So you started a blog, hoping to make a little (or a lot) of side income.
Maybe you even want to quit your job and blog full-time someday.
If so, you are may be wondering how much traffic you will need.
Surprisingly, It’s not as much as you think…
Recently I have been geeking out on the question of how much traffic a blog needs to earn $100k per year.
I’ll start by showing you how to do the calculations. Then we will take a look at a few case studies of real 6 and 7 figure blogs, to see if we are on the right track.
Now, before I get carried away, let’s just state upfront that there are a ton of factors that affect a blog’s earning potential.
To simplify things a bit, we need agree on some assumptions.
Assumption 1: Your blog is in a monitizable niche. The main money earning niches are: dating, fitness, marketing, parenting, self-help and certain hobbies. Some blogs that don’t fall into these categories can still be money makers as long as they have a passionate enough audience, like golf, raising chickens, or even knitting.
Assumption 2: Your blog sells ebooks, courses, products or coaching. and doesn’t rely on ad revenue.
Assumption 3: The blog has an email list, and a good sales funnel.
Also, we are going to simplify things by ignoring advanced tactics like joint ventures, affiliates, etc.
Why not ad revenue?
To make significant income with ads, you will need a ton of traffic.
I know someone who had a 2 million visitor-per-month blog, and was not even close to 7 figures. This is more than most blogs could ever hope to achieve. As you will see below, you can do way better than that with much less traffic.
Lets imagine you have a little blog with 10,000 visitors per month.
Some of these visitors will sign up for your email list, and then you can pitch them on your products and services over time.
As you know, the money is in the email list, so first we need to calculate how big of an email list you could grow with that much traffic.
Assume 5% of your visitors sign up for your list. This is a pretty good opt-in rate, but it should be achievable for most blogs with some effort.
That means every month, your blog’s email list will grow by 500 people.
So after 1 year, we will have 12 X 500 = 6000 email subscribers.
You might think that this email list growth will continue for ever, but it won’t, for a few reasons.
One reason is opt-outs. Every time you send an email, a small fraction of the people on your list will unsubscribe. As the list grows, so does the number of people leaving the list (opting out). Eventually, the number of people opting out will be the same as the number opting in, and your list growth will stall.
So lets take just the 1 year point and look at the revenue potential of a 6000 person email list.
So How much is an email subscriber worth?
A good rule of thumb is that a blog can make $1 to $3 per month for every person on their email list. This number varies by niche, with marketing being towards the higher end, and mass consumer markets like parenting or nutrition being at the lower end.
A figure of $1/month per subscriber should be achievable for most, so your 10,000 visitor per month blog should be able to make $6000 per month, or $72,000 dollars per year.
To calculate how much you need to make 6 (or 7) figures, all we have to do is scale up the numbers:
20K visitors per month = $144,000 per year.
100K visitors per month = $720,000 per year.
500k visitors per month = $3.6 million per year!
These numbers are for a well optimized blog, with a good opt-in rate and a high converting sales funnel, but it gives you some idea of the traffic numbers you will need to hit if you want to make 6 or 7 figures with your blog.
Ok, that all sounds good in theory, but can we find any real life examples to see if our estimates are good?
Yes we can:
Case Study 1: A 7 figure blog about green smoothies.
Lets start with a blog in the nutrition niche, simplegreensmoothies.com.
In a recent podcast, the founders mentioned that they were making nearly 7 figures per year in revenue.
You may be surprised that such a simple idea could be the basis of a 7 figure business, but it is. It just goes to show you the power of focusing down your topic and solving people’s problems in a creative way.
How about their traffic?
My favorite tool for looking at web traffic is similarweb. Head over there and type in a url to get some really cool traffic data.
Similarweb shows simplegreen smoothies at 300k visitors per month, which based on our calculations above, would put them at 2.1 million dollars per year of earning potential. As I mentioned, nutrition tends to be one of those niches where people spend a little less, so the one million dollars per year sounds about right. At least we are in the ball park!
Case Study 2: A $10+ million per blog year selling golf video lessons.
Another interesting example is revolutiongolf.com
Revolution golf is a golf video instruction site that makes most of its money selling video golf lessons. There are only 20 million golfers in the US, but they spend a lot of money and are extremely passionate about their sport.
According to similarweb, revolutiongolf.com gets about 1.5 million visitors per month.
1.5 million visitors per month should earn you about 10 million dollars per year based on the calculations above.
In a recent interview on the self made man podcast, founder Justin Tupper said the site makes $60k+ per day, which works out to 10 million plus per year! Pretty close to our estimate.
So now we have to examples that fit with our model, I’m sure if you search hard you will find plenty of cases of sites that make much more or much less, but I’ve given you a starting point to beging thinking about your traffic numbers.
Boom, have we nailed it?
Tell me what you think in the comments.
How Much Traffic Does your blog need to make 6 figures?