Blogging has been around for ages, and it still holds a venerable place as one of the best ways to make money on the internet. One great thing about it is how flexible it is. It gives you enough freedom to talk about whatever’s on your mind or whatever you’re interested in, and in this way, communicate with your readers. That’s essentially why so many have turned to blogging – it's a method of sharing information and ideas publicly – and, eventually, bonding with like-minded people.
But, what makes a blog successful? There are some bloggers that have built empires and become some of the most influential sources of information on the internet. Trends nowadays are constantly changing, bringing many income opportunities for content creators. But to stand out from the rest, you have to offer something no one else does.
So, in this article, we’ll look at ten of the highest-paid bloggers and their journeys to success, and we’ll also touch on how exactly bloggers make money.
How Do Top-Earning Blogs Make Money?
Some may think blogging is easy, but it takes real dedication and perseverance if you want your blog to be successful and become your main source of income. The secret is to choose a niche you’re genuinely interested in and offer original content that will be of value to your readers.
But, of course, creating great content is just a part of the job. Your marketing strategy also matters as you need to optimize your content for your blog to be visible on Google. Your blog SEO should be top-notch since it’s the core technique for increasing organic traffic and converting visitors to faithful followers. Plus, you need a superior blogging platform to help you achieve these things and to be a faithful companion on your blogging journey.
So, how do blogs make money exactly? Since blogging is not your traditional 9-to-5 job, earning your income through blogging isn’t done the traditional way either. Bloggers can have several income streams depending on their monetization strategies. Let’s take a look at them.
Ads. Ads are the most common way bloggers earn money. The blogger signs up for an ad network and starts placing ads on their blog, which can be targeted or non-targeted. The ad networks pay the bloggers based on a variety of criteria, mainly on how many visitors have seen a certain ad or how many have clicked on it.
Affiliate marketing. Another very common way of earning money is through affiliate marketing, which entails making a deal with a company to promote their product or service via affiliate links on your blog. When a visitor buys the product through that link, the blogger receives a small commission.
Sponsored posts. Many bloggers make money from sponsored posts. They sign a deal with a certain brand and promote their products in several different ways, from writing blog posts to shooting videos or posting on social media. The goal of the brand is to utilize the blogger’s influence to promote their product, and the blogger gets paid for it.
Products. Bloggers who have created their own products – often digital products (courses, printables, guides, plans, etc.) but also physical products (books, paintings, planners) and even memberships – can certainly make money by selling them. Such bloggers usually have a sizable audience because then the income can cover the cost of manufacturing the products.
Services. Apart from blogging about their chosen niche, many bloggers offer their services and expertise to their readers. In a way, their blog serves as a platform where they can showcase their knowledge so that some readers will also become clients. Bloggers can offer many different services like counseling, coaching, consulting, and mentoring, to name a few.
How Much Do the Highest Earning Blogs Make?
It’s no secret that to start earning well through blogging you have to be patient; success doesn’t happen overnight. Plus, it really depends on how much time and effort you put into it. However, a general “rule” in most cases is that in the first year, you probably won’t make a lot of money – maybe between $200 and $2,500.
That being said, these figures grow over time as you learn about how it works and you strengthen your monetization strategy. You can increase your earnings to $4,000–$15,000 if you play your cards right, and perhaps even higher, as we’ll see in our list below of the top-earning blogs.
The most successful bloggers can even earn seven figures per month, but even if you don’t reach these heights, you can still have a pretty good and stable income from blogging or, at the very least, a successful side hustle.
Top 10 Highest Paid Bloggers
The list of the highest-earning bloggers we compiled includes people who have started as bloggers and evolved into full-blown entrepreneurs with multiple business ventures, people whose blogs progressed into some of the most famous sources of information, and bloggers who have remained in the blogging sphere and continue to maintain a steady level of success.
1. Ariana Huffington (HuffPost.com)
Ariana Huffington is the co-founder of The Huffington Post, which started as a commentary outlet and a blog for current affairs before growing into one of the biggest news aggregators and changing its name to HuffPost in 2017.
The Huffington Post was founded in May 2005 by Ariana Huffington, Andrew Breitbart, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti. At first, the blog mainly published news stories as they happened, oftentimes publishing between 600 and 1,000 stories per day.
As a result, the readership grew quickly because, at the time, Google and SEO practices weren’t as demanding as they are today, so their content reached many people. With time, more news categories were added, and by 2011, The Huffington Post grew into a media empire, netting $315 million when it was acquired by AOL.
Ariana Huffington was the editor-in-chief between 2011 and 2016 when she founded and became the CEO of Thrive Global. To this day, she is considered the highest-paid blogger with estimated earnings of around $250 million per year.
HuffPost remains one of the most popular news outlets, and it’s the first blog of its kind to win a Pulitzer Prize. Its earnings mainly come from selling advertising banner space.
2. Tim Sykes (TimothySykes.com)
Penny stock trader and blogger Tim Sykes comes second on our list of highest-earning bloggers. With estimated yearly earnings of about $120 million, he gets his income from several different streams.
He founded his blog, Timothy Sykes, in 2007, where he sold DVD courses on how to trade and invest in penny stocks and recognize fraudulent deals. He also taught some alternative trading strategies to make more money. His blog is monetized, and he still posts informative and educational blog posts, news, stock watchlists, tips, and how-tos.
In addition to his blog, Tim Sykes also makes money through his social media, where he’s very active. Sykes has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram and regularly keeps in touch by posting relevant content and paid ads. He also has a YouTube channel where he regularly posts videos with tips, trading advice, and even personal anecdotes.
Lastly, he’s also the founder of Investimonials, a financial product review site where you can leave a review for a number of different financial services – books, newsletters, software, and others.
Tim Sykes is really active everywhere, which is what has kept him among the top highest-paid bloggers for years now.
3. Peter Rojas (Engadget.com)
Next up on our list of highest-earning bloggers is Peter Rojas, who founded Engadget, a tech blog that covers a wide variety of tech-related topics – from news and reviews on gadgets and consumer electronics to gaming and media entertainment. He founded Engadget in 2004 after leaving Gizmodo, another versatile tech blog that he co-founded. The same year, he also founded Joystiq, a video game blog that was shut down in 2015.
Peter Rojas left Engadget in 2008 to pursue venture capitalism. Following his departure, much like HuffPost, the blog was acquired by AOL in 2011 but is now owned by Verizon Media.
Engadget is estimated to earn around $50 million per year, primarily from direct advertising and affiliate links.
4. Perez Hilton (PerezHilton.com)
Perez Hilton is the professional moniker of Mario Armando Lavanderia Jr, who is a celebrity blogger and a media personality. He is the founder and owner of the Perez Hilton blog, a celebrity news and gossip outlet that has been active since 2004 and is among the most famous media outlets in showbiz journalism.
The blog quickly gained readership by posting titillating inside stories and gossip about pop stars, movie stars, media personalities, and other famous names and faces, accompanied by tabloid and/or red carpet photos. The content on the blog also includes exclusive videos, quizzes, and a podcast where he talks about trending celebrity topics.
Perez Hilton is estimated to earn $40 million per year, and his revenue mostly comes from sponsorships and advertisements on the website and podcast, and his TV shows.
5. Chiara Ferragni (TheBlondeSalad.com)
Chiara Ferragni is an Italian fashion blogger, model, fashion designer, and entrepreneur who has collaborated with big fashion and beauty brands. She started her blog, The Blonde Salad, in October 2009 while she was still a university student. The blog was initially a typical personal-style blog with entries written in both Italian and English.
A couple of years after its inception, The Blonde Salad grew exponentially, and Chiara Ferragni became one of the most influential fashion bloggers. She branched out as a model and fashion designer and eventually became a digital entrepreneur. The blog also evolved from a personal style fashion blog to a full-blown fashion and lifestyle website, officially rebranding in 2016.
As with most fashion influencers, she is very active on social media and has over 27 million followers on Instagram, where she posts about her personal life but also endorses her own products.
With an estimated $35 million per year in revenue, Chiara Ferragni is listed as one of the top-earning bloggers in the world of fashion. Her income comes from her own fashion brand and collaborations with fashion brands via affiliate links on the website.
6. Rand Fishkin (Moz.com)
Moz is a very popular SEO and data management software that was created to help businesses improve their ranking by integrating SEO strategies into their marketing plans. It all started in 2004 when Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig started a blog called SEOmoz with the sole purpose of sharing helpful and informational SEO-related content, with analysis and research often provided by experts in the industry.
The blog became increasingly popular in the digital marketing world, so the natural progression for both founders was to shift their business to a small consulting firm before getting their big break. In 2013, the SEOmoz blog was rebranded into Moz, an SEO software tool intended to help businesses manage multiple aspects of their SEO campaigns.
Even though blogging isn’t the focal point of their business, Moz still blog and regularly post relevant and helpful content on digital marketing, SEO, and content marketing in the form of tips, guides, and how-to articles. Moz is estimated to generate around $35 million per year primarily through selling their product.
7. Pete Cashmore (Mashable.com)
Pete Cashmore is the founder and former CEO of Mashable, a popular media platform that offers news and information on a variety of different topics – technology, entertainment, culture, science, everyday life, and social good.
Pete Cashmore launched Mashable in May 2005 as a simple WordPress blog where he was the sole author of the blog posts. The blog grew in the coming years, making Cashmore one of the most successful and highest-paid bloggers, putting him on Inc.'s "30 Under 30" list in 2009. Things only went uphill from there as Mashable and its readership, as well as its followers on social media, grew.
Mashable was bought by digital media and internet company Ziff Davis in 2017 for a reported $50 million. It seems like the change has been good since, in the coming years, Mashable has expanded to different countries around the world, including Italy, Australia, Pakistan, Southeast Asia, and more.
Mashable is thought to make around $30 million annually, primarily through direct advertisements.
8. Melyssa Griffin (MelyssaGriffin.com)
Melyssa Griffin is a blogger and entrepreneur who started her eponymous blog in 2013 while working as an English teacher in Tokyo. The blog is now focused on topics like entrepreneurship, making money, and creating a strong business strategy, but before Melyssa Griffin got to the point she is today, she went through several different stages.
At first, she was writing posts about blog design, her creative projects, and her everyday life in Japan, but a year later, she started to offer web design services through her blog while still writing content. Next, she created and published an online course on Pinterest marketing, and things snowballed from there.
She now offers several different online courses on her website, all about how to run a lucrative and successful blog, how to be a better content creator, and more.
Melyssa Griffin is estimated to earn approximately $25 million annually, mainly through her online courses and podcast.
9. Michael Arrington (TechCrunch.com)
TechCrunch is a technology blog that focuses on high tech and startup companies primarily in Silicon Valley, but also elsewhere in the US. TechCrunch was founded by Michael Arrington and Keith Teare in June 2005 and grew to become one of the most famous and powerful tech blogs on the internet, with millions of readers each month. The blog provides the latest news and updates from tech giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Alphabet, to name a few.
After several business stops, TechCrunch is now owned by the latest incarnation of Yahoo. It is estimated they generate approximately $22 million per year, mainly through banner advertising and memberships.
10. Jeff Rose (GoodFinancialCents.com)
Last but not least on our list of highest-paid bloggers is Jeff Rose, a certified financial planner, blogger, author, and combat veteran. He launched his blog Good Financial Cents in 2008, where he started sharing investment strategies, financial advice, tips on making and saving money, paying off debt, and more, all based on his own experience.
In addition to his blog, he published a book on financial planning and runs a successful YouTube channel where he shares more of his expertise. He has also written articles on finance for several famous newspapers, and he currently writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.
Jeff Rose’s estimated annual income is around $16 million which comes from paid ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, and online courses.
Over and Out
Blogging is a flexible medium, and as much as it gives you the freedom to turn it into a profitable hobby, blogging is serious business and can be just as demanding as any other job. But it can be very rewarding, too, as you can see. Some of these people have really taken a big leap, and we can learn more than a thing or two from them.
If you’re thinking of blogging and you need a super-efficient blogging tool to add to your website that is easy to integrate and has built-in SEO features, you can check out DropInBlog. It may be just the companion you need on your blogging journey. There’s a free 14-day trial with all features available, so you can take it for a spin and see how you like it.