Go Bears!

  74. Great post Sam. My wife has been running a food blog for about 4 years now, ~120k views per month, 25k Instagram followers. The second half of 2015 is when we really started seriously monetizing it.

    We grossed about 30k and netted 21k. That included a trip to Hawaii! (Partnered with the travel bureau to feature local cuisine.)

    For 2016 we are super excited because we feel like we have really gotten good at pitching partnership ideas to companies. Also, we work with a premium ad company that is getting us a $5 cpm for ads on the site which really helps.

    Overall, I think we will hit 50k in revenue for 2016, net around 40k. It’s a full time gig though! Wifey works around the clock and has another job, so it’s tough to call it passive income. You’ve got to love it! She always says she would do it even if there was no money.

    Regarding the different types of blogs and their ability to generate cash, finance blogs may be at the top. I would put food blogs further down the spectrum, but certainly higher than a blog about cats!

    1. Wonderful! How cool is that? I like the idea of one spouse with a stable job and benefits and another spouse with a more entrepreneurial activity. The ability to take risks, write of some business trip expenses, and be mentally stimulated with one spouse at home is great!

      1. Thanks for the response! You’re exactly right, I’ve got the full time gig as an engineer which provides stability. She has a 30hr/week job plus the food blog. It is so satisfying to have this creative, entrepreneurial outlet. We’re both only 25 years old! If we could get the blog over 100k per year, I would seriously consider “retiring”!

  75. Hey Sam,

    Great post – I started a site about 3 months ago and am trying to find the right balance between my day job and working on the site.

    One questions I have for you – early on did you actively promote your site with your friends, family or anyone else you ran into along the way? It seems like that is a good way to get people to your site, but I am not sure I would want it getting to some of my co-workers (I work with some long time friends and you know how stuff gets around)

    1. I did not. My parents knew about my site and closest friend, but that’s it. It’s a balance on how much you want to share. The internet finds a way to direct traffic to your site if you write something compelling.

  76. An interesting read (that will be returned to multiple times I believe). Having just put Google Adsense on my blog (easy to sign up), I was surprised to see that I earned anything after the first few days. We will see how I measure you to your examples after I have been going for 1 or two (real) years.

  77. Hi Sam,

    I am a long time reader of your posts, and I appreciate your perspective on things, although, sometimes I disagree with some of your opinions. Your constant drum beat of multiple income streams has become a personal goal. And your constant insistence that everyone should have a website has finally made me just go out and do it. Maybe it was this last post, anyway I made a blogging website and posted to it. It’s, not here to plug the site, but thanks for your posts. And I also find your Uber driving incredibly interesting.

  78. Great post!!

    It is great to see what others do with their blogs and I think to myself: can I do it too??


  79. Diane @ Smart Money, Simple Life

    Thanks Sam… As a wannabe professional blogger, I learn a great deal reading other bloggers’ income reports. They often open up potential avenues for income that previously weren’t even on my radar. And, in the spirit of transparency (and reciprocation) I’ve just published my first income report, too.

    Having just moved into my second year of blogging, I can safely say blogging is my favourite job, ever! Plus, I hope to see revenue that reflects the ‘professional’ label by the end of this second year.

    Your post has given me a few more things to think about as a map out my next steps. Thanks!

  80. JC @ MedSchoolFinancial

    Great Post Sam, and definitely agree about bringing ones on perspective and interest for a subject topic into the process. I have found part of the desire to write comes from wanting to add value for others as well as myself. The value of taking the time to increasing ones financial literacy is vitally important. Another benefit of blogging, is it truly allows one to be a life long learner as you get to interact and engage within communities. A lot of the saving and investing is to improve well being down the line, one of the best ways to maintain a sharp mind it reading and writing in addition to maintaining a active healthy lifestyle.

  81. Thanks for sharing Sam. Reading about these 70-80% margins just makes me want to start a blog! I work in tech and run an e-commerce business on the side with my wife. While our margins are no where near what you bloggers see, I’m so glad we got started 5 years ago as it now pays for our mortgage, cars, holidays, and living expenses.

    That said, I’ve always held myself back from blogging because i personally feel it’s not very scalable. Have you ever thought about selling physical products yourself?

    1. Physical products? Like, Financial Samurai t-shirts and yoga pants? I should put up a t-shirt store. I’ve got a couple FS t-shirts, long sleeve shirts and an FS hoodies which rock :)

      The only thing I have is my severance negotiation book, which is a nice margin b/c all I have to pay is eJunkie whenever someone buys the book.

  82. Great post Sam. But considering the amount of time spent writing (and I know you do from the quality of your posts) the more accurate comparison would be to a job you love (20-25 hrs) v/s passive income from money in a CD.

    I do like your approach for affiliate products you use and recommend. But how do you find the contacts Eg: if I use Personal Capital how can I find the right connection for affiliate product links?

    1. Most definitely. Which is why I don’t include blogging income in my passive income reports. What you’re asking for is a blogging income report. Here’s a good one from my friend at Untemplater.

      I’ve spent two hours updating this post this morning and responding to comments here on a business island retreat. Now it’s 9:40am, and I’m off to do a whale watching hike, then dinner, then nap, and then an afternoon hour snorkel at the beach to get more exercise. Blogging is a good life b/c you are your own boss and you’re free to do it anywhere.

      Affiliate managers actually find you. And given the blogging is very sharing, you can ask anybody for references or contacts. Big, small world. There are conferences you can attend as well.

  83. Hello Sam,

    I read a lot about fashion and beauty bloggers and all of them seem in debt, even the most successful ones, I really hope it’s not the case for everyone.
    I would love to start a blog, but I’m always stalling when it comes to choosing a subject.
    I also feel that it’s much more relevant to write in English because you can reach a broader audience.
    What do you think ?

    1. Yes, English is probably the best language to write in.

      Not sure about the fashion and beauty bloggers. Maybe they are spending too much money on trying to make themselves look beautiful? For me, the most beautiful person is someone who has no makeup on, who is happy, and wears simple clothes on a relatively fit body. For a guy, what’s more attractive than jeans and a t-shirt with a v-shaped back, flat stomach, and a big smile? :)

  84. Another really nice post Sam – I think it may be time for me to get off my butt and get a website going!

  85. Great motivational post. I love how responsive you are to your readers and commenters. My business partners and I run an offline personal finance education business with an online presence. I recently decided to shift to an online business. We have lots of great content but not enough people get to read it! I will be starting the Yakezie challenge very soon. Thanks so much for your info.

  86. Kameron Snow

    I certainly plan on online business in the future. I’m starting with freelance writing to find what niche I want to serve then I’ll build out my website and with that comes a blog. Thanks for the great tips yet again, Sam :)

  87. PhysicianOnFIRE

    I love the “look under the hood” style posts. It makes sense for a blogger to occasionally blog about blogging.

    I’ve got the creative writing, the niche, and my first 1,000 page view day thanks to Joe Udo @

    I think it’s important to recognize that the spoils go to those who continually work at collecing them. Where do you suppose the first comment on my guest post came from?

    None other than The Financial Samurai.

    1. I know lots of people who’ve retired early, and then blogged about early retirement life which helped supplement their income. It’s a win-win b/c they have a lot more time on their hands, and blogging is a great way to stay connect with folks!

  88. Dave @ Financial Slacker


    Your consistency in content creation is remarkable. The balance between “serious” finance topics (making money, saving, investing) and lifestyle articles (i.e., how to treat other people), creates a nice balance.

    You have obviously been inspirational to many bloggers. Might be hard to determine, but can you provide even a guess as to how many new blogs have been spawned through your efforts?


    1. Dave,

      It’s fun to keep things interesting, isn’t it? If I’m bored writing about something, I know other people will be bored reading what I’m writing.

      I’m not sure about how many other bloggers decided to start a site through my efforts, as I don’t write much about blogging on FS. This might be like the 3rd or 4th post out of 1,100 or so. But maybe from the Yakezie Network a good handful I supposed!


  89. Andrew []


    This is such perfect timing, I feel like I have to say something. I found your site in August shortly after entering the workforce post-grad. I’ve been really motivated and inspired by a lot of the things you’ve had to say, and one of my 2016 goals (based on: was to finally start my own site in a field I’m very passionate about. Coincidentally enough, my site went live today shortly before I noticed this post.

    I visit FS almost every day and it helps me keep my motivations and goals in focus. I look forward to reading about your experiences and sage advice as I continue pursuing those goals!

    1. Nice job taking action in 2016! Too many folks sit around waiting for something good to happen to them. The more action one takes, the higher the chance something surprisingly special might happen.

      Just do 1-3 things a year, and boy, after 10 years anybody will be able to accomplish a lot!

  90. I’ve been waiting for this post and I wasn’t disappointed!

    Recently I’ve started making some money from my site which I’m really happy about.

    It took me about 6 months to start seeing any income. And then out of nothing…
    I was at $200 in January 2016. February doubled again and now I’m working on building new streams of income.

    I find it interesting that you mention offering consulting because I just started doing that last week!

    Comparing a blog to the amount of capital needed to generate the same income is an interesting idea. I always thought of it as a great way to learn the skills necessary to start other online businesses.

    While I won’t become rich from blogging, my income is great especially for someone my age (17).

    I highly recommend everyone starts a website and sticks with it for at least a year. Although, if you don’t get any traffic after writing consistently for a couple of months, consider changig course.

    That’s what I did anyway and it’s paid off!

    Don’t quit online business completely but if your site isn’t working out, look for a new angle.

  91. Hi Sam!

    So glad you made the post, gave me some great insight into blogging I’ve always been curious about! I do have one question though – what are your thoughts on blogging as yourself vs a pseudonym? Are there any major advantages or drawbacks you’ve noticed as being Financial Samurai, vs having your full name/photo attached to your blog? I’m sure privacy is a big consideration, but I’m curious to know what other impacts it has? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ashley,

      Privacy is a concern as well as your desire to blog full-time or not. The biggest thing is whether you want to risk any conflicts of interest if you blog and have a FT job, which most people start off do. If you write pretty non-controversial things that aren’t taboo, then no big deal. If your topic is about helping starving children during your weekends, then it probably is good to have your name out there.

      The other consideration is how much attention you desire. Are you a constant selfie picture taker who then posts her picture on social media to get reaffirmation? Or, do you not need the likes and comments from peers because you’re self-confident? Some people believe they are beautiful, and believe their beauty will serve as a good marketing tool, whereas in reality, they are mistaken.

      I like the privacy route. It’s great to let your words speak for themselves. It becomes a great challenge! I’m sure I could get a larger readership if I plastered all my details over this site, because it’s easier to convince people I’m a real person with a pertinent financial background. But my goal isn’t fame, it’s just to write and connect. I speak to and meet with people all the time in the offline world.


  92. Hi Sam,

    First time poster – love your site.

    What are your thoughts in terms of pages in languages other than English – my native language is Danish and as you can see, my English is not perfect.

    I have considered starting a page but the audience is significantly lower, since there are only about 6 million Danes…

    1. Howdy Gert,

      Good question! Depends where you work now. If you want to stay in Denmark, then your blog in Danish might be a great lead generator for extra consulting work or FT work. The three charts in this post really try and demonstrate how much extra you can earn with a site.

      You can always try writing in both languages and test the results. The key is to prevent burnout early.


  93. I agree all you’re sharing. I just have comment about your first paragraph. That’s not an apple to apple comparison. Success is usually exponential. It’s very slow at the beginning, and fast when you create momentum. The key part to take here is that your blogging is building on top of your portfolio. All the experience you gained initially with building your portfolio is easily converted into writing material on FS. I’m sure you would have done just as well if you had continued on that path.

    1. Interesting question for you, given you think my experiences are “easily converted into writing material,” why don’t more people establish a blog or platform online? I can assure people with 100% conviction that earning a living off the internet is extremely enjoyable due to the freedom it provides!

      Do you have a site I can check out? Thx!

      1. Various reasons:
        -No “Multiple income stream” mindset
        -No status with blogging. It’s easier to show value by saying that you work a big tech/fin –company, than say that you blog.
        -For men, it takes years to build a position of value, starting over is inconceivable.
        -People don’t want to get their hands dirty.
        -People are not that tech savvy, don’t know how to leverage their skillset online.
        -The internet is still in the “Midle ages” if compared to human civilization.
        -Millenials’ style of seeking status is by building a “persona” vs baby boomers who seek wealth. I hear way too often young people being focused on “experiences” and not money.
        -It takes a certain type of person to have a mindset where they see earning potential in everything.
        -Certain personality type flourish better in uncertain environments.

        These are just a few reasons I can think on top of my head.

        Earlier this week I used “yourmechanic” that you recommend, and as the guy was checking my car we were talking about side hustling. He was the type of guy who was humble and didn’t mind getting his hands dirty. He had his own truck he’d use to move cars across country and make a couple of grands over a weekend.

        I don’t have a site(yet) Ask me again in a few months! ;)

        1. I like talking to the side hustlers out there. Their money mindset is totally different from the corporate job mindset. Very refreshing.

          Success can build upon success. This is called momentum. Most people won’t bother doing anything. It’s way too easy living here in the US.

          Those who enjoy progress and like experiencing new things and experimenting will love blogging. It’s addicting!

  94. Nathan @ Investment Hunting

    Hi Sam. Great article. I love my blog and have enjoyed writing posts and watching is slowly grow. When I started, making money was not a consideration, but as the Alexa rank and SEO start slowly growing I sometimes think of how cool it would be to make extra money blogging.

    Maybe someday, for now, I’m happy to have a place where I can share my thoughts and interact with people like you.

    Thanks for sharing

  95. Nice article.

    How much time does blogging take? You’ve written that one should expect to take at least 1-2 years before you start achieving any meaningful income, but how many hours (per post, per day, per week, whatever) should one expect to spend at this endeavor?

    1. It depends on how much you write, and how much you care about interacting with your community. I tend to spend 2 to 5 hours per post, including all the editing and stuff. Then I probably spent at least another one or two hours responding to comments, because interacting with the readers is really fun.

      Therefore, I would say putting 10 to 25 hours a week is about the right range for most people. When I was working full-time, I spent an hour before going to work and anywhere from 2 to 3 hours after I came back from work to write and interact on Financial Samurai. That means I spent around 20 to 30 hours a week. The thing is, I really enjoy what I do so it doesn’t really feel like work at all! finding what you love to do every day is a dream scenario and a scenario worth fighting for. I wouldn’t give up looking for that combination until you found it.

  96. Instead of a sticker on your laptop you should do a Vinyl decal directly on the apple logo. Would be much cooler IMO.

  97. Hello Sam,

    I’m a dental student considering taking up blogging. However, if I were to start writing about dentistry, my niche would be a hell of a lot smaller than yours; realistically, getting 300k views a month wouldn’t happen, ever. Still think it’s worth it?

    1. Hi John,

      Part of the chart was to show you how you can boost non-blogging income with a blog. If you are going to be a dentist, with potentially a private practice to be your own boss and potentially make a lot more money and have a lot more freedom, than having your own site and sharing your personality is an absolutely NO BRAINER for building your dental reputation and brand.

      You’ll find that finding dental clients is a very competitive process. Having your own website makes you standout from 99% of those who don’t or who don’t write anything. Patients want to go to professionals whom they trust and believe in.


      1. Hello Sam,

        Definitely agree. However, having a professional clinic website and running a blog are two completely different things, especially in dentistry. My content can either be targeted towards practitioners or towards patients. Two completely different blogs. To attract patients, the latter would be more beneficial. However, the former is what I was interested in… Haha!

        And yes, owning a private practice is in fact my goal here.

  98. Michael @ Financially Alert

    Thanks for sharing this article Sam and being a virtual mentor in the blogging space for so many of us.

    What stands out to me about your site is:

    – Unique content
    – An opinionated voice
    – Transparency (not necessarily your numbers, but your personality)
    – Consistency
    – An element of fun

    Is there one or more of factor that you feel contributes to your success more than another?

    I haven’t crossed the one year mark yet, but it’s been fun to find my voice slowly. :)

    1. Howdy Michael,

      The articles that have done well have been the ones that answer some big picture questions that many people wonder about e.g. The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person.

      I think if you can combine good SEO elements and fundamentals (titles, keywords), with very non-dry type of writing, you’ll have a great combo. There has to be some consistent type of style that is unique to the very large amounts of bland writing out there.

      Having a fun writing style and personality matters. You’ll see that the larger the site grows, the LESS the blogger will interact with his/her readers.

  99. I’ll echo the thanks for another good article, Sam. One question I have about starting a blog is how important do you think it is to have a single niche? There are two or three topics that I think I’d like to write about, but I’m not sure that starting out I could come up with enough content on any single one of them. Do you think today’s readers would appreciate a more general blog? I would, of course just stick to the two or three, and not post just whatever random thoughts pop into my head.

    1. Some of the most successful sites out there have one topic and go very deep. Autoblog is a good example.

      Personal Finance is very broad as it touches everything we do. I think I would gain a larger readership if I focused on 3 or less subjects within PF. However, I would also get bored more quickly and that would risk burnout.

      Hence, I keep the topics ever changing b/c it’s better to survive than die an early death!

      1. I was thinking broader categories than just a few topics within, say, personal finance. My proto-blogging interests lie in writing about science (with a bent toward things that I find new/futuristic) and life skills as they apply to a STEM-field doctoral student, to include topics in personal finance, productivity, etc. Based on your input, I think I might still try to write about all of these things, but narrow my focus and/or spin off that content into a new blog, should anything gain enough traction to be profitable. Thanks!

  100. Thanks for the kick in the pants, Sam!

    While I had high hopes for Enwealthen when I started, life happens (babies makes a big dent in your writing schedule!)

    I’m gradually getting back on track, and look forward to some steady growth this year. This is inspirational to get me focused back on moving the needle and making a positive change for myself, my blog, and my family.

  101. David Michael

    Thanks for a great post Sam. Very inspiring to say the least. In my own case, as a member of the older generation, the writing part is easy. It’s the tech aspects that drive me nuts. And…I realize I could hire a person to help me through the fray of as compared to

    I congratulate you on your success. I see so many blogs, even on financial topics, last a year or two, and poof…then they are gone. So…keep on blogging. You are an inspiration to people of all ages and pathways. Another helpful article would be: The technical difficulties of blogging and how to overcome them.


    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for your comment. I feel exactly like you actually (no problem writing, technical stuff is a PITA!). Then one day in 2009, I hired a guy off Craigslist to set me up, and it was done. Money solved my block to get started :) Getting started is the hardest part. But now, 7 years later, technology has made it even easier to get started.

      I can write a technical post and publish it if you wish. In fact, I already have. Let me e-mail you a good post that’s existing already!


  102. As always, Sam, a very inspirational post. I got in to blogging to keep track of my goals and write down what I needed to remember. The more of these types of posts that I read, the more I try to add a bit more hustle to turn it into a revenue stream.

    Thanks again!

  103. So inspiring Sam, thanks for writing this. As a relatively new blogger I’m trying to focus more on quality of my blog content, rather than quantity, hopefully that’ll drive more viewership. What’s your top 3 tips on driving more traffic? I’ve read that you should write more articles that people will search on search engines, but most of these “how to” topics just don’t excite me. In terms of affiliation, are there any specific websites that you can look into? Thanks.

    1. Here are six tips:

      1) Answer a burning question. Others will have the same question. One example is How Much Can I Pay Myself In Salary And Distribution To Minimize Taxes And Avoid An Audit. Very niche question for S-Corp owners, but I am pretty sure this post will be high enough quality to be a go to source for this dilemma.
      2) Write as much as you can without sacrificing your standards.
      3) Tap as many other people’s platforms as possible by first giving them as much of your support as possible.
      4) If you really want to try and attract the biggest audience, you’ve got to dumb down your content to basic principles like “spend less than you make.” It’s much easier sharing frugal tips than on writing about investing in Structured Products.
      5) Build a BRAND and make sure it stands for something.
      6) Most of all, stay consistent. Sooner or later others will take notice.

      1. Thanks for the tips Sam. Could you elaborate what you mean by tapping into other people’s platforms? Like guest blog on other people’s sites?

        Interesting point about dumb down the content but how much should you dumb down the content without sacrificing your standards?

        1. Yes, guest posting on larger sites where you’ve spent months if not years commenting and sharing their work.

          Dumbing down the content is about making sure as many people as possible can understand your topics. It doesn’t mean writing poorly. Just look at the largest sites online or the ones that sold. Many focused on being frugal and saving money, which everybody can do.

          Hence, the secret is to TELL A STORY with easier topics to understand.

  104. Thanks for the post Sam. It shows how far I need to go in my own blogging efforts, but in a motivational kind of way :-) Still working on building up that affiliate income stream.

  105. Tracy @ Financial Nirvana Mama

    Thanks for a very insightful blog post. I started blogging out of a motivation to share what I’ve learned through 17 years hustling + juggling a career, other hats including a real estate business and a family. 20 months after starting the blog as a mini project, I’ve started taking it more seriously – and I’m seeing the results. It is a huge undertaking but very rewarding.

    I am very close to making my first $1000 off my website after starting the yakezie challenge (end of Dec). Now whether I want to continue monetizing is a different question…not at this point..

    My key objective is building the blog to share my ideas – help people along the way and inspire others to take action. Where that leads too..I’ll wait and see. In the absence of clarity, I’m taking action with little baby steps and reassessing along the way:) So my hurdle is ‘absence of clarity’ of where I want to take the blog too :)

    1. Almost at $1,000 is sweet! Even just $100 a month or $500 a month is sweet. Folks really need to think about how big of a capital base is needed to generate this type of income.

      $6,000 a year in income is like having $300,000 in capital earning 2%!

      Hope your clarity continues.

  106. Kyle []

    Great post, Sam.

    Having just made this jump myself to “pro blogger”, I’ll say this, too:

    – Treat it like a real job.
    – Good design isn’t optional, neither is a good name and/or brand. But content is still key.
    – Stay consistent. 3x posts a week is far better than a 8 posts one week and then zero for a month. I would know, if I’d stuck to a consistent schedule for longer I would be far more ahead of where I am now (I would have months I’d write only once or twice, then go 20x the next month).
    – As you grow, invest in decent software to help generate leads, track conversions, etc.
    – Ignore the advice from a lot of other bloggers – some of them have been around a decade. They say “write write write” but they forget how saturated the market is, compared to how it was…a decade ago.
    – A good alternative to the “Professional Blogger” title is “Problem Solver of the People”. Always remember that!

    Overall, this is an excellent post that gives a good insight into the upsides and downsides of blogging while keeping a realistic perspective.

      1. Kyle []

        About 2.5 years – most of which were writing anonymously as I sometimes talk about “sensitive” topics; I was a real reclusive and depressed kid, and so the focus of mine is centered towards self-improvement and other somewhat “risky” topics. So I was always fearful I’d get outed at work, but eventually came to realize it was holding me back.

        At the same time, it originally just started as a sort of self diary with no real direction, if you want an honest evaluation of how long I took it “seriously” – I’d say you could realistically chop that down to a year to a year and a half of taking it seriously.

        And even then, when I had the full time cushion it was sometimes hard to find motivation. Not that I encourage people to quit so they’ll be motivated! I found once I decided i was going to walk away I was much more motivated. BUT, I’m also just 24 years old with no debt or a home tying me down – so the risk is much less than someone married with a family.

        No risk, no reward.

  107. Distilled Dollar

    Incredible article and very inspiring.

    Like you said above, the true focus early on is with developing high quality content that readers find valuable and worthy of sharing.

    The best part of my blogging journey has been in connecting with like-minded individuals. It is great to bounce ideas off of new readers and fine tune the knowledge on a topic.

  108. Be curious to hear your thoughts on Ad Blocking. Naturally Ad Blockers have been around for a long time, but their prevalence is increasing drastically. With both IOS and Android now opening the gates to ad blockers, mobile carriers in Europe starting to bake ad blocking in at the network layer, and browsers starting to bake in blocking in to their core.

    For millennials and younger generations ad blocking is significantly more common vs. the ‘older’ folk.

    Most of the advertising that really drives the revenue nowadays is native advertising – in particular that which cannot be blocked. Prime example is Facebook mobile (and their revenue numbers speak for themselves, the vast majority of which came from mobile ads).

    Once you have the audience, affiliate programs/etc still seem viable. But certainly for those just started looking for some quick CPC or CPM revenue – it’s a tough and getting tougher landscape. I would think the revenue ramp for a new blogger would be a lot slower at the get go vs. only a year or two ago.

    (I work at a company with a large mobile advertising arm, and one of the first side businesses I ran/sold generated the majority of it’s revenue via ads)

    1. Excellent question! I was at the Sovrn/Lijit Networks conference in San Francisco last year, and the topic du jour was on AdBlocking. Publishers should rightfully be worried. Dooce leaving mommy blogging was an eye-opening article everyone should read.

      CPC/CPM ads should be a minority percentage of one’s revenue generation. For example, less than 6% of my income stream comes from Google Adsense and Lijit Network banner ads. The key to generating meaningful income online is finding amazing value added products and partnering with them where there is great synergy with your writing and producing your own products.

      Building a BRAND is very important too. A site with a good brand is memorable and stands out from the millions of other sites out there. I can write more about this in the future.

  109. I think it can never been understated how important it is to concentrate on great content, building an audience and then building out your brand.

  110. Sam, very inspirational. Thanks for the write up.

    On a side note, i signed up for your Newsletter today. How did i miss doing this, for the last three years is beyond me. Anyways, better late than never.


  111. Good stuff! Looking forward to more of it.

    A few thoughts:

    1. Just started my new site in January and am planning on two years before I see anything meaningful from it.

    2. Hoping you share traffic-driving ideas in the future.

    3. I would agree that you need to A) know how to write, B) be passionate about your subject, and C) know what you are talking about. One reason I like and read FS is because you have all three. A handful of other blogs do too.

    Many “successful” sites unfortunately just have A and B. That’s ok as long as the reader knows it up front. But many sites that have just A and B act as if they have C as well, and that can result in some bad (or at least not maximized) advice.

    Ok, I’m off my soapbox now. :)

    1. I like that “two years before seeing anything” attitude! Clearly, you are not a Millennial :) I’ll probably write a prof blogging related post once a quarter, given about 5-10% of the readers and 50% of the commenters here have their own sites, and perhaps 25%+ are wondering how to harness the internet for a different/better life.

      I’m sure you will get your rewards once again!

  112. Sam, thank you–this is motivation distilled to its finest. Thanks for sharing these ideas and metrics.

  113. Dividend Hustler

    Thank you for the post Sam. I’ve been looking for a post like this to start making a bit of money. I’ve been blogging for 15 months now but did it for just pure love of blogging. I’d like to start monetizing moving forward.
    Thanks for taking the time.

  114. Hey Sam I’m AJ – Long time listener, first time caller. Here’s the deal – you’re a huge inspiration to me in multiple ways and I’m taking action. I’m in my 30s (no debt, but minimal net worth) and I’m pushing hard to invest 50% of my income so I can get out the game in 10 years.

    I did two things this week. Decided to try Wealthfront and used your link to open an account. Also, two days ago I heeded your perennial advice to start a blog and registered a domain name and bought a hosting package. So, this post is so timely for me.

    I have a word doc on my laptop called “blog fodder” where I’m collecting ideas I plan to blog about. I need to carve out some time to figure out the WordPress thing and put some thoughts together for a great first post.

    The depth of your content and your financial authority make you an absolute standout in the PF blogging game. Thanks for everything you do!

    Here’s a crazy ask: I’m in Santa Clara next week for some training. Would love to come into the city and get 30 minutes of your time.

    1. Howdy AJ, nice job taking some action! I’m currently in Honolulu now, and am unsure of my schedule. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any specific private questions. Where are you flying in from? It’s supposed to be wet in the Bay Area. Santa Clara is about 1-1.5 hours away from SF, depending on traffic. Cheers

      1. Excellent! Hopefully you’re enjoying some good family time in Hawaii. I’m in and out of the Bay Area a fair amount so who knows maybe someday I’ll get to buy you a drink. I will shoot you an email.

  115. Thanks for another great article, Sam! I love the passion you put in your writing, even when I wholeheartedly disagree with you (the Roth IRA), and I’m constantly amazed at how well you handle criticism in the comments. I hope that after a few years of my blog, I’ll see even a sliver of the same success you have. It’ll take practice for me to be able to handle criticism as smoothly as you do, though. :)

  116. Wow. This is an eye-opening post. Thank you very much for contributing all that you do. It’s given me a lot to think about.

  117. Why aren’t you sharing your blogging income? I feel the post would have more credibility if you did.

    1. This is a very insightful question which I hope you’ll come back to respond.

      I was hoping that writing a 2,800 word post, demonstrating a real-life example of a blogging mentee for the past three years with a detailed chart, and my seven years of experience running FS would be enough credibility.

      If it is not, can you explain your thoughts as to why? It would help provide perspective on whether I can take a new route to making money online. If just stating my own income online is all it takes to gain credibility, I can save a lot of time writing detailed posts, and can add a new series of blog posts just about how much money I make in order to make more money.

      Finally, can you share something about your background?


      Check out: The Rise Of Stealth Wealth: Staying Invisible From Society’s Rage

      1. Don’t get me wrong, not meant as an attack. I know you’ve done great things. Your post was good because it got me thinking. I’m telling you as a reader it could be even more effective by sharing what you’ve accomplished as you suggest this blogging path possibility. It’s still a good post and better than i could write, so not to take away from your extremely hard work on this blog.

        2,800 words is great, and 7 years is amazing, but hat doesn’t mean it is profitable.

        I can’t relate to the person you have used as an example, and by referring to someone else instead of yourself is where I said to myself “if his blogging income is so great why can’t he share his own income”. What has your income looked like over the past 7 years as your blog has grown, what are you making from product sales/consulting/traffic….those are the types of things that would make it an amazing post and more real.

        The other day i re-listened to an interview from Ending the Grind with Penelope Trunk. A good listen especially for your readers in the context of this post.

        1. No worries, I enjoy hearing other people’s perspectives. How much does Penelope a Trunk make?

          Do you know if there is an income amount that would be a turn off to readers? For example, what if I said $500,000. Can you relate to that or would that be deemed out of touch with reality? What about $1M?

          I personally think after a certain amount of income, the reported income is superfluous data that adds no value as this blog isn’t about blogging to make money blogging.

          But, you have given me some ideas about arguing how actions DO NOT speak louder than words to gain more traffic and credibility. If you are cool with that, and hopefully others, I’m going to try and publish some other type of posts in the future.

          Light bulb! What do you think if I write a post about how to make $200,000 blogging and chronicle my four year journey to get there? Would that be too egotistical? Or would the journey and examples I give provide useful?

          Please tell me about yourself. How old are you and what do you do? Thx

          1. I think any material shift in focus toward your successes as a blogger/consultant may undermine the general thrust of interest which your dedicated readership shows up for. It may become a slippery slope to dedicating a good fraction of your content more towards online business creation. Just a thought.

            An important delineation for the article is that content tightly focused on subject matter with higher value CPC/CPM/CPA value will almost always return greater potential monetary growth. To that end, finance, law, medicine and other subjects will likely outperform many other general interests which do not attract as much advertising interest.

            1. Absolutely. Another skill a blogger must have is to know how to balance making a living online and avoiding burning out the readership.

              Feedback is real time and you see the traffic data. It is funny though when you see some readers complain about your content when they don’t pay anything and nobody forced them to visit!

  118. Love the post, Sam. Great analysis of blogging as a profession, and really motivational for aspiring bloggers.

    It’s certainly easier said than done, but persistence is the key. I think you’re spot on about the 1-2 year timeframe being realistic for most people, for actually putting something together that earns a meaningful income.

    It took me close to 2 years to bring my online income to the $1,500-$2,000/month range, and sadly that’s fallen off a bit (100% my fault though, for focusing on other things). I still earn decent passive income though for work that was done 3+ years ago, which is always nice.


    1. $1,500 – $2,000/month is completely feasible with dedication over 2 years. That’s like owning a $1M asset generating a ~2-2.4% dividend yield, which is better than the 10-year risk free rate.

  119. Dominic @ Gen Y Finance Guy

    Blogging has been a blast and very educational. It’s amazing to look back these past 17 months and see the progress the blog has made in terms of traffic, revenue, but more importantly how my writing has evolved.

    It has been a great resource and sounding board to think out loud and solidify my views.

    The site is still pretty far off from earning $1,000/month, but I don’t depend on or need the income. But it is fun to see something I created from nothing earning healthy profit margins :)

    Thanks for being an inspiration!

    1. No problem! Your site has been able to build a good community quite quickly. If you want to focus on the monetary aspect, my only recommendation is to post more than once a week or so. You have a good tailwind already.

  120. Vistahermosa

    Sam- so good, so motivational. I truly feel guilty for getting this info and your insight for free. Keep up the great work!!

  121. This is so interesting, thanks for writing this! I started blogging a little while ago just because I wanted to join in on the fun and I always have the urge to write. Earning money by blogging never seemed realistic, but after reading this I might just take it into consideration.

    First I’ll just keep going and have fun, see where I’ll be in a year.

  122. SideIncomeSteve

    Hi Sam

    Thanks for posting this great information. Quick question for you, I just started blogging this year. You mentioned above that people should love writing if they want to be a pro blogger. Now I definitely don’t mind writing, but I think I enjoy talking about the topics I am passionate about.

    What are your thoughts about doing a combination of videos/writing?

    1. I think videos + writing would be great. The editing part takes a lot of time. I tried podcasting too, which was kind of fun. But again, the editing is a PITA. If you can do all three, that would be wonderful I think. Writing is most efficient for me.

  123. I totally agree that in order to make it as a pro blogger you have to love writing. I met someone who used to blog, and who had done well for himself, but he admitted a couple years in that he despised writing. I was so shocked to hear that. Soon after that conversation, he began to pivot because he couldn’t take the writing anymore and his posting frequency majorly declined. He’s completely disappeared now and hasn’t written anything in two years.

    But for those of us who love writing, blogging is so many incredible things. I love spending quiet time to myself pouring my thoughts into my computer and being able to press “publish.” I always like to write, but now I like it even more!

    And another note – even if you don’t like to write but have a small business or want to brand yourself, it’s totally worth starting a website. It doesn’t have to become a blog, but can be your own spot on the web to market yourself and your products. Pretty much every job application these days has a section on the form that asks if you have a website. And customers totally want to see your website if you’re a small business owner – it shows your consumers and potential leads that you’re legit and a true game player.

    1. Good point about every single job application has a space to input your site as an option. That’s a big differentiator, especially if your site looks professional and jives well with what you want to do FT!

      My problem is FS has gotten too large where startup CEOs will basically ask, “why the hell would you want to work for us if you have a good thing going for you?” And then I’ve got to explain why I like the camaraderie and learning about new areas. but for the most part, I always get a call back when I apply to anything, in large part due to this site.

      Related: How To Convince An Employer To Hire You If You Are Overqualified Or Don’t Need The Money

  124. Ohh, great insights on pro’ blogging.

    I’ve been blogging for almost a decade. It allowed me to earn a decent income and also push my web design business forward (a lot of my clients are readers who trust me as an authority when it comes to wordpress design and wanted to work with me).

    Pro’ blogging is definitely something to look into.

  125. Nice and inspiring article. As bloggers the only fixed asset that we own, i guess, is the content.
    Aren’t you scared to loose it? Do you use multiple backup solutions? As far as you know, are there insurances against sites get hacked or so?

    1. Hi Robert,

      I have multiple backup copies of my content running daily. Cloud, computer, and through WordPress. I’ve also graduated from a shared server to a dedicated server with a dedicated person who watches everything and fixes everything. That comes at a cost of about $160/month from $5/month for a basic shared hosting, but it’s worth it to me.


      1. The cost of technology is so low now. $160/mo for a dedicated server with someone keeping an eye on it is amazing when you consider ten years ago it’d be much higher…

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