Blogging Jobs: How Much Are Bloggers Paid to Blog?
As we continue with this series on blogging jobs, it’s time to look at the income a blogger can make by blogging for pay.
The skills and qualities a company or blog owner is looking for from a blogger are extensive, far beyond just writing abilities. As with any freelance job, determining how to put a value on the time it really takes, and the costs associated with the time and production, is really hard when the real cost is in time, not materials. Bloggers should be paid for the time as well as their expertise and abilities. Are they? This is a problem that has been around for a very long time. How much is your time worth?
For many decades, professional editorial writers found a compromise on the time/value issue with payment by the word with a restriction on word count. I often was told, “We’ll pay you a dollar a word up to 1,000 words maximum.”
This meant the magazine, newspaper, newsletter, or other print publication had space for one thousand words that needed to be filled. Going over meant changing their magazine or newspaper design structure. Giving them less meant I’d be paid less, but somewhere in the middle was a compromise for both of us, usually in the form of me setting a minimum fee I was to be paid, no matter the word count, such as “I want $500 minimum for 700 words and a dollar a word thereafter.” If the article came it at 400 words, I would still be paid my minimum. If it crossed the 700 word mark, at which point I should have been paid $700 for a dollar a word, that’s when they have to start paying me the dollar a word rate. It wasn’t the best, but the companies felt like they were getting a deal and for the most part, I covered the minimum I needed to pay my rent and eat.
Here is a chart for the various traditional writer’s pay scale based upon a dollar amount per word. The more experience and expertise, the higher the fee per word.
|Paid by the Word Count|
|Fee Per Word||100||250||500||1000||2000|
Compare this to the word count of pay-per-post pay scales of today. If a blogger is paid $5 per 100 word post, they are paid 5 cents a word. If they are paid $100 per 100 word blog post, it brings the payment up to scale from 25 years ago. However, if they pass the 100 word mark, and most blog posts range from 200 to 500 words, the fee per word drops significantly.
|Paid by Post – How Much Per Word|
|Fee Per Post||100||250||500||1000||2000|
What does this mean? With the change from a per word fee to a per post fee, bloggers have to work longer and harder to make any money on content generation alone.
With the pay-per-word scale, you were paid more for generating more content. With the pay-per-post model, the more content you write, the less you are paid. So it pays to write as little as possible and generate the most posts you can. While shorter tends to be better in web and blog writing styles, what quality of content can you offer consistently in 100 words or less?
The dollar-a-word pay scale took into account not just the time it took to type the word, but the research, editing, and experience and training it took to generate that word. The pay-per-post mass content generation process is about getting the most posts published in the shortest amount of time, the sweatshop mentality of blog content. The pay-per-post bloggers never make enough money to adequately compensate them for the time it takes to produce the content, thus they have to work longer and harder. So how much time does it take?
How Much Time Does It Take to Publish a Blog Post?
The average hours worked annually in the United States is 1777. The average household income is about $60,000 a year right now. To make that, you’d have to earn $34 an hour minimum. How many blog posts can you generate in an hour to come up to $34 an hour? How long does it take for you to generate a single blog post? And how many posts would you have to write across a year to meet that average income if you are a full-time blogger?
If your goal is to make $40,000 a year, you’d have to earn $23 an hour. If your goal is to make $30,000 a year, you’d have to earn $17 an hour.
In How Long Does It Take You to Write a Blog Post?, the responses were fairly consistent from 30 minutes to an hour for a single post. Longer posts take more time.
What is interesting is how people didn’t count the time they spent writing in their heads, composing and torturing the story idea, making notes, and processing the information and research before they actually started typing. That’s part of the work time that goes into writing and shouldn’t be discounted or dismissed. How do you account for that time? Many of us do our best thinking and writing in our heads while doing other things or sleeping. Still, the time it takes to jot down notes, read our feeds, uncover story ideas, and tug and pull at our stories is all part of the time it takes to write a blog post.
Remember the list of all the things a blogger does and is expected to do beyond just writing and generating content? I’d estimate that on a per-post basis, each post would consume 1-2 hours. Do you take that time into account as you calculate what you should be paid to blog?
There are 52 weeks in a year. Most paid bloggers need to produce a minimum of 3 posts a week. That’s 156 posts a year. Divide the annual average income of $60,000 by 156 posts, that’s $385 per post. Anyone getting paid that much to blog? I doubt it. Notch this up to 5 posts a week and you’d need 260 blog posts at $230 per post. That’s better but most bloggers are paid $$25 or less per post.
At $25 a post, you’d need to write 2,400 blog posts to earn $60,000 a year. How long would that take you? Do you have 2,400 original blog posts within you?
If your blogging business is only about generating post content, here is a chart to gauge how many posts you would have to create and sell in order to make whatever is your desired annual income level.
|At USD $25 Per Post,|
How Many Does It Take To Earn
Your Desired Annual Salary?
|Desired Annual Salary||Number of Posts Sold|
Those who make the most blogging don’t do it with pay-per-post unless they can get top dollar for their blog post content. Professional bloggers make money generating content on their own blogs combined with direct and indirect income sources such as advertising, speaking, ebooks, product sales, and consulting. This discussion isn’t about them, though. It’s about those who want to survive on blogging alone.
All this talk of income numbers is one thing. The core is how much time does it take to create and publish a blog post. Many workers are paid by the hour, so if you are paid $5.00 for a blog post and it takes you 15 minutes (.25 hours) to generate the blog post, that would be the equivalent of $20 an hour. Produce four blog posts at $5.00 an hour and you would get that $20. Ah, but that’s more work. Indeed. You work 15 minutes to produce a $5 post and not have any other posts within that hour, you are still paid only $5. You have to generate four posts in that hour to make the $20.
What if it takes you 30 minutes? Then your pay scale would drop to $10 an hour for a $5 post. If it takes you two hours to publish a $5.00 blog post, that’s $2.50 an hour. For the United States, that’s way below minimum wage. It’s not looking so good any more.
If you are paid $100.00 per post and it takes you two hours to develop the concept, research the story and materials, write the post, edit it, prepare it for publishing, find an image to accompany the post, publish it, then respond to comments and maintain the post over time, and include time for networking and promotion, you would be paid $50.00 an hour, a much more reasonable rate for an expert blogging specialist.
|Pay by Post Hourly Rate|
|Hours to Write a Blog Post|
|Fee Per Post||0.25||0.50||0.45||1.00||1.50||2.00||4.00|
These calculations take a generalized look at the comparisons to help you get a picture of how much you are worth as a blogger, how much time you have to spend blogging to earn enough money, and to determine if you are being paid enough.
If you are an expert in your subject matter, you might be getting paid $50 to $100 an hour for consultation or service fees. To be paid less than that to take the time away from your business to write a blog post has to be offset against the return on that investment of time. If it brings in more business, then a lower blogging fee would be acceptable. If it doesn’t, then your time might be better invested elsewhere, like on your own blog generating business and only occasionally guest blogging. You have to explore the number to see if they make sense – and enough money – for your needs. It’s all about the return on your investment (ROI) on time and energy as well as money.
Let’s look at some more time calculations. If it takes 30 minutes to write a blog post, to write 156 posts would take 78 hours. To write 260 blogs in 30 minutes each, it would take 130 hours. To write 2,400 posts, it would take 1,200 hours, coming close to full time work of 1777 hours a year, not counting the time it takes to read and respond to comments, network, promote, and all the many other tasks involved in blogging.
Is 30 minutes a blog post a realistic time frame? It often takes an hour or more to generate a single blog post, especially by a professional writer concerned with editing and making the content the best possible. Here are some estimates on how long it would take to generate the number of posts per week based upon how long it takes to write and publish the post.
|Total Number of Hours to Produce|
X Number of Blog Posts
|Hours to Write a Blog Post|
Average Work Hours Per Year = 1777
|Number of Posts||0.5||1||1.5||2||4|
|156 (3x a week)||78||156||234||312||624|
|260 (5x a week)||130||260||390||520||1040|
|500 (10x a week)||250||500||750||1000||2000|
|1000 (19x a week)||500||1000||1500||2000||4000|
|2400 (46x a week)||1200||2400||3600||4800||9600|
Some posts take only a few minutes, but others take much longer. These numbers are just a general guide to help you determine how much time it takes to generate blog content on average.
How Much Are You Paid to Blog?
Bloggers love their independence, their freedom to work when and where they want, but at what price? The hours are long and hard. As the NY Times reported, it is becoming a serious sweatshop industry to generate the volumes of content demanded by the ever-growing web.
To make the average annual US income of $60,000, you need to make $34 an hour. If you are paid $5 a blog post, you would have to write 12,000 blog posts. At $25 a blog post, you would have to publish 2,400. For $50 per post, that’s 1200 posts. At $100 per blog post, you would have to generate 600 posts.
I’ve only touched lightly on the price paid by those who work so hard for so little. Bloggers rarely see the inside of an office, which overjoys many of them, but the relationships that are formed within a work environment are denied them. Still, many stay-at-home parents are thrilled to be able to work and control their hours as well as take care of their family. I know of a growing number of bloggers dependent upon blogging income (and their online social life) while they stay at home or work only part-time to care for elderly parents.
As a freelancer and contractor, there is little room for advancement when you blog for someone else. You don’t get regular pay raises and have to beg for increases in your blog fee at a time when many are paying less and less and advertising income is dropping. You have to chase down jobs and prove your worth over and over again.
There are also legal issues to consider such as the rights and usage of the sold blog posts. Who owns them? Who dictates what will happen to them after they are published? What about syndication and reprint rights? Can the blog owner do whatever they want with the posts after they’ve been published?
What about copyrights? Who owns the content after it’s been published? Will the copyright ownership remain with the blogger or go to the blog owner? Will the blog owner protect the rights of the content and help the blogger defend copyright violations?
What about maintenance and upkeep of older blog posts once the blogger leaves the blog? Who is reponsible? It is still work representing the blogger’s quality of work and reputation. Who is responsible for maintaining those?
Blogging for a living is definitely not for everyone. If you are a talented writer and understand the hard work, discipline, and endurance test that blogging can be, there is money to be made and a lot of companies are desperate to hire quality writers and bloggers.
If you want to blog for a living, don’t take just any blogging job or low paying jobs. It isn’t worth it. Get paid what you are worth so every blogger within the industry can get a chance to make a decent living and not be undercut by those blogging for $5 a post. Consider your expertise and ask for what you deserve.
In the next article in this series, I’ll be addressing the issues of what businesses need to know about hiring bloggers. Many companies think they need blogs, but don’t have the staff to maintain and produce blogs, so they are hunting. Unfortunately, they are hunting within a new industry of writers and thinkers who don’t behave in accordance with traditional working standards.
Blogger Jobs Article Series
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.
I believe the average U.S. income is actually about $40K, not $60K.
Great series. I’d love to see a post about how to structure contracts for bloggers, with some sample contracts included.
It used to be. The new rate ranges between $60K and $67K depending upon the sources. I went with the lowest rate for 2007-8.
Great, but it’s 2015. I understand this is from 2008, so maybe an update to the figures would clarify things.
I don’t know what world you live in where a client will pay $100 per blog post, but let me know so I can move my ghost blogging business there.
The bottom line from the real world is that clients are paying these figures:
India $5 per blog post of about 250 words
US $15 to $30 per blog post of about 200 words
Although you may feel your writing is worth more, based on all of the formulas listed above, if no one will pay how can you pay your bills when you are providing professional services.
My figures reflect the reality of what clients want to pay and will actually pay for a blog post.
@ Nancy McCord:
Then you would be surprised to learn that some bloggers are getting paid that much. As they should for quality blogging. Mass production of short content will always pay lower. Those types of bloggers are not asked to do many of the tasks a professional blogger representing a brand, company, or industry is asked to do.
I said that most bloggers are paid at the $5-$25 rate. A rate that is ridiculous for quality content and blogging. The clients may want to pay it, but they pay it because the bloggers won’t ask for more. There are two sides to the coin.
The article reviews the generalized realities of how much bloggers are paid, how much time it takes, and a vague comparison of how much work would it take to blog enough to live off the income. There are many ways to play with these numbers, and this post is a start to that conversation. The market plays a big role in determining the numbers, but so do the bloggers looking for work. Those willing to take anything just to blog will keep the fees low. Those willing to see that their work is being abused by the low rates, and have the courage to ask for more, will help drive the fees up to rates out of the sweatshop level.
Remember, you get what you pay for. Quality content and blogging styles deserves higher payments. Those who expect to pay low rates for the same quality of service will get what they pay for – and lose in the end.
This is really fascinating. I have a new client in the business.
$60k is the average annual HOUSEHOULD income… not single person, that’s closer to $30k
I’ve added a variety of income levels for comparison. If you want to make more or less, plug in your own numbers. If you are currently paid by post, then use these as guides to see if you are making enough to survive.
At the most popular blog network (starts with a b ) they pay writers $50 a month with something like a bunch fifty for each thousand page views. Not enough to quite a day job.
They also told their workers their laying off some bloggers and cutting blogs. Expect to see that happen soon.
I can not imagine a blogger trying to make a full time income on blog per post. The value of a paid blog also should take into account the blogs rank or traffic as that took time and money for the blogger to develop. I believe that the value of a paid post is more about the value to the person paying than the time it takes for the blogger to do the post.
@ Deb Bixler:
I agree, which is why I started off this series describing all the tasks, responsibilities, and skills a blogger may need, depending upon the job, to blog. The more the people who hire bloggers understand what they bring to the table, the more likely the pay will increase appropriately – if bloggers fight for that increase.
Unfortunately, I see a lot just settle for less because they think that is all they can get.
Interesting post. I enjoyed all the breakdowns. I get paid anywhere from $5 a post to $80 a post to blog. I would never expect the rates to be similar to typical rates for print. The writing is normally lighter and less time consuming. If it’s a topic I know well, I blog off the top of my head without much research at all.
By the way, when you talk about $60K being the average annual salary in the U.S. I believe that’s household salary. Individual, I believe is under $40K.
Very interesting post. I think the actual rates are so seldom discussed that new bloggers for hire don`t realize what they can get paid, they just assume the low pay is standard.
I’ve included salary ranges from $60K down in the article. I know quite a few bloggers who blog for a living, supporting their household, married, single, and single parents, and other combinations, as well as bloggers who have partners who work and bloggers who have a full-time job doing something else. They come from all walks and income sources and levels. The article sets up some example numbers. You do the rest to match your own needs.
In some parts of the US and the world, $60K a year is an average income for a single person. In other places, $5K a year is the average for a household income.
Love how you’ve broken this down; thanks for going into such detail. This must’ve taken you quite a long time indeed ;)
This is great information. Thanks for all the detail!
I have blogged five days a week (approx. 200-word posts) for a major women’s-magazine blog for $1,000/month. Thought that might be good info to throw into the mix.
Wants to work with u waiting for u reply thanks
@ Kathy Sena:
Thanks for the information. How long, on average, does it take for you to generate those 200 words?
Wants to know the subjects on what u are writing..seems to be very intresting
I applaud your erudite approach to this blog and the topically significant comments. It appears as though a large disparity exists between percieved annual income of bloggers and “ordinary” working class employees. This comes as no surprise to me since annual income statistics are drived from a plethora of governmental entities. More over, these governmental bodies seemingly interpret calculated data in enumerable ways to either soften the “bad” news or agrandize their agenda.
Keep in mind that a lot of blogs that may seem popular just don’t earn that much money and it’s hard to pay a lot when you’re not bringing in a lot. Also, pageview bonuses can amount to much more than the $5/post, and it encourages writers to create content that attracts visitors.
hey very interesting article here. I agree that to be able to get a real profitable income from blogging, we need alot of dedication and real articles that can create volume.
Your charts in regards on how much time and blog posts needed to be done to achieve a real income is also straight to the mark.
I used to post for 2$ per post.. as I started write more and more I started get more than i expected now I Earn 25$per post
How have the effects of the current economy affected the average blogger? Obviously online content is cheaper and easier to market to people as they spend less time spending money outside the house and more time doing “cheap” and “educational” things like reading. So, is there an increase in demand? Is there a decrease in number of jobs? Are there more people blogging quality posts and thus prices are going down or is everything staying pretty steady, from ya’ll’s experiance?
I think 25 bucks per post is a good starting point if you are a fairly experienced writer. But it seems like a lot of people want quantity over quality so they pay super low rates for more posts.
Thanks for this blog post –
I know it can be very hard for bloggers to really make enough money online just by blogging, but its also worth noting that any self-respecting blogger looking to make money not only rely on paid-to-post jobs.
In fact, most bloggers have other successful affiliate programmes that bring in twice what the paid posts do.
So, any serious blogger out there should be making no less than $2000 a month from various money making programmes.
10 years ago I got paid $100 per weekly submission of 100 words (standard $1 per word) on a month per month contract. Getting those writing gigs involved an actual interview process and review of proficiency/experience in the area you were writing about.
I saw many of the sites paying that go under, including the ones I had contracts with. Now, like many other industries I see people willing to do the same work for free although their expertise on the topic might not be as vast as the paid writers that were previously doing it, so many sites will never find it necessary to pay. As long as these sites can draw traffic the validity of the post is insignificant.
This dilutes the quality of the posts by having inexperienced speakers on topics passing as if they had more knowledge. It’s a shame for everyone, particularly the reader who has no idea the accuracy of what they are reading has declined.
Here is one that pays $1 per post about dating or networking. http://www.theadultworld.com/paid-blogging.html
They pay through paypal and checks.
I make $25 per post for writing 500 word guest posts that take very little time and research. I thought it was pretty low but after reading this, I’m feeling much better!
great post and interesting discussion thanks so much for sharing
I found this a very interesting breakdown of what you can expect to be paid currently for posts for blogs.
I just also wanted to add to the discussion on annual income – according to the US Census bureau, the average median FAMILY income for 2006 – 2007 for all 50 US States works out to be $59K
Most companies who need bloggers dont hire them in US or Europe but in Asia.
Whose groups of people are mobilized for blogging jobs in India and the Philippines as example because the main languages spoken in these countries are English.
So forget those high rates….
This income is, ofcourse, just for the posts that are a part of the blog. I don’t see other revenue’s that could be generated from blogging (ads on the sites, etc…)
Make Money Online | Get Paid To Blog
websites for people who want to work at home and make money from Blogs.
There is no way that writers in North America can compete head to head with writers who can work for far less due to lower cost of living. The solution is for North American’s to provide the value added stuff (market knowledge, personal experiences) and outsource all the mundane stuff. You can’t beat the globalization of the economy so you have to find a way to benefit from it. I just wrote a couple blog posts on this concept.
This is a complicated subject (obviously from the comments thus far..) A company hiring a blogger has to take into account that they get what they pay for. A full time blogger will need to develop the content of the blog, control the voice of the blog, conduct research (possibly interviews), and most likely moderate and answer comments.
What would you pay for someone to essentially create and maintain your brand online? You are not going to get that from India or from a freelancer.
Those that can communicate a corporate message and brand identity need to be paid for their worth. With the internet going the way it is, there may be few other as important jobs in their marketing department.
Excellent article. I have my own blog, which lands me a lot of well-paid work, and I rarely blog for others unless the pay is close to my normal hourly fee. It’s not worth it for me to research, write, and take time from higher paid work for $5/post.
I have more self-respect than that.
Wow, very interesting fact I didn’t know that in real I can earn that much, however I have found a website which says they are very good pay master and pay through different payment methods but I couldn’t understand how they work the link is http://www.theworkpaid.net/?share=57733 . I tried as a freelance writer but I am doing my best to earn as much as I can with my creativity that I can show in the online world.
This sum of earnings can make a person millionaire in my country :)
i am also a blogger from Nepal, doing blogging since 2013 i have hired 3 co-writers for my blog i actually got confused, when i found this post, about blogging and how to pay to blogger,,, this really helped me to make decisions… i really loved and enjoyed this post…