December 05, 2007

Who Makes a Living Blogging?

This came up in conversation at my father's house the other day. Part of this depends on what you call "a living." One eminent blogger chooses to do this so she can stay home with her child, because pursuing a "real" career would take her out of the home too much.

Some reject the idea of professional blogging as a potential "sellout." I estimate that there are probably 20 people out there making decent livings via blogging, and another 20 who eke out a sort of existence, paying their bills via their blog-incomes.

My stepbrother asserted that he thought the "break even" point was 5000 hits a day, but he didn't realize a lot of us have PayPal/Amazon Honor System buttons on our sites, so one of the variables is the generosity of one's readership (just like NPR stations—without the public subsidies). And, of course, there is the question of whether one makes more at any given traffic level by selling blogads (via BlogAds, or another agency) vs. participating in PJ Media.

There exists a partial list of people who may be making significant incomes from blogging, though I'm not sure I need numbers that are that specific: after all, one of the factors involved is whether one resides in Southern California, the greater Chicago area, New York City, the San Francisco Bay area, Washington, D.C., Tokyo, London, or another high-cost-of-living environment. Raw numbers don't tell us much, particularly if you're in Atlanta or somewhere reasonable like that. (Another variable: do you have roommates? Are these roommates humans, or cockroaches?)

Thanks to Janette, for sending that last link— and to the Cotillion Women, for posing the question.

Posted by Attila Girl at December 5, 2007 04:14 PM | TrackBack

I think the numbers are well into the hundreds, if not thousands, at this point. Remember, politics isn't the only -- or even the most lucrative niche. Gossip and tech blogs are much more profitable.

There are also plenty of people who have salaried jobs as bloggers for various corporations, associations, political campaigns and the like. People who do blog consulting.

I made a pretty good living running my blogs full time for about a year and a half and am now still doing reasonably well doing it part time while turning the blogging into a paid gig elsewhere.

Posted by: James Joyner at December 5, 2007 05:09 PM

Gossip blogs, tech blogs, home improvement blogs, weight loss blogs, etc (even pr0n blogs) all have a better chance of making more money than political bloggers. Political bloggers sell what? Books and t-shirts? Affiliate earnings on those items are slim. Blogging about tech gadgets, drugs, and lawn ornaments will earn you more cash because there's a higher sell through rate and they're higher priced items. Also, people reading political blogs aren't usually shopping for something, people reading a merchandise based blog are - again, your click through rate is higher.

I think there's a lot of bloggers making a decent living but it's likely that very few of those are political bloggers.

Posted by: Janette at December 6, 2007 08:39 AM

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