How much traffic do I need to start making a full-time income from my site?
That's a very common question that almost every new blogger or webmaster is going to ask at one point or another, and today I'm going to answer it.
100,000 page views a month.
That's it. That's the answer guys. I can finish this post right now and be done with it, but you would be leaving here with a number that means nothing to you. So let me explain why 100,000 page views is such an important milestone for any blog.
It's a long read so you might want to save this to Pinterest to come back to later.
The correlation between traffic and money
Everyone instinctively knows there's a correlation between the amount of traffic a site gets to the amount they earn. You can't make money if there's no one going to your site, that's pretty easy to understand.
The hard part is figuring out how many people you need to get on your site to make a decent full time income.
That's the million dollar question a lot of new bloggers are dying to find out, but struggle to find the answer to.
There's a reason why it's so hard to find the answer and why it's not so readily available via google search. There is no single answer that is going to be correct for everyone. There's way too many variables to give a "good" answer.
But that's not to say 100,000 page views is just a random number I whipped out of thin air.
Imagine a dollar store and then imagine a normal department store. Now imagine both stores have the same number of visitors. How much would each store make respectively?
The answer is... I don't know. Because we don't know how many of those visitors actually bought something before they left. It's the same thing for a website. In internet terms, we call that the conversion rate. The percentage of your traffic that converts into sales.
Another issue the above analogy raised up is, the type of store people are visiting. Even if both stores had the same number of paying customers, the department store is most likely going to make more than the dollar store. This is exactly the same for websites.
Not all websites are created equally, because not all audiences are equal in buying power and buying tendency.
I wrote a post before about how blogging is far from saturated and any niche and topic can be profitable. I wasn't lying. ANY topic and ANY niche CAN make money, but there are real caps to the potential of individual niches and I go over more of that in the post.
And that's not all of it guys. Now imagine you have two stores of the same nature, they have the same number of visitors to the store, but they are managed very differently. What will happen to the sales?
They will naturally be different.
Websites are the same as well. Two websites within the same niche are going to perform differently because their effectiveness will differ based on the business decisions the site owner makes.
What this all means is, the value of each visitor to a site is going to vary dramatically from one niche to another. Therefore, the amount of visitors website x needs to make $5,000 per month is going to be different compared to the amount of visitors website y needs to make $5,000 per month. And so on and so fourth.
If you're still with me, you should have figured out that the amount a website makes is heavily dependent on
- The total amount of pageviews to a website
- The ratio of pageviews to converted sales
- The average value of each sale
If you have these three stats on any website, you will be able to have a very accurate idea of it's monthly average earnings.
The three magic stats of a website
Firstly, we need to clearly understand what a page view is and how you count page views. I've been using the term "visitor" above and a visitor to a site is not the same as a page view.
A page view is whenever someone views a individual page on your website. If someone goes onto your blog and 5 pages are loaded, then that's 5 page views. 1 visitor, 5 page views.
So 100,000 page views doesn't mean 100,000 different individuals. Or at least it shouldn't because we have something called a bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your site after looking at one page. The average bounce rate for a blog is around 60%, especially if you write long form content.
That means you will have far less visitors than page views. And that's a good thing, because the bounce rate is a good indicator of how much interest the reader has towards your blog. The more interest a reader has, the more likely they will buy something from you or conduct a monetary action in your favour.
That's why the magic number is in terms of page views and not visitors. We don't care how many visitors you have if they all leave after skimming through your homepage. We want page views.
We want the reader to land on your site and go through the stages of a basic sales funnel:
- exposure - discovers your blog
- exploration - starts reading your content
- validation - your content builds trusts
- purchase - they make a purchase
We want them clicking around and reading stuff, a lot of stuff.
Not one single stat is going to mean anything unless you have the other two. You have to have all three together to make an educated guess on how much a site is pulling in.
The problem is, those stats aren't easy to get, especially the last one. The reason for this is because, from what I know, there is no software that exists that can track every monetary conversion with your page views. You can do it manually, but the amount of effort you would need to accomplish this would be counterproductive.
So why did I even list it if you can't realistically ever get it?
I listed it to start getting you guys to think in a logical way that will make the 100,000 page views a month understandable. You now understand the direction of thought and the most important pieces of the equation to answer the question:
"How many page views do I need to start making a full time income?" or "How much traffic does a blog need to make money?" and every other question along those lines.
Yes, it depends on traffic, but it also depends on the quality of your traffic as well as how good your site is. The effectiveness of your site will heavily influence how much value you can get out of every visitor that comes to your site.
But if I made the assumption that you blog seriously as a business and not just a hobby, then I can start making safe assumptions on a site's ability to convert visitors.
The magic number of 100,000 page views per month
A serious blog will have multiple streams of income in place and have a solid steady stream of monthly traffic. So regardless of what niche the blog is in, 100,000 page views should be enough to start making a minimum of $2,500 per month.
The reality is, professional bloggers in highly profitable niches can easily make $10,000 per month on only 30,000 page views a month. So the range genuinely varies a great deal and you'll need to look at your niche averages to get an idea if you're performing below or above average.
However, no matter the niche, 100,000 page views per month is enough to make $2,500 minimum. I say this with upmost confidence because I got this number by assuming a blog isn't completely diversified in it's income streams and I only took the least profitable and least lucrative streams into account.
That includes, adsense and selling ad space, sponsored posts and affiliate marketing with low commission rates.
The rough estimated numbers look something like this:
100,000 page views should see you earn anything from $40 - $300 from adsense. This will depend on where your traffic is coming from, the demographics and your niche. So let's say $130 from adsense.
Then you have ad space you can sell out to prospectors for a fixed banner on your site. Let's say you have 2 places you reserve for fixed ad space. A top horizontal banner under the main menu and a square banner on the side bar; prime real estate.
There's many ways you can go about structuring payment, but let's keep it simple with a flat rate fee on a monthly basis. A website with 100,000 page views a month can easily charge anything from $200 - 700 depending on the size and location of the banner.
A good estimate for the two hypothetical ad spaces in this example would be $800.
Now we get into sponsor post territory. There are two main types of sponsored posts. One, you write the content yourself and two, the sponsor gives you the article and you just post it on your site. Obviously the former commands a higher price, because there is more work involved.
And then there are different ways to schedule payment for a sponsored post. It can be a flat rate fee, or it can be performance based. This means, your sponsor would pay you x amount for every y amount of interactions in z amount of time.
But again, let's keep it simple and use the flat rate fee. A website with 100,000 page views per month and average engagement can easily ask for $800 per post if you're writing it from scratch.
A sponsor that has many requirements that make creating the post more difficult can command an even higher price. So let's say you do two sponsored posts a month, that's $1600.
That's already over $2,530.
But we still have affiliate marketing to count for. I'm going use Amazon Associate's affiliate program, because the commissions are low and it's easy to join. The average rate is around 5%, but it differs depending on the product.
The good thing about Amazon associate is your commission is based on everything in that checkout basket and not just that one link they clicked on. A link for a $9.99 USB cable can easily turn out to be a $500 checkout total if the person is buying other related electronics, and your commission will be on everything within that $500 basket.
With 100,000 page views per month, you are bound to make some commissions, but there's no real way for me to estimate it because it depends heavily on how good of an affiliate marketer you are and not so much on your traffic numbers.
But a reasonable safe number would be about $300 per month from Amazon. That gives us a grand total of $2,830 per month.
When you know what you're doing
The above are very conservative estimates that seem to be realistic for a new blogger who has been hustling hard on their traffic. But they aren't the best affiliate marketers, e-mail marketers and they don't have their own products.
They haven't expanded their brand reach very much and haven't focused on other supplementary venues. i.e Instagram and facebook.
If you improved your skills in the above areas, you will instantly see the $2,500 double to a new safe estimate of $5,000 per month with the same number of page views.
And that's still a low ball number compared to the amount professional bloggers make.
Not many people post their page view numbers up online, so it's hard to match the page views to monthly income reports scattered around the web, but here are the ones I've managed to find.
- Matthew woodward - $25,718.28 / 137,513 pageviews
- Billionaire blog club - has a bunch of stats for all his blogs.
To sum things up
100,000 page views per month for someone who only scratched the surface of blogging knowledge should be able to make a minimum of $2,500 per month.
100,000 page views per month for someone who has taken the time to improve their internet marketing skills should be able to make a minimum of $5,000 per month.
Here's a great video to get your started in the right direction of 100,000 page views per month and if you want more of this type of stuff, sign-up to my newsletter on the sidebar to the right!