I used to think of blogging as a passion project. Something you’d do for fun that you could make a few dollars from Google Adsense with.
And it can be that. But the idea that you can’t run a very profitable business with somewhat low levels of traffic is wrong. Stupid wrong.
In this post, I’m going to get into why blogging can be one of the most profitable industries on this planet. And why you don’t need a ton of traffic to replace your $100,000 per year job with it.
How Much Traffic Do You Need To Quit Your Job?
How much traffic you need to replace your job is mostly dependent on how good you are at converting your traffic into cash. Obviously, the more money you make per visitor, the less traffic you need to replace your job.
If your site only brings in $10 per 1,000 visitors (a $10 RPM), then you’ll need 833,333 visitors per month to earn six-figures. However, if you’re incredibly profitable and bringing in a $1,000 RPM, then you only need 8,333 visitors per month. That’s such a vast range that it’s not very helpful in figuring out how much traffic you need to replace your job.
To narrow this down further, we need to figure out how much money you can earn from the most popular blog monetization strategies. Once we know that, we can get a clearer picture of how much traffic you need to make a full-time blogging income.
How Much Traffic Do You Need to Quit Your Job Using Ads?
I don’t recommend you monetize with ads. But, it’s the most widely used blog monetization strategy. Because of that, let’s go over how much ads pay.
How much ads pay will vary. A $2 RPM ($2 revenue per every 1,000 page views) is about as low as I’ve seen Google Adsense pay. And a $30 RPM is around the highest I’ve heard of better ad networks like Adthrive or Mediavine paying bloggers. Very rarely do I see sites reporting higher numbers than that, though it can happen in extreme edge cases.
With a $2 RPM from ads, you’d need about 4.2 MILLION monthly visitors to break six-figures. This is why I used to think of blogging as a passion project. That’s simply an unattainable level of traffic for a solo blogger to acquire.
Even if you were crushing ads and had a $30 RPM, you’d still need 280,000 visitors per month to make $100k/yr. While that’s achievable, it’s still a challenging amount of traffic to obtain.
Clearly, if you want to replace your job by blogging, you’ll want to use a better monetization strategy than ads. If you don’t, you’ll need hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors to go full-time.
How Much Traffic Do You Need to Quit Your Job with Affiliate Marketing?
It’s much harder to quantify how much money you can make from affiliate commissions than it is with ads.
This is because each affiliate program will have its own unique payout structure and conversion rates. Read my post about affiliate marketing where I go in-depth about how much you can make with affiliate programs.
The problem with the Amazon Affiliate program is that it does not pay well. You’ll only receive 4% on purchases within 24 hours of somebody clicking your link. When you do the math on that, you end up with an RPM that pays in the same ballpark as ads.
You won’t get rich off the Amazon Affiliate program. But, the beautiful thing about affiliate marketing is that you can do it alongside your other income strategies. Linking to Amazon products where it makes sense on your blog doesn’t prevent you from running ads or selling your own products.
Meaning if you’re crushing ads with a $30 RPM. You can now add a $10 RPM from the Amazon Affiliates program on top of that. Giving your blog a $40 RPM.
Now you will only need 208,000 visitors per month to quit your job. That’s still a lot of traffic, but we’re getting closer to attainable numbers as we continue to add income streams.
High Paying Affiliate Programs Can Change The Game
Low paying affiliate products are “nice to haves.”
But, Some affiliate programs pay so well that they alone can place you into a new income bracket. (Assuming you have a lot of targeted traffic that matches the product you’re selling.)
For instance, the Clickfunnels affiliate program pays $38 per month per user signed up. If you sign up 220 users, you’ll have replaced your six-figure job for as long as those user’s stay subscribed.
That’s incredible. And while I expect a low conversion rate promoting a niche product like this, it pays so well that you could make some pretty serious money from it regardless.
At those types of rates, you’d only need 41,000 visitors a month to replace your full-time job.
That’s a very attainable amount of traffic. That said, you shouldn’t create content for the sole purpose of selling a single affiliate product. All affiliate programs eventually end or cut rates. You don’t want to be holding a bunch of worthless ClickFunnels promotional content when they decide to stop paying you.
Still, the takeaway is to check for high paying affiliate products that match the content that you’re producing. If they exist, you can make quite a bit of money connecting your users with these offers.
Pro Tip: There are a surprising number of high paying affiliate programs out there. Search through an affiliate network like Share-a-Sale for the highest paying offers. Or Google highest paying affiliate offers to search for products that match your niche.
How Much Traffic Does it Take to Replace Your Job Selling Your Own Products?
When it comes to making money online, selling your own product is the holy grail. Particularly digital products that scale and have no distribution costs.
Selling your own product is safer than Affiliate Marketing and ads. You’re not at risk of your own product shutting down or cutting rates. You also get to keep 100% of the profits instead of the minuscule 4% that Amazon gives you.
You’ll also sell items at a higher rate than you could sell affiliate products or ad clicks. Making you much more money per visitor. Your own products will have higher conversion rates because…
- If your content has a niche, you should know the types of problems your audience has. That should make it easier to sell the products they want to buy.
- If you’re building an e-mail list, you can remarket to your biggest supporters for free.
- You can remarket with ads, which should be much more profitable than running ads to cold traffic.
- You own the website and can do split testing over and over again until your conversion rates improve.
- Your audience is familiar with you and trusts you. They like you a lot more than a random website after reading your blog.
When selling to your blog visitors, you’re selling to warm traffic.
If you were selling to cold traffic via Facebook ads, you might only expect one or two out of every 1,000 people to buy your product. But, when marketing on your own website, you can expect that number to go up.
How much your conversion rates will increase is hard to say. A 5% conversion rate should be achievable for traffic coming from commercial intent keywords to a product page.
But, for blog visits from non-commercial intent keywords? I’d expect numbers to drop much lower than that. Still, even a 1% conversion rate would make you a lot of money from free traffic. Let’s see what selling a $50 product, and having a 1% conversion rate looks like.
A $500 RPM!!! At that rate, you’d only need about 17,000 visitors per month to be making a full-time income from blogging!
And that’s just a 1% conversion rate and a $50 average order value. If you could get your average order value higher or increase your conversion rate you could potentially increase these numbers by quite a bit.
I know that creating your own product can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. You can sell any of the following and much more.
But, if you are willing to spend the time needed to build something, you can make an absolute killing selling E-books or digital courses. You can also sell software and apps for a recurring monthly fee that will make you a ton of money. And these products have no distribution costs, so every dollar is profit.
Needing Less Than 20,000 Monthly Visitors For a Full-Time Income is Exciting!
As we discussed, you should be able to make a full-time income blogging with as little as 20,000 monthly page views. As long as you’re selling your own product and using high priced affiliate offers to monetize.
It won’t be easy. Creating your own product is difficult. Even getting 20,000 monthly visitors is hard to do.
But, only needing 20,000 monthly visitors to go full-time is exciting for a variety of reasons.
1) This Traffic Number is Not All or Nothing.
If you needed 20,000 visitors/m to make six-figures and quit your job. Even if you only got half of that number, you’re still making $50k/yr.
For many people, $50k/yr would be enough income to go full-time. I chose to use $100k as my benchmark because I wanted the amount to apply to nearly everyone.
2) This Traffic Number Scales Up
If you’re getting your traffic from Google, it will probably take you longer to get from 0 to 10,000 views per month than it takes you to get from 10,000 to 100,000 views per month.
If you’ve only been blogging for a year, All your content is still on page 2+ of the SERP. You’re only getting a fraction of the traffic that you will when your content reaches page 1.
So if you’re at the end of year 1, and you’re only getting 1,000 visitors per month and making $5k/yr. Keep producing quality content. By the end of year 2, your traffic numbers are likely to explode if your articles hit the top of the SERP.
And when your traffic goes from 1,000 visitors per month to 100,000 visitors per month. You just went from making $5,000/yr to $500,000/yr. Blogging is such an exciting opportunity. The money you can make scales with increased traffic!
3) You Can Acquire This Amount of Traffic From Other Sources
It’s possible to get 20,000 visitors per month from sources other than Google.
On this blog, I tend to focus on Google as it’s the largest source of potential blog traffic. But, I’ve read reports of many who claim they’re able to get 20,000 visitors per month from sites like Pinterest alone.
I’d never attempt to get 500,000 visitors to a blog from a source other than Google. However, if all you need is 20,000 visitors per month? I firmly believe you could cobble together 20,000 visitors from some combination of Twitter, Facebook, Medium, your e-mail list, return traffic, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
This is an achievable level of traffic even when you take search engines out of the equation. That’s what makes this so exciting.
The amount of traffic you need to blog full-time depends on the profitability of your website.
If you’re stuck using ads and low priced affiliate offers to monetize. Then it’s going to take you 200k+ visitors per month to get to a full-time income. It’s going to be very difficult for you.
But, if you have a niche, focus on creating a product, and grow your e-mail list from the beginning. Then you only need 1/10th that amount of traffic to blog full-time. And if you ever did get 200k+ visitors per month, you’d be running a million-dollar business!
Thanks for reading! Let me know if I missed anything in the comments.