How Much Blog Traffic Do You Need to Make Money?

Published by
Kenny Novak
on January 24, 2015
Written by ContentPowered.com
Posted in Resources

By the strictest definition, you only need one visitor to make money from your blog, so long as that visitor buys your product, your eBook, or whatever else it is you’re selling. For affiliate sites, that can be as simple as a single click. Question answered, on to the next one.

Wait, you’re still here? You wanted more? Oh well, I guess I’ll explain more. See, when someone asks what the traffic they need to monetize a blog is, they’re not asking about how many visitors it takes to get the first sale. What they really want to know is how much traffic, on average, is required to get a consistent income. One sale is fine, but if that’s where it ends, you can’t say you’ve really monetized your blog. More like you’ve just found $20 in your coat pocket; it’s not a repeatable event.

So, before we get into talking about numbers, first we need to lay a few ground rules.

1: Traffic

When we’re talking about traffic needed to monetize a site, we’re talking about different kinds of traffic. There are essentially three types of traffic.

  • Fake traffic. These are the bots, the web crawlers, the spiders, the spammers; hits to your website coming from sources that don’t matter and don’t count. Bot traffic earns you nothing; they don’t buy your products and they don’t click your affiliate links. However, you shouldn’t block all bot traffic blindly; Google discovers sites via bot, after all. So some bots can be beneficial, most are not.
  • Disinterested traffic. These are the users coming to your site for various reasons, but who are not valuable to you. They’re the people clicking links to visit sites only to find information they didn’t intent to find. They’re people searching for something in your niche that you don’t provide. They’re people visiting your site to cite it in their own blogs, but who have no interest in buying your products. This kind of traffic is useful for some types of monetization, but not for others.
  • Interested traffic. These are the users coming to your site with the drive and interest in buying what you have to sell. They’re coming because they like your brand, because they want your product or because your sales calls have been effective. This is, obviously, the most valuable kind of traffic and the kind of traffic you should nurture.

So, already there’s a wrench in our plans. You can have 100,000 visitors every day, but if they’re all fake traffic, you won’t be making any money* from your blog.

2: Monetization

When we’re talking about monetizing a site, there’s a lot to consider. How, exactly, are you monetizing your site? Different sorts of moneymaking methods have different pros and cons.

  • Selling your own stuff. Make an app, write a piece of software, write an eBook, design a physical product, sell your handicrafts; they’re all ways to make money. This method has the benefit of being potentially very lucrative and scalable, but it suffers from you needing to keep inventory on physical products or keep supporting digital products. You may also have significant costs for development and design. You can also only take advantage of the interested type of traffic.
  • Affiliate marketing. Here you’re selling something – software, eBook, product – created and supported by someone else. You don’t get the full price of the product, but you don’t have to worry about supporting it either. You can use disinterested and interested traffic, because even disinterested traffic can click your affiliate link. Amazon, for example, tracks that click and credits you with anything the user buys, whether or not it was something you reviewed.
  • Display advertising. You have a site with traffic. Advertisers want the views from that traffic. You sell ad space, advertisers pay you for those views. You need a certain traffic volume for this, because more traffic means more advertisers will bid, meaning a higher overall price. Some advertisers will pay more for conversions, so ramping up interested traffic helps.

Other forms of monetization, like AdSense or building a mailing list, fall under one of those categories. A mailing list, for example, can be monetized by selling advertising space in it.

3: Other Factors

There are other factors that go into the monetization calculation as well. For one thing, users expect to see ads, even if they generally dislike the concept of having their browsing experience interrupted by advertising. If you’re running a popular blog with no ads, users are going to be skeptical. You have to be getting your money from somewhere, right? So how trustworthy is your information, really? If you’re not selling ad space and you’re not selling a product, you must be selling your scruples and blogging for cash. Regardless of whether or not that’s true, it’s an assumption people make.

You also have to be mindful of the transition. If you wait until you get popular to add advertising or start trying to sell something, users are going to rebel. They’re going to see the dollar signs in your eyes and they’re going to judge your site ever more harshly.

So, How Much Traffic, Really?

Say you have a product you’re selling for $50. You want to make $1,000 per month, which means you need to sell 20 copies of your product. That means 20 people per month need to buy your product, less than one per day.

Now say you get 1 out of ever 100 people to buy your product. To reach your goal, you need, thus, at least 2,000 people to visit your site monthly. Ah, but that’s not all. See, that needs to be 2,000 interested visitors. That includes interested and disinterested visitors; bot traffic is discounted here.

These numbers are all made up off the top of my head, though. Your product might cost a different amount, or you might be going for affiliate clicks, which have a higher conversion rate. You might have a lower or higher rate of conversion per 100 users. It’s all variable.

So how much traffic do you really need to monetize your blog? At least one interested users, and however many disinterested users it takes to find that one.

*There’s a caveat to this. You can make money in a low-quality, black hat sort of way with fake bot traffic. The general process looks like this. First, you set up a low-content page designed to be a host for CPM ads. CPM ads pay you by the view, not the click, so all you need are views. Once this is set up, you buy fake bot traffic with enough spoofing to trick the filters on the ad providers. This will make you some money, right up until they catch on and block you from the program. Once that happens – and it will happen – you start over.

Written by Kenny Novak

Kenny Novak

Kenny is an SEM and SEO professional. He uses blogging and content marketing as a launchpad for small businesses looking to grow their online presence.

Join the Discussion

  1. Kravitz

    says:

    I’m getting thousands of visitors but no sales yet. Is this normal?

    • Growtraffic

      says:

      Hi Kravitz, it sounds like you may want to start judging the qualify of your visitors, or perhaps look into conversion optimization: http://www.quicksprout.com/the-definitive-guide-to-conversion-optimization/

    • Isaac

      says:

      Are the visitors paid or the SEO type? If it is paid then you can expect that it will continue like that .

  2. Echo Pages

    says:

    Is this for any type of site? I need to make more money from my site

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