Building a successful blog is no easy feat. More than 500,000 websites are created every day now globally and many of them never make it past the early stages of development. Blogging is hard work and takes effort, diligence, passion, and most of all, persistence.
Many blogs started off as nothing more than hobbies or passion projects and are now making millions every year (and, in some cases, every month). Nowadays, however, go-getting entrepreneurs are looking for profitable niches before they take the plunge. Let’s see what the highest-earning blogs are writing about and who is making waves in this extremely lucrative industry.
News and entertainment blogs
Gossip, news, celebrity breakups — oh my! Whether or not this niche is your cup of tea, there’s no denying its popularity and endurance. Some of these blogs started off as gossip columns and swiftly earned a reputation as trusted news media outlets, while some decided to fan the flames of controversy to stay relevant.
Founded in 2005, Mashable.com has branded itself a multi-platform digital media company that covers the latest in tech, culture, and entertainment. As of 2019, Mashable was seeing a healthy $3.33 million in estimated income each month.
The biggest name in news and entertainment is definitely the Huffington Post. HuffPost rakes in a staggering $41.6 million per month and with an army of writers, tackles the latest in politics, business, entertainment, and technology.
There is so much information out there to cover so these types of blogs are a ton of work and require many writers so it may be tough to take on alone. Nowadays, entertainment bloggers focus on more specific niches within the entertainment industry in order to compete with the big players out there. Either way, most are monetized mainly by advertising and sponsored posts.
Tech blogs are extremely competitive but can be wildly successful, especially if you have some tech expertise up your sleeve. These publications usually focus on tech news, gadgets, coding, web development, and even gaming.
The variety of options allows bloggers to delve into a world of offshoots and sub-niches that can really zero-in on a target market. Many use their forum as an opportunity to create useful instructional material or how-tos that give non-techies a leg-up in this ever-changing technological world.
The top earners in this niche are sites like Tuts+, Smashing Magazine, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, and Engadget. These sites all work hard to put out the best new tech information to be had, along with excellent tutorials, product reviews, and tech education.
Smashing Magazine and Gizmodo top the charts, with each bringing in over $400,000 per month. These types of sites are monetized primarily by membership dues that readers pay to view gated content. They also bring in the big bucks through affiliate commissions from product sales.
It’s fun to speculate on whether Brian Clarke, founder of CopyBlogger, knew what the world of digital marketing would become after he started his business in 2006 with only $1,000 in seed cash. A decade and a half later, it’s one of the best sites out there for content marketing, digital marketing, SEO, and social media marketing, providing some of the most useful online marketing advice in the world.
Today, CopyBlogger brings in an estimated $2.75 million per month in revenue and has planted seed companies all over the place such as training programs, courses, plugins, and digital product sales ventures. The three standouts are Rainmaker Digital, a website and marketing agency, Authority, a membership-based training program, and StudioPress, a WP premium theme marketplace.
The top-earning blogs are all bringing in the big bucks through smart monetization. If you’re offering your readers useful information and have done all of the legwork to make their purchase as easy and painless as possible… then you’re on the right track.
Most blog monetization schemes fall into the following categories: advertising, membership dues, affiliate commissions, digital products or services (i.e. courses or guides), eBooks, email marketing, or secure sponsorships. Advertising revenue and affiliate commissions, however, make up the lion’s share of the revenue for million-dollar companies.
Savvy businesses are now really making bloggers’ lives easier. Those who earn a living through affiliate marketing can now expect a bit of help in making their case, selling a product, or encouraging a sign-up through incentive programs for new customers. For example, casinos help their affiliates by providing them with incentives which they in turn offer their audience.
What do all of these million-dollar blogs have in common? They found a way to provide their readers with value in one way or another. So, whether you’re banking on ads with Adsense or getting commissions through affiliate sales, the more value you bring to your readership, the better your blog will do.